Monday, August 29, 2005

Litmus Test for Adulthood

Over the weekend I caught an ep of MTV's "Pimp My Ride." As I was watching the fellas at West Coast Customs work their mojo on a busted up Caddy, I had the following thoughts:

1) Big Ron won't have room for a spare tire, flares, or a tool kit in his trunk since its now home to two 15" flat panel monitors and a drum kit.
2) If Big Ron reports the upgrades to his insurance company, his premiums will fly sky-high.
3) There's no way Big Ron'll be able to afford to maintain/replace/fix anything on the Caddy.
4) WCC oughta install some kind of souped up anti-theft device like Lo-Jack 'cause Big Ron's ride is definitely a candidate for grand theft auto.
5) If he ever decides to sell the Caddy, it'll be a gigantic pain to strip out all the goodies.

When I saw Big Ron hooting for joy at the end of the episode, I shook my head a little at his innocence. Then I realized that not sharing in Big Ron's happiness planted me firmly on the side of adulthood, 'cause kids wouldn't have these thoughts. They'd just enjoy the ride.

Segway Nation

(image courtesy of

Segways have become a bit of a status symbol here in D.C. At least I have to assume it's a status symbol. I can't imagine any other way to explain why all those business dudes zipping along D.C.'s sidestreets, ties flapping happily in the wind, would look like they slept with hangers in their mouths. Personally, I've always thought the things looked goofy. Clearly I'm not the only one, or Segways wouldn't be a punchline on the 11-Emmys-nominated series Arrested Development.

In DuPont Circle this morning, there was a be-helmeted suit scooting by on a Segway. Wha-huh? Max, these things get up to 12.5 mph. Is this a velocity that requires a helmet? Or is it protection from ADD-drivers sharing the roadway? Officially, Segway promotes Segway safety, 'cause here's a sample pic of dome protection from their online buyer's guide:

What I really don't get about this one is that these two folks look kind of fit, and kind of casual. I'd thought that Segways were designed to help the busy commuting pedestrian get to the office lickety-split, or for rent-a-cops to bust disorderly mallrats in the blink of an eye. So what, pray tell, are healthy tourists doing on the things?


While I was poking around on Segway's website, I came across this. DC SegwayFest? An entire event dedicated to the celebration and reverence of the Segway? To quote the site, SegwayFest "offers in-depth workshops, educational seminars, "Ask the Experts" sessions, social gatherings, Segway HT skill competitions, special guest speakers, and more!"

Man, I would pay cash money to see the Segway HT skill competitions. Much like NASCAR fans, though, I think I'd mostly be going to see crashes.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Courtesy of "Best of Howard Stern"

So, this is a news flash from 1988, but did you know that Judy Tenuta and Emo Phillips were married for a little while? I wonder if they had kids...can you imagine what their merged gene pool would produce? The poor kid's voice would sound like a slip-slidey trombone punctuated by wet tuba blasts.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Happy New School Year

This morning, I happened upon a puddle of half-dried vomit in the stairwell of my parking garage.

The students are back. Huzzah.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mr. Tow, that's My Name; that Name Again is Mr. Tow!

If my new job doesn't work out, I know what I want to be: a Vigilante Tow Truck Operator. Stuttering in on 16th Street this morning, I noticed that there were no fewer than four cars sucking up space on the southbound side of the road. I BURNED to see them towed, and would have liked nothing better than to hold up a winch He-Man style and transform me and my Ford Focus into Vigilante Tow Truck Operator and her trusty steed, Tow Truck. Then I could deliver commuting justice to these parking miscreants.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Roadside Attractions

As my job inside the Beltway is waning, I am beginning to wax nostalgic about my commute. Not to the extent that I'm reconsidering my choice, but I do recognize there are certain roadside mysteries that have plucked at my imagination. Here are a few of them:

1) The Leaf Man
On the stretch of Route 50 that morphs into New York Avenue, under the Brentwood Parkway overpass, you will find the leaf man. Much like the U.S. Postal Service, he's there through rain, sleet, and snow. He's a grizzled black man who stands next to the guardrail and fans a frond at passing traffic. I don't know where he gets his switches, because the leaves don't match any of the wild weedy flora and fauna growing around the overpass. The National Arboretum is a hop, skip and a jump away, so he may actually scale the fences there to snatch exotic samples of horticulture. I appreciate the effort he makes, so whenever I zoom into the District via this artery, I give him a little wave.

2) Mateless Shoes
Most of us have heard comedic riffs on the old "lone shoe on the side of the road" scenario during "sophisticated" open mic nights, but I still wonder how they get there. But the sheer number of them on DC's streets begs thoughtful discourse on the topic. Are they suicidal spouses of socks that have gone missing in the laundry? Or are there that many people who either (a) dangle their feet out of car windows, or (b) pack loose shoes in the back of pick-up trucks? Another possibility is that these shoes have the fallen from power lines on drug dealing corners...

3) Bumpers
Okay, so I get that if you notice one of your hubcaps has made a break for it in rush hour traffic, you're not necessarily going to stop to retrieve it. Hubcaps are emininently, cheaply, replaceable. But a bumper? Cruising in on 16th Street last week, there was a big old hunk of fiberglass bumper neatly placed on the median. Wha-huh? Isn't it going to save you a bucket of ducats if you have the bumper when you go to the body shop? Maybe the driver decided that the bumper isn't salvagable, and couldn't be bothered to pick up after herself. But that means that some Good Samaritan saw the risk to other drivers' cars and moved the debris out of the road. If you're willing to go to that extreme, though, why not put the bumper on the side of the road where it's unlikely to drift back into the roadway?

I'll add more as I think of them...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Holy Toys, Batman!

Hee hee! I think I need the St. Jerome doll, 'cause he's a twofer -- he transforms into a lion when you flip him over.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Write Stuff (Good Grief, That's Cheesy)

So, it's one of my greatest fantasies to become a commercially published writer. I toss in the "commercial" qualifier 'cause I'm currently rockin' this blog, so I s'pose I can technically currently christen myself a writer. I dunno; since there's no remuneration for my efforts I hesitate to introduce myself as such. It's something I can almost taste, though...kinda like when you really, really want a beer. You can just feel the cool sting of the brew on your tongue, and your salivary glands kick into anticipatory action.

Man, that makes me sound like a lush.

Anyway, my writing has been (how to say this delicately?) ground to a halt by being a mother. It's tough to squeeze in the necessary think time between dinners, and bedtime routines, and sanitizing high chairs. Don't think you're reading bitterness between-the-lines or anything like that; parenting is what it is. Anyway, Hubby and I called the kid into being, so it's not like he's demanding anything I wasn't prepared to give. I have my fingers helixed, though, that the new job will allow me a little more writing time than I currently get (er, besides what I steal at work for these posts).

Right now, I cull inspiration from the success of my peers. A half dozen or so people I actually know have been published (sure, I've lost touch with some of 'em since college, but I think they'd know me if I ran into them on the street). Companies have actually handed over some ducats for the words these people spill on a page. So, I know it's not impossible. I just need to keep plugging away at the little romantic tale I'm spinning...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

'Cause I'm Movin' On Up, to...Elkridge?

I've decided to take the job my friend offered me, which means I am officially forsaking the cloacal commute to and from the ironically monikered (ironikered?) City of Trees. Now that I've informed all of my co-workers and am beginning the tedium of tying up loose ends, I'm really, really excited about this new job.

First off, it will be unassailably cool to work for a toy company, regardless of my job function. I could be schlepping water to the company dog's bowl, and it'd still be a breath of fresh air. As much as I love my co-workers and the mission of my current employer, the monotony of this job can make me feel like this sometimes.

Second, I'll get to travel. By nature I'm a homebody, but right now I'm digging the idea of spending a week(end) here and there in New York, Boston, San Diego, or maybe even (fingers crossed) London. The only downside is that the boy and Hubby won't get to be there with me, but I'd be working anyway.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, my new office will be 15 minutes away from where I live. Right now, I can't even comprehend how this will improve my outlook on life. On a typical day, I leave my house at 7:10 a.m., drop off the boy, and hit the road to go to work by 7:25 a.m. I get to the office anywhere between 8:25 and 9:00 a.m. (post Labor Day, I sometimes don't cross the threshold 'til 9:30 a.m. courtesy of the school year kick-off). Going home, I shut down my computer at 5:30 p.m., and am home-again home-again jiggity-jog around 6:45 p.m. On a good day, that's 2 hours on the road. On a realistic day, it's more like 2.5.

This means that I stand to reclaim 10 HOURS PER WEEK. That's like a whole 'nother day! I could, oh, I don't know, play with the boy, or run an errand, or clean a bathroom without feeling like it's cutting into whatever teeny bits of me-time I have on any given week day. Best of all, I won't be freakin' exhausted when I'm home. Right now, "playing" with the boy entails "pretending" to be asleep so that he can dash over and wake me up. I'm convinced his early mommy memories will consist entirely of me laying on the floor as though I've just stroked out.

Despite the reasons listed above, this was actually a really tough decision to make 'cause there is a degree of risk involved. When I left my old job, my first job out of college, I ran screaming from it Edvard Munch-style. They'd given me nutty amounts of work to do, and occasionally weren't able to pay me for my efforts. Well, and the dude running the company made David Brent look like Mother Teresa.

Suffice it to say I couldn't possibly regret leaving them 'cause they had zilch to offer me. But my current employer does -- security, guaranteed increases, appreciative co-workers, educational opportunities. So I'm gonna feel like a right fool if the new job is not all it's currently cracked up to be. Ah, but my friend wouldn't have sucked me into Dilbert-esque bedlam, right? Right?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

They were born in 1987? When I Was Making Goo-Goo Eyes at Tom Appler During George "No, Really, I'm Straight" Michael's 'Father Figure'?

Each year, Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes what it calls a "Mindset List" to help faculty and staff better understand the outlook of the incoming class of first-year students. This year's list is a little weak, I think; the only one that really gave me chills was #13. I don't know if the 2002 Mindset List was the first year that Beloit culled factoids about its matriculates, but it was the first time that I looked at a collection of generational identifiers and felt the impact of not relating. This, I know, will repeat itself ad infinitum during my lifetime, but it still feels weird to be the "older" generation. But I have to make my peace with that, 'cause the alternative would be hanging out in the Limited Too, going to all ages shows, and just generally being creepy in a vain attempt to keep in touch with the Millenials.

Monday, August 08, 2005

14th, 15th, Ronald Reagan Boulevard, 17th, 18th...

I saw a mention of this Washington Post article on The Red Line (via DCist) today. And I fell out of my chair. No, really. My chair's defective so I occasionally pitch out of it. But I think some Higher Power was trying to tell me something by knocking the renegade bolt loose while I was reading.

It's pretty clear that citizens of this fair city, including its many politicos, are giggling at this sycophantic proposal by Representative Henry Bonilla (R-TX). I mean, the dead prez has an AIRPORT named after him already. Sure, everyone 'round these parts still refers to it as "National Airport," and not "Ronald Reagan National Airport," but I don't think that taking over 16th Street is going to assuage any posthumous inferiority complexes.

Honestly, what's the point of confusing future generations of Americans by renaming a numerical street? I can barely navigate L'Enfant's masterwork as it is. I don't need another reason to lose my bearings. Those "UNIT" designations on DC's streets are enough; this would put me over the top.

Red Asphalt

(image courtesy of

This is the image that gilds half the buses that share my route into work, which means that I'm staring at Were-Bear here for about an hour as I slouch along Route 29, 16th Street, and P Street. (Shout out to the Z29, D2, and G2.) The text is different on DC Metro buses; instead of the "Aggressive Driving..." tagline, DC chooses to inform its citizens that "Speeding (Tailgating, etc.) Costs AND Kills!"

If anyone from Metro or Smooth Operator is reading this blog, this ad does not instill a desire to drive safely. If anything, it feeds my ursine road rage.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


About eleventy-seven million people have already dissected the silliness of vanity plates, so I'm not going to analyze why people would choose to pay the Man an extra $25 annually to maintain an inscrutable acronym/phrase/word on their cars. But a few of these little mysteries have caught my eye lately on the mean streets of DC, and by blogging about them instead of trying to figure out the licensees' message on my own, I think I'll prevent an aneurysm.

1.) "IHOPE4U"
Thus spake an ancient Chevy Citation with puttied fenders and half a back bumper. Whilst I appreciate the hope the driver of this jalopy has for me, I think maybe he oughta use up all of his hope for his own situation. It could be that he's trying to karmically engender hope for his pre-Pimped mode of transportation.

Now, this could have been an ironic statement. Methuselah was hunkered down over the wheel (which, by the way, proportionally looked like a hula hoop in his claws). So I'm dying to "Speedoh" a nickname for his penchant for putting the pedal to the medal? My guess would be no, since he was cruising along at 45 MPH on an interstate. Maybe it's not a velocity issue; maybe he prefers the teeny mankini bottoms favored by Becks? Yick, I Hope4Me that's not the case. No one should wear Speedos outside of an Olympic swimming pool. There's an outside shot that the driver's name is Spee Doh, but even I can't fathom that's true.

3.) "DUCHES"
I wanted to give this person the benefit of that doubt and entertain the possibility that her last name was "Duches." But a search in Yahoo!People reveals that there's not a soul in the Metro DC area with that first or last name. This dearth of "Duches" leads me to believe that this vanity plate is a bastardization of "Duchess." It's beyond me why someone is sooooooo attached to a word or nickname that she's willing to misspell it in metal just to own it. But I guess a huge chunk of society doesn't care about orthography and goes with phonetics instead. And I'd be willing to make an exception for this ML350, except riding just above the vanity plate was a University of Pennsylvania alumni sticker. Come on, Duches -- you're Ivy League! I expect more from you -- either proper spelling OR a clever vanity plate. "Duches" is neither, so I must conclude that you're just being lazy.

That's it for now; I'll let you know if I see any equally inane/perplexing tags. Maybe you have a few you'd like to share?