Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From bad to worse

The situation in New Orleans continues to deteriorate. The levees are breaking and the city is filling with water. Here's a blog of a guy posting from the city. For those of you who know Miss Voitier, she is safe and sound at her parents' house in northern Louisiana, but has most likely lost all of her belongings.

Love that dirty water

I got to hear the Fenway Park victory anthem play once again last night, as Trot Nixon's single in the bottom of ninth gave the Red Sox a 7-6 win over the T.B. Devil Rays. Schilling served up meatballs for the first two innings, giving the Devil Rays an early 5-0 lead. The Sox offense came through to tie and eventually win the game. The high comedy moment of the night occurred when some guy was trying to start the wave (Did you know that in England, they call the wave the Mexican? Weird.) while the game was tied and Manny was at bat. Everyone was getting annoyed; the wave is fun and all, but you're supposed to do it during boring parts of the game, not during a crucial at-bat. So all of the sudden my uncle inexplicably shouts "Take your shirt off!" at the guy, and the whole section started cracking up. Three beers at the Cask, two beers at the game, one sausage from a street vendor, and one Red Sox victory add up to one perfect evening, and one slightly hungover morning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tennis, anyone?

The U.S. Open is now underway, meaning that readers of and the like will be swamped with gratuitous photos of Maria Sharapova. In the interest of fairness and equality, I will now post some gratuitous photos of Roger Federer.

Katrina strikes

Thoughts, prayers, and goodwill go out to all of those in the gulf area affected by Hurricane Katrina, which killed at least 65 people, mostly in Mississippi. For those interested in donating money to help, try the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund or the Salvation Army relief effort.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Viva Carlos Vives

I went to see Carlos Vives, a Colombian singer, last night at the Agganis Arena with a couple of Colombian friends. The venue was too big for the show, so it was only about half full, but it didn't really matter, because everyone in there was dancing, cheering, waving flags, and essentially going absolutely frickin nuts. For those of you unfamiliar with SeƱor Vives, he is a huge star in Latin America, and his music is an upbeat mixture of traditional and modern instruments and beats. The guy just exudes charisma. He had the crowd on their feet for the entire show, and even got Boston's favorite Colombian, Edgar Renteria, up on stage to play the maracas and dance a little cumbia.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

For Llauren

This one goes out to Llauren, Lloyd, and all the llandlords of the world. The Llama song, courtesy of my RT. Be warned, it's a bit lloud.

Weekend Update

This weekend consisted of many ups and downs:
  • Helped organize the first-ever 8th Floor Happy Hour in my building. Ah yes, a few beers brings out the best in even the most antisocial of workplaces, the academic research laboratory.
  • After the Nerds Gone Wild happy hour, I went out to Smith and Wollensky's for a delicious Restaurant Week dinner for a friend's birthday. I had grilled steak medallions wrapped in bacon. Mmmmm....meat.
  • Ran 7 miles in the hot sun. I don't know if that's an up or a down.
  • Received a $150 ticket in the mail for failing to stop for a pedestrian while I was at the airport earlier in the week. Wait, let me defend myself, it wasn't my fault! I was stopped at the crosswalk and let a group of people cross. Once I determined that they were safely on the other side, I lifted my foot off the brake and began to move forward, and right then some idiot sprints out into traffic in front of my car. I slam on the brakes, crisis averted, but a statie pulls me over and issues a citation. I'm fightin' this one.
  • Spent two hours on the phone to Dell tech support, and they still haven't diagnosed my problem with the screen on my monitor turning completely white at random intervals.
  • Went to the goodbye party of close friend, fellow biologist, and soccer teammate Aimee D. She's leaving the best coast to head out to San Francisco. Godspeed, Aimee. I hope you enjoyed the inflatable saxophone serenade as much as we enjoyed eating your face. Check out a couple of pictures on Jon's site.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Photo

How do I love this photo? Let me count the ways.... the haircuts, the white sneakers, the joy at sharing a bottle of Fanta, but most of all, the yellow leggings.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Offensive or funny?

I say funny, but apparently some people were bothered by the last cover of the Weekly Dig , one of those free newspapers that I never read. The drawing was done by artist Corey Pierce.

Due to popular demand, a more fun list

Okay, I'll stop pretending to be all deep and stuff and throw some fun links your way. First, the 86 Rules of Drinking. I liked #1: If you owe someone money, always pay them back in a bar. Preferably during happy hour, despite the fact that I have often fallen for this trick, especially at Celtics games.
Other person: Here's the money I owe you for the ticket.
Me: Great, thanks. Want a beer?
Also #20: Drink one girly drink in public and you will forever be known as the guy who drinks girly drinks. So true, just ask my soccer teammate Lemonade Steve. Number 51: Never play more than three songs by the same artist in a row brings back memories of the time at Sully's Tap when my brother-in-law played eight Styx songs in a row on the jukebox. After the fourth track, the bartender walked over and unplugged the jukebox. Lastly, #54 cracked me up: Never lie in a bar. You may, however, grossly exaggerate and lean.

