My group made an interactive website

Hazel takes out her digital point-and-shoot as soon as I focus the specimen on the microsope: a preserved 11.5 day old embryo. That's one little mouse killed for the advancement of science. Arielle takes a second look, confirms my hunch by saying, "Ang cute!" and proceeds to explain what she just saw. Yeyen, standing behind me, makes a mental note of what we've uncovered so far before beginning to write them all down in paper.

For that experiment, our final product is an interactive website.

UPDATE: Removed the timeline.

Bring back the good ol' days

I will always be a basement boy

Kalayaan Residence Hall always looms larger than life whenever I pass by it every day. Sometimes, I pause for a moment and look, from a distance, at the eager faces that live there. I was like them five years ago. If given the chance to bring back the good, old days of years 2004 to 2005, I would gladly do so, for those were the moments when I met my very good friends who would discover the joys and pains of University life with me. In my heart of hearts, I was, and will always be, a Basement Boy.

Morning by morning, new mercies I see

Dorm hallway

Josh Groban sings You raise me up from my roommate's computer. It is 10 am, and here I am, with the atrocious morning breath, sticky eye mucus, and bed markings on my skin that would disappear minutes from now. One of the greatest feelings in the world is waking up to a new day. I do not deserve any of this—with the multitude of my sins I committed yesterday. But thank you, Lord, because Your mercies are new every morning.

Eating—and laughing—my heart out

The lightning strikes, casting transient camera flashes, with the heavy downpour as the bleak background. Inside I wait for my experiment to finish. It's 8:30 pm. My stomach is growling. My mind drifts to sights of pasta and pizza as I look at the machine spinning my samples. I'm dying to go home. Then I hear Ate Madel call out, “Wanna eat at A Veneto?” Minutes later, I'm eating—and laughing—my heart out.

Today, I thank the Lord for:

1.The wonderful sleep last night
2.The beam of sunlight that greeted me when I woke up
3.The absence of horrifying, troubling, or hurting text messages when I checked my phone
4.My watch that gave the accurate time
5.The internet, so I was able to check my mail
6.My computer, because it doesn't give me headaches anymore
7.The peace and calm of the morning
8.The presence of my roommates who had enough sleep as I did
9.My safety in going down from the upper deck
10. My soft pillows

11. My fragrant blanket
12. My trusted electric fan
13. The refreshing cold water in the dispenser
14. The ample, clean water in the lavatory
15. The toothpaste and toothbrush I used
16. The comfortable sleeping clothes I wore
17. My functioning urinary system
18. The electricity; there was no brownout today
19. The short chat session with Floribeth, a high school classmate
20. The short chat with longtime blockmate, Wegs Pedroso

21. The short chat with Jaja Baculi, who's now in the States and who has a quiz next week
22. Manong's reminder to go to Bro. Danny's discipleship group
23. Kuya Imay's instructions to go to Nepa-Q Mart
24. The cold, but not chilling, shower
25. The soap and shampoo
26. The cleanliness and sheer beauty of the CR
27. A Youtube video of The Call (from Prince Caspian) embedded in Katrina's blog
28. The shirt, shorts, and sandals
29. The pocket money to pay for jeepney and MRT fares
30. The absence of vaginal plug in my mouse, which reminded me to entrust my thesis to God

31. The fact that my mice didn't bite me
32. The ATM machine at Cubao Station
33. The kind instructions of the MMDA officer who directed me to the marketplace
34. The safety in travelling
35. The bus that took me to the market
36. The protection from pickpockets when I landed in the market
37. The kind man and lady who bore with my ignorance at meat matters
38. Manong's insight when I got confused with porcine and bovine
39. The kind man who pointed me to another stall
40. The lady who gave me a discount

41. The man who separated the meat from the bones
42. The bus I rode from Nepa-Q Mart to Philcoa
43. The acquired skill of commuting, even with buses in EDSA
44. The reminder for Paul Velasco's birthday
45. The chance to send Paul an email
46. The ability to type fast
47. The chance to see Frisbee and Football matches
48. The quiet walk from Yakal to Sunken, which gave me time to think through things
49. The opportunity to sit beside Ma'am Zah, my former lab instructor
50. The voice to cheer for MBB

51. The sheer sight of my blockmates in action
52. The shade under the tree
53. The quiet breeze
54. The blue sky
55. Titus' shirt that reminded me to be proud of my Pinoy heritage
56. Andoi's witty remarks
57. The loss in the Frisbee match, which humbled us
58. The sight of Coy and Paul playing in the field, a reminder to take some time off
59. Moments of laughter with Ate Bianca and Andoi
60. Hazel, whose love for the game was infectious

61. Titus, Joe, and Monchi who bought food with me at the nearest stand, the one in front of Vinzon's
62. Monchi's fishball treat which really warmed my heart
63. The fact that no item was reported missing in the games
64. The fact that no one was injured in the game
65. The fact that nobody got mad at each other during the game
66. The rain
67. The grandstand, which shielded us from getting wet
68. The fun, relaxing, albeit tense atmosphere
69. The newfound Korean friends of Paul and Coy, who reminded me that friendship can easily be established because we have more things in common than we actually think
70. Pat, Gabby, and Joe's umbrellas

71. Gabby and Dianne's cheers, which made the event enjoyable
72. The determination to leave just in time for youth fellowship
73. The 15-minute nap
74. Ate Myka's text, asking me what had happened
75. Ate Myka's instructions on setting up mating cages
76. The chance to visit my mice the second time again this afternoon
77. The availability of ICR mice, which are slowly being decimated—a reminder to trust God
78. The chance to meet Ate Florence after more than a year
79. The jeep that took me safely to Delta
80. The absence of any accidents

81. The privilege to hear Bro. Danny's teaching
82. James 4
83. The cool, conference room
84. My Bible, now dog-eared
85. Koji's deep insights
86. Ate Rae's answers, which helped me understand many things
87. The laughter
88. Kito's questions that made me ask some things as well
89. Ervin's birthday
90. Kuya Lito's teaching on the importance of keeping a journal

91. Kuya Caloy, for giving me The Journals of Jim Elliot, a collector's item
92. The merienda—maja blanca and pansit
93. The chance to talk with Ate Rae's cousins on med school, college, and faith
94. Kuya Moncie's infectious desire for the Word
95. Ate Mean's comment on my blog, which reminded me to write more about the things of God than about myself
96. The free ride home, thanks to Kuya Lito
97. The health of Kuya Lito's kids, Jeremiah and Stephanie
98. The air that I breathe
99. Jesus Christ
100. The indescribable peace and joy in my heart as I write this.

And the list hasn't even started.

What a great way to spend the weekend

First time to be in a public market in Metro Manila. Took the train to Cubao, rode a bus to Nepa Q-Mart, searched cluelessly for porcine Achilles' tendons. Saw too many fake DVDs being sold. Witnessed actual butchering of pigs. Got referred to as “'yung bata, para daw sa klase niya.” Confused porcine for bovine. Now I have what I need to make that collagen gel matrix.

Because West Africa always wins

I came upon West Africa Always Wins about two years ago, but only enjoyed it these past few days. Written by Pauline (she doesn't reveal her last name), a journalist stationed in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, the blog offers an outsider's perspective of Western African culture. It's the newest addition to my Compilation of Favorite Blogs, an imaginary list I keep in memory.

Ubuntu has been giving me the thrills. Here are what I've done so far.

1.Install Microsoft TrueType fonts through the msstcorefonts package. Now I can use fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Trebuchet, among others using my wordprocessor, Writer. I'm presently downloading other font packages. Thanks to the Ubuntu Wordpress blog for the amazing tutorial.

2.Download Wine, “a translation layer (a program loader) capable of running Windows applications on Linux and other POSIX compatible operating systems.Windows programs running in Wine act as native programs would, running without the performance or memory usage penalties of an emulator, with a similar look and feel to other applications on my desktop.” If you're using Linux, Wine is definitely a must-have.

3.Get security and software updates. I simply clicked on the icon in my taskbar called Synaptic Download Manager, and it did all the downloading for me. All I had to do after was restart.

After my font downloads, I'll get w32codecs so I can play other media formats using, say, Rhythmbox, the Ubuntu equivalent of Windows Media Player. I can't wait what happens next.

In remembance of sacrificed frogs

We did frog dissection in fourth grade. That day my classmate Jam Jover was rushed to the clinic because she felt dizzy after seeing blood. Joseph Reapor's frog was pregnant; all of them in the group looked terrified. Ours was, well, ordinary, except that we had a hard time pinning its limbs.

The next frog I cut open was in a class in Bio 11, seven years later. It was Valentine's Day. I was groupmates with Wegs Pedroso, Juanchi Pablo, and Ciara Alberto. I "obtained" nine frogs for the entire class--obtained being the operative word. That means I went inside the huge cage (at the back of Zoology Bldg.) where frogs were bred, took them by hand, and placed them inside a plastic bag.

Now I'm done with frogs but stuck with mice. But each dissection--or operation--I perform still gives me that thrill...that sick feeling that comes with killing an organism for the "advancement of science."


A dialogue between two frogs:

“Hey, can I ask you something? Why do human children dissect us?”

“It’s part of their education. They cut open our bodies in school and write reports about their findings.”

“Huh. Well, I guess it could be worse, right? I mean, at least we’re not dying in vain.”

“How do you figure?”

“Well, our deaths are furthering the spread of knowledge. It’s a huge sacrifice we’re making, but at least some good comes out of it.”

What follows is really, really funny.