Sunday, July 27, 2008


My newest favorite hobby is to read the ‘missed connections’ page on Craig’s List. It’s an unlimited treasure trove of one paragraph (and at times one sentence) stories that are always hilarious and very often incredibly creepy. The admirer/stalker and sweet/pathetic lines are crossed so often it’s hard to tell apart the wistful Romeos from the John Wayne Gacys. Oh, but that’s the fun of the internet isn’t it?

I love the one-liners that read like demented poetry:
Your wisdom teeth
I've talked to you so many times, most recently about your wisdom teeth, and I don't even know your name.

But I also love the ones that say it (shout it) all in the title:
Asian Woman with Boxes!!
I saw you on the Orange Line carrying what looked like flat boxes??.... Write ME.

The creepy amount of detail in this one is great, but the best part comes near the end when he describes himself. I’d make a beeline for the door too if some stranger wearing a yellowish floral print shirt was staring at me this intensely on the Metro.
Farragut West - Orange line to Vienna - 4:00ish
You seemed slightly perturbed by something, although I would be the first to admit that it could well have been the natural sense of ennui engendered by the tedium of mass transit.
You: Standing mid-car near the center doors (got off at Ballston?); holding your metro EZ pass in one hand; adamantly determined not to take one of several seats available; blueish top, gray slacks, blue shoulder bag with brown straps; long brown hair done up on top of your head, small spherical silver earrings, gentle brown determined eyes, soft complexion. You made a bee line for the exit when you got off at your stop. A young Latino girl and her parents (?) occupied the handicapped seats between us. Across from you, near the far doors, there was a young guy with a doo-rag, construction garb and a white safety helmet by his feet.
Me: Yellowish floral print shirt, jeans, blue eyes, shortish brown hair, serious regard, couldn't take my eyes off of you.
Probably no chance in hell, but we made solid eye contact several times, and I did not notice a ring.

And then, there are the ones that are just a little bit sad. You were eating at the Cheesecake Factory alone? You felt a connection with the busboy? I’m sorry dear; he was paying attention to you and thoughtfully refilling your water because that’s his job. And a quick tip; when describing someone who works in a restaurant, saying that they were wearing a white shirt and black pants and are Latino doesn’t really narrow it down too much. I’m just saying…
Eating at Cheesecake Factory
I was eating alone at Cheesecake Factory in Friendship Heights. You were a busboy or waiter (couldn't tell) and you kept eying me. You were wearing a white shirt with black pants, and you looked Spanish or Latino. I was wearing an orange T-Shirt and glasses, along with jeans, and reading a book.
I felt this connection between us...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wake up Steve!

Who names their cat Steve?

Friday, July 25, 2008


Seth: …Because I’m listening to the radio. And This American Life is on…
Summer: Is that that show where those hipster know-it-alls talk about how fascinating ordinary people are? God.

Yes it is Summer, and yes they do. And yes I totally am that guy you see running around the Capitol listening to podcasts of This American Life on my ipod. And yes I’m usually completely absorbed in the story about someone taking care of their alcoholic mother or a young Iraqi interpreter working for the US Army or the two homeless poets in New York or the story of cryogenic freezing gone horribly wrong.
And listening to This American Life puts me in such a good mood and inspires in me so much goodwill towards complete strangers that when I see a group of tourists wheeling around on Segues I no longer have the urge to push them off those stupid things. Instead, I feel the need to give them all high fives as they roll on by.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

An Outing.

I went driving with Lydia for a bit on Saturday and we made stops at: my favorite solid waste management facility, the most pathetic library in town, Trinidad, the first integrated golf course in the district, and a mop store. We also did some impromptu off-roading near a soccer game in Kenilworth. But that’s really neither here nor there.
Along the way I spotted this mural at a high school. I guess the school administration felt that the best place to display artwork was in a hidden courtyard used for storing large plastic drums of mystery liquid.

Later, we came across these columns in the National Arboretum. (Color adjusted for no reason other than I was bored.) This set of 22 marble columns perched on a small hill in the middle of a giant empty meadow is not actually America’s response to Stonehenge. In fact, they’re even cooler than that.
These are the original columns from the east portico of the National Capital built in 1828. But when the Capital dome was built in 1864, the columns looked too skinny compared to the dome and were later removed.
Rather than just throw out the marble, they are now standing in the middle of a national park. Majestic? Post-Apocalyptic? Totally Kick-Ass? Maybe a little bit of all three.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

National Park

I'm having trouble even describing the amazingness of this weekend's find. Perhaps I should just list:
Open Air Public Roller Rink
Free Roller Skate Rental
70's Funk Blasting from the DJ
Kids doing Synchronized Skate Routines

Really nice lady: Hey, aren’t you gonna get out there?
Me: Oh, I don’t know. I think I’ll probably fall down a lot.
Really nice lady: (In a deep, rumbling laugh) Don’t you worry about that. I’ll come pick you up if you fall down.
Me: Oh. Are you going to roller skate too?
Really nice lady: Please. I haven’t roller skated for 20 years. Now get out there and do your thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Far Southeast.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Anacostia.

