Friday, June 26, 2009

My song is better than your song

I had a song picked out for today, but then Michael Jackson went and died, so you're getting a double dose this Friday.

Song number one:
This weekend, after six years, I'm moving out of my Southie apartment and Ern and I are throwing an Irish wake tonight to mourn/celebrate the occasion. Although it's a good feeling to be moving foward in my life (pending my PhD defense this fall), I'm going to miss my old apartment and having Ern as a roommate. We first roomed together back in 1997, and although I did spend a couple of years each living with my sister Eri, my friend Maria, and a Nicaraguan family, Ern and I have been roommates in three different buildings, two states, and two millenia. And it's been a whole lot of fun. Like last night, when instead of cleaning and packing, we drank a six pack of Miller Lite, downloaded a bunch of Michael Jackson songs, and made veils for tonight's party. (Mine makes me look like a beekeeper.)

Sticking with the wake theme:

The Body of an American- The Pogues.
For you Wire fans, this is the song that is always played at a Detective's Wake.

Song number two:
I'm not really up to giving a proper Michael Jackson eulogy, but he was a transcendent figure in pop music and possibly the most famous person in the entire world. I can't think of a bigger star, except maybe Elvis or Madonna. His story is indeed tragic, and despite loads of talent (or perhaps because of it), he ended up a strange and disturbed adult. So I'd like to pay tribute to the young MJ, back when he was a cute kid with a great voice and phenomenal stage presence. Rest in Peace, MJ.

I Want You Back- The Jackson 5.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blog Updates

For beer fans: Beer Crusade is back in action!

For music fans: Ryan's Smashing Life has ranked the best new albums from the first half of 2009- a lot of great stuff to check out.

For fans of ridiculous behavior: I went to a block party in Woonsocket, RI on Saturday night that featured both an ice luge for shots and an inflatable bounce house. Not exactly a Safety First combination, but fun nonetheless.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

From the archives

This weekend, I started cleaning out the room in my grandmother's house that I'll be moving into, which is quite a daunting task since it's been essentially used as a storage room for the past twenty years or so. What did I find? Photos galore! A lot of tiny old black and whites ones from my grandparents' youth, plus this one of my grandmother and me at my first communion:

Friday, June 19, 2009

My song is better than your song

This week, I'm going with something new. I stumbled across the band Blitzen Trapper last year and really enjoyed their happy, energetic rock sound. Plus, they do a cover of "Crazy on You" and anyone who pays tribute to Nancy and Ann is all right in my book.

This year, their single Furr is getting a lot of play time on indie circuits. It's mellower than most of their other stuff, but I really like it. It's also the only song that two separate people put on their mixes for a mix CD club I participate in.

Furr- Blitzen Trapper.

Happy rainy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tot spot!

Last week, before I began this whole Summer of No business, my friends Kevin and Karen were in town from London and we had the good fortune to hunt down tickets to a Sox-Yankees game. Before the game, we met up with friends at The Lower Depths, which is one of my favorite bars to go to before a game, despite the fact that it apparently doesn't have a website. (Seriously, get with the millennium, people.) It's close to Fenway but doesn't get super crowded, and it features an excellent beer selection as well as cheap, good food. Like grilled Fenway Franks for $1 each- how could you go wrong? I ate two. Imagine my delight when I noticed something else on the menu....tater tots! They come in a basket, plain, or with a variety of toppings. Dogs and tots, now that's what I call quality dining. Oh, and watching the Sox beat the Yankees wasn't half bad, either.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Summer of No

I'm a natural yes person. I say yes to everything. (well, almost.)
Meet up for drinks? Yes.
Go to a concert? Yes.
Sox game tonight? Yes.
Cookout this weekend? Yes.
Play in a soccer tournament? Yes.
Meet up for dinner? Yes.
Catch that new movie? Yes.
Smell this? Ummmm....yes.
Do a kegstand? You know, I don't really do that anymore. Okay, yes.

