Thursday, December 29, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

Does anyone actually know any of the words to that song besides "Should old acquaintance be forgot?" Well, here they are, in case you're wondering. I will be out of touch for the next few days, because I am headed up to Stowe, Vermont with a bunch of friends for some skiing. By skiing, I mean lounging around in a hot tub sipping cocktails, because if you think I'm actually going to strap non-shoes onto my feet and go careening down the side of a mountain, then you crazy.
Happy New Year, from all of us here at Divine Comedy of Errors (a.k.a me).

Best Touchdown Celebrations

Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson is known for his elaborate touchdown celebrations, including a santa act last week when he pulled autographed jerseys and footballs out of a big stocking and threw them into the crowd during a Christmas Eve loss to the Bills. This blog entry has compiled video clips of other Chad Johnson TD celebrations. My two favorites are the marriage proposal and riverdance. Some people may find his antics obnoxious and over the top, but I think they are lighthearted and fun. It is just a game, after all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

No More Time To Make the Donuts

Rest in peace, Michael Vale, better known as Fred the Baker.

via RT

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Uh, that was sort of embarrassing

Me, excitedly, at work, on the phone with my sister: "They're doing safety training for emergency personnel today and all these hot firemen keep walking through the lab!"
Looking up, realizing that a new group of firemen had just walked in and totally heard me: "Uh, I gotta go. Bye."

Monday, December 26, 2005

Buddha Hand

What the hell is this thing? It's a Buddha Hand, also called a Fingered Citron. Buddah and I discovered it in my local grocery store and just had to buy it, because of the name and as well as its potential uses as a comedic prop. We attracted a lot of attention in the checkout line, because nobody had ever seen it before and no one had ever bought one- apparently a few of then had arrived in the latest shipment of produce and they stuck them in the fruit section. Eri and India correctly identified the name after a quick game of charades involving Buddah and his hand. It smells like a lemon and tastes like "nothing", according to our neighbor Peadar who ate the tip off one of the tentacles. Unfortunately, the Buddha Hand got moldy before I could think of anything good to do with it.

Holly Jolly

I had a fabulous Christmas weekend. Friday night, I had a dinner party to welcome Buddah, India, and Eri, the out-of-town guests. The four of us starting things off early by drinking margaritas while we chopped, marinated, and cooked. Three hours later, when the other guests arrived, the food was ready and we were DRUNK. The evening consisted of much merriment and confusion, when the drunken dinner party dispersed in Copley Square. My sister and I went off searching for our cousin, the others all went to a staff party at B. Good, a healthy fast food restaurant co-owned by a friend of ours, a party trolley was involved, but somehow we all ended up at Clery's to do shots for Maria's birthday. Everyone had a good time, especially MJ, who had so much fun that she overslept and missed her flight.
Saturday consisted of frantic present wrapping (where are those elves when you need them?), and a family gathering at my parents' house. We ate lobsters, went to mass, then continued the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve. Sunday was more presents, family, food, and fun. My Irish neighbor Peadar and two friends came to Christmas dinner and were a big hit with the family, especially the kids' table. I somehow managed to escape most of the cooking and cleaning duties, which I'm sure I will reminded of over the next year when I am assigned far less pleasant duties. We ate a ton, tested out Eri's new karaoke machine, and then ventured to a local bar to experience the wild Framingham nightlife.
Hope you all had a holiday as enjoyable as mine.
Now, back to work, you slackers!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

Not sure how much I'll be posting over the next few days, but Merry Christmas (and Happy Hanukkah) to all!

Friday Photo

I stole this one off MJ's blog to post it in honor of her birthday tomorrow. Although she is so young here that the outfit can be considered cute and not awkward, that is one fine helmet. And Mini MJ, the color wheel called and it wants red back. Oh, snap.

Happy birthday, Maria!

We knew this photo was coming

Here are some quotes from emails to ESPN's Bill Simmons regarding Damon going to the Yankees.
This one's my favorite:
Remember the SNL skit from the 90's labeled "Steroid Olympics" and that guy tries to dead lift 900lbs and as he jerks up, both arms rip clean off his shoulders and are still attached to the barbell on the floor and blood is spurting out everywhere from his shoulder sockets ... I hope Damon's arm comes flying off while he is trying to make a throw home and his hand and arm are
still attached to the ball as it weekly lands in front of A-Rods foot and then A-Rod vomits and passes out and Joe Torre has to come out and give mouth to mouth to A-Rods bloated purple lips ... That would ease the pain of this trade-- Mark Faselle, Dallas, TX

Thursday, December 22, 2005

In the news

First off, I'd like to say that I'm not that upset by Jonny Damon signing with the Yankees. He's replaceable, and both teams need pitching more than anything else. Scott Boras must be the little devil that sits on the shoulder of professional athletes. Now I am left with only one question- how long before the inevitable commercial involving Steinbrenner, Damon, and a haircut comes out?

Looks like the New York transit workers might be returning to work. Hey New Yorkers, how was the strike?

My hometown is in the national news once again. A woman and her baby son were kidnapped at knifepoint from the parking lot of a Wal-Mart right near my parents' house. Luckily, a quick thinking liquor store clerk called 911 after the woman mouthed "Help me" and the name of the motel where the man was holding them prisoner, so they're alive.

The Senate agreed to extend the Patriot Act for six months, which doesn't sound like good news to me, but seems preferable to the alternative sought by the Bush administration, a permanent adoption of the act into law. Regardless, Santa won't be the only one watching us while we're sleeping.

Wardrobe Malfunction

Sometimes I have problems dressing myself. I will attribute it to general spaciness and the fact that I get dressed early in the morning, pre-coffee, and far from alert. About once a month, I'll suddenly realize that the shirt I'm wearing is inside-out, or that my sweater is on backwards. Occasionally, I'll be on the soccer field or on the treadmill at the gym and look down to see that my shorts are on backwards. Usually this discovery is followed by some sort of proclamation, like "hey, my shirt is on backwards!" and then someone says "Oh, I thought it looked funny but I didn't say anything." (My personal policy is to always let someone know if they have something in their teeth, their fly is down, or if they're getting sunburned, and I wish people would do the same for me. Isn't a brief moment of embarrassment preferable to noticing yourself and then having to wonder how many people you spoke to with a giant chive plastered to your front tooth? And if you're the one talking to the Chive Tooth, isn't it easier just to let him or her know and thus remedy the problem than sit there thinking "Chive...chive...chive...I can't stop staring at it....chive...I'm not even listening....chive tooth...I wonder what he ate... should I let him know?" the whole time you're conversing?)
Anyways, on my second trip to the bathroom today, I noticed that my underwear was on inside-out. That's a new one for me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

List #18....Why I am not a yuppie

So, Maria's new boyfriend is from Southie, and apparently he and his friends consider us yuppies because we hail from the suburbs. This greatly amuses us, because yuppies don't:

  1. Plastic their windows in the winter
  2. Have margaritas and pigs-in-a-blanket for dinner (last night's tasty fare)
  3. Ride the bus
  4. Wear jeans and sneakers to work
  5. Have to get up to change the channel
  6. Drink wine from a box
  7. Toilet paper the trees in their own backyard

Keep on blogging in the free world

My friend Dan has started up a new blog, One More Dollar. Like me, he is a liberal Irish-American boozehound who enjoys Bob Dylan and All the Pretty Horses, but he is far more clever and articulate, so it should be a good read.

Movie review: Syriana

Last night, Carolina and I saw Syriana, a movie that aims to dissects the oil industry and the political and economic impact it has on both the United States and foreign governments. The formula was similar to Traffic, which tackled the illegal drug trade in the United States, and it's no coincidence- both films were written by Stephen Gaghan. The film follows a large number of characters: a disgruntled CIA agent (George Clooney), a corporate energy analyst (Matt Damon), two Gulf princes with opposite philosophies vying for their nation's throne, a corporate lawyer, two teenage Pakistani migrant workers recruited by a radical Islamic sect, and a lot of big, bad oil executives in the middle of a huge merger. Although the politically charged message that the United States will do anything, including assassinating foreign leaders, to protect its economic interest comes through loud and clear, the plot was way too confusing. The film would have worked if it had decided to focus on two or three of the story lines instead of inundating the audience with characters, but it didn't. There were too many distractions (the alcoholic father storyline, etc.) and plot twists, many of which are never really explained (like, who the hell was that guy who tortured George Clooney's character, and why?). Another problem was that it was hard to keep track of all of the old, rich, white guys with Southern accents; some were oil executives, some were lawyers, and some were politicians. The acting was solid all around, and Matt Damon was surprisingly good, but I felt frustrated watching this movie because the plot was so hard to follow. Afterwards, Carolina said " What's the point of making a movie so complicated that two Ph.D. students can't figure out what the heck is going on?" which pretty much sums it up. So, basically, the movie was confusing and made me feel stupid.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Feels like Friday

Man, all day long it's felt like a Friday, then I suddenly remember it's only Tuesday and it bums me out. Why the confusion? Probably because I went out Sunday and Monday this week, which hasn't happened in years. A lot of people have already left town for the holidays, leaving me free to play my music as loud as I please in the lab. On today's playlist:
  • The Best of James Taylor. It is impossible to listen to James Taylor and not feel happy, unless you have a heart of tin.
  • White Blood Cells, by the White Stripes. I'm on a big Hotel Yorba kick.
  • How it Ends and Una Volta by Devotchka. Maria and I saw them open for The Dresden Dolls' Halloween show, and MJ bought the CDs and burned me copies, because she is nice and I am a cheapskate. They have a few free downloadable songs on their website.

Proof that SNL is still funny sometimes

Watch this clip

Brought to you by Brigita and Freakgirl

Monday, December 19, 2005

Time's Persons of the Year

Time Magazine has named Bono, and Bill and Melinda Gates as the Persons of the Year. Although this will add fuel to the fire of the Bono haters among us, I think it's an excellent choice, especially in regard to the Gates. The Grand Challenges in Public Health, funded by the Gates Foundation, is a remarkable program that funds research in infectious disease, vaccine development, and similar areas with the goal of improving the vast problems in public health that predominate the third world. As someone who may someday end up working on one of these projects, I think the Gates' program is admirable and relevant. Hey, if you've got a bazillion dollars, you might as well do something useful with it. Working to prevent and cure AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, three of the leading causes of mortality worldwide, seems like a pretty good place to start.

Weekend Report

After an eventful Friday evening (see previous post), the weekend didn't slow down much. Saturday, I played soccer and then went to a fun Christmas party at a friends' house, where we discovered that a box of white zinfandel is still a classic holiday gift. And portable, too. Yesterday, we had a party for Maria's birthday in the apartment, with quite a good turnout for a Sunday night. I got Maria tickets to Wicked for when it comes to Boston this spring; we both read the book by Gregory Maguire and really liked it. The M is for Maria party featured mojitos, margaritas, and martinis, and several guests who overindulged in the M drinks (myself included) headed out to a Chinese restaurant in Quincy for some late-night karaoke. Our group delivered several masterful performances, but unfortunately the place shut down before MJ and I could do our duet to Afternoon Delight. We did get a chance to perform Joy To The World, and unlike in the past, when men have literally fled the premises at the sound of our voices (the anti-Sirens?), a mysterious man with a voice of gravel sent us over two Bud Lights. My favorite song of the night was a hilarious version of Bohemian Rhapsody sung by MJ's boyfriend Jamie and his friend Jim. You know most people's accents disappear when they sing? I always thought that phenomenon was so strange, like if you hear any of The Beatles speak, they have noticeable British accents, but when they sing, not a trace. Well, apparently our Irish neighbors are the only people on Earth immune to that phenomenon, because they sang Light My Fire with the thickest Irish accents imaginable.

In other news, the '72 Dolphins popped champagne once again. Congratulations to my favorite non-Patriot and teammates for putting the pout back on Peyton Manning's face.

And I'm still sick, but not as bad as I felt last Friday. I look like crap, though: good thing my hairdresser talked me out of the jet black hair, because I'm looking corpse-like enough this morning.

Lastly, am I the only person with absolutely no desire to see the new King Kong movie? It looks terrible. Bring on the gay cowboys.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Be Popular at Work

MSN recently had an article containing four steps on how to become more popular at work. Based on last night's activities, I have a few tips of my own.
  1. At the Friday afternoon happy hour, suggest a friendly game of Asshole. Then become President and make everyone drink like crazy.
  2. Know of a restaurant that serves tasty food at low prices and can seat a large party without a wait. We went to Pho Pastuer, a Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown, and it was perfect for a boisterous group of drunk, hungry, and broke scientists. I had a giant bowl of curry chicken noodle soup and a Vietnamese beer for a little over $10.
  3. Slip and fall down in front of everyone at a T station, because wearing high heels on an icy day and subsequently wiping out is the new black, and you want everyone to know how trendy you are.
  4. Take everyone to a shady bar that serves scorpion bowls, test tube shots, and meat on a stick. Then buy everyone scorpion bowls and test tube shots.
  5. Show off your favorite comedy dance move, the one where you unbutton a guy's shirt while you dance with him, on one of your married co-workers.
So, I've officially said adios to the Work Persona, which is actually quite nice, because the facade was becoming too taxing to maintain.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bad timing

Ugh, I am sick. And very mad about it. After a two month slump in the research arena, things are finally picking up, so I've been working long hours trying to get as much done as possible before the holidays or the experiments stop working, whichever comes first. I didn't call in sick today because I have a series of experiments planned for today and tomorrow and I don't want to get behind. Plus, we're having a happy hour and a lab nerd outing to the Hong Kong (my favorite bar ever), which I have been looking forward to all week long and I helped to organize. But now I just feel awful so I don't think I'll even be able to go. Additionally, I have a soccer game tomorrow night that I can't miss because the team would have to play shorthanded, and I'm hosting MJ's birthday party on Sunday. Why can't I get sick when I have nothing to do and I can lie around in bed watching The Sound of Music, eating chicken noodle soup? Sorry to make this post all pity-party-for-Eileen, but I feel like someone hit me in the sinuses with a 2 by 4 and I'm not happy about it at all.

Why I love the Onion

For stuff like this: That first one? Hilarious.

Friday Photo

Just when I thought that the previous entries could not be topped, I came across this fine specimen of the 1980's, via someone who would probably prefer to remain anonymous *cough Pat cough*. I love the socks and especially love how the kid on the left is posing, but the picture is quite mysterious. Why are they standing on top of the picnic table? What kind of contest were they in? I'm not sure, but apparently you had to be wearing a patriotic half-shirt to be declared a "Winner." And Pat's sister? Um....not even going to go there, but it's probably a good thing she's standing behind him. What is the kid on the right doing? Shaking up a mini bottle of champagne with which to douse the Winner?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

List #17...What I want for Christmas (tangible objects)

  1. Digital camera (I'm buying this one for myself)
  2. Warm, stylish gloves
  3. Curtains for my bedroom (or a gift card to a store where I can pick out my own)
  4. A broiling pan
  5. A copy of Cormac McCarthy's newest novel, No Country For Old Men

Celebrity Awkward Years

Now presenting....Mr. Brittney Spears!

