Sunday, December 13, 2009

A cold day in hell

“I’d like to wait inside a little longer. I lost my dad,” I explained Thursday night to the security guard attempting to herd straggling Cleveland and Pittsburgh fans through the stadium exits. Probably because it was 14 degrees outside (the news said it felt like six below with the wind), the bundled enforcer had mercy on me.

I circled the stadium concourse, hoping to find my father who had come to the game almost completely prepared: long underwear, two pairs of pants, two jackets, a shirt, a Hines Ward Super Bowl replica jersey, gluten bread, a blanket, his Terrible Towel, scarf, hat, gloves, and video camera. One thing he lacked, however: his cell phone.

I was similarly cloaked but still felt especially vulnerable to the 40 miles-per-hour wind ripping through the stadium after an unimaginable 13-6 Browns victory. I had brought my cell phone, but it was worthless in locating an off-the-grid father. One moment, I had been standing next to my dad and on the phone with my mother to coordinate a stadium pick-up. The next, I had hung up to find that Dad had wandered off, distracted by some flashing lights or tantalizing mirage of warmth or bratwurst.

I circled the stadium in the opposite direction, still unable to find my dad (or a suitable replacement). My phone rang. It was my wife. She was crushed by the Steelers’ loss. “I can’t talk,” I interrupted her. “I lost my dad!” I shouted over the rumpus of rowdy Browns fans (class of the Midwest) chanting “Pittsburgh sucks!” and other assorted non-bloggables.

I was tired and cold and inexplicably carrying two commemorative Cleveland Browns travel mugs that Dad and I had received with the hot chocolate we bought during the third quarter. “I don’t want to keep this,” I had said to my dad at the point of sale. “I want to save them,” my dad insisted. “I’ll cover the Browns’ logos with Steelers’ logos!” Against my better judgment, I acquiesced, and now I was wandering the halls of Cleveland Browns Stadium clutching two Browns’ mugs. Enthused Brownie lovers attempted to high-five me, assuming I was a rank-and-file member of the Dawg Pound. “No thanks.” “No way, man.” “I’m not celebrating.” “No high-fives for you.” And so on.

My phone rang again. It was my mom. Having attempted to meet us at the stadium entrance, she had found herself inextricably locked into the flow of exiting traffic with road closures and police officers directing all vehicles away from the stadium and onto the highway. “I’m on the interstate heading to Erie!” she shouted. “I have to go!”

“I’m in no hurry,” I comforted her. “I lost Dad.”

I returned to the spot where I last saw Dad and waited for several minutes, hoping he might appear there. He did not. I scanned the faces of the now thinning crowd of football patrons. None belonged to Pops. Mom called again. “I’m on the highway heading back to the stadium. Have you found Dad?”

“Not yet,” I reported. “Call me when you get closer.

Another ten minutes elapsed. My phone rang anew. It was Mom. “Good news. They found Dad.”

“Found Dad? Who found Dad?”

“The police. He’s in the West Third Parking Lot.”

“Isn’t that where you were parked before you tried to find us?”


“I’ll meet you there.”

I found Dad, blanket-swaddled in a police car, his gluten bread nestled snugly in his lap. Oh, God, they’ve arrested him, I thought. When I got closer to the car, Dad rolled down the window and said, “You left me! I had to fend for myself! Get in the car.”

I got in the backseat of the car, and Dad explained that when he lost me, he began to wander through the stadium concourse. After a few minutes of searching, he aggravated a previously pulled groin muscle and fell to the ground, where he sat for several hellish minutes, sans cell phone, unable to call either me or my mother. Not a single good Samaritan was to be found among the Browns fans (big surprise) to help him to his feet. Finally, a stadium employee came to his assistance. Dad told him that his ride was waiting for him in the West Third Parking Lot (though, unbeknownst to Dad, his ride was actually heading away from the stadium toward Pennsylvania in a sea of traffic). The employee fetched a wheelchair and pushed Dad around the stadium to the indicated lot, whereupon he deposited my father saying, “This is as far as I can go. I need the wheelchair back.” Dad stood up, and the man and wheelchair were gone. Dad, believing that Mom was somewhere in the West Third Parking Lot and not on her way out of state, limped pathetically to find her. After several minutes, a police officer had mercy on my father and offered him the use of his cell phone and warmth of his car.

