Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Non-chart: Optimism edition

Not sure why I'm feeling so bloggy today after weeks of radio silence, but there you are. Here's a non-chart (you're supposed to pretend like it's in a 3x3 chart, see):

In: Enjoying the weather
Five Minutes Ago: Worrying about global warming
Out: Snow days

In: Obama in '08!
Five Minutes Ago: Kerry in '04!
Out: Bush

In: Friends with babies
Five Minutes Ago: Friends with kittens
Out: Friends with driver's licenses

Catalog tipping point

Even though I know that the flood of catalogs that arrives before Christmas is like a million dead trees in my mailbox, I secretly don't mind them that much, because I like the pretty pictures.  But I just hit catalog overload, and have sworn to start asking them not to send them to me anymore, and here's why:  Hidden Message Collar Stays from Red Envelope.  "Why settle for tucking love notes into his lunch or suitcase when you can deliver a message of love from a much closer range? Our 12 silver-plated collar stays feature 12 different reasons why you love him messaged right into the stay. So, each morning, you can send him off looking sharp while letting him know "you're so handsome" or "you make me laugh" and "you have a big heart." The sentiment will remain with him through the day, but only he will know."

Maybe it's not too late to start hand-making presents for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Julie Myers, blackface, Halloween, and me

Julie Myers, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has gotten in a wee spot of trouble for giving a costume award to a Halloween guest at her party whose costume entailed a striped prison outfit, dredlocks and blackface. (The award was for "originality.")

I had a weird and legitimately ironic encounter with the THE SAME GUY! (Or another guy in an identical costume.) We attended a friend's Halloween/birthday party at the Mansion on O Street, a bizarre bed & breakfast/restaurant/club apparently decorated by somebody's crazy/fabulous aunt, which featured a Halloween buffet dinner involving lots and lots of olives, a make-your-own PB&J stand, and zillions of cakes. I wore a costume consisting of my wedding dress, my pink fake-fur hat with ear flaps, and stamps and mailing labels affixed to my person, hence: Russian mail-order bride. (Pretty good given that I came up with it at midnight the night before, no?)

As we were about to leave, this very tall guy in a striped prison costume approached me and said his friends wanted to see my costume. I went and talked to his friends, who had accents of some Russian/Eastern European type, so I got nervous and kind of apologetic about the "Russian" element of my costume, and said I hoped it was not offensive. I was apparently so nervous that I did not notice that the GUY WHO HAD APPROACHED ME WAS IN BLACKFACE. Mr. T&A pointed it out to me after the fact.

Is it reasonable to think that this is the same guy? Or is it more likely that multiple people chose to wear blackface, dreadlocks and a prison outfit to Halloween parties in DC? What are the chances that I should apologize to a dude in blackface for the potential offensiveness of MY Halloween costume?

Update: A friend found the above picture showing the guy in question in the background. When Mr. T&A asked our friends if anybody remembered the guy in blackface at the party, everyone did, so it seems that my not noticing was aberrational. Also, in my defense, I am pretty sure I would have noticed if I had been, for instance, examining his costume so as to judge it.

Critical Mass, where's my car?

My lack of blogging for the last 50 years is a symptom of my having been working way too much. Par example, and because my brain feels fried and cannot think of anything else interesting to write about, I shall tell you what happened last Friday. I'd been at work since about 7:30 a.m., and it was one of those excessively intense days such that by the time I left at 7 p.m. I felt like I'd been there for 3 days. I got on my bike and started riding home, feeling glad to be outside and engaging in some amount of physical activity.

At about 16th and W Streets, I saw a clump of what appeared to be Critical Mass bikers. I'd never seen this in DC before, so I was intruiged, and since I was on a bike I felt I was in a good position to investigate further. I biked closer, very casual-like, and observed that the "self-organized, non-commercial and non-competitive" group was blocking, not 16th Street but W Street, which is like the Minuteman Project going near the Mexico border and then blocking passage between two neighborhoods in Laredo. They were also yelling things like "Fuck you cars for being ... cars!" Genius.

The "fuck you cars" comment then sent me on a quick mental detour, as such: I have a car. I like my car. Where's my car? I drove my car to work this morning.

So, thanks for that, anyway, Critical Mass. I turned around, biked back to work and into the parking garage, put the bike on the bike rack, and drove home. By the time I got back to 16th and W there were no more bikers.