Friday, July 31, 2009

Dear Oxnard Haiku Friday

Dear Oxnard, could it
be any nicer here? I
don't want to go home.


No humidity,
cool breeze, warm sunshine, a
bit of fog at night


Sometimes you have to
leave a place before you know
how nice it can be.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I finally watched this move this weekend and cannot say enough good things about it. I must admit, I was a little too young to realize the situations going on in CA in the late 70s, early 80s. Until this movie, I had never really heard of Harvey Milk. I knew he was a gay icon, but I didn't really know why or what he had done. And there are some things I just can't imagine: like the Castro being anti-gay, people being unable to express their relationships with each other in public, and state-sanctioned discrimination (oh, wait, I can imagine that one! No on H8 BTW Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act). In every movement, it takes someone with more bravery and courage than I can imagine to step out in front of the issues and call them to people's attention. Harvey Milk does that. He spearheads a campaign to put a gay person into a public office (and he runs more times than you can count). He eventually wins a seat as a City Supervisor in SF, only to be shot and killed by another deranged Supervisor at their place of work. (Yeah, talk about justice: see the "Twinkie Defense" if you really want to get pissed off). Harvey inspired a whole host of activists, including the man who set in motion the AIDS quilt, as well as many other people advocating Public Health and Equality for All. I cannot imagine a better time for this movie to come out. Sean Penn is amazing in it, James Franco is (wow) really great. There's a grassroots feeling to this movie, and it was great to see parts of SF re-created for this movie. Altogether, I loved it. It's heartbreaking, heartwrenching, but ultimately has a message of hope. I only hope this movie an inspire others to advocate for themselves, stand up for their rights, and hopefully, soon, we can have equality for all people everywhere. At least, that's what Harvey Milk believes in.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ode to the Fisher Fine Arts Library

I go here a lot
Makes me feel like a student
in the Ivy League.

Vaulted ceilings, arched
doorways, even a fireplace
big chairs and tables.

Not like biomed
library; less stress, more calm.
Suggest you visit!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

40 years ago today....

The Apollo 11 mission left earth for the first manned flight to the moon. Understandably, an unbelievable feat, I just wanted to commemorate the awesomeness of this day. NASA was able to pull off an amazing trip to the moon that was broadcast around the world. I know that I have always been inspired by astronauts and space. Another trip to the ISS is underway today. I was able to watch the live broadcast of the launch last night, and it brought back so many memories. I remember the Challenger blowing up. For some reason, I was at my Grandparents' house that day, home sick from school. The first schoolteacher in space. I remember waking up early to hear the sonic booms from the space shuttle landing. I remember seeing the weird 747 at Mugu, preparing to fly the shuttle to Florida. NASA and the space program have so advanced science and made it open and accessible to the public. What a truly historic day. Congrats, NASA! Here's to 40 more years of exploration (at least!).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Rant

While understandably excited to watch the confirmation of our first Latina woman on the Supreme Court (and only the THIRD woman to serve), I can't help but be pissed off at the conservative conversations happening in the media. Here is an intelligent, hard working woman who graduated from Princeton undergrad and Yale law School. She has, as far as I can tell, risen from a working class family (in which her father had a third grade education and did not even speak English) to become a judge in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. I am not sure how much hard work it requires to become a judge. I don't even know how much work Yale Law School might be. I know that grad school takes a lot of determination, intelligence, perseverance and the right attitude. I imagine Sotomayor has all of these and more. I would like to think that Obama saw in her the same pragmatic attitude he has, having come from a working class family and having risen to the Presidency. I would like to think her decisions as a judge have been well thought out and have been based on precident as well as the laws on the books. Nobody really knows. However, I will not stand for this blatant racism, saying she is the product of affirmative action - that she never would have made it this far without racial quotas. I'm sorry, but what? We are talking about a wildly sucessful 55 year old woman, here. Someone who has clearly planned her life journey according to certain values, one who has worked her ass off to get where she is today. It has nothing to do with her race! Don't diminsh he accomplishments by saying they only occurred because of affirmative action. Don't deny young women a role model they can look up to; don't deny the Hispanic culture the right to celebrate this nomination.
I guess the idea is taken with a grain of salt, right? If that's the worst thing they can come up with to say about her, so be it. You and I know the real story. She's an amazing woman, a role model we can all admire. And I dare her to confront those stuffy old white men on that damn Supreme Court. Let's see how well "affirmative action" works for us!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Transformers: Robots in Disguise

Yesterday, we had a big, suburban adventure that included watching Transformers 2. It was about this time last year that they were filming this movie around campus and around Philly, so it was great to finally see the movie. I loved this movie. I loved the first movie, too, so I probably walked in there a little biased. Transformers 2 definitely delivered. It was as good as the first movie and was very exciting and fun to watch. The plot? Not so much. If you're looking for a good story, you won't find it here. However, if you are looking for some awesome military footage, lots of robots turning into cars and vice versa and a whole lotta explosions and violence, this is it. Josh Duhamel is pretty damn good looking, and Shia's not too bad either (am I allowed to like him? Is he too young and I'm too old? not sure how this works...). Meagan Fox is gorgeous (although, I wish women could play actual characters of substance sometimes) and the new Transformers that populate the movie are also pretty cool. I loved the CGI, mostly because you couldn't tell it was CGI (although, it had to be, right?) and I loved seeing Penn represented on the big screen. Altogether, this was a great summer movie, perfect for a Sunday afternoon. And the best part? Alex saw Optimus Prime driving around NY State a couple weeks ago - sounds like they're working on a sequel!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ode to Summer Haiku Friday

Dear Summer, I love
you more than any other
season in Philly.


Relaxed atmosphere,
Long days, bright sun,
warm evenings, chill.


Green trees, blue skies, toes
are free from shoes, lemonade,
fruit and veggies, Yum!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My new favorite thing

I've recently discovered Pandora, an internet radio station you can program yourself by putting in your favorite songs / artists / albums. Our radio stations here in Philly are pretty bad (same thing, over and over again) and I guess I'm just not that into "newer"music, except for select artists. What I'm saying is that I'm old and set in my ways :)
After MJ's death, I started to realize how long it had been since I've heard his music and the music from my childhood. I created a radio station around MJ, and have repeatedly heard my favorite song, "Man in the Mirror", as well as music by Janet Jackson (Ms. Jackson if you're nasty), Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, etc. I've also added some of my other old favorites, like NKOTB (I know, I'm shameless), Belinda Carlisle, Jackson 5, Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, etc. Apparently, I am a gay man trapped in a woman's body - LOL. I just wanna DANCE :)
Anyways, just thought I would share my new favorite thing. And stop by my lab, we'll have dance party!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

I love living where this country started and feeling the rumblings of change coming ahead. I love that the Liberty Bell has come to stand for some much more in this world than just American freedom. And I love that our forefathers made the time and effort to write our Declaration of Independence, which should always be remembered.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Celebrate America Haiku Friday

Dear America,
Happy Birthday! You don't look
too worse for the wear!


It's been a tough time
these last few years: elections
wars, economies.


But I feel good,
optimistic, even, that
we can get 'er done!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Book Report Thursday

My mom lent me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. She had just finished reading it and sent me home with it the last time I was in CA. I've just finished the book and I am absolutely in love with it. It takes place on a British island between England and France shortly after the end of WWII. The entire book is written in letters, which, at first, are somewhat cumbersome, but eventually come to represent the characters quite well. Our heroine is Juliet, a writer living in London who receives a somewhat random letter from a man named Dawsey, who is residing on the island of Guernsey. He has come across a book Juliet used to own and begins writing to her about the book (and can she send him some more?). The correspondence is lovely and well written, and brings you into a world you never thought existed. It turns out that Guernsey was occupied by the Germans during WWII, and they are now starting to recover from said occupation. Juliet becomes fascinated by this subject, thinking nobody knew about these plucky islanders and their multiple year occupation. Looking for a subject to write a book on, Juliet embarks on a journey looking for tales of the occupation and how the islanders, particularly a group called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and how they dealt with the occupation. As she begins to get to know the characters on the island, she begins to make plans to visit and meet the friends she's made quite by chance. This novel is lovely, brave and endearing, written in a manner I thought long dead (actual letters) and it describes (sometimes in horrifying detail) the trials and tribulations of war and all of its consequences. At the end, I could not put the book down and actually carried it with me to work to finish during my lunch break. It's a great book, with wonderful characters, a great story line and a nice, although somewhat sad ending. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, as the characters are still in my head, the humor is dry and entertaining, and the plotline seems original and creative.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009