Thursday, February 28, 2008

Interspecies Frienship Alert!

Somewhere in England, Billy the Boxer has adopted Lilly the Kid, a 12 day old goat abandoned by her mother.
Click on that link for, like, the cutest pictures ever.
Thanks to Rob for constant vigilance in detecting interspecies friendship news stories.
Recently, a friend of mine confessed that he hates interspecies friendships and won't read my blog for a week after I post one. To that friend, I say "Bah! Woof, woof, bleat, bleat!"
THIS JUST IN! Dachshund adopts piglet! Two interspecies friendship stories in one week- dreams do come true!

Lost and Found

You guys won’t believe what just happened to me! So, I’m sitting at home watching Invincible and my cell phone rang. By the time I dug it out of my bag, I had missed the call, and it was from a number that I didn’t recognize. No message. I considered calling the number (this cat would definitely die from curiosity) but opted not to, thinking it was probably a wrong number. Back to Marky Mark. About a half hour later, it rang again. Same number. I answered, and an unfamiliar voice with a thick accent asked for me (well, a mispronounced version of me).

Me: This is Eileen, who is this?
Caller: I find your purse!
Me: What? (What? I didn’t lose my purse.)
Caller: I find it on the Number 10 bus!
Me: (Holy crap I ride the Number 10 bus) What does it look like?
Caller: It’s little and red. I didn’t take anything, I promise!
Me: My wallet! I didn’t even know I lost it!
Caller: You come get it right now?
Me: Okay. How did you get my phone number?
Caller: It was on the little card. (Note to readers: Whenever I buy a new wallet, I always fill out the little information card. I’d advise you to do the same.)

The wallet-finder lives near Andrew Square, so I met up with him at the Dunkin’ Donuts (Because you know where bus riders don’t go to retrieve their wallets from strangers? Starbucks.) I thanked him and offered him some money, and he refused. Granted, it was a crumpled up five and a couple of ones…I’m a grad student, what do you expect? Turns out he’s a recent immigrant from Guatemala, and I told him that I lived in Nicaragua for two years, and he was very surprised by that. We switched to Spanish, and he told me that a few weeks ago, he dropped his wallet at the bank without realizing. The next day he went back, and it was still there, complete with $100 in cash. He was amazed and asked who had turned it in. The teller said it was some American guy, so he decided that Americans are nice people and when he found my wallet on the floor of the bus, he saw it as his opportunity to return the favor.

So, the moral of this story is a two-parter (I almost typed bimodal but then thought that would be too nerdy. Oh, and my apologies for today's bout of parentheses fever.) : 1. There are some nice people in the world. and 2. I should pay more attention to my belongings.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Most Polarizing Substance on Earth

There exists an entity more polarizing than Hillary Clinton, on which everyone has an opinion. You either love them, or you hate them. Indifference is not an option.

Deviled eggs.

Seriously, whenever they are served, some people will gobble them up with delight, while others flee the room in panicked disgust.

As for myself, I fall firmly in the Pro deviled egg camp. Mmmm...just scrape out that hardboiled yellow, mush it up with a fork, stir in some mayo, mustard, salt and pepper, scoop the mix back into the white, and finish with a dash of paprika. So delicious, and nothing satanic about them at all. In fact, I might just start calling them Jesused eggs. Or maybe not.

How about the rest of you:

Deviled eggs, yay or nay?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Somebody's got a case of the Mondays

and that somebody is me.

I had a fairly uneventful weekend- I'm fighting off some sort of cold, so I spent most of the time lying around on my couch. I didn't even watch the Oscars.

Here are a couple goodies from the internet to perk up your morning:

1. A fun video done to Spoon's Don't You Evah. I want one of those little spongy guys!

2. The sponge material theme continues. I don't know how to even describe this- art project?- and I don't really understand it, but I like it. Today Is The Day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

List #38...Things That Make Me Faint

I am prone to fainting. No one has been able to determine why, but it's probably some type of vasovagal syncope. The first time I fainted was during fifth grade. We were all standing around during science class looking at a model of an ear, and I started feeling hot and really weird. I guess I turned pale and started swaying around, because the teacher stopped class and asked if I felt okay. I said " I feel dizzy." and next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor looking up at a bunch of stunned classmates. That incident opened the floodgates: since then, I've probably fainted about 50 times- on vacation, because of a fever, at work, giving blood. It's more embarrassing than anything else, and tends to cause a big scene. For example, when I was in high school my family was on vacation in Cancun, and we were eating breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel lobby, and suddenly I didn't feel so well. I decided to go back to my room and lie down. However, when I stood up and walked across the room, I completely blacked out and hit the floor. When I came to, I was surrounded by panicked waiters yelling "señorita! señorita!" and a German tourist was putting ice on my wrists.

So, on to today...I volunteered for a medical study at work- donate three little tubes of blood, and help someone's research project (and get paid $25 cash for your trouble). I warned the girl in advance that I sometimes get a little lightheaded (mostly because I didn't want her to freak out in case I did faint), but thought I would be fine. The blood draw was a tad uncomfortable but over in a jiffy. I started to get that muffled hearing sensation (the first sign....uh-oh) and sat down for a while until it passed. I thought I was in the clear, but when I rose from the chair and started walking, everything went black. I slumped against the wall, then sort of slid down it and ended up lying on the tile floor in a busy hallway. The incident attracted a crowd of about ten nurses, doctors, researchers, and receptionists . So embarrassing! Everyone was really nice, though, and since it is a hospital, they should be used to such occurrences.

Anways, onto the list #38

Things That (sometimes) Make Me Faint:

1. getting blood drawn
2. watching other people bleed (only when it's a lot of blood, a simple paper cut won't do the trick)
3. having a fever
4. being somewhere really hot
5. not eating (You know those people who claim "I was so busy I forgot to eat!" well, that would never happen to me.)
6. Doing animal experimentation
7. Thinking about eyeballs (they totally gross me out)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Adventures in Speed Dating

Last night, my friend Liz and I went 8 Minute Dating at Clarke's. I'd never done anything like that before, so I didn't quite know what to expect and was feeling a bit nervous beforehand. However, Liz and I made the wise decision to grab a couple of drinks before the event, so when the time came, we were prepared. We arrived at Clarke's and the back room was set up with a bunch of tables with numbers on them. Upon checking in, everyone receives a dating schedule that tells patricipants when to go to which table, as well as a dating card, on which you can write the name, dating number, and notes about the people you meet ("nervous accountant"). Technically, you aren't supposed to exchange information with anyone that night (I guess this prevents people from feeling uncomfortable if someone creepy asks for their info), but you can log into the website later on and choose people for dating, friendship, or business contacts. If someone you choose also selected you, your email address will be forwarded to them and vice versa. At the end of eight minutes, a bell rings, and everyone moves on to their next table.

So, here's how it went down:

When we first walked in, it was pretty awkward, because there was no music playing (um, hello, get on that, 8 Minute Dating staff!) and the room was fairly well-lit, so everyone was just sort of milling around and looking at each other, like a Freshman Orientation mixer or a middle school dance. Once the evening got started, though, it was actually a lot of fun. I'm a fairly talkative person to begin with (I know. You're shocked.) so keeping up a conversation for 8 minutes wasn't difficult, especially given the variety of participants. I met two lawyers, an accountant, a musician, an MIT grad student, and architect, and a medical sales guy. One was from Colombia, one was from China, and the rest were Americans. Last night, the age range was from 22 to 32, so I was definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. Overall, no one seemed like a big jerk or a potential stalker, so that was good, and the whole thing was easy and laid-back. I would definitely recommed going with a friend, because there is some down-time at the start as well as a 30-minute break halfway through, so it helps to have someone to hang out with during those times. I would try it again, but probably sign up for a higher age bracket (25 to 35) next time.

After the speed dating, I met up for karaoke and sushi for a coworker's birthday at Maluken in Kenmore square. I was the first one to arrive, and I was hungry, so I sat at the sushi bar and asked the chef to make whatever he thought was the best. He gave me some sashimi and then made a spicy roll with avacado and a couple types of fish. I asked him for the name of the roll, and he answered something in Japanese. The waitress asked him to repeat it, and then she translated with a chuckle: "Chef says Sexy Maki." So, if I strike out in the 22 to 32 bracket, at least I know I have some potential with 60 year old sushi chefs.

P.S. Did you catch the lunar eclipse last night? My coworker Vibhu and I performed a karaoke duet of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in tribute.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cuba Libre

I don't know if it was due to yesterday's big announcement or the fact that I received one Cuban peso in the mail for winning this contest, but something gave me the undeniable urge to fix myself a rum and coke.

Despite my leftist leanings, I have no soft spot in my heart for Fidel and his 49 year dictatorship. Good riddance. When I was in Nicaragua, a couple of my Peace Corps friends traveled to Cuba, and came back with only this to say: "Communism sucks."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Separated at birth?

While watching the NBA All-Star game, in addition to the atrocious uniforms (ugh- I hated how the fronts and backs of the jerseys were different. It looked like four teams were on the court at the same time.), I made the following observation:

NBA Commissioner David Stern looks just like Boston's own Mayor Mumbles.


Need more proof? Look at the hand gestures.



See what I mean?

Proposition 3-17

Interested in making March 17th an official holiday? Well, for those of you who don't already celebrate Evacuation Day, Guinness is gathering one million signatures for their petition Proposition 3-17, with the goal of presenting it to U.S. Congress this St. Patrick's Day.

Sign here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You, Me, and VD

Our VD party on Thursday night was a lot of fun and much rowdier than anticipated. There were VD-themed name tags ("Let me put my Hepatitis B in you."), many mini cupcakes, a lot of pink, a lot of booze, and a lot of macaroni and cheese. I tripled this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa....delicious! I recommed enlisting one of your friends to grate cheese....for two hours. Last year we banned couples from attending, but this year, we relaxed the rules a bit. Here are a bunch of pictures from the night. Thanks to those of you who attended (especially to those of you who brought wine and treats..yay!) and I hope that the rest of you had a happy VD.

Here are my two favorite pictures from the night- an action photo from the cupcake eating contest (Team Chocolate defeated Team Vanilla for the second straight year) and a photo in which Ern looks like she has a giant man hand.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy VD

Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers and lonely hearts out there. Wow, that sounds like something a cheesy DJ would say....Bedtime Magic, anyone?
Anyways, I don't have a valentine this year, but I will be spending the evening getting drunk with friends at a cocktail party my roommate and I are hosting. The title of the event?
You, Me, and VD.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book Club- Week 2

Participants in DCOE Book Club are currently reading Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. Here is the post from Week 1.

For Week 2, I realize that not everyone has kept up the pace, so I’ll try to avoid spoilers. I’m still enjoying the book and thought that this second section was a bit easier to read, so either I’m getting used to Rushdie’s writing style or the storyline is becoming easier to follow.

A couple additional comments about the first section:

- One of my coworkers said that he thought that the boatman Tai killed the European women who supposedly drowned themselves in the lake. I didn't think he actually killed them, but that he somehow prophesied the death of Aadam Aziz's German friend and then tried to make Aadam feel guilty about it.

- I accidentally skipped over one page near the birth of Baby Saleem and almost missed out on a key incident of the plot. Reading about Mary Pereira's feelings of guilt and references to her crime, I realized that I might have missed something big, so I flipped back and found the page I had skipped. Don't want to spoil anything, but something major does happen at the end of Book One. I think Padma leaves because she feels like she has been tricked, and is angry about it.

Comments on the second section:

- In case, like me, you have no idea what a tetrapod is (or think it refers to a 4-legged animal), here's some information and pictures of structural tetrapods. That part was sort of boring for me, but I've never been all that interested in business ventures.

-I thought the descriptions of the Brass Monkey setting shoes on fire were pretty funny. I also liked the mom going to the racetrack.

- You'd have to hit someone pretty hard to make them go deaf in one ear. I'm surprised that the narrator isn't more bitter about that.

- Lastly, towards the end of the section, we finally learn what Saleem's special power is. No interaction with the other midnight's children yet, but it must be coming soon.

Next assingment: Read up to the beginning of the section entitled Commander Sabarmati's Baton (p. 288 in my version) by next Thursday.

The strangest thing you'll see all day

I normally don't post stuff like this (okay, that's probably a lie), but I couldn't deny you all The World's Smallest Bodybuilder. Looks fake, but it isn't. WOW.

via Freakgirl

Book club update will go up this evening. This little guy looks like he could be a character in Midnight's Children.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A couple more Pro Bowl photos

Minnesota fantasy dreamboat Adrian Peterson, and Greg Ellis of Dallas making an interception. I recommend clicking on the photos to enlarge them.

Wine Club at the Ashmont Grill

Last night, I went to Monday Night Wine Club at the Ashmont Grill with Jenny and some non-bloggy friends. Every Monday night, you can try four wines paired with four mini-meals for only $25...and they aren't stingy with the the food or the wine, so it's a great deal. Last night's theme was Perfect Pairs, as you can see on the menu to the left. I liked everything minus the duck liver mousse, which I wish I hadn't eaten after learning that it's foie gras, which is often prepared using cruel methods. But, other than that, it was fun to try different wines- we had one rose, two reds, and a desserty French white, which were all delicious, and I also liked sampling the different plates. They do accomodate vegetarians, and their food looked as good if not better than the meaty dishes. The seating is family style (i.e. Strangers At Your Table), but since we were a big group we mostly just talked to each other. And maybe, just maybe, our tablemates didn't feel like joining in on conversations about tampon art and the strange ailments of coworkers. Whatever. I would definitely go back to the Ashmont Grill for wine night, or any night. Since I rarely venture outside of the South End, Southie, and Downtown, this little excursion to Dorchester has inspired me to resurrect the Boston Neighborhood Project. Anyways, here's a photo of Jenny, Amber, and me from last night.
Also, for those of you participating in book club, due to wine night and a late-night incident involving a centrifuge (long story, don't ask), my update won't go up until tomorrow. So you have one more day to catch up!

Monday, February 11, 2008

NFL Pro Bowl Photos

Okay, I know most Patriots fans don't even want to THINK about football for the next few months, but my friend Buddah had a press pass for the Pro Bowl and took some sweet pictures. I told him to be on the lookout for Patriots, but unfortunately Randy and Tom were too busy giving each other "it's not your fault. it's not your fault." manhugs to make the trip to Hawaii this year.
Here's a sampler:

Check out last year's photos here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekend Report

Friday- Went to a Wii party with some grad school friends. I've played once before, and even though I'm not that into video games (Tetris and Super Mario Bros. are the only ones I ever really liked. Oh, and Oregon Trail rocked pretty hard, but don't know if that can be classified as a video game.), I did enjoy it. We played bowling, tennis, and boxing, but for me, creating the Miis was the most fun. We each made our own look alike, and one group of labmates made one that looked like their P.I. (um, that's Prinicipal Investigator, or "boss," to those of you outside of academia.) After the Wii olympics, I met some friends at the Franklin Cafe for drinks. I tried a hot toddy for the first time, and it was vile- essentially, a hot toddy is a cup of warm whiskey with a squirt if lemon juice. Consider yourself warned.

Saturday- Worked for a while, then looked a bunch of possible venues for my sister's wedding. I saw one in Quincy, one in Dorchester, one in East Boston, and one downtown, and none of them were any good. So, if anyone has recommendations for an affordable reception venue in the Boston area that can hold 180 people, let me know!

Now, let me tell you about the highlight of the's sort of a long, boring story involving hours of the Virtual Waiting Room and a few panicked phone calls, but with a happy ending. (um, not that kind of happy ending.) I have tickets to Opening Day at Fenway Park! Sure, they're standing room only, but I've never been to opening day before, and this one's complete with a World Series championship ring ceremony. So, yes, I'm very excited. Special thanks (and two tickets) go to Timm, who spent hours at his computer logged in as me while I was busy looking at potential wedding venues and playing soccer.

Sunday- Sleep, running, work, squalls, blah. Headed to trivia tonight, so that should be fun. Oh, for those of you in Boston...what the hell is up with the weather? These squalls are downright apocalyptic.
UPDATE: Group Wii photo is up... see if you can pick me out of the lineup. If you click on the picture, it will enlarge.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Something tells me this might not be the best idea

Amy Winehouse is moving in with the Osbournes in an effort to fight her addictions to, well, every known drug.

