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Posts tagged with: Personal

I'm Back

For a while lately my eyes had been unclouded to the truth that blogging is vain and fruitless. That moment of clarity has passed, and now I’m back!

In all truthfulness, I do believe blogging has some value. It provides a sounding board for ideas and rants, and due to some strange psychological reason, unloading my thoughts, or at least a certain subset of them, onto a public webpage accessible by billions of people (with actual readership likely numbering in the low single digits) gives me a sense of relieved gratification. I see it as ‘talking to yourself in public’ taken into the 21st century. Add to this the fact that I’m posting this on my phone while on a train from New York to Philly, and I can almost convince myself that this is all somehow “cool.”

Anyway, what prompted this post is that I was just reading an article in the WSJ on recent job cuts in the financial sector and came across this quote

“[An attorney] filed an arbitration claim this week on behalf of a former mortgage backed securities salesman at Merrill Lynch & Co. Despite having his best year ever, the salesman’s pay plummeted to about $190,000 from $1.2 million. ‘He couldn’t make enough money to feed his family.’”

Poor guy.

Not Your Typical Drive to Work

I was driving to work this morning when the lady in front of me swerved off the side of the road and hit a wooden telephone pole, bringing the entire pole down on her car. The entire front end of her car was demolished, and there were billows of smoke coming out from the engine area. I pulled off to the side of the road, made sure the car wasn’t about to explode, helped the lady out of the car, and called 911. Miraculously, other than being shaken up, she was alright. The smoke coming from the wrecked car smelled really funny though. I hope it wasn’t anything toxic.

An Amusing Discovery

Back when I was an undergrad, I started getting into kpop and joined a certain online forum discussing said art form. One of the members of that forum was an MIT alumn who had recently started a website which, besides showcasing his own excellent manga-style artwork, also hosted an oekaki board (like a forum, except users draw pictures rather than write posts). On this oekaki board I drew a certain painting of a famous jpop singer which I then used as my profile picture on a popular online music social networking site. Tonight, I discovered that a certain contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered” had grabbed that profile picture and posted it on her blog as something that had recently become one of her daughter’s favorite “photos.” And that NPR contributer comes from, of all places, the same state I’m from. I don’t know why, but I get such a kick out of tiny things like this. :)

Lea Salonga!

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG… I just met Lea Salonga after a performance of Les Misérables!  And she signed my Les Misérables playbill! And we took a picture together! She’s so nice. :D But dang, my head looks so big in that picture. XD Being there by myself, there was no one else to take the picture for us, so I had to hold the camera out and do a self-take, thus the weird angle and disproportionate head sizes. :p I’m just glad it turned out half decent. (^_^ And I swear, this is the only time you’ll see me use so many OMGs and smileys. ^^;;

Lea Salonga

Okay, now that I’ve had a chance to calm down a bit… Lea Salonga has always been one of my favorite singers/actresses ever since I heard her perform as Eponine in Les Misérables and Kim in Miss Saigon.  Growing up, I also heard her sing and voice act in many of my favorite Disney movies.  In the recent Les Misérables revival, they decided to cast Lea as Fantine.  When I learned that, I immediately bought tickets to the show.  Tonight, after the performance, I waited outside the stage door along with dozens of other people for Lea to come out, and when she finally did (and after patiently greeting the 20 or so other people in front of me in the line), I finally got to talk with her and take a picture!

Courtside at Agassi’s Final Match

With my parents visiting I figured this would be a good time to visit the US Open. I was able to get first row courtside tickets for Arthur Ashe stadium from the concierge at the Ritz Carlton Central Park for Sunday’s day session. Thanks to the rainout on Saturday, we were able to see Andre Agassi play Benjamin Becker in what would be Andre’s final match of his career.

US Open Tickets

This was my first time at the Open, and I have to admit the experience was pretty surreal. We were sitting in the front row courtside opposite the umpire’s chair, so our view was unobstructed except for the press box in front of us, but the cameramen were positioned fairly low, so it wasn’t a problem. The seats were closer to the court than I imagined. I could see the sweat and clenched teeth; I could hear the crystal clear pop of the ball off the racquet. The atmosphere in the stadium was awesome, and we were right in the middle of it.

US Open - Agassi Return

I wish I could say the match itself was great also, or at least that Andre played well. After the match Andre said his back was bothering him from the beginning, and it showed. He wasn’t moving well at all, his shots were weak, and it was painful to watch him play. Hats off to Benji for putting up with the rowdy New York crowd and giving Andre some decent points to remember.

US Open - Benjamin Becker's Serve

After the match Andre gave his farewell speech. I just watched a replay of it a few hours ago on TV, and I have to admit it does sound a bit dramatized and orchestrated. Yet, being in the stadium and hearing it live, I thought it sounded very sincere and heartfelt even if the speech itself was not extemporaneous. However, this is not to say that I buy everything he said or all the emotional hype spewing from every tennis media outlet.

US Open - Agassi's Farewell Speech

As for entertaining tennis, that was supplied by the Roddick vs. Verdasco match. I started out cheering for Roddick along with the rest of the crowd.

US Open - Andy Roddick's Serve

After watching a couple games, though, I became enthralled with Verdasco’s play. His groundstrokes were amazing, especially his forehand when he went all out. Plus his movement was a lot more fluid and lively than Roddick’s. Verdasco’s game was definitely more entertaining to watch than Roddick’s, and I was pulling for him to win.

US Open - Fernando Verdasco

Sadly, though, Roddick’s serve gave him too many cheap (and boring) points and enabled him to pull out a five set win.  I wanted to see the Nadal match, but he was playing in Louis Armstrong stadium, and the line there was way too long.

Joy and Will

Recently got back from Joy and Will’s wedding in Maui. It was a lovely wedding and a fun trip. Congratulations to both of them!

Joy and Will's Wedding

Allosteric Dreams

Sometimes I scare myself. They say you dream about what’s in your heart (or rather, that mass of gray matter in your head people like to call the “heart”), but last night was a clear counterexample of that adage. In my dream, I was explaining to a student how changes in ion affinity due to mutations in one amino acid of a protein doesn’t necessarily mean that particular amino acid is directly involved, either mechanically or electrostatically, with the binding site for the ion due to the possibility of allosteric interactions involving that amino acid and the binding site effecting the observed change in affinity.

Understand that I left the field of biomedical engineering three years ago as if it were Sodom and Gomorrah being rained upon by fire and brimstone, and I haven’t looked back. I probably haven’t even uttered the words, “allosteric interactions,” in over three years. That’s why it’s mystifying, and somewhat scary, that I’d have such a vivid dream about it– a dream where I even remember drawing a diagram illustrating allosteric interactions in a protein.