Filipino guy in Los Angeles, talking about his daily blah, reality tv, world events... a little bit of everything

Monday, April 30, 2007


This past weekend I finally had my mentor training. I mentioned a while back that one thing different I'm doing for my birthday was to volunteer again. I went online and found an interesting program looking for mentors for kids who are 18-21 years old. One thing special about these mentees...they're all HIV positive.

ast month I went through an extensive interview process, filled up a lot of forms and turned in some needed documents to proove that I don't have any criminal or bad driving records. After the interview, I found out that they wanted me to be one of the mentors for the first group of mentees. I was anxious about the training, mostly because I do'nt really know what to expect. Not only will there be other mentors but the mentees were going to be there also.

The training was in this beautiful old house in Pacific Palisades just north of Santa Monica. It was built in the 1890's and was owned by a prominent Los Angeles family but eventually turned into a retreat facility. One by one I met other mentors and eventually the mentees. As ignorant as it sounds I expected that the mentors to be older. Most of them were in fact around my age, all from very diverse backgrounds. Meeting the mentees was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. Most of them were infected when they were babies. Its just so unfair.

Like any mentoring trainings, we covered a lot of topics; do's and don'ts, proper communication skills, expectations and limitations of the new relationship. Perhaps the symbolism used by one of the speakers about the mentor-mentee relationship best portrays what I've learned this past weekend. Mentoring is like planting a seed, you tend to it and watch over it. Hopefully it grows and blooms but even if it doesn't, you can only do so much.

I'm glad that I decided to be part of this program. Although I haven't actually started the actual mentoring, getting to meet these awsome people; the other mentors, the staff and most especially the mentees, really made me feel that theres a lot of good out there. People do care. I can't wait to continue in this journey.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Flipping The Page To The Next Chapter

It's official. I'm leaving my lab. I finally had the guts to meet up with my boss/mentor early this morning. I had a script in mind, every word, every phrase was selected so I would have the right tone.

Me: "Hi Judy! Do you mind if I close your door."

Boss: "Go ahead."

Me: "I've been trying to meet up with you...I've been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks...I just feel that I need to think about my future in this prog-ram and my progress in the lab these past two years...I thought I can do it by myself but I think this might not be the best arrangement for me."

As soon as I said that, I started crying... It was crazy! I don't know why I reacted that way. Maybe because I actually like her as a mentor, and I do like my research. If I hated her or the lab then I would'nt even bother to set up a meeting, instead I'll just send an email. We talked for about an hour. What next step will be? She was very understanding, I had a feeling she would be fine with my decision and she also told me that she knew that it was time for a change.Looking back, I know why I cried. I HATE CHANGE. OK, hate might be too extreme of a word. I dislike it. I thrive on maintaining a constant balance life where I have control of things (once again this brings up my control issues) but I also realize the only constant part of a person's life is the inevitability of encountering a change in situation. Without it, life will be static, boring and predictable.

Like every other major event in my life where there's a major shift in direction, I reacted the same way. I dealt with it by not being afraid to show what I'm truely feeling at that instant...most of the time by crying. I was a quite a mess when I finally decided to come out to my family or when we left the Philippines for the U.S.. Even minor changes brings me to tears (theres a lot of crying in the car, or in front of the tv).

I know I can deal with this. It might mean I have to stay another three years in graduate school but I would rather take the challenge of discovering a new path than be stucked in another one that leads me nowhere.
"Hmmm... which way should I go?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Weekend Updates

Hiking in Hollywood

A good friend of mine, Granny Sarah, was in town andI haven't seen her in over a year since she left for Japan to teach English. Best Friend Nat was supposed to drive down here from the bay area but she had car issues that needed to be immediately dealt with. We went hiking in Runyon Canyon, a popular hiking trail in the Hollywood Hills. Its famous because its a dog park so there were tons of dogs of all sorts and sizes also, theres a lot of Hollywood type of people hiking, jogging, doing yoga here (its not unusual to see someone famous there).

I quite like my picture here... I would do me (haha!). The boyfriend is looking cute and shy or does he have head lice?

A view from the can almost see the (in)famous sign past the ridicuous mansions (ok, I guess I'm just jealous). Here's the group I went hiking with. My friends' brought their cute pups for a walk, Jackie is the small white one and Alexis is the black puppy.

Hanging out after dinner thats why everyone looked like they're ready for a nap. Top left, The Tall Mexican and Mr. UN. From bottom left, Granny Sarah, The Boyfriend, Dr. Croatia and his husband Mr. J (our lovely host for the night).

Spring Flowers

One of my most favorite things to do is gardening. In our side yard I have a vegetable garden and in our front yard I have seasonal plants. Since its spring time, the front garden is in full bloom. Top two: California wild flower (unsure about the name), and a bacopa plant on a pot. Bottom two: Iris and poppy.

