Thursday, December 28, 2006

Available At Metro Center

My girlfriend has a brand new kind of Metro card. I call it the "Hi, I'm Pretty!" card.

You see, when my girlfriend arrived from New York last Wednesday she bought a seven day pass at the Union Station Metro stop(cost: $32). It stopped working the next day. While I stood holding the things she needed for the day at my parents, my girlfriend asked the station manager at Greenbelt why her pass stopped working. Turns out, the station manager explained, that the pass was de-magnetized. Probably by a cellphone, she said. No problem, the station manager just circled the date on the card with her pen and told my girlfriend to just tell every station manager what had happened. For the next seven days.

So up until yesterday, my girlfriend has had to show every station manager her metro card, complete with pen-circled date and say " card was de-magnetized." And it worked. No one questioned it. Apparently, circling things with a blue pen is some kind of secret station manager code.

Of course, when the station manager was a man my girlfriend could have said anything. In fact, I'm sure everything she said was translated through that little booth's intercom and came out as "Hi, I'm pretty! Let me through!".

Every male station manager flirted with her, unaware I was waiting for her on the other side of the gate. One particularly adventurous Columbia Heights manager asked her, on Christmas Eve, if she was his present. What could he do to make her his present? I didn't hear any of this at the time.

If I was smart, I would have stayed with her instead of going through the gate first every time, sparing her the ordeal. I'm not that smart, though. Plus, it was somewhat enjoyable to see the dismayed looks on the station manager's faces when she took my hand as we exited the station.

One manager did see me first, however, and asked my girlfriend if I was a) her best friend, b) her brother(I'm white, she's black, so he was assuming my girlfriend is mixed, which she isn't) or c) her half-brother. He simply didn't want to believe, my girlfriend said, that we were together. Such are Christmas hopes, and how easily they are dashed.

So, I'm sorry Metro Station managers, but she's taken. And yes, she is taken by the whitest looking white man on earth.

Ho Ho Ho...Holy Sh!t, the scale says what?!?!

The holidays have done their damage. This past year, through steady exercise and somewhat restrained eating habits, I lost about 15 pounds. The past month, I've gained about three, really three and a half, back. I wasn't running as much, and I ate well. Too well.

So it's back to my usual routine, which means more running, and hopefully some weight lifting. I was thinking of investing in a personal trainer, but instead I'll just do some research, buy the soundtrack to Rocky Balboa, and hit the weights more often.

I'll also have to get back to my better eating habits, which means more fruits, vegetables, fixed lunches, and less holiday sweets, California Tortilla, and fried chicken.

Head start on New Years, bitches.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not Dead

Sorry for the lack of posts, all eight of you who read my blog ;)

Christmas shopping, work, writing(but not for this blog, obviously). I've been working on a lot of record reviews(you can read one at BigYawn right now, four more to follow), and on my Top 10 list for 2006, and other projects.

Anyway, hopefully I'll have some fresh blog material soon. In the meantime, everyone have a happy holiday.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Announcement

I have a huge announcement. Yesterday, I was folding laundry at my apartment when I realized something profound: I finally have enough underwear.

I am a clothes-challenged person, especially when it comes to the unglamorous members of the dresser; socks, undershirts, underwear, etc. I never have enough to get through a week, and I find myself either wearing some unsavory items or doing multiple loads of laundry every week. Yesterday, though, I finally won. I have so much underwear, even when I do a weekly load of laundry there are at least four or five pairs that haven't even been used yet.

Next on the agenda, socks and undershirts(socks are pretty close, actually).

My issues with clothes can leave me in some nasty little binds in the winter. I always forget to buy gloves, scarfs, hats, etc. Since I've moved at least once every year for about the last four years(sometimes twice a, I didn't realize it was that much until I thought about it), I always seem to lose track of whatever winter accessories I had the year before.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago when it was really really cold, I had to go out grocery shopping. It was around seven or so on a weeknight, and I was completely out of, well, everything. I knew from my walk home, with only my winter coat, that it would not be a pleasant walk. Especially since I had already changed out of my dress shirt and tie(the idea of putting on a dress-shirt and tie just to simulate a scarf occurred to me, but I decided that was too pathetic...of course, what I did next calls my sanity into question regarding that).

I needed a scarf if I was going to bear the walk, and I remembered I had an old H&M sweater that I was no longer wearing because(being over a year old and from H&M) it was developing holes all over. So, I took out my scissors and went at that sweater, and lo and behold:

I am the scarf NINJA. It was warm, and it a scarf. Yeah, you wish you'd thought of it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Starring Me as Myself

I've seen this musical meme making the rounds at two of my favorite blogs. It creates the soundtrack to the movie of your life, if anyone ever made it. And the way you do this is:

  1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, etc.)
  2. Put it on shuffle
  3. Press play
  4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
  5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
  6. Lather, rinse, repeat. DON'T LIE, IT'S NOT COOL(I won't, no matter how embarrassing).

Opening Credits: "Help Me Spock" - Warp 11
Ah, a preview to my unique brand of geekery. What kind of opening shot would this be, me struggling with a problem only a Vulcan could help me overcome? Help Me....SPOCK!

Waking Up: "Oh Girl" - The Chi Lites
Well that's just fucking great, I wake up heart broken, yearning for some girl who broke my heart(she better be played by Lisa Bonet or Rosario Dawson). This is turning out to be a great movie. Shit.

First Day of School: "The Post" - Dinosaur Jr.
Um...I have no idea, really. I guess "Eyed it, dried it, untied it/Chilled it, spilled it, refilled it/Paste it, traced it, erased it" works for school.

Falling in Love: "Just Because I Do" - My Morning Jacket
Well this is almost a better fit, it does sound like a good love song. Maybe I fall in love with someone who isn't right/good for me, so "I'm hoping you'll get better, and ill get rid of you. " Wow. That's weird.

Fight Song: "Four Dead in Ohio" - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
My love is killed in a student protest, so I set out to confront the establishment bastards who took her from me. Yeah. "gotta' get down to it/ soldiers cuttin' us down/ shoulda' been done long ago/ what if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? how can you run when you know?"

Breaking Up: "Good Times" - Sam Cooke
A very ironic song for my breakup. This plays while I wallow in exaggerated comic misery - or, I'm just really happy because my girlfriend after my dead girlfriend was a real bitch, and I go out partying. Either way.

Prom: "Carry On My Wayward Son" - Kansas
I go back in time, to 1977, when this song was a Top 40 hit. It plays after I make sure two star-crossed lovers share their first kiss at the prom, and Al tells me to get ready for my next leap. Then I wake up.

Life: "So What" - Miles Davis
A nice, jazz-backed montage of my life. In black and white, featuring some shots of me playing pool and smoking for some reason.

Mental Breakdown: "Sweet Little Sixteen" - Chuck Berry
After a series of personal and professional disasters, I'm reduced to a cowering shell of a man who takes multiple personalities to cope. One of them is a girl celebrating her 16th birthday. This plays on a record player as I manically celebrate by myself with a cake and stuffed animals.

Flashback: "European Oils" - Destroyer
The lyrics talk about the past, so it's a good song for a flashback. A previously unknown chapter in my life, where I fall in love with an English woman named Candice, and her father ruins our relationship " She needs to feel at peace with her father, the fucking maniac...". It ends with her tragic death, and me at her wake, ringing bells for my lost love. "I made a tomb for all the incompatible cells I could take/I brought bells to the wake/And you, you didn't mind shedding your beautiful European blood as I screamed - "Death to the murderers we've loved all our lives!""

Getting Back Together: "Lonely Train" - Black Stone Cherry
My next girlfriend serves in Iraq. After punching the President in the face, I travel to Baghdad to saver her(I'm convinced her death is inevitable). This song plays as I'm helicoptered around the war-torn streets of Baghdad, before finally finding her in the middle of a viscous firefight. We kiss, and fly off together, and somehow we bring everyone else with us.

