April 7, 2012 / 9:58AM 2 notes


Remember how my then-friend reserved a downtown Chicago club for my 21st birthday, invited a hundred guests, and then didn’t make sure I came?
I spent that night eating peanuts on my couch and watching re-runs of Chelsea Lately. That was exactly two years ago.

personalhappy birthday to me

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December 19, 2011 / 10:31AM 6 notes

Dissertation acknowledgments:

I would also like to thank X and CIHR for paying for my groceries for the past year.

I didn’t even have to resort to stripping on the weekends at any point of my graduate career.

personalgrad schoolfini

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December 4, 2011 / 12:11PM 2 notes

Old regrets come flooding back to me. I wish I could go back and make different decisions. The only choice left now is to press onwards, and find a different path. May everything truly happen for a reason.


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November 25, 2011 / 8:30PM

Like a novice fakir on a bed of nails

I’m delaying the imminent realization I’ve been asked to give my final Master’s presentation on Monday to my lab. Then on Wednesday to my committee, Parasitology department and colleagues. Then the following week to the Anatomy & Cell Biology department. The presentation doesn’t exist yet. As I’m balking at going any deeper into the mess of my own project, I can’t help but see parallels between my situation and the (much graver) journey of the young slave Bagoas in The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, which I’m reading at the moment.


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November 24, 2011 / 10:15AM

I’m looking forward to taking a break for a while, starting in late December. Write for the sake of writing. Shoot some photos. Reconnect with my family and my passions. Garden. Travel. Be comfortable with not giving a fuck about the things I never did care about.


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October 13, 2011 / 12:57PM 6 notes

English translation: Email to parents

Dear Parents,

It’s possible you will be happy, or otherwise, to hear that I have not found a relevant job offer or funding for a doctorate in Montreal. I have then spoken to my primary investigator, and we agreed she will write me a letter of support, and I will finish here in mid-December.

I write to you to clarify whether I can count on someone picking me up in the third week of December, or whether I have been disinherited, and should seek a flight to San Francisco.

Your dauphin.


Response 1:

Don’t joke…..(:, mama

Response 2:

You are not disinherited.
I’ll pick you up.


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September 17, 2011 / 11:33PM 1 note

Plans. Future. A big dive into the unknown, not so unscrupulous anymore

I guess speaking to my mother over Skype cooled me off with my plans to go live in Barcelona. I would do it, too.  But, obviously, when we are talking about a 4-6 year commitment, my family is something I need to take into consideration. Being overseas as my brother grows up (he is three now) could be time never recovered.
And Berkeley is a great school (maybe they won’t even accept me). I’m still torn, however. Will San Fran, this great city (so I hear), feel like a defeat and a compromise? Or will it be just a sensible choice. There are questions upon questions that seem critical to making the decision now, but which will never get answered. Even years from now, I’ll look back, and I might say:

I have lived a great life. These years have blessed me beyond belief. I have grown as a person, I have kneaded and formed my character; I have honed my skills as a scientist and a global citizen. I can’t help but wonder, however, where I’d be now had I gone to Cataluña/San Francisco/Elsewhere when I was still calling the shots.

I want to try new things. I crave another adventure. This thing is like a drug - you are scared of it, but you are a junkie. You can’t help your desire to slip into darkness. Unlike a drug, this is scary, but it is rewarding - often still not without pain. Welcome to adulthood, where we trade one thing for another, even if you do not want to go through with these transactions.

Trying to prevent future regrets is like trying to travel in time. They’re both impossible.


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September 17, 2011 / 10:43PM

Main goals for the weekend

Clean the apartment
• Get groceries
• Come up with a plan on how to respectfully decline staying at my present lab indefinitely
• Gather information and materials necessary for a Ph.D. application to UC Berkeley, UCSF, and/or Stanford.


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August 8, 2011 / 2:20PM 5 notes

I know where my anxiousness is coming from. Once again, I am at life’s crossroads.

I like making that big decision once, and then follow where it may lead. The problem with, and the boon of a Master’s program is that it only lasts 1.5yr. And you can’t just slide into whatever happens after. The next step always requires careful planning, at least as much as you can humanly do, to make sure you will be on track.
Questions like, “where do I want to live?” or “What do I want to do?” are comfortably avoided when you can prolong an engagement (your company hires you permanently, or you love your project and decide to turn it into a doctorate). Unfortunately, I must have the shortest attention span for jobs with a desk and a computer. I quit my office job last year after just a few months to go to Europe. I was always the guy who couldn’t sit still in his cubicle, and would effectively be seen trying out the most ridiculous yoga poses, like typing emails in the rag-doll position. Now, having a project that requires long hours on the microscope and computer feels just the same. The only time I was truly happy was when I worked with plants (tissue culture, molecular biology, IT systems, etc) - and what all those positions had in common was being in constant movement, working with visible specimens (those you can manipulate with tools), and collaborations with amazing, energetic people. I realize the last factor is the most important to me.
Of course, jobs in science require a level of concentration that I definitely have. All I’m saying is, the way my master’s degree has gone has left me unrealized, bored, and frustrated. I need a new direction, I need a new cause, and I probably do not need a Ph.D. as I do not see myself wanting to head academic research projects in the foreseeable future. Time to crank up the heat, send out some apps, think. Although I know I will be improvising this life decision as well. It’s not so much of a recent espial for me - I was supposed to be doing a Master’s in Los Angeles until I decided to go to Montreal instead the week before the start of classes. In spite of my rather good time management, I want to see what is in store for me. When you let everything fall into place in its own time, the results might positively surprise you. I’ve grown tremendously as a person during my stay in Montreal, which continues. I don’t believe I’d have gone through such a perspective 180° (call it 360, or 1800°) had I chosen L.A. after all. Sometimes I wish I could say, like Joan Rivers,

This career… I had no choice. If I had one, I wouldn’t do it, but I had no choice.

The slowest race of the world continues.


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Till The End (of my present grad school misery)

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