March 31, 2008

It's offical (part 2)

This is my new favorite YouTube video


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It's official

Today I officially declared my intent to enroll in the Ph.D program in the department of chemistry at Indiana University.

Exciting.

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March 27, 2008

I can't not post this article

I love reading Maureen Dowd's NYT column on Wednesdays.

Read it now.

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My new car is money

I got to see my new car last night. To be honest, I can't believe I own a car this nice. The guy that found it for me, Scott Wentworth, did an awesome job. Basically he saved me about $5000 compared to what a dealer was selling a similar car for. If anyone is looking to get a car soon, I can definitely give you this guy's number and he will hook it up for you.

I got the insurance today and tonight after work I'll go to DMV to get it registered- assuming 2 hours is enough time to do that at DMV tonight. Then finally I can drive it, er um, learn to drive it. (It's a 5-speed, and as of this posting, I cannot drive a 5-speed). HAHAHA

Hopefully I will have some pics to put up soon.

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March 26, 2008

I GOT A NEW CAR!!!!

Finally I got a new car. Black 2004 Volvo S60 with a beige leather interior. I can't wait to get home and drive it.




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I feel like I haven't posted in a million years

It's been a while anyways. 2 weeks. Maybe 3. It's definitely a while for me considering I was posting at least every other day.

Anyways, welcome back to the show.

Lots of things have been going on lately. I recently visited Indiana University for a tour of the department of chemistry. I liked it a lot. Enough that I might decide to go there instead of U of Georgia. The thing that really struck me was how willing Indiana's department was to have me visit on a weekend (Easter weekend at that), have professors in on Saturday for me to meet with, and find students to show me around all day. Professors from UGA won't even respond to my e-mails, and I feel like this is an indicator of what my future would be like there. IU's not bad. There's no doubt that Bloomington is a college town, even though the population is 80,000 not including college students. That's twice the size of East Hartford. Also, if I go to IU I might be able to do the North Carolina beach house thing since the semester starts a week later.

No matter where I go, my last day at this job is going to be April 25th. The day after my birthday, coincidentally. I'm going to spend the month of May getting my shit in order to move out (and without a doubt, playing a ton of golf), then at some point in June, I'm gone. I'm excited to go, but over the past year I've gotten to reconnect with so many old friends. It'll be hard to say goodbye again.

In other news, I am so close to buying a car. In fact, it could happen today, in only a few hours. A guy I know through my mechanic/ semi-uncle (father's brother's wife's brother) is at the East Windsor car auction today. There is a black 2004 Volvo s60 and a color-unknown 2005 Volvo s40, one of which could be mine by day's end. I slept with my fingers crossed because through the auction, I'd be getting either one of these cars at a steal price. I'm just real excited to upgrade from the 1991 Buick Shitbucket. (It only looks like a shitbucket. It runs well for a '91).

That's it for now. I watched a movie last night that I'm considering reviewing, but you'll have to check back later to find out what it was.

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March 13, 2008

No Country For Old Men: A somewhat complete analysis

Disclaimer: If you haven't seen No Country For Old Men, first of all I'm sorry for you. Go to the movie store and rent it immediately. Second of all, you probably do not want to read this post. I will discuss many important parts of the film including the ending.

Last night I saw No Country For Old Men for a second time, and I have to say that I enjoyed it even more. But before last night, I still thought There Will Be Blood was the better movie. I think I was wrong. No Country is as close to perfection as I think a movie can get, although many people hate the ending for some reason.

The movie opens with Tommy Lee Jones' character, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, talking about sheriffs-past in different areas of Texas. Many of them didn't carry guns because in those days and places, packing heat wasn't necessary. The camera shows us the gorgeous vistas of West Texas (the movie was mostly filmed in New Mexico). The movie immediately takes on a Western feel. One review I read described No Country as a new school Western, a fitting categorization. It has all the elements of a Western- "the ultimate badass" outlaw in Anton Chigurh; the bareness of the wild west; the gun fight in the empty city streets. The Coen brothers masterfully bring that sense of lawlessness to a time when supposedly there is law and order.

The standard film elements- shot composition, cinematography and editing are flawless. Every image is crisp and beautiful, every transition seamless. For example, early in the film, while Moss (Josh Brolin) is out hunting, he spots a hobbling dog. Cut to the far away shot of four or five pickup trucks with open doors and no people. Cut to Moss at the scene amongst the dead bodies (and a dead dog). Then begin my favorite sequence. Moss starts heading along the tire tracks which you can faintly see amongst the tall grass, cut to him spotting a tree where he believes the man with the money would've stopped, cut to him at the tree, standing over the dead man. From there he is instantly at his car, instantly home, and instantly inside talking to his wife. Not a second is wasted. It's glorious.

This is so crucial throughout the movie. The camera never at any point shows us anything we don't need to see. In the beginning every detail of Chigurh's killing is shown to us, but by the end we know what has happened, and the insignifcant shots of the killings themselves are left out. First Carson Wells (a name directly from the wild west, and also played by Woody Harrelson of all people) is shot on screen, but we aren't even sure he's been shot until the blood starts creeping across the floor towards Anton's feet- the immediate cut to him nonchalantly leaning back and putting his feet up to avoid getting any on his shoes is priceless. In one of the final scenes, Chigurh meets Moss's wife, asks her to call the coin toss, and is then standing outside checking the bottoms of his shoes, indicating that the deed has been done.

So why does this movie have the title it does? Well I think that if you imagine Sheriff Bell as the focal point it makes a lot more sense. The opening scene he tells us that it used to be a real easy life. His demeanor throughout the film emphasizes his old-school attitude. He shoots the breeze with everyone, even when he's trying to get information. When he and his young deputy enter Moss's trailer, the deputy with his gun drawn asks Sheriff Bell why he doesn't have his gun drawn. He says he doesn't need it because he's not going in first. Eventually, Bell does draw his gun, just before he enters the motel room where Moss has been murdered, because he fears Chigurh is lurking inside. I think it is at this moment that Bell realizes that the world of 1980 is too much for him to bear. (Whether Chigurh was inside or not, is debatable. It is possible that the cut of Chigurh hiding behind the door is simply a visualization of Sheriff Bell's thoughts, because when the door opens, it opens all the way to wall and Chigurh is nowhere to be found, but this entire scene is debatable).

The final 20 minutes of No Country appears to revolve around fate. A variation of the line, "a man cannot escape what's coming to him," is spoken several times by numerous characters. It leads up to the final scene in Sheriff Bell's house. He's talking about his dreams. He dreamed of his father, who died at 20 years younger than Bell's current age. I think the dream he describes is a metaphor for death, but more so, the death of the old way of life. The life that he knew.

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March 11, 2008

My ADD just hit...hard

Wow. I've gone through periods where I couldn't focus, but just now my ADD went into overdrive. I can barely focus on writing this. I'm not sure why but the most work I can get done right now is basically staring at nothing. This is kind of a strange feeling, being acutely aware of my total inability to concentrate on my work right now. So many people want to buy Yankees' tickets. So many people have called me today. I think I'm going to golf soon. Very soon. Like maybe next week. If that happens I will be as happy as two peas in a stapler. Or whatever they say. Wait, I know what they say:

Don't scratch your own back with the hand that wipes your butt. Or is it ass?

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Steve McQueen invented the bucket seat

Saturday night on my way to Ryan, Rich and Mike's party I picked up Davitt. And wouldn't you know that the first thing Davitt says to me when he gets into my car is, "Steve McQueen invented the bucket seat." If anyone other than Davitt were telling me this I would've thought it was odd. But Davitt is the guy that knows those kinds of things so I've come to expect to hear interesting/bizarre bits of information whenever I'm with him. (Who knows what I'll learn during an entire weekend in Michigan.)

So to make a long story short, I was watching Jeopardy! last night like I always do. Final jeopardy came up. I don't know what the category was but the clue literally baffled me. It was something like, "This actor of the 60's didn't win an Oscar, but he was awarded a patent for inventing a racing style bucket seat."

SERIOUSLY?!

I yelled, "Oh My God! Davitt just told me this the other day!" And of course I remembered it was Steve McQueen.

I immediately determined that this was more evidence to support the Brains-in-a-vat theory of reality. I.e. nothing is real, I'm just making it all up or someone is making it up for me by poking my brain with a stick of some sort. It reminded me of the time that I got that Bazooka Joe comic, and before I had a chance to read the fortune, Jeff snatched it away from me and read aloud, "This is not your fortune."

Why does the world play tricks on me like this?

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March 10, 2008

You can't make this up

This story in the New York Times today is just too funny. Apparently the state of Montana can marry people through something called double-proxy weddings. The bride and groom don't even have to be there. Instead they just have two random people who accept the vows and say, "I do," a judge, a lawyer and a witness.


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March 6, 2008

Some more bullshit

I'm getting a new car soon I think. I ran the numbers and i think I'll be able to afford it while I'm at school, making $22K a year. Luckily I'll be in Georgia (most likely) where most things are dirt cheap.

What's the deal with spider solitaire having points? It seems that every time I win, I have a point total in a range of about 200 points, about 1100-1300 points. I don't get it.

I've got some more material for Comedy Night. I hope it happens soon.

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March 4, 2008

Fantasy Baseball

If you want to be in a fantasy baseball money league, please let me know and give me your e-mail. It is mostly people from Drew but don't hesitate if you're not. We're playing for $40 or $50 probably and the winner will likely get $400-$500. Last year was a lot of fun.

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Something I don't understand

The lede of the lead editorial in the New York Times today was both poignant and disturbing, but ultimately true.

From San Diego on the Pacific to Brownsville on the Rio Grande, a steel curtain is descending across the continent. Behind it lies a nation so confused and conflicted by its immigration problems that it has decided to wall itself off and wait for things to fix themselves. This country once was a confident global magnet for an invigorating flow of immigrant workers and citizens-to-be. Now it is just hunkering.


The article goes on to say how the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is utterly ridiculous- which it is. I just don't understand the people who are in this odd group- Conservative Republicans- that is hell-bent on chasing down all the illegal immigrants in America, giving them a firm scolding, and then sending them off to wherever they came from, er, well, anywhere outside the U.S.

The idea of actually removing every illegal alien from this country is sort of amusing. People are missing the point that when they're gone, the country will be a lot less economically productive simply because they are doing jobs that most people don't want to.

Anyways check out the article. I strongly advocate reading the editorial section everyday.

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March 3, 2008

The mystery of hockey

I thought of a real conundrum of the sports world over the weekend. Isn't it ironic that ice hockey has been the retarded brother of the football, baseball, and basketball in this country forever. Yet America's single greatest sports moment (and single greatest highlight as determined in a completely valid bracket-style tournament of highlights on ESPN) is from a hockey game.

Does that seem weird to anyone besides me?

I'm referring to the 1980 winter Olympics of course. The legendary game known as the "Miracle on Ice." I wasn't even alive in 1980, but the awe associated with that game literally gave me goosebumps as I typed out those words. If you haven't seen Miracle, I think you should.

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