The Ragin’ Cajun has Left The Store

In case you care about these things, after completing some paper work relating to my position in the back offices at my part-time job, I got back to the front of the store around 6:30ish just in time to say “Have a good night!” to James Carville, who was far too busy talking on his cell phone to reply to me.

Bad Chinese

capital

My feet hurt. No, that’s not the word. Ache? Scream?

My buddy Tim has recently moved to the Baltimore area, so today, I took him on a tour of the National Mall in DC. We wanted to meet our buddy Nick, but apparently he overslept. Like, waaaaay overslept. His loss: your loss, Nick!

washington

We took the Metro from Grosvenor to Federal Triangle with the intention of lunching at the Post Office Pavilion. It’s supposed to open at twelve. I suppose it’s run by someone without a watch, because they didn’t open until about a quarter after. While we were hungry — and one of the dining establishment purports to sell gourmet hot dogs — the metal detectors kind of discouraged us (to eat? are you kidding me?) so we ended up eating at a place called Harriet’s on 11th Street. Not too bad, but a bit pricey: $4.25 for a mug of Yuengling, I’d rather the mug didn’t look like a kid’s cup.

enterprise
lincolnfdrwhitehouse

Stomachs satisfied, we walked south to the mall, then bore west around the Washington Monument and along the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial. From the Lincoln Memorial, we walked around the Tidal Pool, visiting the FDR and Jefferson Memorials before heading back to the Mall and heading east on Independence Avenue, went into the Air & Space Museum. Saw some exhibits, tracked down the USS Enterprise (both the starship, and the awesome 10-years in the making model of the aircraft carrier on the second level), then headed out just as it started to drizzle. We made a beeline for the Archives Metro, where we had an uneventful trip to Gallery Place, where we hit traffic from the game (heard people talking about the Wizards, but saw a lot of people in Cubs & Nationals gear, so who knows). Sadly, this was my mistake: I accidentally led us to the platform for the Glenmont bound train, and we missed the first train to Shady Grove. By the time we got back over, a completely empty with-the-lights-turned-off train pulled into the station, turned on its lights, and then we were urged in like sardines in a tin can. Holy crap.

johnson

Actually, by the time we got to Woodley Park, the train had emptied a bit. This was our stop: there’s a nice little Chinese place on the second floor of a building almost directly across Connecticut from the stop. Tim had tofu, I had General Tso’s. After, we walked north along Connecticut to the Cleveland Park stop. Beautiful area, and I made note of some apartments in the area, building on Thursday, when, enroute to a happy hour in Arlington, I stopped through and got information from some places. We had considered stopping through into the National Zoo briefly, but the weather discouraged us. We would’ve been back a lot sooner to Grosvenor, but I made another boo-boo on the Metro and we wound up taking the train back to Woodley Park.

lion

This, as it happens, turned out to be a good thing: the Chinese food? Tasted good, but my stomach started cramping, and thank goodness there’s a customer restroom at Grosvenor (you gotta ask to be let into the back area), and I’m not going to explain much farther except to say I’m really really really glad that Metro exists.

Did I mention my feet hurt? Because, yeah.

galleryplace

Anniversary

I realized today that my first day at my new job was March 24th, and my last day delivering pizzas was the previous Saturday, which makes today the one month anniversary of the last time I had to deliver a fuckin’ pizza.

WOOHOO!!

Either The Castle Is Really Tall … Or The Girl Is Really Short

Charissa came over tonight to pick up what amounted to the vast majority of my VHS collection, including my Highlander: The Series video sets. I’m very happy I was able to find a home for these tapes, as the alternative was the dumpster. In any case, this also provides the opportunity to guilt trip Charissa into beers at every happy hour from now until the end of time, as well as providing me the opportunity to snap some photos of her in front of Hogwarts, which, by my calculations — and as a complete side note — has about six weeks of life left to it.

Anyway:

charissa1

charissa2

I’ve never quite believed Charissa when she talks about how dorky she is … until she started playing with the Hungarian Horntail and a Gryffindor mini-fig.

Day In The Life

5:30am: Out the door
6:30am: In to work
12ish: eat a quick lunch at my desk (eh … maybe)
3pm: out of work
3:20pm: arrive at Metro (enroute, stop at grocery store for stamps and find mailbox)
3:50: arrive downtown
3:55: walk into bar. Dinner. (And beeeeer!)
4:30: at part time job and ready to work.
9: Adios, p/t gig!
9:40ish (depending on how long I gotta wait for a train): back at my car
10:40: HOME! (And sleeeeeeeeeeeep)
5am: BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
(Repeat).

Yeah, but I get 33% off books now, so be jealous. Be very jealous.

I Had Not Previously Realized That My Ass Could Hurt From Sitting Too Much

And yet, when you calculate all the hours I’m spending on my commute, on my chair in my cubicle, and all the time I spent today receiving yet another day of training — seems last week I got trained on all the wrong areas, so today was correcting all that — most of which spent, on my ass, on a chair, in one of the many back offices, my ass does, in fact, hurt. Oh, also, I spent forty minutes on a bar stool at Mackey’s during my lunch break. That didn’t help much, either. Really, though, I should consider keeping my wallet in my front pocket mayhaps.

Speaking of ass, my commute on Friday sucked it. Sucked ass, I mean. 495 was all backed up, so like an idiot, I thought, “Oh, I’ll just take back roads all the way.” And I did. Left at 3:30, got home at 5:30. I cannot wait until I’m living in walking distance of the Metro. There are some nights when I get home — admittedly, I’m usually out of the office early enough that if I’m going straight home, I miss the bulk of traffic — and my left leg aches from the clutch.

Speaking of clutches … my Dad is thinking about buying my car, which is good, as I’m planning on selling it. Dad’s been driving a 1989 Silverado that previously belonged to his father. Grampa put something like thirty-thousand miles on it between when he bought it — new — and when he died. Back when I was learning to drive, Dad actually tried to teach me how to drive a stick with it. Oh, it was not a forgiving clutch. But I’ll be getting used to it: Dad’ll buy my car, and I’ll buy his pickup. It doesn’t have power steering, it doesn’t have a CD player, or air conditioning, but it does have an ugly blue vinyl bench-seat. On the other hand, since the whole point of my move to DC is to adapt to a transit life-style, driving isn’t going to be a huge priority. Plus, I’m going to care a lot less if someone hits my ’89 truck than if someone hits my ’08 Toyota.

Okay, so back to commutes: twelve in a row. Thirteen, if I’m working next Saturday at my new part-time job. I didn’t want to work tomorrow, but I do want to get up to speed so that I can start working weekday nights. Short shift tomorrow, though. Between the driving and the Metro, I’ll spend a third of my time tomorrow out-the-door just getting to and from work. Here’s an interesting fact: my position is the only in the store where a logo-uniform shirt is required.

Now, I’m not going to have much time at home next week. In addition to going to the part-time gig, I’m also heading into DC to try to look at some apartments in the Cleveland Park Area.

Meanwhile, I’m exhausted. I slept in today, yes: woke up at 6:30. Ahhh, a good night’s sleep. I’m turning into an old man before my very eyes.

tax day

I’m no procrastinator: I done my taxes Sunday.

That over with: No Country For Old Men and In The Valley of Ellah were both enjoyable films, although Tommy Lee Jones playing variations of the same character (or so it seemed to me) in roughly the same setting (Texas) seemed to allow each film to inform the other. If you haven’t seen either, you’re missing out; and if you’ve only seen one, you’re only halfway there.

What’s the saying? Ask me no secrets, I’ll tell you no lies? I dunno, trying to remember what it was for some reason.

required hospital visits

So here’s what I like the most about the new part-time bookstore gig: BEER!

Which is to say, yesterday, I went in at two for register training. At five, we got cut loose for “lunch” (I’m one of five in this current batch of trainees) and I made my way across the street to a nice little bar and ordered an expensive beer, and expensive chicken tenders, and got caught up in a bar-crawl of some sort. This is not to say that I participated in the bar crawl, I was just mourning that the bar had gone from quiet and slow to loud and busy in about the space of a quarter-second.

The frat-boy-yuppy types on either side of me were ordering Irish car bombs ($10!!), and I remarked that there were some nice little bars in Baltimore’s Washington Village neighborhood which had great Irish car bombs, if they were ever in the neighborhood, remembering something someone had once told me about what happens to folks who order Irish car bombs from authentic Irish bars: i.e., required hospital visits.

Yeah, I’m a good person.

Here’s what I don’t like: vacation blackouts in November and December. Makes sense, and I suppose I should’ve realized I’d be facing it, but I’m thinking this means Thanksgiving in Connecticut is out (boo).

On my way to DC yesterday, in specific, on the race down I-95, some yahoo apparently decided to lose control of his car and flip himself upside down into the ditch between the north and south bound lanes (he flipped from north-bound traffic). Northbound traffic was backed up: no cops on the scene yet, but ambulances and police vehicles were moving as fast as they could on the shoulder. Southbound traffic was also all backed up: fucking rubberneckers. I was one lane right of the left-most lane, and some shitback douche fucking cockwad in a Mercedes slowed down and was halfway onto the shoulder, leaning out of his car with a fucking camera, while the guy behind him rode his ass with his hand (rightly) on his horn. What a sack of fucking shit. “Oh, look, some idiot just killed himself and everyone in his car because he wanted to get home two minutes faster! This is great blog material!” Really considered stopping my car, grabbing his camera, and throwing it as far as I could.

Not that I have any sympathy for the person who flipped: drive recklessly, you don’t get to cry about getting killed. In a similar vein, if you don’t vote, you don’t get to bitch about politics. Anyway, on 695, I got passed by some fuckwad on a motorcycle who was probably doing 100 miles an hour: what insanity! No turn signal, no indication that he gave a hoot about his own fucking life. Seriously, at that speed, on a motorcycle, Joe-Blow in his minivan could put on his turn signal, turn his head to check his blind spot is clear, and in the half second that he moves his head back and starts his turn, whoom! There you are, speeding on your bike, going so fast that even if you recognize his turn signal, you’ve fucked yourself, you’ve fucked everyone in the minivan, and you’ve fucked everyone who wants to be somewhere.

Folks who drive with zero regard for the lives of other motorists need to be taken off the road. Melt their car down, slag their keys, and chop off their hands and feets and stick red-hot pokers in their eyes so they can’t operate a vehicle again. Bullet in the brain, maybe, if they seem particularly retarded.

And since I’m on the subject of motorcycle-related deaths: also yesterday, a funeral procession enroute to Dulaney Gardens, made up largely of motorcycles, got tripped up on Padonia at York when the lights turned red. I don’t know if other vehicles got mixed in with the procession, but while I was waiting on the other side of the road, I witnessed people getting out of their cars and screaming and honking that people should drive straight through the red light into moving traffic. I mean, it’s like, “Yes, it’s very sad your friend is dead. But if you’re in that much of a hurry to join him, why not just shoot yourselves in the fucking head?” Personally, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that funeral processions don’t shell out the bucks to have police direct traffic at these intersections. It’d be a hell of a lot safer. That said, the behavior exhibited yesterday at 12:20pm was completely uncalled for: you’re going to a funeral. There’s no rush. And no need for anyone to be hurt in the process.

Also: I just did my taxes. Sending a check to the State, and getting some cash back from the Feds.

Also: I’ve got Deadliest Catch on — ironic, I guess, since my project at work involves Discovery Communications — but since I’ve got No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood in Netflix envelopes, I need to turn my attention over to those. (I’ve also got The Talented Mr. Ripley, which I enjoyed when it first came out but haven’t seen since.)

Last: cute story about Trent Lott learning how to use the Metro.

Long Daaaaaaay

Thursday was a very long day.

Today was also a long day, although not “very.”

I actually just got in the door a few minutes ago. Would’ve been home sooner, but I swung past the grocery store to deposit my paycheck (OMG it’s huge!) and get some groceries. I stayed later than I would’ve otherwise because of an after-work happy hour scheduled for tonight: beer $5, miniburgers & fries $12, missing the bulk of rush-hour while socializing with co-workers, priceless. It’s certainly cheaper to drink in Baltimore, but part of the point of getting a part-time job in DC is to help compensate for that difference.

Speaking of …

… last night was orientation at the bookseller I’ll be working at. Four hours. Holy shit. I don’t think I’ve ever had an orientation that lasted that long. I’m going in tomorrow for some actual training. It seems like a pretty cool place to work, with a very cosmopolitan staff: and it’s only a block from the Metro, so that’s a total plus.

Apparently, bibles are the highest theft items from book stores. I seem to recall having been told that previously, but it’s still a weird little fact.

