Tuesday, May 29, 2007



I've been painfully slogging through Moby Dick for the past month and a half. I treat walking away from classics as a personal failure, so I had been determined to stick with it through the end.

But honestly, I can't do it. The damn book was making me hate life. It was such a disappointment. It started off all excitement, but soon enough dove into a lengthy comparison of right whales and sperm whales. I'm not one to give up, but please. Herman Melville. No wonder you died impoverished.

(okay. that's calling on bad karma, and it pretty much guarantees that I'll never sell a book. but I'll say it anyhow, because it deserves to be said.)

So, last Friday, I was in Border's (no, not the one I had been kicked out of) and eager for something good to read. I was planning on spending tons of time at the pool this weekend, and the thought of cracking open Moby Dick reeked too much of homework, and not enough of fun.

I was in a difficult mood, and was pretty much deeming each back cover I read as trash. Or unoriginal. Or boring. Or painfully, painfully bad. Recognizing my difficult mood, and growing all the more difficult by the second, I decided to pull the ole "shut the eyes and point to a book" trick.

Miraculously, it worked.

My finger settled on The Final Confession of Mabel Stark, by Robert Hough. It's a fictional account of the life of a (real life) female tiger trainer, who had her heyday back in the early 1900s. I was a sucker the second I saw the loud front cover, but the fact that the back cover said she was "brazen, suicidally courageous, sexually adventurous, and survived a dozen severe maulings—and five husbands" cinched the deal.

Sounded like my kind of read. And I love this book. So much so that when I was at the bar last Saturday, and talking to some random guy who was revealing his life story much too soon, my mind kept coming back to the book that was in my pocketbook, that was on the chair. I really, really wanted to crack it open and read. Admittedly, that guy wasn't too far from a dud, but still.

This book makes me happy. It's the way reading should be.

"When he looked at me, unblinking, I could never quite tell whether he was someone who'd do a good job protecting me or whether he was someone I needed protecting from, and it was this mixture that grabbed my attention."
- pg. 66

Monday, May 28, 2007


apparently we live in thug central

So last night B3 and I went to McDonald's. We knew we were pushing it when we began our journey at 10:30, and hoped that it would be open until 11. Lucky for us, we made it in, the employees locking the door behind us, so to keep out additional late-comers.

There were four other people in front of us in line. Three teeny bopper girls wearing cute outfits, and one guy in athletic wear. All seemed to be going smoothly. B3 placed our order, we got our cups, we filled them, etc. etc. You know the drill. He sat patiently, I stood, silently, gravely, pondering the correlation between coming at closing and quality of food served.

Suddenly, all was not right in Mudville. The guy in athletic wear (I should have known that he had excessive testosterone!), who up to this point seemed, you know, normal, started getting all alpha male with the poor McDonald's employees. I couldn't tell if he was angry with the person he was chatting with on the phone, or with the MickyD peeps...but then he angrily shook his little package of fruit in the face of poor Manuela (the woman at the register, and who seemed to be in charge) and all became crystal-clear. His complaint? His fruit was not fresh. Dude. Please. You're at McDonald's. If you want perfect fruit, go...somewhere else.

Manuela & Co. tried to appease the irascible man, giving him package after package of fruit, only to have him reject it. They pointed out that the expiration date was a good two months away, but he wasn't having any of it, and practically shouted "I see the date - do you think I'm stupid?!" I'm not sure how it ended...he either got fruit or he didn't (I was pretty much averting my eyes, sending B3 "!!!!" signals), but he stormed out of there, finally.

Awkwardness ceased.

For a good 20 seconds. Then the pop princess on the phone channeled her inner Plastic, and pissily said that she didn't like the worker's attitude, and she demanded her money back. Maunela, fresh from the fruit wringer, looked a little surprised, and weary. They exchanged words, with the lackeys flanking the princess repeating choice phrases...for example, princess would say "I'm gonna call the POLICE on you" and tweedle dee and tweedle dum echoed "Yeah, call the police," dripping with attitude and ignorance.

By this time my eyes were so busy being averted that I thought they might never look straight again. Manuela gestured to one of the other workers, and she went to get the register key, so to give the girl her money back. Being a swift little multi-tasker, princess alternated between chatting on the phone glued to her ear, and slinging insults at Manuela, saying "Why are you just standing there?! Open the register!! Don't be so SLOW!"

I was like....is this a robbery?

Finally, the girls left, after Manuela opened the door for them. They called her a bitch, and Manuela wished them a good night. And honest to goodness, she sounded sincere.

I wanted to give those poor people a hug. WTF?! Who gets off treating people like that? We talked to them while they handed us our food, and Manuela explained that those girls come in almost every night, and tonight they were all insane because there had been too much salt on their small order of fries. Manuela & Co. had been making an entirely new batch of (unsalted) fries in order to appease the mob, when they decided that it had been taking too long.

It's funny how, with all the atrocities in the world, it takes only little things like that happening to me to shake my faith in people.

In my one tremendously boring and (I thought at the time) useless sociology class, we learned that if people witness another performing a helpful act, those people are more likely to help out as well. I've seen it in action on the street, when someone gives a beggar money. Quite often, someone in proximity rushes to do the same, when previously they had shown no such inclination.

I think this was an example of the same concept, only for worse. Things were all chill until the crazy fruit man started up, and that seemed to froth the girls into their little rage. Who are these people?!

Friday, May 25, 2007


I <3 the United States of America

more on this later...maybe...but here's a good article.

Yankee Doodle Daddy - One Man's Plan for Raising Patriotic Kids

I'm sick of people crapping on America and forgetting the opportunities here - so it was great to find this article on msn.

(okay...before anyone points out my Border's issue, I love the U.S., but I don't endorse misplaced values, like having stores open really, really late. That doesn't make my love of country diminish, or lessen my overwhelming gratitude for having the grace of God to have been born here.)

(Although, part of what makes America great is the opportunity for chasing your dream...so, stores staying open late could fall under the heading of being able to pursue your dream of fueling the fires of consumerism late into the night...but...it still rubs me the wrong way. I'm not advocating for a store closing curfew, just lamenting where some priorities lie.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Trollope, Hepburn, Geiger

(our panel of experts)

Today I was signing up for rental insurance, so I decided to zip through quotes from reflectionfortheday.com while Alon was creating my customer profile.

I got to this quote:

She knew how to allure by denying, and to make rich the gift by denying it.
- Anthony Trollope
British writer (1815-1882)

and it gave me pause. It was fitting, because I had just been browing facebook (yes, yes, killer of a day), and came upon the group "modest is hottest." The whole quote brings to mind some Victorian lady in a billowey pretty dress, with buttons up to the neck, and a parasol, who can say the world and make promises with her eyes.

The rest of us, well, we can't keep our mouths shut, and put it all on the table, while wearing really, really cute semi-revealing outfits.

This is a topic that has been on my mind lately...the battle between wanting to want modesty and enjoying wearing things that aren't particularly modest.

My dress today is an example of that issue. It's quite low-cut. But it's super cute. According to the modest is hottest group guidelines, it's pretty whore-like. And I'm sure Anthony Trollope would fling banana cream pie at me, or something similar that indicated disgust in the 1800s. And after looking at that website, and reading the Trollope quote, I did have a moment of, "hmm. Am I conducting myself with comportment unbecoming of a lady? And how do I feel about that?"

With those thoughts twirling, I kept pushing on through the quotes, and came upon this gem of a one:

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
- Katherine Hepburn
American actress (1907-2003)

Paradoxes keep life interesting. Make oneself alluring by denying and creating a mystery...or throwing it into the wind, screwing up a bit, but still having a blast?

Also, now that I'm re-reading this...it's interesting that the value of the "gift" appears to be based solely upon its unattainability. As in, it's all about the chase. And sure, the guy is getting into the "gift" because it's being denied to him, but where's the fun for the girl? She's probably bored stiff, just leading on some awkward Victorian bachelor because it's the thing to do, while she's secretly lusting after the rakish guy who breaks all the rules of society by consorting about town with unreputable females (played in the movie version of my blog by Me, C-note, and E).

Or something.

There's a line from "For You I Will (Confidence)" by Teddy Geiger, and it goes:

"nothing tastes as sweet as what I-"

and I always expect him to say

"have planned."

But, the line is,

"nothing tastes as sweet as what I can't have."

Later in the song, he sings/exclaims "You always want what you can't have!!"

