A Novel Idea

Sunday, August 31, 2008

You would think a girl would find little to love about an apartment that lacks a kitchen but costs nearly a grand a month. So what keeps me here? My ‘hood. I simply adore Cleveland Park, & one of my favorite aspects of living in it is the local D.C. branch library that’s about 10 steps from my place.

In all fairness, this is a pretty crummy library for anyone over the age of 7. It has, like, 20 adult books, & its non-kid-oriented movie selection is seriously lacking (unless you’re really into self-help DVDs). The best part of the library, though, is that it sells near-new novels for a mere 50 cents apiece. When you purchase one, you deposit your cash into a small black lockbox nailed to a wall beam – how’s that for trust in a city notorious for its lies? Anyway, I scored four titles this afternoon for a mere $2.

(That's "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb, "Little Earthquakes" by Jenifer Weiner, "Lake Wobegon Summer 1956" by Garrison Keillor and "The Color of Water" by James McBride. Last week, I bought "Candy Girl" by Juno writer Diablo Cody.)

I also snagged three VERY recent mags – a July Cosmo, an August Glamour & a September Lucky – out of the library’s “Free Magazine Bin," where patrons deposit their old publications for other patrons to browse & take for themselves. Last week, I snapped up a 1988 Parisian Vogue Enfants filled with weird, colorful glossies of Aryan kids in "Sound of Music"-esque Dutch/Austrian regalia, a few of which I tore out to frame & hang. Free wall art? Hipster holler.
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Dinner of Champions

No, not Wheaties. Quaker Cinnamon Oatmeal. And this is what happened to the first packet of it that I microwaved this evening (slash ever).

Needless to say, thank God for Clorox Disinfecting Wipes & having nine more packets of oatmeal to experiment on.
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"There has never been anything false about hope."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

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It's not every day your boss gives the invocation at the Democratic National Convention.

And on a more personal, political note... I know I usually tend toward humor on this blog, but tonight I've got a very serious bout of inspiration. After watching the DNC with friends & strangers alike tonight, all young adults living in D.C. fighting for social justice, I was struck by just how massive this election year is.

As unlucky as it feels to be living at a near-poverty wage, to be paying off student loans that will haunt me for the next decade, to sometimes go without & do without, I feel thankful to be living through this -- to be living in a city that means everything & working for change in an era when change may truly be possible. Obama said tonight, "Eight is enough," & he was correct; eight years of a disastrous Republican presidency has been more than enough for all of us. We have found our breaking point, but instead of breaking, we have come together to forge a bond so strong that we will finally fight for the change we so desperately want, need & deserve -- and we will elect Barack Obama president.

What this city needs is an overhaul, & what this country needs may be nothing short of a miracle. While the writer in me is enamored of all the pretty words that come out of presidential politicking, I have enough sense to step back & ask myself: When push comes to proverbial shove, are they just political poetry, as the critics claim? Or can these two eloquent, verbose Democrats really keep their word by bringing us afloat, reviving us, breathing life into an embarrassed, bruised America? Time & again, my answer is the same. Pretty words or not, I believe in Barack Obama & Joe Biden. And yes -- they can.
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Challenges in Living Solo: The Centipede Saga

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

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You may remember the first challenge in living solo: "The Spider Saga." The Spider Saga, while ultimately devastating & destructive, made for a fun little entry complete with photographic evidence of my insect battle.

I know: I should have included a photo in this blog post. If I had been in the right state of mind to put my photography skills to use, I would have taken a photo to include. As it stood, I was not in the right state of mind to breathe properly, much less consider photography. Had I taken a photograph, however, it would have looked something like this:

But it would have been hanging out at the absolute top of the only wall I can not reach by standing on a piece of furniture.

Listen, I can deal with your average centipede. I can deal those fake cockroaches. I can even almost deal with real cockroaches. I can deal with Daddy long legs. What I can NOT deal with are house centipedes that are literally the length of half my forearm, lurking in dark, unreachable corners.

So what did I do? Naturally, I called Joanna & sobbed. She offered to come get it. She advised me on ways to reach it. She sent me to find the night maintenance guy & ordered me to call her back. When the night maintenance man could not be found, I did the next most logical thing -- I found a neighbor.

I was still hyperventilating & crying as he answered the door. Although I really only asked for a stepladder or chair of some sort (my only chair swivels), he whipped out a step stool & a broom & offered to come tackle the monster himself. I wanted to tell him he didn't have to do it, but I was so grateful that I just sort of bumbled back to my apartment & let him in. He promptly hopped up on his step stool & killed the damn thing.

And I... kept crying. It's been an hour, & I'm still working on getting my breathe back.

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Too Lazy To Think of a Title

Sunday, August 24, 2008

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I REALLY need a phone that takes better pictures. Cases in point:

[Hula hoop contest in Dupont Circle. So awkward. TONS of people participating.]

[Elderly woman with unexplained black tape over her mouth being recorded by videographer of unknown employer origins.]

[Not-so-big cookie that cost a whopping $2.19. WTF? Tasty but not 219 pennies-worth of tastiness.]
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The Separation of Church & Street

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You can't read the rest of what's written on this car because I had to snap this pic from across the street, but written just above the back wheel are the words, "Fueled by the Blood of Christ, Driven by the Holy Ghost."

Listen, please don't think I'm ragging on this vehicle just because I'm Jewish. I blog in peace & mean no offense to the Christians among you. But it is my sincerest hope that you, my logical readers of all denominations, will agree with me when I say that no matter your Higher Power of choice, a simple bumper sticker would suffice.
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Cinematic Schizophrenia

Monday, August 18, 2008

Based on Netflix's list of the top 25 most popular rentals in the Washington, D.C. area, I LIVE IN THE MOST BORING CITY ON THE PLANET. They are as follows:
1. The War Room
2. All the President's Men
3. K Street: The Complete Series
4. L'Auberge Espagnole
5. The Syrian Bride
6. The Candidate
7. Gilmore Girls: Season 3
8. The Boys of Baraka
9. 2046
10. Paradise Now
11. Russian Dolls
12. Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?
13. The Manchurian Candidate
14. The West Wing: Season 4
15. Lost Boys of Sudan
16. Good Bye, Lenin!
17. MI-5: Vol. 4
18. Nueve Reinas
19. Central do Brasil
20. La Battaglia di Algeri
21. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara
22. La Haine
23. The West Wing: Season 5
24. The West Wing: Season 2
25. The Wire: Season 4
[Note: Please don't think I haven't noticed that, as the children's song goes, "one of those things is not like the other ones."]

Comparatively, my own personal Netflix queue contains the following 25 movies (with commentary, of course):
1. Smart People (although I dislike Ellen Page)
2. Dan in Real Life (Steve Carrell does semi-seriousness?)
3. Semi-Pro (Touted as one of Will Ferrell's funniest?)
4. Friends with Money (Don't even remember what this is about)
5. Into the Wild (Could end up like Castaway -- terrible)
6. Read it and Weep (a Disney Channel original)
7. College Road Trip (starring Raven-Symone)
8. Footoose (Obligatory classic musical)
9. I’m Not There (Netflix gives it a 1.5 star rating)
10. Jawbreaker (Blatant rip-off of Heathers)
11. The Lake House (Widely touted as being... shitty)
12. Harold and Maude (Am not going to like this but felt obligated to try)
13. The Machinist (Love me some rail-thin Christian Bale)
14. The Break-Up (Also touted as terrible)
15. Fool’s Gold (Just for the McConaughey body shots)
16. Lars and the Real Girl (Creepy concept)
17. Monster’s Ball (Billy Bob AND Puff Daddy!)
18. Bringing Down the House (Yep, with Queen Latifah & Steve Martin.)
19. Fur (What IS this?!)
20. Running with Scissors (Will probably make me hate the book)
21. Little Children (Suburban scandal)
22. Match Point (Turns out Topher Grace is NOT in this. Damn.)
23. No Country for Old Men (Obligatory award-winner)
24. The Big Lebowski (Seriously never seen it!)
25. Maria Full of Grace (Cocaine smuggling goes artsy.)
Based on cinematic preference, should I be living elsewhere? The answer, it seems, is clear. But where? Disneyworld? The '90s? High school? Christian Bale's bed? A psych ward? Discuss.
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Another One Bites the Dust

Sunday, August 17, 2008

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Rushing to meet Aaron at the Imax theater for a massive-screen viewing of "Dark Knight," I practically ran down the Cleveland Park Metro escalator(s). As I reached the bottom, I broke into a run -- & promptly fell on my arse. It was the kind of fall I would have blogged about had I watched it happen to someone else, so I suppose it's only fair I write about it now.

It was a movie-perfect fall. I watched my feet fly out from under me. I caught some air, waited to hit the ground. Landed solidly on my right side & slide a good foot & a half across the slippery tile floor. I fell so hard I knocked the wind out of myself, so hard I couldn't get up right away -- I just had to sit & recoup... & cry.

A train had just come by, so people were filing up the stairs onto the mezzanine platform where I'd just fallen. About 20 people watched it happen, including a little boy who ran up to me to make sure I was all right. At least three other people stopped to ask if I was OK, but I was so embarrassed & hazy that I couldn't even look at them. All I remember is looking up at the little boy's mom & seeing the shock on her face -- even a good 10 seconds after I'd hit the ground, her jaw was still hanging open. I fell THAT HARD.

My only real damage, though? I missed the train, of course, but otherwise all I hurt was my right pinky finger, which appears to be bruised beneath the nail. Painful, yes, but not as badly injured as my ego. You just know that a few of the people who watched that spectacle texted friends to say, "I just saw the best fall ever..." And let's face it - I can't even blame them.
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Herrrre, Kitty, Kitty

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Every time I walk past the National Zoo, I worry that a large cat of some sort has escaped & is lurking in the shrubbery waiting to tear me to shreds. And you probably gave me a little mental chuckle as you read that, but I want you to know: This is a serious fear. And, I think, a somewhat rational one.

