R.A.K.


The 21-year old: “Daddy looks like a woman…”
The 11-year old: “Where? I want to see!”
The 55-year old: “See! I told you this is a woman’s jacket! I’m not wearing it!” (Attempts to march back into the house.)
The 52-year old: “It is not a woman’s jacket! Don’t you dare take it off! You are not wearing the same jacket you wore all week to the restaurant!”
The 21-year old: (Aside to The 11-year old) “Daddy still looks like a woman…”

Do you ever feel that you ought to change a certain aspect of yourself and, yet, are reluctant to do so because it stands at the core of your identity complex? Let alone, you’ve grown emotionally and mentally attached to the trait such that dismissing it is equivalent to shattering a fragment of one’s soul. Alright, perhaps that was a bit melodramatic. The combination of an overactive cerebrum and the unhampered time provided by Spring Break tends to result in over-over-analyses of anything and everything. It’s a good thing Spring Break is over in this respect.

I’ve concluded that I may be a bit overly kind and am a mental masochist — there’s a tendency to feel guilty in situations where I am actually not at (what the general public would define as) fault, e.g. –
Bought lunch (chicken), saw famished homeless whilst driving back to condo, gave him small piece of my chicken, got back to condo, couldn’t eat lunch because I felt miserable for not having given him bigger piece. Why didn’t I? He obviously needed the food more than I.
Went shopping at grocery store, saw elderly man 4 customers ahead in the check-out line, his welfare card must not have allowed certain items to be purchased so cashier, deaf and mute, took them (3/5) away. I felt every moral fiber in my body screaming for action and wanted to push the 4 customers in front of me aside to buy those 3 items for him…but I didn’t do anything, just stood idly watching the somber expression on the poor man’s face. When I finally made my way back to my car with the question “Why didn’t I help him?” flowing incessantly through my mind, I just sat in front of my steering wheel and cried.
– …and the list goes on.

Reverting to the original question, it’s as though I am governed by two distinct and, perhaps, mutually exclusive perspectives.
On the one hand, the savior archetype seems to be prevalent. Being cynical of the moral direction in which society as a whole is heading, I feel the need to act as constant Sherpa to civilization’s problems in hopes that 1) my tiny efforts will in some way “make the world a better place” for everyone else and 2) people will learn vicariously and do personally. Plus, I get a happy, fuzzy feeling when I am of assistance to someone.
On the other hand, my faltering hope in the general public has left me questioning the plausibility of the aforementioned proceeds of my actions. Additionally, failure to perform my self-proclaimed duty has led to consequential and unnecessary guilt.

Is it time to recalibrate my current mindset or keep on keeping on? Whilst the former will lead to less, if any, guilt (+), less kindness (+/-), and less altruism (-), the latter will lead to little to no change in guilt (-), same level of kindness (+/-), and more self-fulfillment (+) — i.e. Protect oneself or protect everyone else? That, perhaps, is the fundamental dilemma individuals face on a day-to-day basis. With the “right” formula, an egocentric, opportunist pitted in a laissez-faire society would become the perfect modern Machiavelli. I don’t think I’m mentally prepared to see little Niccolo, Jr.’s running around.

Maybe the best decision involves not scrutinizing the situation with such a black-and-white demeanor. Maybe I simply shouldn’t think so much. Maybe I should start learning to forgive myself. Maybe…
I bore thee. Such self-indulgent and dizzying musings should be done solely in my head, anyway.

So, on another note — I finally bought one of Betsey Johnson’s wonderful dresses. It’s burgundy and mauve colored, velvet, with spaghetti straps. Her dresses tend to run in abnormally small sizes (relatively speaking) so I had to buy a large, otherwise my bust wouldn’t fit, and I certainly don’t want to look like Dolly Parton – blegh. I’ll take a picture of it when I stop feeling lazy – Ha!

Many elements of our universe function in algorithmic patterns, such as philosophy — The Turing Test; mathematics — The Sieve of Eratosthenes; pastimes — Chess (MTD-f, specifically, in reference to computer programs); economics — Algorithmic trading; psychology — The Thurstone Scale. These are only a few examples. What if, say, each individual’s degree of generosity could be characterized based on a formula, or a graph?

Bacteria multiply by binary fission after reaching a certain size. Their maximum growth rate in a given medium at a certain temperature is consistent from trial to trial. In other words, if you put the same bacteria into the same conditions, they will always take the same amount of time to double in number. A growth curve can be constructed to denote the “doubling time” or “generation time.”

Typically, three stages are observed. “Lag” phase, the first, represents a period of adjustment for the bacteria after they are introduced into the new medium. It takes them some time to “gear up” their own enzyme levels, metabolic precursors, etc. to make full use of the newly available nutrients. The growth is low but increases steadily. When the growth rate hits its maximum, the bacteria are said to be in “log” or “exponential” phase. Bacteria will stay in log phase until nutrients begin to run out and, thus, enter “stationary” phase, a time of declining growth rate. Sometimes a fourth stage is observed, “death” phase, where the number of bacteria decreases dramatically as cells begin to die off due to crowding, lack of resources, etc.

Because the growth of the bacterial culture is exponential in nature, semi-log paper is utilized in order to represent this trend.

Note: Different species of bacteria have different doubling times; however, the general trend of “lag,” “log,” “stationary,” and “death” phases are similar for all.

Growth Curve

As observed in the graph above, there are two curves present — The absorbance curve corresponds to the amount of turbidity present in the samples of bacteria taken at each consecutive time interval whilst the cell number, i.e. titer, illustrates the actual number of living bacterial cells present at each consecutive time interval. The concept is that as growth progresses, the sample would become more turbid due to the opacity of cells, as would the cell number; thus, the absorbance and titer curves are parallel to each other under normal circumstances. Additionally, the actual number of cells can never surpass the amount of turbidity.

This general “growth curve” idea can, thus, be adopted to depict human opportunity and willingness for generosity.

Each individual’s degree of generosity varies depending on their personality and the presence of extraneous variables much like a bacterium’s doubling time is dependent on its species and other factors, which will be discussed shortly. Using bacterial growth curve as reference, the absorbance curve symbolizes one’s opportunity for altruism whilst the titer exemplifies one’s willingness for altruism. One’s willingness will never surpass one’s opportunity to contribute. You may argue that in a circumstance where a certain person is someway impaired, hindering his/her opportunity to succor, but wills to help, that person’s willingness surpasses his/her opportunity. That, however, is not the case. If said person were truly willing to contribute, he/she would devise a way to overcome the obstacle(s), even if s/he would be helping indirectly. Willingness, which indicates desire and completion of task, would equal opportunity in such a situation.

Let’s now adjust the graph to fit the new conditions, shall we?

AofB2

Lag Phase: Recognition*

During the lag phase, the individual becomes aware of his/her new environment and will slowly adjust to his/her surroundings. The term “environment” may denote any atmosphere — A small group gathering, a city, a library, etc. Once the entity becomes comfortable, s/he will begin to acknowledge his/her potential to assist those whom occupy the same environment. The duration of the lag phase is dependent on which individual is being observed, but the same individual will always take the same amount of time to adapt to each new environment, extrinsic factors aside.

Log Phase: Progression*

Increasing opportunities for charity will be thrust upon the individual as time progresses. Initially, the individual may feel reluctant to succor but a gradual escalation in willingness will be observed as more resources and contingencies for selectivity are offered. This phenomenon resembles a ball cycling downhill — Once it [the rolling] starts, conscious effort must be exerted in order to stop it.

Stationary Phase: Deliberation*

There comes a point when one realizes how much effort has already been invested into a subject(s) and begins to evaluate whether future sacrifice ought to be proffered. During this time, one may feel compelled to finish his/her current beneficences but remains ambivalent towards further benefactions.

Death Phase: Declension**

If the individual decides to remain philanthropic, then a downward curve representing that environment [the environment the individual is currently occupying] will not be observed. However, if the alternative decision is made, the death phase will be observed on the graph.

* Under the null hypothesis that no extraneous variables are present.
** Not always observed. Presence of death phase is dependent on outcome of stationary phase and extraneous variables.

The scenario below summarizes the aforementioned stages of generosity in a more comprehensible manner. (Please excuse the names — The author was having a little fun.)

Mary Anne Lou attends a party in celebration for Bobby Joe’s twenty-first birthday. Unaccustomed to the drinking atmosphere, she feels remotely aloof at first but soon finds the company enjoyable. Billy Bob, Jr. (one of the guests) manages to consume so much alcohol he is physically and mentally incapable of driving his tractor home. Mary Anne Lou, the only sober invitee, volunteers to drive Billy Bob.

Upon returning to the party, Mary Anne Lou is bombarded with a myriad of requests for transportation back to their [the intoxicated guests] homes as well. Realizing that the party has, thus, ended and that these dipsomaniacs are a hazard to themselves, others on the road, and the unsuspecting cows, she escorts each of them to their home. Much to Mary Anne Lou’s dismay, the last passenger has an esophagogastric dysfunction, leading to all sorts of different aromatic souvenirs in her truck. Guess who gets to clean up the mess?

The subsequent morning, the exhausted Mary Anne Lou receives a call from Betty Sue and Earlene — They had left their purses at Bobby Joe’s house and request she fetch and deliver the purses to them. What will Mary Anne Lou do?

Up till now, we’ve only delved into the variable-independent aspects of human generosity. However, the outcome of everyday occurrences is, indubitably, governed by a myriad of extrinsic factors. Hence, let’s now examine bacterial growth taking these extrinsic factors into account.

Many people have heard of ampicillin, chlorine dioxide (bleach), and/or chloramphenicol, but few understand their significance other than “they’re antibiotics/disinfectants that… help people stay healthy?”

Bacteriostatic agents stop the growth of bacteria but do not kill them, e.g. chloramphenicol. In the event a bacteriostatic antibiotic is added to microorganism sensitive to it, both turbidity and titer would level off and stay constant. For bactericidal non-bacteriolytic agents, e.g. bleach, which simply kill the bacteria, a drastic decrease in cell number would result whilst the turbidity would level off and stay constant. Finally, bactericidal bacteriolytic agents such as ampicillin kill bacteria by lysing their cell envelope; thus, both turbidity and titer would drop drastically.

The amount of turbidity and the number of cells observed within an allotted time is dependent on (1) the type of antibiotic and (2) when the antibiotic was administered. A variety of different growth curves can, thus, be obtained through altered combinations of agents implemented at different time intervals.

Extrinsic variables that act on our original model of generosity work in a similar manner. Take the Mary Anne Lou scenario once again for example, but this time noting extraneous factors.

Case #1:

Mary Anne Lou attends a party in celebration for Bobby Joe’s twenty-first birthday. Unaccustomed to the drinking atmosphere and lacking good company, she wishes Bobby Joe the best, bequeaths to him his presents, and leaves before she has to endure another conversation with a foul-breathed drunkard.

Extrinsic factor: Undesirable atmosphere/company
When factor took effect: Onset of lag phase
Conclusion: Because Mary Anne Lou did not successfully overcome the lag phase, no Progression resulted. Both opportunity and willingness curves flatlined at their initial stage.
Case description: Benefactostatic

AofB3

Case #2:

Mary Anne Lou attends a party in celebration for Bobby Joe’s twenty-first birthday. Unaccustomed to the drinking atmosphere, she feels remotely aloof at first but soon finds the company enjoyable. Billy Bob, Jr. (one of the guests) manages to consume so much alcohol he is physically and mentally incapable of driving his tractor home. Mary Anne Lou, the only sober invitee, volunteers to drive Billy Bob.

Because of the time, Mary Anne Lou decides not to return to the party, instead, selects to drive back home. Half-way home, however, she receives a phone call from Bobby Joe who implores that she takes his plastered friends home for safety purposes. Feeling too exhausted at this point to take care of others, Mary Anne Lou declines the request and suggests they spend the night at Bobby Joe’s house instead.

Extrinsic factor: Time, personal exhaustion
When factor took effect: Log phase
Conclusion: Though Mary Anne Lou surpassed the lag phase, extrinsic factors contributed to her subsequent decline in willingness to continue sacrificing herself for others. The opportunity to assist was still provided to her; hence, incline and later stagnancy are observed for that curve. Note, however, that the curve is not as steep as that of the original. This is due to the fact that the extrinsic variable was dealt before completion of the log phase.
Case description: Benefactocidal non benefactolytic

AofB4

Once again, a variety of outcomes may ensue — These are only a few simple examples. Typically, though, a depressed willingness curve is observed. This can be explained with one of two opposing, yet strikingly similar, perspectives.

As has been implied throughout this entry, humans are inherently good. It is due to the numerous extraneous factors that one becomes selfish and hostile. Those who are obstinately able to overlook these negative, extraneous factors are, then, capable of assisting others ad infinitum. Such individuals, unfortunately, are on the brink of extinction.

The alternative school of thought, which proposes that humans are inherently evil, is likewise justifiable. The aforementioned extraneous factors are good in this case. Those who are persistently able to recognize these seemingly subtle but more often than not blatantly obvious extraneous factors and respond accordingly are, then, capable of assisting others ad infinitum. These individuals are also on the brink of extinction.

Whether you hold the former perspective or the latter, the general idea remains the same — We reside in a macrocosm where the majority of people give little to no thought for others, and even if they do, it would only be a short-term affair. Once they tire of their dependability, previous acts of compassion can no longer provide “warm-and-fuzzy” feelings, or these feelings are no longer worth the effort. Furthermore, few of these short-term affairs are altruistic in nature; most are conceived from ulterior motives.

So, before you go off on a rant about how dismal the world is, how unlucky you are, and/or how rapacious the current society is, ask yourself — What can I change about myself first to make the world a better place before criticizing everyone else? It’s impossible to make others perceive the condition of world in the same manner as you see fit.

You can’t make others see, especially when doing so is against their will.

And on that note, I shall depart for bed. Au revoir until next time, my little munchkins.

I went out for lunch with my mom today, and I don’t recall what triggered the subject but, absent-mindedly, I mentioned that I had donated blood again, before coming home. What proceeded can be described as a whirlwind of lecturing. Supposedly, 1. If I keep donating blood, it will become an addiction 2. I’m not healthy enough to keep doing this 3. Donating blood leads to weight gain. In defense, I refuted 1. I’m not addicted to donating blood; I just want to save lives 2. Not only did I not faint, unlike 2 of my other friends who came with me, I had strenuous exercises immediately afterwards each time, e.g. rowing practice, running 5 miles, etc. 3. You only gain weight if you gorge yourself with food in order to compensate for the pint of blood you’ve lost.

She subsequently stated that I can’t save lives if I end up dying, that it’s best I kept myself perfectly healthy now, get a well-paying job, and, then, become a philanthropist with my money. Why yes, mother, money can surely magically metamorphose into blood for cancer victims, severely injured patients, hemophiliacs, etc. I understand and respect her argument; however, the way I see it — I don’t have the adequate resources in terms of money currently to help anyone, hence, the best I can do is give others something of which I have a stockpile. People are suffering now; waiting until I am financially stable could take years.

As we were walking to the grocery store, I mentioned how wonderful the weather in Houston has been since I’ve been here and jokingly stated that God must love me (since Houston’s known to have 104+ Fahrenheit temperatures during the summer). Mom muttered back, “Everyone loves you. If you keep doing things to hurt me, though (in reference to blood donations), I won’t like you anymore.”

I laughed because I found the situation to be quite ironic. My parents have considerably different personalities and perspectives.

I love both my parents dearly, mind you; however, observations of their actions and personalities throughout these past 20 years of my life made me realize how much I would loathe myself if my character became a silhouette of that of my dad. He’s a loving father, but he’s rather inept at keeping his temperament at a stable level — Many a time, my mother and I would find him having verbal fights with strangers due to a minor disagreement. At other times, we would lose our appetite at a restaurant because he can’t stop complaining about how poor the service is or the lack of sufficient shrimp in his platter. I honestly don’t know how my mom has managed to deal with my dad’s detestable disposition, but I unequivocally commend her for it.

That being said, I thought my mother would understand why I regularly donate blood. Perhaps her motherly instincts surpass her normally altruistic nature. I have yet to decide whether I should disobey her and proceed to continue my donations and not inform her of the matter, or actually listen. Afterall, Mothers don’t always know best.

* Random acknowledgement: It seems so much easier to write about my life than on observations and psychoanalyzations of the environment around me, which was what my previous blog site used to be based on. Memory of that superannuated website, though, warrants today’s entry.

People — Rather broad subject you might think, what could she possibly be thinking? Well, recently, I’ve noticed that people can be placed into a variety of categories pertaining to their social/public behavior. Other than your ordinary, stereotypical categorization (e.g. blondes, nerds, goths, jocks, etc.); there’s a greater scheme.

Recently, one of my older friends finally opened up her grocery store, located in some random corner in town that I doubt I’ll ever be able to find again. Everyone gathered in this newly furbished, crowded store to take advantage of the “Opening Day: Half Price on everything along with free Gifts if you exceed $50 in purchases.” Unfortunately, there were only 2 cash registers; and what made it worse, only one of the registers was attached to a scale, making it impossible to accept credit cards on the other. And might I add, people need to learn to read prior to going shopping… When the sign says “Cash only” it means CASH ONLY.

Being as hectic as it was, I volunteered to help at one of the booths. Throughout the course of the day, not only was I yelled at by the customers for the cash register’s inability to accept credit cards, but I was also reprimanded for people cutting in line. I’m sorry I don’t have a cattle prod to herd all these inconsiderate whiners around? But, there were people there who understood and were considerate of how chaotic the situation was (with only 4 people working and a non-ending line of customers); not to mention some of the items were accidentally not price-tagged, and hence, a third line of people waiting to inquire on the amount of their items formulated.

The store opened at 10am and the lines still hadn’t died down by 1pm, the four of us all working without having had breakfast nor lunch, except these other 3 people were getting paid for taking crap from these insensitive shoppers, in which case I will say: THE CUSTOMER IS *NOT* ALWAYS RIGHT.

Come 1:30pm everyone was exhausted; the customers, irriated. So, inevitably, a fight took place. Here is where I state how I have come to characterize people given these types of situations.

  • The belligerent type
  • The complainers
  • The type of people who mutter under their breath
  • The shy ones
  • Those who are courteous and learn to suck it up

Belligerents:

Whilst in the middle of placing a shopper’s items into grocery bags, I hear screaming and look up. Initially, I thought it was just a typical argument between 2 people, but then I saw fists flying in the air. The raison d’etre behind this brawl? Person #2 cut infront of person #1 in the check-out line. Surprisingly, I actually felt sorry for the guy who let his anger and frustration get the better of him to lead him to physically abuse the other person for having jumped in line. Not only did this man embarrass himself AND his wife infront of a crowd of spectators, but he also has to drive home with his wife bickering from the passenger seat, criticizing him for having handled the situation in such a barbaric manner.

People characteristic of person #1 have serotonin and dopamine inbalances, making it hard for them to control their emotions… but that doesn’t mean they can’t!

Complainers:

Moving up the ladder, we have the people who whine to 1) attract attention and/or 2) make others see how much they’re suffering- looking for sympathy, empathy, or whatever the hell they can get. Unable to understand that *everyone* had been waiting in line for eternity and that we were trying our best to speed the process up so the shoppers are able to return home quickly, these select few still consistantly inundate the staff with a plethora of insults and complaints even after every one of us apologized for the inconvenience.

It sounded something like this:
“Why is this so f-ing slow! I need to hurry home, can’t you people speed up the process?! You want me to die of old age from waiting or what?!”
‘I’m sorry sir, we’re trying our best; but as you can tell, it’s opening day and everything is extremely hectic.’
“I know it’s opening day, I understand that.. BUT I NEED TO GET HOME!”

It seems as if these people see themselves as the sole ruler of the universe. Everything has to go their way, else, it’s time to pile a barrage of criticisms until their every need is met.

Muttering Fools:

Now, when I say fool, I don’t mean to ridicule this type of people. They are only foolish in that they *think* you can’t hear them muttering under their breath when, in reality, the counterparty can hear every word, usually whilst laughing on the inside.

As the next group of customers approached the check-out booth, I was ready to receive some more verbal bashings. Two sisters stepped up to my register and with beaming smiles said, “You guys must be tired as hell! Definitely deserve a break, very busy day today.” At this point, I was extremely relieved that there are still people out there who aren’t so self-absorbed and constantly looking for self-satisfaction and self-justification. After some silence, they started talking again, except this time it wasn’t directed at me; oh yes, they were muttering… “Can’t believe they’re so slow, taking forever.”
“They need to hire better workers, see how slow she’s putting my food in? And why do I need 2 bags for one bottle of sauce? She’s just trying to waste our time.”
“I shouldn’t be required to pay for this kind of service.”

Why must people put on a façade? Backstabbing isn’t any better than blatantly telling the harsh truth or spitting out insults. And just for the record, I chose to *slowly* put her *glass* bottle of sauce in *2* bags so she wouldn’t have the hassle of having to clean everything up in case she dropped the sauce and the bottle shatters.

Timid Individuals:

This category is pretty much self-explanatory. Although they are not entirely satisfied with how a situation is handled or degree to which it is handled (i.e. effectiveness, efficiency, competence), they are unable to take any action. Not only that, I had also noticed that those who are shy don’t have the ability to defend themselves. Unlike the belligerent fellow, timid individuals don’t stand up for themselves when someone cuts infront of them in line. I am not saying that fighting someone else for your rightful place is the humanitarian thing to do in situations such as these, I am merely stating that although it is obvious some people who are extremely timid feel adamantly about something, they refuse to make their ideas/beliefs heard.

Courteous and Considerate Personages:

This group of people is extremely hard to find… but when you do, make sure you befriend them and keep in touch because in all likelihood, you won’t find another. In a world where 99% of the popluation believe that the “good guys always finish last,” very few actually stop to consider someone else’s feelings and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

From 10am till 3pm I worked in this little store; and repeatedly, I was put down by these self-centered and ungrateful shoppers. But, every once in awhile, I’d receive an appreciative thank-you from a customer. No, not a “thank-you for getting paid to do this,” not an automated “thanks for putting my stuff in a bag,” and definitely not a “thanks a lot, now I’m going to be late for my doctor’s appointment,” instead… a thank-you for being there. Who would have the dignity, patience, and motivation to resume working if all he or she gets are insults anyway? Do you derive satisfaction through others misery? I certainly hope not.

These people made my day — Learn from them.

And yes… another late night studying for an upcoming exam (tomorrow night), however, this time, the exam’s not as simple as merely memorizing terms; instead, I actually have to understand the material for Organic Chemistry II. Speaking of which, though — I was up until 4:30am finishing up my homework Tuesday and completely overslept the following morning. Much to my dismay, my professor decided to have a pop quiz that morning… out of all the possible days, it had to be that morning. After some quick calculations, I realized that that one quiz is keeping me from getting an A in the class — Bummer. Feeling indignant and rather moronic at the same time, I fabricated some lame excuse and e-mailed my TA asking if I can somehow compensate for my absence, even if it meant ‘standing on one leg whilst singing my ABC’s.’ She gave me no forthright answer and directed me to the professor instead, who won’t be in his office until next Monday. Argh. Albeit, I am positive he won’t let me make up the quiz anyway.

Other aspects of my life are mundane as usual, although, I am having a tennis tournament against my friend Braden and am planning a surprise birthday party for Runjini. Her obsession with Final Fantasy XII has burgeoned to immeasurable proportions, so what better gift to buy her than that? My critique should only be taken half-heartedly, though, since I have yet to play the game, but it seems rather humdrum. The graphics are amazing, as I’ve seen on YouTube, but other aspects of the game hardly seem entertaining. Perhaps I’ve outgrown my childhood adulation for games…. Nah.

Although I’ve already sold my soul to academia this summer, I think I have better plans for the next. If everything performs according to plan as far as registration for classes goes, I should be able to take next summer off away from school and relish in the more pleasurable aspects of life. I’m not sure if anyone has heard of the Texas 4000 (T4k) but I’m currently looking into undertaking just that for Summer 2008. The organization consists of approximately forty individuals (mainly college students) who are chosen by a board of directors every year. Their goal is to raise $350,000.00 to aid in the fight against cancer per annum, spread hope within the cancer community, and raise cancer awareness as they bike across the country (4,690 miles or 7,548 km) from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska. Each cyclist is required to raise at least $4,000 in donations from November till April, plan routes, find camping spots or hosts prior to departure, etc., and each day consists of 8 to 13 hours of biking (80 to 125 miles per day).

It’s definitely something you have to allot an enormous amount of energy, time, sweat, compassion, etc. into but it’s also something I really want to do. My neighbor, who’s the most kind-hearted individual I have ever met on so many different levels, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. My mother’s friend, who has become a close acquaintance of our family, passed away a year ago from a malignant brain tumor. My father’s colleague whom I’ve known since the age of 5 died from lung cancer 3 years ago. Alas, the list goes on. Cancer is such a pernicious disease that everyone should be aware of it and try to help those who have to endure such agony. T4k allows healthy individuals (college students, at that) to represent and bike for those who are unable to do so. It allows them to share the story of their personal experiences with cancer and chronicle their ride to show that through prevention, detection and treatment, one can achieve great things.

(Article originally from Associated Press)

HONOLULU – Dorie-Ann Kahale and her five daughters moved from a homeless shelter to a mansion Thursday, courtesy of a Japanese real estate mogul who is handing over eight of his multimillion-dollar homes to low-income Native Hawaiian families.
Tears spilled down Kahale’s cheeks as she accepted from Genshiro Kawamoto the key to a white, columned house with a circular driveway, a stone staircase and a deep porcelain bathtub. Her family will live there rent-free, but must pay utility bills.

