Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Here come the Irish....I mean, the Steelers

Several Pittsburgh Steelers wore green Notre Dame jerseys with #6 on them to honor teammate and ND alum Jerome Bettis. Even Troy Polamalu, who played at USC, wore one, but must be hiding from the cameras because I couldn't find a picture. Go Steelers!

Chewie, is that you?

Chewbacca has a blog. For reals.

Courtesy of my RT.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Funny email from my dad

from my dad's Blackberry:

gov. Mitt is now right behind me on usair
shuttle. I have to resist urge to push seat back to squash him

Gov. Mitt Romney is the governor of Massachusetts, for those of you who don't reside in the Commonwealth.

Federer watch

My favorite tennis player, Roger Federer, won the Australian Open. And do you know what that means? Time for another Federer Photo.

Weekend Recap

Friday: Went home, had dinner with my parents, and watched a zillion episodes of TV with two TiVo owning friends. If I ever decide to get a decent television with reception, or fork out the bucks for cable, I think I'll definitely get TiVo. It rocks. We watched a few episodes of the American version of The Office, and although everyone says it's not as good as the British version, it's still quite funny. Some of the characters, like the guy who has a crush on the engaged receptionist, are the same from the British version, but some are different. Steve Carrell is good as the boss, but not nearly as cringe-inducing horrid as his British counterpart, Ricky Gervais.

Saturday: I played with my baby niece and learned and important lesson: if you feed a baby an entire bottle, then pick her up and dance around swinging in circles, said baby will spit up all over you. I played soccer and got my arse kicked, literally, and I know I'll get some strange looks at the gym today when I sport my maroon badges of courage. It looks like someone wailed on my right leg with a baseball bat, but that's what happens when you get drilled in the same leg like five times in one game. After soccer, I went on what may or may not have been a date. It was fun, and I did do a little bit of Nervous Talking, but not too bad. It's not like I told him that until the age of ten or so I was terrified of the reflections of fluorescent lights on tile floors (if you look at them while you're walking through a supermarket or department store, they seem like they are following you, and if you speed up, they chase you, and it freaked me out when I was a kid. Okay, it still kind of freaks me out but at least I don't run screaming until I safely reach the carpet anymore). Then I ended up having late-night beers with my Irish neighbors, who are leaving for San Francisco this week, and it turned into one of those drunken "You're the best." "No, YOU'RE the best" conversations.

Sunday: I saw The Matador, a buddy comedy starring Pierce Brosnan as a sleazy hitman and Greg Kinnear as a nice, regular guy. It was really funny, especially Pierce Brosnan, who plays an absolute scumbag, all gold chains, chest hair, and boob-staring, but he's a hilariously awesome scumbag. The movie also reinforced my belief that Greg Kinnear must be the nicest guy in Hollywood, and Hope Davis was adorable as his wife. After the movie, I went to the New Balance factory outlet and picked up some new running shoes, which I'm hoping will help with the foot pain that has been bothering me ever since I ran the marathon in November. I think I may have either Plantar Fascitis or tendonitis. It's a fairly intense pain in the bottom of my feet, and it's usually worse in the morning, especially when I walk around with bare feet. I got tendonitis last time I ran a marathon, and there isn't much you can do about it, but it eventually goes away. Sunday night I made chicken pot pie and a friend came over for dinner, and we drank white zinfandel from a box, classy gals we are.

Friday, January 27, 2006

William Hung is my internet stalker

This is amusing....So, I have a Friendster account, because I randomly signed up for it a few years ago when a friend sent out a mass email about it. I rarely look at it, but I opened it up today, because it's Friday afternoon and I'm goofing off. They have this new feature where you can see who's looked at your page. And guess who looked at my page? William Hung. Of American Idol infamy. Not sure if it's really him or just a hoax, but the Friendster profile is believable. Just look at the Favorite Movies and Favorite Music, and all of the asian girls who are his friendster friends. I think you might have to be a member to read the full profile.

Do you get this joke?

A man walks into a bar and says "ouch."

It is all the buzz on my floor at work today, because a lot of people just don't get it, so they are taking a survey to see if they can figure out why some people get it and others don't. Yes, we scientists are relentless in our academic pursuits. At first, the survey takers thought it was a male/female thing, but I and another girl did get it, so now the consensus is that Americans and Canadians get it, but people from other countries don't. Which makes sense, because when you're learning a second language, jokes are always the hardest thing to understand.

Friday Photo

This young lady has been featured here before, but I don't know which special effect I like better- the superimposed profile or the colored laser beam background.

Remember what I wrote about Danny Ainge sucking?

Well, it's still true. The Celtics traded Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, and Justin Reed for Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, and Dwayne Jones. At least they didn't throw Pierce in for good measure. I'm going to miss crazy Ricky, who was starting to grow on me, and I think he's a better all-around player than Szczerbiak. Trading Blount for Olowokandi is a definite downgrade. Two things the C's need are an experienced point guard and a strong, scoring center, and they got neither out of this deal. I do like the Timberwolves, so I hope Ricky does well and complements KG on the court, and I think he will. Looks like Ainge has already cashed in the chips for this season, so let's hope the C's make some big moves in the off season, otherwise we'll remain in basketball purgatory for the next several years.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My gym nemesis

I have a gym nemesis. He's ALWAYS there, no matter when I go, which means that he either is constantly is at the gym or he somehow knows to go only when I'm going to be there so he can do his nemesis thing. What has he done to provoke my wrath? Well, he's one of those circuit trainers, people who simultaneously use seven or eight machines at once instead of doing them sequentially. Every time I go to the gym (about twice a week), I run on the treadmill for about half an hour and then I lift, alternating between legs and arms and back. I do some free weights, but mostly use the machines. And Gym Nemesis is always doing legs the same day I am, and arms and back the same day I'm doing those. So, basically, no matter what machine I'm using, he's there, asking to switch in with me. I don't mind switching in with someone, but couldn't he just use one machine at a time instead of moving in a circuit and constantly interrupting everyone, and by everyone, I mean me? To make matters worse, he's like 5'3" and lifts double what I do, so I have to reset the damn settings every single time. Aaargh! And he's a tank top spandex wearer! And sweaty! And annoying! I hate him with the fire of a thousand suns.

Lucky and unlucky

Last night, I went to the Celtics game and saw them lose in the last second to the Wizards. It's been depressing watching the Celtics these past couple of years. Some people may blame Doc Rivers for the team's failings, but in my eyes, there's only one culprit, GM Danny Ainge. Everything has gone downhill since he took over. Anyways, the lucky part of the game was the fact that I had SWEET seats, and for free, due to the fact that my friend Jason has a part-time gig as the assistant to Lucky, the Celtics Leprechaun, so his wife Sarah and I got to watch Jason do things like carry around the enormous neon green hands Lucky uses to pump up the crowd and load t-shirts into a t-shirt cannon. Good times. I was lucky again, as during the game, my friend Lisa called to see if I would like to join her for a Bruins game tonight, because she had won a luxury box in a charity raffle. To my dismay, my luck then ran out, because you know how people have Bad Hair Days? Well, I'm having a bad science day. I know I'm breaking my personal policy of not talking about my exciting-to-me, boring-to-others job, but I've been collecting RNA for about a month and just received the analysis today and found out that it's all crap, and a negative control that isn't supposed to do anything is killing all of my bacteria. Blah.
You know who else is unlucky? The Kings, for trading Peja for Captain Crazy Ron Artest. Maybe he'll win them some games for a month, maybe two, but at some point in the future, he will self-destruct, just as he has with every other team he's ever played for. If Larry Bird couldn't knock any sense into Ron-Ron, no one can.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Google search death match

Watch two terms battle it out on Google Fight.
Check it out: Tom Brady whomps on Peyton, Stones beat Beatles, and Coke edges out Pepsi. All is right with the world. Except for the fact I'm still fucking around on the internet instead of doing actual work.

link courtesy of Toeing the Line

There's a new internet map in town

Windows has gotten in on the mapping and image game with Windows Live Local. Click on Bird's Eye View for actual aerial photographs, none of that fuzzy sattelite crap. It's not available in all areas, but I found my apartment. Look, you can even see me waving from my bedroom window. Topless. (kidding)

East Coast- West Coast rivalry revival

Remember the hilarious SNL rap about the Chronicles of Narnia? Well, the West Coast has come up with a response. Cute, but I think the East Side has won this battle. Representin'!

