December 09, 2004
Does it make me a heathen if, when someone refers to "The Big Guy," I immediately think they're talking about Santa?
December 08, 2004
Late to the tech game, I just became the owner of an iPod. I'd put off the purchase for years, rationalizing that since I generally have my laptop with me, my music is already mobile, sans the pod.
But finally, like a lonely man at a titty bar, the appeal was just too great to resist. I thrust my singles forward and snapped them in Apple's thong. And now here I sit with sexy technology in my hand. The pod almost purrs if I trace the wheel fast enough.
I am addicted.
December 06, 2004
Reasons Working from Home Rocks
1. I control the thermostat.
2. The mid-day shower.
3. I don't have to hover when I run to the bathroom.
4. The woman I've nicknamed "Russel Grunt," who occupies a stall from approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. turning pages in the newspaper and shuffling her feet, has yet to find my house.
November 03, 2004
Am I an American?
I woke up today sad to be an American. Sad that around the world, we have confirmed the worst. Sad that I apparently have little in common with 51% of Americans, who are more motivated by fear or greed or biblical superiority than hope and diplomacy and reason. Sad that by the time a Democrat occupies the White House, there will be clearings where there were once lush forests, a staggering deficit where there was once a healthy surplus, and a list of terrorist organizations united in loathing us where there was once a community of international allies.
August 06, 2004
California is a state of mind
Any other day, if I arrived at work breathing heavily, coated in a sweaty sheen, hair sticking out crazily in all directions, shoes covered in dirt and dust, and blood streaming down my leg...well, I and my coworkers would be very worried about my state of mind.
When it's a day I've just ridden my bike 11-12 miles to get there, my coworkers still question my sanity, but I feel a lot better about myself. :) I'm just glad I live in Southern California where I can do this sort of thing year round--barring earthquakes, West Nile mosquito attack-swarms, or "ash days" during wildfire season when you don't just see or taste the air, you also wash the air off your body when you get home.
The blood, by the way, is from gouging my calf on one of the pedals, and not from fighting off some rabid pack of dogs or something, although I was thinking of trying to pass it off as an X-Games injury.
July 28, 2004
Downtown Citywalk, Metrostyle
As we arrived at Farragut West this morning, the train stopped for longer than usual, the teeming masses slowly crawling by the train windows, headed for the escalators, countering our silent patience. The driver came on "Passengers, one moment please." *click* *click* *click* *click* "Passengers, this train is now out of service, the track ahead in on fire." Sure enough, the smell of smoke was acrid and thick against what was a second cool and crisp air from a *gasp* working air conditioner on a Metro car.
Stepping out of the car, the normally dimly lit station was even more murky and dark, smoke pouring out of the tunnel ahead, and people rushing up the escalators, coughing. Even the faregates seemed darking, the smoke haze making it hard to see. The smell of ozone and smoke was overpowering.
On the street at 18th and I, a block from the worst job of my life, I walked away from the smoking metro station, toward the White House. It never fails to awe me that you can walk right by the President's front lawn. In the midst of a city, there stands the most powerful home in the world, beautiful columns, a tall hanging lantern, a perfectly manicured lawn, and snipers on the roof.
I turn at 15th St., walking down past a gorgeous building in Neo-victorian style, then the Headquarters of the American Bar Association, a pigeon perched atop the greek revival courthouse arch above their entryway, acting as both mascot and ironic totem. The Treasury is next. The head of all the fiscal policy these days. Odd that you can just walk right up to it, walk in, if you like.
DC just feels open, with its low skyline, wide streets, and impressive architecture, there's always a reason to look up instead of just staring down at the sidewalk.
The Old Ebbitt Grill stands there, a Washington landmark, unassuming and simple. A samurai panda stands its guard at the door. The zen surrealism that is so becoming of DC begins to crowd its way to the foreground. I get my coffee, and I go to work.
July 24, 2004
Ice cream for dinner
When I was a kid, the apartment my family lived in didn't have air conditioning. During one particularly nasty, sweltering spell of heat and humidity, my brother and I were especially miserable, and I think my parents sympathized.
Dad suggested that we have ice cream for dinner.
This completely screwed with my 10-year-old worldview. Aren't parents the ones who are supposed to tell you not to eat cookies before dinner?
"Dad," I said, "we can't eat ice cream for dinner! That's not nutritious!" Yeah, I was a nerdy kid.
Those of you who are familiar with the work of Bill Cosby will know what came next.
"Ice cream is made from milk. That's nutrition!"
So on a 97 degree day, with high humidity and no AC, my dad got out vanilla ice cream, fruit, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and chocolate sauce and made us ice cream sundaes for dinner.
I hope I'm that cool when I have kids. Or at least that we have AC.
July 09, 2004
Mornings for Bud had always been a struggle, but he’d always forced himself. Thirty-five years, Bud had talked himself out of bed, gathered his tools, and gone to work. And as the years had worn on, Bud's drive had worn away...leaves of the seasons.
This morning, Bud was finding it additionally difficult. It was another birthday, another year to try not to regret...it seemed useless to try. Ah, but maybe something would be different, he thought the way he did every year. What scared him most was the day when he wouldn't think that, the morning when he resigned himself to a useless struggle that would lead to no change, no achievement, nothing...useless. That word echoing in his head.
July 07, 2004
The long escalators at Rosslyn ferry people from dawn to dusk to dawn again, spiriting them up and down their shrouded depths. I ride, as people fly up and down, rushing to get the train, rushing to get coffee; I wait, unhurried and introspective as I ride. The woman in the tan skirt shuffles down the moving stairway with such metric precision that one does not expect of someone in high heels. A family of tourists stand single file on the right, the parents admonishing their kids to stop jumping in front of commuters. A Blue Line train pulls into the station as I arrive at the bottom. The family herds themselves into the back car, I sneak into the front car.
Arriving at Metro Center, I can already see the line on the street, the orange barriers, the police. Bill Clinton is signing books today.
He's too cool to ride the Metro.
July 06, 2004
Get the Tapes
I raised my heart rate and broke a sweat, ate up some calories and sat down with espresso and cigarettes to read a pulp magazine, talk South Asian literature with an old acquaintance, and flirted with a couple of Russian women who smoked thin, Spanish cigarettes.
The women were from southern Siberia and were waiting to go see the new Spiderman movie. I was the compromising, off-shift barista who knows snatch about literature, South Asia, Siberia, bicycling... I silently pretended I knew a little Russian too until someone asked if I knew Russian. I didn't lie.