Most of the time, I say yes because it's fun. I enjoy going out, trying new things, spending time with friends and family, exploring all of life's little possibilities. But sometimes I say yes out of guilt, like if someone invites me to their barbeque I feel bad saying no unless I have a clear-cut conflict, even though it's way out in the suburbs and I'll end up spending thirty minutes talking to somebody's uncle about the virtues of oil heat. But all this yessing can get both expensive and exhausting... especially when HOLY CRAP I ONLY HAVE TWO MONTHS TO WRITE MY ENTIRE THESIS. Oh, and I also have to finish my experiments, get a manuscript submitted, move out of my apartment, and line up a job. FUCKBALLS!

So you know that movie where Jim Carrey has to start saying yes to everything? I'm going for the opposite. Sadly enough, this is the Summer of No. I have no time and no money, and therefore I have to say no to everything. Well, except for Newport on the 4th of July and a Wilco concert. But really, no to everything else.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My song is better than your song

A gloomy song for a gloomy day. Is it ever going to feel like summer in Boston?

Ballad of Big Nothing- Elliot Smith

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just when I felt that there was nothing left to blog about

Chris emailed me this video. These literal versions of 80s videos have been all over the place lately, but this one is far and away the most magnificent one I've seen. Do yourself a favor and watch it with the sound turned on.

here are a couple of fun photos for your enjoyment.
Exhibit A: My parents at Disneyland

Exhibit B: While the rest of my family was in California (my dad won a big Food Science award), I was in South Bend at my 10 year reunion. Here are Liz, Amanda, and I showing off our post-college poise and maturity:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

List #41: Men whom I can't take seriously after hearing the sound of their voice

1. Mike Tyson. Big strong man with the voice of a 12 year old girl.
2. David Beckham. Please, David, shhhh....
3. Bill Simmons. You know they say some people have a face made for radio? The Sports Guy has a voice made for print.

any others?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Reunion Recap

This past weekend, I attended my 10 year college reunion at Notre Dame. Aside from the strange sensation of being, well, ten years older than I used to be, it was an absolute blast. I normally go back for football weekends, and this was a nice change of pace- not crowded at all and a very relaxed environment. Everything is taken care of and included in the price- we stayed in the Dillon Hall and spent most of our time in the refreshment tent. Um, free beer from 1pm to 1am every day? ND certainly knows their audience.

I had a great time hanging out with my PW girls (we're still the funniest people we know), got a chance to catch up with a lot of classmates whom I genuinely like but hadn’t kept in contact with, and even made a bunch of new friends from the classes of 2004 and 1994. I skipped my 5 year reunion and I won’t make that mistake again- I definitely plan on going to the rest of them and would recommend it to fellow graduates. Although I loved attending Notre Dame, I’ve never been much of a rah-rah alumna. However, after spending an idyllic weekend back on campus, I left with the feeling that it really is a special place.

The 2009 Reunion in figures:

Number of beers I consumed at the refreshment tent: approximately 1000
Number to times I woke up in time for breakfast: 0
Items hauled back to the dorm by my friends: about 25 feet of Caution Tape and 1 enormous balloon tower
Trips to CJ’s: 1
Trips to the Backer: 1
Trips to Don Pablo’s: 1
New buildings on campus since 1999: around 10 (holy crap- campus is like double the size now!)
Priests spotted in the beer tent: 2
Recreated Graffiti Dance t-shirts: 16
Styrofoam coolers destroyed during a late-night sleepwalking incident: 1
My attempts on the Slip N’ Slide: 3
My successful attempts on the Slip N’ Slide: 1
Former classmates who are now doctors and lawyers: a lot
Former classmates who now inexplicably resemble Fabio: 1
Time of last text message sent on Saturday night: 4:17AM (no, it wasn't a booty text)

The reunion in pictures:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

My song is better than your song: The Reunion Edition

Tomorrow, I head back to South Bend to attend my 10 year reunion. In tribute, I had planned to post a song popular in the year I graduated, but I took a peek at the Top 100 Hits of 1999 and quickly concluded that those songs are universally terrible. (a possible exception being "No Scrubs" which I recently performed at karaoke.)

I then considered music that I listened to during the college years, but much like those baggy sweatshirts and high-wasted jeans, Barenaked Ladies and and the Indigo Girls just seem a little too...dated.

Some songs still evoke potent memories of college. Think back to first semester freshman year...way're at a dorm room party. It's hot, sweaty, crowded, and there may or may not be a blacklight. Cans of Natty Light are the beverage of choice, and people are taking shots of Goldschlager. (Wow, with real gold flakes!)

