Friday, February 23, 2007


I just got a new pen.   I'm a sucker for fountain pens, because they improve my normally ghastly penmanship.   Granted, they improve only slightly, but I feel more sophisticated and at least reasonably more legible when I use 'em.  

Anyway, it's a Lamy Vista,  it ran me $25, and is of the fine (F) nibbed variety.   I heard about at this rather interesting article about hacking your Moleskine , which is the sort of site that makes me wish I was that kind of person, that would both get off on hacking my Moleskine, but also have an improved life due to better daily planning.   At least somebody's doing it.   Dollars to doughnuts I would be a little annoyed if I ever saw anyone with a hacked Moleskine in public, though.   I enjoy the simple hypocrisy of affectations only being cool when I or a select close friend demonstrate them.

Amusingly, I found that link at, in another unnamed person's link-list (who incidentally doesn't seem to realize that their list is public).   Approximately 1000 people have saved that link, which means it was on metafilter, and that people are dorks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I had a perfectly good weekend imperfectly capped by a crappy movie.   My life is an unending stream of irritants. 

My uncle came and visited on Friday.   He's a biochemist, and of the previous generation, and as such has some odd ideas about my own (not biochem) area of science.   Granted, he's nowhere near as bad as the retired engineers are; he knows what energy is, and he knows when to acknowledge that just because something doesn't make sense doesn't mean it's not true.    He's a good guy, and among my favorite relatives; for my high school graduation he bought me Kip Thorne's brick of popularization, Black Holes and Time Warps, and even went so far as to have it autographed.   I hope he didn't walk up to Kip's office at Caltech, as he lived in Glendale at the time, but I wouldn't put it past him, as he is/was an academic and would not think it weird.    The book didn't really change my life or anything, which is ironic as it's much, much better than the poorly written Brief History of Time which had a much greater effect on me earlier in high school, but the gesture really impressed me at the time.

Come to think of it, my other uncle had given me Hawking's book.   And his old XT, which got me into computers, and saving my paper route money for a 386 instead of a jalopy.   These dudes were seriously influential on my course of life.   I'll have to let them know one of these days.

Friday I showed him my lab, and we had dinner at Luigino's near Metro Center, which was reasonably expensive and totally forgettable.   The caprese was flavorless and my risotto's texture was screwy.   Mental note: never order a risotto in a high-throughput restaurant, no matter how fancy.   It's too easy to screw up.   At least the calamari wasn't rubbery.    Saturday we caught up in my apartment, having coffee over my grandfather's (his father's) ancient desk, and talked about the science business a bit before decamping off to Acadiana, which was unbelievably good.   I had a Sazerac before dinner, which blew my mind.   I've been looking for Peychaud's bitters for so long now I'd forgotten why I wanted them.   And now I know.

The upshot is, the next day found me watching The Illusionist with the girlfriend.   And it was terrible.   What a lame, lame movie.   Visualize me shaking my head with wonder just like the Sideways guy does at the end, only I'm shaking my head in wonder that the movie could be so bad, not at the awesomeness of Ed Norton's caper.     Boo, hiss.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


My goals upon arrival in DC were many. Meet women. Reverse debt curve. Go to more shows. Dress better. Be awesome scientist. Blog regularly. Figure out life path and early career. It's a snowy night, and I'm not feeling profound, so I'll address the simplest. Upcoming shows I'm excited about:

Mastodon at the 9:30 Club. Heavy music. I won't be bringing a date. Converge is opening, who at some point put out music I dug.

Explosions in the Sky, also 9:30 Club. Soft-loud post-rock. They're possibly past their prime, and I haven't listened to the new album. But they've earned a little attention from me for their amazing first few albums and the fact that Friday Night Lights (the movie) became a must-see because of them, if it wasn't already, which varies widely from person to person.

The Thermals at the Black Cat. An old friend turned me on this poppy Sub-pop punk band. Half the songs are in my head now.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


I just returned Kissing on the Mouth.    I don't know where I got the recommendation-- probably the AV Club over at the Onion.   It's shot like a documentary but isn't one, and revolves around a 25ish woman in a nameless American city that felt somewhat Portlandesque.    Oregon, that is.   Revolving around her are three other people: a female friend, a male roommate/friend, and an ex-boyfriend.   It's a little universe that's full of angst.   I wasn't surprised, as the movie purported to explore post-college aimlessness among the non-driven set.    What was surprising was my lack of annoyance at it all.

Ellen is trying to figure out what to do with her life, and she's sleeping with her ex-boyfriend Bucket on the sly while her roommate Patrick pines for her secretly and is the sad-sack nice guy.   Her mousy friend kind of likes Patrick but he's oblivious.   The device which drives the film is Patrick's art project, which is a collection of interviews with twentysomethings about their expectations for love and marriage and all that good stuff.     These interviews are the intermezzos and sometimes plain old soundtracks to the real scenes.    It was all pretty bittersweet, and while it didn't really resonate with me (the post-college period for me was an explosion of awesomeness, rather than a pining for the simpler campus days) it was a reasonably good character study.   

There's also a lot of sex, shot in an offhand and unglamorous way which I liked.    I wouldn't watch this with your parents, that's for sure, and if you're at all prudish about, say, dudity, I'd avoid the hell out of it.   And while it should be obvious, it's as indie as gay cowboys, so if you're in need of a boost to your cred, check it out.