Nice hair, K-Fed.

Courtesy of Freakgirl

Time to sell the donuts

Dunkin' Donuts is now under new ownership, as a result of a $2.43 billion dollar deal. The former owner, a French company named Pernod, sold the donut chain to a group of three private equity firms (whatever those are). Perhaps the new owners will push for the year-round availability of the pumpkin muffin.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Random acts of kindness and bizarre celebrity crushes

Yesterday, I got stranded at the Braintree T stop at the end of the red line. I realized that I didn't have any cash with me, and the only ATM machine in sight was broken. This T stop is fairly isolated, near a highway and a giant parking garage, but that's about it, so I was facing the possibility of either having to trudge out in the cold and snow along a dark highway or having to panhandle for T fare. I noticed a little stand selling international phone cards, and I asked the man working there if they took debit cards. He said yes. Hopeful, I asked, "cash back?" Negatory. "But there's an ATM outside," the man said. "It's broken!" I replied, with the wavery-about-to-cry voice. "Are you stuck here?" asked the man. "Yes, my sister dropped me off and I don't have any cash on me and the ATM's broken and I don't know what to do and..." The man interrupted me, gave me the two dollars I needed, and told me just to pay him back next time I passed through. Thank you, stranger!

And now for something completely different....
Last night, after a few beers, some friends and I revealed our secret celebrity crushes. One friend really digs 50 Cent and owns all of his albums, and another has a thing for Tony Blair. Me? Jeff Goldblum.

Santa: Jolly or scary?

Check out these photos of kids scared by Santa, then decide for yourself.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Awkward conversation of the day

Here's the uncomfortable conversation I've already had around eight times today:

Other person: Why are you so dressed up today?
Me: Umm...I'm going to a wake this afternoon.
Other person (feeling like a dumbass): Er, um, I'm sorry.
Me (smiling, trying to help the other person not feel like an ass) : That's okay, thanks. It's for my Great Aunt.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weekend Report

On Friday, in the midst of a freak blinding snowstorm, my friend Colann came up from Rhode Island and we went to see Bon Jovi at the Garden. Hey, make fun all you want, but the show was mint. The audience was full of intoxicated women going insane for JonBon, and they played all of their big hits from the 80's and beyond, including You Give Love a Bad Name, Blaze of Glory, Wanted Dead or Alive, and of course, Livin' On a Prayer. We sat next to a bleach-blonde mother daughter duo from the cape and drank a zillion beers. It was a great excuse to get together with an old friend who lives close enough that we really should see each other more than once or twice a year, but just far away enough that we don't.
The rest of the weekend included soccer playing and holiday shopping. Next year, remind me to get everything online. I've had enough crowds, parking lots, lines, and angry customers for one lifetime. Somehow during my soccer game, I managed to crack my big toenail in half, and it hurts and keeps bleeding all over my sock, so that is adding to my shopping discomfort.

Pride and Prejudice

I saw Pride and Prejudice last week, and I liked it. I assume that most of you are familiar with the classic Jane Austen novel about five sisters looking for love in Georgian England, so I will spare you the details. Of course, this film can't be compared to the 1995 miniseries version, because Colin Firth is the Best Darcy Ever, but it wasn't bad. I liked Keira Knightley as Lizzie, and the actors playing Jane and Mr. Bingley were perfect. It was fun to see Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet as well. Those of you who are fans of the novel and of the miniseries version may be disappointed, because this version lacks a lot of the subtlety is a bit more Pride and Prejudice for Dumbasses, as my RT calls it in her more critical review. The film has two different endings; UK audiences saw a chuckling Mr. Bennet, and US audiences were subjected to a much cheesier Lizzie and Darcy love-fest (but no sex, alas) at the end. Despite the movie's flaws, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, I couldn't help myself but to laugh at the embarrassing antics of the Bennet family, root for Lizzie and Jane, and hope that once again, love would conquer all.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Top 30 Mr. T facts

Every time a church bell rings, Mr. T pities a fool.
and other facts.

Courtesy of Brigita

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Photo: Awkward Family Feud

The Fairs vs.
The Dunnes

Which family is more awkward? Vote in the comments section. The Fair family features lots of bare white legs, but I think Timm leads them with his salmon colored t-shirt and giant white high tops. They're facing some stiff competition by the Dunnes, with Kerry's high wasted pleated and pegged pants, complete with high school letter jacket. I've got the long mullet, while Eri is sporting the mini mullet and some ridiculous pink pants. The most stylish in the photo are my grandparents, despite the fact that my grandmother is wearing a shawl made of plastic. Oh yeah, and what's that in my hand? A metal detector. Yes, folks, a METAL DETECTOR. My dorkiness knows no bounds.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Forbes Fictional 15

Here's a list of the 15 richest fictional characters. The blurbs are funny; I especially liked the one on Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks (#2).

link courtesy of SixDifferentWays

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

List #15...Favorite Christmas Carols

  1. O Holy Night. Every year, my family goes to mass on Christmas Eve and there's a lady who sings a solo of O Holy Night. I always get so nervous for her before the really high part (oh night, di-VINE) and think to myself "oh no, this will be the year that her voice cracks" but she nails it every time. I love that song, and I like to think that for this one lady, it must be her biggest gig of the year, her time to shine. Every other day of the year she's probably a wallflower, stuck at home doing housework or something, and then, for one special night, she's the star. My sisters joke about my obsession with the O Holy Night lady and claim that I send her threatening letters that say things like "Sing O Holy night or die, bitch!" This claim is entirely untrue, the letters actually say "O Holy Night or I will eat your children."
  2. Adeste Fideles. Old school. Latin.
  3. Hark the Herald Angels Sing (easy to sing along to)
  4. Let It Snow
  5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Rowlf the Muppet dog and John Denver do the best verison of this song EVER.

List #16....Least Favorite Chirtmas Carol

  1. Carol of the Bells. This song terrifies me. My parents had it on a holiday record and I used to hide under the table every time it came on. The worst part is when it gets really quiet, so you think the song is over and you're safe, then all of the sudden it comes blaring back in full volume. Terrifying, I tell you.

Hump day

Whoever coined the phrase "hump day" for Wednesday was a genius. I'm hungover right now. Ugh. A few years ago, I had a terrible weekday hangover experience, when I didn't want to be late for work, so I dragged my arse out of bed and to the lab, only to end up throwing up in the work bathroom and seeking solace on the cool, soothing tile floor. After that unpleasant experience I vowed to: A. Never get that drunk on a weeknight again and B. If I do have a terrible hangover, it's better to show up to work a couple of hours late and partly recovered than show up on time and do the puking and lying on the bathroom floor thing. Last night, I went to the end of season party for my soccer team with the intention of having a couple of drinks and going home on the early side. However, I had more than a couple of drinks and ended up staying out to 2:30AM, after the Spaniards and I got the bright idea to go dancing on Landsdowne street, only to discover once we got there that there is no dancing to be had on Tuesday nights, so we just drank more instead. I broke vow A but kept B, sleeping in and rolling into the lab at 10:30AM, Gatorade in hand. The good news is that I was the first one in, so nobody even knows I was late! It reminded me of one night when my sisters and Beatriz and I were all still living at my parents' house, and I was out way past my curfew (a category A offense in the Dunne household), and I got home and found Eri sitting at the kitchen table laughing, because she was worried about getting busted for coming home late until she realized that I wasn't home yet, so I'd be the one getting into trouble. Then we realized that Bea wasn't home yet either, so that made us laugh even harder.

Anyways, here's some stuff I would write more about if I wasn't hungover:

  • This old lady sure loves hockey hair.
  • My dad's in India on a business trip- isn't that cool? I wish I could have gone with him.
  • Winter is here at last. Brrrrrrrr.......
  • Check out what MJ had to say about my new hair.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Before and after

Football news

Two pieces of good news to report:

  1. Notre Dame will be playing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2. Go Irish!
  2. Tom Brady was selected as SI's 2005 Sportsman of the Year. Here's the cover:

My new favorite choral symphonic pop band

I recently discovered the The Polyphonic Spree, a band that is more like a choir (complete with robes) than anything else. If you like ELO's song Mr. Blue Sky, than The Polyphonic Spree is for you- a few tracks are available for listening on their website.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekend update

I had one of those weekend where I had a lot of stuff going on, overcommitted myself, then ended up ditching out on a few things and feeling guilty about it later. In general, I try never to be one of those "Yeah, I'll come to your party!" people who say yes to everything with no intention of fulfilling those promises, because I hate those schmucks. I mean, if you aren't going to show up, just say so, and that's fine. Insincerity is so unbecoming. This weekend, I was one of those schmucks. I bailed on two holiday parties and one Harry Potter moviethon, mostly due to the birthday party, the soccer game, and the bridal shower that I did go to lasting longer than I had anticipated. Well, lesson learned, in the future, I will be better at saying no to things when I know it is unlikely I will be able to attend, and I'll try not to feel guilty afterwards, because it's pointless. That whole Big Catholic Guilt thing is no joke (and an awesome band name...when I worked a Genzyme we had a long-running debate in the lab over which was worse, Catholic guilt or Jewish guilt. Catholics have the whole nuns and priests instilling guilt thing, whereas no one dishes it out quite like a Jewish mother. The ruling was that until there's a band named Big Jewish Guilt, Catholic guilt wins.) and I know it's silly to feel irrational guilt about things that aren't a big deal, but I can't help myself.

Anyways, here are a couple of observations I made over the weekend:

1. Okay, this is kind of weird, but sometimes when I'm riding the bus, I survey the other passengers and wonder what would happen if we were all trapped on a desert island together. Who would be the leader? Who would have useful skills? Whom would I have a crush on? Saturday, I left the lab and hopped on the #1, sometimes referred to as the T.B. Express (with good reason: exposure to a phlegmy cough with each paid admission!), and looked around. I saw lots of shady characters, including a drunk bum that kept randomly yelling out things like "I'm gonna kick your ass!" and two drag queens (not that all drag queens are shady, but these two were), and I thought "Man, if I get stuck on a desert island with these people, we're all screwed." But hey, you never know, maybe the drag queens would be skilled fishermen and the drunk bum would figure out how to make liquor out of coconuts, providing diversion for the rest of us.

2. Here's the part of this post where I go on a rant about bridal showers. If you're reading this and I attended or helped throw your bridal shower, I don't mean your bridal shower, which was lovely, just bridal showers in general. All I'm saying is that if I ever get married, there's no way I'm having one. They strike me as too much....soooo many gifts make it seem materialistic instead of the joyful celebration of an upcoming marriage. I don't mean to imply that brides who have showers are greedy, because I think most of them do it because it's expected or their family really wants to throw one, but it just isn't for me. The wedding gifts should be enough- how much crap does one couple need? Ugh, and the whole opening up all the gifts in front of everyone? Painful. And the fact that it's mostly kitchen stuff and housey things has a little bit of a creepy preparing-the-bride-for-wifely-duties vibe, despite the fact that I love cooking and would normally love to get kitchen stuff as presents. And the whole each broken ribbon equals one future child? You know what it really equals? Slow-ass unwrapping. Bridal Bingo? How about Bridal Stab My Eyes Out With That Bun Warmer?

Okay, the tirade ends here, because I went to a bridal shower today, and it was great to see the couple and nice of them to invite me, and the food was tasty, and now I'm starting to feel guilty about making fun of bridal showers.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Carlton Dance

Here's something fun for a Friday...check out The Carlton Dance, one of my two favorite things about the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (my other favorite thing is the theme song). Turns out the dance moves were inspired by a certain actress' appearance in a well-known rock video. I totally want to bust out the Carlton next time I'm on a dance floor.

For another great television dance, check out the horrible boss' dance from The Office (requires Real Player).

Blonde today...

Brunette tomorrow. I have a hair appointment tomorrow and I decided to dye my hair dark brown. This is a big step for me, because I've been wary of hair dyeing ever since I saw what happened to Anne of Green Gables. I'm bored with my hair, the color gets dull and dishwatery in the winter anyways, and whenever I wear my black wig, people (well, just Maria, actually) tell me I should dye my hair dark. I was thinking jet black at first, but my uncle said "like Ashlee Simpson?" and that pretty much ruined it for me, so I'm planning on a dark brown, kind of like the color Drew Barrymore had recently. I'll post the before and after photos. Keep your fingers crossed- I'm still slightly paranoid it will come out horrible and dark green.

Update! I found the perfect hair color, on, believe it or not, Lindsay Lohan!

Friday Photo

Ahhh, the 80's, when hair was big, and young girls dressed like Prince.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World Aids Day

It's today. Here's a link with data about AIDS in the continent most affected by the disease, Africa, where in many countries, over a quarter of the population is infected with HIV.

Red Socks Policy

I work in a laboratory in a research building that is part of a large medical center, and since I don't have much interaction with the hospitaly side of things (other than occasionally taking of shortcut through the hospital and the fact that in every seminar I attend, some M.D.'s beeper goes of incessantly), I tend to overlook the doctor and patient aspect of my surroundings. Yesterday, an announcement was posted describing the new Red Socks Policy. Apparently, patients in danger of falling are now given red socks, so if you see anyone walking alone wearing red socks, you should identify yourself as a medical center employee and either assist them or find a nurse or doctor. I don't know why, but I find this policy humorous. I'm really tempted to wear red socks one day and see if anyone offers to assist me.

Boston sports news

I watched the Celtics play the 76ers last night, and it was a best case scenario for me- the Celtics won, and I got to see my favorite player (and the league's leading scorer, take that, Kobe) A.I., score 40 points. Celtic Kendrick Perkins had the best game of his career: 12 points and 19 rebounds.

The Bruins traded Captain Joey Thornton for three players from the San Jose Sharks. Now that was a dumb idea- the team stinks, they've lost 9 of the past 10 games, and now they're traded away the only player with name recognition and a fan following. Oh, and I think the NHL should eliminate all teams that play in areas devoid of snow and ice in the winter. It just doesn't make sense. No snow, no hockey.

Attention Red Sox fans: if you love Manny and want him to stay, sign this Keep Manny petition.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back

Speaking of The Darkness, their new album is out:

and you can listen to it for free here.

Best Christmas Lights Ever

This is what might happen if The Darkness were allowed to decorate a suburban house for the holidays and electricity bills were not an obstacle. Make sure you leave the sound on and watch the whole thing. Seriously, watch it. Ah, I love me some insane campy Christmas.

This internet gem was unearthed by Brigita.

