Saturday, December 29, 2007

I just wanted to say

You know who you are :)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cleaned House

today. In shining up the floor, I gave myself chafed hands and maid's knees.

And the vacuum cleaner did go poof, with the odor of burnt rubber :(

BUT... now it's all said and done, everything is SPARKLING CLEAN :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Several Things Wiser :)

I.Melancholy revisited

So previously I had written about Trade (2007), the movie.
Through conversation with other people and a bit of reading on the web, I've come to a few conclusions:

A) Crimes like human trafficking are so complex that one person cannot ever hope to fight them alone. Instead, one person can spread the word about the existence of these crimes to as many people as will listen. By the power of a group of people -- by increased vigilance, pooled resources -- then something more substantial can be done.

B) One can educate themselves about this crime. Knowledge is truly power. When you know, you can then plan go to proceed. After being exposed to that human trafficking still exists and how, in Trade (2007), amateur porn footage can be produced by using these sex slaves, I can make a difference by encouraging people to boycott porn or at least porn of unknown sources.

C) Keep updated with other breaches of human rights. By creating an worldwide atmosphere of respect and justice for fellow human beings, we can decrease tolerance for such crimes. One good (and very prominent) website that I stumbled upon is Human Rights Watch -- news posted here is current and well researched.

II. A story for thought

So today I ate dinner with a peer, who is about the same age and socioeconomic standing as me. As we sat at dinner, this person started to belittle the achievements of a very accomplished and much older and worldlier person (who has traveled extensively because his work is very much in demand and also has one of the most respected positions in his line of work). After trying unsuccessfully to reason with my peer about the merits of the person being belittled, I very quickly finished dinner and left.

Some things about this peer of mine had been bothering me all day. The fact that this person does not like to read, does not like to study for betterment, expresses very little interest in anything even when explicitly asked. To add insult to injury, this person asks for my recommendations and then does not follow up on them. All of these things, I do not understand. I especially do not understand someone not wanting to be the best that they can be by educating themselves.

And so I googled "Why do people not want to be educated," and I found an article by RC, entitled "Do You Want a More Educated Mind? Seven Common Traps You Need to Avoid" at the following site

The article starts with
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

That made me think. Sure, I was judging this person for judging someone else. But maybe I should have withheld my own judgment and heard them out.

And the first of the seven common traps was "1) You gravitate toward people that agree with you and reject those with differing viewpoints." By leaving this person quickly at dinner, I was doing exactly a corollary of trap one. Because we were in disagreement, I headed off.

And then there was trap three, "3) You label people who don’t match your way of thinking. There are two extremes for this… Labeling people as crazy, loony, far-out, or the other extreme, labeling people as close-minded, “asleep,” or lacking awareness." While this person was labeling someone else as boastful and untrustworthy, I was labeling this person as close-minded and unappreciative of others.

By doing so, I fell directly into trap six, "6) You don’t make the effort to understand an issue from other people’s perspectives."

As I read this article, I realized that while I thought of myself as pretty educated, perhaps a portion of my education is yet incomplete. I can still be much more open-minded.

Like James William Fulbright, US Senator, said,
"We must dare to think unthinkable thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The saddest thing in the world

After seeing this movie, I cried more than I have with any other movie. The movie is

Trade (2007)

Based on
The New York Times > Magazine > The Girls Next Door
By PETER LANDESMAN Published: January 25, 2004.

Please be advised that below the movie poster, I write a bit about my thoughts, which may contain spoilers to the movie.

Trade (2007) explores the trafficking of human sex slaves, captured against their will and/or tricked into slavery with false promises of a better life in America. Trade weaves several tales into one -- that of Veronica, a young Ukrainian woman who traveled to Mexico in hopes of better income in America; that of Adriana, a teenage Mexican girl who is kidnapped from the streets of Mexico City while riding a bicycle
bought by her brother with money he swindled from a US tourist with the false promise of prostitutes; that of Jorge, Adriana's brother, who goes across the continent to rescue his kidnapped sister; that of Raymond, the US cop who meets Jorge on his own mission to find his lost daughter, last seen some 10 years ago before being sold by her own junkie mother into the untraceable, unfathomable sex slave trade.

Women of whom Veronica was based had no more understanding of America than what little they extrapolated from the impossibly romanticized and distorted lens that is Hollywood movies. The promise of a faraway country brings hope and dreams, as it had before with so many generations of immigrants. Based on the pureness of hope that had built entire countries of immigrants, Trade explores how that hope is distorted and exploited into the most unimaginable nightmare.

Incredibly strong and faithful through the very end, Adriana delivers possibly the most memorable line of the movie, "Veronica te mira. No es demasiado tarde." She appeals to the common faith that binds her and her captor, Manuelo. With these simple and poignant exchange, the rawest of human emotions is captured -- fear, faith, hope, remorse, and forgiveness.

Unlike the two women protagonists in the film, the two male protagonists are depicted more multi-dimensionally. In addition to being victims, they are also victors and perpetrators of related crimes. Jorge pedaled images of prostitutes to men while his sister was being captured to be sold as a sex slave. Raymond committed adultery against his wife and produced a child who was forsaken by her own forsaken mother, his mistress.

In the last scene of the movie, Jorge angrily stabs the Russian leader of the trade ring. The Russian's prostitutes and customers scatter in a flurry of fear and confusion. And finally, the Russian's son yells, "Papa," in the street stained with his fathers blood. We see Jorge's face once more, now with anger tinged with uncertainty.

I normally don't write about things this serious in blogosphere, but this movie on the trade of sex slaves has particularly struck me. I have started to research this topic a bit. I've found several articles highlighting this issue since this decade's start, but haven't yet found anything that may lead to some change in this problem. I will continue to research this issue and report what I find here. Please stay tuned.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm so looking forward to my sleep-over


Haven't had a sleep over since 3rd grade, when I slept over at Mrs. Walker's house (3rd grade teacher). She had the whole class over -- well, divided by gender. One night it was all the girls. The other night (which I wasn't around for) it was all the boys. And Mrs. Walker's husband, Barnacle Ben -- yep that's his real name -- hosted. Good times.
For the girls night, I painted my nails for the FIRST time :) This icky sparkly color of iridescent white. Sounds kind of nice, but really different in reality. Cheers to sleepovers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This week

is Exam Week. Dun DUN DUNNNNNNNN.....

And I'm feeling very much like an ostrich, wide-eyed and alert. And always ready to bury my head in the sand.

More realistically, sometimes I WISH that I could put my head in the sand. And my behavioral manifestation of that wish is to put my head on the pillow and snooze. With sleep, I feel justified. Although it's not studying, it's making me more alert FOR studying. Moreoever, studies show that sleeping strengthens the desired mental connections.

Please allow me to present, the outrageous bird known as the ostrich:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still ringing in my head

is the somber melody from yesterday. But it's been transposed from a minor up to a major :)

The lovely line yesterday came from the poem, Auguries of Innocence. Auguries is derived from the Latin, augur, which means soothsayer or omen. Penned by William Blake, the poem in its entirety can be found here. Now this is a man who really understood BEAUTIFUL.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A more somber melody might go like this:

"To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour."

I just remembered this line from Tomb Raider.

There is something so timeless and beautiful about a grain of sand that this truly lovely rhyme may not do it proper justice.

Today was kind of like just another a day in a perfectly ordinary string of days, and yet it was not. Somehow, just going through a simple day as today seemed strangely extraordinary. I got up. I looked at the brightly lit sky. I shivered in the deceptively bitter cold. I walked. I read. I listened. I talked. I learned. I laughed. I welled up with emotion. I smiled. I grew wistful.

I contemplated becoming a day older and hopefully wiser. I wonder how many people in the world had the exact same thought as I did today? How many people had it ever?

Good people of the world: Raise your hands please if you have.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fat or Muscle

weighs more?
Or is this just a density issue?

On the latest episode of the show that pits "beauties" against "geeks," the cigar model (girl) and the owner of 10,000 comics (boy) were arguing about this precise issue. How very a propos for a little post-Turkey banter, eh? :)

Comic-boy claimed that fat and muscle weigh the same, and it's just a density issue, in which muscle is denser than fat. Cigar modelette countered that muscle does indeed weigh more than fat.

Hmm, well ....

If something is MORE DENSE, then that would mean that it has more mass divided by volume, which would mean that for the same volume, the denser stuff would ALSO WEIGH MORE.

And if something WEIGHS MORE than something else, then something would have to have more mass, which can be achieved by the something being more dense or there being just such a large volume of the something that the sheer amount of the something overwhelms a denser competitor. In short, something that WEIGHS MORE is ALSO MORE DENSE than something else of comparable volume.

Thus reason would indicate that for comparable volume of stuff, MORE DENSE and WEIGHS MORE are inseparable!

Same concept is shown at this link below, but with more sources

Cigar modellete and comic-boy, you're BOTH right or wrong, depending on what kind of people you are :)

Monday, November 19, 2007


always made me think twice. It's been such a long time since I started learning English as a second language that I don't remember whether I first learned about Turkey, the country, or turkey, the bird. I'm inclined to think that it was turkey the bird, because Mrs. McGrady and her army of lunch ladies at Captain elementary would make a rotating parade of mystery meats, of which turkey was one of the less mysterious and more trustworthy. But I digress.

I had always suspected that the bird had something to do with the eponymous country, but only today did I find out the real story from where else but Wikipedia! According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the following is the story behind the naming of America's favorite cold season mascot between Halloween and Christmas:

When Europeans first encountered turkeys in the Americas, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guinea fowl (Numida meleagris), also known as a turkey-cock from its importation to Central Europe through Turkey, and the name of that country stuck as the name of the bird. The confusion is also reflected in the scientific name: meleagris is Greek for guinea-fowl.

The names for M. gallopavo in other languages also frequently reflect its exotic origins, seen from an Old World viewpoint, and add to the confusion about where turkeys actually came from. The many references to India seen in common names go back to a combination of two factors: first, the genuine belief that the newly-discovered Americas were in fact a part of Asia, and second, the tendency during that time to attribute exotic animals and foods to a place that symbolized far-off, exotic lands. The latter is reflected in terms like "Muscovy Duck" (which is from South America, not Muscovy). This was a major reason why the name "turkey-cock" stuck to Meleagris rather than to the guinea fowl (Numida meleagris): the Ottoman Empire represented the exotic East much the same as did India.

Several other birds which are sometimes called "turkeys" are not particularly closely related: the Australian brush-turkey is a megapode, and the bird sometimes known as the "Australian turkey" is in fact the Australian Bustard, a gruiform. The bird sometimes called a Water Turkey is actually an Anhinga (Anhinga rufa)

In a similar confusion, Spanish explorers thought the turkey to be a kind of peacock and called it by the same word, pavo. Today, the turkey is still called pavo in Spanish (except in Mexico where the Nahuatl-derived name guajalote is commonly used), and the peacock is commonly referred to as pavo real ("royal turkey").

So that's the story of Turkey and a turkey :) Hope it was edifying and entertaining for you as it was for me.

Gobble gobble.
Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

A turkey in Turkey :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blood pooling

is not like car pooling.
While car pooling is a very environmentally-sound and useful thing, blood pooling is not. Unfortunately, blood pooling also makes my feet big.

On Saturday, I sat down to read almost the entire day, and as a result, the shoes that had fit with room to spare the previous day became 2 sizes too small on Saturday :( The shoes looked something like this below.

So the lesson here is heed your elders. Especially when they say to take a walk once in a while!

Big foot sighting ahead:

Friday, November 09, 2007

What goes up must come down

even if we're talking about the weather. Or especially when we talk about the weather.

Autumn has finally come to stay in earnest. Summer was nice while it lasted, but the temperature had to turn south ... er, north... sometime.

I'm loving this autumnal weather during the day, but am feeling the cold at night.
I like the cold air to breathe at night, but do not like the rest of my body to be cold.
I like to snuggle in bed to keep warm, but do not like to fall asleep. But that's another story!

A dash of yin and a dash of yang. Just like a a book my college roommate gave me -- it's her own work and a limited edition. Thanks Old Roomie! You cheer up my day.

And I do need some cheering up as this studying is making my hair fall out a little more than usual. Have been organizing study objectives though, which helps: Cross our fingers and cross out toes, look above and look below <-- that's good for the neck :)

And now I leave you with this: The yin and yang of autumnal leaves and their ghostly twins in the water.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

O Happy Day!

I am at home and didn't have to go to work today :)
Sunday, the 7th day, Sabbath, day of rest, whatever you choose to call it, it's a good day for sleeping in and not being useful, thinks me. Don't you agree?

I've been doing research in a lab lately. And research is a b!tch. It involves working all 7 days of the week unfortunately. Although not the entire day is devoted to hard work, I still need to go in everyday (except for today) to keep my research subjects company :(

This lab does have its humorous eccentricities though. The one that I'll share here has to do with helium party balloons. The people at lab fill these shiny, rainbow-hued balloons with 95%O2+5%CO2 so that the gas can infuse into artificial cerebral spinal fluid (aCSF), which then washes over a 400um of tissue. The balloons keep the tissue alive! and since they also boost employee moral :) One can never have enough shiny party balloons at work!

My Rig

Balloon and Bottle

Wishing you a little good luck too :)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Woohoo! My blog hit 1000 visitors :)

Happy birthday to you, Blog! And many more.

Thanks for visiting everyone, especially the people from Cherry Hills NJ, Chicago, and Portland OR. Keep up the good work.

To celebrate...

Birthday cake for everyone! For good measure there is even carrot cake (for the cookie monster), beefcake, pancake, and fruitcake-- you like?

Island Cake

Gift Cake

Mad hatter cake

Spidey Jr's cake

Elegant Cake

Balloon cake

Martini cake

Pain d'or Cake

Shopping Spree Cake and Martini Cupcake

Strawberry shortcake

Firefighter cake

Pumpkin cake

Topsy Turvy Cake

cupcake tree

Ladybug cake

Petit Fours

Mocha cake


Fresh fruit cake

Anchorman Beefcake


Pancake cake

Buggy leaves cake

Frog Prince Cake

Grill Cake

Lobster Cake

Artherosclerosis cake

Spring Canopy Cake

Sweet 16 Cake

Black and Blue Cake

Care Bear Cake


Drippy Cake

Easter Egg Cake

Teapot Cake

Carnival Cake

Enchanted Forest Cake

Jester Cake

Movie Theme Cake

Fashionista Cake

Carrot Cake

Mardi Gras Cake

Monster Truck Cake

Underwater Cake

Gift Bag Cake

George in the Jungle Cake

St Croix Cake

Silver Bear Cake

Shopping Spree Cake

Dom Perignon Cake

Presents Cake

Flower Cake

Mod Cake

Billards Cake

Magic Castle Cake


Rose Cake

Rabbit Cake

Easter Cake


Fruit Cake

Tickle Me Elmo Cake

Flowery Cake

Gift Boxes Cake

Pretty Cake

Woah that was a lot of cake! Which one is your favorite?