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Archive for February, 2009

Say it with a note…

AM just sent me a link for Mean Cards For Many Occasions.  Wow.  I have too many favorites to list here, but I can tell you that Julianna may turn me into a card-person.

And, ironically, this woman’s story gives me hope for the future.  Not sure that is the intended message of these cards, but so it goes…

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After doing a bit of house-hunting on the Hill yesterday, HC and I stopped at Cafe 8 for some lunch.  AEF and I went to Cafe 8 in January when she was here.  I thought my omelette was okay, but a little dry.  But I should have known better.  I should have ordered something more typically Middle Eastern, like hummus or falafel or something.

Anyway, so we sit down and I ordered an iced tea.  This was mostly because I was feeling a little hung over and one of my tried and tested hang over pick-me-ups includes iced tea.  So the server brings over my beverage and a sugar bowl.  Immediately, I was irritated.

Okay, so I get that there is a plethora of sweetening products out there, because G-d forbid we not have ample sweetener choices.  But generally, a restaurant will pick one or two options to place in their sugar bowls.  For example, you will have regular sugar – be it refined white or brown – and one or maybe two artificial sweeteners.  Oh, not Cafe 8.  There were both types of regular sugar – packets of refined white and brown – and three different artificial sweeteners – Sweet & Low, Splenda, and Equal.

What the…

Seriously, who needs to have that many sweetener options?  Are you trying to tell me that someone will judge a restaurant on whether their sweetener of choice is available?  I mean, every day Coke-drinkers

and Pepsi-drinkers

face this reality – sometimes you are at a restaurant without your beverage of choice.  I’m pretty sure that, unless absolutely deranged,

they just make do.  Are the sweetener fanatics different?  Will they boycott if they can’t find that little pink or larger brown packet?

For crying out loud!

My sweetener query was quickly interrupted when I over hear the server interacting with guy who just sat down with his wife.  Before even looking at the menu, the man asked the server what the specials were.

Pause here for a second.

First, is it possible that folks haven’t yet read Heat or Kitchen Confidential or flipped through the Food Network on a Saturday afternoon?  Specials = crap you have left over in the kitchen that you haven’t been able to sell and may have to throw out if you don’t sell it that day, so you call it a “special” and the people will flock.  Okay, so that’s not always the case.  Sometimes a restaurant has a true special – something that is very laborious to make and which they plan to only make a few servings of on a given night.  But this is the exception, not the rule.

Second, when did the menu become a bad thing?  Look, I’m the first one to ask for all sorts of changes and substitutions and on-the-sides.  But I still manage to order off the menu.  And I don’t think a restaurant is mailing it in if they, you know, stick to the menu.

Third, is this guy fucking kidding me?!  You just sit down, you haven’t even cracked the menu, and you’re grilling the server about specials?!  Jesus Christ, you’re fucking on vacation (clearly a tourist, by the way); relax a little.

Anyway, this guy was annoying on his own.  But then the server joined in.  In my limited interaction with her to this point, her approach to serving seems similar to Conrad’s approach to building Jerry’s kitchen in Seinfeld – 1000 questions to get a glass of water.  I figured the interaction with the jerk would throw her.

“I’m so sorry, but no, we don’t have any specials right now.  But I can go and speak to the chef for you if you’d like.”  The server said this without an ounce of sarcasm.  Having worked in a restaurant, I can tell you that there would be LOTS of sarcasm in this response.  The guy says, seriously, “Yes, I’d appreciate that.”

Who the fuck does this guy think he is, and where the fuck does he think he is?  This isn’t Babbo or Central or some other equivalent.  And it’s lunch.  Ridiculous.

Of course, she returns to the table and tells the guy that no, the chef doesn’t have any specials prepared for that day.  Um, no kidding.  Then she says, “I hope this isn’t a deal breaker for you?”  Deal breaker?  What the fuck is she talking about?  Fuck this guy.  Look in the fucking menu.  Order something from our 5-page menu.  Christ!

