November 06, 2004
Goddammit. I said it once and I'll say it again. We are all doomed. The worst part of being a pessimist is when I am right.
In other news, I have been listening to lots of good music, and actually made it out to a concert recently. J-4cob is right, Ratatat fucking rocks. On the 15th, I will enjoy the live sounds of Subtle, a group composed of Doseone and other artsy-fartsy bay area hip hoppers. Because the end is clearly drawing near, I think I will stop worrying about curing cancer, and focus on eating good food, drinking good beer, and listening to good music from now on.
June 29, 2004
I always get excited and obsessive when I discover music that I like and haven't heard before. My latest obsession? Boom Bip. I came across his stuff when I learned from a Boards of Canada site that BoC was going to be remixing a track for the new Boom Bip album. Out of curiosity, I checked out some audio samples from the Seed to Sun album on the Warp Records site, and quickly determined that I was required to buy the album.
I also discovered that one of our new lab undergrads listens to a lot of good music (which we will define as music that I like), and had a bootleg Mp3 of the Boards of Canada remix of Last Walk Around Mirror Lake (which is on the new Boom Bip album Corymb, which was released today). This song was so good, that upon hearing it I immediately walked out of lab and to the nearest music shop. The guy at the shop was kind enough to sell me a copy of Corymb one day ahead of the official release on the condition that I wouldn't post it on the internet that night. Now that I have listened to Corymb about 20 times, I think it is one of the coolest albums I have heard in recent history. It has original Boom Bip tracks, as well as remixes by Boards of Canada, Mogwai, and Clouddead. It also has remixes by other artists that I haven't heard before and now want to check out. I am sure that Warp/Lex records planned it this way, and I for one am certainly falling victim to their scheme.
June 15, 2004
I just returned from an epic 4 days in Las Vegas. The trip was sort of like a bachelor party for a couple of guys in the department that are getting married (not to each other) and consisted mainly of gambling and drinking. I quickly discovered that I could never make it as a professional gambler because: A. My luck sucks. B. I am way too miserly to buy in again after busting in a game. I did a lot of busting, in fact I busted in every game I played and at no point had more chips than I bought in with at any given table. After wandering in and out of casinos and losing money on the first night, I came to perceive Las Vegas as a colossal noisy machine in the desert, similar to White Dan, existing for the sole purpose of sucking money out of tourists instead of capturing bison and processing them into bison products.
On the second night, I determined that wandering around inside that machine and examining its workings is amazingly entertaining after consuming 13 beers in a hotel room and heckling a cover band from the balcony. In this extremely intoxicated state, Nate managed to win back some quantity of money from the Frontier Casino that had been taken earlier in the day by Marvin, the most ruthless blackjack dealer in Vegas ("come back so I can take some more of your school money"). Nate also managed to knock cigar ashes all over the table, and everyone else did their part to make us an attractive target for getting thrown out. I am surprised we didn't end up in a back room getting our legs broken by Joe Pesci.
Later that night, we wandered in and out of multiple casinos in our drunken state, while other members of our group enjoyed even less wholesome pursuits. Eventually, we realized that we were painfully hungry and ended up in the Barbary Coast, eating $3.00 hash browns and eggs at about 1:00 in the morning.
Over the course of the trip, I took a liking to run-down casinos like the Barbary Coast, the Imperial Palace, and Casino Royale, and not just because it is cheaper to gamble there. There is a lot of classic Vegas character in those places. The cocktail waitresses all seem to be in their 40's, and are grizzled, depressed, and surly from countless nights of exposure to cigarette tar and drunken loudmouths. The dealers are equally surly and tar covered, but seem to have a slightly more positive outlook, perhaps because they don't have to wear corsets. The pit bosses are mostly older Italian looking guys that perfectly fit the image that comes to mind when you think of the term "pit boss". The Barbary Coast also had $1.00 drinks, which may have played a part in my affinity for it.