Here are the highlights of yesterday:

*Alarm on at 5am. Snooze. Up at 5:10.
*Out the door at 6am
*495 backed up onto 95, so I detoured into College Park, got lost, and took about an hour getting to work. Total commute time: 2 hours plus.
* Because I stayed late earlier in the week (and, well, today), I left at 3:45 for the Metro.
* Got to orientation a little early.
* Orientation ended and I left at 8:40 or so.
* Waited ten minutes for a Metro train.
* After stopping at a grocery store for a bottle of water and granola bars — my only food all day — I was on 495 by about 9:20.
* Got home a little after 10.
* Asleep by 10:30.

There’s actually a bit in the employee handbook of the part time job about blogging. Not that it can’t be done, but just that blah blah blah, which is about all my brain is capable of coherently understanding at the moment. Or yesterday.

I Saw A Triceratops At The National Zoo

Here’s the routine: up at 4:45am. On the road, usually, by 5:45 or so. (Yeah, I tend to drag myself out of bed and then spend twenty minutes checking my e-mail and checking my queues on AstroEmpires and checking QuestionableContent.net). I’m at work, usually, from seven until about 3. As I get more and more familiar with my job, I stay later and later: today, I was there until just before 5pm. From work, I drove to Grosvenor and caught a Metro downtown to meet Emily at Woodley Park. We detoured through the National Zoo, then found a Chinese carry-out across from the Metro.

I’ve been up since, eh, 5:15 (like, really up-up). I’m not really tired, which is kind of surprising. Maybe it’s the forced exercise that’s doing it, or just my new routine. Maybe I’ve been a morning person all along, and I’m only now realizing it.

The Zoo sucked. Okay, yesterday was a little chilly — mid fifties, not too bad — and overcast and wet, so maybe that’s why all the animals were indoors. Okay, not all the animals: but all the cool ones. The big cats, especially. No tigers, cougars or lions? Boo! Some other visitors to the Zoo were also not impressed: “Oh, look, we saw a gray squirrel!” I’ll have to go back later in the year. Also unfortunately, they’re remodeling the Elephant house: saw one of those big gray beasts in a doorway, but no rhinos, no giraffes.

Did, however, see a Triceratops! Uncle Beazley, to be specific.

triceratops

Here’s an interesting tidbit about this dinosaur! It used to be on the Mall, across from the Natural History Museum. You could climb all over it, and as a kid, I did. I grew up right outside of DC, in Adelphi, and went to the Mall on a fairly regular basis with my folks. Anyway, so this model dinosaur was a big part of my childhood. I remember being disappointed when it was removed from its long time spot on the Mall, years and years ago, and I remember being excited five years ago — last time I was at the Zoo — when I saw it on an unused parcel of land outside the Elephant House: as completely overgrown in weeds as it was, it thrilled me. Since then, it’s been moved: it’s now just west of the lacking-in-big-cats Big Cats, and has a couple of placards describing how this Triceratops came not only to be, but came to be the property of the Smithsonian.

Here’s his story.

I’m not even going to talk about the nightmare I had putting money on my SmarTrip card. Holy shiiiit. (Well, I’m sure it gets easier …)

Also: left my cell-phone. Brilliant. Really need to carry an index card in my wallet with important numbers I’d like continued access to.

Absolut Shorts

1.) I’m used to saying that I know people from the internet primarily through my blog and theirs. In this case, I know S. through her gmails: good thing, too, as she’s been more than kind enough in helping on reworking my resume and beefing up my cover letters and providing general advice on job searching, and Toyota Matrixes (not sure if that’s the correct pluralization). Anyway, apparently my blog didn’t scare her off and I was able to thank her with beers and conversation at The Still.

2.) So, the Zoo didn’t happen. Wednesday was beautiful, when we made the plans, but Thursday was cold and rainy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to try to get back there this coming week, although my plans are a bit more crowded: start the part-time gig Thursday, and I’m assuming I’ll be there Friday night, too. Emily is unavailable Monday (‘grats to her, she’s got orientation at AU where she got accepted for grad school), and I want to make sure I get my rest for Thursday, so Wednesday’s out. According to weather.com, temps’ll be in the high-fifties Tuesday, which seems just about tentatively perfect (although, c’mon, April, warm up.)

(Also: I bought a lanyard for my SmarTrip card.)

3.)
absolut

I’m not a big liquor drinker, and I think I’ve only had vodka once, but I don’t find this ad created for Absolut’s Mexican campaign particularly offensive — rather, I think it’s creative with a nice eye towards North America’s history. I do think that with the current hoopla about immigration, Absolut may have just shot their U.S. sales in the foot (not from me: as otherwise admitted, I don’t drink vodka of any brand). One wonders why no one in Absolut’s marketing or PR departments thought to raise their hand and say, “Hey, in the age of the world wide interwebs*, are we really expecting that this isn’t going to be seen by Americans?” Libertarian blog Free Will has a perspective I mostly agree with.

4.)
alonso

I love the building technique of the Alonso de Chaves. Cross sections! Cross sections! Awesome! Geektastic!

5.) Also:

I don’t think I’ll be able to eat off-brand mac & cheese without wondering “Is Chuck Heston Soylent … Orange?” (Does anyone know what the difference was between the colors of Soylent, anyway? Wasn’t there also Soylant Blue and Soylent Red and …)

6.) And also: hoorah for the return of Battlestar Galactica (although I didn’t put up an away message that said ‘BSG: Eeeeee!!!’ like some people.) It’s been off the air for, hell, a year? Also: damn the late TV slot. Friday was the last night I’ve been up that late (11pm) in probably three weeks. And I still woke up at 7am Saturday. That’s sleeping in for me: I’ve been waking up a full fifteen minutes before my alarm during the week, and that’s set at 5. In any case, in my opinion, a much stronger start to the 4th season than the third had.

7.) HMO paperwork blows. So do taxes, which I get to do next week. Yeah, I’m procrastinating.

*Yeah, I’m watching For Your Consideration.

pies

Since I’m now paid to spend eight hours a day staring at a computer screen, often, the last thing I wish to do when I finally beat rush hour traffic home, I don’t really feel like firing up the laptop and spending time on the blog. Anyway, so here’s an amusing little anecdote about my last day delivering pizzas.

Last Saturday, I was scheduled five through dinner rush. I actually had some errands to run that morning, so I swung past the shop about 10:30am to collect my paycheck. I’m making small talk with Adip when I glance at the schedule board and I notice, woah, my name’s been scratched off the schedule. Adip says, “Eh, don’t worry about it, come in at five.” So, like an idiot, I show up at work several hours later … as do two other drivers.

Look, the Saturday shift I worked before starting my new job, I was the only driver. The only driver. I had twelve runs. It wasn’t a busy night, but it wasn’t slow: it was steady. I made some decent cash. But I can do the math: if one driver will take twelve runs in a night, how many runs will one driver take when he’s got to split the night’s deliveries with two others? Yeah, not much of a point to sticking around. So I ducked out early, and while I did ask to be on the schedule for this coming Saturday, I expect that I won’t be.

Hey – no complaints. I won’t miss pizza delivery.

And I start my new part-time job a week from tomorrow. Guess what I’m doing tomorrow after work? The Zoo! I promise I won’t taunt the tigers. Or the lions. Or any of the big cats. Might taunt the rhino.

Well, no.

(I do hope it’s nice out!)

The Beast With A Billion Backs!

beast

CENTURY CITY, CA – Good news, everyone! Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) proudly presents the second of four all-new feature-length adventures when Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs invades Earth on DVD June 24. In their latest extraterrestrial exploits, Bender, Fry, Leela and crew encounter a repulsive, planet-sized creature with billions of probing tentacles… and soon find themselves involved in a disturbing – yet sensuous – interplanetary love story.

With guest appearances from David Cross (Alvin & The Chipmunks, “Arrested Development”), Brittany Murphy (“King of the Hill,” Sin City), Dan Castellaneta (“The Simpsons”) and world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, The Beast With A Billion Backs may finally meet its match!

Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs is jammed with bonus material, including commentary from Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, cast members Billy West, John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche, director Peter Avanzino, and producers Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski, and Michael Rowe; an entire 30-minute “Lost Futurama Adventure”; featurettes “Meet Yivo!” (behind the scenes with David Cross) and “A Brief History of Deathball”; a sneak peek at the next Futurama epic, Bender’s Game; storyboard animatic; deleted scenes; bloopers, and more. Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs will be available for a suggested retail price of $29.98 U.S./$37.98 Canada. Prebook is May 28, 2008.

This will be the studio’s second carbon-neutral DVD release – its first being Futurama: Bender’s Big Score – solidifying Futurama, Twentieth Century Fox Television (TCFTV) and TCFHE’s commitment to reducing their impact on climate change. For more information on how the carbon emissions were reduced during the production of Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs, please visit News Corporation.

One of the last movies I’ll be watching in this apartment …

… hopefully, it’ll be as funny as Bender’s Big Score.