My new office is on the hallway where all faculty's offices are and right next to the mail room.
The location is bad in the way that people walk by all the time.
But on the other hand, the location is good that
a lot of strange and unusual chats happened during my very little time there.

Today, I finally pulled myself out of my garage-like shoe box apartment and went to school around 2pm.
While I was still busy taking off all my coat, hat, and gloves, the German professor walked by.
Without giving too much thought, I said, "Good morning!" to him, in a probably just-wake-up tone.
Right after saying so, I was suddenly all awake, almost wanted to kill myself.
"What the hell did you just do...
laziness is a sin to the German,
and you said good morning to him at 2 p.m.???" I mumbled to myself.
"Haha, isn't it too late to say good morning now?" the German prof. stuck his head into my office.
"Oh, yeah, I meant to say good afternoon...but it feels like morning."
Right after replying, I wanted to kill myself even more..
"Gosh, the answer obviously revealed I had been doing nothing but sleeping."
i thought to myself.
I could almost see myself being failed by the German professor,
if I end up having him on my thesis committee.
"Haha, you missed all the excitement yesterday !!" the German professor
decided to walk into my office to chat about the exciting robbery
that happened on the hallway before I got in yesterday.
Thank to the strange location of my pffice.
I ended up having another strange chat.

English is too difficult :(
I can not have full control over it with the precision I like.
Usually my brain doesn't function fast enough and I end up giving
stupid but honest "oh, it feels like morning" at 2 pm.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

My sister was telling me why she didn't want to do group project with some classmates.
I realized one important thing I learned here was how not to bring stress to others.

To be more specific,
we want to work hard, to give good advice, to show we are knowledgeable (or at least not dump),
but we don't want what we do to make others feel stressed.
I think the key is to stay calm, patient, and slow-paced.
We want to work hard, but not to be too stingy about time we can spend on conversations.
We want to give good advice, but not to forget to listen patiently.
We want to be knowledgeable, but not to overload others with information.

Or to be more general,
we want others to feel comfortable talking to us, asking us questions, or simply sitting and
standing around us.
I think the key is the way we hold ourself.
We want to ask ourselves whether we are comfortable "being with ourselves".
To put it in another way,
we want to examine the way we act from a third person point of view,
to see if that's what you would want to experience.
For example,
Do you want to stand next to someone who's anxious?
Do you want to work with someone who's always in a rush and wants to "get things done"?

I'm learning...and hoping I will become someone thats patient, soothed, and fun to be with.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

Most of my friends know my dad.
This is probably nothing special, since we all have dads.
What's special is that most of my friends think I have a super smart and nice dad.
Obviously I can not take credits on such fact, although I have been proud of it.
All i can do is to say "Happy Birthday, my dear dad" today.

Happy birthday, dad. :)

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

One girl came to me to talk about her term paper after class.
She had some difficulties and was going to discuss them with my adviser, who's teaching the course.
But before that, she wanted to know my opinions.

The girl told me she wanted to write about "the existence of difference races is to support the survival of a specific race (white people)".
The girl didn't talk about it in an aggressive or challenging way.
But when I first heard about it, I thought to myself, " What what what? What did you just say?
Are you sure you want to discuss this with me, who's obviously a non-white?"
So, we had a conversation about what she should do, in a very professional way.
I actually found the whole thing funny rather than offensive
cause I had to talk about it like a third person,
as if I were colorless, not black, white, or yellow.

My adviser came into lab in the afternoon (as usual).
He mentioned to me about his meeting with the student.
Being a walking library, my adviser actually knew people doing research on this.
I was very curious to know what others had said about this topic.
But I was reluctant to ask more.
I did not want to go too deep into the conversation, a bit worried that
people might overreact to my opinions or questions,
given the fact that I'm the only non-white in lab.

Teaching is tiring, but it can also be unforgettable, like the experience I had today.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

I was surprised to hear how people made up data and got kicked out.
It happened not only in my current lab but also in other labs.
Why would people ever want to do so in the first place?
I think to PIs, false data is way way way worse than negative data.
It can lead to great damages to their reputation and career.
So, although my data looks ugly, at least it's showing my honesty!

I really appreciated my advisor's always being positive and encouraging.
I actually wasn't too upset.
I just wish I had done the right things.
Cheers, boss, to my ugly yet honest data!

p.s. still in the hell of data, meow.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

I must be a cat...the one that got killed.

After crazy rat testing, now it's crazy data anlysis.
To be honest, my gut feeling tells me the results aren't good.
But I still want to know the results...

I want to know the results because I'm curious.
But i don't want to know the results because I know they are disappointing.


Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

For both Chinese new year's eve and Chinese new year's day,
I was on crazy rat running schedule.
Although I did not celebrate, not even make it to Tomato's hot pot party,
I still feel I had a pretty good new year.
(if the time our stupid racist lab tech. was around didn't count)

The first thing that touched me was the help from my two undergrads, Ben and Chris.
Here in the UMich, they can take lab course which requires them to work in lab 10 hours per week.
Because of the super tight schedule, I was more harsh than normal.
Although I tried to be more patient, I wouldn't deny if you called me a irrational jerk today.
Ben, who is planning to come 13 hours this week already, offered another
2.5 hours of help today. He said, " I can come after my exam. I plan to skip the class. It is
not all that important. There is a lot to do (for the experiment). And you probably need
help." Although I insisted him going to the class, I was all touched, especially after
screaming and correcting him all the time for the whole morning. Chris helped
me to run experiments till evening. When the experiment was done, I told him it was probably
past the time he was supposed to be in already. He replied, "that's fine. I don't
care. I can help you finish this." Again, I was about to melt, especially given the fact
that it was 7:30 pm already. After starting the day with holiday blue,
the two kids really made my day.

I also wanted to thank my lab mates. I can't think of anything specific to thank.
It was probably the short conversation we had about the Chinese new year next to our
candy basket, or the way they were friendly to me when I was rushing in and out
hoping to have 8 arms, or the way they checked on me to make sure I got the help I
needed. Their being nice and friendly, just simply that, made my Chinese new year's
day delighted.

My boss offered some sweet elements to my Chinese New Year's day as well.
In the evening, he came in to have a short conversation with me about the Chinese
new year. He told me he used to go to China town on Chinese new year's day
when he was an undergrad in UC Davis. "Really?" I was very surprised. " Oh
yes, every year, to see parades and then to have dinner in Chinese restaurants."
My boss is the type of person that wears European style clothes, loves cheese and
wine, speaks softly, and is always very thoughtful, just like an European gentlman.
The image of him being a silly undergrad standing in the crowd watching
dancing lions and dragons amused me. To be honest, I'd always assumed that my
boss ( or most Americans) were ignorant about Asia. Knowing that he used
to "celebrate Chinese new year (these are exactly the words he used)" somehow
made me feel warm hearted, especially after dealing with the racist lab tech.

I had a long lab day. Nothing Chinese. Nothing new year.
I admit the day started with holiday blue, but now looking back,
I feel I had a happy chinese new year's day.
Oh, I did wear red on purpose today, just to create a little bit
"Chinese new year" atmosphere for myself.
What's it gonna be like when I think about all these Chinese New years in
Ann Arbor in the future? White, snowy, and quiet.
Happy new year, Ann Arbor. Happy new year, Taipei.
Happy new year, alone but peaceful, to myself.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

I was really tired today, well, maybe also a bit bored.
Those rats must have known today was Chinese new year's eve.
They didn't not want to cooperate with me at all.
At one point, I really wanted to grab a red pen,
painted them all red,
and yelled, " Happy new year, my buddy.
Let's throw data way.
It's time for party!"

I am tired.
Not physically tired.
But tired of being stupid and ignorant of the field.
I want to read, to think, and to become knowledgeable.

I am tired.
Not from running big badges of rats.
But from not using my heart and brain.
I miss good chats,
chats about science,
chats about life,
chats that make my thoughts and feelings flow.

I'm tired.
not because of coming to lab every day.
but because of not being intellectual, understanding, or thoughtful.

If i could paint all rats red, I would not have so much complaint.
Happy Chinese new year, all.
for whom I miss dearly.
Tomorrow will be better.
So will next year be!

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

Tonight on MSN, Tomato messaged me, " Oh, my beef soup, so tasty, why do I need a PhD?" I replied,"
Yeah, why do I need a PhD, I can do dishes in your restaurant!"

So, why do I want to get a PhD? " It is a dream of life." Mom answered my question on MSN ( yes,
I have a modern mom that uses MSN) . Well, to be honest, getting a PhD is never my dream for life.
Even if I eventually get a PhD, the feeling of accomplishment is probably the most I will get. But
the feeling of accomplishment can be gained from many different things, for example, cooking a good
pot of beef soup, running marathon, etc. So, why do I want to get a PhD at all?

At first, when I applied for a PhD program, I would tell you, " I want to get a PhD abroad because
I want to see a bigger world and make contribution to the world." Yes, I was a young kid with lots
of love for the world. I wanted to extend our knowledge about humans, and hoped that would further
improve human lives. However, it was definitely not "love for science" per se that led me to this
road. I liked neuroscience. I enjoyed teasing apart thoughts and feelings. I had a vague idea that
behavioral neuroscience can be interesting to study. But as a biology major who had never seen
a lab animal doing more than walking around, eating, and sleeping, I really wasn't sure if my love
for behavioral neuroscience (e.g. learning) was just an illusion. " Well, since I want to do something
to help improve human lives, and since I am curious about behavior and the brain, let's try to
get into a PhD program about behavioral neuroscience first." That was the beginning of the story.

Because of the thought about "helping humans", at one point I was disappointed about science.
Even if humans can eventually cure all diseases, lots of people still die every day because of
wars. Even if they don't die, they can still live a long but unhappy life. So, why do we need
science? It seems more important to teach people to love each other and to be happy, rather than
studying science. " If what I am doing can not benefit the world, why should I do it?" I asked

So, if studying science is doing no good for huamans, what do humans need? "They need to know
how to be happy and satisfied." " But what is permanent happiness and how to achieve satisfaction?"
The question is probably too big and too philosophical. But to me, the answer so far, before I
change my mind, which can happen any time, is that to enjoy what one does and to cherish what
one has.

How does this relate to my choice of trying to get a PhD? To put it in another way, I find that
I don't want to study science, or to get a PhD, to help humans any more. It is not because I have
become cold-hearted after 2.5 years in this icy snowy town, but because I have gradually realized
the true meaning of the old saying, " it is the process that counts, not the end results." Back
to my conclusion from the previous paragraph, I just want to enjoy what I do, and to cherish
every day and every thing I have. If the results are good, the world may become better because of
my effort. But what if I don't find anything new to help the world? Is my life going to be miserable
or worthless? Maybe I won't even become a good scientist after all! But as long as I am having fun
from the process of studying science, and as long as I am learning to be happy and satisfied, I
will just try my best and accept whatever the end result is.

Although it sounds like I have found a good reason to be a PhD student, it does not mean I always
feel clear about my goals. Like I said, I want to "try my best" and accept what I get. But the question
becomes how I can try my best, or what way should be the best way. For example, I can not try my
best to sleep and claim " I am happy and satisfied. I will take whatever the result is." I have to
"do something" in order to convince myself that I have tried my best. But what is that "something"?
A smile from the boss? Running a thousand animals? Having read all papers in the field? The process
of figuring out what that "something" is can be tiring and lonely. After a long day with no reward,
it's just so easy to be overwhelmed by the countless uncertainty and physiological tiredness. "So,
what am I doing all this for? All right, I am trying to get a PhD. But what is this PhD for again?
Oh right, for happiness and satisfaction. But what if selling beef soup is actually what makes
me feel I am trying my best to reach permanent happiness? huh?"

Well, now you see what I mean. I don't really care so much about having a PhD or not. I just want
to "do something" that makes myself happy and satisfied. So, when things don't go right, I question
myself about whether I am doing the right thing. And "trying to get a PhD" happens to be that
"something" I am doing most of the time, it easily becomes my target of speculation.

So, after writing so much, the question actually becomes, " what is the right way of doing things"
rather than "what is PhD for" I have no doubt about trying to get a PhD..but constantly,
I am slightly anxious about not doing the right thing. I want it to be right, so I can say I have
tried my best, so I can accept any result I get...but what should I do?

At least I know what I should do now is to prepare teaching sociobiology for tomorrow's class...
something I am just learning from wikipedia myself :~~~~

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

I slept 14 hours and ate N meals today.
When I finally left my bed at 6 p.m.,
I felt like a new person, lively and cheerful.
The world was so shiny and pretty, and I could fight for anything.

But as soon as I stepped into the lab,
a dramatic feeling of loss stroke me.
Nothing was done but having more fat built on.
Within one minute, my mood went from super satisfied to super unsatisfied,
as if I had another personality that suddenly was turned on.

Goals for next week-
to live a more routine and organized life even if there is an endless to-do list
and to start exercise again.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

Quote from my boss today-
Learning doesn't always work at the beginning
(he was talking about training rats).
We just have to stay optimistic and alert.

Quote from yesterday-
You don't have to feel bad asking the undergrad to fit your schedule.
You have the right to ask him (the undergrad) to do what you need him to do.
( This is why I wrote the blog about "to speak out what i want")

Do I really look like someone with a weak mind?
No matter what, I deeply appreciate my boss's effort of being
not only a teacher but also an encouraging mentor.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(2) 人氣()

There are two kinds of "I don't care attitude".
One makes people sick. The other makes people feel cool.

As we grow older, it is actually important to have some "I don't care attitude".
We have to learn to build our own values that are not influenced by the society.
Those values make us who we are.

The "I don't care attitude" that makes people sick is built on personal desire without
considering others' feelings or thoughts. I would call that kind of "I don't care
attitude" "self-centered". When I hear this kind of people saying, "I don't care",
I actually want to show them my middle finger.

However, there is another kind of "i don't care attitude" which actually makes people
admire it. The attitude is built on "the fairness of events" and "the insistence of
becoming a better self with ideals". When I hear this kind of people saying, "I don't
care", I smile and want to give them a hug.

I had a chat with Sarah until 3 am on Saturday night and realized such difference.
When she said, " I don't care", I felt so touched and tender.
I know that was just the way she used to protect herself from being hurt or tortured
by cocky people. That was just the way she used to stay warm-heated and caring for this
unideal world.

We all have to build our own values that are not affected by the big society.
I want to build my values based on the fairness of things, not selfishness.
I want to build my values based on dreams, not benefits.
I want to build my values based on care, not ignorance.
That's my conclusion.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

To speak out what I want has always been difficult for me.
I feel bad to ask others to do things for me or to affect how others think/feel.
However, not to speak out what I want bothers me as well.
If I do not phrase what I want clearly, people can never guess what to do to fit my need.
Speaking out what I want in a rational way within the reasonable range is what I have to learn.

I want to and have to learn to speak out what I want.

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

photo album-!B606AAC07CC80632!438/!B606AAC07CC80632!433/

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

What do monks do when they feel sleepy during the day?
How can they stay awake without caffeine? zzzZZZZZZ

Jao 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()