Friday, March 31, 2006

On a happier note

It's a beautiful day in Boston today- sunny with a high of 70. And it's Friday. Hooray!

Trouble in Durham

Has anyone else been following this story about the Duke lacrosse team? During a house party predominately attended by lacrosse players, a stripper was allegedly attacked and raped by three men. The story has set off a shitstorm in Durham, both in terms of student-community relations and the racial elements of the incident. From the article:

In 911 tapes released Tuesday by the Durham Police Department, a female caller reported that as she walked past the house where the party occurred on the night of the alleged attack, a white man yelled racial slurs at her and a black friend from the front yard. The alleged rape victim identified her attackers as white men and also claims the athletes used racial slurs. Of the 47 members on the lacrosse team, 46 were forced to give DNA samples. The only black player on the team was exempted.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bridge to Terabithia

The saddest book ever written, Bridge To Terabithia, is being made into a movie. I don't know if I'll be able to watch it. I read Bridge to Terabithia when I was 11 or 12, and it's still the saddest book I've ever read. Sadder than the dead babies in Angela's Ashes. Sadder than the dead dog in Old Yeller. Sadder than Anne Frank's diary. I'm starting to tear up right now just thinking about the book, and I read it like 17 years ago. Waaaaaah!

Jill Carroll released

Kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll was released by her captors almost three months after her interpreter was killed and she was taken hostage in Baghdad. Throughout the ordeal, I've been surprised by the relative lack of media coverage of this story. Note to kidnappers: next time, pick a blonde.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm in love, y'all!

with Reese's White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Ever since I developed a potent allergy to chocolate around the age of 11 (chocolate gives me migraines. Horrible, vomit-inducing, blurred vision, excruciatingly painful migraines), my life has been a long purgatory devoid of Reese's Peanut Butter cups. I am lactose intolerant, but explosive diarrhea I can deal with. Extremely unpleasant, but bearable. On the other hand, I wouldn't wish a chocolate-induced migraine upon my worst enemy. Not even on my gym nemesis. Just the smell of the poison makes me nauseous. So imagine my joy upon discovering that a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup had been created with a white chocolate coating, and not one speck of real, migrainogenic chocolate. It was a pure joy, a complete joy. I just ate one. And it was DELICIOUS.

Will wonders never cease

President George Bush and I agree on something: Immigration reform. It's been a hot topic in the news lately, with students in California demonstrating in support of illegal aliens, and the Senate supporting a bill by Senators McCain and Kennedy that outlines a plan to increase border security while allowing illegal aliens working here in the United States apply for citizenship. The President is backing this version of the legislation over stricter reform that lacks a guest-worker program. So maybe he just wants to have a cheap labor supply available for his rich corporate friends, but whatever. I've known many illegal immigrants (and if you've ever worked in the restaurant business, you have, too) and it really pisses me off when people bash immigrants. First of all, this country was founded by immigrants and unless you're a Native American, you're a big f%$cking hypocrite if you complain about them. Diversity of cultures and the work ethic of people who coming here for the opportunities of economic advancement are part of what makes this country great. Secondly, across the board, the illegals I've known work their asses off. We're talking two or three concurrent full time jobs. They aren't idly sitting around reaping benefits, because guess what? They're illegal and they don't get benefits.

Have you heard of the Minutemen? I hadn't, until last time I visited my sister in San Diego. We walked by a memorial to people who have died crossing the border, and I asked her "Oh, what did they all die from, dehydration?" and she said "A lot of them get shot." She explained that there's a vigilante group who call themselves the Minutemen who patrol private property along the Mexican border and shoot at illegal aliens. Here's their Very Scary Website. It's blatantly obvious that prejudice and racism is what motivates these Minutemen, despite their claims to the contrary.

Well, I'll stop my ranting before I get carried away.

Tom Jones on Ice

Didn't get enough men's figure skating during the winter Olympics? Watch this video of Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko. You might want to make sure no one is looking over your shoulder when you play it.