About ten minutes after I found Dad, Mom showed up (fortunately, she thought better of skipping town). The only reason my mom had even come to Cleveland was to make the adventure a little simpler for Dad and me. The plan had been for her to drive us to the game (which she did), deposit us at the stadium before the game (which she did), work in the heated car during the game (which she did), and retrieve us near the stadium after the game so that we would have minimal time walking to and from the stadium in the bitter cold (which she did... not). Altogether, Dad and I spent nearly 90 minutes post-game wandering the streets and stadium of Cleveland and were among the last few fans to escape the elements on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Thanks to Dad’s friend Jeff who let us use his season tickets for this game. Thanks to Dad for braving the cold. And thanks to Mom for attempting to make our lives a little easier.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Bob Gunton...

Dear Bob Gunton…

As I’m sure you’ll agree, it was a pleasure to meet at the Atlanta International Airport a little over a week ago. I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but as handsome as you appear on 24 and in the Shawshank Redemption, you were even more striking in real life. Once again, I apologize for so eagerly approaching you. As a blogger with tens of readers and a yeast biochemist with ones of individuals who are familiar with my research, believe me, I know what it is like to be harassed by the adoring masses.

Thank you for the sage advice to continue to “tune in to 24” for “another exciting season” and to “keep cheering for Ethan” (your character, the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States). Had our encounter not been so late at night, I’m sure we both would have had more interesting things to ask and say to each other.

Below is the picture we took in the airport. I figured you’d want it for your scrapbook or facebook page (which, oddly enough, I couldn’t find—please be sure to add me as a friend as soon as possible!).

I’ve told all my friends about our chance (nay, fated) encounter. I’m sure you have as well. Keep up the great work, and I’ll do the same.

Keep in touch,

P.S. I was so glad to see that you were completing sudoku puzzles on the plane. They say it really helps to keep the brain sharp.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wildest Fantasy

This football season, the wife and I have been introduced to the all-consuming obsession that is fantasy football.

For those who are unfamiliar with this nifty little pastime, here is a quick explanation. Each member of a fantasy league is the "owner" of a fantasy professional football team comprised of actual professional football players. Prior to the opening game of the real NFL season, league owners assemble (in person or, more commonly, via the interwebs) for a draft, wherein teams are assembled as owners take turns selecting players to fill out their rosters. As the real-life players compete on the gridiron, their fantasy counterparts score or lose points accordingly. Quarterbacks, for instance, earn points for total passing yards and touchdown passes but lose points for interceptions or lost fumbles. Every week, your team goes head-to-head with another in the league, and the winner is the owner with the most accumulated points on his roster. Throughout the season, adjustments can be made: benching players (you don’t want to be the idiot who plays an injured athlete or a guy on his bye week), making trades, etc.

I dove headlong into this venture, joining two Fantasy Football leagues in this inaugural year of my participation. In keeping with the central theme of my life’s work for the past six years, my teams are the Hartford and New Haven Wild Yeast. The wife, a bit more prudent in her fantasy expenditure, is coaching just one team: The New Castle Gangstas. Her mascot is a hooded sweatshirt—which is about as gangsta as the little lady gets. Other teams in our leagues include the Angry Muffins, Community Organizers, Fighting Boobies, and Casey Hampton Fit Club. Additional teams have family-blog-inappropriate monikers.

Allegedly, smacktalk abounds in fantasy football, with an online "smackboard" provided for each game. We have been terribly disappointed by the dearth of smack. We do our best to egg on our opponents (insulting their players, their mothers, their players' mothers, their mothers' players, etc.), but none have taken the bait.

We now watch football in a new way. No longer do we simply cheer for teams to win or lose for the simplistic reason of liking or disliking them or for the impact that their performances will have on the standings of our beloved Steelers. Now, we switch from game to game, cheering members of our own squads while wishing fumbles and interceptions and missed field goals on our opponents’ athletes. Each week, we scour the statistics and make our best predictions for who will be the highest point getters based on past performance, conditions in which they thrive (or not), who their opponents are, etc. and make trades and select starters accordingly. We read columns by dedicated professional fantasy football analysts, track each player’s projected point total throughout the week, and monitor our adversaries' lineup changes, logging in to the league pages several times per day. So addictive is fantasy football, I have not yet found time to assemble my McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces or enter the winning codes online (no worries—I'm confident that I’ve won—my winnings will be waiting for me whenever I get to them).

Fantasy stats and potential roster adjustments are always on my mind. Last night, the wife was describing to our friends an educational research study she would like to perform for her PhD dissertation. Part of the proposed investigation involved tracking individual students’ academic performance by monitoring the grades of each pupil over time. As she described her plans, I interrupted her; my new idea was of much greater import than whatever research-statistical-significance-improving-education-and-bettering-mankind mumbo jumbo she was spouting, so I blurted out, "We should have a fantasy student league! We could pick students and get points for their grades and stuff!"

The moment passed— only minor interest was generated by my proposition, but I believe my idea is truly innovative. Last night's friendly get-together might not have been the appropriate venue in which to expand upon my scheme, so I will elaborate upon it here. At the beginning of a school year, members of a fantasy student league ("fantasy teachers") would draft a classroom. To make educated decisions, fantasy teachers would have access to dossiers on each potential pupil with information such as: past academic achievements and failures, grade-point-averages, athletic accomplishments and embarrassments, birth order, religion (you wouldn't want to draft all Jewish pupils, for instance, as you'd have an empty fantasy classroom on Rosh Hashanah and a dreadful score for the week!), attendance records, classroom participation statistics, medical charts (you'll want a fully vaccinated classroom roster), relationship history, and job data (you might not want to draft a student who's working 20 hours a week at The Gap).

Each week, your classroom will compete with another assembled from students in the same school or district and you will earn or lose points as appropriate to your students' performances. Below is a proposed scoring schedule for students in such a league:

Performances on Quizzes and Tests:
Grade of D or F: -3 points
Grade of C: 0 points
Grade of B: +1 point
Grade of A: +2 points
Grade of A+ or 100%: +3 points

Homework completion:
No assignments turned in complete and on time: -3 points
All assignments turned in complete and on time: +3 points

Classroom participation:
Every 3 questions or comments: +1 point
No questions or comments for the week: -2 points

Participation in a fight:
Wins the fight (and is not caught): +3 points
Loses the fight: -3 points
No decision (or caught fighting): 0 points

Consequences of Bad Behavior:
Missing Recess: -1 point
Detention: -3 points
In-school suspension: -5 points

Awards and Recognition:
Make the honor roll: +4 points
Student of the Week: +3 points
Earn a pizza through Book-It: +3 points
Win a spelling bee: +2 points
Win a game of Around-The-World: +1 point

Extracurricular Activities:
Weekly participation in recognized extracurricular activity: +1 point
Being a member of a winning athletic team: +1 point
Being a member of a losing athletic team: -1 point
Winning in a solo sport: +2 points
Losing in a solo sport: -2 points

In a relationship: +1 point
It's complicated: -1 point
Dumping: +4 points
Being dumped: -4 points

It would be prudent to disallow participation of "fantasy teachers" in districts in which their children attend school. 'Twould be a real shame to have a parent sabotaging their child's in-class performance to gain a competitive advantage over an opponent who has that student on his or her roster.

Depending on how successful the Fantasy Student League becomes, we can roll out an entire lineup of Reality-based Fantasy competitions. I've got a few in mind already, admittedly inspired by my own life experiences. In the Fantasy Science League, for example, participants would act as virtual funding agencies, drafting a lab of professors, post-docs (such as myself), graduate students, technicians, and undergrads. Points would be distributed for successful experiments that yield novel findings, authorship on papers in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and pretty western blots; points would be deducted for broken equipment, scientific fraud or misconduct, poor mentoring of younger scientists, and being scooped by competing labs.

Following naturally from Fantasy Student League is Fantasy Higher Education. In Fantasy Higher Ed, players earn points for academic achievement in proportion to the average amount of years it takes for an individual to make such achievements (4 points for bachelor's degree, 2 for a master's degree, 5 for a PhD, 3 for a JD, 1 for an LLM, 1 for each year of postdoctoral fellowship training, etc.). In contrast to most fantasy games, this fantastical competition, of course, would take much longer than a single year, as players would be tracked for the duration of their academic pursuits.