Wedding: "Bitch" - The Rolling Stones
Um...yeah. Actually, once you hear the song, it fits pretty well: "Yeah, you got to mix it child/ You got to fix it must be love/ Its a bitch/ You got to mix it child/ You got to fix it but love/ Its a bitch, alright". Love and relationships are something you have to work on, and eventually you learn that. It's not all fun and games. It's a bitch.

Birth of a Child: "Strawberry Fields Forever" - The Beatles
I have no idea. Maybe the entire idea of fatherhood is so alien and scary, the entire birth scene is very surreal to me and doesn't seem like it's really happening? "Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout."

Divorce: "Commotion" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
The divorce is frantic and messy. I have to move to a small apartment downtown, and my daily life turns from serene to tumultuous.

Final Battle: "Swee Dee Dee" - Cat Power
I guess it's not so much as a final battle, but a final confrontation with the ex-wife. We share bittersweet memories before making love one last time, and this song plays as it fades out from us in our last embrace.

Moment of Triumph: "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon" - Queen
I live on and have a great life, relishing in the pleasures of the everyday.

Work: "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl" - Nina Simone
A thankless job; I long for something more, something more exciting. Or, the coffee is just too black.

Death Scene: "Wild Thing" - Jimi Hendrix
I die pursuing a side-career in street racing. A horrible, horrible fiery crash. Jimi plays the song for twice as long as the original(over six minutes), so I have time to pull of a spectacular win before my final crash.

Funeral Song: "Sweet Child O' Mine" - Guns N Roses
My friends carry of my casket, but it's kind of a celebration of my life funeral instead of an oh fuck he's dead funeral. My hair reminds someone of a warm place where they would hide as a child. I go out rocking. "Where do we go? Where do we go now?" I'll find out, Axl, I'll find out.

End Credits: "Tremor Christ" - Pearl Jam
Eerie. There is a twist ending, it turns out I was the evil twin all along. Or Jesus. Or something. " little secrets, tremors...turned to quake.../the smallest oceans still get...big, big waves.../ransom paid the devil...he whispers pleasing words...".

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Musings

I think these lyrics from The Streets Get Out Of My House best sum up my side of every argument I've ever had, for any reason whatsoever, with any women I was ever involved with:

So there you go
Don't try and gimme that shit, right?
'Cos, d'you know what I mean?
You're not exactly...fuckin'..y'know..d'you know what I mean?
It don't really matter anymore, d'you know what I mean?
It's hard enough to remember my opinions without remembering my reasons for them
You're confusing me now
I'm not gonna give you an example
I can't remember an example
You do it all the time
You know, that thing that you do
I...look, I can't remember when you last did it can I?

Mike Skinner is a true poet.

Anyway, last weekend I did more driving than I've done in a long time. Living in DC and not owning a car, I had forgotten the pleasures of listening to the radio. No, seriously.

It had been so long since I'd listened to music that I hadn't personally selected, I forgot the feeling you get when a really good song comes on the radio. It's like winning a small contest, making it a little sweeter.

I like the Gilmore Girls, or at least I watched it from when Rory was Senior to when she started dating that blond creep(who is now her boyfriend, ugh - although he isn't as creepy as he was before). One thing I was really happy about was, when I stopped watching, Loreali and Luke were finally together.

But now, I catch a few episodes, and she has married Rory's father Christopher! WTF!?!?! It's suppossed to be Luke, man! I don't care if he was the jerk pitcher from Little Big League, Luke is the man on that show.

So, to make myself feel better about the lives of fictional characters, I'll be watching this video:

Bam, right in the face. I could watch that over and over again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's Cold

The heat stopped working again this week. Guy is coming this weekend(!) to work on it. I'm huddled in a blanket, wearing my jacket, using my MacBook in my lap for warmth. My girlfriend just told me I could be sick forever...I'm pretty sure she was kidding.

The space heater a co-worker(thanks Brian!) gave me works though; I just have to plug it in through the bathroom so it doesn't short out the bedroom's power.

My landlord is playing techno-infused rave music upstairs now.

Welcome. Welcome, to my cold dark hell.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Game

The game Sunday was fun, even though the Redskins lost. They lost, after going up 14-0 early, in the first game I've been to in almost twenty years. Which means, as a friend pointed out, the last time I was at a game my youngest brother James - who was sitting next to be - had yet to be born. Of course I was eight then, but that's beside the point. I was there with Scott(my other younger brother, but the oldest of the three), his girlfriend Devin, and James.

I only have a couple pictures of us tailgating:

Scott, drinking while wearing his Laguna Beach sunglasses.

James, who only slept two hours the night before(Scott, zero)

We waited for the local liquor store to open at 11 am before heading over to FedEx Field. Without a parking pass, we had to pay $30 for the privilege of parking in a nearby strip of brown office buildings and taking a Metro shuttle to the stadium. We managed to kill about half of a 30-pack of Coors Light(Scott's girlfriend's preferred beer, which does taste as if it was brewed in a mountain stream: cold, watered down dirt). In the middle of our Rocky Mountain fun, though, a man walked up and asked us:

"Are you under the influence....?"

I panicked. Was James(who is underage) drinking? Are we going to get busted?

"...OF THE REDSKINS!" he finished, producing some Redskins buttons. He asked for a donation of a couple of bucks to some charity in return, and we obliged, even if the charity was probably "The Button Guy Charity".

After this, Scott announced for at least the fourth time he really had to pee. I gave him my advice, which was to think about fucking(I read in Men's Health that this helps by blocking the urinary tract, but I could be mistaken). Since his girlfriend was right there, I didn't think it would be too hard, but it only worked for about five minutes. We set off to find him a bathroom.

Circling the brown office building(which was locked), all we could find were some small bushes surrounded by other Redskin fans. The only possibility was to run across 202 to the woods on the other side, or pee in some empty AMP and beer cans in the car. He took the second option.

James, Scott's girlfriend Devin and I surrounded the back of the SUV to prevent any peeping and Scott proceeded to fill up one tall can of AMP and half a can of beer. The AMP can was a stroke of genius; before disposing of it he loudly announced if anyone wanted anymore "AMP" before he poured it out.

On the way to catch one of the last shuttles to the stadium, we found a porta-potty just over the crest of a hill. Scott was not nearly as amused as I was.

The bus dropped us off on the opposite side from where our seats were. After a little hike to the correct gate, we split up; James and I going to our seats, Scott and Devin going to theirs.

I gave James twenty dollars to get us two hot dogs and a soda before we went to our seats. If I hadn't actually seen the lady ring the items up, I would have accused my younger brother of trying to steal from me when he gave me my change: $4. I finished the hot dog before we even got off the escalators up to the upper deck.

You can read about the actual game here.

Afterwards...well, right now I'm finding it hard to write because I keep getting up to help my roommate clean the kitchen. Every time I feel we've finished and sit down, she starts cleaning something else. She's sweeping the front room as I type this. I'll get the dust pan.

Anyway, after the game, we couldn't find the right shuttle back to the parking lot. Scott tried to get us to board the bus back to the Landover Metro, despite the fact that we didn't park at the Landover Metro. We found what we were told, by a Metro employee, was the correct bus.

The bus was packed; Scott and I stood while Devin and James sat. We traded disappointed banter and looks of dejection and fatigue. Suddenly, I had a nice kick in the shin to go with my dejectional bantering.

A drunk girl seated behind me was going on and on about her asshole boyfriend, and in between repeated exclamations of "is it me, do you understand?" to her friend, she was kicking her leg out with an exasperated sigh before bringing a hand to cover her bloodshot eyes. What followed was the most cliched conversation I've ever heard: the dying relationship pep talk. The girl's friend and the friend's boyfriend kept telling the drunk girl how strong she was, how independent she could be, and that she was too good for the asshole boyfriend. Before the bus ride was over, everyone in the back of the bus had shared knowing glances of annoyance and laughs under their breaths. Scott and I wondered if we should turn around and offer some kind of intervention in the form of an inspirational rap, or repeated slaps to the face.

After running off the bus, we realized we were in the wrong parking lot. Sure enough, there was a brown building, just not our brown building. In fact, there was nothing but brown, nondescript office buildings for as far as we could see(if you didn't count the stadium mocking us in the distance). We wandered between the buildings, crossing grass fields and hedges, ending up behind a warehouse.

