good deed for the day

15 June, 2009

Downtown I was, pre-dentist, grabbing a quick sandwich at a quick-sandwich place, when something green caught my eye. A table over from me was a young woman with long blonde hair.  A law student summer intern if I’ve ever seen one.   Her skirt suit was new, a young fabric and retro cut yet conservative enough to work in even a stodgy law firm. Her 3-inch black patent leather shoes were also new, as were the blisters they had created on her heels. The green was a scrap of green paper she had put over one heel by (poor) way of cushion against the grippy pointiness that is the back of a new pair of patent leather shoes.

Now, about interns for my non-Beltway readers. We DC “residents” are supposed to despise and detest the interns that descend on us for the summer.  Not without reason, mind you: the archetypal jerkoff is the guy who wears his Congressional ID badge on the Metro…on weekends.  In such a situation I am supposed to mock her naivete re professional dress, and her gall for daring to come to Our Nation’s Capital to further her career and eat lunch near me.

But no. My heart went out to her.  I have been there, and if you have not been there, then you are a man. A poorly dressed man.  I’m pushing 33, and seeing this woman made me realize that I actually have learned a thing or two in the last decade.  This particular lesson is a hard and often expensive one: as you walk slowly around the store in your hot shoes the Sunday before your job starts, you are so psyched about how good you look and so stressed about how little time you have that you ignore the glaring signs that the shoes will rip your feet to shreds in three blocks.  The sub-lesson: keep band-aids on hand for emergencies, and they should be big enough such that the crappy shoes don’t scrape them off when you need them most.

Nu? I offered her two large band-aids from my mini-purse (a smaller bag of goodies that can fit in any of my main purses).  I thought she would cry.  Me, I got a warm glow, and, I hope, some karma.  Maybe I should start “Be Kind To An Intern Day.”

Hey, audience participation! Ladies and smart men, what’s in your emergency kit? Mine:

  • Aforementioned bandaids (~1.5x~2.5″)
  • Normaler-sized bandaids
  • Pencil, pen, laser-pointer USB pen
  • Pseudo-sudafed (sometimes Advil too)
  • Earplugs
  • Lady products (both kinds, and pantiliners)
  • Nail file/s, nail clippers, cuticle oil
  • Lip balm (slightly reddish so can double as lip color)
  • Lotion
  • Compact
  • Hair rubber band and little clips
  • Business cards (in holder so they don’t get grody)
  • Razor blade
  • Stamps
  • Reusable shopping bag
  • Moleskine slim notebook
  • The card from a bouquet of flowers my man sent me last Valentine’s Day when I was out of town
  • Copy of the Constitution (for which I have already been mocked, thank you)

Note this is the non-mother edition.  That is a whole other ballgame…


Out of my way, fools

4 February, 2008

I am NOT suffering your asses today.

We find the fool of the hour — there have been a lot today — on the pages of the Washington Post. He is a developer, with a corner property on the busiest intersection in DC’s “Chinatown” neighborhood. (I put that in quotes because it’s more accurately called “Chinablock” or “Chinamall.”) A major Metro station entrance is underneath the property.

Genius has put three large video screens on this building. AT&T commercials play 24 hours a day. They are so loud you can hear them before you are even out of the Metro station. The speakers are bad. The same ads play over and over. Even residents 10 stories above are kept awake.*

Here’s the fool part:

Miller said he remains committed to his vision for the corner. “Have you been to Times Square?” he asked. “It’s a mixture of light and activity, and what was the dregs of New York has become a tourist attraction.”

I can’t even think of a snark snarky enough to snarkumarrize what’s wrong with this.

Forces of reason, have your say:

Tim Tompkins, executive director of the Times Square Alliance, a nonprofit group representing businesses, theaters and property owners, said he knows of no billboards in the heart of Manhattan that emit commercial audio.

“Even in Times Square, where there is no such thing as a bad advertisement, that might be a little much,” he said.

Hey! Fool! Even the Times Square dude thinks you are a fool. Out of my way!


* I feel them. I live in Adams Morgan. I’m used to cacophony–hell, I even LIKE it. But I’ll tell ya, there is a big difference between unceasing recorded sound and the intermittent noise of woo girls and sirens and screechy bus brakes (I call that stuff “the Crazy”). In my two-plus years in this apartment, I have only once been kept awake by noise from outside, and it was not a Crazy night. No, that night, for some reason, starting around 3, the McDonalds across the street turned its “go away, homeless people” sound system up to TOP VOLUME and played 1940s-crooners Christmas carols. It was not even Christmastime. Just when I thought I would gouge my eyes out with my earplugs (oh, I’d MAKE it work, you best believe), they switched…to easy listening. Love lift us up where we belong!

