Monday, September 26, 2005

Don't look at me... I'm hideous!!!

Another lazy night... I should have been doing homework but the couch was really, really comfortable. I sometimes wonder how I look sitting there alone on the couch at night. When I was living with mom and my sis I suppose I made an effort not to look completely gross. I'd at least be dressed. But I imagine I'm not a very sexy sight when I'm alone wearing a house coat with a half eaten bag of popcorn on the floor, me sprawled out on the couch with a 5 O'clock shadow, scratching myself with one hand and holding the remote with the other.

There was of course, nothing on TV. Or was there???

I flicked through the channels and stopped on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I'd never watched that before. Even when I was living at home with mom and sisters.

Sabrina and her two aunts were doing yoga. That was mildly fascinating. Sabrina's kind of cute. But I couldn't watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Could I? I'm a grown ass man!!! My first thought was to put in a DVD... Most likely Star Trek (Please note at this point studying doesn't even enter my thought process). The storyline had already established itself quickly and I was ensnared. Sabrina was in a bad mood because she had a big zit and a project due at school. She then cast magical spells that resulted in much hi-jinx around the school.

Wow...She's just like real girls except she has witch powers!!! I really relate. I suppose that's the irony of the show.

Anyway, she's in a really crappy mood and decides to escape the world by crawling into her mirror. But then, in the mirror universe everyone else is in a bad mood. Her cat said something really funny (the cat in this show talks). He was reading the paper and said, "My stocks are plummeting! If my stocks drop, I go back to eating dry food!" Something like that... I laughed.

Anyway, eventually this baseball player, Brady Anderson, helps her out of the mirror universe. And they eat flaun. I don't know how to spell flaun but I'm sure Droopy will help me out in the message board. And so it was done. I watched the whole episode. A 24 year old black man, living at home alone watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch. And enjoyed it! And as is always the case, the most embarassing part isn't just the deed itself, it's me rushing to the computer to blog about it... Like I'm proud of it or something! "Hey everyone look at me! I suck!!!"

Oh well, time to get to work....

Just kidding. I will continue putzing around on the internet.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Big Ups to the Comp Sci Crew

Last week I went out with some old friends. It was one of those deals where we got back together and it was as if we were never apart. Mad jokes all around. We laughed so loud I think we rocked the foundation of poor Mr. Haque's restaurant. And it was good. (Concerning Indian Food: I heart Indian Food. in so many ways... The sites, the sounds, the smells.... And I find, for some reason, even after eating a whole lot of Indian food, I don't feel like all I want to do is sleep afterward. I feel charged! I heart Shapla!)

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So the meal began with many, many toasts. There was lots to celebrate. Lots of success on the job, an engagement, contracts with big companies and other aspects of life and we were all really happy to see each other. So many memories. I know most of these people from my Computer Science days. Believe it or not, yours truly was the slacker in the group. Yes, Christopher Gregg, your hero, your wiseman, was not always the responsible, respectable biology student you know today. Computer Hardware class with Chantell and Kerby often resulted in me falling into a deep, deep sleep. Then usually Chantell waking me up. During my few moments of wakefullness I would distract Chantell with some inane comments about a cartoon we both liked and then fall back to sleep.

I remember one time, we were all getting together to study for an upcoming exam. So we met up one evening and Kerby and Chantell got right to work. Kerb seemed to have most of the material down already. Chantell was ready to learn. I however regarded the material with an unusual amount of apathy and even contempt. Now I don't know how it started, but I remember I suddently began rapping (De La Soul and Redman-Oooh!). And I remember eventually Kerby started bobbing his head and throwing his arms in the air and eventually Chantell was doing the Ooh's. Anyway, after the brief rap session, I simply left! "But Chris we have barely started studying!!!" Anyway, low marks and frustration eventually forced me to drop out of Comp Sci. I think it was good for everyone involved. I got into a field I enjoy more, and they got to finish their studies without me as a distraction.

But, I never regretted spending that semester or two in computer science simply because of the people I met, and these guys were among them. A little word about this particular group of friends. They're really smart, really beautiful, all around amazing people. It's impossible not to like each one of them IMMEDIATELY. To give an example... Anyone who used to go to the Curry House (remember the march?) back in the day, will remember the absolutely evil woman who used to work there. Rude, never cracked a smile... God only knows what she used to do to our food. If eve you mention the crabby woman at the curry house, everyone would know exactly who you're talking about. But I'll never forget, the time I went their with Kerby and Tatianna. We enjoyed the food, and as we left, Kerby said, "Bye God bless you!" And the woman smiled brightly and said, "Take care, same to you!"

I was totally shocked. I think I'd always been really polite with her in the past, she used to treat me with nothing but raw hatred. I remember another trip to the Curry House, I tried to pull a Kerby with far less succesful results, "Bye, God... Bless???" I said without too much certainty The response was closer to, "F**k you, mothat f**ka!!!" than the warm wishes Kerby got.

And all of them are pretty much the same. Really warm nice people. That night also marked one of the first times in a while (for me at least) that someone said grace before the meal. And what a grace it was. Kerby asked God to bless, everything. The restaurant, the owner even our stomachs, that we could digest the food properly. I mean really... OUR STOMACHS!!

Another thing that came rushing back to me, was the pure greed of Chantell and I. We used to have General Tao on a weekly basis. What brought it back to me was that after the restaurant, when we were all admitedly full and satisfied, we still ended up talking about food. You know the long walk back from any restaurant on Prince Arthur to Sherbrooke metro station? I've made it several times and there's usually time for several different topics of conversation. On this particular occasion, Sean and Chantell simply discussed a particular chinese restaurant they went to for the entire walk. The conversation went something like.

Sean: You know the place right?
Me: Yeah, Yeah, the place near concordia... Noodles express.
Sean (stopping in his tracks): NONONO!!!
Me: No, what place then? Soup and Noodles? U&Me? Hot and Spicy??
Chantell: No, it was called Just Noodles!

I had noticed they were both very passionate about it. And actually stopped walking to describe the food. They both described it in meticulous detail and were in perfect sync with each other, as if they were sharing a mind.

Sean: They put the food on a big lettuce leaf...
Chantell: NO!! Not the general tao...
Sean: You're right, sorry, sorry... But the garnish... peppers all surrounding perfectly round balls...
Chantell: With just the right amount of crispy batter... Not too much, just enough to get the taste and the texture. And when you bite into it, you know what you find???
Both of them: REAL CHICKEN!!!
Sean: None of that batter or gross chicken parts you find at the other places.
Chantell: It was the best general Tao Chicken ever... And t he portions.
Sean (jumping up and down on the spot to emphasize each word): HUGE ASS PORTIONS GUY!!!"
Chantell: Well, not huge ass... but very good portions... You were full afterward.
Sean: Yeah... I guess they weren't "huge ass".

Yes! The greed lives on. After a full meal to reminisce about old restaurants with such passion... I was impressed. We must do it again soon in the nearer future. We laughed and joked around so much I my voice was cracking the next day. It was a happy night.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

PhD in Blogology

So I got home early today and in my lethargy, watched some Dr. Phil. You know, one of those times where the option is to do something productive, reach out and grab the remote or just play with the cards your dealt? I know K-man will be upset when he reads this but I enjoy Dr. Phil from time to time. It's entertaining.

The episode I caught was some psycho woman who was verbally abusing and terrifying her kids. It turns out she goes out in public and physically assaults people. They told a story about how some woman cut her off in traffic and flipped her the bird, so she followed the woman home and beat her up in front of her daughters. They also say that before getting married there was a restraining order between her and her husband. Anyway, needless to say, very crazy.

But what never fails to amaze, is the fact that people will go on national television and publicly humiliate themselves. There she is, as psycho as she is, with millions of equally psycho people judging her from the audience and the comfort of their own living room. I can just see cousin Merl sitting at home, scratching his head with a machetee,"That stupid bitch shouldn't have kids." meanwhile his 2 year old daughter is playing with the power saw.

And most amazing, is that presiding over the entire thing is The Doctor Phil. With the authority to say whatever he pleases apparently. All the power of Oprah, with none of the humility. I wonder what that feels like? I mean, Dr. Phil can't be perfect right? He must have lots of flaws like everyone else. I'm sure his kids come home and catch him doing something uncouth, "Daddy! What are you doing to that sheep???"

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Dr. Phil is just smart enough not to go on a show and advertise his vices. Quite the contrary. He actually is brilliant enough to sell other peoples problems as entertainment. He uses other peoples problems to amuse us, thrill us and make us feel better about our own lives, as mediocre as they may be. What is he a Dr. of anyway? Rantology? Does he have a phd in mouthing off, like Tom Cruise?

Though I must admit I like seeing people getting told off. And much of what he says I agree with. But I think the real issue is, that everyone has flaws and everyone is blind to their own flaws.

Well, you at least. I'm perfect. I know I'm perfect because I have healthy outlets for my rage. For example, I go to work with a gun and brandish it threateningly when I get into a disagreement, much like R.Kelly. Or I bring plastic explosives to Dave's house and keep my finger on the trigger while we play cards. If I don't like a movie I rented I kidnap the guy from Blockbusters, drug him and tie him to a bungee cord. Then I repeatedly drop him off the side of the building like Batman until he agrees that Basic was the most terrible movie ever made. The moral of the story is, we all have issues, it's how we deal with them, that makes us Doctors.

Yeah, I should have a show... The Dr. Thrill show.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The road goes ever on....

Today I sat in the microscopy room, as miserable as ever, taking shots of yeast cells stained with fluorescent dye (see lab tales part 3). The rest of my world consisted of four dark walls a microscope and a computer. I sit there all day wallowing around in my own filth praying to God for a meteor to crash down on me and bring sweet relief. Now I know how a hamster feels. Or do I? At least a hamster has a little exercise wheel and that little bottle with water. And a little container chock full of life sustaining pellets of hamster food. And light, my God I miss the light. All I needed was some shredded paper on the ground and I wouldn't even have to leave! Soon I would forget the taste of food... Or the sound of water or the touch of grass...

Well, as it turns out, envying a hamster is not a sign of good mental health. As such I thought it would be a good time to reminisce about my trip to Thetford Mines. You see, my trip there was the opposite of what I normally do in the lab. Thetford is countryside, vast fields with trees and other living things. Ah... the sweet kiss of sunlight... How I miss it.

So you're probably wondering, "Thetford Mines? Why?" Well, my long time friend Marie Eve lives up there and invited to show me around the place where she had grown up. Marie-Eve is what I like to call, extreme in that she does things other than watch movies and play video games. I'd never heard of such a thing! I was half afraid that she would pick me up on her motorbike. Here's pics of us posing on her motorbike in her biker gear. I think I look pretty badass and sexy. AND scary.

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Being somewhat cowardly I asked if the air was bad cuz of the asbestos, and she explained to me as she coughed and wheezed, that the reason why asbestos is so dangerous is because of the way it's processed.

So we visit the mines. Human beings are kind of crazy. First of all, the rock from which they get asbestos seems rather ordinary. Who would even consider that it has any kind of insulation properties. Second of all, they had to drain an entire lake to actually get to the stuff. It's quite a breathtaking site. You can't tell just how deep it is from the picture, but yes, that is where you get asbestos from. You know, Vrej owned a set of Asbestos rings. I never told him, but their value was more than that of the entire Shire!

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It's a completely foreign concept to me, but in the afternoon we decided to go blueberry picking. EXTREME blueberry picking. What makes it so extreme you may ask? The presence of the only black guy for miles and miles, that's what. I wonder what other black men have gone blueberry picking? 50 cent perhaps?
50 cent:"Hey, the Game, where's my gun?"
The Game: "You left it under that pine tree... But R.Kelly has it now."
R.Kelly(pointing his gun at 50 cent, the game, and a basket of blueberries in turn):
"Not another one of y'all sons of bitches say a word!
Cuz all of these blueberries I've picked is unheard!"

I figured we would have to drive to some farm... but no. In the country, you just walk down the road to any random field where there are evergreen's growing. Evergreen trees make the soil acidic, and thus blueberry's can grow. I got a bigass jar of them!!! It was a really charming experience. Her dog, Foxy came with us and romped through the fields. It was unreal for a city boy like me. Foxy's such a little lady too. I'm not a big dog person, but Foxy is so polite.

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Later on we went to see some other places around Thetford mines and Disraeli. It's just beautiful. I could swear I have a picture in my Masta in China blog where I have the same cheesenormous pose, same cheesenormous jacket and the same cheesenormous smirk. Only true Gregg Factorphiles, like myself would notice.

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There was a big piece of land, and she knew the owner. So we explored that a bit. Across a little stream we noticed some very interesting looking feces. It looked like cow pies, but how would a cow have gotten across the water. We had to cross a rickety bridge to get there. EXTREME feces watching took place.

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I did a good job as the cowardly sidekick, letting Marie-Eve go first to see if everything was safe. Finally we got to the little island and found the much debated piles of s**t. Anyone able to identify what animal could make this?

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Well, all really nice. Then we made some good food and played a game of Skip-Bo with her parents, her aunt and her uncle. Really nice people. Though I've never heard of Skip-Bo before, they all seemed quite fluent in the game. Fun times.

Then finally was the epic hike up that mountain. Extreme Hiking of course. It was exhausting, but well worth it. The sites were beautiful. The squirrels up there aren't terrified of people. I picked up some acorns for some reason. They're on my bureau now. At the top of the mountain we were able to see the mines from the other side. It was as if the entire trip came full circle.

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Here's a nice pic of Marie-Eve beholding her place of birth... Like that Greek myth... where the guy looks out upon the world or something. I don't know, looks pretty epic.
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So from now on when I'm feeling down in the lab, I'll conjure memories of nature. It's like at the beginning of Lord of the Rings. Bilbo just gets fed up with his mundane life, grabs a stick and effing leaves!!! "Eff the Shire!!! I'm out and I'm not even saying goodbye!" One day...

Thanks for everything Marie-Eve!