Perhaps the ultimate in Reality Fantasy contests is Fantasy Life, in which fantasy players ("gods") draft a team of real-life people as their own mock creations. Points are earned for life successes such as getting promotions, finding love, making babies, or purchasing hot tubs and detracted for missteps like going bankrupt, committing felonies, or traffic violations.

What Reality Fantasy competition would you like to see and how would points be allocated? Leave your ideas in the comments section!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A face only a mother could love

“Don’t be alarmed,” I said calmly, standing in the doorway of the living room.

My wife turned her head, and upon glimpsing the monster that I had become, jumped from her chair and took two steps back. Even the dog didn’t recognize me. Aroused from his slumber, he leapt to a sitting position, cocking his head perplexedly. Not until after he tentatively licked my face did he become convinced of my identity.

The reactions at work were no less dramatic. One person burst into laughter. Several didn’t recognize me until after I had spoken. “Who the hell is that guy?” I heard one say. Each acquaintance I passed in the lab stared, wide-eyed. Those with whom I don’t work intimately mistook me for a new guy on the floor and greeted me warily, but politely.

The truth is that, staring in the mirror after my metamorphosis, I was more startled than the others. The beauty-to-beast transformation was remarkable.

After nearly ten years, I had finally put razor to chin. The face that had spent a decade in hiding (and protected from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation) had been unveiled for the world to behold. The bush on my face was no more. An hour earlier, my wife had removed ten inches of hair from what was recently described as my “half Jew-fro” (my mother is a gentile). Hair that had most recently resided at or above neck level now overflowed a plastic grocery bag.

As I held the razor in my hand, memories swirled through my mind like cookie bits in a B/blizzard. My father had recently asked me, “How long will you be allowed to look like...this?" (“This” I gathered designated the furry mask and shaggy mane that I had borne for so long.) When I first met and wooed my wife, I had donned a stylish, trimmed goatee and well-trimmed locks. Over the course of our relationship, the goatee blossomed into a sweet garden of beardedness all over my face and the short locks into a tangled mop of ringlets. Indeed, until last Saturday, she had never laid eyes on my face. (“I didn’t know your lips looked that,” she told me after staring for several minutes.) I recalled the sensation of wearing a scarf during the dog days of summer, living under the oppression of matted tresses and thick facial hair, sweat rolling down my face, reflecting off of my hairs like a Plinko chip on the Price is Right.

Someone asked me if this reflected some kind of quarter-life crisis. In truth, my 30th birthday lurks around the corner. In less than three months, I will leave behind the rollicking exuberance of my late twenties and enter a decade of maturity and solemnity. I will be faced with the decision of what it is I actually want to do when I grow up.

But, this molting was no quarter-life crisis, nor was it a more realistic 39%-of-life crisis. I simply decided that I would like to know what I looked like. Now I know. I’ve taken a good hard look at myself, and I’ve decided: It’s time to grow my beard back.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Allium in the family

The produce section of our grocery store has useful descriptions printed on cards above each variety of edible vegetation. For instance, naval oranges are "seedless and easy to eat". Jalapeno peppers are "delicious in salsas", and mangoes are "sweet and pulpy."

Novice that I am in all matters vegetarian, these twitterish descriptions were quite helpful the other night as I ricocheted semi-stochastically from one plant product to the next, warily collecting the (mostly green) items on my shopping list prepared by the wife.

While I may be inexperienced in the ways of cabbages, onions, and serrano chili peppers, I am no stranger to the strange and wonderful bulbousness of garlic. I appreciate a good garlic naan (and hyperbolic vegetable characterization) as much as the next guy, but even I was dubious when I read the description: "can be used in any recipe".

Seems a bold claim: "any recipe". Garlic in salsa? Of course. Pizza sauce? Oh yeah. Fruit salad? Perhaps. Chili? Why not? Sure, garlic can be used in "any recipe" in the strictest sense of the description, but I'm betting 2-1 against this anti-vampiric being a welcome additive to Grandma's lemon fluff dessert or the wife's strawberry pie.

But, as Aunt Josephine was fond of repeating, "To each his[/her] own." Just don't kiss me after enjoying your garlic-spiked lemonade.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This little piggy had naan.

I have never been more proud to be an American.