I reeeeeeeeally try not to rag on DC for its weather-related skittishness. It’s just too goddamned easy, and boring. But, come the fuck on. Did people always make this big a deal out of 20 degree weather? 20 DEGREES. We’re not traversing Antarctica here. Wear a fucking hat.

It’s times like these I feel most Midwestern. I have five trusty Weather Dashboard widgets set up, one for each place in the country where I have family. The “Stepfather” one tells me that it’s 10degF in Michigan. The “Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle, and 3 Cousins” one tells me that it’s 1degF in Wisconsin. Now THAT is some weather, people. One fricking degree. My cousins — ages 7, 5, and 1 — are being raised RIGHT. That’s not “you can’t go out and play, because I’m cold” weather. That’s “you can’t go out to play because you will get frostbite” weather.

I am sure my sister disagrees. She never felt the cold to be character-building, although that may have been because in the Midwest she bark-coughs like a seal from November to March. So she moved to Northern California. Where it’s now 20 degrees. Neener, seester. (And to round everyone out, it’s also 20 degrees where my mom is. She was raised in the Midwest but is now in Connecticut. How bout it, momb? Are they wimpy about 20 degrees there too?)

I was unfortunate this evening, when, failing to turn the football game off in a timely fashion, a local newscast bounced some photons off my retinae. No worries, first-degree burns only, I changed it quickly…but not before I got a nice strong dose of schadenfreude watching a newsperson interview a shivering frat boy, wearing on his head only a baseball cap, who admitted that it is too cold to wear on his head only a baseball cap. I hope his boyz don’t see him on the news, because based on the aggressively-worn T-shirts I saw the frat boys sporting on the streets last night, admitting to feeling cold practically makes him gay.

In very sad news, my text messaging appears to be broken. I’m not sure how many days now. I am lost without text messages. Seriously. My Google Calendar texts me reminders (and God knows I need a lot of reminders, what with this sieve I call a brain). I already missed at least one, and I suspect two, social engagements because people are used to not having to call me. So, I apologize to all of youse whose messages I have missed. It probably hurts me more than it hurts you!

the coffeeshop matrix

13 January, 2008

Once, this blog broke ground with its characterization of the “Woo Girl.” The post made quite a splash, but as is common in science, following up is harder than it looks.

Let’s explore a new idea. I’ve been working more at coffeeshops the last few months and it is time to do a rigorous comparison. By which I mean, graphs. All we need is 3 variables, and we can graph coffeeshop quality. In 3-D And color.  In 3-D color! Maybe even rotating 3-D color!! Doesn’t that thrill you? You can even pick the colors.

And all we need to make it happen is your data! In the comments, please classify DC-area coffeeshops that you know well on at least these three measures:

  • Ambience
  • Internets/work
  • Fare

We can, of course, think of many other judging criteria: we could break any of those categories down into their own three subgroups, for example. But at a minimum please at least give a 1-10 rating on the above three factors for each establishment.

Here is an example.

CRUMBS AND COFFEE: Adams Morgan, on Columbia above 18th

  • Ambience: 3. Fluorescent lighting, soft-rock music station, small, not terribly comfy chairs, fluorescent lighting, and does not make you feel all “I’m cool, I’m in a coffeshop, I have tattoos and a think tank job which lets me telecommute and I am blogging RIGHT NOW,” which another area cafe, which shall remain nameless, aims for. No, it doesn’t go for anything ambience-wise (which of course makes today’s creative class hipster feel an “I’m too cool to care about tattoos and blogging, and also, actual workmen who do actual work come in here every now and then which makes me feel like I am communing with the working class” ambience). In the plus column, smallness is such that it never really feels crowded, non-chatty counter service, large windows mitigate the lighting, and you’d be surprised how often a soft-rock-station tune will make you sing along or at least send you down memory lane.
  • Internets: 6. Great free wi-fi which is on 7 days a week, unlike another area cafe, which shall remain nameless. Outlet situation moderate to good although some serious tripwire situations can occur (yay, MacBook Pro with the magnetic power dingus). Tables and counter a bit too high and close for comfort.
  • Fare: 7. Ice cream as well as the regular array of pastry/sandwiches. Unpretentious selection but lackluster presentation. I don’t think I’ve actually had the coffee, I’m transitioning to tea…but I can report that they don’t use cereal-bowl-sized cups like another area mugs, which shall remain nameless. This is much of the reason for the high score, in fact.  I hate those mugs with the passion of, hmm, let’s say 19 suns.

