Thursday, August 23, 2007


I apologize, fair readers, for my extended absence. [Editor's note: I am well aware that the longevity of my stint on the disabled list has, in all likelihood, depleted my readership to... well, just myself.] I've been putting off posting until I had something (anything!) of intrigue to report. But alas, as my (f)unemployment drags on, I've come to the realization that intrigue may be a while off yet.

So let's catch you up to my goings-on, shall we? Besides epic journeys to New York and Boston, I mostly sit around and try to devise ways to end said (f)unemployment. (As you may have guessed, it's not as [f]un as it sounds.) I also generally watch the back-to-back episodes of "Jeopardy!" that air on weekday afternoons. Sometimes, I get ambitious and see movies by myself in the middle of the day. (Anyone want to see "The King of Kong" with me tomorrow afternoon at the E St. Cinema? Yeah, I thought not.)

On rarer occasions, I get even more ambitious and try to supe-up my new digs with purchases off Craigslist. Yesterday, for example, I went to go pick up this guy's futon for our living room. Chris, as his name turned out to be, was nice enough to agree to help me carry said futon from his apartment, up 17th St., and to my (very) humble abode. The futon was too big for the freight elevator, so we elected to try the stairs. Oops! We got the futon wedged in the corner of the stairwell, and five minutes went by before we could free it and return it to Chris's apartment, where it remains. Sigh... I was really counting on that feeling of accomplishment I was sure to get from having my roommates come home from work to see me lounging about on brand new futon. Alas.

Also, our place has mice. And is smelly.

But things could always be worse.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help.

This a picture of me after getting caught in what calls a "severe scattered storm." It's hard to tell though because my camera is broken.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blogs, Bands, Baseball

The Times Sunday Magazine had a story about musicians blogging to attract fans. Apparently, blogs are going to do for this guy what Pitchfork did for Arcade Fire, MTV for Weird Al, and depression for Elliott Smith.

Eventually, though, no matter how word-of-mouth originates, the music is going to have to stand up for itself. The Hold Steady, a) a band I've been all about for six months, one week, and two days, give or take, and b) the second subject of the article, after Mr. Coulton (in Times-speak), apparently built a following through the guitarist's blog. [Note to readers: I learned about the aforementioned Brooklyn-based quartet, not from some nerdy blogger, but from a real live girl.]

The Hold Steady's music is certainly good enough that doesn't need some dude tapping away on his keyboard to make sure they get some airplay; now the band's version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is played during the 7th-inning stretch of Minnesota Twins home games. Chalk up one point to the idea that the blogosphere is a meritocracy.

Monday, May 14, 2007


There are some things you just don't do in public. Among the most obvious, of course, are peeing, spitting somewhere that is not a proper spit receptacle, and, if you are particularly unfortunate looking, making out.

I have a less obvious but equally icky item to add to the list: cutting your nails.

Nail-cutting should be a private affair, to be conducted alone in one's bedroom or backyard - somewhere where the sound of dead nails snapping off fingers won't be heard, somewhere where the droppings won't be stepped on. This is not for public consumption. Why, oh why, then have I been forced to bear witness to no fewer than three public nail-cuttings in the past week?

By far, today's was the most egregious. Sitting on the Metro, that unmistakable snapping sound emanated from the seat directly behind me, cutting through the music coming from my mug-me-white ear buds. "Don't turn around," I told myself. I didn't want to see the face of my new nemesis, the individual responsible for ruining my commute. And I didn't. For like 30 seconds. I couldn't help myself, and I looked at the window to see the reflection of the nefarious nail-clipper behind me.

Lo and behold! It was a young mother clipping the nails of her two-ish year-old son. Gah! This kid will be a life-long cut-nails-in-public-er. Way to teach your kid lessons on how to live life, lady.

When I'm a super hero, that kid is going to be my arch-enemy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Phone Rings

This evening, on my way home from work, I stopped to purchase a) the new novel by Mr. Michael Chabon (on whom I have a non-sexual crush), and b) the brand album by Ms. Leslie Feist (on whom I have a very sexual crush).

My new-found consumerism wasn't the only thing different on my way home: as I was passing by the intersection of Dupont Circle and New Hampshire Avenue, the pay phone rang. Natch, I picked up. And what followed demands transcribing.

Me: Hello?!
Mystery Lady: Who's this?
Me: I'm sorry?
ML: Do you hang out around there?
Me: No, I was just passing by.
ML: Oh. OK. Thank you.


Wow. Was this someone dialing from a future she reached via flux capacitor, vainly attempting to get ahold of the one person who could save her from a terrible fate? Or maybe just a homeless drunkard, hoping to find her buddy for Miller Time? Who knows? I think it better to preserve the mystery.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Phunk the Climate

Earlier this week, Lee made a quick visit to the District; he was on short-term loan from Cambodia and the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative.

Triggered by the presence of a real live person direct from Asia, I had the most brilliant idea I'd had in literally (literally!) tens of hours. That's right, fair readers. I have at my disposal the solution to all of our energy needs: We need to build an enormous warehouse in which tens of thousands of otherwise unemployable children spend 14-hour days shuffling their stockinged-feet on the world's largest carpet. Hello, renewable energy! Goodbye, dirty, global warming-causing fossil fuels! Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?

In any event, I wanted to show my visitor just how scenester-y I am, so I took him to The Red & The Black, a bar on H St. NE, the kind of neighborhood where one realizes that deforestation isn't confined to the Amazon Basin. We were there to see Jon Braman play the ukulele and rap. (Jon, loyal readers, works for an environmental consulting group which sublets office space from my firm. His upcoming album is entitled "Climatastrophunk.") Needless to blog, it was awesome; the nine or so of us in attendance had a delightful time of it.

The next day at work, Jon thanked me for coming to the show, especially in light of the official paid attendance that left something to be desired. I told him, as I told you like three sentences ago, that the whole affair was an exercise in being a scenester - things are only cool if you're the only one who knows about them. "That's why you have to keep the crowds small," I told Jon. "I've got that taken care of," he replied.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Getting Places

As tends to happen on a semi-frequent basis, when something's on my mind, I see it everywhere. I'm absolutely certain this happens to you too, loyal readers. I mean, think about the first time you saw "The Godfather." The Corleone Clan was bouncing around your noggin for perhaps a fortnight, and within that 14-day stretch, I'd wager that you saw about 37 references to someone lovingly placing an equine head under a rival's bedsheets. These things just seem to happen.

The subject seemingly all around me as of late: Commuting.

It started with an excellent article on the subject in the New Yorker. [Aside: I find it funny that everything in the New Yoker is an "annal" of something or other; this may be just because when rehearsing for the school play my senior year in high school, I mistakingly read that word as "anal."] In said article, Nick Paumgarten introduces us to a few of America's 3.5 million "extreme commuters," those designated as such for suffering through a daily commute of 90 minutes or more each way. The first extreme commuter interviewed by Paumgarten is a woman whose quotidian travel is from the northeast corner of Pennsylvania to Manhattan and back. For a woman who wastes a striking amount of her life between the places she actually wants to be, I was shocked to see her described as an "escalator-stander."

My commute, Mapquest informs me, covers 2.97 miles, a distance I traverse via foot and Metro in approximately 22 minutes. Though this is a tame commute by any standard, I still find it to be, with the exception of getting to read about two pages of a magazine, 22 minutes wasted. It's become in very short order a routine so closely kept that interruptions of any kind might not be tolerated.

Check this out, for instance. The Washington Post, as sort of a sociological experiment, convinced the violin virtuoso Joshua Bell to set up shop with his $3 million instrument in the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station and play for about 20 minutes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, just seven of the 1,000 plus people who passed by a man recently awarded a prize as the best classical musician in America bothered stopping for 60 seconds or more to listen to him play. Some (read: many) things are simply more important than getting to work on time, a fact that may require action to be appreciated.

As Emma Thompson's character puts it in "Stranger Than Fiction," a movie in which a daily commute proves quite consequential:
Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies.