Sunday, November 30, 2008

On the Road.

There was an accident somewhere on the freeway nine miles ahead of us. We later learned how many people had died and why they had to shut down the road, but at the time all we new was that traffic has come to a complete stop and remained that way for several hours.

I got antsy, bolted out the car into the cold and ran up to the top of this hill. All I could see was more traffic stretching around the corner and out of sight. But it felt good to get out for a few minutes and run around.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stupid Randy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stop the Presses.

Do license plates still get made in prisons, or is that just something they do on tv and in movies? Because I would have loved to have seen the reaction from the incarcerated gentleman who made this plate.

They win my vote for stupidest vanity plate in DC. Anyone seen any better?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I suppose when you have an elementary school located across the street from a liquor store, these things are bound to happen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Anniversary.

I spent two years living in the middle of nowhere, so I wasn’t surprised when I came back to the US and things seemed different. It’s been almost a year to the day that I’ve returned and some things still amaze me.
I simply cannot get over all of the airplanes and helicopters in the sky at all times. Back on my island, seeing an airplane caused so much excitement among the children in my family that they would run around the yard pointing at the sky and shouting “Oak Sohk! Oak Sohk!” (Literally, flying boat.)
When I moved back to Sacramento I was astounded by how many planes flew over my parents’ house every day. It turns out that the house I grew up in is only a few miles from an air force base; I just never really noticed all of the air traffic before.
Now that I’m in DC I’m constantly fascinated by the air traffic coming from DC National that flies so close to the Washington Monument. I’m also regularly distracted by the parade of helicopters from the military, local television stations and occasionally Marine One.
The other big change has more to do with living in a small isolated community than living in a foreign one. I had to relearn the basic rules of city life: don’t talk, don’t smile and don’t make eye contact. On my island everyone knew who I was. It was an unusual day when I walked all the way home without being offered a ride in someone’s car or truck.
Getting a ride home from work today is something that no one I know would ever even consider. Besides, I’m sure I’d be too busy talking on my phone or listening to my iPod to even notice if someone offered.

Keep That Door Closed.

I live in an old row house in Southeast DC which means that the windows in my living room are probably close to a hundred years old and cold air seeps in all winter long. It also means that we have a really creepy attic upstairs. And as if attics weren't creepy enough by their sheer existence, this one happens to be filled with wonderful artifacts like old x-rays and this typewriter.

Oh, and did I mention there's a children's swimming pool up there too? Well, that's a completely different story.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lost in the Supermarket

I was in the dairy section of the grocery store, minding my own business and singing along with The Cure being broadcast over the PA. I was standing in front of the butter case, mesmerized by all of the different options (organic-unsalted-sweet cream-spreadable butter in a tub?) when I noticed this in the yogurt case.

And I realize that Pepe Le Pew is a beloved cartoon character, but maybe you should rethink a marketing campaign that puts a picture of a skunk on yogurt. Or really on any food product for that matter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Drawn to it.

I cannot draw. I simply do not possess the ability to render recognizable objects on paper with ink. This has been true my entire life with one exception. In the 4th grade I somehow managed to sketch out a vague approximation of an alligator.

I was very proud of my alligator drawing, but my friend Geoff thought it was ridiculous and made a point of telling me so. Since that time my drawing skills have not improved at all but I still like to draw my alligator every now and then just to bother Geoff with how truly untalented I am.

We’ll be out at a dinner with friends and I’ll draw a little alligator on my napkin with a pen and his only response will be, “Oh you and your stupid alligator.” Because I am very immature, this never fails to amuse me.

Yesterday I received a package from Geoff in the mail. Tucked inside was a note that read in part, “I can’t believe these guys aren’t paying you royalties.” Beneath the note was this towel from Pottery Barn Kids.

Thanks Geoff, the towel is great. I’m not worried about royalties, I’m just glad that my artistic genius is finally being recognized.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Learning.

At the Natural History Museum today in the section with the mummies and the cavemen:

"Mommy, what's that?"
"That's a caveman."
"Oh, are cavemen nice?"
"Well, yes most of them were."

Finding out that most cavemen were nice was oddly reassuring.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The old man crossed the sidewalk in front of me and gingerly stepped down from the curb. With his red tipped cane out in front, he tapped his way across the street. After crossing safely he folded up his cane, took out his keys and let himself into the driver's side of the shiny black Navigator. The car started up and he drove away.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When we were young.

We were 14 and bored and at home unsupervised for hours everyday after school. What else was there to do but read old copies of Spin and listen to our Rancid tapes over and over. Well, I guess we liked to play with fire too. But like many other children have learned over the years, it’s difficult to rebel when you grow up a privileged child in an upper middle class two parent home. What’s there to be upset about?
Liv and I liked to dress up in our finest thrift store punk rock outfits. She would work on her make up while I spiked my hair. She would tie the purple laces in her boots (the ones with spikes in the top of the leather) and I would put the safety pins back in the collar of my torn, striped sweater. And then we would walk down to the 7-11 to loiter out back, or if we were especially bored we would walk the half hour to the Tower Records to read the magazines.
On weekends we would ride light rail, or more often get a ride from our parents to mid-town. There we could spend the whole day wandering from thrift store to costume shop to record store. We always made sure to stop in on The Hindenburg, a tiny little record store on the second floor of a small commercial building in the back of a parking lot. I loved The Hindenburg because they sold punk rock 7”s, a true novelty to me at the time. Later, a different girlfriend of mine would end up living in the first floor of The Hindenburg on a couch for a few months. She always referred to it as, “the cutest little shooting gallery I’ve ever seen.”
But most days we spent at her house or my house, leafing through magazines and burning things out in the backyard.

The Press.

My friends made this website.

They put a lot of thought and effort into it and I think it turned out well. Go check it out if you want to see what they've been up to. It's still in its beta stage, but you can get a pretty good idea of what it can become.

And if you feel like contributing, just sign up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Some of my co-workers experienced 1 to 3 hour lines to vote in Maryland today. The Virginia voters didn't have any real excuses for being late, what with the early absentee voting that was allowed.

I was impressed by how long the line was at the polling place in my neighborhood. It stretches down this block and continues around the corner. All this so people can cast a vote in a part of the country that doesn't even have representation in Congress. It makes me proud.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Swamp Thing.

The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are a series of ponds set into the tidal marshlands on the upper Anacostia River. The ponds are set up to grow waterlilies and lotuses, but when I was there they were mostly inhabited by ducks, geese, heron and one sneaky little turtle.
The park is a bit hard to find and is bordered by a huge government housing project. That, plus the fact that they are not really accessible by public transit make the gardens a quiet place to visit on weekends that normally see big crowds at places like Great Falls.

Naturally, amid all of this scenic beauty I was most amused by this garbage can that looked like R2D2.