Random blog


movies and Random blog and reviews09 Sep 2019 06:29 am
Movies aren’t as scary as they used to be. It has been a LONG time since a movie really freaked me out or scared me. Sure, the “jump scares” still get me, but I haven’t been freaked out after seeing a movie in a long time. I saw IT: Chapter 2 this weekend, but the ending of the movie didn’t haunt me as much as the original TV Series did. Scary movies that are open ended and seem realistic used to scare me a lot. I’ve never been able to sit through the entire run time of classic horror movies like the original Nightmare on Elm Street, the Exorcist, and the Ring. Actually, the movie Scream freaked me out the most because it had the jump scares and was very “meta”.

Maybe the reason why movies don’t scare me is because they aren’t geared towards me. The scary movie formula typically involves a kid and something Supernatural. I’m not impressionable like I was as a kid. I am becoming cynical and question everything. I never understood willingly watching something that scares you and gives you nightmares. Movies are supposed to be an escape from reality. Why would I want to escape to something that freaks me out. That is why I’ve always preferred geeking out to a good sci-fi movie, cheering for the hero in an action movie, laughing at a silly comedy, or learning something new in an interesting documentary.

Well, I’ll try to blog more frequently. We’ll see what happens next. I have more exciting things in the works. Stay tuned.

Blog and Random blog02 Sep 2019 08:46 pm
Sports has been the one constant in my life ever since I was young. The highs and lows of being a fan/supporter of any sports teams connects so many people. I realized that sometimes I would get I am still a die hard fan, but it doesn’t consume me as much as it used to. I don’t get too emotional in front of people, but put me in front a team that I’m a fan of and I’ll have the vocabulary of a grumpy sailor. I needed sports in every major transition in my life because “cheering for something” was a great escape from the moments of uncertainty or the seriousness of new situations. I look back at every major transition in my life and there was always a big sporting event associated with it. Detroit Tigers win the 84’ World Series. Motor City “Bad Boys” win 2 NBA championships. U of M football wins National Championship. Detroit Pistons win another NBA Championship. Patriots win multiple NFL Super Bowls. The Golden State Warriors win multiple NBA Championships. The Houston Astros win the World Series. The Toronto Raptors win the NBA Championship.

My younger brother played organized sports (t-ball) before I me because I was too much of a comic book fan to start paying attention to sports. He was always the cooler one although I will always be the BIG BROTHER… HAHAHA! But once we started playing the same sports, we grew extremely competitive… especially through high school when we were on the same team pushing each other to excel. It is the thing that still defines us. Our competitive nature is what made us stick out and helped us to gain acceptance in a community where we were so different from everyone.

Sports and physical activity became a part of my identity. However, that identity was put in jeopardy when I was faced with some severe physical impairments after major brain surgery. Luckily, working as a physical therapist and physical therapy assistant has exposed me to some amazing stories of rehabilitation and adaptation. The core of my former career as a physical therapist was rooted in helping people learn how to adapt to their impairments and discover how they can thrive under new circumstances. This is the crux of mAss Kickers Foundation. MKF strives to achieve adaptation and self-discovery in tumor/cancer survivors and their loved ones.

Blog and PT shop talk and Random blog and Uncategorized31 Dec 2017 09:37 am


The return to Michigan for the holidays was different this year.  Not only was I staying for two weeks, but I was also returning as a student.  Whenever I come home, I always get nostalgic, but at the same time I get this urge to clean things out.  I found a bunch of old pictures and miscellaneous items in my room that brought back some memories. Sadly, I think I’m the only one that wants to throw things out.  My brother and Mom are packrats and have managed to build quite a collection of things since I’ve moved out over 20 yeats ago!   Lots of things pile up and there are plenty of arguments about what to keep!  I’m not sure this is a battle I can win.  We finally got rid of: an old 200 pound trinitron TV, my old scooter, and some junk moved out of our house.  I did find some old CDs and DVDs I can still use in Houston.

I always go to the movies with my dad whenever I come to Ann Arbor.  My bro, my dad, and I saw The Last Jedi the day after I arrived.  Only fitting because we saw Return of The Jedi together in 1983.  That movie solidified my geekiness and also turned me into a fan of seeing films movie theater.  Anyways, we also saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle but my curiosity was piqued after the movie.  We saw the movie in “D-box” seats.  They basically are seats that are synced up with the movie and move/shake with the action.  I did notice something interesting… I usually have trouble using my crutches walking out of the theater after being seated/stationary for hours.  After experiencing the movie in the d-box, I was able to use my crutches to walk out of the theater.  This got the physical therapist in me thinking… Was I less tired today?  Was the outcome a result of specific environmental conditions?  Was the increased sensory input affecting my balance?  Was it simply the result of being stimulated for 2 hours instead of sitting like a bump on a log for 2 hours?  Will the same effects happen again if I watch another d-box movie?  Will have to continue this experiment in Houston… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Blog and public health and Random blog18 Sep 2017 12:44 pm

Hurricane Harvey came and left a lot of flooding in Houston.  I was very fortunate to get out of Houston when I did!  I would have been extremely bored sitting in an empty apartment all by myself with no TV, nothing to do, and the high potential for flooding/losing power.  I live close to Bray’s Bayou, so I was a little nervous about the potential for flooding.  With that in mind, I hopped on a bus to Dallas the day before the hurricane.  I was like “Class 4 Hurricane… I’m outta here!”  Dealing with a big storm  alone, no furniture/TV/entertainment, in a new city, with a physical disability… didn’t make sense for me to stay in Houston.   The bus ride to Dallas wasn’t that bad… I wasn’t in a hurry (took 4 hours) AND I got to experience downtown Houston for the first time! Very different from San Diego!  My friends picked me up in Dallas from the bus station and we went straight to a Mexican restaurant to get Tex-Mex Food.  Thus began my Dallas “Eating Quest.”  Dave’s parents from the Houston area were also in Dallas to escape Hurricane Harvey.  Mrs Chen is a phenomenal cook, so I was definitely well fed in Dallas!  I realized very quickly, that if I don’t check myself here, there is very large potential to gain a lot of weight!  Anyways, I finally returned to Houston the Friday after the hurricane flooding.  I was very lucky to come home to a dry apartment, but my furniture was still not there.   Thanks again Becca, Dave, lil Ethan, Mr. (now Uncle) Chen  and  Mrs. (now Auntie) Chen.  I feel like I have “family” now in an unfamiliar place.  I rode back to Houston with Uncle and Auntie and we stopped at this incredible BBQ restaurant Woody’s Smokehouse at a rest stop off the freeway!  A rest stop!  The BBQ Chicken, brisket, and smoked sausage were AWESOME! I couldn’t believe how crowded this rest stop was! As we drove through Houston, we could see the devastation pilled up outside of homes in the form of ruined furniture/personal items.  It is sad to think that many of those items were probably not covered by flood insurance… total loses!  I have been very impressed with the response and hospitality of the community in Houston post Hurricane Harvey.  Complete strangers offered me help, water/food, and assistance.  I definitely experienced the “Southern Hospitality”.  It is very easy to reciprocate the hospitality, but at the same time it is necessary to keep your guard up!   I’ve always been a quiet guy, but in the past few years I’ve been reborn as a patient advocate and nonprofit professional.  This rebirth has spurred my desire to become an advocate for those who are underserved or taken advantage of.

My first month in Texas has been full of curveballs, but over the past decade I’ve learned how to adapt to new challenges.  Just need a clear head to make solid decisions. I came back to the apartment in Houston WITHOUT flooding (which was a big relief), but I was powerless to do anything about my lack of furniture.  I came back to a dry but empty apartment.  I still didn’t have any furniture or extra clothes.   I was starting to get frustrated by the delays, and posted something on social media about it. Apparently someone called the movers and was extremely rude to them.  I appreciated the support, but the fact remained that they still held my stuff.  The first thing I did when I returned to Houston was buy a nice rug and borrow an air mattress. Hurricane Harvey was so severe that the start of school at UTHSC in Houston was delayed one week.  There was flooding at MD Anderson Center Cancer, and the roads were flooded to the hospital!   This was very important because how were people who needed medical attention supposed to access it?  How would the medical staff still at the hospital return to their families with all the flooding?  I’ve already heard stories of staying at the hospital and working extra shifts.  I also heard a story of a physician canoeing to work!  Crazy…  It was an adventure in itself trying to move my things from San Diego to Houston, but having no control on the delivery of my things amidst a natural disaster was extremely stressful!  My furniture finally arrived in Houston last week after almost 4 weeks and numerous delays!   This was very frustrating because the office would tell me that they would arrive on one day, but the movers would tell me something completely different  In addition, I was charged for storage, unloading/ re-storage at the holding facility, and redelivery to Houston!  The price of the move was already inflated, so more unexpected fees made things more expensive! I will definitely go through a BBB moving company, not a broker next time! Lesson learned.  However I still don’t understand why I was charged an extra $500 for storage, unloading/reloading, and redelivery due to a natural disaster that no one had control over.   No one could get into Houston the Wed after the hurricane… that’s part of the reason I wasn’t there!   I’m happy my stuff finally arrived and I can finally start focusing on school!   I can already forsee challenges with returning to school in a different academic discipline and a physical disability.  Mix in the unpredictable weather and mobility issues and things will be very interesting!  Rain and thunderstorms are in the forcast this week… I’m gonna get wet!  Bring it on!  LET’S ROCK THESE NEW CHALLENGE

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!

TSP52015.10.9C

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

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