Friday, June 30, 2006

we're not in DC anymore

so how do i explain this...after being released from the controls of my ex at the beginning of the year, i since reconnected with all my wild and crazy friends, several of which who were going through the same tough breakup process. so that was always the apparent reason for the endless nights with physical antics that got us kicked out of bars, throwing frisbees out of car windows, etc...
i figured our juvenile bordlerine public menace behaviour would die down sooner or later and our age would catch up with us. but quite frankly it hasn't. the changing seasons only seem to have made it even worse. and not only that, we have recruited my new boyfriend who fully condones, if not perpetuates our exploration of the truly disgusting undrinkable shot, smashing things into hair and face, throwing delicate objects, whathaveyou. thus, i fully prepared myself for a long, eventful night out in manhattan last friday with the new bf, bringing along only the bare minimum of accessories, wearing confortable shoes, mentally preparing myself for the next day text apology etc...
our night followed a logical stream of events, drinking within eye-shot of police officers, riding a tassled, pedalless, flat-tired purple toddler's bike which we rescued from a chinatown dumpster and parking it proudly next to a shiny vespa in front of our bar destination, breaking and/or stealing tall german beer glasses, mocking everyone in sight, and making utter fools of ourselves on the dance floor. typical really. so when i came across a roll of toilet paper left on a lounge couch (?), i thought it perfectly logical to ambush one of my high school friends and re-enact that eventful night when we wrapped every tree in his yard with charmin before the ghastly rains of prom night. on my haunches, standing on a coffee table, ready to pounce and mummify, to my utmost suprise, boyfriend calmly took the roll from my hands, held my wrists at my side, and said, "cherie, this is not DC. new york is not just ready for you yet." i locked eyes with the glaring 300 pound bouncer and realized he was right, so right. and that's only one of the reasons that makes dc so special; in the capital, it's almost like you're with family, whereas new york is a vast unfriendly jungle with so many rules. then someone knocked over a tall beer stein and as fluid dynamics would have it, a fierce stream of pilsner went straight up my nose.

luckily, i had a roll of toilet paper in my hands.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

when you're sick, clean!

one thing i do when i'm sick, or feeling down, is clean. like a metaphor of my intestines, i scrubbed all the nastiness out of the tub this morning, the grit between the tiles and vacuumed the little spaces between the carpet and the walls. i think it helps both the brain and the body to do something physical to get better. i murphy's oiled the hardwood floors too, first time ever. so then, when you feel better you have this wonderful surprise of a clean, sparkling apartment waiting for your entrance into health.
same goes when you throw a party, always clean up as much as you can before you go to bed, because when you're drunk, it can even be fun, and since your senses are dulled, it doesn't feel as gross or as much of a chore. and heck, you often don't even remember doing it. after my last party, i stumbled up the stairs into the kitchen, and i noticed, wow, i can barely tell there was a party here, who cleaned up?
"you did."
and so when you get better after feeling like crap, you can look around at cleanliness, sense a good feeling in your body and think, wow, who helped me get over this?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

who wants whale?

now this in interesting...why on earth would countries like Mongolia (land-locked!) and Dominica (self-proclaimed 'green' island?) vote to overturn the moratorium on commercial whaling? now, i did once think that perhaps a well-managed whale fishery might make sense given the current state of affairs, but recent shit has come to light, man. first of all, the japanese demand for whale meat is decreasing. so wtf? what is the point of a fishery at all? why are they obviously buying votes from other nations with no whaling interests?
secondly, it seems whales are far more valuable alive for their economic benefits from whale watching and tourism in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific, than chopped up and frozen, or killed under the guise of scientific research...even in Iceland, another active whaling country which defies the moratorium anyway. so WTF?
okay, so i guess people are concerned that whales eat a lot of fish, you know, they said that for seals too, somehow justifying a reason to club them. yeah, whales eat krill and fish, and so do a lot of other things, that's not a good enough reason for removing a species (especially in such a cruel manner) from the planet..they're there for a reason, like sharks and turtles, they might not be 'convenient' for our greedy desires, as we compete with them for resources, but dammit, it's not OUR ocean.
so it looks like the US might jump into the ring* for a little tag-team action. it's about friggin' time. embargos on pro-whaling countries might also be a good idea, like stopping cruise ships** from porting at grenada and saint kitts ..but in the end, maybe instead of chasing terrorists into their holes we should be concerned with the potential collapse of a major food and money source for the entire world- our oceans.

*btw, nice shout-out to my Duke professor - i recall one student's project looking at how whales avoid oil rigs...between that and deafening navy sonar, the poor bastards have nowhere to go!

**then again, while cruise ships are $good$ they're also bad, a blessing and a curse...

Monday, June 26, 2006

sit down and shut up!

so i was going to write about this awesome chinese buffet i went to on friday with my office, where i scraped the ocean floor onto my plate, but instead, i'll tell you about my night spent in the hospital with food poisoning, an awful experience compounded by an atrocious hospital which made me question whether i was still in the states.

after violently puking up blood for about 2 and a half hours in front of stunned residents of the GWU waiting room outside the ER, i shuddered and collapsed onto the cold tile floor, which actually relaxed my back and soothed my spasming insides for a dream moment...when a security guard immediately towered over me and ordered me to sit in the uncomfortable chair with armrest with the tone one would talk to a disorderly drunk. as i slowly tried to figure out what was going, the way i was moving my mouth wasn't able to explain the misery of my situation, he ended my attempt at conversation with "sit down, and shut up!" my neighbor who brought me in stepped in, telling him she had asked for a reclining chair an hour earlier, which fell on deaf ears. i then darted, as fast i could to the ONLY bathroom as my insides felt ready to was occupied. i wandered and found a room with a couch and managed to zone out for a few minutes, forgetting the crushing pain and nausea when the same security guard came back and told i wasn't allowed to be here, that the room was for prayer only (i guess i had found the chapel) - i told him i was praying, praying that a doctor would see me soon, praying for the strength the endure when he scoffed, accused me of "fabricating" but not telling me why i couldn't stay when the room exploded with more security guards, nurses, secretaries, a scene which overflowed into the waiting room with ridiculous shouts and screams, i had never seen anything like it. really, i wasn't doing anybody any harm by quietly sitting...and everyone was angry, yelling. in the middle of this atrocious scene a feel a tap on my shoulder, a friend of the ex, whom i had ironically seen earlier in georgetown and ran away from, as i usually do, it was all a whirlwind, when a nurse finally came over with a laz-y-boy and then embarked on a guilt trip telling me she had a trauma patient that might not make it - and then proceeded to detail facts about his accident - right in front of his waiting girlfriend who had been hours without news. talk about professional!

the ordeal continued and when i was finally admitted, spent the night going in and out of sleep, or trying at least, while i got a back door fingerblast, oooh that was fun, blood one point they blocked my room with a stretcher with a passed out student on it, preventing me from getting to the bathroom to vomit some more...i had one of the homeless drunks move her, and when i was able to exit, i was in the middle of a sea of drunks. some guys in handcuffs, puking on themselves. after hours of wandering around in my buttless robe searching for some water to drink (the vending machine ate my dollar, leaving me parched and sobbing against the lghts of a mountain dew ad). on my way back, i came across my nurse on a computer checking email. did you get my blood tests back? oh have food can go home, just drink lots of water. gee thanks!
is this really what our health care system has dissolved into? i've seen better attention to patients in france, canada (socialized health care sounds good to me), even panama...we're supposed to be the best in the world. but i saw nothing but disgruntled cranky overworked employees with little or no compassion. so here's to a weekend of gatorade, soccer and not being able to do any of the things i had planned, and wondering what kind of world we live in...

discount lunch plan

so this here advanced technology has found a flaw in my discount lunch plan at the Giant supermarket. (Giant refers to the brand name of the store, not it's actual size, btw). i bought a bunch of apples on sale for 99cents/lb and threw in a bunch of super fancy organic apricots ad plums as a treat. when i typed in the code for granny smith apples, the machine says "este articulo requiere ayuda!" (always choose spanish for the angry voice, and because no one will know what you're trying to do). but the machine knows about my fruit! and the light above my aisle started blinking and a big fat old Giant employee (actually, in this case, 'Giant' described her size as well) came and scolded me for mixing my fruit and stayed while i punched in different codes for everything. it call came out to over 15 bucks. but what i want to know is, how does the machine know that the items in my bag are different size and densities? does it see or feel varied shapes? is there a human inside there? technology such as this will never cease to amaze me.

**oh, and special thanks to the express for a shout-out yesterday...i love that paper. i would read it more if i didn't get the washington post delivered to my door everyday, for almost free (and express, you've got two crossword puzzles and a style section to compete with).if i start biking to work again, i'll be lost...lost...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

bay bridge gotcha down?

so if you’re driving out to any of the beaches this summer, you lamentably have to take the bay bridge which is nice, but not so much when it’s hot and as always, full of traffic. but it’s a heck of a lot better when you have a super tasty sandwich to look forward to, along with gourmet treats and sodas! We came across the kent island depot last weekend when we were low on gas and as usual, i had to pee. It may look like a regular old citgo, but it definitely ain’t.

The sandwich menu is dazzling with beef and brie on baguette, hummus and feta on ciabatta, reubens and tuna melts – all on fresh baked breads. REAL baguette people, none of this sourdough crap! I heard a lot of people in there speaking french, though a funny sort of francais that I couldn’t exactly pinpoint – their twang wasn’t signature Quebec, so it’s possible they have immigrated from the mainland so long ago that their language has absorbed some mid-atlantic swagger? Can’t say for sure, but I could sense something unamerican (i.e. non 7-11) about the way the manager gently scolded an employee for not changing the coffee – which had only been out for 35 minutes. Head over to the awesome wine section, or the array of italian sodas and natural juices. I'm really sorry i may have sneezed on the salad bar, but i would have eaten its contents anyway.

Maybe a little over the top for a gas station, (though there’s a little sitting area inside) but it’s worth a stop even if you tank is full, this place is deeeeelish!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

and now for shameless self promotion

shopping is good for you, and the economy, right? stupid?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

my cat hates me

my cat still isn't speaking to me. i walk up to her kindly, softly, whispering her name, dangling fresh smoked salmon and offering to scratch her in her favorite spots under her chin or behind her ears but she just runs and hides. meanwhile, the 17 year old mangy bag of bones excuse for a cat that my friend is taking care of...well it just loves me. sure it smells like a barn animal, has lumpy crusty patchy fur, oozes liquid out of every orifice - be it eyes, nose, ears, mouth, ass or its last injection site...thus the nickname "leaky." it's sad to even look at, its eyes barely focused, sitting and shaking on its haunches because any other position is too painful. i know it's just asking the world to put it out of its misery. the inuit die with dignity, but this thing...ok maybe the making neck snapping, noose off the balcony, kitty car in a garage jokes was taking it a bit too far but seriously tho, the thing is miserable. and it stinks.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

al gore is boring, but makes good movie

so during our last dinner in seattle, the topic of global warming, which has been increasingly on the people's mindwaves came up and my host said, "fuckit, let's go see what al gore has to say." and we walked to the theater to check it out. dubbed "one of the best powerpoint presentations you'll ever see" it was not without its charm: simpson's references (greehouse gwasses?), a few pokes at the current administration and some decent science for the masses. however, i could have done without the 45 minutes of footage of al's profile and his imac, approximating some sort of political apple commercial. the ending with his tall manish outline in a spotlight was a bit too egotastical, though the overarching theme i felt was "damn, why couldn't this guy be our president??" we would be so much better off in so many more ways than climate change awareness.
i truly hope the right people go see this though, as there are still plenty of folks who just don't believe there is any evidence of climate change - even though it's overwhelming. and yes, even me as a scientician, i'll admit that i still have some reservations as to the real connection between human-produced CO2 and quickly warming temperatures, however, the facts are crystal clear: the earth is indeed warming and it's quickly going to be a sad, sad state of affairs around here in the very near future. and there are many things we can do about it. to start, reduce your footprint (carbon and ecological), if not for an overall improvement in quality of life for all of us on this overcrowded planet, but for your own conscience.

Monday, June 5, 2006

one for my fallen homies

Just got back from a day long haul around Vancouver island with some colleagues...we probably only covered a mere 15% of what’s here. When the car rental guy hooked me up with an SUV I crinkled my nose at the gas prices, but it saved us today, when I got us lost on logging roads for about 4 hours, my passengers silent, praying for us to make it back to civilization. We were at lake Cowachan, the largest lake on the island and wanted to see it in all its glory. We headed around the south side, I was eager to explore some dirt roads when suddenly, we were amidst the wilderness…a beautiful clear blue wavy lake on one side, breathtaking mountains all around, snow-capped peaks…only the landscape was scarred by giant slabs of forest that sheared off into clear cuts. Giant wounds, covered by dirt, stumps and branch piles. It was breathtaking…breathtakingly sad. We sped along, speechless at the simoultaneous natural beauty and anthropogenic disease, periodically blinded by the dust and deafened by the sound 18-wheelers speeding by at a warp speed with loads of trees, trunks as wide as our puny ford escape. I could barely keep the car on the road at 40 mph, and these guys were blowing by at twice our speed in an endless convoy. The cute young girl at the tourist office had warned us about these trucks, subcontracted drivers who have no regard for local traffic, the growing resentment towards these large faceless corporations who rule the lands around town like midievel kings.
And then my mind shuffled back to grad school, when I studied the socio-economics of British Columbia, with literacy, poverty, unemployment and environmental disregard alarmingly similar to developing nations who clear their forests faster than they can replant them. Over 70% of B.C.’s old growth forests are leased for logging. The province’s main natural resource, home to the few remaining temperate rainforests and all its associated species (we saw a confused black bear crossing the road at one point, seemingly oblivious to us – cars are nothing new to these animals) is rented to international firms for logging, these companies who have no stake in local communities or economics simply clear the land as they please and move on when there’s nothing left. Unlike in the U.S., where we have regulations on riparian buffers, slope, and replanting that limit where and how we clear and manage forests, in Canada it appears to be a free-for-all. An antiquated perspective of an unlimited resource. Simply frightening. And so we sped along miles and miles of these roads that sliced beautiful forests into pieces. Every panorama I wanted to capture on camera was marred by this overwhelming evidence of human abuse. And it went on and on and on until finally I just decided to keep heading west and we finally reached the sea, with the amazing ridge line of Washington state across the water, not so far away.
And then it’s back to the conference tomorrow…to learn of crashing salmon stocks, decreasing water quality, warming oceans…Canada, just like the US, no matter where you go, just isn’t so natural and pristine anymore. boo.

Friday, June 2, 2006

sasquatch has good taste

i wanted to steal this sign and put it in front of the babyGap downtown but didn't...

Thursday, June 1, 2006

that's a houseboat for ya

so the funny thing about victoria, canada is that at the super market (called the country grocer, which is having huge specials for "bucaneer days" btw), well, the produce sucks. merely rotten tomatoes, peaches that are more expensive than 20 gallons of gas (tho they call it petrol here), wilted spinach, nasty legumes in general...but then you go to the fish aisle and it's just nutty: fresh halibut, snapper, five types of salmon you would give an eye for at the whole i decded to make some fish tacos, which, according to my guests were "the best fish tacos i've ever tasted, in my life, REALLY" (patting myself on the back). i made some fruity mango/expensive peach salsa, served it with some french salad, cheap red wine and it was a party. now the halibut had some fierce bones in it, and the snapper still had the skin and as i was carving out all the inedible pieces, grouping them into a stinky pile and looking at the sink drain which i had assumed was equipped with a garbage disposal...which was stinking this place to high heaven...when i thought, duh, aurelgrooves, you're on a houseboat silly - there's tons of animal life just begging for your scraps, and i slid open the window, tossed out some bits of fish and veggies to the little waves where a seal head was just poking out minutes before...and within seconds, there was a full on massacre between gulls, marine mammals, was amazing. really, the most efficient garbage disposal i have ever encountered.