Miss America Strikes Again

I just couldn't resist. I almost feel dumber for having listened to this but don't let that disuade you from listening yourself. The ramblings of an idiot like you have never heard. Also, it looks like "Slater" (don't know his real name) can hardly keep from laughing at her answer.


Plan your trip now folks. Goobertown is the hot new tourist destination.

Busy Weekend

Well this weekend has been fairly eventful. On Friday, Elsa and I went to tanglewood to see James Taylor. The concert was excellent, he is both a very talented musician and a genuine and funny guy. We brought a picnic dinner to have on the lawn there and a cheap bottle of champaigne (I wouldn't have it any other way). The concert lasted a good 2 and a half hours and then we had to drive back to framingham. We didn't leave the conert until around 10:45 and then sat in the parking lot waiting to move for about an hour before then driving 2 plus hours to get home a few mintues before 2:00 am. Next day we got up and picked up Marie, a friend of mine and also one of Elsa's new roommates and drove out to see our friend Brian who has not been feeling well as of late. Brian actually lives fairly close to tanglewood but poor planning on my part had us doing the back and forth twice. We got on the road at about 11 to head back out to western mass and hit traffic in a bunch of different spots. It was really good to see Marie again and hear about her road trip that sounded awesome. I was jealous but I think she was probably jealous too because she didn't get to spend time stuck in Allentown with a busted water pump. Got to Brians at around 2:00 and quickly left again to get some lunch at a local farm stand/general store/ deli. Had a turkey pastrami reuben with bacon on it and toasted rye bread...fantastic. Normally I prefer a Rachel to a Reuben (both in sandwichs and in life), but this was pretty good and I'm willing to give Reubens another shot. Came back and ate in the blistering heat of the day and eventually retreated to Brian's fairly new home theater to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (or almost the last crusade as it turns out). Brian and I made dinner for the family that night which ended up being 10 people with all of us there. Dinner was just about ready when the power went out on account of a thunderstorm bearing down on another region of the berkshires and some tornado activity. We ate by candlelight and it was actually quite pleasant. Eventually left at around 10:00 and got back to Elsa's at just about midnight. This morning we got up and went to IHOP and I was able to indulge once again in corn pancakes which were as heavenly as always. I really need to figure out a recipe for those so I can make them at home every weekend. Now I must be getting back to work so i don't fall too far behind. Patrick OUT!


Things have been a little slower recently which is great because that doesn't cost me any more money. Not really much of note except that yesterday marked four years for Elsa and I. Pretty amazing when you stop to think about it. Well, i suppose it might not be amazing for you but it certainly is for me. Its gotten to a point where so much (well 1/6th to be precise) of my life has been spent close to her that I feel like I must have always known her. I'm not going to say I don't remember what it was like before her because I do...but I like it better now. Anyways, I'm going to can the mushy stuff for now and let people know about something almost as exciting. Since being back I watched a few episodes of America's got Talent. The show was hosted by Jerry Springer, David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne, and some other Brit. With hosts like that makes you think that maybe the show should have been called...America never had talent. The show is entertaining despite the three of them. Well actually it was entertaining because of one individual that always brought a smile to my face. You will ifnd a YouTube video below. Terry Fator, is a ventriloquist which would normally have me rolling my eyes but this guy is GOOD. I mean REALLY good. In the clip below he sings Unforgettable as a duet between himself and himself/his puppet. I am a big fan of the version that came out some time ago of Nat King Cole (posthumously) and his daughter Natalie Cole doing this song. If you haven't heard that version I posted that clip as well. Patrick OUT!!

Wooba Gobba with the Green Teeth

Picked up my car yesterday evening and avoided having a meltdown with the people there. Paid my bill and left promptly...car is running fine. Weather has been a little cooler recently which has been nice but I was really expecting summer to continue for a little longer. If that wasn't enought to snap me out of the summer relaxation mode, I had my weekly meeting with Pam and Kris yesterday. Usuaully these are fairly uneventful. This one went as they usually do until the end when Pam decided she had some things she wanted to talk about. Not the least of which was my PhD qualifier *gulp*. She wants to do it in December which is mostly fine until she mentioned that she wants to write a review article for Current Medicinal Chemistry. By "she wants to write" I really mean, "she wants me to write" an article. Normally I would be OK with such a thing because I could use a couple of papers with my name as first author but they want that submitted at around the same time as my qualifier would be happening. I guess I can kiss any sort of extracurriculars for those few months, goodbye. In addition, the GC here is still non-functional and just gathering dust in a different building. They keep telling me to be patient but it is fustrating because with a few supplies I could probably get it up and running in just a few days and then be on my way. Of course, that would make far too much sense to be feasible. All this boils down to, I've got lots of experiments I would like to do but can't and lots of other work that I would rather not do...staring down at me. My solution...waste time by writing a blog entry. I should work for the government. Patrick OUT!

Yes Sir, May I Have Another

So the car drama is never ending. After being told Friday afternoon that the car was not going to be ready on time (i.e. Friday), I was totally prepared to pick it up this morning as promised. "Mark" said all he had to do was finish a few things and take it for a test drive in the morning to make sure everything was ok. My father gave me a ride to the dealership this morning before heading off to a meeting and eventually to San Diego. This, of course, meant that after he left I was stuck at the dealership with only my car as transportation. I eventually talked to some guy in the service department who informed me that it was going to be another 4 hours before my car was actually done. After almost losing my cool and unleashing my most belittling and sarcastic alter ego...I decided to just give him a look of disappointment. I figure that always worked when my parents did it when I was a kid. He didn't seem as affected by it as I remember being. I told him I had to go to work. He asked where so I told him worcester ( a little outside their usual complimentary van service route). Eventually they did give me a ride and I made it to work before 10 but still without my car. I am a little disappointed in the service I have recieved there in general and I am considering filling a complaint with the BBB of Boston about the whole thing. The real test will be this afternoon when I finally pay for the whole thing. If it is even a little over estimate I'm going to have a real problem with these folks and they are not going to like it. Which reminds me of the time I was a "Code Blue" at the Cingular store. Long story short, I lost my phone and was trying to get a new one without paying the $170 list price for a new phone. I talked to some guy at the store who said I could buy another phone wherever as long as it met a short list of criteria. Eventually I bought a phone off of eBay for $50 that was "unlocked" and met the criteria. I went back to the store and he told me I couldn't use it because of something that he had not originally mentioned. I then caught him in a lie about how cell phones work. Well, it might not have been a lie...he might have just been stupid. Either way, I had done my research about the whole thing and knew what he was saying was BS. We had a louder than usual verbal exchange, where he called to a manager and described me as a code blue and I eventually got my complaint handled by the New England region manager for Cingular who gave me the money back i paid for the phone off of eBay and then gave me a new phone that would work. To sum things up, I was such a pain in the ass that I was able to lose my phone (totally my fault) and have cingular replace it for free with a newer better phone and I didn't pay a cent for it. If this repair thing doesn't go easy today...I'm gonna be a code red this time. I figure one should always have goals in mind. Patrick OUT!

Shit Creek

"I'm very lucky. The only time I was ever up shit creek, I just happened to have a paddle with me."
-George Carlin

This kind of sums up my situation at the moment. I got word about my car repairs yesterday. Seems that my cylinder heads were not cracked but they were a little warped from the overheating. This means the repairs should be around 2000 instead of 2800 which was also a possibility. I guess I can count myself lucky there. I have also worked out a means of paying that and my recently received bill for summer housing without going totally broke in the process. Also, Dan and I are going to this afternoons red sox game which is doubly good because Josh Beckett is pitching and I'm ditching work to go do it. Yesterday was Kate's birthday which was fun, the family plus some of her friends went out to the local japanese hibachi grill and stuffed our faces beyond what should be legal. I've always said that if I ever won the lottery I might have one of those big cooking tables installed some place in my home. I think it would be the perfect mix of entertaining and cooking. It seems to me that everyone always gathers in the kitchen in the first place...so why not make that the point of it all by cooking in front of people. Plus...the ability to do the onion volcano thing whenever I want has a certain je ne sais pas that really makes it appealing. Maybe to start I will just go buy myself a tall chefs hat, a knife holster...then i can fling shrimp at all my friends. I've been working on my japanese jokes and almost unintelligable accent to complete the ensemble. I was also thinking what if I did an Irish-American cooking table to pay tribute to my heritage. Everyone could gather round and watch potatos boil and I could slice corned beef brisket and slop on some cabbage. Smells like success...and old socks. Instead of the little jar of soy sauce, I could replace it with whiskey because when you are eating corned beef and cabbage...you probably need it. Make your reservations early...this is gonna be BIG. Patrick OUT!

Car Trouble Yet Again

Well, I brought my car to the mechanics yesterday and it was not good. Come to find out that my leaking coolant and the rough start are in fact related. Apparently my breakdown was either caused by or the result of a busted head gasket. Because SAAB likes to have a light engine block for better performance, they make them out of aluminum alloys instead of cast iron as might be seen on some beefier automobiles. This leads to some risk of heat stress in the event that something like a water pump breaks. Thus, I have to send out and possibly replace my cylinder heads because they might also be cracked. These things, one or both have lead to coolant leaking into my cylinders which leads to rusting and eventually hydrolock (damn that incompressible liquid stuff). Long story short, the mechanics need $2000 to fix this stuff and perhaps more if the cylinder heads are in deed cracked and need to be replaced. They are out to be pressure tested at the moment which also leaves me without a car for some time. Luckily, other means of transportation have made themselves available for the time being and I had a little bit of money saved away from the summer and before that will cover the cost of the repairs. Even so, it looks like I will be living a fairly frugal lifestyle for the coming months so that I might recoop my losses of the past few weeks. Trying to keep upbeat about the whole thing, i still have a job and a place to live and i'm not flat broke so I suppose in the end I can't really complain about my particular situation. Whats that old saying, "When life gives you lemons...buy a honda instead?" Patrick OUT!!!

Its that time of year again

Yes folks, its that time again. The time of year when with each passing week I get more and more excited and my sundays are full again. The time of year when on Sundays i can expect to open up a cold beer and do so little in terms of actual productivity that even Jabba the Hut would tell me to get off my lazy ass. Yes, football season has officially begun...sort of. Actually its just the pre-season but that is certainly enough to get my heart going and the butterflies in my stomach. I feel like that scene in Jerry Maguire where Jerry finally confesses his love for whats her name..."Bill Belichick, you complete me." Sometimes people give me that "any given sunday" crap but to them i say...you're right, any given Sunday some loser team is going to bow to the majesty of the revitalized patriots offense. Not to mention the patriots defense that will still run over most offenses and thats despite having a former retiree with a broken arm and a stroke victim. If they weren't making running backs all over the NFL miserable week after week you would think we got them out of an old folks home. Furthermore, we might have bad boy randy moss on the team this year but I think we have been pretty fortunate ot not have many criminals on the team save Tedy Bruschi who has been stealing reads off opposing quarterbacks for the last 12 years. Add donte stallworth and kelley washington to the mix and all of a sudden Brady is going to be launching a "shock and awe" campaign through the air like you have never seen. Needless to say, I'm a little excited about the upcoming season. I know some of you are saying...Patrick, they lost their first preseason game. Well I know that, but they also weren't playing any of the aforementioned superstars to their full potential or in some cases at all. Its all coming together for another great season. On a similar note, the red sox still maintain the best record in all of baseball (despite some mediocre play recently) and even the celtics look like a championship cotender again. A golden age for boston sports may be upon us and to the gorillas of the gridiron, the devils of the diamond, and the kings of the court I say "show me the money!" Patrick OUT

A cut above the rest

This week has been mighty slow, every day I see a few old faces I haven't seen yet since being back. Most people seem surprised when i tell them I enjoyed my time in Arkansas and give me a look like..."you wouldn't move down there would you?" Well, I probably wouldn't move down there but its certainly nice for a visit. I guess I'm just too much of a yankee at heart to ever live quite so far below the mason dixon line. The lab has been rather quiet and I haven't been able to do a whole lot but that should change rather shortly and I think things will pick up. Since my schedule is a little bit relaxed this week, I got a haircut this morning. Actually, I got them all cut. I have been going to this one woman to get my hair cut practically since I was born. Sometimes she really amazes me. I will mention something while sitting in her chair and 1-2 months later she can recall it like I told it to her yesterday. She must take notes or something and then study up the night before I come in or something like that. With a memory like that the woman really should have been a detective or something like that. Beyond that I haven't really done a whole lot since being back. I did get to finally see Elsa's new apartment in watertown. Its a pretty nice place with a fair amount of potential save for the hideous wall paper and funny chandeliers. Other than that, not too shabby. I have to bring my car in next week to get a coolant leak fixed. I'm brining it to a dealership and I'm fairly certain they have loaner cars. Normally this wouldn't excite me all that much but the other half of the dealership sells hummers. A little part of me wants to roll around in one of those bad boys for a day or so. I think above all cars, a hummer symbolizes my personality the best. Ok...so that is totally not the case at all, i'm probably more of a toyota camry kinda guy but I can dream. I'm not even sure what I would do with a hummer, maybe I could off-road it to work then park across 5 spaces in the garage because having a car like that makes you more important than most and thus worthy of taking up more spaces, obviously. Anyways, i'll update you on the loaner car sooner or later. Patrick OUT!

New Age Hippie Bullshit

Kind of an addendum here to my previous post for something that really deserved its own space. Part of the trip from this past weekend involved hiking down Mt. Ellen in Vermont to the Sugarbush resort. At the bottom we discovered that there were quite a number of people, strange for a ski resort in the summer. Upon minimal investigation we discovered that the American society of dowsers was meeting there. For those not in touch with their spiritual side, dowsing is an "ancient" science (their words here not mine) that purports to be able to find just about anything (though water is the most common) underground or in general by using a simple set of tools called dowsing rods or a dowsing pendulum. The idea is that these people (the dowsers) get in touch with the spiritual life force of the living earth and are able to chanel the energy into the movement of dowsing rods that will let them detect the presence of a variety of things. We met a dowser who explained the basics and claimed to be able to find water in 90-95% of the attempts he has made in over 40 years of doing it. He also claimed that he could find other things like power lines, and other underground objects. Another dowser went further to say that dowsing could answer any yes or no question and furthermore in the right hands could answer multiple choice questions. He related a story of a young woman taking a notaries exam who had not studied but was able to complete the exam using a dowsing technique and scored the only perfect score on the exam. Apparently, the earth is very in tune with the requirement of being a notary public. We also ventured into a bookstore and looked around at some of the items for sale to conventioners. Among them, photographs of one's aura, dowsing rods, digeridoos, crystal skulls, ouija boards, tribal drums etc. Needless to say, I was starting to go crazy with the amount of hippie bullshit approaching from all sides. What worse is that some of the people I was with were being convinced that this shit was real. I had to keep quiet for a while so we wouldn't get into a major fight but by the time we left I just about exploded with fustration at the whole thing. Sometimes I wonder how in this day and age where we have all the advantages of a modern scientific society that some people can be convinced of something that should have died out in the dark ages. I mean seriously, who in their right mind looks at a pair of sticks and truly believes that mother earth will lead them to water or to the correct answers on the notary exam. After leaving I wondered if when you have a dowsers convention wouldn't it be better to just tell people the date of the convention but not the location and have them find it on their own by connecting with the higher powers. I bet if they did that, next years attendance would be a little lower. I wondered why they don't just dowse for winning lottery tickets or for oil all the time...doesn't look like these people are all rolling in dough at this point. I think after that I've worn out my sarcastic skeptical side for quite a while...ok maybe quite a short while. Patrick OUT!

Home and Away

Finalyl competed my drive back up north this past thursday. Was able to pick up my car in the early afternoon, more than 5 hours ahead of schedule and $250 under their estimate for the repair costs. Even though it was still a sizeable bill, I was totally psyched to have it done with and be on my way out of allentown. Drive took about 5.5 hours to get back as I was caught in some major afternoon traffic in NY city. Stopped by worcester on the way to drop off my samples and say my goodbyes to Elif. For those of you who don't know Elif, she is a post-doc in the lab I work in and has been there much longer than me. She is a great scientist and a great friend and she will be sorely missed as she goes off to bigger things on the west coast (i'm a bit jealous of her san diego locale). Got home about 6:30 and had dinner with my mother and then elsa came over for a bit. Next morning got up real early to head up to vermont to go camping. Had a generally good time and got a little bit of a workout backpacking. Ended up hiking on some ski trails which was brutal because there was no shade and they tend to go straight up. I felt like death for a good portion of the trip, but I suppose that just makes it memorable because in the end...I didn't die. On the way back from vermont, stopped by a BJ's store and got a case of long trail ale for $20!!! I wish our BJ's sold beer...guess I will just have to drive up to new hampshire. Also saw Gregg's ski house in vermont and he offered to rent it to me a weekend if I wanted. This place is great, it sleeps 12 people has a huge kitched, a deck, BBQ, a hot tub, a fantastic view, stereo system, etc etc. Even has a refrigerated keg hook-up with CO2 and the works (only for ski season though). I think I might be taking him up on his offer at some point. Should be going out to dinner this evening courtesy of a gift certificate from last x-mas that has been lying around. Always feels good to find a gift like that to have x-mas in july (or august in this case). After that it is back to the daily grind for my first full day back in worcester. Patrick OUT!

Thats Doctor Wikipatrick to You

soooooo...here I am relaxing...though not at home. my car broke down in allentown PA. luckily there was a SAAB dealership close by so I was able to get a tow there. the bad news is that they had to order the parts to fix it which means I had to get a hotel room here in allentown for the night. things have been boring to say the least save one experience. I had to go find dinner and the only restaurant within easy walking distance of my hotel was a bennigans. I walked down there and sat at the bar between a guy on my left and a couple on my right. I order a huge (22 oz.) beer and a bacon cheeseburger figuring that was a safe and exquisite combination that would cheer me up. Normally I wouldn't talk to people at the bennigans bar like this but the guy next to me asked if I was from arizona. I gave him a confused look and said no...he apparently thought my A State T-shirt was actually arizona state (easily confused I suppose). I explained that it was arkansas and he asked if I was a student. Rather than explain to him that I was kind of a student and kind of not and all this shit I said that I worked there at the bioscience center. He asked if I was a doctor and I thought for just long enough to lie and say, "Yup brand new". He then proceeded to question me on my speciality and I think he thought I was a medical doctor which was even more surprising than him believing that I was a PhD. I was sitting at a bennigan's bar with a huge beer wearing ripped cargo shorts and college T-shirt. Nobody in their right mind would ever trust a family members health to me...except maybe this gullible bastard. I decided to come clean (sort of) and told him that I studied the practical application of phytochemicals (which I think he assumed was some sort of drug, but actually just means plant chemicals). We talked a bit more about other things and I eventually left after seeing on the TV that the celtics landed Kevin Garnett (for 7 players but thats besides the point I guess). Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett...the next big three??? Since then I've been in my ill appointed hotel room watching old TV and surfing you tube from link to link. See if you can follow my linking starting with me watching who's the boss on TV
1. Who's the boss
2. Alyssa Milano
3. Poison Ivy II
4. Poison Ivy I
5. Drew Barrymore
6. John Barrymore
7. Hamlet
8. Shakespeare
9. Anne Hathaway (shakespeare's wife)
10. Anne Hathaway (Actress)
11. Audrey Hepburn
12. Breakfast at Tiffany's
13. Truman Capote
14. Harper Lee
15. Banned Books
16. Catcher in the Rye
17. Mark David Chapman
18. John Lennon
19. The Beatles
20. British Invasion

And you thought that a 1980s show about an italian american housekeeper had no connection to the british invasion of 1960s. Wanna play trivial pursuit? Patrick OUT!