Wednesday, February 28, 2007

May Angels Lead You In

I picked up a copy of Good Magazine over the weekend and was completely taken in with the content. Reading about Hasan Elahi and his effort to track every minute of his existence was not only intriguing but mind-blowing in a completely paranoid way. Most definitely a victim of profiling in this post-9/11 world, he's turned the need for the Patriot Act on its head and taken blogging your life to the extreme. After reading the piece and learning about how the FBI's keen interest in him led him to start the project, I decided to visit his site. Insane. Using a Terraserver/GoogleMap type thing, he allows us to know exactly where he is at any given moment. He's outside of Houston right now, apparently on an airplane about to leave.

Then, just when my paranoia was getting the better of me, I turned a few pages and discovered a piece on the cameras that track our daily lives. Entitled the Path of Least Surveillance, the piece contends there are thousands of cameras (ATMs, traffic lights, buildings) everywhere that can track us throughout the urban landscape. Evidently iSEE has mapped out routes of least resistance for those interested in navigating the city sidewalks out of the camera's eye. I'm not that paranoid*, but I think it would interesting to walk some of their suggested routes. Or, better yet, why not walk the path with the most cameras and vogue for each and every one as you pass?

*Though every now and then I get this feeling of never being able to escape, hide. Anyway.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dear Catastrophe Waitress

The metro has turned me into a woman on the edge. The confusion generated yesterday over the Smithsonian station closing would have been laughable had we all not been tired and hot and ready to be home. As I was headed out the door, I heard rumor of backups on the orange and blue lines but also knew I had to risk it anyway. When I got to McPherson Square, it was pandamonium. People coming up the escalator were telling people headed into the station to turn around. Surprisingly the platform wasn't freakishly crowded because so many people were afraid to even pass through the stalls.

No sooner had I made it to my side of the platform when we all noticed the blue line train that should have been on our side pulling into the station on the opposite track. Mass chaos. Everyone racing up the escalator, beating a path to the other side. They must be single-tracking it, right? Would have been too easy to actually make an announcement. Wait. What was that? An announcement about my orange line train coming on the other side just as I made it to the other platform? I pulled my own Amazing Race as I spun around and ran right back up the escalator to the other side in a matter of seconds. Running en masse, a number of us made it onto the orange line train toward Vienna wedged in a corner with bicycle handlebars poking me.

Because I was pressed up against one of the doors, it was my irritated face people saw as the train pulled into their station and they were deciding whether to press their way on. I get really annoyed when people push their way on an already overcrowded train, and last night, I felt like I had some sway in not making our situation worse. Maybe I was just punchy, but I started shaking my head no as we would pull into stations, indicating their was no fucking way any more people could squeeze into our car. I met my match at Rosslyn with a guy who didn't buy my 'no' and forced his way in (and right up against me). So, here I am on a hot, crowded train with the handlebars of a bike in my ass and an older guy in Docs practically pressed against my chest.
We continue to feel like cattle as we pull into Vienna and are forced to make our way up the one escalator open as people coming into the station try to make their way down.

Thinking this morning would surely be better, I got on at my usual stop only to have to listen to two grown men go at it. "Have you got a problem? Is there something you want to say to me?" "I don't have a problem." " I think you have a problem. Have you got a problem?" "It's common courtesy not to stand in front of the train doors." It went on and on and on (for three stops). I was to the point of breaking. Seriously, boys, just pull your dicks out and compare size and get it over with. All I want is to ride to work in a modicum of peace and was on the brink of saying all of this when the train pulled into McPherson Square.

I tell you...a woman on edge.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where It's At

9:15 on a Sunday evening, and I'm quite literally sucking mocha syrup out of my cell phone. A wild party gone awry?

Grace has never been something that has come to me with ease. I am more ackward and clumsy, less nimble and fluid. Last night was no exception. Eager to get home, I was graciously pitching in at the "Starbucks" at my part-time job by hauling the steel canister of mocha syrup to the back. Karma bit me in the butt because, as I was complaining to someone about another employee, I managed to shift my grip on the canister in such a way that mocha syrup was beating a path into the pocket of my jacket without my even knowing. This would be the same pocket where I keep my phone (re: lifeline).

Experiencing serious flashbacks of the bathtub incident of 2006, my heart sank as I realized syrup had oozed its way into every possible crevice. Leonard* was experiencing its own form of cardiac arrest as it continually restarted itself. Never one to give up, I began CPR, unafraid to put my lips to some of the dangerous areas and attempt to suck mocha out and hopefully life back in to my phone.

For the moment, Leonard is hanging on. His symptoms are much like that of a stroke victim. We have partial paralysis on the right side of his body, so the left side is having to do all of the work. I'm already beginning to dread warmer days when the mocha that has surely hardened inside him decides to melt.

*My phone.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Night Drive

I don't usually blog Gilmore Girls; I leave that to Scarlet*. However, I finally got around to watching Tuesday's episode last night** and felt such a kinship with Lorelai in the most recent episode. I realized that Lorelai and I handle stressful situations in much the same way. Lorelai's opening scenes where she talked of how she had been driving and driving aimlessly all night as a response to splitting with Christopher hit home, and I was immediately reminded of the hours I spent behind the wheel driving to OC all because of a boy and how I needed that thinking time, that me time.

What about the scene with Richard and Emily at the dinner table? Using humor to deflect a difficult situation? Check.

There is also how she deals with a difficult situation. Avoidance is key, but there's also the inevitability in her avoidance. She knows what has to be done and ususally hands it with a certain bravado. A great example is her needing to tell Emily about the split with Christopher.

Now if I could just find Luke...(ha)

*Who, by the way, is in the process of writing Gilmore Girls for Dummies. Stay tuned.
**Yes, I am that lame. I spent my Saturday evening watching Gilmore Girls.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Million Ways*

Where as Hamlet pondered the iconic to be or not to be, my own recent dilemma is more consumer driven than life altering. To ipod or not to ipod, that is the question. I've actually been on the fence about getting one for a few years now and am really no closer to an answer. I love the idea of having all of my music in such a centralized, portable device. However, I wonder if I'd be a music poser. Some people are naturally meant for an ipod. Music is their life...their passion. The device becomes more a removable extension of their body, an extra appendage.

Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit. Music narrates my life. It makes me walk with a little more spunk and focuses my mind at work. I always have a song in my head and tie music to memories like nobody's business. I also assign songs to the people in my life, songs that remind me of them, songs we loved together, etc. Some people are even made up of entire playlists in my mind.

The thought of being able to tune out the world at a moment's notice is also appealing. On the flip side, though, I sometimes like listening to the world around me. I'm a chronic eavesdropper on public transportation and make up stories for the people around me. Would I lose some of this in becoming a pod person? Would I live more in my memories? ipod or not to ipod?

*Today's theme song thanks to OkGo and a certain person who recently got assigned this song in my memory bank.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our Weekend Starts on Wednesday

I'm not Catholic, but every now and then I've given up something for Lent. It's something my church always encouraged, and I thought it sounded like a good idea. This year I've been a bit of a heathen and should probably be giving up quite a bit. When have I ever been good at doing what I'm told to do? I'm obstinate by nature, so this year I figured out a compromise. Armed with a list of five, this year I'll give up one thing and then turn fate on its head by engaging in four more positive activities.

(1) blog every day
(2) flirt every day
(3) touch nothing from the bake case at the Barn
(4) write a letter every day
(5) have a theme song every day*

I reserve the right to add more to this list** at any time during the Lenten season.

*Today's theme song is the title.
**I realize that technically you're not supposed to tell anyone about what your lent thing is, but I think encouragement is a good thing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chinatown to Chinatown

Despite having to leap over murky puddles of melted snow and navigate trash piled along the curbs, it was good to be back in New York this weekend. Stepping off the bus in Chinatown and into a street market tosses you right into the different cultures of the city. Navigating the streets with a pink duffle slung over my shoulder looking for a cab to hail just felt right.

Saturday brunch cocktails provided fuel for our trek through Greenwich, Soho and Tribeca. Despite my frumpy coat, we owned the sidewalks and would have been more at home if we had just been able to get Ravena out of the bloody map. She was the slayer of any dreams I had of not looking like a tourist.

Cupcake sluts that we are, we couldn't not stop at The Magnolia Bakery even though it meant waiting in a line that extended down the block. I can't say I'm generally for queueing up for things like food, but whatever. When in Rome, right? Final verdict on the cupcakes? Good, but Cakelove cupcakes (warm) win.

Walking back to the phat apartment Ravena secured for us*, I lusted over $300 vintage rock tees and cowboy boots in What Comes Around Goes Around and cute bags at Le Sport Sac. Realizing how irrational any of those purchases would be, our journey back to the apartment continued as we each plotted our strategy for the evening that lay before us.

