Monday, February 28, 2005

Is this the post where I say "I want to be a weatherman"? Because it's one of the jobs I know of where accuracy and consistency are NOT REQUIRED. I understand that they are predicting patterns of weather which can change and be inherently unreadable, but you'd think, in light of that, that they would refrain from making unequivocal statements like SNOW WILL START AT 4 AM. NO QUESTION IN OUR MINDS. YOU'LL WAKE UP TO AT LEAST 2 INCHES OF POWDER. Sometime between when I went to sleep and when I woke up things changed from 10+ inches by 1 a.m. tomorrow to *maybe* 6 inches total, and that's with rain and sleet mixed in. Son of a bitch, people... It's 9:44 a.m. and has only JUST NOW started snowing in the District. And don't get me started on all the schools that are out today. pOOsies. I want to be home, making soup, watching the Dukes of Hazzard marathon on CMT. Wah!

UPDATE, 1132 EST: The latest from NOAA:

This Afternoon: Periods of snow, mixing with rain after 1pm. High near 33. North wind between 15 and 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Tonight: Periods of snow possibly mixed with rain and sleet before 1am, then a chance of snow. Low around 28. North wind between 14 and 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.


Sunday, February 27, 2005

I might not have to go to work tomorrow. None of us on the I-95 corridor (as puts it) are going anywhere, from the looks of things. A big 'ol storm is working its way up from the South and could dump up to 10 inches of snow here before it's done sometime Tuesday morning. I've always maintained...the worst storms I've seen in my life have always been in February or March. Nothing like the last-minute smackdown from Mother Nature.

I watched some DVRd Justice League this morning and man, that show is awesome. There's a hilarious one about Booster Gold and how no one knows who he see him perform some feat or deed and then hear the human, quietly from the background, "Thanks, Green Lantern!!" I guess you had to be there, but trust me, pretty clever shit. And I'm still bowled over by the voice talent. One of the eps I watched had my sweetie Jeremy Piven in it, so you KNOW it had my full attention.

Do you want to hear about how I saw Pam's new house last night? Or how great it is? Or that I am seriously jealous? No? OK. Then I won't tell you about getting a phat pizza from Primo's either, or going to the bakery in the same shopping center and buying frosted shamrock cookies. Nor will I mention watching Napoleon Dynamite again (she hadn't seen it...can you imagine?! The horror.) None of that interests you. I get it.

I am actually, not for fake, for rill, going running today. So I should probably, um, you know, go do that.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

I do it to myself, so I have no room to complain

But like that ever stopped me before. I am feeling hale, hearty, and renewed after a lovely long sleep (12 or so hours). I took advantage of a free weekend morning to stock up, especially since rowing is not too far away. Now I'm cozying up to a cup of coffee and trying to figure out what to do with my afternoon. I had aspirations of a run but I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that that won't happen. I just DON'T FEEL LIKE IT and it's best not to push a stubborn woman in these situations, I've found.

I just got back from a quick walk to the post office to pick up my tickets for Italy!!! They're actual paper tickets, which I haven't used in some time--e-tickets are hassle-free and fool proof in my experience. I don't like having the tickets on my person, but I guess for international travel you still have to do it this way. Oh well. I'm having to keep track of passport and $$ over there so one more thing won't be a big deal. As each little detail gets dealt with and time gets closer, I'm getting more and more jazzed for the trip.

In other news, Grace and I had a lovely night out last night. We met up after work for dinner at Cafe Luna. I had this amazing basil/mushroom ravioli in garlic sauce that was deeee-vine. Then we went to the Dupont theater and saw Bad Education. Gael Garcia Bernal is a lovely, if wee, man. The flick is NC-17 and definitely deserved the rating (more for what it suggested than what it actually showed) but the story was very interesting, well-acted, and on par with what you'd expect from Almodovar. Although I think Pedro's getting a bit full of himself. In the opening credits it just says "A film by...ALMODOVAR". Since when did he go to the single name, a la Cher, Madonna, or Picasso? Self-designation in such circumstances is always ill-advised. The footage of Galicia makes me want to go sip wine in Spain...but then again, when do I not want to go sip wine somewhere lovely?

The previews before the movie showed 2 other films that I very much want to see. One started off looking cheesy and odd but will probably be great for a laugh...Kung Fu Hustle. The other had me at hello with the rotund leading man and the zydeco music... Schultze Gets the Blues. If I had Netflix that would top my list. It was a night of "I WANT THAT!" in many ways, now that I think about it. Vroom and I killed time before the movie in Olsson's where I saw about 15 books I want to read. It always happens that I go into book stores, see tons of things I'd like, and then when I get home to put them on my online wish lists, I can't remember the titles to save my life. I almost wrote some down last night, but didn't and now am kicking myself. time I need to take my camera and just take pictures of the covers. I'm sure the employees wouldn't mind that AT ALL. I also decided in perusing the music section to get up on some Iron & Wine, and some Emmylou Harris. So, if you'll excuse me....

Friday, February 25, 2005

Wondering...if the pope doesn't get better, and in fact gets de'ed, might I be going to Italy in the middle of a massive funerary/picking a new dude frenzy? I'm only in Rome for about 1 1/2 days, near the end, but still...could make things interesting.

Real life is not like "ER". Thank sweet almighty Christ.

You are now reading the blog of someone fully certified to shock the ever-loving shit out of you. Literally. I just finished CPR/AED training and can get my defib on for a full 2 years. WAX. It actually was a good, succinct course that taught me some things I didn't know about administering emergency assistance, and refreshed my memory on the (many) previous CPR courses I've taken. It's all common sense stuff (for instance, don't use an AED on someone who is wet and/or lying in a puddle of water. You'd think this sort of thing needn't be reiterated, but we all know someone who is dumb as rocks and proves the necessity) but having it repeated and practicing it never hurts. I was the only female in the class, and I got the impression that that kept the instructor from being as "good old boy" with everyone as he wanted. Not in a lewd way, but just a more "Guys, you know how WE do it" sort of vibe. He apologized to me before explaining that, to use an AED on a woman, you need to fully expose her torso to the skin (duh) and that, in such an instance, everyone will see "her goodies." Yes, "goodies." Um, we're not 5. It's so a non-issue unless you make it one, dude. He also used an example at one point of getting the wind knocked out of you, "like we guys used to do to each other in middle school." What a fabulous way to bond, and a touching bit of nostalgia. Ah, the good old days when boys were boys and knocked the crap out of each other to say, "Yo, I care." Idiots. But I digress...

The bottom line is, I can save your life. So be nice to me. OR ELSE.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ideal snow

Pretty much that's how this storm is shaping up. It's been snowing steadily for 6-8 hours now, but what lands on pavement melts, and what lands on earth sticks. So it's pretty, but not inconvenient. I opted to take the metro today just because I didn't feel like digging my car out tonight, but I totally could have handled the streets no problem. I am also exploiting the weather by wearing jeans, snow boots, and a fleece vest...I look like I belong at a ski lodge, not at work. To which I say, SUCK IT fashion conventions.

And on another note, a wee shout-out to Miss Erin who joined me in some Dheli Dhaba last night, in a bold effort on her part to get past a long-ago bad experience with Indian food. We had curried lamb and buttered chicken, naan, chole, and an Indian pilsner (the Maharaja, which was not too shabby). I got home after that, curled up in the Big Blue Chair, and just reveled in happy food bliss. It's the little things, I tell ya.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

This afternoon I'm out on the main desk, where I will be in proximity to (and tempted by) THE CANDY DRAWER. Wherein can be had:

Hershey's miniatures
Hershey's Kisses
Creme Savers
Hershey's Nuggets (cookies n' cream)

Holy shit, I am in trouble. I've already eaten 5 pieces and it's not been 4 minutes. I'm not even hungry!!!

Concentrate on Don't think of chocolate. Read...reeeeeead....

Yeah. It's not working.

Friday morning I'm taking a defibrillator class. Just like they'd sign you up for CPR, except this is to learn how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED...coincidence? I THINK NOT). They'll be installing several throughout the building and the powers that be wanted staff at each level to be certified. It seemed a cool and useful thing to be knowledgable in, so here I go.

The head of HR just brought me the booklet I'll need for the training (complete w/ a CD-ROM....ah, technology), admonished me to be ON TIME, and warned me that there would be a written quiz at class's end that I'd have to pass to get the certificate. He said this in such a way that I felt like he was trying to scare me into I wouldn't get it or pay attention or had a high chance of failing this AED course. I certainly don't take the whole thing lightly, but I'm also not worried that I won't REPRESENT ADD-style w/ the paddles and the goo and the "CLEAR!!"

I just wish I could take some pictures. Apparently my doll might be the one smoking and melting in the corner....

Heavenly canopy

View from the back porch while grilling, 2/19/05.

I'm enjoying some Southern Comfort tea, spinning Oh Inverted World, and checking on the fact that we're supposed to get a fair amount of snow tomorrow. I think what it'll boil down to is snowing the whole time I'm at work (12-8) and making it merry hell for me to get home tomorrow night. Sweeeet.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A belated Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Billy. His 44th was yesterday--I hope you celebrated in style, Billy Bob. "Here we go..."

Happy first day back after Dead White Leaders' Day!!!

In a bureaucratic turn of events, in spite of school being open yesterday I had the day off and used it to have a long weekend out of town. Among other things, we saw a jazz concert Friday night, then Saturday I took advantage of the nice weather and had a long jog, and we grilled out (salmon, vegetable kabobs, and homemade peach cobbler. Oh. my. FRANCE). Sunday was movie glut day--"The Village," "Blood Simple," and "Garden State." That's the order they were watched in, but also how I would rank them quality-wise. The Village? Was POOP. The dialogue was laughable, the story disjointed and, in the end, foolish and basically amounted to 2 hours I could have spent better by staring at a wall. Although making fun of it after was pretty entertaining, so there is that. "Blood Simple" is a Coen Bros. early opus, and lordy but Frances McDormand was young!! It was a bit dark, and slow-going, but good. "GS" rocked, however, and now I have a hankering for that soundtrack (speaking of, spinning the Shins right now--excellent). Natalie Portman often gets on my nerves, but she did really well in it, and yay to Zack Braff for a solid first effort. All in all, good times.

This morning on NPR I enjoyed a story about how today is the 25th anniversary of the "miracle on ice" hockey game between the US and the USSR at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Have a listen, if you're into that sort of thing. I always get goosebumps from that story. Because I am a patriot and I believe in my Most Cherished Liberty.

Finally, if you're a Wilco fan but couldn't get a ticket to their shows at the 9:30 club, NPR will be streaming the entire concert live on Thursday night. Info here.

Friday, February 18, 2005

One of my favorite new websites to play on is the VDOT cameras livefeed site. Of course I just stick with the DC/NOVA part, but it shows you the reel from dozens of traffic cameras in the greater metro area.

I'm leaving in 45 minutes and wondering how the traffic is (OK so far) but I have a suspicion that everyone else has my "get a headstart" idea. God damn them.

My Family's Power Rankings, from McSweeney's:

My favorite excerpt:

#3, My youngest son, Helmet...Why we named him that beyond me. It sounded cool and hip at the time, but now I cringe every time I hear it. It doesn't help that he has a gigantic head. His head is enormous. It's like a giant helmet. He's forever teetering.


Today. In a nutshell.

In other news, a belated Happy Birthday to Adam who turned 28 on the 3rd. He's having a "party" tomorrow night with "beer" to celebrate, and while I won't be there, I can *picture* it, having seen him drunk off his ass and wearing pastel before. I mean....LOVE YOU!!! You complete me, Adam!!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

My excuse is, I was tired. And I had to pee!!!

Last night coming out of the metro at home, I was cornered by someone canvassing for a petition. She was friendly, and not pushy, and she totally had me bulls-eyed among the commuters and since I didn't have it in me initially to wave her off, I stopped long enough for her to start her spiel and then it was all over. She was trying to get signatures to put a candidate on the ballot for Virginia Attorney General in the primaries...not an endorsement, blah blah, and it was just easier to fill the fucking thing out than to be brusque and say no.

As I was putting down my information I asked her to tell me about this dude. When she got to "he's a big supporter of 'family values'" I knew I was making a BIG mistake. Then she told me how he believes in the right to bear fire arms, champions free business practices and went to Hampden-Sydney. By then I knew any street cred I had as a liberal was gone because I had affixed my name to something having to do with this (I would bet money on) W-esque man. But it was done, I was free, and (crosses legs and jumps up and down) I really had to go!!! So I went. Full of shame.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Why sometimes it pays to wear plastic clothes. Or, FOR ME TO POOP ON!!

I just met Melissa and Suzi for lunch. We ended up going to a place I'd heard good things about, C. F. Folks. Big, yummy sandwiches for a decent price, run by jovial wisecracking older white guys. It has my affection for that, AND for the sweeet country tunes (Dolly Parton and Randy Travis, among others) that were playing quietly in the background.

We grabbed a table just outside the awning (it's about 55-60 here today, so why not take advantage?) and proceeded to chow down. About 1/2 way through, chatting away, I noticed I had received a dookie from a bird lounging in the tree overhead. 1. Yay!! That's good luck, and I will take all of that that I can get my hands on. 2. It was on my sleeve only, so no biggie and 3. I have on my tres chic plastic raincoat that I bought at CostCo, so that shit (literally) JUST WIPED RIGHT OFF.

See? Already the good luck is working! *And* I managed to get back to my office just before the gargantuan black rain cloud overhead burst forth. Maybe I should go buy some lottery tickets?

WARNING: It's tremendous pride, but it may come off like bragging

I got an email from my family this morning with news that my eldest brother, Steve, will be promoted to full Colonel (USAF) in March and will resume full active-duty status for a 4-year term and a new assignment to Scott AFB, Illinois. Specifically, he will be

"...Reserve Advisor to the commander of Eighteenth Air Force. 18 AF is the numbered Air Force that manages 54,000 active duty Air Mobility Command personnel. During wartime it is augmented with nearly 45,000 Reservists. It is charged with tasking and executing all air mobility missions. All AMC wings and groups based in the continental United States report to the 18th Air Force, as well as two expeditionary mobility task forces, the 15th EMTF at Travis AFB, Calif., and the 21st EMTF at McGuire AFB, N.J., and their subordinate air mobility operations groups at Travis AFB; McGuire AFB; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; and Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The Tanker Airlift Control Center, located at Scott AFB, also reports to the 18th Air Force and serves as the organization’s air operations hub, planning and directing tanker and transport aircraft operations around the world."

Of course you guys know me and in my world this is HUGE. But I'm also just so SO proud of my big brother and so happy that he's getting a chance to use his many talents and to be recognized for his hard work. I hope you'll trust my biased opinion when I say that, especially now, we need people like him on our side.

Congratulations and love, to Colonel Doss.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hi, have we met yet? I'm Belligerent Anne. Actually, most of you have run into me at some point or another, but on Friday I made new acquaintances--who will not become friends. We were out at Jay's Saloon (YAY, neighborhood dive I loved you even more the 2nd time 'round) and partook in a pool game with some dudes who--I = not kidding--were the spitting images of Nick Lachey and Joey Lawrence. The third guy was a dandy in matching 2-tone grey slacks and shirt and a huge signet pinky ring and I have NO TIME for that sorta ensemble. He was nameless, but no less regrettable. I referred to Joey and Nick by these names, to the point where I couldn't tell you their real names if my life depended on it. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I, "feisty"...and I guess Joey doesn't like his women with Tabasco because, as Ryan told me the next day, Joey basically stopped talking to us (well, ME) by the end of the night. What can I say? Alcohol works as no less than a truth serum for me--all the thoughts I have sober with none of the checks and balances--and as Adam emailed me, if they took that look out, they have to be willing to be called on it. So I was just taking their aesthetic to its natural conclusion, right? RIGHT?

Weekend food: Friday night we did Cuban at a place near Courthouse Metro. It's nestled so snugly at the end of a forgettable strip that you might miss it, but look harder. It's worth it. Delicious food, smashing mojitos, snazzy atmosphere, and stumbling distance to the train home. Saturday night we discovered the siren song that is Dr. Delivery. Oh Billy...the per-delivery fee is a little high to use regularly, but it is the Lord's sweetest indulgence on a day when you are hungry and tired and just need to be lazy without skimping on actually *enjoying* what you eat for dinner. Sunday I was uncharacteristically industrious preparing not only the Doss family spaghetti sauce but also a massive homemade coffee cake. Oh man, the apartment smelled good.

Weekend movies: Finally got out to see "Sideways." It was good, but sadder than I expected. For some reason I had the impression that it would be more all-the-time humorous, when it was in fact steeped in all kinds of grey reality. But great acting--Paul Giamatti can do no wrong in my eyes--and it made me want to go to Napa something FIERCE. Then yesterday I watched "Girl with a Pearl Earring," "The Statement," and "Seabiscuit." All good, but I was especially into 'Biscuit. Like I lacked proof, but I just need to fess to being a total sucker for horse movies. I was crying like a wee girl at the end and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm not even sure you were supposed to be crying, but I was. Horsey!! [Edit: I remembered last night that I have actually written on this prediliction in the past. Then in re-reading I saw that I slagged "Seabiscuit" out of turn, without ever seeing it. Sorry SB! Unmerited and untrue. Apparently for me horse + rider = *sniff*.]

For Kristin and Steve: Westminster Dog Show.

Anybody heard of Bau? Here's the artist page...I heard a snippet of his stuff on Morning Edition today and was taken with it, but cop totally to my non-hipness and the fact that I know nothing about this music. So help (NICELY, Adam) if you can.

Monday, February 14, 2005

FYI: The director's cut DVD of Donnie Darko comes out tomorrow.

Mission accomplished: Alyson. Whew.

Also, they just delivered my Lonely Planet italian phrasebook. Italy is 3 weeks from Thursday!! WOO!!

Now...back to "Seabiscuit". HBO on Demand is the shit; don't let anyone tell you different.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm not a big fan of this holiday, but would be remiss if I didn't wish everyone a lovely day. In the best sense this day would be about expressing your affection to everyone you know and not just a Hallmark holiday. So despite that slightly caustic explanation, to all my friends, happy happy.

I'm enjoying a quiet day at home (I worked Saturday so am off today) and thank goodness because it is rainy and disgusting outside. But the birds in the bushes just outside my window are singing to beat the band, so they must not mind. I'm also laying in wait for the mailman. Why? Story: a few weeks ago a new tenant moved into my building. I met her as she was carrying things in, and we introduced ourselves and chatted. She's great, and we've talked several times since, but I CANNOT REMEMBER HER NAME. And now too much time and interactions have gone by for me to ask. So I hatched the plan to look at some of her mail (our mailboxes are all next to each other in the main hall, sans locks) to see her first name, but she always gets home in the evenings before I do, thus so far no joy. But I'm hopeful that today is the day!! I will, of course, keep you posted.

Back to "Girl with the Pearl Earring." More soon. :)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Another from SMH: fishermen on a river in Russia. Pur-deee.

Cribbed from the Sydney Morning Herald: a little girl in Aceh with her mom, at services to mark the start of the Islamic New Year. LOOK AT THAT FACE. ohmygah....

Zilch. That's what I have for you thus far. It's a quiet day in these here parts--no gossip, no news, no mishaps.

I'm sorry I let you down.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

WAH! It's even in The Paper now.

So ashamed. StOOpid Virginia legislature.

Two words, ladies: COURTESY FLUSH. There is no shame in getting your deuce on in a public restroom, but PLEASE think of the rest of us and flush throughout as may be needed to keep the stank from steeping. There is just NO NEED.

"I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick some ass. And I'm all out of bubble gum."

Been reading a lot about this dude lately. Be nice to have some new blood out there doing some movie faux ass-whopping.

Without meaning to I followed the Asian tradition of thoroughly cleaning my house before Chinese New Year. I spent Tuesday night moving things into storage (newly discovered) in the basement of my building and reorganizing closets. Then last night I did all my laundry and cleaned bow-to-stern--vacuum, dust, you name it. I don't *love* cleaning, but I do love the feeling of sitting around in a super-clean house, reveling in the scrubbed-freshness of it all. And I do love doing laundry. Putting away clean laundry, while it's still warm from the dryer? OH BILLY. I'm wearing clothes today that are freshly washed, and every once in awhile I get a whiff of Tide and Downy and I just want to bury my nose in my shirt and sniff.

I know. SO WEIRD.

I'm actually kind of pleased about this. Not that I follow the Royals or care all that much about them, but it seems like a pretty rarified, surprisingly unpleasant fishbowl life, and he's waited almost 60 years to be able to marry to girl he loves, so cheers to that.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Christie didn't call last night (although she COULD have) and so I got to see all of the TAR finale. Basically, "eh." I'm glad Adam and Rebecca didn't win, but the fact that Jon and Kris didn't is wrong, wrong, WRONG. Kendra's total cultural insensitivity should not be rewarded like this, and I doubt that she feels chagrin or has learned a lesson upon seeing herself after the fact. No self-awareness there, I'm betting. The Hayden/Aaron proposal shocked the hell out of me, not least because for most of the race he's seemed increasingly fed up with and disillusioned by her--as he should be! Whininess, thy name is Hayden. Aaron didn't seem the type to propose on TV for the PR of it and to think that after all that he still feels things for her that would make him get choked up? I just don't get people AT ALL. What was cool though was Chicago as the finale locale! Kristin and I were literally at that very water tower on Saturday, but alas neither of us has been to Gino's East (something she's sure to remedy for herself soon). Such a great city, and I like the circularity of starting and ending in the same place--the first time the show has done that, if I remember correctly.

I'm surprised to see that Season 7 is starting so soon--3 weeks!! I'm glad I won't have to wait long, but it seems to me that since they aren't going to shoot Season 8 until sometime in June--meaning we won't see it 'til the fall, most likely--that they'd divide that down time a little better. But that injects logic into the process and reason has NO PLACE in reality TV. So in checking out the contestants for TAR7, I 1. was again disgusted that Rob and Amber will be on this show. I didn't mind them on Survivor, but their ubiquity on CBS shows is galling. I don't watch this to see established personalities. The thrill of new contestants is a large part of the attraction, and at this point the 2 of them are so full of themselves so as to just be balls-out obnoxious. They cannot be eliminated fast enough, IMO. and 2. Check out this team!!!! Grads of JMU and W&M, respectively, and Bianca teaches in Woodbridge. Yeah, Virginia, REPRESENT!!!! Bill and the Babe people, did anyone know Debbie while we were there?? And yes, this dude is the early-on favorite in my heart, youallknowwhy.

CHICA-O CUBS. The north side of Wrigley, albeit in need of repair.

SATURDAY: Ddot had an early appointment with his realtor (ooooh!!! Who’s a grown-up??! Yeah, not me, clearly) so we dragged our asses from the beds and had a huge, scrumptrellescent brunch at a place called Nookie’s Tree. Hard to believe, but for several weeks I’ve been trying to get corned beef hash with my greasy breakfasts and have been SYTMIED. I live in the South for goodness sake, and I had to go to Chicago for the hash. The universe works in mysterious ways.

After hogging ourselves into a food coma of epic proportions, Kristin and I took the bus downtown and strolled the Magnificent Mile. Downtown Chicago is so gorgeous—everywhere you turn there is another unique architectural marvel—and with the sun shining and the warm temperatures it was the perfect lollygagging stroll kinda day. Eventually we stumbled into Marshall Fields so that I could buy a candy offering for my office (don’t ask) and then, ODd on fresh air and exercise, we hopped the El home and settled in for an afternoon of napping and “Big Lebowski.”

