things that should be harder – things that should be easier

29 September 2010

Things that Should Be More Difficult to Do

  • misplace the smartphone upon which we have become so dependent… in your own house
  • have your soul sucked out (through every pore) with reality television marathons
  • experience seemingly justifiable road rage
  • find a glass of exceedingly average and spectacularly overpriced wine in an otherwise decent place to drink it
  • making movies or television shows… if your name is Tyler Perry
  • getting acting gigs… if your name is David Caruso
  • writing books… if your name is Terry McMillian
  • make an argument about the sanctity of marriage in the age of Brittany Spears
  • getting parking tickets in DC
  • conflate being famous with being infamous
  • stop chasing dreams, believing in magic, hearing the bells
  • move through an entire day without appreciating art
  • allow the arbitrary, the random, or the capricious keep one away from something or someone we love
  • listen to our lesser demons instead of our better angels

Things that should be easier

  • defending DC from all of the haters
  • getting a great education without mortgaging the first two decades of adulthood & your soul to an evil-corporate-overlord
  • understanding the customs and morays of social media
  • finding good and relatively inexpensive Italian food in DC (yes, that is one giant, gaping hole in the DC culinary landscape… if any of you mention Pasta Mia, you’re no longer welcome to my Scotch)
  • finding good contemporary music
  • aging gracefully
  • reducing our carbon footprint
  • getting more disciplined as we get older
  • make a decent living as an artist
  • fully appreciating the Thomas Payne quote: That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly”

Hat Tip to Sarah and the Goon Squad for the idea for this post


Happy Friday

17 September 2010

I don’t know if your week has been as bad as mine – mine included being in the hospital… on my birthday, so I’m pretty sure when it comes to suckitude, I’ll trump most of you – but finding this video was a gigantic bright spot.

Happy Friday!

p.s. if this didn’t make you smile, well, let’s just say that you’re probably not welcome to my scotch.

p.p.s. hat tip to Law & Order for one of my favorite quotes: “Do what you gotta do, you’ll always be welcome to my scotch” Adam Schiff, from which I cribbed the aforementioned post script and have long used as declaration of friendship.

p.p.p.s. here are a few bloggers who are always welcome to my scotch (literal or metaphorical) that you should be reading: Awkward Sex in the City, Anonymiss in DC, Attention Span of a Fly, that’s just the A-List, haha, I crack me up.

The Best of the #WhereWereYou Hashtag

13 September 2010

The following Tweet was the impetus for this project:@anamariecox #wherewereyou tag making me thankful for Twitter for the first time in a long while. #human #American #community

So I reviewed thousands of tweets with the #WhereWereYou hashtag and culled this list of messages I found most interesting, touching, and sometimes funny too.

@jamietarabay: #wherewereyou on a boat in the middle of the Aegean sea. Turkish shortwave radio so scratchy we thought 45000 had been killed.

@lovebaby111: I was in second grade confused…wondering why my teacher was crying and why we were sitting outside for a “code green” 9/11 #wherewereyou

@duranaca:Flying from Boston to Toronto, leaving same time flight to LA. Then I spent a week sleepless, against the TV #wherewereyou

@MikeTRose Walking Lily to preschool on State. Saw smoke, heard sirens, figured big fire downtown; I’d see it on the pm news. #wherewereyou

@DovSFriedman: …I thought a dumb drunk pilot flew a Cesna too low over Manhattan. Then reality hit. First day I heard name Osama Bin Laden. #wherewereyou

@bkyle55: #wherewereyou My grandparent’s house, home sick, watching the news through the innocent eyes of a 6 year old. September 11, 2001.

@A_Swagz: #wherewereyou 6th grade math class and my science teacher didn’t know what the twin towers were..

@gilvillegasjr: I was in Band…never knew until I entered History and people were stabbing a hanger into the TV in order to watch the news. #wherewereyou

@benblueonline: Public speaking class for plane #1. Teacher actually turned the TV off and taught. Ass. 2nd plane didn’t hit till next class. #wherewereyou

@wednesdaychef: At work at Rock Center while my colleague, whose wife worked on the 94th floor, punched a wall as we watched the towers fall. #wherewereyou

@ellenmaguirenyc: UWS. Couldn’t reach bf who worked by WTC. Cooked his favorite meal & waited with a friend. Five hours later, he walks in. #wherewereyou

@ellenmaguirenyc: I remember how quiet the streets became that evening. People walked in silence. I remember hearing shoes scuffing the pavement.

@A_Swagz: #wherewereyou 6th grade math class and my science teacher didn’t know what the #twintowers were..

@dancer2989: #WhereWereYou I think I was in 8th grade. I did not want to leave my parents side that day. I was scared to leave them.

@maytreelane: #wherewereyou lying on the sofa in early labour with my first baby – flicking channels and saw the first plane hit the tower – goosebumps

@bcl400: half awake,listening to mike and mike in the morning. heard about plane crashing into WTC, woke up and turned on TV#latetweet #wherewereyou

@loopylisa93 I was at school. I remember the teachers whispering in the corridors and kids crying because of relatives in America#wherewereyou

@stuckinchair Where everyone else in the UK was – chin on floor in front of the telly. #wherewereyou

@CloudSpeaker On way to work at a casino in KC. Saw aftermath of 1st on TV. Was in rush hour when 2nd hit. Astonished to find some gambling. #wherewereyou

@lisacle #WHEREWEREYOU Had just sent @dgfeeney off to work, then sat down to nurse my 1-month-old son. Turned TV on for company. Wished I hadn’t.

@valstulman @Wondermasons #wherewereyou in the car, on Ventura Blvd. Thought they were making a really bad joke on the radio.

@SPNfreak #wherewereyou weirdly I was in Florida swimming with dolphins in discovery cove

@juliedebbie #wherewereyou stranded in Vancouver since US border closed. All I wanted to do was get back to the USA and home.

@juliedebbie headed to Vancouver BC, Canada airport to catch a flight to San Fran…never left. Watched planes fly into Canada all day

@stephwillerton In bed sick with the flu in a Paris hotel room, watching CNN live. #wherewereyou

@sokorra #wherewereyou Spanish Class, 10th grade. I was complaining about my teacher w/ another student. The principal called it a minor catastrophe.

@pacificIT Opening my car for work and someone ran up and said “We’re all under attack!” I rolled my eyes and flipped on the car radio. #wherewereyou

@TamaraMedia at Police HQ in 911 operator training (my side job). Went into lockdown, prep mode in case the sh*t was going to hit the fan. #wherewereyou

@zipyrich #wherewereyou 53rd floor 1 Penn Plaza, south windows for impact; Manhattan Bridge walkway for collapse. Lived in dust-coated streets…

@HealthyTeachCA 10th grade Orthodontist stopped tightening my braces when he heard from lobby tv. Kept working with radio on; I found out then #wherewereyou

@UltraLuxe On my way to the Outer Banks w/ parents. Found out at Wendy’s at lunchtime from a stranger in their restroom.#wherewereyou #neverforget

@karenlevine #wherewereyou waiting for people to arrive at hospitals that were ready & waiting – but nobody came. Posters of missing people everywhere.

@karenlevine #wherewereyou watching tv in tears for the hundreds of people who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, an investment bank I had never heard of.

@karenlevine #wherewereyou using a pay phone outside cafe Europa to track down a friend who worked at Windows on the World – remember that? She was late

@gf_adventuregrl Sitting in the library in my middle school. English class. They put the radio over the PA & I couldn’t understand anything. #wherewereyou

@sarahcgarvey First day of high school. Arrogant history teacher was telling us to stop overreacting. We were dismissed not 5 minutes later #wherewereyou

@Cidmonster On 9-11, I was in my sophomore year of high school. I hope I’ve just succeeded in making you feel old. #wherewereyou

@ThatGuy562 I had morning wood #wherewereyou

@pj_thompson @raecarson In bed, alarm went off 6 am PST, heard plane crashed into one of the Towers & actually hit the snooze.#stillashamed #wherewereyou

@fiddler42 #wherewereyou Had just dropped my eldest off for his first day of preschool. Brought him home & hugged him tightly the rest of the day

@DianaGriffith in 1st wk @mtholyoke, brand new, just left reporter job, torn between stunned horror and instinct to drive to NYC to cover it #wherewereyou

@prayingmantis 7th Grade History; sub-teacher wouldn’t turn on the TV because she didn’t think it was important. #wherewereyou#9/11/01

@plutoniumpage Tempted to make up a dramatic story for the#wherewereyou tag: “I was driving across the 520 bridge to Seattle when I saw a burst of light.”

