Main

general Archives

August 5, 2006

still setting up zee server

it was a royal pain getting movable type up... but like everything computer related... you want to shoot yourself for not seeing the error (ie, it's usually one line in the configuration file, or one semi-colon in a program). so... if anyone wants to setup MT on their own host (if you run your own i suggest creating a vitual host in apache), make sure you setup ExecCGI+ for your MT directory in your httpd.conf. for you windows server users... i don't use IIS so i can't help you there, but it'd probably be similar.

i think i might need to take some more steps to get just the general traffic running the way i want. unfortunately my dsl connection only has 128kbps upstream... so any ftp user downloads will use up that bandwidth, and if anyone's accessing this blog, that bandwidth will also come from that 128kbps upstream number. i'd kind of rather had an equal upstream/downstream rate, or dynamic adjustments which shift on usage (cause i have 768kbps downstream)... but no one offers that to personal users even with cable modems. so... i've decided to cap the bandwidth of my ftp server so that this site doesn't load like it's stuck in the prodigy (yeah remember them?) days speed-wise. it'd be nice if i had the money to buy a nice router with qos traffic shaping... but that's not happening. someone's already tried to hack into the system... i looked @ the log (or should it be blog?) files and they were tried a dictionary attack... nothing was compromised though, and so i decided to lock the system down a bit tighter. i'm pretty psyched about this new project though... as it will help me keep some of the stuff i've picked up in the past. over the last 3 years i've felt myself slipping a bit tech-wise, and it'd be a shame to lose everything. gotta keep an edge just in case... who knows when it'll come in handy in the future?

so... once i stablize the server (it might take some time as i figure out a good balance... may have to unload some services to another system)... i'll be making some design adjustments to this blog too. i've got the default install to my photo album application up. nothing's in there yet, but you can get there from here. http://gdab.dyndns.org:8080/gallery/ http://gdbtc.dyndns.org:8080/gallery/. so don't get too comfortable with this just yet... there may be some more surprises around "the corner".

other things that are going on... i'm getting baptized next sunday, and you're welcome to come if you would like. it's @ the 11am service in the chapel (http://www.thechapel.com). hmmm... oh... i'm making one last weekend trip to nyc before school starts (literally... i start school on the following day after i return aug 28th). i'd also like to add, that i love jetblue. i gave my notice to work that i won't be coming back after august. i've got too much to do this fall semester, and the job that i would take would be a TA or GA position on-campus. it's a bit sad... i just passed my 1 year anniversary recently. it's been fun, and it's nice having some extra cash, but i really need to get this research off the ground so i can start and finish my thesis. lots of other things i've been storing up to talk about in the news... but i think it's a little too late to break out now. i'm tired, and tomorrow's the low show.

hope everyone has great weekends. let me know if you run into any problems with the site, mail me or im/msn me jchow32-at-hotmail.com. i'll be configuring a mail server too when i get a chance... so jason-at-gdab.dyndns.org or similar may appear in the near future. thanks for bearing with me (us).

testes, testes, 1, 2... 3?

dude, seriously, we don't need to know about your honoré de balzac.

August 7, 2006

Manatee in Chelsea

So for some reason, there's a manatee just hangin' out on the Hudson river. No word yet on whether this has stalled production of the new season of Family Guy.

ho-LA

so this is good. got t.c. to start posting again. hopefully this will blog will be updated more regularly if there are 2 people pushing the buttons.

i've turned commenting on for everyone as of now... in the future i'll probably ask that you register to comment when i start getting spam on the blog.

the days are winding down. school is around the corner... and i'm kinda not looking forward to it.

got some pics up in the gallery... more to come.

i'm still trying to figure out how to balance load and bandwidth on the server... so pages might load slow sometimes. please bear with us.

August 9, 2006

GNU is Not Unix (a.k.a. the neverending cycle...)

yup... it's that time again when yours truly starts doing due diligence on schools to apply to. i'm getting too old for this, i feel like I just sent out the last batch yesterday! this cycle is gonna cost me plenty of money. to hopefully increase my chances of getting into a pharmD program i'll be sending apps to a couple dozen schools. i can hit them up hard and fast this time and get reviewed hopefully right away since all my prereq classes have been finished for awhile now. backup plan is to send 8-10 apps to phd programs in pharmaceutical sciences. one thing that i have to do that i'm not too thrilled about is take the pcat again (some schools have a 2 year from the entrance date requirement on scores), and so i figure i might as well take my gre's over too... since although the scores were ok, i wasn't too thrilled with them last time around. i'm pretty certain i can get into a pharm sci program... but better gre scores might help me get into the 2-3 reach programs for me.

so i got an email from a friend who told me he was also just baptized a week ago. he said it was a great experience, and so i'm getting more excited about the whole thing coming up this sunday.

here's an article about the most expensive cities in the world. i think though using net income after taxes for comparison probably isn't as good of an indicator as a cost of living index. US citizens may have lower taxes in general, but we still need to pay our health insurance premiums which ger more ridiculous every year, put money away into retirement accounts (which many of us are not good at doing), etc. i tend to go back and forth between private control of certain services and a more social welfare network. i think a mix of systems is the best. give control of things to people who like control, and provide services to people who may not reach threshold levels. however, i do think it's important that everyone have some form of basic services.

that's all i got for now. have good thursdays.

August 16, 2006

Really?

I don't remember Colbert calling him out when the president was sitting right next to me. Or do you mean him. Or you. Who?

(OK, I'm just breakin' yer balls 'cause your pronoun didn't agree with your antecedent, or something.)

This guy has a lot of Macs.

Remember that old Nintendo "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" game called Zero Wing? Well, check out that animated gif of the storyline. And then look at the reanimated flash music video set to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

For you heavy bloggers, here's a way to waste some time and add stuff to your blogs.

Here's a scary thing about how no lock is safe. Including bike locks.

Awesome: a floating bed based on the monolith from 2001. The design is cool to look at, but I'd really much rather sleep on a regular bed.

Lame: that guy that used to be "with" that girl.

This is a scary-funny music video about George Washington that people have been passing around to me, so I thought I'd share it. It's funny in that over-the-top and occasionally creepy way.

August 18, 2006

woo! weekend.

got back into the lab this week with a vengeance. the change in my grant was approved 2 weeks ago, and my materials finally arrived early this week. been wrapping up stuff @ work, handing things i won't or might not be able to finish off to people. my last day at the company is next friday... then i'll be off to nyc one last time this summer. school starts the following monday. it'd be kinda nice for summer to be extended. i know come october i'll be buried in work, and i'll want to go hide in a corner somewhere.

so... next week seems to be a big week.. doing a mini prep on tue to send in dna for sequencing, sloan on thur, last day @ job on friday... and a meeting of sorts which still needs to be scheduled that could lighten my course load for fall. so with the whole sloan thing... thought i'd repost info from the always musically hip christielli. you can listen to sloan's new single from their upcoming release here.

sloan will also be part of the kickoff for buffalo old home week. it's kind of an exciting concept. here's a short dealie on the organizer of the event Marti Gorman. i hope this turns out to be big, and that it grows every year. it's strange how you can go pretty much anywhere and find some person who used to live in buffalo. they all get together in the bills bars in their respective cities to watch bills games during football season (and i guess last year during the sabres run, sabres games were big too). it's like an instant connection, and when you get to talking to them... many of them wouldn't mind moving back if only there were more jobs available in this region. i've posted before... but there really is a lot of movement downtown. things are starting to happen which have not happened in years... maybe even decades. large real estate transactions are going down. buildings are being revitalized, and an urban core is gradually being recreated again. the statler towers deal just changed hands this week. the old a&ma's building downtown is finally being converted. if i only had some capital... i'd like to buy up an old victorian downtown and fix it up. it's amazing what you can get on the cheap right now, once neighborhoods start coming back up... the deals won't be as good.

racism and bigotry really disappoint me. i can't even start to say how much it upsets me when things like this happen... not just to asians... but everyone. i would like to point out that defendants were driving a TOYOTA. wtf? "get out of our country but leave your superior cars!"

here's another brilliant video example provided by one of our elected officials from the wasp-y conservative bastion of virginia. the story as reported by the washington post is here. the moveon petition is here to ask the republican national committee to stop funding this douche bag is here.

so... how do we deal with this issue of race in this country? we'll reproduce! like russell peters had said... in the future... everyone will be brown... cause there's just gonna be mixing going on.

i don't care what anyone says... i'm never gonna stop going to nathan's @ coney island for a hot dog. we're all gonna die anyways... and if having a tasty hot dog will do me in sooner... i'd rather enjoy that frickin hot dog and die sooner.

this is for my peeps with a link to the UK, specifically wales.

that's all i got. happy weekend!

August 30, 2006

What You Don't Know May Kill You

Apparently, if you don't apply sunscreen liberally and often, it can actually increase skin damage from the sun. On the bright side, it only took 13 years, but the FDA has finally approved a safer and much more effective sunscreen that has been available in Canada and Europe since 1993. This is what I've been using, having purchased some during my travels abroad.

In other news, another one of my favorite shows has been cancelled: Deadwood. On the bright side, HBO and creator David Milch have agreed to make two two-hour movies to wrap up the story that would have been told in a fourth and final season. (The show was always planned as four seasons, which explains the anticlimactic end to the third season finale last Sunday.)

I'll leave you with a scene from a classic episode of the Simpsons, which follows the same trend of bad news / good news as the two items above:

Chinese Shopkeeper: I must warn you the doll is cursed.
Homer Simpson: That's bad.
Chinese Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer Simpson: That's good.
Chinese Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer Simpson: That's bad!
Chinese Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free choice of toppings!
Homer Simpson: That's good!
Chinese Shopkeeper: The toppings contain sodium benzoate.
[Homer looks puzzled.]
Chinese Shopkeeper: That's bad.
Homer Simpson: Can I go now?

neglect

wow. 2 posts from the 2 maintainers in the last 24. what is going on?

so i've neglected posting for a bit. a bunch has happened over the last week and a half or so that i've been gone. last day at work was rather sad. got interviewed for a GA position. ended up pulling my application for said GA position... which i'm pretty sure i got... cause was asked for my references, and after withdrawing myself from contention, the position was right back up on the school job site. as much as i would've liked to have done it... as it really was something i was totally in to... after having some time to think about it... i just couldn't have gone through a semester with the course load that i have (20 credits), commute between the 2 campuses, and work 20 hours. i would've loved to have gotten free tuition, health insurance, and a stipend, while building university websites though. i've been waking up the last couple days kicking myself for turning it down... but deep down somewhere... i know it was the right choice. i HAVE to finish my research. i HAVE to apply to schools for next year, take the pcat, and do well this semester to give myself a good chance to get into the programs i want to get into.

i went to new york this past weekend as well. walked over the brooklyn bridge, at at grimaldi's, walked over the manhattan bridge. i guess did a lot of walking in general. went to the corner bistro, had dinner with tansal, tc's mom, my mom, my brother, and some friends from taiwan.

also... hoping that something might be on the up and up with someone here in the buff (born & bred right here in wny)... but i'll keep my reservations until things really get rolling (if they get rolling at all). we'll see what happens. i tend to be pessimistic because i'm usually off in the timing of most things. it's probably been the one thing in my life which has plagued me. like this whole GA thing would've been perfect if... it wasn't this exact semester. likewise, this person was in a relationship within the last year... and she may not be ready for another just yet. who knows... we'll see.

other than that... school's in session. back to the grind, and i've been feeling kinda down since the whole thing started.

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend Somewhere along in the bitterness And I would have stayed up with you all night Had I known how to save a life -"How To Save a Life", The Fray

September 11, 2006

i remember

i kick myself a lot for not bringing my camera with me everywhere... and/or forgetting to snap a picture of things sometimes.

on this one visit pre 9/11, my friend bern came to nyc for a visit. i took him to the wtc towers, and i remember it was quite a nice day out. there used to be a plaza between the towers that was public space... i think it was also where the wtc globe sat (which is not located @ battery park as a kind of memorial). there were some white stone benches of some sort. i remember bern and i just kind of laid down on the benches and looked up at the towers and the blue sky, kind of mesmerized at the height of the two structures. i've thought about that day during 9/11/2001 while i was sitting in uptown manhattan watching the attacks unfold, and each september 11th since 2001... wishing i had snapped a picture on that day before the new york city skyline changed so drastically.

though i'm not sure mary ann sullivan took the pics exactly where we were that day... this is what i remember it looking like.

1am update: i read over my post... and was disappointed in the amount of typos. you'll have to forgive me, i left my place @ 9:30am this morning, and did not return until 9pm... i'm kind of tired, so typing and thinking aren't my strong points right now. gonna wrap up some more reading for a lab... and hit the hay. another long day tomorrow... er... today.

September 14, 2006

by the way...

my default album in the altima lately has been rhcp's by the way. it's a pretty lengthy album, and it's quite diverse in its songs, and moods. it's just been playing over and over, but i haven't gotten sick of it yet... mainly because of the aforementioned characteristics. i love that they chose venice queen to end the album... it is an absolutely great song. my usual trip to south campus takes me anywhere from 20 minutes on a good day, to 45 minutes if i'm going during rush hour, and hit all the lights. during the drive, some albums (many weezer albums) will have hit the end and start repeating. however, with by the way, that doesn't happen. so i spend a couple hours on south going to classes, the library, and lab, etc... and when i get back to my car... it'll take me til the end of my drive home to maybe start repeating.

hmmm... so not much has been happening on this end. so i guess i'll give a personal update. still in school. still with the 20 credits. i have to present at a departmental seminar about my research in a little over a week, and i have NO real results yet for my research... it's kind of been frustrating for me. some how i have to cram in studying for the pcat that i'm taking in october. i got a job @ the office of medical computing in the school of medicine & biomedical sciences. i'm working friday nights. i really wanted to work a couple hours a week... just to have some spending money. the lab's pretty dead on friday night, so i'll mostly be getting paid to do my homework and study... which is nice. i suppose i could say now i won't have friday nights free.. but i don't think i would've had them free anyways. the lab is on the floor above my research lab, so it will be convenient for me to run procedures like gel electrophoresis and leave them alone, but still be able to check on them on a break or something. i KNEW i couldn't stand NOT working =]. hmmmm... there's a lot of reading that has to be done this semester. my eyes hurt. i have to write some term papers, and some application essays (the number of schools i'm applying for is seriously overwhelming me right now). it will seriously be a miracle if i can get to halloween.

anyways. that's about it for me right now. i'm gonna do some reading, and head back to the lab in a couple hours...

hope you're all doing well.

September 17, 2006

ugs... not to be confused with guggs

brind'amour is one of the ugliest people ever.

training camp is upon buffalo (hockey, not football)... first preseason game's against the leafs on monday. i'm excited... but i can't get my hopes too high up... buffalo teams have been known to disappoint... whether through self-(in)action or just plain bad ref'ing.

hmmm... so the dalai lama will be speaking to a sold out ub stadium on tuesday. however the forecast has rain for the day. i'm debating whether i should go or not... it's a once in a lifetime experience... but i really really really hate sitting out in rain and getting wet... and unfortunately for me, ub stadium is a 30,000 seat stadium that's outdoor in the natural elements.

this is kind of cool... a 26 year old mayor of a fairly large city in the US. maybe i should run for mayor of buffalo?

i know mac people are all... macs are better than pc's and all that... but do you think everything would have developed as fast if the proprietary mac system was just one of the many types of computers you could buy... and dos/windows was also proprietary to the 'pc' system? i definitely think technology would have evolved a lot slower than it has. the beauty of the pc is that it's more or less an open system... even the mac os can run on pc's now. tcp/ip which is what the internet runs on is an open standard. apache webserver which powers most websites is open... and open is good, because it allows better access!

enjoy your sundays.

September 19, 2006

seriously you guys.

ok... so what... i've posted 8 billion times to t.c.'s 1 (ok maybe not 8 billion... but still...)

get off jour lazy ass and start writing something.

so today it was supposed to rain, and i was expecting to make a game time decision about going to the dalai lama speech. i woke up, and it was beautiful outside! so the weather wasn't even an issue. there were a lot of people... i've never seen so many people on campus at once. i can kind of get a picture of how nice it would be if the school's football team was actually competitive... how great that would be on a saturday afternoon. hey... we already got our first win under the new regime... one can hope we keep improving... even if we get totally annhialated by auburn this weekend.

so the speech overall was a good experience. it was unfortunate it was a bit windy today... so the sound kind of faded in and out and bounced off the walls etc, all weird. some of it was incomprehensible... but i got to the general idea. what the dalai lama said was applicable across a whole spectrum of people, cultures, and religions. we are all human beings, and we should look at each other from that angle. we all have the same hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, and we all seek happiness... whatever that may mean for each individual. we should have compassion towards each other except for gwb (i added that last one... i'm joking... ok not really... ok... really... i'm joking =p). the dalai lama's compassion toward others really did come out throughout his speech... i definitely enjoyed that.

hmmm... oh yeah... before he spoke... the state university of new york's chancellor... and president of UB gave the dalai lama an honorary doctorate, to which the dalai lama replied... i'm so lucky to have spoken at all these schools and received so many degrees without any formal education!

and here are some pics.

that is all i've got.

September 24, 2006

Eye Test

I went for a checkup with my ophthalmologist a couple of days ago, and they put drops in my eyes to dilate my pupils. I think they were the most dilated they've ever been. When I left after the exam, it was sunny outside and my eyes actually hurt from the brightness. When I made it back to my office, I couldn't see anything on my computer screen, which was too bright and flickering. One of my coworkers took a picture of my right eye with my mobile phone's built-in camera. It's close up so the focus isn't too great.

i need a vacation

i'm drowning over here with things to do =[.

in case you want to see any dalai lama video coverage of any of the events that went on @ ub... click here. you can watch his whole talk, and the interfaith service that was held.

ok... i've got a powerpoint presentation for a departmental seminar to finalize for tomorrow.

i am hoping hoping hoping... that i'll have time this weekend to head over to the sunrise records in niagara falls to pick up the new 30 track sloan album.

hope your mondays are better than mine.

September 27, 2006

Google Video links

Hi everybody. So the funny thing that Jason's talking about is this. (Though not as funny, you can also look at this. One of the actors in this scene is actually providing his own voice - can you guess which one?) Finally, to cap off this theme of links, check this out.

Now onto politics. Jason showed me this video clip of Bill Clinton telling it like it is to Chris Wallace on FoxNews. (Here is part 2 of the same interview.) And a reaction to it by Keith Olbermann, who is becoming one of my favorite news anchors for his Murrow-like approach to television journalism.

I know that's a lot of video to check out, but the first couple are short and funny, and the Clinton one is pretty important. The difference in body language--hell, just in language--is so stark between our current president and our last great president. If we had the opportunity, as voters, to write in a candidate for president in the next election, there's a good chance Bill would win... even if that choice wouldn't be ratified for constitutional reasons.

October 11, 2006

back and busy...

so... as ljr said down below... a bunch of the old buff crew went down to virginia this past weekend for a friend's wedding. talk about your weekend of unexpected events. some friend's got into a car accident driving down. some lady sitting behind me was on the plane for the first time going down on friday, and because of the bumpy ride from big storms, all i heard for the last 10 min before landing was gagging, and purging. day of wedding, the place it was supposed to be at was flooded, somehow people in the wedding party pulled off finding an alternative place to hold it. coming back, my flight was cancelled, and it was the last flight out of the airport for the carrier. i spent all afternoon trying to get a seat on another airline, on the phone with service agents, going in between different carriers ticket counters, getting sent back to the original carrier's counter because things hadn't gone through correctly. i think in total, i made about 4 trips back and forth between counters before everything finally got settled. talk about your frustrating travel experience. my plan to study for my midterms in the airport was shot, as i wasted most of the afternoon and evening rushing around and panicking about getting out of the place.

yup... then i had a midterm on monday... and one today.

and one next monday, wed, and friday.

and pcats next saturday.

and one last one the following friday.

i frickin love life!

so i can take a breather now... so i figured i'd update the ol blog.

(-) busy until november, bills got demolished, still don't have my new sloan, lab not working
(+) sabres are 3-0, the republicans are scrambling, al gore's speaking @ ub in the spring

hmmm... other big news... hospital closures are coming... there's way too much capacity here (only around 50% of beds are filled) and many hospitals are in dire financial straits. i've heard 2 plans to open a new university medical center for ub in a merger with ecmc, or buffalo general in the medical corridor downtown. this would be a great idea for the medical school to have it's own teaching and research hospital. academic medical centers are usually more cutting edge, and are able to provide medical care for lower income residents.

this is cool (watch it and you're day will instantly get better).

maybe i'll put some pics up later from the weekend. that's it for now. hope you're all doing well.

October 12, 2006

early snowfall...

it's snowing! the first snow of the season always gets me excited... even if it is only OCTOBER!?

October 14, 2006

would you like some power with that?

we got walloped with snow on thursday. for those out of the loop... here's an article. record snowfall for october... it started when i got out of my lab on thursday... and i had just posted the entry below... and a few hours after... we just got dumped on. trees went down... bringing along the powerlines with them. my house just got power restored to it an hour ago... it was a little over 48 hours with no power. it was a surreal experience... cause it's so weird to have a snow storm knock buffalo down for the count.

here's a pic.

October 17, 2006

damage control

i went into my lab yesterday and took some pics of the damage. i was hoping to get some more pics of the villages of williamsville and snyder, however electrical crews were out canvassing the areas, and the trees laying on the street did not offer me a good place to park and walk around.

http://gdbtc.dyndns.org:8080/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=1546

"and you're getting too old to be cared for... by me, and for that matter, this cake is baked but i much prefer the batter. perhaps in part because it had so much potential, to be delicious and still be influential. i'm undecided." - fading into obscurity, sloan

October 22, 2006

buffalo-boston sports weekend

argh... hiccups!

anyways. let's write about the bad first shall we? the bills crapped their pants... again. thankfully i didn't spend too much time watching the game (ie. wasting time). i watched them not compete for about 10 min, and walked away. they look just as good as when bledsoe was under center. i'm quite sick of losing to new england (well... them and everyone else). remember in the 80s and 90s when the pats were a joke? the new england patsies? for the love of God, the bills lost to the lions last week! we have not had a decent o-line since the 90s. we've had 9 starting and potential starting qb's come into the organization since kelly. todd collins anyone? oh well whatever... it's a good thing hockey season starts in october!

so the sabres managed to take it to the bruins last night for a nice 6-2 win. was listening to the game in the car back from my lab... could clearly hear a pretty loud contingent of sabres fans @ the td bank north garden chanting, "let's go sabres" @ the end of the game. i guess that's the one good thing about buffalo... the economy's pretty bad here so lots of people leave the area... but they all remain sabres and bills fans... and you'll find them being the obnoxious away fans in most cities with an nhl or nfl team =]. they are now 8-0, the only undefeated team in the nhl. they embarrassed the flyers last week... and their gm resigned an coach got fired, but not before waiving 4 players from their team. they'll be gunning for a franchise record 9-0 start when they play the habs tomorrow. sorry k... i'll be fiercely rooting for my slugs... er... sabres tomorrow night... no offense =p.

so i think most of the power has come on in the area. there were 2 traffic lights that are on a heavily travelled main road up linking the north and south campuses of ub that were still out friday, but they've came back on sat. still see lots of lumber on people's lawns... piled up high. most of the public grade schools in the area were off all of last week. some are off until this wed. crazy... it's like a week and a half unexpected vacation! however, there seems to be some concern how they are going to make up the required days of instruction. i'm hearing that they may have to hack off some days from their spring breaks.

one of the big congressional races here is jack davis vs. tom reynolds. reynolds wields a good amount of power in the republican party... and most of you know my dislike for that party. however, i am quite scared of davis' views from both an economic and societal aspect. the loss of domestic jobs to other countries is a concern... but protecting jobs by imposing tariffs and turning away from trade is not the answer. some of davis' ads are very anti-china, i fear this has the potential to rile people up and cause some race issues. anyway, back to the point... global trade is important to the economy. most developed economies are turning towards the service industry to grow. traditional manufacturing is pretty much a dead end in this country. people living in developed countries are used to a certain lifestyle. they want their media, entertainment, ipods, computers, material products now, and cheaply. in order to provide these products at an acceptable cost to consumers, are companies going to: 1) choose to manufacture the goods where labor costs $24/hour through union negotiated contracts, or 2) choose to manufacture them where labor is $2/hour (which mind you is still above prevailing wages in that area)? i ask you, what would make the most sense to you? as a consumer, how much are you willing to pay for your items? a simple solution would be to just ask everyone to stop shopping at wal-mart, however i don't think that solution will happen. living in a market economy, it's not fair to say you want to change the rules when things hurt. looking at it from a more global view, pulling out of these agreements may dramatically damage foreign economies causing developing governments to collapse. these trade agreements may hurt us in the short term, but they are raising the living standards of many countries. to reach any sense of equality and equillibrium, this period has to happen. so... as much as i hate to say it... i will be voting republican for this particular race.

the US now has a population of > 300 million, yet almost 16% of it's population is uninsured.

cool article and pics of colliding galaxies.

October 24, 2006

it's gonna be november next week!

how'd that happen?

i've been sloaning it up since i got the new album. i've got a few favs... and since autumn has really settled into almost a winter... here are the lyrics to one of my favs on the album. it's kind of simon and garfunkel'y... ish.

it's not the end of the world, sloan

it's not the end of the world
but into a ball you are curled
winter will pass
when it does

you can go cause this isn't what it was
say the snow made us do it just because

while we weghed the pros and the cons
the sun had unfrozen the ponds
winter had come to an end

i don't know if you will call me your friend
say it's so or i'm libel to pretend

now you've made your mark on the world
at times into a ball i have curled
so i had to move on
but i'll always be fond of you

winter was hard on us all

bundle up cause it already feels like fall
i'm all right but i don't mind when you call
we can talk of our brief time in the sun

the acoustic works well with chris' voice. if i had an ipod, i'd put it on my ipod on a playlist for a fall hike or walk through the woods.

October 28, 2006

rough 2 or so weeks

i feel like i've been sprinting the last couple weeks just trying to get past midterms, tests, lab presentations, etc. didn't help with that storm knocking power out and putting people's lives on hold, things were still hanging over my head.

i'm glad to say that i made it out intact for the most part. i have one more take home midterm i have to hand in on monday. i'm not particularly happy with how the tests all went so far... i don't think i did spectacular cause my focus just hasn't been with me since october began... but i don't think i did terrible either, so i'm ok with it. still lots of deadlines to be met, but i can return to my normal more relaxed go-with-the-flow personality instead of staying up all night to cram for tests.

so the sabres are playing tonight against the thrashers. game downtown's sold out, should be a really great environment. should they win, they will break the nhl record for most consecutive wins at the start of a season (though the sabres had a couple shoot-out wins to start off the season this year, and technically the leafs did it with actual wins as SO's weren't implemented until recently). the sabres are also on the verge of selling out their season already. quite a turnaround from the dark days of rigas ownership. even when they reached the conference finals and cup in the 98 and 99 seasons support for the team wasn't as great.

with the team on the up and up, other things are moving around in the city too, such as developer bashar issa proposing a new building replacing the hsbc tower as the tallest building in buffalo. issa is currently also redeveloping the statler towers. both projects are going to be done without public funds, and completely privately financed.

interesting to note too that ub's bioinformatics/life science complex should be fully operational with researchers moving completely into its labs as early as next month. here's a video from the center... it's kind of weird to see some of my professors in it.

so... onto the sloan. just some historical stuff that dug up. it was kind of interesting to read what the members of the band had to say about their second full length album 'twice removed', which is also my favorite one by the band. it's weird to think that patrick hated the album so much, cause one of my favorite classics is 'i can feel it'.

so the new album is quite a departure from the last two... which i think many people didn't care too much for. i on the other hand liked action pact quite a bit. it was a solid rock album, good for driving on the open road with the windows down on a nice summer day. pretty together was hit or miss... i liked half the album, mostly songs that were written by chris and patrick. the new record has sloan experimenting more with sounds, rhythm, and styles a little more. jay turns in some great songs, but i don't think it measures up to his output on between the bridges (poor boy being my yardstick for jay). it does retain a better cohesiveness like btb in the sense that some songs flow right into the next, which works well. case in point, i didn't like 'who taught you to live like that' when i heard it as a single... on the album though, the first track 'flying high again' which was a collaboration between all the members of the band runs right into 'wtytllt' without a break, and makes for a better listening experience. 'wtytllt' also works as a song a whole lot better once the entire album comes into play. andrew also turns in some songs of note on the new album. it's rare that i like how andrew's songs and will actively want to listen to them. most times, i don't mind listening to andrew songs in the background, but i don't go seeking them out. on this album though, there is a more than the usual amount of andrew material that i would probably seek out.

i really like how the album starts off with flying high again, and every band member having a little blurb to sing.

wtytllt gets a little better on each hearing for me. the rhythm is good, i like the piano in it, i'm not so big on some of the lyrics.

i've gotta try is an andrew song, overall it's a good song, though i don't particularly like the intro to the song. it gets more enjoyable as the song progresses. i think though, the blending of the first 3 songs makes this group much stronger.

everybody wants you is the first song that i really like on the album. it's got this acoustic rhythm guitar in the beginning of the song that is replaced by an electric. there are elements of the song that remind me of the clash. ahhh... there's also the great harmonizing that sloan is known for... on this one it's patrick and chris. the tempo of the song is good, rhythm changes, chord progressions, and time structure make for an interesting listen instrumentally.

listen to the radio is another one of patrick's ballads. it was an initial favorite, but after listening to some of the other tracks it's dropped a few. it's nice, and good, but not as strong as some of his other ballads. the synth is kind of interesting in that it's different, but i think it might be stronger without it. still a good one though, with patrick songs, even if they're not great... they are still better than most of the stuff out there... at least for me.

fading into obscurity. i really like this song a lot. i like how it's divided into a couple of sections, with different styles. i never really gave too much thought on lyrical word play until i was in a relationship with someone who absolutely loved chris' lyrics. the more i thought about it, the more i appreciated it. chris has some of the coolest lyrics around... lots of word play in this song... makes for an amusing... and entertaining listening experience. the end of the song is especially catchy.

i can't sleep is ok. it's not so bad because it's only a minute long, but if it didn't have that drawn out sound and vocals at the end of each phrase. i like the instrumentals on the track.

someone that i can be true with starts off pretty good, but ends up being ok only because of the repetitive nature and though chris can come up with some great lyrics for some songs, the lyrics to this song are kind of ridiculous towards the end of the song. it's not a terrible song, but i've heard better. i do like how it blends into the next track though... it makes it a little better.

right or wrong by jay... goot harmonizing, good instrumentals, above average. i particularly like the piano that goes along with this song.

something's wrong... first solid song by andrew on this album. i like the band's backup vocals on this song. interesting elements from classic rock. a little short... but it leaves you with a sense that you'd like to hear more... which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

ana lucia... from what i've read it's about sloan's manager's baby. lyrics are cute. how cool would it be if you had a rock song written about you? good song. rockin heavy guitars.

before the end of the race... first jay song on this album that i really like. the mix of instrumentals are really good on this track.

blackout is another andrew song that i like. solid rocking out, almost feels like it could've been included on their navy blues album.

i understand. this is a great patrick ballad. some lyrical elements aren't the best, but... the chorus is frickin catchy... especially with the harmonizing and handclaps! i like how patrick likes to put in horns on his songs. perhaps cutting it a little shorter would be better. good song!

you know what it's about, this and the next track golden eye kind of go together. both have elements that i like. however, of the two... golden eye stands out with better instrumentals and rhythm, though the lyrics are kind of weak.

can't you figure it out, is another jay song that is quite good. it almost feels like it could've been included on btb. love the guitars and beats on this song. catchy chorus... good moving bass line.

set in motion is kinda funny, i think my fav part of the song is the chorus.

love is all around is a different kind of sound for andrew i think. it works. i do wish though that he would stop using that effect where his voice sounds like it's 10 feet away from the microphone.

will i belong. i don't care for this song much.

ill placed trust. this is as solid a patrick song as any. i listen to this when i drive to school in the morning... cause i'm usually late getting out the door... and it pumps me up to start the day... cause lemme tell you... these days... i haven't wanted to start many of em.

live the life you're dreaming of. i like this song a lot. it's a chris ballad. "maybe i can make it happen, i can help you work and love." good chorus, and use of all member's vocals. classic harmony.

living with the masses is possibly my favorite andrew song on this album. i like the chorus a lot, and andrew sounds like he's actually close to the microphone on this one.

hfxnshc... frickin halifax, ns hardcore.... great patrick song... lots of energy, "new beat generation!"

people think they know me... it's kinda eh, but i think the chorus to the song saves it.

i know you... what's with the knowing song things with that thing? it's kinda slowish in the beginning... but speeds up. the song definitely gets better as you listen to it.

last time in love. good catchy song by chris. i like how he plays around with the down beats on this song, and changing of the times. good harmonizing... classic use of sloan handclapping. grooving bass line.

it's not the end of the world. the most folk sounding track of the album... see below.

light years... it's got catchy piano in it... it's an ok jay song... not my fav on the album though.

another way i could do it. the middle portion of this song rocks the hardest... but overall the track is quite good. i'm trying to think of who this track reminds me of... but the name is not coming to me at the moment.

so there you go... that's my review. it's quite a lengthy album... and there's a lot of variety on it. i think as a cohesive album it's not as cohesive as some of their others because of the variety. however they do try and blend things together with fading on the song... which does work for some of them. in terms of the quality of the music... there are definitely more hits than misses when taking the album as a whole. there are only a couple of songs that will be able to come off this record as singles. it's hard to assign something out of 10 for the album... because i think it depends on what kind of day i listen to it on. in terms of the concept of the album though... i'd have to give it a 9/10. i guess i'll have to wait a couple years to see how high this ranks amongst their discography, which so far looks like this: twice removed, one chord, btb, action pact, navy blues, smeared (which i like a bit... but i think many of the songs would be much better without the distortion), and pretty together... however i don't forsee it taking down twice removed as my top pick. also... hearing the songs live in the future may have some impact on how much i like the song.

everyone have a good weekend!

October 31, 2006

Sloan

Wow, well J's written an amazingly in-depth review of Sloan's latest album, Never Hear the End of It. (I could probably make a stupid joke about how I thought I'd never get to the end of his review, but I seem only to be able to get away with dumb things like that at the office, where the silliness provides necessary levity. Plus I really like what he's done and don't want to besmirch it for a cheap laugh... or groan.)

I've listened to the album five times through now, each time from start to finish, and I haven't really dabbled with individual tracks. Reading the review has me listening to the album a sixth time now. (I ended up taking a break from it, and from rock music in general, and focusing on classical music for a bit. I always oscillate between the two, and sometimes the periods are longer than others. I had a really long rock music phase recently, and now I'm in a half-and-half phase.)

Anyway, I've listened to the new record enough times to have general opinions of it, but I'm not ready to do a track-by-track review yet. (I don't know when I'll have time for that.) I really don't dislike any of Sloan's releases, except perhaps the Peppermint EP, which I think they bettered in every way with the release of Smeared. However, I do think some of their albums are stronger than others. I agree with The Onion AV Club's Hall of Fame that their masterpiece is Between the Bridges (henceforth referred to as BtB). Pretty Together was hit or miss, Action Pact was rockin' but perhaps a bit monolithic in its approach, and now we have, in my estimation, Sloan's best album since BtB.

What do they have in common? Aside from blending the songs together (something that was done masterfully on Side B of The Beatles' Abbey Road) and generally keeping them short in length, there's a very musical flow to the way the songs are arranged that makes it easy to listen to the full record, despite its overall duration. When the individual members of Sloan are at the top of their songwriting game, and all four are making quality contributions, something magical happens. They provide a variety of styles, which is what makes them so fun to listen to... again like The Beatles. (Jason's gonna harp on my bringing them up like this, but they're undeniably an influence, and always have been.)

The thing that surprised me the most about this album is the number of Andrew songs in it - and how good they are! After being shut out of Action Pact, probably by choice, he's come back with a vengeance. His contributions are my favorite this time around. His voice is great, his songs don't have the occasionally self-indulgent quality that Jason was complaining about, which has been evident on some of his tracks in earlier albums. I think Andrew had some really terrific material on Pretty Together, and of course the culminating "Delivering Maybes" on BtB, so I'm happy to hear that he's carrying it forward.

Jay... Jay does his best work since BtB. His music is so unabashedly happy here! I don't want to seem to take Chris and Patrick for granted, but they've put out so much material over the course of their careers (and dominated the last album) that I don't really have anything new to say about their work. I like what they do. Patrick's been getting harder and Chris has been turning out some really pretty ballads... sort of a flip on their roles earlier in the history of the band. They are both very skilled in both genres, but I just get the impression that there's been a gradual shift of focus from one to the other.

So in summation, Andrew's work here has me going back to appreciate his earlier work, and Never Hear the End of It has me switching back and forth between it and BtB. Both albums don't work so well on iPod shuffle mode, and so what? I'm such a fan of musicians that really craft albums as a whole, and the new one falls right in line with my sensibilities. Simply, it makes me happy to listen to it, the whole blessed thing, from start to finish, every time. For a newcomer, I'd still recommend BtB first, because I don't know how the uninitiated would react to the sprawling new album (and they may not be amenable to the Sloan sound), but Never Hear the End of It would be my follow-up recommendation. Definitely.

November 1, 2006

Random Observations

So I was walking home tonight, and I saw a guy in an SUV driving with his beagle in his lap, but the beagle was wrapped behind the seatbelt with its owner. And rather than thinking, "aw, cute," or "the guy doesn't want his dog to fly into the windshield if there should be an accident," all I could really think about was how the force of a crash would crush that poor dog between the strap of the seatbelt and the ribcage of the driver... that the seatbelt would probably hurt the dog more than if he was hanging out on the floor of the car, or something. Anyway, he drove off before I could have an in depth discussion with him about his practices.

Somebody was talking about hair, and how it sprouts in all kinds of utterly useless places as a man ages. Well I've got a bone to pick on this issue, because even as I grow more hair on my body, I'm losing it on my head. It's like my head is a jug full of hair juice, but there's a leak. So the top of my head gets less and less of the hair juice, which ends up trickling down the back of my neck and shoulders and back. WTF? That's seriously lame. I'd really like to know where I can lodge a complaint regarding this issue.

Dear Sir or Madam or Asexual Entity,

I am shocked, appalled, and dismayed by the rapid and unnecessary growth of hair in parts of the body that do not require it, certainly not in the thickness and length present in this case. Having been a long-time customer, I would appreciate a swift resolution to the matter. If this is not possible, I would at least like backed-up assurances that such a mistake will not recur.

Sincerely,
Cousin It

I bet I won't even get an answer. Bastards.

On the bright side, I think I can rock the bald look. I won't shave my whole head, though. Billy Connolly calls that the comb over of the new millennium. Most people can't rock it and look much worse when trying to fool people into thinking that they're badasses or something. A select few, however, look rather handsome with a shaved head. I guess the trick is to be cognizant of which impression you truly make.

I heard about a guy who had shaved his head for years because he thought it looked cool, and when he stopped he noticed that his wasn't growing back in the way it used to anymore. He'd started going bald, but never noticed because he was always shaving. That's gotta suck to get hit with that all at once. It's been very gradual in my case, so I'm at peace with it. At some point I'll have to start wearing hats or sunscreen.

procrastination station

politicians are idiots. we have a bunch of those career politician types over here in western new york, looking to keep the status quo (ie. their paychecks coming... along with any campaign contributions directly into their accounts). case in point, the 190 tolls which have been subsidizing downstate, specifically transportation for nyc for decades have been repeatedly lobbied to end by citizens. for decades politicians here have said it was impossible. i like this article poking fun of dale volker & co. for never even trying to take the tolls down (we are the only "upstate" city with tolls within the city). the toll collection recently ended... yay! here's a blurb.

You cannot embarrass people who have no shame.

The truth of the saying was obvious on a sunny Monday morning. A pack of state lawmakers showed up at the Breckenridge tollbooths to announce the end of the odious Breckenridge and Ogden tolls. For years, these collection booths on Buffalo's perimeter pickpocketed commuters of tens of millions of dollars.

By rights, the lot of them should have been hiding under their desks. But shame has no toehold in the political world. TV news cameras draw politicians like a cake draws flies. Instead of making themselves invisible, they fell over each other claiming credit for something they had precious little to do with.

Dale Volker, our state senator, nearly damaged himself climbing aboard a ceremonial "No Toll" truck as TV cameras rolled. This is the same Volker who argued months ago that the tolls could not come down because of "bonding obligations."

"I thought he was going to break his neck, he was so desperate to get in the truck," said businessman Carl Paladino.

We still would be plunking 75 cents a pop into the hands of tollkeepers had not Paladino - disgusted by last year's hike from 50 cents - sued the Thruway Authority last February. Attorney Mike Powers of Phillips Lytle argued that by previous agreement, the tolls - basically, an $11 million annual commuter tax - should have ended a decade ago.


there's an odd todd halloween thingermajig. there are actually 2, but i like this one better... because it mentions necco wafers. remember those? why do people buy that stuff? i always hated when i was going over my candy take on halloween. i mean seriously... i think the only thing keeping the necco company alive are those stupid necco wafer sales from halloween. i wonder what happens to the extra necco wafers that people don't get rid of? do they eat it themselves? perhaps... the necco company is actually dead... and the necco wafers people give out each year are ones they got when they were kids... so it's just candy recycling from 1950 or whenever necco was still making the wafers. i once had an in depth conversation about necco wafers with my friend aaron... i don't remember exactly what was said... but i know it was funny and we both hated necco wafers a lot. hmmm... i also don't like mounds and almond joy, and anything licorice flavored. did you ever get pennies? that was stupid too. gee... thanks for the penny... you cheap bastard. it'd be better if you just didn't give out anything. i guess the penny has been replaced by the nickel nowadays. however... this isn't keeping up with inflation! when i was really young, i remember being able to get gumballs from gumball machines for a penny. gumballs now are at minimum $0.25 i think... a nickel isn't gonna do squat for me. stupid frickin nickels.

stupid frickin necco wafers.

ew.

November 9, 2006

busy with things

so... the dems won control of both the house and the senate, as well as a bunch of governorships in various states.

it's been a bit hectic this week. my grandmother's been in a coma in the trauma icu for the last couple of days. lots of phone calls to the house, lots of things to think about. i think the family is doing ok right now. my grandmother's 94 years old... and well... i think if she's going to go, we'd rather see her go like this instead of getting something worse later on. however... we'll see how she does... if she comes out of this coma first.

still have deadlines... papers... exams... things... always with the things.

November 11, 2006

prognosis

so... what my dad has been telling me... once my aunt arrives from taiwan, the most likely next step is to start funeral arrangements for my grandmother... as the prognosis going forward doesn't look too good for coming out of the coma. there's a little sadness, but there's also some relief. she will have a chance to go without it being painful, and having experienced a full and very long life. she will also have gone before any real serious health problems would have affected her, after all... she was out walking on her own power prior to this happening. she was even talking about planning another trip to china soon. anyways... we'll see how this progresses.

i'm also kind of interested... in that i hope this will allow a lot of the stories from previous generations of my family come out. apparently my family history in china is pretty much a soap opera... and there are a lot of unanswered questions i have which were never talked about because my grandmother did not want to talk about it.

so... turning from the sad news... to the good news.

the sabres won again tonight. not only that... but they won against philly... a team which i, and all sabres fans loathe. you know i was thinking... part of the fun of sports is having something to hate, and a great thing about hockey is that you get to play multiple games each season against these teams... so a good rivalry develops... unlike football where rivalries usually develop over years since you really only play 2 games vs. division teams during the regular season... then maybe you meet again in the playoffs. in the nhl, you play teams multiple times during the regular season... then you play them a couple more times if you meet in the playoffs in a row... so you get a real good grudge match going. the sabres are playing carolina on monday... who would've thought i would've hated carolina so much? i mean... obviously i disliked them originally because there was a frickin hockey team in north carolina, but it was sort of a "whatever" type of dislike. however now... after 7 games during last year in the conference finals, and them getting the cup... i really really dislike carolina. i think it's actually kind of interesting too how the players also develop the same feelings as the fans of their respective cities. i know stu barnes said initially he had trouble in dallas when he got traded after our cup loss to the stars. it just goes to show how the environment you're in has a great deal of an effect on each person. you start to connect, grow roots, and adopt as well as adapt to where you are. you take on the characteristics of your community, and the more similar you are... to your city's people... the more the community reaches out to you.

November 13, 2006

A Buffalonian in Hell

A Buffalonian friend passed this on to me...

A guy from Buffalo dies and is sent to Hell. He had been a wicked, horrible man his entire life. The devil puts him to work breaking up rocks with a sledgehammer. To make it worse, he cranks up the temperature and the humidity.

After a couple of days, the devil checks in on his victim to see if he is suffering adequately. The devil is aghast to see that the Buffalonian is happily swinging his hammer and whistling a happy tune. The devil walks up to him and says, "I don't understand this. I've turned the heat way up, it's humid, you're crushing rocks... why are you so happy?"

The Buffalonian looks at the devil with a big smile and replies, "This is great! It reminds me of August in Buffalo. Hot, humid... a good place to work. It reminds me of home. This is fantastic!"

The devil, extremely perplexed, walks away to ponder the Buffalonian's remarks. Then he decides to drop the temperature, send down a driving rain and torrential wind. Soon, Hell is a wet, muddy
mess. Walking in mud up to his knees with rain blowing into his eyes, the Buffalonian is happily slogging through the mud pushing a wheelbarrow full of crushed rocks. Again, the devil asks how he can be happy in such conditions.

The Buffalonian replies, "This is great! Just like April in Buffalo. It reminds me of working out in the yard with Spring planting!"

The devil is now completely baffled but more determined to make the Buffalonian suffer. He makes the temperature plummet. Suddenly Hell is blanketed in snow and ice. Confident that this will surely make the Buffalonian unhappy, the devil checks in on him. He is again aghast at what he sees. The Buffalonian is dancing, singing, and twirling his sledgehammer as he cavorts in glee.

"How can you be so happy? Don't you know it's 40 below zero?!" screams the devil.

Jumping up and down, the Buffalonian throws a snowball at the devil and yells--

"Hell's frozen over! This means the Bills won the Super Bowl!"

November 15, 2006

the bad news...

my grandmother passed away on monday, a couple hours after my aunt who flew in from taiwan went to see her. even though she was in a coma and on a vent helping her breathe, i have a feeling she was holding out for her daughter to see her. i was actually thinking over the weekend how hard it would be to draw the line on when to "pull the plug" so to say. the doctors said that being in a coma after the first 72 hours, it would have been unlikely that she ever would have awoken again... so in a sense, it was nice... or perhaps i should say that she let us know that it she was ready to go by going.

what's kind of sad for me is that she's really the only relative outside of my brother and parents who i've actually gotten a chance to know. since my parents packed up and moved to the US, the only one who's pretty much always been in the states is my grandmother. i don't really know my mom's side of the family at all, as i've only been to taiwan a couple times, and for the most part none of them have come here to visit. my grandmother loved to take walks. when i was little pre-kindergarten, i would go and take walks with her, on the trails around the lake/pond in the neighborhood. since my first language was actually chinese, i would stop and talk to the neighbors in chinese, not even knowing that there was a possibility that some people might not know chinese. i guess my grandmother would chat with the neighbors in whatever limited english she knew, and my neighbors would respond to my chinese with a couple nods of the head and some smiles. it's kind of fitting in a sense, that the last thing that she did on earth was doing something she loved... taking a stroll.

November 22, 2006

thank you all

hey everyone. thanks for your thoughts, prayers, concern, good vibes. my family and i all appreciate it. the funeral went well, i think we had around 150 seats set-up and the placed looked to be packed. it was comforting that so many people showed up whom my grandmother had connected with in her life. it was truly a celebration of her life in the US since she moved here 20 years ago.

so i realized... that planning a funeral is kinda like planning a wedding... but you only have around a week to do it instead of months. boy it's been busy, and i'm so glad that i'm on thanksgiving break now. i can take a little time to rest up. i'm lucky in that sense, as the grad school sched follows normal schedules... unlike by brother. he got in saturday morning, and left a couple hours later after the memorial service the same day to get back to nyc. he had just finished his internal medicine rotation, and needed to do some studying for exams before his next rotation. he's also going to be in the hospital through thanksgiving starting his next rotation. i'm just glad i'm not in med school.

so, i guess i'm back to finding random stories etc on "the internets". one of my fav christmas movies of all time is "a christmas story" with ralphie. one of my fav scenes is when randy has on his layers and he can't move his arms. there's also the one where he falls down and can't get up. the trip to see santa claus and the elves telling him he'll shoot his eyes out is classic, as well as randy totally freaking out when he sees santa. anyways... here's a random story about how the house used in the movie has been restored and opened for visitors. it's in cleveland, which is only a couple hours from buffalo. i feel a road trip may be in store.

there's so much information out there now that the sequencing of genes has been completed for humans... the trick is to make use of that info as there's still so much we don't understand. you can see how the publicly available genebank has grown. if you know a specific dna sequence you can use blast to search for that sequence across different species of organisms. so here's an interesting story on how researchers are moving from single nucleotide polymorphisms (snp) to looking at larger chunks of variations to see how they affect our health.

here's a good article about the inflated egos that pastor's of megachurches are suceptible to. while i do prefer a non-denominational style of worship, where these rules that have been built up over many years aren't the focus... i do see the point of concern that is brought up in that non-denominational churches do not answer to a higher group, and if they don't have a strong church board then problems can occur. it's unfortunate that so many in the really "religious" conservative right are just making up for their own faults by finding scapegoats. i've said it again and again... but people are not perfect... and when talking about people, christians are part of that group. it really annoys me when these so called church leaders have this holier than thou attitude and make statements which contradict what the Bible and Jesus actually teach... or even what they "teach" themselves. one of the main teachings in christianity is that we should not judge others... mainly because we don't have the authority to do so... but we should leave that up to God. however, that happens regularly coming from sources like jerry falwell, and pat robertson. it's just so hypocritical, and when things like this happen... it really causes me pain to say that i am a christian... because that's not what i want to be associated with. God has given all of us free will, and it is not mine or anyone else's right to impose their personal will or judgements on anyone else. instead of tearing people or groups of people down... we should be helping them, and giving support. i really like this op-ed piece, as it summarizes exactly how i feel. the author brings up a good point in that the church has changed its stance on certain issues as science has evolved... and well the church may need to again in the future.

mba's are the biggest cheaters... i could've told you that =]. whenever money is factored in... bad things happen. it's quite pitiful how many corporate scandals have happened over the last 6 years from the dot-com implosion, and how many billions of dollars have been wiped out by bankruptcies. think of how many people had these companies stocks in their retirement portfolio. most of these people aren't your ceo, cfo types... but just normal working people. it's sad how just a few bad people can have such a large effect on a big population.

here's a cute pic.

here's a recent russell peters special called outsourced if you have an hour to kill.

i hope my US readers have great thanksgivings!

December 6, 2006

Quotes of the Day 12/6/06

I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image. - Stephen Hawking

There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking. - Alfred Korzybski

December 11, 2006

i've been unmotivated... looking too far ahead to break

since novemeber, i have not wanted to do anything. i've been sitting around like a bump on a log. now i have to push myself to get through til next monday, andi'll be a free man (kinda... only from classes).

finals started last monday for me, and had 2 today. i have 2 tomorrow, one wed, a take home due fri, another take home due sat, and a paper due next mon.

i go to sleep these days wishing i won't wake up (just to avoid exams)... but i may not be sleeping again until wed afternoon.

wanted to wish everyone luck with their final school/work pushes until the holidays.

December 14, 2006

i know... you might roll your eyes at this...

the weakerthans just came into my head... thus the title.

so i'm glad that wednesday is over. i've had 5 final exams in 3 days, and it's been pretty stressful. i'm pretty sure i did pretty well on all of them so far. hopefully my final 2 and term paper will go over ok this weekend. i could really use a break from classes. it's been a really weird semester, lots of distractions and things throwing me off course each week... at least it felt that way.

that's all for now, i'm gonna crash.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

December 15, 2006

crazy numbers.

$40 million... as a frickin bonus. that's $769,260 a week. that's $109,890 a day. that's $4,579 an hour. that's $76.31 a minute. that's $1.27 every second. if you just sit around for 5 seconds you get $6. you could work for 2 weeks and have enough money for the rest of your life, and then some... and it's a BONUS! well... he'll probably get a good chunk of it taken away by taxes (unless he has a tax shelter somewhere)... but still... it's ridiculous. this world is crazy sometimes. take bill gates... he's worth a couple billion dollars. if he wanted to... he could give each person in china ~$37 if he liquidated all his assets. that's 1.3 billion people he could give $37 to. i do admire bill gates though, he and his wife are planning on spending everything in their foundation's trust within 50 years after they pass away. say what you will about microsoft and windows, but bill gates is a pretty good guy at the end of the day.

December 17, 2006

strange weather pattern

so... this is a really weird weather pattern we've got in north america. from the west coast to parts of the midwest... there are some cold temps. we're doing pretty good out here on the east... it's been balmy for fall. it looks like we're beating out most of arizona up here in the buff, and the jet stream seems to be almost down to mexico.

the bills got to .500 today, and they shut out the fish. don't know how that happened. while i'm happy about that, to convince me that we've gotten better... i need to see us beat a decent team or two. it's been a long time since we pulled off winning against a dominant team like new england, indianapolis,or san diego.

i should be writing my paper that's due tomorrow... but it's hard to get motivated when it's the last thing you have to do before you're a free man for a couple weeks.

i'm only gonna be taking 9 credits next semester instead of 20. although it was a struggle to keep my head above water, i still have a pretty good feeling about my grades this semester. for next semester though, i wanted to take an easier classload so i could finish up my research and start writing that thesis.

ok... back to the paper... gonna be the last all-nighter for awhile =].

December 24, 2006

happy holidays

merry xmas and happy holidays.

here's a fun christmas story, with video news link.

and here's a follow-up to the story
.

January 3, 2007

a little late...

wanted to wish you all a happy new year... hopefully the other supposed bloggers of this blog will post sometime soon... it's been pretty quiet for the last couple months =].

here's some funny...

January 5, 2007

you guys


"whodat?" - AP Photo

January 10, 2007

Tally

Well, I've been pretty bad about posting lately, but I'm very pleased to announce that another user has joined this blog collective, hopefully spurring all of us to be a little more creative, witty, and frequent about posting. That esteemed person is none other than the incomparable Güggenflürgen. Welcome aboard! Here's the tally of posts by user to date:

jason: 40
t.c.: 12
ljr: 5
Guggs: 0 . . . (but we can't hold that against him just yet)

Hogwarts Sorting Hat Quiz


Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

January 17, 2007

starting semester...

it's been pretty cold these last couple days. started out with the freezing rain and ice, the roads have all been cleared. almost everything that's outside that hasn't been salted has a layer of ice over it. it's quite a sight in the daytime with the sun out, the tree branches and bushes are all shimmering. when you walk by them... you can hear the cracking of the ice as the wind bends the branches.

been busy running around the last couple days... hopefully i can get a pic up soon.

January 18, 2007

brrr...

i'm doing some work on my linux box... so my pic gallery's been down for a bit... but here are two pics i took this week, you can click on em to get the full big image with better resolution.

January 26, 2007

beer me

labatt usa is moving their headquarters back to buffalo. i love the fact that US canada border cities almost have 2 identities... one american, and the other canadian. we have some sabres fans from southern ontario... and we have some leafs fans in buffalo. it's like the cross-mojination that austin powers was referring to....... you know..... that thing.....

February 3, 2007

super bowl and wings

this was on the main yahoo page...

Game Time: Top-Rated Places for Wings
Buffalo Wings

1. Atomic Wings
New York, NY
2. Hot Wings Cafe
Los Angeles, CA
3. Buffalo Joe's
Chicago, IL
4. New York Best...
San Francisco, CA
5. Hotlanta Wings
Atlanta, GA
6. The Harp
Boston, MA
7. Buffalo Wild...
Indianapolis, IN
8. Wings N Curls
Miami, FL

with no mention of any place in buffalo. what a bunch of crap. gimme a break, buffalo wild wings?

February 8, 2007

stuff and stuff

airline tix booked, reservations made, have 2 interviews coming up next week.

christielli recently blogged about global warming, and i had been saving this story for when i had more time to write about it... but... i think this is absolutely atrocious. 13% of americans have never heard of global warming! according to the survey, less than half of all americans think global warming is a serious issue. it comes up again and again, but despite all the "diversity", and all that cultural melting pot talk... america does come off as an ignorant self-serving country... and we wonder why other nations see us that way?

dudes... jerry falwell is crazy. he claims to know God's reasons for 9/11... except he is NOT God... so how could he know? he wants to return america to the 1930s and 40s... which is not an option. things change, the make up of the country is different, values are different, we have to evolve not go backwards. back then there were 2 superpowers. it's not the case anymore... it's not a world where democracy is pitted against communism... democracy has pretty much won out. even china the last big communist country has had market reforms within their economy... when you liberalize trade and leverage globalization... pretty soon you will have a world oriented population looking to increase their freedom and rights. sure it's not going to happen overnight, since it has to be organically grown, not like the whole iraq situation... but it's what america wanted more or less isn't it? so... jerry falwell wants to go back to a world with less freedom and 2 superpowers that dominated smaller countries by supplying corrupt governments with arms and money? you don't think that maybe 9/11, and the terrorist organizations saw the disparities back then and now and that those may be reasons why these things have happened? no... of course not... it's homosexuality and abortion that are the causes, cause that makes perfect sense! ugh. moron... and yet people listen to him.

some hockey stuff... the mayor of oshawa lost a bet to stephen colbert, and now march 20th in oshawa is known as stephen colbert day. i thought this story was great.

and... the penguins want to move to frickin houston? cause houston's such a hockey hotbed. maybe they'll draw more than the 2,000 people that show up to phoenix, panthers, hurricanes games.

madtv rocks... here's your funny.

February 11, 2007

sweet gurken that's a lot of snow

9.5 feet deep in places on the eastern shores of lake ontario... that's almost 3 meters. can you imagine being all... i'm going for a walk and exiting your house from your 2nd story window? people living in ranch style houses must be totally screwed.

i kinda wish i could experience something like that... having a wall of snow surrounding you as you attempt to dig out your walkway and driveway. global warming's not for real? gimme a break.

abc video

ap video

for us east of lake erie folk... we're doing ok so far. buffalo and the northtowns haven't been hammered like the southtowns and southern tier. i think east aurora got 3 ft a couple days ago. plus... erie has dropped below freezing so the LES machine'll be shut down once enough ice has formed on the lake's surface.

February 15, 2007

a little anxious

leaving tomorrow on a cross country flight for my first interview. coming back on sunday and leaving again monday down south for 2nd interview tue. coming back wed and leaving on thur for 3rd interview in new england... finally end up back in buffalo sat afternoon. hope everything goes well. *crossing fingers* that these snow storms don't derail anything.

March 5, 2007

We're Back

Greetings handful of loyal readers,

We were experiencing technical difficulties over the past couple of weeks with a cgi script error that was preventing us from accessing MT. This is the reason for our conspicuous silence of late. But we're back now, and hopefully with a vengeance.

Among the events that occurred during this downtime, Jason turned 28, I moved to a new (old) apartment, and my dog died. And then there are some frivolities to mention as well, but we'll get to those eventually.

I'd been meaning to resume blogging since I finally got DSL set up at my new place, and that's when I encountered the script error. Anyway, our server has at last resolved the issue and we're up and running again.

Hope you're all well.

March 6, 2007

i'm old

seriously. i feel like i'm 80. i should be out of school already or something.

well the big news from my neck of the woods is that i got into a pharmacy school in the northeast, but i've still got interviews coming in. next week i'll be making trip down to schools in the state of penn, and within new york. since it'll be spring break for me, i'll also spend a couple days in nyc. the last time i went was way back in august. also scheduled a phone interview with another new england school. i'm pretty happy about how things are going now. if i pass all my classes and graduate... i'll be dr. j =]. on top of everything... my research has been showing good signs recently. let's hope it continues and i'll be able to graduate this summer.

oh... and since i know i'm in somewhere... i need to start trip planning for a trip to china.

hope you're all well.

March 12, 2007

Spider-Man 3 and Arcade Fire

I'm getting pretty excited about the upcoming release of Spider-Man 3, and the media blitz is feeding that anticipation. YouTube has a murky pirate of the new trailer that's attached to the ridiculous new movie 300. Ain't It Cool News has a behind-the-scenes thing. Best of all, Yahoo now has the 7-minute preview of the beginning of the movie, which was shown during NBC's Heroes (great show) last week, available to stream/download in HD.

Arcade Fire released Neon Bible last week, their much awaited follow-up to their extraordinary debut album Funeral back in 2004 (and their EP from the year before). The new album is different enough, in the best sort of way, that when you first listen to it you may be taken off-guard by how it's different from their first album. But it has really grown on me with each listen, the same way that my favorite music has always done. I'm a rabid consumer of classical music, but I'm stingier with my time and money when it comes to rock. I think a lot of rock music today is derivative and lame. Arcade Fire is the first band to truly draw me in since Jason and my freshman year roommates turned me onto Radiohead. I highly recommend that you check them out.

March 17, 2007

the trip... the move...

so... still in the planning stages on my trip. i'm hesitant to commit just yet, since i'm waiting on some positive results from the lab... don't want to book a $1K+ trip for the summer i can't go on due to postponing my thesis defense. i'd like to ask you my faithful readers to pray to your God or gods, and/or just send out some positive energy towards buffalo while chanting that you'd like for my plasimd cut dna inserts to magically appear on my gels over the next few days, cause if this doesn't work out... i'll be set back another 2 weeks i think.

also... other things going on in life. i will definitely be leaving buffalo by fall. where i'll be going... i'm still not sure yet. i've gotten into 2 schools so far on opposite sides of the country. should hear back from 4 more in the next 2 weeks or so. i've got to plan this trip where it will allow me to come back and do some apartment hunting prior to the start of pharmacy school.

tc gave me the new arcade fire while i was down in the city this past week. i've been semi listening to it in the car. sounds pretty good so far.

here's something that makes me happy that buffalo is where it is. i still like the fact that many businesses and office parks fly both the u.s. and canadian flags around here.

Canadian anthem confusion and other stories By News Staff Reporters Updated: 03/17/07 8:38 AM

When 14,000 out-of-town fans, media and college staff come to Buffalo for the NCAA Tournament, interesting things can happen — starting with the national anthem.

College basketball fans are no strangers to the time-honored tradition of the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game.

But the musical selections that kick off games in HSBC Arena are causing confusion.

While Western New Yorkers, especially hockey fans, are used to hearing “O, Canada,” followed by the national anthem, some in the out-of-town crowd have been clueless this week.

One couple, decked out in Old Dominion University sweat shirts, stood politely with their hands over their hearts as the Canadian anthem began before Thursday’s games. Then they weren’t sure what to do.

“Maybe this is the Buffalo song,” the man suggested to his companion as he lowered his hand back down to his side and looked around uncomfortably.

Another (hopefully) visiting fan, who recognized the tune, had a theory about why it was being played.

“It’s the Canada song,” he informed his buddies. “They have to play it because part of Buffalo is in Canada.”

March 25, 2007

there's just nothing...

i've really wanted to say lately. just been pre-occupied by school stuff... wondering if my thesis will ever come out. however... now that i'm in a program for next year... it seems there's no motivation left in me. i've been dreading the lab lately... each time i go in and spend a couple hours... i worry about the end result of having nothing to show for it after a week of prepping something.

i've been getting a lot of headaches recently too. maybe i'm dying... maybe it's a tumor. (eeets naaaht a toooomah). quick... what movie's that from?

also... wavering lately on whether or not i should go on my asia trip. the research thing has me really frustrated. thing is... i like my lab a lot... my advisor... and the project itself is interesting... but after you go through the motions oh so many times and have nothing to show for it...

i'm kind of looking forward to my last summer in buffalo for at least the next 4 years. my only wish is that i won't have to spend all of it either a) in the lab, or b) writing this thesis.

so i've been listening to arcade fire's newest album. i have to say... i'm not liking it as much as their first. however... the first one took me awhile to get into. i put that one away for a couple months before popping it into the cd player in my car and really digging it. there are some songs on the new one that i really like though. i think it starts off strong with 'black mirror' and ends strong too with 'my body is a cage'. some of the others i like in the middle include 'black wave/bad vibrations', 'ocean of noise', 'the well and the lighthouse', 'no cars go', with 'ocean of noise' probably my fav... the instrumentals sound like they could be used in a david lynch movie dream sequence.

til next time...

April 1, 2007

1st world waste

my friend bern sent me this link... and i am totally guilty of buying into the consumer culture that has surrounded us in the developed world (pardon the pun). there are times i look back and wish i was less like the self-centered "me first" person that i am. it's good to be reminded that people can make a difference if they would just cut back a little bit of greed and think about others. i've always respected and liked sarah mclachlan... this video reminds me again why.

April 4, 2007

last month at ub

so it's april, time goes by so quickly. just one more month officially at the university at buffalo. i'll be continuing my research and writing my thesis and defending over summer but i won't have to register for any classes. it seems that i just recently started grad school here, and yet it feels so far away at the same time. i think i've changed a little from these 3 years i've been back home. i'm a little more confident in what i'm doing, and why i've done what i've done. was a bit of a gamble coming back to school, didn't know if i'd be able to achieve my goals, but i'm glad i did it. talked to my advisor for my public health masters program, said i should take a leave of absence from that program. i'm only 4 courses, a couple weeks of field training experience, and a masters project away from earning that degree. i've decided on a pharmacy school too (despite my piscean nature of being indecisive). i'll be heading to northeastern university in boston this fall for the next 4 years. the school actually started a new track for graduate entry, which means i get to take electives in the graduate school along with the pharmacy school. my advisor noted that i could transfer 3 courses (up to 10 credits) in the grad school at northeastern, or take classes at the other 3 public health programs in boston (tufts, boston university, harvard) towards my mph program. also, since northeastern has co-ops on top of their pharmacy experiential year i should be able to get my field training waived if i complete a co-op that has to do with public health or upon finishing my experiential year. if all plays out i would only have to take 1 course (at ub) and complete my project and i'd also have another masters after pharm school.

so... other good news. been using silver staining on acrylamide gels in lab vs. agarose with ethidium bromide due to the small fragment i'm trying to cut out from my vector. these tiny 56 base pair fragments weren't showing up on the agarose gel due to the rest of the gel being lit up by the large sized pieces. on a bunch of my samples i saw that something was being cut and released, but couldn't see the smaller fragment. my biotech advisor/pi suggested switching to the acrylamide. the first couple i ran, the resolution wasn't great (and i totally ripped the gel on a couple) but it looked like something was there. on one i ran today, i saw a clear and consistent difference with banding between my uncut plasmid and my restriction digested ones. i've got 4 samples of 2 other different strands i ligated and transformed into e. coli to run tomorrow. hopefully i'll get similar results, culture and freeze down some cells, and send off a batch to get dna sequencing done. if this all works out (big if), i can start transfecting some mel cells with my vector to see if i can get this whole sirna thing to work out. this is the best news in lab i've gotten in a really long time. plus, i'll actually have some nice pictures of gels (results, finally!) to show during my department seminar on monday.

on top of all this good news... the sabres won tonight! they captured the eastern conference for the regular season (and home-ice throughout the eastern conference playoffs), as well as the northeast division! yay... new banners @ hsbc!. we're 1 point behind detroit for the president's trophy with one game in hand. detroit's won so many frickin times... i hope the little guy gets it this year (sorry k), though even if we don't end up with the president's trophy, i'd give that up for the cup in a heartbeat. also... the leafs are 1 point out of 8th, and i'd rather play toronto than montreal (sorry k... again) if i had a choice... we've owned the leafs for a very long time. the team i'm most scared of in the playoffs is jersey... they've always been tough for us to beat no matter what time of the year it is. also, in case you haven't read this... the sabres are ranked number 1 in the ultimate standings across all 4 major sporting leagues. buffalo also placed first with another dubious honor... this was with the bills (those scrubs). ranked number 1 on the pain and suffering index by espn. our 2 pro sports teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum. whatever... hockey is a much better sport =].

i've been really liking the mix pandora has been putting out for me lately. found a lot of new stuff that i'm digging.

so... i've been pretty happy lately which is a weird feeling. next week brings my seminar, an exam, and a term paper... and after that... it looks like smooth sailing school wise until summer starts. i'm looking forward to that.

haven't written a post this long in awhile. thanks for reading. have good hump days!

