Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Here's a scare for all of you who spent time in South Bend:

The grocery store where it's Halloween every day, at least according to the font. Scaaaaary Martin's, scaaaaaary Martin's.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

List #11...Things I Found In My Apartment This Morning

  1. pitchfork
  2. blonde wig
  3. umbrella
  4. scarf
  5. paintbrush
  6. Eppendorf tubes

Halloween Party Report

Last night, Maria and I threw a Halloween party, and if parties can be judged by the relative messiness of the apartment the next morning (we assessed the situation and determined that the best option would be to move out), then this one was a huge success. The costumes were fabulous- I'll post some pictures later. Some of my favorites included The Incredibles, a mailman, substitute teacher, MBTA worker, Lara Croft, the girl from The Ring, tequila bottle, Rainbow Brite, and all sorts of pimps and hos. MJ did a great job with the decorations; the gruesome scene in the bathroom was a crowd pleaser. In addition to the costumes, some party highlights were the Latin dance party in the kitchen, the "J.R. Smells" birthday cake, and watching the random hookups unfold (Mailman with Yankees player, etc..). Don't get any wise ideas, though, this little Viking went to bed alone.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday Photo

"We, the Optimists, have presented this award with the hope that one day, this girl will no longer be quite so awkward. We're very optimistic about her chances. In fact, her future's so bright, she's gotta wear abnormally large eyeglasses."

p.s. Happy birthday, Big Al!

Technical difficulties

Dammit! Blogger won't let me upload photos and I have a fantastic picture to post today for the Friday Photo. Check back later. In the meantime, please put yourself on my map, it would make me oh so happy.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet, we hardly knew ya

Harriet Miers withdraws as a Supreme Court nominee. Eyeliner sales plummet nationwide.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Halloween costumes

Past costumes:
Witch, nerd, punk rocker, dinosaur, playing card, Casper the Friendly Ghost, hobo, Cutter (from Breaking Away), Beatrix Kiddo, one half of a two-person horse, slutty vampire.

Best costume (mine): The front half of the horse- I had a blast. Ern, however, played the rear half of the horse, and her experience was not nearly as enjoyable.

Worst costume (mine): Last year, I went as Beatrix Kiddo, Uma Thurman's character from Kill Bill. I ordered a yellow jumpsuit online, and that shit was tight! Not tight as in "cool", tight as in "oh my goodness, this is borderline obscene, I think you can see my ovaries." Since I had already spent the money, I wore it anyways, despite the fact that I ended up looking more like Lance Armstrong than Uma Thurman. After the party, I slipped on some wet leaves and bit it big time, ripping the costume and getting blood all over it. So, if I wear it again, I can either be Uma Thurman after the fight scene, or Lance Armstrong after a bike wreck.

Best costume (someone else's): This guy's website describes a bunch of really spectacular costumes he made. I liked Jenga and California the best.

Present costume: I will not divulge my own costume until Saturday (MJ and I are throwing a party, so I don't want to ruin the surprise). Hint: it involves battle axes and pillaging.

Worst idea for a costume: The deposition for the lawsuit I'm in (long story involving a car accident and me being sued for $72,000) is next Monday, October 31. Spooky. Maria thinks that I should go in costume, and suggested I go as a Drunk Driver. I'm thinking more along the lines of Sexy Cop.

Where are you?

Hey, readers, put yourself on the map! The Divine Comedy of Errors map from Frappr. Cool, huh? I stole the idea from Brigita.

List #10....Things I Think Are Funny

  1. Mullets
  2. People falling
  3. Typos (especially Whole Word Typos, like when the typo actually causes the formation of a different and incorrect word) Ahhh...I love a good typo.
  4. When someone mispronounces something- for example, when Home Depot opened in Framingahm it had a sign in front of it that said Welcome Home Depot and my friend Kevin read it out loud as "Welcome home, Depot!" This happened like 10 years ago and I still think it's hilarious.
  5. Kurt Vonnegut novels
  6. Nerdy science jokes. I recently saw a t-shirt that said "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."
  7. I told Maria that if I ever get married, right at the part of the ceremony when the groom kisses the bride, and everyone is all happy and "Aren't weddings beautiful?", I want her to yell "GET A ROOM!" in an obnoxious voice. I think that would be extremely funny.
  8. I think if I ever saw someone in a Chinese restaurant go up to the buffet, stick their face in the lo mein, and start chowing down as if it were a food trough, that would be the funniest thing I ever saw.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Creepy singing racist twins

This is the creepiest story I've read in a long time. Ew, just look at them, little bleach blonde Aryan Children of the Corn slut princesses. Don't they look slutty to you? Even though they're only thirteen? It must be the bleach job. Or the blatant racism, which tends to make people look trashy. I hope something bad happens to them.
Addendum: Okay, I suppose I shouldn't wish them ill but instead hope that something good happens to them, like someone un-brainwashes them, or at the very least gives them a copy of American History X to watch.

Mysterious stranger

A couple of days ago, I received an email from a girl who got my name and email address off the departmental website. She's considering applying to the graduate program that I'm in and wants to talk to a student to get the inside scoop, and I think she probably chose me because my boss is a fairly big name (in the world of bacterial toxins, at least), and she mentioned him in the email. I thought the it was a little bit weird to get a email from a stranger who wants to meet you and discuss your graduate school experience, but not weird enough to not agree to it, so we're meeting up for coffee after work today. Now, if my life were a romantic comedy, she would be a guy, and we'd get off to a bad start, like I'd spill my coffee on him and he'd get mad and act rude until he realized that I was the person he was meeting, and we'd hate each other for a while but later we'd discover that what we thought was mutual dislike was, in fact, mutual attraction. If my life were a British mystery novel, she would be the illegitimate daughter of my boss who is plotting to avenge his abandonment of her mother by poisoning him using...bacterial toxins! However, my life is neither of these things, so she's probably just a girl who wants to find out if she should apply to my program or not.

Where's Pat?

My friend Pat Ryan, a.k.a Pat My Ryan, quit his job and is traveling around the world. Excuse me for a moment while I drool with envy....Anyways, he's started a blog in which to track his travels. Here's the link.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hurricane names

During this stormy season, all of the 2005 names have already been used, so the most recent storm is named Alpha. I wondered why they skipped from Wilma straight to Alpha. What about Xavier, Yolanda, and Zachary? There are plenty of names that begin with X,Y, and Z. Show some creativity, hurricane namers. However, there seems to be a strict format that dictates the naming of storms, explained on this website. No Hurricane Eileens anytime soon.

Straaiiight from the heart

I don't know if this radio commercial is local or national, so some of you may be spared from its atrociousness, but that Belden Jewlers commercial is, like, the worst ever. It features some Luther Vandross sound-alike singing "I love her so, blah blah blah, straaaaaaaight from the heart" and it is omnipresent, played all the time on all the of radio stations I listen to. Most of these are alternative to hard rock stations (WFNX, WAAF, WBCN), whose listeners I assume simultaneously cringe when they hear the Luther-like wailing and attempt to change the station, rather than contemplate buying an expensive piece of jewelry for a loved one. Belden's advertising department needs to get their market research on and stick to running that commercial during David Alan Boucher's Bedtime Magic.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Movie and book reviews

Last night, I rented Gosford Park, a movie about a week long pheasant shooting party at an upperclass country home in England, set in 1932. The movie follows two plot lines, that of the elite, and that of their servants, and emphasizes the dichotomy between the two classes. It gets a bit Agatha Christie when the host of the party turns up dead, stabbed in the chest after being poisoned. I won't spoil it by telling you who did it. I liked it, even though it dragged a bit in the middle, and I had trouble keeping track of all of the characters (those white folk all look alike). Clive Owen is in it, and in spite of him playing such a skeeve in Closer (or perhaps because of it), I think he's right sexy.

I finished two books this week. The first was Rosario Tijeras, a novel by the Colombian author Jorge Franco Ramos. The story centers around three young people caught up in the money and violence of the drug-fueled world of Medellin, Colombia during the 1980s. Rosario Tijeras is a beautiful girl from a poor neighborhood, whose lifestyle is financed by "los duros de los duros," the dangerous leaders of the drug cartels. The story is narrated by her boyfriend's best friend, who, like the boyfriend, gets drawn in to Rosario's dangerous world because of his attraction to her. It's the first book I've read in Spanish, and it was much easier for me to understand than I thought it would be, probably because Colombian Spanish is very similar to the Nicaraguan Spanish I learned. I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to seeing the movie if/when it comes to the Boston area.

The second book I read was Shopgirl, by Steve Martin. Yes, that Steve Martin. The main character is a girl named Mirabelle who works at the glove counter at a department store in Los Angeles, and begins a relationship with a rich, older businessman. When I found out it was written by Steve Martin the actor/comedian and not some other Steve Martin, I expected it to be lighthearted and goofy, and it wasn't. It wasn't bad, but in general, I prefer books where I can relate to the characters (because I'm egocentric like that), and in this book, none of the main characters had anything remotely in common with me. The main character is a beautiful, shy, lonely artist who suffers from depression, and she's kind of boring to read about. At least Rosario Tijeras went around killing people and breaking hearts. Some of the details were a bit off, like her financial trouble and the fact that she lives alone in a one bedroom apartment that costs her $500 a month. Obviously, Mr. Martin in a little out-of-touch with rental prices, because I'm sure even the crappiest of crap one bedroom apartment in L.A. costs way more than $500 a month. I know it's a picky complaint, but aren't editors supposed to catch those sort of errors? Shopgirl is being made into a movie as well, and guess who's playing the rich, older businessman? Bingo.

20 miles

Whew. This morning, I did my 20 mile training run, the longest distance I'll run before the actual marathon. Carolina and I met at Copley and ran along Route 30 all the way to my parents' house in Framingham. It was rough, but we made it, and although my legs are quite stiff right now (and will likely be even more so tomorrow), I am pleased with our performance. The route was nice- I plotted the exact mileage using this handy pedometer link from Google maps. Along the way, we saw a some nice fall foliage, a lot of rich people's house, several garage sales, and a strangely high number of single gloves. Socks, I could understand, but who loses just one glove? (I mean, besides O.J.). Apparently, a lot of people do. We also saw my father drive by, but he didn't see us, which might have been a good thing, because had he slowed down I might have been tempted to try to hitch a ride.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Photo

Busy, but never too busy for the Friday Photo. I decided to post this one despite the finger in the corner of the photo, just so everyone can witness the magnificent splendor of the Pink Fanny Pack.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I am a big fan of Larry Bird fan. However, not quite as big a fan as this guy.

Busy bee

I'm slammed at school/work right now. I have mostly recovered from the presentation debacle but don't have much time for blogging. Will catch up soon.

A new type of boundary

Check out the survey at CommonCensus, which is being used to create a map that breaks down the United States into spheres of influence, centered around major cities instead of traditional state boundaries. Boston's area is pretty huge, encompassing almost all of New England (except for that Yankee territory down in southern Connecticut), but not nearly the size of the western regions, like the one surrounding Denver. The map did sort of remind me of this one that floated around the internerd after the last election. I got the CommonCensus link courtesy of Bostonist.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Re: Iceland. I'm not going.

I decided not to go- thanks for all of the advice, the bikini car wash certainly was a creative idea. The money was the main issue, and the bad timing- I'm doing the Philadelphia marathon on Nov. 20 and should be focused on that and not on playing in a soccer tournament (read: getting wasted and hooking up with hot Icelandic men) in Reykjavik. I'll have to save Iceland for another time, when I'd be able to do more than soccer playing and nightclubbing. So cheers to me for making the boring and responsible decision for once in my life.

Aside from that, today was awful. I had to give a presentation to my lab group and I bombed so badly that I ended up crying in the work bathroom afterwards. I am the worst presentation giver EVER . I need to take a class in public speaking or something. Either that or become a mime, then I could just act out all of my data instead of having to explain it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Should I stay or should I go (to Iceland)?

I just got a phone call from my friend Colleen, who presented me with an interesting opportunity. She and I have played in a couple of soccer tournaments with Soccer Resort and have become friendly with the director, Niall. Niall just told Colleen that they were short female payers for an upcoming tournament in Iceland, so if she and I wanted to go, we'd get a discounted rate of $400 that included the airfare, hotel, and tournament fee. So, $400 for a trip to Iceland? I'm tempted. The trip's November 3-6 and I have to have an answer by tomorrow night. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros: It's a chance to go to Iceland at great price with fun people and play soccer. And I've heard that Icelanders are very attractive and promiscuous. Sweet.

Cons: I'm broke. BROKE broke. And I'm trying to save up for a trip to Australia. And I'm already going to Philadelphia and San Diego during the month of November.

So, what should I do? Leave a comment with your advice.

Time to pull out those warm clothes

I mark the change of seasons in two ways:
1. Every fall, after several days of cool weather, I order my first hot coffee of the season. Once the switch has been made, there's no going back to iced until springtime, not even if it gets warm for a day or two in late October. I switched to hot coffee this past Saturday, after that long run in the pouring rain.
2. Since I have limited drawer space, clothing that isn't currently used gets packed away and put into storage. Tonight, I packed away the summer tank tops and skirts and pulled out the sweaters and corduroy. As a tribute, I made a Stortrooper of myself (inspired by Maria and Brigita) dressed in fall clothes.

Raves: LaDainian Tomlinson

LDT is my favorite non-Patriot in the NFL. In addition to being a kick-ass running back, he seems like a genuinely nice guy. I watched an interview with him during a post-game press conference a couple of years ago, and one of the reporters started asking him about a group of kids he handed the ball to after scoring a touchdown. LDT tried to downplay it, saying "Oh, they're just some kids I know." but the reporters kept on pressing him until he told them the kids are part of a charity organization he runs, a youth football league for inner-city kids, and he gives a big group of them tickets to home games and takes them out for pizza afterwards. I know a lot of athletes do volunteer work, but what struck me was how humble and private LDT was about it. Eri met him at the pet resort she works at in San Diego (he boards his dogs there) and said he was really friendly to all of the staff. During the whole Eli Manning draft debacle, I thought Eli was a fool for passing up a chance to play for San Diego- doesn't everyone know that a good running back is a quarterback's best friend? Yesterday, LDT ran, caught, and threw touchdowns in the Chargers' win over the Raiders. Good for him.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Weekend Update

Everyone who cared about the USC vs. ND game watched it and knows what happened, so let us speak of it never again. So aside from You-Know-What, the weekend has been a good one. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Carolina and I did our 16 mile training run Saturday morning in the pouring rain. It has been raining continuously for over a week here in Boston, and a lot of the roads were flooded, so we had to trod through ankle-deep water a couple of times. Fifteen minutes into the run, I was as equally drenched as I would have been had I decided to forego the run and jump directly into the Charles River. The rain must have been motivational; we ran at a significantly faster pace than normal.
  • I went to the 30th birthday party of a friend and soccer teammate, who just so happens to be from Spain and is married to another friend, teammate, and Spaniard. They always serve delicious tapas at their parties, and this one did not disappoint. Great food, fun people, and lots of booze are key ingredients to a good party.
  • I bought a pair of designer jeans. And by "designer", I mean "not from Old Navy". I tried on about 15 pairs until I found the perfect fit- long enough (I need a 34 inseam), and tight in the butt but not the waist, thus avoiding the dreaded muffin top syndrome. They were from Vertigo Jeans, which I must admit I've never heard of and could well be some teenybopper brand like Mudd, but they were originally priced $180, and I got them for $25 at TJ Maxx. The max for the minumum, indeed.
  • I had a good laugh at the expense of Carlos and Pilar's television, which is so old that it has those big dials that turn and click to set a station, one for UHF and one for VHF. We had a black and white version when I was a kid, but I haven't seen one in operation in years. At least not in the United States.
  • The sun came out! Finally! I had trouble recognizing it at first. Another week of rain and I may have turned into one of those albino, cave-dwelling, eyeless salamanders .
  • Maria has finally started posting on her blog.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Photo

The two on the left are a bit young to be blamed for their stylistic problems, but the one on the right is definitely in the prime of her awkward years. Great androgynous haircut, and I especially like the look of the boxer shorts peeking out from underneath a pair of soccer shorts. Ugly white sneakers must have standard issue from 1985 through 1991 or so, because they've shown up in almost every Friday Photo.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Jesus roots for Notre Dame


List #9...Things I Want To Do Before I Die

This list used to be entitled Things I Want To Do Before Turn 30, but I had to amend it, seeing as I only have a couple of years left and I've only checked off one item so far. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
  2. Run a marathon
  3. Own a Mini Cooper
  4. Write a novel
  5. Fall in love
  6. Drive all of Route 66

The one I've checked off? Marathon. San Diego, 2003. I haven't made any progress on the list since then, but recently, an unexpected opportunity of the driving Route 66 has arisen. I'll keep you posted when I know for sure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Nomahhhh to the rescue

Nomar Garciaparra and his uncle jumped into Boston Harbor to save two women. For real. Here's the best part of the story, which was told by Normar's uncle to the Boston Herald:

One woman had a large lump on her head and appeared to be unconscious, he
said. When she came to, the first thing she said was: "Are you Nomar?" Victor
Garciaparra said.

Then Normar replied "Thanks, beautiful." (Okay, I made that last part up.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A reason to hate Matt Leinart

He hangs out with the Mannings. I read it on his blog. I hate those goddamn Mannings and now I hate him, too. The ND vs. USC game this Saturday is huge for both teams. If USC wins, it validates their #1 ranking, if ND wins, it proves once and for all that they are again a major player in college football.
Hey, any guys looking for a creative way to score a ticket to the game? Check this out.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Weekend Update

Despite the crappy weather and the bee sting, I managed to have a fun weekend. A college friend (Jankowitz) was in town for a neurosurgery conference, so we went out boozing with some friends on Saturday night. Yes, that's right, neurosurgery, giving us ample opportunity to make jokes like "What, you think you're a brain surgeon or something?" One of the highlights of the night was discovering Pumpkin Ale by the Cambridge Brewing Company. It was delish, pumpkiny but not too sweet. Sunday night we hit the town again to celebrate a friend's birthday. The highlight of that night was when a guy who was obviously on a date gave the bartender a note to give to Maria with his name, phone number, and email address on it. Of course, we all busted up laughing at the note passing method and the audacity of him trying to pick up girls while he was on a date.

Battle of the reptiles

This story about a python in the Everglades bursting after trying to swallow an alligator is disgustingly fascinating. Pythons are not native to the Everglades, but apparently people who buy them as pets have been ditching them in the swamps when they realize a giant carnivorous predatory snake isn't the easiest pet to care for. Creepy.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Crazy Finnish fashion

The makers of this website named Hel Looks have a slightly unusual hobby: photographing and interviewing people in Helsinki. The results are often unintentionally humorous.

One not-so-fun run

Some of you already know that my friend Carolina and I are training for the Philadelphia marathon. We're using a fairly straightforward training program, with 3-4 short runs during the week, and one long run each weekend, and the distances increase slightly each week. So far, I've been fairly motivated, but yesterday I had to practically drag myself out of bed to get up and run. I was tired from having stayed up late to watch a movie about Heidi Fleiss, and it was windy and raining. We ran a loop along the Charles River, got soaked, and no matter what direction we were going, we were running Bob Seger style (against the wind). My discomfort reached a new level when I was stung by a bee, for the first time in my life. Right on the meaty part of my calf. It hurt like a biatch. It was a yellowjacket, not one of those round fuzzy bumblebees, who I imagine are quite friendly and would never do something like sting a miserable, drenched jogger.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Claymation nation

Am I the only person who doesn't like Wallace and Gromit? The new movie is getting rave reviews. For me, there's only one Claymation film worth watching, and it stars a misfit elf.

Book review: The Interpreter of Maladies

I just finished The Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. The author is of Indian descent, born in England and raised in New England. She spent several years in Boston getting a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies (I assume that means studying the Renaissance but I really have no clue. Let's move on.). Writers are often told "Write what you know" and Lahiri certainly seems to have heeded that advice: all of the stories involve at least one Indian character, and many of them are set in the Boston area. In this case, the formula works wonderfully. Lahiri crafts interesting characters and presents little slices of their lives to readers. I hadn't read a short stories in a long time, and I liked the fact that I could polish off a story on my bus ride to work in the morning. I finished the last one this morning and now I'm sad that there aren't any more to read on my way home today.

Friday Photo

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the awkwardest of all?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fore! isn't just for Huey Lewis anymore

Michelle Wie, the 15-year old golf star from Hawaii, has announced her decision to turn professional. Normally I consider golf too boring to watch on TV, but the idea of seeing a 15-year old girl kicking A against a bunch of professional males on the golf course is pretty awesome.

The 400 Richest Americans

Forbes recently released its list of the 400 richest Americans, with Bill Gates coming in at #1. I scanned through the list looking at the Source category, curious as to how all of these people amassed their vast fortunes. Most of the sources of income listed were either well-known companies such as Wal-Mart and Google, or things like investments or real estate. That is, until I hit #93. Source: Potatoes, microchips. What?!? Who makes a billion dollars from potatoes? This guy.

Supplier of more than half of McDonald's french fries gets richer as we get
rounder. Eighth-grade dropout left home after quarrel with dad. Worked on farm
with spuds and hogs; branched into processing potatoes, other vegetables. Today
produces more than 2 billion pounds of french fries a year. Reinvested potato
proceeds into equities: owns big stakes in Micron Technology, Remington Oil.

Fittingly, he lives in Boise, Idaho. You go, John Richard Simplot.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Lookie! Muppet stamps! Jim Henson and the Muppets commemorative stamps are now for sale.
News courtesy of 13DFM.

28 Years Later

Happy birthday to me!

Monday, October 03, 2005

File under: nerd alert

The Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren, two Australian scientists who proved that ulcers are caused by bacterium H. pylori and not stress or a poor diet as had previously been believed. Their research methods were pretty hardcore:

In 1985, for example, Marshall underwent gastric biopsy to prove he didn't
carry the bacterium, then deliberately infected himself to show that it caused acute
gastric illness. In a paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia he
described developing a mild illness over a course of 14 days, which included
histologically proven gastritis.


Weekend Update

I went to Harpoonfest on Friday night, which was a blast, but my theory that they put something in the beers (other than the obvious EtOH) remains plausible. Either that, or I've developed the ability to teleport, seeing as how I somehow managed to jump from Murphy's Law directly to the futon in my living room. The good time on Friday night was paid for in full by the Worst Hangover Ever on Saturday. I won't go into the details, but I spent the day lying on various couches, watching various sports games, and looking a lot like Val Kilmer in Tombstone. Sunday was much more productive: I went on a 12 mile run, grocery shopped, worked in the lab, and went out for an early birthday dinner with my parents and Maria.