And what's playing on the stereo? Why, it's the ubiquitous Pulp Fiction soundtrack!

Son of a Preacher Man, by Dusty Springfield.

Have a great weekend, everybody. I'll be busy pretending that I'm still in college, which is pretty much how I've spent the past ten years.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Restaurant Review: The Hen House

The Hen House is a chicken and waffles restaurant located on Mass Ave in Roxbury, and since I pass by it on my way to work, I've been meaning to go there since it opened several months ago. I finally stopped in on Saturday to check it out, and the cashier explained that their signature meal is fried chicken served with waffles and a Colt 45. I wasn't all that hungry, so I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. "Do you still want the Colt 45?" he asked. (I declined. That time.) The sandwich was huge and tasty, heaped with pulled pork topped with cole slaw. I liked the ambiance- it's very casual; you order at the counter and can sit and eat either at the spacious and tidy indoor area or at the picnic tables in the outdoor front patio. Best of all, the prices are grad student friendly: a full meal with a beer comes to around $12.

I went back last night with a few friends for the chicken & waffles. You choose your type of waffle, butter, and chicken (tenders, wings, or pieces), and then add your own sauce (they have about 15 types). I had a cornbread waffle with cajun butter and wings. Oh, and a Colt 45. The waffle was delicious and wings weren't the best I've had but pretty good nonetheless. We shared some collard greens, baked beans, and cole slaw, and those were all good, too. Overall, I liked the food, the atmosphere, and the prices and will definitely go back. The Hen House is open until 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays, which will come in handy after one of those long nights in the lab. I still need to try the ribs. The one negative is that it's not vegetarian friendly at all (most the sides are cooked in pork fat), so your less carnivorous friends might want to skip it. And although you may end up with Type II Diabetes if you eat there more than once a week, the occasional indulgence never hurt anyone.

Pictured are my entree and my friend Justin, who sadly lost his Colt 45 advertising gig to Billy Dee Williams.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

New travel blog

My friend JR recently finished up his Ph.D. and he and his girlfriend Jessica will spend the next few months traveling around Asia. If you have any interest in following their adventures, they've set up a travel blog: All Asia All the Time. Oh, and at JR's goodbye party on Sunday, someone had the brilliant idea to spell out the letters J.R. for the group photo. I mean, whoever came up with that must be some sort of genius. Really.

In other news about my friends doing cool things, remember how Kelly was trying to win a contest to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley? Well, she won! She'll take the mound on Sept. 2nd.

Monday, June 01, 2009


So, after six long years of stagnation- living in the same apartment and toiling away in graduate school, things are finally going to change.

Here is my 4 step plan:

Step 1: Move to my grandmother's house in Waltham. My roommate Ern is moving into her newly-purchased house in Southie, and since I might be relocating in the fall, I decided to move into my grandmother's house for a few months while I figure out my next step rather than look for a new roommate. Besides, as much as I love living in Southie, I'm sick of my dingy mouse-infested apartment! Oh, and my grandmother's house is free, so I can save up some money and work on paying down my credit card debt. My grandmother lives in a assisted living facility, and one of my cousins is living in the house for the summer but I'll be alone there come fall. When I asked my grandmother for permission, she said that the house has two rules: no smoking inside and everyone has to make their beds. I think I can handle that.

Step 2: Finish graduate school. I'm planning to defend in September, and all I have to do before that is finish all of my experiments, get a manuscript submitted and accepted for publication, and write my entire thesis. Piece of cake, right?(Oh, if I fall off the radar for a couple of months this is why.)

Step 3: Go to Australia! I have always wanted to go, and I've been promising my college roommate Kristy for years that I would visit her... and now I'm finally going to do it. I can't wait. I bought my ticket and I leave in October and will be there for nearly an entire month. So far, the plans include Sydney, the outback, and Melbourne, but if you've been to Australia and have a favorite spot, please let me know! Also, my flight was only $900 so if you've been thinking about taking a big trip, now's a good time to get affordable flights.

Step 4: Find a job. Preferably one that pays over 30K a year and doesn't make me hate myself.