April 7, 2007

A Reason to Post

Free Ice-Cream! For those of you living in CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, or RI, print this coupon and take it to your local Baskin-Robbins dealer to get your fix: one free scoop.

I'm recovering from a really nasty flu. Two Sundays ago, I noticed something in my throat, and Monday morning my doctor prescribed azithromycin. After a week, it didn't really go away, but it didn't really get worse either. I was tired, but I was able to sleep and fight it. I worked all through that week.

Then last Sunday, I started to feel an itch in my lungs, and by Monday there was heaviness and coughing. Went to see my doctor, and he prescribed a second round of zithro, and some promethazine syrup for the cough. He told me to stay home for a couple of days, which turned out to be a huge understatement. I could barely do anything for five days. I finally regained my energy a few hours ago.

I still have that nasty cough, but it's subsiding, plus I'm starting to get clogged sinuses, which usually occurs when the bug is on its way out. That means I'll have to pick up some pseudoephedrine tomorrow - it'll actually be the first time I do that since all this business about registering to purchase it due to the crystal meth craze. Maybe I'll try phenylephrine this time, which pharmaceutical companies have released as an alternative.

Anyway, I'm all achy, partly from the flu, and partly from lying down most of the week. But now it's time for bed. Hope y'all don't get this bug -- though I seem to have caught it later than most people I know. I have been reading Stephen King's The Stand, which at a certain point I decided might not be the best thing to read when trying to overcome a flu that won't die.

April 9, 2007

ok... so...

i know sometimes i post about what i'm doing in my lab, and your eyes may sort of glaze over and not know exactly what i'm saying, but... if you're interested this is in essence what i'm trying to do. i found a good site/video which explains the basic technique (RNAi) i'm trying to use to figure out the function of this mRNA sequence produced from a gene that had been discovered by previous members of my lab. for you science-interested types... hope you enjoy.

April 12, 2007

sabres over isles

woo hoo... sabres played a nice game tonight. only 15 more to go and our stanley cup drought will end.

for you leafs fans... check this out.

here's some more funny

April 17, 2007

Save Pandora & Internet Radio

Pandora is a really cool internet radio site that grew out of the Music Genome Project, which painstakingly analyzes as much rock music as it can. So what Pandora is able to do is create a play list of music for you based on songs that you tell it that you like. They're now in trouble. I'll let Pandora's founder explain the details:

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio: http://capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/issues/alert/?alertid=9631541

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)

I signed it, and if you agree with the petition I urge you to join it as well. Cheers for now.

April 23, 2007

artificial

it's been hard getting through these last 2 weeks or so. there've been some positive things happening, like the sabres getting into the 2nd round, it's finally warmed up significantly, got ice cream, i'm done with the majority of difficult exams, papers, presentations for the semester. however... this has all been tempered by a sinking feeling that's kinda taken hold. there are times when i wish i could disconnect myself from the world.

April 24, 2007

God Bless Roger Ebert

I don't think there's any film critic alive who loves movies more than Roger Ebert. He's had some tough times lately, but he's still going to attend his ninth annual overlooked films festival in Chicago. He has lost a lot of weight, and he can't speak at the moment because he is missing part of his jaw and has an air hole in his throat, but his spirit and good humor seems undimmed. Here's hoping he gets better and gets to tell us personally about all the great movies out there that we ought to explore and watch.

May 10, 2007

the dealio

sabres play @ home in a couple of hours... i'm pretty excited for this series, as is most of buffalo.

it's been a strange 2 weeks or so with some sad stuff happening, but let's talk about the good stuff that's going on. i'm going to new york next thur for a couple of days to celebrate the end of my last academic semester @ ub for awhile. so while in new york, i plan on going to the bronx zoo which i haven't been to in a long time, and i will go make a trek to coney island and ride the cyclone... which is the scariest roller coaster i've ever been on, but oh so fun. i also decided that i really wanted to spend lots of money, so i bought plane tix to taiwan. actually my cousin's flying out from cali so we'll be meeting up there. i'll be there for about 2 weeks from the end of june til start of july. i'm also gonna stay over in tokyo for 2 nights which should be fun.

that's about all.

GO SABRES!!!

May 11, 2007

that was an ugly loss

i walked with a bunch of my classmates last night... i was afraid i was gonna miss a really good game (as were most of the people in attendance all itching to get out).

but.... it was a clunker. hopefully our boys will rebound tomorrow, otherwise we'll be in deep trouble heading into ottawa.

GO SABRES!!!

May 22, 2007

disappointing conclusion

eh... the trip to the city was good... but like the sabres game didn't meet expectations (due to the weather i decided against going to the bronx zoo and coney island).

i ended up staying in saturday watching the sabres lose in OT to the sens. it was a real crushing end to the season... there were such great expectations this year, and like all buffalo sports teams before we just fell short. i swear, this city is cursed. sometimes i wonder why we keep on rooting for our teams, because we always get close but never quite make it. on top of that... buffalo is not a new york, toronto, or even boston. there's no history of a championship in the currently recognized big 4 pro leagues. there's just a loss of population, lots of decaying industrial sites, an exodus of young people, and people all over taking shots at how crappy we are. there's very little that one can look at and be really positive about... and then the sabres have a good run, and people start believing again only to get smacked around again. it's frickin depressing, especially when you as a local know how much better this place is than what its reputation is. the emotion you feel while internalized as an individual, also encompasses the disappointment you feel for the community if that makes any sense.

anyways... overall the trip down was good though. saw lots of old friends which i'm really happy about. time moves so fast... and changes happen so quickly. in a couple of weeks there's a real possibility that none of my post-college roomates will be in new york. one's already down south, another's going back west, and the third left for grad school and is looking for employment now (though they do have an interview in the city this week). it's weird that despite all the people i've met (or old friend's who've moved) in/to new york through the years... as time goes on, the number of people i know who remain there diminishes. life is strange like that... people's paths cross and when you look back what felt like awhile really is only a brief moment in your life. there's always a bit of sadness that comes to me when i think about it... like how i should've gone out and done something instead of lazing around at home after work.

i walked around my old hood a little bit this trip. it's totally changed. there are new buildings all over the place. when i first moved there my end of williamsburg was still getting redeveloped. i took a look this time around... and was really weirded out. i hadn't been back in at least 2 years or so.

while i'm looking forward to the move to boston... i'm kinda missing the comfort of old faces and memories in new york. check out the song titled brooklyn bridge.

May 26, 2007

too tired to get up

i was thinking yesterday how i might try and get up and watch them 'splode and blowed up a building here in buffalo. however, they scheduled it for 6am, and that's just way too early for me to drive downtown, find parking, and stand on the sidewalk. i did heard the 'splosions going off @ around 6:10am... which was kinda weird... since it's not THAT close to where i am, but buffalo's relatively flat and it was a cool non-humid morning, and my windows were open so i guess the sound traveled rather nicely. here be the blowed up building.

here's a cool article about wegmans, the absolute best supermarket out there. it's weird the attachment people in western new york have to this supermarket. it's kinda like how people love trader joe's and whole foods... except wegmans isn't all organic and stuff. it's just this homey down to earth place.

that's all.

May 28, 2007

mah i's hert

i'm doing some cleaning and organizing of my hard drives to prepare for the eventual move and migration of stuff. i decided i'm gonna buy a macbook (since they just came out with faster ones, the old ones are cheaper and ub has a good deal) as my laptop and a new dell desktop for home use in my new apt. i'll be bringing one of my old pc's and slapping xubuntu linux distro on it mainly for some network storage of music and movies.

anyways... in the midst of cleaning things up... i found this which i saved cause i thought it was cool. anyways... my first friendster account prior to me getting freaked out with being way too connected and not anonymous anymore and subsequently closing my account. i was friends with canada. this was when these social networking site didn't have groups or whatever... and so people had to change their names to groups. at the time friendster really discouraged this... and started shutting these accounts down... so in response whoever had the canada account posted this to all his/her friendsters which was really nice.

From: Canada

Date: September 25, 2003 7:29 AM

Subject: Standing proud until the end

Message:

Friendsters,

  IT IS WITH SOLEMN fortitude and eternal determination that Canada addresses you today. As you have seen, many an abstract concept, geographic locale, famous celebrity, and other non-real-human -individual members of the Friendster community have recently been forced to leave our midst.

  Canada has stood strong the test of time for one hundred thirty -six years and remains committed to defending its sovereignty and the lifestyle its citizens have come to enjoy. But it would be an abdication of duty to ignore the threat posed at this juncture. Canada must acknowledge that its days as a Friendster may be numbered.

  There will be no shirking from the functions expected of a government of our stature in these uncertain days. Friendster requests will continue to be approved, post offices will remain open, Parliament will remain in session, and testimonials will continue to be offered and received. But we must all remain vigilant while keeping our heads high. And we must remain thankful for the opportunity to practice parliamentary democracy in a nominally monarchic fashion with all of you dear, dear friends. If we do not have the opportunity to say it again, please know for all time that it has been a pleasure having each one of you as an official Friend of Canada for all of these months.

  Let us learn the lesson of Canada's great far North, where the reward for enduring despite the months of darkness is an unending cascade of light.

Thank you for having us. We remain Yours,

Canada

the internet is really a weird place. you can meet and connect with so many people and not really ever meet them but get messages like the one above showing some sort of connectedness between people.

May 31, 2007

ever have those moments when you know something's changed in the world?

i really think that as humans... we have a connection to each other that spans across oceans and continents. i was having a pretty normal day today... joking around, making sarcastic comments with the other classmates in my lab, complaining about how i was running yet another gel in the early evening... pretty much being the obnoxious person that i am. a couple hours ago... i was struck with the feeling that i needed some new music... something new that i didn't have... something that captured my mood at the moment.... something was a little off... and i felt it. i can say that music is really important in my life... i think that everything that happens in life can have a soundtrack matched with it. music helps me connect with what i'm feeling on a level that nothing else can quite do. i could only describe what i was looking for as kinda melancholy and bittersweet... but low key like massive attack... but not quite massive attack. anyways... i just found out the my grandfather passed away this morning in taiwan (well tomorrow morning actually cause they're 12 hours ahead, and it's night here as i write this).

so as i reflect... i'm really sad that i didn't spend more time last year in keelung where my grandparents live, was only there for a couple hours. i'm sad that i missed him this year... i would've been in taiwan in 3 weeks. i'm sad that i didn't really know him that well since i didn't make many trips to taiwan after elementary school, and my grandparents never made it to the US... i know that he loved me though from my memories of visiting when i was younger. to this day what struck me about him was that he was very gentle and acted very much like a grandfather. while my grandmother would have that annoyed tone in her voice sometimes (you know that tone that all mothers seem to develop after they have children), my grandfather was always kinda calm and laid back about things. he had a grandfatherly tone. i used to love seafood a lot... and taiwan's all about the seafood. so when i went to visit... we'd always have lots of clams and he'd make sure my plate was never empty. he liked toothpicks a lot... he'd always have one in his mouth... he also liked to eat honeydew. i'm sure he imparted some wisdom and it's stuck somewhere in my head... maybe more random stuff that isn't really important important... but just interesting knowledge more than anything else, though i can't really recall. i guess that's what makes me sad the most... that i can't remember those few moments that i had with him.

you know... i've been on both ends this past year. my dad's mom who i know pretty well... someone i grew up with... she passed away in november. then my mom's dad... who i didn't know that well just passed away... and in both cases... it's still sad. as i've grown up... a lot more of my focus has been put on myself.. college, career, grad school, friends, relationships, more school, i just wished i had a little more time to get to know the members of my own family better. in the end... it's just missed opportunity. it makes me think that being scared to do something isn't worth it... life is short and uncertain... if there's something out there that you should or want to do... skydiving, going back to school, taking a trip, visiting your extended family, asking that cute girl/boy out carpe diem cause tomorrow may not come.

June 8, 2007

tiananmen

this past week was the 18th anniversary of the tiananmen square student protest and massacre, and i'm amazed at how old i've become. since the university at buffalo has pretty much always had a big international student population from asia since the 80s... this event was a major topic when it happened within the chinese community here. last year i had watched a frontline documentary on the "tank man" broadcast on pbs (and also on rogers up in toronto). this week they had a rebroadcast... it's really a great documentary... you should watch it if you get a chance. the online version actually has more footage. a lot of things happened after the students dispersed that night which the western media didn't report... the chinese government killed a lot more people of its own people. it also tells the tale of the after effects of the communist government's decision, gives a brief background on china's growth, and how they're controlling information now. i was actually going to make a post awhile back about how western tech companies are just giving into china's censorship policies just to get contracts. i'm disappointed that they really didn't put up much of a fight, but on the otherhand... they really have no choice if they want to keep up in a global marketplace, because if they won't provide services... some other company will. it is kind of sad how much of a role money plays in everything. so the documentary is here... you really should watch it... it's excellent.

here's an article from this week just showing what the documentary reported is absolutely true. it's really sad that the young people in china have no idea what happened during those days in june of 1989. the government pretty much just erased that incident from history.

in other news... i've been looking on craigslist for apartments in boston. i'm trying to decide if i should get roomates or just find a studio or 1br. cost will definitely be more if i am by myself... but it'd be nice to have my own place. i'll likely have to budget out $1000/month for a studio or 1br. with roomates i can find places in the $700s, and with better access to the T. i fricking hate apartment hunting and moving... why couldn't i have just gotten into pharmacy school in buffalo... it would've been so much easier. nice apartments are plenty and on the cheap, and i'm not afraid to drive here, plus there's plenty of parking compared to boston.

hmmm... just waiting to go to asia.......

June 25, 2007

jah

i am in taiwan.

it is hot.

zuper hot.

i went surfing yesterday.

i broke my body.

July 4, 2007

back in the states

landed @ jfk yesterday morn... heading back to buffalo later tonight. i was surprised at how nice it was outside... usually july 4th is hot and unbearably humid... not unlike taiwan. however, i walked out of the terminal to sunshine and a nice breeze and temps in the 70s F (low to mid 20s C). i met lots of new people on my trip... friends of cousins and friends of their friends. hopefully i'll be able to keep in touch with them. saw lots of old friends as well... it's a shame that my vacation had to end. if only i was independently wealthy enough to retire already, i could just wander the earth and travel for the rest of my life. for now though, i'll just head back to buffalo, finish up some loose ends, and hopefully enjoy the rest of my last summer in new york state.

pics to come, as soon as i can find a usb cable to get them off my sd card.

July 10, 2007

no more i say...

i can no longer procrastinate... i've got to really start cranking these last things out. i've finally set my defense date for aug 13th, which means i'll have to submit my thesis to my committee by aug 6th. ahhhh it's less than a month away!

it's funny. so it's kinda hot and muggy outside these last couple days in buffalo... but while i think it's yucky... i don't think it's THAT nasty. i think over the time in taiwan, i got acclimated to the weather there... so NOTHING can feel as bad as it did there.

is this why old people turn into grumpy people? i hope i never lose my sense of humor... i like laughing too much.

July 15, 2007

go out n gitsome

ice cream that is! july is national ice cream month, and july 15th is national ice cream day! i am always up for ice cream... but since today is national ice cream day... maybe i should indulge a little more and take an ice cream tour of my favorite places here in western ny? anderson's, nina's, sweet jenny's, and alethea's. anyone up for it?

headed out to the italian fest later... enjoy your sunday.

July 17, 2007

Where the hell is that guy?

OK, it has been pointed out to me that I haven't posted in nearly three months. Every now again, when I'm walking down the street or something, I'll have an idea of something that I'd like to share here. But by the time I eventually get home I've lost it.

A lot has happened. My new living quarters are starting to shape up into a, well, livable space. I've got a new job I'm excited about. I'm socializing a lot more. My birthday's coming up. I've still got a couple of years until the big 3-0. I'm receptive to romance, which I haven't been in a while. So let's see where this path takes me for a bit.

The final Harry Potter book arrives this Saturday. It'll be my first (and last) book of the series that I'll get to read at the same time that everyone else will. I'm pretty excited about that. I was just as blasé about the books as the next person, back when friends were urging me to read it. But it's just a kids book, I thought to myself. Anyway, it took me a while, I started very gradually, but two years ago I was upto the fourth book. By the time I finished it, I was suddenly hooked. I went on to read the fifth and sixth in the series, which has just been released. I got into all the theorizing and everything. Now I'm completely excited about the final book, and doing my best to avoid most media outlets for as long as it takes for me to read and enjoy the book.

I also saw the fifth film in the movie franchise recently. I thought it was an effective adaptation, right up there with the third movie. My least favorite is the fourth, even though it has some wonderful comic relief, because it falls so short on so many critical points. I'd like to check out the new movie in IMAX 3D some time this week, too. Any other Potter fans out there?

July 20, 2007

sups

tc is officially 28 years old today. what an old man.

happy birthday go do some stuff.

July 21, 2007

pics up

i've switched my photo album over to google's picasa. i haven't had the chance to re-setup the old gallery software on my linux box... and flickr's free account only let's me have 3 sets. picasa's software is nice, i can have multiple albums, and they give a gig of storage for free (it seems their web albums are a modified version of the gallery software anyways). this will also allow me to have a backup of my photos in case god forbid anything ever happens to my disk drive (oh... and it has before... i lost about 12 gigs of mp3s when an old hard drive failed a couple years ago).

so anyways... you can see my pics here.

August 3, 2007

mired in muck

this thesis is getting to me... dragging me down... feels like i'll never be done with it. i'm losing focus. i can't believe i still have "one last experiment" to run in the lab... i've been saying that for weeks now. i never ever want to work in a lab again.

this whole process has definitely pushed me to my limits mentally, and there are moments when i'd give it all up for it to stop. i'm so tired.

been reaching back and listening to some oldies to get me through these dark days/late nights.

February Stars, Foo Fighters

Hanging on
here until I'm gone
Right where I belong
just hanging on

Even though
I watched you come and go
how was I to know
You'd steal the show

One day I'll have enough to gamble
I'll wait to hear your final call and bet it all

August 17, 2007

stop drop and roll

so... a lot has happened since last time i posted... but at the same time not really.

i was rushing to finish my thesis... and then things got to be a bit too much for both my advisor and i, so we decided to postpone my defense by a week. that gave me a bit of breathing room, and a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. i pretty much finished writing it all at the end of last week. just need to get the edits back from my advisor, make a couple changes, and send it out to my committee members. defense is scheduled for next tue, planning to get my powerpoints done by tomorrow, go through a dry run on sat and sunday with my advisor... hopefully get the kinks and hitches out. defend... get edits back from my committee members, handle those and submit my final draft to the graduate school by the 24th (the last day to do it). i hope to be a very happy (mostly relieved) individual by next weekend. so far my thesis is a little over 100 pages (of course double spaced, with references, figures, tables, and graphs... so not all written though about 60 pages are written) and i never thought i could even put something like this together. what sucks is you spend so much time working on this thing, and no one will ever really read it... cause seriously... who wants to know the process used to inhibit leb-1 production with siRNA in MEL cells? (btw it's not even completely finished anyways... the next person in this lab will carry on the project, hopefully with better results). so that's that... but i've definitely been feeling a lot less stressed in regards to this whole project since the beginning of last week.

the other big thing that i started to get stressed about was finding an apartment in boston. so i scheduled a trip out this past tue to wed (since my defense was originally supposed to be over by then)... but because of this whole thesis thing i didn't have that much time to look online and line up places to see on craigslist. so i got to boston, and had just a handful of places i could go check out. i'm happy to say though that i did find a place... close to campus even (about 15-20 min walk, and 3 stops away from neu on the T). deposit was placed, credit check went through, now just waiting for the lease to be emailed to me and hopefully i can get all that out and back to boston tomorrow. so i'll have a new home! it's in an older brownstone... on an old street. i like the name of the street... cause it's funny... it rhymes with bigglesworth (which is great cause austin powers is one of my fav movies... "honestly, who throws a shoe?"). i spent a lot of time tue and wed just walking around the city while i was getting to my viewings... and i think i have a favorite park in boston now and it's not boston common (which is kinda like that default park when people think of boston). i might just take sailing lessons from the piers park sailing center too.

so... that's that with that. i better take a nap and do some more slides. hopefully this will all be over soon.

August 18, 2007

uhhh... people can be so strange

so i was reading this article about how the canadian north is opening up to development due to the melting of the ice and more hospitable climates for human habitation. as a reader you can kind of infer that global climate change is the process causing this to happen. however what i find funny... more like ironic funny is that the article mentions that as time goes on,

Oil and mining companies, meanwhile, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Arctic exploration.

Soon, forestry companies are expected to follow the Boreal Forest creeping north.

Cruise ships are multiplying, allowing tourists to see polar bears and the spectacular break-up of Arctic ice each spring.


ok... so you have tourists going on cruise ships to see polar bears... but what they are really doing is killing the bears, since the pack ice is quickly melting and decreasing in area. this forces bears to swim longer distances and there has been a noted increase in polar bears that have drowned. national geographic had an article in their magazine just 3 or 4 months ago on this very issue. that's just how we are though, we want to be entertained and they never think of long term consequences or the big picture of our actions in terms of the world. it does make me angry when an article like this is written, cause people read it, but they don't think about what it's really saying about our society. everything external to the person is not really external, it will come back and affect you, or people, or things you care about sometime down the line.

August 21, 2007

done... kinda sorta

had my defense this afternoon. the hard part's done now. just have to make last couple edits to my thesis from my committee member's corrections and turn it in by friday.

I'M FREE!!!!!! and it feels GOOD!!!!

August 27, 2007

furniture

since i submitted my thesis last week and went to get three copies bound... i haven't done anything these last three days. it feels absolutely wonderful... kinda like how ron livingston's character reacts after going to the hypnotherapist in office space. i'm trying to lengthen this the period of this feeling by procrastinating on packing =].

so... i've also been looking on craigslist for some items that i'll need... since most of my old (but new) furniture went to my brother as he had just moved into a new place when i left new york. this time around, without a job... craigslist will do for now... maybe with a couple additions from ikea. besides a mattress which i already have... the single most important thing i need is a desk. it's the one thing that i'm really picky about. i like big desks... ones with lots of surface area. i like to have lots of books open when i study, and i like to have room to spread out my notes. i really liked my old desk (which is now my brother's) because there was lots of room and different levels for printers, scanners, speakers, and a monitor (which was set back a little). the keyboard was on a pullout tray... so the portion of the desk below monitor level was open and available for writing. i have a den in my apartment that i'll set up as my computer/study room. it's kind of small, so i'm looking for a fairly large desk that has efficient use of space by stacking things on different levels... but most of the desks on craigslist i've seen are the normal kinds you find in the front of a classroom in high school. if need be, this is the one thing that i'll splurge on after i move in if i have to. other than that, i've been looking for a dining/kitchen table, a couch/futon for the living room, a coffee table, and an entertainment center type thing. it's too bad i'm not in boston this week... it looks like lots of people are throwing stuff out/selling stuff as it's the end of the month and leases are up... when the first rolls around there will be more people looking for stuff then getting rid of stuff =[.

today was a nice day... so i got ice cream with a friend. i'm really gonna miss anderson's... mmmmm vanilla custard. i think there will be a couple more ice cream trips this week (in addition to other buffalo favorites).

if you're really bored and/or want to fall asleep... here is my thesis, 'the inhibition of late erythroblast 1 (leb-1) gene expression using short interference rna technology'. i figure if i post it... maybe someone will read it... so i don't feel like i wrote it for nothing.

September 2, 2007

the move... boston is great!

first... can i just tell tansal to frickin post already? ok... now that that's out of the way...

the move to boston was ok... we actually unloaded quicker than i had anticipated... it seemed like i had a lot of stuff (it was one of those utility van loads)... but in my new place there really isn't too much going on. i took some pics of the inside. i need a futon to make my living room more living roomish... and i need a desk to make my den more denish. there are other construction projects going on in my head to give this space a better layout... but so far, i really like my place. i'm planning to put up my large canadian flag in my den instead of my bedroom. i think the red and white would contrast well against the light blueish wall. maybe i'll pick up some sort of sabres stuff to put in my room. if tomorrow's nice... i'll take a pic of the outside of the building. i think it looks pretty sweet... lots of character.

i ordered a wireless router so i can hook that up when i officially get my dsl package from verizon. i had planned on getting one of those 802.11n routers with a 4 port gigabit ethernet switch... but the n wifi standard isn't yet a standard... and i'd have to get a gigabit ethernet card for my xubuntu box. i'd prefer getting the n/giga routers cause gigabit ethernet will have a longer shelflife than the wireless standards... however the n/giga routers are still around $120... so i think i can wait until the prices drop a bit. i ended up getting a netgear g/fast ethernet router/switch combo for a little under $30. these things were up @ the $120 price level just a couple years ago.

saw an old friend from high school and his buddies tonight... went to see superbad. the emotional connection to the characters didn't fully develop as it did with apatow's other films... however... i still thought it was a very funny movie overall. also ran into another person i knew from way way way back when in buffalo... small world.

i'm gonna head down to the city this weekend... i need vacation before school gets cray busy... see some old friends... and get some pizza under the brooklyn bridge.

September 17, 2007

hippos are totally bizarro

so i'm watching a documentary on pbs now on hippos. they are some weird animals. kinda like some freak pig combined with another weirdo animal like a rhino making an even stranger animal.

did you know there's a type of tree called the sausage tree? there is. it's weird looking.

school's going ok so far, and my apartment is becoming a ilttle more furnished slowly but surely.

my new desk came in along with other office stuff from staples, so i set up my den. right now, i've got my ubuntu box running samba serving files to my macbook over a wi-fi network. i hope to get a new desktop next semester so i can put vista on it and run some windows programs. i have boot camp on my macbook and xp is loaded onto it, but i really much rather work on a desktop when i have to use something like dreamweaver or photoshop. i think word looks much better on a desktop too, though we'll see when microsoft releases their new office for macs. office 2k4 for macs really doesn't run as well as it does in windows.

so... anyways... i should do a little reading and go to sleep... but here's my study.

October 12, 2007

becoming t.c.

maybe i've lost interest in posting? it's a distinct possibility i suppose, or maybe i just got out of the habit. whatever it is, i think school may have something to do with it, and my life is really pretty boring these days. i walk to school, sit in class, struggle to stay awake, come home, try and do work, go to bed. haven't had that much time to explore boston... been on some weekend trips, down to nyc and back to buffalo. i like the school, i like the living environment, but i don't like school if you know what i mean. it's just draining, and they keep dumping more stuff on you.

what i need is a vacation, and to connect with people who share common interests... but... i'm not the young undergrad anymore. boston's a great place to be if you're an undergrad... but when you're a little older going to school here... it's just not the same. the city itself is beautiful though, and i enjoy my walks when i do have time. i think what i really miss is having old friends around.

November 2, 2007

to post or not to post...

still quite busy... been kind of wavering between hanging up the skates so to speak on this blog... and continuing to try to post. thing is, at times during my waking hours i'll think of something to write about, but then i either come back to my apartment and forget i even have a blog, or come home and am just totally drained. i think it's just a habit thing... as ever since i've moved to boston, i haven't been keeping up with other people's blogs as much either.

however... i think i may try to get into the habit of writing here again... as a ways to put what i'm thinking down. things are ok here and i'm still rather glad that i'm here, but it's still an adjustment nonetheless. life and school are definitely stressing me out a lot more recently. there's just so much to keep track of with various exams, work, meetings, conferences, etc. things get overwhelming pretty quick, and there's at least one time every week when i just want everything to stop so i can catch my breath. too bad time doesn't stop for anyone.

there are a few things that i'm glad about though. i ordered and got my futon for my living room last week. it's all assembled now, and all the junk in my boxes that i hadn't organized yet are all filed and put away neatly. i just need to get a couple more additions, but at the very least my apartment feels like it's a home now with large emptiness of my living room filled with something. i'm also really enjoying the weather, the smell of the leaves, the cool autumn air. despite the fact that there are times when i wish it would all end... i feel really lucky to be going to school @ NU. the red sox won the series.

i've been listening a lot to david usher's most recent album the last few weeks. it's a good one to listen to as i walk to and from campus. it puts me in a reflective mood. do you ever wonder where you'd be if you hadn't made the decisions you had made? if you hadn't made the mistakes you've made? had some of the successes you've had? happened upon certain people etc.?

well... it's the weekend. i hope you enjoy yours.

no... i'm a big book publisher who's not the least bit interested in your stony memoirs... you're a towel

ok... this whole moving primaries and caucuses up thing is getting ridiculous. after all these years, traditionally the new hampshire primary and the iowa caucus are the first to vote in the country as the democrat and republican races kick off. now everyone wants to move ahead of each other and be the first in order to "influence" who get's the final nod to represent the party. they're all constantly changing the dates now, and telling one another "if you move before us, we'll move our date ahead again." pretty soon... no one will know when the primary is... it'll be like 10 years ahead of the actual year for the election, and it will be a surprise announcement. "SURPRISE! we're holding our state's in 10 minutes. go vote!" i think either we should do away with the primary system and just have everyone on the final ballot, or have every state vote on the same damn date already. besides, i think a big problem with why our country has such low voter turnout and participation is because they are so tired of the politics. it seems like all the candidates are constantly out there getting face time for votes. there always seems to be negative political ads on tv these days. maybe the public is just tired of it all and has tuned it all out? perhaps since it's so ingrained into the background of daily lives when election day does come around nobody cares because it's constantly there anyways?

what's up with the sabres this year? why are they sucking so much? (oh yeah, they screwed the pooch by letting both their captains go from last year). what's up with philly and boston being decent too?

in football news... remember when the afc east used to be a powerhouse division? how times have changed. miami is still terrible, the jets are in shambles, and the bills are in 2nd place (i don't even know how we're even up there). will anyone be able to stop brady and the pats? i'm getting sick of watching him hook up with moss for touchdown after touchdown.

i have a confession to make. i was actually rooting for cleveland to beat the bosox... despite the fact that i like the red sox. it's only because cleveland's AAA minor league affliate is the buffalo bisons, and a lot of their roster has been brought up through their farm system and played ball in buffalo. i'm just happy that the yankees didn't make it and the indians knocked them out.

the track 'science' on 'strange birds' is a really good track to crank up the volume on. when i listen to it... it feels like i'm just immersed in this sonic space as it builds up. definitely dig the hi-hat.

November 5, 2007

see... more sleep IS good...

how come when you're young... you don't want to sleep? i remember being able to stay awake, and my parents would always be telling me to go to bed. i wanted to stay up later and later... boy do i wish i had that kind of energy now. george carlin was right... life should work backwards... it'd be more fun (ie. funner). so anyways... sleeping more has another benefit associated with it.

this is interesting... and it might be me sometime down the line if i ever meet that right person to not live with. it really is hard to spend all if not most of your time with someone... even if you really care about them. i also know that it's a two person thing... as in sometimes i can get pretty annoying too.

i love how after all these years with the colts, bill polian can still refer to buffalo as 'us'.

i don't know what is wrong with people these days. stuff like this just depresses me.

goulet!

had an interview today for my spring co-op. i like the place. hopefully i'll be able to land it. it's funny how you just get good at doing interviews as you keep doing them and as you get older. i remember i used to sweat and get really nervous and sometimes have difficulty in reacting and responding to questions. the last couple years, as i've gone into interviews, i just haven't really even thought of anything going in. it's kind of like having a conversation with a stranger that just flows from one topic to the next. i think another thing is, i've said the same or similar things so many times, that it all just comes. the pauses that happen when i "think" of my answer are actually just me recalling what i've said in the past. it's also strange how i can easily talk to people when i don't even know them, but if it's about work i'll have a good amount to say. however, if i'm at a party and i don't know the majority of the people, i won't be the one seeking out conversation usually.

well... that's it for me tonight.

November 15, 2007

majorly slacking

2 exams next week before the holiday, should be studying more... but it ain't happening. still so much to do. i need to rapidly increase my mental abilities quickly... don't think it's gonna happen within the time frame i need it to though.

i've been taking lots of naps lately, but have been having trouble confining them to power nap time limits. i used to be so good at getting up again after 20 minutes. i need to get that ability back.

some members of the US gov't are backing taiwan's reinstatement to the UN. taiwan was previously the representative for china as the republic of china, but once china gained influence taiwan lost its seat to china in 1971. from my point of view, i'm kind of split on this. as a people, even though the people of taiwan are mostly chinese, they definitely have a very different culture than the chinese in china (even within china the chinese are divided into multiple groups speaking different dialects). however, taiwan has no way of defending itself from a mainland invasion, it would be over in about 10 minutes and the people's republic would have control. with china's economy, taiwan has lost influence in the business world as well, so they really don't have the clout to attract investment or invest outside that they once did.

buffalo the loser.

i wish i had money so i could do this, i'd donate both. it's such a great idea i think, but i am so in debt right now from my own school loans it's not even funny.

that's it.

December 7, 2007

winding down

this hasn't happened in a very long time... but today i walked out of a final with a sinking feeling. i was unprepared for it despite staying up for the last 2 days and nights cramming for it. it was a cumulative final, and i just ran out of time to study for it. things have been hectic since the end of thanksgiving, wednesday i had 2 group papers AND presentations for them due. those two things had taken up a majority of my time the last 2 weeks or so, leaving very little time to study for the exam i had today. i guess it really is my own fault though... i should have been better prepared and started way earlier. it feels like i've been trying to catch up this entire semester, and i never got a chance to get on top of things. what's most depressing to me is i feel like i'm starting to fall back to how i was when i was an undergrad, and would just get overwhelmed and give up.

but... anyways... in an attempt to cheer myself up a bit, i downloaded 'charlie brown holiday hits' from amazon. 'christmas time is here' is the song i was looking for to pick me up. i really need to look forward to something that doesn't have anything to do with school right now.

and... who knows... maybe the big guy up in the sky will have made most of my guesses on the exam correct... one can always hope right?

ok... time to study for my final on monday. IT NEVER ENDS!!!

January 6, 2008

monthly update 07-08

just checking in... cause i have a little bit of time...

so the semester finished, i passed all my classes... not necessarily with the grades that i wanted... though i got past that first semester... and i don't have to take them over so that's a good thing =].

have had people visiting on a weekly basis for the last couple weeks. have more people coming in for the forseeable future. it's been fun... but i haven't been sleeping as much as i'd like... and i LOVE to sleep =p.

having friends come in to visit was great... and i'm looking forward to having some more come in. of all the semesters to do it... this semester is probably the one to do it in since i'm on co-op until may. my co-op is @ one of the more interesting and specialized hospitals here in boston... and i'm making a bunch of different drugs for parenteral delivery. so i'm @ this co-op full time... and continue with classes during summer... thus for a few months i won't have to study and won't have exams.

i'm still trying to get used to the whole not being able to get up late on weekdays and not being able to take naps during the day thing. my first week @ the hospital i started @ 7am... that was a bit rough. i've since moved to 9am these last 2 weeks... which is still earlier than my 10am classes from last semester.

overall the start of the new year has been pretty good... though i still find myself short on time. anyways... i need to go to bed... but happy belated new year to all.

February 19, 2008

was happy to hear you turned thirty-three, you look good, you're so carefree, wish i could be there

another year is rolling around, and i'm not sure how i feel about it all. lately i've just felt that this is definitely not how i pictured my life when i got to this age. it's difficult someitmes to think that i'm still in school and have a ways to go before finishing, when most of my close friends have steady careers and starting on the "next phase" of their personal lives. even with the friends i've made over the last 3-4 years or so... i've felt that i haven't been able to connect as well with them as i had been able to do previously. i think this is mainly due to the fact that i'm a couple of years older than my classmates, and while i still like to goof around, my interests and thoughts have grown a little more (or so i tell myself, i guess). it could also be that my beliefs are more hardened and rather cemented now that i'm older. in any case while i find it quite easy to find people to joke around with, i find the more serious part of building friendships/relationships a little more difficult now than before. you would think that 4-5 years isn't that long of a time, but 4-5 years during your 20s is almost like a lifetime. when your peers refer to soundgarden as an "old band"... when you play rock band on the xbox and "blackhole sun" comes on to which your band members say... i remember this song from early middle school... you just feel there's this large gap in age. it's strange when i refer to movies from high school or events that happened... and few people in the group can recall what happened... only to say they think they remember something about it. however, i can't fault them... cause they where in jr. high when i was in high school. they were also in high school when i was in college... and i was working when they were in college. they really are a whole generation behind me so to speak. there are days when i wonder what it would've been like to go to a program that had a mix of students that was skewed more to students my age.

so... these are some of the things i've been thinking about lately as the 29 comes up.

June 6, 2008

Braces

Just before Thanksgiving 2005, I got braces installed on my teeth. I was expecting to have them off by Summer 2007. Yesterday, I finally had them removed, and I've moved on to the retainer phase. I'm finding that I have to relearn how to speak with this thing in my mouth. I sometimes sound a bit like Shelley Marsh, from South Park. The hardest sound to produce is Q ("cue"). I'm getting better at producing clean S and SH sounds.

People who have had braces had some comments to make about the experience over the years. Two things that I was told turned out to be true. One is that after the braces come off, your teeth feel slimy. That's because your lips are used to rubbing against a bumpy appliance, and teeth are quite smooth. The other is that your teeth feel large. That's because your previous sensation against your lips was with small protrusions on the teeth, and now there's full contact for the whole face of the tooth.

Other thoughts, I haven't noticed a reduction in lip volume with the removal of the braces - it had felt as if my lips were sticking out more when I first had them placed. I haven't noticed any significant recession of my gum line.

The best thing of all, of course, is being able to take out the retainer before eating. The first thing I chewed happened to be a quarter of a pickle, sliced lengthwise. It was so easy to cut into with my incisors. I also no longer need to worry about all the food that would get stuck in the appliance. So, I'm pretty excited about being able to eat properly once again. And I don't really mind the idea of wearing the retainer every night for the rest of my life. I'll be happy when I don't have to wear it all the time during the day, though.

June 24, 2008

coolio little project

interesting explanation of all that went on with this.
http://wherethehellismatt.com

July 6, 2008

blind leading blind tryin' to keep yourself alive

it's time to start up the blog i think. it's been awhile since i've regularly posted, but i've been thinking i need to type out some thoughts now and again so i can keep myself sane, focused, and reflect a little. 've been stuck in summer semester, it's terrible. recently i've been regretting choosing my program lately over the others i was accepted into. it seems that after this next year, they're discontinuing the grad-entry program they setup, and switching it back to an undergrad transfer path. they've already adjusted our coursework without asking for any sort of input (from our class or the initial class before us), and yet we still have the general graduate school requirements. it just means more stress for us. i totally want to go and hermit somewhere.

a couple weeks ago i saw sloan in cambridge. it was a good show, but not a great show. the venue's sound was a little weird and distorted, didn't come out clean. it was great to see the boys from halifax (yeah, i know they're toronto based now... but to me they will always be from halifax). two days after i made a trip down to the city to see them live @ bowery ballroom, which is one of the best venues to see sloan at in my opinion. it's a mid-sized venue, located in an old hall they renovated down by the LES/chinatown area. the crowd was fantastic, very lively... doing the "sloan" chants that you'd expect to hear in buffalo and canadian venues and everything, made me miss home. they played some old favs with their new material. i've been listening to a lot of their old stuff lately, has made me think of high school and how easy life was back then. i remember picking up 'twice removed' when i was with the greater buffalo youth orchestra and we were playing in toronto over a weekend. i remember we rehearsed and played a concert @ ut. we also went to a tso concert which i remember was pretty cool, though i forgot what they played. i recall them having a distinctive concert hall as well. during one of the blocks of free time we had, i stopped at an hmv and picked up the album. while i listened to a lot of music during high school, that album is probably the one that i will associate most with that period of my life. i think it's the album that's kind of matched my "grown up" personality. it's a very subdued, not flashy, kind of bittersweet, and melancholy. even andrew's tracks are slower and low keyed compared to other albums. i remember thinking life was a little too complicated back then... right now though... i'd almost give anything to go back and live that "complicated" life, listening to music, going to shows, "studying" for school (what a joke). i can't believe i did as well as i despite how little studying i did.

so this fall i'll be on co-op again... and i've set one up in buffalo. i can't wait to go home, i need to get outta boston for awhile. this semester has totally drained me out. i think something that's been missing is spiritually i'm not where i want to be. it's been hard grounding myself... i haven't really be trying to look for a church, and i'm reluctant to ground myself in school... cause it feels empty when i try to do that. the friends i have... well i have a pretty fun time hanging out with them... but it's sad to say i'll probably lose touch with a lot of them if we go our separate ways after graduation. i think that's how it goes the older you get. i used to be good at keeping in touch with people... but over the last couple years, i've done a pretty bad job. it takes too much energy, and when you try and people don't reciprocate, it makes you want to try less.

well. that's it for now. have a good rest of your weekend.

July 16, 2008

almost

i can't wait for this week to end. i'll have finished my online class that was more work than expected on friday after i submit a group project and a short paper. tomorrow i have my last "mid-term" exam for summer, then i get 2 weeks with no exams and then a week of finals. i can't wait for these classes to be over, it has been a pretty stressful summer thus far. hopefully i can just get by, and head home to recover for a semester. things i have learned... don't take an extra 3 credits in pharmacy school if you don't need to... i was up to 20 this summer with that online course.

i think i've figured out why i've struggled so much academically this summer. i don't think i deal well with a compressed mon-thur schedule, i think i need a full 5 days to space things out so i can pay better attention in class. in addition, i've never done as well in classes when i'm with a bunch of people, and my class of 90 people or so all have the same classes every single day. sometimes i just need a change, and not be lectured at for the entire day.

so they're doing another winter classic this coming year @ wrigley field in chicago featuring the red wings and the blackhawks. i just want to add that teams in north carolina, georgia, florida, phoenix, etc. shouldn't even exist in the nhl, because they can never host a winter classic. this way you won't have teams like tampa bay, the hurricanes, or dallas stars winning stanley cups for their 2 fans over more deserving locales.

well that's it for now, gotta get back to studying.

November 9, 2008

ickle me, pickle me, tickle me too, went for a ride in a flying shoe

just got back from the last wedding of the season, this one was in new york. after all these years of living and visiting... it still surprises me that i can be surprised in new york. there are so many places that have some sort of significance from my past, but the surrounding area and setting have changed quite a bit from how i remember it.

i've been thinking lately about how strange weddings can be... seeing people whom you haven't seen for months or years... but still being able to catch up. it's pretty interesting to see the different groups of friends that your friends have made as they've grown together.

among the things i miss most about new york... i miss taking the subway and just looking up and finding an arts for transit poster or poetry in motion poem on the train that i connect with.

as i was riding the airtrain between jfk and jamaica on my way into and out of the city on this trip... i found myself savoring the view of the manhattan skyline from a distance. i can only describe the feeling as a combination of excitement, a sense of promise and possibility, and a mysterious longing for something that hasn't yet been found. i think these are the reasons i find it so very hard to leave when the time comes because there's always more to discover. it's a strange relationship i have with new york... there are many things that bother me about it... but i can never seem to get it out of my system... i'm hooked for life.

well i better get some work done. i just need to power through to the end of the semester. i can't wait to finish my co-op that's been really trying... which has also affected my studying for my 1 class this semester.

November 11, 2008

looking up

so... some other thoughts i had when i was in the city.

-sometimes i find it funny that no one really likes making eye contact in new york. i get it... you don't want to get into other's business and you don't want them getting into yours. however because you're just in such close proximity to everyone around you have to deal with it somehow. this observation is highlighted when riding the subway. with everyone around you, you notice that almost everyone will be either looking at the floor of the car, out the window into the passing darkness, or up at the ads just below the ceiling. efficient people will be either buried in a book or newspaper of some sort, or they'll be catching up on some sleep. if you happen to catch the eyes of another looking at you, the proper thing to do is to look away. i was thinking the other day when i was riding the train between jamaica and 51st & lex how many hours a day/month/year people just spend staring blankly on the subways.

-when it's not too hot and not too cold. i like stepping out from a subway station and joining the pedestrian flow in manhattan. the streetscape is a fluid canvas, and i (along with everyone else coming out from the station) blend into the scene. it's kind of neat how dynamic it is.

-was talking with my brother when i was there... about how small k-town is. no offense to my korean friends, but... if chinatown were ever to arrange a takeover of k-town, it wouldn't stand a chance.

-i really miss just putting on some music and taking a walk. the fun thing about new york is you could probably listen to your entire ipod collection while walking and never walking the same street twice, and still have more streets to walk.

