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Monday, July 31, 2006

Countdown: 6 Days

Four-day work weeks. Happy home life. Got my health, and full medical/dental when I don't. When you put it all together, my life's not stressful, but heaven knows I'm excited about next week's vacation anyway. As the significant other has no vacation time yet (thank you very much crappy newspaper benefits policy) I'll just be hightailing it to Wrightsville Beach for a week. A whole beach house just for me.

The agenda:
Sunrise beach runs
French toast at Middle of the Island
Laying out without getting burned
Surf lessons
Mass seafood consumption
Sleeping in
Finally reading "100 Years of Solitude"
Sunsets on the deck with a Corona

Want to see more pics?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I Woke Up on the Floor of Some Japanese Family's Rec Room and They Would Not Stop Screaming

Maybe it was the beers. Or the expertly concocted margaritas. Or the shot of Icelandic schnapps so potent that I prayed for death halfway through. Not even french toast and a large diet Coke at The Diner alleviated my suffering. Hell, even the dog's a little cranky today, on account of her salami and marinated mozzarella hangover.
It's fair to say that the new home has been appropriately christened. They were stumbling out of here at 3 a.m. like the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins. We'll call this Round 1 of many parties to come. It's so on.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"And after the paaarty it's the Brunch Bird lobby...."

I'm a hearty proponent of social circle expansion, especially since I'm new in town. So on Saturday night we're christening the new place with a party. This thing could fall anywhere in the range from "Intimate and Respectable" to "Out of Hand."

UPDATE: RSVPs are coming in, however, my favorite is actually a decline: "Due to mass confusion at Harpo (as in Oprah's lair) we'll be stuck in Chicago for another two weeks." When Oprah's house is in disarray nobody sneaks out for salted peanuts and beer.

You Know How I Know We're Gay?

My significant other and I were waiting for the car yesterday after work at his parking garage when he said, "Hey, it's Dana Priest," and gestures toward the Ford sedan a few feet away into which Ms. Pulitzer Prize was stepping. We're both big fans of her reporting, and as the WaPo is a block or two from both of our buildings, spotting her on our way to and from work has become something of an unofficial pastime. We felt for her when we'd see her hobbling across an intersection on crutches a few month back, and delighted at spotting her lunching at Cosi or hopping into a cab without them in recent weeks. She's become our new "VW punch buggy blue!" or "VW punch buggy red!"* And this friends, is why we are officially the dorkiest couple ever, yet right at home in D.C.

*If you don't know what this game is then you didn't have siblings with a penchant for wailing you in the upper arm every time a Volkswagon Beetle passed.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Think I Smell A Pic-a-nic Basket

Work took me to Lake Tahoe over the weekend. In the elevator of the hotel hung a Colbert-worthy sign titled "Bear Watch!" Under that were instructions for those not up on their bear monitoring, including, "Do not place freshly baked goods near open windows." Which makes me think that perhaps the sign's target demographic was not 28-year-old business travelers staying in the hotel, but rather, 80-year-old cartoon grannies living in nearby gingerbread cottages. Its parting directive was for anyone who saw a bear to call the front desk. Which made me imagine the following:

Clerk: "Hello, front desk."
Me: "Um, yeah, hi. I just read the sign in the elevator and I did in fact see a bear."
Clerk: "Oh my. Where?"
Me: "Well, he was just here in the elevator with me a second ago. I wouldn't have called really, but he pulled that dick move where he got on at the 1st floor and then got off at the 2nd."
Clerk: "God I hate that."
Me: "No doubt. Take him down."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I've been sick for the last few days. While sitting in my armchair, weak, nauseated, watching television, I look up and notice my dog staring at me like this. Something tells me I looked like a big turkey leg about to drop on the floor. (Luckily, my Treo was on the table next to me to record photographic evidence in the event that things started to look like Alive II.)

Mmmmm....Gimmicky priced dining....aghhhhh

I loves me some Restaurant Week. In truth, it never really ends up being a cheap night or anything once you add tax/tip/tippling, but it's a good kick in the pants to try new places. As usual, I didn't get to Open Table fast enough to get a dinner slot at Galileo. And for some reason, 1789 isn't on the list this year. Perhaps new chef Nathan Beauchamp doesn't want to dole out roast pork medallions for the unwashed masses as his predecessor did. Or maybe the suits realized that this was one of the places where diners really did get a steal for $30. Here's how my Aug. 14-20 week is shaping up:

Monday lunch: The Jefferson Hotel restaurant. I'm easing into the week with this pick, which is near my office. I love their french fries. I love even more that they call them "an embellishment" and charge $8 for them.
Tuesday dinner: David Greggory. Supposed to be very good. Never eaten there.
Friday lunch: Bistro Bis. Meeting a friend from the old bureau on the Hill.
Friday dinner, late: Zengo. Good location for potential Friday-night chicanery to follow.
Saturday dinner: Sam & Harry's. The 'rents will join on this one, as it's a 'rents kind of place.

UPDATE: An anonymous tipster reminds me that I have in fact eaten at David Greggory during the past year, which I guess speaks volumes about my meal. Or, my alcohol consumption.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Media Celebrities Are Just Like Us

Got back in from my work assignment last night after a flight from Phoenix that arrived at National at an hour best reserved for the Colbert Report and ice cream snacking in pajamas. While schlepping off the plane I noticed that the little old lady schlepping in front of me was journalism icon/presidential ankle biter Helen Thomas. She looked tired. Not at all her feisty self. Then I realized that I was tired and not at all my feisty self.

Interesting side note: this is my second sighting of Ms. Thomas in her natural habitat. While working in the D.C. bureau of a metro newspaper chain a few years back I tagged along with one of our White House reporters one day. Turns out it was Helen Thomas' birthday so the reporter introduced me to her. I, in turn, babbled something incoherent about her being one of my journalism heroes. (As soon as I finished saying it, I realized I meant it.) She smiled politely at me, said something to the effect of "That's nice dear," and offered me a piece of cake.
Bottom line: Helen Thomas kicks ass, prefers buttercream frosting.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Me On a M$@!f@&*ing Plane!

For the fourth time in about a month and a half I'm waiting to get on a plane that will take me somewhere else for work that will rob me of yet another summer weekend. Adding insult to injury is the growing tendency of people around me to call this airport "Ronald Reagan." It's "National." It was National when I was growing up and it's National now.

Well "NYah" to You, Too

Don't you love it when the New York Times deigns to cast its eye to one of its neighbors and writes a not-at-all condescending piece? Today, art critic Holland Cotter discovers that we have art here. Which is good, because our revered architectural symbols make him want to gag.

His opener:
When I look at the National Mall, I see a crazy phallic spike at one end, a mirage of whitewashed, movie-set domes at the other, and a stretch of shadeless, policeable grass and dirt in between.

Hmmm....maybe I shouldn't have said "gag."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Terror at the Kennedy-Warren, Part II

I'm still on the listserv for Kennedy-Warren residents, since I lived there for a time (see post below) rubbing elbows in the elevator with such noted luminaries as P.J. O'Rourke and about 200 other people who nobody's recognized since the Nixon administration. Anyway, this is an actual paragraph from a post by a resident yesterday after the water main broke out front on Connecticut Ave.:

Hi REDACTED and KW neighbors,
First, thank you for alerting me and others about
yesterday's calamity....why didn't the DC
Chapter of the Red Cross come out with water, snacks
and a cooling truck to accommodate the aged and
families with children...

...Will we be compensated at all for these losses -
especially the food in our refrigerators?

To recap, there were 25 people evacuated from the building for the afternoon. Within two blocks of this building there are two Starbucks, bars, convenience stores, a health food store, a bagel shop, two grocery stores and an Italian deli. And this woman wants to know why the Red Cross didn't show up. (I would suggest that there are probably a couple hundred thousand folks in New Orleans who might be in line in front of her to question the Red Cross about its response times.) Oh, and yes, you read that correctly, she wonders if she's getting reimbursed for the contents of her refrigerator.

Think of the brie people. Won't someone please think of the brie?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The WaPo Needs to Get Out More

A signicant chunk of real estate on the Post's Metro front yesterday went to five photos of people accompanied by a few paragraphs about what Washingtonians were wearing to beat the heat. I believe the word "sizzling" was invoked. At least three of those five photos were taken within about two blocks of the Post building. The other two had generic enough backgrounds that it would be impossible to say. So I'm wondering why they don't just say "Here's what three people near L and 15th were wearing yesterday to escape the sizzling temperatures..." Or maybe, you know, encourage the photographer to get on the metro and see how people in Northeast or Southeast were grappling with these summertime sartorial headaches. While he was out there, he might have even found an actual news story worthy of taking up a third of the Metro front.

$1,800 a Month and You Can't Even Walk on the Floor

The water main break at the Kennedy-Warren building yesterday hit close to home. I resided in that august building between moving to the city last summer and this past January. (Photographic evidence above, taken in the living room looking out at the zoo, where nightly, the zebra brayed like a donkey. It was awesome. Also, there was a cocktail lounge in the lobby straight out of The Shining. Doubly awesome.) Anyway, while I bemoan the potential damage of any historic building and the hours of untold suffering for the 25 residents forced to hightail it to Starbucks for the afternoon, I have to say that karmically, the place had it coming.

When I was considering the building I was told they welcome pets under 40 pounds. Perfect, as I own a Siberian Husky who keeps her figure to a trim 35 pounds. So imagine my surprise when trotting her through the lobby on the first day for a bathroom break, to find myself accosted by the doorman. Long story short: the Kennedy-Warren welcomes dogs under 40 pounds (and the $1,500 non-refundable pet deposit that comes with them) but they are not permitted to walk on the plush, historic carpeting in the lobby or any public space, including the hallways and elevator. In fact the only place that their paws are permitted to grace the floor is inside one's apartment. So for months I hefted a clawing, cranky, sometimes muddy dog in and out of the building three times daily. And for months after that we both suffered the indignity of a pet stroller, which prior to this experience I only had seen used by women in Boca Raton.

Karma. Kar-ma.

Oh Give Me a Home Where the Bikini-Clad Roam

Whereas, this is my first full summer in D.C. in a long time,
and Whereas, I am currently as pale as the underbelly of a grouper,
and Whereas, I lack a sunny yard, patio, roof or stoop,
Therefore be it resolved that I am in great need of a spot where I can lay out in a bathing suit with like-minded sun seekers without looking like a tart.

Is there an equivalent here to that public lawn that we all had in college for tanning?
Do people do bathing suits on the Mall? I can't imagine, given the likelihood of being guffawed over by 14-year-olds from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I'm desperate to hear everyone's favorite sun spots.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

At Least He Didn't Snap Her Bra

By now you've all seen the photos or video of the President of the United States giving German Chancellor Angela Merkel an unsolicited massage. My question: At what point will Bush realize that he's at the G8, not on the set of "Porky's 4"? And really, can I just reinforce that we're talking about the President of the United States?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ahhh nature...

Mountains. Fresh air. Cold lake. Feels good to get back to nature. To really unplug. Although I suppose hunching over a Treo doesn't count as unplugging. No blogging 'til Tuesday night. I've got weannies to roast (soy of course) and Girl Scout songs to croon (badly of course)...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I Oughta Be in Pictures?*

Bloggers, opinionated visitors, chums: what's your position on pictures? I'm wrestling with the idea of starting to put some up with posts, while still holding firm that I don't want to put snaps of myself up (not that I'm camera shy, I just don't want to get fired.)
So, today's impromptu poll: would pictures of say, the back of Joe Wilson's and Valerie Plame's heads or my indoor s'mores, beef things up? Or, to completely inaccurately quote Norma Desmond, is "We didn't need pictures! We had words!" the way to stay?

*"Dammit, who put a question mark on the teleprompter?! For the last time, she will blog anything on that screen!"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Only in D.C. Seems to Be a Bit of an Understatement

I work out at the National Press Club. Most days are fairly routine. Today however, I had the pleasure of walking out of the gym all sweaty and gross directly into a herd of cameramen gathered at the foot of the stairs. They weren't waiting for me of course. Rather, they were after Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, who had just finished announcing in the nearby ballroom that they were suing Dick Cheney. So we walked out at the same time. I tried yanking my visor as far over my face as possible to avoid looking like a jackass on the news tonight. We'll see how successful I am later I guess.

UPDATE: Questioning why I was wearing a visor? You're not the only one. Head to the comments for a quick Q&A on the matter.

When She Stops Sending Them, I'll Stop Making Fun of Them

This week's blast email from everyone's favorite 8th grader, I mean, um, deputy director of communications, has arrived in my inbox, and I couldn't be happier. Because this week it's not just her always "fun" opening graph that's winning me over, it's the fact that a House committee is now using cutesy titles to address matters like terrorism and gang violence.

Subject: Can You Clear Me Now???

Returning from a break? Will this email bring back all the good memories of your vacation, sand, surf, and pie eating contests? No. Even I know my limitations. But I am clearing out my inbox now to receive the responses from those who worked last week, and my mere reference of the word 'vacation.'

The schedule has several important hearings this week. Below and attached is the schedule for the Committee.

How are you Thursday, July 13th at 9:30am to cover our full committee hearing entitled, "Can You Clear Me Now?: Weighing "Foreign Influence" Factors in Security Clearance Investigations."

And Friday, July 14th at 10am we have a full committee field hearing entitled, "MS-13 and Counting: Gang Activity in Northern Virginia" located in Fairfax, VA.

Please come up and say 'hi' at the hearings if I do not see you first,

Deputy Director of Communications
Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Thursday, July 13, 2006

How Not to Make Friends and Influence People

As of Wednesday, I hadn't made up my mind in the D.C. mayoral race. Could go for Fenty. Could go for Cropp. Intrigued by Johns the more I read about her. But then perusing DCist yesterday, I see that Cropp made it fairly clear this week that she no likey the open meetings so much. As a former newspaper reporter, I find her actions troubling. (I find it even more troubling that The Washington Times has actually claimed the journalistic high ground on any issue, but that's a story for another day...)

So I wasn't exactly feeling pro-Cropp this week. Then this morning, she sealed the deal. Little mobletts of her supporters were stationed up and down 16th Street. At the corner of U and 16th Streets these tools were walking back and forth over the crosswalk every time the light changed, s-l-o-w-l-y, waving their signs. It's already enough of a pain turning onto 16th from U in the morning here because of regular pedestrians. I certainly don't need these buffoons gumming up the works even more.

Way to go Linda Cropp. Way to go.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A is for Atabal

The fake word-as-online security measure trend is spreading. I can't send an email to my Great Aunt Teensy without her asking me to first enter some bizarre jumble of letters to prove I'm legit.
Really though, these things start to take on a simple brilliance the more you stare at them. I've decided to start collecting them.

Today's fake word, courtesy of the login page to buy my Ray LaMontagne/Guster tickets: atabal

Order in the (Family) Court

The kerfuffle this week over D.C. Superior Court Juge John Bayly citing Wonkette or, to be more precise (which Bayly certainly wasn't) his citing of a Wonk'd sighting of Duke rape case defendant Collin Finnerty led some to snicker that the judge seemed to not even know what a blog was. While his [sic]-riddled assertions in the court about the Wonkette item could have offered easy evidence of that, something else seems to argue against Bayly being all confused when it comes to this newfangled web surfin' business: he's the father of the Daily Candy D.C. editor. Hmmm....guess we know where she got her spot-on sense of the city she covers, and you know, um, getting things right.

Armed with the information about this father-daughter connection, I'm a little surprised that Bayly's ruling in the Finnerty case didn't come under the heading "All Rise (For Great Bargains)!" or didn't include the words, "natch," "gal," or "yummy," or close with him imploring those in attendance to go check out the 40-percent off sale at the Supreme Court gift shop down the street, because "You've totes earned it after sitting through this trial, darling."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

If It Was Rob Corddry, I Would Have Been on the Acela in 10 Seconds

My sister called from Manhattan Sunday morning:
"We're at the Bleeker Street playground. My daughter is playing with Jon Stewart's son."

Other observations:
"He looks awful, like he's trying to go incognito in a scruffy shirt and unshaved. She has huge boobs. If she's trying to go incognito she should cover those things up."

My Man, Mr. Fair and Balanced

Fox News has requested my Significant Other's services this evening. Specifically, Greta Van Susteren (she of the somewhat complex facial do-over) wants him to come on to talk about a trial he's covering. Although, if a white, 20-year-old stubs her toe somewhere in flyover country this evening, he might get bumped. In any case, I find this all highly amusing. Last year on April Fool's Day I signed him up for all of the "FoxFan" email newsletters and set his desktop to a generously sized picture of Bill O'Reilly. Irony abounded. Now he's about to become one of their pundits.

Last year, I appeared on MSNBC to talk about a piece I'd just written, but I don't really have any advice for him. Because really, I'm not sure "Wear a sweater that accentuates your cleavage, but don't look too trampy," is going to do him a lot of good.

UPDATE: Turns out the trial was a bit of a "meh," so he won't be putting anything "On the Record" with Ms. Van Susteren and the folks at Fox News any time soon. Put your popcorn to better use in the same timeslot. Heh heh.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sweet sweet relief

I am in the Orlando airport.
I am finally headed home.
I am going to kiss the ground when I get out of National.
I'm going to take a long soak in a tub of bourbon and forget this ever happened.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Need Help, Send Olives

Last night, I suffered about the eighth mediocre meal I've eaten since coming to this wretched swamp. The greatest insult: a glass of champagne so flat and funky that it had obviously spilled from a bottle opened three days earlier. So that's it, I'm done. I'm out. I can no longer endure Orlando's gastronomic crimes. Please, if anyone is reading this, overnight a care package with the following contents:

* A mimosa from Duke's City
* Baked olive and bread appetizer from 2 Amy's
* Falafel and fries from Amsterdam (please put lettuce, hummus and tahini on the falafel)
* Egg salad on rye from Loeb's
* Gnocchi with pesto from San Marco
* Cold smoked salmon bruschetta from Meze
* A Little Devil from Sticky Fingers

That ought to get me through the next week. My stomach, and my sanity, will be eternally in your debt.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ode to an Ode to a Budding Friendship

So two months ago I was volunteering and gave another girl I was working with a ride home. She was hilarious and shared my love of DC blogs like RockCreekRambler and Kathryn and DC Bachelor. (and perhaps most importantly she showed me a new shortcut between Adams Morgan and Cleveland Park.) She was excited because she'd recently been to a blogger happy hour and self-admittedly geeked out to the cool kids there about how much she loved their work. Figuring this required the bravery equivilant of walking up to the senior girls and telling them she liked their outfits I applauded her nerve and deposited her at her lovely home and was off.
So imagine my delight yesterday to see the "Budding Friendship" post at Kathrynon......What a lovely Cinderella story. She got a kick-ass mix cd and everything. Good luck in England etcetera!

It's Not Just the Friendly Cabbies Freaking Me Out

To recap--I'm in Orlando for two weeks for work. Here are just a few of the things making me homesick:
*Closing day for SCOTUS and I wasn't even there. Like missing your kid's T-ball banquet.
*Knowing that I'm so far from the only city in the U.S. where most people even know what SCOTUS is.
*Today's Friday and that means the soulful croonin' electric guitar guy was serenading everyone at Farragut North (Conn. and K exit) this morning and I missed it. It's just not a Friday until you've been thoroughly creeped out by his "Lay Lady Lay."
*When I yell "Move!" at people standing on the left on escalators here suddenly I'm the bad guy.