Courtesy of Off on a Tangent

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Warning: long, introspective post ahead

Most of you are probably aware that I was in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua from 1999-2001. To this day, whenever someone finds out, they tend to perk up and ask "How was it?" and I automatically give a generic response like "I'm really glad I did it" or "It was a great experience" because I don't have it in me to try to explain it to someone else, to take two years and three months of joys and sorrows and fun and frustration and put it into words. I kept a journal the whole time I was there, and I haven't opened it, until today. Why? Partly because my departure and return to the United States was a very emotional time for me, and I haven't ever felt like delving into it. So, why did I open it? Today when I got home from work, there was a package waiting for me. My sitemate Paige and her husband, who is from the small community where Paige and I lived, went back to visit and I took advantage of their trip to send some gifts and letters to my host family and friends from the town. Keeping in touch has been difficult, mainly because there is no mail service to rural Nicaragua. The package I received today contained some letters and gifts that people had sent back to me via Paige, and of course, a bag of rosquilla. For those of you unfamiliar with rosquilla, they are cornmeal-based cookies that are extremely popular in Nicaragua, but definitely an acquired taste. The letters were so sweet and so touching, filled with memories, gossip, and statements like “You are part of our family. Come back soon.” I didn’t actually help anyone, and it wasn’t “the toughest job you’ll ever love,” it was more like, “hey, find yourself something to do and we’ll see you in a couple of years,” but realizing that just the fact that my being there, in some small way, touched the lives of all of these people made the whole thing worth it. So, what’s in the journal? A lot of things I had forgotten about. And lists like these:

Favorite Things About Nicaragua:
My friends
Having kids around all the time
watching novelas with the whole family
the sound of a rainstorm on a tin roof
greasy (but yummy) food
weak, sugary coffee
riding horses
warm, fresh tortillas
blue and white uniforms on schoolchildren
dancing lessons in la sala
Flor De Caña (Nicaraguan rum)
the smell of the woodstoves
the buses, especially chasing after one and jumping in the back
the stars on a clear night
vaccinating chickens
fresh air, beautiful scenery
piñata parties
wild monkeys and sea turtles
finally feeling like I fit in

Least Favorite Things About Nicaragua:
the latrine
having to iron everything
no mail service
skinny, starving street dogs
lard in all my food
how everyone believes that it’s bad to bathe when you’re sweaty
everyone gossiping about you
eating when I’m already full because it’s rude to say no
no alone time
pregnant girls
lying, cheating men
being constantly worried about getting robbed, mugged, etc.
having nothing to do
feeling like I can’t be myself
everyone asking me for money
rats and big spiders
Constant diarrhea
Everyone calling me fat

So there you have it. That’s what it was like.

81 points or not, I still don't like him

Kobe scored 81 points in a single game earlier this week, second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points back in 1962 . No word on how close he is to Wilt's 20,000 (and I can't believe no one else has made that joke yet). How did this happen? He is talented and all, but seriously, couldn't the Raptors have guarded him better? If no one could handle him alone, double team him. If that doesn't work, triple team him. If that doesn't work, knee him in the nuts. Do something! Anything to prevent someone dropping 81 on you. I have never liked Kobe as a player or a person, even before the whole rape trial. He's a Laker and a ball hog. Here's hoping that my favorite player wins his fifth NBA scoring title this season, and not Kobe.

Not so brilliant disguise

The Australian prisoner who lost enough weight to slip out of jail through a six inch hole was recaptured after being spotted at a mall with a lame disguise.

"The man was wearing a fake painted beard and mustache," said Noel O'Regan-Davis, 18, who watched the arrest. "It looked hilarious."

