Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Worst Hair on Planet Earth (plus bonus material)

I got my hair totally chopped off last Saturday, and when I say chopped off, I really mean it. It's about 1.5" in length at the longest. In fact, it hasn't been this short since I was about 25 years old. At first I was kind of in shock, even though I asked the guy to do it, but now I love it and am so happy that I am back to my youthful-looking self.

Sorry I don't have a picture yet to share, but I do have this lovely photo circa 1988 of my hair at its worst possible point in history...

AKA "The Enormo-roll Bangs" and bad perm combo

WTF was I thinking? I look like someone straight out of a trailer park working at Winn-Dixie.

And FYI, that was my old horse, Cricket, that I had in junior high and early high school. Too bad the profile view of my hair supercedes anything even remotely handsome about the animal.

On two other topics this evening:

1. I have a new historical obsession... John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln's Assassination. Miguel got this book for me at the library, and I have been literally obsessing over it for the past three days:

Tonight my mom and I went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts to see a new exhibit on aboriginal art, and afterwards, as we were leaving the museum, I realized that we were right in the heart of John Wilkes Booth territory circa 1865 (ie: H and 11th Sts.). I made her wait on a street corner with me while I fished the book out of my bag, found the requisite maps and hunted for old boarding houses that Booth once visited.

My latest crush...

However, the big news is that this weekend (Sunday to be exact), Miguel and I are going on a Smithsonian-sponsored bus tour called
"Booth's Escape Route" that tracks Booth's trail after he shot Lincoln (if you click on the link, you will see that we have the privilege of dining with the tour group at "Captain Billy's Crabhouse"... sounds like good eatin'!!). It runs from 8am until 8pm and goes all over the DC area and is guided by a Civil War expert named Ed Bearss. I have little doubt that we will be the only people along under the age of 55, but what the hell... history nerds unite!!!

Our guide, Mr. Ed Bearss, representing the average age of the group tour participant...

And finally... a bit of work humor:

2) I had an interesting moment yesterday when boarding the elevator to head up to my office after fetching my morning coffee from the cafeteria. Upon getting on the lift, I placed the small back heel of my sandal ever so perfectly in the gap between the elevator and the ground floor. When I went to lift my foot, there was no movement, as my sandal was wedged expertly between these two elements. Like a complete dork, I immediately began struggling to lift my foot up, making my foot turn purple as I heaved my weight up against the two small straps of leather.

The site of my personal horror story...

Luckily for me, the elevator was packed with people watching me flail around like a trapped animal, waiting for the elevator door to come slamming closed on my leg and forever documenting me in CNN's "Offbeat News" category as "Woman Loses Leg in Elevator Accident." You know, the girl you all talk about in the mornings as you read the internet at work (instead of working), commenting over your cubicle walls with wonder in your voice, "How does something like that happen? Oh my..."

In the end, some nice man did have the common sense to hit the "Door Open" button, and I was able to extricate my foot from my shoe, and then my shoe heel from the floor-elevator gap. And my shoe wasn't even ruined! Hurray! It was a bit of an awkward ride up to the 6th floor though.
And on that note, I go to bed...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Euro Sort of Weekend

So it's the end of the weekend, and I'm a few hundred dollars poorer...

That's actually a good thing though because I spent all day yesterday shopping in Takoma Park (DC's liberal hippy haven) with my mom and had a great time. As my velociraptor feet are most difficult to accomodate in standard American women's shoes, I tend to shop for flat, European shoes that are made for walking, and I found the most incredible shoe store in Takoma Park that only carries European brands! I ended up walking out of there with three pairs of shoes, all of which were supremely comfortable, cute, and better yet 1/2 price!! Bargain city...

I bought this pair, except that the leather on mine is a cream color (with the same burgandy soles).

We also ended up finding this amazing game store, where I bought two new games to add to my collection...

The card game"Fluxx," with all kinds of bizarre rule changes throughout playing...

... And "Metro," where you try to beat your opponent in building the French metro rail system...

My mom and I tried this one out, but we were really struggling, as both of us are fairly "spatially" challenged.

I totally love playing games, at least almost as much as I like buying fun European shoes.

Oh, speaking of European, the Euros seem to be dominating the World Cup so far. Miguel and I went to a bar this morning to watch England squeak past Ecuador to make it to the next round. Miguel is now watching the Portugal-Netherlands game, but I'm a bit soccer'ed out at the moment!!

Anyway, it's been a great weekend (including a truly gourmet dinner party Friday night at Marianne and Patrizio's place... thank you, M & P!... which featured filet mignon, cheesy polenta, pear & blue cheese salad, delicious homemade Venezuelan flan, and loads of first-rate champagne and wine... just one small perk when you have two friends in the wine importing business... oh, I feel soooo lucky!).

Bollinger champagne... my favorite... and James Bond's too apparently.

That's it for now... will try to write later this week... so in true Euro form... CIAO!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Groundhog Day

My life:

6:30 am: Wake up, run comb through hair, brush teeth, throw on outfit
6:50: Run to shuttle bus (literally)
7:10: Catch metro train
7:45: Bus to work
8:15 - 5:30: Life in cubicle hell, staring at a computer screen and bathing in florescent light, losing my tan with each passing second, dreaming of independent wealth
5:45 - 7pm: The above commute in reverse
7:30: Work out on the elliptical, shedding the weight I've gained while sitting motionless and soulless all day
8:30pm - Read my latest book, Dorian Gray, while perching on the couch and trying to block out the sound of the Hispanic announcer's annoying voice commentating on the most recent World Cup game
11pm - Bed.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Don't you envy me?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rick Wakeman's Grand Piano Tour

Grand indeed!!! Last night was so incredible... in three words: Rick. Wakeman. Rocks.

Start of the night:

Getting psyched for the mini-moog...

Only to discover that the "Grand Piano Tour" means exactly that. No synthesizer. Just a grand piano. Temporary confusion (what, Rick Wakeman without a synth?!?) turns into total amazement when I discover that Rick Wakeman jams out on the Wurlitzer just as well as he does on the Korg or Roland... holy shit, it was a fantastic show!!!! And did you also know that Rick Wakeman is a stand-up comic and is regularly on a BBC comedy show? He performed a bit of his routine between songs... very funny indeed; I do love British humor and a talented raconteur.

The one downer of the night was that no cameras were allowed in the show, which meant I couldn't call out "Play Catherine Parr!" and capture it on film, like my brother asked me to do...

Here's the real version of Catherine Parr...

After the concert, Rick let his fans line up for autographs and photos. About 100 of us waited to meet the keyboard master. About 99 of those in line were 45-year-old men clinging to an old dream. And one was a 32-year-old female strangely obsessed with an aging icon who writes music about the Middle Ages.

Case in point... It was finally my turn...

I started yammering about my childhood love of his Henry the VIII album... (please feel free to take a closer look at RW's face here, which seems to say, "What in the f**k is this girl talking about? Someone save me now...")

And I also told him how much I adored Tomita...

The other ultimate 70s synthesizer guru...

I think he liked me... he was telling me here how he once played with Tomita...

Good thing I didn't piss off that angry/bored bodyguard.

The ultimate photo op...

He's about 6'4"... and you'd think he were Johnny Depp or something, the way I'm looking here.

So... that's about it, my crazy Sunday night at the Birchmere.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

1980s Band Nerd

Anyone remember this entry about my fabulous marching band experience?

Well, here is photographic proof that I suffered horribly in junior high...

Circa 1986: Bad hair (what's up with that chunk of bangs?), bad dye job a la "Sun In" from summer camp, and a truly ridiculous tuxedo and bow tie for 7th grade band. Not to mention my right hand looks like a daddy long leg spider minus four legs. Thank god I was temporarily spared the orange polyester that didn't rear its ugly head until high school...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Chico's Chinese Capri Pants

First of all, apologies for my total and complete slacking on the blog. However, my loving boyfriend does not have a home computer (***!!!***!!!) so I have to depend on jumping on his brother's computer when he's not home... like right now. I'm typing as fast as humanly possible so I finish up this entry before he gets home from the gym (as he likes to sit in front of errr, I mean his computer, all night when he's around). Of course, I don't think he'd care that I'm doing this, but I'd also feel a bit of a guilty twinge if he were milling about in the living room waiting for me to finish up writing about Chinese pants...

Which does, in fact, bring me to the topic of the day... my Chico's Chinese capri pants. I know, I know... Chico's... it does tend to evoke images of high school English teachers, FUPAs, and matronly women attending daytime book clubs at suburban homes, but every now and then I find something cool in the Chico's funky middle-age clothing collection.

The quinessential Chico's customer...

... AKA "The Artsy Mom"

Anyway, I have a pair of black capri pants with white and black Chinese symbols on them that I bought at Chico's a few years ago with the money I won in my office's "March Madness" NCAA betting pool... approximately $60. (And to think that I chose my teams by flipping a penny... seriously!)

The lucky penny that brought me to Chico's...

So... I was wearing my Chico's Chinese capri pants today at work. Around 11:30, I decided to head to lunch out in the office park courtyard, but I thought it would be smart to run in the bathroom and wash my hands before delving into my food. As I was standing in front of the mirror, staring listlessly at my misbehaving hair, I felt the gaze of a small Chinese woman standing next to me as she read over my pants...

Engrish transration: What in the herr is on youl pants?

(Sidenote: For more on Chinese-English translation, please go here)

Now, I must admit, I didn't have the faintest idea what my pants said so I asked the lady what was on them... and she replied, "Werr, it's velly strlange..." and she proceeded to tell me that it repeats "loss of life" and "hatred" over and over, as well as the occasional use of the word "us."

A quick Google check of Chinese symbols proves the woman correct...

This seemingly innocent symbol adorned on my right knee does indeed mean "hatred."

I can look at this two ways... either it truly reveals how I am feeling at work on a daily basis or it reflects how my co-workers felt when the dumbest sports person in the office won the NCAA betting pool two years ago. I'm opting for the latter...

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Anderson Cooper Affair

Last Wednesday night, my mom and I went to Olsson's books on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington to see Anderson Cooper (CNN journalist extraordinaire) talk about his new book. My mom got there first and staked out a pretty good spot, about 10 yards away from the podium. As her poor little foot is still healing from surgery, I fended off the masses from stomping on her boot-encased ped, as the people started rolling in.

Now mind you, we know who Anderson Cooper is from TV, we read the article about him in Vanity Fair, and we think he's somewhat exotic (what with the premature grey hair and steel blue eyes and all), but we're not big enough fans to buy his $40 book in hard-cover for an autograph (like the majority of the audience). Rather, we simply came to gawk at a celebrity.

There we stood for at least 30 minutes, huddled against the CD racks, attempting to peer around a cumbersome column and a rather chubby gay man in a pink polo shirt who was partially blocking our view, waiting for Anderson to make his appearance. When I looked down, out of sheer boredom, to see what CDs were in my line of sight, my eyes caught on the new Kenny Rogers CD... or rather the fearsome spectacle that is now called Kenny Rogers' face. Holy crap, if you want to see plastic surgery gone bad, check this out:

The before and after shocker... Kenny Rogers and the alien.

It reminded me of that woman who now looks like a cat she's had so much surgery.

Now that is just gross.

Everyone standing around me at Olsson's agreed...

Anyhow, soon after my momentary obsession with Kenny Rogers' uplifted face passed, the audience roared, and Anderson Cooper made his appearance. My mother, ever the tactful one, immediately hollered out, "Oh my goodness, he's tiny!" Despite my momentary embarrassment, I had to agree. The man was positively tiny... and not just short, I mean he was just a very small-boned man, very narrow, and very baby bird-like. I guess TV really does add dimension to people (thank god that was not my career of choice) because I'd always imagined Anderson Cooper to be around 6'2" and rather strapping. Instead, my guess is that he's only 5'8" and 140 lbs. at the absolute most. In fact, it appeared I might be able to snap him in half like a twig. Not that I would ever want to do that, of course, but it seemed as though I could have if I'd really had the desire.

Teeny Anderson with Steve Tyler in drag. Hahaha. Not really.

He only spoke for about 20 minutes -- a good, fairly comical and rather humble speech actually -- before he began signing people's books in a private room at the back of the book shop. At this point, my mother and I decided to run outside and see if we could see him up close through the window. Apparently other people had the same idea, and I kid you not when I tell you that at least 20 people were ogling at poor Anderson through the outside glass window, just like one might watch a chimp at the zoo before he launches his own poop at the crowd.

I quickly sneaked into a spot next to the window... so close to Anderson I could have touched him had it not been for that damn glass!... and snapped a pic of him on my phone. Which, of course, I have no idea how to download onto the computer now...

And on that note, I must go pick up Miguel from a long day of World Cup drinking and festivities.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Work Uniforms

In case you hadn't gathered from my last blog entry, I am a public transportation whore this summer.

Today, as I rode the bus home from work, I looked around me at other passengers on the packed vessel and realized that a) I was the only person reading (still working on the intellectual literary masterpiece entitled, "The Devil Wears Prada"), b) I was the only person not wearing some kind of "work uniform," c) I was the only person who didn't have thick black hair, and d) I was the only person who could speak unaccented English.

For a fleeting moment, I thought I might actually have been teleported to Guatemala City and put on this bus:

Hey, speaking of old work uniforms, I think it's time for another blast from my past... it's the weekly 80s picture update!!!

Anyone remember me mentioning that I used to work at Domino's Pizza? FYI: I was a phone answerer extraordinaire... and no, I did not brown nose my cheesy and lame boss at the time... appropriately named Rob... in order to make the promotion to "pizza maker" like the other hussies who worked there... ah yeah, no thanks, I plodded along at the lowest rung of the company ladder for a solid two years... with only a 25 cent raise in that entire time. I must have been a pretty sucky employee. I am pretty sure I didn't like the job too much or have any wild ambitions about owning my own franchise one day.

So here I am, grudgingly posing for a photo for my camera-loving mother as I was going to work in 1990...

Note the ever present Tretorn sneakers, the pizza flour marking on my navy pegged pants, and the quinessential "annoyed teenager" face... I was way too cool for that lame job.