-if i can make a trip out this winter, i think i'll try heading out to coney island or sheepshead bay and wander out to a more or less deserted beach/waterfront and enjoy the solitude.

December 4, 2008

the countdown

so i'm counting down to the end of my stint this semester... and i am so looking forward to getting it over. not so much the studying i have to do this weekend, but more so the other work that i've been doing these past couple months.

i'm going to be taking a trip to china for about a week and a half in january before spring semester starts. i am very much looking forward to seeing places i've never seen before and just wandering around in a different culture. hopefully i won't eat any "spiked" food.

ub lost a close game to #2 uconn tonight. i guess it's not surprising, cause after all it is a team from buffalo. on to the mac championship game tomorrow for the football team.

i'm looking forward to next semester... i'll be doing a project at a community health center, and hopefully getting all my stuff done for my masters. i'm mostly looking forward to having a better schedule, and one that's more conducive to having the free time to just enjoy the moment.

i've actually been having dreams about work lately, and i'll wake up in a panic... i can't believe it's affected me so much that it seeps into my subconscious.

i caught part of a tv show the other day, and heard radiohead's 'reckoner' playing on it... that made me happy.

December 21, 2008

let it snow...

down to single digits for the countdown... then i'll be free and heading to beijing!

aside from work yesterday, i've had a pretty relaxing weekend overall. i did some work for my field training project next semester; i'm actually really excited about it, my site mentor is great. it makes me wish i could've stayed here for pharm school.

so i was reading this post on BR, and i think this might be the reason that i love to examine and physically touch old buildings. they're just a connection to the past, and to have them actually in front of me, it's as if i can connect myself to 50, 100, 200+ years ago. also when you have buildings that old, you can also see signs of wear usually... those imperfections make them that much more interesting i think.

January 1, 2009

2008

i can sum up 2008 with 1 word. changes. i'm glad i got through it.

i've been unsure of how i felt about 2009 rolling around... it's another year... which means i'm gonna be another year older. this time though i'll be hitting the big 3-0. despite the fact that i can feel the oldness seeping into my creaky bones, there's still a part of me that feels like i haven't grown up yet (could it be that i'm still in school? don't have a career? don't know what i want to do?). well... i guess for 2009, i'll try and figure more stuff out... maybe take more trips in my free time to visit friends. going on my wedding blitz this past fall really reinforced the feeling that i'm happiest and have the most fun when i'm surrounded by the people i grew up with, respect and love.

and to you... the reader... all the best for your '09.

January 26, 2009

reflections on the new year

the first couple days of the new year brought significant changes. my time at wm (heart of darkness) ended, and i flew halfway around the world to discover unknown lands (well to me at least).

sure i miss my co-workers... they were the only thing that kept me sane. i think i surprised them as i warmed up to them and they got to know me. a couple of them didn't expect me to be so bitter, cynical, and sarcastic. it's actually funny when people figure that out... cause they seem so surprised.

beijing was great. i'm so glad i made the trip, and i'm really glad fh came along, even though i ended up getting sick and probably not making it out to half the things we were supposed to see. i think aside from seeing all these amazing places, freezing, searching for a pharmacy, losing my medicine... i think my favorite aspect about the whole thing was just having the time to unwind, relax and really spending time with someone else. i've always enjoyed being able to observe things with others as an outsider. so many aspects of mainland chinese society are just so....... odd... to those from other shores. those are probably some of the things i will remember most because they are just so amusing to think about. in addition, those types of things provide some great shared memories... kinda like a code that only those who've spent time together have. shing bah kuh. see? funny!

thanks for putting up with me, and for tzung-ing me the blanket even though i was the one who got it.

all the best to everyone for the new year of the ox.

February 2, 2009

focus

i've been thinking about things that i want to accomplish this year.

1) as much as i hate it, focus more on school. i distract myself too easily, procrastinate, and waste a lot of time. i spend way too much time thinking about useless things and ideas. have less fun, become more boring... be more focused should me my new motto.

2) the time that i do have to spare, i really need to push myself to discover more new music this year. i feel like this has been a sorely lacking part of my life for awhile now. people have different things that help them make sense of their lives... music is the glue to mine. if you're looking for something new, check out great northern.

February 8, 2009

old buffalo

i had to spend some time on the west side of buffalo yesterday (black rock) as i was speaking with the pharmacies that we are targeting for our project. as i drove around the neighborhood, i came across some interesting warehouses and abandoned industrial buildings. it reminded me a lot of williamsburg and greenpoint, closer to the east river before 2003 when heavy residential development happened. empty streets, maybe one or two people walking around, just the feeling that despite evidence of humans being there... you still felt like you were the only one there. i've always liked that feeling of being by myself... it brings a sense of peace. i'm always amazed by how decisions made can really alter history significantly. for instance, the erie canal has always fascinated me. it was the major reason why buffalo rose to the heights that it did in the past. being in the black rock neighborhood, i reflected on what might have been. originally the plan was to end the canal at black rock (a separate town and competitor to buffalo). buffalo ended up winning the battle and the recognition, while the black rock that was the reason for the name of the town of black rock was blasted away because it stood in the way of the erie canal. in the end black rock was annexed into the city of buffalo. imagine how different things could have been if black rock won the battle for the canal terminus. the 2nd largest city in new york state could have shifted a couple miles north on lake erie. the planned park system by olmsted and vaux may have had a completely different layout... due to the street grid developing from black rock instead of buffalo (if they would have had an interest to design parks for the city of black rock instead). then again, if you look at how much the streets had changed after the development of highways (thank you robert moses, you destroyer of neighborhoods) and urban planning all under the name of urban renewal in the 1950s-70s... maybe the canal wouldn't have been filled in between tonawanda and buffalo and built over with the niagara expressway.

March 26, 2009

losing it

i don't know why i haphazardly agree to do things. i've lined up way too many projects, and i don't see how i'll be able to finish them. i wish i was working in the real world instead of being in school right about now.

May 13, 2009

the bean

so i'm back in the bean. i'm not sure what's happened... but i'm feeling pretty good these days. maybe it's the weather, or the new apartment (i think this is it). or maybe i just needed that break back home. even in my classes, although i'm busy... i don't feel overwhelmed which is a nice change. i do much better when things are structured appropriately. this isn't to say that i didn't like my field training experience in the buff... but having the opportunity to come up with my own project and executing it was a stressful experience... especially when i knew there was a deadline i had to have something ready and usable by. though i'll still be involved with it for the foreseeable future... i will be making updates to my program over the internet and keeping in touch with the personnel that way. my one hope now though... is i keep up with my classes so i don't get majorly stressed as the semester wears on.

June 20, 2009

dali

this past week i had 3 exams in 24 hours, which was... wonderful. i haven't had such an intense period of exams in awhile. i think the last time was in 2006 when i had 5 finals within 48 hours. however i do notice a difference from now and then... i really feel the effects of being older... i can't stay up and study. back then, i could still force myself to stay up... these days... i NEED to sleep. i can't help it, i just have to shut my eyes and take a nap. too bad for me i still have a lot more semesters to go through before i finish my program here, and it's just gonna get harder. anyways, i think i did pretty well on them which i was happy about. the tox exam was 15 pages of mostly short answers, probably one of the more exhausting exams i've ever taken of mechanisms, and pathognomonic signs and symptoms of toxicity. i've been wondering if companies are coming up with practical applications for drug metabolism so that we can have a better cost benefit ratio for medication use. for example, the cyp3a4 gene is part of the cytochrome p450 system of drug metabolism in humans. many drugs are metabolized by this system to either inactive metabolites, or active metabolites (ie. the parent drug gets modified and "turned-on"). cyp3a4 in the gi tract is affected by grapefruit juice, in that the juice will inhibit cyp3a4 action. many of the currently popular statin medications (generically: lovastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin or brand: mevacor, zocor, lipitor) are metabolized by the cyp3a4 enzyme. if grapefruit juice inhibits these statin drugs, it leads to increased levels of these medications in the body, increasing the chances of toxicity. however... grapefruit juice can be exponentially cheaper to consume, develop, and manufacture (process) than these medications. my question is, can we develop a test to examine how a patient who's taking these medications processes the drugs under the influence of grapefruit juice? can we then have the patient take tailored doses of these medications with grapefruit juice so that: 1) we can lower drug costs for an individual by deceasing drug consumption with the help of a cyp3a4 inhibitor like grapefruit juice. 2) standardize to an extent the way grapefruit juice acts. this would also help in the reduction of drug metabolites that a processed by the body that are introduced into our environment since drug contamination of the water supply is an increasing concern. recent studies have shown many water supplies have a detectable level of common medications and drug metabolites. how will this all affect our food supply or the animal population isn't known yet, but i suspect it can't be good. is there a correlation between fish deaths in lakes, ponds, and streams and these levels? i would imagine any reduction of these metabolites into the environment would be better in the long run. drug/biotech companies may want to find ways to inhibit some of these enzymes in combination with the drugs they produce that affects these enzymes. that way a smaller dose will bring about the same changes... though this could also decrease the difference between therapeutic dose and toxic dose so there's a drawback to that too. i think we have to recognize though that what we do and consume will at some point affect the environment in some way. we often think that what we consume is just a one shot deal, and our waste gets dragged away (or excreted) and we don't think about where it goes. however it will eventually affect another place, when it ends up wherever it goes.

i was thinking the other day... when people get into long term relationships (this can include friendships or actual relationships)... depending on how established they are, i think it's interesting that certain habits, likes and dislikes are developed or changed which are influenced by the other person. what's more interesting to me is that some of these habits, likes, and dislikes continue to hold in an individual (which i think is more common in long term relationships between couples) even after they break up or end a friendship. what i think is fascinating is that even though the past person who was in the relationship isn't a part of one's daily thought process, they still may do certain things in their daily routine which are somehow connected to the other without thinking about it.

i've seen a two movies recently. up was really good, there were parts of it that really would affect anyone... but i think as a whole i still like nemo and monsters, inc. more. actually i think i'd rate wall-e higher too, though initially after i saw up i think i would've rated it higher than wall-e. the hangover was ridiculous. it's a little raunchy, so if you're not into those kinds of movies it might not be for you... but there are some parts that i thought were hillarious (and parts that i was thinking to myself, "who the hell thinks up these situations to put into movies?") there's also some really funny lines in it, and the baby is really cute.

that is it for now.

i hope i can make it home in time to check this out.

July 26, 2009

identity and immigration

these are two topics that i've had a real fascination with as time has passed. as i think about it, i would perhaps, expect not to think about them as much if i were a caucasian growing up in north america, or an asian growing up in taiwan/china.

i was thinking earlier about how interesting it is given the different places chinese have settled and established chinatowns. there are some in african countries, european countries, the americas, etc. these countries themselves have their own native languages which would be specific to the country, or could be spoken internationally. for instance there's a chinatown in bangkok where the native language would be thai, on the opposite end there are chinatowns in morocco and paris where the official languages are arabic and french respectively. what i think is kind of neat is that one who knows how to speak chinese could go visit these foreign countries and not know how to speak a lick of the native language and talk with the locals, but be able to converse using a third language based on their ancestral heritage (given that the majority of the ethnic foreign population of the enclave speak the same dialect). it's weird for me to think that i could probably go to montreal, get lost, and head over to chinatown and probably end up getting clearer directions asking questions in chinese if i didn't know french (and maybe english).

August 6, 2009

drifting

just have to keep my head above water for another week. wrap up 3 finals before i get to head down to the city for a weekend. hopefully get to do some things i didn't get a chance to do last time including: meet r&s' son for the first time, mister softee, burger joint, loco burrito, and the highline. then i'll head back up to the bean, pick up 3 evening shifts in the pharmacy satellites before i'm off to PDX! i've never been to oregon. i'm excited. perhaps i can cross over into washington too. then i'm back home in buffalo for a wedding labor day weekend before making it back to boston. having all these trips planned is not helping me study as i'm anxiously awaiting the end of the semester so i can have some fun.

it looks like i'll be heading to the weakerthans show here in sept with my friend laks from toronto. yay canadian music with canadians.

ok seriously. time for toxicology. stop procrastinating.

December 27, 2009

spelling

now i'm not saying i spell things correctly all the time. i tend to make mistakes, but i really do try and catch or correct them prior to sending a message, posting a comment, publishing an entry. depending on who i may be speaking to or emailing, i may even misspell words on purpose because there may be some significance to it, but it's understood by the other party that i'm doing it on purpose. however, when posting to a public forum, i feel pretty strongly about spelling things correctly so one doesn't look like a complete idiot. can i just say that it seems more often than not i cannot help but get mad when reading comments these days especially from things published as news or news commentary. things like healthcare reform, the war, and other social issues are important. if one feels the need to argue their point, i believe they should. what really gets me though are those who argue their point and want to be taken seriously when they keep spelling the same word(s) wrong. i've seen some misspellings that are just way off too! if an individual had a basic grasp of the english language, and spelled by sounding the word out, they would not even think about putting that extra letter in. aside from these social/political topics which get people riled up and commenting, sports also seems to be another topic which gets people going. i've seem some butchering of spelling in some comments. for example in this article i found this awesome comment.

It is true no Super Bowel coach won a Super Bowel with another team, but Mike Holmgren and Bill Parcells did very good with other teams (losing Super Bowels with other teams). We need a GM!
Posted by: TheFootballExpert on Dec 27,2009 at 02:13 am

ok guy, maybe you should become an english expert instead of remaining a football expert. having interchangeable super bowels with different teams is kind of disgusting. additionally, i feel quite bad for holmgren and parcells for having good (super) bowels with teams and then losing their bowels (in a super way, must have been painful btw) with other teams. can one person's argument for a gm be taken seriously when they're talking about bowels? it's frickin BOWLS!

the ones that get me the most though, are when supposed "americans" create signs for rallies to keep out immigrants, and they completely butcher words or can't even differentiate between words like 'there', 'their', and 'they're'. these people are angry because immigrants are coming in and taking jobs from "real americans" (which in a lot of cases are jobs which "real americans" refuse to do), and yet the "real americans" don't even have a basic grasp of "real english"! how ironic (or moronic) is that?!

/rant

January 8, 2010

consumption

not referring to tuberculosis, but our consumer oriented profit by any means driven society. it's quite troubling when i find out about this type of news where retailers will destroy products they can't sell instead of donating it to those whom it could benefit, since they can't make a profit on it. most probably know how much i despise wl-mrt and their business practices leading to my vow to never buy anything from their stores... the mention of wl-mrt in this article didn't surprise me all that much. what i was surprised at was h&m's actions. now i've never bought anything from h&m before, but i've had a generally favorable impression of them from some friends who shop there. i also know that they're not a US based company, but are instead based in sweden. coming from a european nation, i don't know if maybe i was expecting a more socially responsible corporate culture to be able to permeate throughout their global organization or something, but obviously in this case it didn't happen in it's nyc store. no one can say if this practice happens at other stores, but i feel it's more repulsive that it happened in the nyc store in the sense that there would be a lot of people in the city who could have used these perfectly good products that were destroyed and thrown out (as the article mentions).

something else i found interesting is this link that looks back on the new gadgets coming out in 1979. i have this weird relationship with technology. i like new gadgets, they fascinate and amaze me sometimes, but looking at things with a long term perspective, i see a lot of wasted money and resources. just watching that video clip from 1979, got me thinking about all the old vcrs which have probably been thrown out once people started buying dvd players en mass. this was back in the day there weren't any recycling programs for electronics. thinking about the production of those old vcrs; the raw materials, metals and minerals that needed to be mined to make circuitboards and the electronic chassis, they needed to come from somewhere, possibly domestically or overseas. shift to the factories and facilities that would refine and put together these products, which probably dumped a bunch of chemicals into the environment during the process. wrap everything together and think about how everything needed to be shipped from one point to another using some form of fossil fuel, and the overall picture is not one that is very good to our environment. especially considering the shelf life of these products was only 2-3 decades before we ditch them, and with each new cycle of products that time frame is getting shorter. think of how many vcr's there were back in the day, and how many vhs tapes were made. once dvds came out, many replaced their collections of tapes with dvds. we're spending money on the same products (though the sound and picture might be clearer, is it really value added at the end of the day?), money that we could use for other purposes. people around the world still die of malaria, a disease that has been controlled in most developed countries. many in the world do not even have a stable and clean supply of drinking water. there are so many things we could do with the extra capital we save to fix global problems, especially in undeveloped and developing countries. at the end of the day, our dvds are just gonna be replaced by the next thing that comes out (blu-ray), and the technological march will continue for consumers. i wonder sometimes if we really need all the stuff we have access to. it seems like it's just a distraction for us, and that will drive companies to advance the next big thing because they are in the market to make a profit, that is their main purpose in the lifecycle. i was reading recently how they're coming out with 3d tv now, since all these movies out are all gonna be 3d. personally i don't think it will work, especially if you have to wear those glasses, but taking a more ecological view, why in the world do we need 3d tv? will it improve our lives? could we instead funnel money that would have been spent on them to africa, south america, southern and southeast asia, or other places where we can build wells? eradicate mosquitoes? lower the prevalence of diarrheal disease in young children? especially if that 3d tv set will be in the trash in 5 years.

however, i cannot say that i don't get excited when new things come out. i posted just recently about the new google nexus one. that is a pretty cool product i'll have to admit. the stuff that we're able to build gets more and more amazing every year. i've found though that as i've gotten older (though probably not more mature), getting these new toys has meant less and less to me. i'm at a point in my life when i can say that i almost feel like a dinosaur in terms of technology. my friends who i grew up with and i have been through some of the most drastic changes in our short 3 decade span of life. i was talking with some of them recently. kids that grow up now have no clue what the sound of a modem connecting to a dial-up isp sounds like. they don't know what a dial tone sounds like unless they have a landline phone. they don't know what life was like pre-internet. they might have never seen an audio cassette, and maybe even a cd. crt tv's and monitors might be foreign to them. they may have never had to load film in a camera, or wait for a roll to be developed. they've never encountered a limit of 12, 24, or 36 exposures. they might not be able to appreciate a complete album, or listen to one straight through, as mp3s have allowed people to only choose tracks they "like". as new innovations come out, they have made some aspects of life "stupid-proof" and maybe even easier, but there's a whole lot of skill and knowledge that has and will be lost because of it. i think about the art of photography regarding the use of film a lot. i've always loved the medium. the knowledge one needs about different types of film, adjusting with/for film speed depending on environmental conditions, in terms of how you want to capture your image. the process of film development, the timing it takes in the different chemicals to develop and set the images on paper. you can play around and/or keep track of so many different variables to have a picture turn out the way you want it to. sometimes you only have once chance to do it, so you better be really good at what you do. it's not to say i can't or won't appreciate pictures taken with a digital camera, pictures are pictures... but i will say that i can appreciate the craft that has gone into the whole process a lot more of a photo that i really identify with, developed using those old techniques.

January 9, 2010

old one that's been saved up

so here's an old entry i've saved up... it's been staring back at me and annoying me, so i figured i'd publish it with some newer stuff below it.

i have to stop reading comments, it can't be good for my blood pressure. this is a comment from a random person about news that marshawn lynch stole $20, and kawika mitchell's defense of lynch from his twitter account. i'm not a huge fan of lynch, but i'm not a huge fan of idiotic people who comment either.

Mitchell needs to shut his freakin mouth. I swear the only time I hear his name is in reference to his twitter page. I understand he was hurt. But the guy talks a lot for someone who has never done anything in a Bills uniform. His patients is growing thin with me too. Maybe he should be a better “father” to Lynch and tell him to get his head on straight!

"Be a wuss at home! Be a man on Rumblings!" - Kurupt

by bflo on Jan 9, 2010 10:00 AM EST

patients? growing thing with you? huh?

really, i don't even know what to say after reading and writing about this comment. for all the strong feelings i have about doing what i think is the right thing, which among them includes extending health coverage to all... sometimes i feel as if it isn't worth it. should we really subsidize stupidity? in the natural world, the weakest get selected out. why should our species be any different?

something that really concerns me as we liver longer are the environmental contaminants from medications. developed nations are driving medication use in order to extend life, and it cannot be good for our environment.

i found this really interesting. hela cells are an immortal cell line that scientists can use to experiment on. when i was in my biotech program, a couple labs in our department specifically used hela cells as their cell model for antibody cancer research. although i was familiar that they're a cell line, i never really knew or looked into why they were named hela cells as we used focused on blood cell lines in my lab. the story behind the hela cell line is much more interesting than the story behind my mouse cells.

i seem to have forgotten what else i was going to write about. that will have to do for now.

January 23, 2010

beethoven's 7th 2nd mvt

life is so unpredictable, and despite how expressive language can be, sometimes i feel it is just not enough. at times there can be no words to describe how happy one can be, but what's interesting is when a close friend is dealing with a loss... how can one even start to really tell another that they're sorry too? i think a lot about the biblical story of job. the main message is that job was a good man fearful of God, and despite losing everything (children, means of life, given sores on skin, etc.), he would not speak against God. what i have always found fascinating were the initial reactions of his three friends who came to visit him after this all happened. his friends came to join job and sat with him on the ground while saying nothing for seven days. what i really like about this is that these friends showed they cared without having to say a single word. they might not have completely understood where job was or what he was thinking, but they tried by being the ones who were there with him in this difficult time. it really stinks when one feels like they can't help at all when something bad happens... that the only thing they can do is really be there for those one cares about. i know from personal experience that it does help when people are there when something tragic occurs to oneself, but despite that, being the person on the outside looking in... it doesn't make it any better.

i've been trying to find something to summarize how i'm feeling today... and i came across an old favorite. beethoven's 7th movement 2. there's variation in the work with some levity, but what i really love about this movement is the heaviness that encompasses from the minor key. i remember sitting in an orchestra playing this once before... how the line would flow so seamlessly from one section to another... and how effective and plodding it seamed when everyone was called to play. i miss sitting in the bowels of a symphonic orchestra and reveling in the sound. anyways... there's a sadness i feel because i know my friend is hurting... and the world is less one great mother. however i am glad that she had the opportunity to see her son fulfill his dreams, and that she also had a chance to live out her dreams.

there were a couple versions i found, i really like the one with kleiber conducting. when the piece starts off... it's almost dead quiet... you barely notice anyone's even playing if you just listen to it. it makes the build up and crescendo that much more effective.

this one is with karajan conducting. it's good, but i think i'm most impressed with the video. the crescendo's are very effective, but the start of the kleiber version is better... it's just SO soft p(ppppp)ianissimo... super duper pianissimo.

RIP dhini.

February 11, 2010

every once in awhile i'll read a ridiculous spam message

yes, i'll read the entire thing for shits and giggles. i'll look for spelling and grammar mistakes, and i'll check out the full headers. this was a recent one that i got in my "spam" account. it's subject is, "FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR FUNDS (CODE 111)". the "person/account sending" the message is "F.B.I ". it starts off with this,

ROBERT MUELLER III EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FBI FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FBI.WASHINGTON D.C FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SEEKING TO WIRETAP INTERNET

pretty impressive right? robert mueller is keeping tabs on my accounts and financial dealings. what the hell is the federal bureau of investigation seeking to wiretap internet? why would they name a division that? if they did have a division to wiretap the internet, wouldn't they just name it the internet wiretapping division? the whole concept of a division seeking to wiretap the internet means it's not already in place right? like they're trying to build some public support for it so they can actually do wiretapping.

the message follows with some gibbah jabbah (as mr. t would say), but i'll just highlight the parts i found funny.

We hope this notification meets you in a good state of mind and health. The Federal bureau of investigation (FBI) Washington, D.C in conjunction with some other relevant Investigation Agencies here in the United states of America have recently been informed through our Global intelligence monitoring network that you presently have a transaction going on with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with regards to your over-due contract payment which according to their records has been fully endorsed in your favor.

i'm glad the fbi is concerned with my state of mind and health on top of busting up bad guys in their domestic duties.

It might interest you to know that we have taken out time in screening through this project as stipulated by the usual protocol of operation and have finally confirmed that your contract payment is 100% genuine and hitch free from all encumbrances and of which you have the lawful right to claim your fund without any further delay. Having notified you of this, we advise that you go ahead in dealing with the Central Bank office accordingly as we will be monitoring all their services with you as well as your correspondence with them at all levels of your claim.

wow, the fbi has taken over duties to do checks for individual citizens when it comes to their finances. can they also do my taxes and submit them to the internal revenue service for me too?

In addition, please also be informed that we recently had a meeting with the new Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in the person of Lamido Sanusi and Mr. Tunde Lemo along with some of the top officials of the ministry regarding your case and they made us understand that your file has been held in suspense depending on when you personally come for the claim. They also told us that the only problem they are facing right now is that some unscrupulous elements are using this project as an avenue to scam innocent people off their hard earned money by impersonating the Executive Governor and the Central Bank office.

i'm sure the busy board of the nigerian central bank loved meeting with you mr. mueller, about my specific case. i also appreciate the irony of the whole unscrupulous elements scamming innocent people by impersonating the executive governor of the central bank. i'm glad you had a chance to meet with them.


We were also made to understand that a lady with name Mrs.Joan C Bailey
from OHIO has already contacted them and also presented to them all the
necessary documents evidencing a claim purported to have been
signed personally by you prior to the release of your contract fund valued
at about US$8,000,000.00 (Eight million united states dollars),but the
Central Bank office did the wise thing by insisting on hearing from you
personally before they go ahead on wiring your fund to the Bank
information which was forwarded to them by the above named Lady. One of
the main reason why they contacted us was to assist them in making the
investigations.

oh, mrs. joan c bailey from ohio! wait, who the hell is that? when the hell did i sign off on some documents going to nigeria? why is the spacing all messed up in your email mr. mueller of the fbi? can't i at least expect a professionally written email from our country's premier domestic intelligence agency? speaking of which, the fbi is actually a within the justice department... you'd think that with all the lawyers running around, these types of things would be up to snuff.

We were further informed that we should warn our dear citizens who must have been informed of the contract payment which was awarded to them from the Central Bank of Nigeria, to be very careful as a result of all these irregularities so that they don't fall victim to such an ugly circumstance. And should in case you are already dealing with anybody or office claiming to be from the Central Bank of Nigeria, you are further advised to STOP further contact with them in your best interest and then contact the real office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) only with the below information accordingly:

again, irony appreciated.

NAME: SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI


OFFICE ADDRESS: Central Bank of Nigeria,
Central Business District,
Cadastral Zone, Abuja, Federal
Capital Territory, Nigeria.
SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI
Email:sanusicbngv1@aol.com
OFFICE PHONE: 234-808-1559451

well i guess that's good for aol that the governor of the nigerian central bank has an aol.com email... seeing as how they've just been spun off from time warner since they were a money drain on the combined media entity. going after the nigerian market will surely boost their revenues and profits, despite losing marketshare in the US. i can imagine Mr. Sanusi starting up his computer and waiting for the words, "you've got mail" like in that meg ryan-tom hanks movie. how awesome is that?


In your best interest, any message that doesn't come from the above email
address and phone number should not be replied to and should be
disregarded accordingly for security reasons. Meanwhile, we will advise
that you contact the Governor of the Central Bank immediately with the
above email address and request that they attend to your payment file as
directed, so as to enable you receive your contract fund accordingly.
To this effect, you are required to reconfirm and authenticate your given
particulars below for certainty and onward processing and release of you
funds as we may not be held liable for any wrong payment. You will be
required
to pay a fee of $550 dollars for the complete processing of your transfer.

how convenient that i get to contact the governor of the central bank, i'm sure he's waiting to hear from me. i wonder though, why must i pay a $550 processing fee? wouldn't it make more sense for you, the fbi to pay the fee for me since you've initiated this whole process without me. if you really think about it mr. mueller, if i end up getting that stream of $8 million usd, you'll make back that $550 processing fee in taxes i'll owe, and then some. so call it a good faith move on your part... pay the fee for me first, and then you'll get more funding in the next budget from the taxes i'll pay. besides, you're organization has been doing such a good job up until this point, i'm really hesitant to step in, in case i mess something up. we wouldn't want the tax on my $8 million to disappear now do we?

and the best part of the whole thing can be found in the email headers

X-AOL-UID: 3281.1756801258
X-AOL-DATE: Sat, 6 Feb 2010 3:10:58 AM Eastern Standard Time
Return-Path: info@fbi.gov
Received: from mtain-mg09.r1000.mx.aol.com (mtain-mg09.r1000.mx.aol.com [172.29.96.209]) by air-db07.mail.aol.com (v126.13) with ESMTP id MAILINDB074-869b4b6d240970; Sat, 06 Feb 2010 03:10:49 -0500
Received: from mail1.unicorp.com.qa (www.bemcoqatar.com.qa [213.130.100.10])
by mtain-mg09.r1000.mx.aol.com (Internet Inbound) with ESMTP id 08F7A3800010D
for *****@mail.com; Sat, 6 Feb 2010 03:10:47 -0500 (EST)
Received: from User ([82.128.38.212] RDNS failed) by mail1.unicorp.com.qa with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
Sat, 6 Feb 2010 00:03:33 +0300
Reply-To: rbtmueller1@aol.com
From: "F.B.I"info@fbi.gov
Subject: FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR FUNDS (CODE 111)
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 21:59:49 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset="Windows-1251"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
Message-ID: MAIL1iVx9H1e0CwzoF700009621@mail1.unicorp.com.qa
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 05 Feb 2010 21:03:33.0705 (UTC) FILETIME=[AD609390:01CAA6A6]
x-aol-global-disposition: S
x-aol-sid: 3039ac1d60d14b6d24071605
X-AOL-IP: 213.130.100.10

interestingly enough, the originating domain was in qatar. i guess the fbi's email servers are located out there? plus, they use an aol mail server route to transmit... no wonder our intelligence on iraq sucked so much! way to go using secure servers fbi! plus, who the hell uses the aol mail server platform anymore anyways? i also like the replyto email address of rbtmueller1@aol.com. good to know the head of the fbi is ALSO an aol user!

wegmans on the office

the recent episode of the office featured some wegmans soda in the break room! it isn't the first time that wegmans has been on the office. for those of you who have never heard of wegmans, it's just the best supermarket in all the land. better than whole foods, better than trader joes. stop in if you're ever in western or central new york, western pennsylvania, northern or southern new jersey, or northern maryland and virginia.

one of the songs that's been on heavy rotation in my queue is i'll fight by wilco. much like coax me by sloan, it's one of those songs where something very specific is able to capture my attention to really elevate it to another level for me. with coax me, it's always been the two guitar lines playing off each other. with i'll fight it's the organ that my ears really focus on. it adds a richness, albeit in very brief bursts.

i'm pretty excited for these olympic games. vancouver should be a great host city, i'm glad i get to watch some canadians do their thing. north america is so dominated by the US, and i find that many people have no idea what goes on up in the canadia. for this reason, i'm so glad i grew up in buffalo... living in a border city gives one an interesting perspective. my musical tastes were shaped by some good canadian radio back in the day, and i am very greatful for that. additionally, trips up to toronto are quick and easy, and it's always been fun heading up there and exploring. of course i can't forget going up for some weekend hockey tournaments. my team always lost to those burlington, on teams we played... but really... you can't expect us americans to one up those canadian kids on their turf (ice). while i've been through most of eastern canada... one day soon, i hope to make a trek out west and ski banff and check out vancouver.

February 24, 2010

go canada!

just wanted to type something up quick before the canada-russia game. i am crossing my fingers team canada brings their A-game, as russia's gonna be a really hard opponent to get by. hopefully the crowd can serve as a huge 7th man on the ice tonight. since canada absolutely destroyed deutschland yesterday, i hope the confidence is able to carry over to tonight, while the day off for russia doesn't help as much as it should.

i'd also like to add how much i enjoyed watching joannie rochette skate last night. that can't be an easy thing to do after the week she's had. to see the reaction and support of the crowd behind her... canada, you are an amazing country, and ms. rochette you do your country and mother proud!

February 26, 2010

healthcare and hockey

with all the olympic happenings lately, a lot of the major news stories may have been brushed over recently. i'd like to highlight one that is an issue i feel very strongly about. for any non-american readers out there, you may have heard about the whole healthcare debate in the US and how the democrats are trying to overhaul our system, while conservatives and republicans pretty much want less regulation and more privatization (expansion of private health insurance). recently president obama had called a summit inviting republicans to join with democrats to try and figure out a way to save his healthcare package and get it passed. first off, i think it's a no brainer to get this passed. healthcare costs in the US account for around 16% of our gdp and is rising. with the increased costs, less people are able to afford private insurance, and the numbers of uninsured are increasing. with the economic downturn affecting the job status of families and individuals, even more are being added to the rolls of uninsured, since health insurance is still tied closely to an employer's benefits package. now i understand the arguments by the democrats to want to push through a public option. i completely agree that healthcare is a right, and government SHOULD be in the business of overseeing healthcare. there are many reasons why i think it would be more efficient if we moved in that direction, one of them being economies of scope and another being economies of scale. conceptually i understand the conservatives and republicans argument of smaller government, that is their mantra and agenda. although i don't always agree with them, it does has its place in certain instances, i don't think this is one of them. so i respect both views of the two sides. however, to stall legislation so that nothing gets done is ridiculous. the plan is NOT perfect, and will NEVER be as long as there are two sides to the issue. people need help NOW! healthcare has always been an incremental process in the US starting from jfk-lbj first coming on the coattails of the whole social security debate. medicare was added along with medicaid. drg's were introduced, schip was expanded, part d was added. this has been an evolution of around 50 some years. originally the plan by the liberals were to expand medicare so that it would cover all of the public, but there was pushback because we didn't want a SOCIALIZED system. that was 40 years ago! in 1992 when clinton was elected, one of the centerpieces of his platform was healthcare reform. the republicans took control of congress after his election and killed it. almost a two decades ago, we knew our healthcare system was unsustainable. what do we have to show for all those years that have passed? absolutely nothing policy wise, but healthcare costs have risen from 10% of gdp to the 16% now. people need solutions now! stop bickering about the details and pass something, get it moving forward at least. i know the democrats and republicans have to agree on some pieces of the legislation, it can't be an all or nothing kind of deal. if it were up to me, i'd just tell the democrats to go it alone. they have the majority in congress right now, as well as the executive branch. the longer they wait the unhappier the public will get, the bigger chance they'll lose their mid-term elections this fall. pass it now while they have the majority! don't back down from the conservatives! why be so afraid? grow a pair already! to all those who think socialized medicine will be the end of the US... what the hell do you think medicare and social security are? they are two socialized programs! if you are so pro privatization and anti big government, i would urge you to drum up support for a national referendum to end social security and medicare! and for those of you who are currently enjoying the benefits of both and don't support healthcare reform... i don't even know what to say to you. get your head out your ass, do you even know what the issues are? are you even capable of logical thinking? do you understand your hypocritical position that makes absolutely no sense?

enough ranting about healthcare, i'll just leave you with a clip from western new york's own louise slaughter from president obama's summit. sums up how i feel about this whole mess pretty well.

on to hockey. wow. i really didn't expect the US to have such a monster game against finland. so it's up to canada tonight. slovakia has an up and coming team, and they have satan on their team (as in miroslav satan, former sabre, penguin, islander, oiler, and current bruin)! it would be great if canada didn't let up after their own blowout win over the russians. with a win, we've got an awesome US-canada rematch on the way sunday!

congrats to joannie, yu-na, and mao. good showing by mirai too!

February 27, 2010

grimace and childhood nursery rhymes

i saw this brilliant shirt on shirt woot the other day, and it made me laugh. i went and got a shirt.

does anyone know what a grimace is? i never really questioned it when i was little, but whoever came up with the thing had to have been pretty lazy, or crazy, or both. it's just a purple blob raindrop thingy, with eyes and eyebrows, and a mouth, and stubby arms and big feet. what the hell is it supposed to be? is it purple because it's sick from a diet consisting of 100% mcdonald's products? since it has a pear-shaped body, does it mean it is less prone to diabetes 2 and other weight related disorders than its apple-shaped relatives? and why doesn't it put some pants on already? what the f man? it doesn't even look like anything.

this reminded me of one of my favorite ricky gervais clips as some nursery rhymes also don't make any sense.

i am looking forward to the game tomorrow. one of my friends flew back to vancouver for the weekend. they'll be doing some celebrating come sunday if team canada wins. i on the other hand am hoping ryan miller stymies crosby, heatley, thornton, and co. speaking of crosby... i was thinking about team canada's roster, and how they have half the lineup of crosby, stills, nash, and young... or two-thirds of the lineup of crosby, stills, and nash.

March 2, 2010

in conclusion

i woke up sunday to an email from my friend.

*insert trash talk*

On that bright note....for your birthday present, Canada will win gold just for you. I know, it's everything you could ask for.

well according to them, i got exactly what i was wishing for for my birthday. i received a nice text from them after the game.

Told u that Canadian gold was for u

you have to love how friends are always lookin out. i didn't even know that's what i was wishing for either. how come it felt like such a letdown afterwards? congratulations to canada. it was a really good game.

i'll tell you what though, as a sabres fan, i really enjoyed watching ryan miller going through the line for handshakes and meeting up with lindy ruff. i'm happy for lindy, for his role in serving as assistant coach for team canada, and i'm glad the sabres have him as their hc (longest tenured one in the league too 200 coaching changes have happened since he was named head coach for buffalo btw). watching ruff take a couple extra seconds to console miller on the loss... doing what coaches do... just great to see two buffalo guys representing their countries. can i also tell you how much i like the line for handshakes at the end of games tradition in hockey? it's just a classy tradition that goes all the way down to the lowest levels of hockey. i remember going through those lines win or lose, right glove under left arm, shake, and perhaps give a tap of your stick to your opponents goalie pads if they had a monster game.

so... back to the regular season now. i hope miller's hungrier than ever after that loss. i'm pretty sure being the goalie that shuts down the western conference opponent in the cup finals would be an adequate way to get rid of this bad taste. who knows... maybe it'll be luongo and the canucks come june. now if we can just get past the senators........

i also noticed it was yahoo's birthday. they've been around for 15 years (officially). it's about half of my life. it feels like they've been around for so much longer.

i ended up getting a package from a friend. it was a framed blobfish made of felt.

blobfishes auto-magically put me in better moods. just look at it! how can you not laugh when you see one? it's got this awesome nose looking thing. i want to pinch.

March 6, 2010

woot

some new shirt.woot shirts that crack me up.

this one is the newest, and doesn't have it's own page yet, so the link may not be be correct after today. in that event you should be able to find it in the bystanders section of the reckoning page. i like what the lady says. greatest thing since...
sliced bread

self-explanatory.
mug shot

i especially like the description blurb they wrote up about this one, especially the mention of dexy's midnight runners and huey lewis and the news.
race for the cure

got some stuff coming up this week. gonna ask for some good vibes if you've got some to spare. hope you all have good weekends.

March 20, 2010

should i be shocked?

the all important vote for health reform is supposed to come tomorrow. though there has been legislation and "reform" over the last ~50 years, this is a seismic shift (even though it really isn't). there will be a federal mandate for everyone to get coverage by 2014 or face penalties. the private insurance system will stay, but they will no longer be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. they will actually get an influx of new customers with the federal mandate. on the one hand this could be a good thing as risk will be spread out over a larger pool of people. however there will not be a public option, which i think is a mistake. in the end my view is that government should provide health care. a federally managed plan would be able to spread the risk across the most users. additionally due to the size, they would be able to negotiate for lower cost of care and receive better rates from pharmaceutical companies and others. private insurance will never be able to achieve these economies of scale, as they operate as an oligopoly with a handful of them covering the majority of americans, but with none being the most dominant. even if there was a dominant private insurer, i don't know if i would trust what they would do with the health data they could mine from tens of millions of people. sure government could also use all that information against us, but at least there is some power in the fact that we elect people who form the teams to run these agencies. with a corporation, one would have to own stock to be able to have any say in these companies.

what really caught my attention about all of this this weekend is how tea party people are a bunch of douches. even though i don't really feel taxes are terrible on a federal level, i can accept that people are upset that there will be more taxes levied due to all these government programs, but seriously... is there any reason to hurl racial epithets around? the funny thing about the tea party protesters are that their big name supporters/spokespeople are the most mentally challenged (glenn beck? sarah palin?) people i've ever listened to. on top of that, they take their name from the boston tea party which happened because the colonists were upset because they were being taxed without any representation. we've had representation in the US at the federal, state, and local level for a long time. the best thing people can do if they're upset is VOTE those dead weight representatives OUT! however, people just don't vote anymore. voter participation is pretty horrendous here in the states. people who do end up voting also don't seem to educate themselves about the candidates either. i may have posted this before, but if you haven't seen it... really... you need to watch this video on sarah palin "supporters". how exactly would anyone even respond to these people?

so i've been playing around with drupal lately. this place has been pretty stagnant for awhile. i feel like it's time to spruce it up or call it quits. it seems like every time i post, it's always a rant. anyways, in doing some consulting work, i have been planning on launching a drupal site for the project i'm working on as the portal. i'm still figuring out the nuts and bolts of the application i'm building though. i've hit some brick walls as of late. anyone know how to display certain blob datatypes in mysql? yes it is amusing that there are different blob datatypes in sql. there are pluses and minuses for storing binary data within the database itself, and i have been leaning towards doing that... but i may have to switch gears and take the "easier" route.

i'll leave you guys with some funny. enjoy the rest of your weekend.

March 25, 2010

a quick note

things are progressing and moving nicely. i've been in a good zone with writing and debugging code. it's been awhile since i've really felt like i'm actually engaging in something that is challenging but fun. the thing with writing stuff for the web that i've always liked is there are so many ways one can get the final product accomplished. i'm not the most creative person, but there's at least some creativity that goes into any solution that's presented. the other thing i like about doing this stuff is that i can get instantaneous results, and it's easy to correct errors (for the most part). i've also always been fascinated with how things can connect and work together too. i've had this obsession which started in college with getting all the different operating systems to talk and share files with one another. if you ask tc, he'll tell you about my computers with 4 or 5 operating systems installed on them. this was before software like vmware, parallels, etc. made it relatively easy to do in a virtual machine. the interwebs is pretty cool if you think about everything that's behind it. all those webpages these days are no longer static html pages. most run on some server which processes dynamic content in the form of mainly php, asp, jsp. this content may or may not be stored in a database such as mysql, mssql server, db2, oracle sql. if you think about how the internet has pretty much allowed the flow of information from one person to another (as long as access is not restricted), it probably wouldn't surprise you that many of the programs and standards that the internet runs on are open source. for example the servers that connect the network together are increasingly run on open source variants of linux or bsd unix. the most popular web server is none other than the open source apache webserver. both mysql and php are open as well. what does this mean? well for starters it lets everyone who is interested into a community of participants. it's actually interesting when you develop programs how willing people are to help you out if you post a question on a board, despite the fact that you may be some anonymous person halfway around the world. it's just another form or blogging if you think about it. i don't want to jinx the flow.. but hopefully it'll continue. i wouldn't want to run into a bunch of code syntax problems like searching through a hundred lines of code to find out i forgot a semi-colon or bracket somewhere. that has always been the part i hated about writing code.

i do have one more techie thought to add. now i don't know why such a large company like adobe can't fix this, "(cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on flash-based storage devices)". for all of their products that install on os x, you can't install onto a disk if it has a case-sensitive filesystem. however if you use the windows version of their products... you can install it onto a windows ntfs partition which by default is case-sensitive. what's frustrating is that os x is actually based on unix... and the unix standard is to have a case-sensitive file system. whether a person wants to choose a file system that can and can't tell the difference between "A" and "a" is up to the person, but i actually came over to the mac BECAUSE their new computers were based on x86 hardware (i could run windows natively if i want) AND because os x was based on unix (though apparently it doesn't keep to the standards). i just think it's a blemish on adobe's part that i still can't install pshop or dreamweaver on my mac in os x because of this stupid limitation... but i've got it installed on my boot camp windows partition on my macbook.

April 1, 2010

frustration sets in

this was something i found last week that i had to save to watch over last weekend because i knew it would make me angry. i had to make sure i was in the correct state of mind before pressing the play button. it's annoying that people can have this kind of an effect on me. i don't mind opposing points of view with a healthy debate. however i don't appreciate people shutting others down, and not allowing them to get a word in. it's just common courtesy.

how do you debate someone who doesn't let you speak and doesn't have a basic grasp of logic? bill o'reilly vs. anthony weiner.

some of the new music (for me, since most of the albums have been out for awhile) i've been listening to lately include mat kearney (sounds coldplay-ish, but without the very noticeable rhyming scheme that is pretty prominent on X&Y which i find really distracting), sounds under radio, guster, and maximo park. everything's pretty good, though i haven't listened to a group and been blown away by a complete album in awhile. it's been a lot of solid tracks, but the other 4 to 6 tracks aren't all that interesting. so... any suggestions?

the leafs finally beat buffalo tonight. i wonder if this means that the sabres can beat the sens? i'm hoping this is the case. as we gear up for the playoffs, i was thinking about songs that mention or make reference in some way to the sport. two of my faves include the weakerthans 'elegy for gump worsley', and spirit of the west's 'williamson's garage'. as i was pondering this question, i then tried to think of songs that applied to curling. i could only come up with 'tournament of hearts' by the weakerthans. so does this mean the weakerthans are the most canadian band ever? well at least their album reunion tour should get consideration due to both elegy and tournament being on there. after all, how many albums have both a song related to hockey AND one to curling on it?

finally a funny video for the day. hope everyone enjoys their weekends.

