soon to come... the top 10 things i love about taiwan. pictures are needed to fully express this entry, though.
this whole terry shiavo situation is really bothering me. i'm following it with a morbid fascination, because so many issues -- legal, ethical, religious, psychological, etc., are wrapped in her case.
most of my friends are of the opinion that terry shiavo should be left to rest in peace. so we began discussing the point at which someone should be let go. namely, when that person is devoid of any conscious existence or when a person's brain is unable to sustain any conscious existence. but, then we decided that that definition has grander implications; my friend then pointed out that it is unclear whether many animals have consciousness, or whether younger children do, as well, and they are equally unable to feed themselves, as terry shiavo is. so therein invalidates the argument. it's a bit of a stretch, and i'm explaining it poorly, but that's the general idea. the thing is, if a baby went brain dead at 3 months, we wouldn't fathom keeping it alive for 60, 70 more years, but one might an adult (i discovered yet another case of a young college woman in taiwan who was rendered braindead by a car accident. her parents kept her alive for the past 40 years, and when both of them passed away, her sister undertook the responsibility). so where is the line drawn as to when a person should be kept alive? when they have developed a personality? when they have accomplished something? when others are significantly attached to their being? does that make it an issue of the patient or the surrounding individuals?
more jaded are those of the opinion that shiavo's parents are just acting selfishly. we often mourn the loss of someone because, well, we need them to be present. for our own sake and our own consciences, we need them to be by our side. that's a bit harsh. but these friends argue -- who would really want to remain in a vegetative state, hooked to a feeding tube for 50, 60 years? then again, according to buddhist philosophy, it may be her karma to live her life that way, in an altered state of consciousness and being. so it is not another's right to decide that her penance should end before it must.
i really have no idea how to answer this question. but it's interesting how it's become a politico-religious issue, with some touting her case as an anti-abortion case. in the end, i might side with my friends. regardless of whatever verdict i espouse, i truly feel for her parents and for her ex-husband. this must be an excruciating experience for both parties.
of the world.
1. looking forward to my international hiatus.
2. investigating research job at stanford
3. contemplating getting a car
4. realization wrt to self: it's funny how i can't seem to talk to men that i find attractive, but i have no trouble talking to guys that don't interest me. so, that basically means that if i like a guy, i'll ignore him to death. and if i talk to a guy, he has no appeal to me. maybe that's why i end up attracting the wrong chaps.
5. why do they have telephone numbers for the hearing disabled? does this confuse anyone but me?
6. girl scout cookies are now $3.50 a box. back in my day, i think they were sub $3 AND we also got patches. the girls i saw this weekend had no patches and had a chart for change in terms of number of boxes given and the change tendered. has that changed, too? we used to have to do it in our head...
7. drive to seattle in april with dr. dentist.
8. cross country drive in june...
9. sf chronicle half marathon in july
10. tofurkey is the *most* disgusting, heinous, vile thing alive today. don't eat it. i ate it yesterday and saw my life flash before my eyes.
signing off for several weeks...
i used to write a lot of poetry. i'm in creative bad shape. time to practice. feel free to tell me it sucks. i know it does.
looming mounds of rice
i, ravenous, took in thrice
belly proudly big
dogwood's graceful bend
paint petal white with sky blue
the sun dancing through
pile of blue and red mix
lay a card two more waiting
how dull poker is!
grant me a melody, soft sweet bringing,
and leave gently a you in me ringing.
i guess it never stops.
if you ever want a funny story, ask me about what it was like to date at mit. well, at least i thought it was kind of funny. and several of my good friends have a handful of ridiculous stories based upon my experiences. they still shame me to this day.
in any case, leave it to mit to start a dating service for people in boston. it actually grew out of compatibility quizzes given out around valentine's day. based on your answers, you'd get a printout of your 10 most compatible matches at mit. i guess the students needed a little more help and decided to make it more formal.