One of K’s classmates, the terribly sweet, terribly cute Mirhiya is also terribly pregnant, and her baby shower was Saturday night. We caught the train to Evanston where I met just about every girl in Kristin’s program and they are, to a woman, gorgeous, kind, gracious, funny, and smart. I injected the requisite number of F-bombs and sarcasm though, to even things out—DON’T YOU WORRY. I also added a wee Grover stuffed animal to Kristin’s yummy Baby Gap gifts, but somehow managed to attach him to the front of the gift box in a manner that approximated crucifixion. Or Creed’s lead singer. Klassy klass klass, that’s me!!

After leaving the party we took the looong train ride back to Chicago and headed out for what we thought would be live bluegrass music. I saw the listing in Chicago’s version of the City Paper, at a place in Kristin’s neighborhood and it seemed perfect. BUT what we encountered was more sparse dive bar than anything else. And I would not have had it any other way. Neither of us spent more than about $12—no cover and cheap Old Style, and that’s with a very generous tip to the bartenderess AND the band—and we were the favorite new girls on the scene. JUSTUS, the band, came up to us during each break to see if we were liking the music, if we had requests, if we were new in town, and even the other patrons were open and chatty and fully inhabiting all that was quirky about the situation. Kristin gives the best person-by-person recap of the oddballs we met (I swear this is the last time I’ll link to her version of the weekend, but she just nails this part so well—at the bottom of her Sunday Feb.6th entry) although she doesn’t give herself enough credit. I think they were overwhelmed to have TWO women under 30 who clearly had never driven a Big Rig in the bar, and as we decided over the weekend that Kristin is a Chonky (half Chinese, half honky) they knew she belonged there as much as anyone could. Day two: SWEEEEET.

SUNDAY I got up far too early to get to O’Hare at a reasonable time only to have my flight delayed for almost 2 hours. But it was delayed because the DC-Chicago flight that would turn around and become my Chicago-DC flight had mechanical trouble. IN THE AIR. And had to go back to Dulles. And I have NO PROBLEM waiting for things like that to be fixed. You send me a whole, functioning plane and we are all good. The end.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

You know you're a bad friend when: someone emails you "I can't wait to call and catch up on things! Just let me know what nights your favorite shows are on so I don't interrupt them."

"Anne. Once, a good friend. Now, a girl with big hair swallowed whole by her TV/DVR."

CHRISTIE, YOU CAN CALL ME ANYTIME. Now I want you to call in the middle of "The Amazing Race" season finale tonight (9-11 EST, don't forget James, Kristin, Des, and Bry!), just to prove a point.

In the spirit of Mardi Gras (Laissez les bon temps rouler!) and an impending Valentine's Day ("love everybody") I proffer this piece from Salon about gay cartoon characters. Don't judge.

A sample:

'"Everyone including Scooby-Doo has been supportive," [Snagglepuss] continues. "I guess once ... apparently, Fred and Shaggy both had a lot of Scooby snacks, and, well, one thing led to another ..."

"Let's just say it changed their perspectives," concludes Huckleberry. He looks at Snagglepuss. "We can leave it at that."'

Monday, February 07, 2005

Action Todd!! We found this (broken) trampoline on the sidewalk while coming home from L&L. Ddot gamely jumped on after my command of "DANCE, MONKEY, DANCE!!"

Full album HERE.

FRIDAY: I spent a quiet morning putzing around K’s apartment while she got her learn on, and then she and I hit the sunny streets of the Lakeview district to shop. I wanted some Chicago gear and we were slated to attend a baby shower Saturday afternoon, and so needed to find THE GOODS. After a huge, hearty [OK, here is where Blogger began its swath of destruction in my post. I'll attempt to recreate but I fear it shall lack what the French like to call a certain "I don't know what" compared to the original.] breakfast at Ann Sather's, we explored all the unique, eclectic shops that ring the neighborhood. All I can say is, it's a very good thing that I have neither space nor money to spare or I would have been in real trouble. In particular I almost bought a set of coasters with a circa-1974 picture of a disgruntled little girl with the caption "Do I look like I could give less of a shit?" Is that me or what??

All the shopping and fresh air (it was in the 50s all weekend, weather for which I took full credit and told Kristin "You're welcome") left us tuckered out (ah, winter time stamina) so by mid-afternoon we retired to the casa to watch a movie and chill. Todd (hereinafter known as Ddot) joined us around 7 and we all chatted over wine and cheese while Kristin gamely fixed our contribution to the dinner party we were soon to attend. We high-tailed it over to her friend Katja's for some of the best Mexican food I've had in awhile with quite possibly every German student in the greater Chicago area. Then, per my request, we hit up a divey local bar called the L&L. My boyfriend whom Kristin alluded to was indeed there, in all his backwards ball cap/wife beater/bad posture/tattooed glory. He is a keeper, right down to the "ALL ANGLES" inscribed on his right shoulder (w/ the "L"s crossing--clever!) and I suggest y'all watch your mail, as I'll be sending our "Save the Date" cards soon.

