June 2008 Archives

Yesterday, I was looking through my fellow co-bloggers from UML, and one blog caught my eye.  It was Jimmy Martin's blog post, "Relationship, Job Hunt, Soccer, Oh My! (http://blog.uml.edu/hawktalk/jimmy/).  I know that post is probably a few weeks old, I still like to respond to it.

Here's a response to your blog, buddy.

It is great that your girlfriend found an internship in New York that relates to something she wants to do in her future.  It seems by your response that you care about her a lot and respect the fact that she is persuing her dreams to become an editor.  Seven weeks may sound like a long time to you (and to a lot of people), but those weeks will definitely fly by.  You said that you have a close relationship with her and you probably miss her dearly.  I had a very close relationship with my ex-girlfriend of 4 years, and just being away from her for a day or two stinks!  What I've learned from many (older) individuals is that separation makes love grow fonder.  For me, I never understood it at all... I guess from experience that when a person cares about someone so much and they are separated because of a job, and not because of a fight, just the simple fact of missing each other will help your relationship.  I don't know, something like that.  Even if she is 300+ miles away from you, she probably would appreciate a few phone calls here and there to show your support and love for her.  Maybe surprise her with a Hallmark card or something. (OH NO!  HALLMARK BRAINWASHED ME!).  Just be (positively and G-rated) creative if you want to send her something.  And if you are feeling down beause she is away, trust me, your relationship will get better and better everyday.  You will see her again in 7 weeks.  It's only a short term long distance relationship. 

Okay, about the Job Hunt.

Dude, it stinks out there.  I spent weeks trying to find a job, and what just adds on to this sarcastic fun is that the jobless rate is increasing, and our economy isn't good right now.  All I can say is to continue getting more applications, filling it out, and send it back.  I have a good website for retail jobs - http://www.snagajob.com.  It's a great website that lists most retail job opportunities in the area.  To be honest, especially when I'm starting a new job, I'm still considered in the job hunt.  I'm still in the hunt for that physical therapy aide (or anything close to that) job out there.  I would like to get paid more so I can be "set" for gas, cell phone bill, college expenses, etc.  Don't give up, there will be openings out there.  Besides, if you don't want the job your cousin is offering, I'll take it. (Just kidding!!)

Well, since that blog was a few weeks ago, you probably have a job already, and the long-distance blues aren't hitting so hard.

- Christian



P.S. Blog Readers - Just for your information and if you didn't know, we have 3 other bloggers who are currently posting their own summer experiences and other stuff about the college life.  Here are the links:

Jimmy Martin '09 -  http://blog.uml.edu/hawktalk/jimmy

Stephanie Bergeron '10 - http://blog.uml.edu/hawktalk/stephanie

Curran Kelleher '09 (Exchange Student in Germany) -   http://lifeofahuman.blogspot.com/ 


First Day


Today was the first day at my new job at Hallmark Gold Crown Card store in the Square One Mall.  This is actually my first time in any job in a week, because my old job at Kohl's didn't give me any hours for my last two weeks... oh well, it seems that I'm at a better place.  My new job is definitely different than the large department store atmosphere.  Instead of focusing on cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning in my store, my new job is more focused on a set way of customer service and getting as many sales and Gold Crown card members as possible.  It is a bit intimidating but this can't be as bad as taking a hard college class.  I'm still trying to find a physical therapy aide job or anything that relates to it.  Generally a PT aide job brings in more money and is closer to my major.  So you can still say I'm still in the job hunt, but not as strong since I'm away from my old job!  Orientation wasn't too bad today; there were a few exercises that were very time consuming, but it did help me get used to the store and started to get me interacting with my other coworkers (I forgot their names already haha). 

Deep down, I was a bit nervous though - a new set of coworkers, bosses, location, atmosphere, and customers.  It is still away from what I want for the summer too.  The first day of everything is always a bit nervewhacking or uncomfortable for everyone.  So I'm not letting this get me down.  I should be happy that I got a job, because the jobless rate is increasing with the bad economy.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll get a full-time physical therapy aide job or something like that, or even a better paying job?  Let's see what the summer brings.  All I know now is that I still don't have enough money to pay for my CSCS Certification exam... I haven't studied anything either... hmm.