Wow, and I still feel like that... I guess some things never change.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Public Transportation Hell

First of all, I moved in with Miguel this past weekend. I am positively ecstatic to have all of my belongings in one single closet instead of living out of a suitcase like a gypsy or a traveling salesman. This is a very good thing...

But now... have I mentioned that I am partially retarded?...

One of the first things I did this weekend (much to Miguel's consternation) was lose my brand new condominium ID card. This is the essential document that lets me into the gym and allows me to ride the "Cameron Station metro shuttle," which I need to do every morning at 6:55am in order to get to work. Of course, replacement ID's are only given out from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday, which means I'm SOL. After retracing every single step I took yesterday evening to find the card, I declared it a total loss and began considering alternative solutions, such as forging a card on the computer, having Miguel write a pleading letter on my behalf, and/or just walking to the metro at an insane hour this morning to get to work on time.

In the end, I opted for sheer and obvious trickery -- which involved me holding up Miguel's ID card to the shuttle driver and hoping he would not notice that it did not belong to me, for a) the photo showed a darker skinned Hispanic male, and b) the name in large black letters distinctly said "Miguel S." To my glee, my dim-witted plan worked, and the mega-observant shuttle driver let me on the bus without the blink of a clearly blind eye.

The shuttle deposited me 15 minutes later at the metro station, where I proceeded to hop aboard a "blue line" train to Rosslyn station. After climbing around 150 steps to the top of the platform (my daily cardio), I then had to wait another 10 minutes for my Metrobus to take me to work. Of course, as soon as I got to work, I remembered that it was my new boss's birthday, and I had totally brainfarted on buying bagels for his morning breakfast celebration (as I had signed up to buy and bring in last Friday), and thus had to purchase a dozen bagels at about three times the going rate in the employee cafeteria. Retarded move number 13, 348 in my life. As the cafeteria only provides small plates or single-serve plastic containers for food items, I had to wait about 10 minutes while a cafeteria worker tried to find me a bag big enough for 12 bagels. I ended up with 3 overstuffed Burger King bags, plus a very full cup of coffee, that I nearly dropped about 10 times on the way to the elevator.

The day itself was fairly uneventful, although my saga of retardness continued at the end of the day, when I got on the wrong bus coming home. I realized it pretty much immediately, when we hooked a left going out of the parking lot instead of a right (which is the way I wanted to go). I awkwardly asked aloud to my dozing bus neighbors if we were in fact heading toward Rosslyn, only to met with pitiful stares and sad shakes of the head. I was, indeed, heading off into uncharted suburban territory.

I immediately realized I needed to exit the bus so after dinging the bell, I was dropped off fairly ungraciously on a pebble-strewn median next to a neighborhood full of McMansions. Cars were whizzing past me at about 70 mph, and I prayed that I wasn't one of those sad "shoulder of the road" victims that get smeared while changing tires or just innocently walking to a strip mall. I prayed fervently that a bus might be coming to pick me up and take me in the other direction, and after about 15 minutes, my wishes came true. The correct Metrobus, driven by a clearly agitated driver, carrying an angry-looking black man and a complete nerd reading a sci-fi fantasy novel (who did not even look up to see me board and was likely unaware the bus had even stopped), pulled over and saved my day.

Thirty minutes of bucolic suburban driving later (and one more chapter down of "The Devil Wears Prada"), I was dropped off in front of my mother's condominium, where I am taking a short break before meeting my friend Greg (from UA, who is here this week) and Miguel for drinks... much needed... at the Old Ebbitt Grill downtown.

ps - Sorry for the lack of interesting graphics, but they take a long time to find and download, and my mom is starting to harangue me to have a drink with her. What, may I ask, is more important? Drinks or graphics? Ahhh, yes... goodbye!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Another mom food foible

Today my mom made me lunch to take to work. As she is home from work this week following foot surgery, I'm living the life of children with "stay at home moms" -- and one of the bennies is that my mom makes my lunch. This morning before work, I asked her to to cook a small pizza in the toaster oven that I could then take to work and have for lunch (nothing like cold pizza!). My mom did so, put it in my lunch sack, and sent me off to work with a small peck on the cheek.

Upon opening my lunch bag today, and then unwrapping the little cooked pizza, I discovered that my mom had actually cooked the cardboard under the pizza in the oven with the pizza. Thus, a charred piece of cardboard had to be removed from the odd smelling pizza, and the uncooked pizza bottom (that remained white dough) stared back at me after I peeled off the cooked-on paper.

As the true daughter of my mother, I shrugged off the cardboard odor and uncooked pizza dough, and bit into the pizza. It was hideous. The cooked cardboard flavor that seeped into the pizza left such a bad aftertaste that I had to run to the cafeteria to buy a drink to mask the bad flavor in my mouth.

However, not wanting to "waste food," I must admit that I actually finished the horrible thing. I think this might be a form of mental illness brought on by years of ignoring food quality. Help?