Thursday, November 15, 2012

How's It Going?

Lately I am feeling especially chatty, and yet I do not want to alienate people on Facebook, so I turn to you, my friendly and ever-patient blog audience of, I don't know, three? Anyway, let's get started.

Is it just me or are people honking more lately in D.C.? Is it because it's the holidays? Is it because of the end of daylight savings? Is it Republicans? I was walking by an intersection and some town car driver had spaced on a green light and the guy behind him, who was in some fancy-looking silver car, was really peeved about it. He leaned on the horn a good five seconds to let this guy know, "Hey, you are a real jerk for not immediately putting your foot on the gas pedal for this green light, and I am not going to stand for it one more second. I am personally OFFENDED by your lack of urgency, and I am lodging a protest right here." The best part was that, when the town car finally got moving, both cars turned right into another red light (this was at that weird Flatiron-building-like spot in DC by the bank converted into a Starbucks where Connecticut meets N and 18th Streets), and the honker had to slam on his brakes when he realized that for all of his effort he had moved a mere six feet only to wait at a new red light, which the town car would presumably extend once again for an agonizing three seconds.

I always like to try to get a good look at people who behave this way (and I try to remember that as a former car commuter, I almost certainly have behaved this way more than once). The yoga-practicing and Buddhism-dabbling side of me knows that I should be sending this person good vibes and really hoping that they can breathe out some of their Suffering and maybe like if I dedicate my Open Flow practice to them or some bs like that, they will find it within themselves not to honk the horn so obnoxiously tomorrow. But really I am just curious to see what people look like when they go buck wild for a really small reason. Some people are visibly upset and cursing silently behind their windows. Some are yelling audibly, usually with an arm/hand gesture to match. But some -- like this guy today -- are just blank-faced masks. They could be listening to NPR or they could be contemplating a sunrise, or they could be unleashing the full fury of their car horn on a hapless fellow driver. You would never know from their expressions. These last people, I'm convinced, are psychopathic.

As much as I do not like exposure to blaring horns, there is a level on which witnessing another person's rage eases my own. There were probably at least six things I was angry about when tonight's honker interrupted my reverie, giving me a break. Thank you, rageful honker.

My coworker was apologizing to me yesterday for constantly talking to herself because she is upset about our other coworker's noise. But I had been so rageful about our other coworker's noise that I hadn't even noticed her talking. Now that she told me she mutters to herself about it, I spend (just slightly) more time noticing that and being amused about it than I do being enraged by our speakerphone-dialing, outburst-producing, loud-conversation-having cohort. Thank you, partner in rage!

Winter Uniform
In the Whole Foods tonight there were so many white chicks with straight hair, puffy jackets and black workout leggings that I was glad Sir UncMo wasn't there because he could have left with the wrong woman by accident. It is a little weird to realize that you are wearing a uniform/personifying a stereotype and yet are too old and complacent to really care or do anything about it.

I'll just say it: I like Coco Austin (and yes, I looked up her last name) of Ice Loves Coco. Judge. Judge away! Have you watched the show? If not, leave me be. If so, tell me you are not in her corner. I realize I am now talking to zero people. But what I like about her is that, like Dolly Parton, she is all facade but no pretense. She looks fake but comes across real. She married a black man and is friends with black people, and yet she never once sounds like anything but a white girl, even though she lives in a world filled with white people who try to sound like black people because they apparently think it makes them cool. She unabashedly admits that she does not want kids at 33 (I have a soft spot for that) and unabashedly admits that she IS 33 and unabashedly admits that she always wanted to be a meteorologist but she doesn't "know the words." What's not to like? (Side note: I once interviewed Ice T in his hotel room and he started off the interview but asking me -- I think I am remembering this right -- what I thought of two women together., or something along those lines. I would like to hate him for trying to rattle me like that, but I took it in stride at the time and he was perfectly agreeable after that, and this was before he was with Coco, so I don't really bear him any ill will.)

Black Friday
Are you a Black Friday person? Were you ever a Black Friday person? Like, before it was Black Friday? I used to get a perverse pleasure out of heading to Montgomery Mall, my home mall, on the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone already knew at that point (in the '90s) that it was just plain stupid to head out shopping on that day. But it didn't have a name yet. For me, it wasn't about deals. It was about wading in, about opening the floodgates, allowing oneself to be smacked in the face (in a good way) by the holidays. Back then, it wasn't a marketing event called Black Friday. It was just good old-fashioned masochism. I miss that.

This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. To recap: experiencing someone else's anger often eases mine. Thank you Facebook and Deborah Wassertzug.

Music: "Don't Judge Me"

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Just because I've been completely MIA doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about posting here for quite some time. 

The fact is, I'm as lost and neurotic as ever. It's just that, as I get older, I get more isolated about it.

But enough about that. Here's a selection of photos from the past few months.


This photo was taken during SXSW in Austin, Texas, this year. Some people who have not been to SXSW will say, "Wow, you went to SXSW? Cool, how was it?" These people do not understand a few things: a) I was there for the interactive conference, which is WAY less cool than the music conference; b) it rained the entire time, relentlessly; c) it was so overcrowded that people were waiting in line for half a day (no exaggeration) to pick up their badges so that they could go listen to people hype themselves in onstage events with names like "Gamify and Socialize: Beyond the Buzzwords"; d) it was so overcrowded that many of us had to stay in amazing airbnb situations (mine involved colored lightbulbs, black towels and unfortunate carpeting). Many people (such as myself) cope with this situation by consuming unhealthy amounts of barbecued meats, TexMex and alcohol. So much so that a street sign offering "health food" attracts my interest and confusion, until I see that "health food" in Austin means "chile rellenos, chalupas and chilaquiles." 

Chilaquiles was my last dish upon leaving Austin. Boarding the plane, I gripped a shopping bag full of almonds, apples and other wholesome snacks from Whole Foods. The bag was given to me by a vegetarian acquaintance who felt she needed to intervene.

This picture is of an Angry Little Girls tote at a Japanese store in DC. I like that it is angry and cute and expresses an emotional reality.

If you ever go to San Francisco, it is imperative that you go to Japantown. The above image, from one location of the Maido stationery store (visit both, located in the mall) is one reason why.  There, you will find amazing karaoke, superlative stickers and notebooks (see lower image), and BANAO, the elite banana. We know how you feel.

This is a porno carrot. It is all natural. No enhancements.

In 2011, a mama duck took up residence at National Geographic with her ducklings. It was a dismal spring overall, and the duck family brightened my spirits immensely. As winter transitioned to spring this year, I waited for the mama duck to return. She did, but just hours after this shot she escaped to the White House lawn. I was so sad when the family left. The staff at Nat Geo had even made a ramp to the water for the ducklings, as you can see.

This is a terrible piece of "art" in a window in Austin. It grabs your attention first my startling you with its ugliness, then intriguing you with the real-life photo next to it. Keep Austin Weird? Hm.

I live in an apartment and it feels a little futile to engage in the jack-o-lantern thing at Halloween, but this year I refused to be deterred and got a wonderful heirloom pumpkin at the Round Barn Market in Gettysburg for a mere $2.50. I realized later that perhaps the reason it was only $2.50 is that it is VERY DIFFICULT to carve a textured, hardy pumpkin like this one. But I can't blame it entirely on the pumpkin: I am no great shakes when it comes to hand-eye coordination. And so the result of my carving experiment looked a bit like one from kindergarten class, but I had a pink wig for her to wear, and this is Dupont Circle, so it was definitely an adult endeavor. I anointed her Sheila.

Tragically, Sheila was near the window during Hurricane Sandy and developed frightening growths of mold, so she had to be retired the day before Halloween. Sheila, you brightened our lives for the short time that you were here.

I pushed this boy around the Dominican Republic in a stroller when he was 6 months old. Now he is 12. I remember when I learned that he was coming. It was a very tumultuous time. And I was not at all psyched or ready to be an aunt. Funny how all that changed after I met Austin.

Music: "Bloodstream"