Apparently the prisoner has some mental health problems, which isn't funny at all, but a beard drawn on with a pen? Now that's funny.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Wine teeth

I get the worst red wine teeth ever. Most people get a touch of wine teeth when they drink the red stuff, but mine are terrible! One glass of cabernet and my teeth are dark gray, plus I get this weird black lipliner effect to boot. What gives? Maybe I should just not drink red wine in public, ever, but I don't really care if I look like a gray-toothed weirdo, I'm just curious why it happens to me so much worse than everyone else. Or maybe I only think it's worse for me. No, I really do get it worse than everyone else, except for one of Eri's friends, who also gets the gray teeth, black lipliner combo.

Let it snow

Yay, just like that, my winter blahs have vanished! The cause of this giddiness? A snowstorm. I love snow. I'm not a big fan of winter, but the way I figure, if it's going to be cold outside, it might as well snow. I may be biased because I do not have a driveway or a car, therefore, snow does not equal shoveling. Snowstorms in the city are fun: everything looks pristine, everyone looks ridiculous tromping around it, everyone is late to work and it doesn't matter. Strangers smile and talk to each other, extremely rare behavior in these parts, with a "we're all in this together" vibe. Today's snow is perfect snowball snow. Fluffy and with enough moisture to pack well. I made one on my way to work, and once you make a snowball, you just HAVE to throw it. The snowball must fulfill its destiny. There were no people around, and I wouldn't have had the guts to throw it at someone I didn't know. I considered throwing it at a passing car, because that would have been hilarious- the driver would have looked around expecting a pack of kids only to find out that he/she had been hit by a 28 year old woman (seems weird to refer to myself as a woman, but I'm no spring chicken anymore, so I can't keep calling myself a girl, I certainly don't act like a lady most of the time, and the term gal annoys me, so woman it is) on her way to work. I wussed out and threw it at one of those plastic boxes that holds free newspapers instead. It did make a satisfying thwock sound and exploded upon impact, sign of a good snowball.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

All work and no play...

...makes DCoE a dull blog. Sorry for the lack of entertaining tales; I'm feeling the post-holiday, post-vacation blahs, plus I have been working long hours in the lab lately, of which I will spare you the details, because, to be honest, I hate listening to other people talk about their jobs so I do my best not to talk about mine. Funny anecdotes about the workplace are acceptable, and I will make an exception for those people with truly exciting jobs (I once met a girl who is a lawyer, which normally sets of the "boring shop talk ahead" alarms in my head, but she deals in cases of stolen art and forgeries, so her work stories were captivating). In general, though, I don't want to hear about hedge funds or databases, and in return, I'll keep my mouth shut on the exciting world of bacterial toxins.
I'm also BROKE, which has also placed a huge damper on my social life, because my social life generally consists of me going out a bar and buying drinks, or me going to a concert, sporting event, or a movie, all of which come with a price of admission. Without money, my social life consists of me lying on the couch eating hot dogs and ramen and watching Law & Order reruns. Good times.
As for the title of this post, I always thought that the most terrifying part of The Shining was when you find out that all Jack has been typing for months is the same sentence, over and over. That's way scarier than the creepy twins or Jack with the axe or anything else, because in that scene you realize how completely nutso he's gone. While we're on the subject of The Shining, here it is, in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Embargo, emschmargo

The decision has been made to allow Cuba to play in the World Baseball Classic. Good move, I say, because it seems a bit hypocritical to bar Cuba when China and other countries with spotty human rights records are allowed to enter the tournament. I mean, it isn't named "Allies of the United States Baseball Classic." Besides, barring Cuba just made it seem like the U.S. was afraid to play them, because Cuba's won the gold medal in baseball in 3 of the past 4 Olympics. Although I'll be rooting for the USA, the Dominican Republic is fielding a nasty good team, with or without ol' blue lips. And I'll save my rant on the pointless stupidity of the Cuba embargo for another time.

Should it stay or should it go?

Earlier this week, the controversial statue "Partisans" was removed from its spot on the Boston Common, where it has stood since 1982. The sculpture, by Andrew Pitynski, represents Polish freedom fighters who struggled against the Nazis during WWII, and the gaunt soldiers on horseback were disliked by many. I never cared much for the statue, which I referred to as "Freaky Horsemen", as in, "Hey, let's meet up by the statue of the freaky horsemen," but now that it's gone, I miss it. It was a useful landmark: "Let's meet up by the statue of that famous revolutionary war figure" just causes too much confusion in this city. Next thing you know, they'll remove Fiedler's head.