The next link has been floating around the Internerd for quite a while, but it is worth reading if you haven't yet: Look at my striped shirt! I do my best to avoid bars that attract members of this species of male, which possibly explains my affinity for places like Sully's Tap and The Quencher.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

List #1...My Favorite Novels

I love making lists. Here is the first of many more to come...My Top Ten Favorite Novels.
  1. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
  2. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
  3. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  4. Islands in the Stream, by Ernest Hemingway
  5. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
  8. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
  9. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
  10. The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God, by John Powers

I could have chosen multiple selections by Steinbeck and Hemingway, like The Grapes of Wrath and For Whom the Bell Tolls, but I decided to stick with one book per author. #3 and #10 made the list partly based on the nostalgia factor, in that my younger self loved them far more than my current self does, but my current self fondly remembers my younger self reading and rereading them. Anyone who has never read #2 but makes fun of it due to the girly title or the Matt Damon movie version is no longer my friend. #5 and #9 gain their spots due to pure bizarre hilariousness. Geez, my list is looking pretty mainstream and dated. Does anyone have anything to add? Other favorites of mine that didn't make the list are On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Bel Canto by Ann Pachett, and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Everyone really does play intramural sports

The Princeton Review recently released their rankings on a large number of student life related categories, and my alma mater Notre Dame popped up on a few. ND was ranked first in the Everyone Plays Intramural Sports category, which brought back fond memories of my illustrious interhall career, the pinnacle of which occured when my dorm won the Rec Sports Dorm of the Year trophy my senior year. The director made the mistake of handing the trophy off to the PW soccer team, who used the trophy as a beer receptacle at the team party that night, and later convinced the bartender at Club 23 to fill up the trophy with the sweet nectar of Bud Light. Some envious hooligans then stole the trophy from Club, and it was not recovered for several days. It was eventually returned to Rec Sports, only slightly damaged. Ahhh....I miss college. I do realize that bragging about past intramural sports successes is considered lame, but I don't care.

Thou shalt not call for the assassination of foreign leaders

Pat Robertson, known for making inflammatory and asinine statements, dropped another doozy, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said. "We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."
Although Presidente Chavez, a vocal critic of President George Bush, has been spotted palling around with good old Fidel lately, members of the State Department were quick to condemn Robertson's comments. Venezuela's Vice President retorted both angrily and humorously, calling Robertson's remarks "very Christian." Heh. An article in Time touches on what I believe to the most interesting part of the ordeal, the recent rise in popularity of leftist politics in Latin America, and the fact that Robertson's statements will do nothing but increase Chavez's popularity in Venezuela.

I can walk like a penguin

I'm going to see March of the Penguins tonight, and penguins always remind me of those old television commercials for the New England Aquarium, where the little girl says "I can walk like a penguin" and the little boy contemplates the wave tank, pondering aloud "I wonder what makes an ocean wave wave?". I had a few other favorite commercials from the 1980's, notably the Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day campaign, featuring a woman with a shrill voice yelling "Anthony, dinner!" and a boy, presumably Anthony, sprinting through the city streets. Apparently, Prince started running the ads back in the 60's as a way to popularize pasta products among non-Italians. I don't know if it was a national campaign or not, but it certainly worked like a charm in Massachusetts. Another favorite ad was a cartoon with a little man in a cheese and cracker factory- I have no idea what it was supposed to be selling, other than the fact that cheese and crackers shaped like wagon wheels make good snacks for kids. I think the most poignant commercials were those run by the Latter Day Saints, like when the girl steals her sister's necklace and feels bad about it (I feel so dark inside, I feel like I want to cry....) until she confesses, the boy who lies and gets chased around by scary men in trenchcoats singing "One lie leads to another", and the kids who make the pizza for the old man with his arm in a sling. Powerful stuff.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sugar and spice and everything nice

I got back last night from a girls' weekend with three of my best female friends from high school. We went to Cape Cod, stayed in Hyannis and took a day trip to Nantucket. Note to self: next time, shell out the extra cash and take the high speed ferry, otherwise you will spend more time on the ferry than on the island. Activities included napping in various locations, eating, shopping, and more napping. We didn't spot any Kennedys but did see Steve Forbes. I read The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho and thought it was a simple and very beautiful story. Now I need to figure out my Personal Legend, because unless it involves eating fried clams and sleeping a lot, I haven't achieved it yet. A good time was had by all, and it was nice change to come back relaxed instead of exhausted after a vacation.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Photo

They just don't take portraits like they used to. It's shame, you know, because nothing really captures someone's true essence like a head shot with a profile shot superimposed in the corner.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ugly footwear sweeping the nation

I hate these. Here's an aerial view. I don't care how comfortable they are. They are ugly.