TOTALLY different from my expectations. I've thought a lot about this, and really, I'm not into what I can't have. I think I decide what I want, then try to get it, and if it doesn't happen, I move on. The desirabilty of the item does not increase if I can't get it. If anything, the desirability of the item decreases. Some might call it sour grapes...I call it adjusted desires. Why want what I can't have? It seems like a recipe for unfulfillment.

So, what type of person are you? The one who likes the gift made rich by denying, or the kind that moves on to the next big thing? Are you a Trollope, Hepburn, or Geiger?

(Taking into account that Trollope and Hepburn's quotes aren't mutually exclusive, even though I treated them as such...)


this is so neat

new travel goal:

Biking the Trail of the Underground Railroad

Sunday, May 20, 2007


just me being awkward. that's it.

I totally got kicked out of Borders tonight.

E was at the check-out, and I was tagging along. E asked the smiling young man the store's hours, and he said that Sunday night is the only night that they close at nine; they close at 10 most of the time, and at 11 on Friday and Saturday (in case anyone was wondering...).

I had been browsing a book on urban sprawl, so I was fresh from a diatribe on the wasteful American culture. So, without really thinking about it, I said, "Oh, America. People should be home with their families!" in a snooty little tone.

The guy at the counter responded, "Oh, where are you from?"

I replied "Um, the U.S.," and E piped up with "She's from Boston."

That didn't go over well, because he responded, "BYE, Customers," and dismissed us quite annoyed-like.

I don't seem to be relating to people very well today.

(And that includes putting a server at the Lebanese Taverna in an awkward spot by asking if he's Lebanese, and getting verbally abused (yes! abused!) by some punks near the tennis courts. Oh, and being told "get over it" by two separate friends about two totally different things.)

(and no, I don't know this kid.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


looked after

So lately I've been feeling the homesick bug...I was supposed to go home for my younger bro's high school graduation this upcoming weekend, but the cost of the plane ticket was ridiculous. He'll be coming here the last weekend in May to help me move (thank goodness!), so, my mom's logic was...I'll be seeing him then. No need to spend $300 for two hours in a high school gym.

I called home on Sunday to say Happy Mother's Day, and I managed to hit up my mom, my grandma, nana, and several of my aunts in one phone call, because they were all at a brunch at my house. I was just like, "oh."

Last night I was cleaning my room, and I sat down on my bed, so to organize my bureau top. As I sat there untangling my necklaces, earrings, rings, bills, lip balms, and other (un)assorted crap, the framed photo of my dad caught my eye.

I took it last April, when we were on the cruise...he was unaware that I was taking his picture, and he's absorbed in some boring book. His feet are up, and the line of ocean and sky blends behind him. It's so peaceful. I picked up the photo, and just looked at it, feeling homesick and missing my dad. I lost myself in loneliness and self-pity for a minute, then put the picture down, and got back to cleaning my mess.

Today around 3:30 I got an email from my dad...he got put on a last-minute business trip to D.C., and he has time to meet me for breakfast tomorrow morning.

I think that for all of my stupid prayers that go unanswered, there are so many important things that I don't think to pray about, that just settle heavy in my heart, and God answers those that I didn't even dare to hope for.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


that sounds about right

I sit here, wincing from pain emanating from my tailbone. It's most certainly (okay, most likely) bruised. How did this tender area become bruised, you may ask?

Well. Yesterday was a red-letter day. A couple of months ago, Mel inspired me to sign up for a 5K. I intended on training - or, at least running, like, three times - before the big event, but due to reasons out of my control (as in, I'm lazy), I only jogged once. It didn't go so hot.

So, obviously I was freaking out yesterday morning as we keyed up at the starting line. I didn't want to die, I didn't want to come in last, I didn't particularly want to be there. E, an accomplished half-marathoner, insisted that she wanted to run with me. I thought she was insane, and told her that I wouldn't blame her if she bolted off once she saw my amazing pace.

E stuck with me the entire time. It was like Simon carrying Jesus' cross. She cheered me on (wait did I just compare myself to Jesus?!!?), laughed with me, kept telling me that I was doing great. Thanks to E, the race was actually...fun. Also, thanks to the fact that it was a 5K that kicked off National Police Week, the course was chock full o'hot guys to flirt with.

We've decided that this summer, we're going to become 5K whores, hitting up all the races sponsored by hot guys. If anyone knows of any of these...let me know. Fireman's 5K, anyone?

But no, I thought for certain that I'd take a tumble while stumbling down Capitol Hill, but I finished that race relatively unscathed.

Yesterday I met up with my aunt and uncle for dinner at their hotel. My uncle won an award from work, and they had put him up at the Ritz. They bought me new shoes (because my life is awesome), and we lived it up at the dinner, downing red wine and good food. As I tottered out to the cab, I figured that doing an ass-plant on the marble floors of the lobby would be a classic move. But somehow, the stilettos held their pointy grip, and I held my dignity (well, as much dignity as I had left, since when I had returned from "powdering my nose," there had been two waiters waiting for me. One pulled out my chair as the other snapped my napkin in my lap at the same time. Astounded, I said "ddaaaaaaammmmmn." Ensuing laughter all around.)

And then, in the cab, a monsoon hit. I told Michael, my awesome, chatty 24-year old cab driver to totally pull over if he needed to. He didn't...but it was definitely touch and go for a while. And did I give him my card? I think I did. Hmm.

After I got back, I was sorta ready to call it a night, and just drink margaritas in the apartment, but E had bigger plans for us that involved dancing in (on?) Bethesda bars. We waited for the bus for a tremendous amount of time (something that happens when one bus is early, and the other is late), but we finally rolled to Union Jack's around 11:30.

The place was not that full, but we started to get crowded on the dance floor. We need a lot of space for our joyous twirling. E, always a problem-solver, turned to me with her 007 in hand, screamed "Let's get on the speaker!!"

I looked at the speaker with a dubious eye, wondering if it was secretly hollow and full of bones of girls who had similar exhibitionist tendencies. E hopped up, nimble as a little rabbit, and she held out her hand to pull me out. Our stage was about 3 feet high, placing us head and feet above the rest.

Once someone gets a taste of the spotlight, they don't give it up easily, even if other girls are trying to cram on to get a piece of our prime spot. Luckily, the speaker was placed near a window, so I grabbed onto the window ledge quite a few times to prevent a disastrous turn of crowd-surfing while three of us gyrated and jumped away. At some points, only my toes were on the speaker.

I was free and easy. I was dancing. I didn't need to worry about trivial things such as gravity.

After about 2.5 hours of dancing on the speaker, we decided to peace out. We "gracefully" hopped down, barged our way through the crowd, and headed out. Something about all of it made me feel as though we should have gotten paid for the time we spent there.

As we exited the front door, we ran into that super tall guy who went to Catholic, wore a cowboy hat, and grilled (with open flame) in the back of a pickup truck (you know who I'm talking about). I told him that I remembered him because we published that picture in the Tower, and he was like "I remembered that picture!" So we had a mutual moment of being like "hey, our lives are connected." Or maybe we didn't, and I just had had a bit too many 007s. Whatev.

Whilst in my second cab of the night, we decided to hit up the happening spot of downtown Silver Spring. The cab kinda sorta dropped us off in the right spot, and we strolled through the light drizzle, prepared for Part Deux of hilarity.

Well, my friends, I regret to inform you that downtown Date Central of Silver Spring is lacking hilarity. Austin Grill was closed (tragedy for E, who wanted their chips); McGinty was sporting aged clientele, and Galaxy was just...a disappointment.

Not being ones to waste time, we cut our losses and peaced out. On the way back to the apartment, we were semi-silent as we were thinking of the night, and that silence was interspersed with meditations on why Silver Spring was empty. My theory is that its proximity to D.C. is killing it...why would anyone stick in SS if D.C. bars are a metro ride away.


The smooth brick sidewalk was slick from the rain. The soles of my shoes were friction-less. I bought them at Payless two years ago, and at that time, they were hardly the epitome of fine construction. Suddenly, I felt as though I were on skis. I heard E go "Me-" and the "g" hit the air the same time that my ass hit the ground.

I scrambled up sorta fast, or maybe it was sorta slow, it was just hell. My ass hurt so much. I was torn between laughing and crying, so I did a bit of both. For the second time today, E was my sole supporter, lacing her arm through mine and telling me that we were "almost there."

Once we got to our building, I threw my shoes in the trashcan. See, I have a forgiving heart, and I was afraid that I was going to welcome those suckers back into my life. I hobbled into the front door, barefoot, dirty, with mascara running down my face, and holding my ass.

It was, indeed, a red-letter day.

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