As an aside, I think the people who made Best In Show, etc., should totally do a movie about men's figure skating. The drama, the competitiveness, and the flamboyance of men's figure skating are ripe for the mocking.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

List #23...Words I've mispronounced in public when I was old enough to have it be embarrassing

1. indicted
2. subtle
3. Ralph Fiennes
4. gyro (I never order these because I am afraid of mispronouncing it)
5. jicama (I never cook with these because I have no idea how to say it)

and although I do know the correct pronunciation of the word "crochet," and have never erred aloud with that one, whenever I see it written, my mind automatically reads it as "crotch" and that makes me laugh. Crocheted scarf = crotch scarf, and so forth.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Roomba costumes

We chipped in and bought my friends Dennis and Jill a Roomba for their wedding. I later discovered that one can actually buy costumes for Roombas at myRoomBud, a company started by a few kids who had the bright idea to make costumes for Roombas and sell them online. The French Maid costume made me laugh, but Roor the Tiger is my favorite.

Shopping, hangovers, and infidelity: My weekend

Friday- My friends Yuki and Jonathan arrived around 7AM, so I had breakfast with them then went to work for a few hours while they napped. We walked around the Copley area and all ended up spending too much money at Banana Republic. I was able to replace a black 3/4 sleeved silk shirt that was one of my go-to items until it got so worn and pilly that I finally had to force myself to throw it away. I've been looking for a replacement ever since, and I spotted one at Banana, on sale for $20, and all was right with the world. We met up with some friends for tapas and sangria at Tasca, one of my favorite places for group dinners. After that, we went out to a couple of bars in the Kenmore square area, where we watched the NCAA games and had a heated debate over which region of human skin is dirtier, the hands or the buttcheek. I say hands.

Saturday- Woke up, got ready, and headed down the Cape for Dennis' wedding. I had a couple wardrobe malfunctions: I ripped my nylons approximately 70 seconds after putting them on, so I had to ditch those, and my strapless bra kept sliding down my torso, giving me the dreaded quadraboob effect, so I secured it using double-sided tape that Kim just so happened to have with her for use in a graphic design homework project. We ran into Dennis leaving for the church and everyone gathered around him to wish him well, except I decided to yell, "Hey Dennis, don't screw up!" Later he would blame me for jinxing him. The ceremony was really nice, the bride Jill cried and barely got through her vows, which of course made my eyes water because I always start to cry when I see someone else crying. We also spotted a man with a fantastic mullet in the audience. At one point during the ceremony, the bride and groom took turns repeating vows after the priest said them, and here's where Dennis had a little trouble:
Priest: I promise you
Dennis: I promise you
Priest: My everlasting
Dennis: My everlasting
Priest: Love and fidelity
Dennis: Love and infidelity
*church erupts in laughter*

The reception was a blast, and it was great to catch up with my friends from high school, some of whom I rarely get to see. Unfortunately, I drank one zillion gin and tonics and snuck out of the afterparty to pass out in my bed.

Sunday- I woke up at 6AM still in my dress with double-sided tape stuck all over me. Not fun. Met up with the gang for breakfast, then our carload hit the Wrentham outlets on the drive back. I recovered enough from a terrible hangover to buy a bathing suit and a track jacket from Puma that I had been coveting for months. We stopped at Papa Gino's and ate pizza, which miraculously cured my hangover. I dropped Yuki and Jon at the airport and the weekend was over, all too soon.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Happy Friday, everyone! I have friends in town and will be leaving work early today to go tool around the city with them. Tomorrow, I am going down the Cape for my friend Dennis' wedding, which should be a very good time, especially because several old friends from Framingham will be in attendance. Tomorrow also marks the start of wedding season; I have five this summer, which is pretty standard for me. I go to a TON of weddings.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What's Goin On

Watched Jarhead last night. Basically, it's Full Metal Jacket Lite. The trouble with war movies is that there are so many famous and excellent ones that viewers can't help but compare, especially with been there, done that scenes like "main character goes to boot camp and finds it extremely unpleasant." So, Jarhead isn't a bad movie, but it isn't a great one either. Jake Gyllenhaal looks the part, but his character isn't very enthralling. There's a whole plot line of him worrying about his girlfriend back home, and it just isn't interesting or believable: he's twenty years old, intelligent, somewhat cynical and obviously should realize that things with the girl back home aren't going to work out. It seems like an error on the part of the writers to have him pining away for her when that doesn't match the rest of the character's persona. I liked him better as a gay cowboy.

