Thursday, September 28, 2006

Somewhere, Konrad Lorenz is smiling

It's been a while since the last good interspecies friendship popped up. Here's an article about a biker who raised a gosling. Apparently, the growing goose imprinted on him, and now flies side-by-side with the Harley. Here's the video.

Restaurant Review: Addis Red Sea

Last night, Caro, Jorg, Erik, Jose and I had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant in the South End, Addis Red Sea. I had never tried Ethiopian food before, so I didn't know what to expect. Walking down the stairs into the restaurant felt like entering a different realm, like we had suddenly stumbled into Genie's bottle. The dimly lit room was filled with African art and furniture. We sat down at our small wicker table, called a mesob. The menu was complimentary, announcing that people who dine at Addis are "intellectually, sexually, and gastronomically adventurous." (Okay, it didn't say sexually.) Ethiopian dishes are served on a large platter of spongy bread, and diners use smaller pieces of bread, approximately the size and texture of washcloths, to scoop up bites of food. It's a communal dining experience, so if you're one of those people who get freaked out by food sharing, I wouldn't recommend it. Ditto for germphobes, because you eat with your hands. I sampled a lamb dish, two beef dishes, and a vegetarian lentil entree. All were tasty. The food reminded me Indian food, but much milder. I also tried an Ethiopian beer, Harar, which I liked. Still haven't met a beer I didn't like....
Overall, the food wasn't that exceptional, but it was a fun and unique experience and reasonably priced. I'll definitely go back.

Three Things I Hate

1. When you wake up feeling really tired, and then you think "Sweet! It's Saturday. I can go back to bed!" In the next instant, your joy is crushed because you realize that it is Thursday.

2. When you make a lunch but forget it on the kitchen counter. I HATE that.

3. When you accidentally throw something away, and you have to dig through the trash to get it. Worse, when someone walks by and sees you digging through the trash. Worst, when it's a biohazardous waste bin you're digging through.

It's not shaping up to be a good morning, folks.

Bonus Thing I Hate: People who screw up pedestrian traffic. For example, one of the buildings at the Medical Center gets a lot of traffic through the front door. Constant streams of people flowing in and out. It's a relatively small double door, and everything runs smoothly until some lazy idiot coming out of the building walks out the door to their left instead of opening the door to their right. Then, the people entering the building either have to stop short, or swerve and go in the left side, and that screws up the other people trying to exit. Mayhem, I tell you. Who are these stupid motherfuckers? Hey, in America, WE STAY TO THE RIGHT.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I never thought I'd say this, but

I feel really bad for T.O. I hope he takes the rest of the season off and gets some help. Swallowing 35 prescription painkiller pills isn't a stunt for attention, it's the act of a clinically depressed person.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Oh, the humanity

The Hood blimp, oft seen circling the skies above Fenway Park, has crashed. I was going to make some joke about either it sinking like the Sox this season, but then I started thinking about a pun instead, like "Don't laugh over a crashed Hood blimp" instead of "Don't cry over spilled milk," but that seemed even lamer than my Red Sox joke, especially if people don't know that Hood is a milk company. Is it nationwide? I have no idea. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten candy corn all afternoon. I'm starting to feel giddy.


via Universal Hub

I'm SO going to watch this

The Coreys: Return of the Lost Boys , a new A&E reality show, will follow two stars of the 80s, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. Last I heard of Corey Haim, he was selling his hair and teeth on Ebay. Sad.

tip via Phil

Monday, September 25, 2006

Nerd Alert!

Question: Am I a big enough nerd to go to this?
Answer: Yes, assuredly.

Weekend Report

I spent the weekend in Holland, Michigan for Big Al and Dan's wedding. As expected, it was a lot of fun. I'm still too worn out of write a long post about it, but here is a synopsis: Caught up with lots of college friends, stayed up too late and drank too much, made many inappropriate jokes (not the least of which involved me putting two boob-shaped butter dish covers in my dress during the reception), explored the greater Grand Rapids area (very midwestern but much more affluent than I had expected), danced to a bluegrass band, tripped on a ledge and sliced three of my toes open, talked a bit of trash to Dan's friends about Michigan State (hey, they started it), tasted wine at a vineyard, played a game called cornhole (it's a bean bag toss that is apparently all the rage in the midwest), partied with Allison's large and rowdy family, and had a great time celebrating the marriage of two wonderful friends.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Concert Review: The English Beat

Last night, I saw the English Beat play at the Middle East. It was such a blast! I went with my science friends, and we had dinner at the Middle East before the show. While enjoying some hummus and pumpkin kibby (I kept telling everyone that it was made out of kitten), I proposed that we drink a ton of beer during dinner because then we'd spend less money at the show. When will I learn? That plan NEVER works. And I proved it again last night. Anyways, the crowd was an eclectic mix of aging hipsters from back in the day, along with the current teenybopper set. We spotted some fine punk hairdos and quite a few guys dressed in black, white, and suspenders. Westbound Train, a ska band that reminded me of Mighty Mighty Bosstones (because every ska band from Boston reminds me of the MMB), opened the show, and I felt like I was transported back to 1996. When the English Beat took the stage, we went even further back in time. They looked and sounded great- singer Dave Wakeling has certainly aged well. The show was very high energy, and halfway through the set Jose and I decided to push our way through the dancing crowd to get up front near the stage. Towards the end of the show, they played Tenderness (Clueless soundtrack, anyone?), Mirror in the Bathroom (I think that one's on the Grosse Point Blank soundtrack), and my personal favorite- Save it For Later. By that point, I was a drunken, sweaty mess, but I was having so much fun I didn't care.

I'm headed to Michigan tonight for Big Al's wedding, so no more posting until Monday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Harpoon is my friend

I have the pleasure of living about half a mile away from the Harpoon Brewery, which makes for a convenient stumble home after their biannual beerfest, unless, of course, you get stopped by the cops, but that's a story for another day. A couple of years ago, I signed up on their website to be a Friend of Harpoon, and I'd recommend it to my fellow Bostonians, because you actually get pretty cool stuff out of it and not just spam emails. For example, last night, I went to a free tasting of their Octoberfest brew with MJ. We also sampled their Ale, IPA, UFO, and Munich Dark. I liked the Octoberfest and the UFO the best, and something about drinking it at the brewery made it seem fresher. So this post has no major point, except to reiterate the well-known fact that I like beer, I really like Harpoon beer, and I absolutely adore free beer.

After the beers, I watched Inside Man, a Spike Lee joint about a bank heist in New York City. Clive Owen plays the mastermind behind the caper, in which the hostages are dressed in jumpsuits and masks that make them impossible to distinguish from the robbers. Denzel Washington is the detective in charge of negotiations and the subsequent investigation. It soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary bank hold-up. The owner of the bank, played by Christopher Plummer, is hiding a secret within a safety deposit box, and he hires Jodie Foster to protect his interests. Foster's character is somewhat of a white collar mercenary; she holds enormous power over the rich and famous of NYC and offers her services to the highest bidder. I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that I enjoyed the film, mostly due to the impressive cast. Spike Lee does a great job of incorporating all of the archetypal New Yorkers into the plot, from Rabbis to immigrants to construction workers, without it seeming forced or contrived, but the three stars (Washington, Owen, and Foster) carry the film.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Guess what today is? International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Even is celebrating, with a pirate lingo quiz.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why dogs make the best pets

Cats are fine and all, but dogs provide comfort to sick children.

Plus, they have the best Halloween costumes:

Those pugs are so cute I can't even take it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekend Report

Friday- Went out to the Ground Round in Roxbury for drinks after work. A tad sketchy, but hey, pickings are slim around the Boston Medical Center. After that, I headed home and ate dinner with my roommate Ern. Then we drank two bottles of wine and gigantic rum drinks for dessert.

