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Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Am an Unmitigated Moron

A few weeks back I started getting spam in my comments. When I clicked "comment moderation" I thought that would just put up the funky random-word filter. I didn't realize all the comments people left would pile up somewhere. After my big brother gave me an email wedgie this morning for not allowing his to post, I realized I'd made a booboo. There they were--a pile of condolences for my sick puppy, laughing at Snakes that Appear on Planes, and a whole mess of good stuff on the beer-at-the-party fracas. So go crazy kids! Comment moderation is off! Run screaming through the aisles of this Toys 'R Us! Your comments are there, my responses are there! Be sure to check out the person who tells me to get a life for snickering at Jessica Cutler's book sales claims!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Keep your filthy hands off my rock."

Reasons my college athletic team will be better than yours this season:

1. With the exception of some admittedly intimidating games against Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech, we've got total a total cake schedule.

2. We've got the No. 1 pre-game tradition in college football, otherwise known as "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football." Now some of you truthiness sticklers will look at this list and say, "But Brunch Bird, it says that Texas A&M's yell practice is No. 1, and Howard's Rock and The Hill is No. 2." It does say that. But I've been to yell practice at Texas A&M. It's not better.

(Here's how certain I am: merely by pointing this out I'm guaranteeing that I sleep on the couch tonight.)

3. We've got a guy named James Davis who likes to catch footballs and then run really fast with them.

4. Our season kicks off Saturday at 3:30. The exact same day, the zoo is unveiling three new stars. Coincidence? I think not. Oh and they look cute and you want to hug them, but you can't do that. They will literally rip your face off.

5. Does your team play in the House that Hooters Built? No, they do not.

Game on, suckers.

"If you are going to give 110 percent you can rub my rock. If you are not going to give 110 percent, keep your filthy hands off my rock." Coach Frank Howard, 1909-1996

A Bit of Syleinixs

Do we all need a break today? I do. It's gloomy and drizzly outside, but inside I've busted out the Billie Holiday and I'm plugging away at a delicious latte and feeling a little silly. So I've decided that some Mad Libs are in order, only the words to fill in are those ridiculous auto-generated Internet wonders I've been collecting for a while now.

Today's Topic: Tourists, Both Amateur and Professional

"Excuse me, you're late. Oblive you were supposed to meet me atabal 6, weren't you? Your repeated lateness is so ghtoh."
"Yeah, sorry I got hung upmlrnd the Gallery Place entrance."
"Yuck. That's sort of a pooievw at that stop during the day."
"No doubt. It was lousy with tourists. It's always sort of a svtojx to my system. But here's the funny thing--"
"Just tell me later, we're going to miss the movie."
"Chill out. Plenty of time, just wayntawyl. So anyway, this guy who looks sort of faux-Gotti, reeking of Axe body spray asked me how to get to U Street and offers me $20 bucks for directions. Starts yapping about how some Times article on spending 36 hours in D.C. said to go to a restaurant on U and tell them you've 'got a 9:30 to catch.' I was like, 'Dude, you've fknbnhd. The guy who wrote that article is full of bulrrock.'"
"You took his money anyway, didn't you?"
"Of course. You've got to get while the gidudgtn is good."

That just proved to be the hardest post I've ever written. I'm not sure it even works. When I get to my office I'm going to have to shut the door and take a nap. I'll of course use the trick my friend taught me: throw a few paper clips on the floor and doze with your feet pressed up against the door. That way when if someone tries to come in, the door hitting your feet wakes you up and you just pretend like you're on the floor picking up the paper clips. Genius.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For Dave

My friend Dave lived in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina forced his hand. He was a page designer for the New Orleans' newspaper, The Times-Picayune. A damn good one as it turns out, according to the Pulitzer committee, which honored him and his co-workers for their efforts during those chaotic days before and after the storm. He snapped this picture as they were being forced to finally evacuate the paper. He designed the now-familiar front page that read, simply, "Catastrophic."

I traveled to New Orleans earlier this summer for work. A man named Burnell Williams spent hours taking me all over the city and talking about his experiences growing up there and his life since the storm. "I thought about leaving," he said. "But what's the use?" The emptiness of the city strikes you. There used to be 600,000 people in New Orleans, now there are 200,000. We stood in front of houses in the Lower 9th Ward spraypainted with what one writer called "a grim taxonomy": symbols and codes detailing death or emptiness found inside. What is so utterly frustrating is that in that neighborhood and so many others, the devastation stretches as far as you can see. Standing on Dorgenois Street in the Lower 9th that day in June with Mr. Williams, nearly a year after Katrina, it was like the storm had hit a week ago. The sight of a young woman my age walking out of her house through what looked like a tunnel of debris, carrying one brick in each hand and depositing it on the curb was too much to take.

But what I think is getting lost this week in the blathering of politicians, is what people like Dave went through during those initial days a year ago. He sent an email on Aug. 30. As he points out, some of it is evidence of the rumors that abounded in the chaos, but it shows what people had to contend with and consider as they tried to figure out the best way to move around the city and survive:

From :
Dave Baker <>
Sent :
Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:38 PM

I'm happy to say that I'm out of New Orleans. Newspaper employees evacuated the building this morning as the floodwaters rose higher and higher and the editors were worried that the point of no return was approaching: Leave right then while the trucks could still make it out, or stay on the third floor and hope for the best.

I'm in Baton Rouge, staying with a friend from the band and his girlfriend, at her house. I took the night off and will probably not return to work for a few days. (Last night was the most chaotic work experience I have ever had and hope to have.) The newspaper operation has effectively been moved to Baton Rouge. Doing an online edition only. We're making normal newspaper pages, but instead of physically printing them, we're posting all the pages online....The front page today has in big type, CATASTROPHIC, which really sums up what is happening there...

Get this stroke of luck: Billy, who is keeping my dogs, managed to get to Baton Rouge as well, though I hadn't heard from him since Sunday, and he just happens to be staying three houses down. AND he has the dogs. I was so afraid that the dogs would somehow be left behind, not on purpose, but just because Billy somehow would have no other option. It really is a fight for survival in some parts of the city. And I haven't been able to call anyone with a 504 area code. Cell phone communication is pretty impossible. And besides, my battery's dead.

My cat, Hillary, was not so lucky. Billy couldn't find her when he was rushing to get out. He was clearly feeling guilty about it when I saw him tonight and gave him a big hug, and I told him not to worry about it, he did the best he could.

If I could, I'd rent a car and go back and try to get Hillary, but I understand that the police aren't allowing traffic to come into the city.

In the rush to leave this morning, the 220 of us at the office were told to carry only a couple of things with us. So right now I own: my cell phone with dead battery, my camera, a flashlight, keys, and the clothes on my back. The car is fine so far. I waded out into neck-high, disgusting, gross water to move it to higher ground. But who knows when I'll be able to get it back. It's still on the side of the freeway.

I think it will take a long time to clear all that nasty water. As for the house, I don't know. Billy lives in the neighborhood, and he said it was dry yesterday, but when he left this morning, there was a foot of fast-rising water. I hope my tenants next door are OK.

Some things you may have heard about: Some of this is just rumors and unconfirmed stuff, but take it as it is... stuff I've heard. There was a jail break and maybe a riot at the prison that is VERY close to the office. The police apparently evacuated their headquarters, which is just a bad sign. Officials are evacuating the Superdome of its thousands of people because water is rising inside. Just think about being trapped in that thing. There was a big fire in the heart of the city as we were leaving. Not sure what was in flames, but think for a moment about a big fire amidst all the oil-slicked floodwaters. Not good. Streets are filled with stores that were looted. And people stuck in New Orleans are only going to get more desperate.

I've seen some powerfully sad things in the past two days, and I will write about them later. But I am very glad to be out of the city...

I'll still work, but I gotta tell you, I'm going to be actively looking for a job in another city. New Orleans is dead...

It's been a year and Dave shared some thoughts today:

Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans one year ago today.

I have been working on this blog for two weeks. It is just so difficult to really talk about. Maybe I'm simply too emotional right now, lot of changes in my life over the past year. I have easily been able to answer the question, "What was it like during that Hurricane Katrina mess?" And I sort of gloss over it, give the same prepackaged story I've told a hundred times now.

But when I seriously reflect on that terrifying experience and try to describe my feelings, I choke up.

It haunts me one year later, though I truly am one of the lucky ones. None of my loved ones were among the nearly 3,000 who died. My house didn't flood. The only physical damage was my looted car. Later, I drove that car around for weeks without a rear windshield, and nobody took a second glance.

But try to imagine your life turned completely upside down, slowly at first so that you're fooled into thinking it's not really happening. "Well, yeah, the water's rising," we thought, "but it's going to stop soon, right?"

Then sheer chaos as a city descended into hell. It was torture to see New Orleans being torn apart. Terrifying to see tens of thousands of desperate Americans pleading for help.

I became so jaded about our government last year. The federal response was apalling.

It's easy to gloss over anniversary media coverage of an event that happened a year ago. I have goosebumps now reflecting on it from such a vantage point. (A year ago? Really? Holy crap.)

But the people of New Orleans, a truly unique American city and one of the country's treasures, still need help. Don't forget. Let's demand better from OUR government.

I can't add anything to that.

No doubt.

Today's Non Sequitur strip. I pointed it out over granola this morning and my significant other chuckled. Come to think of it, he chuckled quite a bit. Apparently I'm a bit of a pill when my day ends without getting onto an elevator with Valerie Plame or sitting near Ken Mehlman while he hoovers fried green tomatoes at Georgia Browns.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Emmy Update: My Sister-in-Law Scores Off Of John Stewart

So it's not the same type of scoring I had in mind when I packed her off to L.A. last week clutching my Top 5 Emmy-Nominated List, but she did have a pretty darn good run-in with one of my honorees. At the Governor's Ball, Stewart was trying to make his way past her table, but a waiter blocked his path. After several unsuccessful attempts to get the waiter to move, my sister-in-law, sitting at a better angle to get the waiter's attention, intervenes and he moves. She then proceeds to BUST JON STEWART'S CHOPS, teasing him that he doesn't seem to have very much pull. He laughs, saying "Yeah, I got nothing," and then thanks her for the post-win congratulations she extended him.

She is now the second of my family members to encounter Stewart, the first being my sister who sat calmly on a bench shout whispering into a cell phone that my niece was at that moment playing with his kid. Now this. It means one thing: I'm due, Stewart. I'm due. You don't show up at my next party or while I'm waiting in line for a cowvin cookie at Sticky Fingers, and I'm taking a cue from your pal Colbert up there and calling you out.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Let's Go to the Seaside

I'm taking my own advice from yesterday and I'm starting the weekend at 2 today. Heading to the seaside hamlet of Avalon, where a quiet beach and an adorable baby who happens to be my goddaughter await. The essentials (cooler full of beer and bathing suit) are in the car, provided the guys who park my car haven't just helped themselves to a hell of a good morning. I've just thrown together the most unabashedly cliched, mellow summer cd:

Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly and The Family Stone
Up On the Roof, The Drifters
The Girl from Ipanema, Gilberto and Getz
Stagger Lee, Lloyd Price
Lovely Day, Bill Withers
Amber, 311
Easy Living, Billie Holiday
Banana Pancakes, Jack Johnson
Beyond the Sea, Bobby Darin
Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
In the Summertime, Mungo Jerry
Love Me Or Leave Me, Nina Simone
Rebel Rebel, Seu Jorge
Fisherman's Blues, The Waterboys
Crazy, Willie Nelson
Summertime, Miles Davis
Chan Chan, Buena Vista Social Club
Family Reunion, Jill Scott
* I know, I know, it's one Bob Marley inclusion away from being ridiculous, but I'm sort of loving it.

So long kids.

Sounds Like Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays

We all sort of got up on the wrong side of the bed this week didn't we?:

Over at Kathrynon, hell hath no furry like a blogger scorned.

I-66 has a stubbed ub nose and is resorting to, shudder, beef franks and Mountain Dew.

Rock Creek Rambler is rightfully lamenting the loss of the best Italian restaurant in D.C.

Me? I posted a Dorothy Parker poem two days ago, and that was even before I thought my dog was going to die. After a nearly full day of cheeriness that followed beating deadline on a piece this morning, I am now firmly back into a foul mood.

Here's to cutting your losses on a bad week D.C. Everyone take the next two days off. Tell them I said it was OK.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

She's Going to L.A., and She'll Have My Shopping List

My sister-in-law is off to L.A. at the end of the week for the Emmys, because she has the kind of job where the week might end with a flight to L.A. for the Emmys, not drinking beer from a semi-clean pint glass at Post Pub. She'll be rubbing elbows with the stahz at the nominees' luncheon, the awards, and then the Governor's Ball. Thinking always about the most important thing: myself, I'll be providing her with my Emmy-Nominated Top 5 List. She'll have to serve as my proxy. I'm sure my brother will understand. It won't be as good as bagging the kill myself, but it'll have to do.

My Emmy-nominated Top 5:
Will Arnett
John Stewart
Steve Carell
Sacha Baron Cohen
and for her Extras guest spot nomination alone, Kate Winslet. (Don't judge.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing

I spent the night at the animal hospital, because apparently my dog has a taste for batteries. Specifically, Duracell AAAs. Can't get enough of them. So instead of curling up on the couch with my new book, I curled up on the exceedingly comfortable wooden benches of the Friendship Heights Animal Hospital and hoped that my dog wasn't about to drop dead. She'd pulled this kind of thing once before, only it was with a pound of bread dough. She'd spent the next day burping yeast bubbles.

To my right was a dude holding a black lab puppy who had tried to eat a toad. Adding to the puppy's unmitigated adorability was the fact that he was named after an artisinal cheese. (But he shall otherwise remain nameless because apparently Mrs. Dude was out of town and wasn't going to ever find about this little fracas.) So he spent the night just sort of chilling out on his back up against the dude's chest with his back legs crossed daintily in front of him watching Animal Planet, looking stoned as all bejeezus.

But midnight at an animal hospital is not all about minor mishaps and funny stories for later. A couple came in cradling an elderly dog in bad shape. They spent about an hour with him and the vet in one of the private rooms, then emerged alone and left the hospital. Outside on the steps, they leaned into each other, their shoulders shaking.

You can hardly complain about a $200 bill for the emergency exam and the four types of medicine (including mouthwash) you need to take your likely-not-a-bit-wiser, but very alive dog home after seeing that.

Reprinted Without the Express Written Consent of Anybody

Symptom Recital

I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again.

-Dorothy Parker
(Who managed to capture the nastiness of a persistent horrible mood without ever once resorting to frowny face emoticons.)

Cat, You Are Now Free to Leave the Bag

What a lovely Sunday. Here's the rundown:

* Went to church.
* Had a well-balanced, nutritious lunch.
* Stopped off at the soup kitchen to sneak in a few hours of volunteering.
* Called all of my older relatives to chat.
* Had a well-balanced, nutritious dinner.
* Did not consume any alcohol, or engage in any other improper behavior.
* Went to bed around 9 p.m. Alone.

...Guess whose parents discovered her blog this weekend.

Yes, over salmon and beef medallions at Sam & Harry's Saturday night, the significant other dropped the bomb: "So, have you been reading her blog?" Had I quicker reflexes, he would have commuted to work on crutches this morning. While my parents were aware of its existence, they most assuredly were not reading it because I'd been keeping the name of it from them like Sudafed from a meth addict.

Maybe it was the $24-a-glass champagne (seriously, WTF?! $24?!), but on Saturday night, I finally caved. First though, I set some ground rules.
1. I don't want to hear any complaints about what's on it.
2. I don't want to ever have to explain anything on it.
My father, an artist, helpfully chimed in with, "Right, you don't want to have to explain your art." Which was an excellent point, but he was giving me way too much credit since his art is actually, well, art, and my art is making Snakes on a Plane jokes.

After dinner, they headed home and S.O. and I headed down to Leftbank. Halfway through my first drink I realized that at that very moment my parents were reading the phrases "no-pants dance," and "slut buttons," courtesy of their baby girl. Congratulating myself for having the foresight to set the ground rules, I tossed the drink back and ordered another.

UPDATE: Message arrived Sunday on voicemail from my mother saying she was admittedly biased, but loved the blog and that my father was howling with laughter in the background while reading it himself. I was surprised that the message didn't say something to the effect of: "Dear, we read the blog. We'd like to get back the $80,000 we spent getting you an English degree, and the family's good name." And as she helpfully pointed out, I can claim an additional age demographic now among my readership. Best. Parents. Ever.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Stop It. Right Now. Seriously.

Excuse me?

Oh, um, yeah, "Snakes on a Glass."

Yes, I see that you waggled your finger over your Red Bull and vodka when you said it.

Yeah, you sure did follow it with "Get these motherf*&$ing snakes off of my motherf#@&ing Red Bull and vodka."

Listen, can I tell you something?

It's just that that kind of stopped being funny.

Right, I realize the movie just came out this weekend.

No, you're totally right, it definitely was funny. Three weeks ago.

That girl over there laughed at it? Well, that's tricky because she's a staffer in Rick Santorum's office. See how she's got both of her hands up in the air and she's making that face and shaking it to "Stars are Blind" and spilling her appletini all over her tube top? Right, that's a dead giveaway. Not the best canary in the comedy coal mine.

Not following, huh? OK, let's try this, maybe it will help. Remember when you just sort of stopped saying "Schwing!" back in 1993? That was right about the same time you retired "You can't handle the truth!" too, because your friends weren't laughing at it much anymore, right? Yeah, well this is sort of the same thing, only I'm saving you, and them, a year.

Yes! Exactly like when you stopped yelling "Show me the money!" Now you've got it!

Hmm? Oh, you're going to Adams Mill next? No, no I don't think I'll catch up with you there.

(Work in Blogress has a funny take on this too, which inspired this post.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Movie That Will Launch a 1,000 "We Don't Like the Smell of What the Rock is Cooking" Headlines

Last night we decided to unwind with some Mexican food and a second viewing of "Talladega Nights," because that's sort of the mood we were in. (Favorite line this time, "Hi, I'm Susan. I painted the car...We had sex.") That mood also included sudden failure to tell time, so we wandered into our theater an hour early and were greeted by The Rock's new, as-yet-unreleased movie, "Gridiron Gang." We were politely accosted by the woman running the screening who invited us to sit and watch the last half anyway. Apparently The Rock is bringing the junket to D.C. soon and the screening was to ensure that the press was aware The Rock is now a serious Actor.

"Gridiron Gang" is about a never-say-die coach at a juvenile detention facility who uses football to turn his scrappy ne'er-do-wells into a cohesive team of young warriors who no longer think life is about knocking over 7-11's. At least that's what we gathered in the five minutes we sat there. Even a free screening couldn't keep us in the seats. Boring football footage interspersed with ho-hum acting in the service of trite themes.

However, during the closing credits (the darn thing was still playing when we came back after a trip to Borders) we saw some interesting footage. The movie is based on a documentary of the same name, which looks like powerful stuff. I found myself sort of moved by just the few minutes of the kids talking about what becoming a football player meant to them. Could be worth Netflixing.

Maybe the Quarter-Page Luxury Dorm Story on A1 Clued Them In

Over at Fishbowl DC, they've got a memo from the WaPo about the movement of Keith Alexander from the Business section to the Metro City desk.

Why is he moving? "To take on a social issues beat that will generate narratives about the poor, the working class, crime victims and others whose lives and voices are often underrepresented in our coverage."

Look, I admire the Post. What it does well it does really well. So I'm finding it odd today that the 120-year-old paper of record in this city has decided now it's time to start covering--with one guy--the poor, the working class, and crime victims.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Open Letter to the Two Jackass Reporters at Caribou Coffee

Dear Sirs,

You don't know me, but I'm sure you'd recognize my chest if I posted a picture of it. Because when I walked into the Caribou at 15th and M late yesterday you stopped your conversation and leered at me like I had puppies, rainbows and ice cream sundaes floating around it.

Then, as I waited for my iced peppermint tea (one sugar), you proceeded to loudly discuss what you were working on. As a female, I'm accustomed to knowing when a nearby conversation is being amped up for my benefit. Your decision to take the volume up to 11 in an obvious attempt to appear like impressive men with big things afoot was great. Your decision to make no effort to discuss the savory lead you're working on without disguising the name of the convicted white collar criminal and the prominent politician who might have improperly intervened on his behalf, was also great. Your decision to let me know, by quacking about this right in front of me, that you presumed me to be a blithering ditz was incredibly complimentary.

My decision to saunter back to my office and call my significant other, who works at your rival publication, and let him know everything I'd just overheard, was gratifying.

The Nice Rack

Does 5 Books Left = 5 Seconds of Fame Left?

Over at Jessica Cutler's blog, she's crowing about Amazon only having five of her books left in stock. (Although, as the Amazon ad she includes points out, there appear to be plenty available in the oh, say, 53-cent range.) I would have been proud of her if I hadn't just read this on The Daily Pulp:
Amazonian Tactics
While I got you here, I thought I would clue you in on a dishonest tactic used by when it's selling books. On the homepage for my little book, Florida Pulp Nonfiction, there's a note in red that reads:
"Only 1 left in stock-order soon (more on the way)."
Well, I happen to know Amazon doesn't have any in stock. They order the book directly from the publisher after people order it on In other words, it's bunk--a little prod to potential buyers to create an unnecessary sense of urgency. While I concede that I hope buyers will listen, I think it's worth knowing that Amazon isn't above such dubious methods to gin up sales.

Looks like Amazon got the poor dear all hot and bothered for nothing. Hope they at least sent her one of these.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lose My Post Once, Shame on Me; Lose My Post Twice, Shame on Blogger

In this space there once existed a post about how impressive The Daily Show's been lately, after months of being moribund. There was a link to Rob Corddry's genius last night, impersonating a peacekeeper in Lebanon. (Incidentally, in a just world Rob Corddry would be my boyfriend or at the very least my wacky next-door neighbor who comes over to bum Golden Grahams.) And for giggles, there was a link to the hi-larious exchange between Stewart and Colbert, also last night, on Colbert's show. But you'll not see them here. Because twice Blogger decided that they were better served being hurled off into the ether like so many balled up promotional T-shirts in a slingshot at an WNBA game. sigh....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Snakes on a M@$%F*#ing Beach!

So I reached for the camera phone at a couple points during the past week's vacation. Grab a shot from the deck of the beach looking all purdy at sunset:

Capture it looking quite sinister, but still beautiful, as a storm rolled in:

But perhaps most importantly, I went scrambling for it with the greatest velocity, when this flew overhead:

That's right suckers! Snakes on a M$%&F*&#ing Beach! And you know, the funniest thing is that I have never, repeat, never seen one of these banners fly over Wrightsville Beach. It just doesn't happen there. Not that kind of beach. And I never saw another one for the rest of the week. (On a side note, I love that they are so cheap that they didn't even pay for a banner long enough to read "Snakes on a Plane." Instead they just shelled out for "Snakes + Plane.") All signs point to one thing: cinematic event of our lifetime occurring in five days.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Friends Help You Move, Best Friends Help You Move Bodies

The highlight of this past week's vacation was hanging out with two of my favorite people on the planet.

The first is the kind of friend who, after she left the beach house, called to say she'd left me a little treat in one of the closets. Inside, I found a thank you note, a noodle float for the ocean, a jar of honey she'd picked up at a roadside stand in South Carolina, and an envelope full of cash.

The second is the kind of friend who will listen to me waxing philosophical about some aspect of my life that perhaps I'm being a tad illogical about and respond, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard." Or, when I announced after a semi-marathon round of drinking at the pub that I might throw up on his couch, he replied matter-of-factly, "It would be a whole lot cooler if you didn't."

Best. Vacation. Ever.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Days, umm, I've lost track, Vacation Recap

Highlights from the last two days:
*Rented a kayak and paddled the Intracoastal for a few hours early Thursday morning. Am asked for the fourth time on this trip if I'm waiting on someone else. A woman vacationing alone is a bit of an unsettling oddity apparently.
*Joined my uncle and his wife for dinner that night. He told me about last year when he hung out in Big Sur with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson thanks to a mutual friend. Punchline involved Lou Reed emerging from his lodge/cabin one morning in nothing but a Speedo. Which prompts me to ask my uncle if Lou Reed is still clean. Story evidence aside, he says yes.
*Friday morning made the golf outing rhapsodized about below.
*Saw "Clerks II." It reeked. I loved the first one. This one was further evidence that Kevin Smith hasn't made anything worth talking about since.
*Stop into a surf shop in search of comfy T-shirts. Guy working there strikes up conversation with me in which I mention that I'm doing a solo vacation. He looks at me square in the eye and with deadly solemnity-meets-surfer patois, says "Right on. That sounds totally awesome." So Moondoggie's the first one who gets it and I head home content.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Be the Ball

I am in love.
Today, for the first time, I took a golf lesson. After getting about 45 seconds of instruction on grip, stance, and swing I took my first, very nervous shot at the ball. Swing and a miss. On about the fourth attempt I nailed the thing. Never felt anything like I felt upon connecting with the ball. Not even with a well-placed tennis shot. It went sailing in a long, smooth arc and I wanted to jump up and down and squeal. My instructor, who had been a proper Southerner up to this point, let out a "Damn." No joke. We switched from irons to woods. Even more fun. In the hour that followed I was probably about 60/40 when it came to whiffing or slamming into the ground versus connecting cleanly, but it was still an incredible experience. Now I just have to learn the other 438 variables to the game. Including looking good in plaid shorts and saddle shoes. Because based on my time on the links this morning, that's apparently essential.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Some Beachside Observations

*There is nothing cuter than a 2-year-old in a bikini with a potbelly of which she is blissfully unaware.
*There is nothing more depressing than an 11-year-old sucking in her stomach.
*Apparently a significant chunk of lifeguard training is devoted to talking while whistle twirling. Less of a chunk, to observing swimmers in the ocean.
*Homeland Security needs to subcontract bin Laden detection services to the Washington National Opera. They just tracked me down while I was sitting on a beach 350 miles from home with spotty cell phone signal.
*There is little more satisfying than selecting which operas one will attend during the fall season while sitting on the beach. I keep expecting revolutionaries to descend on me screaming "J'accuse! To the guilliotine!"
*People with a penchant for bellowing their children's names at them every five minutes at the beach should pick shorter names than Isabella, Jonathan, and Mary Elise. Also, they should consider an alternative to parenting by shouting.
*I know small-of-the-back tatts are "tramp stamps," but do we have a term yet for belly button rings that have sparkly crap hanging off them? I humbly propose "slut buttons" addition to the American lexicon.

Vacation Day 4 Recap

*Slept in.
*Slept in some more.
*Met my uncle, who lives here, for lunch. He's a psych professor at UNCW, a documentarian, and a Henry Miller scholar. As such, chats with him are never boring. Today's topics included his new film project, the "bullshit" war in Iraq, and the verbal smackdown he gave columnist Richard Cohen some years back when Cohen penned an anti-Miller column immediately after the writer's death that had glaringly innacurate assertions. Cohen's response to my uncle upon realizing he had incorrectly painted Miller as something of a rape advocate: "So shoot me."
*Motored into downtown Wilmington and spent the afternoon walking the same streets that Dawson, Pacey, and Joey once trod. Purchased: one new denim mini skirt, one used copy of The Big Lebowski, and one ice cream cone. Sudden storm forced me to hightail it to car for ice cream consumption and Billie Holiday listening.
*Saw "World Trade Center." It pissed me off anew at what was done on Sept. 11. Knowing that conservatives are going to beat like a cheap drum the emotions it--and everything else coming up in the next month before the 5-year mark--pissed me off further.
*Ate steamed king crab legs and drink a couple Sam Adams summer ales on the deck overlooking the ocean.
*Braved high winds to walk down to beach and take in full moon which was glowing bright orange.
*Onset of the final storm of the night chased me up to the house, where I fell asleep listening to the rain on the roof.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Quick Programming Note

If we met at the Happy Hour and I haven't added your blogs to my blogroll--WiB, Home Improvement Ninja I'm looking in your direction--it's because I'm on vacation this week and can't figure out how to do the html on my Treo. Will do it post haste when I return next week.

Vacation Day 3 Recap

*Hopped in the 'vertible and meandered up Hwy 17, then Route 172. Ended up about an hour and 45 minutes away in a tiny little town on the water called Swansboro.
*Went into the Waterfront Restaurant (why bother getting all fancy with the name?) and ate some shrimp that tasted like the baby Jesus himself had descended from the heavens and manned the fryer.
*Wandered aimlessly on foot and in car a bit more, as is one's right when vacationing solo.
*Returned and went for a jog at dusk on the beach. In answer to yesterday's question, determined that dusk lighting is indeed the best lighting at the beach. Especially with "Slow Divers" by Jane's Addiction providing the soundtrack and surfers floating over the water, and couples standing on the sand leaning into each other, and little kids having one last run at the tide for the day.
*A few pages of "100 Years of Solitude" and then zzzzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Their God Would Have Demanded Script Approval

During last night's "Talladega Nights" viewing I sat next to a family helmed by a middle-aged couple. The dad was directly next to me and his wife on the other side of him. (Spoiler alert by the way.) So every time Sacha Baron Cohen's gay race car driving character kisses Will Ferrell the guy turns to his wife in a huff, at one point saying "That's uncalled for." She dutifully reciprocates with a head shake and eyeroll. So let me get this straight--a little boy in the movie telling his grandfather to "shut the hell up," that's hilarious? But two men kissing is bad family values? Oh and by the way Reverend, you were at a WILL FERRELL MOVIE. He spent a quarter of the damn movie running around in tightie whities. 'Course you closed your eyes during those scenes right? Because looking would have been gay.

Day 2 Recap

*Cinnamon raisin French toast at Causeway Cafe.
*Beach for a few hours with Elisa. Highlights include yelling "tramp stamp!" to each other every time we spotted a small o' the back tattoo, watching the adorable little girl next to us sit in a hole giggling and patting the surrounding sand like she'd just gotten her PhD in purposeful sand patting, introducing Elisa to the sublime wonder that is a BrunchBird peanut butter and honey sandwich.
*Sniffly hugs goodbye to Elisa. "It's just like 'Beaches'" she says, "You're Bette Midler and I'm Barbara Hershey." "That means you get cancer," I point out. She gives me a look that the poor thing perfected when we roomed together junior year.
*Peanuts and Sierra Nevada on the deck while watching people straggle off the beach for the day. I mull whether I prefer late afternoon/dusky beach lighting over sunrise beach lighting. Table making a decision until further study during the week.
*Catch "Talladega Nights" at the local Amalgamated Googelplex. Laugh until Junior Mints come out my nose. In 6 months, frat boys will be saying "If you don't chew Big Red gum, f*** you" instead of "Give her two tickets to the gun show."
Sidenote: based on the trailer and the reaction it garnered, take your life savings and invest it in "Borat the Movie" stock.
*End evening with quick stop at Barnes and Noble to purchase new issue of The Economist for beach reading tomorrow. And by that I of course mean I'm on vacation and I bought InStyle.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Blogger Happy Hour(s)

Some thoughts from my first Blogger Happy Hour:
*Kathryn and Cookie throw a chill soiree and the former has a mini-Bermuda bag to die for. My regular one suddenly seems oversized.
*V. Kent's gift of a "BILF" shirt to the birthday girl was hi-larious.
*Walking into a roomful of new people who already know each other is always daunting but having a guide is helpful. The delightful Etc. was the best sherpa any girl could ask for. Must repay with drinks when I get back.
*If you come across like a pompous ass on your blog you probably do in person too.
*If your blog is the result of a focus group at work it's not a blog. It's an advertisement. And I don't want to talk to you about it when I'm out on a Friday night.
*Work in Blogress is funny in person. Not funny like a clown. Not Rita Rudner funny. Really ridiculously funny. Whether he likes it or not I'm about to force him to become one of my new buddies.
*I do have the ability to chat with RCR about his enviably erudite writing without resorting to "You blog good. Me like." Frankly that came as a surprise to me.
*Late night at Blogger Happy Hour + early morning road trip equals 30 minute nap in McDonald's parking lot in Thornburg Virginia.

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine...

Day 1 recap:
* Early morning run. Stopped to check out a tree planted in the park on the island in honor of my grandparents who used to live here. Got a little misty. Realized we have to ask them to get a new sign for it since it now says "Helen and Fran" not "Frank." Which could give impression I either had very Irish grandparents or two grandmas.
* Church at the the beach chapel with Elisa my sorority sister who's joining me for a few days. Catholicism's fine on its own but served up with salty air and flip-flops it's even better.
*Beach for entire day. Proud to say I only have a burn on part of my back.
*Dockside drinks and then late dinner (shrimp and grits) and more drinks with the always delightful Andy who is Elisa's ex. Seriously if they were ever to award a "Nicest Southern Gentlemanliest Cutie Award" Andy's got it in the bag.
*Liberal aloe application.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Roadtrip Haiku

Staring at brake lights.
Wrightsville Beach so far away.
I hate 95.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Vote Early, Vote Often

So over at FishbowlDC, Patrick Gavin's got his 2006 Hottest Media Types nominees up. Feel free to follow along while we're chatting.

Now, I'm not one to try to influence a vote, but I have to say that one of my good friends, Dave, introduced me recently to his good friend, Off-Air Hottie nominee Ylan Mui of the WaPo, and we all hung out for a while. In that time, I found her to have not one ounce of pretention, despite the fact that she's: got a great job, is not unattractive, and has a nice fiance. In fact, she seemed like the type that might be kinda mortified that she's ended up in this contest.

To all '06 Media Hottie nominees, I salute you. I'll tamp down my twinges of envy (and if you're an un-nominated media person slagging the people on this list while claiming you're not envious, then I'm calling bullshit on that) and say "Good for you(r parents having good genes)!"

UPDATE: A source tells me that things are getting nasty in this thing and feelings are getting hurt. (I wish you could infer this as a gender-neutral assessment on the source's part, but you know he's talking about the female side of this contest.) I reiterate people: Embrace it when your fellow D.C. ladies land on lists like this. You know you would totally want to be on one, and if Ronald Reagan taught us nothing else he taught us that a rising tide lifts all boats.

First Rule of Fight Club

Ambled up to Politics and Prose the other night to hear Thomas Ricks talk about his new book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. The place was jammed. His talk was interesting, but nothing new if you saw him on C-SPAN the previous weekend. Anyway, as the masses were leaving, I got wedged in behind a man and a woman who had the following exchange:

Suit Man: "Heyyyy, youuuuu. I see a certain senator is mentioned a few times in the book."
Woman Who Looks Vaguely Uncomfortable: "Yes, he said that he'd preliminarily skimmed it and saw that."
Suit Man: (chortles) "Heh, heh, did the old 'Washington Read,' huh?"

Here's the thing. Our city has its little idiosyncrasies, the Washington Read being one of them. For those tuning in from flyover country, it means skimming the index of a new political book to see if you, your boss, your disgruntled housekeeper, your slutty intern/junior staffer, or your mistress--and to be fair those last two might be overlapping categories--is mentioned. But we don't really talk about it out loud. It's just so gauche.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I "Almost Peed Myself" Seeing Zagat Had "Served Up" My "Heapin' Helpings" of "Hilarity"

I detest the Zagat restaurant guides. What modicum of information they offer about a restaurant is obscured by the sheer inanity of their style. Every time I peruse one I can only see the Saturday Night Live "Zagat" skit with Chris Farley in drag reading one to Adam Sandler as they try to find a restaurant for their anniversary. So imagine my delight to get an email some months back asking me to participate in the survey that would eventually become the 2007 D.C./Baltimore guide.

I decided that this would be good practice for my freelance writing adaptation skills. My mission: see if I could pen phrases so asinine, yet Zagat-worthy, that the Johannes Gutenbergs behind this burgandy Bible would simply have to include them. To be fair, I wouldn't lie about my general feelings for a restaurant. If it was good, I'd make a comment accordingly. Ditto if I hated a place. Guess what came in the mail yesterday?! Thanks to Zagat's online survey registration which saves comments, I was able to compare the new guide with the comments I submitted for 25 D.C. restaurants lo those many months ago. Total score: three hits!

The first two weren't really my best effort, but into the guide they went:
Ardeo: "delightful brunch!"
Mate: "outdoes NYC attitude!"

No, it was seeing the third comment, right there on page 139, that made my heart sing. Like a parent watching her child cross the stage at his high school graduation, or, get out of rehab:

Thai Tanic: "No sinking feelings here, the food is as buoyant as ever!"

It's that easy. Someone "stop them!" "Please!"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Guster Allegedly Promotes Right of Fans to Make Out During Set

Going to the Guster/Ray LaMontagne show tonight at Wolf Trap? You'll be one of the last to see that particular lineup. LaMontagne's website says he's canceling all shows after tomorrow's Charlottesville gig due to "unforeseen conflicts in his schedule." Did he forget he was going to be on a U.S. tour and make a dentist appointment? Doesn't sound like it.

Just ran into a former Guster rep at lunch who's calling bullshit on the scheduling explanation. Says that Ray freaked out on a couple sitting up front at a recent show, pulling the whole "If you're not going to listen to the music why don't you just f*** off" routine. Ironic, since GQ recently touted his shows as the best place to take a dame you were hoping to do the no-pants dance with later. Hell, he's even got that exact article in the "Press" section of his website. Source says Guster subsequently revoked LaMontagne's onstage pass, as it were.

If this all checks out he's committed one of my pet peeves: rockers (yeah, I know he's mellow, but it's an outdoor, massive venue summer tour) who stop shows to whine about people talking. Most recently, I watched Jeff Tweedy of Wilco do it in Ft. Lauderdale last summer. Here's the thing: you're a rock star. Suck it up. Did The Ramones ever stopped midsong to ask people to quiet down? Ahno, they didn't. Hell, the only time the Stones ever stopped midshow was to ask people in the front to kindly stop knifing a fan.