We found the road to our lot at the front of the warehouse, where Scott and James also found two small pumpkins. In the middle of an asphalt parking lot, just chilling, doing whatever it is pumpkins do in the wilds of Landover business parks. Whatever that is, it couldn't have been has thrilling as the aerial ride the pumpkins took before their untimely demise a half mile before we finally found the car.

We had dinner at Outback, and there - in the usually tranquil burg of Bowie - something happened that will now forever be known as the Tabasco Incident.

After Scott and Devin went to the bathroom, I dared James to put Tabasco sauce in Devin's cosmo(because I'm an evil asshole), but he put Tabasco sauce in Scott's water(because, being related to me, James is also an evil asshole). The trap was set, and what James did when Scott got back should be in the set-up hall of fame. It should be framed and studied by spies, negotiators, and con artists.

Scott sits down, and James simply says: "H20!", to which Scott replies "H20, yeah!" and takes a HUGE gulp of water. There are no words, in English or any other language, that can accurately describe the look of horror that was on Scott's face when the taste hit him. He froze for a second, then spit the water back into the glass.

"You FUCKERS! Watch out! Watch out, see what happens when you get up!" he said, pointing his steak knife at me and James.

James' plan for me was almost as brilliant. When I returned from the bathroom my potato soup and obviously been tampered with, so I reached for a piece of bread. Luckily, one side was very, very damp from the Tabasco sauce and I didn't eat it. If he hadn't gotten greedy and soaked it, he would have fooled me too.

And that was the end of that. It was a good day.

Monday, December 04, 2006

No Power Monday

I lost power in my room this morning. This is the second time in as many weeks this has happened, and I was doing the exact same thing both times: ironing pants. I'm pretty sure my iron is just a normal iron, but apparently it's putting incredible strain on my apartment's wiring.

After ironing my pants in the hallway(the roommate had already left), I set out relatively wrinkle-free into the cold. The rest of the morning routine went largely without incident. However, I did see something rather strange.

Walking to the Metro, I saw a young girl walking to school and eating an ice cream bar. Now, this girl is either a genius or just insane in the way kids often are.

Think about it. It's freezing, so she is guaranteed to be able to enjoy her frozen treat during her entire walk. No melty mess to explain; no damning evidence of eating an unbalanced breakfast. Then again, she is eating ice cream on a day when it's 32 degrees and feels like 22.

Work is getting stressful. I have tasks piling up on top of each other, like so many things that pile and stack. I'll probably stay late a couple of days(at least) to try and get some extra work done and keep the customers happy.

Other than that, life is good. This morning I had another great iPod moment: glancing over someone's shoulder at the Express headlines, I noticed one about the Iraqi Civil War just as "WAR! GOOD GOD YA'LL!!" rings in my ears. Made me forget all about having no power at home.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Greatest iPod Moment EVER

AC/DC's "Back In Black" comes on, just as a large gentleman wearing a black hoodie, pants, and an AC/DC hat sat down across from me on the Metro. The only way it could have been better is if he was black, which he was.

Avec une araignée

Ah, the morning shower. I like to run the hot water for a bit before I get in, brushing my teeth and letting some steam build up. That's my perfect morning shower: hot water, steam, and a spider.

Right. By. My. Head.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see something dangling at eye level. For less than a split second, I thought I was losing my hair(the spider was dark brown, which is what dead, wet falling out blond hair would look like I guess). Then it wrangled it's legs around it's little spider sling and paused right in front of my face as if to say, "Hey, how's it going. Nice shower this morning. Whoa, calm down fella...what are you doing with that tissue paper? know what, I'll just be going."

It climbed back up to the ceiling, where I killed it. Sorry, it was a primitive reaction. I flushed it and still had the willies all morning.

It's a mad world.

I'm going to the Redskins game Sunday; my first at FedEx, and the first since 1987. The only thing I remember about that game was my father seemed to be some sort of giant among men(I was eight). I'm going with him again, two of my three brothers are going but they will be seated elsewhere.

Again, congrats to my friend Jamie and his new job, hope the first day is going well.