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exercising

One

I never enjoyed running when I was a child.  I used to be overweight, and would moan when my parents took the family to the track or the gym.  I love swimming, volleyball, and soccer…I even joined soccer and volleyball teams and even become a lifeguard, but running just never clicked with me.  Carrying extra baggage made running a tough task too, and I also did not enjoy being on a treadmill.  I just felt that I was dragging my sole and my body unwillingly as I ran from a step to another, and it just felt drowsy.  A few years ago as an undergraduate, I also thought of running along the lake, but I pretty much failed since I would be tired after running a few steps.  Even some passersby who saw me would encourage me not to give up but continue running…but I ended walking back to my residence hall instead.

Time passed by, and I changed my lifestyle to become a healthier guy.  Around the end of last year, I decided to overcome my treadmill phobia and started running on treadmills since then.  I challenged myself to increase my time on the treadmill bit by bit, and soon I was making more progress.  Of course, I did not forfeit my usual routine of rowing, biking, playing volleyball, and taking long walks.  Perhaps my endurance elevated from all the exercising through time.

The weather has become quite warm as if ’twas summer in Madison.  With all the snow gone and humidity increasing under the weather ranging from 60 to 70F, many bikers and runners could be see on the streets.  Guys would be playing frisbee or dipping into Lake Mendota, and ladies could be seen lying on the green grass reading novels or taking naps.  Bascom Hill is once again flown by students and community members who would bathe themselves under the sun.  As I passed by these folks on my bike today, I noticed some topless guys running along State Street.  I have always hope to become one of those muscular guys who could show my body as I was on the streets, and all of a sudden something in me told me to go out to run and enjoy the sun.  I was doubting myself, thinking that I would just run a few steps and started bickering about it, similar to my old self.  However, I started filling my water bottle and preparing myself for a short run after getting back to my place at 5:45PM, and I started my run at 6PM.  ‘Twas still warm and sunny with many folks on the streets, and I just could not tell myself to stop running from there!  Of course I halted from time to time to take water breaks and to stretch so that I would not have a cramp, but I felt so amazing as sweat was streaming down my back and was inked onto my shirt.  I felt the winds next to me and people’s smiles on their faces as encouragement when I passed by them.  I saw other runners around me, which became my single-serving friends and motivators.  Who knew that I would spend thirty to forty minutes running around and stretching out at the end?  I felt as if I became a bird spreading his wings to explore unknown territories, and I did not feel as tired as I would have imagined.

I ended running 2.3 miles, which was longer than I thought.  I remember as a middle schooler that I would spent more than thirty minutes just to do a mile run on those good ol’ days of fitness tests, and taking more than ten minutes to do a 800m run as a high school student.  Those were during my overweight days, and I noticed changes in me as I was stretching in the park in my neighborhood.  The sun was lowering itself as the day ended, and I just felt so peaceful at the moment.  This experience would make me a regular for running, and I am definitely moving forward in life by overcoming my phobia and by making myself into a stronger and better person.

I passed by crowds in the park, and I was overjoyed to see children enjoying time with family and folks enjoying time with friends.  I took a quick shower, looked at myself in the mirror, and hope that I would become even more attractive physically soon.  Running, although considered as high-risk with knee injuries, can be health-improving with many other benefits.  I just hope that I will be able to see the benefits after running a lot more around town.

Two

My brother’s birthday was today, and after knowing that he did not have special plans other than spending time with his girlfriend, I decided to invest in a birthday cake.  I know that he does not like chocolate and that the both of us hate those sugary frosting and icing, so I went to my favorite Bakers’ Window and ordered a carrot almond cake a few days ago.  I figured that Bakers’ Window would be the ideal place since my brother and friends love the croissants and pastries I got them from there.  I also am a supporter of local businesses that use organic and community-produced ingredients when compared to large corporations with their artificial coloring and partially hydrogenated fats.  Plus, the baked goods from Bakers’ Window always tasted wonderful and fresh out of the oven without any sugar-coating.  The dense carrot cake with tons of almonds also left me a grand impression, so I thought that would make a lovely birthday cake.  After seeing me quite often with my bulk orders (since I eat some for breakfast and would share fifty-percent of my purchase with my brother and friends), the adorable managers and bakers (a lovely couple) agreed to make the cake.  When I went to the bakery today, I saw the familiar welcoming smiles from the bakers and staff, and the cake was adorable.  After a few minutes in the bakery and storing the cake in my refrigerator, I started my day and planned on meeting with my brother at night.

My brother stopped by my place at 8PM after he and his girlfriend had dinner together at Bonfyre, which is one of their favorite restaurants for barbecue except that ’twas not as good tonight as the previous times they went there.  They are a beautiful couple, and I am happy for my brother to be in a relationship with a gorgeous, caring, simple (not materialistic), and well-mannered lady when compared to his exes.  They were both glad to see me, and they were shocked by the huge size of the cake when I presented it.  When I told them that ’twas a carrot cake, my brother’s eyes started glittering.  He then told me that he loves carrot cakes, and I guess that is why we’re brothers 🙂  He felt that the cake is different compared to other cakes since ’twas dense but moist, the cheesecake frosting was not as sweet or overpowering, the almonds were a nice decor and complement (and we love almonds), and he simply LOVES it.  His girlfriend, being a foodie, also loves the cake too!  We chatted more throughout the evening until they left, and they ended taking half of the leftover cake with them.  I had never seen my brother hugging that much of a cake, but he indicated that he really loves it and that his friends would not have introduced such a wonderful cake.  I am glad that the cake was a success, and then I presented him and his girlfriend the other pastries and croissants I got for them earlier today.  They went back to my brother’s place happily, and I was glad to send them off.

I only have one blood-related brother, and ’tis amazing to see that he is now twenty-three years old.  When we were younger, I did not cherish him as much since I became independent at a younger age.  We did share bedrooms until we moved to a new apartment during my high school years.  He would want to come to my room, but I ended dragging him out.  Although we have been in Madison together for five years now, we rarely hung out until this year.  Maybe this comes with age.  We met with each other more often on a weekly basis, and our brotherhood became stronger.  For me as the older sibling, I also helped him with groceries, great croissants, and many others, and these simple acts of giving did lighten his heart too.  He is always appreciative of the many wonderful things I gave him…and I could see that he loves those or else he would have returned them to me.  I hope and pray that we will be stronger support for one another and that things will go well for him too.

Three

And just a list of a quick update:

1. I went to All You Can Eat Sushi at Restaurant Muramoto with my brother.  My brother and I are sushi and seafood lovers, and Restaurant Muramoto created many memories for us.  This establishment was introduced to me through my brother when we dined together on the evening of my college graduation, which was on my birthday a few years ago.  We would go to Muramoto establishments for sushi since the Asian fusion style is unique compared to other sushi restaurants.  And then…  Restaurant Muramoto started having the All You Can Eat Sushi deal for $25 per person!  That was a great deal for us since our typical sushi bill would unfortunately be in the hundreds, which is a great contrast between the price and freshness of seafood in the midwest when compared to Taiwan.  We finally went there together two Sundays ago, and the food was great as we remembered.  We ended eating ten rolls and twenty-two pieces of nigiri along with servings of seaweed salads and miso soups for three hours…The original price without the deal would be more than $220, but we only paid $50 without the 5.5% tax and tip!  What a meal!

2. Grad school is going well.  I’m enjoying teaching, and I am moving forward with research.  I will be meeting with my committee next week, hopefully to be certified and to set a date for my qualifying exam.  Some folks have been decontaminating and “fixing” the biosafety cabinets in the lab, so it has been a war zone!

3.  Life is good!  Volleyball, as usual, this weekend.  Hoping to enjoy another three to four-hour game 🙂

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Thanks to LMFAO, I have been feeling sexy these days for many reasons.  Not because I’m high on testosterone and that I am horny, but because many wonderful things have happened since the last time I wrote.

My cousin Mel, the Texan native, visited last weekend and we hung out for a bit.  The visit was on a short notice, so we did not have anything planned.  My brother and I were excited though, since we have been telling her to come visit Madison.  She came with three friends (one is working here in a software company and engaged to his gay fiance who visited as well, and the other is a lady who is interested in psychology and sociology).  Although their flight was postponed and the arrival time changed from 11AM to around 11PM last Friday, we still managed to meet on Saturday.

The gang arrived at 6PM, and everyone chillaxed a bit at my place while my brother poured some of the New Glarus Wisconsin Belgium Red for the guests.  Similar to Ben’s Wisconsin friends whom I met in Chicago over New Year’s Eve, the UT-Austiners loved the drink.  We chatted a bit more and then headed out to dinner at 7PM.  Unfortunately with no reservations, we could rarely find a spot for six without a more than forty-five minute wait.  We walked along Capitol Square and State Street, and then my brother and I decided to take them to The Nitty Gritty.  My brother left when we got to the establishment since he needed to go to an 8PM discussion, so the five of us dined there.

Dinner was nice with conversations, and I was surprised by the two gay couple who are engaged.  They were not too handsome or hot, one of them has some gastrointestinal related illnesses and some other diseases, they were nice folks, and yet they look so wonderful next to each other.  I really do admire the both of them since that is true love right there.  They did not love each other due to lust or bed-related actions, but they looked beyond each other’s imperfections and linked their hearts together.  The strong support they provided for each other fascinated me, and I just hope that I will be able to find the special one too.

After dinner at around 8:50PM, Mel’s three friends decided to go back to their place since one of them needed to finish writing a paper.  I was going to send my brother a burger I bought for him, and Mel decided to come along and stick around!  We met up with my brother at 9PM when he was on his way home.  He was going to have a short night and head to bed soon since he was under stress with exams and studying, so Mel was left with me.  I took Mel for a walk, which she enjoyed with the fresh air although ’twas a bit chilly.  We walked around Memorial Union, then hiked up Bascom Hill, then onto Observatory along the lake, then to Tripp and Adams (where I resided during my sophomore year and first year of house fellowship), and then we took a break by the lakeshore area for some ice cream since Mel had not have ice cream from the Dairy State.

We shared a sundae with chocolate peanut butter ice cream, Heath, pecans, and Reeses…and sat on a booth and started catching up with life.  We did talk a lot about academia, her plans after graduating in May, law school, her trip to Italy, dating, and many more.  ‘Twas a great break with many exchanges of thoughts.  At first, I was worried that our four to five year age difference will not have too much in common since Mel was a bit more talkative to my brother earlier during the evening, but I was wrong.  Even my aunt told my parents (who told me later) that Mel has always respected me as a big brother and valued my conversations with her since when she was in high school.  She is hoping to work in Chicago through a law firm after completing an internship through the firm, and I will be glad to take her around Chicago with my brother!

After the break, we walked along Linden, passed by Henry Mall, and went into Union South.  Later, we walked along Johnson and Park Street, and then went into Library Mall and started walking along State Street.  ‘Twas the weekend of WIAA High School Wrestling, and there were many topless youngsters running past by us as celebration after the tournament.  Mel and I even laughed when one of the youngsters slapped my ass so hard that we both heard it.  If I were in an office, that could be sexual harassment, but ’twas fun for the both of us to see youngsters bearing the cold and cheering for their accomplishments.

Mel’s friend called at around midnight indicating that he would be going to bed soon and would like to pick her up since she was staying at his apartment with the others.  We then walked from the Capitol to my place, and she was off at 0:35.  She said bye before she boarded her plane on Sunday, and she enjoyed her visit too.

This visit also affirms my view that family members are the greatest and closest support for one another.  During the period of mourning for my grandma, whose funeral took place on Monday in Taipei, the visit reunited all the youngsters from my mother’s side who are in the United States.  Each visit, similar to the one in Chicago with Ben and those meals and walks with friends, are ways to renew relationships of any sort.  Even a small sundae with great ice cream and Heath toppings could make one smile for a day too… ‘Twas a great visit, and I could not believe that I had not seen her for five years, with the last time being before I went to Germany!!! I do hope that my brother and I will be able to visit her in Austin soon before she leaves that campus.

On a different note, I heard back from my advisor regarding my research proposal two days ago.  I am glad to finally see progress since he had the document for more than a month.  He made some great changes, and I am glad to learn from them and see his thoughts and intentions.  I am hoping to have that done soon so that I can meet with committee members to get their approval and take my qualifying exam soon!!!

Teaching has been going well too.  Students are learning about arthropods this week, and many of them were squeamish and excited.  Some of them were similar to Dora the Explorer (English and Zoology Edition) when observing hexapods, crustaceans, chelicerates, and myriopods with curiosity.  Some of them even dissected the destroyed the entire crayfish, which would need to be used by the next class too 🙂  Anyway, my students (especially the Monday and Tuesday ones) have been doing great this semester, and I hope that they will continue to be this motivated!

After working yesterday, I decided to take a walk in the afternoon and even call the afternoon off.  I left the lab at 2PM, and then bumped into Megan!  She was a former co-TA and a friend, and I was surprised when she walked by me and yelled out my name since she usually has a soft voice!  She was on her way to the library, so we walked together for a bit and caught up with one another.  ‘Twas great to hear that she missed teaching and that she is planning to come back too.  After she left, I continued walking, and eventually revisited Bakers’ Window.  I got to chat with the couple who baked the goodies since the wife started talking to me about organic milk in glass bottles and their use of organic materials.  The husband chatted more with me when the wife went to deal with the delivery man, and I discovered that they went to Munich together before.  They also learned to bake in Paris and also in San Francisco, and they are aiming to open a bakery under their names in the future without another owner or landlord.

My first visit to Bakers’ Window was last Saturday, and I had a great impression of the pain au chocolat.  There were more selections this time, since I went there during their normal hours when compared to thirty minutes before opening.  I got some pain au chocolat for my brother and Michael the co-TA, a Danish for myself, and carrot almond cake.  I am a big almond lover, and I loooooooove carrot cakes as well.  The mix of both made it an expensive dessert to make, and the cake made by the couple who baked all the goodies looked marvelous.  I tried some, of course…and ’twas surprisingly dense that I could only eat one-fourth to a third of a slice each time to feel fulfilled.  The cream cheese frosting and the cake overall was not too oily and sweet as the carrot cake made in other places, and the almond was a great compliment.  In many places, even those in the Farmer’s Market, the pastries and cakes would be swamped with frosting or sugar, but the baked goods from Bakers’ Window have always been simple.  ‘Twas not too plain, but the sweetness tasted came from the ingredients inside the pastry instead of a huge sugar-coating.  The cake was delicious and was worth it.  I am a food lover who would bike or drive for miles just to taste some dishes, and I can now say that Bakers’ Window is the best bakery I have experienced in Madison.

After being indulging on pastries for a while, I finally decided to visit the gym in case if I become a fat jolly Buddha.  I still go to the gym to play volleyball, such as my four-hour session last Saturday.  However, I have not been great at going to the gym on weekdays due to things to do, meetings to attend, and bad weather.  I finally made it to the gym at 7:30PM, started stretching, rowed 5000m, ran and hiked on the treadmill without phobia nowadays, and finished with sit-ups and stretches with an exercise ball.  I then saw Danielle, a grad student I know from a course I took last semester, and we started catching up with one another.  ‘Twas great to see a familiar face in the gym who is striving to live healthily too 🙂  So other than the awesome feeling of perspiration and meeting a familiar face during the work-out session, I felt wonderful after coming out from the shower.  I felt so relieved and clean, and I smelled great! 😉  I even flexed myself in front of the mirror, and boy were my arms getting larger and larger compared to the scrawny and flappy ones I had when I was bigger.

So yes, I’m sexy and I know it…I work out!!!!  Life and God have been good to me, and I just hope that I can continue visiting the gym and started going five to six days again like my usual routine.  I am doing well with my Lenten sacrifice: giving up alcohol.  I wonder if I can survive to forfeit having baked goods or sweets, but we can find that out in another Lenten period.  I hope that I can continue to make more progress with research, teaching, and in social life…and become more muscular soon, especially if I will need to put on swim wear and show my body if I go to Hawaii one day!

Life can be tough with nothing going as smooth as they want them to be.  Our progress could be interfered and delayed by co-workers or people around us, accidents and mistakes happen, people would be late for meetings, you do not hear back from friends when calling or text messaging them, etc.  Sometimes, we are the ones to blame for our own contribution to making life rough, and there are times when there is actually nothing we can do to make the situation better.  As long as we do not think that life is a b*tch and become depressed, we will have the strength to move forward each day with some of the simplest accomplishments and joys.

One of the ways for me to feel better about myself is through exercising.  I spent more than five times a week in the gym, biking around town, and even better during the winter–playing broomball.  The weekly Saturday event is something that I look forward to, or else I would be lazy and stay indoors during the winter.

I was introduced to broomball when I met Joe in my friend Kristina’s Swedish Midsommarfest in summer 2010.  Joe told me about a group of folks (at least a year or two older than me who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, people who were from Monroe in the same high school, elementary school teachers, or those from other places that are working in Madison) hitting a soccer ball as a hockey puck with a broom on the icy lake with sneakers or boots, and it immediately captured my attention.  I reconnected with Joe in early 2011 and soon began playing broomball since that February…I met many wonderful folks such as Dusty (the Godfather or the one who used to be in charge but is now in Florida), Justin, Adam, Brandon, Liz, Karam,…just to name a few.  I also met new folks each week and even one of my former students!  The group was a bunch of nice and encouraging folks, and ’tis great seeing them every wintry Saturday.

Since I prefer to wear shorts and tshirt when working out instead of sweatpants and sweatshirt, I wore a tshirt and a pair of jeans or pants last winter.  That was when I was known as Sleeveless Joe…However, the past few days became a lot windier, so I wore my jacket last time.  However, I was actually in shorts and even on today’s game, so I then became Crazy Joe!  There were two other Joes who usually play: the Joe I met (who became Captain Joe since he took over Dusty’s duties) and Big Joe (or Illinois Joe).

The funny story about today is that there were some folks who were around us taking pictures and such.  Usually, there would be a car or truck parked in front of us, speculating us for a while and then honked and waved at us.  And then, there was a guy who took pictures of us with a professional camera for a while.  Similar to others, he observed us for quite a while…but different from others, he started talking to me and others when Big Joe decided to switch with me to get into the game since I had played for a while.  The guy took a few pictures of me since I was the only one in shorts, and even Brandon (who was beside me and subbing as well) told the photographer that I was known to be Crazy Joe!  The photographer even commented on me wearing shorts under the 18F weather with large calves…Haha the guy took more pictures of me and told me that he is a professional photographer who is just taking pictures for fun.  He took photos for the Badgers too, and ’twas fun chatting with him.  He asked me for my name, told me his, and requested me to find him on facebook.  Later on, he took a group picture of everyone and left as we continued playing.

‘Twas a special experience for me since I have never been asked by professional photographers to take photos of me.  I mean, I do not look like Brad Pitt or a muscular stud (yet), and I am just one ordinary Asian.  I even look fat when bundled with my jacket, scarf, and other clothing to make my upper body warm.  Maybe I might have low self-esteem since I used to be heavier and think that I am not attractive enough for people around me.  However, being placed in the spotlight unexpectedly made me realize that I need to have more faith in myself and love myself more as well.  There were times when I told people who I am not as good as others in broomball or other sports, but I have been improving.  I will definitely continue to push myself to run and reach for the ball when the ice is slippery and even become a better player.  I will also continue to be supportive of my peers too by encouraging them to getting to know them more.  Even for great friends, there is always something new to learn about one another.

And yes–these things I learned from broomball overall and today’s experience relate to life quite well.  Instead of telling ourselves that we are not as worthy or that we cannot do it, we need to have positive thoughts in our minds and set high expectations.  If we keep telling ourselves negative thoughts, we would not be able to give ourselves an opportunity to grow and face challenges to become stronger.  We do not need to be cut-throat or mucho competitive, but we need to say that we are sexy when we look into the mirror and that we can confront challenges.

So am I crazy?  You betcha.  I’m still going to wear shorts or tshirts to future broomball sessions since that is who I am.  I do not care if I am different from others as long as I am enjoying the moment by myself and with others around me.  As long as I am making progress bit by bit, I will be blessed!

I slept in until 9AM, talked to my parents for a bit, worked on my certification documents, and soon hurried on to broomball. ‘Twas the first game of the season today, thanks to the snowstorm from the past two days. I have been waiting for broomball for a while now since ’tis a great workout and that I miss seeing folks from the games. I left my place at 11:45AM and arrived at Vilas Park by 12:30PM. We played on Lake Monona last winter, but changed to an ice rink that is opened since the ice might not be too thick on the lake.

I saw the folks in the parking lot with equipments, and soon started saying hi and wishing people a happy winter. I first talked to Adam, and then to Liz, and then Justin (who surprisingly is back in Madison from Seattle), and many others…and met new faces (such as Joe from Epic). Jimmy was a guy I played with once last year and remembered seeing him wave at me when I saw him at one of the protests in the Capitol building. I forgot his name by then, so I finally learned his name today. It turns out that he is a graduate student too, but in history…France too. We talked a bit about our programs, and I kept teasing him for calling me “Princess Leia” due to the puffy headband warmer I wore around my ears. The ice rink was occupied by people playing hockey, so the group had a pow wow deciding where to go, and we eventually went onto Lake Wingra! There were cracks and the ice might not be no more than six feet thick, but we still shoveled out a court and played. Running around the icy lake with my pair of boots and a broom, I felt great to be able to enjoy the sun and the time outdoors during winter. Usually, I would try to stay indoors to be warm, but I prefer to walk around, get some exercise, play sports, and do some outdoor activities too. Although I did slip on ice, the motivation to chase a ball and to outrun your opponent actually aroused me. I felt warm while running around and cheering. I felt wonderful to be around these encouraging and friendly folks again.

The session ended at 4PM, and I arrived back to my place at 5. I took a two-hour nap since I was really exhausted, cooked a lovely dinner, worked on my research proposal as part of the Ph.D. certification documents, and surprisingly Matt messaged me at 9:42PM! We chatted on google until 1:20AM, and ’twas nice to hear from him. He seems to be chillaxing for the weekend, which is actually great since he was so tense the last time I saw him. He puts more smiley faces on his messages tonight too, and we chatted about many different things. I was surprised that he knows who Ma, the president of Taiwan, is! Haha anyway, he is such a gem.

School will begin within two weeks. Next week will be filled with orientations, trainings, and meetings. I am going to continue making progress with research and exercise. Operation Be-Ripped-With-Abs has been activated…and I just hope that I will be able to see results soon!

I woke up early in the morning, communicated with my brother and we will go to Costco together tomorrow at 10AM, then headed to lab. I chatted with my advisor for a while about beaurocracy and politics in academia, and then about research and such. I stayed in lab doing some work, wrote Amanda a postcard, and then walked to the post office at 4:45PM to have it mailed to Spain. The staff at the post office seemed a bit impatient with folks in front of me as they asked questions about sending packages, and I guess I would be if people did not fill things out accurately and sufficiently before standing in line with their items. ‘Twas finally my turn, so I gave him the postcard and submitted my 98 cents of postage fee. He was quirky and pointed out that I should write “Spain” in English and not in Spanish…I chuckled, and he smiled.

I left the post office and then headed to the gym. I rowed 5000m for twenty to thirty minutes, stretched constantly and after rowing, and then jumped onto the treadmill for thirty minutes. ‘Twas a bit painful for me to run too much since I am still recovering from the knee injury from Sunday’s volleyball session, but it felt great to perspire and to enjoy the moment. The guy next to me and I shared the same rhythm with our steps, and it felt as if I were running along right next to him. After the run, I slowed down, walked and stretched, and soon went to cool myself down with more water and stretches. I was next to a dark blond guy in a yellow shirt who was on one of the exercise balls, and I just kept looking at him. I have seen those exercise balls sitting in the weight room and cardio rooms, but I rarely see anyone putting those balls to really good use! The guy was doing sit-ups on the pink ball, with the ball under his thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. The ball kept bouncing, and I could see the guy’s abs and nipples outlined through his shirt. It seemed so easy but new to me, so I chatted him for a bit. He gave me some tips and pointers before he left, and soon I was experimenting with a new toy. I put the exercise ball underneath my vertebral column and soon was doing sit-ups. Everything seemed a lot better compared to doing sit-ups on the floor due to the support the ball provides, but who knew that my abs would become quite sore after a series of sit-ups? It felt great although as if I were getting cramped, but ’twas such an amazing workout with the burning sensation around the ab region! After the session, I will definitely pick up the ball again and even google for more exercises and workouts I can do with an exercise ball.

I also seemed to be missing folks I noticed today too. When I was rowing, I saw a green figure standing in front of me, and ’twas Ben, one of my former co-TA and friend! I recognized him when I looked up, he said hi and gave me a smile, but I was shocked to see him and did not recover from my shock before he left to get water. I did not know that he is in Madison already…and I never saw him in the gym before! When I was done with my workout session, I was walking along the track and saw someone waving at me. ‘Twas Dominic, a graduate student in political sciences I met twice two to three years ago…but I did not get to say hi before he went in front and away from my sight. Oh well…

I went to purchase some pork and beef (yay protein sources!) after the workout, went back home, and noticed that Matt sent me text messages. I’m glad that he views me as a friend and is willing to share news in his life with me. We chatted on google for a bit before I finished eating dinner and went out for a walk to digest my dinner. Hopefully we will be spending time with each other soon!

I have not written for the past two days, so here is a mini-recap:

1. Things in lab are going well.  I am now planning on the next huge experiment.

2. Went to lunch with Tawin and his friend.  The food was a bit pricey but flavorful…but I feel that I could simply cook the dish myself.  I guess that this is a good lesson for me: to not go to a Nepalese place for lunch but Indian lunch buffet with the same price range and more choices.

3. Have been riding my bike around for exercise other than walking.  The gyms have been closed, and I am hoping to go back to the work-outs and cardio exercises soon!

4. I met up with my good friend Michael tonight, and we hung out for an hour and a half at Noodles and Co.  We did not go there for dinner, but we were trying to find a place to catch up and chat.  We ended going to Noodles and Co. where he bought a huge cookie to share, and we finally sat and stayed warm.  I of course did not eat any of the chocolate chip cookie since I need to maintain my figure 😉

Michael was a good and holy man I met in 2010, and he became my godfather when I was baptized in April 2011.  We would often meet up to catch up in life, and so ’twas a joy to see him again.  He is getting married next June to a lovely lady, whom I met before…and I am happy for him.  He is happy with his new job and is thinking about what to do next in life.  Being older than him by a year or two, I gave him some tips, even on wedding planning, and he found those helpful.

We did talk about sex and culture tonight, and that inspired me to write this entry.  After talking to many people and reading blog entries from many, I noticed that many individuals would put more emphasis on sex instead of love.  For many, great sex is all that matters…but for a few, loving a person is more important.  Being able to hold hands and walk along the beach, to enjoy time cuddling together while watching a movie or seeing the sunrise, to laugh with conversations over dinner…all these beautiful wonders mean so much more to me and others compared to an erected ten inch cock, uber sensitive nipples, and twenty minutes (which can be too short for some people like me ;-D) of sweaty sex on the lawn.  ‘Tis no doubt that for most humans, we would have sexual urges due to the increase of our hormone levels after puberty from time to time, and that some of us can control our urges better than others…but why is there so much emphasis on sex?  Why would a gay guy sob if his date just wants some sleep instead of fooling around for the evening?  Why would a girl talk about the size of the penis as in a Sex and the City episode?

Perhaps the human race became a lot more open and casual to sex after sexual liberation with contraceptives.  Numerous movies and shows also portray folks hopping onto bed without underwear after the first date.  There are scenes, even in advertisement, of a guy waking up in the morning next to a nude lady, walking away from the bed and putting on his pants.  There are erotic scenes of sensual rub downs, and people in the kinos would have boners and start playing with themselves (which I noticed once with a guy next to me in a theatre on campus, and that freaked me out).  There are plots of teenagers hoping to get laid and get lucky for the evening, which forces folks to have sexual experience due to peer pressure and not be the sole virgin in a group…And special thanks to the internet, porn is a lot accessible to many in developed nations.  Even according to Avenue Q, the “internet is for porn”!  While familiarizing ourselves with porn, our mindset toward sex changes into addiction.  One of the guys mentioned quite often in his blog that he could hardly ejaculate in front of any human being since he is used to jacking off with porn, and that is just funny.  Why would a computer screen turn someone on so badly?  I mean, a real human in front of you is an attractive 3D image compared to the 2D pornography through the computer screen.  You can even poke the nipples of a human in front of you and see them bounce, which cannot be done through the screen barrier!  Even those 3D glasses for Avatar would not work in this scenario!  Would it not be better to be able to find someone you truly love at the end, spend quality time with him or her, and start exploring with commitment?

The rate of sexually transmitted infection is increasing dramatically as well.  For girls who are 13 to 17 years old, a report indicated that one of the four in that cohort would have sexually transmitted infections.  Perhaps this is why there is such a huge push for Gardasil to be on the market, but why are teenagers experiencing sex?  Why are more and more teenagers getting pregnant and dropping out of high school or even college?  Other than the heterosexual population, the gay community is not that much better.  In Madison, around 30-40% of gay club frequent goers would have STIs or be HIV positive.  Unfortunately, not a lot of people would get tested for those, and not many who are positive for both would be honest with their sex toy of the evening.

Sexual liberation creates more problems than benefits in my eyes, and that is perhaps why I am a lot more sexually conservative compared to the folks I know.  I just want something a lot more stable before committing myself to sleep with someone.  ‘Tis true that people might think that I am bad at sex since I lack the experience or practice…but you never know 😉  ‘Tis true that the missionary position can be boring for folks, and so that is why we all need to be creative!  Instead of blaming on bad sex, read a book or find resources that can help you.  Go to the gym to exercise and work-out to increase stamina.  Do something instead of b*tching around it with friends or finding another guy or girl and tossing away previous “partners” like used kleenex.

With so much emphasis on sex, many folks would also forget how to treat a lady or a man on a date, how to kiss and cuddle, how to even chat over food and walks, and how to be attractive.  We focus only on our pleasure (I had great sex, I had lousy sex, My hair is gorgeous for the date tonight, what should I wear? I enjoyed myself), but forget to think about our date or partner (Did you enjoy dinner?  You are so handsome!  I love the way you smile, I enjoyed talking to you).  Since humans usually wear clothes around the streets, we unfortunately are not like peacocks that would show their glimmering feathers to the opposite sex in public.  I mean, if I start showing my ding-dong down the street around my neighborhood, I would end up in the police station.  Therefore, we need to find ways to show our true selves while encouraging others to be themselves, portray our inner beauty while complimenting others’ as well, and show others that we are more than just flesh.  If the dating scene is just like a meat market, then humans do not need to be born without a brain!  Even if there is good sex in a relationship or marriage, those interactions will not last without something a bit more meaningful with quality.

Perhaps there needs to be a change in our culture.  Although many folks can be seen to be stubborn, a culture is actually more fluid than we thought.  For example, many in the Asian community would love to have shark’s fin soup to display their richness to the society.  After knowing how shark’s fins are harvested, many communities have banned shark’s fin soups in restaurants and in the markets.  In the United States and Europe, people would eat unhealthily with fast food…and folks such as Jamie Oliver and others are trying to change the eating habits of many.  If we notice that we are diagnosed with cancer or diabetes, we would hope to have done something earlier to change our lifestyle before being diagnosed!  Before making HIV and STIs so prevalent in the population, we have to do something for a change!  Yes, people might want scientists like me to pop a pill or create more efficient condoms, but ’tis actually quite hard for scientists and any human to play the role of God and defy nature.  Even those who use condoms still can risk getting HIV infections since the viruses could escape through the mini pores of the condoms.

Instead of asking for more tools and gadgets to be invented, we need to change our overall behavior.  There are reasons why the rate of STIs is not increasing in some cultures, and not due to the lack of accurate reporting of incidents.  Instead of popping a porn movie, take good care of ourselves by learning to suppress and control our urges so that we will not be the twenty-second or thirty-minute guy.  Instead of inserting your penis into a vagina or anus on the first date, make out and cuddle with the person a bit more so that you can feel each other’s warmth while enjoying intimacy.  Instead of thinking about sex when you see a beautiful lady walking down the street, do not just stare at her breasts or buttocks but compliment her on her beauty and get to know her as a person.  View each human being as a human being and not a sex toy, damnit!…but before that, learn to love yourself and have faith in yourself!  Take good care of yourself instead of eating tons of cheese cakes while being a couch potato!

Anyway, so that is my thought of the evening.  I also text messaged M tonight since I miss him.  After telling him that I hope that he’s doing well in the southwest, he messaged me back with an lol and called me a silly man  while thanking me 🙂  He was hanging out at his friends’ place when I texted, and I felt bad.  I mean, I would love him to be able to spend quality time with family and friends this holiday season back at home, and I would feel guilty if he texted me around his family and friends.  I apologized…but being a nice guy, he indicated that ’tis okay and that they were just hanging out.  Perhaps ’tis just me, but I sent a message back saying that he shouldn’t ditch his friend for another and that I respect his personal life with family, friends, work, etc too…so I pretty much ended the fifteen-minute text messaging conversation.  I also told him that I will send something around his way tomorrow, and he told me that he is excited :-D…When we chatted on the phone on Christmas, he told me that he loves the image of downtown Madison from John Nolen Drive at night and first saw it on a bus.  I am going to ride the bike around Lake Monona tomorrow evening, so I hope to snap a shot of the downtown area around the area by then and send it to him.  I hope that he’ll like what I’ll send him, and that he understands where I am coming from earlier during our text messages too 🙂

In order to stay active, especially during the cold winters in Madison, I would do my best to go to the gym or weight room five times per week, with each session ranging from an hour and a half to four hours (and that is, iff I do not have anything else on my list to accomplish that day).  Each visit has different surprising factors.  For example, I bumped into a good friend and former student Adam last night (and I saw his brother Sam earlier in the library), and we chatted for around ten minutes when I was rowing.  ‘Tis nice to see familiar faces and a huge crowd aiming to live healthily by taking time to exercise.  I also admire people who are muscular and toned, and I aim to be like them one day when I can walk into the gym showing off massive chest and stallion figure with my shirt off. 

After rowing the usual 5K, I looked around the room and noticed that almost all of the ellipticals and machines were occupied.  The only equipment that was available was a new treadmill machine.  I had not been on a treadmill for a while, and I believe the last time when I was on a treadmill was when I was eighty pounds heavier.  I remembered that being on a treadmill as a person who was overweight was actually not enjoyable, where my weight would prevent the treadmill from running, and I just do not enjoy running in circles or as a hamster.  I was always scared in the past that my weight or myself would be running or pulling the treadmill instead, and that I would slip off the treadmill since I might be sliding or going faster than it would.  In fact, I never believed that I was born to run since I do not enjoy jogging at all.  Running with a soccer ball is fine, but running in laps?  Not my cup of tea.

Something inside me told me to give that treadmill a shot, so I stepped onto the treadmill and started slowly.  I was soon walking on the treadmill as if I were on a catwalk, and soon I increased the speed up to 6 mph.  I noticed that I could change the incline, so I set it to the highest…and soon, I was no longer hiking or climbing but running!  I felt my feet jumping around and my arms swinging more violently…and most importantly, I felt GREAT!  I felt my hands and legs coordinating with one another, and I felt LIGHT.  I was even moving faster and easier than the guy next to me, who was on an elliptical.  I no longer felt as a clumsy elephant, and I was just amazed.  I perspired quite a bit too, and I enjoyed the activity so much that I was on the treadmill for twenty minutes without including cool-down sessions. 

So yes, I overcame my old treadmill phobia and found great interest in it.  Perhaps I will revisit it tonight when I go to the gym after research.  I guess this is a good indication that humans, even the stubborn ones, are fluid…so we should not lock ourselves in a cage or set ourselves in a certain character 24/7.  Even for those who are considered to be serious to others, those serious folks need humor and relaxation in life too.  Being too serious and narrow-minded all the time can become an illness, and soon the person could be crushed by stress if he or she does not have a heart for the simplest happiness around him or her.  Even yesternight, I was initially too serious in not getting onto the treadmill and just call it a day at the gym, and I would have missed something great.  However, a little push or encouragement mixed with curiosity can open one’s eyes with a new experience!