Woke up with a hangover, despite the fact that I didn't even leave the apartment after dinner. I recovered enough to go for a nice run on the beach. Have I ever mentioned how much I love living in Southie? I live six blocks from the beach. It's not exactly the Caribbean, but I'll take what I can get, especially on a beautiful autumn morning. Went to the lab for a bit, then Caro and I toured around the South End Open Studios for a bit, where I came to the realization that I am utterly and completely bourgeois. I couldn't look at a painting without immediately thinking "Wow, look how expensive it is! That's crazy!" After that, I watched a certain college football game that needs not be mentioned, then I went over Caro's for a dinner party (she posted photos).

Played soccer, ate fried chicken and drank rum drinks with Ern at Bob's Southern Bistro, and now I'm at the lab setting up some experiments for the week.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Five

1. What's your favorite line from a movie, and why?
I don't have a favorite line, but I do have two favorite monologues.
#1 Mikey in Goonies: "Don't you realize? The next time you see sky, it'll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it'll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what's right for them. Because it's their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here."
#2 Bluto in Animal House: "Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"

Both inspiring stuff.

2. Who's your favorite villain from a movie, and why?
Davie Bowie in Labyrinth. Um, because he's AWESOME.

3. Name one movie everyone else loves that you hate.
The Big Lebowski. Sorry, everyone, I just didn't get it. I honestly think that most people who claim to like it are just pretending because they think it's supposed to be cool.

4. Name one movie everyone else hates that you love. This movie got bad reviews but I liked it. I can't really think of anything else right now.

5. What's your favorite Pixar film, and why?
Finding Nemo. Because of the cute fishies.

Massachusetts elections next Tuesday

Hey Massholes, trying to decide who to vote for in the upcoming election? This year's biggest race is for Governor. Here are a couple of useful links for information- has user-friendly info on where the candidates stand on several important issues, and here's a more extensive, but more cumbersome issues website.

DCoE is endorsing Deval Patrick. I also like Gabrieli, and Reilly scores points for being the only candidate whose children attended public schools. However, Patrick's stance on several campaign issues is closest to mine. He's pro Cape Cod wind farm, pro stem cell research, pro gay marriage, and he's the only candidate who addresses the recent increase in gang-related gun violence in the city of Boston. Plus, I like how he doesn't dangle the tax rollback out to the voters. All of the other candidates are preaching rolling back the income tax from 5.3% to 5%, as if that 0.3% is the answer to everyone's problems. That 0.3% translates to about $240 for a family of four earning $100,000, which means it would probably only save me about $70 a year. Big fuckin' whoop. I'd rather have more affordable housing, a higher paying job, better health insurance, a safer community, improved public transportation, or a myriad of other things than $70 extra bucks in my pocket.

One last thing- if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about your government.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


This mash-up made me laugh.

via Boing Boing

Whitney: "This marriage is wack"

Yes, the rumors are true- Whitney Houston has filed for divorce from husband Bobby Brown. Let's hope she stays away from the drugs and gets her career back, if she hasn't already ruined her once-amazing voice. Remember this? Best Anthem Ever.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees

I just finished The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. The heroine, 14 year old Lily Owens, is miserable: she endures cruel punishments from her father for the slightest infraction, she wallows in the guilt over the fact that she accidentally killed her mother in a gun accident when she was four years old, and she doesn't have any friends aside from her nanny, Rosaleen. The story takes place in 1964 racially-divided South Carolina, and sets into motion when Lily accompanies Rosaleen (who is black) on a trip into town to register to vote. They get into an altercation with three white men that results in their arrest, and Lily and Rosaleen run away together, one from the law and one from her father. They blindly head to Tiburon, South Carolina, because the town's name is written on the back of a picture owned by Lily's mother. In Tiburon, they wind up at the house of the Boatwright sisters, three black women who run a beekeeping and honey business (hence the title). The sisters take them in without asking any questions, and Lily slowly comes to grips with her past and finds a new future for herself.
So, yes, it's a bit cheesy, a tad predictable, and seems like a shoe-in for Oprah's Book Club, but damn it, I still liked it and found it hard to put down.
Looks like it's going to be made into a movie, starring You-Know-Who as Lily.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Years Later

I know I'm a day late (and a dollar short), but I did want to acknowledge the five year anniversary of 9/11. I agree that it was the defining event of our generation, in that "Where were you when JFK was shot?" kind of way.

On September 11, 2001, I was in El Regadi­o, Nicaragua. I listening to the radio and my ears perked up when I heard "all airports in the United States are currently closed." Well, it was in Spanish, so I really heard "todos los aeropuertos en los Estados Unidos estan cerrados." I thought something like "Why the fuck would all of theairportss be closed? This doesn't sound good." and turned on the TV to see if I could find out more. In Nicaragua, there's only one television channel, and they don't adhere to copyright regulations, so it happened to be broadcasting CNN En Espanol. I learned that an airplane had flown into one of the twin towers in New York City, and no one knew quite what was going on. As I watched the live broadcast, the second airplane hit, and at that point, everyone realized that what was happening was no accident. The United States was under attack. I watched TV all morning, trying to get more information, and then went and found the other American in town, my sitemate Paige, to see if she had heard yet. At this point, I knew that two of the planes had left from Boston, and I was nervous for my family, especially my father because he travels frequently. I was finally able to reach them by telephone later that day, and was relieved to find out that they were okay.

During the next week, all sorts of Nicaraguans expressed their sorrow and concern about the situation. Elderly farmers stopped by the house where I lived to tell me that they had heard about what happened in my country, that it was a terrible tragedy, and that they hoped my family and friends were okay. A taxi driver in Managua told me that he was a mercenary who had fought for Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega and could I please tell my President that he would offer his services for free to catch that bastard Bin Laden. Keep in mind that these people offering their sympathy have every reason to dislike the United States- they were Sandinistans whose spent ten years fighting in a civil war funded largely by our government. The nature of the attack when beyond old grudges or political differences. What they saw was an inhumane attack against thousands of innocent people, people just like them, going to work on an ordinary day. In the five years since, I think that's the saddest aspect of what has happened. At one point, we had the support, sympathy, and understanding of the entire world. Everyone (well, except for the perpetrators) was outraged by the events of 9/11. And instead of using that support and unity against an real enemy, our government squandered it, entering a foolish war in Iraq that has done nothing except stoke the fires that create terrorists, in addition to perpetuating a culture of fear here in the United States that lets them get away with it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weekend Report

Here's what I did this weekend:
Work, soccer, more work, watched ND destroy Penn State, drank one zillion beers during and after the game, learned what Nittany means, more soccer, more work, saw an Antonio Banderas dance movie, ate fried pickles. The end.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Python swallows sheep, suffers indigestion

A python got stuck in a road in Malaysia after it swallowed an adult sheep. Gross, yet fascinating.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Reviews: One Movie, One Book, and One Restaurant

Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (no relation to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but who doesn't love a singing family in a flying car?) is a mystery, buddy comedy, and action flick all rolled into one. Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart, a petty thief accidentally turned actor and Val Kilmer as a Gay Perry, a gay detective hired to instruct Harry about detective work for an upcoming role. Enter Harry's high school sweetheart and a few corpses, and the reluctant pair ends up with a real crime to solve. The movie has a bit of an unusual style, with Harry narrating throughout, which I found amusing, but might be annoying to some. I also enjoyed the banter between Harry and Perry. Example:
Perry:Look up idiot in the dictionary. You know what you'll find?
Harry: A picture of me?
Perry: No! The definition of idiot. Which you fucking are!

I also appreciated the extensive comical usage of the word "fuck." Overall, the plot was a bit silly and glossed over a couple things (um, incest?), but the movie is highly entertaining. I can only imagine how they ever got it filmed, considering Kilmer and Downey Jr. are known as two of the biggest wasteoids in Hollywood, but I'm glad they did.

