Friday, March 20

Never thought it'd be possible

As a tutor, I've visited some pretty amazing families in the LA area. I had a new client recently in Beverly Hills. Not in the fake Beverly Hills, that area between Sunset and Wilshire. But an actual house in the actual hills of Beverly. What made this house particularly amazing? When I stepped up to their front door, knocked, and turned around I was treated to a full panoramic view from Century City to Downtown. Stunning. Beautiful. Amazing. Walking through their front door, I was greeted with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the other half of the LA skyline - Century City to the ocean. With mandatory pool. Location, indeed.

It was so beautiful and stunning. To top it all off, sitting there on side table gleamed a SAG award and an Emmy.

If you had told me at any point in my life that I would ever walk into house like this, with Hollywood talent like that, I would have laughed. Only in LA.

Thursday, March 19

New Rule

At the first sign of picking up a tab at a bar that clearly does not belong to me - please just take my money/cards/wallet away from me. Give me a stern look. And just say "New rule in effect."

St. Patrick's Day was quite the experience. With my sister in town for the best holiday in March, I was adamant about starting early. So with my encouragement we hit our first bar at 12. A few games of darts and some green beer, we moved on down the beach to the Irish bar of choice, O'Brien's. It was great. $10 cover. No specials. No green beer. After meeting a slew on interesting people, using Kelly as old man bait and receiving free Jameson shots from the bartender who knew me as "a Sunday regular", we moved on to the next bar.

At this point things start to get a little more hazy. We left O'Brien's to meet up with V and C at another watering hole, which was not an Irish Bar and had specials. Lots and lots of specials. Without a cover. Hurray! Now here is where my memory starts to play hopscotch. When the bill came for the 6 people I was with. I refused to let anyone else pay. I was rewarded for my efforts with a delicious car bomb. But at this point, from now on, the new rule would go into effect. But let's all see what happens next :)

Andy picked up Kay, Kelly, and myself to head to the Parlor. I don't remember the car ride up to my apartment. There is a brief flash of taking a Patron shot, poured for me by Andy, and then we are walking up the street. So this is when I take the night to ludicrous speed. It may be obvious that I am a generous drunk. How generous you may ask?

(Being filled in on this the next morning)

As we passed some of SM's generic homeless people, they wished us a Happy St Patrick's Day. We returned in kind. They asked if we had any food. I offered to take them out to dinner. No. Seriously. To dinner. With Andy and Co staring at me in disbelief, I tried to get out two new homeless companions into the Parlor. No such luck. So I took them up the street for some India food. Sit down meal. Conversation. The works. They both had the lamb. They were really friendly guys. I do not recall what we talked about. And then after getting a $53 bill I asked them if they wanted/needed anything else. Off we went to CVS for an 18-pack of Bud and some cigarettes. Another $23. So for those unable to do quick math, I spent $76 in less than an hour on two homeless gentlemen.

I now met back up with Andy and Co at the Parlor. They were in awe. I was in awe. And then I had a green beer. We went from there to a diner to meet Ben and Shanee. I regaled everyone of my misadventures through the day. And upon leaving - this unfortunate diner has windows on all walls facing the street - danced for everyone still sitting in at their booths. Like danced. Alone. To the music in my head. Like Napoleon Dynamite. Don't worry. It's on video somewhere.

So that was St. Patrick's Day.
What we learned:
1) I am a generous drunk.
2) Starting a conversation with homeless guys, causes less anxiety than talking to women.
3) Non-Irish bars are a much better option than Irish bars on St. Patrick's Day
4) Sometimes you just have to dance.

Sunday, March 15

Dark Days Ahead

For those of you who have never been in grad school, it might come as a shock that there is an entire online comic dedicated to life as one. PhD Comics is spot on in their humorous interpretation of being a grad student and how the world treats you.

With that, this comic is not AS funny. It is slightly comical, but the message here is important, so take a second to read it. Ponder what it means. Start working on your emergency supplies. And start living life.

Saturday, March 14

Not Condoning...

But wouldn't it be great if California could make an extra $1 billion a year in these tight economic times?

Going beyond that a brief history of the way things are...

Friday, March 13

Make it a Trillion

I found this post on It's very interesting trying to grapple with the amount of money being spent to stimulate the economy, see if this helps: how much is a trillion dollars?

Wednesday, March 11

Anyone can do it

Hehehe... lot's of fun

Catch Up

Even though I haven't posted in almost week, nor have I posted regularly for several weeks, I do spend a relatively large sum of time staring at my blog page. No. It is not a vanity thing -- waiting for the next person to comment on an old post. If this were the case, I'd be a very sad man. I haven't felt inspired to post much. There hasn't been anything glaringly important in the news (at least not that has absorbed my attention). My life hasn't taken a major, life-altering step. It continues on, day-to-day, much the same as it always does. Well maybe that's not true. Looking back, there might have been a major change, it just happened so slowly I didn't notice.

Let me give you a quick run down of some major milestones in the last few weeks:

1) I gave my first "big" talk about my work to the department last Tuesday. I felt really good, and I went in feeling calm, cool and collected. And happily for me, many of the comments I received were extremely favorable. People liked my work. They liked the way I presented it. Some even found it exciting -- so in all I came away unscathed and moving forward.

2) This led to a moment, experienced Wednesday evening of last week, where I looked up from a scientific paper I was reading and announced to no one in particular, that I LOVE what I am doing right now. I have been super busy and super absorbed in my work and microbiology, as a whole -- this is a monumental change. I find myself asking, "when did I become a grad student?" I have been putting a much larger number of hours into grad work than ever before. And it's great.

3) Much to my dismay (and others) I have been thinking about Bombshell too much and too often.

4) I attended a weekend long retreat with the department. And had a great time with everyone. It was amazing. It was fun. It was productive. It was a great retreat. It was estimated that the students were intoxicated 50-75% of the time. While the faculty was intoxicated 35-50% of the time. Definitely a great retreat.

5) I have finally finished grading lab report, which have been the bane of my existence for 3 weeks. I feel bad because I looks like I gave the smack down, while other TAs might have been more forgiving. I guess my policy is -- if you can't write English, minus points. If you can't follow directions, minus points. And if you have yet to grasp scientific writing, minus points. They are all seniors. They should know better. Or at least I think they should.

6) My car suffered a catastrophic tire failure on the way home from work Tuesday night. It has been replaced along with another tire to the tune of $320. HURRAY!

7) Did I mention I've been thinking about Bombshell too much? Need to make it stop. It's just getting frustrating/annoying now.

More to come soon. I promise. Please keep reading!! :)

Friday, March 6

Sidewalk Celebs

I literally just saw Stefan. The runner up from this season's Top Chef: New York. I said hi. We bonded. It was cool. He was trying on his new chef coat, that he received at his UPS mailing box. I knew the restaurant he worked at was in Santa Monica, but it was totally cool to see him.

I love this city.

With that, I am heading to Catalina Island for the weekend for a departmental retreat (read: "pretending" to work, nursing hangovers, and imbibing too much alcohol). I am super excited.

Wednesday, March 4

Petitions are so easy in the Age of the Internet

Am I right? Huh? Huh?
It used to be if you wanted to express your opinion to a member of Congress, you actually had to call or write or send smoke signals/carrier pigeons, sometimes smoke signals and carrier pigeons in unison. And then some aid used math mumbo jumbo to say, "Well, if 15,000 people in our 55 million person state sent in concerns, this equates to being important to 56.7896% of the population - let's do this to be re-elected." Now, you just type in your email address and zip code and wham bam someone else does the work for you.

For example: During the Bush Administration, the Bush-appointed head of the EPA blocked a waiver submitted by CA to increase the regulation on auto emissions. Because CA had it's Clear Air Act in place prior to the EPA, it has had the right to enforce regulations on air pollution that are more strict than EPA standards. Once CA enacts such a law, any other state in the Union can then follow suit if they so choose. For 30 years, this worked fine. Until the most recent regulation was blocked. The EPA is now considering allowing the waiver through, and letting CA enact stricter auto emission regulations. A law 13 other states have said they will also follow. If you do the math, it would require 40% of all future cars in America to be less polluting!!!

The EPA will be hold a public hearing in Washington DC tomorrow. I know, I know. Why do I always tell you this at the last minute? But you can be there, sort of. Follow this like to The We Campaign, and enter your petition. Add you name, and your weight of being a US voter, to help save the planet. You don't even have to leave your seat :)


For any history buffs reading this. Or for that matter anyone who remembers the history of WWII at all. OR! For people who like to laugh at weird things --