Thursday, January 31, 2008

Movie Review: Persepolis

Yesterday, my friend Caro and I went to see a movie. She suggested Persepolis, telling me "It's some sort of foreign comedy." I agreed. I later found out it was a cartoon about a girl growing up in Iran, and I cringed. First of all, that doesn't sound very funny, and secondly, I'm not really into animation. Yeah, yeah, I know. You loved Shrek, and wasn't Ratatouille great? Blah blah Anime blah. I don't know why, but when it comes to movie-legnth animation, it just doesn't really interest me. So I went into the theather with the attitude of a nine-year old about to eat a helping of lima beans. Surprisingly, I liked it. Persepolis is a French cartoon based upon graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, who wrote them as a memoir about her experience as a rebellious girl growing up in Iran. The story begins during the late 70s, when the populace overthrows the Shah. However, Marjane's family soon finds out that the devil they knew was better than the one they didn't- life under the new militant Islamic regime is even worse than it was before. The story is interesting, and the drawing is both simple and beautiful, and yes, there are several comic moments. However, the most powerful aspect of the film for me was watching people I could relate to live under an oppressive government. It's easy to assume that the residents of Arab nations (well, the extreme ones) are either A. true believers or B. poor, uneducated, and therefore easily manipulated and forget the extistence of Iranians who hate wearing headscarves, sneak off to illegal parties with (gasp!) alcohol, and buy CDs and magazines on the black market. These people are living in a real-life version of the Handmaid's Tale, and it's horrifying.
The movie starts out strong- I loved all the scenes with Marjane as a child- but does start to drag once she reaches her teenage years. I initally wondered why they chose to subtitle the film in English instead of redubbing it, but it worked. Once I learned that the grandmother, my favorite character, was voiced the famed 89-year old French actress Danielle Darrieu, and Marjane's mother was voiced by Darrieu's actual daughter, the decision to keep the French narration made sense.

Here's the Globe review for a more detailed description of the movie.

Seinfeld science

Just in time for your Superbowl party....A study conducted at Clemson University by a food microbiologist and his undergraduate students tested the amount of bacteria transferred by double dipping.

"On average, the students found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip." Here's the full article from the New York Times.

I'm not a germophobe at all, but I've never been a double dipper. Well, that's not exactly true...if I'm eating a carrot stick or something, I'll dip, bite, then redip, but from the unbitten end, not with the part that my mouth has touched. Um, in case anyone was wondering.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Message about Book Club

I started Midnight's Children this week, and although I am enjoying it so far, it's kind of a slow read. So for all of you participating in DCOE Book Club, I've granted us an extension. You have until next Tuesday (as opposed to this Friday) to finish Book One.

Happy reading!

Hell Night

Last night, I attended the legendary Hell Night at the East Coast Grill in Inman Square. Basically, fans of spicy food are treated/tortured to some of the hottest cuisines imaginable. It's hard to get a reservation, but my roommate Ern somehow snagged us a table for six. The picture on the left is of us in happier times, at the bar, before the peppery products entered our systems. We started off with a flaming drink (see blurry picture) and spicy ribs, taquitos, and buffalo shrimp for appetizers. The taquitos certainly had a little kick to them, but OH MY GOD THE SHRIMP. They burned!
For an entree, I ordered the Jamaican grilled skirt steak. It was hot, damn hot. I tried my best to scrape off the peppery sauces, to no avail. I sought comfort in the side items of fried yuca and jicama salad, but alas, they were tossed in the devil's own seasoning.
The only thing that saved my stomach lining were the sides of cornbread (the waiter offered jalapeno cornbread, but we wisely chose the plain) and fried plantains. No one dared to test the hottest item on the menu, the Hell Pasta. I had been considering it until I read a review on the Hot Sauce Blog that describes people vomiting on the table after eating it. Um, I think I'll pass. The others suffered through their main courses as well, and naturally, I was all "You look like you're going to barf! Quick, let me take a picture for my blog." I don't look so bad in mine, until you realize that my face is the same color as my fuchsia sweater, and my lips are not normally that, um, plump. Capsaicin...even better than collagen injections!

The first casualty of the evening was Pat, who had the salmon, which we all confirmed was the hottest item at our table. I thought I had recovered, until, at 4:30AM, something terrible happened in my lower intestines. That's all I'm going to say about that. Overall, it was a fun night and a definite culinary adventure, but I would not recommend it for the faint of taste bud. I love spicy food, but this was almost too much for me. (Almost? Who am I kidding? I almost needed to buy a pair of these.)

Monday, January 28, 2008


Despite the strike, the Annual Web-Goddess Oscar Contest is up and running. I actually think last year was a slow year for movies...I thought No Country For Old Men was awesome, but I haven't seen any of the other nominees for Best Picture.

Here's a science blog run by the graduate students from Mrs. V's lab at the CDC. I loved their list of You Know You're A Biologist When...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend Report

Friday- Went out for drinks after work at Kingston Station after work, where they have absinthe on the menu. I was tempted to order it, but chickened out at the last second. Maybe next time. Afterwards, I met up with friends at The Liberty Hotel, a building that once had a far more infamous name, the Charles Street Jail. The prison was closed in 1990 and the property bought by Massachusetts General Hospital. Despite a luxorious renovation, it still retains the large dome and bars on some of the windows. There are two venues inside- Alibi and Clink. We went to Clink, the less clubby of the two, but it was still way more pretentious than the types of places I normally frequent. When I arrived at 9:30, a line had already formed out front. I was suprised by the wide age range of the crowd- early twenties to sixties- which orovided for high comedy when a gray-haired dame clearly in her fifties sent a drink over to a 23 year old guy in our group. I'm not kidding. That's beyond cougar. Something about the set-up, with the domed roof, relatively bright lighting, and spaciousness reminded me of the cocktail hour at a wedding reception. We had a lot of fun people-watching, but eventually relocated to the more pedestrian Hill Tavern, where I proceeded to drink three beers during what I have decided to start calling the witching hour...the hour leading up to last call.

Saturday- Woke up feeling groggy, ran a bunch of errands, went to the lab, then played soccer. Spent the majority of the day attempting to purchase Red Sox tickets, in vain.

Sunday- Went out to breakfast with friends at Mel's Commonwealth Cafe in Wayland. My love for Portuguese muffins has been rekindled- now, I have to figure out where I can buy them. Spent most of the day running errands and doing lab work, then went to trivia night at the 21st Amendment. It was fun but painful - we ended up in a tie for first place, and the tiebreaker was a question on....Christian musicals. Um, so we finished second.

In other news, I learned from Caity that New Kids on the Block are going on tour. Wow.

And, lastly, I'll end with a link to the funniest thing I saw last week. You owe it to yourself to look.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Welcome to the Boston Red Sox Virtual Waiting Room!


We are experiencing very high demand. As a result, all requests for seats cannot be served simultaneously. Please be patient, and your browser will be refreshed in:

This sucks.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Let the Book Club begin!

Today is the start of the inaugural Divine Comedy of Errors book club. Here's how it's going to work: The book is Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I picked up a copy last night, and it's longer than I expected, but it's divided into three sections, which makes it easy to split it up for Book Club purposes.

You have until next Friday to read the first section, Book One. In my edition, that's pages 1 - 133. Totally doable, right? Next Friday, I'll put up a post with my thoughts and commentary, and everyone can discuss in the comments section.

If you are participating, leave a comment here, just because I'm curious to see who decided to give DCOE Book Club a try.

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest last night. I can't believe Jack Nicholson is now in movies like The Bucket List. Unless maybe he wrote "star in a cheesy buddy film with Morgan Freeman" on the list of things he wanted to do before he died.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


There are two possible explanations for this article about Mitt Romney on the campaign trail:

A. It actually happened.

B. The Onion's sinister plot to seize control of the New York Times has finally succeeded.

Monday, January 21, 2008

List #37...Ski Resorts Whose Names Sound Dirty

1. Sugarbush
2. Sugarloaf
3. Titcomb
4. Crotched Mountain
5. Smugglers' Notch
6. Mad River Glen
7. Butternut
8. Big Squaw
9. Cockaigne
10. Peek'n Peak

You knew there was a reason why you read this blog.

Weekend Report

Friday- Watched the Celtics defeat Philadelphia with my friend Jen. The game was pretty close until the C's blew it open during the 4th quarter. All the tickets I have are for weeknight games, so it was fun to go on a Friday- the crowd was extra wild (read: drunk).

Saturday- It was Lisa's 30th birthday, so a group of us went out for dinner at Ole to celebrate. The restaurant itself is very lively, and the margaritas and guacamole were delicious. I had the enchiladas, and they were okay, but my quest for a great Mexican restaurant in Boston will continue. I liked Ole, but after reading so many rave reviews, maybe my expectations were set too high. I absolutely love Mexican food, but unfortunately, it seems the one cuisine that Boston does not do well. I prefer the Aztec in downtown Framingham or Acapulco's in one of its suburban locations to anything I've had in downtown Boston. If you have a suggestion for good Mexican in/near the city, let me know!
So, back to Lisa's birthday...I am currently obsessed with the "retro" setting on my new camera and took a series of portraits.

Birthday girl:

Birthday entourage:

We finished the night at the Playwright, and I had a great time catching up with friends and welcoming Lisa to Club 30.

Sunday- Are you ready for some football? (I miss the old NFL intro.) Well, I was. We drank, we ate, we watched the first game, we drank more, we ate more, we watched the second game, we stayed up until 2AM playing trivial pursuit. Here is some commentary about the games:

-Go PATS! The game wasn't their best or most exciting performance, but they got the job done. Kudos to Maroney for a great running game. I don't even want to say anything about the Superbowl for fear of jinxing them, but I'm looking forward to it.

-Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees has the funniest name in professional sports.

-I really wish the Packers had won, just for the fact that Brady vs. Favre is basically any female NFL fan's dream match-up. Now we're going to be stuck looking at Eli, Peyton, and Archie for the next two weeks.

-Eli has picked up his brother's most annoying habit. Whenever a receiver fails to make a catch (even if it's a poorly thrown pass), he acts like a total baby- glares, rolls his eyes, flings his hands up in frustration. Way to support your teammates, idiot. Would Tom ever act like that towards Randy? No, he'd be like "That's okay, Randy, I'll just throw you a touchdown pass on the next play. Want to grab some food after the game or something?"

- You'd think someone would have made Giants coach Tom Coughlin put on a ski mask or something. Did you SEE how red his face was? "I'm glad my team is going to the Superbowl, but I'm not going to be able to coach the game because my fucking face froze off and fell on the ground somewhere outside of Lambeau Field."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My new emo album...

This meme (I still hate that word) is popping up all over the place, but I first saw it on Kristy's site.

Create your own emo band album:

1. Generate your band name using this Random Wikipedia Link.

2. The album title is the last four words from the last quote on this page.

3. The cover art is the third photo in this set.


Note, if want to set this up on your own blog, the Wiki random link is
(for the other two, you can just copy and paste the http.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Things I'm Into Lately

Jenny started this list last Friday, and Caity gave hers, so a week later, here is my list of things I've been digging lately.

1. DCOE book club! We have a winner, everybody. The first selection will be Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. If you want to participate, you have until next Friday to acquire a copy.

2. Poland Spring Sparkling Water (Lime Flavor). I haven't been drinking much soda lately, and sometimes plain water gets a little boring. I recently discovered citrus flavored sparkling water, and I love it! However, I'm trying to cut down on my use of plastics, so I've been only buying it as a rare treat.

3. Boston sports. For obvious reasons.

4. My new hairdryer. I bought a new Conair on sale at Marshalls, and it's so much better than my wussy old one. So maybe now my hair won't look like shit all the time.
Old way of blowdrying hair: bbbbbrrrrrrzzzzztttt..... God, this is taking forever.. ....bbbbbrrrrrrzzzzztttt.. .my hair's still soaked... .(10 minutes later)bbbbbrrrrrrzzzzztttt... ..fuck it, I give up.
New way of blowdrying hair: WHRRRRRRRRRRRRZZZZZZZZZRRRT. Done!

5. Science! Graduate school has its ups and downs, and a lot more downs than ups: failed experiments, confusing data, disastrous thesis committee meetings. I've had a pretty good week- got some information that should help me with a new experiment that I've been struggling with lately, and I attended a couple of interesting talks that made me feel enthusiastic about research again. In somewhat related news, here's a pretty good article on the Presidential candidates and evolution. The author makes a couple of good points- it matters what the candidates think because we don't live in a theocracy, and also because shouldn't we want a President who has demonstrated the ability to analyze data? The article does flub a couple of points though- the author pegs the Democratic candidates as "theistic evolutionists," which is incorrect. Believing in God and accepting evolution as fact does not mean that one believes that "God has somehow guided the process of evolution." For example, I that tides are caused by a gravitational interaction between the Earth and the moon, but I am not a theistic tidist who thinks that God guides the process.

He also failed to mention the biggest reason why our President's belief on evolution matters: The United States has the best biomedical science in the world. The best funding, the best equipment, and most of the best people. Yes, there are some good labs in Europe, Asia, and Australia, but overall, the U.S. is where it's at. On my floor at work, there are scientists from Japan, China, Brazil, India, Colombia, Georgia (as in former USSR Georgia), and Canada, and that's just scratching the surface. Do you know why they're all here? Because the best science happens in the United States, and everybody knows it. Can you imagine electing a leader whose policies will impact the NIH budget (the major source of funding for research on cancer, diabetes, and infectious disease) who openly rejects the fundamental tenet of biology? I hope not.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rachael Ray dumped by DD

Although I know several people who openly despise her, Rachael Ray never particularily bothered me. I did think she was an odd choice for a Dunkin' Donuts spokesperson, though.

Looks like the affair has ended bitterly...Rachael Ray's image has been wiped off the face of DDs, reportedly for rudely demanding Starbucks while on the set of a DD commercial:

So a friend of mine was on set last week as Rachael Ray filmed her latest Dunkin' Donuts commercial. According to her, Rachael stormed onto the set and snapped at everyone. Not news, I know, everyone knows she's actually a gigantic asshole. BUT! I am also told she took one sip of her Dunkin' Donuts coffee, yelled “What is this shit? Get me MY coffee,” and would not continue until she was given “her” coffee — i.e., Starbucks.

As for a replacement, I nominate Kevin Garnett. Patriots and Sox players do tons of local endorsements...(anyone seen Welker's ridiculous furniture commercial?) why not get the Green in on the action?

via Universal Hub

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

For thrifty readers

A couple of my friends recommended as a source for free books. Basically, you join, you register the books you currently have and are willing to give away, and you accumulate points (either by mailing books out or listing 10 that you are willing to mail out). You have to pay for postage for the books you mail out, but you receive books for free! Once you have points to spend, you can search for books you want and either order them (if they are currently available) or put them on your wish list. Both of my friends who use the site swear by it.
If you do sign up, please use me as a reference (hooray for points!). You can either use my account name - eileend- or my email address - emd3737 at hotmail.

Lastly, remember to vote on your choice for the upcoming DCOE book club!

Good thing Gisele is so tall

The New York Post planted a Jessica Simpson look-alike in the stands at Giants Stadium in an attempt to distract Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. Heh. Don't get any ideas, San Diego.

And now for something totally different:
The Worst Science Stories of 2007: STATS Dubious Data Awards

(For the record, though, I would support a ban on plastic water bottles, but not for "toxic chemicals," just because they create so much trash. Remember the floating continent of trash?) I think my training as an empirical scientist has led me to view stories like the ones mentioned in the article with a large dose of skepticism. Show me the experimental data with controls, or I probably won't believe you.
(link courtesy of Tom)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Joy of Text

It took me a while to warm up to text messaging. These fingers? Not so nimble. I am a slow and typo-prone texter. And you know how sometimes your phone predicts ridiculous words once you type in a couple of letters? It makes me laugh so hard that sometimes I keep them. Like, instead of "we're at trivia." you might get a text from me that says "we're at urinary."

I still think calling is generally a faster and more polite means of communication, but texting is starting to grow on me. Except when I'm driving. I fully admit to chatting on my phone while behind the wheel, but drive-texting is too much for me to manage. And, it does piss me off when you're hanging out with someone and and he or she keeps playing with his/her phone. Pay attention to me! I'm right here! (Yes, I'm the middle child. Why do you ask?) However, texting can be quite handy, like when you're meeting someone at a noisy bar, or you're riding the bus and don't want to be all Little Miss Cell Phone Talker. Or, you and your friends are all watching the same sporting event (in different locations) and can text amusing commentary back and forth.

So, last time I went to Verizon to renew my cell phone contract, I asked about a new plan that would include texting. The salesman was in his early 20s and probably hangs out at The Place and other post-fratty type venues. He described one that would allow me to send and receive 250 messages and photos a month.

Me: "250? Are you sure that's enough?"
Salesman: "Hold on, let me look up your account."
Salesman, with obvious disdain: "Yeah, there's no way you'll ever even get close to that." Like I was a big loser who didn't have any friends. How dare I think I might start receiving and sending more texts?
Me: "I'M POPULAR!" Just kidding, I didn't really yell that. I hung my head in shame and agreed to the 250 plan.

Cut to this month's Verizon bill. An extra $16.72 charge for Data. Data? WTF? I inspected the bill a bit closer. Guess who got charged because she exceeded her text and picture limit? That's right. ME. So suck it, condesceding Verizon salesboy.

Weekend Report

Friday- Went out after work on Friday with a bunch of coworkers. Apparently, it's been a while since I went out after work on a Friday, because I had completely forgotten how crowded all of the bars get. We determined that it would be impossible to get a table for 12 of us, so a few of us split off and had dinner at the Pour House (So cheap! who care what it tastes like? The beers are big, too.) and then reunited with the others at Bukowski's. I tried a couple of different beers, but liked La Fin Du Monde the best.

Saturday- Headed down to Woonsocket, RI to visit my friend Colann. She had a few friends over and we watched the Pats game, then hit the town. First, we went to River Falls- who knew Woonsocket had such a cool bar? Not I. Then, we went dancing at Fifty's in Bellingham. It provided the sort of ridiculous people-watching only available at suburban nightclubs. Anyone remember Polly Esta's in Framingham? Sort of like that. I danced with an old man wearing a vest made of silver sequins.

Sunday- Took advantage of the calm before the storm to go for a long run along the beach. Ran errands and did some lab work. Watched Infernal Affairs, the 2002 film on which The Departed was based. I liked it, and it was fun to compare it with The Departed. Some of the scenes were virtually identical, although there were some minor variations in the plot, like the fact that there were three female characters instead of just one.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Divine Comedy of Errors Book Club

Since several of you expressed interest, let's give this book club a try. I've come up with a list of contenders for our first selection. You can vote for your choice in the comments.

1. Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson.
"As a 67-year-old, Trond moves to an isolated part of Norway to live out the rest of his life quietly. After meeting his closest neighbor, he is forced to confront things from his youth that he'd spent years avoiding."

2. Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn.
"The story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater and paterfamilias set out — with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes — to breed their own exhibit of human oddities."

3. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson.
"In 1956, toward the end of Rev. John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears." Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize.

4. Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie.
"Born at the midnight of India's independence, Saleem is handcuffed to history by the coincidence. He is one of 1001 children born that midnight, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent." Winner of the 1993 Booker of Bookers (best Booker prize novel of the past 25 years).

5. True History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey.
"Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged." Winner of the 2001 Booker Prize.

The winner will be announced on Friday.

Friday, January 11, 2008

In the news

Are any of you sun sneezers? Does looking at a bright light make you sneeze? Scientific American explains the photic sneeze reflex, also known as Autosomal-dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome (ACHOO). Just reading the article made me want to sneeze.

This news isn't as recent, but I kept forgetting to comment on it over the holidays. Score one for the papists: Tony Blair is now a Catholic.

And here's a more recent story from the UK. Imagine meeting the love of your life, marrying, and then discovering that your new spouse is actually....your twin. The twins were separated at birth and adopted by different families, unaware of each other's existence. Sounds like something straight out of Days of Our Lives.

My new favorite website: The Morning News. Their political commentary is particularly entertaining, and I look forward to reading more coverage as the primaries continue.

There Are Two Types of People in this World

There are people who look at sugar bowl lids and see a sugar bowl lids.

Then, there are people who look at sugar bowl lids, laugh, and pose with them in a very inappropriate manner. At your wedding.

Bonus Photo: "Everywhere I look, something reminds me of her."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just for fun

If you played soccer for Brazil, what would your name be? Find out with the Brazilian Soccer Name Generator.

Mine's Eileinho, which is pretty close to an old college nickname of mine (Eileeño, because, like El Niño, I am a chaotic force. Especially when it came to the tidiness of dorm rooms.)

(via The Late Adopter)

Also, someone recently suggested that I start a DCOE book club. Would any of you be interested? We'd (meaning myself and potential, I haven't started using the royal we.) decide on a book, give everyone a week or so to obtain it, then wait a couple more weeks for a big discussion post.

In the comments, let me know if you'd be game for this and if you have any books you'd like to read. If a few people express interest, I'll give it a shot.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Book Review: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

I just finished The Road, last year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy. Most of McCarthy’s books are modern Westerns, and although The Road is written in his typical stark style, the plot is more akin to 28 Days Later than any of McCarthy's prior writing. A father and a son walk through a burned and barren world, struggling for survival as they head south to (hopefully) a warmer climate. Despite a few flashbacks, we don’t know exactly how the world ended, only that it did. All that remains are charred cities, mummified corpses, and grey skies. No more plants, no more sunshine, no more animals. The protagonists do their best to avoid other humans, many of whom turned to murder and cannibalism once the stocks of canned goods were depleted. So, yes, the setting is as bleak and depressing as hell on Earth, but at the same time, it’s a story of hope, perseverance, and the love between a father and son. The son is an especially amazing character- born after the apocalypse, he has no knowledge of our world, no society to become a part of, and no reason to be good, but he is, much to the wonder and admiration of his father.

Although The Road wasn’t my favorite of Cormac McCarthy’s works (I’m partial to the border trilogy.), it’s a great book and deserving of the Pulitzer. Certainly not for the squeamish, though- there are some vivid descriptions of atrocities most horrible. It will draw you in and punch you in the stomach at the same time. I was approaching the end of the book while riding the bus and I had to put it away until I was in the comfort of my own home. I wasn't sure if it would be heartbreaking or happy or both, but I wanted to savor the last few pages in a place other than the #10 bus. A wise decision on my part.

Now that I'm bookless, does anyone have any recommendations?

Monday, January 07, 2008

When Bad Things Happen To Good People

Two blogs in particular, one by my former roommate Kristy (God, I think I'm the only one who still calls her that and not Kris.) and the other by another ND grad and former resident of our same dorm, Brigita, eventually inspired me to start my own blog. Brigita closed up shop after she had a baby, but has recently started blogging again.

Because she has cancer.

It's shocking, it's terrible, and incredibly unfair. I don't even know what to say, other than to admire her courage and to hope for the best.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Weekend Report

Friday- Worked late (part of my Graduate in '08! campaign), then went home and drank a bottle of wine and watched Love Actually with my roommate.

Saturday- Worked all day (see above campaign), then played soccer. My team won, in part due to my dirty tactics on defense. I used to be an aggressive but squeaky-clean player, but in a co-ed league, I must confess that I get a bit chippy when marking up on guys with a noticeable size advantage. In this game, I was covering a guy who was about 6 inches taller and 90 pounds my senior. He elbowed me in the chest at one point (totally by accident, but still, I was pissed), so I proceeded to elbow, kick at, knee, and tug on his jersey throughout the rest of the game. It's very rare for refs to call a girl vs. guy foul, so I never got called. As one of my teammates put it: "You could have pulled a 2 by 4 and whacked him over the head with it, and the ref still wouldn't have called anything." Whatever. We won. After that, I met up with some friends at Improv Asylum in the North End. I had never been to an improv show before (please forgive me, Tara D!), and I really enjoyed it. The format was similar to an episode of "Whose Line Is It, Anyways?" and so, so funny. There were mostly couples in the audience, so I would recommend it for a fun date night. After that, we went to a bar in the North End whose name I can't remember , but it was an alliteration.

Sunday- Went to a family lunch at my aunt, uncle, and cousins' house in central Mass, then met up with visiting college friend Teri and some friends at the Beehive. So fun! I love that place more every time I go. This time, we were the random people who show up at 5:30 on a Sunday (Early Bird special?), but we had a great time sampling drinks and food and chatting with the excellent waitstaff. The question of the day was "Where is the Strait of Magellan located?" and the whole bar got involved. No Googling- leave your answers in the comments.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Waxing Politic

Alright everyone, here's my take on the 2008 presidential election. Those of you who know me either in real life or through reading this blog are probably aware of the fact that I am very liberal Democrat. Since Dodd and Biden are already out, and Richardson is likely next to fall, I'll opine about the top three.

Edwards- Didn't like him when he was running for VP (when he wasn't going on about the Two Americas, his speeches were a little rah-rah-get-the-terrorists! for my tastes), don't like him now. Besides, he made his fortune as a medical malpractice attorney, and I am of the opinion that American society is far too litigious and have trouble supporting someone who made a career of suing doctors. But that's a rant for another day.

Barack Obama- He's new blood, a liberal like me, and a damn fine orator (watch Iowa victory speech here) to boot. I think he'd make a good President. However, I am not voting for him in the primary.

Divine Comedy of Errors endorses......

Hillary Clinton! She's far more conservative than I, and both her campaign tactics and association with Wal-Mart are a tad shady. And a lot of people hate her. So, why am I voting for her? I'll give you three reasons, two of which are admittedly superficial.

1. She's a woman. Seriously, America, are you planning to be the last country in the world to elect a female leader? Even Bangladesh has elected a female Prime Minister. Some people claim to oppose Clinton because they dislike the notion of a Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush Clinton dynasty. Well, how about mixing up the ongoing dynasty of white male Presidents...we're currently at 42 for 42. (Yes, Obama would also break that streak, so there's another plus for him.) Let's just go ahead and get it over with, so I never again have to listen to or read another inane "Is America ready for a female President?" discussion.

2. Bill. He's awesome. He's been the best President of my lifetime, and I would love to have him around the White House again. And if anyone could be the country's first First Gentleman with grace, style, and aplomb, it's Bill Clinton.

3. When it comes down to it, Congress does a majority of the lawmaking and overall running of the country. One of the most important roles of the President is to serve as a figurehead and a representative for our country in the global arena. I think Hillary would great at this. She's poised, intelligent, able to negotiate, an experienced politician, and a strong leader.

And just for fun, here's my take on the Republicans:

Mitt Romney- Can't stand him. Once a throwback fiscal conservative, he has since adopted the anti-immigrant, anti-gay stance that helped to elect Bush a second time. I don't think he has a chance of winning- he wouldn't even carry the state he governed, and he's a Mormon, which like it or not, is generally considered a weird religion. I won't, however, call him a Flip-Flopper, because I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing for a politician to change his or her mind. As Colbert poignantly said of Bush, "He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."

Rudy Giuliani- Sort of crazy, talks about September 11 a lot. Somehow, I doubt that Middle America would vote for a thrice divorced New Yorker.

Mike Huckabee- Sort of has the "Politicians, they're just like us!" average-guy thing going for him, just like Bush. And yes, the Chuck Norris ads were pretty funny. But he's stupid (um, the man does not believe in evolution! WTF???) and bigoted (once advocated confining HIV positive Americans in quarantine camps). The prospect of him leading our country terrifies me.

John McCain- If the Republicans were smart, they'd nominate McCain, because he'd win. He'd probably make a good President, too.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how the next few primaries turn out. Just do me a favor, Red States. No Huckabee. Please?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

How to Opt Out of Junk Mail

Do you get a lot of junk mail? Specifically, pre-screened credit card offers? I get a ton of these, like 2 or 3 a day. That adds up to a buttload of credit cards I don't want, and certainly don't need (two maxed out Mastercards are plenty, thanks.), not to mention a lot of wasted paper.

I'm trying to be a bit the environmental way, not in the jealous or Kermit the Frog sentiment of the word. Did you know that there is a continent-sized mass of plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean? I kid you not- read the article. Frightening. I blame Hawaii.

Anyways, the good news is that you can opt out of those credit card offers for five years. Here is the scoop from the Federal Trade Commission (Protecting America's Consumers!).

You can either call this number 1-888-5-OPTOUT (or 1-888-567-8688 if you hate translating letters into phone numbers like I do.) and use their automated system, or go online to . I tried the telephone number first, but they wanted me to enter my social security number, and I didn't feel comfortable doing so. On the website form, providing your social security number is optional.

Now don't say you never learned anything useful by reading DCoE...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008, and still no flying cars.

Happy New Year, everyone!

I returned today from a relaxing 5 day stay in the Berkshires. Good friends, good food, a fireplace, a lot of booze, a couple of snowstorms, and no plans was great. For New Year's Eve, we hosted a little party with some friends from NYC who had rented a house up the road from ours. 2007 went out with a bang- lots of champagne and fireworks, followed up by a couple ill-conceived glasses of port consumed by yours truly. 2008 came in with a whimper: I spent the entire day in my pajamas eating nachos and watching a America's Next Top Model marathon. Whatever, don't judge.

I suppose I should pull together some sort of sweeping, insightful end-of-the-year post, but I don't have the energy at the moment, so here are some photos instead, including one creepy new year's moustache: