Wednesday, November 30, 2005
This internet gem was unearthed by Brigita.
P.S. In case you're wondering, the song is from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Monday, November 28, 2005
I saw two movies over the holiday weekend. Last Wednesday, I ditched out of work early to watch Walk the Line, and seeing Joaquin Phoenix play Jonny Cash is far superior to pipetting any day of the week. He was fantastic in the role. I have a thing for men with scars and bad teeth (which is strange but not nearly as weird as someone I know whose ideal man is balding, has a pot belly, and is cross-eyed), and Joaquin Phoenix certainly fits the bill. Reese Whitherspoon did nicely as June Carter, and, as you've probably heard by now, both actors did their own singing. I'm less familiar with Carter's music than Cash's, so Reese sounded good to me, but Joaquin nailed it. I can't even imagine the movie with someone else in the lead role. I highly recommend it, not only for the performances of the two leads, but if you're a music fan at all, it's fun to see the other music icons of the era, like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, pop in and out of the plot.
The second movie I watched was Me and You and Everyone We Know, which follows the intertwined stories of several people whose lives intersect in various ways. I find that with most movies that consist of a series of subplots (Love Actually as an example), I really like a few of the characters and their stories but don't care as much about the others. In this case, the one character who didn't interest me was the one played by the film's writer and director, Miranda July. The peripheral characters were much more enthralling, especially all of the kids- two brothers whose parents are getting divorced, an awkward neighbor girl with a hope chest, and two slutty teenage girls tormenting a local bachelor. They come across as believable real kids, not child actors the likes of Dakota Fanning. The movie is an odd one, with some parts weirding me out a bit (like the dad lighting his hand on fire), and some parts making me laugh out loud (I won't spoil it, but it involves the word "poop"). I enjoyed it, but I hope M. July stays behind the camera for her future movies.
- Pumpkin pie. Loads of it.
- Pranksgiving day pranks at the airport.
- A delicious Thanksgiving turkey cooked in a tabletop roaster.
- Drinking margaritas at the beach.
- Seeing a group of young European guys drinking white zinfandel at a beachside bar with zero comprehension of how ridiculous they looked.
- Going to a cocktail lounge where the entertainment consists of a shady looking man playing the synthesizer.
- Watching the entire BBC version of The Office, which is simultaneously cringe-inducing and hilarious.
- A late-night, no hands, pie eating contest. I came in a close second.
- Experiencing Man Diego (every bar in San Diego is a sausage fest)
- Hiking at Torrey Pines
- Driving along Highway 101. No wonder everyone wants to live in California.
Thanks to Eri and Ryan for hosting me. A fun time was had by all, although I definitely need to detox after four solid days of constant eating and boozing.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
Sunday was race day, luckily for us the weather was perfect, around 50 degrees and sunny. Miles 1 through 10 were fairly easy, and Carolina and I entertained ourselves by chatting, checking out the crowd for cute guys, and my retelling of the entire plot of Everything Is Illuminated. After that, we lost the energy to converse and just focused on the running and looking at the scenery. The course weaves in and around the city, and passes by the finish line around mile 13, then continues down the Schuylkill (yeah, say that five times fast) River to mile 20, then turns around and heads back to the finish. Right after we passed mile 13, the crowd was cheering like crazy, because the leader was already heading back from the other direction towards the finish. We actually saw him bust through the tape at the finish, which was really cool (I've never seen a marathon won live before), except for the fact that he finished in 2:20 and we were only halfway done. The longest mile was definitely mile 19 to 20, because we knew that we turned around at mile 20, and that signified the home stretch. It felt like an eternity had passed before we reached the turnaround. Around mile 22 or so, my legs started hurting, especially my knees. My thought process went something like this: "Don't think about the pain because that will make it hurt more. Don't think about the pain. Wait, don't think about not thinking about the pain because that makes you think about the pain." I found motivation in the knowledge that if I kept up my pace I would finish in less than 4:30, and even though my legs hurt, it still wasn't as painful as my last trip to the dentist. That, and Carolina was still running so I needed to keep up. When we finally turned the last corner, we saw the finish line ahead and my oh my, it was a welcome sight indeed. Teri and Dan were there cheering us on. After post-race showers, we partook of some celebratory Yuenglings then went out to the White Dog for some more food and beers, but I started getting dizzy on my second beer and had to cut myself off. The evening consisted of napping and more eating, and we left the next morning. Overall, it was a very satisfying weekend, with a goal achieved and quality time spent with old friends. I'll post some pictures when the race photos come online or Teri downloads the ones she took, whichever happens first.
