Monday, July 30, 2007

Hope springs eternal

Could the Celtics have actually pulled off a trade to get Kevin Garnett?

If this is true, I am THRILLED! I'm not looking forward to reading all the columns whining about giving up Al Jefferson tomorrow. He's a good player and a nice kid, but fans have suffered through too many seasons waiting for young talent to develop. Do you know what I am looking forward to? Besides dangling prepositions? Watching a winning Celtics team again!

The East sucks. The KG-PP-RA combo is going to be great.

The Police at Fenway Park

Last night, under a full moon, I saw The Police perform at Fenway Park. It was great! Sting's voice sounded amazing, and he's probably the only man in his 50s that can look sexy in a white v-neck t shirt. They played a Greatest Hits set, starting off with "Message in a Bottle" and closing with "King of Pain," "So Lonely", and "Every Breath You Take," coming back on stage one last time for "Next To You." I'm still impressed by the sheer volume of sound they can produce from only three people. If I didn't already know that they all hate each other, I wouldn't have been able to tell, but the three musicians stuck to the music and didn't interact much with each other. My only minor complaints are that they didn't play any of their faster, punkier stuff like "Fall Out" or "Landlord," and they played slower versions of a lot of their tunes, speeding up only for the chorus. The Fenway acoustics aren't bad, but on a couple of songs, the echo was a bit distracting, but that's probably because of where we were sitting. Obviously, it would have been great to see The Police in their heyday, before Sting got all calm and tranquil, but considering that I was seven when they broke up, I'm glad I had the opportunity to see them live in this latest reincarnation. Here are some photos and the Boston Globe review:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Report

Friday- Went to a cookout/birthday party for one of my grad school friends. The hosts were from Argentina and make the BEST empanadas. Mmmmm.

Saturday- Played in an all-day soccer tournament. My team did well early on and handily won our first two games, but we ended up getting outplayed and losing in the semi-finals. This was after an intense rain and thunderstorm that had us huddled under a tent with a sweaty men's team for about an hour. The rain and winds were so strong, and the lightning too close for comfort, that people were actually hiding in the port-a-potties to avoid the storm. I opted to take my chances with the lightning and sought shelter underneath a tent supported by aluminum poles. A couple of former teammates who now live in New York came back for the tournament, so it was great to play with them again. After the tournament, I felt like someone had whaled on me with a baseball bat (in addition to the normal bumps and bruises, I was blasted in the face with a corner kick), so I cancelled all of my plans and spent the evening napping on the couch.
Sunday- Woke up, did some errands, and now I'm in the lab, catching up on some work. And tonight I'm going to see the Police at Fenway Park! An event of such magnitude warrants its own post.

Philippino prisoners do Thriller

Apparently, this remarkable story has been all over the internet, but I just caught wind of it. As part of an exercise and rehabilitation program in a prison in the Philippines, inmates have been taught dance routines. The choreographed videos are up on YouTube, and I must say, they're pretty awesome. Check out Thriller.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New blog

My friends Jason and Sarah have moved to Maine and started a blog to document their new life in the Land of Flannel. I haven't decided yet if I'm relieved or disappointed that they didn't go with my suggestion for a blog name: Bangor? I hardly know her!

Relieved, mostly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A happy ending to an awful story

For years now, I've been following the story of the Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya. Six Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor were accused of deliberately infecting over 400 children with HIV as part of a Western plot to undermine Muslims in Libya, despite the fact that A. that's ridiculous and B. impartial HIV experts tested the strains and determined that the infections had begun before the seven started working at the hospital, and cited poor sanitary conditions as the cause. It strikes me as a classic example of an African government denying and AIDS crisis (for a long time, South African officials refused to recognize HIV as the causative agent of AIDS), but this one has the added twist of assigning blame to foreign medical workers. At one point, the medics confessed, but later stated that they were tortured and raped prior to confessing. They were sentenced to death. Their sentence was later reduced to life in prison, and this week, after over eight years in a Libyan prison, they were finally returned to Bulgaria and freed.

I have many thoughts on this subject, (one being why the heck it took 8 years for the international community to apply enough pressure to get the nurses released) but I'd just like to send a congratulations message to the medical personnel involved. I hope that their lives can get back to normal, somehow. I'd also like to send a big old FUCK YOU to Libya. This is how they treat their international health workers? Career-wise, I'm very interested in projects designed to combat infection disease in third world countries, but I'll tell you right now that I'll never set foot in that shithole of a nation.

Interspecies Friendship!

This time, it's a mama kitty raising baby duckings. Everybody say "awwwwwww."

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Last night, I watched the new Harry Potter film at the IMAX. I won't bother writing a long review, because most people who would see it likely already have, but I did really like it. Because the movies lag so far behind the books, I always get mixed up what happens in each edition, so the plot does still retain an element of surprise. In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry has become a full-fledged teenager, moody and angry at the unfairness of the world. During the course of movie, the Hogwarts students come to realize that dark days lie ahead, but both book and movie #5 are more like a preface than an actual battle between good and evil. The acting is superb, and I couldn't help but think how fortunate the casting of Harry, Ron, and Hermione was. All have aged well and stayed true to their literary counterparts, and both Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have matured into very attractive teens. Unfortunately, the adult member of the Order of the Phoenix don't get much screen time, but are enjoyable nonetheless. Imelda Staunton is perfectly wicked as Dolores Umbridge, a cheerfully cruel administrator sent by the Ministry to keep an eye on Hogwarts.

I have never seen a 3D movie before, and it's not something I'm really into, but the novelty of getting the giant glasses and putting them on for the big battle scene at the end of the movie was a lot of fun.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Entertainment Update

So, I haven't posted any book reviews lately, only because I've been reading My Life, Bill Clinton's autobiography, all effing summer. The man is verbose. It's really good, but it clocks in at a whopping 957 pages, with every sentence laden with names, fact, or important details- not easy skimming material. I won't write a full review, because I still haven't finished it- but here are some observations: It's a slow read, but an easy, enjoyable one. Clinton devotes much of the book to his youth, and growing up during the racial turmoil of the South during the 1950s and 60s definitely made a strong impression on him. He also spends a lot of time explaining his feelings on the Vietnam War, using the book as a venue to rebut claims that he was a "draft dodger." He doesn't speak ill of political opponents, except for one. Bill Clinton absolutely despises Richard Nixon, and despite his restraint, the abhorrence seeps through in his words. One thing that impressed me, especially in comparison to our current President, is that Clinton got to where he is now purely through his own intelligence, ambition, and work ethic. He grew up the son of a young widow (his father died in a car accident before he was born) in middle-class Arkansas, and spent much of his youth in the shadow of an alcoholic stepfather. Yes, he had caring relatives, and an innate ability to make very loyal friends, but he is one of us: no trust fund, no privileged upbringing, an average American, a true "man of the people." I was also impressed by his role in the economic boom of the 1990s. One tends to think of the economy as cyclic, that has ups and downs unrelated to the nation's executive branch, but the growth that occurred during the Clinton Administration was carefully orchestrated. Remember, Clinton was a Rhodes scholar whose area of expertise was economics. He doesn't take credit for it, but he does explain how several economic policies came into place, and who helped form them. And...that's the last time you'll ever see me writing about the economy on DCOE, or anywhere else for that matter. The only complaint I have (aside from the length...I haven't even gotten to the Monica Lewinsky scandal yet), is that the writing can be a bit coy- story after story like "I met this boy in a wheelchair/mentally ill neighbor/Mexican laborer and it was really touching and that's why I always tried to help people in wheelchairs/the mentally ill/Mexican laborers." We get it, okay.

Anyways, I had to put the book aside for a while to get back to my true love, fiction. I'm almost done with the new Michael Chabon book, and I have Harry Potter on deck.

As for movies, I've been on a classics kick, courtesy of Netflix. Last week, I watched A Streetcar Named Desire and Citizen Kane. I didn't really love either, but at least ASND featured the most smoking hot man ever to grace silver screen with his gorgeousness: The young Marlon Brando. Seriously, you guys, I don't care how fat, old, and somewhat crazy he became, no one comes close to Brando in his prime.

Citizen Kane, often listed as the Best Movie Ever Made, didn't do much for me. A smart, ambitious man amasses a large fortune, becomes more and more eccentric, and dies sad and alone. Yeah, I didn't like that movie the last time I saw it, when it was called The Aviator. In historical context, it's probably very cinematically impressive, but I much prefer The Wizard of Oz, which predates Citizen Kane. One interesting tidbit I learned (from the internet, of course) is that the one actress I liked, Dorothy Comingore, had her career ruined by McCarthy's infamous communist hunt.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend Report

Friday- Went up to Gloucester to spend the night with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nieces, who had been taking a little vacation. They were staying in a cute little hotel overlooking Good Harbor Beach. After fighting the Friday afternoon traffic, I was rewarded with a seafood dinner and drinks by the ocean.

Saturday- Spent the day at the beach, then ate the best lobster salad sandwich EVER, here. After I drove back to the city, I met up with my former roommate Jossy, who was in town for the weekend, and some other friends, and we had dinner at Jacob Wirth and then went to a party at JR's house. A good time was had by all.

Sunday- Surprisingly, the plan we formed around midnight of the previous evening came to fruition. We woke up early, drove down the Cape, and caught the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. On the island, we rented bicycles and spent the day biking around and going to the beach. I had such a great time- I really should take advantage of the fact that I live a short drive away from gorgeous beaches, mountains, lakes, and forests, and pay them a visit more often, rather than frittering away my weekends in the bars and laboratories of Boston. I hadn't ridden a bicycle since college, and it was so much fun- I didn't forget, either, it was just, nevermind. Here are Jossy, Maria, and I on the ferry, and no, we had no idea our hair was doing that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Articles of interest

1. 101 Summer Meals in 10 minutes or less. I'll definitely be trying some of these! I've been on a grilled cheese sandwich kick lately. Time to break out of the rut and prepare a decent meal for myself. (via Freakgirl)

2. Brief, interesting article about taxicabs in Bethel, Alaska.

3. Michael Vick indicted for his involvement in dog fighting. What a frickin' idiot. I'm guessing that he won't be back in the NFL next season. DUIs and weapons charges might be forgivable in the court of public opinion, but animal torture? Not so much.

Monday, July 16, 2007


The Princess Bride came out 20 years ago- here's a Then and Now slideshow of the stars. Westley, what happened?
I remember seeing that in the theater with my mom and my sisters. We didn't go to the movies very often as children. These are the only movies I can recall seeing in the theater:

1. The Princess Bride, which we LOVED.

2. An American Tail, from which we had to leave early because my sister Eri, who was six at the time, began sobbing uncontrollably when Fievel got washed overboard. This may partly explain why we didn't go to the movies very often.

3 and 4. A boy my age lived next door and I used to be the only girl at his birthday parties. Two years in a row, his parents brought a group of us to the movies. We saw Starman one year, and Follow That Bird the next. I think there was a naked scene in Starman.

5. Moonstruck. My mom went out-of-town (a very rare occurrence), so my dad took us to a movie that he wanted to see, without pausing to determine whether it was suitable for children. I remember being sort of afraid of Nicolas Cage, and thinking that the whole thing was boring, and I didn't really understand the plot (probably because I was more accustomed to the likes of Follow That Bird). However, I watched it again more than a decade later, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so no harm done. Although wooden hands still sort of creep me out.

Weekend Report

My last weekend of freedom before my new Diligence and Productivity Plan goes into effect was quite an eventful one.

Friday- Maria and I rode the Fire Bus to NYC, and everything went smoothly, except for the fact that we were sitting behind a disgusting public make-out couple. Barf. When we finally made it to the city, we met up with our friends at a German bar for Liz's birthday celebration. The party was already well underway, complete with giant beer steins, plastic barrettes, and Wet and Wild lipstick. Around midnight, we headed to Alphabet Lounge, for a long night of dancing to 80s music. Here's the birthday girl, and in case you're wondering, that's not a cigarette in her hand, it's a push pop.
I don't know if it was because our group was especially rowdy, or if people in New York are more outgoing than Bostonians, but all night long, strangers kept approaching us to chat and buy us drinks. The funniest part was that they all thought we were college students. And one guy asked Liz if she was on her honeymoon. (I think he meant bachelorette party.) Strange, considering that we are obviously mature professionals.
Saturday- Slept in until noon, then after a brief recovery period, Maria, Amanda, and I met Liz for brunch. Then, it was back on the Fire Bus to Boston. I was exhausted when I got home, so I camped out on the couch and watched Next Stop Wonderland.
Sunday- My niece Nora turned two, so her parents threw her an official kid birthday party, with chips, soda, hot dogs, cake, ice cream sundaes, and a backyard sprinkler. We had some Irish cousins in town whom I had never met, so it was fun talking to them, and the kids fit right in at the party. We also learned that my father is not familiar with the younger generation of Sesame Street characters, because the thought that Elmo was a lobster. Sunday night, I went to trivia at the 21st Amendment, and although we didn't win, I did correctly identify Henry Winkler's alma mater because he was the graduation speaker for Kevin and Karen. Overall, a very busy and very fun weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2007


n. An abnormal fear of the number 13.

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Maria and I are tempting fate by riding the Fire Bus to NYC today.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Graduate School Update

For a change of pace, I'm going to post about one of the topics that I normally avoid: work. Many of you know that I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology. I just finished my fourth year. No, I'm not graduating- probably the most frustrating thing about the entire experience is the lack of a finite ending. I generally avoid talking about work because, well, I tend to get bored when other people talk about their jobs (funny stories about weirdo co-workers are great, but a lengthy tale about the new database you're implementing? Thanks, but no thanks.), so I spare the general public the latest in antimicrobial peptides. Besides, I don't want to whine. The bottom line is that I'm getting paid to go to school, which is a pretty good deal, no matter how you look at it. Lately, I've been in a slump. Not an all-out, lie in bed chain smoking cigarettes slump, more of a downward spiral of procrastination. I finished classes two years ago, and have been full-time in the laboratory since then. Scientific research is a fairly independent, largely self-directed endeavor that requires a sense of discipline that I clearly lack. I am incredibly inefficient. I get sucked into thinking about experiments and deciding which ones I should do next, and delay the actual doing of experiments. Yesterday, I had a productive talk with a supervisor, and I've come to a decision regarding graduate school. No, I'm not dropping out. I'm going to start busting my ass so I can finish. I have some pretty good data that is a couple of steps away from publication. The light at the end of the tunnel, although dim and distant, is finally visible. Basically, if I kick it into high gear, and work like crazy for the next year, I should be on my way out the door next fall.

So, it looks like I'll be back to long days, nights, and weekends in the lab. It won't be fun. Most of the time, it will be decidedly unfun. But I've realized that it's the only way to finish. I still plan on keeping up with the blog...I mean, someone's got to be on the lookout for interspecies friendships and inappropriate footwear.

I am going to New York this weekend, so no more procrastinating...starting on Monday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hey look!

The husband of DCOE commenter Beth has started a business that involves drinking. (Hey, why didn't I think of that?)

The name is pretty self-explanatory, but basically, it works like this: you purchase a gift through the website, an email or text message with a redemption code is sent to the recipient, and the lucky friend uses the code to purchase a drink at a participating bar or restaurant, which are listed by region on the website. Neat, huh?

Currently, most the of bars in the BYFAD network are in or around New York City. When they add one in Boston, you can send some drinks my way, bitchez.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

But where do the specific hookers enter?

I can never walk by the Statehouse without cracking a smile at this sign.

Monday, July 09, 2007

New Seven Wonders Chosen

A while ago, I wrote a post about the campaign to choose the New Seven Wonders of the World. The winners were announced on 7/7/07:

1. The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
2. Petra, Jordan
3. The Great Wall of China, China
4. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
5. Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
6. Chichén Itzá, Mexico
7. Machu Picchu, Peru

I voted for 5 of the 7 winners. I haven't been able to find a tally of total votes, but reports are that the Great Wall of China came in 1st place.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Weekend Report

Friday- Met Tom for a drink, then headed to the Golden Temple for a goodbye dinner for my friends Jason and Sarah, who are moving to Maine. Although the food and the company were quite nice, the atmosphere wasn't the best....we were seated on the bar side of the restaurant and it was almost pitch black, so we could barely see our food.

We gave Jason and Sarah some Maine-appropriate gifts, like this hunting magazine featuring an article entitled "How to Stalk."

Saturday- I attended the 30th birthday party for Sue at Clarke's, and somehow managed to not get any good pictures of her. The party itself was a great time, and later on in the evening, a funny little mishap occured. I was chatting with a couple of friends, when all of the sudden a guy slid up to me and put his arm around me, in an...ummm...very affectionate manner (there was some back rubbing and a pat on the butt involved). I froze, turned, and identified the back rubber as the boyfriend of Loren, who just so happens to be my height, with the same hair color, and was wearing outfit very similar to mine. "I'm not Loren," I said. He looked stunned and completely mortified. By this point, everyone around us had realized what had happened and we all cracked up. Here is Loren winning back her man:

Towards the end of the evening, a few of us were unable to resist the pull of the scorpion bowl, so we headed down the road to the Hong Kong. Luckily, we didn't last too long, so I woke up feeling relatively undamaged.

Sunday- I met my sister, bro-in-law, and my two nieces for breakfast at Flour (they opened a second branch in Fort Point), and we headed over to the Children's Museum. Although it's been remodeled since the last time I was there (oh, about twenty years ago), the milk bottle still exists. Nora and Maggie seemed to enjoy it, but I was probably the most excited of the group.

Congratulations, Roger!

DCOE favorite Rodger Federer has won his fifth straight Wimbledon final. Gaze upon his splendor.
Congratulations are also in order for Venus Williams, the women's champion.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Embarassing Verbal Faux Pas of the Month

Accidentally referring to your boss as "Dad" in front of all your co-workers.


At least it wasn't to his face. Now that would have been awkward.

Friday, July 06, 2007

4th of July

The Wednesday holiday was sort of strange, like having a weekend in the middle of the week. I headed down to Newport, where my roommate's family has a house, on Tuesday afternoon. We arrived and went for a swim in the ocean, then and cooked up a delicious seafood dinner of lobster, scallops, and grilled swordfish. Mmmmmm. After dinner, we went to a concert by The Samples, because apparently we had somehow stepped into a time machine that was set to 1994. The show was a lot of fun...until I looked down and noticed the bassist's choice of footwear:

Nooooooooo! Crocs with socks!!!
On Wednesday, we slept in, and Ern, Timm, Pat and I went out for a late breakfast. After breakfast, we popped in the bar next door to the restaurant for a bloody mary, and then we stayed there. FOR FIVE HOURS. Holy drunkfest! We were joined by several friends and entertained ourselves playing pool, darts, pinball, and enjoying country music and classic rock selections on the jukebox. It may be hard to imagine that Newport has a dive bar, but oh what a dive this place was. Homemade jerky for sale? Check. A jar of pickled eggs on the counter? Check. A cigarette machine (the old kind with the pull-knob handles)? Check. At one point, I asked for a lemon and the bartender said that they didn't have any because they weren't really a fancy place. Jeez- all I wanted was a piece of lemon- I wasn't asking for a pomegranate martini! We finally left and ate some pizza, with dark and stormies (obviously), and then headed out to a 4th of July party filled with inappropriate grown-ups. People my parents' age giving each other spray-on tattoos and the like. So we fit right in. We did manage to see the fireworks from across the harbor, although I got soaked by the rain in the process. The night continued on into the wee hours, and I had a great time, until Ern woke me up at 6AM so we could drive back to Boston and work all day. That part, not so much fun.
Hope you all had a fun Independence Day.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Pick your favorite Springfield

Fourteen different Springfields are competing to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie. Check out their videos and vote here.

Massachusetts has a special guest in their video, Senator Ted Kennedy, a.k.a Mayor Quimby. I've always assumed that the Simpsons Springfield was in the Midwest, though.