Friday Photo

After a brief hiatus, the awkward years photos are back, and we're kicking off 2006 with a trip back to 1985, a time when mullets were everywhere, including on the head of a certain young lady who claims she never had one. The other two siblings don't look so bad, unless you look closely and notice just how high Lisa's shorts are pulled. Armpit level? She also appears to be wearing two socks on her right foot and three socks on her left. The littlest one is also rocking some mighty crooked bangs. I'll be joining these lovely ladies tonight in celebration of Little Miss High Shorts' birthday, and I really, really hope that they'll be wearing these exact same outfits. Happy birthday, Lis!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

List #19....Strange and/or gross things I've eaten

1. Tongue (hey Mom and Dad, we weren't fooled!)
2. Liver
3. Armadillo (tastes like chicken but I stopped eating it once I found out that armadillos carry leprosy)
4. Iguana (also tastes like chicken)
5. Pig's brain (but I didn't find out what it was until after I had eaten it. Ew.)
6. Undercooked catfish (food poisoning fun with the family)
7. Kitten (just kidding)

Leftism in Latin America

Here's an interesting article on the recent rise of Leftist governments in Central and South America that contrasts Brazil's leftism with the more controversial Venezuelan version. Okay, so maybe it's only interesting if you are into that sort of thing, but Nica RPCV readers will definitely notice the use of the phrase "deeds, not words." Obras, no palabras, baby! Put THAT on a billboard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In the news

Two University of Michigan gradates won $5000 in a national beer pong tournament. If only there were a national cups tournament back when I was a senior in college; I coulda been a contender.

The woman who planted a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili and her husband, who provided said severed finger (although it wasn't his), were sentenced to 9 years in prison for their hoax. I think they totally deserved the stiff punishment; their scam cost Wendy's millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Check this out- instead of eating the fuzzy hamster that was provided as dinner, a ratsnake in a Tokyo Zoo befriended it, and the two have been BFFs ever since. Awww...

New discoveries

Music I've been into lately:

Belle & Sebastian, a critically acclaimed Brit-pop band who've been around for a while, but I've only recently started listening to them.
My favorite song of theirs is Your Covers Blown, but unfortunately I couldn't find a link to the music, just a text of the lyrics.

My Morning Jacket, from Louisville, Kentucky. Several live radio performances are available on audio links so you can check them out for yourself.

Blog I've been reading:

A funny Boston blog from a true local, Jonny Bag O'Donuts. Lots of Celtics info and criticism of the shameless tabloid newspaper that is the Boston Herald.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oh, this almost ruins Beck for me. Almost.

Apparently I am behind the times when it comes to keeping tabs on the personal lives of celebrities, but I recently learned that Beck is a scientologist. Why, Beck, why? Here's an article by someone who has spent an abnormal amount of time researching Beck's past and really, really hates Scientology. I link to it mainly because someone named Vaginal Davis is mentioned a couple of times. Oh my gosh, I just looked up V. Davis and found out that A. her middle name is Creme, and B. she's a punk rock drag queen, so that explains the name.
I saw Beck in concert this fall and he was fantastic, so all I can say for now is Beck, keep on rocking in the freaky-deaky cultish religion world.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I have mentioned before that I am being sued $72,000 for a car accident I was in a couple of years ago. I was scheduled to go to trial this Thursday. Yes, that's right, me, on trial. As a defendant. As in me, sitting up there in front of a judge and a jury and a lawyer bombarding me with questions and trying to make me look like a criminal. I have been avoiding thinking or talking about it, because, frankly, the idea of it scares the shit out of me. But guess what? I just got a call from my lawyer's secretary and THE CASE SETTLED! No trial! No me going to court! No me losing and them taking away my computer and stuffed animals and cubic zirconia earrings! (Luckily, I don't have very many assets.) No debtor's prison! It's over!