The official photos are starting to come in. Check this link. Yes, it says Proof all over it. Sorry about that.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
- Seeing Teri Noone (now TeriNoone Kessler)
- Running up the art museum steps a la Rocky
- Potential Allen Iverson sightings. If in some bizarre twist of fate, A.I. and I are united in holy matrimony, I would change my last name to Iverson, and you could all start calling me "E.I." or "The Explanation." Explanation of what, I don't know.
- Brotherly love.
List #14...Things I'm not looking forward to this weekend:
- Running 26.2 miles. Who's dumb idea was that again? Oh wait, mine.
Nothing says 80s like a pair of acid-washed overalls.
P.S. I'm accepting new submissions for the Friday photo. If you would like to embarass yourself or a friend or family member, email me an awkward years photo. You can find a link to my email address on my profile.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
If hell exists, I will most likely be headed there, due to a long resume of sins and general wickedness, like the fact that I laughed at this cartoon of Howard Stern pranking a mentally disabled guy. This morning, I went to the dentist, and let's just say that it was a most unpleasant experience. I was getting a filling, and the metal clamp they put around my tooth was digging into the roof of my mouth and it hurt like a biatch. After four times of the dentist readjusting it, then asking, "Does it still hurt?" and me saying "aarrhhhlgu," which meant yes, I decided that I was just going to try to suck it up and deal with the pain, because maybe I'd eventually get used to it. I do have a fairly high tolerance for pain, as evidenced by things like my walking around with a broken finger for a few days before I decide it probably shouldn't still be that color and pointing in that direction, then I go to the doctor who tells me that it's broken and I shouldn't have waited so long. Four crooked fingers later, I finally realized that I was too clumsy for basketball. Back to the dentist....so I was doing my best grinning and bearing, but tears started streaming out of the corners of my eyes and running down my face, and the poor dentist was horrified and took off the dreadful apparatus and hit me up with some more novocaine. It helped, but only a little, and I started thinking about my own personal hell, and how it would definitely include dental work. What else would it be like?
- everyone would be skiing, all of the time
- there would be no Dunkin Donuts, only Starbucks
- abundant prolonged awkward silences
- Jennifer Love Hewitt would be there
- my pants would always be a tad too short
- a constant migraine (honestly, I cannot think of anything worse)
If I do end up in hell, I hope that it is of the generic fire and brimstone and demons variety.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
Before I went to Peace Corps, I didn't really know anything about Sandinistas, other than the fact that they were supposedly the bad guys. However, my host family and nearly all of my Nicaraguan friends were ardent Sandanistans. Why? Because before the revolution, they had nothing. Nothing. Several of them had relatives murdered by Somomza's National Guard. The Sandanistan government gave them land and an education, in other words, hope and opportunity. No, the Sandanistans weren't perfect, but they were a drastic improvement over the Somoza dictatorship for the campesinos of Nicaragua. Not to speak ill of the dead or anything, but Ronald Reagan is not viewed in a positive light by many Nicaraguans, and his smiling face represents a U.S. foreign policy that illegally funded a brutal civil war in their country for nearly a decade.
In Nicaragua, Reagan's financial and military support for anti-government
rebels "caused a lot of damage in our country, a lot of suffering, a lot of
death and destruction," said Carlos Chamorro, a journalist and political
analyst, whose mother, Violeta Chamorro, became president in elections in 1990
that ended the rule of the Marxist-led Sandinistas.
"There might be a group that was supported by Reagan that may have a different memory of him. But I have the impression that a majority of the people will associate him with the war and with the destruction," Chamorro said. The U.S.-backed war killed at least 20,000 people.
For another example, look at this mural. Yikes.
Okay, enough of my rant. If you really want to help poor coffee farmers, buy certified Fair Trade coffee, from TransfairUSA or Café Campesino, or look for this symbol on the coffee you buy at the grocery store.
Eeeek! Panic time! I feel like I am about to soil myself. Figuratively, of course, not Uta Pippig style.
Oh, Carolina and I are trying to think of something good/funny/inspiring to put on our t-shirts. Any suggestions? Right now we're stuck on "Go Eileen!" for me and "Go Caro!" for her. If it were in NYC, I would be tempted to wear a Yankees Suck t-shirt. Hmmm...maybe something like "Will run for cheesesteak."
- Went to the Celtics vs. San Antonio game on Friday night and watched the C's get an arse-whooping. The Spurs will repeat as NBA champions. You heard it here first. You know who really impressed me in Friday's game? Tony Parker. He's awesome.
- Watched a Spain vs. Slovakia World Cup qualifying game with some friends from Spain. Spain won 5-1, and there was much rejoicing.
- Attended a birthday party for Nikki's roommate Theresa, where I played many a drinking game and smoked my first cigarette in months. Bad me!
- Finished Everything Is Illuminated (see previous post). I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may read it, but the story takes a turn from the lighthearted narration at the beginning to a much darker portrait of the how the Holocaust affected the grandparents of the two main characters. I highly recommend it. It's amazing to think that our grandparents lived through such an evil time. One of the underlying themes of the book is memory, and it made me think about how most of the people who lived through World War II won't be with us much longer. Let us hope that we have learned the lesson of their history and will not be doomed to repeat it.
- Ran 9 miles, my last long run before the Philadelphia Marathon this coming Sunday.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
P.S. On a completely unrelated note, happy Armistice Day everyone, and thanks to all the veterans out there, especially to my favorite veteran, my grandfather.
One member of this photo has been featured here before, but since today is her birthday, I thought I'd use the opportunity to embarrass her once again. Some of you may not know this, but Mary Laf is currently working memoir of her own, entitled Dress Your Family In Extremely Loud Shorts.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
From: David Rusang & Elizabeth
Church Of God Mission,
Dear respectful one ,
Because of the political problem in this country, I urgy your urgent
assistance. With due respect and humility I write you this letter which I believe you would be of great assistance to me and my sister. Let me take a brief time out to introduce myself to you, I am David Rusang the only son of late Chief and Mrs James Rusang, a black farmer based in Zimbabwe who was murdered in the land dispute in Zimbabwe. I decided to contact you through email, after searching for contacts through your country Embassy, as it is the only means I can contact anybody since I am cutting off ties with Zimbabwe for security and safety reasons. However, I apologize if this is not acceptable to you. The purpose of this letter is to seek your most needed assistance in a business venture. Due to the land and political problems in Zimbabwe, as a result of President Robert Mugabe's introduction of new Land Act Reform wholly affecting the rich white farmers and the few rich black farmers, and his desire to hold on to power for life, my father forsaw the danger that came in Zimbabwe. Before he was murdered, He told me everything concerning the deposit he made with a security company in Cote D'Ivoire. In brief, I have the sum of ($ 16.000.000m usd )sixteen million us dollars which I want to invest in your country, these money was deposited by my late father in a security company here in cote d'ivoire as family treasures; which I was made the beneficiary and next of kin as the only son of my parents. Because of the present situation in my country Zimbabwe, and when the danger became unbearable, and after I and my sister survived two murder attempts, my aged grand mother adviced me and my only sister to leave the country immediately for security reasons,and also to look for a trust worthy and a reliable person who can assist me to transfer the money out of cote d'ivoire.
Respectful one, I highly need your assistance in this areas,assist me claim
the money from the security company, assist me transferring the money to
your country and also investing it as I confide in you hoping that you will
never betray me at last . I and my sister has proposed (15%) percent of
the total sum of the money for you, so as for you to give us all necessary
assistance and protections we may need in your country. Please treat
highly confidential because our future depends on this money, all the vital
documents covering the deposit in the security company are with me here in
cote d'ivoire and will be faxed to you on demand. looking forward to hearing
Thanks and God bless you.
David Rusang and sister.
Wow! Sounds like a great opportunity! Do you think I should pursue this? Ummm...just kidding.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Father purchased a new bicycle for Little Igor for his birthday, which is a
superior present, because I know that Father does not possess enough currency
for presents such as bicycles. "The poor Clumsy One," he said, extending to put
his hand on Little Igor's shoulder, "he should be happy on his birthday." I have
girdled a picture of the bicycle in the envelope. Tell me if it is awesome.
Please, be truthful. I will not be angry if you tell me that it is not awesome.
Everything is Illuminated has been made into a movie, with everyone's favorite hobbit playing the main character. Speaking of Elijah, pretty please click on this website if you're in the mood for a laugh. You will thank me later.
Anyways, were I a member of an up-and-coming indie band, I would so totally agree to rock the Bait Shop, because the O.C. is the best show on television. Thanks for RT for the story. As an aside, I did read The Corrections, and liked it, although found it depressing as hell.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
A few days ago: Weird, he just winked at that old man. Maybe he winks at everyone.
Yesterday, upon further investigation: Oh, he's not actually winking at all, it's just that his left eye crinkles when he smiles.
Monday, November 07, 2005
So on that note, I'm voting for Mayor Mumbles, who has been an adamant supporter of the new building, and not Maura Hennigan, who has been trying to scare up votes by referring to the BU "bioweapons plant." For city council, I'm going with Flaherty, Yoon, Connolly, and Murphy. Here's some detailed info on the candidates.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Anyways, here's my take on the Celtics this year. They'll make the playoffs, and might even make it past the first round, provided that they don't trade Pierce. Trading Pierce would ruin them for the season, and I'm worried, because it would be so like Ainge to trade him away for a couple of youngsters with potential. We don't want potential, Danny, we want wins! I know some people think Pierce has an attitude problem and should be traded, but the fact of the matter is that he's the best player on the team, and it's unlikely that a trade would bring in a player of equal caliber. If they could get LeBron or A.I. for him, yeah, trade him, but that's not going to happen. Aside from Pierce, Ricky Davis looked good, and Blount played like he had a pulse, which was nice, but the youngsters didn't fare too well at point guard- too bad the C's didn't keep Chauncey Billups. They also don't have an outside scoring threat anymore, with Antoine and Walter McCarty gone. And I don't know where the Celtics found this guy, but he's terrible.
Friday, November 04, 2005
It's a shame that we don't get to see the entire outfit, but the hair is very late-80's, early 90's. And judging from the logo on that shirt, it's one of those that they sold in carts at the mall and were incredibly trendy in the time of Champion sweatshirts, but for the life of me, I can't remember the brand. Began with a V. The logo had a circle with a big V on top of it. Anyone??
Thursday, November 03, 2005
The hearing was kind of wacky- there were about 50 people in a room all contesting traffic violations, and they swear everybody in together, then call out names one at a time, and you go up and sit at a table and profess your innocence, with the whole room watching and listening. Luckily, I was the second person called, so at least I didn't get stuck there for the entire day. I told them what happened, and they gave me a choice: either pay $75 instead of the $150, or pay $20 and request a second hearing in front of a judge at a future date. I went for the half-price deduction, because I didn't want to a. bother with the hassle again and b. risk losing the hearing and having to pay $170.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Bills (rent, phone, etc.): $646.94
Credit Card Payments: $300
Entertainment (primarily restaurant and bar tabs): $249.75
Marathon registration and flight to Philly: $203.00
Halloween (costume + party expenses): $180.00
Indoor soccer registration: $100
Gifts and Charity: $55
Miscellaneous (dry cleaning, stamps, etc): $50.65
This wasn't a good month for me financially- let's just say I was in the red, and I didn't contribute anything to savings. My credit cards are still in the freezer, though, and I've been chipping away at that debt, so that's a good thing. Some of October's spending was due to a couple large one-time-only expenses, like the marathon stuff and Halloween. But it seems like every month, something like that comes up. I don't usually by much clothing, but I did get a couple of new things this month. The one category I should cut back on is entertainment. I don't go out very often, but when I do, I spend a ton. Honestly, I think aside from going out less, the only thing I can really do is to find a way to earn some additional money. Any ideas? MJ already suggested "Escort Service" but I shot that one down.
(Musical Interlude courtesy of Hall and Oates)
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
During these busy couple of days, between Halloween parties, depositions, and work, I managed to attend two concerts. On Sunday night, I saw Bruce Springsteen with my sister Kerry at the TD Banknorth Garden. On this tour, the Boss is playing solo and acoustic, featuring songs from his Devils & Dust album. He performed a couple of old favorites, but mostly stuck to the bluesy, folksy stuff from his solo career, and entertained the audience with anecdotes about his childhood and career as a rock musician. In this setting, it's easy to see why Bruce was once tagged "the new Bob Dylan". Even though he must be in his mid-fifties by now, the Boss still looks great, and can certainly captivate a whole arena, even without the E Street Band behind him.
Last night, I went to the Dresden Dolls show at Avalon, and punk cabaret rules on Halloween. The crowd was freaky, and MJ and I blended in; she went as a wicked queen and I was a zombie flapper. Jon and Heather also went goth for the occasion. There were several acts throughout the evening, including three opening bands, a choreographed zombie dance routine, and some scary ballet dancers. One of the opening bands, Devotchka, were really good- they were dressed like a skeleton mariachi band and played fun, crazy music with a whole range of instruments, including a tuba. Unfortunately, I am suffering a nasty cold, and I only got to hear a few songs by the Dresden Dolls before I headed home to bed. For a full review, check out Jon's excellent write-up of the show.
My niece Nora is too young to attend rowdy parties, but she definitely would have won an award for Cutest Costume: