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Showing posts from September, 2008

Kuya Rico's wedding

The wedding happened on a clear, cloudless day September 26, 2008 in Mundelein, Illinois. Here are some of the pictures from their wedding... all from my camera (haven't merged photos from Daddy's camera yet).

my week in Honolulu... in snapshots

This is the view from one of Narita's transit lounges. The airport is huge!
Photo album:
Some pictures from the AACC meeting in Honolulu, Orville giving Chan and I the tour of Oahu, and Chan and my flight to Honolulu from Narita, Japan. Chester and Orville kindly gave us the bus tour to the university area... That was a whole lot of fun!

Welcome wagon in Honolulu

The term associated with Hawaiian culture and warm hospitality is "aloha." The symbol I associated with Hawaii is the hibiscus (gumamela), noting that this is the symbol of Hawaiian Airlines. Landing at the Honolulu International Airport, this traveller was surprised to see neither the flower nor the warm smiles of the Honolulu ground staff. First off, the Wiki Wiki bus transferring passengers from the arrival area to customs and immigration was an old bus with blue stripes... no sign of the hibiscus there. Then the shirt of the driver was of the plain light blue colour associated with his profession... no sign of flower designs on shirts. Finally, his first words were not the oft-linked aloha; instead, he just said good morning.
Whoa! Was I really in Honolulu? The presence of the sharp peaks of the lush green mountains in the background, which contrasts to the stark white and beige colours of the central business district, confirmed that I was indeed in Honolulu.
The airport …

Chatting above the clouds

One thing I appreciate about the trip to Honolulu is that this time, I wasn't alone. I was travelling with a fellow PhD student, Chanthakhone, who's enrolled in Thailand. For the first time, I had a companion, and she's one chatty lady at that! We weren't seated adjacent to each other in the Manila-Nagoya flight, but we were seated next to each other in the next two segments. With a friend along, the usually boring lay-overs became not so strenuous anymore.
Aside from her, I also struck up an interesting conversation with a teacher from Saipan (I didn't get her name, though). She's left her job back home to go to Missouri for military training... she's a member of the reserve corps of the US army, and she was to be deployed for a year someplace. She has two children, whose pictures were in a gadget that looked like an ipod but contained pictures only. And then, she plans to study for her PhD in leadership or in a course that can provide the skills needed in …

Flying Northwest

The check-in counters were the centre of hustle and bustle that greeted me as I entered the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It looked like the flight to Nagoya, the first leg of three of my trip to Honolulu, was fully booked. In fact, a ground staff approached passengers, enticing them to give up their seats on this flight (NW 72) in exchange for some monetary compensation and a change in flight plans because the flight was overbooked. I don't know if anyone took the money; After the initial extra-strict security check (perhaps because the flight was eventually going to Detroit), I was on my way to board the plane.
I would normally not sleep while en route, but because of lack of sleep and the lack of movies in the in-flight entertainment system (which I see as a blessing), I got an hour's worth of sleep! Breakfast was delicious (I had an omelette with sausage), starting the day right; so when the plane landed in Nagoya five hours later (which in reality was just four hour…

Preparing the talk (Part 2)

Earth to Rochie!
There's no way for me to prepare a Gore-like presentation in a week! Reading more about the preparation that went into his An Inconvenient Truth lecture made me realise that his Oscar-winning and Nobel Peace Prize-winning presentation was the product of quite a lot of initial lectures, revisions... but the content is essentially the same. Still, I keep that lecture (note: both the visual aid and the presentation itself) as an example of how to do an oral presentation.
Still working on how to make my presentation professional-looking and clutter-free, I came across Steve Jobs' Macworld 2007 keynote speech. Aside from the glaring absence of the otherwise omnipresent bullet point, what struck me with this presentation was that he could deliver his message WITHOUT the aid of his slides! How did he do this? He used pictures, videos, graphs, and charts to illustrate his point most of the time, and rarely did he write the point down (unless it's the number of down…

preparing the talk

After the highly stressful thesis preparation with Word 2007, the next challenge is to prepare an oral presentation for the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc. Annual Meeting (scheduled next week). Since I'm using the Microsoft Office suite, I am preparing my slides with Powerpoint. And once again, I am using two versions: the 2003 version installed in my computer at IRRI, and the 2007 version I have in my personal computer.
In preparing the slides, my "inspiration," as artists would call it, is Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Yes, this presentation is among the best in the world (with a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar among its laurels), and I have so much to learn before my presentations even get a notch closer to the calibre of this presentation... which was put together by Duarte Design using Apple's Keynote.
What makes the presentation so great?
First, the presentation did not use bullet points... I couldn't even remember numbered lines or text b…

Review: An American Tail (1986)

Rating:★★★★Category:MoviesGenre: Kids & Family
"Somewhere out there/ Someone's saying a prayer/ And we'll find one another/ At least somewhere out there..."

"Never say never... again!"

