WARNING: Eventually, if not already, there is bound to be something here that you don't agree with. It's inevitable -- there are sides to everything and not everyone will agree. Please don't send me insulting or threatening messages.
January 17, 2001
Sheesh, it's been a while, hasn't it? See, I knew this was going happen! With the load of classes I had last quarter plus those three jobs -- I had absolutely no free time whatsoever. I would literally be busy most days from 6:00am until 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon with absolutely no break. Then twice a week I would have to coach in the evenings. Insane, you say? Very.
So, it's the second week of winter quarter now, and I must say I definitely appreciate free time SO much more now. I actually have holes in my schedule this quarter where can actually sit down, grab something to eat, and do what I please -- though that free time will probably be filled up with study time pretty soon.
I still have three jobs -- yes, I'm still insane. But the good thing is I'm working slightly fewer hours. Nothing new really at the Coffee House. Or my About.com web page, which, I hate to say, is starting to slip towards the back burner. Coaching is great, though. The two Level 3 classes got melded into one, and Melissa and I are coaching 8 or 9 girls now (whereas before it was 4 or 5). They're a great bunch, though -- some of the new Level 3's that just moved up are really impressive for their age/level. This will be a fun session.
What else? Oh, UC Davis' gymnastics club is going to be hosting our first sports club meet (not ICA) in mid-February, and we've been very much involved with trying to get that together to run smoothly. For my own preparation, however, I can't say it's going as well. I want to do an all new beam and floor routine -- but I never seem to have enough time to sit down and choreograph one. Either that or I don't have the experience to know HOW to choreograph. Heh ... we'll see what happens.
Classes -- let's see I'm taking five classes, technically. One is a Molecular and Cellular Biology seminar that actually won't meet until halfway through the quarter (fine by me!). In addition to that I'm taking two other MCB classes required for my genetics major -- human genetics, and developmental genetics. I'm also taking an Phylogeny & Macroevolution course, and my sort of "fun" class this quarter is an upper division course about the music and life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The latter I'm really enjoying. I have always loved classical music, and learning about Mozart's life has really inspired me to take up teaching myself piano. Starting today, I will try to go to the music building where I can reserve practice room time and practice. Today, I went in, but I played really tentatively. It kind of bugs me that the rooms aren't a little more sound-proof. I don't like knowing other people can hear my feeble attempts at making noise that sounds somewhat like music. =P I hope it's not that bad.
What else? Christmas break wasn't bad. I sat around and did nothing more than I really wanted to, but I guess my body needed to veg out after last quarter's hell. Finals weren't too bad, and I actually think I pulled up my grade for one class I actually was afraid I was failing for a while. I don't think, now that I look back, that it was quite that bad -- but overall, my GPA went down a bit, but it wasn't the end of the world or anything.
Oh, and I'm still obsessed with stuff -- Savage Garden as always. In fact, I'm listening to a new CD I got. Not really new ... it's "Affirmation" with a bonus CD that includes live versions of the songs. They're from the Brisbane, Australia stop of the Affirmation Tour 2000, which incidentally is also the same stop where they recorded the "Superstars and Canonballs" concert video that was just recently released in the United States. ::sigh:: Brings back very fond memories of that September day!
::Barbara takes a break, then comes back:: Heh, after watching tonight's Voyager, I just couldn't help but watch the Savage Garden video up through "To the Moon and Back." I get that strange feel coming over me every time ...
Speaking of Voyager -- yes, I'm still very much in love with that show. Come mid-May, though, I'm going to be very depressed and distraught, when the end of the series comes about. I don't even really want to think about it at this point. I don't know how I'm going to live without new Voyager episodes!! =(
And don't even get me started on The X-Files! This show that I once held in such high reverence, almost as much as Voyager is coming close to losing all appeal to me. First is Agent Doggett. I. DON'T. LIKE. HIM. Eveyone is arguing that, no, he hasn't come to replace Mulder -- but he has!! Just look at the entire season! The first two episodes when we saw Scully not being able to take her mind off of the fact that Mulder's missing -- that was great stuff. But once the writers moved beyond that and had her and Doggett digging into X-File cases and not even acknowledging Mulder's disappearance??? NO!!!! It's so wrong. So very wrong. I started rewatching the old old episodes, back from the Pilot, and it made me pine all that much more for Mulder. And the new episodes aren't even good at all. Recycled plots, undeveloped premises, boring dealing with the cases -- the only reason I'm even still watching is because I know Mulder has to be coming back sometime, and because Scully possibly is pregnant with his child. And I believe this latter theory with all my little Shipper heart.
Okay, I'm done ranting now.
Not that much else going on. Tomorrow should be a full day of classes and then coaching. Friday, I only have two classes, but 7 1/2 hours of work. Luckily, afterwards, a bunch of us are going to go see Aeros, a new gymnastics/dance production featuring Romanian gymnasts. It's supposed to be all costumed and choreographed a lot like Cirque du Soleil, so I'm really excited. Two of my old buddies from Windmill are come up to Davis with my sister, and it'll be the first time seeing them in over a year, so I can't wait!
October 11, 2000
Sheesh, what a day!
First, right a 6:00am this morning, I damned near got a concussion! I went to work this morning for my opening bakery shift. I had to go into the fridge to get the cart that had the muffin batter and scones dough that we were going to have to bake. These batters are stored in 3- or 5-gallon buckets, and the cart was about six feet tall. So, like the idiot that I was, I decided to put a half-filled 5-gallon bucket on the top of the rack and then tried to wheel the cart out. The cart caught on the door and the next thing I knew, something struck me in the head. Hard.
I was dazed for a few seconds, but then I realized that the bucket had fallen off and hit me in the head. It was a heavy bucket -- the bucket broke when it hit the floor. I don't think I blacked out or anything, but I was a bit dizzy and my head hurt for a bit afterwards. There's a bruise starting to form, too. Really smart, huh?
I was fine though. In fact, I felt good enough to go work out in my two PE classes. I made myself run a mile after not having run in a few weeks. I was tired, but push myself to finish, then did a few weights for the rest of my weight training class. Afterward, I had my tumbling class. I was a little dismayed to learn that we were going to work on front tumbling, which I am fairly weak in compared to my back tumbling, but I made myself set a goal.