the best part, as meta pointed out, is that it's built with "flexible implementation" and "professional design."
leave it up to mit students to worry about making dating scalable and well-designed. you can't regret going to a school with students who do that.
i'm redoing the blog design, in case you can't tell.
i seem to have lost my title. i can't figure out where it went.
i need goonley to fix it. i'm too dumb.
update: oooh!! you hit refresh and there it is. i'm so clever.
it has been quite a month! the impending doom of all coming to a conclusion that was what you did not envision is disappointing. HOWEVER! one should not allow a few setbacks to destroy his passion or drive. afterall, nelson mandela was deprived of his freedom for his faith. so many have sacrificed their lives. for those pop culture finatics, jewel lived out of a van and george clooney slept in a friend's closet for several years. watson and crick spent how many years on the dna helix? in the end, it often seems that success is more a test of conviction and pesistence than anything.
so, should you find yourself in a place of disappointment and doubt (regardless of whether it is related to graduate school or not), i, the master of being denied, has formulated a recovery process, post realization that all is not going to be as you want:
1. allow yourself to have cathartic outbreak: this can take place through crying, screaming, yelling, running, boxing, whatever. just do not inflict any permanent damage onto yourself or any other individual, bug, animal, or bmw. you are allowed several scoops of chocolate truffle ice cream or culinary indulgence, and a stiff drink. not too many drinks, however, or you will plummet yourself to worse depths.
2. get support: call, email, knock down the door of your closest friends, advisors, spiritual advisors, whatever. put down your wall of pride and allow yourself to completely express how you feel. there is no better relief for disappointment than to share it.
3. fan your ego: allow your friends, advisors, teachers to fan your ego. you will need it to save yourself from taking it personally and from abdicating your goal.
4. fight denial: get back into a schedule of things and go to work/school/gym. when people ask you about what happened, openly admit it. it forces you to face the reality of your situation, and you can use all the support and suggestions you need.
when a classmate asks you why your eyes are so puffy (from crying the night before), tell her that you are extremely allergic to honeydew and that you had this weird compulsion to slather it all over your face the night before, thus resulting in the distortion of your features. if that amuses you, even at the expense of the other person, that's okay. you deserve to be odd for a few days.
5. get the answers: write every school, company, person who rejected you, and find out exactly *why* you were denied. there's no other way to improve yourself than to hear the truth.
6. get support (a different kind): call those close advisors and tell them to give you a dose of reality if you are still sitting on your ass being depressed. have them remind you that one failure does not determine all, and that you really should have the sense to remember that we are more than discrete successes or failures.
7. MOVE!!: the best cure for disappointment is to devote yourself to external causes -- there are plenty of people who still need your help out there. throw yourself into teaching, volunteering, and helping out friends in needs.
8. make your plan: if you really love what you do, don't give up on it. make a plan for the next year: how to rectify your past mistakes, how to continue developing yourself, how to financially support yourself. email as many people as you can, shamelessly. tell them about your situation, what you are considering, and what options are out there.
9. blog: blog about a professor's work that makes you absolutely crazy. maybe he'll read it and give you acceptance to the school :).
10. go easy on yourself: the most overwhelming thing that everyone said to me this week was that rejections were not a reflection of who i am. as vinny said, if we take it to be so, then we are allowing external circumstances to define our internal states. that should not be.
okay. i hope this helps. i don't mean to be a bore, but i think it might help some people who've written me in the past about their disappointments.
thanks to everyone who called, emailed, stopped by, and gave me a hug (electronic or real). for some reason, physically seeing the news was a necessary precursor to the abreaction i've been needing for some time, even though i knew long before that i wasn't going to go to cambridge.
the point is, i made it in somewhere but i'm choosing not to go. and i am not going to give up on this path. i have the option of lecturing a few undergrad classes at school, doing research in some nearby labs, and working at a youth center. mostly, i'm thankful that i'm so stupidly stubborn. i don't want out, yet.
