Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Awesome albums I've picked up recently that I really have missed out by not having from the very day they were released:

Modest Mouse, Lonesome Crowded West.   Inspired by hearing a song in the car with my old roommate while on vacation, and upon asking who it was, was told.   Apparently they used to not suck.   Really, really not suck.   Wow.

REM, Lifes Rich Pageant.   Randomly heard "Begin the Begin" on the radio, realized it was REM, and that it was very good, and immediately bought the album.    The only old REM I have is Eponymous.  I should get more.  This isn't the first time I wish I went to college in the early 80s. 

Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, Jalopy Go Far.    I already had half this album in the form of tracks on mixtapes from F.   It was high time I made a commitment.   Great, great happy girl guitar pop.

Neutral Milk Hotel,   In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.   This album's holy writ in indie circles.   I don't know if it's the second coming I expected, but it's really good.   Like the skinny lady from Happiness said about the other lady whose name I forget in The Anniversary Party, "she's so fucking serene."   NMH appear to be quite fucking serene, but I could use a little serenity in my life. 

Friday, June 22, 2007


A reader e-mailed me chastising me for my pompous statements the other day re: the worship of Mammon.   I do apologize.   What remains true is that I really would like a job that is at least tangentially science-related.   This means: not quant finance, not regular finance/i-banking, not software development, and not standard management consulting (I say standard because some companies, like Booz Allen, are quite intimately involved with science funding.)

Non-academic jobs that would be acceptable, should I go that path, include applied-science startups, where several awesome people I know from grad school have gone, national laboratory positions, FFRDCs, the vanishingly few industrial research houses, and, surprisingly, even patent-law advising,  although that's a stretch. 

This plan all sounds well and good, but I'm shitty at prediction.   I'll post again in two years when I'm working at a hedge fund.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Is there anything more pathetic than waiting in line on the dirty
streets of Adams Morgan to get a chance to eat at Pasta Mia? For
those not in the know, it's DC's own Soup Nazi, in the form of a
mediocre pasta joint that makes people wait in line for its nightly

What-ev-ah. You'll catch me in that line when hell freezes over.


Cricket returned to DC last night after being away on business.   Combined with my business travel and a tacked-on week's vacation, I hadn't seen her in three weeks.   It's good to have company again.    

I'm manically working to prepare for more business travel, but article like this one are just sapping my energy.    I suppose it's typical at this point in my career to have doubts about what I want to do with my life.   I really don't mind, except when I hang out with the one or two people my age I know who have an order of magnitude on me in disposable income, or those who are smarter than me and who I admire but do things I consider useless.   It also makes me sad when I learn of people from college who were smart and intellectually curious, iconoclastic even, but have largely decided to serve Mammon.    For that matter, I know people in the scholarly pursuits who have become provincial and hidebound.   If I have a career goal right now, I suppose it is to be able to (honestly) think of myself as a scholar but not live like a churchmouse.     I'm almost dead set on refusing to take a pay cut from my current job, which since I have a pretty good gig, will limit my possibilities somewhat.

I miss Los Angeles.   Seeing the mountains behind my old San Gabriel Valley home was a sight I'd been so used to that it took being away for six months to really appreciate.   Other institutions I miss: the Rancho, up on Lake Avenue, where it's quiet and divey, and the barflies are artsy, dumb, or both.    The Colorado, down on Colorado, which is a meaner and squarer dive, and one marinated in memories.    And, of course, Amigo's, where I learned last week that the margaritas classico are the way to go, which would have saved me gallons of tarwater gasoline margitas regularito that I've pumped into my body over the years had I been told right away.   

DC is a much better town for me, though, the evidence being that I have a steady girlfriend of many months, which is something I never found in Los Angeles.    To all my friends complaining about the single life in LA: move here.   Move here now.   

I'm taking Cricket to see Once tonight.  I'm a sucker for sappy indie stuff like this.   I'm also a sucker for movies like Waitress .    She'll probably be annoyed at me for both, but then again, the last two movies we saw together were the ghastly and intolerable Volver and For Your Consideration.   

And, as a final note, I bought my first bottle of whiskey in DC a couple weeks ago, at the place next to the carpet joint and shitty cheesesteak house near Woodley Park Metro.   I've avoided the water of life so far, as it's a drain on my already empty pocketbook, but I've found that nothing helps me transition from working a twelve-hour day to blissful slumber better than a wee dram and some celebrity gossip.     For this first bottle I selected the solid Irish bestseller, Powers.    Heartily recommended.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I was eavesdropping at my grad alma mater's coffeehouse this afternoon, in particular on two graduate students in biochem talking about PCR and Western blots and who'd published what when, etcetera:

"I really hate chemical engineering.   All those fucking numbers and shit."

Not doing much for my stereotypes...