We had some 8-inch mats set up across the diagonal of the floor for front handsprings, handspring dive rolls, and even handspring fronts, if we were up to it. I hadn't done front handsprings, literally, in three years because I feared it would aggravate my back. But these past few months I'd been working on a lot of arching-related stuff and not having too much of a problem. I even did front and back limbers during warm-ups today, which I never let myself do because of my back. And I was fine.
Anyway, I tried some front handsprings, and to my surprise, I still had the right technique, and I got a good rebound out of it. So, I decided to go for a handspring dive roll. I'd analyzed handspring fronts before for an article, so I understood the mechanics required for handspring dive rolls and handspring fronts. I wasn't too sure how high was getting in the dive roll, but my classmates were telling me I was getting plenty of air. Even the coach, Ray, suggested that I go ahead and try a handspring front.
I was nervous. I'd never gone for the punch front out of it before, but I'd seen it done hundreds of times. I knew what I would have to do. My first try, I had no clue where I was in the air. I made it to my feet, but fell back onto my butt. I tried a few more, still always landing short. Then Ray told me I wasn't snapping forward enough to get the rotation, and on my next one, I landed on my feet!! Yay!
I had a few more successful attempts, so I was really glad. A new trick! My next goal is to secure it on the 8-inchers and then try them on the floor. It'll be awesome to get them there because then I would actually be able to put front tumbling -- and a little variety -- to my floor routine!
It's been a while since I updated and I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut this entry a bit shorter than it should be. I've got three jobs now, as I said before, and I'm just now settling down into the schedule. Barely enough time to do homework, let alone sleep. We'll see how things go. Coaching is fun, though. I'm getting to do the Level 3's and one of the Level B classes (ages 5-7), and it's starting to go much smoother than when I first started the session. Supervising at the CoHo is a bit mixed. My first day opening hot kitchen went horribly. I let chaos take over my kitchen and I ended up forgetting to complete some essential tasks. The second week was a bit better, but still needs some better planning. On the other hand, opening and working the bakery is like a breeze. Everything has gone more or less smoothly so far, except for today's little mishap. And my classes are demanding, too. Lots of reading, which I can never seem to finish soon enough.
And speaking of reading, that's what I have to go do now. Hope to update soon!
September 18, 2000
Okay, I know it's been a while since I've updated this journal, but I've been so incredibly busy and/or just plain not feeling up to the task. Busy because I am crazy enough to have gotten a third job. That's right ... on top of my About.com website to maintain, and the position to supervise at the Coffee House on campus starting fall quarter, I am now going to be coaching gymnastics at the local city gym. Technically I'm still "training" right now, buddying up with existing coaches to get a feel for things. So far, I've worked with a few parent/tots classes, Level A's (pre-Level 1), a Hotshots group (an amazing group of gifted 5-8 year-olds on a "fast track" to competitive team), and today a Level 3 class. I must say that my favorite so far is the Level 3. I feel the most comfortable working with the kids at that age and ability level. I will do another Level 3 class tomorrow, and hopefully in the next session, team up with another coach for a Level 3 class.
So, what else have I been doing? Heard of the computer game entitled The Sims? If you've played it, you most likely understand the allure! It's addicting -- you create a household (you can even design the house) of simulated people who have certain needs and motives to fulfill and act upon, and they can interact with each other and a couple hundred of the objects in the house. Cook food, watch TV, play chess, go to the bathroom, take a shower, even fall in love or become a neighbor's worst enemy. You can control your Sims or let them act upon their own will. It's a great game, and I've even gone as far as buying the expansion pack. Any other Sims fans out there? I know there are ...
Okay, what else? Ooh, Nora and I went to the Savage Garden concert in Concord, CA a couple weeks ago (September 6th, if I remember correctly). Oh my god, it was such an awesome night!! I've never actually been to a pop concert before, but I am SO IN LOVE with Savage Garden (particularly Darren Hayes, the lead singer and lyrics writer). Really, my only regret for that night was that we didn't get better seats. All the tickets in the bottom section were sold out by the time I got to the box office, so we had to settle for seats in the second section. They weren't bad seats, but I would have given just about anything to have been down in the first section with the more hard core fans who were on their feet the entire concert. I'm surprised I didn't go hoarse after the amount of screaming I did. Especially when they started playing To the Moon and Back. Nora, who knows I am NOT a loud person normally, said to me after the concert, "Wow, you really have a set of lungs!" I just laughed, knowing I would have screamed even more if I'd been in the lower section. ::sigh:: I wrote up a concert report type thing, but it's still in my notebook. One of these days, when I get my entire website up and going again (by the way, I'm about to move it to a new server -- xoom.com is driving me bananas), I will put up a section dedicated to and worshipping Savage Garden, and I'll put up that report. Until then, just know that I thought it was an awesome, awesome concert.
Then there's gymnastics. I was planning on attending the Senior Olympics masters meet down in Los Angeles at the end of this week, but several things have made me decide that I'm probably not going. For one, no one else in our gymnastics club seems to be going, despite the number of people who had previously shown interest in it. I'm not driving six hours to a gymnastics meet by myself. It's just not worth it. Second, I injured my knee last week, and while it's okay 90% of the time, even when working out, I don't trust myself to go all out and put in all those hours to train for this meet. I think this is a sign that I need to give myself a little bit of a break before school starts. How did I injure my knee, you might be wondering? Well, if you read some entries in the past, I was working on round-off flip-flop layout halfs on the TumblTrak. Well, just a couple weeks ago, I got them down to a point where I was landing 90% of them on my feet and felt comfortable enough to try going for a full twist. I tried going for a few over the course of a few days, always making it about 3/4 of the way around. Then, one Friday, I made a 3/4 one, but my knee buckled as the rest of my body continued to twist, and I felt pain. I managed to shake it off after a few minutes and continue tumbling, and I even was able to go run on the treadmill afterwards for a while, but it hurt quite a bit when I tried to stand up from sitting on the floor or bending it past a certain point. I had it looked at, and the doctor noticed a bit of swelling, but it wasn't anything serious. He just told me to give it some rest and take some anti-inflammatories. It's been a little over a week now, and it's only just hurting when I sit in a deep squat.
Something else cool and gymnastics-related that I did recently was that me and a few other fellow gymnastics club members and coaches at the gym took a little trip down to Fairfield to give a gymnastics demonstration to a few elementary school classes in the first and fourth grades. Getting there was the interesting part. Fairfield is about 25 minutes from here, and we needed to take some mats and equipment to do the demo. Well, the mother of one of the kids whose classes we were demonstrating to, helped us out by lugging the equipment in her SUV (a Tahoe, I believe). We put two 8-incher crash mats on top of her car, and tied it down with two bungee cords, thinking that would be enough to hold it down for the drive. Heh, we didn't even make it two blocks before a cord snapped and a mat went flying into the street. Having been taking two other cars to Fairfield, we saw her trying to drag the mat back to her car (about half a block down) with the help of a very nice passer-by. At that point, we rearranged the cords and used a towing ribbon to tie it down. Well, we thought we were on our way, but as we merged onto the highway, we noticed that the mats were flying up from the turbulence of the wind we were catching, and nearly coming out of the restraints. We were afraid another cord would snap and the mats would go flying. We stopped on the side of the freeway barely a quarter of a mile from the freeway entrance, and got creative in trying to tie the mats down. We ended up using a couple extra Ace bandages to tie the mats to the inside of the car, and even then, after we were able to get going down the freeway, the mats still looked like they were in danger of flying up and snapping another cord. We arrived at the school in one piece, did the demostration and even gave the kids a few minutes to try some of the equipment we'd brought, and packed back up to leave. Luckily, another parent gave us some rope to use, and we did a thorough job of making sure the mats were securely fastened before heading back. No problems going back, but by the time we got back, I was beat.
What else do I need to catch up on? School. Classes haven't started yet, but they will next week. My goodness, that's a scary thought. I hadn't really thought about that until now. Yikes, I'm kind of scared now, really unsure of how I'm going to keep my sanity when I have to cram all the stuff that I'm doing together: 3 classes (one of which is a biochemistry lab that will require 13 hours per week), the Coffee House, coaching gymnastics, my About.com page, keeping up with my own gymnastics, and whatever else happens to fall in between.
Oooh, the Olympics!! I'm not too happy about the huge time difference between where I live and Sydney -- 18 hours. I am trying to keep up with the gymnastics events, live as they happen in Sydney, so I can write a report on it as soon as I can for my About.com page. Good thing my parents don't know what I'm doing, or they'll have a fit! The thing is, again, the time difference. Take tonight, for example. I'm staying up late to catch the women's team finals. It's happening at 7pm Sydney time. What does that translate to in my local time? 1:00am in the morning! I can't believe I'm doing this to myself. Last night I was up until 4am covering the men's team finals (which will air tomorrow -- ha ha, I kind of like the power of knowing the results before most people do), and I will be doing the 1am to 4am prowl tonight, again tomorrow night for the men's all-around, and again the night after for the women's all-around. Seriously, by the morning of the 22nd (my time) which is when the women's all-around is, I will have been pulling late nighters and surviving on 4 or 5 hours of sleep for almost a week. I told my roommate not to be surprised if she finds me passed out from exhaustion. I wonder if it's even worth it ... I can't even really talk about the results for the men's team final yet to too many people because they don't want to find out until they watch. It's a bit frustrating!
All right, I think I've yabbered enough for one night (maybe even two nights!). If you've made it this far, I ought to congratulate you for your tolerance for incessant babbling. Just kidding.
August 28, 2000
It's been a week since the Masters meet in San Diego, and I wrote up a journal entry detailing that day, but I decided to give it its own page. Click here for my day at San Diego All-Stars on August 20.
I spent the week following the meet on vacation with my family in Lake Tahoe, which was very relaxing and lots of fun. I found time to work out a couple of days there at the weight room they have, and today I discovered how glad I was to have done that. I did a lot of repetitions with light weights, which I hear is the best to do if you want to increase muscle tone without too much increase in muscle mass. So, today at the first practice in over a week, I found benefits to having done that.
Practice was very slow and frustrating at first. I'd hoped that the week's rest would help my ailing left wrist and both hip joints, but much to my dismay, they both still hurt like a @&*#&@(*#*!! I was very annoyed at my body, but tried to do my best while we did basic tumbling. I even worked on some front handspring step-outs, having been previously surprised a few practices before that they no longer hurt my back too much. I'd watched the tape of my performances in San Diego, and saw that my front handspring step-outs were still looking like they did when I was in Level 7. Arched and little evidence of "popping" off my hands. I wanted to remedy that, and hopefully had some luck. But my wrist couldn't handle round-offs, much less back handsprings or cross tumbling, and my first attempt at an aerial cartwheel started a shooting pain in my right hip flexor. Not a good start.
Then I went to beam where I worked lightly on tricks and a little bit of my routine. I had to use the medium beam since the team girls were on the high beams. My wrist, thankfully, wasn't hurting too badly there (I guess because of the way my hand bends when gripping the beam), so I did some cartwheels, side handstands, and some back walkovers on the low low beam. I only got a few stuck, but the good thing was I was able to keep my hands in their corrected position (in past years, they were in funny positions that caused my shoulders to twist). Then I went to bars and worked on free-hips, which I managed to get 3/4's of the way to handstand. (I'm going to aim for handstand on Wednesday.) Then I started my conditioning set, beginning with pull-ups. Here's where I noticed my improved strength. Before I went to Tahoe, I could only do five full pull-ups. Today, I did seven, and the first three were a lot easier. I was happy about that, and finished my conditioning set. Then when I got home, I ran on the treadmill for a while.
Bored yet? =)
Other stuff ... my sister and brother are starting school. No! No! No! I refuse to accept the fact that summer is coming to a close! UC Davis won't begin classes for exactly another month, but still. I don't want to think about it. Not much else is going on right now. But I'm very much looking forward to the Olympics, when I will be glued to the TV and the Internet trying to watch and find out everything I can about the gymnastics competitions. I'm really going to be interested in how well the USA can do, given the fact that in the two previous World Championships, we only placed sixth and seventh. I was a little disappointed that Vanessa Atler couldn't perform well enough on the final day of trials to make the final team, but I also think the final team couldn't have been better, given all participants' standings.
Oh, I wanted to say something about Bless the Child, which we saw while we were in Lake Tahoe. It was all right. A little bit scary, and it had good intentions regarding the message it was trying to send: worship God to fight the devil. But it was too strong of a message for my liking. I'm an athiest, but I respect people's beliefs and their religions as long as they're not trying to convert me. And it seemed like that's what this movie was trying to do. Urge people to believe in God. The strength at which this movie tried to convey that was somewhat distracting. Putting that aside, the story was good. Acting was ... eh. In the opening scenes, Kim Bassinger (sp?) didn't seem to deliver her lines very well, but it got better later on. And the girl who played Cody was cute and herself did some good acting.
As far as scary movies go, I still liked What Lies Beneath better, even though I was so scared that I seriously wanted to leave halfway through. I don't think I went in in the mood to be scared, and the kind of scariness in this film -- startling -- was almost torturous. At the same time, I think that's why I liked it. Very well written.
Okay, I think my night as a movie critic should come to an end now. It's late. I'm tired.
August 4, 2000
Wow, has it really been two weeks since I last updated? Seemed like just yesterday! Well, before I get into anything else, I'd just like to scream at all the people who don't signal when changing lanes on the highway! WHAT IS SO DIFFICULT ABOUT IT?! Today as I was driving home from Davis, a car nearly crashed into me. I was in my lane, minding my own business. Then all of a sudden, this big red Suburban in the lane next to me on the right decided to change into my lane -- without signalling or even looking to see if the lane was clear! I mean, I was literally right next to the guy, and if I hadn't hit my brakes and swerved to the left, he would have hit me. And thank goodness there wasn't a car on my left or that would have been disaster too.
I know you people who chronically just don't bother to signal aren't going to start doing so now just because of my little story of a near miss, but I just don't understand how it can be such a difficult effort to flip the signal for like three seconds and then flip it back. It's not like it requires that much thinking.
That being off my chest, I can write a brief account of how we did at our gymnastics meet in Camarillo. I think I mentioned before that it was just me and one other guy who entered the competition. But, originally, a bunch of people from our club who went down to southern California for the summer said that they would come watch and cheer us on, and then even they flaked out on us. Oh well, the two of us we each other's cheering sections.
Warm ups began at 10:00am, and we arrived there just a little after that officially began to sign in and pay the entry fees. I was filling out the entry form the night before and debated which and how many events to do, and I ended up signing up for all four of the women's Olympic events, even though I knew I hadn't done vault in well over a month. All-around was only counting the top 3 scores, so I figured it wouldn't matter if I scored really low. I took my time stretching and warming up on floor, leaving a fairly short amount of time for beam and vault, and literally 5 minutes for bars (where I had a lot of trouble trying to connect the skills in my routine). A little after 11:30, competition began with the rope climb and tumbling event, both of which I didn't enter, and then the Olympic events for men and women at the same time. I did two fairly lousy handspring vaults, and got an 8.6. (The way this meet worked was that you were judged on execution more than difficulty, and lowest you could get was a 7.0.) Just about everyone else scored higher. Then on to bars. I somehow managed to pull everything together and did the old Level 7 routine continuously and fairly decent execution. I got a 9.1 and second place in my age group (which, incidentally, had a lot of competition with four other girls). I took my time preparing for beam, but found my nerves were making it difficult. I couldn't even do a cartwheel for about 10 minutes. I finally settled down enough to warm up sufficiently. Not that it did me much good. If you didn't know about it before, I should first say that while I was competing seriously with my old gym, I was chronically cursed on beam. In the three years that I competed, I probably only stuck 2 routines in competition. Well, that curse must still be haunting me because I fell twice in this routine. The first was kicking into a side handstand, which I have to say I am very good at since I can hold them for literally a minute. And the second was in an easy kick turn. I ended up getting an 8.1 (last place). Then on floor, which was another event I hadn't practiced very well (I hadn't even done a full routine since Vegas three months ago), so I wasn't expecting a high score. My layout ended up being a tuck, but at least, unlike Vegas, I did my tuck back in my second pass. But by my third pass, I was SO TIRED that my straddle jump out of my flip-flops was barely foot off the ground. I got an 8.7, which was okay, but like vault, most people scored higher.
The cool thing was that we found out about two more meets: one in August and another in September, both of which I'm going to try very hard to do well at. I'm going to have to either train at old gym while I'm home for the rest of summer or I'll have to commute between here and Davis on the two days the UCD club has practice. Either way, I'd better get cracking soon.
July 19, 2000
July 19, 2000
I really should be reading and doing the homework for English class, but I had such a positive gymnastics workout, I wanted to write about it while I was still feeling this high.
I probably haven't mentioned it yet, but I'm working out to prepare for another gymnastics meet that our school was invited to. It looks like it's only me and this other guy who are entering to compete, but it doesn't matter too much to me. I love gymnastics and competing and performing so much that I wouldn't care if I was all by myself. Anyway, this meet is set for July 30th in Camarillo, CA (where that is, I don't really know) and it's a bit more traditional than the one in Vegas, though it's still informal. I'm probably going to do beam, bars, and floor since the women can enter in three events to also include all-around. I may have to modify my floor routine though so I don't die in the middle of it. =)
Today one of our coaches came in to give us a few pointers, and he worked with us to do layouts off of the inclined mini-trampoline, in preparation for fulls. I had prepped for fulls before on the tumble trak, but that was a couple months ago, and doing layouts off the mini-tramp took some time to get used to as well. So, I didn't get to twisting today -- maybe next week. Then I tried tumbling a little on floor, but my wrist was being bothersome, so I tried to remember what I could of my floor routine.
I took a little longer of a break than usual, mainly to watch a new Level 5 learn the floor routine. She was maybe seven or eight years old and adorable. Afterwards, I tried tumbling again but couldn't bear the pain. So I went to bars. The team girls at the club we were renting time at were on bars, but agreed to let us rotate turns with them. I was very much inspired by their Level 7 (and maybe an 8?) routines that after a brief warm-up, I tried a Level 7 (the old compulsory one) of my own. The first one had a lot of stops and adjustments in between tricks, but I got through it. Then I went and did two more, and much to my amazement, both of them were continuous. I was casting close to handstand out of the kips, and my free-hips were above horizontal. I'd like to get the free-hips to handstand, but that might be a little too idealistic. I was surprised I could do them, especially having been on break for about 3 weeks. I may end up doing this unoriginal Level 7 routine at Camarillo, but at least I know I have it more or less down.