But she doesn’t stop there.  No, this server started doting on this couple.  “How’s this?”  “Can I get you more of that?”  “Are you okay?”

Okay, one thing you simply can’t do in this situation is dote on the jerk.  I mean, as a server, you’re number 1 goal is making tips.  And if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying.  Anyway, doting on customers and allowing them to walk all over you is NOT the way to increase your tip intake.  Because who the fuck is going to tip someone who they don’t respect?  And, by trying to please everyone, you please no one.

Whatever.

By the time my food came, all was (mostly) forgotten.  It was a perfect plate of Middle Eastern treats.  I am a sucker for Middle Eastern food.  Oh, and delicious Turkish-style bread!  That was hot!  Literally.  So good.  That and a little pre-season baseball talk, which included rehashing the whole A-Rod mess, saved lunch.

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Shower Window

So the shower in our bathroom has a huge window in it.  This is great for many reasons, including that 1) we can get a cross breeze in the apartment, which is incredibly helpful when cooking and trying not to set off the stupid and super sensitive fire alarm, and 2) we get tons of natural light in the bathroom.

But when showering in there, some have said they felt a little exposed.

HC moved into this apartment about a month before I did.  I had to finish up a few things in NYC before joining him down here.  Well, that and the fact that I was devastated about leaving NYC and was trying to delay the inevitable as long as humanly possible.

Anyway, HC kept telling me that he felt exposed in the bathroom.  I just figured he was being a big baby. Which, really, isn’t usually too far from the truth.

Then I showed up in DC with all of our stuff.  Yeah, for reasons that I still don’t understand, I was in charge of the move.  I don’t know what I would have done if my mother didn’t agree to help me pack and unpack.  I mean, packing and unpacking your crap is not the sort of thing you can ask just anyone to help you with.  You sorta have to feel comfortable enough with person to invite them into your mayhem.

Anyway, after a brutal day of unpacking and dealing with conversations with my mother like this one:

Mom:  [Full name], you’re starting to look old.

Me (unshowered, in dirty jeans and t-shirt, surrounded by boxes and sweating profusely):  What?!

Mom:  Would it kill you to put some make up on?

Me:  Wait, are you actually saying this to me?

Mom:  Maybe if you did something with your hair…

Me:  Wow, you are actually saying this to me right now.

Mom:  Maybe you should get that Japanese straightening process done.

Me:  Jesus, Ma.  Enough.

Mom:  What?  I’ll even pay for it.  Better – you’re father will pay.

Me:  While I know this may shock you, I get a lot of compliments on my hair.

Mom:  Yeah, right.  They were just being nice.  But I’m your mother; I tell you the truth.

Me:  [Stunned silence.]

Mom:  Have you put some weight on?

Me:  Okay, that’s it!  Be happy that I haven’t unpacked the knives yet.

Mom:  I’m not trying to upset you.

Me:  No, you’re trying to make me fucking crazy.  Well done!

I decided to shower.  That’s when I understood what HC’s problem was.  The window in the bathroom is larger that you would think.  Like a full size window.  And it comes down lower than you would think.  Like to the middle of my abdomen.  But since we’re on the top floor of our building and there’s quite a distance between our building and the next one, it just doesn’t seem all that problematic to me.  And with the super hot showers I’m prone to take, that window fogs up pretty quickly.  One person shares my view:

  • G-chat earlier today with AEF:

AEF: I think it’s funny that they all feel exposed though. I like your window.  it’s very bright

me: you didn’t feel exposed?

AEF: I rarely feel exposed. your apt is too high up for me to feel exposed.  I mean someone would really have to be trying very hard to spot me in that window. I mean REALLY looking with a telescope or binoculars

But not everyone agrees with AEF and me.

  • Email from earlier today with GT:

Me:  hey – do you remember the window situation in my shower?

GT:  The situation is that you have an uncovered window in your shower!!  Naturally, it rattles me every time I have to take a shower.

