Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thoughts About The Passing of Lolo Diong

Life happens, and so does the inevitability of death. But when the passing of someone close to you comes, it’s always something you never learn to expect. So it came as a shock to me early Saturday morning a few weeks ago when I got a text message from my Auntie Beth that beloved Lolo Diong had left us the night before. I was at the first day of AREC marathon training so I dedicated that morning’s run to him. Even though I didn’t show my grief outward, I felt it deep inside me. I didn’t inform any of the people I ran with even though I feel a kinship with my fellow runners. I just found solace as the run went on. This is the kind of grief only shared with family.
 One of the first thoughts that came to mind about Lolo Diong was this: I never knew my grandfather, my real grandfather that is, because he died before I was born. Whom I consider my real grandfather is really my stepgrandfather. But who is going to quibble with semantics when he is the only grandfather I’ve ever known and who played the role of real grandfather really well?  My Uncle Ed made mention of this in his eulogy a couple of weeks later. When Lolo Diong married my grandmother, she already had 4 children and he fit right in and accepted everyone wholeheartedly. They added two more of their own to the brood - the aforementioned Auntie Beth and Uncle Ed.
The visitation and funeral came over a week later. During those two days and a few thereafter, I didn’t sleep well. Either my grandfather’s death haunted me or my body wasn’t used to having so many days off. I was able to string several days off in addition to my bereavement leave and that threw my circadian rhythm off. Was it mental anxiety over Lolo Diong’s death or circadian dysrhythmia? One thing was for sure – I felt spacey the day after the funeral.
Other thoughts about the visitation and funeral and you will have to forgive me because some of them are irreverent: Facing the visitation room was another room with two counters for the family to set out snacks for visitors. There was a bigger room in the back too which our family utilized. I notliced that the families who used the counters had chips and soda for their guests. In contrast, the back room had several tables filled with fried noodles, egg rolls, pizza, pan de sal, siomai (shu mai), sodas, etc. Was that a surprise? Not really, Filipinos always throw that kind of a feast regardless of it being a death in the family. Let me just add that the people who used the counters up front were not Filipinos ;) . When the eating was done, the reciting of the rosary was led by Uncle Oscar at the visitation room. There was a slight hitch though. The rosary beads he was holding just minutes earlier had mysteriously vanished. He had to use his fingers to keep track of how many Hail Mary’s have been prayed. I wasn’t present during the rosary because I volunteered to be a sentry at the reception area in case other people wandered in and try to eat all the Filipino food. Hopefully my Uncle Oscar kept good track of the count with his fingers and did just five decades of the rosary instead of six Glorious Mysteries. The sixth Glorious Mystery being the disappearance of the rosary beads. After the rosary and visitation, we had to clean up the reception area so that Uncle Oscar could get his cleaning deposit back. While we were doing this, a guy who saw me carrying out some trash bags to the trash bin asked my Uncle who I was and what we were doing. He later introduced himself as the new janitor and he mistook me as someone taking his job. While we were finishing up, a security guard was waiting outside so he can lock the place up. I warned my relatives that if we were not out in five minutes, we were going to be locked in the reception area, or worse, in the morgue.
There was a funeral mass the day after visitation. It was my first experience with the new mass which I’ve only read about in the news. Let me just say that it was still similar to what I was familiar with so I didn’t get totally lost. I even received communion. I just don’t know the songs they sing nowadays. Although I still consider myself Catholic, I no longer go to church. The priest mentioned that the bible says that the normal lifespan of man is 70 years and anything over that is a bonus. I’ll have to take his word for it because I don’t know my Ecclesiastes from ecdysiasts. A couple of nice eulogies were given by Uncle Ed and cousin Mary Ann. As one of the pallbearers, we had to lift grandpa’s casket a few feet from the door of the chapel to the hearse. We were caught unprepared on how heavy the casket was and were thankful that it was only a few feet. From the curb to the gravesite, we opted for a cart. Whew! Thank goodness we didn’t drop grandpa! That made me wonder if that has ever happened. Let me just tell you that even though I lift weights, I could barely hang on to the casket. Lifting weights and lifting patients to the seclusion room is apparently not enough training for lifting a casket. A nice touch to the end of the graveside service was the release of homing doves. After finding their bearings, they headed towards the 605 North Freeway and back home to Monrovia, while Lolo Diong’s spirit ascended the stairway to heaven. By the way, before Lolo left, he played one final joke on us: one of the staff in the funeral home found the rosary beads in the kitchen and returned it to my uncle after the funeral mass. What kitchen?! We didn’t use any darn kitchen! Astaghanan and astagpirula! Lolo Diong must have hidden those rosary beads to delay his send off. He must have been laughing all the way up :D.
(I hope my relatives will forgive me for my irreverence.)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Last Word on American Idol 2012

By this time, everybody would have beaten this dead horse with a stick. Please allow me to add my own stick.
Well, there it is, Phillip Phillips won and congratulations to him, his fans, and his voters. If he is too bashful to participate in the Ford commercials, let’s see how he does in promoting his records… I mean CD’s. I’m not sure if the West Coasters voted enough for Jessica because according to my dialing experience the night of the finale, after 9 p.m. California time, it was easier to get through on the phone lines. Ok, so Jessica Sanchez didn’t win, but let’s not forget that she would not have reached the final two without the judges’ save and the people who rallied to vote for her afterwards.
I apologize for criticizing the pained look on his face when Phillip sang and his non-participation in the Ford commercials. Apparently he was in real pain lots of times due to kidney stones. Anyone who have had that same problem knows how debilitating that can be.
I mentioned in one of my previous posts that according to the Christian Science Monitor, if overall tweets and  You Tube hits translated to votes for Jessica, then she would win the competition. Another newspaper agency analyzed the numbers after the final vote and found out that Jessica had overall the most number of tweets that originated from the Philippines, the U.S., and elsewhere. Well, the Philippines and elsewhere didn’t count. If only the tweets in the U.S. were considered, Phillip won that one. The same can be said about telephone voting because another website that tracked busy phone lines of the two finalists indicated that Phillip had the most calls.
As much as we are disappointed in the results and that a lot of people were right when they said that only a WGWG would win, let’s just say that we had taken Jessica to as far as we could take her with our votes. That’s the best we could do. And to those who say that she did not win because of racial discrimination, I have two words for you: Barack Obama.
And this final note – would you believe that some people still have a mistaken notion that Simon Cowell is still involved or connected with American Idol?! Nuts! OMG, how did I get so involved in this??? Next up: So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). Do you think they would have a Filipino finalist? I remember they had one the other year…

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

American Idol 2012 Finale

Now that I’ve slept over it, here are my morning-after non-expert opinions and impressions on how the Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips performed last night. First song for Jessica (whom I consider “the great imitator” as most Filipino singers are, and I mean that in a good way), was Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”. A very good imitated performance with subtle changes as can be expected. Then Phillip Phillip’s song – “Stand By Me”. When I viewed this online from video posted by East Coast bloggers, I thought it was something that you could fall asleep to. Who needs a sleeping pill with that kind of rendition? Ahem, sorry Phillip fans. When I saw it on the West Coast, I thought it sounded better. Next for Jessica was “The Prayer”. It was a beautiful song and she sang it excellently, again as can be expected and I think on par with Celine Dion’s version. These kinds of songs fit her voice like a glove. Phillip’s version of “Moving Out” was well sung too and mostly in tune even though his facial expressions looked like he was in pain (or worse, constipated) while he was singing it. Regarding Jessica’s final song “Change Nothing”, I have to agree with the judges on this one. It wasn’t a good song choice (who chooses those songs, btw?). Started too low and got better sung as it went on. I would have preferred “Change Something”. I watched an East Coast video of Phillip singing “Home” and I liked it. By the middle, I posted on Facebook that it sounded very much like a Simon and Garfunkel song, and this was about 3 hours before I heard Steven Tyler’s comment on the show. I’m glad we’re on the same page on that, Steven J. So there you go folks, I think with the final song, Phillip had the better choice. Still, it was not enough for me to switch up my votes.
Which brings us to the racial discrimination claims by some quarters. Personally, I think not. Racial bias? Perhaps. But that’s just human nature. Of course if Jessica Sanchez comes out the winner, then you can throw out the window the two claims mentioned beforehand. For the sake of argument, if Jessica wins, it may be a case of fans rallying the vote after she was supposed to have been eliminated and saved by the judges. That was certainly the case for me, because I haven’t voted since Carrie Underwood won several years ago and only did again this year after the judge’s save.
This is a side note about imitated performances and I just want to add it here before I forget about it. I still miss Simon Cowell and imitated singing is not the type that go well with him. I think he would have given Jessica Sanchez a hard time with that if he was still one of the judges. Has anyone found any sound bites of his impressions on AI 2012? If so, please send me a link. Thanks.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

American Idol Finale: Jessica Sanchez vs. Phillip Phillips

Another delayed take on last week’s American Idol results.
Before the final three last week, I found this article from the Christian Science Monitor: In short, it says the Jessica has the most Twitter followers and You Tube views among the contestants and questions whether those numbers also reflect her popularity among voters. My unqualified opinion is that those Twitter followers and You Tube views are mostly coming from the Philippines.
So here we are with the final two on American Idol: it's going to be the chicks for Philip Phillips against the Mexicans and Flips for Jessica Sanchez this week. Joshua the screamer is gone despite being the judges’ favorite, but I'm sure he is going to get a very nice recording contract. That just goes to show you though, that it's not the number of standing ovations one gets from the judges but the number of votes from the fans. As if you didn’t already know that, LOL. Word out there indicates that people from other countries have been able to vote but I have barely any knowledge of how they are able to do that and how many actually get through by phone or online.
Of course, there are the conspiracy theories out there claiming racial discrimination by some pundits and fans. Let me add to it – American Idol is trying to confuse voters from other countries who have managed to game the system so far by switching the finale to Tuesday this week! Let’s hope the regular voters got that update.
          I have a question by the way. How come Phillip Phillips doesn’t participate in the commercials? How can he get away with that? Isn’t that one of the terms and conditions for joining the contest? Please enlighten me.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

AREC Training – Week 3 and Ankle Remediation Techniques

Tools of Recovery

Saturday, May 19th was the third week of AREC marathon training. I wasn’t sure if I could make it this week because it was my weekend to work and waking up too early makes it difficult to make it through the night while on duty. Due to the unfortunate circumstance of my grandfather’s death last weekend, I am currently on bereavement leave.
 So back to the training run. More people showed up this week and it appeared close to double the number compared to the previous two. I even got to talk to a few people whom I haven’t seen for a while. Leila was there last week but I didn’t see her until we started and she was faster and too far ahead to catch. We were able to catch up a little bit before today’s start. The person I was surprised to see was Monica who I ran with a few times three years ago when she satisfied one of the must do things on her bucket list by running a marathon. I knew that she had moved to Texas some time last year and that’s why I was surprised to see her approaching me this morning. Two weeks ago, I happened to see someone with the same last name as Monica’s listed in the sign up roster and she confirmed that it was her daughter.
When we started running, I again tucked behind Michael and Rosie who were guiding the 12 minutes per mile runners. I saw Kim and asked her how married life was treating her because she mentioned last year that she was getting married soon. Well I was presumptuous because it’s not happening until June 2nd (my birthday!). After a brief chat, I caught up with pacer Michael who had already ran 5 miles beforehand with Rosie and Nick. Wow, some of these peeps are hard core! I saw Kathy about 30 yards ahead and told Michael that I’ll try to keep her company. She told me she was recovering from an injury that she aggravated when she ran 21 miles at the Big Sur Marathon course four weeks ago. We were joined by another runner who was supposed to do the 4 mile course but gut waylaid and the three of us ran together until 4 miles where another lady whose name I didn’t catch pulled me to the finish. Actually, she didn’t know the course so I helped her with that while she pulled me along. When we finished, I went back on the course to look for Michael and Rosie. I joined them in finishing, then the three of us added another half mile plus so they could put 12 miles in. My guesstimate total was very close to 7 miles since I haven’t been wearing my GPS watch of late. Total miles ~7, total time = 1 hour and 15 minutes which is the most I’ve run since last year. Not bad for a gimp, I’d say.
Thus far, it doesn’t seem like I’ve aggravated the tendons in my ankles despite running twice a week for the last three weeks. I’ll have to wait till tomorrow and the next day to get a more accurate assessment of how the ~7 miles affected my posterior tibialis tendons. Here are the things I’ve been doing post run: When I get home and after showering, I apply some capsaicin ointment on my inner ankles, bind them in semi rigid braces, and pop a Motrin (after Saturday runs only). I have to keep the braces on for a few hours for two or three days to minimize movement and pain. Somehow this works better than icing which I stopped doing. This is what I call my ankle remediation techniques or damage control techniques. About the frequency of running? Well, twice a week seems to be working quite well so far. Thank goodness for that J.

The Ties That Bind

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Antonio Tay - Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather

Originally from Jolo, Sulu and most recently from Long Beach, California, my beloved grandfather - Antonio Tay, “Lolo Diong” to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, passed away last Friday, May 11, 2012. Rest in Peace, Lolo.

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AREC Long Beach Marathon Training 2012 Edition – Week 2

You can't wipe that smile off my face.

Darn! I thought the previous Saturday’s AREC run was the official kickoff for the Long Beach Marathon training program. Turns out it was just a preview. No wonder not many people showed up. Well last Saturday was the official beginning and in addition to the people who signed up the week before, a few more showed up. One of the clues was that the mileage was the same as the previous week. Normally, it would have increased by another mile.
 I can’t say my joints were fully recovered but what was surprising was the body part that hurt the most and longest was my lower back. The anticipated pain in the ankles was also present (mostly on the right) and I didn’t try running again until Thursday and that was just on the treadmill. I was trying to save my ankle tendons for Saturday. With the official kickoff came the lengthy introductions which some said lasted longer than usual and the people who have been coming out for years were getting antsy. It wasn’t until 7:50 a.m. that we got the running started. Once again I followed the 12 minutes per mile pacers – Michael and Rosie. We were joined by Jean and some new members: Jimena, Melissa, and a couple of others whose names escape me now. Michael led the 3 mile people and Rosie, the 5 mile group. With all the chatting the group did, I wasn’t aware that someone was taking pictures until we almost bumped into him. Thanks Ara! Jimena recently moved to Long Beach from Monterey, Mexico because her job was establishing an office here. In the past, she ran some major marathons like New York and Chicago. Another lady said she ran L.A. last March using the Galloway method doing 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking, so running continuously was new to her. Melissa won a free entry to the Wrigley River Run when her name was picked during a random drawing during the introductions and she said she was going to do it even though she didn’t feel ready. So their stories kept us entertained which in turn kept my mind off my ankles and pretty soon we were cruising into the last mile at an easy pace effort. We finished in less than an hour so it was slightly below 12 minutes per mile. Good enough for a second consecutive week of running for me. Next week will be six miles. Would I want to wake up early again next Saturday morning? Stay tuned.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

So What Did I Do With The TGIFriday’s Gift Card?

Oops, I spoke too soon. This is my 6th consecutive day of blogging.
Did I finally find someone to take to the restaurant so I could blow my gift card? Well, no. Instead, I decided to order takeout last Friday and made it a real Thank God It’s Friday. Remember that movie and Donna Summer during the days of disco? This time there was no dancing involved, just eating.
 I’ve been looking on the internet to find the nearest TGIFriday’s and also get an idea what kind of food they served. I found a website with a menu and prices and started making a list of what I might order without exceeding the amount on the gift card. Based on the prices I saw, it appeared like I may be able to order about 5 dishes, which was a mix of an appetizer, a salad, a pasta dish, a meat dish, and dessert.
The nearest branch was at the Long Beach Towne Center which was six miles away. I called them up and told the guy what I wanted. He said their menu had changed recently and some of the things I wanted to order were no longer available. I asked him for alternatives and he offered some. By the time we got to four items, I asked what my running total was. It exceeded the card amount so I told him to take off the salad. With that, the remaining items just barely made it to the limit with 46 cents to spare. Here is what I ended up ordering: Jack Daniels appetizer sampler, full rack of baby back ribs with French fries, and angel hair pasta with bruschetta sauce and grilled chicken. I asked the guy who took my order to please substitute the French fries with some vegetables. I had a mistake though. When I got home, I realized the appetizer sampler already had a half rack of ribs so in retrospect, I should have kept the salad and dessert and that still would have kept me within my budget. Oh well, a little too late, but at least the ribs weren’t fatty. I polished that off on Friday, ate the pasta on Saturday after the AREC run, and still have the appetizer sampler in the fridge.