I am still a tad apprehensive, because about a year ago I received a similar phone call telling me that the case had settled, only to be informed a month later that only one portion of it had settled and I was still being sued for $72,000. Cross your fingers for me, folks.

Road Trip Ramblings

So, now that I've had a day to recover from the cross-country journey, here's the obligatory summary post about my trip. Overall, it was great. Before we left, I had assumed that by the end of the trip, I would have that this-was-fun-but-I'll-be-somewhat-relieved-when-it's-over feeling I generally get towards the end of a vacation, but it didn't happen at all. I was wishing that I had more time and we could extend the trip up to Seattle or down into Mexico. We were really lucky with the good weather and the fact that the only car trouble was the trunk malfunction. Not even a single speeding ticket. Caro, Eri, and I got along perfectly, and Boomer behaved himself quite well, probably because he spent 90% of the trip sleeping in pillbug position. We were on interstates for most of the trip and didn't stay in any one place besides DC for more that one night, but we did get to see a lot of the country. It seemed like everywhere we went was even more scenic than the last place. For example, I loved New Mexico and thought it would be my favorite part of the trip, but as soon as we crossed the border into Colorado, we passed a babbling brook with deer leaping through a clearing in the woods; it was eerie, almost like it was staged. Then, of course, the Grand Canyon, and after that we drove through Sedona, AZ at dawn and saw the famous red rocks glowing in the sunrise. San Diego was a blast, and it was tough to leave the beaches and warm weather to head back to Boston in January.

Here are some observations I made during the trip:

-Forget baseball, football is America's national pastime.
-Arkansas is a very poor state. Hard to believe Clinton came from there.
-People in the middle of the country really dig Jesus.
-Just because it's a chain restaurant doesn't mean that the bathrooms will be nice.
-When you order squash in western Virginia, it may come deep-fried.
-The people who did Best in Show and A Mighty Wind need to do a movie about men's figure skating.
-The best way to get to know a city is to visit people who live there.
-Native Americans definitely got screwed in terms of land; Indian reservations are in the driest, bleakest areas of the country.
-Bob Barker was right about people needing to spay and neuter their pets.
-New Mexican food is my all time favorite. Mmmmm...sopapillas. Mmmmm...chile.
-The Albuquerque Isotopes is the best minor league baseball team name ever. So Simponsesque.
-After 9 days in a car, with recreational activities consisting of eating and drinking, you will feel like a big, fat slob.
-Despite the presence of Sonic in some areas of the country, the drive-in restaurant is a concept whose era has passed.
-The IHOP-Waffle House dividing line is easier to determine than the Mason-Dixon line.
-Taking a long, hot shower after spending two days in the same clothes is a wonderful feeling.

Grrrl Presidents

Both Chile and Liberia have recently elected female presidents. You know, for a country that considers itself a forward-thinking leader of the free world, the U.S. hasn't mixed things up much in the presidency, considering we're 42 for 42 for old white dudes. That stat reminds me of a bit I saw on Conan one night- he and Chris Rock were doing the In The Year 2000 skit, and Chris Rock says "In the year 2000, the United States will elect a black man as President. Oh, wait, that's in the year 10,000."

A funny thing happened on the way to the funeral parlor

My friend Meg recently wrote an article on life with a mortician husband for the online magazine Smith. Check it out.

Bookstore Basketball Censored Names

Notre Dame runs the largest 5-on-5 outdoor basketball tournament in the world, and teams that have little chance of winning or progressing aim to have a memorable comic name. The good names make the Top Ten list in The Observer, but even better names are generally censored. I was the captain of both 5 Girls Who Like Dribble and It's Not As Much Fun If We Don't Come (both surprisingly not censored) and the best part of the captain's meeting was always when they read off examples of censored names. Here's a link that lists names censored in recent years. Note, most of these won't be that funny if you didn't go to ND, but some of them, like Heavy Petting Zoo, will still get a chuckle out of almost everyone with an immature sense of humor.

Thanks, Brigita.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Days 7 , 8, and 9

Day 7. We left Albuquerque and drove to Cortez, Colorado to visit my friend Courtney, where we stayed in a house with 7 women and 4 dogs.

