a tourist in my own city

How can you use 40-hours of vacation time to give yourself an uninterrupted twelve day vacation? Carefully. In this case, making use of holidays the Office Job will be observing at the end of the year: December 25th, 26th, and January 1st.

Plans? At the moment, I’ve got none. I can’t imagine that Washington, D.C. is overly populated at that time of year, so it’d probably be a great time to be a “tourist in my own city.”

McCain’s Trainwreck

Neccessary kudos to John McCain and the Republican Party for nominating someone who isn’t a white male to a prominent position on their ticket.

There is a funny phrase in Star Trek VI, when Spock remarks that “Only Nixon could go to China”, when Captain Kirk expresses his outrage on having to present an olive branch to the Klingons. Essentially, what Spock means that when a group long opposed to something engages in it, real progress is being made.

So, when Republicans on a national level nominate someone who isn’t a white male to a prominent elected post, it seems to me to indicate that the racial and gender roles really are starting to break down.

Now, granted: the question becomes, would Sarah Palin have recieved the VP nod if, of the Democratic Party’s four strongest contenders, all had been white males? Would Sarah Palin have recieved the VP nod if the GOP wasn’t hoping to draw aliented Clinton supporters away from the Democrats?

I like to think so. But I just can’t help but being cynical. Here’s my big question, though:

If, according to John McCain, Barack Obama does not have the experience neccessary to be Commander-in-Chief, after two years in the Senate, and with his state legislative experience, will someone explain to me how McCain feels his Vice Presidential pick, Sarah Palin (Alaska’s governor) has the neccessary experience? She’s been governor for a year and a half of Alaska and her previous political experience was in local politics as mayor of a “city” of 8,000 people.

I guess McCain was against unqualified candidates before he was for them.

Daydream

I was going to respond in comments to this post by Hal_10000 on Right Thinking From the Left Coast, but I wound up getting a little off mark:

Here’s the thing about liberals: they will never accept that America is a conservative country. They will cling to the myth that the 2000 election was stolen,

Hal, I think you know that every time in our history, when the guy who wins the popular vote doesn’t get in because the electoral vote goes his way, the people who voted for the guy who got the most votes felt cheated, and the guy who got into office is extremely unpopular and considered an usurper only in the White House because of a technicality.

I voted for Al Gore in 2000. Here’s the thing: I actually remember an op-ed before the election (WBAL, maybe?) submitting a scenario where George W. Bush would win the popular vote but lose the electoral to Gore. I told myself, “I’d be okay with that.” So I try not to be too bitter about the opposite happening.

I try not to be bitter … That’s with eight years of the Bush Administration. That’s with Abu Ghraib, and US sanctioned torture, and every other fucked up stupid ass shit this administration has done. Spying on American citizens, detaining American citizens without cause or legal review, an unnecessary war in Iraq administered so incompetently as to defy description and belief.

So, yeah, sometimes, when I’m angry and tired, and sick of the last eight years, yeah, I cling to the desperate hope that that election was stolen, I cling to the hope that it’s all been a bad dream, a plot uncovered and dismissed before the inauguration, that the years following 9/11 unfolded differently, that somehow I’ve remembered it all wrong, that I’ve been buried in a soap’s storyline, in a coma, Bobby fucking Ewing: the last eight years never happened, all been a daydream.

Please, forgive me for that daydream. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only American with it, and that, like myself, more than just liberal Democrats are sharing in it.

Oh, and I love this book.

But I […] Anyway

I told myself I should switch off the alarm, go back to bed, and take the day off. But I got up anyway.

I told myself that I should shut my laptop, go back to bed, and take the day off. But I went to take a shower anyway.

I told myself that I should towel myself off from the shower, go back to bed, and take the day off. But I got dressed anyway.

I told myself that I should go back into my building, go back to bed, and take the day off. But I walked to the Metro anyway.

I told myself that I should go back through the turnstyle, go home, go back to bed, and take the day off. But I got on the northbound train anyway.

By the time I got on the shuttle to work, I was pretty sure I’d made a considerable mistake not switching to the southbound train and heading back into DC, but I got on the damn shuttle anyway.

And about five minutes after I got in to work … I decided to go home. I’m going to wait until 11 so I can hopefully make up the time and not use any of my PTO.

lemon flavored with a hint of chicken broth

I hate being sick. I have a cold/sore throat. I can deal with the cold — the sore throat really sucks. I’m spending all my cash on cough drops. I’ve had four glasses of theraflu over the last two days. I went through an entire carton of OJ during dinner last night: dinner, for the record, consisted of chicken noodle soup and two slices of bread.

The same pot I heated the soup in I used for tonight’s theraflu: imagine it lemon flavored with a hint of chicken broth.

I tried to call out from the bookstore Friday night: five people had already called out, so I went in anyway. I was pretty worthless most of the night, and I got to leave early anyway.

Haven’t slept well: the sore throat wakes me up every couple of hours and I make a theraflu or drink a glass of OJ and try, try again.

***

I’m halfway through The Wire’s fifth season. Clark Johnson can do no wrong, really love his performance. How does that fiction-generation reporter not get that Johnson’s onto him? Or, maybe he does. Disappointed that the show recycled the copy-machine gag from Homicide: Life on the Street, which in turn, took it from the true-crime book it was based on. Hope Omar doesn’t go out like a bitch. That’s all I’ve got.

Oh, yeah: MacNulty’s lost it.

And: nice to see familiar faces from past seasons, even if only for a quick cameo.

***

My sister, now in Colorado, adopted a cat yesterday: I just hope she didn’t actually name him Cutie Pie. Poor, poor, cute kitty.

***

To combat internet spiders which crawl the web and repost blog content as their own: this post written for http://www.malnurturedsnay.net.

The National Museum of Natural History

As part of my “Do A Touristy Thing A Week” plan, I’d decided to go visit the National Mall and, to be specific, the National Museum of Natural History. I think the last time I’ve been there was, hell, probably a decade ago, almost at least.

So, my plans got out, and I made plans to take a colleague, DB, with me. DB moved down from New York City and hasn’t been caring for the DC area too much. She also hasn’t spent much time in DC at all — today was her first time on the National Mall — and on stepping out of the Metro and heading north across, she admitted she might just find herself liking the place: this, with the Washington Monument on our left, right to the Capitol.

It’s funny how small the NMNH seems now: took us about an hour to get through all the exhibits, then we walked through the Sculpture Garden to the National Gallery, where we had ten minutes until it closed. From there, we went up to the National Archives, didn’t feel like waiting in line to see the Constitution, and hurried out. Went west, dinner at the Old Post Office Pavilion — which felt like a ghost town, seriously, no one there! — and then wandered to the Borders at 14th & F for some carrot cake — alas, all out. Walked north, picked up the Metro at McPherson Square, with the vague idea to go to the Zoo. That wound up being ditched in favor of ice cream at the Woodley Park Baskin Robbins before we parted ways.

No Earlier Than Seven

In the six or seven weeks that I have been 100% carless and entirely dependent for transportation to work on my own two feet, the Metro, and the Ride On shuttle, I have learned that it does not matter if I leave my apartment at 5:55 or 6:15 in the morning: I will not get to the office any earlier than seven.

As happened a week ago, if I leave my apartment at 6:15, and there’s a “signal problem” delaying trains on the Red Line by seventeen minutes (that’s how long I had to wait once I got to the platform), I will still manage to get to the office at seven.

If I leave my apartment at six, and get to the platform just in time to dart through the closing doors of a waiting train, then get off in the county and walk up to the stop just as the shuttle pulls up, I will still not get to the office before seven.

On one hand, this is bizzarely amusing. Could I leave my apartment at 6:50 and still get to the office by seven?

On the other hand, this is kind of scary: why is it that no matter how early I leave, I can’t manage to get to the office any faster?

Why, you ask, would I possibly want to get to the office before 7? Flex time. And I want to leave early Thursday to go to the National Museum of Natural History. (I’ve vowed to do one “touristy” thing a week — last week, I went to the Zoo, this week, to NHNH, next week: eh, National Gallery?)

Watchmen

Watchmen was one of the films trailered on The Dark Knight — I’ve seen the graphic novel around, but I’ve never read it. That is something that has now been rectified. I picked up the novel the week after Dark Knight, and it was one of the last copies we had in store. That, also, has been rectified: seventy plus copies, in section, in the queue line, on displays at the front of the store, and on end-caps throughout the popular fiction section.

Watchmen is a dark mirror of our own world — set in the 1980s, in a fifth or sixth Nixon administration, superheros made irrelevant and illegal by legislation begin to mobilize as these now retired ex-crime fighters realize that their numbers are being dwindled by assassinations, and frame-ups, and media-driven witch-hunts. Which begs the question: why?

Yeah, I’m not even going to go into the plot, except that it’s a lot deeper and more involved then you’d expect from a comic book. Then again, this is one of Time Magazine’s Best 100 Novels of All Time. Not 100 best Graphic Novels … best Novels.
Watchmen was written by Alan Moore, the same guy who wrote one of the best Batman graphic novels, The Killing Joke, and V for Vendetta. I haven’t had a chance to to read that latter GN yet, but I’ll admit, despite what I’ve read about Moore’s distaste for cinematic adaptations of his work, I enjoyed that film, and I think I’ll enjoy Watchmen as well.

Also, I can’t get the music from the trailer out of my head. Aiiyeeee!

Water For Elephants – A Bookclub Story

A few weeks ago, one of my colleagues decided to form a bookclub. Always eager for an excuse to read, I signed up. Our first meeting, which was today, was to discuss our first book, which was one I’d suggested: Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. I’d already read it.

I enjoyed it: in a lot of ways, it reminded me of HBO’s Carnivale. It’s essentially a story of a kid who winds up in a circus during the Great Depression, and his trials as he becomes caretaker to Rosie, a supposedly dumb-as-bricks elephant, and falls in love with Marlena, a performer married to a violent psychopath.

The overwhelming opinion of the rest of the bookclub was that it was, eh, a nice story, but hardly a spectacular work of literary genius. Either they’re all snobs, or I’ll just read anything. Maybe it’s a little of both, certainly, I’ve always considered myself a book snob. Still, it’s always nice — well, maybe not so nice, in this case — to hear other peoples’ opinions.

Even if they’re all wrong. (Okay, maybe I’m a little bitter…)

Next up: Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

VP of Crap Procurement

The President of Tribune Interactive sure didn’t like his stint at eBay, via his company bio:

Chase joins Tribune after leaving his post as vocabulary advisorist for George W. Bush, President of the United States of America. President Bush recruited Chase from eBay where he worked as president of buying crap. In this role, Chase increased the percentage of crap available on eBay by 300%. He honed his crap-procurement techniques during his tenure at Google, where he worked as vice president of finding crap anywhere. Previous stints include jobs at Microsoft (he worked side-by-side with Bill Gates to develop stuff) and at the major television networks (he watched a lot of TV and ate a lot of crap). Chase refers to his network days as the “genesis of my crap craft.”

I hope this wasn’t a “I’ll slap this up for the time being and take it down before anyone notices” kind of thing, because, too late!