Sunday, December 23, 2007

my office loves me, they really really love me!

Those of you who know me personally realize that I am not one that necessarily is full of holiday cheer. I'm no Scrooge, but I tend to think the best kind of gifts are those that come in a particular shade of green. As in cash money green. Yeah, that's how I roll. Deal with it. But once in a while, a gift will come along that manages to top the appeal of cold hard cash. And that gift is now safely in my home, prominently displayed on my massive bookshelf.

Isn't it great? No, it's not the gold Putin bust. Or the vodka. Or the wine. (Although, again, those of you who know me realize next to cash, booze and Putin-related presents go a long way with me.) No, no, no. It's this:

Yes, that's the hottest man in the legislative branch, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). And (sadly?) this is one of the few times I'm not being sarcastic. Whereas Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is the most entertaining member of Congress, Coleman takes the prize in the sexy-time category. (Don't ask me why. If you don't see it then you haven't seen all the other members of Congress are blind.) So, while I'm unsure whether I'll crack open Shared Vision: Norm Coleman and the Remarkable Revitalization of St. Paul, you can bet that Coleman's da Vinci Veneers™ grin will remain displayed on my top shelf, snuggled up in the vines of my pothos plant as if they were my arms. Um, OK, that was creepy. Sorry.

Also, on a logistical note, I won't be able to update this hilarioualy entertaining and newly creepy blog next week. Why? It's time to jet-set again. I'll be in Rome and Venice taking in all the history and culture shopping for the week, which will leave very little time for nerding out online. But, chillax all, I'll be back before you know it. Unless, of course, I come to my senses and decide to leave DC behind for good and stay in Europe. Ciao!

Friday, December 21, 2007

best use of work time ever...the experiment

My office is retardulous.* And of course, I mean that in the most awesome of ways. As it turns out, in a rather pathetic twist of fate, the only two reporters not engaged or married in my office are female (I know, I better start collecting cats and freezing my eggs -- TMI! -- now, right?).

So anyway, the topic last week was "Let’s get Marissa and her female coworker, Juice, to bring dates to the company holiday party." We thought about it, but then quickly rethought -- neither one of us knows anyone we hate enough to subject to the kind of torment that only an office that decks its halls with Putins in Flock-of-Seagulls hair can dole out.

And so, as visions of "Valentine for Perfect Strangers" danced in our heads, we initiated The Grand Sub-Par Blind Date Experiment of 2007.

Step 1: Put an ad up on Craigslist:
Do you like vodka and Polish sausage?

Two 20-something attractive females looking for dates to company Polish-themed holiday party this Friday afternoon.

Must be able to initiate awkward, possibly offensive conversations, that may end in drinks being thrown in people's faces. Bonus points for real or feigned physical ticks or mild Tourette syndrome to make our coworkers uncomfortable.

Alcoholics and native Eastern-Europeans welcome. Trendy Euro mullets or Flock-of-Seagulls haircuts appreciated. If you're gay, that's OK.

Please send a picture so we may judge you on your physical appearance. 'Tis the season!
Step 2: Wait for the replies to come pouring in.

And, man alive!, did they pour in. We received 14 within the span of 36 hours, 13 of which were accompanied by photographs and not all ugly! And I must say, while some of the responses scared the sh*t out of me, there were a couple that actually made me pause for a (split) second before deciding not to reply. Also, in a city so racially divided physically, it was kind of amazing to see the multicultural response our little ad elicited. We received responses from:
  • 2 black men (one American and the other from Africa);
  • 1 Hispanic guy;
  • 1 dude from "the Mediterranean region;"
  • 1 "fellow Euro trash" guy;
  • 1 man who gave no information other than the fact that he goes by the name of "Kingmast;"
  • 7 various white dudes; and
  • 1 Middle Eastern fellow.
But on to the best part! In no particular order, here is a random sampling of some of our more entertaining responses and, of course, my feedback. And, while we're at it, let's just go ahead and preface all the italicized paragraphs with a giant SIC:

I love vodka, I love sausage, and I will dance to polkas. My mom even played the accordian. I have the bona fides! I don't actually have Tourette's, but I admired Andy Kaufman's alter ego Tony Clifton, and I have improvisational comedy experience. ... Please advise! Patrick

Dear Patrick: Your resume sounds quite impressive, as is the photo you attached of yourself dressed up like the Cure's Robert Smith. Thank you also for informing that your "skin is not naturally that pale."

I'm 24 and live in Fairfax, Va. I don't have trouble meeting women, it just most of my opportunities to meet new women our at bars, and those aren't the type of people I want to potentially date. And thats why I decided to check out craigslist. --Mike

Dear Mike: Wait, so let me get this straight. You're above meeting chicks you meet at bars but cool with going out with two sick freaks who posted an ad requesting their dates have Tourette syndrome? Yes? Oh, OK cool. Just wanted to make sure. PS -- Your command of English grammar and punctuation is superb.

Well hello there fellow Euro trash, the polska party sounds like it'll be a blast... feed me a few drinks and I can be as much of 'that guy' as you can handle... have you kids seen the tourettes boy before? Wow I almost peed my pants. I am home for the holidays and am definitely looking to break back into the sophisticated DC scene... this looks like the perfect opportunity... Tim

Dear Tim: I like that you're Eurotrash. That sh*t is tight. Your incontinence, however, could prove to be a party foul. Yet I am impressed with your ironic sense of humor -- "sophisticated DC scene." LOL! Good one, son. One last question -- this "Tourette's boy" you speak of, is he free?

I love vodka! -- Zach

Dear Zach: I am stoked you love vodka. I love vodka too. But I am concerned that you may not be old enough to imbibe this libation we both so very much adore. But call me in three years.

Hi, gails.
I actually do not like Vodca, I am a scotch man. OK, Here is the deal, if one of you need a date and/or if you would like to hook me up with one beautiful girl, I will come. And after the party in the evening the drinks will be on me. Sounds Like fun... Asrat

Dear Asrat: Actually, that sounds like the opposite of fun. No.

Nothing like a big buck ni**er hanging out, clogging arteries and getting drunk with a couple of pollacks. -- Edward

Dear Edward: You are clearly a very elegant and eloquent man. Move the f*ck over Robert Frost, Edward's sh*t is so much tighter. But for serious, Edward, I'm guessing maybe you actually do have Tourette's? If so, then you, sir, are invited.

Asshole! --Tariq

Dear Tariq: You had me at "ass." Your addition of "hole" shows me you care. You, sir, are hilarious on so many different levels. I mean, am I the asshole? Is that the Tourette's? You really got me thinking. And LOLing! Will you marry me?

Step 3: The Conclusion

As tempted as I was to actually write Tariq back, I decided against it. Now, before you get all riled up about my lack of follow-through, let me assure you that I came one click away from letting the proverbial Polish gowno hit the fan. But then something happened. Juice jumped across her cubicle, somersaulted over the five-foot periwinkle wall and windmill kicked the mouse out of my hand to stop me.

"Do you want to get fired?" Juice asked.

"Um....no. Not at the moment."

"Then we have to end this madness!"

"But Tariq...asshole...he's probably totally hilarious and awesome all the time and--"

"GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF!"

Yeah, it went something like that. But to be brief like my new hero Tariq, we decided against bringing any of these assholes with us. And so we shall enjoy our vodka and Polish sausage alone, before we jet to the fertility clinic to freeze our eggs and later to Petco to buy cats.

*My made-up short version of "ridculously retarded." Merry Christmas. That's my gift to you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

i'll see dc public transportation in hell

The District's public transportation (PT) system is dead to me. Well, actually, it would be dead to me if I wasn't so damn poor. But, regardless, it's dead to me in my mind.

Like many others, I've become jaded, disenchanted and just plain pissed off at nearly every aspect of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. I've had to wait up to 20 minutes for a train...during rush hour. (I mean, come the f*ck on! ) I've been on a bus that went the wrong f*cking way by turning right instead of left. ("No, ma'am, your other left.") And more than that, I've nearly been run down by errant (high) drivers at least three times. (Sadly, I'm one of the lucky ones.)

But the most ridiculously retarded -- retardulous, if you will -- aspect about DC's PT system is the idea of a bus schedule. Again, I'm not the first one to comment on this, but I feel the need to add my pithy remarks on the subject, especially against the backdrop of impending fare hikes and schedule changes.

And to begin my retardulous tale, allow me to allude to one of the great philosophical thinkers of our time -- The Golden Girls' Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo, "Picture it..." Washington, DC. 2007. A seasonably cold, dark day. I'm walking down Connecticut Avenue toward Porter around 5:15 pm. As I near the intersection I see the H4 pulling out of the stop. Damn. Just missed it. But, lo and behold, creeping up right behind it was the H3. Sweet. Perfect timing. Well, it would've been perfect timing if the bus driver didn't then gun the gas pedal and speed up to run the red light, nearly causing an accident. I mean, God forbid, buses try to stick to their schedules. Oh no, it's much, much better to make sure each bus is directly up another one's proverbial butt. I mean if this isn't the model of efficiency, what the f*ck is?! Unnecessary packs of buses that come only once an hour...DURING RUSH HOUR! Brilliant!

It really seems that DC strives to suck more than it already naturally does.

At this rate of suckage growth, I'm expecting that by the close of 2008 not only will the entire fleet of DC buses start traveling in one, singular pack one time per day, but in order to board, passengers will either have to endure getting bitch-slapped by the driver or offer their foot to get run over. Not tight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

markey teleports himself "over the internet"

One of my favorite politicians (OK, someone shoot me for saying that) is Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Regardless of whether I agree with his politics or not (a subject I won't touch on this blog), the man is unquestionably entertaining. Whether he's ranting about cargo security (with props!) or composing poetry to the Boston Red Sox, Markey is my go-to politician for comic relief.

Now, once again, Markey has outdone himself. He's taken his act off the House floor and has transferred it to the virtual world, according to a House press release:

"Confronted with a need to be both in Washington, DC, to push a clean energy bill through Congress and halfway around the world in Bali, Indonesia to address the United Nations climate summit, Chairman [of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming] Edward Markey turned to the virtual reality community called Second Life. Creating a 3-D version of himself (also known as an avatar) he was able to travel online to OneClimate Islands Virtual Bali conference center where he delivered the first international speech by a Member of Congress in a virtual world."
The best parts of the speech occur within the first minute when Markey declares that he is "the first member the United States Congress to be introduced by someone with a blue dragon on her shoulder." But I digress, virtual Markey is something to be seen not described, so here he is in all his "teleported over the Internet" glory...



Now I’m no expert on virtual communities considering my knowledge of "Second Life" begins and ends with a very special episode of Law & Order SVU, but from what I gathered, I can tell you that for each virtual green zombie, goth butterfly and floating Darth Vader, there is one real-life nerd trying to take a byte (LOL!) out of global warming.

In other words, we're doomed! See you guys in hell!

al gore dissed...again.*

Yay! Time magazine finally named its "Person of the Year" and guess who it is? Well, it’s not tree-hugging Al Gore! He got edged out...again! And this time not even by an American politician. Nope! He lost out to Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin! F*ck carbon emissions! Путин увидит их в аду. Yay!


Hott.

And "Putin is no vegetable," according to the accompanying article written by Adi Ignatius, who just may have gotten himself on V.V.P.’s hit list. Yes, it seems Putin grew to hate poor Adi over their 3.5 hours together.

But it didn't have to be like that. It started off delightfully enough with "an elaborate dinner of lobster-and-shiitake-mushroom salad, ‘crab fingers with hot sauce’ [Editor's note: I’m pretty sure this means imitation crab sticks and ketchup in Russia] and impressive vintages of Puligny-Montrachet and a Chilean Cabernet."

However, by the end of the evening, the proverbial stoliki seemed to have turned:

"Putin has been irritable throughout, a grudging host. Suddenly, at 10 o'clock, he stands and abruptly ends the evening. 'We’ve finished eating, there’s nothing more on the table, so let’s call it a day,' he declares. Actually, the main course (choice of sturgeon or veal) and dessert ('bird's milk' cake [Editor's note: This cake is not tight.]) -- lovingly printed in gold ink on the prepared menu cards -- haven't yet been served. The Russian President's brusqueness is jarring. Have our questions angered him? Bored him? Does he have another appointment? It's not clear. 'Bye bye,' says Putin -- in English -- as he walks briskly out of the room."

Ooooo burn!

But what can really be expected in this situation? Putin’s made it pretty clear that he hates journalists -- even more than he hates democracy!

Luckily for the readers of Adi's otherwise mundane, rehashed, not-really-informative-at-all article, Ignatius did not censor his awkward moments with Vova. And to the delight of this reader who values uncomfortable moments, Adi lights a Molotov cocktail in the lead paragraph:

"No one is born with a stare like Vladimir Putin's. The Russian President's pale
blue eyes are so cool, so devoid of emotion that the stare must have begun as an
affect, the gesture of someone who understood that power might be achieved by
the suppression of ordinary needs, like blinking. The affect is now seamless,
which makes talking to the Russian President not just exhausting but often
chilling. It's a gaze that says, I'm in charge."

And if I didn’t know better, I might start thinking Adi is looking to have sexy time with Putin (I know -- who isn’t?!), but Putin ain't having it: "Putin himself is sardonic but humorless. In our hours together, he didn't attempt a joke, and he misread several of our attempts at playfulness."

Ouch!

Wrong, Ignatius! Putin’s not only funny, he's downright hilarious, cracking jokes on everything from war to rape! Tee-hee!

But even if Ignatius thinks Putin is a fussy old Dima Downer, he made sure to show Time's audience that he, himself, is a resevoir of one-liners -- at least when it comes to alluding to Putin as a dictator:

"Putin and Bush are fishing on the Volga River. After half an hour Bush complains, 'Vladimir, I'm getting bitten like crazy by mosquitoes, but I haven't seen a single one bothering you.' Putin: 'They know better than that.'" Zing!

"Stalin's ghost appears to Putin in a dream, and Putin asks for him help running the country. Stalin says, 'Round up and shoot all the democrats, and then paint the inside of the Kremlin blue.' 'Why blue?' Putin asks. 'Ha!' says Stalin. 'I knew you wouldn't ask me about the first part.'" Double zing!

"Putin goes to a restaurant with Medvedev and orders a steak. The waiter asks, 'And what about the vegetable?' Putin answers, 'The vegetable will have steak too.'" Triple zing!

Maybe next year, Gore, maybe next year.

*Thanks to my good friend, Brown, for providing me with the headline.

the holidays just got better

In the words of a good friend for whom I previewed the following holiday cheer sent to my office from a Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency employee: "Best. Christmas card. Ever."


What can we glean from this besides copious amounts of holiday cheer? Well, for one, Sasha Chudin is clearly skilled at Photoshop. This is a goddamn work of art. From the magical, astronomically incorrect universe nestled in the branches of a sitka spruce, to the astute southwest-northeast corner juxtaposition of the father-son snowman team and Santa's sleigh, Chudin is clearly a master of the electronic-collage genre. In fact, I think he might have just created it.

But even more than Chudin's crackerjack skills is the man, himself. I mean look at him, just chillaxing on the surface of the moon. "No atmosphere? No problem!" He's like a little gift, adorned with a bow and, of course, a fannypack.

And now I will sing to you, Sasha. Shhh...just listen:

Очи чёрные, очи жгучие;
Очи страстные и прекрасные!
Как люблю я вас! Как боюсь я вас;
Знать увидел вас я не в добрый час!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

sneak peaks and homosexual unicorns!

Lest you all (all three of you) think I've been neglecting my blogging duties, allow me to relieve your anguish by telling you that no, no I did not. In fact, I'm currently conducting a top secret Anti DC experiment and the proverbial petri dish is looking pretty damn gnarly. Regrettably, I can't tell you any more about this ongoing investigation, but don't worry -- all will be unveiled on Friday when I make the results public. Right here on this blog. But for now, I'll give you a small hint: It involves technology, Polish sausage and the holiday season. Stay tuned. (Although also check in before then, because since I barely have a life, I'm sure to be blogging Tuesday-Thursday, as well. Bah.)

However, to make up for my missing status this afternoon, I invite you to check out my new favorite Internet series called Planet Unicorn. I found it via another DC blog, the name of which unfortunately I did not keep a record, but if and when I find it, I'll make sure to redact and add a link to this guy's online musings just to give credit where credit is due. I'm honest like that. But for now, enjoy the antics of three unicorns -- Feathers, Cadillac and Tom Cruise -- and the 8-year-old gay boy named Shannon who wished them into existence.