Death by surprise cheetah (or leopard or tiger or lion or panther) attack is NOT the way I want to go. Be careful walking home, kids.
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What the Cluck?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

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Oh! I almost forgot to tell you -- today I rode the redline with a chicken!

That's right. A chicken. OK, not a
real chicken, which probably would have been cooler-slash-dirtier, but this morning when I hopped onto my traincar, I was pleased to find a person in a chicken costume sitting on the floor in front of the door on the other side.

What was said chicken doing on the redline, you ask? It's unclear, but the chicken was clothed in a DC Voice t-shirt, an organization that focuses on the quality of education within the District. Frankly, I see zero correlation between education & chickens, but maybe I'm just an egghead. Regardless, I imagine he (she? Not sure if this was a cock or a hen!) was really struggling under the yolk yoke of that crazy getup. Walking the hot, muggy streets of D.C. in a costume like that has got to be like hanging out in an incubator all day.

I am very, very sad to report that I was entirely unable to snap a photo of the majority of this fowl impersonator. However, on the off chance that
you wouldn't believe my story without a photo , I did take a pic of the one part of the chicken I could really see. The rest, I think, will sort of appear in your imagination.
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The Partial Love List with a D.C. flair

Sunday, August 3, 2008

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I've become quite the avid reader of strangers' blogs, especially on days like today, when my birthday-induced hangover headache is so all-encompassing that I'm sitting in silence with little else to do but feverishly browse the Interwebs.

Meg Fowler
and Jodiferous both made these cute little love lists (lists of things they love, obvi). I decided to do the same & remembered to include some very D.C.-oriented loves, in keeping with this blog's theme.

- Mail from my grandmother
- Trying new restaurants in D.C.
- Kindness from strangers
- Getting into a good book
- Shopping for new books at Kramerbooks
- Really capable, friendly waiters
- The L1 bus arriving on time
- Texting
- The bearded Big Hunt bartender’s typewriter & lamp tattoos
- Going home for the weekend
- Being on airplanes
- Union Station
- Knowing I’ll be visiting NYC a bit next year
- Lunch with my coworkers
- Shopping at Target, which is difficult to get to in D.C.
- When my hair is really, really straight
- Black Revlon eyeliner
- Getting compliments on my work from my boss
- Froyo from Tangysweet with kiwis and honey
- Waking up early, which is a total rarity
- Ohio pride
- Fruit punch hookah
- Getting out of work early on Fridays
- Painting pottery at All Fired Up
- Living alone
- My old teddy bear
- The Uptown, the historic one-screen theatre down the street
- Midday naps
- Telling stories with lots of hand motions
- Freshly laundered suits
- Spotting real characters within the D.C. Metro system
- TV-on-DVD marathons
- Laughing so hard I can’t breathe
- Phone calls with my mom
- Matrimonio margaritas from Alero
- Making collage cards
- Blogging (& learning that people read my blog)
- Eating at Rockne’s as much as possible when home
- Living in Cleveland Park surrounded by families & tourists & great restaurants
- Listing all the things I love

Your turn: What do YOU love? And I know you read this, so pony up & comment already!
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Birth Week Begins! (Or "The Porn Star Who Came to Dinner")

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I admit that I tend to be a bit of a birthday snob, the sort of person who celebrates a Birth Week, capitalized, rather than a simple birthday. And I admit I'd been worried that my 24th would slide by unnoticed here in D.C, that I didn't know enough people here to make it special. I feel blessed to discover that though my friends here may be few, they are mighty. Let Birth Week begin! :)

Aaron announced that he would be taking me to dinner tonight. After much inner struggle regarding where to dine (which included list-making, suggestion-taking & menu-Googling), I decided upon Urbana, a fairly new, trendy restaurant in Dupont where I once had the best hors d'oeuvre of my life.

Not that you really care, but for my personal benefit, I shall recount my glorious meal. It included a shared tagliere of meats & cheeses, an entree of swiss chard & ricotta ravioli with grilled bacon & parmesan, an amazing cucumber-infused v
odka cocktail that I can't find a description of online, plus a (free!) birthday dessert of tiramisu & quite a large glass of a dessert wine, Coppo Bracetto D'Acqui, which the waiter surprised me with. I LOVED IT ALL SO MUCH, especially the company! I don't think such restaurants exist in Akron, Ohio, & this boy sure doesn't. Two D.C. pluses.

The next-best part came when the two women sitting at the neighboring booth left & Aaron informed me that one of them, the one I'd just chatted about Ohio with, was actually a fairly well-known porn star!!! That's right, I spent my birthday dinner sitting next to Sara Jay, a 36E-sized Cincinnatian who has sex for a living. She was, I might add, very nice, if not a bit scantily clad... although in retrospect, I suppose that's to be expected.

Who needs a Birth Week when you have such a lovely pre-birthday evening???
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