Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No coffee=Me caveman

When I got to work Tuesday morning, I put down my things and proceeded to stumble into the kitchen. My brain had only one thing on its mind: coffee. One of my bosses had already beaten me to the punch and was starting to make a pot–except he couldn’t, because we were out of coffee.

Because neither of us had had coffee yet, we did not yet have the energy to panic. Instead it was a more subdued reaction:

Boss: No coffee.

Me: Check under sink.

Boss: Only decaf.

Me: Fuckindecaf.

Boss: Ugh.

As you can see, we were reduced to short sentences and guttural utterances. The gears turned slowly in our heads and my boss headed back to his office:

Me: Oh, benevolent leader! Shall I proceed to the nearest grocery establishment and procure some coffee?

Boss: Yes, you shall. Proceed at all haste, and remember to take the money out of petty cash.

Of course the conversation went nothing like that. We hadn’t had our fucking coffee yet silly! Plus, we’re not gay, nor are we European. No conversation actually took place as we had expended our limited supply of words earlier. Instead we communicated silently, our understanding forged through a shared bond of weariness. I pointed toward the petty cash drawer. My boss nodded his head slowly in agreement.

I headed across the street hunched over, but with determination in my morning stumble and proceeded to pick up some coffee. By the time I got back to the office, my boss had summoned enough energy from some secret reserve to sing my praises.

Boss: You are a saint. You got this handled?

Me: Grunt.

Boss: Oh, ok.

Coffee was soon consumed in massive quantities, and I regained my ability to speak, began walking upright, and stopped clubbing women in the office. If you ever do happen to see me before I’ve had my coffee, I apologize ahead of time. As described above, I’m a caveman without my coffee.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Political Ambiguity

Oh Democrats. You’re certainly trying hard to get me to change sides. You’ve been sending me mail, asking me to join you. I’ve been a Republican for so long though. I’m just not sure whether I’m ready to go all the way.

I’m so confused now Democrats. The way you make me feel. The way you touch me on…the important issues such as global warming, Iraq, and economic policy.

I’m just not sure I’m ready to play for the other team yet you know? I mean sure I voted for Webb in the last election, but I think that’s more because of seven years of Bush. That man could drive even the hardest of hardcore conservatives to vote Democrat, not to mention us moderately confused souls.

And would it hurt you to call once in a while? Letters are nice, but they don’t have the same effect as a prerecorded telephone message. Oh sure, you’ve been busy, first 100 days in office and all that jazz. I understand how it goes.

Even if I do vote for you again, don’t be thinking that I’ll open my wallet for you. I’m saving my first…political donation for a candidate that I feel strongly about. I’m sorry Democrats, I’m just old-fashioned in that way. It was the way I was raised. If that’s all you’re looking for, I’m sure you can find plenty of DC folks who are willing to throw their political donations away like it means nothing.

Well, I certainly have a lot to think about Democrats. You’ve given this red stater a touch of the blues. I don’t know whether I’ll ever vote for you again Democrats, but I’ll always remember that sense of hope for the country that we shared, on an election night not long ago.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I heart bolt cutters

Monday evening started off like many evenings. After work I decided to hit up my work’s gym (free!). I changed into my gym clothes and then proceeded to put everything in my locker and locked the Masterlock. Except I put everything in my locker, including my key to the lock. Doh!

Sheepishly I walk through the lobby and to the front desk, where I proceed to explain my situation to the desk guard. She puts in a call to maintenance and promises someone will be down shortly.

It’s about 6 pm now. People are leaving their offices and making their way through the lobby. I’m standing around in shorty, short gym shorts and a thin t-shirt. I’m getting a lot of looks. Maybe it was my pale white legs that have been known to cause snow blindness if you stare at them long enough. Maybe it’s the fact that it was cold in the lobby and my nipples were so hard I could probably have cut glass. Either way, it was an uncomfortable 20-minute wait.

The maintenance man finally shows up with some bolt cutters. We make our way to the men’s locker room where he proceeds to snap the lock off. I marvel briefly at the power of modern tools and thank him a few times. He introduces himself as Alex, I shake his hand, and he is on his way.