On the plus side, maybe she'll be able to understand what Ozzy is saying.
I really do hope she gets her shit together. Crazy, headed for disaster, but, damn, what an amazing voice.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mysterious illness strikes bats

Hibernating bats in the Northeast have been falling ill and dying as a result of a mysterious disease.

My money is on a virus, like the one found to be the cause of last year's honeybee epidemic.

Hmmm....I've always been fascinated by outbreaks of infectious disease, so maybe I am in the right field, after all.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy

The other night, I was dreaming that I was standing around with a couple of other people in an empty department store, and we were approached by a group of police officers. They were looking for a gang of criminals hiding in the same building and showed us a list of the criminals' names. For some reason, they thought that I was the female criminal on the list. I told them that I was not and gave them my name. They asked to see identification. I took out my wallet to show them my driver's licence, but inexplicably, my licence was missing and had been replaced by Bobby McFerrin's driver's licence. I woke up right as the dream police were about to arrest me.

Weird, huh? By the way, the word licence is hard to spell. I feel like there should be an s in there somewhere.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Book Club

As a reminder, the Divine Comedy of Errors book club selected Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie, and participants were supposed to finish Book One by today. So, how many of you made it through all of Book One? I’m guessing very few, so I’ll avoid spoilers for those of you who are a little behind, and make the next assignment a short one in order to give everyone time to catch up. So far, I am enjoying the book, but it is definitely not a quick read. The story feels like the author squeezed as many characters, events, and descriptions as possible into the pages. The language can be difficult at times- I was going to look up all unfamiliar words and keep a list of their definitions, but between Indian terms like Begum (a Muslim woman of rank, roughly equivalent to saying Ma’am, which I just realized must be short for Madame THIS VERY SECOND. Did everyone else already know this?) and English words whose meanings I can grasp even without knowing the exact definition (for example, tussock: n. a tuft or clump of growing grass or the like.), the list would have been endless, so I chose to sacrifice assiduity for progress. Anyways, here are some thoughts so far:

1. I had never read anything by Rushdie before, so I had no idea what to expect. I am amazed how much the writing style reminds me of South American writers Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Mystic realism all over the place!

2. I love some of the images- Aadam Aziz falling in love via glimpses through a hole in a sheet, Lifafa Das trying to fit the whole world into his peepshow box, etc.

3. Many of my favorite novels are lengthy epics that trace the history of a family over a period of many years (examples: Middlesex, the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). Midnight’s Children shares this format.

4. I like it when the narrator interrupts the story to chat with Padma and whatnot. It feels like the reader is getting a little break.

5. I wonder if Nadir Khan will reappear. I’m guessing yes.

6. What is the deal with Joseph D’Costa and Mary Pereira? I think they’re Indians with white people names (Christian converts?), but I can’t really figure them out. Apparently, Mary becomes the narrator’s nanny, so that explains why they are in the story.

Next assignment: By next Tuesday, read up until the start of the chapter entitled Love In Bombay. In my version, that's page 205.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Remember to vote tomorrow!

I don't really have the mental energy to craft a post about my weekend, but sheesh, the Superbowl was a major let-down for Pats fans.

Instead, I'll just remind those of you in Super Tuesday states to vote tomorrow. It will be a game-day decision for me. Although I came out strong for Hillary in the past, events over the last couple of weeks have me considering hopping aboard the Obamawagon. Yes, Kevin, I've been following along.

Still trying to decide? Use the Electoral Compass to find out which candidate best matches your opinions on the issues.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sporting News

Last night, my father and I went to the Celtics game and watched them defeat the Dallas Mavericks 96-90. It was a great game, exciting up until the very end. Point guard Rajon Rondo won the game for the Celtics by snatching a rebound out of the hands of Dirk Nowitzki when the game was tied with seconds on the clock. The big German admitted it:
"I had the rebound in my hand," Nowitzki said, "and then Rondo came out of nowhere and snuck it up to the basket before I could react."

These guys are:

My prediction:

Patriots 34
Giants 20

MVP Randy Moss