Random blog


Blog and Random blog16 Aug 2017 07:58 am

It has been a crazy transition to August. I had my first final in 14 years!  Crazy preparing for it.  I think my short term memory is horrible, but my long term memory is still very good.  Ask me if I remember specific scenes from the original Star Wars Trilogy… Anyways, I figured out that I have to commit things to long term memory to do well on exams/quizzes.  Problem is that the process of saving things to long term memory is a very intensive process… going over things thoroughly 4 or 5 times, instead of once or twice.  Couple minor short term memory impairments with the physical impairments of tremors/ataxia/minor double vison/ minor speech dysarthria and you have some major obstacles in the classroom.   Based on my experiences in the summer session at UCSD, I think they can be addressed:  Extra time to take quizzes/exams, use of a laptop, seating in the front of the classroom, and a note taker or presentation sharing.  Technology is great… I use my smart phone to set reminders/alerts and create “to do” lists to address short term memory lapses.  (Maybe I’m just getting older… hee hee hee…)

Anyways, I started cleaning out my place in San Diego this week and started shipping stuff to Houston.  Again, I get to be the new guy.  I’ve become very familiar with that role.  To me, it’s kind of exciting to start fresh and test yourself against new challenges.  It’s like starting with a clean slate… No body knows you, and you don’t know anybody.  I do know a few people in Houston, so the transition will be a little easier than my transition to San Diego from Michigan.  In San Diego, I was immersed with many peers in similar life stages developing their professional lives.  With this return to school in a new environment, I’m not so sure I’ll find people in similar life stages.  I’m gonna be the oddball. Professionally this move makes sense, but the task of finding new peers to hangout with might be challenging.

Developing a strategy for adapting to a new environment is half the excitement for me.  Planning and training feed my Type A Personality, but socially I’m very laid-back.  That is a very odd dynamic.  I like working with “Go-getters”, but I like to hangout with people who are “chill” and laugh at everything.  A strategy for a return to school is starting to form.  The goal is to publish more peer-reviewed articles.  I’ve published independent articles from my perspective, but I need to strengthen my scientific writing.

I’m leaving for Houston on Friday morning to start a new adventure!  I move into my apartment in Houston on Friday!  2 more days in San Diego!  Gotta grab a California Burrito and a Habit Burger before I leave!

Blog and Random blog12 Oct 2015 10:45 am

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA at sunset.Last week, I went up to San Francisco because flights were so cheap!  $75 each way! I had a very packed trip!  10 years ago was actually the last time I got drunk, but I like this song about San Francisco!  I spent the summer in San Francisco Bay area before PT school.  My younger cousin, Mike – who I haven’t seen in over 10 years, picked me up from the airport.  Then we went out to dinner and caught up on everything.  It was cool catching up with him!  He was one of the “little” cousins when we were growing up.  He’s an attorney now.  I was very impressed with all he’s been able to accomplish!  After a late dinner, he dropped me off at my friend, Natalie’s place in SF.  To make things more exciting, her place was located on a big hill, with a big flight of stairs to her apartment!  On top of that, the bathroom had an old school clawfoot tub giving me another challenge!  Good thing I never shy away from challenges… hee hee hee!  I crashed on her couch and took an Uber car to Fisherman’s Wharf for a lunch meeting the next morning!  I got there early and explored Fisherman’s Wharf on my own.  The last time I was there was ~15 years ago!  I remembered going to a magic shop and trying to learn how to do magic tricks so I could impress my friends with my magic skillz.  The problem is I’m not very good at deception.  I suck at doing magic, but it is pretty funny to see how pathetic I am! I also stopped by a puppet shop. It conjured up memories of constantly messing with people with my koala puppet!  I’m sure it was annoying, but I cracked myself up… For lunch, I met up with Samantha from the SAMFund and Erard/Mitch from the Belgian organization, Esperity. We had lunch at Fog Harbor Fish House and had a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.  We were pleasantly surprised to be able to watch the Blue Angels practice their show for Fleet Week.  After lunch we walked around Pier 39 and I got to hangout with the Esperity guys.  We def eat too much whenever we get together…  I took another Uber car to back to Natalie’s apartment and took my “siesta” before dinner at Stem.  We met up with a bunch of SF survivors and the Esperity San Francisco team and ate yet again!