Day 8 was the most eventful of the trip. The morning began with the trunk to the car not closing, so we secured it with bungee cords and spent the morning in the Honda dealership of Farmington, NM getting it fixed. They managed to close the trunk but told us not to open it until we got to San Diego, so we had to spend the last two days of the trip in the same clothing. I'll spare the details, but one member resorted to the inside-out underwear trick (okay, it was me). After the trunk stop, we hit Four Corners where I fulfilled my second grade dream of being in four states at the same time, and it was aweome. During the drive to the Grand Canyon, we spotted two abandoned puppies on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere on a Navajo Reservation, and softhearted Eri insisted on rescuing them. We put them in a paper bag and drove around with them for an hour, with Eri drving, me holding the bag of squirming puppies on my lap, and Carolina holding Boomer in the back seat. We eventually found a police station and dropped them off there. We made it to the Grand Canyon right before sunset, and it was spectacular as expected. Next stop was Flagstaff, AZ, where we stayed in the Worst Motel 6 Ever. Ugh.

Day 9. The last day in the car; we arrived in San Diego and the journey was complete.

Photos coming soon...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Proof that ancient wonders are still alive and well in Tennesee

I give you the Parthenon of Nashville and the Great Pyramid of Memphis

Days 3,4,5,and 6

So....keeping up with the blog on a road trip is a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, so here's a summary of the last few days.

Day 3- more DC, more panda, and I somehow managed to completely forget that one of my best friends now lives in DC (sorry Big Al!). I did crash a dinner party at my friend Barbara's house and met up with some friends from my days in the Corps.

Day 4- a long drive to Nashville, then a lovely visit with two fellow scientists, Victor and Carmen, and A LOT of eating. Barbeque and famous pancakes.

Day 5- more driving, until we stopped for the night outside Oklahoma City due to an ice storm

Day 6- another long drive to the Southwest, where we made a detour to visit a town (if you can call two houses and a post office a town) named after Carolina and ended up in Albuquerque with two of my favorite things, Mary Laf and sopapillas.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


We're still in DC and spent the day visiting many national treasures, including the Spirit of St. Louis and the Hope Diamond. One of the best things about DC is that all of the museums are free. We also hit the zoo and saw the cheetah cubs and the famous panda cub, Tai Shan. People in DC have some serious panda fever- all of theses random people watching the pandas would blurt out panda facts like "There are only 1600 pandas left in the wild" and an "an adult panda eats 40 lbs. of bamboo a day." You could tell that they come to the zoo daily to hang with the pandas. Later on, we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant where Caro and I drank the Flaming Volcano For 2. One thing led to another, and suddenly Eri was singing Bon Jovi at a karaoke bar.

Friday, January 06, 2006


We left Framingham around 9:30 AM for the long drive to DC. This stretch of the trip is probably the least pleasant drive of the trip- all highways and traffic. We did cross some impressive bridges, like this one over the Delaware.
We made it to DC around 6PM. We're staying with Eri's friend Tricia, and we went out to dinner with a bunch of their friends (and a guest appearance by Jossy).
At the bar, we discovered two things. You can still smoke in bars in DC (ugh), and Carolina and I matched the bathrooms.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

On The Road

1 car
3 girls
1 dog
17 states
9 days

Tomorrow, one of my dreams will come true. I've always wanted to drive cross-country and join in the long American tradition exemplified in such cinematic wonders as Cannonball Run, Follow That Bird, and Crossroads. My sister Eri, friend Carolina, and dog Boomer set out tomorrow for our own big journey, with stops planned in Washington DC, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Cortez, the Grand Canyon, and ending in San Diego. I will do my best to post photos and updates during what will surely be a hilarious adventure.