Afterwards, I tried a few more dismount sequences to fix my layout flyaways, remembering this time to tap into it. I did a few pretty well, overrotating a couple, but on the last one, I landed funny and jammed my back. It wasn't too bad, but I noticed it spasming a bit. I had it rubbed out for a while, but it still hurts. I'm going to be in quite a bit of pain tomorrow in English class!
Gymnastics is going well, I think. I don't want to jinx anything by saying that, but progress, especially on bars, is better than I expected. I hope a few days' rest will help my wrist because I would hate for it to turn into something chronic. I never really had wrist problems during my competitive career, and I'd hate to start now. My goal for the next two weeks (two weeks until Camarillo!): secure my round-off flip-flop layout on floor, create a decent (possible??) beam routine, and get a bit closer to handstand on my free-hips. We'll see how things go.
July 16, 2000
Well, I'm supposed to be finishing my paper for English class, since it's due tomorrow, but today was eventful, so I wanted to jot some stuff down while it's still fresh.
Today my sister and I joined about 27,000 other people to do the AIDS Walk in San Francisco. In case you don't know what that is, it's a ten kilometer walk-a-thon type event whose proceeds all go to help the fight against AIDS. This was our first time, but I'd heard about it in years past. I saw a flyer for it at a coffee shop nearby and decided I was going to do it this year. It was so much fun -- and 10k (6.5 miles) didn't even seem that long at all.
What made my day was the fact that one of the hosts there was Gillian Anderson! So, you can guess why I was a little hoarse by the time the opening ceremonies were completed, me being the insane X-Phile that I am. This was my first time seeing her in person, and it's hard to describe, but I can finally see her in a similar light as other actors I've seen live in person -- it's like, "Wow, she really is there in front of me!" Like I said, hard to describe.
Also there was Wilson Cruz (of Party of Five) and Rosie Perez, both powerful AIDS Activists. Deborah Gibson (though I still think of her as Debbie) was there at the beginning to sing "Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent, and Kristine W sang "You'll Never Walk Alone," which I guess is the "anthem" for the AIDS Walk events. After the walk, Deborah Gibson gave a concert, singing many of her old songs from the '80's and also introducing a new song that I think she said will be released. It was all right, but it was VERY mainstream pop (i.e. Britney Spears style, but better because she didn't have the annoying voice) -- I'm just not a big fan of that kind of pop music.
On a bit of a more serious note, this AIDS Walk had a positive effect on me. It began the day I decided to do the walk, and saw that the marketing line for this year (maybe before, too?) was "Why Will You Walk?"
Everyone who attended today, I'm sure, had their own personal reasons for walking. Many people walked because they had people close to them die from HIV or because they know people who are dying from it. I don't quite fit in that category, though. I don't know anyone personally with AIDS or anyone who died from HIV. But I do know that I have been impacted by the presence of this disease. And people will continue to be so impacted, in ways much deeper than me so far, until a cure is found. I wanted to do my part, give my little contribution to the cause. I'm tired of sitting back and letting things like this go on around me. I may not have the power or resources to raise thousands or millions of dollars, but it makes me feel better that I, at least, made some effort to show I care.
That's why I walked.
Sorry for preaching, but I find myself feeling quite strongly about this. During the opening ceremony's talks, it was mentioned that Congress is trying to reduce funding for further AIDS research, and though I'd heard about that before, it really struck a chord with me today. The only reason Congress members would propose such a thing would be because they are ignorant. They don't see AIDS/HIV as a threat to them personally. They don't think it could happen to them. So they figure the money could be better spent elsewhere. How wrong they are. If there's one thing anyone should understand from attending this AIDS Walk is that this disease affects everyone. If you don't realize this now, you'll realize it when it's too late. It's ignorant people like those Congress members who are making it more difficult to find a cure.
I'll get down off my soapbox for now. But I just wanted to reiterate what a really profound day I had. I hope that if you haven't attended a local AIDS Walk event near you, go to the next one you get a chance to. It'll be an experience not likely to be forgotten.
June 28, 2000
Omigod, it is SO hot here. Those of you who don't know how hot it can get in Davis are very lucky. Yesterday it got up to 99 F (though it's been up as high as 109 and I'm sure even higher), and I could not sleep very well at all last night. I woke up this morning for work feeling like I had been hit by a truck.
Usually I don't mind the heat. I'm a very summer person -- my ideal temperature is 85-90 degrees, but what bugs me is 1) the humidity and 2) the nights where I can't sleep. The humidity is bad enough that I was dripping sweat just sitting and watching TV last night. Grr ...
What's new these last couple of days? I started my summer school class on Monday, and to be honest, I don't know if I'm going to like this English class. It's not the writing, because I usually like to write. It's the fact that my teacher opted for a book for us to read and analyze that contains essays that are intended to be complex and difficult to read. The book even admitted to the content not being ones that you can comprehend after one reading. Just the opposite of what I was hoping for, but I guess this will give me an extra challenge and better results in the long run.
Sunday my family went to my mom's parents' house for one of our frequent family get-togethers. This usually includes two aunts, three uncles, four younger cousins, two grandparents, and then the five of us ... for a total of sixteen people sitting around in a San Francisco apartment. Mighty cozy, indeed. The day was going well until we went out to dinner (imagine cramming 16 people around a table in a Chinese restaurant). In case you didn't know, I am a vegetarian -- to be specific, I don't eat meat or most animal products which came from the death of the animal (though there are a few slight exceptions) or dishes containing them. This came as a shock to my parents about two years ago and have since caused heated arguments and debates between us. My mom, too, is the type of person to "share" a bit more information with people than is sometimes necessary, so she makes things seem like a bigger deal than they need to be. So, as a result, I think my extended family has a distorted view of the actuality and reasons for my being a vegetarian. I don't think they understand it (and being Chinese, vegetarianism is sort of a "new" concept to my family).
So imagine what it's like trying to order a large scale, multi-course dinner for 16 people while trying to satisy a vegetarian. It shouldn't be that big of a deal, right? Just order a couple dishes that don't contain meat and I should be just fine, right? That's what I thought. But no, it turned out to be this big operation, and you know how grandmothers are. Extremely involved in everything, so even just the ordering process emphasized the oddity of me being a vegetarian.
This set in motion a series of events that eventually truly angered me, and if you know me well, it usually takes a lot to upset me. First was the fact my eldest cousin (he's 17), his mother, and our uncle were sitting together and acting very goofy (along with another one of our uncles sitting partway around the table) -- which in itself is not a big deal. But then, the food started to come out. This place was certainly family style, where each dish comes out one at a time: appetizer, soup, then the main courses. Well, naturally, the first five or so dishes all contained meat, so I couldn't eat them. I got a few funny looks from people, watching me watching them and not eating. But finally, when the non-meat dishes came out, they made a big deal about pointing them out to me. "Look! There's no meat in it. Barbara can eat it!" They even went as far as sticking straws with pieces of paper stuck to them -- i.e. flags -- with my first initial on it, into my food.
They were mocking me, and I wasn't too thrilled about it. Then, they thought it would be funny to take my vegetables off the turntable and hiding them behind the turntable when I wasn't looking. They wanted to see how long it would take me to notice. Not very long, but at that point, I was getting really annoyed. And usually, when I'm angry, I'll just stay quiet or ignore the problem, the latter of which I did. I continued chatting with my sister, ignoring their giggling and expectant looks for a reaction. And they really did want one. They even tried to make me notice by sticking one or their stupid flags in the dish to point out it was there. How stupid did they think I was? At that point I was really upset, which made me even quieter. Finally, they gave up and put my dish back on the turntable. But then my grandmother, at no real fault of her own, had to embarrass me a little by taking my vegetable sihes and placing them right in front of me.
Thank you, Grandma, for trying to look out for me, but I don't need to be babied. I wasn't acknowledging the silly little games those four relatives were trying to play, but it didn't help matters any for her to do all the reacting to them. All I wanted was for them to be ignored, them to realize that they weren't going to get a reaction from me by mocking me, and to just give up.
By the time dinner ended and we piled back into our separate cars, I was pretty damned upset and expressed my anger to my dad. He calmed me down by saying that there wasn't really anything I could have done, anyway. They were acting like kids, and despite their non-child ages, kids will be kids.
So, I just put it behind me. No hard feelings toward any of them, but next time they try to pull something like that, I won't be ignoring it.
Grr ... My apologies for the long, venting rant. Anyway, that was the "highlight" of this update. More to come soon.
June 25, 2000
And so, the end of my week's vacation draws near. Tomorrow morning, I have to drive back to Davis for the start of summer school. I'll be taking English 101 (Advanced Composition), which I have mixed feelings about. I'm hoping I'll have retained enough of my writing skills to keep up in this class that I don't really have to take for my major or to graduate -- I'm just hoping it'll be a class I will benefit from in the future.
This week was very relaxing, though for some reason, for the first few days that I was home, I couldn't sleep in past 9:00am, even though there was no reason for me to be up. (It certainly confused my parents!) I spent a lot of the week playing the violin, which up until now was sadly neglected. Surprisingly, though, I didn't forget too much from whenever it was the last time I played it.
This week was also full of interesting evenings, which my friends will be more than happy to attest to. Tuesday, I went to Berkeley with Rachel and had dinner at a Indian place, which was my first time having Indian cuisine at a restaurant. I liked it a lot, especially since I love curry. But the rest of the evening's time could have been better spent had there not been a misunderstanding on my part. Thinking Nora had said, "Give me a call at 10:00 if you're still out," Rachel and I struggled with the difficulties of finding something to do in Berkeley on a Tuesday evening during the summer until then. First we thought we could go ice skating at Iceland, only to find that it was closed to the public. Then we figured we could kill two hours or so by catching a movie, so we hiked to just about every movie theater in the area, but could not find a movie starting any time soon. With no idea of what to do, we started wandering towards North Berkeley, ending up at a used book store where we managed to kill about an hour. From there, Solano Ave. was no far away, and even though it was dark, we didn't think it would be a bad hike. Upon reaching Solano, we visited a Starbucks just as it was closing and decided to walk down to El Cerrito Plaza BART where we could call Nora and see what she wanted to do. Only -- here's where my misunderstanding came in -- she actually said "if you guys were home" (meaning Rachel's house). Big oops. Now if you know this area well at all, you'd know that we hiked probably a good 4 miles to kill time that we didn't really need to.
Wednesday, I spent the afternoon playing the violin again and baking white chocolate chip cookies, which my mom and sister absolutely loved. In the evening, my sister Melody, Rachel, Nora and I went out to Berkeley (again) to try this new restaurant called Xanadu, featuring "RestorAsian Cuisine." The food there was actually very delicious and well worth the money. Afterwards, we struggled with the ever-popular question, "What do you want to do now?" Finally, someone suggested we take a trip over to the new Ikea, a very large Swedish home furnishings store in Emeryville. Nora had told me how the first couple days after opening was like an amusement park: line for the entrance trailing into the packed parking lot and a "guided" tour through the store in which you could only travel in one designated direction. I was completely amazed at how large this store was. It is probably as large as four department stores combined, two levels, a main route of travel within the store with no scarcity of themed showrooms. I'm not kidding -- for every section of the home, this store represented it with multiple completevariations, each with a different decor. For example, for the bedroom, there were maybe ten or so different bedroom designs and just about every item that comprised them was an object for sale (like lamps, chairs, you name it). This store even provided you-are-here maps, as well as maps for customers to take. It was completely overwhelming, and, like an amusement park, you would need an entire day to see everything! Afterwards, we drove back to Berkeley (after almost getting into an accident with my poor freeway-merging-at-night skills) and had coffee at Cafe Strada before heading home.