Let’s hear it! Science needs YOU!


No point in regaling you with the story of my holiday travels. You don’t care, and nothing bad/funny/interesting happened to me, anyway. So I’ll just tell you about the wine bar at BWI that restored my soul:

Wine bar at BWI

Click through and you can also read about how much I love Southwest. I even love the unassigned seats!


As I deplaned* at BWI, a boy no more than three years old caught sight of me. His eyes went wide, he pointed and yelled at the top of his lungs “aaaaah!!” Disconcerting. Then again, each time more and more excited: “Aaaaaaah!! AAAAAH!!”

I was the first adult around to figure it out: I was wearing my red Incredibles logo shirt.

I saw it last year, but you know, you forget exactly how it goes, and these things make bigger impressions on kids anyway. Having happened to catch it on network tonight**, however, I had a new appreciation of just how impressed that kid was.


*What a dumb word.

**This is the first time I have watched a non-“Ten Commandments” movie on network this millennium. Or longer.

Thanks, Gene

10 April, 2007

So yesterday leaving the Woodley Park Metro I see a trumpeter and a saxophonist playing jazz duets, and I’m all paranoid. Is this another experiment? Is that Wynton Marsalis? Am I on camera? Do I have time to stand and listen? Do I even like jazz??

Reader, I went to CVS. But! I walked slowly.

Someone at the best DC Blog voting likes that I have a thumbnail headshot. Well, because I like it so much, here’s the image in all its glory, where you can really appreciate the expression, earrings and dress combo. I really love the hell out of this dress, although nobody else does. Well, to hell with that! I’m going to Florida this weekend to meet Reaganite‘s parents….apparently it’s 80deg there. I shall pack it!

welcome to the jungle

Hmm. Not the sexiest expression ever. Sorta weird to put up during a sexiness competition. Well, perhaps it counts as “vivacious.” We’ll see how quirky a sense of humor the nothing-to-do-at-work DC blogger community has. Anyway, I do have a secret weapon photo. And two cats.

I should really update my blogroll. Right after I do my taxes, find summer clothes that fit me and are nice enough to Meet The Parents in, get a present for The Parents, prepare my bod for the Florida beach, finish my Artomatic installation, pick up cat food, and correct the galleys of my article before I leave. Oh and somewhere in there I should be solving the mystery of the genetics of bipolar disorder (including the enigma of functional intronic SNPs), processing my pregnant friend’s wedding pictures, sewing up her baby’s booties, mailing it all off, calling her to catch up, and mailing two other packages back to the companies that fucked up the orders — but these can wait until after the trip.

Did I mention my taxes? I had it all scheduled for this weekend. One day of Artomatic, one of taxes. Except I sorta had an Artomatic meltdown on Saturday. 21 feet of wall space I had to fill. 21 FEET!!! Well, not only do I not have the money to nicely frame that much stuff, but I simply have not been shooting long enough to even have the catalog of images I’d be proud — or even simply “not embarrassed” — to display. I had one idea for filling it but in the end it didn’t look good at all. So I went back on Sunday and changed spaces. Thanks to epmd for his proxying and selection of a large space though–if I’d’a thought I’d’a had the option of such a big space, I might have asked him to pick a smaller one, but it didn’t even occur to me that they’d have room like that given what I’d heard about past shows! Actually, I owe a lot of people for AOM favors: miscelena and kneb, bsivad, birdcage and the AOM board, furcafe…the usual cadre suspects. Gee, hope I didn’t forget anyone.

I’ll have to lay in much cash for all those drinks I’ll be buying them at the AOM bars.

uh…I’m nominated…

9 April, 2007

UPDATE: OK, I wasn’t eliminated. Time for my ego and I to check out, especially as now it becomes clear I AM filler (of the innocuous kind, which is fine by me). Indeed, it’s hard to escape the impression that the whole BDCB site is filler for the “DC blog wars.” I was vaguely aware of them when I was attending more meetups and happy hours, last winter and spring, and I thought they were a fluke of some kind, or something that people had outgrown…apparently not. Anyway, the less said about them, the better. My snark skills are NOT up to the task, esp not at midnight.

Don’t vote for me right now, because it’s an elimination round.

Apparently the nom procedure is not as rigorous as all that. Whatevs.

Scarily, the competition is now for “the BEST and the SEXIEST.” Now that’s a higher bar.