Thank you Alex, and remember kids, dementia isn’t just an old folks condition anymore.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Big hits require big bosses

The main goal of my profession is to generate media coverage for clients. Mainly we seek out reporters, but reporters also have a few online resources at their disposal to find stories for themselves. Here’s a particularly interesting query from a reporter (bolded parts have been changed to protect the identities)


The CEO lifestyle of being on the road, eating in restaurants, and having little time for exercise, can't be good for weight control. I've already done interviews with two Fortune 500 CEOs about how they fight gaining weight. I'd like to round out the story with a couple of more. I'm the important reporter at really freaking huge national newspaper and I'm looking for CEOs who are or have been overweight and willing to talk about their battles against it.


This could actually be quite a cool hit for a client depending on how good-natured they are. Ever since Enron, CEOs have been fighting an image battle like no other. A human interest story like this would generate tons of goodwill. However, what if your client is not so good-natured?


Me: Hey CEO of huge corporation.

CEO: Hey unimportant peon for PR firm.

Me: I can totally get you a hit in really freaking huge national newspaper.

CEO: Oh, really. What’s the topic?

Me: Well, it’s on how fat you are.

CEO: Excuse me?

Me: It’s about how corpulent you are.

CEO: You have some round objects! You’re fired!


Fortunately, I won’t be having this conversation, as I can’t think of any of our execs from our clients that are fat. However, it does make you wonder what the media value for a pound of flesh is. (+1 to those of you who get that.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

All is right with the world

There is snow on the ground. (Half of DC's driving population will decide to take public transportation tomorrow morning, thus causing horrendous overcrowding and backups on the Metro. When you are reading this Monday morning, my 5'6" frame will probably still be crammed in the armpit of some 6'5'' hulking behemoth. Oh well, happiness is fleeting anyway, I will enjoy it today.) Hooray!

Those press loving, sympathy soaking Saints bastards lost. (If I see one more Katrina special disguised as Saints' media coverage, I'm going to throw up. Maybe next year the press will stop linking the Saints' success to the well-being of the city of New Orleans.) Hooray!

In a double dose of “All is rightness,” the Patriots lose and the Colts win. Score two for this Bill Belichick hater/Peyton Manning lover (umm, Peyton Manning fan…you know what I mean). Hooray!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Humanity of our Enemies

I saw “Letters from Iwo Jima” today. The movie is from the viewpoint of the Japanese during the American siege of the island during WWII. It’s a complexly shot movie at times, with sweeping shots of American battleships and bombers bombarding the island interspersed with shots that look like they were taken with a handheld video camera of soldiers charging machinegun nests and dying on the beaches.

Despite the complexity of the shots, it’s a movie with a relatively simple message: our enemies aren’t much different than you and I. They have the same fears, they face the same trials that we do, and they have families that care about them, and will mourn their loss.

Humanizing our enemies today is something very hard to do. The uniformless, ski mask wearing militants that set roadside bombs and ambushes for our troops are a faceless enemy. They attack innocents, they capture and execute Americans working in Iraq, and then they melt back into the civilian population. It’s very hard, if not impossible for us to identify with them.

Over 60 years after the war ended, Clint Eastwood was able to make a movie where we empathize with an enemy that killed thousands of our troops, beheaded and tortured our POW’s and killed countless civilians throughout Southeast Asia.

Is that something that we’ll ever be able to do with this war? Will 60 years, or even 160 years be enough time to forgive? Will it be enough time for us to see their humanity? More importantly, will it be enough time for them to see our humanity?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Confession

I have a confession to make. I froze last night. It was bone chilling walking around DC and I froze my ass off walking to the metro last night. At one moment during that walk I briefly wished for warmer weather. Just briefly mind you, just a millisecond of a thought of warmer days past, but enough to make me a hypocrite nonetheless. I hope it makes all you cold weather playa haters happy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bless You Cold Weather

The wind blew. It nipped at my face. It pierced through my thin jacket. It made me work for each and every step as I made my way to the metro. The cold reached an almost intolerable level. And you know what, it’s about damn time!

Oh you warm weather people have certainly rejoiced this winter. “Oh isn’t this weather lovely.” “It’s such a mild winter.” “Gosh, I love 70 degree Januarys.” I hate you all. There’s a time for warm weather–it’s called the summer, and it should have ended months ago.

I may have to turn in my Southern Card for this, but I don’t enjoy the warm weather all the freaking time. Warm weather exposes part of my heritage that I try to hide…my swine heritage. It makes me sweat like a pig whenever the mercury goes above 70.

August 2006 in DC is just one big muggy, dripping memory. I remember sticking to the pavement, wilting in the heat, and braving code red days. I remember taking a date on a mile walk/Bataan Death March from the King Street metro station to a bar in Old Town Alexandria during one of those code red days, and I remember once we got to the bar knowing that all the beer in the Old Dominion could not save that date.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of extreme cold weather either, but I need my seasons. I need for a few months of the year to be hot and I need the others to be cold. It doesn’t have to be a perfect 50/50 split, but it better be close. In January if the AC is still running, if the bears aren’t hibernating, and if I can lay on the sidewalk, flap my arms up and down and make sweat angels on the pavement, then something is horribly, horribly wrong.

Thank you cold weather for setting the world right.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pointless day, hopeful future

He flips the music on. The guitars, drums, bass and trumpets seep into his ears through his headphones. The sense of being enveloped by the music is comforting. The house is dead quiet. He has barely spoken a word all day. Bono is talking about “Sunday Bloody Sunday” but his day has not been quite as violent or revolutionary. He woke up, checked his email, ate, watched football, and went for a short, painful run. He can’t help think that this is more of a “Sunday, meaningless Sunday.”

He will try to mean more tomorrow. He’ll look at some apartments with his roommate, he’ll pick up a replacement monitor for his computer, he’ll do some cooking that doesn’t involve the microwave, he’ll try to run again-this time with less gasping of pain.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day. They leave off the Lee/Jackson part up here. He doesn’t shed too many tears.

Martin Luther King Day will always be a landmark of a different sort for him. It was that day two years ago that he came up here with a suitcase and few collared shirts to stay with a friend while he looked for a place in his new hometown. The day after Martin Luther King Day he started his first paid foray into the world of public relations, and the world of being on his own. He’s damn proud of what he’s done in that time period. He also wishes he could have done more, but that’s what the present and the future are for, right?

Two years have passed, but he’s got an entire lifetime ahead of him to do things the way he wants to fucking do them. Two years ago was a new beginning, but right now is where the opportunities are. I refuse to become complacent. Here’s to an active, aggressive 2007, and one where I write less in the third person singular for no apparent reason :).

Friday, January 12, 2007

The costs of war

Before the heavy stuff, let me just pimp the The Not Girls Charity Auction one last time. It supports a great cause, and I hope that it leads to a bunch of copycats down the line. I’d be lying to you if I said that you should bid on me purely to support charity. I wouldn't mind a decent date to start of 2007. Anyways, on to the meat of the post…

I knew Shane for 3 years in college. We had numerous classes together and worked on many projects together outside of class. He was popular with just about everybody. He was also a part of the ROTC and was deployed soon after he graduated. He survived his tour in Afghanistan. A grenade took his life in Iraq. I saw him laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in October. The memory of his wife loosing it as she was handed his flag will forever be burned in my memory.

Heath is missing both of his legs. He lost them in Iraq. He has a young son who plays soldier by marching in place by his dad’s side. He wants to be like his dad. He doesn’t fully understand his dad’s physical limitations. From what I know of him, Heath would not want you or I to feel sorry for him. He would just want you to know that medics save more lives today in the field than in any other war, which means a greater percentage of wounded soldiers returning home than any other war. Heath currently works for a veteran’s charity. It’s called Wounded Warrior Project.

I’ve been an optimist throughout most of this war. I still remain optimistic mainly because I can’t fathom the consequences of failure. I do not want to leave a failed terrorist state to the next generation. I pray that the sacrifices of those of who have not returned home and that those who return home missing a part of themselves are not in vain.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

“Across the River” aka Matt to Be Auctioned for Charity

Arlington, VA- In coordination with the women at No Sex and the City, “Across the River,” better known to friends as Matt, is to be auctioned off in The Not Girls Charity Auction. The auction benefits V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women.

“If I weren’t dating Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, I’d be all over this like white on rice,” said Jessica Biel. “Not only is Matt creative, smart, funny, and sexy, he also writes an impressive quote. I mean look at this entire thing, it’s all made up, but with his knowledge of libel and parody there’s not a thing I can do. Now that’s hot.”

“You can’t seem them beneath the shades in that awful photo, but Matt’s eyes are like the color of the Potomac,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Sometimes green, sometimes blue, gray or a murky brown with silt in them, you just have to gaze into his eyes in person to get the full effect. I’ve made it my agenda in the first 100 days of Congress to raise the minimum wage, pass stem cell research, end subsidies for oil companies, and get this man a date.”

The brainchild of the women of No Sex and the City, The Not Girls Charity Auction is an eBay style online auction running from January 11-13. For more information on V-Day and how you can help them end violence against women, please visit their Web site at http://www.vday.org/main.html.

Monday, January 8, 2007

I remember when I lost my mind

“You have any suggestions on marathons?” I asked my fitness guru/known marathon running co-worker on Friday.

She looked at me disbelievingly. “You’re running a marathon?” she said with a tone that implied “You’re not only fat, but you must be crazy,” and a quizzical look that said, “You’re fat, crazy, and going to run a marathon?”

“Yeah…” I said. “It would help me with things…” I hadn’t told her about “Get Fit or Die Trying 2006/2007” and I didn’t feel that now would be a good time to explain how I had riffed off of a 50 Cent album to come up with a humorous and motivational name for my workout/eating routine in order to motivate myself. Yeah, that certainly would not help in any way to dispel the crazy notions.

The original goal of the workout routine was to get myself in better shape by May so that when my friend gets married I can not only be the best man, but also feel like the best man. That and not die of cardiac arrest on the dance floor. (The fact that I cannot dance is a minor detail.) However, I’ve come to realize that May is a long way away and I’m going to have to set some short-term goals along the way in order to be able to reach that big goal.

I’m currently looking at some 5-mile marathons in March and April. I can barely run one mile right now, so this could be interesting. I figure March or April will be enough time for my friends to scrape my remains off the pavement and put me back together before the wedding. (Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we can make him better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster…less geeky.)

On a related note, I know many of you have to be disappointed in the current tone of this blog. I can sense your lamentations: “I invest 2 minutes out of my busy day to read this thing, and all this idiot talks about is his stupid fitness goals.” I feel your pain my disenchanted reader, but promise you that stimulating and amusing content is on the way. Topics to look for include a politics post that will no doubt have you tearing your eyes out and wishing that you were reading an real politics blog, details on how you can support a good cause and win a date with me (just think of it as supporting 2 charities), and a recount of my fun time unexpectedly cruising DC with a fellow blogger on Saturday night.

Friday, January 5, 2007

A copout

Yeah, so my creativity and mad writing skillz™ have been sapped by work this week. I will end this week with a number of videos that have had me chuckling:

Charlie the Unicorn

Interesting study of spiders

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Get Fit or Die Trying, Post-Holiday Edition

Over the holidays my “Get Fit or Die Trying” tour/fitness goal took a massive gangsta style hit. It was a holiday massacre. An entire week of fast food, home-cooked food, holiday food, and for good measure almost complete lack of exercise put the tour in the ICU. I managed one run the entire week and managed to burn a few calories helping friends move this past weekend, but overall, pathetic.

However, worry not dear readers, “Get Fit or Die Trying” is continuing in 2007. It’s back to whole wheat bread, salads, and other tasteless foods. I also start back up at my gym this week. View from Dupont has said she wants to hit the gym with me, which initially concerned me. As I’ve detailed before, I look more like a rabid monkey when I’m exercising, and the thought of someone I know seeing me in that state initially worried me.

I got over that worry when I thought about it a little more. View from Dupont has seen me at my worst and probably has no illusions, because we’ve already done the deed that exposes the most sloppy, primal part of ourselves.

I am of course talking about eating nachos together. The gooey cheese running off of your fingers, the refried beans dripping out the corner of your mouth, the slight shudder you make when you consume a jalapeno-it’s all absolutely disgusting. The gross factor is just too much for casual friends to handle. You know you’ve become good friends with someone when you can eat nachos with them. (I may be pushing the boundaries of that friendship with this characterization. Expected comments include: “Don’t you ever mention me and Mexican food in the same sentence ever again!” and “My boyfriend is coming over to beat you up.”)

I am reminded that it was eating nachos that got me where I am to begin with, so here’s to a 2007 with less nachos, and more rabid monkey exercising.