Great Quote From a Great Movie

"I wanna be with her more, I wanna be with her all the time, and I wanna tell her things I don't even tell you or mum. And I don't want her to have another boyfriend. I suppose if I could have all those things, I wouldn't really mind if I touched her or not."
-About a Boy

Not my typical kind of movie but I actually really enjoyed this one. I recommend it!

Man's Most Versatile Friend

As I love music, it tends to be a topic I often blog about. I've talked before on its benefits and on the importance of respecting others' music choices. There's one particular benefit, though, that I've only recently thought about. Artists often get some of their best inspiration from personal experience, from the emotions they feel immediately after an event. They translate these experiences into melodious stories, beautiful sagas of which many can relate. This, right here, is the magic of this music: the extent to which we can associate with these artists, sense their concerns, feel their emotions all through the strumming of a guitar. When we, too, feel as these artists feel, these songs help us realize that we are not alone in the experiences we go through. To listen to Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" and to know that others have endured the loss of a loved one before as we are going through that very experience gives us a sense of belonging, of serenity, of relief. 

It's easy to focus on how our problems our distinct, how it seems that the world is caving in on us and we're an army of one in a battle that can't be won. Any alleviation of this suffocating feeling can make a world of difference. And so music steps in and plays the simplest yet most unpredictably extraordinary of roles. Whether you quietly play Keith Urban on your headphones when you're trying to "sweep out all the ruins that my emotions left" or you crank Foo Fighters on your stereo to help you realize "its times like these you learn to love again," music is a friend that will always have your back and know how you feel. Songs are amazing gifts bestowed upon us by the artists of this world. Cherish them.

Ten Things I've Learned This Summer

1. The amount of fun you have is 25% dependent on what you do and 75% on who you do it with.

2. Everyone deserves a second chance. Be wary of giving third chances.

3. Air conditioners are important.

4. Take a gamble every once in a while. Sometimes, the rewards are beyond worth it.

5. Things aren't always as they seem...but sometimes that's the best surprise of all.

6. Find yourself a role model you can talk to and trust. It doesn't always have to be someone who's famous or rich. In fact, sometimes it's better to have someone you know well so you can go to them easily for advice. Find someone who you hope to emulate in some way in that they show you that even your greatest goals are attainable.

7. Be spontaneous, but only sparingly. It's important to have plans but every once in a while, it adds to the fun of the night to just make a decision on a whim.

8. Explore the city or town you live in. The summer's the best time to do this. Know it well. It makes it all the better when you have friends visiting or when you're planning a date.

9. Make time for exercise. The benefits of this abound.

10. Meet new people. There's no such thing as being saturated with friends. Some of my favorite people I've met only recently and I wish I could have met them years earlier. That being said, don't ever lose touch with those friends you care about. A sub-rule, then, is to get Skype.

And time to begin again

As summer has arrived, I think it's about time to refreshen and renew my blogging. And so I'll start with my song of the day:

As mushy as it is, it's pretty catchy and I can't seem to get it out of my head. Take some time and bask in this as I prepare my first legit post of the year.

Race: Yellow

During my latest perusing of the Angry Asian Man blog, I discovered this incredibly ridiculous picture.

Scott Johnson, a second-generation Taiwanese American born in Cleburne, Texas was issued this certificate at birth. Note carefully the "race" section.


1. WTF?!

2. This was in 1985 though I'm pretty sure I would believe it if someone told me it happened in the Texas of 2010. 

3. WTF?!

4. I don't even think this is racism. It looks like it's just pure ignorance but perhaps that's just because I refuse to believe someone would purposefully be racist on another person's birth certificate. You never know, though.

5. How come poor Scott doesn't get a middle name? His mom and dad got one.

6. I like how they have a separate place for ethnicity (not shown) and "IS FATHER OF SPANISH ORIGIN?" I applaud the first guy who decides to be a smart ass and writes "SEE 8B, STUPID"

7. I find it funny that it's called the "Bureau of Vital Statistics." True, it means statistics concerning life but I just can't help but think that they're emphasizing "These statistics are incredibly vital and crucial, unlike most of the other stupid statistics the rest of the Bureaus deal with"

Top 10 Tips For Making a Meal Without Leaving Lab

1. Salt is your friend. 5 molar, 3 molar, 1 molar, there's plenty of options. And if you get bored of the good old NaCl, you could always try calcium or potassium chloride.

2. Bunsen burners are incredibly useful. When using the burner for warming of meals, make sure your plate is touching the blue part of the flame. This is the hottest part and will allow for optimal heating time. If cooking or oven time is needed, use the autoclave.

3. Petri dishes are great places for sides like corn or dressing. However, please make sure to wash once or twice if the dish was previously used for bacterial research.

4. Label all food items using lab tape with your name, type of food, date of creation, date of consumption, and your PI's name.

5. Know which items go in which freezer. Keep the 4 degree, -20 degree, and -86 degree straight. Food stored at -80 degrees or below is good for several years.

6. Keep meticulous notes in your lab notebook about the food you ate, what time you ate it, who you ate it with, method of eating, and calorie content.

7. Make use of electrophoresis. If you find some random food in one of the freezers yet you can't quite remember what it is, no problem! Just run a sample of it on a gel! Every food's got a characteristic band so you should have no problem identifying it. Simply melt the agar afterward and you've got safe, friendly food consumption.

8. Always wear gloves. Always.

9. Lab ice is totally fit for consumption. The people who put the labels on the ice machine have no idea what they're talking about. If you're looking for an especially cold drink, the dry ice adds a nice foggy touch to make things a little classier.

10. Lunch is the best time for making small talk. You know that recent immigrant in the next lab bench over? This is the best time for you to find out if he really can speak English. Plus, you can find out about all the latest lab gossip. Whose mice died last week? Which researchers have been "collaborating" lately? SHE got a paper published in Science?

Sex Sells...But at What Price?

As it finally begins to feel like summer, I've caught myself watching a little more TV than I use to. Since dancing is one of my recent hobbies, one of the shows I've gotten into is So You Think You Can Dance. Prior to this season (Season 7), I would watch videos of the best routines from the various seasons on YouTube but I never actually got into watching the show. I decided now was as good a time as any to give it a shot. And so I delved into the competitive, emotional, sexy world that is SYTYCD (Apparently, you're not a true So You Think You Can Dance fan unless you use the abbreviation regularly and without hesitation).

The newest season of SYTYCD introduced some major changes. For instance, this year the show started with 11 dancers instead of the customary 20. In addition, with each routine, dancers perform with an "all star" from a previous season instead of with a partner on the show. After there is 7 dancers left, the contestants do two routines each: one with an all star and one with another contestant. The new style has certainly added a little bit more excitement to the show.

Yet with all these changes, there's one that stands out as the most prominent: SYTYCD's gradual change from selling innovative routines and incredibly talented artists to selling evolution's best friend. In the newest routines, dancers come on stage with virtually no clothes and somehow still manage to take another article of clothing or two off while on stage. Take a look.

Fortunately for those behind SYTYCD, it seems to be working. Fans are loving every minute of it. To me, though, it seems that this move towards a sexier scene has taken away from the show. The choreography is less innovative than in previous seasons and the judges are less focused on precision more so on presentation skills. When all you have to do is take some clothes off to get viewers, then what's the point of kicking the choreo up a notch? Without this sexier clothing, poor choreography would result in less viewers, forcing SYTYCD to up the choreography level and improving the show. With the new progression, however, this selection pressure is no longer as relevant.

"Sex sells" seems to be a fast and steady rule. Yet what people fail to notice is the drawbacks that giving in to hotter media can have. If sexier media requires diminished quality, then a balance is needed so true quality can be maintained. As we grow older, we move past the shallow face value and start to look deeper into the effect that things have and how impressive they are in all their qualities, not just those that are visible. This process, though, doesn't have to be passive. You can push yourself to look deeper into media, experiences, even people. So, give it a try, see how inhibiting shallowness can be.

It is true, then, that sex sells. The question, then, is whether it's always worth buying.

And to tell you the truth, I just plain can't stand Mia Michaels as a judge.