Book: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. I plucked this one off the shelf of a the Barnes and Noble Classics series. The plot is simple: Edmond Dantes, a popular and cheerful young man about to marry his sweetheart, is framed and imprisoned in a dungeon for 14 years. Time passes, and he unravels the plot that led to his imprisonment, embittering him. Upon escape, discovers that in his absence, his father died from hunger and his fiance married one of the conspirators. He discovers a vast fortune, reinvents himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, and vows to reward the one man who tried to help him and to seek revenge on the three who conspired against him. Basically, it's entertaining pop fiction, full of the timeless themes of love, betrayal, friendship, fortune, and revenge, only written in France during the 1840s. I really enjoyed it. Do not be intimidated by the length, it's a quick read full of action and adventure. I loved the Count's friendship with the other prisoner in the jail who educated him and told him the key to the treasure. My favorite character was the impressive Noirtier de Villefort, the father of one of the count's enemies and grandfather to one of his friends. Noirtier is paralyzed and can only communicate by blinking his eyes, but remains a force to be reckoned with, especially as the sole guardian of his granddaughter's happiness. The Count's relationship with Haydee, a beautiful slave girl, struck me as a tad creepy, but I'll just assume that sort of thing was more acceptable to society in the 1800s. Then again, that relationship wasn't any creepier than the rich old man/dependent young girl in Steve Martin's modern-day crappy novella.I haven't seen the movie version of Count of Monte Cristo yet, but I'd like to.

Restaurant: Last week, I ate at Ivy Restaurant in Downtown Crossing. It's a relatively new restaurant that features small plates of Italian food, like the Italian version of tapas. Ivy also has an extensive wine list, with all bottles priced at $26. The four of us had salad, five dishes, and two bottles of wine, and paid $40 each, so the prices are reasonable. The food was good but heavy on the cheese and cream- luckily I had brought Lactaid because I think 90% of the menu items contain dairy. I liked the gnocci best and I also enjoyed the seared tuna, which was delicious but seemed out-of-place with the Italian fare. Ivy has a casual trendy atmosphere with a friendly staff. I enjoyed it and I'll definitely go back, especially for the wine list.

List #30.. .Alternative Career Choices I've Been Daydreaming About

It's shaping up to be a very busy fall for me in the lab, hence the limited posting of late. Do you what the worst aspect of graduate school is? Well, I'll tell you. It's the lack of a finite ending. I'm starting to feel like Sisphyus, only my punishment involves the eternal pipetting into eppendorfs rather than the ceaseless pushing of a boulder up a hill. Lately, I've been daydreaming about what I would do if I weren't a slave to the biological sciences. I give you:

List #30.. .Alternative Career Choices I've Been Daydreaming About

1. Work at an HIV clinic in Africa
2. Move to Venice and work in a hotel
3. FBI or CIA agent
4. Become Steven Hawking's assistant

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blogs on parade

Three friends with blogs:

Rice and Beans for Two. Who's that bad momma on a Harley? It's Mrs. V! Who not only rides a Harley, but also works at the CDC, making her the coolest mom in Hotlanta. Check out her photos from the big family bike trip out west.

Another V is on the scene- Carmen (or CAH-men, as I like to say it) has a blog documenting her pregnancy with a boy named Sue- the cradle will rock

And lastly but but not leastly (or beastly): Heidi has a blog filled with vegetarian recipes and her adventures in New Hampshire.

Panic! on the Fung Wah

New Yorkers and Bostonians are familiar with the Fung Wah, the Chinatown to Chinatown bus line that costs only $15 each way. Ah yes, well, convenience and affordability have their price...didn't a couple of Fung Wah busses catch on fire last year? And now, this:

A Fung Wah bus rolled over on I-290 yesterday. Here's the article. I'm glad no one died, because now I don't feel guilty about laughing when I heard what happened and saw the picture.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekend Report

Friday- Started off the weekend with a work happy hour, complete with homemade (or labmade, technically) Drinking Hats. Afterwards, we had a nice dinner at Wendy's (because that's what grad students mean when they say "hey, let's go out to eat!") and headed over to a party at Lisa's in Cambridge. The party was a blast, thanks to our wonderful hostess and her fabulous iPod playlist. I caught up with some old friends, pretended to be a Siamese twin for a while, met some entertaining new people, and slow danced to "I Remember You" by Skid Row. We stayed really late and I didn't get to bed until 4, a rare occurrence in these years.