P.S. In case you're wondering, the song is from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.'s the deaths

My grandparents called me early this morning to warn me that the heard on the news that the murder rate in Boston is has reached the 10- year high. My family and my grandparents in particular have long been a bit obsessed with death and everything morbid. My grandfather worked as a forensic chemist for the State Police, and where other grandchildren were entertained with tales of Grandpa walking uphill both ways to school in the snow, we listened to gory descriptions of crime scenes and accidents. Perhaps it's the Irish in us; they don't call the Obituaries the Irish Sports Pages for nothing. My sister Kerry told me that when she was visiting my cousins in Ireland, they had the radio playing in the kitchen one morning, and everyone was going about their business without paying it much attention, until someone said "'s the deaths." and they all stopped and gathered around to listen to the announcement of local deaths. Not that death and murder are funny, because they aren't.

Decaf, please

Since my caffeine intake has slowly escalated from a morning coffee and a lunchtime soda to 4-5 cups of joe a day, I have decided to take a week off the good stuff to purify myself. The trip to San Diego put me over the edge, I think, because I drank coffee all day and switched directly to alcohol in the evening, without a pause for water. My kidneys must hate me. Most of my unhealthy habits are cyclical, like for coffee, I held steady for at one cup in the morning for a year or so, then more and more cups started creeping into my day, until all of the sudden I'm drinking two cups in the morning, breaking for a soda at lunch, and grabbing a couple of more cups in the afternoon. I plan to stop drinking it completely for a week or two and then go back to my one morning cup. I suppose I could give it up completely, but I enjoy drinking coffee and don't really have any desire to break myself entirely of the habit. All good things in moderation.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Movie Reviews

I saw two movies over the holiday weekend. Last Wednesday, I ditched out of work early to watch Walk the Line, and seeing Joaquin Phoenix play Jonny Cash is far superior to pipetting any day of the week. He was fantastic in the role. I have a thing for men with scars and bad teeth (which is strange but not nearly as weird as someone I know whose ideal man is balding, has a pot belly, and is cross-eyed), and Joaquin Phoenix certainly fits the bill. Reese Whitherspoon did nicely as June Carter, and, as you've probably heard by now, both actors did their own singing. I'm less familiar with Carter's music than Cash's, so Reese sounded good to me, but Joaquin nailed it. I can't even imagine the movie with someone else in the lead role. I highly recommend it, not only for the performances of the two leads, but if you're a music fan at all, it's fun to see the other music icons of the era, like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, pop in and out of the plot.

The second movie I watched was Me and You and Everyone We Know, which follows the intertwined stories of several people whose lives intersect in various ways. I find that with most movies that consist of a series of subplots (Love Actually as an example), I really like a few of the characters and their stories but don't care as much about the others. In this case, the one character who didn't interest me was the one played by the film's writer and director, Miranda July. The peripheral characters were much more enthralling, especially all of the kids- two brothers whose parents are getting divorced, an awkward neighbor girl with a hope chest, and two slutty teenage girls tormenting a local bachelor. They come across as believable real kids, not child actors the likes of Dakota Fanning. The movie is an odd one, with some parts weirding me out a bit (like the dad lighting his hand on fire), and some parts making me laugh out loud (I won't spoil it, but it involves the word "poop"). I enjoyed it, but I hope M. July stays behind the camera for her future movies.

Back to the grind

I just got back from an indulgent holiday weekend in San Diego. Highlights included:

  • Pumpkin pie. Loads of it.
  • Pranksgiving day pranks at the airport.
  • A delicious Thanksgiving turkey cooked in a tabletop roaster.
  • Drinking margaritas at the beach.
  • Seeing a group of young European guys drinking white zinfandel at a beachside bar with zero comprehension of how ridiculous they looked.
  • Going to a cocktail lounge where the entertainment consists of a shady looking man playing the synthesizer.
  • Watching the entire BBC version of The Office, which is simultaneously cringe-inducing and hilarious.
  • A late-night, no hands, pie eating contest. I came in a close second.
  • Experiencing Man Diego (every bar in San Diego is a sausage fest)
  • Hiking at Torrey Pines
  • Driving along Highway 101. No wonder everyone wants to live in California.

Thanks to Eri and Ryan for hosting me. A fun time was had by all, although I definitely need to detox after four solid days of constant eating and boozing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm headed out early tomorrow morning to spend Thanksgiving weekend in San Diego. Eri had better not sabotage the pumpkin pie like she did that time in 1987, or there will be hell to pay.

Have a great Turkey Day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bred for its skills in magic

Three liger cubs have been born in a Russian zoo. Their parents are an African lion and a Bengalese tigress. I think those crazy Russians are up to no good.

Monday, November 21, 2005


was my official marathon time. I am very pleased, because I was aiming for 4:30 and considered it an optimistic aim. So, today I'm still feeling sore and exhausted, but here's a brief recap of the weekend. We arrived late Friday night and Teri picked us up at the airport, then we got the tour of her and Dan's new house in West Philadelphia (born and raised, on the playground, where I spent most of my days...), stayed up late chatting, and went to bed. Unbeknownst to Teri and me, we had each made each other mix CDs, and had both put two of the exact same songs on them from the Rushmore soundtrack, plus we each had a Pearl Jam and a Stevie Wonder song. Great minds mix alike, I suppose. Saturday, Teri took Carolina and me on a long walking tour of the City of Brotherly Love, and Dan joined us for a pasta dinner in the Italian section of the city.

Sunday was race day, luckily for us the weather was perfect, around 50 degrees and sunny. Miles 1 through 10 were fairly easy, and Carolina and I entertained ourselves by chatting, checking out the crowd for cute guys, and my retelling of the entire plot of Everything Is Illuminated. After that, we lost the energy to converse and just focused on the running and looking at the scenery. The course weaves in and around the city, and passes by the finish line around mile 13, then continues down the Schuylkill (yeah, say that five times fast) River to mile 20, then turns around and heads back to the finish. Right after we passed mile 13, the crowd was cheering like crazy, because the leader was already heading back from the other direction towards the finish. We actually saw him bust through the tape at the finish, which was really cool (I've never seen a marathon won live before), except for the fact that he finished in 2:20 and we were only halfway done. The longest mile was definitely mile 19 to 20, because we knew that we turned around at mile 20, and that signified the home stretch. It felt like an eternity had passed before we reached the turnaround. Around mile 22 or so, my legs started hurting, especially my knees. My thought process went something like this: "Don't think about the pain because that will make it hurt more. Don't think about the pain. Wait, don't think about not thinking about the pain because that makes you think about the pain." I found motivation in the knowledge that if I kept up my pace I would finish in less than 4:30, and even though my legs hurt, it still wasn't as painful as my last trip to the dentist. That, and Carolina was still running so I needed to keep up. When we finally turned the last corner, we saw the finish line ahead and my oh my, it was a welcome sight indeed. Teri and Dan were there cheering us on. After post-race showers, we partook of some celebratory Yuenglings then went out to the White Dog for some more food and beers, but I started getting dizzy on my second beer and had to cut myself off. The evening consisted of napping and more eating, and we left the next morning. Overall, it was a very satisfying weekend, with a goal achieved and quality time spent with old friends. I'll post some pictures when the race photos come online or Teri downloads the ones she took, whichever happens first.

The official photos are starting to come in. Check this link. Yes, it says Proof all over it. Sorry about that.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Still alive

Carolina and I finished the Philadelphia marathon, in just under 4 hours, 30 min. Details to follow...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Signs point to yes

Got a question on your mind? Ask the Magic 8 ball. Remember to phrase your inquiry as a yes or no question. I forgot and asked "How will I do in the marathon?" and it replied "Yes." Whoops, I guess I'll have to Ask Again Later.

List #13..Things I'm looking forward to this weekend

I'm headed out to Philadelphia tonight and am looking forward to several things:
  1. Seeing Teri Noone (now TeriNoone Kessler)
  2. Running up the art museum steps a la Rocky
  3. Cheesesteak!
  4. Potential Allen Iverson sightings. If in some bizarre twist of fate, A.I. and I are united in holy matrimony, I would change my last name to Iverson, and you could all start calling me "E.I." or "The Explanation." Explanation of what, I don't know.
  5. Brotherly love.

List #14...Things I'm not looking forward to this weekend:

  1. Running 26.2 miles. Who's dumb idea was that again? Oh wait, mine.

Friday Photo

Nothing says 80s like a pair of acid-washed overalls.

P.S. I'm accepting new submissions for the Friday photo. If you would like to embarass yourself or a friend or family member, email me an awkward years photo. You can find a link to my email address on my profile.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Little dental shop of horrors

If hell exists, I will most likely be headed there, due to a long resume of sins and general wickedness, like the fact that I laughed at this cartoon of Howard Stern pranking a mentally disabled guy. This morning, I went to the dentist, and let's just say that it was a most unpleasant experience. I was getting a filling, and the metal clamp they put around my tooth was digging into the roof of my mouth and it hurt like a biatch. After four times of the dentist readjusting it, then asking, "Does it still hurt?" and me saying "aarrhhhlgu," which meant yes, I decided that I was just going to try to suck it up and deal with the pain, because maybe I'd eventually get used to it. I do have a fairly high tolerance for pain, as evidenced by things like my walking around with a broken finger for a few days before I decide it probably shouldn't still be that color and pointing in that direction, then I go to the doctor who tells me that it's broken and I shouldn't have waited so long. Four crooked fingers later, I finally realized that I was too clumsy for basketball. Back to the I was doing my best grinning and bearing, but tears started streaming out of the corners of my eyes and running down my face, and the poor dentist was horrified and took off the dreadful apparatus and hit me up with some more novocaine. It helped, but only a little, and I started thinking about my own personal hell, and how it would definitely include dental work. What else would it be like?

  • everyone would be skiing, all of the time
  • there would be no Dunkin Donuts, only Starbucks
  • abundant prolonged awkward silences
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt would be there
  • my pants would always be a tad too short
  • a constant migraine (honestly, I cannot think of anything worse)

If I do end up in hell, I hope that it is of the generic fire and brimstone and demons variety.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fire Marshall Eileen

Today I got to do something I've always wanted to do- spray a fire extinguisher. We had our annual safety training for my floor at work, and at the end of it, they asked for someone to volunteer to demonstrate how to use a fire extinguisher. Secretly, I really wanted to do it, but I didn't want to seem too eager (ooh, ooooh, pick me!), so I kept still until I realized that nobody was volunteering. And if there's one thing I cannot tolerate, it's a prolonged awkward silence. So I stepped up to the plate, pulled the pin, and put out the imaginary fire, saving my coworkers from certain imaginary death.

Movie review

I rented Crash last night. Before it started, Maria asked me if I had heard anything about it, and I told her not really, but that I had heard that the theme had some sort of racial undertones. Two minutes into it, Maria said "Racial undertones?" because by that point, we had realized that the whole point of the movie was to throw blatant racial stereotypes and racial tension in your face. The movie takes place in L.A. and follows the intersecting stories of numerous characters from different backgrounds, where everyone is prejudiced, and no one is good or bad. I liked the movie, but a little more subtlety would have gone a long way. I'll give the movie the benefit of the doubt by assuming that the over-the-top drama of the stereotyped characters and plots was deliberate, because if it wasn't intentional, it would have been way too much- too unbelievable and ridiculous. Overall, the movie was very intense, especially the scene with Matt Dillon's sleazy cop molesting a woman in front of her husband, but certain other scenes come across as forced and phony, like Sandra Bullock as the rich white bitch hugging her latina housekeeper. I have to commend the movie for taking on a topic that everyone knows about and no one talks about, racism in the United States. It was fun to see the different performances of the large cast, which included everyone from Ludacris to Tony Danza.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Harriet

Happy 175th birthday to Harriet, the giant tortoise collected by Charles Darwin in 1835. Birthday wishes also go out to my father and my brother-in-law, neither of whom are nearly as old as Harriet.

Go Daisies!

My rag-tag coed soccer team, The Daisies, made the finals last night in a 2-1 victory over a jerky rival squad. Here we are:

Monday, November 14, 2005

You've got to be kidding me

My sitemate Paige sent me this link to Contra Café, an online coffee store that raises money for the Contras. I thought it was a joke at first. I mean, the picture and quote by Ronald Reagan? The fact that it raises money for a charity founded by Oliver North? I thought it was an example of over-the-top satire. But no, it's real. For those of you who don't comprehend how ridiculous this is, let me explain. Nicaragua under the control of the Somoza dictatorship from the 1930s until leftist rebel Sandanistans overthrew the government in 1979 and set up a Socialist government. All of this occurred in the backdrop of the Cold War, and the United States, fearful of the growing influence of leftist regimes in Central America, supported the anti-Sandanistan Contras, illegally funding them in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair.
Before I went to Peace Corps, I didn't really know anything about Sandinistas, other than the fact that they were supposedly the bad guys. However, my host family and nearly all of my Nicaraguan friends were ardent Sandanistans. Why? Because before the revolution, they had nothing. Nothing. Several of them had relatives murdered by Somomza's National Guard. The Sandanistan government gave them land and an education, in other words, hope and opportunity. No, the Sandanistans weren't perfect, but they were a drastic improvement over the Somoza dictatorship for the campesinos of Nicaragua. Not to speak ill of the dead or anything, but Ronald Reagan is not viewed in a positive light by many Nicaraguans, and his smiling face represents a U.S. foreign policy that illegally funded a brutal civil war in their country for nearly a decade.

In Nicaragua, Reagan's financial and military support for anti-government
rebels "caused a lot of damage in our country, a lot of suffering, a lot of
death and destruction," said Carlos Chamorro, a journalist and political
analyst, whose mother, Violeta Chamorro, became president in elections in 1990
that ended the rule of the Marxist-led Sandinistas.
"There might be a group that was supported by Reagan that may have a different memory of him. But I have the impression that a majority of the people will associate him with the war and with the destruction," Chamorro said. The U.S.-backed war killed at least 20,000 people.

For another example, look at this mural. Yikes.

Okay, enough of my rant. If you really want to help poor coffee farmers, buy certified Fair Trade coffee, from TransfairUSA or Café Campesino, or look for this symbol on the coffee you buy at the grocery store.

Mama's got a brand new blog

No, not my mom, my sitemate Paige's mom. Here's the link. I especially enjoyed reading about her new diet: The South Germany Beer, Bratwurst, Pork Hocks and Gingerbread Diet. That sounds WAY better than the South Beach diet.

Second guessing

You know how I'm training for the Philadelphia marathon? Well, it is now less than a week away, and all of the sudden, I'm really nervous about it. Instead of anticipation and excitement, what I'm feeling right now is much more akin to dread. For the past few months, I've been thinking positively- "Hey, I did one before, and it wasn't that bad. I can do it again. No problem. The training's been fine so far. The 20 mile run wasn't that bad. I can do it!" Today, out of nowhere, the negative thoughts took over."26.2 miles, are you nuts, girl? Yeah, you did the 20 mile run, but that was a while ago, and you've been a slacker for the past couple of weeks. Don't think I didn't notice all that beer and that cigarette. And those training runs you skipped because you thought you were getting a cold. Slacker. Sure, you ran a marathon before, and remember how miserable those last six miles were? And you were younger and more sprightly back in 2003."
Eeeek! Panic time! I feel like I am about to soil myself. Figuratively, of course, not Uta Pippig style.
Oh, Carolina and I are trying to think of something good/funny/inspiring to put on our t-shirts. Any suggestions? Right now we're stuck on "Go Eileen!" for me and "Go Caro!" for her. If it were in NYC, I would be tempted to wear a Yankees Suck t-shirt. Hmmm...maybe something like "Will run for cheesesteak."