metreonOn Friday, I was invited by Esperity to attend a meeting at Impact Hub, a co-working space filled with entrepreneurs.   It was very interesting to see how they run their meetings.  I was planning on visiting another PhD program at UCSF, but I completely forgot that it was a holiday weekend.  Most of the faculty I needed to meet with were gone.  I had lunch with the Esperity San Francisco Team and caught a movie at the Metreon in downtown SF.   I went there often when I spent a summer in SF before PT school!  I saw The Martian, then an old friend from undergrad picked me up. We picked up dinner and took it back to his place in San Mateo to see his family.  I went to college with Roger and his wife, Suki, so it was great to catch up with them and meet their kids!  Later that evening, when the kids went to bed some other old friends from college met up with us.  They act exactly the same, but a little older and with kids!  The evening was filled with lots of laughing/reminiscing about all the stupid stuff we used to do in college!

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The following morning, we had breakfast and more old friends from college came over to watch the Michigan-Northwestern football game. It was so cool seeing my college friends as parents.  It actually was the first time I met their kids!  Too funny!  I always like holding conversations with the kids because I could definitely see the personality traits/influence of their parents in them! My flight to San Diego was delayed because President Obama was in SF, so I was able to hangout a little bit longer.  I was exhausted because I delayed my daily “siesta”!  I like getting to the airport early in case any problems arise… I never know how things will go with passing security and gate checking the mAss Kicker Mobile!  I grabbed a bite to eat at the airport then took my siesta.  It was a busy trip, but great to meet up with family, old friends, and oncology advocates.

Pictures from Day 1

Pictures from Day 2

Pictures from Day 3

This week is the Celebration of Life in San Diego.  I’ll be doing a toast this year to honor the people that stood by us during and after treatment!  Will be a great night!  I want to recognize all the people who have been there for me since the beginning and honor them with a toast!  Please try to stop by!  But if you can’t make it, please consider a tax deductible online donation!  Click here to donate online to support mAss Kickers Foundation activities next year!  More international travel is in the works, but still hammering out the details!

I’VE GOT EVEN MORE COOL STUFF IN THE WORKS! hee hee hee… Make a donation and I’ll fill ya in!  I’m realizing that mAss Kickers Foundation is definitely going to need more official help next year!

Blog and geek and Random blog05 Jul 2015 08:36 pm

sdcc1I’m actually going to be in town this year for the World Famous San Diego Comic Con!  I went downtown last year for the festivities, but I haven’t been inside the actual convention center since 2010…  going downtown is always fun because there are a lot of people in costumes dressed up for people watching, there is something going on, and of course FREE PROMOTIONAL STUFF!  It’s like Halloween in warm weather.  I went to my first Comic Convention in Michigan back in the 90s actually, a friend dragged me to a Star Trek convention too.  I didn’t wear a costume though… I won’t get dressed up for anything unless I have too. In high school, I was the typical jock.  I played sports every season, but I was secretly obsessed with science fiction and comic books.  Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace my geekiness!  You can try to hide it or learn to embrace it.  I’m proud to be different.

Oh man… there will be so many costumed characters in San Diego next weekend!  It will fun people watching!  Last year I got a kick out of this guy playing the “Ocarana of Time” from the Legend of Zelda outside the Gaslamp trolley stop.  I wasted so much time playing this video game!  I don’t know what was worse: me playing for hours in the living room OR my roommates watching me play for hours and giving me STRATEGIC advice… HAHAHA!  Anyways… Been laying the ground work for a VERY BUSY Sept, Oct, and Nov… Stay Tuned!  Some BIG NEWS is coming!

housekeeping and PT shop talk and Random blog and reviews22 Dec 2014 08:10 am

One of the 1st videos…

Blog and Random blog and reviews23 Oct 2014 10:38 am

AOBwebThe last few weeks have been crazy.  I’m doing a lot of new things A few weeks ago, I took the train up to Los Angeles to attend a UCLA Brain Tumor Research event,  15th Anniversary 2014 “Art of the Brain” Gala.  I actually enjoy taking the train to LA because it’s relaxing and you don’t have to worry about traffic.  The seats are comfortable and it’s a relatively stress free trip!  I don’t know why people don’t take the train more often.  As someone who doesn’t like sitting in traffic, the train is a great alternative to the stress associated with traffic and the cost of gas in California!  When I got to LA I decided to go on another adventure there!  Public transportation.  I’m becoming familiar with it in San Diego, but Los Angeles is a whole different beast.  I took the bus to UCLA, which was fine with me because I had time to kill before the event!  It was like a tour of my old stomping ground when I briefly lived in Los Angeles after undergrad.  The bus passed through: Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywoood, and finally Westwood. When I finally got to the event, I met up with a friend, changed out of my t-shirt and jeans, then scooted around to expore the event venue.  I was very impressed with the turnout and amount of donors/vendors associated with the one night event.  The event showcased some photographs and paintings created by brain tumors survivors, and a had pretty cool musical performance.  There was a really unique string instrument there that stretched from the floor to the ceiling!  Very unique and pretty cool. It was the first formal Gala that I have ever attended.  There were so many people there… It was ~$300 a plate with so many event sponsors!   The highlight of the night for me was meeting more brain tumor survivors.  These people understand what it like to live with the after effects of a brain tumor.  There is an automatic kinship that is formed immediately when meeting people who “understand”.  Traumatic experiences have a tendency to bring people together.  I have noticed that the “kinship” among survivors is very powerful.  After going through so much alone, it is extremely comforting to connect with people who understand!  I felt to same bond when I want up to LA for my first brain tumor event in Hollywood.  My buddy let me crash on his couch after the event and took me to the train station the next morning.  It was quite a fun trip!

2014 Celebration of Life logo

At the beginning of October, mAss Kickers Foundation hosted the annual Celebration of Life ceremony to honor the people that helped us get through everything:  our family, our friends, and our fellow survivors.  We honored those special people with toasts given by survivors.  Here are the videos from the past three years!

The event is literally a Celebration of Life organized and run by survivors.  We have met so many cool people at the event.  It is a potluck so everyone that attends feels invested in the celebration! We just figured that THE PEOPLE THAT WERE THERE FOR US DESERVE RECOGNITION!

acscan-logoLast week I had the opportunity to go the San Diego, ACS CAN RESEARCH BREAKFAST at Scripps Memorial Hospital.  I was attracted to this event because it highlights the promotion of science and research in the fight against tumors/cancer.  One of the reasons I did not get involved with the American Cancer Society was because I felt that a lot of their energy was spent on fund raising events.  I was very happy to see their commitment to research and advocacy.  I’m very attracted to the research side in the fight against ALL forms of tumors/cancer.  I do have some knowledge of the research process.  I do realize that I’m not qualified to do research myself, but I fully support the organizations and individuals that do.

Things are still keeping me busy.  I’m going to Korea next week to speak at a US Military Rehabilitation Conference then meeting up with some American cancer survivors in Singapore to do a presentation about a proactive lifestyle after a tumor/cancer diagnosis.  Stay tuned!

Blog and family and Random blog11 Oct 2014 12:31 pm

My grandfather is still inspiring me even though he passed away my sophomore year of high school.  A few years ago, we went to the Philippines for my aunt and uncle’s wedding anniversary and grew interested in the things my grandpa did.  My brother and I brought a camera with us and we made our one of our first videos. My cousin Jojo Calora found some old yearbooks from his early years at East High School (now gone) in Minneapolis, Minnesota and from the University of Minnesota where he was a Chemistry Major.  It blows my mind knowing that he was one of the FIRST Filipino exchange students in the United States in the 1920s!  After that, he spent some time in Germany and got his PhD!  This was probably right before World War II and the rise of Nazi Germany!  I still can’t believe he was there!  He returned to the Philippines and was a Professor in Soil Sciences.  Anyways, I wish I knew more about him.  I’m sure that he had a bunch of interesting stories!  I was told that he used to visit us in Michigan when we were babies and toddlers.  The only thing that I remember was that he would always pinch our cheeks.  I hated that… His activity in the midwest probably explains how we ended up in Michigan.  I am so proud to be descended from such an interesting man!  I was surprised to learn that he even has a High School named after him and a lecture hall dedicated to him in the Philippines!  Our dad is a reserved guy, so we never talked about this stuff growing up… kinda cool that we can actually do our own research!

grandpa high school 1922

high school in Minnesota in the 1920s

grandpa college

College in the 1920s at the University of Minnesota

Blog and Random blog and reviews18 Aug 2014 04:34 pm

It’s been a while since my last post.   So much has happened!  I went back to Michigan for our Annual Paintball Benefit, my bro came back with me to SD so I got to do some touristy stuff in San Diego, and my fall traveling schedule is finally starting to solidify.

paintball 14This was the 6th year we’ve had the TUMORS SUCK Paintball Benefit and it is still continuing to grow.  This year there were more kids and survivors.  Check out the pictures!  The “tween” survivor population is starting to come out for the event!   We also had a volunteer cameraman from my old high school in Ann Arbor who recorded interviews for us.  I was very happy to see more high school athletes from my old high school at the event this year.  Hopefully more will come next year to support this event.  We also had more survivors and staff attend from the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Unit.  It was cool to see the “gruff” paintballers giving back, teaching kids how to play, and ultimately playing with the survivors.  These diseases affect everyone so it is great to see people team up to help each other.  The Tumors Suck Paintball Benefit has become a fun event for die hard paintball players to share the fun in paintball with kids and tumor/cancer survivors who want to do something different and enjoy themselves.  Each survivor was assigned a “body guard” who’s job is to protect them while completing each game scenario’s mission.  It makes it fun for both parties and builds a bond between the survivor and the “body guard!.  It is truly unique event that brings people together for a unique and fun time!  At lunch, there is always a big raffle where paintball gear and gift certificates are given away!  There is always so much given away!  The smiles on everyone’s dirty faces at the end of the day only builds the excitement for the next TUMORS SUCK Paintball Benefit.  We have plans to expand next year.

connect-4After the Paintball Benefit, my brother came back with me to San Diego.  Too funny because our collective maturity level drops whenever we are together.  We have always been very competitive.  Coaches use to pit us against each other all the time to get the best out of both of us!  I have a Connect Four set in my place. My brother found it, so naturally I was challenged.  We ended up playing a best of 7 series everyday.  All I can say is that “Big Brother” officially won in a 4 day sweep.  I swear that our collective maturity level drops to junior high level when left alone.  Smack talk, put-downs, and bodily noises fill the air whenever we get together.  I’ll admit that he has the advantage in the face-slapping department due to my ataxia but my advantage is that I wake up early.  Payback will be harsh… We did do some cool stuff tho while he was here.  We found a really good empanada place in Pacific Beach!  I hadn’t been to Pacific Beach (a college town/beach neighborhood) in a while.  So much empanada variety at Papa Luna’s!  Will definitely have to go back and try the other ones.  I didn’t even know dessert empanadas existed!  “Fat Eric”  approves.  We also went to the USS Midway museum.  We grew up watching Top Gun on the VCR during summer breaks, so we were both pretty excited to check it out!  The last time we went to a museum this happened.  I’m a geek, but put me in a museum and I turn into a HUGE dork who has to know everything!  HAHAHA!  Starting to confirm my travel schedule for the fall!  Looks like I’ll be in Austin, San Francisco, and Michigan for sure.  Should have confirmation on a couple international trips soon!  Pretty exciting stuff in the works!  Can’t wait to announce it!  Stay tuned!

Blog and Random blog and reviews01 Jul 2014 09:43 pm

michigan-county-mapSo much has happened since my last post! As a child, the month of June not only meant the end of school year, but also the beginning of summer and a bunch of fun activities.  Earlier this month, I went back to Michigan for one of my best friend’s 40th birthday!  We are all evolving!  A few years ago, everyone was getting married and buying houses.  Now, kids are started to pop up and priorities are changing.  It is so crazy that we are now older than our parents were when they immigrated to the United States to start a new life!  It was so cool going back home to Michigan and not having to worry about an event or a speaking engagement. I got to see many of my friends from undergrad at the birthday party.  I also got together with some of my friends from grad school for a barbecue!   I also got to meet up with some of my mentors from grad school!  It was so great catching up with everyone and taking a short break from everything..

2003-mr-olympia-92_20090831_1380869138I returned to San Diego for our Second Kickball Tournament.   This year teams included: Local PT/PTA programs, a team of survivors and their loved ones, a team of PTs, and the defending champs!  It is really turning into a fun event!  This year, we let the family members of survivors play so a bunch of little kids made some great plays playing with their parents!  Pretty cool seeing families play together!  Things went very well.  We see a lot of potential for expansion!  It was great seeing future healthcare professional interacting with the families affected by tumors/cancer.  We are making plans to recreate this event with other PT/PTA programs in different states!

2014 esperity meetingThe week after the kickball tournament, I had the opportunity meet with the Founders of the Belgium Based website, Esperity.  They are early in their development, but they share with MKF a strong interest in clinical trial recruitment.  They realize that common cancers like breast or prostate cancer get the most research funding and get the most subjects recruited for research studies because of their prevalence.  If we can combine resources globally on clinical research studies for the less prevalent tumor/cancer types, this could address the need for the recruitment of rare tumor/cancer subjects.  EVERYONE BENEFITS!  Instead of looking in one region, lets search the world for eligible research subjects.  It makes sense to me.  Collaboration is key, but people need to understand the benefits of participating in clinical research.  It was great to hear their vision and add my input!  I’m still not sure how an international “IRB” would manage this, but it is an interesting concept.  We’ll definitely have to keep an eye out of them.

lucha libre1After our meeting, I wanted to relax, so I stopped by Lucha Libre Taco Shop.  As a kid, I was really into pro-wrestling.  I am proud to say that I was going crazy at Wrestlemania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant.  When I heard about a luchador (masked pro-wrestlers) themed taco shop in San Diego I had to check it out!  Nacho Libre was one of the silliest movies I had ever seen, but it awakened my inner-child! The 11 year-old version of myself would not have been disappointed by Lucha Libre Taco Shop.  The place was covered with luchador memoriabilia and bright colors that screamed “NOTICE ME!” Of course, the food was incredible!  Their California Burrito was rated as one the top 10 in San Diego by San Diego Surfers.  The place literally had a line out the door!  The menu did not disappoint!  If I like something, I tend to order it again.  The California Burrito has been my “Go-To” order for years.  I’m just now starting to explore San Diego Mexican food outside of my first love, the California Burrito.  I will definitely have to return and try something different…

Anyways, still have a lot on my plate… gearing up for our paintball benefit in MI in August… stay tuned!

Blog and Random blog26 May 2014 04:54 pm

holiday2

Memorial Day Weekend used to have a completely different purpose/meaning for me.  In college, I used to go to my fraternity’s national convention Memorial weekend.  Of course we met to discuss issues of expansion and business, but it was also like a “mini Spring Break.”  The convention always coincided with a sorority’s national convention so there were no shortages of mixers and social events that weekend!  After college, my friends kept the tradition of meeting up Memorial Day weekend alive.  We use to make a concerted effort to meet up and stay in touch.  Many of my friends decided to get married Memorial Weekend thus keeping the Memorial Weekend tradition alive.  We have so many crazy stories from those weekends!  Now that many of my friends are now starting families and becoming respected professionals, the time for reunions/get together are becoming rare.   I’ve also started to appreciate the true meaning of Memorial day: Honor the men and women who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy in this country!  Being in San Diego with so many military personnel has made me appreciate the job that they do to defend our way of life.  To actually meet people, in the Military is very humbling.  Sacrificing time away from their family and dedicating their life for a cause larger than themselves is something I truly admire.  When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate the sacrifices these people make to serve their country.  I’ve gotten to meet so many members of the Military and I’ve grown to respect all of them.  Many of my own personal beliefs are very similar to their values.  I have so much respect for their code!   Let’s not forget the reason WHY we have this holiday!  Thank you to all that serve or who have served!

 

Blog and Random blog05 Apr 2014 04:32 pm

On Tuesday last week, I was featured on the front page of the Health section of the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper.  The days leading up to the publication reminded me of playing sports in high school and anxiously waiting for the write-up after a good game/match.  It’s funny, because I’m a pretty laid-back guy. I’ve never sought to be the center of attention, but now I’m learning to “embrace” it and become a proud advocate for “post-treatment thrivership”.  Thriving starts with attitude.  Attitude breeds confidence. Whether that confidence is real or an act, it creates a strong sense of UNITY between the individual fighting and his/her supporters.  I have observed it numerous times in the 8 years since my diagnosis.  I call it being a mAss Kicker.  The right attitude in the face of an intimidating obstacle can be a powerful factor in the fight against tumors/cancer.  LET’S KICK MASS TOGETHER!

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