Somehow, with the menu change, the prices also increased. As an example, the price for the rack of ribs I saw online was $14.99 but the new price was $17.99.  I ended up having only three dishes instead of the hoped for five. By the way, when you order takeout from a place like TGIFridays where you pick up your order at the bar, do you still have to tip the server? Because I didn't.
The food I ordered didn't look as pretty as the pictures above though because they all came in styrofoam containers.

Wanna find out how I got the gift card in the first place? - A Computer Problem at Work Which Became a Gift Later

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo AREC Run

The start of A Running Experience Club’s marathon training program for the Long Beach Marathon happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo. There were no Mexican decorations though, and the first day sign ups were more sparse than the last few years, but this is due to the Orange County Marathon on Seis de Mayo and the following weeks’ Wine Country Marathon. A lot of the usual participants were tapering for those and didn’t show up. Or...they kicked off their Cinco de Mayo celebration early and were knocking down Coronas at 7 in the morning. There were so few people that there was no line at the registration table nor the t-shirt or jacket table (the technical shirts were for first timers and the packable nylon jackets were for returning members). Well I was finally able to pick up my jacket 5 months after paying my annual dues and that’s because I never show up in the Wednesday evening runs. The style of the jacket was fairly nice with a hand warmer pouch, a front zip pocket, and a hoodie but it was made of cheap nylon cloth and very thin for a windbreaker. At least it had a nice club logo. Oh, by the way, Nadine, the person in charge of registration told me it was good that I was a small or medium because they ran out of large and extra large. When I tried on the small, it was still big for me. Oh the sizing woes of a petite sized man in a vanity sizing country. You can look up what vanity sizing means on your own. The main reason I showed up on the first day of training was to pick up that jacket. The week before, I was undecided whether to try running or walk like I did last year. After doing a 33 minute test run on the treadmill last Thursday and upon seeing that a couple of my running buddies were pacing the 12 minutes per mile group, I decided that I’ll try running with them, barring any residual pain in my ankles.
Because there were lesser people last Saturday, the usual long speeches were cut short. The distances for the day was 3 miles for the half marathoners and 5 miles for the full marathoners. I figured I may be able to run 5 miles in an hour. Besides I wanted to rejoin my running buddies whom I haven’t seen since last year. Michael and Rosie paced that group and I tagged along with them. They had become very experienced runners since finishing their first marathon 4 years ago and have run numerous halfs and fulls since then. I was in good hands or in this case, feet. After a mile and half I ran alongside Kathy whom I met two years ago when she was running about 9 ½ pace. I knew she had been injured too but wasn’t sure how long ago. It turns out that this was her first recovery run since running 21 miles at the Big Sur Marathon the week before. I had read in Runner’s World Magazine beforehand about the option of running “just” 21 miles or the full marathon. I hadn’t worn my GPS watch so I asked Kathy what our pace was at the turnaround point and she said about 11:45. Apparently she started loosening up at that after that because I felt the pace speed up just a little bit. At 4 miles, I told her that if she felt like picking it up and finishing strong to go for it. I didn’t mind getting left behind because my right ankle started to protest since mile 3. She stayed with me though and pulled me the rest of the way to the finish. For me, there was no pick up, no push, no charging up the last hill, and just barely hung on for dear ankles. The course a just short of 5 miles but that was good enough for me.
After catching up with friends before, during, and after the run, for this one day, I felt like I became part of the running community again. Sigh…did I miss running with all those people…
 Well, that concludes 5 straight days of blogging - a new record for me. I'm all tapped out of ideas. Till next time folks!
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

While You Were Sleeping There Was a Flood At Work

It’s not the first time that water has seeped into the hallways where I work. When it rains hard, the drains are overwhelmed and the entrances have to be sandbagged so the water doesn’t enter the building. One particular night, the water didn’t come from outside but from within. This is what happened at 1:45 in the morning.
                The end of the month is busier than usual for mental health workers because we have to do extra paperwork. I didn’t help that one of us was an hour late and didn’t inform the supervisor of this. We also admitted four patients and the last one happened to be mine. After I took her belongings to the lockers, I picked up another patient’s clothes from the dryer and brought it to his room. When I entered the room, I noticed that the floor was wet. I checked the bathroom but the water didn’t come from there. I went to the adjacent room and there was a lot more water. I thought maybe there was a leak coming from the toilet bowl. I exited the room and observed more water going into the room across the hallway. Well, the water wasn’t going into that room but coming from it because when I entered, I heard water running and checked the bathroom. Well, I found the source of the flood. One of the patients who apparently brushed his teeth and was probably half asleep or due to overmedication accidentally left a Styrofoam cup on top of the sink drain blocking it. The patient didn’t turn the water off completely so the water overflowed. I don’t know how long that has been going on since the person assigned to check those rooms hadn’t done so for awhile.
 The first thing I did of course was turn off the water. I let my coworkers know of the problem then went looking for a mop. The security guard opened the housekeeping department’s room for me and there a found a mop and bucket. By the time I brought it back to the unit, the Filipino Water Brigade comprised of three nurses (plus me) had already laid down some blankets to absorb the water. Funny how it turned out that the only people who showed up to help were the Flips and our charge nurse. The rest of the staff were unaware of what happened until I told them much later, because most of them where burrowed in their hiding places for the night. So anyway, I started absorbing the water with the mop then squeezing it in the bucket ad infinitum and the other nurses were doing the same with towels and squeezing the water into trash cans. Those with the towels were actually doing a better job soaking the water up than me with the mop. Another was laying more blankets and placing the already soaked ones in the dirty linen barrels. Even with all that effort, we didn’t appear to be making a dent on the amount of water on the floor. I told the charge nurse that we needed a wet vacuum and to please try calling the maintenance department at the main hospital a mile away. He finally did and soon enough, a maintenance guy showed up with his bag of tools. I told him that nothing needed fixing but we needed a wet vacuum cleaner badly. He left and a few minutes later came back with an industrial sized vacuum. His first attempt didn’t do anything. Then he noticed that the hose wasn’t connected to the machine and after he connected that, the machine just sucked the water cleanly off the floor. Not only did the machine do that, but it also dried the floor after sucking the water. Wow, it was quick and easy work compared to what we were trying to do initially and less back breaking. To put a positive spin on our hard work, I told the nurses to consider what we did a calorie burning workout. And get this, with all the racket we were making soaking up the water before, and later while the vacuum machine was working , the patients slept though it…and so did the rest of the staff.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

A Computer Problem At Work Which Became a Gift Later

Three weeks ago, our IT department scheduled some updates for the electronic medical records system from 2 to 4 a.m. and we couldn’t use the computers for charting. By 6 a.m. they were still not done updating. Well, that went on all day until they discovered that it was not a software problem but a hardware one and it didn’t get fixed until about 10:30 the next night. It didn’t really affect me personally because I was off from work the next several nights. When a computer outage happens at my job, the backup plan is to use our old paper charts. Those papers are being kept under lock and key  and unassembled so that the doctors are forced to use the computers rather than get a form to chart on with their illegible writing.
When I came back to work after my weekend off, the unit secretary approached me and pulled me aside. I thought she was going to tell me about the shelves that were rearranged in the area where I make chart packs. She said that she has been very appreciative of what I’ve been doing with the charts because I made her job easier. She further clarified that during the daylong computer outage, she was about to assemble charts from the cupboards that were under lock and key (she had the key) so they could admit patients. Before she did that, she decided to check the shelves and see if there were old charts left there. Sure enough she found the old charts that I had leftover and kept from the time before we used electronic medical records. I still had about a hundred left. She said she was so relieved to find them and as a token of her appreciation, she handed me a TGIFridays gift card. I was stunned by her offering and was further shocked to see the amount of the gift card! Wow, I get to eat very well for several meals! I haven’t been to TGIFridays in a long time. It was way back when I was meeting chicks from AOL (America Online) IRL (in real life), and we would have lunch or dinner at Fridays. Ooops, perhaps that’s TMI (too much information). Anyway, it was sure nice to be appreciated and rewarded. Hmm, I wonder who I can take out to dinner?

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Barber = Too Short Haircut

Woke up, got out of bed, combed the hair across my head. Oops, that’s a Beatles song. Anyway, when I woke up last Thursday morning, I made a spur of the moment decision to go to the barber rather than wait another week or so. Because it was unplanned, I didn’t make an appointment. Not that it mattered at this particular barbershop. It seemed like a first come first served establishment.
 They open at 8 a.m. and when I got there at about 8:15, the guy who had given me a haircut the last three times was already busy with a customer and another person was waiting. Pretty soon, a female barber whom I’ve never seen before showed up and motioned me to her chair. I haven’t had a woman cut my hair since 1981when I was new to this country and my aunt took me to her hairdresser. Prior to that in the Philippines, most of my haircuts were done by women after high school but not too often because those were my long hair years. In those days, I only had a trim to snip off the split ends that I got from playing too much tennis under the hot sun.
I’m not real picky nowadays about who cuts my hair after my barber of almost two decades got too expensive for my budget. Besides he was going to retire soon anyway. So I sit on Sylvia’s chair (I got her name before I left) and she asked me what kind of haircut I wanted, and I told her – a high fade, shaved at the sides and slightly long on top. She asked me if I wanted a #1 or #0 blade for the sides of my head, and I said #0. So she starts using the electric razor on the sides of my head and it seemed to be going okay. Then she switched the trimmer adjustment and proceeded to do the top of my head. That was new to me because in the past, the barber would use scissors and a comb to cut that part of my hair. The razor size that Sylvia was using felt a little too short so I told her not to cut the top too short. When all was said and done, my hair appeared okay by the looks of it in the barbershop mirrors. I complimented Sylvia that she got it right the first time and she said to ask for the #8 blade next time. I paid her and went home. Upon further review after seeing my close up in the mirror, I was shocked to see how short the hair was on the top of my head. They were actually spiky! Well, a little too late now. Perhaps a #12 blade would be more to my liking next time. If there was a good thing that came out of this, it is that Sylvia speaks English very well so we can communicate better. The previous guy spoke mostly Spanish and it was harder to tell him how I wanted my hair cut. In the meantime, don’t anybody touch the top of my head because it could be considered a deadly weapon.
Introducing: forehead in widescreen format and spiky hair - no gel required.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

American Idol Season 11 Impressions and Why Elise Testone Was Constantly in the Bottom 3

Before this week’s episode of American Idol commences, I thought I’d give my delayed impression of what has been happening so far. Just be forewarned that portions of this opinion will be politically incorrect, harsh, and possibly controversial.
First, the reason why I think Elise Testone is constantly in the bottom three is because she doesn’t have the pop star look regardless of how well she sings. Interpret that as you like. But then if looks were the only reason why people vote then Colton and Deandre would still be in the competition. Deandre wasn’t as good as the remaining singers of course and Colton was scary looking while singing during the week that he was eliminated.
The rest of the remaining best and what I think is the reason why they are still in the running: Skylar has the NASCAR nation vote because she specializes in Country music. Philip continues to have the female vote even though I think he lacks range. Maybe even Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend votes for him. Jessica has the Filipino and (hopefully) Mexican vote. Her dad is Hispanic. I think voters became apathetic a couple of weeks ago when she got the least votes. Regarding my impression in my previous American Idol post about her lacking emotion? Maybe she’s just young. Joshua has been screaming a lot lately which I guess the judges like because it’s a rousing rendition of the song. I like Josh as a person as far as how he portrays himself on TV as being empathetic to the other contestants. As far as Hollie, I haven’t figured out who would be voting for her. Based on her last song, maybe Miley Cyrus fans?
I miss Simon Cowell’s acerbic but honest remarks. Jimmy’s comments are good but not immediate. He has the pleasure of watching it on playback after the show and maybe a day later. As much as I hope Jessica would win, I think Joshua is going to take the cake at the end. OMG, since when did I get so involved in this?! That’s all folks!

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