Congratulations to Joey Chestnut, a true American Idol and model citizen, for his exemplary athletic performance this weekend. He outperformed long-time Japanese rival Takeru Kobayashi in an Independence Day classic. Chestnut is a living testament to how beating your body into submission, years of dedication and preparation, and family support (his mother helped him train) can enable a person to reach his or her dreams. He is a paragon of intestinal fortitude, a competitor nonpareil.

The skeptics said it couldn't be done, but yesterday, Joey Chestnut surpassed his own personal best, setting a new world (and likely galactic) record in the Super Bowl of competitive eating. The beast of feast consumed a mammoth 68 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes to take the championship belt at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York.

A hero of mine, Chestnut inspires me to consume more than is believed possible, to perpetually strive to improve upon past dietary achievements. A few personal bests I aspire to beat: 70 Quaker Steak & Lube chicken wings in one sitting, 4 consecutive nights of India Oven chicken vindaloo (with cheese and garlic naan), eating main courses from every restaurant on the main drag in my hometown in the course of one New Year's Eve celebration (thanks, Dad!)...

I may be no Joey Chestnut, but I will never cease striving to be more like JC.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Return of Russ

Land of Yajeev readers, I have been waiting a long time to be able say this: our voice has been heard. After abruptly euthanizing his blog, readers of this blog overwhelmingly (by a margin of 4-to-1) cried for Russ Parker's return to the internets. Return he has, and in marvelous form. He has broken his months-long silence with a handful of entries sure to delight!

He inspires me, and he's sure to please you. Please join me in welcoming back to the webisphere the inimitable Russ Parker.

Return of Russ

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Turns out Obama was a decoy...

... and LeBron is the messiah we've been waiting for.

He may just dull the memories Mike so painfully etched into the collective psyche of Cavaliers fans two decades ago.

LeBron = Dragonslayer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Other White Meat Flu

The dreaded H1N1 virus has finally reached my fine town of Hartford, Connecticut. As a public service, I encourage fellow Connecticutians to avoid all superfluous human contact. If you find it absolutely necessary to interact with others, please take precaution.

Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Hold your breath.
  • Avoid excessive fistbumping and high fiving.
  • Keep kosher.
  • No wallowing.
  • Do not share straws with strangers.
  • Refrain from trough feeding.
  • Keep your windows closed and air conditioners oriented toward the outdoors.
  • Maintain a safe distance from all who oink maniacally, as I suspect this may be an early and too often undiagnosed indicator of swine flu infection.
  • Keep it tuned to the Land of Yajeev, your voice of reason in uncertain times of public health crisis.

Click the thumbnail image for H1N1 virus at low magnification:

Click the thumbnail image for H1N1 virus at ultra-high magnification:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Be cool, Planet Earth.

In honor of Earth Day, the Land of Yajeev brings you this planet-friendly message.

By now, I am sure that all of my readers have succumbed to the brainwashing, er, well-reasoned arguments, of the liberal media elite and self-proclaimed scientific establishment about the imminent threat posed by global warming and the culpability of mankind in said threat.

To remedy this planetary malady, we have been encouraged to reduce our carbon footprints by reducing, reusing, recycling, and paying bottle deposits. Which we, as a species, have been doing for many years to little avail. Glaciers are still melting, water levels still rising, and the mercury still upticking.

To the end of finally reducing temperatures, I offer the following proposal. This summer, I exhort all of mankind in possession of window air conditioners to install their units facing outside and crank them up to their maximum capacity, blasting cold air into the great outdoors. For those fortunate enough to be chilled by central air, I recommend positioning fans facing open windows while running your air conditioners at their highest settings. This measure will require great sacrifice: we must be willing to endure squelchingly hot apartments and houses and swallow the enormous utility bills that will accompany the inconvenience.

For this effort to be successful, we must work together. One outward-facing AC will have little impact, but hundreds around the world pumping frigid air into the so-called environment may just forestall the cataclysmic, apocalyptic, nightmarish warming of the globe we've been so conditioned to fear. This should work--I am a scientist.

No trees or polar bears were harmed in the writing of this message.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You stay classy, San Diego

I am coming off the longest drought in yajeev postage since the inception of this blog, and for that, I sincerely apologize. My (blog) readers are on the losing end of long workdays, long commutes, and long hours writing grant applications. I am woefully behind on blog posts and even woefullier behind on returning phone calls. I can only hope that my application readers are as kind to me as my blog readers.

