Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

The tiger and pumpkin are my nieces, Nora and Maggie.
In other news.....
Congratulations to Lori and Rob on the birth of their daughter, Julia Rose!
I cooked a real meal for the first time in ages...I really enjoy cooking, but for the past few months, I've been getting home so late that I'm living off microwaved tortillas with cheese. And beer.
I tried out one of Sarah's recipes from The Pink Shoe Cookbook: Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing. Delicious and very tasty!
Some recent statistics.....
Number of times I've almost burned down my apartment over the past week = 3
(1. left the iron on overnight. and it's one of those old ones that doesn't turn off automatically. 2. left a candle burning. 3. this morning, I put a kettle on the stove to boil water for tea and oatmeal. I waited, and waited, and still, no whistle. After about twenty minutes, I realized something strange was going on, and went to check the kettle. Turns out I never put any water in it, so now the empty kettle was burning hot and starting to warp and turn black. Awesome. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?)
Number of people who have made a "happy ending" comment after I mention that I'm getting a massage today (for the pinched nerve, which is much better but still smarting a bit) = 2
Percentage of times that I've laughed at happy ending comments = 100

Monday, October 29, 2007


Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, the 2007 World Series Champions! has some great photo galleries posted.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend Report

The Good- Attended a Halloween party at Maria's. A surprising percentage of people had no idea who I was supposed to be. C'mon, DCOE readers, isn't it obvious? Maria's sister Carmen was in town with her baby Jason, who is adorable and very good natured- the scary costumes didn't even make him cry.
My favorite costumes were Maria and Carmen's second outfits, masked and caped Mexican wrestlers.
The Bad: I was house-sitting for my parents so I spent most of the weekend camped out on the sofa in the suburbs and taking care of the elderly family dog.
The Ugly: OhmyGodyouguys.....I have a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder and it hurts SO FUCKING BAD. The problem started earlier this week- I've been feeling pretty stressed lately (departmental seminar and thesis committee coming up), and I have the tendency to clench up and draw in my shoulders when I'm anxious. I was doing it in my sleep and all week, and my shoulders, neck, and collarbone have been sore. Last night, I fell asleep on the couch while watching the Sox and I must have exacerbated it, because it has been extremely painful all day. I sat out the second half of my soccer game, not because the soccer was making it worse (it didn't hurt any more than when I was standing still, so I figured that I might as well play), but because I was so distracted by the pain that I was playing like crap. I've been taking ibuprofen all day and it's feeling a little bit better. Does anyone have any advice? As far as I know, there's not much one can do and it should resolve on its own. I'm thinking about getting a massage or going to a physical therapist or something to see if they can loosen it up at all. I'm also considering popping a few of the family dog's prescription painkillers, but haven't stooped that low. Yet.
Anyways, fingers crossed for tonight, Sox fans!

Friday, October 26, 2007

There's only one Blogtober

Last night, I attended the second Blogtoberfest, organized once again by our fearless leader, Jenny. I had a great time- there were a ton of people there, and everyone was incredibly friendly. Maybe this is what it's like to go out to a bar in Kansas.... "Hi! My name is Eileen. Nice to meet you!"...except everyone believes in evolution.

*warning, linkfest ahead*

Although I didn't circulate much from my station right between the food and the bar, I did get the opportunity to meet and chat with several bloggers, like Sarah who is hilarious and awesome and I love both of her blogs. Her cooking blog features many pumpkin recipes in addition to Adventures in Odd Meats. I chatted briefly with occasional commenter Tom and got to meet his girlfriend Samantha, also a blogger, who didn't seem too weirded out by the fact that I knew a lot about her. "Oh, you recently moved here and you work in transplants, right?" My hobbies include blogging...and stalking! The big star of the evening was Adam, the mastermind behind Universal Hub, a website that compiles the best of Boston Blogland and is frequented by most of the bloggers in the area. The last post of mine that Adam linked to was the petri dish experiment, which led to the following exchange:

Ulli: You seem familiar to me. How do I know you?
Me: Maybe from Universal Hub?
Ulli: I'm the one who got dumped in a text message!
Me: I'm the one who spit on a petri dish!

Mystery solved.

I spoke with several more people, like Ryan from Philly and her coworker Jon, whose URLs I can't remember because I am a bad, bad person. I did find another basketball fan, AJ, who is the founder of the popular basketball blog Hoops Writers. His blog was originally named Mad In March, but he was forced to rename it because he was sued by the NCAA (yikes!). He also has tickets to half of the Celtics games this season (so if you're reading this, AJ, and you ever need someone to bring to a game, look no further).

I still don't have a good answer to the question all bloggers ask each other: "So, what do you blog about?"

Many people are much more focused. They blog about technology, about writing, or even about identity theft. My response to the question generally went like this "Oh, I don't know, all sorts of stuff, I guess. It's a mish-mash (mish-mash!?! who says mish-mash? I mean, besides the elderly?). Things that I think are funny or interesting. Sometimes I write book and movie reviews. I like it when animals from different species are friends."

To cap off an already fun evening, the Red Sox won Game 2. Hooray!

P.S. I took that blurry photo of the Prudential Center last night. Whoever first did that back in 2004 was a genius!

P.P.S. Am I the only one who keeps thinking that the announcers are saying "Iraqis" whenever they say "The Rockies?"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tonight, Tonight

Blogtoberfest is tonight at the Pour House starting at 6PM. Yay!
Red Sox looked fantastic in Game 1. So fantastic that I went to bed before the game had ended because I was fully confident that they would win. In previous seasons, I would have stayed up to the very end, knowing that there was always a chance that something could go very, very wrong.
Fingers crossed for another win tonight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pretty* in Pink

Here's a team photo of my co-ed soccer team, who has the distinction of being the only team in a league of 48 teams to be assigned the intimidating hue of "dark azalea," which is apparently code for bubble gum pink. We finished our regular season last night with a win, that put us in first place in our division for playoffs.
*by Pretty, I mean 100% Badass

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good at, Bad at

I'm riding the meme train- inspired by Stacey and started by Sarah. Here is the part where I confess that I hate the term "meme" because I don't know how to pronounce it. So many possibilities....."meem," "mimi," or (en espaƱol) "may-may." I first encountered the word reading the Selfish Gene during Freshman year of college, and it's been taunting me ever since. Hey, meme, why don't you go order yourself a gyro.

Onto the, um, thing where a bunch of people answer the same little questions.

List 5 things you are good at (and give a tip about one of them, if possible).

1. Knowing what time it is, without looking at a clock. I attribute this skill to the fact that I have never worn a watch.

2. Shuffling playing cards. During the summer after fifth grade, I made it a goal to be good at shuffling cards- you know, do the bridge thing and make them whir like a Vegas dealer. (or croupier, if you prefer). I practiced for weeks. It worked.

3. Parallel parking. Here's a tip: look over your right shoulder as you initially back in, and cut the wheel exactly when the rear left corner of your vehicle is aligned with the front left corner of the vehicle behind you. Works like a charm.

4. Organizing people. Hmmm, I'm not bossy per se, but I tend to fall into a leadership role when in a group setting. For example, I've ended up being the captain of most sports teams that I've joined, and it certainly isn't due to my athletic ability. I hope I don't sound full of myself (Hey, y'all, I'm a born leader!), I just think it's because I'm good at organizing people- part motivator, part delegator, part compromiser (compromiser? more like word inventor.). It's typical of Libras- that's why we make good diplomats.

5. Cryptoquotes- A word game in which a quotation has been encoded using single letter substitution - i.e., each letter of the alphabet has been replaced by a different letter or a number. I've never encountered one that I couldn't solve. The CIA should be all over my shit- I'm a code breaking savant!

List five things you are bad at:

1. Determining whether clothing is wet or dry. I completely lack this ability.

2. Non-shoe sports. This category of activities includes any sport in which you put something on (or under) your feet that is not a shoe, sneaker, or cleat. Prime examples include ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, rollerblading, rollerskating, surfing, and skateboarding. I am downright awful at all such activities.

3. Remembering anniversaries. I have a decent memory for birthdays. I might be a day or two late, but I'll remember. But anniversaries? Not at all. Every year, my mother gets mad at me for not acknowledging my parents' anniversary. My sister Eri had the best rebuttal- "How am I supposed to remember? I didn't go to your wedding." Maybe if I ever get married, I might remember my own, but we're talking two pretty big maybes.

4. Posing for head shots. In 95% of my identification cards, I look foolish, partially undressed (I posed for my Peace Corps I.D. when I was wearing a strappy tank top, but the way the photo was cropped, you couldn't see the straps, so I looked naked) or obese. In the other 5%, I look fat, crazed, and potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, that 5% is my most recent passport. Fortunately, none of this bothers me at all, so I don't ever ask to retake a bad photo, which is probably why I have some many unfortunate ones.

5. Sudoku. Good at letters, bad at numbers. It probably isn't even that hard, but when I look at a sudoku puzzle, all I see are a bunch of numbers that I don't feel like dealing with.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekend Report

Friday- Caro and I stopped by Open Studios in the South End and sort of crashed a party by accident. Realizing our mistake, and the fact that everyone else in the room was so weird (artist, but not in that edgy cool way, more in the freak way) that we seemed like oddballs due to our comparative normalcy. Then, I went home and watched Layer Cake. It's a fairly typical British mobster film. The protagonist is a clean cut cocaine dealer, who plans to retire and walk away from the business. Unfortunately, plans go awry as he ends up the targeted by a Serbian gangster, among other subplots. It's a stylistically pleasing and fun movie, and I always enjoy watching Daniel Craig, but overall pretty formulaic.

Saturday- Caro and I went hiking and climbed Mt. Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts at 3,491 ft. (oh, how Colorado laughs at our puny mountains!). It took us about 4.5 hours to get to the summit and back- that's including the hour or so during which we got lost. We were following the trail, and all of the sudden we were climbing through branches and over rocks and we realized that we hadn't seen a blue dot in a long time, and that we didn't seem to be on any sort of trail anymore. We backtracked and ran into some other hikers and told them about the disappearing trail. We formed a makeshift expedition party and went looking for the blue dots. Turns out that the trail crossed as stream that had risen due to recent rainfalls, and one of the other hikers spotted a blue dot on the other side, so we got back on track fairly quickly. We stopped at a pumpkin farm and a diner on our way home. I was exhausted, but stayed up to watch the Red Sox game with my roommate Ern. Here's a recap of the best moment of Game 6:
Bases loaded. J.D. Drew is at bat. Strike, ball, pause.
Me: J.D. Drew, if you hit a grand slam right now, all is forgiven.
Ern: I will forgive you! The City of Boston will forgive you!
Next pitch, he swings and BAM! GRAND SLAM!
Ern and I cheer and jump around and give each other sticky high fives because Ern was in the process of peeling apples for an apple crisp.
Sunday- Played soccer, worked, then watched Game 7. Holy crap! The Red Sox are going to the World Series!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Snakes in the john!

Sounds like the stuff of urban legend, but it's true:

7 foot python found in Brooklyn toilet.

Now only if it made friends with a canary, it would be the Best Story Ever!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Concert Review: Spoon at the Roxy

Last night, I saw Spoon perform in front of a small crowd at the Roxy. Apparently, the Roxy was being punished by the city for some sort of violation, so their capacity was reduced for a time period overlapping the Spoon concert. Which is too bad, because the show sold out quickly, and the band would have been able to sell a lot more tickets had they been permitted. Nevertheless, the show was great! I had never seen them live before, and I was very impressed by frontman Britt Daniel (even though my blurry photo of him is not very impressive), who plays lead guitar, sings, and writes the majority of their songs. He has great stage presence and it's immediately obvious that although Spoon is a group act, Daniel is definitely the driving creative force behind their success. They played a mix of older songs and tracks from their new album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, including my favorite song from that album:

I was still in a good mood this morning after the fun show, until I walked out my front door and saw my car being towed. (stupid street cleaning!) At least the tow truck driver let me ride to the lot with him, so although I'm now $150 lighter, I was spared the anguish of running around town trying to figure out what happened to my car.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Foiled again!

For two days in a row, I've gone to a Dunkin' Donuts specifically to purchase a pumpkin muffin (for a limited time only), and they've been sold out!


For the record, the pumpkin donut sucks and is not an adequate substitute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekend Report

Friday- Celebrated Nikki's birthday by watching the Sox win Game 1 of the ALCS at Game On. That bar has always reminded me of a glorified boys' dorm room...watching television while simultaneously listening to loud music, in my experience, is a strictly male habit. Girls never do this. It baffles me.

Saturday- Cleaned my apartment, worked in the lab, stopped by a housewarming party, watched some more Sox.

Sunday- Ran the Bay State Half Marathon in Lowell. Originally, a few friends and I were going to do it, but everyone else opted out. I almost bailed as well, since I barely trained- my knee had started bothering me, so I took a couple of weeks off from running. However, it was a nice, fall day, so I decided to give it a go, and I was hoping to finish under two hours. The course winds through Lowell along the river and ends with a lap around the outfield at the baseball stadium. When the finish line was in sight, the clock was at 1:59, so I booked it in and finished at 1:59:52.

Monday- Not technically part of the weekend, but I saw the Smashing Pumpkins play at the Orpheum last night. I rarely listen to them now, but I LOVED them back in the day, and I had never seen them live before. Only two of the original members, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin, are still around, but they played a lot of their old hits and sounded great. They didn't play their biggest hit (and my favorite), "Disarm," but did play a couple songs from almost every album, and Billy Corgan (who is like seven feet tall. I had no idea.) did a solo, acoustic set as well. Overall, it was definitely worth missing the Red Sox game for the show, and my 15-year old self would have been quite jealous. Here's the Globe review of the Sunday night show.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Song of the Day: A Boy Named Sue

So, the other day I was listening to music and the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue" started playing. I've always loved that song, and I started to wonder why exactly I liked it so much. Sure, the lyrics tell an interesting story, and it's got a catchy rhythm, but there's something more, something unique to it. All of the sudden, it hit me. It's the rhyme scheme! (Let's just pretend that people who mentally envision rhyme schemes while listening to music are cool, OK?)

For example:

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.



I can't recall ever hearing a similar pattern in a song. Frankly, it's genius. I did a little more research (i.e. a Google search) and discovered that the song was written by the poet Shel Silverstein.

Oh, for a long time, I only had the censored version, which contains the following line:

"Cause I'm the BLEEEEEP that named you "Sue.'"

I assumed that, because of the context and all, the bleeped out word was mother*&^#er. It's not. It's "son of a bitch." I guess the big MF was a little too gangsta for the 1960s.

And now, for your listening pleasure:

mp3: A Boy Named Sue, by Johnny Cash.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My filthy mouth

Last week at work, my co-worker Vibhu and I decided to see who had more bacteria in his or her mouth. We each spit onto an agar plate and placed them in the incubator overnight. (oh, by the way, we're disgusting.) The verdict? Umm...I had WAY more bacteria in my saliva than Vibhu. We had placed a $5 bet on the outcome, but since he later admitted to using mouthwash that morning, I think it might have been a set up. Either way, I hope that you enjoy the photo of our oral 100% coliform-free!

Friday, October 12, 2007

How Manny Became Manny

Via Universal Hub, I came across a post filled with gems about one of my favorite Red Sox players. In 1991, the New York Times featured an 18-year old high school baseball phenomenon named Manny Ramirez in an article about baseball and the immigrant community of Washington Heights. The blog Soxfan vs Yanksfan compiled some more stories from Manny's youth:

June 3, 1991

"In Washington Heights, people are already telling Manny Ramirez stories. He will be remembered as the young man who worked harder than anyone else. He woke up at 4:30 A.M. to fit in his roadwork and practice before school, spent his weekday afternoons with his high school team and weekends in Brooklyn with his sandlot team. In the evenings, he swung a bat over and over in his apartment (without ever breaking a window). ..."

I've always believed that the Boston media has been undeservedly harsh on Manny, so it's nice to read these old stories and discover that when he was young, he was admired for his work ethic and humility in addition to his ability to hit a baseball.

Good luck tonight, Manny (he reads DCOE, he just doesn't like to comment) and go Red Sox!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Belated Weekend Report

Busy week at work....but here are some photos from last weekend. Friday night, my roommate Ern hosted a fabulous birthday party for me at a candlepin bowling alley near our apartment in Southie. I'd link to it, but it doesn't have a website. It was a great time, even with that weird bowling alley smell. Here are a few photos. Since I didn't get a good one of me with Ern, I will substitute one of me with her brother, because according to one of my co-workers, "They look alike and they both talk like pirates."

Maria and Jamie gave me the most
creative gift. Because I had griped about being broke, single, and still in school, MJ gave me a scratch ticket, signed me up for speed dating, and made me a diploma. Jamie even redesigned the Sideways movie poster.

After the bowling party, we hit a couple of local bars and celebrated Manny's winning home run. (my friend Jen always celebrates baseball with a glass of white zin. Hey, I don't judge.)
On Saturday, my college roommate Jossy, who was in town visiting, and I spent the day lying on the couch, interrupted by brief bouts of activity: family lunch, a trip to the nail salon, and Ethiopian dinner with Ern and Caro at Addis Red Sea. (so good! I ended up going back there last night with my uncle and his girlfriend...who are vegans and loved all of the vegetarian options.)

The fun continued on Sunday- Jossy, Nikki, Meg, and I headed to Gillette Stadium to watch the Patriots defeat the Browns. Man, the Patriots are so good this year that even in a game when they don't play very well (like last Sunday), the opposition still never even had a chance. We tailgated (marinated chicken and turkey kielbasa...high class.), enjoyed the game, exchanged words with an idiot Browns fan, who walked into a trash barrel while she was trying to intimidate us, and did some more birthday celebrating.

Overall, I had a fantastic weekend- thanks again to everyone who came out to celebrate or sent their birthday greetings!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Interspecies Friendship Alert!

Golden retriever nurses orphaned kitten. Everybody say "Awwwww..." (via Rob)

And for all of you graduate students out there, the New York Times recently ran an article on the lengthy quagmire that is graduate school. average of 8.2 years? The hard science track is quite different from the soft sciences and humanities...first of all, it's a smidgen briefer (average is more like 6.2), plus, the actual writing of the dissertation is more of an afterthought and not the major hurdle- it's the experimental data and journal publications that matter, and they take a combination of time, effort, and luck to generate.

Birthday Party

So, my party was Friday night. Not that many people came, (didn't you guys get the e-vite?) but it was still an okay time, I guess.

Friday, October 05, 2007

In the news

First off, I loved this headline from the Globe:

Credit union employees foil heist, sit on alleged robber.

and I love the opening sentence even more:

"A robbery at a credit union today in Fall River was thwarted by three female employees who pinned an alleged assailant to the ground and sat on him until police arrived, authorities said."

While listening to the Red Sox game on Wednesday night, I was surprised to hear a commenter mention that Mike Lowell's family defected from Cuba. Based on his name, I had always believed that he was part of the Southern redneck Red Sox contingent, and not the Carribean latino one. Anways, earlier this week, the Globe ran a feature article about him. He's led an interesting life and faced many challenges, including a battle with cancer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Today is my thirtieth birthday. When I was little, whenever it was my birthday, my mom would ask me "How does it feel?" to be eight or whatever age I was turning. I would concentrate to see if I felt different in any way...older, wiser. But I never noticed any changes.

So, how does it feel to be thirty? Well, it's all a matter of perspective. On the one hand, I'm broke, single, and still in grad school (five years and counting). I drive a used minivan and most of my clothes still come from Old Navy. And now I'm thirty. So according to most societal parameters, I'm basically a Y chromosome away from being played by Paul Giamatti in the movie version.

Despite all this, I like my life. I am fortunate to have such great friends and family. I have a lot of fun and still feel like every day is an adventure. I'm healthy, and for the most part, pretty happy.

I still don't feel any different, though.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Iran so far

Have you seen the new SNL video making fun of the president of Iran?
"You can deny the holocaust all you want, but you can't deny that there's something between us."

On an entirely unrelated note, if you're ever at a party and there's a bowl of mixed nuts right next to a bowl of olives, before you say "Yum. I love nuts!" and stick your hand in them, you might to confirm that they are indeed nuts and not slimy, discarded, chewed-on olive pits.

p.s. GO SOX!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Report

Friday- Drove up to Maine to visit Jason and Sarah. We decided to skip the Bangor club scene and went to the Sea Dog Brewery for food and beers. The food was standard pub fare, but the beer was most delicious.

Saturday- Went out to breakfast, then toured some local sites. Bangor is a very pretty area, and we had a perfect sunny fall day. I'll skip some of the details, since Jason blogged all about it, but here are some photos. Jason's aunt breeds horses, so we stopped by for a visit. The next stop was the Paul Bunyan statue. Babe was noticeably absent.

Then, we opted for some celebrity stalking and drove by Steven King's house (on the left). The photo on the right shows the home of two less creepy Bangor residents, Sarah and Jason.

Sunday- Attended the baptism of my new goddaughter, Maya. Maya's mom Kim gave me my birthday present- my very own Dunkin' Donuts coffee table book! A while ago, I wrote about one of my business ideas- a coffee table book that features pictures of people drinking Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Unbeknownst to me, Kim decided to make one for my birthday and got a bunch of my friends (including several DCOE commenters) to send her photos of them with Dunkin' Donuts. It came out great, and I am stunned that nobody accidentally spoiled the surprise.
Sunday night I had dinner with my parents and sister Kerry at Legal Test Kitchen. I hadn't been there yet and really liked it. Our waitress was awesome, the prices were more reasonable than I expected, and the food was excellent. I had a spicy Spanish paella that was about 80% seafood. Mmmmm. After dinner, I headed to the Paradise to see Jose Gonzalez, an Argentinian from Sweden who sings in English. So, yes, quite a busy day.