Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Last year my only publicly-announced New Year's resolution was to be better at Scrabble. I think I did pretty well at that--I played Scrabbulous on Facebook avidly for awhile, and transitioned from the basic "try to find a place for this cool word" system into the more advanced "look at where the high-letter squares are and see what I can play there" approach. My passion for the game dwindled a little after a few months, at which time I switched to Scramble (Facebook's version of Boggle), which is less time-consuming because each round only lasts 3 minutes. I think I'm improving on that, too, and it's a word game so it's close enough. So, I will check this one off.
I know I made some other resolutions last year, but I recall only vaguely what they were. Well, one was to be more confident and speak up more at work, and I think I accomplished that in one fell swoop the other week when I quasi-yelled back at the senior partner when he was yelling and swearing at me. (That is a story for a work-related blog, which this definitely is not. I don't like my job but I don't want to be one of those lame "I got fired for blogging" news items.)
So, to introduce a higher level of accountability, this year I will set forth my resolutions so that I remember what they are. Drum roll...
1. New job. Need need need new job. Must get new job. New job!!
2. More regular exercise. This may entail joining a gym, I gather.
3. Clean out my filing cabinets, and the storage areas in the basement.
4. Get stuff around the house fixed. (This one is almost done already--we have hired someone to start doing stuff starting possibly Friday. 25% done!)
Not particularly exciting or original, but whaddareyagonnado. Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
But it had changed! And I'm not talking about the old Wal-Mart closing and a bigger Wal-Mart opening (which also happened). The heart (or maybe the liver, or the appendix) of the town had changed: the bar went upscale. It wasn't actually called The Bar, it was The Pub (The Bar was the old name of the other bar a few blocks away.) The Pub was a basement with a concrete floor, and the bathrooms had plywood doors that didn't really latch. My ex-boyfriend almost got beat up there because he ignored the nuances of the rules about reserving the pool table by putting quarters on the edge. I hadn't been there for awhile, but never considered the possibility that it wasn't still there.
But the last night we were in town, we went out to eat at the fancy new restaurant--a New Orleans-themed one, with attractive lighting and some over-$20-entrees. After dinner we went downstairs to have a drink at the adjunct bar. It had low, leather-esque sofas and a martini menu. I don't think I ever would have realized that it was the former Pub unless someone had told me. In fact, the layout was exactly the same. (More to the point, it was in the same location.) It wasn't just the carpet, the paint, and the non-plywood bathroom doors that threw me--I just would never have considered the possibility that The Pub would have gotten all pimped out.
I'm a little confused as to what this all means. Is it a sign that Grinnell's self-conscious attempt to reposition its downtown as a tourist attraction is going well? An example of the general fancy-fication of the United States? (You can also get stinky cheeses in Grinnell now.) A reminder that nothing stays exactly the same? Has getting rusty at blogging made me start to write like Carrie Bradshaw?
Friday, November 21, 2008
2. There will be huge crowds everywhere.
3. There will be big parties, but I will not go to them, as they will be really expensive and, I suspect, possibly lame/depressing, like the New Year's Eve party Sally is at at the end of When Harry Met Sally, before Harry arrives, but still I may feel left out because I am not going to them.
4. Bars will probably charge a cover, and will be very crowded.
5. Everybody knows it is supposed to be festive and celebratory, but all those expectations may collapse in on themselves, as happens to Gary Sinise's character in Forrest Gump, when he's sitting at the bar at New Year's Eve with confetti falling on him looking like he might cry. I suppose in this case what one would be crying about would be, How long until I get disillusioned with Obama? What if he can't fix the economy after all? Gulp.
But! On the other hand, as my friends who may come to DC for inauguration* pointed out, we did spend New Year's Eve 2001-2002 in Chicago, with sub-zero temperatures, with about 15 people, many of whom got the flu, sleeping in 2 rooms in a Day's Inn, which had insane heaters we could not turn off, forcing us to open the window to counteract the heaters, resulting in alternating gale-force hot-and-cold drafts wafting across all the feverish, testy people. And we're still friends!
*I hope you guys do come! I'm sure it will be fun!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Take Joe Jonas. People.com tells me that he wrote a masterpiece of a public, passive-aggressive, confessional missive, sort of to his fans, but really to his ex-girlfriend, Taylor Swift:
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
1. Obama won! Which you probably know. At first I felt like perhaps we were in the last season of Roseanne, where they win the lottery, and then in the finale it is revealed that this was all the daydream of a depressed and still poor Roseanne. But it seems to be lasting! So I am very happy about that!
2. We went to Italy in October, and that was really awesome. Italy, among other things, has a lot more ads for tourist destinations than we do here--or at least the BBC and CNN International do. Based on those ads alone, I would like to go to India ("Incredible India"), Greece (no slogan, just smiling people), Malaysia ("Truly Asia"), and Croatia ("The Mediterranean as it Once Was"). The ads for Macedonia were kind of janky, so it's not at the top of my list, but if the recession continues maybe it would be a good cheap option.
3. Speaking of the recession, I am happy to see that the fashion world seems to have foreshadowed it by making the big new look for fall . . . patterned tights. About the cheapest thing you can possibly buy. I got some cute ones at Target for $12 this weekend.
4. I saw Role Models last weekend and it was GREAT. Yes, it's another "men will be boys until forced to grow up on pain of incarceration" kind of tale, but it's a well-done version of that. Also, the kid who I found annoying as McLovin' in Superbad was awesome as a very sincere, painfully awkward and younger-seeming kid into Life Action Role Play (LAIRE, I think) in this movie.
That is all.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
1. According to the NYT, the woman did not tell her own children or parents that she was pregnant with Trig until her third trimester, and even then she told her aides a week before she told her own kids, and then she didn't tell them he had Down Syndrome ever--Willow, the 14-year-old, noticed for herself after he was born. Who hides information like this from their own children? A crazy person, is who.
2. So far she is playing both sides of the woman angle to great effect--talking about her kids/PTA/hockey-mom self as though that qualifies her to be VP, and then also accusing anyone who criticizes her (and the media in general, because they might criticize her) of being sexist and/or mean for picking on her poor girlish self. This is a sticky minefield of quicksand for a man to wade into, so WHERE IS HILLARY to call her out on this crap? WHERE OH WHERE?
3. I had better donate some money to Obama now.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Five Minutes Ago: Shady shenanigans shaming Shia
Out: Crazy Cruise controlling Katie
In: Side tables
Five Minutes Ago: Shelving
In: Political irony
Five Minutes Ago: Humorous irony
Out: The death of irony
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The classic Paris Hilton: the fake blonde hair, the body turned at a three-quarters angle, the boob stuck out, one foot in front of the other, the hand on hip. And the 50 Most Beautiful:
The women afflicted by The Paris are either a relatively diverse lot or indistinguishable, depending on your point of view. Here we have (L to R): The second most beautiful person, Brecke "The Girl Next Door" Latham, 28, Republican, who says she'd date a Democrat. Briana Bilbray, 25, who is on the Republican Central Committee of San Diego County. Kristina "The Southern Belle" Spiegel, 27, Democrat, who says she might like to run for office, or maybe be a diplomat, and can't remember what her favorite movies are. Kristie Muchnok, 26, Democrat, a member of the Washington Wizards dance team, who lists her dating status as "ready to mingle." Jenny Harp, 23, Democrat, who lives with 6 other sorority girls in Columbia Heights in a house they call "The Mantionette." Elizabeth Murray, 23, Republican, who (bringing the Paris thing full circle) allegedly looks like Nicole Richie.
(I also note that whereas last year I thought I could tell the political party from the picture, this year either my GOP-dar is off or everybody on the Hill has started to look Republican. Godspeed, Obama.)
And the men! The model:
Terminators: The square jaw, the direct stare, the blank/angry/vaguely constipated affect. And the 50 Most Beautiful:
Our little Ts are as follows: Aaron Gardner, 26, Republican, lurves his cat, looking for a "career-driven" woman. Andrew Noyes, 28, "Declined to specify" his party affiliation (!), lurves his dog. Rich Guerard, 23, Independent (works for Lieberman), former model. Steve Ellis, 38, lobbyist, no party listed, maried to a doctor.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and make a prediction of the future of the Beautiful for DC look. In an era of biracial presidential candidates and human/Cylon hybrids (on TV, yes--but in the future we will not distinguish between "reality" and "TV"), it's almost inevitable: a combination of Paris and the Terminator. Parisinator, if you will. Or Terminhilton. T.P.?
The future is here, and it has a three-quarters angle to the camera, a pronounced jaw, an intense gaze, and its hands on its hips. You heard it here first!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
It seems that when Monica told Congress she "crossed the line" by taking political considerations into account in hiring career employees, she meant, "I asked the line to give me five reasons why President Bush reminds it of Jesus, and it could only come up with two, plus I wasn't convinced the line was totally 'straight,' if you know what I mean, so I smashed it with a cross-shaped anvil, weighted it down with a filing cabinet containing the applications of experienced prosecutors whose spouses had made donations to Democratic candidates, and threw it in the Potomac."
[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The other week the 8th Circuit ruled that a South Dakota law requiring doctors to tell women seeking an abortion that abortion "terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," didn't require forced ideological speech, because the law also defined "human being" as "an individual living member of the species Homo sapiens, including the unborn human being during the entire embryonic and fetal ages from fertilization to full gestation."
So, once you factored in the definition, the "human being" statement was not ideological, but just a scientific fact (or a tautology): if you abort your fetus, you will be aborting a human fetus. What doctor could argue with that, right?
This reasoning can be applied to all kinds of situations in which the normal meanings of words present can leave you in a sticky spot. So:
-"I always finish my work on time." (True where "on time" is defined to mean "when I get it done.")
-"I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy." (Where "the sheriff" means "the sheriff and another guy, perhaps the deputy.")
-"No, I haven't read spoilers to find out who the 7th through 12th Cylons are." (Where "haven't" means "am not admitting to.")
Very handy. Thanks, wise judges.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
I am now thinking the same thing about the hourly billing system. If I got a job in which I didn't have to bill, would I take joy every day in the fact that I didn't have to write down "9:35-10:23--draft initial disclosures"? Or would I just quickly go back to taking the delicious freedom for granted?
One thing I do consistently appreciate, I think, is air conditioning--but that's because when you're all hot and you come into an air-conditioned place, the contrast makes you appreciate it. Does that mean I'd have to spend part of each day billing my time, or breathing through my mouth, in order to appreciate it when I got to stop? That doesn't seem like a reasonable plan.
Anyhoo, happy Friday, and if you don't have to bill your time, try to spend a few minutes (maybe up to 0.1 hours!) appreciating your good fortune.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
I just came from watching Sex & the City the Movie, and while for the most part it was awesome, I HATED that Carrie ended up with Big in the end. Here is a man (fictional, I know, but whatevs) who runs away from his wedding to Carrie because he has some kind of metaphysical crisis about whether the whole marriage thing is really about their relationship or about the wedding, and this is not a 20-year old boy but a 50 something year old man who has been married twice before, and this is not soon after they have met but after they've been together 10 years, and the message she needs to learn is not that he is an overgrown manchild asshole who will never relate to her in an honest way, like her friends do, but that she can game him into marrying her if only she plays it cool and doesn't invite too many people to the wedding? And is not too excited about the wedding dress? WTF, dude, WTF.
90% of the movie is about the friendships among the women, and is awesome, because that is the real fairy-tale part of the whole series--the idea that you will always have lunch with your girlfriends--work, geography, children, and everything be damned. So the Happy Ending, the idea that Carrie has to end up with Big just because he has always been The Hard To Get One is Just.Stupid. and not necessary to the plot.
You should totally see the movie anyway, though. If one of my friends' hearts is (godforbid) broken it is my fondest hope that we will all be able to accompany her on a healing, margarita-filled trip to Mexico. Please to take notes, people.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Well, the new guy said I need seven (7) fillings. He looked at my X-rays (whose old-school technology I trust) and said, "You drink a lot of soda. It's rotting your teeth. You have to stop."
Yes, I drink a lot of soda. OK, Mr. Confident-Sounding Dentist, I will stop. But not without lamenting my loss with haiku:
Perfect bagel companion
Light of my morning
Why must you be acidic
And thus rot my teeth?
First candy, now this
I will not give up TV
So don't even ask
Unsweetened iced tea,
Maybe you could fill the void
Left by Diet Coke
Who am I kidding
Nothing compares to D.C.
Adieu, sweet beverage
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Meaning: you can identify the bad guys because they are always glowering with narrowed eyes and half-shadowed faces, or else yelling angrily in foreign languages, and they have darker skin than the not-bad-guy foreigners.
Also: if the bad guys are in possession of a boatload of American-made weapons, it's not because the United States supplied them arms in the '80s when we considered them "freedom fighters"; instead it means that [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] some other bad guy sold them to them in a super-nefarious scheme whose revelation will be a shock, shock! to our hero, because even when he was just a soulless playboy millionaire weapons dealer he certainly never sold weapons to bad guys, because he loved his country.
And: if the bad guys are attacking innocent civilians in a village somewhere, it is all over the American news because this happens so rarely, and our hero will set it right.