Thus far, I've applied for six grants. Unfortunately, one agency has already informed me that my application was "excellent" but unfundable (the non-"outstanding" need not apply). Another told me that I was on the cusp of fundability... and asked me to politely wait two more months while they deliberated.

Today, we're ending a one-week vacation in Ron Burgundy's home town, San Diego, California. I had hoped to have enough free time to repopulate my languishing blogsite with several delightful little posts. Unfortunately, this dream did not materialize, as I received an email from one potential research funder (the one which placed me on the cusp) informing me of a last-minute telephone interview to take place this upcoming Tuesday morning. Thus, I've spent my non fun-in-sun (or, more accurately, non marching-in-sun-through-zoos-and-state-parks-and-along-beaches-or-from-airports-to-hotels-instead-of-waiting-for-complimentary-shuttles) time boning up on the details of an application I wrote several months ago.

Don't give up on me, dear readers. I keep a running list of blog post titles, waiting for the time to flesh them out... Please stay tuned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


While I was preparing to move from Pittsburgh to Hartford last summer, unbeknownst to me, one of my best friends from early childhood passed away. I learned today that Josh, the boy who introduced me to The Legend of Zelda and invited me to play at his house when other kids in my class teased me mercilessly, died following an epileptic seizure and subsequent head trauma.

The (single) highlight of my athletic career came at Josh's hands. He was one of the strongest, most respected pitchers in Little League, and I one of the weakest, least regarded hitters (with a batting average hovering at .000). In the bottom of the final inning, Josh had all but wrapped up a no-hitter, when I came to bat. I swung at and missed (by a wide margin) the first two pitches. With a count of 0-and-2, I closed my eyes as he wound up for the third pitch (since keeping them open had brought me no success following the first two). Eyelids clenched, I swung and to everyone's surprise (especially mine), I had hit a line drive to an unsuspecting outfield and made it to first base before the ball. This story has long been the feather in the cap of a completely unillustrious personal sporting history... today, it falls flat.

Although I haven't seen him for over a dozen years, it is shocking and sobering when someone so vibrant, so healthy, so decent, so friendly slips away. He was 28.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The nitty gritties

Many thanks to all who have expressed concern in the wake of my car accident. I must admit that I was puzzled by Benjamin's remark in his comment to my last post. He wrote, "I agree with most people: I'm glad you're alive!!" Most people? As if to imply that there exists a (vocal?) minority who might not be so glad...

The insurance adjuster called to inform me that my car had indeed been declared a total loss. I visited my beloved 2008 Honda Civic at the body shop last week to say my final goodbyes, retrieve some CDs, my umbrella, and a lawn ornament that had been in the car since we moved, and turn over my spare key. I've included a few pictures from our emotional final encounter.

I was surprised to find my car sitting in the parking lot with the key in the trunk. While it's not much to look at, and the front passenger tire is a little flat, the engine still runs. An industrious, opportunistic thief could have 'er up and running in no time, I'm sure.

In any event, I recovered the chocolate bar. Should tide me over while I look for another car.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


On my way home from work last night, I hit an icy patch of highway and my car spun out of control. Supposedly, your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. Here is what went through my mind in the five seconds of spinning, careening, and repeated guard rail slamming.

uh oh... this can't be good... wonder if i'll make it home in time for lost... i hope the unopened chocolate bar in the passenger seat survives this ordeal... i'm due for an oil change in another few hundred miles... i'm hungry... what does a yeast loving cow say? schmoo! i better not repeat that joke outside the yeast community... no one will get it... wish i had something to blog about haven't updated for a while... ouch hit a guardrail... i wonder what bark's made of... no, but i'll have a diet coke... andrew bird sure can whistle what a songbird... lips are chapped... what's for dinner?... i miss tee ball... i haven't been to a zoo lately... sorry folks park's closed moose out front shoulda told ya... would be pretty sweet if the cavs acquired shaq... 4 8 15 16 23 42... if 42's the answer, what's the question?... when you're ready let me know i'll be waiting to make arrangements for the trip... ouch guardrail again... coming to a halt... in the middle of the highway... putter to the shoulder... breathe...

Thankfully, the stretch of highway was strangely empty when this transpired such that my car and the guardrail were the only casualties of this misadventure. I was protected from serious injury, walking away with minor back pain.

In reality, it is true: my life did pass before my eyes. As I spun out of control, I saw bright white lights and my wife's beautiful face. I said to myself, "This is it," expecting all to cut to black in a flash. There was no time to be scared. It would be over soon.

A moment later, I was sitting in my car straddling two lanes with a cliched white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. I was stunned to be conscious and breathing after two dizzying twists and two loud bangs. I maneuvered the metal and fiberclass cage in which I sat to the side of the road and waited for help. Miraculously, I live to blog again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mooving on

Dear cows of Chick Fil A,

By now, you have no doubt noticed that I have become an official Facebook fan of the quarter pounder with cheese from your beefy competitor, McDonald's. I want to assure you that, truth be told, I'd prefer a Chick Fil A #1 value meal any day of the week (except Sunday) over the competition's burgers. It's just that you are nowhere to be found in all of New England. There are rumors that you are in one location near Boston and that you have a presence at a single amusement park in the Northeast, but there is no Chick Fil A haven within a realistic driving radius of Hartford.

It doesn't have to end this way, but you will need to make an extra effort. I will be more than glad to meet you half-way. Heaven knows I've spent many sleepless nights on behalf of our relationship. Were you to open a store within 40 miles of Hartford, I would happily make the trek (not every day--perhaps twice or thrice per week). The wife and I already make such a commute for each of our current jobs. We'd certainly drive as far for waffle fries and the best milkshakes in the biz.

Happy belated Valentine's Day, Chick Fil A. My heart will always be yours, but, for now, my stomach belongs to McDonald's. The nugget is in your court.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Pork barell

For lab meeting snacks this morning, one labmate provided bagels and bacon cream cheese. Since then, I have been unable to get bacon out of my head. No matter which way I turn, bacon beckons me. Even as I have attempted to conduct my daily lab business, bacon confronts me on all fronts.

Check out a few of the links below to see how my day has proceeded in HD bacovision.

(thanks a lot to blitz and rt for filling my stomach and mind, respetively, with bacony goodness)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A picture is worth XLIII words

courtesy of

Super Snub

Somehow, I was not included in Sports Illustrated's recent online feature profiling celebrities and their Super Bowl picks. Which may, in the long run, be for the best... I don't want to be the jinx that costs my team the Lombardi Trophy.

So, rather than make an official Super Bowl prediction, I will merely report to my readers that I endorse the rational judgment of President Barack Obama, Howard Stern, Artie Lange, John Legend, Crystie Stewart, Patrick Dempsey, Julie Henderson, Tito Ortiz, Jessica White, Judah Frielander, Keith Olbermann, Wolf Blitzer, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh, Clyde Drexler, Tommy Davidson, Mike Alstott, Marcellus Wiley, Bobby Labonte, Jim Florentine, Abby Brammell, Chris Johnson, Matt Ryan, Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, Myron Rolle, and Deron Williams. That's 28 out of 40 celebrities. Would have been 29 out of 41 had my vote been recorded.

Perhaps next year the Super Bullies at will recognize the broad reach of the Land of Yajeev and consider my opinion in their VIP Big Game forecasts.

PS: Yes we can!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Make that the second most trusted name in lab banking...

I proudly announced in my previous post that I had apparently surpassed a particular threshold of trustworthiness at my new job and had been named official lab banker.

It must have been all of the sweet science bling that coincidentally appeared on my bench that raised suspicions, because my title was soon after adjusted to official lab co-banker. Moreover, I have been relegated to the much less glamorous aspect of financial management: bookeeeping. The other co-banker is in charge of actually managing our collective assets. how am I ever going to pay for this gold-plated pipette?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yajeev: The Most Trusted Name in Lab Banking

I must be doing something right in my new(ish) job, because yesterday I was named unofficial laboratory banker. I will be the guardian of lab recreational funds.  As of today, we are about 50 dollars in the red. If projections hold (and lab members remember to bring their money to contribute to the fund), we will have a 20-dollar surplus by this time tomorrow. If not, I may soon be in line for a bailout.

I pledge to maintain utmost integrity and complete transparency as I faithfully execute the office of banker and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, defend the financial status of this laboratory.

(... please disregard my fancy new lab coat... coincidental timing, I assure you...)