  • Blackberry messenger response from SC was short and to the point:  “Fear.”  Then SC called this afternoon to remind me that she got in the shower, noticed the gigantic window, got out of the shower, turned off the lights, then get back into the shower.   Not sure turning the lights off made any difference, but SC said she felt less exposed.
  • DK, while here last weekend:  “That shower…  I feel so exposed.  Should I worry that there are naked pictures of me on the Internet?

Geez!  Who knew I had all these prude-ish friends.

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My friend DK came to town this weekend for a visit.  There were some antics and hijinks, definitely a lot of laughs and even a few tears.  All around good weekend.  Here are some highlights.  Or is it lowlights?

  • The Articles of Confederation
Really?

Really?

No, really?

No, really?

DK wanted to do something cultural.  This is not my bag.  Especially in this town.  I live here; I can go to the museums whenever I want.  What this means is that I never go to museums.  But when an out-of-town guest is here, I’ll go.  Sorta reluctantly, but I’ll put a smile on my face.

DK, nerd that she is, wanted to go see the Constitution.  Me?  I have a pocket copy of the Constitution that, you know, I can read without squinting.  But okay, National Archives it is.  DK was sure that I 1) didn’t want to go, and 2) would mock her for wanting to do something so ridiculous.  For the record, I was perfectly happy to go, if not only because DK wanted to go and I wanted to spend time with her, and because I could mock DK relentlessly.  (To be fair, I would have mocked her relentlessly regardless of what we decided to do, and she should have known that.)

When she was online researching the National Archives, DK said, “The Article of Confederation?  Oh, we are so going there.”  She claims that this was her being funny.  Unfortunately for DK, I know her better.  She was jazzed up for the American history experience.  I’m just glad that years of spending time with me has beaten the awe and wonder from her.

  • “I guess that’s just the kind of people they are…”

Unlike others, I use the phrase “shit show” only sparingly.  This is in part because I don’t like using the word “shit.”  It’s not that I’m a prude.  If you keep up with the blog, you know that my favorite word is fuck.  Unless I’m taking the Lord’s name in vein, because then that’s my favorite.  I also don’t love the word “asshole.”  I think it’s maybe the imagery.

Anyway, our visit to the National Archives was, indeed, a shit show.

When we got there had to wait in line (WHAT?!) outside (NO WAY!) in the cold (G-d damn it!) for an hour (YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!).  After getting through security and using the restroom, we then had to queue up in yet another line to see the Constitution.  More than once I told DK that this was why I didn’t go to museums in DC.

But that wasn’t even the worst part.

The worst part was this.  So we got in the weird line to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  According to the map, it was in the Rotunda.  Fine.  A side show in this area – meaning, you had to leave the actual line to go see it – was the Magna Carta.  It was a “facsimile”, as they call all the copies in the National Archives.  I’m not sure why, in this day and age, they would continue to call “copies” “facsimiles”, but that’s for another time.

Regardless, I wasn’t interested.  Neither were the six people ahead of us.  So we moved forward toward the line for the main attraction.  DK was right behind me.

This is when the antics began.

According to the folks in the line, DK and I had cut the line.  I had no idea what the fuck their problem was; we were  in line for the main attraction, not the side-show Magna Carta bullshit.  I ignored them; DK did not.

Green Jacket Lady (probably from the Midwest, sarcastically and passive-aggressively):  Yeah, we all waited in line and the line goes back there so…

Me:  [Silence]

DK:  Whatever.

Green Jacket Lady (agitation and rudeness level growing):  We all waited in line and it goes back that way.  You are cutting the line.

Me & DK:  [Silence]

Lady 2 (who I thought was just in line in front of me, but really was  a mole from the weird secondary Magna-Carta-detour line was that starting to the left):  Well, these people have all been waiting in line.  You need to follow the line back there.

Me & DK:  [Silence]

Midwestern Lady behind me (who didn’t seem crazy, despite the red bow in her hair):  But doesn’t that other line seem to be going back to see the Magna Carta?  We’re hoping to see the Constitution.

Lady 2:  But the line goes back there.  All these people have been waiting in line.

Midwestern Lady:  But are they in line for the Constitution or the Magna Carta?  I don’t want to get in another line.

Lady 2 & Green Jacket Lady (in unison… and loud… and agitated):  It’s one line!

Me:  [Silence]

DK [waving her hands dismissively]:  You’re ahead of us in line.  Don’t worry about what we’re doing.

[2 minutes go by…]

Random Guy from secondary line:  The line goes back there.  We have all been waiting.  You are cutting the line.

Me [grabbing my head with both hands and muttering “G-d, enough” under my breath):  [Silence]

DK:  [Silence]

Randoms behind Random Guy in secondary line:  Well, I guess that’s just the kind of people they are…” [to the person next to her, but loud enough for us to hear].

DK:  Jesus Christ.

Me (Agitated and grabbing my head again, contemplating how much more of this I can take before I start screaming….):  [Silence]

Security Guard enters:  Who cut the line?

Another Random Guy from secondary line:  These two girls.  [Pointing to me and DK, ignoring the six other people ahead of us who also “cut” the line.  I believe our fellow “cutters” weren’t getting harassed because there were two gigantic men with them.  One even had a scary handlebar mustache.  So at least these wingnuts knew enough not to threaten to have the biker tossed out for “cutting” the line.]

Security Guard:  There isn’t “one” line.  The line that you all [meaning secondary line people] are in is for the Emancipation Proclamation.  The line that they [meaning DK and me] are in is for the Constitution.  The Magna Carta isn’t part of the “line”; it’s just the waiting area.  So no one cut the line.

Random Guy 2:  Well, there aren’t any signs to explain that.  You know, you really should tape up a piece of paper or something so people know.

DK:  We tried to explain that to them.  They didn’t want to listen.  So we can see the Constitution from here?

Security Guard:  Yes.  I’ll let you through.

At this point, the security guard let me and DK pass through to the Rotunda, bypassing the entire line which was easily at an hour-long wait,  where we saw the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  The other idiots just continued to wait in that ridiculous “line” to see the Emancipation Proclamation.

Trust, it took every ounce of energy I had left not to channel my grandmother and go back to those idiots in the line to thank them, loudly and as sarcastically as I could, for helping us to cut the entire line.

  • “Since you’re not nice…”

On Saturday night, DK and I met her friends – all fellow New Jerseyians – at Bar Pilar for dinner.  The food was really very good.  The company?….

So the food was great.  I swear, I’m upset with myself that I always forget Bar Pilar as an option.  It’s very near my apartment, the food is solid, and they do small plates, which I love.  And if you’re sharing, a meal there can be totally affordable.  Even for an unemployed person like myself.

The company, on the other hand?  That’s more complicated.  I really liked all three of these people.  I think it was partly because, as fellow New Jerseyians, I completely understood their personalities, senses of humor, and speech patterns.  But there was this one awkward moment – and it happen fast and furiously.

Within 5 minutes of meeting these folks, this guy told me I wasn’t very nice.  He said exactly that.  “Well, you’re not very nice so…”

Upon hearing this charge against me, I think my reaction looked something like this:

WHHAATTT?!?!?!?

WHHAATTT?!?!?!?

I have no recollection of what came after the “so” because the voices in my head leapt into action.  I’m not sure what it is about me that suggests that you can tell me that I’m not very nice.  And even if that’s true, I’m not sure this guy amassed the requisite data to make such a determination in 5 minutes.  I’m not saying it’s not possible to size someone up in 5 minutes or less.  But this was crazy.

Making matters worse, as soon as this guy said that I wasn’t very nice, the other three people at the table immediately chimed in with, “Oh, ignore him.”  “What are you talking about?”  “He’s not serious.”  I know that these things were said 1) to make me feel better, and 2) out of embarrassment, which seemed to be an emotion that this guy did not have.  Instead, it made me wonder how it was that I was tricked into going to dinner with, and sitting directly across from, someone who likely was going to insult me.  I’ll have to revisit this with DK.

  • A Very NJ Dinner

DK and I cooked dinner together her last night here.  The menu was one that, I think, can only happen in New Jersey….  or by NJ refugees:  latkas and sausage and peppers.  That’s right.  DK made her famous latkas (I say famous because I had them once a few years back and have been harassing her to make them for me ever since), and I made sausage and peppers, which are not famous in large part because I’ve never made it before.  Don’t get me wrong.  My mother and grandmother and aunts have made sausage and peppers a thousand times before.  But I’ve never made it.  I have to say, it was super easy and quite delicious.  And because we used turkey sausage instead of pork, I feel like it was healthier than it normally is.

HC, who is a vegetarian, LOVED sausage and peppers in his former life as a meat-eater.  Though he did not give into temptation, not even to taste the really amazing onions and peppers, he kept saying things like, “You can just make this without the sausage, right?  I mean, you can just leave out the meat, right?”

Wrong.  With the sausage, it’s a meal.  Without the sausage, it’s a side dish that should be put on meat.  Well, I guess you can put the peppers and onions on bread.  Alone.  Without anything else.  But that is the saddest culinary thing I can think of right now.

But HC was persistant.  “What about cooking it with vegetarian sausage?  Then it would be a meal.  Can’t you make it like that?”  Perhaps it was the pure patheticness of HC’s persistence, but I agreed to make this dish with faux sausage.  We’ll see.

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This is me…

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball

This is what I do…

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#1 Hits

GT just sent me this super fun link.  Click here to find out what song was number one on your birthday.

Mine?  Love Rollercoaster by the Ohio Players.

Take a listen… and yes, I am that funky! Oh, and please believe that I’ve imagined almost everyone I know in that funky, sleeveless jean jumper with Jackie-O shades and ascot.  G-d, the seventies were something else!

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I just caught a commercial for the Vermont Teddy Bear Co, promoting their Valentine’s bears.

First, I find the Vermont Teddy Bear Co objectionable on its face.  Even if you’re six-years old, the Vermont Teddy Bear is dumb.  Sorry, but it’s true.  They are eerie and are, basically, one step removed from a clown.  Which could be the worst thing ever.

Second, if a grown man ever gave me a teddy bear, we would have to break up immediately.  Seriously, why would someone do that?  I am an adult.  I want adult things.  What I don’t want is a stuffed animal.  Because, let’s face it, if a man or woman has a collection of stuffed animals at home or – WORSE – at the office, run don’t walk away from said stuffed-animal-toting person.  Because, at this point, we should all be well aware of the fact that stuffed animal = crazy person.

Please look at these Valentine’s Day bears.  They are absurd. And I can’t for the life of me figure out which one is worst.

Knight in Shining Armor Bear?

I’ve Fallen for You Bear?

Loverboy Bear?

Sweetheart Bear?

Love Bandit Bear?

How much does a person have to hate him/her self or his/her significant other to put so little thought into a gift as to decide that a Vermont Teddy Bear, for an adult, is an appropriate gift?  What’s worse – how immature and broken does one have to be to actually want this ridiculous thing?

Valentine’s Day, in and of itself, is a ridiculous day that, I’m pretty sure, was created by a group of lonely, needy women – and their misogynistic male counterparts – who wanted to test the men in their lives; to see if they could create some truth that they could promote as being something that ALL women want and the ALL men must provide.

The truth, you ask?  If a loved one gives you chocolate on V-Day, you are loved.  Flowers?  Loved more.  If both?  Wow, you got this one.  But if you get a Vermont Teddy Bear Co Knight in Shining Armor bear that retails at near $100, well, you might just hear wedding bells.  Of course, those wedding bells will likely be followed by the cha-ching of the divorce lawyer’s bills, but I surely don’t want to ruin anyone’s festivities.

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