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

Concert Reviews

During these busy couple of days, between Halloween parties, depositions, and work, I managed to attend two concerts. On Sunday night, I saw Bruce Springsteen with my sister Kerry at the TD Banknorth Garden. On this tour, the Boss is playing solo and acoustic, featuring songs from his Devils & Dust album. He performed a couple of old favorites, but mostly stuck to the bluesy, folksy stuff from his solo career, and entertained the audience with anecdotes about his childhood and career as a rock musician. In this setting, it's easy to see why Bruce was once tagged "the new Bob Dylan". Even though he must be in his mid-fifties by now, the Boss still looks great, and can certainly captivate a whole arena, even without the E Street Band behind him.

And now for something completely different....

Last night, I went to the Dresden Dolls show at Avalon, and punk cabaret rules on Halloween. The crowd was freaky, and MJ and I blended in; she went as a wicked queen and I was a zombie flapper. Jon and Heather also went goth for the occasion. There were several acts throughout the evening, including three opening bands, a choreographed zombie dance routine, and some scary ballet dancers. One of the opening bands, Devotchka, were really good- they were dressed like a skeleton mariachi band and played fun, crazy music with a whole range of instruments, including a tuba. Unfortunately, I am suffering a nasty cold, and I only got to hear a few songs by the Dresden Dolls before I headed home to bed. For a full review, check out Jon's excellent write-up of the show.

Halloween photos

are starting to come in. Here's one of Nikki and me. Jon has linked to a bunch he took; you may have to log in to Snapfish to see them. More to come once Maria downloads the hundred or two she took.

My niece Nora is too young to attend rowdy parties, but she definitely would have won an award for Cutest Costume: