Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Post-Holiday Depression Survival Guide (alternatively titled, "Top Ten Things I Like About Almost-Empty DC")

Back in the office? You're not alone. I am, too. And as anyone in the office the week after Christmas knows, online entertainment is CRITICAL to surviving the looooooooong stretches of mostly meeting-free days. (Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining, at least not vehemently - just observing that empty days are often slow days).

This time of year presents the young working adult with a bit of a Catch-22. Go home for the long stretch and pray that everyone in your family makes it out on speaking terms? Or conserve your leave for a Carribean adventure during the interminably gray month of February but pay for your choice with a heaping dose of holiday guilt? In either case, I find that the week after Christmas leaves me fairly reflective, and don't even get me started on what the changing of the year does to me - suffice it to say it's no coincidence that the month of January finds me furiously journaling.

But you didn't come here for reflection. You came to be entertained. Without further ado, my top ten favorite things about being back in the groove and "working" the week after Christmas:

  1. Less guilt when I miss the bus in the morning and an opportunity to finish my morning coffee without impromptu meetings.

  2. Fewer people on the metro. More space, more quiet. Can you put a value on not starting in a state of high anxiety? There are days where taking the metro feels like a running of the bulls, but this week has been blissfully free of commute stress. (Forgive me, I just finished "The Paris Wife," so I have Hemingway on the brain).

  3. More space at the gym/pool/running trail/etc. Last night, I had a lane to myself for the entirety of my time at the DC public pool. I enjoyed the hell out of it. And will continue to do so until every fitness facility in the city is overrun by New Year's resolution-ers next week.

  4. Slower pace. Everyone is still in a sugar coma from Christmas cookies, which makes them less eager to shove ahead of you in line.

  5. Happier moods. Even accounting for holiday stress, I think people tend to slant more chipper this time of year. I even enjoy the generic "Happy holidays!" I find out on Out of Office emails.

  6. After Christmas sales. No, it's no Black Friday - which I hate because of the crowds, see #2 - but you can still find some sweet bargains to help round out your piles of presents.

  7. Excuses to catch up with old friends. Even if this translates to just posting on their Facebook walls.

  8. Freedom to eat junk at any time of the day. Let's face it, those leftovers are not going to eat themselves.

  9. An opportunity to blare music - the cheesier the better - from your desk speakers. SANS HEADPHONES.

  10. Time to write this blog post

In reviewing the list above, it's amazing how many of them boil down to fewer people around. What was my Myers-Briggs again? Maybe that will be tomorrow's project...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nope! Chuck Testa

There are three theories at work here.

One, Jorge Santini, the mayor of San Juan, is using his Christmas cards to promote the San Juan Wildlife Museum and its "realistic natural history displays."

The second theory, promulgated by dissenters, is that Mayor Santini is using his Christmas cards as a veiled threat against his political enemies.

The third theory?  He is just plain awesome.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Famous Last Word's Guide to Small Talk

After I stopped playing softball, my dad helpfully suggested that I start following professional sports, since I was "bad at small talk" and would "need something to talk about."

Look, I'm no wunderkind like Ashton Kutcher Paris Hilton Jenny McCarthy, but I think I can reasonably say that my parents have always underestimated my social skills. 

Now, some of that may be my own fault.  High school Katie didn't play the long game.  Uninterested in explaining who my friends were and where they lived, I would always just tell my parents that I was at one of two people's houses.  They're not illogical people.

They concluded that I had only two friends.

I love you Wilson.

This conclusion had consequences.  The reason they encouraged me to play a sport in college, my brother later told me, was because they thought it would force me to socialize.  "Katie only has two friends," they told him.  "This way she'll be forced out of her room."

Computers: 523891098   Parents: 0

And then I dropped softball, and my dad and I had that talk on the front porch.

His words come back to haunt me all the time.

I was told by one former co-worker, who caught me hiding at an event, that I "don't play the game."

"Baby," I cooed, "I don't play no games."

Baby I bowl but baby that is a sport.

It's true.  I don't play games.  I master them. You can therefore count yourself lucky that I will share my wisdom and help turn you into the social butterfly of every occasion. Just stick to the below topics, and the moment, as they say in France, will be perdu a jamais1.

Christmas is Coming

If you were born in the long summer, you wouldn't understand.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Stone-cold sober, I've never felt higher in my life than when I watch the Planet Earth series on Animal Planet.


There exists somewhere a group of people who enjoy caramel covered popcorn served out of oversized tins. These people are disappointed 11 months of the year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bigger than Britney

So said the volunteer coordinator's email request for additional event staff this past Saturday (emphasis on the following hers): "PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE AVAILABLE AND FLEXIBLE FOR NEXT WEEKEND. I will need volunteers for a VERY SPECIAL VIP visit - and you thought Britney was big ;)"

Why, yes, I DID think Britney was big. And not just back in the her "Hit Me Baby One More Time" days of glory, either. I thought she was big circa October 2011 when I was really, really pissed that she came to Children's National Medical Center on a day I wasn't volunteering. In sum, you should be understanding that I replied to that email request in a hot second. And spent much of the next few days wondering who, WHO could possibly be bigger than the Spears?? I had some thoughts - Ryan Seacrest recently did something with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, could it be him?

Incredibly scornful looks from the volunteer manager. Seacrest was out. My Google search "celebrities in DC 12/10/11" was also depressing unsuccessful. Admittedly, the search terms were uninspired at best, but, in my defense, I didn't have much to go on. If I had looked just a little harder, perhaps I would have stumbled upon Christmas in Washington...(for those of you following along at home, that's what we call a hint).

Fast forward to Saturday morning. There is insane chaos in the volunteer office. There are headsets. And walkie-talkies. And hugely high levels of secrecy. Fun fact: it is incredibly hard to a) recruit for an event and b) ask patients' parents to sign media releases when you have NO IDEA WHAT IS HAPPENING. Or who is coming. Fast forward two more hours. The volunteers are exhausted, the kids are impatient, the parents are wondering what is going on, the door to the infusion room hastily converted to an event space swings open and in walks....

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Holidays Make the Freaks Come Out

I'm sure these stories will get worse, but for now, it looks like the holidays make the freaks come out.  In this week's pile of the not-even-most-ridiculous, there are freaks and elves, but  no fairies.  We hate fairies.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday?

One of our esteemed co-contributors celebrated her birthday yesterday. December 7th! Really? Nothing? As none of you probably know, yesterday was also Pearl Harbor day! Being born on a day that one of the greatest Americans in history once described as a "day that will live in infamy" is probably a bit of a downer. Thankfully for her, our terrible education system and a Michael Bay miscarriage have ensured that many people today don't remember Pearl Harbor, or at least can't recall the calendar date when challenged.
The Pilgrims dumped Tea into Pearl Harbor during the Civil War to protest Washington DC's license plates.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Perhaps we're all being a little negative. Maybe Al-Qaeda is growing all those fields of poppies because they look pretty.

Monday, December 5, 2011

So you think I have....oh. Oh.

From: XXXX, Victoria
To: XXXX, Katie
Subject: Wide calf boots

I want wide calf boots for xmas, but have been on the hunt and seems impossible.  i am hesitant to order online for the hassle of returning when they most likely won't fit.  Have you found any?  I'm also slightly giggly about the fact that they call it "wide shaft" boot. Ha ha ha.


From: XXXX, Katie
To: XXXX, Victoria
Subject: Re: Wide calf boots

Was this suposed to be for me?


From: XXXX, Victoria
To: XXXX, Katie
Subject: Re: Wide calf boots

yeah!  We both have soccer girl calves.  Have you found any good boots?

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Remember when I said that all I wanted as a Charlie Brown Christmas tree?

I never thought it was such a bad little tree.  It's not bad at all, really.  All it needs is a little love.

Look what David found us!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

AOL is the post-Singled Out Jenny McCarthy of the tech world

Yesterday I was at a meeting on innovation (what kind and for whom shall remain nameless), for which a former executive of AOL was a featured speaker.

And in like, a non-ironic sense.

With this one fact we have all of the critical differences between my generation and the one before me when it comes to anything related to the internet and technology.

When businessmen-of-a-certain-age hear former executive of AOL, they think of AOL's soaring success as a new business.  They think of how they were the revolutionary force, getting the average middle-income home up and online.

When someone my age hears AOL and innovation together, they snicker.

Let's be honest: if you know someone who still uses an .aol email address, you know one other thing about that person, and that's that they don't actually "use" their .aol email address.  "Here's my email," they say to you, anxiously peering over their glasses at the paper as they scribble it down. " was that DSmthdoglvr283420988?  I'll check at home and let you know."

But they never do, because they've forgotten their password.  And once that hurdle has been cleared, there's too much spam in their inbox and they hurry offline to avoid AOL's featured web performance of Nickleback, the AOL of rock/pop bands.

I remember reading an interview with Andrew Breitbart in GQ, who was talking about what it's like to have ADD and be on the computer:

I've got maybe four or five instant messenger conversations going on at the same time. I've got about five or six tabs in Firefox going. I'm probably talking on my cell phone while I'm monitoring my Fantasy baseball team, knowing the pitch count of the Milwaukee Brewers/Cincinnati Reds game.

Once again, generational differences.  I am 29 years old.  I may not have clinical ADD, but to paraphrase the Bloggess, I'm easily distracted and I have an internet connection, and that's basically the same thing.  Right now I'm writing this post, while watching a documentary on North Korean gymnastics, while on gchat, while researching the connection between "More than a Feeling," the Pixies and "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  I can't tell you how many tabs I have open in Firefox because then I'd have to shift over and I don't feel like doing that, but be assured that it's way more than five.  I don't even have my music on, because I can hear David's from the next room. And all this is completely normal.  

"But Katie," you may say.  "That's your leisure time.  Andrew Breitbart has a site thousands of people read a day, whereas your work day consists of trying to pretend that your legendary research skills are something more than the ability to access Google. And let's not pretend that anyone besides the four of us read this site."  

Well, touche, readers, I say.  But if I may expand on that thought (and I will), I'd like to point out that Andrew Breitbart is a total asshat.  But also, what he points to as ADD looks to someone my age as normal bordering on focused.

What amazes me is how quickly we are approaching the point where executives will be people who were raised on the internet.  The little tricks that my generation has used throughout our interactions with our parents, teachers and bosses since we were 14 (the computer ate my homework) just isn't going to cut it.  Things move fast.  Mark Zuckerberg no longer stands for innovation.  Facebook is the old.  Google isn't even the new.   

But remember when we all had AOL accounts?  I think back now to how eager I was to sign up for my screen name, and how  many of those free month discs we went through in my home.  Hell, most of my good friendships to this day were probably solidified through endless hours of aim conversations.   I still use that same AOL screenname as my sign-in and tag for most of my internet interactions.  But what if I had the same reaction to AOL when I was 14 as I did to Facebook at 21, or Twitter today?  I'd be a pretty isolated, sad case.  So maybe I should just hop on board and accept the inevitable.

Or maybe not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Bits and Pieces

So I haven't been posting much lately, and I apologize for that.  I'm having a hard time shaking off the holiday cobwebs.  However, here's a collection of bits and pieces that I couldn't quite flesh into full posts, but, now that I'm A Blogger, I have a compulsive need to share:

  • I've been spending an increasing amount of my time daydreaming about what I would do if I won the lottery.  Won it big-time, like $170 million.  These dreams have gone past the point where I have been planning which friends I would hire as personal assistants, at what salary, and how I would have to get a good tax attorney to review all the scholarships I would create.  This is all well and good, except I just got alarmed thinking that I was really behind on what I had to today and then I realized that I was thinking of my imaginary "buy 5 houses" list and not my real work one.  
  • Speaking of winning the lottery, my million dollar idea, which you are not to steal: Congressional Guess Who.  TELL ME THAT WOULDN'T GO OVER BIG WITH THE HILL NERDS.  Think about it: Do you have inappropriate relationships with people outside of your marriage?  Are you from New York?  Is it with your staff?   Do you like to tickle?  YOU'RE ERIC!  Copyright pending.
    • Sub-point: I plan on learning to properly use the free Photoshop-type software I downloaded just to try to get that game to happen.  It will be my  holiday gift to you all.
  • Speaking of which, this will be David and my first Christmas together, and people have been asking if we're going to get a tree.  "I want to get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree," I always answer, which serves the joint purpose of 1) answering the question and 2) screening the person, because if he doesn't know what I'm talking about, then I know to stay the hell away from that jerk.
  •  And for another nice transition, I saw my old D.A.R.E. officer, who was way past inappropriately drunk, out at the bar over Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure what to do with that information (and that is far from the whole story), but I thought you should all know.
  • There are two young women in my office who have done nothing for the last two months but talk about the calories they consume each day.  I need to stop this and I do not know how.  Please feel free to leave your ideas, because if I have to listen to one more rendition of "I'm having salad for lunch, just the lettuce, no dressing," I will scream, and this office already thinks I'm awkward.
  • Speaking of which, on Monday two women in my office were talking about what to do with leftover turkey.  They were standing in the middle of a narrow hallway, which means I had to basically walk through them to get to my desk.  I felt the need to contribute, so like a 3 year old with Aspberger's, I enthusiastically yelled, "REUBENS!"  There was silence for a good 5 seconds.  
  • It's after Thanksgiving, which means I can now troll you all with this little thought: I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The worst thing I could think of

Cat: ok so i have to tell you something that might make your head explode
and it will be hard...but you did not hear it!
esp from me!
Katie: oh no
tell me that buffy is still streaming on netflix
i can't even look now
Cat: oh i have no idea
why would i care if you heard that from me lol?
Katie: i don't know
it was the worst thing that i could think of
now anything else won't be as bad

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cookies and Skyrim

Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies (double-stuffed, in fact!) and Skyrim.  We have become an internet stereotype.

Spoiler Alert

Ryan: i am just a little frustrated that everyone is trying not to spoil it for me
which makes me think there is some sort of really over the top ridiculous thing that's going to happen, like ned stark getting offed
so i just keep waiting for that
Ryan: ...
i don't think those guys have been introduced yet? which ones are they?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things I Wish I Could Do That Would Make Me Infinitely Cooler

Last weekend I roasted my first turkey. Or rather, I roasted a turkey for the first time. My first turkey was probably something like 25 years ago at this point.

But I digress.

While the turkey is certainly a notch in my cooking belt, and removing the neck and giblets is a notch that I'd prefer not to think about again, it doesn't make me cooler in any real, any cool, sense of the word. 

Not in the way being able to climb a mountain would.  And I'm not talking like this:

Climb every mountain....get it?!

I'm talking like this:

Or even just like this:

I'll settle for not being a Scientologist.

Other things that would make me instantly and infinitely cooler:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Guest Blog is Coming

I have a friend who recently began blogging. This friend has invited a number of her friends to write “guest posts” on her blog. I am not one of those friends. This has, as you can imagine, caused me not a small amount of pain and jealousy. Why has she not invited me? I have a voice. I have a keyboard. She has a blog. It’s obvious.

I can’t just ask her “may I please write something for your blog?” What if she says “no”? What if she says “yes”?? What if she says nothing and then just blogs about it? It occurs to me that situations like this seem to arise much more frequently than they used to. It makes me wish I had been born in another time, and maybe another place. (Despite all evidence to the contrary, the 1970s don’t count.) 

I wish I had been born in Westeros, the (probably) fictional setting for Game of Thrones. (I know the series is actually called “A Song of Fire and Ice”, but I defer to HBO as the definitive source here.) After spending 10 hours there this past weekend, I feel certain I could apply for dual citizenship. (And I would, if I were not certain Joffrey would have me executed for treason.) Even as a visitor, it is easy to see that life in the Seven Kingdoms would be simpler, more adventurous, and generally preferable to life in present-day DC. As evidence:
  1. I would bring a sword to work instead of a laptop.
  2. I would (probably) never receive spam messages via crow.
  3. There is no Beltway.
  4. There is no Facebook. If I post something on my Wall, it will be someone’s head; if someone “pokes” me, I won’t be confused as to the meaning.
  5. Men outside of the theatre can wear capes with impunity.
  6. Family mottos would replace corporate slogans. I’ll take “Winter is Coming” over “I’m Lovin It” any day.
  7. MTV hasn’t filmed any shows there… yet.
  8. The “nuclear option” is a dragon.
  9. We would finally have a wall to keep out Canadians.
  10. When summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime, you rarely need to switch out your summer/winter wardrobes.
Alas, I cannot return there until Season 2 comes out. But I digress… 

What to do about the blog situation? Instead of thinking for myself, I will draw wisdom from a “WWJD” bumper sticker. I assume it means “What Would Joffrey Do?”, and the answer is obvious: he would cut off somebody's head.

On second thought, I think I will just submit an unsolicited guest blog post.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Potty Mouths, Drugs and other Vices

Potty mouths!!  Get it?!

In this week's news, people find interesting uses for abandoned homes, we talk about vices and a whole bunch of people ain't sorry.  Not at all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hey little heroes, summer's long but I guess it ain't very sweet around here anymore

Somewhere out there is a security tape that would have taken place at your local neighborhood Windmill.  For those of you not in the know, The Windmill is a mecca of fast food delight found only in the cosmic center of the universe.

The Windmill is famous for its cheesefries, and, in my head, a fantastically low-cost, unintentionally hilarious commercial that they shot in the '90s in which they declared that there was "a location located conveniently near you!" followed by someone proclaiming that they "travel over 50 miles for the cheesefries!"

 Anyway, I imagine the security tape's footage is rather grimy, both with age and because it's on a VHS.  Everything is black, white and shades of gray, except for the bright yellow polos splattered with ice cream worn by a group of overly tan blonde kids.   They are slowly passing bulging white paper bags over the counter and receiving baskets of greasy delight back.

The footage then fades out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cuddle Wars

Why are the dos and don’ts of sexual politics so complicated? Let’s take sleep etiquette for example. Is it that we don’t want to seem too needy—or worse, disinterested, that drives us to these stress-induced situations? The problem is that this is a recurring quiz with no right answer. A test you know is coming the moment you exchange flirtatious looks with the opposite sex, but inevitably creates a late night, partially clothed panic attack, nonetheless. Let’s look at a possible situation that may arise— with the knowledge that this habitual night-time conundrum will be back for our dignity, self-confidence, and personal space.

The beginning-of-a-relationship-cuddle is a very delicate and dangerous dance to master—one must be careful not to misstep. When a relationship is new and blinded by the fallacies we feed each other to appear more desirable than we really are, no one wants to be the first to suggest sleeping space. So, we blissfully fall asleep in each other’s arms, content with our decision to finally settle down.

An hour later, it strikes. A once comfortable embrace of security and acceptance has transformed into a sweaty prison of torture from which there is no escape without looking like a heartless monster. So, you endure the heat, or try a feeble whisper of “Are you hot?” (which they never are, and you know that considering they are fast asleep and sweatily snoring in your ear). You attempt a bathroom run, hoping to return undetected. This is a rookie mistake. This cocky move will only falsely raise your hopes and lower your temperature momentarily, before plummeting to the ground in a fiery (and overwhelmingly hot) end in the arms of your new lover, who wants to warm you up after your chilly walk to the bathroom. What a guy.

So we sweat. We sweat in the name of a blossoming romance, and in the hopes of a future where we are comfortable enough to tell that special someone to back off. Try to stay positive and focus on the perks of the love sauna during those sleepless nights. Your skinny jeans will fit in no time. Didn’t you ever wonder why people suddenly appear more attractive once they are taken? Mystery solved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Layman's Guide to Office E-Mail

For those entering an office environment for the first time, I offer a brief introduction to professional e-mail communications.

The Care and Feeding of Your Ellipses
All this grammar nonsense can be a great hullaballoo of rules and procedures. Luckily for you there is a short cut that grammarians don't want the public to know about. The secret is thus:
If you are ever in a situation where you don't know how to punctuate a sentence you can use the special "catch all" punctuation: the ellipsis.
While many people have invested a great deal of energy perpetuating the myth that the ellipsis is intended to designate omitted words, the truth is that the ellipsis can also replace omitted punctuation!   This versatile little guy can represent anything writer wants.

Take this sentence:
"I have a party on Saturday, I'm bringing the cake!"
This can easily be rewritten without changing the meaning as:
"I have a party on Saturday… I'm bringing the cake…"
Exactly the same.

And the snozberries taste like snozberries!

The pineberry is a member of the strawberry family, with white flesh and red seeds.  According to The Daily Mail, the UK's answer to the New York Post and therefore everyone's favorite source for hard-hitting news, the pineberry tastes like a pineapple but looks like a strawberry, hence the name.

It joins another member of the strawberry family that hit big in England this summer, the strasberry.  The strasberry is genetically the same as a strawberry, but is smaller and, its seller insists, has a "unique, aromatic flavor" that apparently goes very well with cream and in dacquiris--

--just like some other fruit I know.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let's clear this up.

Screech fit right in.

Let's clear this up: you can't get a 1502 on your SATs, and Stanford is NOT the Harvard of the West.  Besides that, everything was completely realistic.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Not to Reassure a Cynic

As the black Santa Claus who worked at Macy's in December of 1990 can attest, I am an extremely skeptical person.

For the past several months I've been enduring chronic lower back pain. It's nothing close to a demon drilling into my eye, more along the lines of a troublesome imp kicking my lumbar. A gremlin rotating my spinal discs, or perhaps a lesser goblin operating a gondola service through my spinal canal.

The best treatment to chronic lower back pain,  people smarter than me say, is to see a Chiropractor. The cynic inside me was yelling "let me out, I have a family! I'll give you anything!" and also something about chiropractors not being medical doctors. As stubborn of a skeptic as I am, I'm open minded enough to try most anything at least once. Plus my insurance covers it.

Milestones are Important

After a year plus of huge changes (we got married! I got a new job! We bought our first condo! We got a family plan for our cell phones! etc), it seemed like the 'newness' was drawing to a bittersweet close. But last night, hubs and I hit yet another major milestone.

Are you ready?

I'll wait....

We had our first kitchen fire.

All together now:  


Here's a tip for all you amateur cooks out there: the appropriate reaction to squeezing something like a massive hunk of French bread into a toaster oven is not "Amazing! Victory!" but rather something more measured, along the lines of "Hm. That appears to be awfully close to the heating coils."

The worst part? Now hubby has a justifiable reason for his obsession with smoke alarms. FAIL.

The End of the Rainbow

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A DC Metro User's Guide

This weekend, I sent the following text (verbatim) to my fabulous co-blogger Katie: "On the weekend, pure anarchy descends on the metro. Strollers. On the LEFT side of the escalator! Asdfjkl;"

Remember how your mother always said patience is a virtue? Well, the DC metro between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. on weekdays and ANY time on the weekend is like immersion therapy for those of you struggling to compensate for your not-so-virtuous (would we go so far as to say villanous?) natures.

Metro pet peeves have been done to death as a topic, but a series of incidents over the last few days have created a straw-that-broke-the-camels back phenomenon:
  • Taking the red line on a Saturday, during the day. (omg did you know the zoo in DC is SO COOL?? You should go. With all your friends. On a Saturday. And stand directly in front of the doors so as not to allow people on OR off. Then definitely act totally shocked when people shove you politely tap you to ask you to move.)
  • A ten minute wait for a Shady Grove train yesterday morning at the peak of rush hour (why? Why does more than every other train stop at Grosvenor instead of going all the way to Shady Grove? You don't even just do it at rush hour anymore! DON'T YOU KNOW I WORK AT TWINBROOK?)
  • Speaking of Twinbrook - randomly skipping stops during rush hour is super cool (yo, some of us use the train to like, Idk, nap in compensation for the 6.5 hours of sleep we got the night before. Also, it's very difficult for me to ravenously devour gossip pages time my newspaper reading if I don't know when I might need to hop off the train. We need more notice that you're skipping a stop then, say, just as a random example, immediately before the doors close at the previous stop)
So today, in the spirit of the DC DMV's Open Letter welcoming you to our roads, I offer you, DC traveler, the following survival guide to making your ride on the metro the most pleasant it can possibly be:
  1. Stand on the left. Especially on the escalators.
  2. Don't, under any circumstances, move to the center of the car.
  3. Lean on the pole. No-one else needs it, and besides, you look so much more emo that way!
  4. Make friends with your neighbor. The "every other" principle, so common with bathroom stalls and bar stools? Doesn't apply to train seats, at least not in DC. It's not friendly!
  5. Spread out. Your stuff deserves a seat just as much as you do. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
  6. Make yourself at home. The metro is a perfectly appropriate place to apply your makeup, brush your hair, pluck your eyebrows, etc. Though brushing your teeth might be pushing it a little.
  7. Eat your food. The whole "this is not a diner" campaign? Totally false. You're a busy man/woman on the go, and the Metro is a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely meal. The more aromatic, the better.
  8. Hold the door. Though the conductor tells you "these are not like elevator doors you may be familiar with...," definitely stick your bag in the door to hold it for your travel buddy. Don't worry if they wind up having to offload your car - that's just more time to sight see in the tunnels under Metro Center!
  9. Crank the tunes. There is no such thing as a quiet car. Consider it a public service to entertain your fellow passengers with your personal music player. Bonus points if they can hear you more than three seats away.
  10. Time your trip. Whenever possible, do ALL of your travel during rush hour. New "peak of peak" time slots preferred. It's totally when the atmosphere is best under there, and when you and your stroller/shopping bags/suitcases will make the most friends.
You'll know me when you see me. I'm the short kid giving you the thumbs up.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The League of Super Villains

They are ordinary men in extraordinary costumes.
We are extraordinary people in ordinary costumes.

This mantra is continuously repeated to me during the time I have spent with The League of Super Villains, a group so exclusive and so powerful that for centuries their existence has been but rumor.

Forget what you've heard, what you've read and what you've seen.  These are not your comic's villains.  These people, are much, much more terrifying.

Daddy issues.

I'm still not sure how or why I was granted access to their ranks. With the resurgence of the Real-Life Superhero Movement, headed by Seattle's Phoenix Jones, I suppose there must have been some desire to tell the other side of the story.  I know I wanted to hear the other side.

And then I got the phone call. 

I was flown by private jet bussed to an undisclosed location.  It was hard to judge how long I was on the road, because I fell asleep rather quickly after the glass of wine they gave me.  Odd, because wine never affects me in that way.  The taste, though, was delightful.

They did me the courtesy of carrying me into their headquarters rather than wake me from their nap.  This caused me to miss not only the way to get to their lair, but also the chance to identify the location from any of the surrounding topography.  I assume I was either deeply underground in Arizona, or in one of the top floors of a skyscraper in north Jersey.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Further Reasons My Life is a Farce... or My Unintentional Battle With God.

As I mentioned in my First Guest Post, People always think that I’m being facetious when I say that I truly believe that my life is a farce. As a result of the comedic twists that befall me, twice in my life, I thought it was a good idea to do battle with God over my perception of unfair treatment. The first was in high school… and intentional... and it didn’t end well. My second time at arms was completely one sided. For this entry, I thought we could take a leap to the time I went to Egypt for a month for a study abroad graduate course, and a world of misfortune rained upon my head for weeks. Literally. Misfortune LITERALLY rained down upon my head.

Thanks for noticing me...

The trip started out with such promise. Life had been pretty devastating the five months prior to going, and I was really looking forward to escaping from my current realities. My roommate for the trip, Amanda, and I bonded immediately over our matching J. Crew hair clips and Coach wristlets. I was in photography heaven, and it was fascinating to learn about this new, exotic land.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fuck You Jenny McCarthy

I just got a flu shot! Or rather, an anti-flu shot (you have to remember to ask for that)!

There is a group of people who believe that, despite any scientific evidence proving otherwise, vaccinations cause Autism, Retardation, decreased SAT scores, Human Cortico-Deficiency Virus, Legacy Virus, back-talking, sass-mouth and in rare cases witchcraft. I call these people F.U.C.K.I.N.G.C.R.A.Z.Y. for short and pretend I was clever enough to come up with words to fit the acronym. 

I look at vaccinations differently. Vaccinations are nothing less than science's ability to grant us superpowers. Every time I receive a vaccination I can cross another viral nemesis off my list. They're not injecting egg yoke into me as much as extracting weakness. It's a gift that can't be taken away. The apocalypse comes, and we all have to make some hard decisions and compromise what we thought we were to survive the zombie hordes, but hey - I don't have to worry about Yellow Fever (unless the Yellow Fever vaccinations caused the Zombie onslaught).  

Whenever I travel to other countries, I eagerly pop open the US State department's website to see what new super powers I have an excuse to ask for (pro tip: always go to the travel clinic if you want the fun vaccinations, physicians usually only carry the MMR and Tetanus vaccines as well as the vials of mislabeled autism mixed in). Before traveling to Peru (maybe Brazil? I'm really cool) the doctor offered me two vaccination options for Typhoid (squee): a refrigerated pill which would provide 5 years of resistance or a painful injection which would last 10. If she had offered 15 years for a kick in the balls I probably would have said yes. Take note potential assassins: slipping typhoidic tissue into my drink will not work (and it's so cliché anyway).

The Department of Health is (considering?) suggesting boys under 18 be vaccinated against HPV as well as girls. What about 27? When the current generation of HPV-free humans enslave the rest of us I don't want to be on the receiving end of the (HPV-free) overseer's whip. Also, what about other papillomaviruses? All it takes is one person to screw a pig, and then BAM - brainless mobs of PPV infected undead are clawing at your door and you're regretting your stance on gun control.

Katie suggested that I became gay from a childhood vaccination, but I'd be disappointed to find out that the vaccination against heterosexuality was only successful 2-4% of the time.

Sex, God and Academia

In this week's news, academia embraces Snooki and Jay-Z, although no word on whether it was mutual.

Could Gotham City be In NJ?

The Star Ledger just posted this video, answering every fanboy and girl's favorite question: Where is the Real Gotham City?

Incidentally, if this works out, that would move Ellis Island and the Nets down to the 2nd and 3rd most important things that New York has tried to steal from New Jersey.

Katie: i tagged my batman video with dc, because i'm hilarious
get it??? dc COMICS
Éamonn: haha
Katie: i'm funny.
Éamonn: I got it
Katie: i'll pat myself on the back since your arm can't reach to dc

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Which I Live-Blog the Greatest Show (Currently) on Television

Okay, first off, Spoilers EVERYWHERE.  Second, the font and spacing aren't consistent and I apologize, but it's late and I am done trying to figure it out.  Either way, I welcome speculative comments on the next episode in the comments.  And here we go!

9:58 PM
A commercial for REVENGE! just came on.  I got way too excited and fell off the couch looking for the remote so I could un-mute the television.  Game on.

10 PM
The show opens with Emily/Amanda quoting Hamlet.  "God has given you one face, and you give yourself another," she intones, as the camera pans to a shot of Victoria getting her makeup done.  Makeup as war paint.  I love it.

Incidentally, it's a line that Hamlet says to Ophelia.  Ophelia is my least-favorite Shakespearian character.  She's such a wuss.

Victoria and Conrad Greyson are being interviewed for the Style section as "the Hampton's most perfect couple."  The irony is thick.  Too thick...

Ruminations on This Blog on its 2nd Month Anniversary

Some important and fun facts:

1. People have come to this blog via some of the following google search keywords:

  • kegbus average tip
  • positive reinforcement
  • celebrity with hemochromatosis
  • cluster headaches
  • guy in empty house

I admit, I'd be most perplexed about the positive reinforcement, but who googles the address of a blog instead of just typing it in?

2. We have some regular Russian readers.  Zdravstvuj, comrades!  You are my favorite readers.  The rest of you may fight to the death for second place.

3. I have clearly come a long way from my fear of having an internet presence.  Now you all know about my little family of oxygen tanks.

The oldest one I shall call "Oscar."

4.  I've learned a lot in the last two months of blogging.  For instance, things that are conducive to blogging: 
  • boredom
  • professional ruts 
  • wine 
  • rants by people I do not  like 
Things that are not conducive to blogging: 
  • cluster headaches 
  • hospitals 
  • forced sobriety 
  • not being able to look at lights 

I promise a triumphant return to the former.  

Although I may keep Oscar.  He's cuddly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Road Justice

I've vented my frustrations earlier on this blog about DC drivers.

This morning I was cut off by a man wearing tweed and a Lucky Strike helmet on a vespa.

It wasn't just that I was cut off by a Don Draper-wannabe, and it wasn't just that he was in a vespa.  There was more.  There was sidling.  He sidled up next to the car, and then when the light turned green, he not only cut me off, but he had to turn sideways to do it and wound up perpendicular to me.  And then he sat there for a while, confused as to how to face forward again as the light turned from green to yellow.  When he could finally right himself, the light had turned red.

If any of you have a particular type of father, you know exactly the type of look I'm about to describe.  I can't do it on command; it only happens when I'm particular furious.  I'm pretty sure I actually saw the red laser beam shoot out from my eyes to his mirror at that moment.  I will say that my nostrils were probably flaring.  Also, I grew horns. 

And fangs. 

And claws.

I don't know where the nipple piercing came from but it's really uncomfortable.

He looked into his rearview mirror and we made eye contact. 

Unfortunately for him, we were then stuck at that light for a few minutes.  I was too furious to even blink, while he tried really, really  hard to avoid me.

He decided to look everywhere but the rearview mirror, resulting in him giving a plausible imitation of a muppet with Parkinson's searching the sky for Super Grover.

Blog readers, rejoice.  Every so often, something happens that reinforces my faith in kharma, my faith in justice, my faith in life itself.  When it happens on the road, let's call it Road Justice.

For instance, one time Bre and I were driving on the two-lane road down to Cape Cod.  On our way to Maggie's wedding, I believe.   There was a huge amount of traffic, and people started driving their cars up the shoulder in order to pass everyone else.  This was obviously infuriating, and so for a while Bre swung her car partially out into the shoulder to block all the would-be line-cutters.  We could only handle the honks for so long before we turned completely back into the right lane and just stewed at the injustice of it all.

That is, until we turned a slight corner and saw the policeman, who was standing there handing out tickets to all those who tried to drive in the shoulder. 


Another time I saw a car speeding up the highway from a far distance away, weaving in between cars and just being completely wreckless.  He started tailgating me-- NOT in the left lane, I might add-- and I would have just let it go, until I glanced in my mirror and caught a glimpse of the kid.

He was young, he was making obscene gestures, and more importantly, his collars were double-popped.  At that moment, Providence intervened and I glanced to my left, and An Understanding passed between me and the driver of that other car.  We both slowed down.  To about 25 mph.  And just let that kid stew.


So this morning?  Mr. Vespa-Sidler decided to try to make a right turn from the middle lane.  Another car was already going straight in that lane.

They collided.

Now, don't get all upset.  All vehicles were moving slowly, so nobody was hurt.  But still....


Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Read this article on Lynda Barry


The New York Times Magazine just ran an article on Lynda Barry.

Lynda Barry is awesome.

Probably best known for her comics, she's also an award-winning author whose works have been converted into plays.  Other bonafides?  Matt Groening refers to her as the "Funk Queen of the Universe," and she hates Jonathan Franzen.

More importantly, she's teaching seminars on creativity and writing, and making a lot of people feel really great about themselves. 

Check it out:
Cartoonist Lynda Barry Will Make You Believe in Yourself

If you don't want pasta just say so

Katie: okay
either one works
if you can pick up some mozzarella cheese, we could do some quick pasta tonight for dinner
use some of that ricotta
David: ...
Katie: what????
David: another blob thing of mozzarella works?
Katie: hahaha yes
if you don't want to that's fine!!!
i'm just trying to feed my man!!
David: eyes her suspiciously
Katie: what???
Sent at 11:48 AM on Wednesday
David: is too full of the milk of human kindness. At least according to his new wife...
David: my new status should reveal to you my thoughts
Katie: what?????
what does that mean???
David: google the quote
Katie: i am not trying to lady macbeth you!!!
if you don't want pasta just say so!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All of a sudden, a whole new world opens with this O2 tank.....

I Question My Maturity

This is currently my office desktop background:

We just received an email announcing that our normal staff meeting on Monday will be pushed back an hour.  My first thought was, "Hey, that's a perfect time for sticking some Baileys in my coffee."  I can not even currently drink caffeine or alcohol so I do not know where that thought came from.  Or rather, I do, I'd just rather conquer only one demon at a time.



Comcast for some reason  insisted on not taking a former roommate's name off of the bill, even though we both repeatedly called in and complained.  When I closed the account, they overbilled me for the final month and actually sent me a check, with the envelope addressed to me and sent to my address, but with the check made out to her.  Real Transcript from online chat as follows:

Interactive Chat with Comcast     
Katie: well, my SSN wasn't on the account, that would be ****  
Ruel: ah, and may I inquire into your relationship with her?  
Katie: well, that seems like a personal question now, doesn't it Ruel?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For the record, I'm under 30.

Yep, that's the new home oxygen tank.  Complete with 25 feet of tubing for your home oxygen comfort!

Cat: i'm about to go to walgreens and get you some slippers, a house coat and some cigs
oh can you start using motorized carts at stores now!??!
with your tank strapped on to the back!?!?
can i if you wont!?!?
beep beep!
(that's my motorized shopping cart)
Me: omg maybe i can get handicapped parking??
Cat: a handicapped designated driver.
you are the best friend ever!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Today's another day.

So I admit to you all that I have nothing much to post today.  I've been up since 3:30 am with another cluster headache hospital run; I'm at work.  Not quite sure if the head fuzzies are a result of being up since the before-mentioned hour or because my head is still doing weird, cluster-related things.  Oh well.  But I swore something would be posted here everyday, so post I will. 

Katie: my hope is that we can get an oxygen tank in the apartment today so that we can both start getting a good night's sleep
Sal: See if you can also get a tank of helium, too.
Sal: Maybe they have a special
Sal: BOGO, you know?