And of course: our hero will be able to set it right because of advanced American military technology, which allows him to identify and take out the bad guys with pinpoint accuracy while leaving the innocent civilians unharmed and grateful.
I didn't even have enough energy leftover to get indignant about Gwyneth Paltrow being Robert Downey Jr.'s lovelorn, chaste, not-a-hottie-until-she-takes-her-hair-out-of-the-bun assistant. Sigh.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
So last night I was going to meet a friend in downtown DC, and what did I see but a HARD ROCK CAFE IN DC. It was as though I came home and found Skid Row in my living room: it requires a realignment of my understanding of the world. Is it possible that the things I thought were awesome in 1990 are now . . . not cool? Or did my life become ultra-glamorous when I wasn't paying attention?
Friday, April 04, 2008
In: Sing for Obama!
Five Minutes Ago: Brief-writing for clients
Out: Talking to myself
Five Minutes Ago: Decorating
Five Minutes Ago: Anxiety
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Five Minutes Ago: Looking for "life's work"
In: Missing the daylight
Five Minutes Ago: Missing the cherry blossoms
Out: Missing TV
In: Take-out Taxi
Five Minutes Ago: Frozen pizza
Out: Eating dinner with other people
Saturday, March 29, 2008
The early part of Hillary Clinton's campaign was also pretty great. Hillary constantly traveled while talking about about important policy issues, and once let her voice crack with emotion in front of some ladies from New Hampshire, showing that being a candidate was draining, but worth it because the fate of the world was at stake.
But now the Hillary campaign is on Season 5. The storylines that were compelling early on have been beaten to death to the point that they barely even make sense. Hillary landed in Bosnia with Sinbad while a big red ball designed by a 15th-century inventor threatened to explode in the air, ushering in Armageddon? Whatever. Hillary suspects that her opponent, who previously seemed like a good guy, has been replaced by an evil, bigoted clone? Snooooore.
Note to future TV shows/campaigns: get out while we still like you.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Good night, sweet Geo!
We've had good years together.
This one, not so much.
Died in '99, '06,
And again now. Christ.
Also, your muffler:
Always about to fall off.
What's that all about?
But I always liked
Your distinctive growl, and the
Two missing hubcaps.
Out there in the street
Without your tapes, maps, bike rack
You look so lonely.
I hope you don't mind
Being donated, not sold
Hope they don't melt you.
Monday, March 10, 2008
In another random thought, PLEASE do not tell me how The Wire ended. As with Harry Potter, here I am making an exception to my general spoiled-rotten policy and trying to maintain my blissful ignorance until I watch it my own self (which will not be for many months, probably, as we're still on Season 4.)
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I am an avid reader of Carolyn Hax's advice columns and chats, and the other week I wrote in to the chat--not with my own problem, because, of course, I don't have any problems,* but with advice for somebody else--and today it got published in the PAPER! The original guy-with-the-problem was awkward and didn't know how to talk to women, and I wrote:
It might also be helpful to try not thinking of himself as part of a group of "awkward guys" who are trying to approach a separate, mysterious group called "women." If he can think of women as people who might also feel awkward, it might help him get over his problems in knowing how to talk to them.Carolyn responded: "Well said, and I'll nudge it further along by taking a few words away -- if he can just think of women as people. Female friends, male friends, old friends, young friends -- diversity of people and purpose can really help in this case."
So, I'm too wordy but I have basically sound ideas. Niiiiiiiice. I will bask in this for hours.
*Or rather, my problem--"I work too much"--is boring. I was once more interesting--8 years ago, I wrote to Carolyn about how my crazy roommate had gotten another roommate to replace me, months before I was planning to move out, without asking me, and let this stranger sleep in my bed while I was gone, without asking me, and then after a few weeks had turned on the other girl and kicked her out, putting me in the middle since I had become friendly with the other girl. I believe Carolyn said "Your roommate is crazy, get out ASAP" which was very affirming. Looking back on this, I am happy to have my current boring problems.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Congress finally passed a law allowing DC (and various US territories) to have their own quarters. But now, for the first time in the whole commemorative-quarter era, the US Mint has officially rejected all of DC's proposals for its quarter design. Why? Because they all involved the phrase "Taxation without Representation," which is too "controversial" because it refers to the fact that DC is a weird entity that is not really a state and does not have Congressional representation, even though the residents do have to pay federal income taxes.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
But then you get to the end:
Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, said today that the "stated rationale for this shoot-down is simply not credible. "
"There has to be another reason behind this," he said. "In the history of the space age, there has not been a single human being who has been harmed by man-made objects falling from space."
Much larger spacecraft, including Skylab, have fallen to Earth without injuries to people on the ground.
Some other reason like IT'S A VIGILANTE SPY SATELLITE COMING TO KILL US ALL? Like the world is going to end early next month when this "school-bus-sized" machine which has decided it would rather be in Bladerunner than Armageddon, thank you very much, and which let us know about our doom on Valentine's Day because it doesn't like manufactured holidays, enters the atmosphere and "reprograms" us into its little spy-satellite minions?
Just remember that you heard it here first. Maybe the little guy will like me for getting him free publicity.
Monday, February 11, 2008
That is what is so irksome about this article in the Atlantic Monthly, "Marry Him! The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough." I've been obsessed with this "settling" idea for several months, since my intrepid friend Sara Lipka told me she was going to interivew Lori Gottlieb, the author. (Sara did a great job with the interview, and extracted such interesting and humanizing details as the fact that Lori, who is a 40something single mom, is worried her mother will tell her "I told you so.") The article's thesis is that single women--mostly women over 30--should "settle" for men who do not meet their "high expectations" because it's better to have a stable partner who can contribute money to your household and help you raise your children than to be alone when you're in your 30s or 40s, as Lori herself is.
Lori says she knows women are going to write in to accuse her of being part of the "feminist backlash," but it doesn't seem particularly feminist to me to call a desire for a Stepford man "high standards." The issue is that the whole "settling" paradigm addresses the wrong part of the problem: you're not lowering your standards by deciding to look for a partner amongst existing human beings rather than imaginary ones. As Carolyn Hax would tell you, if you're waiting for an all-encompassing, life-changing, spine-tingling, love-at-first-site soulmate kind of thing like Bush had with Putin with a person who's tall, athletic, environmentally aware, has straight teeth, loves Grey's Anatomy, hates Coldplay, and can hold a tune, you can join me on the Waiting for a Flying Car bench for an indefinite interval.
*My desire for a flying car is only partly why I have not yet gotten rid of my '95 Geo.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Now DHS has produced the pictures (with the dude's face redacted) in response to a FOIA request from CNN. Julie says she didn't lie to Congress when she said the pictures were unavailable, it just took 3 months for DHS to forensically recover them.
I note a couple of things we can learn from this story:
- If it takes our Department of Homeland Security 3 months to recover files from a camera memory card, the kind of thing that I feel confident an electronic discovery firm could do for a law firm in a couple of days, we are all totally screwed, homeland security-wise.
- LAWYER DORK ALERT Congress should look into "spoliation"--the idea that if somebody destroys evidence on purpose, you should infer it's really really bad for them, and maybe, for instance, not confirm them as head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
- Haha, I was totally right that it was the same guy!
- Somebody should check the memory card on the camcorder they used for those waterboarding tapes.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Surely there is some mutually agreeable way to fix this? Like, say, Scrabble lets Scrabulous use its name in exchange for a small fee or some free ad space, with the realization that a Facebook member playing 5 simultaneous games of Scrabulous (me, for instance) is only going to become more fond of Scrabble, to buy Scrabble dictionaries, and to spread the gospel of Scrabble far and wide?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
So it took me by surprise that I have totally become that dude for the Democratic primaries. Until the Iowa caucuses I was on board with Obama--not rabidly so, because excessive sincere enthusiasm makes me nervous, but pretty decidedly. While watching the coverage of the caucuses that night, though, I found myself defending Hillary when people said things like that it would be more ground-breaking to have a black President than a female one. Also, I admit, I was impressed by the near-crying incident--I dont know if it was fake or not, but if it was, what a performance!
Then after she lost in Iowa, I found myself feeling slightly disappointed that the race might be over so fast, and also kind of bad for her for all the piling-on. I think she's too conservative, but I found all the coverage about how voters don't want to return to "the Clinton years" really annoying because I don't think people mean "Bill Clinton pretended to be a pinko but passed some hideously retrograde legislation and nominated medium-to-conservative judges," they mean "We had to hear about Monica Lewinsky all the time." Which, get over it, plus I'm sure Hillary will not bring Monica with her to the White House. Would my change of heart have been enough to make me vote for her if I lived in New Hampshire instead of a disenfranchised non-state? Who can say?
Now that she's back in the running, though, I am swinging back away from her. She is still too conservative, after all.
So, my sympathy for the dumb voter has increased, but hopefully that will go away soon.