Thursday was Beauty and the Beast, the Broadway musical whose National Tour was visiting San Francisco for a short four weeks. We barely got tickets, and had to settle for seats in literally the last row of the Orpheum Theatre. We took BART to SF, and had dinner at the Moon Star Chinese buffet restaurant across the street from the theatre. The food was okay, but the highlight of the dinner was just as we were leaving the restaurant. We realized that sitting at the table behind us was the pro skater, Kristi Yamaguchi. She was already being asked for a picture, and we were cutting it close to curtain time, so we left and made it into the theatre with barely ten minutes to spare. The girl sitting in the seat in front of me was rather tall, so I had to sit bent foward the entire time. But it didn't matter -- the show was absolutely great. The Originaly Broadway Recording, as terrific as it is, could not do the entire show justice. There were just so many moments in between the songs that could only be captured in action or dialogue, and the sets were amazing! Probably not as elaborate as other performances in larger theatres, but I was impressed with what they could do. And as far as the performers themselves go, I'd have to say the Beast (Grant Norman) was most impressive. His lines were well delivered -- you could feel his pains, regrets, and desires -- and his voice was just perfect. Belle (Susan Owen) was great too, but there were times where it seemed like her voice was too high, probably owing to her soprano background (her bio said she played Christine in Phantom). But she did have perfect pitch otherwise, and she did the character due justice.
So those were the major events that went on this week. I have to return to school tomorrow ... we'll see how things go.
I was going to go to gymnastics practice today to see if I could make any improvements on bars, particularly my free-hips. Unfortunately, when I got there, the equipment was being taken down in preparation for graduation ceremonies later this week. So, I made myself go to the weight room and made myself do some conditioning, and I made myself run two miles on the treadmill, but I hated every minute of it. I never liked running. I just don't have the patience. But I did it anyway, knowing it could very well be three months before my gymnastics schedule would go back to normal. We might have a meet in July, but it's very much up in the air right now. (Deidra??)
So, what should I do with the free time I have between work and working on my About.com page for the next two weeks? I've been meaning to have another go at another Voyager fanfic, and I got started reading the very thick book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. History was always my weakest subject in school, with the exception of World War II. That class was one of the best I'd ever taken, thanks to great planning and effective presentation and demo's by one of my favorite teachers, Ms. Hebden. I'll have to write about the awesome class, particularly the Gestapo simulation we had to go through, sometime in the future.
For the time being, I very desperately need to clean my room. It looks like my closet and everything on my desk exploded and scattered all over the floor ...
Classes quickly became very hectic. I'm taking Cell Biology & Function, Intro to Evolution, a Genetics Lab, and Intro to Food Science -- all of which, except the last one, are upper division and required for my genetics major. Evolution gave me a good kick in the behind, though. The format was long answer, which I had not had in a few quarters so I was out of practice of taking them and studying for them. Very different from studying for multiple choice tests. Genetics lab was actually quite fun, except when we had to sit for 3 hours and score 300+ fruitflies. Let me tell you, my eyes and neck were very glad when I was finished.
But enough of the boring stuff. I think I mentioned the gymnastics club's trip to Las Vegas?
I wasn't 21 yet -- in fact, I turn 21 tomorrow -- but it was still one of the best trips I'd been on. It especially helped that I wasn't sick or injured, which were things that plagued very many of other trips I've taken. We left campus on Friday April 14th in the afternoon, taking three vehicles. I rode in the 15-passenger van, which had its interesting moments (though I heard the trip back was even more "eventful"). I actually spent a lot of time doing homework, trying to understand the complicated fruitfly crosses that were coming up in Genetics. When it got dark, we became very fixated on the radio stations, trying to find ones that suited us (cycling through hip-hop, alternative, and oldies). Several times, the entire van would break out in song.
We arrived in Vegas around 2am, and climbed our way into the hotel. The first van had already arrived several hours earlier, and those people actually had had time to briefly tour the Strip. We had no choice but to go to bed, however, since the latest we could sleep in was 11am, at which time we gathered for breakfast and preparation to leave for the meet. After check-in and registration, we began warm-up. I had a hard time getting used to the new and very bouncy floor, so I couldn't pull around my layout passes very well. I had to settle with a bad warm-up so as to not tire myself out before competition.
The beginning of the meet aroused nostalgia for my competitive days in gymnastics back with Windmill (march in, national anthem, saluting the audience). Then routines starting going, rapid fire, one after another. My routine rather sucked because I didn't get my layout around and I put my hands down, and my timing was too far off to do my back tuck. But my choreography actually worked out well, and I was having fun performing again. I ended up getting an 8.6, which in regular gymnastics would be really good, but the median score was 9.0 or so (based on creativity, technique, and just plain having fun). My score didn't bug me though, because I was just looking to perform again. As a whole, we all did great, and won the team award, and also won the group exhibition competition.
After the meet, we had dinner at the Rio (but not at the buffet because the line was 2 hours long!) then drove back to the Strip and visited Caesar's Palace, Bellagio (and saw the water show, pictured), Treasure Island (and saw the pirate show and tried the ladder climb in the arcade area), and the Venetian (but the boat thing was closed). I left back for the hotel earlier than the rest of my group because I was going to be leaving with the first car in the morning to get back to Davis early. I slept much of the way back, and tried to do homework (without much luck, of course =).
Then it was back into the usual grind of schoolwork. Midway through the quarter though, one of my supervisors at work suggested that I apply for a supervisor position the next time hiring came around. I was doubtful at first, not sure I was capable of handling the responsibility, but he and several other supervisors convinced me to go for it. I filled out the essay-like application, and waited anxiously to find out if I would be granted an interview. I did, and then fretted for two weeks about how to handle the interview. It surprisingly went better than I expected, especially considering I usually freeze up and become incoherent in situations like that. I actually got a call later that night, and one the managers told me that I'd been hired! What a relief that was! I didn't realized until that moment how much stress the whole application process had put on me, on top of midterms right around that time.
I was actually very surprised that I'd been hired. I had a great deal of doubt about myself, especially in the fact that I didn't have as much work experience as some of the other applicants. I even had a lot of doubt about how I handled some of the questions in the interview, but I guess it was sufficient. Now, I've started training alongside my current supervisors and will continue to do so through summer. It'll be interesting.
Another fun little tidbit -- one of the guys in the gymnastics club had begun taking flying trapeze classes at a nearby circus arts school, and invited a bunch of us one Saturday to go along and take a class ourselves. I went, and let me tell you, the flying trapeze is such a rush! Especially because I have a slight fear of heights. But we did a few basic swings, then we actually learned how to hang by our knees and get caught by the catcher on the second trapeze! THAT was the ultimate rush! Afterwards, we goofed around on some of the circus equipment, and I actually was able to make it across the practice tight wire (here's where beam training came in handy). I'm definitely considering taking a regular trapeze class over the summer because I really did love it that much! My parents think I'm crazy and I'll run away and join the circus!