Seriously, don't fuck around. They didn't bother to put any crossing bars or lights or anything up. If you drive across the tracks here you'll just end up on a long gravely access road that eventually dumps you out in some random Section-H housing complex parking lot.

What is this? You guess, I already know the answer.

Still life with dumpster.

Regatta in front of the Navy Yard.

Home of the 1949 race riots. 50 years later and the pool is fully integrated. You can take the bus across the river and it's just a short walk from downtown Anacostia. Don't forget your towel.

Sadly, this truck's artwork is way more professional than the creepy panel-van that prowls my neighborhood with ice cream. Kids, I don't care what the nice man says, don't get inside that van!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Three R's

Remember, if you are finished using your multiple garbage disposals, don't throw them away. Just leave them on the side of the street for someone else to use.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I work for the government, and it is no surprise to anyone that the government loves to use acronyms. Today I was in a meeting discussing a program called JAAC (pronounced jack). The meeting sounded like this:

I think it’s important that we convey the relevance of JAAC.
Yes, but how much do they already know about JAAC?
Well, clearly they know a lot about JAAC; but are they aware of how actively involved in JAAC that we all are? Do they realize how much time and money is being spent on JAAC?

I just stopped taking notes and examined the people in the room. Not a single person was aware of how ridiculous they sounded. And this is why I think being a federal employee is fun.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Under Control.

DCPD decided that they needed four squad cars to pull over one vehicle. (It was an SUV, it was 9pm, they blocked off the whole street.) At the same moment not more than 30 yards away, a full fireworks assault was being launched from Lincoln Park. Nobody seemed to have any problem with that.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Very First Thing.

Everyone likes to complain about their job. Even people with great jobs like to complain. No big deal. But I find it hard to complain about a job where every day when I walk into my office I am greeted with this.

Who could be unhappy after a face full of Beibei? Certainly not I.

And as an added bonus, I also get to have nightmares about Beibei trying to eat me while I sleep. The Chinese are really on to something here.


Walking home the other day, I saw a man coming up the street holding a ten pound dumbbell in his hand. “Oh,” I though to myself, “that crazy homeless person is carrying a dumbbell.” But as he got closer I realized that in his other hand, thrown over his shoulder, were three dry cleaned shirts in plastic bags.
Now I was confused, most homeless people I know don’t get their dress shirts professionally laundered. So what was going on here? Was this guy coming back from the dry cleaners with a (half of a) set of free weights, or was he heading to the gym with his dry cleaning. And if so, what kind of gym has a lending policy with its weights. (A library/gym?) “Uh, just sign here sir and please be sure to return the weights when you are properly bulked up.”
I wanted to take a picture or at least gawk at him for a bit longer, but I remember the sage advice my father gave me on the eve of my bar mitzvah, “Son, soon you will be a man. And I want you to know this; God don’t make no trash. Now go sing the hell out of your Haftarah portion.”

Feeling Safer Already.

It's sort of a trick question anyway.

What's better than drinking in a bar? How about a bar that is a short walk from my house and really dark and really quiet and serves cheap drinks AND has Candy Land AND doesn't seem to mind that 10 year old kids are brandishing plastic shotguns at a variety of elk and deer. That just might make it the best bar ever.

(Sorry about the picture quality. Like I said, it's dark in there.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


At work today I got an email inquiring about the application for a job we posted. He wanted to know if he should address the skill areas in which he has no experience.
Here is the letter I wanted to write but did not.

Dear Sir,

By all means, please do not let your complete lack of knowledge, skills or ability prevent you from answering a section of the application. I would suggest making up a skill that you do not currently possess.

If you are uncomfortable with this, perhaps you should address a skill which does not even exist. I think I may speak on behalf of the interview panel when I say that we would love to hire someone who posses unique abilities such as invisibility, human flight or is able to repeat entire episodes of Knight Rider word for word.

Please be sure to attach a list of references who may or may not be actual people living or dead. We strongly encourage you to include references from unicorns or talking cars.