April 7, 2010

science, meet art

the cepa gallery is holding an auction of some photographs. this one in particular caught my attention.



p. vanouse

here's the link for the description of the piece and other associated information.

do you know what that picture's showing? i'll give you a hint, they're building blocks.

if you guessed dna, you would be correct. in order to get the result that is shown on the photo, samples of dna need to be fluorescent stained and cut by restriction enzymes and loaded into the wells at the bottom of the photo. after that they are run through the gel submerged in solution with an electric current applied. the current forces the fragments of dna to migrate through the gel from one end to the other. the distance traveled by the fragments give us information on how long the fragment is, which helps us determine the dna sequences of the fragments and sample*. as restriction enzymes only cut at certain sequences of dna. all those letters at each sample well are the different restriction enzymes applied to the sample. in order for the art/scien-tist to come upon the design, for those lanes that are symmetrical on the left and right sides, you can see the same enzymes were used. lanes 1, 13, 14 had no enzymes applied and no sample loaded. lanes 2, 12 are the same. lanes 3, 11 are the same also. you can see where there is a difference in lanes 5 and 10 which use completely different enzymes, thus getting different cut pieces which migrate at different rates across the agarose gel. if you're interested in the process of preparing the dna, read on... otherwise you can skip the rest and do something more interesting.

the whole process takes around a full day if we are working with a sample of dna that has already been purified and only needs amplification. we copied the dna by using an enzyme called dna polymerase through a process called the polymerase chain reaction (pcr). through heating of the double stranded dna (which seperates the double helix into single strands), we can also use and activate dna polymerase to copy each strand with the opposite base pair nucleic acid. the cooling action allows bonds between the strands to form again. the result from 1 double strand of dna is 2 strands of dna that come apart from heating pre-dna polymerase, and 4 strands of dna post-dna polymerase action. we can program a thermacycler to raise and drop the temperatures of the sample multiple times until we have sufficient quantity to run them through the gel. in my lab, we usually put the sample into the thermacycler at the end of the day and let it run overnight.

so the next morning (or afternoon), we'd come in ready for another fun day. we have a sufficient amount of sample now, and this is where we stain and cut the sample. we can use a hot water bath to activate the enzymes we place in our samples and leave that going while we prepare our gel. this whole process took an hour or more as the gel is prepared from a liquid mixture and allowed to cool and set (think jello but not edible and more ew). when everything is finally set, we can apply a large current if we're really rushed (though this is not a good idea, as the dna fragment bands can run off the gel and you lose all your work), or we can even apply a very low current and let it run overnight if we decide to go out that evening. usually though, we pick something in between so that we can check in every once in awhile to make sure things are all going as planned. after all this is done, we carefully remove the quite fragile gel and take it to our geldoc scanner for school pictures. usually this best case scenario was not what was played out. since dna does not show up unless it is stained with a fluorescent compound that glowed under uv light, this was always a scary time. the geldoc scanner's uv light allows us to determine if our results were what was expected. there were many times when the uv light went on and curses were shouted after a day's worth of work was for nothing.

i do have to say though, there are days when i miss being a grad student in my lab. the biotech department was a small department, and we were a pretty tight knit group always encouraging each other despite our many attempts at getting these damn experiments to work. i miss the solitude and clarity i had when i went into the lab late at night to culture or prep cells. i miss being able to use the name of some restriction enzymes on a daily basis. my top 3 faves are HindIII, BamHI, and EcoRI. i also miss the surprises and successes that came, such as seeing that clump of dna in 70% isopropanol (yes you can actually see the dna if you successfully amplify and purify it). i will say this though, i do not miss keeping a lab notebook and writing a long document about it.

*i want to point out that we have better technologies now to sequence dna, we can just put our sample into a sequencer. it uses the fluorescence intensity to measure what each base is as it passes through a reader. the use of restriction enzymes is the old and "cheap" original but time consuming way to do it.

April 15, 2010

hucks, shapes, garbage, stuff and hockey

some links i've been saving up mixed in with recent stuff.

first i want to say that i do enjoy huckabee's appearances on the daily show with jon stewart, even though his positions differ from mine. when he's on the show, they usually have a healthy but civil debate, not dissimilar to most conservatives that go on the daily show. there are times when jon will interrupt, but it's done in a respectful manner (though i may be biased on that point). however when conservative christians start talking about certain issues where they become the moral judge of others, it really annoys me and i thinkit gives christians and christianity a bad image. it gets under my skin when people come out and make statements that dismiss gay marriage without understanding or even bother getting to know or listen to people on the otherside. as a christian, i know that i don't have all the answers, thus i should not be going out condemning other people for who they are. as a human, i really have no right to tell two people who love each other whether or not they have the right to get married. it really has no bearing on me, nor does it affect my life at all if two gay or lesbian persons in a committed relationship choose to marry each other. actually, whether or not they are in a committed relationship also really has no impact on me either. there are plenty of heterosexual couples who marry and then divorce, and though it may affect their offspring, i cannot say that it directly impacts my own life either. i truly believe that people who are gay, lesbian, bi, or transgendered don't have a choice. it's not something you can turn on and off, it's just how humans are made. every single day there are millions of biochemical processes going on in a human body. there are tens of thousands of genes activating different proteins. who knows how much of the untranslated region of dna actually plays a role in the cascading and switching on and off of other events which may be related to hormones. for those people who are heterosexual, you just know that you like people of the opposite sex. can you explain it? i certainly can't. why is it so unbelievable for people to find people of the same sex attractive? i also don't understand his position against adoption for same-sex couples. an effective parent is an effective parent. one can be a good parent whether they are gay or straight. if two parents are better than one, why would it be any different in these cases?

something else that confuses me concerning conservative christians are those who refuse to fund or impede teaching sex-ed. sometimes i forget how rural and conservative parts of wisconsin are. while the state generally trends to liberals and dems during elections thanks to cities like madison and milwaukee, it's still pretty conservative out in the sticks. it's been shown over and over, abstinence only education does not work. you can't expect people to abide by it. conservatives and republicans are all about individual rights, blah blah stop the feds from taxing me and taking my income, states rights and all that other stuff that they constantly preach. why don't they arm people with tools and information? i don't see how giving a person more information and more tools could hurt them when they decide whether or not to have sexual relations with another person? in a free market, you need information to make the best choices. stop going against your own beliefs.

shape wars. this is just brilliant. i can't really say anything more about it.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
A Farewell to Arms
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

they found a garbage patch in the atlantic to go with the one they found in the pacific recently. it's amazing to me that plastics really weren't used by the masses until about 60 years ago. i'm just thinking of all the crap we throw away these days, and it really horrifies me to think how much bigger these patches will be in another 60 years if we don't find some effective solutions now. an interesting development i found out about recently is that sun chips designed and is now using a compostable bag for their chips.

it's a good start to contributing to sustainable packaging, though there's a slight problem currently as the bag has to be composted. if it's thrown in a landfill, it will not degrade. i'm sure they or whomever developed it may have patents for the technology. to make composting worthwhile like recycling, there needs to be a critical mass of people who demand something of that nature. it would be great if all companies were to use these types of bags making it easier to separate them out from trash in refuse processing facilities. local governments with the ability to compost would be able to then use the broken down material for their parks systems or find other uses for nutrient rich compost soil. there are some municipalities which already compost, and by using this process for composting, we can use up less space for waste, and contribute to the re-greening of our environment.

i found this rather interesting. it's a list of books that people have the most issues with in terms of content. i just can't believe catcher in the rye, the color purple, to kill a mocking bird, and the chocolate war still get complaints. those books have been around forever, and to this day they still top the list. i was saying to my t.c. how i was really surprised that a clockwork orange was not on the list. in my opinion, that book has way more material that may be of an objectionable nature to some people. seriously though, those books were probably ground breaking and shocking when they first came out. do the same people just keep calling in complaints about them to this day? have they even read the books and tried to understand the context and what the author was trying to get the reader to see and understand?

well this turned out to be a long post. if you're still reading i commend you. here's 1000 bonus points. the sabres open up the first round tonight against the bruins. after a 3 year absence, playoff hockey is back for buffalo fans! there's nothing quite like spring time hockey. it's game time soon, so i'll wrap this up. enjoy your fridays! LET'S GO BUFF-A-LO

April 29, 2010

all $ort$ of awfulne$$ (this is what people listen to now?)

i was catching up on some snl a little while ago and watched this train wreck.

the "singing" is whiny, the lyrics don't make much sense, the choreography... if you can even call it that... is non-existent, the make-up, props, and costumes are a mess (what's up with the lasers? was she giving a nod to dr. evil?). i couldn't figure out a connection with the american flag. what exactly does a song about brushing teeth with jack have anything to do with america? i suppose her lyrics reflecting a consumerist-instant-gratification culture might have a connection with this country. i'm pretty sure she did not mean for the song to have such a deep meaning though. what's up with the glow in the dark face paint? stage presence is not her strong suit. the astronauts did not add anything to the first song. in the second one, the stage looked barren for a fast paced song. i felt bad for ryan phillippe. in both his intros, he looked resigned to the fact that the viewers would have to endure a really bad 5 minutes.

i started an entry about the buffalo & buffalo ex-pats biannual day of mourning. it's a little old now but the long and short of it is every year for as long as i can remember, there were always 2 days that most people associated with the city of buffalo are down. the first being when the bills are out of the playoff hunt (as in they have no chance of making the playoffs cause they're too incompetent to get in... a decade of futility), and the day the sabres get kicked out of the playoffs. the sabres lost to a boston team that was too physical. the power play was horrible, the penalty kill was bad, and the veteran players on offense were non-factors. my letters didn't work at all, in fact most of them ended up with the exact opposite result. satan ended up with the game/series winner. out of all the teams left in the east, i guess i'm throwing my support behind the underdog habs (sorry leafs fans, but you have to be impressed by their series against the caps though).

there's oh so many news articles i've saved up and want to do posts about (apple, bailouts, health care, building preservation), but i don't want each of my entries to turn into a tome. so i'm picking the oil disaster out in the gulf (mexico, not persian). while i understand our current energy and transportation infrastructure depend a large amount on oil, i don't think sarah palin's "drill baby, drill" plan is a good idea. the more we drill, the greater the chance we have of producing future disasters like this one. since we don't seem to be in a hurry to change over to an alternate source of energy, development of those substitutes are also slower. additionally we can only guess at how much oil is left that we are able to tap into. what happens if we don't have the next source in a long term usable form when we run out of oil? the damage could be great if the economies of the world all stopped functioning. i won't argue that at present oil is relatively cheap in terms of monetary costs to purchase for consumers compared to other sources, however as with all things there are other indirect costs associated which people don't always think about some of which lead to the prior ones i listed above. often we look for the simple solution, drill more, but that in itself has consequences. as with everything, we just have to realize that things aren't simple, you can't just get rid of federal agencies tea party people, we really need to work harder to find better solutions that are viable in the long term.

May 2, 2010

census, oil, political matrix

the census it being conducted in the US at present. i remember when i was younger and learned about it in school, i was pretty impressed that people would go out and into the neighborhoods to get an accurate count of everyone, though these days it seems to be getting more dangerous. i don't know if it was just my impression but it seemed like civics and government participation was stressed from an early age in my social studies classes. hearing about how voter turnout has been pretty bad ever since i've been able to vote, i worry if kids these days are getting even less of the information that allows them to evaluate and back a position through logical reasoning? why is my generation so apathetic when it comes to politics? i love to vote. i always look forward to election day. no doubt it comes partially from some of my strong opinions on certain issues, but sometimes i wonder what it would take for me NOT to have those opinions? i can't really see how i would be able to not feel one way or another on social issues, or the environment, the economy, health care, gun control etc. anyways back to the census, i remember learning how important it was in elementary school. it allowed the government to correctly allocate resources, and representatives to the house. with each census that goes by though, i always feel a little sad since new york state keeps losing population and thus house members to southern and western states. i was recently thinking though, i know a little bit about how our system works... but i don't really know all that much about other countries. i would think that most countries would have a census to allocate resources. how often is your country's census conducted, and how is it conducted? are there problems with getting responses from people?

this whole oil fiasco is just an upsetting situation. a lot of harm will be done to the environment from different species of animals dying, to a means of living. coastlines will be damaged and those beachfront locales that count on tourism will be hurt economically. a part of me really doesn't want the federal gov't to help those states that had elected officials who supported increasing offshore drilling. sure it's possible that these oil companies could have brought increased revenues in, and i'm sure people weighed the pros and cons... but i would think normally people can't resist the temptation of going for the least costly (at the time), as in lower taxes option. all it really takes is one catastrophic accident to take the benefits away. i don't know if there's a better way to learn lessons than to go through some form of pain. we saw it with the great depression. people who lived through that period were forever changed, as are people who live through oppressive regimes then make it to an open society. sometimes i feel like we have it too easy. a part of me does kind of wish our little recession went a little deeper. it would've been interesting to watch the foundations of our markets collapse. how long would it have taken for us to recover if citi, boa, and aig didn't get any help? what about fannie and freddie mac? or chrysler and gm? i'm certain we'd learn a thing or two about how we should be more responsible. as it stands, i think the jury's still out on whether that has occurred. back to the oil spill though, i'm not a fan of hypocrites, and in this case i'm talking about current louisiana governor bobby jindal. back in 2006 when he was a congressman he supported the lifting of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling over the continental shelf of the US. the house passed the bill in 2008. this increase of offshore drilling is also what prompted palin's "drill baby, drill" slogan. jindal was also one of those gop governors who opposed federal stimulus money because he believed the role of the federal government was too big. well as this oil spill has shown, he's now asking the federal government to help out louisiana. i know a lot of conservatives and gop members believe in the role of personal responsibility, as in a person should take the good together with the bad concerning their decisions. well, you voted to increase drilling, you got what you wished for. so now, instead of trying to use the resources available to you as governor to fix the problem, you ask for federal help? what happened to decreasing your dependence on federal funds? not so smart now are you? this isn't to say that mistakes can't happen. there is always a chance for error, but you shouldn't say or do one thing, then do the complete opposite of what you were championing. this doesn't take president obama off the hook either. he came out in support of increasing offshore drilling. how we're left with millions of barrels of unused oil, and who knows how much money worth of irrevocable environmental damage and unrecoverable water/land ecosystems? was it worth it to get at that crude oil just so we can pay cheap prices for electricity and gas? obviously i can't answer that for everyone, but in my opinion i don't think it was. what do you think?

i (re)found this website that i thought was interesting. i'm not sure if i've posted this in a prior entry, but if you haven't taken it before it classifies and summarizes your individual economic and social stances. i took it again, i think my scores were a little different from the last time, though i don't recall my scores exactly from the prior time. what're your scores?

http://www.uselectionatlas.org/TOOLS/POLMTX/thetest.php

Economic score: -2.58
Social score: -4.17

Your score pegs you as economically center-leftist and socially moderately libertarian.

Economic center-leftists typically support above average controls on free trade, raising or maintaining the current tax levels, but still support free trade.

Moderate social libertarians generally favor a hands-off approach to social legislation. They may believe that the government has no right to enforce morals, but may support certain controls on individual rights to avoid crime, drug use, or similar social ills.

i feel like there was something else i was gonna write about, but it's escaped me. in the meantime, florence sent me this awesome link, though i'm still not sure how i feel about the ipad.

May 31, 2010

insomnia

i can't sleep, so i thought i'd post something.

such great weather lately. here's a picture along a section of the riverwalk that hugs the niagara river shoreline in tonawanda.

i've been listening to a lot of guster's album keep it together lately. it's a good summer album to drive to. one of the things i like about it is that the instrumentation is varied. the drummer/percussionist uses all sorts of instruments from xylophone to bongos, and tambourine among others. my favorite track has changed a couple times since i first started really listening to it, but it has settled on the title track. i sure i like it cause it features different instruments, rhythms, and flourishes. two things that stand out are the bongos that come in at around 1:20 and the banjo that comes in towards the end of the track. i know i've posted before about how sometimes i like to focus on specific instrumental lines to some songs in particular. since things are all pretty much recorded in stereo nowadays, when i do this i like to use one earbud running from my ipod so i can split up the instrumentation in one channel. for me personally, it gives me a better appreciation of how a song like this comes together as i can concentrate on the rhythmic guitar line vs. the lead guitar line and the various other instruments split between the left and right channels. anyways here's a playlist with 3 songs from the album i really like, they're all a little different from each other.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

that's it for now. let's see if the zzz's come this time around.

June 3, 2010

simplicity

i've always liked the simplicity in google's homepage. you're just presented with a text box and off you go. i'm a big fan of how they switch up the doodles every once in awhile for a birthday, holiday, or big event. the recent birthday of pac-man was pretty cool, where you could play the game. i also found it funny that they changed the i'm feeling lucky button to insert coin. recently they've released their search engine site using ssl (https://www.google.com). today another new feature i noticed, perhaps it's been there for awhile? you can set a background image for your page now. while i appreciate the simplicity of the original default search page, i thought maybe i'd switch it up and put in a background image. i've always liked photos and pictures that look out onto water, especially ones that look out onto piers. it kind of looks like a bridge between land and water, and eventually sky. i think i just like the vastness of the water and sky. anyways, i'm working on a big post about abandoned churches in buffalo, concert venues in manhattan, and preservation. i hope to be able to tie everything up into something coherent. in the meantime, hope you all have a good weekend.

ps if you haven't played google pac-man, here's the link. http://www.google.com/pacman

June 9, 2010

wednesday (maybe thursday) funny

this is something i like about the daily show. i would think most people would agree that the political leanings regarding the subject matter and viewpoints are left leaning. however the show itself will make fun of people no matter what their affiliation. when they have guests on with views that may not be in line with those of the hosts, production staff, and viewers, there is usually a lively debate without the yelling, attacking, blanket statements and intimidation found on other network's shows. anyways, this is a recent piece poking fun of our president.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ass Quest 2010
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

punishment by lactic acid build up. really cracked me up.

i've been pretty good lately about not looking at the comment section of news articles recently... but the habit is so hard to break. especially when i read an article where i know i'll come across the most ridiculous comments. i found this gem today from a i'm guessing republican/tea party leaning person.

This is what has happened since the Democrats took over: the highest unemployment rate in decades, no private sector job growth, $1.5 TRILLION annual deficits, worst oil spill ever, $500 BILLION soon to be cut from our seniors healthcare, while the rest of us wait in long lines for a 5-minute check up.

PLEASE have Obama campaign for fellow Democrats on his failed agenda, including his government takeover of health care, his trillion dollar decifits, his failed stimulus, his mishandling of the economy ,and his pathetic response to the oil spill.

nothing happens in a vacuum. i guess the person forgot the previous 8 years where a supposed "conservative" held the top government spot in our country we entered into a period where our unemployment rate increased. seriously, did the person even bother to think WHY the current unemployment rate is so freaking high? it's not like we woke up one day to find unemployment at 10% the day president obama took over.

i don't know why this person is also complaining about deficit spending. over the past 30 years, we've had 3 republican presidents, and 2 democrats. the first of the "conservatives" had a whole macroeconomic thought process named after him with reaganomics. every single year one of the conservatives was in office, the US has had an increasing federal deficit. when clinton was in office, he was the first president to actually reduce the annual deficit in years with surpluses coming in during his last 4 years in office. with regards to president obama, give the man some damn time already! people have such unrealistic expectations of him, he's only in his 2nd year!

i have an issue with the commenter's statement where they complain about no private sector job growth. uhhhh, if you've been paying any attention at all... the financial sector shed thousands of jobs losing pretty much all of it's independent investment banks save one. one of the largest insurers collapsed, two of the biggest retail banks were flailing around. the auto industry continued to lose thousands of jobs. these are PRIVATE SECTOR jobs. yet... i'll bet anything that this individual was bitching and moaning when federal loans were given to these firms so they could keep on EMPLOYING people. while not completely out of the woods yet, those firms are on more stable footing currently and the government is divesting their interest in those companies by selling off its shares. in the end, the government will be at the very least breaking even if not making money through those loans that were given out. private sector job creation never comes during a recession and downturn. we were in a recession, having the private sector shrink wasn't a big surprise. obviously jobs saved aren't the same as jobs created... but if the alternative were to come true and the entire US financial and auto sector collapsed we'd be hoping for saved jobs rather than created jobs.

the oil spill is also not completely on the president either. the national attitude for a number of years now was to increase offshore drilling. senator obama was one of the many congress persons at the time, that cut across party lines to vote in favor of increasing the amount of drilling done. now i don't know what this person was saying or thinking at the time gas prices were sky high, but i know many people who were complaining about the cost of filling their cars up. additionally we know that with more drilling, there's a greater chance that some disaster will happen. no process is perfect, eventually something bad WILL happen. i'm not in any way giving a free pass to bp, cause recent information has found that they were pretty lax in their oversight. however, this comes down to a government oversight issue. if we can't trust private companies to do the right things, we need to government to step in. however if people like the ones in the tea party, are all about getting rid of government agencies, how is industry going to be regulated for safety? i don't necessarily have a problem with this individuals complaint about the oil disaster per say, but the burden is on more than the one person this commentor is implicating. additionally if this individual has ever complained about the price of oil in the last decade, and especially if they were pro offshore drilling... i would think that they do not have a valid complaint.

last thing that made absolutely no sense to me. the deficits as they pertain to healthcare spending. this person's complaining about a $500 billion cut to senior's healthcare? what in the what? senior's healthcare is covered fully by the federal government's medicare program. in the previous sentence they complain about a $1.5 trillion deficit. well if we cut out medicare, i'm pretty sure we can shave some money off the deficit. however i don't think this person is arguing for those medicare cuts. it's just so frustrating to me when people completely negate their argument with a contradicting statement showing they have no grasp of the issues at hand. on top of that the person's complaining about long lines for 5 minute checkups. HELLO!? we have a privately run health system. you can choose your primary care provider. you can change your pcp if you're not satisfied. i've been in offices with long wait times, i've been in offices where i'm seen with minimal waiting. just change your freaking doctor! how hard is that? the argument for a private health system in the current marketplace will shorten office visits more. if doctors are motivated by profits and revenues, they will want to see more patients to increase both. everything else about operating a primary care practice is pretty much a fixed cost. the more people a doctor sees the smaller the average fixed cost becomes. why would a provider not want to shorten office visits?

well, enough ranting. hope you have a good last 2 days of the work week.

June 19, 2010

drupal

the new host has been flaky this past week. i'm still trying to iron out an issue with a module, but here's the link to the new blog.

http://imaginationland.heliohost.org/

About general

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to .:Gotta Drop a Blog in The Corner:. in the general category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

funny is the previous category.

hockey is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.32