Let's see ... what else? More on gymnastics ... I'm taking an apparatus class this quarter too, in addition to club practice. I managed to improve my bars back to the point where I was able to do a full Level 7 routine yesterday (although my free-hip was only slightly above horizontal, and the cast into the flyaway was barely even a cast). But it was continuous -- that's what I was aiming for. And on vault, I briefly began drills for handspring fulls (halves first, I guess). On beam, I did some round-offs on the low beam, and cartwheel-backs onto a port-a-pit. And I even got strong enough to hold handstands on both the beam and the floor for a minute or maybe more! Let's see if I can keep any of that.
The gymnastics club had its end-of-the-year banquet last week. It was great fun, great food, and lots of laughs. One of the highlights was the "special" awards given to everyone there. My award dubbed me with "the best handstands on beam" (pictured) and "most likely to follow Savage Garden around the world." Describes me perfectly!
Long enough for now? I have no clue when I'll update again. Maybe I'll surprise you ... =)
Wow, what an eventful past week or so. First, I took final exams, never a fun time. I expected my levels of stress to build from early on in the week when I had my intro to music final to my last final which was biochemistry. But it ended up being that I was most worried about my music final, and least about biochem. I guess it was because I had more time to study and be sure about biochem than I did with music. But the good news is that I ended up getting all A's anyway.
The next day, my roommates and I went to see Cirque du Soleil: Dralion over in San Francisco. Let me tell you, I don't think I had ever laughed that hard in a short amount of time in my life. There were comedy acts alternated with the "superhuman" feats that were brilliantly and hilariously created. You'd have to see it for yourself to know what I'm talking about.
Spring Break was uneventful -- spent many of the mornings going to the Rec Hall to practice for my routine, and had one day of work at the Coffee House. School started that following Friday, though I only had one class. The meat of things began on Monday when I had Cell Bio and the first day of my upper-division genetics lab. I was scared to death of the latter, not knowing at all what to expect.
It turned out not to be too bad, but very unusual. This lab will use Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as fruitflies. We were just supposed to become aquainted with the flies and their anatomy, but one procedure was shockingly strange. We were supposed to hold the fly between two tweezers, and pull the gonads out of its abdomen. Tell me that's not weird ... almost sick if it weren't for the purpose of science.
Then, my day took a spiraling nosedive. I lost my handbag -- the one where I kept my most necessary items (keys, wallet, etc). I'd gotten all the way to the Coffee House before I realized I didn't have it, and went all the way back to my lab building and spent almost an hour searching -- unsuccessfully. I even went to file a report with the campus police.
I must have lost it sometime when our class was transferring to another building, and then to different classrooms within that building. Under the stress of it being the first day of lab, I must have forgotten to take it with me during one of the moves.
When I finally got back to my apartment after calling for my roommates, I found out that someone had found my bag and turned it in. Thank heavens.
Today was much better. It was the first day of my Food Science & Technology class, as well as my Evolution & Ecology class, and they both seem like they promise to be interesting classes. After spending a few hours working at the Coffee House bakery, I went to gymnastics practice. During warm-up tumbling, I jammed my wrist rather painfully, so on my next round-off flip-flop flip-flop pass, I tried to put less pressure on my wrist, and suddenly noticed I had a lot more power in my tumbling! So, later on in the workout when we started doing cross-tumbling, I tried the same strategy and eventually did a layout!! Now, this is something I've been trying to get back for over a year, especially after having sprained my ankle in November. Until today, no matter how hard I tried to do the layout, it just wouldn't happen.
But it did, and hopefully I can put it into my routine and up my difficulty a bit. Countdown to Las Vegas: 11 days. I tried putting some of the pieces of my routine to the music, and with luck I should have something put together by the end of the week. Otherwise, I'm in trouble.
So, I come home today after spending the entire day on campus studying for biochem. I turn on my computer to check my e-mail, and just when I close the window, I see a news blurb on AOL about how the FDA lost its case in the Supreme Court to regulate tobacco use.
Excuse my frankness, but what the hell is wrong with them? Aren't the leaders of our country supposed to take measures to better the standards of living for the citizens? Everyone knows by now the scientifically established links between smoking and an array of diseases. And despite this danger to people's health, our government still refuses to take steps towards taking measures against it?
Again, I say, what the hell is wrong!? The people in the Supreme Court -- at least, the ones who voted against the proposal -- must be tobacco addicts themselves.
I stand up and applaud the Clinton administration for standing by their anti-smoking stance.
People who refuse to acknowledge the danger or are so caught up in the damn profits of the tobacco company are living a fantasy world. They're all just ignorant. IMNSHO, all tobacco should be eliminated from existence. It's just so completely aggravating that not only are we forced to inhale the fatal fumes every time we walk into a building that allows smoking inside, hear about all the dismal statistics that grow worse year after year, and watch our loved ones die, our country's leaders -- the ones who make the ultimate decisions -- aren't doing a damn thing about it.
I just can't stand to sit by and watch as all the careless people take years off their life, and mine, one puff at a time.
In fact, that's what I'm listening to right now -- their new one, Affirmation. It's such a great album. Full of emotion, incredible lyrics, and what a great voice Darren has. A lot of people where I work laugh at my choice of music, but pooh ... I don't care. Affirmation is a great album in itself -- I can get drawn into almost every one of the songs on there -- particularly "Crash and Burn" and especially "Gunning Down Romance". With their original album, "To the Moon and Back" is still my all-time favorite song, because it holds very deep meaning to me. "Truly, Madly, Deeply" is sweet and "I Want You" is just fun.
I bet a person could learn a lot about me personally just by knowing which songs are my favorite.
I'd been wanting to create one of these online journal-type things for a while. There are days that I just wish I had somewhere to speak my mind. But the other day a friend showed me the beginning of his, and after having taken three stressful final exams with one more to go, I figured what better time than now to start? Besides, it'll give me a break from studying biochemistry.
I don't really need to introduce myself -- my journal will do that in due time.
And in case you were wondering about the title, yes, I've incorporated two Star Trek: Voyager episode titles -- because they were very fitting.require("../webanalyse/include/stats_main.inc"); $stats = new init(true, '../webanalyse/'); // 2 params. true/false for activate or not, and the path of webanalyse. ?>