The First Week of April Including Easter Weekend

The Boyfriend and I visited Tres (my baby brother for new readers). He's almost 2 years old now, I can't believe it! They finally gave him a haircut so his hair is not all over his kind of remind me of a bowl cut I used to have growing up.

I know its not a great picture because of the backlight but I'm posting it because its still a cute picture of the two Ernestos (#2 and #3).

Tres playing with his food. He kept trying to use the spoon to pick up rice but he ends up just pushing it to the side of the plate. What does he do? He grabs the rice with his other hand and stuffs his face. Oh yeah, like every other kid, he ignores the spinach.

The Boyfriend teaching Tres how to play with his lap top (although we gave it to Baby Tres my dad is using it).

Here's a Youtube video clip of Baby Tres (click here)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ernesto's Top 10 TV Show Addiction....Its Like Crack To Me!

I'll change it up a bit since my last post was so long, even I fell asleep reading it. I'm doing my first top 10 rankings of current tv shows (i'll do a separate ranking for my top favorite shows of all time aka my 26 years here on earth). This ranking is based on a lot of things and here's a quick list of the major factors I looked at in determining the rankings.
  • Do I follow the show every week/day?
  • Do I go online to learn more about the characters/plot?
  • Do I troll around in forums devoted for this show?
  • Do I act like a patient in a mental institution everytime I watch (ie. laughing out loud and then in the brink of crying)
  • Do I connect with the people/characters in this show (ie. gay, Asian, nerd etc.)
  • Do I invest extra time, effort and most importantly, money for these shows?
I'll start with some honorable mentions and then I'll rank it from 10 to my most favorite show.

The one's that didn't quite make it:
Oprah Late Night, CSI, Dancing with the Stars, Real World and Road Rules, and reruns of
and the City, Will and Grace and Six Feet Under.

10. House Hunters (HGTV)--This show kinda crept in the rankings mostly because I tend to watch it right before I go to sleep in the wee hours of the night. I love watching people look at different houses... its such an american-dream type of show.

9. Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC)---How can I not love Conan. He's smart, witty and self-depracating. As seen in the picture below, he claims to be the long lost twin of the president of Finland.

8. Brothers and Sisters (ABC)---Theres something abou this show that captured my attention. Maybe its the interesting characters, or crazy ass drama they all get into. I think its probably one of the current shows that has a very positive portrayal of a gay man ( I guess compared to how screwed up the rest of his family). Any show with hot gay boyfriends in it...count me in.

7. Top Design (Bravo)--- My inner artist beckons me to become a designer. I love all of these decorating shows but Top Design combines competition with a little bit of drama so its even better. I like this show soo much that I visited the Pacific Design Center where they filmed it with my younger sister (who is also trying to become an interior designer).

6. America's Next Top Model (CW)---OK. I hate to admit that I watch this show... Its borderline trash and I love it. I love how egocentric Tyra is, and how crazy Miss Jay and the rest of the judges are. Don't even get me started with the "models", they're such train wrecks.

5. Survivor: Fiji (CBS)--- Although this season is not as exciting as last season (Cook Islands), its starting to pick up. Lots of skin, lots of hard challenges...and most importantly, lots of deceitful people.

4. Grey's Anatomy (ABC)-- Seriously?!?!?! ....Seriously!?!?! I love this show. Lots of drama, lots of hooking up, lots of bitchiness and all this in the middle of saving people. What more can I ask for.

3. American Idol (Fox)--I have a long history with this show... it consumed a lot of my time (dialing hehe) and screaming at the tv. I'm such a big fan I can only attribute it to Filipino-ness. We "Pinoys" have a love affair with singing competitions. Oh yeah... I even went to a live taping during season 2. Thats how big of a fan I am.

2. Ugly Betty (ABC)-- This is the only show that can make me laugh so hard and then touch me (not in a bad way) because of the serious topics they tackle (coming out, acceptance, fitting in, immigration etc.). Its unapologetic and its definitely pushing the envelope of what is typically shown in primetime American television. What other show contains fashion, male-to-female transexual, an adorable pre-teen, and a very strong and confident heroine.

1. The Amazing Race: All Stars (CBS)-- A little person, her annoying cousin, carrying a mannequin in the middle of Warsaw, Poland. Only Amazing Race can put such a scenario and make it work. I'm sooooo addicted to this show that all of the above guidelines I mentioned applies. I've spent hours upon hours online reading forums, watching extra videos, reading summaries and spoilers. I've spent money buying its DVD's, a board game (yes I'm pathetic) and a book all about it. I've spent a lot of my effort recording almost every episode, I've gone to a couple of finale parties where I got to meet some of the former racers, and I've even convinced The Boyfriend to apply with me (unfortunately it turned out that the season we applied for they changed it to All Stars...who am I kidding, we simply just didn't get picked). Anyway, don't call me on Sunday nights coz I've pretty much devoted my life to this show around that time. Haha I'm such a loser!