@maryvale I went straight to the Gamecock student newspaper offices after classes (sociology of suicide!) and started assigning stories #wherewereyou

@soypan Working a DFW flight. CA called me into cockpit. Ground stop. One of ours had hit WTC. 1st thought was low-visibility.#wherewereyou

@Janet_Elaine I was sitting in McCarville’s 6th grade class when I learned about 9/11. Young enough to be naïve, old enough to understand. #wherewereyou

@aka_jim_allen 9/11 in tech support received a call from a man in New Jersey – he wanted to talk to someone about what he saw he was crying #wherewereyou

@gmyers421 Home watching the Today Show, 6wks pregnant, wondering what kind of world I was bringing my baby into, praying, calling family #wherewereyou

@tyfn Listening to morning radio. DJ announced plane had just hit the twin towers. Waited for a punchline that never came. Felt numb#wherewereyou

@Penenberg Watched firemen + police stagger uptown passed Canal Street, covered in dust, sobbing. Everyone afraid more planes wud come. #wherewereyou

@alexatimeaus Went back to dorm. I was an RA. Stayed with all my NYC residents while they called parents. #wherewereyou

@Dr_Mom #wherewereyou in our hospital ER waiting for the casualties to arrive. Worst moment when they said “Go home, there are no survivors”

@carolinadancer My dad just went into the OR for heart surgery in Sevierville TN. I had quit smoking for 8 weeks. That day I started again. #wherewereyou

@GenesisJones #wherewereyou I was in Mrs. Rayfield’s 2nd grade class when they announced for all teachers to turn the tv’s on and to lock their doors

@moberhoffner My very first poli sci class, ironically International Politics. My prof actually tore up the syllabus in front of us.#wherewereyou

@restrntrefugee: dear assholes who keep using the #wherewereyou tag to make bad jokes, when it comes to being a human being #youredoingitwrong

I was Oblivious, Where Were You?

11 September 2010

Nine years ago I woke up early – way before tragedy altered everyone’s life – so I could go for a top-down drive. Surely you remember how gorgeous the weather was on the east coast that morning. About five hours after I left my place that morning, I had burned almost a whole tank of gas, and traced most of my favorite country roads.

For every day rides, the radio is pegged to NPR; when I go driving, however, the road gets a soundtrack. Lenny Kravitz, Ray Charles, Sinatra, Chuck Brown, & Jill Scott all kept me company that morning. A little after 11am, I pulled into a parking space right in front of my coffeeshop. Mack the Knife was still blaring from my speakers while I was singing at a volume way too high for my terrible voice.

It may read as too easy, too convenient, even revisionist, but when I looked at people crying, and the saw the faces of everyone in the room, my heart sank in a way that told me the world had changed forever.

Quibbling with Near Perfection – Changing Screen on the Green

10 September 2010

In many respects, it’s rather difficult to complain about DC Screen on the Green. Comcast and HBO returned it from the abyss last year, so a certain level of gratitude should be afforded. It’s a free movie night in the most majestic of settings. The US Capitol Police, and Park Police officers largely look the other way when we indulge in ostensibly banned beverages. And if you’ve ever been, you know that the experience is sublime in so many ways that defy description.

Having said all that, I am about to exercise my prerogative for two largely minor quibbles.

Whose idea was it to hold this shindig during the hottest part of the year in DC?Just about every year in recorded meteorological history (or at least as far back as I can recall) late July and early August are prone to obnoxious heat and oppressive humidity. I understand the initial reasoning (Congressional schedule, little kids not in school, etc.) but wouldn’t it be nice to extend it for four weeks after Labor Day?

And the movies were pretty ignorable this year. I get it, you don’t really go specifically for the movie. You go for the experience, the date night, the drinking with friends, doing the HBO dance with ten thousand other people, the general specialness of it all. But there is still a movie to be watched and Goldfinger (among the best Bond movies of that generation) grew even more dated with every sexist and misogynistic reference. The charm of Goodbye Girl faded about thirty minutes in, and Bonnie & Clyde simply did not stand the test of time. The brilliance of 12 Angry Men, however, cannot be understated, but that was just one movie.

So howzabout it HBO & Comcast? Whadya say next year we do a second half to the SotG season. And since you asked for my suggestions, the four movies I think would be perfect for movie night on The Mall are:

Bull Durham

The Princess Bride

The Thomas Crown Affair

All the President’s Men

If you were ruler of all things, what movies would you show, dear readers?

Things I Don’t Understand – A Very Abbreviated List

9 September 2010

I don’t understand the people who use their horn to vent non-specific frustration with traffic at the expense of their fellow urbanites.

I literally don’t understand people who willfully misuse the word “literally.”

I don’t understand the use of abbreviations for the already short names (see: Sophia to Soph, Kathy to Kath, Lisa to Lis, Jason to Jas, Connie to Conn, and those were just a few amongst the most glaring examples and solely from the two syllable names truncated to a single.)

I don’t understand the people who prefer drip coffee to french press.

I don’t understand the guy who just walked by my coffeeshop table; either he’s a late 30something who willfully wears skinny jeans or he’s an appropriately aged hipster who’s just done so much blow that he looks really old… or he’s auditioning costumes for the next holiday. Whatever it is, I don’t understand it.

Speaking of Halloween, let me get started on bashing this poor excuse for women to indulge their inner [choose whatever appropriate and dismissive word that won’t get me in trouble.] I don’t understand why perfectly reasonable women use that evening to simultaneously exercise so little imagination (really, throw the word sexy before any common/proper noun and call it a costume?) and leave so little to the imagination.

I don’t understand why Josh choose Donna over Amy.

I don’t understand why television producers can’t at least put some water in those empty Starbucks cups that their characters routinely carry in a way that lets everyone know that this detail is unimportant.

I don’t understand the people who spend hours listening to political talk radio but don’t vote.

I don’t understand the gravitational pull of reality television, but I really don’t understand why the shows set in DC seem to represent the worst in class (yes, I’m looking at you Real Word, Top Chef, and Housewives.)

I don’t understand the people who pay a premium to drive a convertible yet leave their top up on gorgeous days like today.

I don’t understand the people who proclaim (to anyone within earshot) their disdain for DC yet never leave their tiny and provincial comfort zones, or go to museums.

I don’t understand the nearly universal human desire to pick at wounds both physical and emotional.

I don’t understand how I can think myself so good with words yet be such a poor communicator when it comes to certain people.

There are many things of which a wise man would wish to be ignorant” Mr. Emerson once wrote; I don’t understand why I am so bad at making those choices.

Coffeeshop Conversations with an Ex

6 September 2010

Dirty Do-Gooder: Why didn’t you ever shave your head when we were dating?

RR: I suppose I could ask you the same thing about the thigh-highs you were wearing the last time we ran into each other.

DDG: first that’s a bullshit equivalence, second you didn’t answer the question, and third, how the fuck did you know I was wearing thigh highs?

RR: shall I address your points in chronological order or by degree of magnitude that they annoyed you?

DDG: Ya know, every time I start to wonder why I dumped you, you drop one of those sentences with a whole bag full of words and I don’t have to wonder any more.

RR: I know you actually love that about me so you can protest all you want… and I ‘ll just move along to your questions. You’re right, it was a false equivalence, but it tickled me to say it. Regarding the underlying query, we dated in the winter and I only shave my head during the summers and even then infrequently…

DDG: and the thigh-highs?

RR: we stopped dating, I didn’t go blind or lose my powers of observation… There was a moment at the bar when you recrossed your legs. There was just a sliver of the top band of lace that showed before you adjusted your skirt.

DDG: for the record, I never knew you had a preference for thigh-highs… not that we dated long enough for me to learn those things.

RR: also for the record, I’m calling bullshit on that. You’re too smart not to know that every straight man likes thigh-highs… if only because so few women wear them these days. And I’m pretty sure you know that because you were waiting for your date that night we saw each other at the bar. Speaking of which how did it go?

DDG: put it this way: it’s a good thing that someone noticed the stockings, because there was no way in hell he was going to see them.

RR: so what did he do that was so bad?

DDG: first he was late without calling or texting. Second, he ordered a Long Island [Iced Tea] like he was some undergrad trying to get maximum bang for the buck. And third, he actually suggested we go to Lauriol Plaza for dinner after drinks. I really blame you for the snobbery of most of that – you’re like some highly contagious elitist infection.

RR: I’ll happily take that description, but only because I know you and know that you meant it with love. So, where did you meet this clown?

DDG: OK-Harmony-Match-JDate, who even knows anymore.

RR: I hate to say it, but you do know that the only constant in your string of lame dates is you, right?

DDG: You realize that you’re among the people counted in that string of lameness, right?

RR: Touche, even though I might argue that we had great dates just different priorities and objectives.

DDG: Yeah, but I’m still calling you lame.

RR: fine, but it seems that you can’t stay away from my lameness these days. What is this, the third time in a week or so that you keep appearing in places where I am? What are you, some kind of stalker?

DDG: I prefer the term “Enthusiastic Follower” thank you very much.

RR: the really funny thing for me is that for the last ten days I keep running into women I used to date all over the place. Including you, I’ve seen a half-dozen ex’s in that time frame.

DDG: how many of them did you have to hide from?

RR: I only actively avoided two… which is probably three less than I should have.

DDG: What’s that line from When Harry Met Sally? “You’re gonna have to move back to New Jersey because you’ve slept with everybody in New York.” Maybe you need to start packing, Mr. Refugee.