Thursday, February 26, 2009


- Interspecies Friendship Alert! I had seen this a while back but seems like I somehow neglected to post it. Baby hippo befriends elderly tortoise. (thanks, RT!)

- Think you're having a bad day? Check out the snippets posted on F*** My Life. Terrible and awkward, and simultaneously hilarious. Kind of like the British version of The Office.

- I really enjoyed this article on Leonardo da Vinci, who, among other things, was a legendary procrastinator:
"If there is one conclusion to be drawn from the life of Leonardo, it is that procrastination reveals the things at which we are most gifted — the things we truly want to do. Procrastination is a calling away from something that we do against our desires toward something that we do for pleasure, in that joyful state of self-forgetful inspiration that we call genius."
Of course, da Vinci was diagramming inventions centuries ahead of their time rather than, say, drinking coffee and scouring the internet for pictures of baby animals. The devil's always in the details.

Seems like my own procrastinating spirit is more in tune with Kurt Vonnegut:
[When Vonnegut tells his wife he's going out to buy an envelope] "Oh, she says well, you're not a poor man. You know, why don't you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don't know. The moral of the story is, is we're here on Earth to fart around."

This is why I will feel like crap tomorrow

Scientist karaoke rules!

p.s. My new go-to song is Lisa Loeb's Stay (I Missed You).
p.p.s. Happy Ash Wednesday. I always hated getting ashes when I was a kid, and I would deliberately rub them off and then pretend like it was an accident because my forehead was itchy. Then I would feel guilty for lying.
p.p.p.s. I gave up Facebook for Lent so stay tuned for more blogging.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Concert Review: Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

On Saturday, I saw Ryan Adams and the Cardinals perform at the Orpheum Theater. I enjoy Ryan Adams' music but had never seen him live before, and I was hoping to catch a good show by a prolific and talented but temperamental musician. In the end, I saw a great show- Ryan and his backing band the Cardinals sounded fantastic. They played two sets and over 20 songs, including favorites "Come Pick Me Up" and "Oh My Sweet Carolina" and ending with a cover of "Down in a Hole" by Alice In Chains. The mood was light and energetic, with Ryan engaging in humorous banter and obviously enjoying sharing the stage with The Cardinals, aptly described as "an incredibly tight and inventive backing band" in the Herald review.

I really enjoyed the concert and also learned a couple of things- that "Stars Go Blue" song made famous by The Corrs and Bono was originally written by Ryan Adams, and that he has a very rabid and cultish following, the likes of which I hadn't experienced since the last Bruce Springsteen show I saw- the audience was abuzz with discussions of previous shows and set lists. Oh, and his new fiance Mandy Moore was in attendance but I didn't spot her during the show. Based upon the performance I saw on Saturday night and the fact that Ryan has mentioned taking time off from music due to hearing problems he's developed (although he has since recanted), I would recommend catching him this time around if you get the chance.

Friday, February 20, 2009

So glad it's Friday

Zooborns, a blog all about baby zoo animals. OMG a baby turle on a matchbook! Tawny frogmouth chicks! I cannot even handle THE CUTENESS. (via Web-goddess, speaking of, time's running out to enter her Oscar contest)

I might need to think about gross mice for a few minutes just to balance myself out. Or I could look at this site: This Is Why You're Fat. Although I must say, I would totally eat that hot dog pie.

I'm excited for the weekend- one of my friends from Peace Corps is coming to visit and we're going to see Ryan Adams and the Cardinals tomorrow night.

Here's one of my favorite Ryan Adams songs (right click to download):
English Girls Approximately


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm too grossed out to come up with a clever post title

a.k.a Get These Motherfucking Mice Out Of My Motherfucking House!

This being my winter of discontent, it seems only natural that this should also be the winter during which vermin elect to invade my apartment. Gray house mice. When I was a kid, I had a pet mouse named Mindy who eventually developed a tumor and died. I cried for days. However, I am no longer a child and these are not pets, and I long for their death or at least their permanent disappearance. The first unwanted visitors made their presence known during that big snow storm we had back in December. I was sitting in my usual position (on the couch, glass of wine in hand, watching a DVD) and a mouse sauntered across the living room floor. These little fuckers are brazen- at least have the decency to hide when people are home! We did a thorough cleaning and put out all sorts of traps- glue traps, snap traps, etc. The snap traps worked best- we caught three. Yes I know that means that there are probably 300 lurking behind the walls but I'm trying not to think about that. I hadn't seen any mice or evidence or murine activity for a few weeks, so I was hoping that perhaps they had moved elsewhere. Until last night, when I walked in and saw one on the kitchen table. Disgusting!!! It escaped through a hole in floor that leads directly to outside. This means war. Ern and I put on our hazmat outfits (used only once before, in a somewhat related incident) and recruited Pat. We drank some wine (for strength and courage, obvs) and destroyed a mouse hideout that I had recently discovered (some old boxes above a cabinet). My new plan of attack is as follows:
1. poison.
2. patch holes in floor.
3. Pester the landlord into taking care of the problem (Ern will be in charge of this- she's a lawyer and quite skilled at forceful pestering).
4. Borrow a coworkers cat for a few days.
5. Last resort- obtain a crate of boa constructors.

You won't get the best of me, mice! I fucking hate those nasty little fucks.

P.S. Sorry for all the swearing, although it was cathartic.
P.P.S. I hope you all don't think I'm a dirty person. I'm not. Honest.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday silliness

I like those Denny's "serious breakfast" commercials, especially the one featuring Nanerpus. I especially enjoy how his eye falls off at the beginning. Seems like Nanerpus has inspired several YouTube remixes, and those of you who fondly recall Carvel's ice cream cakes may enjoy "Nanerpus vs. Cookie Puss vs. Godzilla."

In other spectacular news, my roommate Ern and I will soon be the proud owners of our very own Snuggies, courtesy of our friend Lisa. This makes me more excited than I should probably admit. And get this- Chicago has a Snuggie Pub Crawl in the works. I think Boston needs to get in on this trend. Long live the Snuggie!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Report

Friday- Headed over to Caity's after work for our monthly bloggers book club meeting, where we are "rereading the classics." This month's selection was The Great Gatsby, and we watched the 1974 movie version starring Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby. The movie itself wasn't a great adaptation (the characters seemed a little too cold, and Mia Farrow was a terrible Daisy- she seemed about 10 years too old for the part) but it was fun to see all of the 1920's fashion and party scenes and amusing to recognize the cast- for example, Nick was played by a very young and sweaty Jack McCoy.

Saturday- My roommate Ern and I hosted a Valentine's party entitled "Share Your VD With Us." The first time we threw the party, three years ago, no couples were allowed, but since then it's been an open door policy. Partly because we managed to offend several couples who actually had wanted to attend the party, and partly because these days, a "singles only" party would pretty much be me and two or three friends getting blitzed and coming up with our own dance routine to Beyonce's Single Ladies. Anyways, so yes, the party was lots and lots of fun. Ern baked about a zillion delicious mini cupcakes and I made a champagne punch, served in our very classy punch bowl (from Goodwill). I was excited to wear a family heirloom that I recently recived: my parents found two Waterford Crystal necklaces that belonged to my paternal grandmother. (In addition to a hearty appetite for alcohol and storytelling and a morbid fascination with death, another mark of Irish culture is a fondness for all things Waterford.) One was a heart pendant and the other was an enormous crucifix that looked like something straight out of Madonna's Justify My Love video. I chose the heart. (Which means that one of my lucky sisters will soon be the owner of a ridiculously large crystal cross...enjoy!) Here are some party pics...

Ern with cupcakes and Joe with scary Asian liquor:

Me with blog friends Sarah, Andy, and Caity (notice how Sarah and I have opposite color schemes):


And lastly, my favorite outfits of the evening:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Everyone Loves VD

All right, everyone, here are some Valentine's Day links, one day early:

Pasha Malla from The Morning News answers two questions about love with a lot of humor and a dash of sweetness:
Does she love me? and Does he love me?