Weekend Report

Here are some things I did this weekend:
  • Went to the Celtics vs. San Antonio game on Friday night and watched the C's get an arse-whooping. The Spurs will repeat as NBA champions. You heard it here first. You know who really impressed me in Friday's game? Tony Parker. He's awesome.
  • Watched a Spain vs. Slovakia World Cup qualifying game with some friends from Spain. Spain won 5-1, and there was much rejoicing.
  • Attended a birthday party for Nikki's roommate Theresa, where I played many a drinking game and smoked my first cigarette in months. Bad me!
  • Finished Everything Is Illuminated (see previous post). I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may read it, but the story takes a turn from the lighthearted narration at the beginning to a much darker portrait of the how the Holocaust affected the grandparents of the two main characters. I highly recommend it. It's amazing to think that our grandparents lived through such an evil time. One of the underlying themes of the book is memory, and it made me think about how most of the people who lived through World War II won't be with us much longer. Let us hope that we have learned the lesson of their history and will not be doomed to repeat it.
  • Ran 9 miles, my last long run before the Philadelphia Marathon this coming Sunday.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Funny as in sad-and-disturbing funny

Am I a bad person for laughing at this? Seriously, am I? Oh, that poor kid. Link courtesy of Max.

Are you a Republican?

Take this quiz and find out. I'm 2% Republican: "You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)" Sounds about right. Courtesy of RT.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Best little pub in the Massachusetts

Last night, I went to one of my favorite establishments in the Boston area, Matt Murphy's Pub in Brookline Village. It's a cozy little Irish place (well, Irish except for the Brazilian cooks), with small wooden tables that you end up sharing with strangers, whom, after a few pints, are likely to become friends. They have live music every night after 11:00, and the entertainment performs right in the midst of all the patrons. Thursday nightsfeatures a local jazz band, and amateur musicians are encouraged to bring their own instruments and join in. I wisely left my recorder at home. The highlight of the evening may have been when an intoxicated woman celebrating her 50-somethingeth birthday started hitting on my friend Juan Martin, much to the embarrassment of the assortment of relatives that were at her table.

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, happy Armistice Day everyone, and thanks to all the veterans out there, especially to my favorite veteran, my grandfather.

Say it ain't so, Jason

Bad news for Arrested Development fans. Very Bad News, indeed.

Friday Photo

One member of this photo has been featured here before, but since today is her birthday, I thought I'd use the opportunity to embarrass her once again. Some of you may not know this, but Mary Laf is currently working memoir of her own, entitled Dress Your Family In Extremely Loud Shorts.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Repectful one?

Check out this email I received today:

From: David Rusang & Elizabeth
Church Of God Mission,
Abidjan,Cote D'ivoire.

Dear respectful one ,
Because of the political problem in this country, I urgy your urgent
assistance. With due respect and humility I write you this letter which I believe you would be of great assistance to me and my sister. Let me take a brief time out to introduce myself to you, I am David Rusang the only son of late Chief and Mrs James Rusang, a black farmer based in Zimbabwe who was murdered in the land dispute in Zimbabwe. I decided to contact you through email, after searching for contacts through your country Embassy, as it is the only means I can contact anybody since I am cutting off ties with Zimbabwe for security and safety reasons. However, I apologize if this is not acceptable to you. The purpose of this letter is to seek your most needed assistance in a business venture. Due to the land and political problems in Zimbabwe, as a result of President Robert Mugabe's introduction of new Land Act Reform wholly affecting the rich white farmers and the few rich black farmers, and his desire to hold on to power for life, my father forsaw the danger that came in Zimbabwe. Before he was murdered, He told me everything concerning the deposit he made with a security company in Cote D'Ivoire. In brief, I have the sum of ($ 16.000.000m usd )sixteen million us dollars which I want to invest in your country, these money was deposited by my late father in a security company here in cote d'ivoire as family treasures; which I was made the beneficiary and next of kin as the only son of my parents. Because of the present situation in my country Zimbabwe, and when the danger became unbearable, and after I and my sister survived two murder attempts, my aged grand mother adviced me and my only sister to leave the country immediately for security reasons,and also to look for a trust worthy and a reliable person who can assist me to transfer the money out of cote d'ivoire.
Respectful one, I highly need your assistance in this areas,assist me claim
the money from the security company, assist me transferring the money to
your country and also investing it as I confide in you hoping that you will
never betray me at last . I and my sister has proposed (15%) percent of
the total sum of the money for you, so as for you to give us all necessary
assistance and protections we may need in your country. Please treat
highly confidential because our future depends on this money, all the vital
documents covering the deposit in the security company are with me here in
cote d'ivoire and will be faxed to you on demand. looking forward to hearing
from you.
Thanks and God bless you.
Yours sincerely.
David Rusang and sister.

Wow! Sounds like a great opportunity! Do you think I should pursue this? Ummm...just kidding.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Book recommendation

Right now, I'm about a third of the way through Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer, and so far, I love it. The story is about an American who travels to the Ukraine to search for the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, and ends up traveling with a young Ukrainian translator and his grandfather. Every other chapter is written by the translator, whose English is flawed and hilarious. Parts of the story reminds me a little of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, one of my favorite books, but the sections written in the voice of the Ukrainian character flat out kill me. I was laughing out loud on the bus this morning. Here's an excerpt:

Father purchased a new bicycle for Little Igor for his birthday, which is a
superior present, because I know that Father does not possess enough currency
for presents such as bicycles. "The poor Clumsy One," he said, extending to put
his hand on Little Igor's shoulder, "he should be happy on his birthday." I have
girdled a picture of the bicycle in the envelope. Tell me if it is awesome.
Please, be truthful. I will not be angry if you tell me that it is not awesome.

Everything is Illuminated has been made into a movie, with everyone's favorite hobbit playing the main character. Speaking of Elijah, pretty please click on this website if you're in the mood for a laugh. You will thank me later.

To O.C. or not to O.C.?

Recently, the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah turned down an offer to play on the O.C., which has featured performances by bands like Modest Mouse. The author of this blog contacted a bunch of musicians and asked if, given the offer, they would perform on the O.C. Here are their answers. Most of them said yes. Perhaps they've learned the lesson of Jonathan Franzen, who came across as a pretentious ass when he turned down an offer to have his novel The Corrections to be an Oprah's book club selection. In Franzen's defense, he didn't mean to offend, he just was unfamiliar with the book club and had no idea that Oprah wielded an army of millions of devoted followers who would retaliate against any snub, real or perceived, of their leader.

Anyways, were I a member of an up-and-coming indie band, I would so totally agree to rock the Bait Shop, because the O.C. is the best show on television. Thanks for RT for the story. As an aside, I did read The Corrections, and liked it, although found it depressing as hell.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Creepy poisoning story

A man was recently arrested for poisoning his wife by putting antifreeze chemicals in her Gatorade over a period of months. Here's an article about the case. I think it takes a special kind of psycopath to deliberately poison someone over a long time period, all the while watching their health mysteriously disintegrate. That's effed up. The story reminded me of a strange movie I saw several years ago, The Young Poisoner's Handbook, which, unlike the poison gatorade, is darkly hilarious.

The Winking Security Guard

A few weeks ago: Hey, that cute security guard just winked at me. Maybe he likes me!

A few days ago: Weird, he just winked at that old man. Maybe he winks at everyone.

Yesterday, upon further investigation: Oh, he's not actually winking at all, it's just that his left eye crinkles when he smiles.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Brady vs. Manning

Who's the better quarterback? It don't mean a thing if you ain't got a ring, so I say Tommy, 3-0.
More importantly, who would you do?


Here's a side-by-side:

And a gratuitous Brady butt shot:

Entering the digital age

Ever since I dropped my camera face down at Kevin's wedding two years ago, I've been using crappy disposables. The time has come for me to buy a camera, and I'm planning to make the switch to digital, because I'm down with the digital age. Well, not really, because I am still sans iPod and camera phone, and frankly, I'm okay with that. Anyways, does anyone have any recommendations for buying a digital camera? What are good brands, where should I shop, what kind of batteries, what size memory card should I buy, etc...? I aim to spend around $200.

Boston city election tomorrow

This one goes out to City of Boston residents- please remember to vote tomorrow! I must admit that I am not normally a devoted follower of local politics (hey, they're all democrats) but I've become interested in it over the past year due to the controversy surrounding the new Biosafety Level 4 laboratory. I am 100% in support of the new building- I think it is a great opportunity for research in infectious disease. Many of the diseases that will be focused on in the new building are things like tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola, etc..., diseases that kill millions of people worldwide, but have been largely ignored by the research industry because they tend to kill poor people, and there's no money in that. As a scientist (in training), I am familiar with the extensive security measures and precautions that are used when working with infectious substances, and am fully confident that the new building will be safe. I may even end up working there. Despite what the doomsayers believe, having a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory a great opportunity for scientific research in the city of Boston, and is not a threat to public safety.
So on that note, I'm voting for Mayor Mumbles, who has been an adamant supporter of the new building, and not Maura Hennigan, who has been trying to scare up votes by referring to the BU "bioweapons plant." For city council, I'm going with Flaherty, Yoon, Connolly, and Murphy. Here's some detailed info on the candidates.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Celtics lose at the buzzer

I went to see the Celtics vs. Pistons game last night, courtesy of Nikki, who got me the tickets for my birthday. The C's looked a lot better than I had expected, especially against a talented team like the Pistons (the best starting five in the East), and managed to stay with them for the entire game. It looked like the Celtics had the game in the bag when Mark Blount hit a jumper to gain an 81-80 lead with 0.8 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately, 0.8 seconds was just enough time for the Pistons to inbound the ball to Rip Hamilton, who scored at the buzzer to clinch the game for the Pistons. That clear face mask he wears must give him superhuman powers or something. Does anyone else find it strange that he's been wearing it for months after his broken nose healed?
Anyways, here's my take on the Celtics this year. They'll make the playoffs, and might even make it past the first round, provided that they don't trade Pierce. Trading Pierce would ruin them for the season, and I'm worried, because it would be so like Ainge to trade him away for a couple of youngsters with potential. We don't want potential, Danny, we want wins! I know some people think Pierce has an attitude problem and should be traded, but the fact of the matter is that he's the best player on the team, and it's unlikely that a trade would bring in a player of equal caliber. If they could get LeBron or A.I. for him, yeah, trade him, but that's not going to happen. Aside from Pierce, Ricky Davis looked good, and Blount played like he had a pulse, which was nice, but the youngsters didn't fare too well at point guard- too bad the C's didn't keep Chauncey Billups. They also don't have an outside scoring threat anymore, with Antoine and Walter McCarty gone. And I don't know where the Celtics found this guy, but he's terrible.

Friday, November 04, 2005

List #12...Best Playground Games

Here's a happy list for this beautiful fall Friday. Best Playground Games:
  1. tag (especially freeze tag)
  2. kickball
  3. Red Rover
  4. four square
  5. butts up

I miss recess.

Friday Photo

It's a shame that we don't get to see the entire outfit, but the hair is very late-80's, early 90's. And judging from the logo on that shirt, it's one of those that they sold in carts at the mall and were incredibly trendy in the time of Champion sweatshirts, but for the life of me, I can't remember the brand. Began with a V. The logo had a circle with a big V on top of it. Anyone??

Must destroy all humans!

Get your own Cyborg name here. Link courtesy of B.R.I.G.I.T.A.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I fought the law...

...and we tied. Today, I contested a $150 ticket I received for failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The ticket was horseshite, in my opinion, because I had stopped to let a group of people cross, and when they got to the other side, I looked around and no one was coming so I started to accelerate, when some bozo sprints in front of me from out of nowhere and I have to slam on my brakes, and a malevolent state trooper gives me a ticket.
The hearing was kind of wacky- there were about 50 people in a room all contesting traffic violations, and they swear everybody in together, then call out names one at a time, and you go up and sit at a table and profess your innocence, with the whole room watching and listening. Luckily, I was the second person called, so at least I didn't get stuck there for the entire day. I told them what happened, and they gave me a choice: either pay $75 instead of the $150, or pay $20 and request a second hearing in front of a judge at a future date. I went for the half-price deduction, because I didn't want to a. bother with the hassle again and b. risk losing the hearing and having to pay $170.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A month of spending

I am notoriously bad with money. Let's put it this way, in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, I'm definitely the grasshopper, especially if the grasshopper, in addition to goofing off, lives beyond her means and racks up significant consumer debt with minimal savings. One of my coworkers has made it a pet project to help me with my money management, and devised an experiment (since we're scientists and all). He gave me a little notebook to carry around and record everything I spent money on for an entire month. Here's where my hard-earned cash went during the month of October:

Bills (rent, phone, etc.): $646.94
Credit Card Payments: $300
Entertainment (primarily restaurant and bar tabs): $249.75
Marathon registration and flight to Philly: $203.00
Food: $184.60
Halloween (costume + party expenses): $180.00
Clothing: $111.98
Indoor soccer registration: $100
Gifts and Charity: $55
Miscellaneous (dry cleaning, stamps, etc): $50.65
Transportation: $37.25

This wasn't a good month for me financially- let's just say I was in the red, and I didn't contribute anything to savings. My credit cards are still in the freezer, though, and I've been chipping away at that debt, so that's a good thing. Some of October's spending was due to a couple large one-time-only expenses, like the marathon stuff and Halloween. But it seems like every month, something like that comes up. I don't usually by much clothing, but I did get a couple of new things this month. The one category I should cut back on is entertainment. I don't go out very often, but when I do, I spend a ton. Honestly, I think aside from going out less, the only thing I can really do is to find a way to earn some additional money. Any ideas? MJ already suggested "Escort Service" but I shot that one down.

Farewell, Theo

Theo Epstein, the GM of the Red Sox has signed a new contract! Oh wait, no he hasn't. Theo's gone, he's gone, oh I, oh I'd better learn how to face it, he's gone, Oh I, Oh Lucchino'd pay the devil to replace him, he's gone - what went wrong? I don't think we'll ever know. But at least he left in style- according to the Inside Track, he dressed in a gorilla suit to evade the media.

(Musical Interlude courtesy of Hall and Oates)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween awards

okay, this will be the last post about Halloween, I promise! I'm having trouble with the alignment of the titles, but you can figure it out.
Best Male Costume Best Female Costume Most Creative

Best Ass- Male Best Ass- female

More Halloween pictures