The expensive fancy casinos were cool in their own ways as well. The Venetian indoor canal is pretty neat, even if the casino has some kind of nauseating perfume pumping throughout its ventilation system. I greatly respect Caesars Palace for building a futuristic prison to contain Celine Dion, even if the interior of the casino is so gaudy and confusing that it made my eyes bleed and brain short circuit (I envision a Return of the Jedi type scene, where an angry casino official at Caesars activates a hidden trap door beneath a gambler, dropping him into a pit to meet his doom at the hands of the horrible creature that is Celine Dion). The Luxor also had my approval, mainly for its bountiful buffet, which we utterly decimated after a full day of intentional fasting.
The most enjoyable activity I took part in (i.e. lost money at the slowest) was low-limit Texas Hold 'em poker at the pleasingly dilapidated Imperial Palace. Even if you never place a bet, you can manage to only spend about $6.00 an hour playing, and get free (good) drinks regularly. In keeping with my terrible luck in Vegas, I only had playable hands about 4 times in 8 hours of play. I always ended up getting frustrated, chasing draws, and trying to bluff people, which never works at a table where it can only cost a player a maximum of $4.00 to call a bet. We met some interesting folks at the poker tables, including a guy from Honduras with a sweet curly mullet, and a belligerent drunk asshead that wouldn't stop giving Nate shit for going to school at Pepperdine. Hopefully, I will completely dominate our next no-limit hold 'em home game because IT IS ABOUT TIME FOR ME TO START GETTING SOME GODDAMN GOOD CARDS!!!!!!1
As a last act of gambling, Rick and Dave each laid down about $100 on the roulette table. Dave won, Rick lost, and I reaffirmed that I would never make it as a professional gambler because I felt no desire what so ever to attempt to compensate for my losses by making a similar bold bet. We ended up not sleeping that night, drinking several gin and tonics starting at 5:00 A.M., and wandering drunk, past joggers on the strip, and into Starbucks for a dose of caffeine in a futile attempt at making it through the day to come. Our flight back and the entire next day were filled with grogginess, as expected. If I ever find out who was responsible for the jackhammer running outside the exit of the Portland Airport, I swear I will ..... scowl at him/her. And thus ended my Vegas adventure. I will end this post with a few choice quotes, which may only be funny to those who went on the trip because they are sort of inside jokes, so beware.
Pit Boss: "Looks like we should get some more chips for your table there Marvin".
Marvin (looking at us): "No man, I will be getting some more from these guys real soon"
Marvin: "Hey guys, come back soon so I can win some more of your school money".
Me: "All I know is that I heard a lot of LAUGHING coming out of that room last night".
Brett: "You are an Idiot. All of your friends are idiots. You all deserve to rot in hell."
Unidentified Piston's fan at the Mandalay Bay sports book who was double-fisting Foster's: "Yeah, Kobe Bryant is a good player... for a rapist".
Me following Nate's poker performance: "After that, your bankroll must be up-regulated constitutive HUGE baby!"
Baby on the shuttle bus back to our car: "BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!"
Nate in response to baby: "I don't like small humans."
June 09, 2004
I knew next to nothing about semiconductors until Britney taught me. I don't know who is the bigger dork, the guy that made this site, or me for thinking it is goddamn hilarious.
June 07, 2004
Yesterday, I was out to lunch with Lisa and my sister at our local cheap and tasty burrito restaurant and I noticed a couple of people from UPS at another table. One of them was this physics guy that seems to be a grad student at U of O now. Guess who the other fellow was. I'll give you some hints... he was reported to be a comedic genius and was in the Honors program at one point. Erica was fascinated with him, and something about him suggests that he might be a serial killer. One more hint: his last name rhymes with "man".
Unfortunately, I didn't strike up a conversation with him because I never really knew him, don't like talking to people, and was somewhat afraid he would murder me and make a suit out of my skin. The event seemed worthy of a post, however, because it illustrates that this is indeed a small world that we live in.
May 28, 2004
Whenever I am feeling pessimistic or just plain pissed off, I kick back and enjoy some music. I just purchased the latest Squarepusher album, Ultravisitor. After listening to it a couple of times it is really growing on me. It makes me want to play my bass again. I have also been going through all of my old CD's and ripping them into MP3 format on my work computer. It is pretty fun rediscovering stuff I haven't listened to in years. Even if the fascists stay in power, good music will continue to be made somewhere in the world. At least I have that to look forward to.