i'm just sorry for all of you who wanted me out of your hair and out of the bay area. my roommates probably want to napalm the committee the most -- they're rapidly growing sick of my asian pop singing at 7 am. but really, thanks for your wellwishes. i'll be happy to be here another year. eventually, i'll get into a program.
i just wanted to type and tell you all that when youa re really dirnk and kind obuzed, it messed up your typing. righ tnow, honefyiles, is experiencing how badly i am type, and i wanted to show you that dirnking is bad while trying to oeprate something seriou sor caryy on a serious conversation. i can't even imagine how terribly it would be if i tried to drive thi way.
so yes. dont' rink and rive. i'm aghast ast home many of my friend shave actually rie dto drink and drive. ridiculou! you all should ahve mor sense!
well, i did the best i could this weekend at the interviews. i don't think i could have done anything differently or better. i answered every question has eloquently, completely and intelligently as i could. but, it wasn't enough. i just don't know how i can compete with 21 year-olds who've spent the past four years committing themselves to getting into graduate and medical school. some of them have already first authored in top science journals.
most shockingly, i was the oldest person at the interviews. it felt odd. while they spent the first hour rambling on about classes, labwork, and their upcoming interviews, i tuned out and carried on an internal dialogue commenting on their perspective versus mine. i just didn't feel like getting engaged in a "i did this, what did you do?" argument.
the oddest thing about it all is that the scholarships are all about giving to the world. giving to community. it's hard to see how a 21 year old who's spent his entire life with a petri dish knows how to give to the world. i'm not belittling their accomplishments. these kids are amazing. they are directed, focused, and brilliant. they're also sheltered and innocent. most of them never stepped outside of their university to see what was waiting. most of them admitted to me that they don't want to step outside. so, given the opportunity to stay in school and have it paid for, they'll take it without a question of what may lie on the other side.
so the good news is that those of you who were saddened about my leaving the bay area probably don't need to. roomies probably don't need to find a new roomie, either. good for me. i like living with them and i like the apartment.
the bad news is that my heart is a little broken.
a classmate of mine was telling me that she has been thinking of being a surrogate mom. at the age of 28, she's starting to get nesting instincts, and wants to opportunity to feel life growing within her before graduate school consumes her any further. it was odd for me to hear her saying this because she's probably the best in the class, and the most talented of all of us. given the opportunity, she'd easily sail into academic success.
and so this is what it has come to. many of us spent our adolescent years slaving away over formulas and essays, or in the newspaper office, or in buses that carried us to and fro sports events. it was all to fit the box of what colleges wanted. many of us found, however, that through each door we walked, lay a longer road ahead, and often, a much more arduous one.
i'm entering my late twenties in a few months, and it's all beginning to change for many of my contemporaries. most of them, brilliant and talented, are starting to turn away from the glamorous careers and the search for success to what they define as being: friends. family. life. time. exploration. they all comment on how they are valuing that which they never realized they needed. they want time to sleep in on saturday mornings and the ability to walk away from deadlines. they want a job that will let them choose wife, husband, children, parents, vacations to nestled alleys in europe, evening horseback rides.
for me, it's been a switch. in college, i definitely felt that there was more to work. psychology has been an opportunity to throw myself into a profession that gives back to the world. it's been a blessing. but now i'm looking down one of those roads and i'm wondering where it leads. work has brought me joy but my happiest moments haven't been alone with a book or with my laptop. it's been with the people i love most in life.
so, it's okay. i'm standing at the line between the past and what is to come. i'm excited for what may happen, but i'm really starting to realize, and most importantly, feel, that the essence to who we are isn't in what we do. it's just a fringe benefit, really. i've waited a long time to finally feel free of any worries regarding what is to come.
i've been doing more thinking lately. i need to stop, but when you study psychology or any sociology-type related field, everything triggers a question or a theory that needs to be developed. so my question is more social psychology related, and it's been brought on by today's article in sfgate.com, as well as other recent ongoings in my life.
today an old friend from college came to visit me. i met him during r/o, and although we kept in touch over the years, we don't see much of each other. the last time i saw him was may 2003, right before i left for san francisco. still, we spoke for many hours, and it felt like we were still 18, back at school. in any case, we were talking about friendship styles, and what it means to keep in touch, why you keep in touch with some people, etc. that made me think of a conversation that i've frequently had with some friends. there are some very different styles of friendship*. i've categorized a few, but there may be more. and no judgement should be read into these categories...
*note: some of these may not be classified as friends, depending on your definition of "friend," but people vary in their requirements and standards. i'll just put down the types that have been shared with me:
1. the best friend: this is the friend you talk to frequently, share everything with, who has been through thick and thin with you. the two of you probably haven't had many confrontations, if any at all, because there just hasn't been a need. feelings are addressed, problems are forgotten, and most of all, you just love this person as a sibling. this is the person you always count on being there, and for some reason, the friendship has always been dependable, intimate, and sincere. these are far and few between.
2. the pick-me-up friend: you can not see this person for years and it will feel as if no time has elapsed. these people are difficult to come by, but it usually demands a similar approach/view towards life, so that regardless of where you have been since you last saw each other, you'll always understand each other. these types tend to be very reliable when you are in need.
3. the childhood friend: i often find these friends very valuable, because they know who you were, and where you came from. most often, you find yourself having chosen a very different path from these type of friends, but for some reason, they still always understand the core of you. similar to the pick-me-up friend, you can see them very infrequently, and still have very intimate conversations.
4. the activity friend: someone you do things with just because you have spare time and you want to have someone to accompany you. doesn't entail a deep connection or very intimate rapport. still, these relationships demand constant communication and intense effort, almost more than the first three categories. otherwise, they don't last very long. when they do end, you are saddened by the loss of the company, but there isn't a heartleft, emotional loss of the friend.
5. the happy-to-see-you friend: you see each other very infrequently, and though you really respect each other and really like each other, you probably won't ever become good friends. still, you are sincerely happy when you see the other, and want the best for them. you also want to know the ongoings in their lives, though you probably can't get more involved in that.
6. the bad-ass friend: you admire and respect this person for their accomplishments and attributes, and so strive to be amongst their acquaintances and learn from them. most often, this is someone who can push you to better yourself professionally or socially, but it isn't really someone that you share an intimate knowledge of. these relationships are sometimes short-lived, disappointing, or kept very superficial.
7. the if-only friend: the friend that you always wanted to get to know better or be closer with, but due to circumstances, you never did. sometimes causes a feeling of dismay or regret.
8. the career friend: the person who helps you out with school, career, work, etc. basically, you two are friends because you've seen each other through difficult academic or professional situations, and have helped each other grow and learn. you respect each other in the academic/professional arena, but haven't entered the personal arena. oftentimes, these people can become closer friends.
9. the has-been friend: you used to be good friends, but for some reason, you just changed and no longer really click the way you used to. a part of you will always feel affection for these friends because they hold a part of your past and understand a part of you, but there is a palpable distance that cannot be bridged. in some cases, it might be awkward because the connection is no longer there, but, you still feel happy to see them. you appreciate them for the friendship you had.
10. the distance friend: a friend you have always had but never was really close with. you occasionally send emails and letters to each other, just to know what the other is doing, but were never especially close with one another.
i think that's it. feel free to add.
Psychology often focuses on the damage that bullying can have on developing children. They most often focus on males, because it is the physical abuse and violence that can be the most easily identified and curbed. At the same time, however, psychologists are beginning to recognize that girls can be no less vicious, and in a more insidious manner. While males tend to resort to physical means to express their aggression, women tend to use more emotionally abusive and socially manipulative means to control others. It's often harder to catch these incidents, because girls can be subtler about it, but it's something that's important to be aware of as well.