Tomorrow I have a makeup game with our "green team" rival.  If my baseball team (Dukes) win tomorrow's game, we will be in second place and have a three game winning streak!!  I'm looking forward to another weekend full of baseball!!!

- Christian

Two nights ago after work, I was driving home while observing the prices of regular gas.  From what I've seen closer to Boston, the regular gas price is hanging around the range of $4.10 - $4.20.  In Malden, so far the regular gas prices are hanging around $3.95 - $3.99; it seems that of Malden's gas stations are reluctant to increase their price to $4.00.  Even with the prices in the high $3.90s, everyone is feeling the burn in their pockets. 

How can I fight this?  To tell you the truth, having a nationwide ban on gas won't help as much.  You need to have gas to drive your car, and you need your car to get to work.  So a lot of people don't like that idea. 

Here are some tips I've adopted from many websites, friends, family, and from personal experiences.

1)  If you need to get to a place that is in a comfortable walking distance (meaning that you can get there without being late, being too exhausted, or being out in the heat), you shouldn't jump into your car.  Instead grab your bicycle, or put on some running/walking shoes, and walk to your destination!  Like I said many times in the past blogs, physical activity will lead to a better and healthy life.  Stay active by walking, jogging, and biking to where you want to go!

2)  Take public transportation.  Sure, the bus and train prices have increased a lot in the past few years.  But paying $1.25 with your CharlieCard (plastic rechargable money card that gives you quick access to the MBTA) is worth it.  Would you rather spend $20 for 5 gallons of gas (assuming your car can hold 22 miles per gallon when you do some city driving), or save a lot by traveling the same distance with a $1.25? 

3)  Continue with scheduled maintenance.  It is always good to change your oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles, and do other types of maintenance jobs on your vehicle.  Keeping your car in top shape will help your engine and other parts of your car to last longer.  There is a possibility your car will have better fuel efficiency also. 

4)  Don't use the air conditioner when its comfortable outside.  I've seen people (at times that includes me) use the AC when its not too hot outside.  Using the AC consumes more gas.  It is alright to use the AC during the hot weather, but it is smart not to use it when the temperatures aren't soaring into the upper 90s and the heat index is close to 110. 

5)  Don't "gun" it or go over the speed limit.  There are two main reasons why there are speed limits.  Number 1 - safety of other drivers.  Number 2 - help save gas.  Time to get into physics... When you drive above the speed limit (let's say 65 over 55mph limit), your car will experience more resistance or drag force from the atmosphere.  More force your car has to overcome, the more gas you will consume.  I don't remember where I saw this but I remember that 55mph is the best speed to drive if you want to save gas.  Also, pressing hard on the pedal will consume more gas.

6)  Keep your tires inflated.  This may be included in your regular maintenance schedule, but I think its best to always check your tire pressure in your car.  If you drive your vehicle with somewhat deflated tires, your car will drag more.  Let's use this analogy - when you go to the beach and walk on the sand, you noticed that its very difficult to walk.  You use more energy trying to walk on a tough terrain.  When you walk on the boardwalk, it is a lot easier and you use less energy.  This is exactly what happens to your vehicle with deflated tires.  Your vehicle will require more gas to reach your destination.  More gas, more waste.


That is all I can think of for now, but there are tons of resources out there in the Internet.  Recently, Governor Patrick launched a website that contains valuable information about gas prices with hints and tips.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GOVERNOR'S GASOLINE SITE!


Well time for me to help out with my brother's graduation party!  I hope you all have a great weekend!!  If you want to say anything about what I've said in my blog, you can leave a comment by clicking the "Comments" button above my blog post. 

- Christian

I remember when I was a little kid at the old apartment in Malden, MA, sitting on my family's old couch next to my dad, while watching a Boston Red Sox game.  It was back then when Scott Cooper was the shortstop for the Sox.  Just sitting there, my dad reminds me of when they last had a championship, which was 1918 at that time.  As I grew older, I've seen our local teams take that extra step towards their ultimate goal, but failed either in the first round of their post season play or not making a spot at all during the regular season.  That was during the 1990s when everything was so simple for my young self, when the Toronto Blue Jays were back to back 1993 and 1994 MLB World Champions, and when the Sox had Nomar Garciaparra.  It seemed like Boston was trying to expose itself to the world as a city with at least one championship team.  But it seemed to fail behind in the 1990s.

I was in the Philippines visiting family when the New Year's Eve countdown was ticking away for the new millennium.  Before the clock ticked to midnight, I felt that the old was dying off, and a fresh new beginning was about to happen for all of us, especially for Boston's sports teams.  While we were facing a new beginning, a major horrific event happened that changed the world today.  On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew 4 planes as weapons of destruction - killing thousands of people.  With the world, especially the United States on the edge, the sports world tried to continue with their seasons.  But one team went beyond their expectations - the New England Patriots.  Riding with the American colors (red, white, and blue), the Patriots become America's team during the 2002 Super Bowl vs. the Rams.  With Patriotism in its highest point, it felt right that the Patriots won their first championship. 

That was the start.  In 2004, the Patriots earned another ring and trophy to their trophy self, while the Boston Red Sox showed their pride and strength with their first World Series Championship in 86 years.  In 2005, the Patriots again added another championship under their belts.  In 2007, the Boston Red Sox won their second World Series title in 4 years, and now the Boston Celtics are World Champions for first time in 22 years. 

What does that tell you about our Boston teams?  With a total of 6 world championships in 7 years, the strong sense of hope began to emerge.  Our teams showed that through the thick and thin, there is a way to reach your goal. There will be sacrifices, heartaches, and downfalls during the process.  These negative consequences should not bring down your mind, heart, and soul - these should help you become stronger.  Like I said many blogs ago, there are no obstacles.  Look at the Boston Celtics for example.  Last season, there were the worst team in the NBA with a total of 20 (or maybe less) wins.  Paul "The Truth" Pierce still kept his head up through the season and the rebuilding process (the addition of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett).  He had hope for the future, especially when many people (like sports critics) believed that it might take a long time for the team to build chemistry and become a championship caliber team.  Look at them now; they are on top of the world with their 17th championship win - the most in NBA history. 

The Boston Red Sox also showed this sense of hope.  Down three games to none, the Boston Red Sox came back against the New York Yankees to beat them in four consecutive games for the American League Championship.  This hope and motivation helped them sweep the St. Louis Cardinals for the World Championship.

I can go on with examples but it is pretty evident -  without hope, there is no chance for survival in this tough world.  If there is no positive outlook, you might live a depressing life.  Hope gave our teams championships.  Hope can give you your own championship - graduating college, getting a new job, having your own family, etc.   Don't give up.

Stay hopeful, be hopeful, and you will succeed.

- Christian


Addicted to Baseball

Like what my friend said, baseball is like an art.  There are many different approaches to the painting (the game), different techniques and styles (ways of hitting, fielding, running, etc), and only one can paint that picture (a pitcher throwing the ball, a fielder catching a pop fly, a hitter hitting the ball). During your time thinking of what to do to paint that picture, you can feel the silence of the air while the pitcher takes a deep breath against the lonely blue sky above, as the sun slowly yet steadily sets on the horizon.  If you just sit there on the bench, listen and hear the silence, you definitely know you are in a world only a few can understand.  Everything is perfect - the diamond's 90ft outline, the athletic positions of the players, the stoic faces of the coaches, the umpire's stance before the pitch and the batter's focus and understanding of the situation, the picture.  Sure, perfection in many people's sense may mean an error-less, flaw-less situation or setting.  There are sure times when errors occur in baseball or players falter because of injuries or soreness.  But the way the game is played, the way a team stays focused for that ball that was hit, or the stride you take towards the hit - it just makes the game so enjoyable and worthwhile - just like perfection.  I bet I'm not making any sense at all.  Maybe you don't have the same love for baseball, the same feel for it, and the same respect to all its dimensions.  A good movie to watch to understand this feeling or to get you to understand what baseball means to me is The Field of Dreams.  This movie makes grown men cry - unfortunately I did not cry but I was moved from it.

As I sit here listening to the crickets outside, dusting off the baseball dirt from Maplewood Park, I just sit here amazed on how much I have given to the league and its players.  I still can't believe I've been coaching for six seasons already - 3 in Little League and 3 in Babe Ruth with one championship under my belt.  And now I'm still here strong and willing.  Now I volunteered to coach a great group of 14 to 15 year old kids who are probably the best in Babe Ruth.  Even if I chose to coach this team, I still feel honored for being their coach.  This 24 Hour Tournament I'm part of is one event of many for the 50th Anniversary for Malden Babe Ruth.  It is basically a set of games that the players can play for free and showcase their talent to the public.  There are no winners or losers.  We are basically raising money for the Jimmy Fund.

Then after that game I have two choices.  I can either go to Lynn and watch the North Shore Navigators play the Team USA Baseball squad or play a coach's softball game around 5:30pm.  So many choices, so little time. 

I'm growing tired and I promised one of my regular season players that I will watch his 3am game, which is part of that same tournament.  I will leave you with this remarkable speech Terrence Mann gave near the end of Field of Dreams -

"Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come" (imdb.com).

- Coach Christian

If you want to come support the Jimmy Fund and watch the baseball game that I will coach, you can come down to Pine Banks Park (Kezer Field) at the Malden/Melrose, MA line around 9am June 14, 2008.  It is right on Main St. near the MBTA Oak Grove Station.  My younger brother who plays for the Malden Marlins will play the final game of the tournament around 3pm the same day.  I hope to see you there!

I woke up worried about one of my pitchers for my youth baseball team.  At the top of the first inning he said his shoulder was hurting and his medial aspect of his throwing elbow was getting numb.  I took him out of the game right away and he was sent to the hospital after the game when the pain grew worse.  I just found out a few minutes ago that he tore his rotator cuff.  Tearing a rotator cuff is a pitcher's nightmare, especially for a young teen like him.  I (freaking) had mixed emotions - sad and angry.  I was sad that one of our veteran players was out for the season for an injury that was preventable, and I was angry at myself for letting him pitch.  I knew he pitched last Friday and he had 2 good days of rest.  I could tell he wasn't in the game at all because of the pain.  Instead of being a real coach and taking a step back to see who else we could pitch, I just threw him in there because I had trust in him.  I actually had another pitcher scheduled for that day, but he wasn't there.  We were lacking pitchers because another pitcher was also not there and our "ace" was not available to pitch due to a muscular strength and endurance repetition maximum exercise test.  I went straight to my now-injured pitcher because he did very well the last game.... I'M SO MAD AT MYSELF!! 

Well all I could do now is find another player in the player pool and revamp our defense because he was also a pither...  If I had the ability to do anything with my team, I would want to tryouts to be held months before the season starts so I can aleast do some condition for my players.  I also want a pitcher count rule to be in effect.  Dang... I was a pitch counter supporter and I didn't give him enough rest...  I even read many articles from Exercise Physiology II about pitch counts. 

I just got another phone call and he might get surgery... wow can things get any better?

- Time to do something thinking...



P.S. I promise to write a blog about gas prices this week.

Hello everyone,

Sorry for not blogging last Friday.  I was very busy with many things on mind.  I finally earned my certification for Babe Ruth Baseball.  In other words, I am now an "official" youth baseball coach.  That means I can coach an all-star team for Division I.  Importantly, this certification is lifetime, so I don't have to take the certification exam again.  The certification test wasn't hard at all, but you really have to know the game of baseball to pass.  So that was one of the biggest and positive moments of my weekend. 

I would like to congratulate my bother, Gerald Tiongson, and his fellow classmates of the Malden High School Class of 2008 for graduating today!  After tons of papers, examinations, and "high school drama" the Malden High senior class can finally exhale and enjoy their summer before hitting the books in college, or hit the floor at work!  The only thing "bad" about graduation today is the hot weather - hot, humid, and hazy.  So basically the whole day I had to sit on metal (and hot) bleachers under the hot blazing sun.  I started to get dizzy, had a headache, and an upset stomach during the ceremony, but I wanted to stick around to support my brothers and his friends.  At the end of the ceremony, I had pictures with some of my old buddies from high school, my brother's friends, and my family, went home and took and nice refreshing shower.  My family and I went to Applebee's in Saugus right after and had a great time!!  Like many of the people there at graduation, my family complained about the heat.  Jokingly, I told my parents that my high school graduation was indoors and most likely my college graduation will be indoors at the Tsongas Arena; they were glad!

Unfortunately, my weekend was dimmed by my job.  My job (won't reveal the name of the place) messed up my schedule for the 100th time (exaggerated number)!!  Instead of working 20-30 hours this week, I'm only working 8!!!!  I was very aggravated with their lack of management and lack of attention to my availability for this week.  They know that I am a college student who is struggling to raise money for college and other bills.  It honestly seems like they don't care about their workers.  My former managers, and most of my co-workers have quit because of stupid management moves and other things.  I'm definitely looking for another job, but I've heard from the media that the jobless rate is increasing, which isn't good at my part.  Overall, if I don't have enough money, I can't drive to places, like the ballfield, and can't save up for college texts and the CSCS certification exam.  Sometimes I just want to scream at them!!! (But I'm a nice guy!)

Well that's what is up with my weekend.  My next blog will about gas prices again - its more of an update of what I saw and other tips and hints!!


Have you ever found yourself driving around looking for the lowest regular gas price?  Have you ever driven up to a gas station, look at the regular gas price, and say certain phrases such as, "You got to be serious?!" or "Well, there goes my paycheck" or other expletive group of words that I can't dare to put in this blog post (and get fired)?  Well, I bet most of you feel the tension at the pump, especially those who have a high volume tank, or a gas-eating SUV.  Even with a fuel efficient car, it seems like I use more gas looking around for a "cheap" gas station.  There is a way where you can save gas without even hoping into your good ol' automobile.  I've noticed a rise in gas price websites in the past few years.  The following websites helped me find the "cheapest" gas prices in a particular area:

wbztv.com gas price check

MassachusettsGasPrices.com - gas prices based on driver feedback

AAA (Triple A) Gas Price Finder

Here is an interesting link.  If you are (still) planning to take a roadtrip to another part of the country, AAA created a road trip fuel cost calculator.  Included in this calculator is your starting city, your destination, and your vehicle information.  This is a helpful calculator that will help you determine how much money you will need to keep your car on the road (and be less stressed-out).  Obviously, with the variable gas prices, your total cost also varies.  

Here is the link for that: http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com/.


With internet research, you can find ways to save up on gas without searching the city for the "cheapest" gas prices.  Like I said, this approach to saving money has helped me beat out the pump.  This is my theory if you take this approach.  If you head to one of those websites and find a "good" gas station, you will save some gas since you haven't left your house yet.  Since you haven't left your house and hopped into your car, you are also being "green" by of course saving gas, and reducing the release of more carbon dioxide/monoxide or other harmful gases.  With less harmful gases, there will be less pollution.  Okay, okay, that may be a stretch, but I believe that by being smart at the pump and spending less time worrying and searching for the least inexpensive regular gas price, you will survive the year.  Any little change in your routine (such as less joyriding), your pockets will be a bit fuller than before, and like I said, less harmful gases will be extracted.  So yeah, it's like saving the world little at a time. 

Throughout the semester I will continue to give tips and particular websites that I find helpful for my trips to Lowell.  Next week, I will talk about car maintanence and how important it is to "keep up" with vehicle appointments. 


In a side note, I'm planning to take a 3-hr online course this weekend so I can be a certified Babe Ruth coach.  This means that I can coach an all-star team and actually be a "real" baseball coach.  Fun stuff.  My baseball team is doing good, but not as good as I thought the team would.  Our record is 3-3 and we are still in the race to make it to the Malden Babe Ruth Playoffs.  If all goes well, we should be able to dominate. 

I hope all is well for everyone!  Have a good day, stay safe, and take it easy!


- Coach Christian Tiongson

Coach Christian Tiongson  
Casey Hobart Photography 2008

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