I have been playing a lot of poker lately. A bunch of us molbio nerds get together about every couple of weeks and play no limit hold 'em in to the wee hours of the morning. The game isn't so intense that we can't carry on conversations, has a luck component so I don't beat myself up when I lose, and involves enough skill that it is possible to get better at it. Poker has pretty much become the main social event in my life these days actually. Being married has made me even more of a hermit than I was in college. It is nice actually interacting with people every now and then.
February 13, 2004
Things are starting to look up in lab. We are finally having some success in getting S2 cells to grow and thrive. For about two weeks, I was nursing along a sick stock of cells that were probably 90% dead. We ended up trying multiple frozen stocks, but it seemed like no cells from the Doe lab's freezer were happy. Finally, I got a tip that people in a crystallography lab were growing huge tubs of S2's and were having no problems with them. All it took was a friendly request, and I soon had a big-ass flask of healthy cells just begging to be transfected. Now I can proceed with two major projects that were hopelessly stalled due to the lack of viable cells.
In other news, Lisa is entering a climbing competition this weekend in Portland. She will be competing in the Open category, which means that she will get a cash prize if she wins. Unfortunately, it also means that she will probably be competing against professional climbers. Join me in wishing her luck.
February 06, 2004
The most enjoyable part of watching the Superbowl for me was seeing the new Quiznos ads for the first time. The sheer oddness of those singing furry creatures with bulging eyes and bad teeth makes me want to reward Quiznos with my business for paying to broadcast such wackiness.
I am willing to bet that I am not the only cementhorizon type person who was amused by the ads and did some Googling to discover their origins. I'll also bet that Jack-bo probably recognized the characters in the ads immediately as Spongmonkeys: the stars of a flash animation entitled "We like the moon" that was circulating around the internet a while ago. It seems that Quiznos contacted the creator of the Spongmonkeys and paid him to make advertisements. How do you guys feel about this? Does it upset you that Quiznos is attempting to cash in on a wacky internet phenomenon?
January 09, 2004
Good God it has been a long time since I have posted anything new. I have kind of been slacking on all fronts (work and non-work) ever since I passed my comps. I guess the holidays were in there somewhere too so not all of the slacking was inappropriate. Much has happened in the land of Doug since my last post way back when, so I will try to update you folks to some extent.
Following my comps I decided it had been a long time since I had bought anything, so I rewarded myself by purchasing a road bike. I got to go though the whole fun process of being fitted, riding around on town of various bikes for hours, and getting parts swapped out so the complete bike suited me perfectly. You dont get to do all that fun stuff if you buy a bike online, even though you save a bit of money over buying from your local bike shop. I ended up going with a classic light weight steel bike made by socialists right here in Eugene. I am shocked by how easy it is to go really really fast when you are riding a light bike with skinny tires (the opposite of my mountain bike). I am currently attempting to get into some semblance of decent shape so I can enter some local races this spring.
The holidays were fun for the most part. I got to go snowboarding at Whistler for three days in a row, and became painfully aware that I hadn't been snowboarding in a damn long time. I also got to attend to Lisa's parents' dying computer that was infected with tons of spyware and other garbage. I NEVER want to do that again. It is amazing how trashed Windows can get if people using it have no idea about what is and isn't a good idea to click on. While at Lisa's parents' house I also got to ride in her Dad's new mid-life crisis car. 450 horsepower + all wheel drive + wacky computer controlled traction and suspension = lots and lots of G-force and fun for all parties involved.
When we finally got back to our house, we took a couple of days to settle in, and then decided to go skiing during a pretty severe winter storm (New years day). The snow was fantastic, but it took us about six hours to drive to the ski area, and visibility on the slopes was next to nothing due to the genuine blizzard conditions. It was worth it though, because there were no crowds, and the sensation of floating through three feet of powder is amazing.
Now I am back in lab and feeling unusually motivated. Vacations are good
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