What transpired that evening could a post in and of itself, but perhaps that's for another blog. The short of it is that the Peculier Bar turned out to be a good choice for those hunting the male of our species. Brits, loud Air Force guys, long-haired guys with nice eyes tucked into booths across the room...they made the evening worth it. I want to remember the following from that night: the way 'jumper' sounds, weapons of mass destruction, the sound of two glasses shattering, Scottish beer, the "did I ruin your Banana Republic scarf you imperialist bitch?" chick, and being the more sober one that night.

I miss New York already.

*Said apartment makes one more forgiving of tourist-like travesties.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New tricks

My mom has recently discovered email at work, and it's a hilarious and wonderful thing. At her old job, while she was on a computer all day long, they never had access to the internet or even email accounts. At her new job, she has her own office and personal email account, opening up a world of possibilities. She isn't one to surf the internet or blog like I do (hell, she won't even read mine), but she has discovered the single best way to get in touch with her daughter. Email. Lately we've been navigating the learning curve of a seasoned emailer versus someone playing in the email minors. For instance, I ended a sentence earlier this week with (:-p). What then ensued was a conversation dedicated to me explaining the fine art of emoticons and that that was akin to me sticking my tongue out at her. While she has yet to try one out herself, she has managed a 'right back at ya' and is turning into a fine email buddy*.

*A fine email buddy is defined as one that responds in a reasonable amount of time and provides either information, laughs or another justifiable distraction.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Someone is shitting on my rainbow

I hate that life is difficult sometimes. Why do we have to continue to be pushed to "grow" by traversing the difficult landscape of life? I want sunshine, rainbows and cupcakes all the time. I want life to be emotionally easy.

My mom leaves a voicemail on my phone yesterday afternoon that says not to call that night because my grandmother is back in the hospital and that she won't be home until late. That's it. The heifer says nothing about why my grandmother is in the hospital or not even a clue as to the seriousness. It's not like she's some distant relative I never see. This woman raised me right alongside my mom. I consider her part of my parental unit.

She's been weak and sick lately, a bad bout of arthritis taking its toll on her body. I feel useless being so far away and unable to do anything. Even worse is that I feel the fucked up part of me distancing myself from her emotionally because I fear the hurt that will inevitably come when she is gone. I worry about my mom who has to deal with this all on her own.

I want a pity party where I just sit in a corner and cry but know that will do no good. I have to do the standard and at least appear to be strong. Aren't I allowed to be weak for anyone?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fair trade is more than just coffee

In cataloguing my books for The Library Thing, I realized exactly how many books I have that I haven’t even read, many that I have no intention of reading. Most of my unread books are advance reader copies I’ve rescued from the bookstore. I have a soft spot for unclaimed books that might have some redeeming value somewhere. So I adopt these books, eventually lugging them back to apartment where they take up residence on my bookshelves.

Well, no longer. These advance copies need homes with people who may actually want to read them. Peruse my catalogue on Library Thing, and look at the books tagged 'advance reader copy'. I’m interested in a trade. You tell me which book you want and what you’ve got to trade me for it. Deal?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Blonde zombies take over DC

Is it just me, or are there more blondes* roaming the streets these days? Everywhere I turn they seem to be moving in packs throughout the city and its bars. As someone so very not blonde, I'll readily admit that I started to wonder if I was missing out and should embrace my blonde roots.
I mean they looked like they might indeed be having more fun. They all had the prerequisite hair flip and smile down. If everyone wants to be blonde, shouldn't I? I know this sounds silly and like I'm making fun (and I am a bit), but I honestly started to question whether I was at a disadvantage because of my red locks.
I had some caffeine and sense finally returned to me. Why would I want to look like everyone else? Don't I have a competitive edge by being different? I'd like to think so. out ; )

*Blondes are some of my favorite people, so please don't take offense.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Memory lane is really just a sidewalk

Last night was like hopping in the Delorean with Michael J. Fox and taking a step back in time. The "reunion" happy hour I had blogged about earlier was last night, and the best way to describe it really was like a 5-year college reunion. There were the nerves before going downstairs about wanting to look extra hott, the guy who you had the brief happy hour thing with, and the photos of everyone's children now grown up. How odd to be in a room with people who nurtured my early career and taught me pretty much everything I know about public relations and media. I felt a bit like the daughter coming home all grown up. Hearing from an even younger colleague how I had taught them so much and how they found themselves passing down the same lessons brought memories flooding back of nights slaving away under the fluorescent lights of corporate cubes throwing together press packets for a client who was paying way too much money and would show little appreciation. Add to the surreal list a conversation about online dating and botox with a divorced older colleague. It was quite the night.