“What we need to do is appreciate,” Kahale said. “As fast as we got it, it could disappear.”

Kawamoto, whose own eyes started welling up as Kahale cried, handed over two other homes Thursday to homeless or low-income families.
Kawamoto, one of Japan’s richest men, said he plans to open eight of his 22 Kahala homes to needy Hawaiian families. They will be able to stay in the homes for up to 10 years, he said.
Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented among the state’s homeless and working poor.
Giving away mansions shows more dedication to helping Hawaii’s homeless than just handing out wads of cash, he said. Asked whether he was concerned about losing money on the effort, he laughed and said: “This is pocket money for me.”
Kahale’s new house is worth nearly $5 million, an average price for the mansion-like dwellings on Kahala Avenue. It is one of the more modest homes in the neighborhood, many of which feature ornate iron gates, meandering driveways and sculptured gardens.
Kahale became homeless two years ago when her landlord raised her rent from $800 to $1,200, putting the apartment beyond reach of her salary as customer service representative for Pacific LightNet, a telecommunications company. She first stayed with family, then moved to a shelter in September.

Today was another long day… Well, the latter half of the day was long– and interesting. Prior to leaving for my biology class from my dorm, I look out the window to inspect the weather– grey and cloudy, likelihood of rain: 80%. I had a feeling it was going to rain, yet, I decided not to take my umbrella, and instead of wearing my hooded jacket, I put on my $250 leather jacket for the sole purpose of matching my shoes. Mistake #1. 

It wasn’t raining as I was walking to my bio class but by the time class was over, it was drizzling outside, and lucky us, the UT campus is filled with towering trees. So, I’m standing under a tree waiting for the cars to go by, and the wind blows… sending all the rain droplets that had been collecting on the leaves onto me. Mistake #2.

Fun day thus far.  

After biology class, I walk back to my dorm to change outfits for my 3:30pm interview with Mr.Miller. This time I was intuitive and brought an umbrella with me (although it had already stopped raining). Interesting enough, I seemed to have walked faster this time than the last, so I was 25 minutes early for my scheduled interview, which isn’t a completely bad thing, I guess. 

After about an hour of interrogation, I leave the office building to go back to Kinsolving– this time, it was pouring outside, yes, pouring. You know when you watch a TV show or a movie, the producer always uses that soaking scene?– Rainy weather, person walking on sidewalk, car passing by drives over a ditch overflowing with water, water flies everywhere and person walking gets soaked from head to toe. I always thought that highly trite scene was rather lame, but, today, I got to experience first-hand what it is like to be soaked from head to toe in a business suit by a careless driver in a speeding car– it was cold… and wet. Mistake #3. 

As I was walking across Guadalupe Street, a man comes up to me asking for directions to Starbucks. Naturally, I direct him to where it is, oblivious to the fact that we were standing in the middle of the road. By the time the man left and I was ready to proceed on with my route back to my dorm, the traffic light had already turned green, so, I almost got run over by a teenager driving a red truck. Mistake #4. 

Still an interesting day thus far. Now I’m walking down Whitis Avenue and notice that a lot of people don’t have umbrellas. Since I’m already completely wet, I run to the girl walking ahead of me and I ask, “Hi, you don’t know me but do you need an umbrella?” But her answer slightly threw my good intentions off, “It’s ok, I’m enjoying the rain.” Unsure of how to react, my automated response comes on, “Are you sure?” To which she then replies with, “Yeah, I like the rain.” Should’ve known not to ask someone who was extending her arms out and tilting her head up towards the sky if she needed an umbrella or not… 

Making my way to Dean Keeton Street and waiting for the walking white dude signal to flash on, I look to my right and spot another deprived person lacking an umbrella, and this time, the person didn’t look like she enjoyed having the rain pour on her. So, I figured I’d give my extended helping hand another shot; she accepted to share the umbrella with me. It’s interesting, before asking her if she needed an umbrella, the weather was practically a deluge; after asking and having walked only 5 steps, the rain suddenly stopped. 

Oh yeah, since I forgot to mention… I passed the interview today with flying colors; in other words, I got the intern position. Our first meeting’s on Saturday, Feb. 25th at the Omni Austin Downtown Hotel at 7am. Lovely. 

(Originally Posted 2/1/06)