Ever wonder what St. Valentine thought about the holiday? Leave it to The Onion to provide the answer: "I Wish I'd Spent Valentine's Day Eating A Prix Fixe Dinner, But I Was Too Busy Getting Beheaded"

And lastly, this just about sums up my own feelings about VD:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday, Chuck D!

Thanks for like, founding modern biology and stuff.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I'm Into Lately

Via Sarah, here's a list of things I've been into lately:

Salmon- Healthy, tasty, and sooo easy to cook. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and squirt on some lemon juice. Pop it in the over at 400 degrees for twelve minutes so, and you're ready to dine.

The Wire- I'm now on Season 2 and loving it. I enjoy crime dramas to begin with and The Wire is the best one I've ever watched. I like how the whole season follows one case in detail, and the characters are unforgettable. Like Omar, the baddest gay man ever depicted- dude walks around with a sawed-off shotgun whistling "The Farmer in the Dell" and everyone flees in fright. It's great.

Farragut House- Forget about the Beer Garden or the Playwright, The Farragut House is my favorite watering hole in Southie. Always full but never crowded, it's the sort of neighborhood restaurant that Applebee's was hoping to emulate. Except Applebee's missed the part about not sucking. I went there with friends for dinner on Saturday night and had the shepherd's pie- if it appears on the menu, I cannot resist. We enjoyed many fine beverages and also stuck around for karaoke. Shepherd's pie and karaoke? Now that's my idea of a perfect night!

George Costanza- Back when I started watching Seinfeld, Kramer was my favorite. As I grew older and wiser, I switched over to team Elaine. I never cared much for George- I always thought he was a loser and kind of a jerk. Until recently, that is. I'm learning to embrace my inner George Costanza. That bitterness and dishonesty that I once found annoying? Now I think it's awesome. Oh George, how was I so blind to your genius for all these years? Here's a Youtube tribute to George. If I start wearing sweatpants and celebrating Festivus, it might be intervention time.

Vladimir Putin, closet ABBA fan

I enjoyed this article on a British ABBA tribute band that supposedly performed a secret concert for Vladimir Putin. However, Russia's super trouper doesn't seem to be pleased about the rumor:

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Putin attended any such party on or around Jan. 22, adding "neither Mr. Putin nor his apparatus ordered any band of this kind."

"I have no doubt that he likes some music of Abba," Peskov said. "But he simply wasn't there."

His apparatus?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Mini Review Roundup

Here are a few items I've read, watched, or otherwise experienced lately.

American Pastoral, by Philip Roth. I do believe that there were exactly three participants in the latest rendition of DCoE Book Club, and my slacker arse still hasn't written the final post. Until now. (here's the second to last post in case you're keeping track) We've been introduced to the Swede and his wife and daughter, who has blown up a building, killed someone in the process, and gone into hiding. Years later, the Swede discovers her whereabouts- the former murderous activist is now living as a Jain and working at an animal shelter. She does not bathe, she barely eats, and she lives in squalor. The Swede tells no one else of his discovery thinking that it's better for the rest of the family to consider her disappeared than see her in her current condition. I won't go into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but essentially the Swede learns to accept a bitter truth- there is no explanation for life's tragedies. A depressing book, indeed, but very interesting and exquisitely written. A couple of brief comments for those of you who read it- Dawn's affair? I saw that one coming a mile away. Also, what was up with Rita Cohen? Merry denies ever knowing her but I think Merry lied about that and am unsure as to why.
As an aside, I've decided that the whole online book club doesn't work that well. I mean, we all know that "book club" is code for "wine night" and so doing it online misses out on that aspect. I've actually joined a real life Book Club with some Boston-area bloggers and we're re-reading the classics- this month is The Great Gatsby. And yes there is wine involved.
Back to American Pastoral, another thing that struck me about it is that it seems like every generation suffers from its own brand of senseless violence. In the 60s and 70s, angry teenagers blew up buildings whereas in the 90s they started shooting up schools. Which brings me to...

Elephant- After watching Milk I decided to check out another movie by director Gus Van Sant, a 2003 fictional film about a high-school massacre. Slow-paced and beautifully shot, Elephant tracks the existence of a handful of high schoolers archetypes- the popular couple, the misfit girl, the photographer, a bulimic trio, and the two students who plan and execute a school shooting. Van Sant shot the film in his native Oregon, casting local students instead of professionals. The viewer knows what's going to happen, and the clean, suburban setting and mostly white student body immediately evoke thoughts of Columbine. What's unusual is the detached, observational feel of the film. We gain no insight as to the motives of the killers. We see no reasons behind who lives and who dies. When it came out, Elephant was both controversial and highly praised- here's an old review from Slate.

Okay, in case the gloomy content above is getting you down, here's a Youtube clip of 40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes. Now go forth and conquer. Is there anything more motivational than a slow clap? I didn't think so.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Music Review: Heartless Bastards

I had a terrible week, in terms of grad school horribleness, but there was one bright spot- one of my very favorite bands, the Heartless Bastards, came to town and I caught their act at Great Scott. The Heartless Bastards are a bluesy rock band led by the kickass Erika Wennerstrom. Erika's an amazing musician whose deep, soulful voice blends perfectly with the band's loud sound, and she writes the kind of songs that I would love to write, well, if I had that sort of talent. These are not little ditties about love, these are songs about making mistakes and moving forward, overcoming your inner demons, and persevering when times are tough. And they aren't heavy and depressing, they are loud and fun, especially when performed live. The show at Great Scott was fantastic- they played a two hour that combined old tracks with new songs from their album The Mountain, which was officially released the same night as the show. I went with my friend Mulv, and we met up with a few local music blogger: Ryan from Ryan's Smashing Life (who hooked us up with tickets- thanks!) as well as Nick from Nick Sounds Off and Aaron from Enough Cowbell. I was trying to explain to them that my blog wasn't a music blog, and Mulv described it as a "lifestyle blog," so I might go with that description from now on. It sounds much better than "oh, it's about a bunch of stuff, I guess."

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so no blurry concert pictures but I will post a song from the new album. The Mountain is great and HB have been getting a lot of buzz lately, which they deserve. Here's an article from the NYT.

Hold Your Head High - Heartless Bastards (right click to download)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Wonders of Wikipedia

One of my favorite things about the internet is the instant ability to fact-check, whether it be in order to find the answer to unimportant yet nagging questions or the ability to verify your own assertions. For example, the other day at work we were discussing the song Blinded By The Light (I have no idea why) and I stated that it was written by Bruce Springsteen and my coworkers were skeptical. I looked it up on Wikipedia to prove my corrected and stumbled upon this comic gem of a paragraph:

The song is notable for lead vocalist Chris Thompson's garbled enunciation, especially of the phrase "revved up like a deuce" which has led many fans to interpret it as "wrapped up like a douche". The original lyric is neither of the above, instead being "cut loose like a deuce." Springsteen once attributed the popularity of the Manfred Mann version partially to Thompson's enunciation.

Oh, and did you know this about Joaquin Phoenix?
On January, 26 2006, Phoenix was in a car accident on a winding canyon road that flipped his car over. The crash reportedly was caused by brake failure. Shaken and confused, Phoenix heard a tapping on his window and a voice say, "Just relax". Unable to see the man, Phoenix replied, "I'm fine. I am relaxed". The man replied, 'No, you're not'. At this point, Phoenix managed to see that the man was famed, eccentric German auteur Werner Herzog. After helping Phoenix out of the wreckage, Herzog phoned in an ambulance and vanished. Vanished!

A few weeks ago at trivia night, the bonus question was to name the Wahlberg siblings (Only in Boston...), two points for each correct answer. I later looked up Marky Mark to find out the answer, and holy crap, his Wikipedia entry is shocking. I knew he had a rough past but had no idea he had been such a hellion (um, he blinded a man during a robbery attempt?). Or that he has a tattoo of Sylvester the cat with Tweety in his mouth.