Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Overseen Overseas.

I spent a few weeks in Iraq a little while ago and I'm still sort of processing how I feel about the visit and the things that I saw while there. It was a good trip and I'm happy to be back. There are a lot of people there from all over the world doing all kinds of different work for just as many reasons. I'd like to go back see how things progress over the next few years.

I don't really have anything else clever or sarcastic to say about it at this point.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Career Opportunities.

It was the spring of 2005; I was unemployed and living with my parents.

I had been looking for temporary work on Craig’s List, ideally something that didn’t involve ‘amateur modeling,’ when I came across a post that offered $10 an hour for anyone who had an undergraduate degree. It didn’t matter what the degree was in, all you needed was proof that you had graduated.

I was a bit skeptical but I needed a job and more than that, I needed something to get me out of my parents’ house for 8 hours a day. So I drove out to Rancho Cordova and into a business park located on the decommissioned airbase out there. My group interview took place in a large warehouse that had been subdivided, seemingly infinitely, into small cubicles. The interview consisted of a middle aged lady examining our undergraduate transcripts and then signing us up on the work schedule for next week.

It was official; I was now a paid grader for mandatory standardized tests for elementary school children.
And yes, most of these tests are graded by a computer that scans all of their bubbled-in answers, but there are portions that require short essay type answers. This is where my undergraduate degree holding expertise would come in. For the next two months I would spend 8 hours a day in a cubicle in a warehouse on a former air force base grading essays from 5th grade students enrolled in the public school system of the state of Arizona.

The students had to write a one paragraph follow up to a given prompt. I suppose this was seen as a chance for them to do a bit of creative writing and show off their knowledge of the English language.

At first I diligently read through each response, carefully grading every student based on a set of standards we were all given on the first day. But over time I started to really appreciate the way these kids weren’t bound by the rigors of things like logical thought.

I now present to you my collection of my favorite responses to the prompt, “There was a mysterious knock at the door…

-As you can see, I’m not very athletic or active
-the creature looked un-American
-Once a pond time
-then Ernesto said, “Holy crap. Space chicken!”
-there once was a man named cyborg. That man was me. I was at home upgrading my arm cannon
-approximately yesterday
-the monster looked like the monster from Harry potter. In fact, it was the monster from Harry Potter
-and that's when Mrs. Emering from gym class beat up that unicorn
-she was Irish, but was very intelligent
-read the next paragraph to find out what happens next
-thank you for your hospitalization
-I ran down into the back alley of Red Lobster
-please no flash photography until after the story
-the monster ate me lime by lime
-My favorite day of the week is Saturday, but today is Tuesday
-I opened my door surprised to see an Asian
-The knock at the door was my mom, back from jail after five years. She got stabbed in a fight with another lady in jail.
-then the creature suddenly returned to Alabama
-I ran away like a mouse, a very overweight mouse
-based on a true story
-then the creature said, “what up G”
-it was grabbing at his fudge pop
-oh, by the way, my name is Jesus
-the moral of the story was, DON’T MESS WITH FRANK

Monday, December 29, 2008

Politics and Industry

Or just a view of the Washington Monument that I really like. This is down next to 365 South looking past the power plant on Capital South. I only noticed it recently because the leaves have always been in the way.

I don't think L'Enfant intended for this particular sight line, but I like the contrasting monuments to America.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


One of the nice things about living in Southeast is that people have come to realize that a boarded up building doesn't have to be ugly. This building near Capitol South had a sign out front calling it a community center and even had a security guard trying to stay warm out front. I'm not sure if that means it's just under construction or this part of the building is closed.

Either way, it was nice to see a bit of art before I turned the block and found five DC bicycle cops questioning a group of kids in front of another brick housing complex. Just another lovely holiday weekend in Southeast.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Southeast Down Under

My sister's boyfriend is from Australia, so when she asked me to guess what he got her for Christmas I quickly responded with a list of possible gifts: A boomerang? Vegemite? A croc? A Subaru? A surfboard? A knife? (That's not a knife, this is a knife.)

"No," she laughed. "He got me an inflatable kangaroo that I can ride around the apartment."

I should have known. What still confuses me is how he managed to sneak down from New York and put these giant yellow Kangaroo ornaments in the trees over on Mass and 9th. However he did it, I bet a didgeridoo was involved.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Add it to the List.

What do you mean fail?! I put the quarters in and you give me time, that's how it works. And now that you've failed I don't even get to park for free and have to call some 800 number? I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen at all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stereotype Fulfilled.

My Netflix arrived in the mail today just in time for the long holiday weekend coming up. Perfect timing too. Now I can spend Christmas Day watching Downfall, a German film depicting Hitler's final days in his bunker.
It's the most wonderful time, of the year!

Monday, December 22, 2008


We had to drive all the way out to Rockville for a housewarming party. It took almost an hour to get there, but along the way we found a pretty decent thrift store and this space tower.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Last Crusade

Resting on a bluff while contemplating the natural beauty of Petra?

Or just listening to Eminem ringtones while sending text messages?

Things I Saw: Amman Edition

Today it's just a closed up store front on a street but...

You know, for babies that really love geometry. We have all of your compass and ruler needs.