Post-pub we unwound with some "Freaks and Geeks" (during which I unceremoniously inhaled almost an entire tube of Chips Ahoy) and then collapsed into bed. Day One: WORD.

NOTE: I would have liked to link individually to pictures as the story merited, but trying to do that yesterday is what got my post ate up and so I won't be tempting Ofoto fate again. The pix aren't chronological, but are pretty self-explanatory, so knock yourselves out.

No. You. Di'n't

Well, in trying to update a post with information on why the Ofoto link wasn't working, Blogger promptly ATE most of my post about Friday in Chicago.


I'll try and recreate it later, but for now, "special" Ddot has gone away. :(

THURSDAY: Who would have thought the worst weather of a weekend trip (in February) to Chicago would be here in D.C. before I left? I drove through whorls of snow and mist to get to Dulles Thursday night, and thank goodness I left myself plenty of time for the trip. The closer I got to the airport the more the snow had accumulated throughout the day, and finding parking was a bit of a challenge. But all went well in a timely fashion and I boarded my on-time flight to Chicago. Which is where the fun began.

Let me set the scene a bit: a 9:15 p.m. flight, so the cabin lights were out, most people had already gotten comfortable with a blanket or pillow, and I myself was nose-deep in “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.” We were taxiing over to be de-iced when I heard “…Jim.” It took me a second to register what I heard, and upon turning to my seatmate, found him looking at me expectantly. Dude had obviously just outta-the-blue introduced himself. I smiled, shook his hand, introduced myself, and then made a bit of a point of trying to turn back to my book. But Jim had a mission on Flight 1178—TO MAKE A NEW FRIEND. He kept finding little things to say, questions to ask…and as part of a new resolution to be less suspicious and see where unexpected encounters take me, I answered and chatted back. Jim is in marketing for a lumber firm, and so a born salesman and very easy talker. Mainly he did the work while I threw in a well-timed, “Oh yeah,” “Me too,” or “You don’t say?” Twenty minutes into the flight he busted out a very snazzy wee laptop to show me pictures of his family (complete with details on how he Photoshoped elements in or out to suit his wife and kids). Then he got to talking about how he had a DVD burned onto the laptop but hadn’t gotten around to watching it. He pulled up the title to show to me: “The Passion of the Christ.” HA! Then he asks if I want to watch it. I figured, what the hell, so he rummages in the overhead for his goodie bag and produces bud headphones that we can share. Except while he’s doing this I see that he also has “U-571” on tap, and I mention that, saying it might be a better choice for the short flight. So Matthew McConnaughey it was, and I have to say it made the time scream by and was a totally cool, fun thing. The flight attendant (a cantankerous man in his 50s) kept stopping by to see where we were in the film, and gave us extra snacks to boot. We were in Chicago before I knew it, and the best part was, I needed to stay plane-side to get my luggage, and so Jim just gave me a business card, wished me a fun weekend, and took himself home to Naperville. No smarm. No ogle. No shiftiness. Operation Be Nice, Score 1!!

That still doesn’t mean I’m going to give Dennis the time of day next time I see him, though.

HAHAHAHHAHAHAAA.... Someone got to my blog by entering the Google search "rowing training crankiness." I guaran-damn-tee you I was the first hit, 100% relevance. Heh.

Happy Monday m'dears. Chicago was riddikulus fun, and stories plus pictures are pending. In the meantime, Kristin has her version of the weekend's events (and many pix) up on her Sunday blog entry. Also, some cool trompe d'oeil pictures below, courtesy of my sister-in-law. Because I know y'all need your distractions.

I prefer my schooners full of beer, but...


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Couple things cribbed from

1. PBS has several entire Frontline episodes available online, gratis.

2. Cell phones for your pets. No, I'm not kidding.

It's snowing here!!! WTF, mate? I checked the forecast for this area all week and don't remember anything about snow. It isn't supposed to last, or accumulate, but still. Normally I am snow's biggest fan, but not today. CUT IT OUT.

I didn't watch the State of the Union speech last night. Why, you might ask? Because I cannot BEAR OR ABIDE listening to Bush speak. It makes me want to poke myself in the ears with sharp sticks, and that's not beneficial to anyone, really, so I refrain. But in the interests of staying informed (read: incensed) I've printed the transcript, to be read tonight while waiting for my flight. I'll also be reading the copy of Seymour Hersh's latest New Yorker piece, about the administration's plan to go to war with Iran next. So by the time I board the plane I will be very close TO STROKING OUT.

Kristin, I bet you SO can't wait for my hatless, enraged ass to get there, huh?


Off to the Windy City tonight to spend a long weekend with the Asian Conflagration. This is the forecast. I'm packed. I'm confirmed on my flight (window seat, of course). And...I realized on the drive in that I have no hat. I'm going to Chicago in February but forgot to pack any sort of cabeza covering. NICE ONE.

I'll just drink until I feel no cold.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today."

Happy Groundhog Day, kids!! As I'm sure most of you know, Phil saw his shadow which traditionally means 6 more weeks of winter. That's in keeping with what the Farmer's Almanac says for the region--apparently late February and March we are going to get slammed with the snow. I say BRING IT ON!! According to the FedEx page my vest is in Alexandria (if not already at my house) so I shall be prepared.

I think I have a tapeworm. I just went to Krispy Kreme after lunch and bought two doughnuts. And ate them while I was walking back to the office. Oy. *burp*

Decided: I love Ella Fitzgerald. I rilly rilly do. Her voice has a magical effect on me. But she sings too many songs about broken hearts and being a victim. I think my favorite album of hers is one that pairs her with Louis Armstrong, mainly because he tempers her out. I mean, I know its the blues--and times was tough--but DAMN. If he's that bad kick his broke ass to the curb, grab a drink and move on. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The view at the start of the trail. George Washington National Forest, WV.

I thought I was going to do this extensive post about the weekend, but really there's little of the details that would bring readers screaming to the page. I have a wee picture album here where you can see the synopsis of cooking, relaxing, and hiking that has been most of my downtime lately. Don't be jealous of the best chili in the annals of history, or the beer brats. Your time will come. I was pleased with myself because I made it through the 6-mile excursion to HalfMoon Lookout (an old firewatch spot in the George Washington National Forest in West Virginia) without ever falling--not bad for a klutz with no official hiking gear. And then we fucked it up and watched THE MOST DEPRESSING MOVIE that I have seen in quite some time, "House of Sand and Fog." Oh my god, people. Just...oh sweet and holy France that movie destroyed me. I literally couldn't fall asleep after and needed to just ponder and talk it out a bit. Many movies that have dark subject matter still manage to have moments of redemption, or hope, or perspective. NOT THIS ONE. I can appreciate that it was beautifully staged and well acted (in fact, why Jennifer Connelly did not get nominated for an Oscar is beyond me) but if you want to keep your sanity and optimism intact, don't watch it. And for the love of Mike, if you do watch, at least don't watch it alone. But barring that, the snowy weekends have treated me all kinds of right. I hope you can say the same.

UPDATE: Apparently the link to the album wasn't working earlier (thanks for the FYI, Adam) but I believe it is now fixed.

Banshee, pre-hike. Doesn't it look like a Renaissance painting (subject matter notwithstanding)? You wanna know who enjoyed HalfMoon most? You're looking at her.

I was talking to Casson just now and she was telling me about a hideous outfit pictured on the internet. Her exact words were "It is trashy and tasteless and YOU would love it."


This is cool as hell

"A group of Hewlett-Packard researchers will report on Tuesday that they have created a molecular-scale [emphasis mine] alternative to the transistor. The device could increase the viability of a new generation of ultrasmall electronics that would one day be smaller than what is possible with today's silicon-based technology."

Full story in today's New York Times.

Because I am Pat's daughter and the DNA is inescapable, I am a sucker for the catalog purchase. Pat's home, at least for all of my life, has been brimming with catalogs. Clothing. Furniture. Food stuffs. Cosmetics. If it can be purchased through the mail, a sampling of the company's offerings is somewhere in my mother's house. She isn't a crazed catalog shopper by any means, but I think those businesses all share mailing lists and so once you've bought from one, you are FAIR GAME.

I am slowly, in my way, ramping up to a similar situation at my house. So far it's still at a level where I just get seasonal offerings, from companies I like and/or have bought from before: JCrew, LLBean, Dell, etc. Usually the booklets go straight into recycling--if I can't get it at H&M or Target then I don't want it, dammit. Well, I can't afford it, at least. But last week in the midst of a particularly cold snap and having no cold weather gear that really fits anymore, I got slammed by the 1-2 turbo punch of an LLBean catalog and another from WinterSilks. What's more, I found myself 1. online 2. with free time and 3. 2 trips coming up where being outside in the cold was a factor. So, God help me, I fired up the Visa and did some buying. Everything was on sale, and, honestly, much needed (like long john pants that don't come up to my armpits), but my conscience still pricks eeeever so slightly about it.

But the longjohns showed up last night (in time for Chicago) and the fleece-lined vest in a fetching dark raspberry is somewhere between Freeport and here and may make in time for strolling around Wrigleyville as well...and I'm checking the FedEx tracking every 5 minutes, so I must not feel that badly about it.

T-minus one week to Mardi Gras. It's so early this year...I was taken by surprise when I changed the calendar this morning and saw it coming up. That means it's been six years since I was in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday and that? Just makes me feel old. Not that I'm dying to go back for the Gras...but lately I've been hankering to go to New Orleans to eat and drink and just chill. But instead I shall get my chill on with the K this weekend, and that tops NO any day.