Movie Reviews

Here are three films I've viewed recently:

  1. Intermission is an Irish film kind of like Love Actually or Snatch (although after I just wrote that I realized that those two films have nothing in common except for the fact that the plot follows around several characters who pop in and out of each others' lives). It's sort of a comedy crime film with a bit of sex and love thrown in the mix, and all very Irish. You might want to leave the closed captioning on so you don't miss any of the jokes. Colin Farrell plays a scumbag, and quite adeptly at that. I'm not a big fan of him, but this role seems to suit him well, maybe even a little too well. The lead is played by Cillian Murphy, who's all eyes and cheekbones and likeable in this role. I liked the movie- it has a bit of a low-budget feel to it, but it's silly and entertaining.
  2. The 40 Year Old Virgin. This movie is a comedy about a 40 year old virgin (duh) whose co-workers discover his secret make it a pet project to help him do the deed. Steve Carrell is perfect as the lead- he's believable, and he's a geek, and not as pathetic as I expected his character to be portrayed. The movie is definitely funny with some killer lines, like during the scene when they discover that he's a virgin after he says that a woman's breast feels like a bag of sand. Paul Rudd and company are hilarious as the pals. My main criticism of the movie is that it's about 20 minutes too long. There's no reason for a goofy comedy to last more than an hour and 45 minutes, tops.
  3. Brokeback Mountain a.k.a The Gay Cowboy Movie. I'm sure you all have heard a lot about this movie by now, but here's my take. I really liked it. It's very sad, and it's a love story more than anything else, but the reason why I really enjoyed it is that it's a western and I love westerns. Love them. Books especially, like anything by Cormac McCarthy or The Big Sky. Another favorite author of mine is Larry McMurtry, who wrote Lonesome Dove, and was a screenwriter and the executive producer of Brokeback Mountain. The scenery was amazing and the story was captivating. The beginning of the movie feels tense, because everyone in the audience knows what's going to happen and just sits there wondering when it's going to happen. Then it does, suddenly, and the movie takes off. All of the actors were excellent, especially Heath Ledger (definitely an Oscar-caliber performance) and Michelle Williams, who portrays his suspicious wife. Anne Hathaway is in it, too, but I think her main function is to show her boobs, giving straight guys a reason/excuse to see the movie.

It's airborne

I have a new favorite product: Airborne cold remedy. It's sort of like an Alka-Seltzer that you take to ward off colds when you get that uh-oh, I-think-I'm-coming-down-with-something feeling. It isn't a medication, but rather an herbal supplement that supposedly boosts your immune system. Normally, I am fairly skeptical when it comes to herbal remedies, but after a long party weekend left me with a sore throat and drowsiness, I decided to try this, because I really didn't want to get sick right before the big road trip (more on that later). The next day, I felt so much better. Maybe it's placebo effect, but I've become an airborne believer.

Fugly Hall Plaza

Bostonians are all familiar with the large brick expanse and cement bunker known as City Hall Plaza. Yes, it's an eyesore, and not just to locals- it's been named as the world's ugliest square. Unfortunately, I think we'll be stuck with it for a while, because after all of the Big Dig snafus, I don't think anyone's eager for another expensive remodeling project.
Link courtesy of Bostonist

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Years Recap

Happy 2006, everyone! I went up to Stowe, Vermont, where a bunch of friends and I had rented a house. Surprisingly, the house was bigger than we expected, which was a bonus, because we packed 20+ people into it. Stowe and the surrounding area were beautiful, just like a snow-covered New England countryside postcard. The weekend consisted of much drunken mayhem interspersed with eating, sightseeing, and lounging around. Highlights included a late-night hiking expedition through the woods, watching four of my friends sled down a hill on a hot tub lid, and an ugly sweater contest, complete with a Zoolander-inspired Walk Off. And of course, spending time with friends, many of whom I don't get to see very often. I think everyone had a lot of fun, and we are definitely still the funniest people we know. Yesterday, we left the house and I spent all day at my parents' annual Chilifest, the only bad part of which was watching the Irish lose to those stupid buckeyes. They played like crap, especially in the first half, and seriously, ABC way overdid the Brady Quinn's sister dates the Ohio State linebacker storyline. So annoying.
Today I am still in recovery mode, trying to do laundry and finish up some stuff at work before I leave for the cross-country road trip this Thursday. I will post a few photos and some more New Years tidbits once the fuzziness departs from my brain.