Saturday- Once I finally dragged myself out of bed, I went to Framingham to hang out with Kim and Mike and run some errands. Later on, I had dinner at Maria and Jamie's and we watched the Notre Dame v. Georgia Tech game, which was quite a stressful experience. I'm glad ND pulled out the win, but I hope they shape up quickly, because A. I can't handle the anxiety of close games and B. I don't want to have to listen to everyone complaining about how overrated Notre Dame is. In their defense, I wouldn't be surprised if Georgia Tech has a very good season this year (that wide receiver and linebacker were both nasty good), and a lot of top rated teams *cough*OhioState*couch* play against cake teams their first game, so it's difficult to determine how good teams are based on the first game of the season.

Sunday- My co-ed soccer team decided to have practice in the pouring rain and had a great time running around in the mud for a couple of hours, followed by beers and brunch at Matt Murphy's. After that, I went to the lab for a while and grocery shopped at my favorite grocery store. Does it make me a big loser that I have a favorite grocery store? Because I do. I hate going into unfamiliar grocery stores because you don't know the layout and can't find half the stuff you want and it takes forever. Plus, sometimes I buy things like plantains and tofu yogurt that aren't available everywhere. The Shaw's on Morrissey Blvd. near the UMass-JFK T stop is my grocery store Mecca. Good produce, great selection, never crowded, and has an attached liquor store.

Monday- I labored away most of Labor Day, and then hit my parents' house for a last hurrah cookout. This marks the end of my uneventful summer. Last year's Summer Of Guilt-Free Indulgences was quite fun, and I decided that this summer would be the Summer of Industriousness because I wasn't taking a real vacation and had planned to collect a lot of sorely needed data for my thesis research. Unfortunately, I was nowhere near as productive as I had hoped, and although I did make it to NYC and P-town for a couple of weekend getaways, I have decided that a summer without a real vacation is like, I don't know, a martini without an olive. Something's missing.
Anyways, after that I rented Batman Begins, which I somehow missed when it was in theaters. I liked it- Christian Bale is hot and he won me over long ago in American Psycho and he can do no wrong in my eyes. All of the casting was excellent, except for Katie Holmes. That's the second movie I've seen in which she's cast as a go-getter career girl, and it just doesn't work for her. She comes across as too young and naive, like the someone who would get sucked into a cult or consistently date losers, not the ambitious working type. I was also a fan of the hallucinogenic toxin part of the plot, because my lab studies toxins (nerd alert!). The car chase scenes were BO-ring and should have been edited way down. If it's not Jake and Elwood destroying a suburban mall in an old police car, then I don't want to see it. Although I enjoyed Batman Begins, I think the Spiderman movies are my favorite superhero series. I haven't seen the new Superman yet, and I've heard it's good, so I'll have to check that out at some point.

Occupational hazards of the worst kind

Australian Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin died today after being stung in the chest by a stingray while scuba diving. Poor guy.

via my favorite blogging nouveau Aussie

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Visited States

Here's where I've been:

create your own visited states map

Wow, almost all of them! I hit the majority of them in three trips: a family train trip to Montana when we were kids (My parents are that 0.0002% of the population who enjoy train travel. I, however, do not.), a post-college road trip from Boston to New Orleans, which was my first big adventure south of Mason-Dixon, and my drive from Boston to San Diego last January. And yes, I insisted on a detour to Four Corners, because when I was a kid memorizing state capitals I thought it was SO COOL that you could be simultaneously be in four states at once, when in fact it is probably the most bleak, isolated, and boring national monument in the country (although I did lie down in the middle of four states and that was pretty cool).
I'm just missing a few in the central west part of the country, and I can't remember driving through West Virginia, although I'm fairly certain I must have at some point.

via TD