Monday, January 30, 2006

Fashion Trends

I was asked to pick up Zelda's sister from school the other day. We were talking in the car and they told me that grills are really popular right now. I had no idea what a grill was so I asked what they were. Apparently, they're these mouth pieces that you fit over your teeth that are filled with diamonds, gold, etc. It sounds completely ridiculous to me. I can only imagine that they look even worse than their description. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

Still, I couldn't help but to realize that something like that must cost a small fortune if it's laden with diamonds. So, I asked them if the kids in school were really that wealthy. Want to hear what they told me? You're going to love this. They're so popular, but the kids can't afford them. So, they take aluminum foil, bunch them up, and wrap them around their teeth.

Oh God! I'm laughing so hard it hurts. Now, I'm wondering. What have we done that was similar to that?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gwendolyn's first Basketball Victory!

Several months ago, Zelda wanted to enroll Gwennie into a basketball league. I didn't completely support this idea because Gwennie wasn't strong enough to shoot the ball into the goal, which is lowered from the regulation 10 feet down to 8 feet.

Their first coach left the league soon after the teams were picked. Her team was screwed. I would've volunteered to coach them, but I was finishing up my last semester at chiro school. There was just no way I could've done that. They've been losing all of their games. It was a shame because Gwennie actually has the best player in the league on her team. The rest of her team just needed a lot of improvement on the basics of the game.

After graduation, I had some time to actually help them with their practices. They only practice once a week. So, I've worked with them for 4 practices total. I'm really impressed with how fast they've learned what I taught them. Now, one of my talents is to take complicated things and break them down into simple steps. Today, I saw them start to come together as a team. They started to pass the ball. They were making their shots. They blocked so many shots. They just beat the best team in the league. The worst team in the league just beat the best team in the league with a final score of 24 to 18. I was so proud.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Illegal Aliens

Alright, it's time for another debate post.

First off, I think something should seriously be done with our borders situation. I find it funny that many people make this to be a racial issue. The funny thing is that I find those who make a racial issue out of this to be racist themselves. Guess what? I think everyone, regardless of their background, who is here illegally should be sent back.

If you want to come to this country, do so legally. Again, I don't care what your background is, if you come here legally, I will welcome you with open arms.

I got into a discussion with my friend, Joseph. He asked me how I felt about the Minute Men. I told him I supported what they were doing since the government wasn't protecting the borders. He asked me if I thought it was racist. I told him no. He then asked me why the minute men weren't in the airports. I gave him an analogy. I asked him, if he was in a boat with 2 holes that was taking in water, which hole would he focus on first: the bigger one or the smaller one. He admitted that he never ever thought about it that way.

I then commented to him how it disappointed me that people would cross our southern border and wave the Mexican flag. I explained that the Mexican flag represents a system of government that failed these people. They had to come here to pursue their dreams. That's what the United States flag represents. It represents opportunity. Something they don't have in Mexico. The red, white, and blue is not a flag for the white race. It's a symbol of our way of life. The Mexican flag is not a symbol for those of the hispanic race. It's about their form of government. Again, one that failed them. I told him that we cannot make a racial issue out of the flag because the stars and stripes represent opportunity for all those who wish to abide by our laws and way of life. It doesn't matter what your background is.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Waking up from a Night of partying

I remember one night drinking so much that the last thing I did was walk into my buddy's room. After that, everything else was blank.

When I woke up, my head was pounding and I had that nasty ass taste in my mouth. I looked up at the wall and realized that I was not in my room because the poster on the wall wasn't mine. But, I recognized it and realized that I was in my buddy Mike's room. Half of my face was numb so I turned over to lie on the other side. That's when I noticed hair and realized that someone was snuggled up behind me. I thought to myself.

"Mike, that better not be you or else I'll kill you."

Then I remembered that Mike practically shaved his head. The hair belonging to the person spooning with me was long and curly. It was my girlfriend at the time. Mike ended up hooking up with another girl in the dorms and went back to her room. For a split second, I thought I was going to kill someone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

How Jesus of Nazareth Saved Me...A Buddhist

This isn't really a religious post, but Zelda just reminded me of a story and the title of the post is fitting. Before we get started, a quick update. Grandma is smiling and laughing. She still looks quite weak, swollen, and jaundiced. But, she's obviously happier with everyone around.

Back to the title of the post. When I graduated from high school, I was offered a full tuition scholarship to the University of St. Thomas in Houston. It's a catholic university, but I'm Buddhist. I figured as long as I was getting my education for free from a very well respected school, why go anywhere else?

One of the requirements for any degree given by the university was that you had to take 24 hours of theology or philosophy. They had other religion courses like World Religions where you dive into various religions of the world. But, most of the religion courses were Catholic courses.

At the time, I didn't know much about Catholicism or even Christianity. All I knew was that Christianity is a belief that Jesus was the son of God and he did a great many things in the past. That was about it.

The first religion course I enrolled in was the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. It was taught by Sister Grace. Now this little old lady drew all over the board when explaining the basics of the religion. Trying to take notes in that class was indeed quite a challenge. Keep in mind that I knew nothing about Christianity.

The day before the first exam was soon upon me. A group of my classmates and I got together to form a study group. I remembered how it started with Kevin basically leading the session.

K: "Okay, let's start from the beginning. So, Jesus was with the apostles."

J: (interrupting him) "Hey Kevin?"

K: "Yeah?"

J: "What's an apostle?"

K: "Well, there was Peter, Paul, John..."

J: (interrupting him again) "No. WHAT is an apostle? I mean, what exactly are they and what do they do? I hear the word a lot in class and have no idea what it means."

Just then, about 10 heads turned and 10 pairs of wide opened eyes gazed upon me. I felt like I all of a sudden had a spotlight on me. My friends knew that I was and still am Buddhist. They knew that my knowledge of Christianity was limited. They just didn't know that it was THAT limited.

K: "Are you serious?"

J: "Yeeeaaaah. Why? Just how much more do I need to know before tomorrow's test?"

K: "Okay, let's start from the VERY beginning."

After several attempts to explain things to me, Kevin came up with the idea to rent the movie "Jesus of Nazareth" from Blockbuster. When we got back, Kevin put the movie on and would occasionally pause it to explain things to me. Low and behold, it started to make sense. Not much, but it was a start. Did I pass the test? Nope. No way. However, it gave me the very basic background information that I so desparately needed to eventually gain a basic knowledge and eventually pass the other courses.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quick Update

Sorry I haven't updated y'all when it happened. We were extrememly occupied in the last couple of days. The decision has been made. Grandma has been brought home. We rented a hospital bed to make it easier for her to get comfortable. Relatives are coming to my parents' house daily to help keep an eye on her for things she may need.

I knew my parents had a lot of authority in family decisions, but I wasn't sure if they were going to be able to convince all of the other elders. I guess it helped when my sisters and I backed them up.

I'll respond to the rest of the comments soon. Right now, I still have much to do for her as well as continue working on my license paperwork.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Fact of Life and a Decision

Sorry for this depressing post, but this is going on in my life right now.

If you've read Zelda's site recently, you'll find that my grandmother is quite sick. I was told by my mother that she was jaundiced and they located a tumor on her liver. However, I just found out yesterday that it was in fact a tumor on her pancreas. The tumor was growing from the head of the pancreas into the liver and was blocking major ducts in the liver. I saw her bloodwork and CT scan. It doesn't look good. My aunt, who's an MD, couldn't hold back her tears. She and I both knew what that there was nothing more that could be done and that pancreatic cancer has a mortality rate of virtually 100%. The average time to death is 6 months by the time of diagnosis. However, my grandmother's condition had been present for most of that time already. Her doctor things she'll last a couple of weeks to months. Noting her progression of symptoms as well as her bloodwork, I'm not so sure about that.

Death is a natural part of life. I understand this. What we're now in the process of doing is determining what to do. The hospital cannot do anything else for her except make her passing as pain free as possible. However, medicare will not pay for her to stay in the hospital. We have been given a choice to send her to a professional hospice where she can continually get care until she passes away. Or, hospice care at home. My parents want to take her to their home so she can be surrounded by loved ones when she passes. There will be a professional visit at home to provide anything she needs, which would be mostly pain killers. My dad has stated that he will take vacation time to take care of her. All of my other aunts and uncles want hospice care elsewhere. My aunt had previously done it before and she said that it was really hard. Our argument is that it is not our wishes that matter. It's what she wants.

Here's the tricky thing that complicates the whole matter. She doesn't know she's dying. The elders of the family have decided that we should not let her know about it. My grandmother stated that she wanted to stay in the hospital because she does not want to be a burden on anyone. But, we also know that she loves to have family around. She wasn't doing so well until all of the younger relatives (myself, cousins, etc) came by to visit her and joke around with her. She was smiling and laughing so much despite being excessively tired. For that reason, we want her to be happy when she passes. We don't want her to pass surrounded by people she doesn't know. We have to make a decision by Monday. What do y'all think?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Chuck E. Cheese - eat your heart out


There's this great new fun place that just opened up around our side of town. It's a pizza, pasta, and salad buffet with lots of other stuff to do as well. It's like a Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. The Chuck E. Cheese out where we live is definitely catered for kids toddler aged. This new place, however, has miniature golf, go-karts, electronic shooting range, and bumper cars. Definitely brings you back a few jr. high or high school. Anyways, we decided to take the girls to this new place last night. I think I had more fun than they did. After polishing off about 4 or five plates of pizza, pasta, salad, and whatever else I could inhale, I set off into the timewarp that brought me back about several years.

We took the kids out to the go karts, but they were too little to drive so we had to drive while they sat next to us. The next part was a lot of fun. Bumper cars. Gwendolyn was just tall enough to go on them. Another boy wanted to join in on the fun so we all climbed in and waited for the guy to start power to the cars. He told us push both levers to go forward, pull both levers to go backwards and alternate the levers to spin. Did I ever mention that I tend to learn things quickly? While Gwendolyn and the other little boy were figuring out how to control the cars, I pulled back on the levers and got as far away as I could. I spun the cart around to their direction because they were bumping into each other trying to learn the controls. Then, I could feel my teeth grinding right before my mouth opened and let forth a "Haaaaa haaa haaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!" Both levers flew forward and I rammed right into both of them bouncing them back towards the wall. Then, I pulled back on both levers til I reached the opposite end. Then, with the same ferocity, I rammed them again. Whiplash? Hell, I'm a doctor now. I can treat that. Fuck it! Again! Again! Again!

Yeah, I felt like a kid again.