Chef gets killed, in spectacular fashion, on South Park. You knew this was coming.

My favorite online radio station, WOXY, now requires listeners to pay $9.95 per month to tune in. WOXY, you are dead to me. I guess I'll start listening to KEXP like all of the other online hipsters.

My toothache is gone! Turns out I had a big ole cavity. Supermodel/dental student fixed it yesterday afternoon. Actually, one of her professors fixed it, and he did a superb job. I think he was showing off in front of her, because normally the dental professors don't do the actual work.

I'm having trouble uploading photos on Blogger. Any Blogger users know what's going on? I want to post a few pictures from the St. Patty's Day party.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A few party photos

Despite the fact that I carried around my camera for several hours, I only took around 20 pictures, 10 of which were blurry, and I managed not to take a single one of the parade (or the hot firemen). And yes, one party guest really did dye his goatee bright green.


GAAAAAAH! I have a terrible tooth/gum ache. For the past few days, my upper teeth have been sore. It was more of a dull ache with pressure that felt kind of like how my teeth felt after my braces were tightened, circa 1989. Yesterday, however, the dull ache turned into a sharp pain in the teeth and gums of the upper right side of my mouth. This morning, it felt fine when I woke up, but as soon as I bit into an English muffin, I felt a sharp pain that hasn't gone away. God damn those British and their breakfasts. Now, I am obsessively poking at my gums and pressing on my teeth to find out where the pain is stemming from, and that isn't helping the situation. I have a dental student that takes care of me (we grad students don't get dental insurance but they do assign us to dental students) and I called her this morning and scheduled an appointment for tomorrow. As an aside, my student dentist is movie-star beautiful. I honestly wonder if they only assign female patients to her because they worry about men falling head over heels for her and causing problems. Even I have a crush on her.
Hopefully, my head won't explode before my appointment. I have no idea what this is- I'm thinking maybe it's something weird like a sinus or a gum infection that has inflamed some nerves.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Book review: The Known World

I just finished reading The Known World, a Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Edward P. Jones. The story takes place in Manchester County, VA, twenty years before the Civil War, and centers upon slavery. There's a twist: the plantation and slaves in the story are owned by a black man, Henry Townsend, a former slave himself. Henry Townsend's father bought his own freedom and worked to buy his wife and son from their white owner, but the owner, recognizing the intelligence of the boy, holds on to him for as long as possible. As a result, Henry grows distant from his parents and becomes a protege of his owner. Years later, Henry is the owner of a successful plantation and a community of slaves, and upon his death, his widow inherits the farm and the "property." I didn't especially love the writing style of A Known World, but the plot and the wide range of characters make the book a fascinating read. The book is character-driven and not overly preachy, but the injustice and cruelty of the system are obvious throughout the novel and do come to the surface in a couple of disturbing incidents. I definitely recommend The Known World.

Room for one more?

I found this photo gallery of overloaded vehicles quite amusing.

link via Lots of Co.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Most Improved : fraudulent email authors

A few months ago, I received one of those ridiculous fraudulent emails from the guy claiming to have wealth tied up in Zimbabwe or some such nonsense.
Today, I had three emails like this one:
Dear member,
You have received this email because we have strong reason to believe that your chase account had been recently compromised. In order to prevent any fraudulent activity from occurring we are required to open an investigation into this matter. If your account informations are not updated within the next 72 hours, then we will assume this account is fraudulent and will be suspended. We apologize for this inconvenience, but the purpose of this verification is to ensure that your chase account has not been fraudulently used and to combat fraud. Please login into your account and complete verification process. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and we would like to thank you for your cooperation as we review this matter.
Chase Online Team.

There's a link at the bottom of the email that you are supposed to click to log in to your account. It almost sounds legitimate, right? However, the email came to a work account that I use only for science-related stuff and not to my hotmail account, which I use for everything else. Also, in the past, I have been contacted by my credit card company after unusually high activity on my card, but they have always called and not emailed. (Twice, the unusual activity was due to me being on vacation and having several charges from an unusual location, and once, the unusual activity correlated with a shopping trip to the Wrentham Outlets.) Anyways, I called Chase and told them about the email and they said it was definitely fraudulent and that they were aware of the problem. I have decided to give email scam authors a Most Improved award, because I only noticed a couple of small grammatical errors: a missing comma and the use of the word "informations." And they didn't once refer to me as "Respectful one."

Weekend Report: A Couple of Hot Parade Firemen Crashed My Party, Bitches

Friday- The boss was away, so the mice went out for a long lunch, complete with a St. Patrick's day Guinness. Unfortunately, the mice had to return for a 4-5PM meeting. After work, I was supposed to meet up with a friend downtown but abandoned that plan when she called to report that all of the bars had enormous lines and were charging $20 cover. Keep in mind that it was really cold all weekend (low 30s), so I was in no mood to stand in line outside for an hour. I ended up having an impromptu gathering at my apartment, which was slightly embarrassing because I wasn't planning to have people over so hadn't done the usual hiding of dirty laundry and general straightening up. My friend Jossy flew in for the weekend, so once she got in, we hung around and drank for a while more, then all headed over to the bar across the street.

Saturday- Party prep day. Jossy and I went grocery shopping and were both feeling a little cloudy from the previous night's activities, evidenced by the fact that we both started putting groceries in someone else's cart. A lady came over and said "Um, that's my cart. You think the balloons would have helped you figure that out." because there were three helium balloons tied to it. Our cart had zero helium balloons. After the grocery shopping adventure, I played soccer, and after that, we spent the rest of the night cleaning, decorating, and cooking.

Sunday- PARTY! The St. Patrick's Day party was a success, once again. We had about 70 people come, plus a few firemen the girls pulled in from the parade and three teenage party crashers that Maria kicked out. I had a great time, but when it was all over, I felt like it had gone by so quickly and I didn't really get a chance to talk to the majority of people there. My stomach had been bothering me, so I didn't drink that much and therefore avoided the drunken hijinks of years past. It was an interesting change of perspective to be an observer of drunken mayhem rather than an active participant. The night ended with pizza, cranberry vodkas, and gossiping about the day's events with two friends, which was far more enjoyable than doing something productive like mopping the floors would have been.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Hoff needs no introduction

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's to a day filled with joy, surprises, and Guinness! And if you're lucky, you may just end it by dancing with a strange man wearing a ridiculous green coat.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How you know that your family hates your hair color...

(for backrgound info, look here)

1. They get drunk on Christmas and tell you.
2. Your mother gives you a gift certificate to your hair salon.

Okay, people, I get it!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Corned beef, now 100% guilt-free!

Good news for practicing Catholics who want to dine on the traditional Irish fare of corned beef and cabbage this Friday. In many archdioceses, Boston among them, bishops have granted a special one day dispensation from the No Meat On Fridays During Lent rule, allowing Catholics to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with corned beef. They didn't say anything about not drinking your face off, so I'm assuming that's still considered A-OK.

Movie Review: Primer

I recently watched Primer, an independent film made in 2004. The movie is about two friends, both engineers and fledgling entrepreneurs who create a time machine in their garage. Things begin to unravel when one of the characters seems to get addicted to time travel, and their continued use of the machine without full understanding of it leads to a breakdown in trust as well as some presumably faulty attempts to alter past and future occurrences. Unfortunately, you never really get to see what happens and what goes wrong, it is just alluded to during interactions between the two main characters. I was looking forward to watching it, because I'd heard good things about it, but basically, I hated it. The plot is extremely confusing, mainly because once they start time traveling, they only go back or forward for short time periods, so you can't really tell if the character on screen is a real-time version, or a future version who has traveled back. I don't like movies that make me feel stupid (see Syriana...which I enjoyed far more than this one; at least it had a point). I suppose if I watched it again, I would know what clues to look for and could probably figure out the plot a bit more, but I don't have the patience to sit through Primer twice. I did find a detailed online explanation of the plot (spoiler alert!), so if you've watched this movie and need help figuring it out, look no further. A couple of other things about the movie annoyed me- first of all, the two main characters are much too handsome and preppy to be believable as true enginerds. They wear ties all of time, too, which struck me as odd. A lot has been made of the fact that the entire film was done on a $7000 budget, but I, for one, was not impressed. Part of me thinks much of the praise I've heard is Emperor's New Clothes syndrome: people are reluctant to admit that they didn't get it, so they pretend like they did and talk about what a great movie it is. But guess what, Primer? You didn't fool me. I'm not dumb, you are!

Ides of March

Happy Birthday to my college roommate and Web Goddess extraordinaire!

Happy Death Day to Julius Caesar! In 10th grade I had to memorize the "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" speech from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and I still remember it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Post Secret won a bunch of awards in the 2006 Bloggies. What is Post Secret? Half blog, half art project, in which people send in anonymous homemade postcards spilling a secret, and each week, several postcards are selected and posted on the blog. It's fascinating stuff, and the premise reminds me a bit of Found Magazine, which features a collection of found items. Here is my favorite from this week's collection:

Chef quits South Park and destroys my un-PC analogy

Isaac Hayes, the singer who provides the voice of Chef in South Park has quit the show because he's upset that the cartoon often mocks his religion: Scientology. My personal theory on scientology is more of an analogy or an SAT problem.

______ is to rich, white actors as Islam is to rich, black athletes.

A. Catholicism
B. Judaism
C. Scientology
D. Mormonism

If you answered "C", you are correct! The following examples support my theory: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Isaac Hayes is a singer/actor and not an athlete, but I always assumed that it was only the whities who went for Scientology.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The official start of spring

For me, one thing, and one thing only marks the first day of spring. No, it's not the vernal equinox. Robin redbreast? Phooey. Spring begins on the first day of the year that I buy an iced coffee. It was in the sunny with temperatures in the mid-50s on Saturday, and I had my first Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee of the year. And let me tell you, it was DIVINE. Too bad temperatures are dropping once again.


is exactly how I feel right now. I had a very busy weekend (work dinner party, soccer game, bridal shower, etc...) on top of the stress and last-minute preparations for today's seminar and thesis committee meeting. Let's just say I'm batting 0.500. The seminar went well, although I did use the word "experimentating" once, and flubbed a couple of questions, like when someone in the audience asked me if my bacterial strains were isogenic.
Isogenic...isogenic...isogenic, I know I should know what this word means, but for the life of me, I can't remember. ..."What exactly do you mean by that?" Translation: I have no fucking idea what isogenic means. Turns out it means "on the same genetic background," so I actually did know the answer to the question. Aside from those minor glitches, the seminar went well and I got lots of questions at the end, which is generally a good sign that people were listening and at least somewhat interested in what you were saying. As for the committee meeting, it didn't go so well. For the past few months, I've been nagged by feelings that my project isn't going anywhere, that I'm never going to publish anything, and that I'm never going to graduate. Part of me thought I was just being pessimistic and paranoid. Unfortunately, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that your thesis project isn't a total disaster. My committee basically told me that they are worried that my project isn't going anywhere, that I'm never going to publish anything, and that I'm going to be stuck in grad school for years and years. Ouch. I think I need a glass of wine and a long, hot shower. As for the housesitting gig, so far, I have no plans to move out to the sticks anytime soon, but it hasn't been so bad. Life's a lot less lonely when you have an entourage of three animals who follow you room to room.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Nazi imagery in my powerpoint presentation

One of my coworkers just informed me that the symbol I use for "a break in time" on my graphs:

Looks like the symbol for the Nazi SS:

Yep. Better change that one before my big seminar on Monday.

Exile to the suburbs

Starting tomorrow, I will be spending the week housesitting for a coworker in Medfield, MA, a charming little town approximately 45 minutes from Boston. Aaaaaaah! What was I thinking, agreeing to this? Over the past few years, I've become a bona fide (now I only think of O Brother, Where Art Thou when I hear the phrase "bona fide") city mouse. I love living in the city. I love the people, the noise, the hustle, the bustle, and above all, the convenience. From my apartment, a grocery store, bank, dry cleaner, liquor store, coffee shop, video store, drugstore, beach, and several bars and restaurants are all within a ten minute walk, and it's a quick 20-minute bus ride to work. It's fantastic. Maybe the change of pace will be nice, and my sister has already dubbed the event "Medfield Detox." I'll be taking care of a dog and two cats and staying in a house built during the 1890s. I plan on watching lots of movies, (because what the hell else am I going to do there?) so let me know if you have any recommendations.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Weird science

Okay, I know I'm supposed to be working and not blogging, but I couldn't resist posting these three bizzare items for your enjoyment (and not a single one features an interspecies friendship!)

1. New crustacean discovered: the white, fuzzy Yeti Crab. Don't think I'll be eating one of these anytime soon.

link via Lots of Co.

2. Speculation that the famous photo of the Loch Ness Monster was actually the trunk of a swimming elephant.

link via Ghost in the Machine

3. The missing link? Probably not, but five members of this Turkish family are quadrupeds (translation: they walk on all fours). Apparently their parents did not read Middlesex and were therefore unaware of the genetic risks associated with incest. Marrying a close relative is bad, mmkay?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

And piles to do before I sleep

Apologies for the lack of blogging that will occur for the next few days. I've loads to do- my annual departmental seminar and thesis committee meeting are both next Monday and I am SLAMMED trying to get everything prepared on time. You know those people who always say "I'm never drinking again!" when they have a bad hangover? Well, I think those people are ridiculous liars and I am not one of them. But I will say this: I am never going to procrastinate so badly ever again!

You can still leave comments, though. That would make me happy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Add Jake Gyllenhaal to the list of celebrities I want to party with

Check out these photos of Jake partying it up the night before the Oscars. I love me some happy drunk goofiness. That, and I've always thought that J. Gyllenhaal looks like a bizzaro version of Eri's boyfriend, Ryan. You've never seen them in the same room, have you?

link courtesy of Freakgirl

P.S. If the fact that the title to this post ended in a dangling preposition bothered you, well, suck it. "With whom I would like to party" just sounded way too uptight.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And the Oscar goes to...

Here's a list of all the winners. I did manage to catch most of the Oscars on TV. Here are some observations:
-White women look terrible in beige. Why, ladies, why?
-J. Lo looked beautiful in green. Not too crazy about the dress, but I loved the color.
-Lauren Bacall has either lost her memory or eyesight, because she couldn't follow the teleprompter. Or maybe she was drunk. Either way, I felt bad for her.
-Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep, on the other hand, rocked.
-Waaaaay too many montages and technical awards. BOR-ing.
-Jon Stewart did a good job hosting, but he must have spent the entire ceremony biting his tongue.
- I think Philip Seymour Hoffman looks like a weird, slightly younger blend of Michael Moore and John Madden.
-I can't believe Crash won Best Picture.
-I'm glad It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp won best song, and I'm glad Queen Latifah was the one who got to announce it.
-However, Dolly Parton gave the best live performance, by far.
-Michelle Williams is a terrible dresser, but she landed Heath Ledger, so good for her.
-Best accessories: the stuffed penguins belonging to the March of the Penguins guys

Frustration in procrastination nation

I have my annual departmental seminar and semi-annual thesis committee meeting a week from today, and by this Wednesday, I have to have my report and talk ready. The problem? Just that over the past six months I haven't managed to do half of the experiments that I was supposed to, because I'm a big, fat procrastinator. The result? Me being stuck in the lab all frickin weekend. I even had to turn down invitations to Newport and to the NCAA Big East tournament. Grumble....

Friday, March 03, 2006

Movie Review

I love John Irving books. My two favorite are The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire. Last night, I was scrolling through the free movies offered on Comcast and saw a listing for The Hotel New Hampshire. I had no idea it was even a movie (it was filmed in 1984), so of course, I was intrigued and had to watch. Guess who's in it? A young Jodie Foster, Rob Lowe, and a toddler Seth Green. So weird! Although the book is fabulous, like all Irving novels, it's pretty warped and twisted. Plots involving trained bears, rape, terrorism, incest, suicidal clowns, midgets, and taxidermy don't necessarily make good movie fodder. It's the sort of novel I'm hesitant to recommend to people, in case they find it offensive and decide that I'm some kind of sicko for liking it. But you readers are likely already aware of the fact that I am indeed a sicko, so I'll go ahead and recommend the novel. As for the movie, skip it, unless you're a big Jodie Foster or Rob Lowe fan.

Phallic logo awards

You might notice something unusual about all of the ads and logos featured here...

from Sore Eyes

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Misadventures in ice skating

Yesterday, I went ice skating with my co-workers on frog pond on Boston Common. Yes, how very Winter in New England of us. Those of you who are aware of my feelings towards non-shoe sports understand that this is a very big step for me. I dread activities like ice skating. I'm terrible at them, and they bring up all sorts of horrid childhood memories of public embarrassment. So, I was surprised to say that last night wasn't that bad. I don't know if I could describe it as fun, exactly, but there were no injuries or crying incidents, and I only fell twice. I was definitely the worst person on the ice (my only competition was a 4 year old girl), but I looked as it as a public service, like, if anyone else there was worried about looking like an idiot, they would see me and immediately be reassured that there was at least one other person worse than them. I did manage to progress beyond terrified clinging to the side rails, and I still only push with one leg, but I did move forward on occasion. My coworkers were really helpful and patient, and one of them even had to tie my skates for me, because I couldn't even manage to do that. I had an outfit twin- an Asian guy was wearing the same puffy red jacket and white knit hat as I, and caused some amazed bewilderment when my coworkers saw him doing tricks in the middle of the ice and initially thought it was me. Will I go again? Hmmm...probably not. But it wasn't that bad.

Eileen needs...

Here's a silly little time-waster. Run a Google search on "(Your first name) needs" and see what pops up. Here are a few of mine:

Eileen needs a new guitar for her daughter.
Eileen needs to incorporate five portions of fruit into her diet.
Eileen needs someone to run to when they call out, "Eileen!"
Eileen needs to come to terms with her missing husband.
Eileen needs a pseudo husband for her high-school reunion.
Eileen needs a hot coffee.
Eileen needs to know about this swamp ass.
Eileen needs a thousand dollars because she and her husband are trying to flee to Mexico.

What Eileen really needs is to stop goofing around on the internet and start working on her thesis. Although I am curious about that swamp ass.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Feel good story of the day

When autistic high school student Jason McElwain failed to make his high school basketball team, he became team manager. In the final game of his senior year, the coach let him dress for the game and put him in with 4 minutes left on the clock. Jason scored 20 points, the majority off of 3-pointers. I recommend that you watch the video, just hit Launch Motion Player and it should pop up. It's a few minutes long, but stick with it to see the footage from the game. It's awesome to see the entire gym go insane when Jason starts scoring. High schoolers can be mean and cruel, but they can also be very kind.

Movie Review

Last night, I watched Born Into Brothels, a documentary about children of sex workers in India. Photographer Zana Briski originally took on a project to document the lives of the women working in the Red Light District, but found that while the women were reluctant subjects, their children were eager to pose for photos and interact with her. She decides to teach them a class on photography, and, through showcasing their work, she provides them with opportunities to escape the brothel life by attending school and furthering their education. One unusual aspect of the movie is that there are no subtitles: the photographer speaks in English and the kids all speak in their native language (Bengali?), with the assumption that an unseen translator helps them communicate. I thought it was strange that the photographer didn't speak their language, considering that she had lived and worked in India for several years. Part of me wanted to understand what the kids were saying, but part of me assumed that the lack of subtitles was a deliberate technique used by the filmmakers to illustrate the language barrier and the fact that despite it existence, everyone managed to communicate. Either that, or I rented the one copy of the movie with no subtiles. Overall, the movie is very uplifting. It's amazing to see that these kids, who grow up in such dire circumstances, act like kids just like everywhere else: laughing, playing, complaining about chores, and having temper tantrums. The story has a happy ending. Through the efforts of the photographer, the majority of the children followed during the film end up in school and on the road to a better life, leaving viewers with the inspiring message that one person really can make a difference.