They remind me of these:

I also hated jelly shoes. Okay, so maybe I only hated jellies because I really wanted a pair and everyone else had them and my mother wouldn't buy me them because she thought they were stupid. Just like she thought Cabbage Patch Kids were stupid and overpriced but in an attempt to placate me, bought me a homemade one, which I had to pretend to like but secretly knew the other kids would make fun of me for having a fake Cabbage Patch Kid. To sum things up, Mom was right, but the sight of rubbery footwear brings back unpleasant childhood memories.

My first craigslist experience

I have never purchased anything using eBay or craigslist due to a (probably irrational) fear that I will be hoodwinked, duped, have the wool pulled over my eyes, or any other synonym for ripped off. I am especially wary of buying tickets, because I've been scammed in the past. A few years ago, I paid $100 for a Jimmy Buffet ticket that turned out to be invalid. The scam works like this- order tickets online, claim to never have received said tickets, which causes them to be invalidated and replacements mailed, take the replacement tickets and proceed to event, sell the invalidated ticket to a scalper who will then resell it to an unsuspecting victim. The victim finds out the cold truth upon attempting to enter the venue, when the bar code is scanned, the ticket is confiscated and destroyed, and the victim is given a brief lecture from venue staff on the dangers of buying from scaplers. The victim proceeds back to the parking lot alone, sits down, and cries. Let us never speak of this incident again.

So today after work, I am buying two tickets to the White Stripes show at the Opera House. Having missed the boat when tickets went on sale, and rediscovering my love of Jack and Meg's musical genius (see previous post), I went on craigslist and found a guy selling a pair for face value. I decided to take the risk. I have his first name, phone number, and email address, and I am picking the tickets up from him in front of his office, so I'll know where he works. He seems legitimate, but I do find solace in the fact that if the tickets turn out to be phony, I can probably ruin his life. I think I'll restrain myself from telling him this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whatever happened to mercurochrome?

The other day I was talking to a friend I said something about mercurochrome, and he had never heard of it. "You know, a bright orange liquid that came in a little brown bottle and you dabbed it on cuts and stuff?" He had no idea what I was talking about. Growing up, my father was a big believer in mercurochrome. It was a staple in the family medicine cabinet, and I recall it being applied to many a scraped knee, but come to think of it, I haven't seen in around in years. Intrigued, I searched the internet and came up with the definition and the fact that it was banned by the FDA in the 1990s because the chemical formula contains mercury. There's even a website run by mercurochromophiles seeking to reverse the FDA ban. Due to the large number of amalgam fillings in my teeth, and exposure to mercurochrome throughout my childhood, I think I'm destined to go mad as a hatter someday.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Intelligent design is not science

Intelligent design has been all over the news lately, due to President Bush's comments that it should be taught alongside evolution in schools. Obviously, these statements have provoked the ire of the scientific community. Intelligent design does not directly oppose evolution, but theorizes that the complexity of life and nature are evidence of a guiding hand or unseen force and not the result of the process of natural selection, originally proposed by Charles Darwin. Is this possible? Yes. Is it science? Not at all. A philosophy or a religious belief, but perhaps, but not biology. There is no experimental or analytical evidence to support it. Evolution, on the other hand, is widely accepted by the scientific community, and is an essential component of a proper scientific education. Would any university be taken seriously if it taught Creationism and Intelligent Design in biology classes? Of course not. This article points out that evolution is taught matter-of-factly at religious institutions, like Notre Dame and Brigham Young. The earth is round, it rotates around the sun, and evolution is real. None of these facts mean that God doesn't exist. However, theories based upon faith, philosophies, and religious beliefs do not belong in the science classroom.

Music reviews

I tend to shop in binges, for example, ordering three CDs from when I originally intended to buy just one. They suckered me in with the "free shipping if you spend $25". So $37 dollars and a few days later, I am now the happy owner of three new CDs. The first is Get Behind Me Satan, by the White Stripes. Let it be known that I love The White Stripes. They make fun, feisty, and ferocious rock and roll music. They make me want to change my last name to White, dye my hair black, learn to sing and play an instrument, and join their band. Their latest album does not disappoint- so far, my favorite track is "My Doorbell", and I like "Little Ghost", which has a bluegrassy feel to it. The whole album is quality. The second CD is Beck's latest, Guero. I really like the song "Girl" and enjoyed most of the other tracks. If you like Beck, you'll like this album, if you don't, you won't be convinced. The third CD is Silent Alarm by Bloc Party, one of the new darlings of the indie rock scene. A sticker on the front of the album says "Bloc Party will be the band of 2005, no contest. As vital as The Clash in '77, as sinister as The Specials in '82." It's a good CD, but The Clash? Not quite. More like Franz Ferdinand meets Daft Punk. You can download a few songs for free from their website.

Reunion Report

My 10 year reunion wasn't fun exactly, but it wasn't terrible, either. Kim and I were both hit by a wave of sheer panic as we approached the locale, but we had already been spotted, so it was too late to turn back. It was definitely bizzare to be surrounded by people from high school again. Most people hadn't changed too much: a few fatties, one awful bleach blonde dye job, a couple of nerds proudly displaying their reduced nerdliness, one guy obviously suffering the after effects of a decade of drug use, another guy boasting about his business savvy, a couple of formerly plain girls looking gorgeous. A friend of mine came with her girlfriend, and I think she was a bit disappointed not to have caused more of a stir. This is a blue state, after all. Many people were married or engaged, the drama crowd all live in NYC now, and a surprising number of my classmates still live in Framingham with their parents. I did my best to avoid mundane conversations, the kind where you tell each other where you live, what you do, and with whom you keep in touch, but I still managed to get trapped a few times. Overall, most people seemed genuinely happy to see me, which was sort of a strange feeling. I kept hearing about how smart I was and how I was always such a good girl, until the cocktails kicked in and I got fed up with it and decided to tell people that I'm not that smart and I'm certainly not that good anymore. The second best part of the night was running into people whom I really liked in high school but hadn't seen since. The absolute best was eating blueberry pancakes at a diner with my best friend and her husband at 1AM, knowing that I wouldn't have to go to another one of these things for at least five more years.

Friday, August 12, 2005

New kid on the blog

Fellow Framingham native and ND grad Jon now has his own blog, Spaces & Sounds. So far, his posts are both interesting and insightful, much unlike my own, unless you find giant stink flowers interesting and insightful. Please forgive the awful pun in the title of this post.

For pet lovers

My friend Heidi, pet lover extraordinaire, just started her own online business selling luxury items for pets. Lola Lux Pet, check it out! I heard that Paris Hilton was one of her first customers.

Friday Photo

Here's the latest installment in the Friday Photo series, documenting prime examples of adolescent awkwardness. Although I'm digging the jelly bracelets and the cuffed acid-washed jean shorts, the best thing about this outfit is definitely the socks.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

FHS Class of 1995

My ten year high school reunion is this Saturday night, and I will be attending. Why? I don’t have any reason not to go- it’s nearby and I have nothing better to do. Also, I am very curious to see what happened to all of those people, most of whom I have not laid eyes on since our graduation day. I had an okay time in high school, as opposed to college, which I absolutely loved. In my early teens, I was the epitome of awkward: tall, skinny, with braces and the worst mullet this side of Appalachia (don’t worry, I’ll post a picture one of these Fridays). I listened to the Cure and my favorite movie was Heathers. Despite these facts, I was not tormented by my peers as much as one might have anticipated. I did well in classes, played sports, and had a group of close friends, many of whom I am still close with (although Kim gets bonus points for being the only one to agree to go to the reunion with me). I left high school and never looked back, going out of state for college and out of the country for a couple of years after college. I’ve been back in Boston for four years now, but have only bumped into a handful of Framingham Flyers, so it will be interesting and a little bit frightening to see them all in one place. But hey, it’s open bar, I’ve pretty much perfected the “Fake Interested” face, the one I use when people start talking about Price Anderhouse Cooper or wherever they work (Hey, do you hear me talking about bacterial gene regulation at social events? Nope! Why? Because I know that it’s boring to everyone else!), and yes, a tiny, vindictive part of me does hope that some of the mean popular girls got fat.

The Godmother

I'm going to be the godmother of my new niece, Nora Kathleen. First order of business? Form a powerful organized crime family.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Restaurant Week

For you lucky Bostonians, Restaurant Week is back, August 22-26, with some restaurants extending the dates an extra week. The idea is to encourage those of us who normally dine at TGIFriday's and the like to try out some of the finer establishments in and around the city by offering fixed-price menus at $20.05 for lunch and $30.05 for dinner. The price includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert, but not tax, tip, or beverages. The choices are limited, so if you are picky or have any food allergies, definitely check out the Restaurant Week menu before signing up. I may go for Rouge, Tremont 647, or Taranta.