Episode 1



Episode 2



Episode 3



Episode 4*



Episode 5



*This one's my most favorite.

Friday, December 14, 2007

can you pick out all the creepy sexual undertones?

One of my favorite books of all-time is The Fountainhead, by commie-hater Ayn Rand. Although some people take issue with the book's unconventional protagonist, commie-hater Howard Roark, and the overall moral that most human beings are mindless morons, I happen to love the Objectivist message. In a society so bogged down in political correctness and "don't-hurt-my-precious-feelings"-type attitudes, I find self-proclaimed jackasses like Roark incredibly refreshing. In fact, I, too, have found myself striving to increase my "f*ck-you"-o-meter by at least a factor of 10 each day. Soon, I'll be walking down the street and randomly punching people in the face as they pass.

But, more than Roark's cognizant self-righteous attitude, I really like his design aesthetics. Like me, he's a minimalist. He eschews gaudy baubles and stone adornments for the sleek lines and natural strength of steel. At first he is condemned by the commie-loving masses for his sensibilities, but he triumphs (of course) in the end, standing atop his Wynward skyscraper, his ginger-locks wafting in the wind. He created the fictional version of this:

*sigh*

I've always loved a good skyscraper, but after reading The Fountainhead for the first time in 1998, my love for overbearing, sun-blocking, nature-crushing, sky-high structures only multiplied. However, ironically, I find myself now living in a city adorned not with steel towers, but with granite chodes, save for Washington's outstanding, er, monument.

*sad sigh* (Way to be, law.)

O! How I do miss a good skyline! But, truth be told, despite my love of skyscrapers, I've never lived long-term in a city with a truly magnificent skyline. New York City and I crossed paths for just five months. Chicago and I lasted just shy of 90 days. I suppose Boston and I worked out OK, for two years, but its soaring girder-and-steel structures pale in comparison to the aforementioned two. My longest effort to live in one city occurred in Moscow. But my three years there left me surrounded by very un-Roarkian structures:

Sure it's pretty from afar, but up close and personal, you learn it's all smoke and mirrors. (However, word on the ulitsa, is that my dear Moskva is becoming more Roark-friendly as I type. Spasibo, Comrade Putin!)

So alas, I've been forced to satisfy my skyscraper cravings through short-term trysts, including a 24-hour trip back up to New York, a three-day jaunt to San Francisco and a lovely weekend visit to Minneapolis. But mainly, I get my fix through sheer imagination.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

i'll see your bleached jeans and pleather go-go boots in hell

In a prophetic and awesomely twisted coincidence, my Gmail-user-generated Dictionary.com Word of the Day this evening was "dishabille" (pronounced dis-uh-BEEL), which means "the state of being carelessly or partially dressed."

I immediately chuckled and thought to myself, "Oh, Gmail, your ability to use complex algorithms to snoop around my private E-mails and generate advertising based on some random words I just used has once again left me amaz..."

I paused. Something wasn't right. And then I remembered:

"Wait. Wait just a goddamn minute! I didn't type any Gmails today! In fact, I was out of the office and away from my computer all day! WTF?! Gmail's read my mind! Just like that she-demon Miss Cleo!"

But don't worry. I quickly calmed down after reminding myself that I'm probably just too dumb to understand the mechanics of the said algorithms that I usually find so magical. Eh...whatevs.

But even if Miss Cleo isn't involved, this fortuitous encounter with this unknown fantastic English word has changed my life, er, well, at least it's changed my theory on what the hell is wrong with DC style.

With that in mind, I realized my original Anti DC Theory of Fashion was no longer applicable. The beautiful Venn diagram graphic failed to describe accurately the gnarliness I confront each and every day. No longer is it important to recognize if something is ugly, boring, or ugly and boring. Why? Because it’s all dishabille!

And moreover, the use of circles also now seemed inappropriate. Circles are too careful, too whole. DC requires something much more disheveled and blob-like, such as... well, just hold onto your pleats and behold:

Yes, DCers, for the most part, you’re all collectively a bunch of carelessly and/or partially dressed people. And, as if you needed more proof, here’s a partial list of some of the said style slip-ups I chanced upon today:
  • Ill-fitting jeans, featuring high-contrast bleached white stripes up the front and back;
  • Crocs (Duh, of course. What would a day be like in DC without at least one sighting?!);
  • Black pleather go-go boots with white racing stripes up the front and back;
  • Multiple visible panty lines;
  • Unintentional ankle-skimming jeans, which also happened to be about 4 to 6 sizes too small on the woman wearing them (Seriously, if those somehow managed not to split at the seams at some point today, some fabric scientist needs to get the Nobel next year. That is some serious science.);
  • Multiple pairs of 2.5-inch, block-heeled orthopedic shoes, most of which were stuck on the feet of women younger than me. I'm 28.
And to put the cherry on top of the dishabille sundae that is DC, I also encountered quite a few non-clothing-related blunders today, including last decade's popular zig-zag hair part and multiple cases of Pee-Wee Herman face (sans bowtie, unfortunately) on the District’s men. (Wow, come to think of it, perhaps the multiple false P.W. Herman-visage sightings were portents that, just like at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, I, too, would find myself with a computer-generated word of the day. Dishabille! Ahhhhhhh!) Oh, DC, you sassy, foreshadowing bastard!

la fourchette: un petit morceau de merde

Ass juice. Pronounce those two words slowly in your mind. Pronounce them out loud if you're alone, or, well, if you're in the kind of company that wouldn't projectile vomit upon hearing the word "ass" buttressed by the word "juice."

I don't often ask for reader participation, but for the harrowing and terrifying tale that's about to unfold, I want you to get yourself into that gruesomely disgusting mindset that only the visualization of ass juice can allow; to appreciate as tangibly as possible that which befell upon me that fateful day. Aaaaaaaassssssssss juuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiicccccccccce.

And now, I recount for you my Sunday brunch at Adams Morgan's La Fourchette.

It's hard to believe now, but when I went to La Fourchette, it was a planned event. Someone, somewhere had recommended it. They said the cooking was "endearingly authentic and sometimes wonderful" over at washingtonpost.com. However, if by "authentic," the Post meant some hairy Frenchman sweat all over my omelette, and by "sometimes wonderful," it meant "always gnarly," then yes, that review is spot on.

But I'll give the Post a break. Phyllis C. Richman wrote that review in 1996, before I even graduated from high school in Minnesota; before I spent my college years frolicking through the prairies and cornfields of Iowa; before I whittled away my good, wrinkle-free years in the love-hate purgatory known as Moscow, Russia; before I wasted two more years going to grad school and reacclimating to a relatively mayonnaise-free society in Boston; before I managed to spend my entire savings in five months while living in lower Manhattan; before I finally decided it was time to work both legally and for a yearly salary in DC... *sigh*

For your benefit and mine, I'll cease recapping my life that's now agonizingly flashing before my eyes to just summarize -- times change.

And so it seems time has taken its ugly toll on La Fourchette, which, I prefer to call The Fork, since I contemplated stabbing one into my own jugular to save myself from choking down the slimy, ass juicy, flat, greasy jaundiced pile of merde this establishment tried to pass off as an omelette.

Now, you may be wondering why I didn't just send it back to la cuisine and aller (oui, j'aime the usage of annoying and often grammatically incorrect foreign languages, c'est la vie! ...désolé). Well, like my experience at Reef, I had been waiting roughly 120 minutes to receive my food. I choked that sh*t down not only out of sheer hunger, but also out of principle -- the principle of being tired, lazy and slightly hungover.

But despite my post-Saturday-night state, I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Honestly, it was physically impossible. That sh*t was just so, so, SO not tight.

In fact, it tips the scales of not-tightness so much that I really can't even talk about it anymore without feeling like I need to turn off all my lights, crank up Celine Dion's "All By Myself" and rock back-and-forth in the fetal position. La Fourchette is dead to me.

Time I'll Never Get Back: 3 hours

Money I'd Have Rather Spent Buying Gerard Depardieu Croque Monsieurs: $14.00

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the soundtrack is just so tight

Now, as we all begin to find out more and more about your Trusty Servant, you'll come to realize 1) how f*ing awesome I am, and 2) there are certain topics that I can't openly mock due to job-related, ethical-type concerns...or something. Anyway, my views on the U.S. government and my personal political leanings are two such topics.

So, with that in mind, I neutrally present to you the following video that was released Dec. 5 along with a report entitled "Homeland Security for Sale." I'm not saying anything about the Federal Emergency Management Agency's fake news conferences or about Immigration and Customs Enforcement's "most original" Halloween costume or about the billions of dollars our homeland security incubus consumes each year. Nope, I'm not saying anything about any of that. All I'm saying is that the soundtrack in the background of this video by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is pretty tight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

date lab: another chance to mock others!

I should probably be ashamed to admit that my favorite part of getting the Sunday Washington Post is because of a little section in the Sunday magazine called DateLab -- a weekly run-down of two DC-tools on a slightly awkward date.



But I'm unabashedly not ashamed. This sh*t could (I can't emphasize the "could" enough here) be genius à la Blind Date, which, I hope you agree, is hands-down the most entertaining television dating show ever created (whaddup Roger Lodge!).

Like Blind Date, DateLab relies heavily on the inherent social awkwardness of a first date between strangers. However, instead of drunken sluts, the Post brings together one hapless male tool and one desperate female tool (once, they even brought together two hapless and desperate lesbian tools) and then edits the recap using the "he said, she said" composition.

I see such great, great potential with this, but rarely am I left satisfied. Why? Well, for one, the dearth of drunken sluts automatically makes for less entertaining fare. But also, it seems everything always turns out so damn average.

Rarely are the two people into each other, but even more rarely (and this clearly would be the most enjoyable type of article to read) do they absolutely despise each other. Instead, the DateLab dates are always "slightly above average," "a 3.5 out of 5," "maybe I'll e-mail her in the future." But however they quantify their bromidic dinner dates, the two people chosen always make for rather boring reads.

Let's take last Sunday's as an example: Cori, 29, a law student, and Tim, 28, a director of marketing, meet at Station 9 on U Street. They order food, they eat, they talk about international human rights law and they go home. Yawn. For God's sake, even the tools on the date realize how dang boring they are: "I wish it were a total disaster or a total success, because it would be a better story," said Cori.

True, Cori. Double true. Now maybe it's just me, but I want these dates to end with these people shambling out. Either they do it in the bathroom (à la drunken sluts) or someone gets a drink thrown in his (or her) face.

Honestly, any activity that goes beyond mundane "small talk" would suffice. Maybe one of them mixes Vicodin and wine and painfully sings "Memories" from Cats in a smoky karaoke dive; perhaps one of them ends up eyeing the waiter (or waitress) and begins making really, really inappropriate remarks; possibly one of them has Tourette's. I mean, honestly, Washington Post DateLab Editor, I'm looking for some action here -- any action -- to spice up these made-to-be-only-slightly-awkward situations.

I tell you, I'm tempted to apply for DateLab myself just to ensure an interesting article (I do a pretty great fake lazy eye and I love -- love -- causing scenes). Yet, even without, well, me on the date, I'll probably still continue to look forward to DateLab each and every Sunday. Why? Because, yes, I'm that easily entertained. And also, the constant influx of two new tools to mock each week provides more fodder for my vapid little blog.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

'putin' my life in order

Well, I just had a horrendous commute home. I was walking to the up-escalator at the Columbia Heights metro. My right foot slipped out, but I was able to dexterously shift my weight to save myself. Just as I was thinking to myself, "Wow, that was a close one. Good save," I bit it...hard. Zoinks! Don't worry, I'm OK, save for what might become a rather large bruise on my left knee. (PS -- What the f*ck do they grease the metro's floors with?!)

It's days like this that I am thankful for my creative (freakish) imagination and my coworkers, who not only are willing to indulge my ridiculousness, but even encourage it. We decorated the office for the holidays today and, I'll let you guess how I chose to contribute.



Did you guess it?


Yes, yes it is. It's Russian President Vladimir Putin adorned with Flock of Seagulls hair! 'Tis the season!

Friday, December 7, 2007

milkshake wishes and chimichanga dreams

If there’s one aspect about city life that truly irks me, it’s the purposeful rudeness and total neglect of how your actions -- or inactions -- affect those around you. Having lived in small Midwestern towns until the age of 21, I grew up in an environment that coached (beat) its children to follow the Golden Rule at all costs. " Do unto others as you wish others to do unto you," our elders told us. And if you chose not to follow that policy, you’d be immediately scolded (beat).

The point is, I grew up learning to hold open doors for people with babies or the elderly; to not start a conversation in the middle of a crowded stairwell; even to make sure that when I put my groceries down on the conveyer that I do so as to accommodate the people behind me so they, too, can relieve their arms of frozen chimichangas, Cherry Coke Zero and Reduced Fat Cheez-Its.

I carried on with my very Midwestern behavior until, well, I left the Midwest. Of all places, I went to a mecca of rudeness, Moscow, and learned that just because you’re friendly doesn’t mean everyone else is. I’ve been literally pushed off trolleys by babushkas for no apparent reason; I’ve been nearly spit on (albeit inadvertently) by hobos with TB; and more than once I’ve had doors slammed in my face because, apparently, it’s just too much trouble to hold them open for the person directly behind you.

So, after a few months (days), my small-town mentality quickly eroded and I became a bitch, a demeanor I’ve perfected through much practice over the past seven years. Ahhh...the memories.

But, in all honesty, Moscovites have a pretty damn good excuse for being such impudent jackasses. As a South African diplomat friend of mine once said, “This is the Third World ... it’s barbaric.” While I don’t think Moscow qualifies as Third World in the traditional sense, there is (well, at least there was from 2001-2004) a certain barbarism that prevails in everyday life: It’s perpetually dirty; the temperatures are below freezing and it's dark from October-May; it's dichotomously classed and priced; and, well, Moscow is just kind of all-around bizarre. In essence, it’s a warped simulacrum of New York City, but much, much more rough around the edges.

So you could imagine, while living in the sh*t, my view from afar of America morphed from realistic to fantastic. When I finally moved back to what had become "happy fairy land" in my mind, I expected strangers to stop me on the street just to smile and say “hi.” I expected people to offer to carry me around on their shoulders so my shoes wouldn’t get dirty. I expected people to fetch me delicious milkshakes whenever I thought to myself, “Wow. I could really go for a delicious milkshake right now.” Well, my friends, I am still waiting for my impromptu milkshake.
Washington, DC, while not nearly as bad as Moscow, is still a pretty rude city. Well, let me clarify, parts of DC are really rude. Mt. Pleasant, where I spend a quality chunk of my time, is actually, well, pleasant. I’m going to go ahead and non-politically-correctly chalk that up to there being a lot of immigrants in that neighborhood. Immigrants not from Moscow. Friendly immigrants.

However, other parts of DC are real downers. I went shopping in Georgetown a couple weeks ago and felt rather like a hobo with TB. Rarely, did one of the uptight salespeople greet me or ask me if I needed help. Now I’ve worked in retail and I know how horrendous it is. Customers are, for the most part, the most annoying people you’ll ever meet. “Do you have this in a small?” they’ll ask. “Probably, asshole, just hold on a damn minute,” you’ll think, but what you’ll say aloud through a smile is, “I’m not sure, but I’ll be glad to help you.”

You’re getting paid to be fake nice so just do it...and I won't spit on you. I’m not asking for a milkshake here, I’m asking you to do your damn job in a civilized manner.

I know it's possible. I've seen it done, most recently at the Potbelly sandwich shop at 4300 Connecticut Ave., near the Van Ness metro stop. They smile, they’re polite, they do their job and they do it wonderfully. And, yes, for my ultimate cheesy ending, they make a good milkshake.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the douchiest of them all?

Egads, something happened today. Something hideous and nasty. Something life-altering. And it was all my fault. I did something I never thought I’d do and I am so ashamed.

And to think I preach nearly every day here on this glorious blog about all the sh*t that isn’t tight in DC and here I am -- a hypocrite. I always thought I was the type to rise above. But alas, after seven months in hell, I too have become part DC, part douche, if you will. O! The horror! Just seeing it in print is...well, it's damn near unbearable.

But before rumors start spreading that I bought a pair of pleated khakis or (gasp!) a pair of these, I better just go ahead and tell you what happened…*closes eyes, inhales, exhales, open eyes*

I…I, um…OK, IgotreallyexcitedaboutthenewBlackBerrysmybossjustgotforus!

*crickets chirping*

I did. I really did. I got uncharacteristically giddy over a piece of technology, and not even a piece of technology cool enough то get giddy over like a time machine or a transporter. Oh no, I was all elated over a goddamn BlackBerry. *shudder*

But (oh man, I can’t believe I’m about to try and justify this sin), you have to understand, the BlackBerry I was using before, the 7250, was on its last pixel. The buttons often malfunctioned; it would freeze up incessantly; the battery life was down to about three hours; and, perhaps most importantly, the display lost its clarity, impeding on my BrickBreaker abilities. How was a girl supposed to react?

Well, here’s how I should’ve reacted. I should’ve just accepted the shiny new BlackBerry (it’s an 8820, by the way, which features the roller-ball -- my BrickBreaker game has never been so good) like a professional, instead of like a mega douche.

But no, here’s what actually happened. I get handed the new BlackBerry and immediately exclaim, “Suh-weet!” before boasting (and here’s the really ignominious part), “All the other reporters are going to be so jealous!” *sighs, shakes head* I know…I know…

My saving grace (and I hope to holy heaven I have one here) is that as soon as I said what I did, I recoiled in disgrace. I, myself, couldn’t believe what my larynx, vocal folds and palate just unwittingly shaped. I knew it was wrong, which brings me to my point: Apparently, after seven long months, a little bit of DC made its way into my subconscious. I am officially part douche and I had no idea. But now that I’m aware, hopefully my ego can keep id (get it? LOL Freud!) in check. For instance, I vow never, ever to utilize the 100-percent genuine leather hip holster that came with it. (And no, I’m not wearing it right now!)

Anyway, all I’m sayin’ is watch your back -- you never know when the DC in you might rear its gnarly, pleat-clad face.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

if the white house is rockin' don't come a-knockin'

Recounting some ridiculous story about when some random dude hit on his gigantic ginger wife in front of him, Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich told the Washington Post in a Dec. 5 article, "Now you know why I think I can be president? ... If I can marry this incredibly brilliant, beautiful woman, I mean, why wouldn't I think I can be president of the United States?"

Hmm, small man, what a concept because, I mean, it's not like it's that common for ugly, but rich and powerful men to wrangle willowy foreign women into marriage. How novel!
Ahh yes. Isn't sarcasm the best? But seriously, what an utterly moronic sounding statement to make. (Although, for the record, I do think he was joking...at least I hope.)

OK, I think it's time we have a full disclosure moment: I spent most of my early-20s living in Moscow, Russia, where, at one point, I worked as a paralegal for an American immigration lawyer. I did this for about a year in-between jobs as Embassy whipping girl and editor of a now-defunct English-language nightlife rag, in which I would tell tales similar to what I'm about to tell you now.

My main duty as a paralegal was to fill out K-1 fiancee visa applications for young, diaphanous teenagers and run them over to the U.S. consulate. After all, no one wants a little paperwork to get in the way of true love! And by true love, I mean, green card. Dang, I don't mean to be a cynic, but, um, mein eyes hath seen some sick sh*t. (OK, maybe one time out of 100, some 19-year-old village girl from Sergeev Posad really did want to marry her fleshy, 50-something, pock-marked, toupee-topped man-of-her-dreams because she was in love, but in most cases, the look of frightened dread shone through the feigned excitement.)

The most depressing "couple" I had to work with was a mail-order 17-year-old girl for a 61-year-old man. The paperwork for that was extra tough because, well, the union between a child and a swarthy old U.S. citizen isn't exactly street legal. After that, I soon realized my legal pimping days were over, so I left the law biz and never looked back.

Anyway, my point here is that tricking, er, I mean, wooing a young, good-looking woman into marriage qualifies old men for nothing, unless being qualified as creepy is their actual intention. Most definitely, although I'm sure Kucinich said what he did in jest, acquiring a young wife is not a reliable indicator of a qualifed president.

So instead, I'll chalk Kucinich up once again as just being a crazy old hippie. And actually, because of that, he and his wife may just be that one couple out of 100 that is truly, madly, deeply (Savage Garden, anyone?) in love. See, she's also a crazy hippie. And, as we all know, hippie love is ageless since hippie love is all about "soul connection" or some other such mystical tomfoolery.

To illustrate, let's once again turn to the Post, "The story of Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich involves: Indian nuns, a bust of Ghandi, a portrait of 'conscious light,' a mystical opal ring, congressional legislation, an Indian guru and the meeting of souls. " And probably a lot of weed, although, strangely, the ol' wacky grass doesn't appear once in the 3,216-word Post article. Hmph. Glaring omission? I think so!

new dc low: drunk driving is so, um, hot right now?

If there's ever been anything that made me want to move into a log cabin in the forests of Montana, cut off ties with all other humans, buy a few Dobermans to protect my reclusive property and never pay taxes again, it's this E-mail, which was sent from a mega-douche to one of my good friends:

hey, cool meeting you at Rumba this weekend. You make it home alright that night? I'm lucky I made it home in one piece - driving after 5 drinks is never a good idea, especially since i rock stick
shift.
Obviously, the most glaring ridiculous notion in this E-mail is the drunk-driving reference. More infuriating even is the tone with which this asshat refers to such a serious offense. Ironically, the sender of this most retarded of electronic missives is in the process of applying to law school, which is why my friend, a lawyer, gave him her contact info.

Apparently, however, info regarding law schools wasn't the purpose of this note. Oh no, dear readers, it seems this note was a feeble attempt to e-romance her. And who can resist? Not only a chance to hang with a giant douche, but a giant douche who might even kill you! Alas, nothing spoils a romance more than maiming your date before the first kiss.

The second reason this E-mail makes me sad is the fact that this D-bag (of course, with a capital D), frequents Rumba -- my most favorite of DC brunch establishments. Luckily, however, judging from the fact that this assclown "rocks a stick shift," I'd venture to guess he's from the 'burbs, meaning I won't be run over by him anytime soon when he goes on his next bender.

Seriously, son, your sh*t is not tight.

i'll see your khakis and crocs in hell

DC fashion is dead to me. I guess I should've figured as much. I mean, the concept of "DC fashion" is an oxymoron, after all. Unless, of course, Dockers and Crocs are your thing. But those items aren't fashion, per se. Instead, they're more like boring -- and very ugly -- corporeal coverings. However, the descriptives of "boring" and "ugly" aren't exclusive to each other, I've observed. Each exists on its own separately in DC, which brought be to diagram The Anti DC Theory of Fashion. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1

While I'd say most DC dwellers' "fashion sense" falls into the boring and ugly cross-section of the not-to-scale Venn above, there is a smaller subset that errs solely on the side of boring. These are the ladylike business casual cardigan sets paired with pointy-toed Nine West pumps and the drab two-piece men's suits paired with square-toed leather loafers. They don't look bad in the classic sense, they just look boring. You'll recognize these people easily. Or maybe you won't because they tend to blend in with each other. But I hear if you squint or stare hard enough, one may separate from the crowd, kind of like those optical illusion posters you loved when you were 12...or that you still love now. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2
(Did you see the 3-D sexual predators? I did. Unfortunately, I didn't see Chris Hansen.)

The other large "fashion" contingent is plain butt ugly. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I present to you the winterized version of DC's favorite summer footwear, the Croc, which I have had the displeasure to see more than once this year. (See Figure 3, although I warn you, what you are about to see may make you lose faith in humanity all-together.)

Figure 3However, the bright and sunshine-y person that I am (What? You can't tell? Weird.), believes, nay, knows that there's got to be more out there. I mean, there are plenty of fashion blogs about DC, right? Right?? Anybody???

Well, there's at least one that I know of: Project Beltway. However, despite the concept, which is good and has been done probably most famously and well by The Sartorialist, something about the DC version just makes me sad. The problem is there's rarely anyone pictured who looks like he or she truly has a unique fashion sense. Take this post from Monday. The author clearly started off all right, snapping a picture of the accordian player. His sh*t looks tight. However, take a look at the second photograph. It's two girls dressed like every other girl in the United States right now. There's nothing necessarily wrong with the look and it's certainly not ugly, but it is extremely, very, so so soooooooo boring. It saddens me that a pair of not-even-tight-enough-to-tuck-into-boots jeans, tucked into run-of-the-mill riding boots and a hip-length Zara wool coat suddenly equals interesting DC fashion. Yawn. I'm bored even thinking about it.

But I'm a problem-solver so I'm milling over possibly starting an "Interesting Look of the Week" post on my humble, little bitchfest of a blog. But honestly? I think it might just be too difficult, unless I stood in a full-length mirror and photographed myself every week -- kidding! I'm not that much of a narcissist. Plus, I'm beginning to find myself erring toward the boring side of the Venn these days. DC is seriously sucking the life out of me. Lovely! Anywho...Have a super duper day!

la comida entre desayuno y almuerzo

Aye carumba. I apologize for my español just now. See, I don't know that language beyond words like burrito, taco and enchilada. Oh, and cerveza, tequila and mezcal. OK, and el baño. Well, you get the idea, mi amigos. But let's just en el meollo de la cuestion (apparently that means "cut to the chase" according to wikipedia...so it's probably wrong...anyway): the meal between breakfast and lunch, a.k.a. brunch, a word my Googled English-Spanish dictionary could not provide.

I realize I wrote about this yesterday, but I thought it only fitting that I write a kind of counterpoint to the nightmare that was the Reef. So, today, I bring you Rumba Cafe, a.k.a. el cielo (I promise that will be my last retarded effort at Spanish).

We actually came upon this lovely establishment by accident one Sunday morning. We had wanted to try La Fourchette (a très mal morceau de merde located just a few doors south of Rumba on 18th Street in Adams Morgan), but, merci dieu, "The Fork" was overflowing (why? I have no idea, La Fourchette will be Bad Brunch Saga #2 next week). So, because nous avions très faims (all right, I promise that will be my last retarded effort at French...ok...and all other foreign languages I have to rely on Google to speak), we moved on to the emptiest place we could find. And for some unknown reason, that place was Rumba Cafe, my little slice of heaven.

We promptly received water, bread and our menus, at which time our friendly waiter took our drink orders. Five minutes later, our selection of mimosas, coffees, bloody marys, grapefruit juices and teas arrived. Fifteen minutes later, our food arrived. I ordered the Rumba omelette ($7.00!), which featured ingredients like chorizo and plaintains, while my companions ordered the huevos rancheros (I think that was $8.00, maybe). Anyway, it was dirt cheap.

Regarding the omelette, I can tell you it was one of the best omelette's I've ever consumed. Everything was cooked perfectly. The eggs were fluffy and non-greasy. The chorizo wasn't too chewy and the other ingredients lent the perfect amount of spice and flavor to make the meal just plain satisfying. I was full, but not sickly full. If Rumba were part of the Wu-Tang Clan, it'd be RZA, the most solid, all-around damn good artist. Like RZA, Rumba's sh*t is tight.

Honestly, it is nice to find a go-to place in this town of ours, especially a go-to place that also happens to be the seemingly cheapest place on the block. *Sigh.*

The final tally:

Time I'm Glad I Don't Want to Ask for Back: 1.5 hours (a very leisurely hour-and-a-half, I might add).
Money I'm So, SO Glad I'd Rather Not Spend on F*ing Zima: $12 (including drinks...good, solid drinks).

Olé!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

debacle on 18th street: bad brunch saga #1

Brunch is a magical meal. For one, it doesn't demand you set your alarm clock. Two, it saves you from eating both breakfast and lunch, hence saving you cold hard cash. Abracadabra!

Also, brunch has prescriptive benefits. Hungover? Brunch will cure it. Heartbroken? Brunch can fix that too. Tired, stomach ache, depressed, bored, headache, anorexic, whatever it is -- Brunch. Will. Fix. It. Unless, of course, you stumble upon a bad brunch. A bad brunch will ruin your day, just as it did mine roughly two weeks ago. It was a brunch so horrendous that I couldn't bring myself to blog it until now.

The Venue: Reef
Time I'll Never Get Back: 2.5-3 hours
Money I'd Have Rather Spent On F*ing Zima: $15.00

This story is so heartbreaking because Reef has so much promise. It's located pretty conveniently for those of us in the Mt. Pleasant/Adams Morgan neighborhoods. Additionally, Reef boasts a lovely heated roof deck and a pretty solid menu. Alas, however, none of that can be properly enjoyed when: 1) The hostess-cum-waitress makes you wait an hour while you stare longingly at the two empty tables in the corner; 2) Said hostess/waitress makes you wait another 30 minutes to order...your drinks; 3) Said hostess/waitress spills your drink on you; 4) They're mysteriously out of breakfast burritos; 5) The poached eggs come, well, not poached, but half-hard-boiled, half-soft-boiled and fully gnarly; and 6) You feel the need to projectile vomit directly after you finish the dish you didn't even want in the first place.

Now, prior to this experience, I'd only been to Reef two other times, both at night, er, early morning, and the only ordering I'd ever done was at the bar, which turned out fine. Although, come to think of it, besides either forgetting to add vodka and/or soda, there's really nothing you can do to muck up a vodka-soda (seriously, a toddler could do it). But childhood alcoholism aside, the point is, I thought Reef's brunch would be solid, especially considering the list of potential pluses. Alas, however, Reef sucked some major ass (sorry, but now is not a time for eloquence, my friends). Simply put, that sh*t just wasn't tight.

I'm hoping that maybe we just hit Reef on a bad morning. But fluke or not (and, please, let me know your opinion if you have one), brunch is sacrosanct to me. A restaurant gets one chance and one chance only to impress me at brunch time. So, if it chooses to desecrate upon my most sacred of meals, it's a sin pretty much impossible for me to absolve. And to drive this point home, I really did mean it when I indicated I'd rather spend $15 on Zima than another meal at Reef. Like this baby who showed up in a Google image search for "Zima."*

*Wow. I managed to get two zingers in connecting children and alcohol. It's a good day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

FEMA gets ill*

First came the Beastie Boys.

Then came Eminem.

Then came, um, Bindi Irwin.

And now? Where has white-boy hip-hop taken us?

Straight to the palest of them all. The Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Apparently, in between not caring about black people and staging fake news conferences, the Federal Emergency Management Agency found time to cut a record. And, my, oh my, is it a gem (it's pretty hardcore, dropping all kinds of names like flood, tornado and earthquake, my bad, I mean 'quake). And even though Michael Brown's not there anymore, in my mind, he is the the one spitting the dope lyrics.

Thank you federal government. Thank you for spending my tax dollars on such hot beats.

*Title courtesy of co-worker, who discovered FEMA's skillz.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

$3 i'll never get back

I did it. I can't believe it, but I did it. I went directly into the sh*t and got out alive. But I'm changed. What I saw...well, it just wasn't right. It was Georgetown -- Georgetown after dark.

Now you may be (properly) asking yourself, "Why?! Why did you do it?!" Well, my friends, I honestly don't know. It was a matter of curiosity, a sociological study, a mission. Plus, an out-of-town friend here on bizness was put up in the Latham Hotel for the night and who doesn't like a fancy hotel? But regardless of reason, I knew one day I had to see what all the fuss was about. Are there really as many douchebags in Georgetown as legend says? Are popped collars on the male douches and pearls on the female douches really what goes down in the wild? I had to find out...and what I found wasn't pretty.

I ventured into the sh*t with three friends, all of us either going in for the first time or for the first time "since college." We began our epic buy imbibing cheap champagne in Latham room 620. We eased our way in, shielding ourselves from the inhabitants until we had imbibed a sufficient amount of cheap champagne.

We took turns peering through the double pane glass shield that protected us from direct contact with the beasts. As we ogled M Street, we began to question our choice, wondering for a brief second if we had sufficiently prepared ourselves to handle face-to-face contact. But we knew we had come with a mission -- perhaps a mission impossible, but we knew what we had to do. We went in.


Oh, the humanity! The outfits were bad (on top of everyone's Lacoste and Brooks Brothers was a Patgonia or Northface fleece), but the bars were worse. For one, almost every place charged a cover. And while a cover is fine -- even expected -- for dance clubs with live DJs or bars with live bands, an entrance fee to stand around in a half-empty pub is just bad business. Having lived in Chicago, Boston, New York City and Moscow (Russia -- the real sh*t, people), I've never come across such an ass-backwards system. Even other neighborhoods in DC don't engage in such a barbaric practice. But when in Rome, er, Georgetown...

So, we paid our $3 per person (tangent: WTF's with a $3 cover anyway?! Three. Dollars. Why even have a cover?!) and found, well, nothing. Literally. The bar was more half empty than half full and the crowd was...um, I'll just let the above photo explain the crowd. This sh*t was clearly not tight. So we finished our overpriced vodka sodas and aborted our mission. Sometimes quitting is the right decision.

On the way out I asked the bouncer what the hippest bar in the neighborhood was. He shrugged half-heartedly and gave me a look as if to say, "Sweetie, you're in Georgetown. We don't do hip." Truer words have never been non-verbally spoken.

Despite our premature retreat, we really did learn from our time in the sh*t. We learned the legend really is true: Georgetown's boring, lame and even less well dressed than other parts of the District. Four thumbs down. And, you owe me $3.

Friday, November 30, 2007

good ol' google!

So there I am, checking my e-mail in my in our overly air-conditioned office (wearing fingerless gloves and an XXL denim company shirt that amazingly no one picked up at some conference many moons ago), when something catches my eye on the side of my Gmail: "Schwetty Balls -- Can You Handle Our Schwetty Balls? http://www.schwettyballs.com/." My gut reaction was to LOL, which I did. I almost ROFL'd, but I capped it at LMAO-ing.

Ridiculous acronyms aside, however, I hesitated before I clicked. I thought, "Why would Google generate an ad for something dirrrrty from my email, which was about trains?" Is there some sort of euphemism I haven't learned yet? "I love trains" -- could that possible mean something NSFW (I'm an acronym machine, my friends)? I had to find out.

In surprising twist, schwettyballs.com led me to Schwetty Balls golf balls.

It took me a while to decide whether I thought this was funny or not, but then I perused the site a little closer and found the testimonials:

"I just got a case of Schwetty Balls at my company's Christmas party. What an awesome product. I love your Web site, too. I'm ordering a bunch of Schwetty Balls. I'm gonna stuff my Schwetty Balls into stockings this Christmas!" —Victor, Glen Cove, NY

"I never knew how great it was playing with Schwetty Balls until a friend handed me his to whack around! Thanks for the balls, they're awesome!" —Jason B., Ontario, Canada

"I was excited to play with my Schwetty Balls and now I'm even more excited! They seem to straighten out my big bender." —Larry F., Watervliet, Mich.

It's funny like Mike Seaver's best friend Boner on Growing Pains. N'est-ce pas?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

dc in ac -- an epic, epic journey


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Or, as I prefer, fool me twice, punch you in the face. While I and the Golden Touch Dice Revolution! crew (and so what if by "crew" I really mean one other person?) weren't fooled per se, we did leave the Tropicana's craps tables in Atlantic City feeling cheated out of a good time, not only because we lost there, but because we were flagged by its employees...while we were losing.

First, I understand it sucks to work. Second, I understand it sucks even more to work holidays. But please, don't crap (pun very much intended) on my parade, Tropicana craps table workers! We started off in the black, gaining about $100 each in the course of about 15 minutes. It really was downright amazing...until we started losing. However, instead of commiserating with us or offering encouraging words, one Tropicana employee decided to flag us. While on the surface this is a bit flattering, considering most of the time bring snitched on means you're some sort of magical player, in this situation, it was simply retarded. See, by the end of 30 minutes of gaming, the GTDR! crew was in the red. So, why did this asshat employee tell her coworkers to "watch those two"? Well, either she's really bad at math, or she was, as I alluded to exactly 24 words ago, a run-of-the-mill asshat. Not tight.

After we each lost a triple-digit chunk of change, we realized the Fiesta buffet and its mythical cornucopia of king crab legs was clearly beyond our budgets. So, instead, we veered left for our Thanksgiving feast and headed for Hooters, where incidentally, most of the waitresses sported beer guts (Hott). After drowning our sorrows in a pitcher of sangria and a lovely, surprisingly delicious grilled cheese (only $4.99!), we thirsted for revenge at the tables.

And vindication we would *almost* get! We moved up the boardwalk to the Trump Plaza, where we immediately found better craps tables. However, by "better," I simply mean the casino's employees were nice to us as we handed their employer our money. Even deeper in the red, we decided Thanksgiving in AC was dead to us and returned to the room poor and tired...but mainly just poor.

That must've struck a nerve with the heavens as we woke up the next morning after a lovely 3.5 hours of sleep with a wholly different attitude. And sure enough, the day after Thanksgiving was certainly not dead to us. Oh yes, it is very much alive! We wanted, nay, we needed to roll one last time. Now whether this change in mood was divine intervention or the onset of some sort of manic mental disorder, we did not care. It was time to take this bitch of a city down. We targeted the Taj Mahal.

Like the Plaza, the Taj Mahal's craps jockeys were much more personable than those at the Tropicana. However, unlike the Plaza where we came away as losers, setting foot in the TM proved the best decision we made in that fateful 36 hours (aside from dining at Hooters, that is -- that $4.99 grilled cheese was delicious). Through the magic of the GTDR! crew's collective right arm, we were able to triple our monies, allowing us to just about break even. And breaking even was good enough for us.

Now, you may be asking, "What does all this betting nonsense have to do with DC?" Absolutely nothing. However, of course, our trip did not fly by without at least one known run-in (as you will see shortly, that pun is also intended) with DC.

Just feet before we were going to turn into the Tropicana's parking lot and commence our holiday, a DC-area driver rammed into the side of our rental. 'Tis the season!

Alas, while I can't say Thanksgiving in AC was all I had imagined (mostly because my imagined version included winning stacks and stacks of cold hard cash), I can say that it was still kind of awesome -- minus getting rear-ended by some douchebag from Capitol Hill. But let's not dwell on the bad, let's instead review the good: I got out of DC, I spent it with the GTDR! crew and did I mention that $4.99 grilled cheese? Best deal of the night.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the anti dc thanksgiving


There seems to be a major disconnect between me and the general populаtion of DC. In fact, I'd venture to say this barrier may also extend between me and most of America. Let's see if you and I would make good friends.

Would you use the word "depressing" to describe spending Thanksgiving at a casino in Atlantic City?

If you answerd yes, skip to Section II.

If you answered "hell-to-the-no" and I'm now your hero then stick with me. We're tight.

You guessed it -- I'll be spending my holiday brushing up my Golden Touch Dice Revolution! skills at one or more craps tables in Atlantic City and, not only am I not depressed, but I'm ridiculously excited. This may just be the best Thanksgiving ever, possibly eclipsing my Christmas '05 at Foxwoods with dinner at the IHOP.

While Foxwoods may be a classier affair (and more appropriate for the Thanksgiving holiday, if you know what I mean) than anything found in New Jersey (um, no offense), the IHOP Christmas dinner was a stretch. Thanksgiving dinner '07, however, will most likely surpass the meal I would've eaten otherwise since I don't dig turkey. Tomorrow I'll be at the Tropicana's Fiesta buffet, where I'm hoping a festive layout will allow a literal cornucopia to be overflowing with king crab legs. Seriously, how ridiculously awesome would that be?! Oh man, wish you were coming! When I return after pillaging the casino's vault, we'll do brunch. My treat.

Section II

Hmm...I'm going to Atlantic City for Thanksgiving. Feeling sorry for me? There's really no need. Riddle me this: In what world is lining your pockets with hundreds of dollars cause for pity? That's what I thought. Although, I'm guessing that it's not the act of gambling that necessarily led you to initially feel sorry for me. It's probably because you instantly thought that either I don't have family to hang with for the holidays or that they didn't invite me to hang with them. Fortunately, neither of those situations are true. I do have family I could theoretically break bread with, however, they live nowhere near here. Weighing my options, I reasoned that I'd rather avoid airports and high ticket prices for the holiday weekend and just go see them all some other time -- a cheaper, less annoying time. (Um, love you, family!)

However, let me assure you that I won't be gambling alone. (Although in all honesty, I don't think solo gambling on a major holiday is necessarily depressing. Sitting alone and crying is depressing, but having a good time in a casino? That's tight!) The budding Golden Touch Dice Revolution! crew travels in packs of two or more.

If you're still not convinced, then maybe this will change your opinion. Although I heart the USA, I despise traditional American holiday food. Save for the delicious pumpkin pie, I don't like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, greenbean casseroles or most of the other "fixins." I'd much prefer (and sorry for the repeat if you didn't follow the instructions and skip directly to Section II) a literal cornucopia chock full of king crab legs at the Tropicana's Fiesta Buffet. God bless it!

Now, if you still think celebrating Thanksgiving (um, or Christmas -- Foxwoods '05) at a craps table is depressing, then, well, I'm afraid we might not ever get over our disconnect. Hate to say it but, that's more your loss that mine as I will be fleecing the casino while you're getting fat. Zing!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

hipsters: the least annoying people in dc?

I'm about to say something that some of you might find shocking.

Ready?

Hipsters are the least annoying people in DC.

That's right. The LEAST annoying. Let's take a trip through my brain to understand how I came up with this.

I began on an extremely superficial premise that the wide majority of DC dwellers fit into one or more stereotypes, of which hipster is one. The others I came up with rather hastily include:
  • Diehard Republicans;
  • Diehard Democrats;
  • Tourists, specifically those who travel in groups larger than two (I really mean one);
  • Hill interns;
  • Lawyers who hate their jobs; and
  • Loud teenagers on my commute.*

Let's start by taking a closer look at two of the most popular sterotypes in DC: diehard Republicans and Democrats.

First, it's impossible to hold a conversation with someone who has a unilateral vision of the world. If you're convinced the Bush-Cheney team is the greatest there is, then you're more annoying than a hipster. If you're convinced Hillary Clinton is the only way forward, then you're more annoying than a hipster. Deal with it.

Now, on to tourists, specifically those who travel in groups.

I don't think I need to explain this one. If you're a tourist in DC, chances are you are much more annoying than a hipster. Learn to read a map and stop standing like asshats on the left side of the metro escalators.

The category of Hill interns gets slightly more complicated.

Just because you are an intern doesn't necessarily make you more annoying than a hipster. However, because the only place I'd probably ever interact with you is on the Hill, you are by default an annoyance. You're presence also reminds me that its now necessary for me to use old-lady eye creme. Therefore, you're more annoying than a hipster. Sorry.

Next up? Miserable lawyers. Or anyone who hates their job so much that it's the only thing they can talk about.

The qualifier on this one is essential. If you're a lawyer who loves what you do, then you are not automatically more annoying than a hipster (although you may be a giant tool -- JK, lawyer friends!). However, if you're a lawyer who hates your job and you love to complain about it all the f*ing time, then you are most definitely more annoying than a hipster. If you hate your job, get a new one.

Lastly, I turn to the category of loud teenagers, more specifically, those on my bus every GD morning.

It's 8:30 a.m., isn't that past first period? Shouldn't you already be in school? And if you are late, why are all your friends late with you? Speaking of you and your friends, teenagers on my bus, can you simmer down? I don't feel comfortable knowing who did what to whom or how wasted you got last night or that you hate so-and-so because she's a hooker. And also aren't you 15 years old? Your sh*t is not tight. You are so much more annoying than a hipster. Shut the f*ck up.

So, there you have it. Hipsters are the least annoying people in DC. To any hipsters that may be reading this, let's do brunch and talk about your imported Romanian record collection and admire your Flock of Seaguls' haircut.


Hott.

improve your work day

There's no getting around it -- no matter how much you love your job, the idea of working still blows, especially in DC where everything is so dang serious all the dang time. Although, come to think of it, regardless of location, working blows. Actually, obliging long periods of your time to anything blows. Long flights? They blow. Long hours in school? That blows. Long-term relationships? They really blow. (Commitment problems? What?) Extended vacations? Those...well, OK, those don't blow. But you get the idea. Responsibility inherently kind of blows. Also, using the word blow so much also blows. Sorry.

Anyway, to lessen the burden of being a responsible adult, I give to you a Web site that can provide hours of joy at work, school, home, wherever. It's called Pandora Radio and what it does is amazing. (And it's free.)

Simply type in the name of a band or song you like (e.g. Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up") and it automatically generates an infinite playlist of songs it guesses you'd enjoy based on your original suggestion. For instance, my Color Me Badd playlist generated songs from such artists as the great Milli Vanilli, the undeniable Tevin Campell and R Kelly (he doesn't even need an adjective).

Seriously, it pretty much read my mind. It's weird. And it doesn't blow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

ground control to major douche


Throughout the course of an average person’s life, I’d venture to guess he or she makes maybe a dozen or so radical revelations. Some of the more universal of these include realizing money isn’t just magical paper or plastic that spontaneously sprouts in your parents’ pockets; realizing that your actions can and usually do affect those around you; and, realizing your carefree days of youth are gone and it’s all downhill from here (What? Is that one just me? Oh.).

These "big ideas," have the power to single-handedly alter the course of your life, helping to formulate you, "the person." However, unfortunately, some people either purposely deny these life-changing moments or stupidly misunderstand them, which, in my opinion, is how douchebags are born.

On the surface, my Theory of Douchebagism is already pretty tight. One need only superficially glance at the likes of functionally retarded Paris Hilton and greasy Brandon Davis for fairly solid conclusive evidence. They both used their heiress/heir status to gain fame, they clearly don’t realize most of their actions annoy and, in some cases, could harm those around them, and, well, while Hilton and Davis are not "old" meaning elderly, they are arguably too old to be acting like everyday is high school prom.

However, my Theory of Douchebagism does not apply solely to the rich and famous (or not-so-famous in the case of Davis). Oh no, my hypothesis suggests that this theory is universal, breaking through boundaries of age, sex and social/economic status.

Let me present for you Exhibit A:

Last week at a soiree to celebrate the golden anniversary of Sputnik (wow, I just made the grand revelation that I’m a huge dork), I met one of the creepiest, most douchey men I’ve ever come across not only in DC, but, fittingly for a space-related event, in the entire cosmos. His name? Rusty Cox. (Sadly, or awesomely, I am not making that up.)

He embodied every stereotype of "lecherous old man," however, in his mind I imagine he thought he was being "dapper older gentleman." Clearly, Rusty Cox has yet to self-realize that he is, indeed, a major douche. When you tell a joke to a girl 30 years your junior and she doesn’t laugh but gags instead because your breath smells like a cross between stale Pall Malls and general ass, the last thing you should think appropriate to do is grope her and ask her if she’s married.

Now, had Rusty Cox realized the extent of his douchiness, I assume he would have taken a step (or 10) back, assessed the situation, and left me the f*ck alone. However, my Theory of Douchebagism suggests that, like Hilton and Davis, Rusty Cox has continually failed to make the revelation that he is a douchebag of the highest order. And so Rusty Cox shall continue douching up DC and grossing out the ladies until one day, if there is a God, his douchebag status dawns on him.

***
In case you’re wondering, Rusty Cox did try to follow me out uninvited. I managed to ditch him by the coat check when I ran Forrest Gump-style straight out the front door and hid in the shadows of the bus stop until the 42 rolled up. I’d never been so happy to hop on an overcrowded public bus in my life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

the perfect secret santa gift idea, or unisex item of the day

Oh boy! It's that supremely awesome (read: awkward) time of year again when coworkers are forced by their bosses to become one with the holiday spirit and participate in the ritual of "Secret Santa" gift giving.

It's that time of year when you agonize over whether it's OK to re-gift the present you received in last year's festivities to someone else (duh, of course it is). Or in my case, it's when you accidently think out loud that some lucky fool is in for the gift of his or her life -- a super-high quality stapler I found tucked between the copier and the shelf in the supply closet. (Yep, I tend to keep it classy.)

However, I hate spoiling surprises. So, when my big mouth ruined my gift idea, I decided to come up with some (equally classy) alternatives. Here's what I found:



Unilke me, most of my coworkers live in Virginia and Maryland, where not only are they free to bear arms, but I think it might even be a requirement. In DC, on the other hand, the decision is still out on gun laws at least until Nov. 20, which is when the Supreme Court is supposed to take up the issue. But from what I understand, that brouhaha is all about tiny little handguns -- items much to puny to warrant the BackUp.

However, even if you're not the rifle-toting type, the BackUp could still prove useful. While it's tailor made to snuggle your long-barreled pistol just so, the BackUp could probably be used to store a host of emergency items. Perhaps a baseball bat for midnight clubbing? Or a baguette for midnight snacking! Or, maybe even some sticks for kindling in case you need to get a fire going on the quick. And if you get a second BackUp for the opposite side of the bed (more and more people are doing it, after all. Get with the program!), you can fill it with skewers to roast marshmallows, which clearly are already stashed for emergency purposes in your nightstand. Nothing thwarts crime better than delicious Smores.

Wow. I really should get into marketing.