"There are no cats in America/ And the streets are filled with cheese... It keeps your mind at ease..."

Some of the more memorable lines of the beautiful songs giving life to the adventures and hardships faced by Fievel Mousekewitz and his family while they migrated from Russia to America to live the American dream. One of the cartoons which showed racial discrimination explicitly. And the vegetarian cat convinced me that broccoli must be delicious!

Review: Anastasia (1997)

Rating:★★★★Category:MoviesGenre: Kids & Family
One of my favourite cartoon of all time, Anastasia tells a fictionalised version of the escape of the princess Anastasia from Russia and the evil hands of Rasputin. And the best part of the movie? The beautiful soundtrack. The songs I liked best are "Journey to the Past," "At the Beginning," and "Once Upon a December."

Ready Steady Cook

Rating:★★★Category:Other Caught this on the Ten Network right after Oprah, I think. It's a funny program, with two teams composed of a professional chef and an audience member each. The two groups cook for 20 minutes, and the audience decides who wins (cooked the better meal). The there's the quickie bag portion, where the both chef prepare food within 10 minutes. I looked forward to this show during my last few days in Brisbane.


Rating:★★★★★Category:Other Chuck is a hilarious take on the secret agent / conspiracy / double life lifestyle. The head of the Nerd Herd unexpectedly becomes a government secret asset, with all the USA's top secrets stuffed in his head. The series is a breath of fresh air among all the serious TV series about spies. Definitely a must-watch!

my fair lady in Brisbane

My Fair Lady is a play adapted from George Bernard Shaw's book called Pygmalion. It was by pure chance that I learned that this was being shown in Brisbane: I was on my way back to Highgate Hill from Indooroopilly when I saw the billboard on a bus (the wonders of advertising!). Since I've often heard my parents mention this play to me and my brother and sister (along with Carousel, the King and I, and Annie), I decided to spend my last night in Brisbane watching the play.
This production, being staged at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane's South Bank, is produced by Opera Australia; the production is touring different Australian cities. The cast was led by two well-known Australian stage performers: Taryn Feibig as Eliza Doolittle and Reg Livermore as Professor Henry Higgins. The book and the lyrics were by Alan Jay Lerner, while music is credited to Frederick Loewe.
Basically, the story is about how Prof Higgins transforms Eliza, a flower girl who bel…

Sense&Style August 2008

I am very honoured to be featured in the August 2008 issue of Sense&Style magazine. I mean, how many times in a year would a science graduate student be featured in a magazine, let alone in one which occupies a niche where celebrities and really famous people grace its pages?
Because of this, I would like to thank the writer, Sara Aunario, for having a very well-written feature on me. And of course, Ivy and Maan, for making me look good in front of the camera (see below).

And thank you also to everyone who gave their comments and feedback on the article!

the Word processor

Introduction To many of us, MS Word is just the equivalent of typing on a computer screen instead of directly on paper. I remember Ms Gapud, my second-year Math teacher in UP Rural High, having problems with printing the symbol for average (x with the overbar) in our exam questionnaires. However, my experiences the past few days (two weeks, to be exact) made me realise how powerful this software can be. Here, I am sharing some of my shortfalls in using what is seemingly a very simple software (at least in my erroneous opinion).
Materials and Methods Of course, there are other word-processing software out there, but I was only able to use several versions of MS Word, and yet only up to some degree.
Results and Discussion Equation Editor. Ah, yes, the feature in the 2007 version of Word that I could not use to full capacity because I was keeping my document compatible to the older versions of Word. When I used this with the intent of pasting the equation from Word 2007 to the Word 2003-compa…

an extended acknowledgment page

"A journey is best measured in friends rather in miles."  -- Tim CahillI just handed my thesis in for assessment by a panel of external examiners this Tuesday, September 2. The days leading up to this were long, and filled with so many challenges that it was a struggle to get it done. Along the way, though, I was never alone, and I gained a lot of friends through this whole experience.
Starting off this list are the interns who lent a hand. Virrey was an efficient operator of the differential scanning calorimeter; even when I was in Sydney, she was able to do her assignment without a hitch. Clara, on the other hand, contributed a big deal to the genotyping work. And Arvin contributed a whole lot with data-gathering from capillary electrophoresis. Then the new batch of students, Mahalia,Mayrene, Charlotte, and Chris, helped me with more size distributions work, this time using size exclusion chromatography.
Graduate students I've encountered in IRRI also helped me a lot…

Sense&Style August 2008

I am very honoured to be featured in the August 2008 issue of Sense&Style magazine. I mean, how many times in a year would a science graduate student be featured in a magazine, let alone in one which occupies a niche where celebrities and really famous people grace its pages?

Because of this, I would like to thank the writer, Sara Aunario, for having a very well-written feature on me. And of course, Ivy and Maan, for making me look good in front of the camera (see below).

And thank you also to everyone who gave their comments and feedback on the article!