Do you smell something?

The rare Titan Arum, also known as the Corpse Flower due to its potent rank odor (often compared to rotting flesh), is now in bloom at Smith College in western Massachusetts. I don't know about the rest of you, but I really want to smell that stanky stank flower.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

NBA schedule announced

The Boston Celtics kick off the season on Nov. 2 at home against the Knicks; even though I normally go to the home opener, I may skip this one and catch San Antonio the following week. Other teams I plan to see include: Philadelphia (AI is still my favorite player to watch), Miami (Antoine's new home and my pick for the '06 champs), Cleveland (to cheer LeBron), and the Lakers (to boo Kobe).

Rid yourself of pesky blisters

I decided to train for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20 and somehow coerced my friend and labmate Carolina into joining me. Training started last week and is going well so far, although the difficult weeks are yet to come. Last time I trained for a race, I developed terrible blisters (I still have scars on my heels), and was sidelined until I discovered the miracle cure/prevention- Bodyglide. Despite the kinky name and the deodorant-like appearance, it works like a charm. Just rub it on your feet before you put on your socks and shoes, and you are on your way to blister-free bliss. You won't even mind the strange looks or questions like "Are you rubbing deodorant on your feet, you weirdo?" It may have even replaced Dunkin Donuts iced coffee as my favorite product. Now that's saying something.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Movie Reviews

I watched two movies this weekend. I rented 21 grams and didn't like it at all- too choppy and too slow. Last night, I saw the new Bill Murray indie flick, Broken Flowers, at one of my favorite movie theaters. He plays an aging ladies man who discovers that he may have fathered a son and gets convinced by his neighbor, hilariously portrayed by Jeffrey Wright, to visit his old girlfriends to see if he can figure out which one is the mother of his child. I liked the movie a lot, good acting, interesting and believable characters, and lots of funny bits. I only have one complaint- dream sequences. I hate dream sequences. The sooner Hollywood ends its love affair with dream sequences, the better.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peace Corps policy change?

Peace Corps volunteers around the world have long had to overcome suspicions that Peace Corps was a front for CIA operations, and Peace Corps headquarters has always taken steps to distance the organization from the U.S. military. Before I left for Nicaragua, the information packet I received from the Peace Corps specifically forbid volunteers to wear camouflage or any clothing that said Army, Navy, etc., and told us not to use large army green duffel bags as luggage. So this legislation that permits army recruits to fulfill some of their military obligation by serving in the Peace Corps seems like a fairly drastic policy change, especially since the Peace Corps director Gaddi H. Vasquez didn't know anything about it until the provision had already been passed. I've got nothing against former members of the military serving in the Peace Corps, but something tells me that allowing active members to volunteer in the Peace Corps might impact the credibility of the organization in a negative way.

The Southie Beach Diet

Envious of that pasty, sunburned glow you've seen on the patrons of the South Boston beachfront, a.k.a. the Irish Riviera? Time to try the Southie Beach Diet. For liquids, only beer, iced coffee, Diet Coke, and an occasional glass of water are allowed. As for a source of carbohydrate, we recommend the potato, in all of its varied forms: sweet or regular, mashed, fried, chipped, or saladed. Preferred sources of protein include peanut butter, hot dogs, and fried clams. Fruits, vegetables, and sunscreen? Use sparingly.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Photo

Some of you may remember the ill-fated Awkward Years Photo Contest from a couple of years back. Well, the contest never got off the ground, but I did manage to amass a large collection of ridiculous photos. I've decided to post one every Friday, starting with this gem right here. I do recall the "tail" as a popular hair accessory for boys, circa 1988. But this may be the only example of the braided, frontal tail.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cats are like ninjas

For the past few months, I have been living with a cat for the first time in my life. His name is Sasha and he belongs to my roommate Maria. Based on my recent observations on feline behavior, I have discovered that, unlike pirates, cats and ninjas have a lot in common. Ninjas are silent. Ninjas lurk undetected. Sasha is also silent and tends to lurk at my feet, undetected until trod upon. Ninjas are deadly. Sasha has killed one small bird and one baby mouse. However, ninjas don't pee in gym bags. Update! Sasha strikes again.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Inauguration

I've finally decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon- better late than never, right? At best, it will be a forum for communicating with friends and family as well as a way to give you drones another entertaining site to click on while pretending to do work. At worst, it will be a painful exercise in attention-seeking behavior and computer ineptitude. So, welcome to my new blog and feel free to leave comments.