Friday, October 28, 2005

I'm not 16 years old.

Someone just mistook me for a Boston Latin High school student yet again.

I did go to college, graduate, work, pay my own bills, get published, make mistakes, learn from them, have my heart broken, and only to be confused with a 16 year-old!

* * *
I'm going to the All-Ivy Halloween Party tonight. What should I be?

The 11th Annual All-Ivy Halloween Masquerade Ball is being held thisFriday, October 28th, 2005. Entertainment is being provided by BostonParty Makers and dress is costume or creative black tie. A cash barwill be available, and hot and cold hors d'ouevres will be served.Positive ID is required. Price per person: $20. Starts at 9:00pm, endsat 1:00am.The sign up link is:, the Harvard Club tells me they have had problems updating theirsign-up list online but currently have about 160-200 people signedup.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thank you

I came home to find flowers. Thank you. They brightened my day. Take care of yourself in New Haven.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My reflection on Mrs. Cindy Sheehan

Let me preface what I am about to say with this: I have all empathy in the world for Mrs. Cindy Sheehan and her tragic loss. I can't imagine the magnitude of a mother' sorrow over a lost child. Casey Sheehan, her son, died a hero's death. He volunteered for military service, knowing the cost and dangers for committing himself for service. He paid the ultimate price for defending others' safety and freedom.

But I am afraid that Mrs. Sheehan, in her moments of intense grief and sorrow, has made some impulsive decisions. From her appearances with Michael Moore to her many anger-drenched demonstrations, she risks losing the grace and moral superiority of being a hero's mother. She has unknowingly put her son's death in the forefront of political controversy. Casey is now the dart board for partisan debate and the target for mudslinging for extremes both the left and right. I hardly think that this is what Casey would have wanted: would he like to be remembered for dying a hero's death, or for being at the center of political quagmire?

If I could talk to Mrs. Sheehan now, I would say this: as much sorrow as she has exprienced, never let her sadness and anger overshaddow her son's heoric sacrifice, and the beautiful life he had lived.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Now for a heart-warming story:

After a stroke, a lot of people lost the ability to speak (aphasia in fancy medical talk). The intriguing thing is that these people are still able to say over-learned phrases, such as "it's okay," "I don't know," or even profanity. These patients' family are often shocked and embarrassed to find their loved ones unable to produce a single sentense, but still perfectly capable of cussing out of frustration.

The theory is that these over-used phrases are more emotional gestures than linguistic constructs, and they are produced from a different brain center than a logical sentense. A person can lose the ability to formulate a complete, coherent sentence, but he may still be able to express his frustration and anger using emotional phrases.

I met a patient a week ago, who had a MCA ischemic stroke that lead to aphasia. The touching thing is that one of the few phrases he was able to say is "I love you." And he looks at his wife of 42 years as he said it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Nude and pregnant

Would you pay $150 to photograph a pregnant model? I think there is something incredibly beautiful in a pregant woman and just the human form in general, but I really don't have the luxury for said experience. I suppose I'll have to stick with leaves and random fancy cars I see on Newbury St.

Sometimes I really wish I had a cheaper hobby - like kniting or something.

P.S. If you like to draw and paint, Mass Art has this thing where you pay $10/hour to paint with a model.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The meek

I'm really not sure if there is karma in life. I don't think the meek shall inherit the earth either: the gentle and the meek are trotted on by the boots of the ruthless and the self-absorbed. I don't think happiness has anything do to with whether you deserve it or not. People who are self-centered and amoral tends to be a whole lot happier than people who lay down their life for others and bear others' burdens. The most professionally successful people are often those with the cutthroat mentality and those who can practice selective amnesia on the times when they have used and hurt others. This is NOT to say that I have any desire to become one of these people. In fact, I don't think I even can. It's just not me. But I'm starting to recognize that being a loving person has very high costs. Whenever you invest your compassion and care onto others, you risk grief and heartbreak and disappointment.
I guess the only way to end grief is to live through it and allow yourself to experience it. One can cling onto family and friends, or drown herself in alcohol or other forms of temporary amnesia. But if one allows herself to live through it, and really own her grief, in the end, she would at least have the satisfaction that she used her own innner resources to live through the experience.

Monday, October 17, 2005


A stunning shot of the Seattle harbor by Nick Ragovis. (I have no new photography given the weather in Boston).

I look for signs. When something happens, say a person dies, I think back to the days before and wonder about that bird I saw passing by or that tree struck down by lightening. I want see patterns and connections in life; I hate the thought that our lives are but the result of random collisions of molecules. I want to know that there are reasons for things, and all the beauty that we see around us and all the good people that we meet are somehow meant to be.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Not quite poetry after reading Principles of Neuroscience for 4 hours

"We are all alone together. Hope and bones are what holds us up. "

Not-quite-poetry after reading "Principles of Neuroscience" for 4 hours

The books tell me that my memories and imagination are but a collection
of molecules and nuclei and white matter tracks,
that everything I hold dear are but the devious work
of dopamine and receptors and secondary signalling proteins.

I refuse to believe that neuroscience explains the grace I feel
In the prescence of a stranger's kindness,
Or the utter awe I feel watching the priest stop the Homily
to invite a homeless woman standing on the steps into the church,
or the strange combination of joy and grief
I feel when alone at night,
suddenly rediscovering a lost memory
of the loved one whom I loved and lost long ago.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Guest Photo Post

My friend Nick Ragovis took this breath-taking photo of SF Bay. He's a wonderful person and a great friend and a total hottie.