Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cycling Occasionally

The Mad Hipster used to get all Judge-y McGee on me when I'd take the metro to work.

"Why didn't you take the bike this morning?" he'd harrass me via email. Or sometimes just a guilt-laden gchat message: "No bike?" I therefore used to feel ashamed of my occasional bike negligence, feeling that I was a pox on the DC hipster community. But gradually I have gotten over this shame, and I am ready to declare it to the world. You ready? Here it comes.

I am a fairweather cyclist.

My god, it feels so good to finally say it! Such a burden off my shoulders. I know people like the Mad Hipster jump on the bike when it's 15° and iced over, or when it's pouring rain, or when it's a sticky 98° with oppressive humidity, or when the wind kicks up to 30mph. In his circle, I'm sure that's the norm. But I've realized that fairweather cycling is nothing to sneeze at.

Having a city full of fairweather cyclists should be something to shoot for. It's unreasonable to expect all the district's suits to go from zero to fixed gear in sixty seconds. Occasionally eschewing the train and riding one's inexpensive hybrid bike a few short miles to work and back may not earn you any street cred, but it's respectable all the same.

Let's keep a little perspective: it's not like I blow off my bike for a leisurely jaunt in the ol' Hummer. Because, really. My Hummer's nearly impossible to park.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Using BlackBerrys

Everyone in this city seemingly has a stance on the ubiquitous BlackBerry.

Hill staffers are glued to theirs, news avenues are reporting physical injuries related to BlackBerry users stepping out into the street while emailing (or running into walls... yes, seriously), and anyone who's ever stopped by The Anti DC to peruse Marissa's e-musings is surely familiar with the opposition's stance (that they're toys for tools).

I must confess, I have one. And I hate it.

I never use it, even as a work cell. When I first got it, I was vaguely excited, as underneath it all I'm a big nerd who loves to play with techie toys. But then the reality sunk in. Wait, you mean work can contact me anytime, anywhere? And they expect me to answer back? ALL THE TIME? Gross.

My IT department sent me an email this morning to inform me that they haven't detected any activity on my BlackBerry since October 10th. I was shocked to my core. Partially at the creepy big-brotherness of the email, but mostly because WHY ON EARTH was I using it on October 10th? I would have put money on mid-September as the last time I touched the damned thing.

I left work and was walking to the metro a couple of weeks ago when a guy came breezing out of his office building, BlackBerrying furiously. Almost smashed right into me. To reiterate: he had JUST LEFT HIS OFFICE. Surely this man was important. Surely something life-altering happened during the elevator ride to the ground floor, to be BlackBerrying so soon after leaving his computer. I don't envy him that.

I assume these devices were originally intended to make business travel easier for high-level officials, as being able to check one's email when nowhere near one's office actually does sound pretty handy. In theory, BlackBerrys are useful tools (ZING! Get it?).

Anydouble-entendres (okay, that's the part where I pretend that I am Marissa... and now I'm done), what's the point of this post? I have no desire to discuss the device's tool-ish qualities (though they are numerous), nor will I mock those who choose to glue themselves to their BlackBerrys (though I'd like to). I just want to issue a plea to those who do use them every waking minute, and this plea is as follows:

Please, PLEASE follow normal email etiquette when Blackberrying. That irritating little "Sent via BlackBerry" disclaimer at the end of your note is not a valid excuse for repulsive grammar, wickedly terrible spelling, or inappropriately familiar slang. If you don't work on my immediate team, or even in my entire organization, and we have never met, do not refer to yourself as "i," and to me as "u." And for the love of all things holy, use apostrophes.

cuz, like, i cant beleive ur actually makin these mistakes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lacking Talent

A few weeks back I had to work late, but I had promised the Caterpillar and Tweedle Wit that I would accompany them to The Red & The Black to see a friend of theirs play in his band.

The band wasn't bad. And the drinks were cheap and strong (just like I like my men... JKLOL!!1!). We even got some fantastic hipster-mocking opportunities. In other words, the evening was shaping up to be pretty damned good.

Then their set ended. I'm not even sure I can adequately describe the sheer horror of what followed. Two or three other bands (I stopped counting and started praying for daylight) that were so atrociously talentless that I can't imagine how they get gigs in the first place.

Now, to be fair, I am not musically inclined. When I was younger, I was a dancer, but I didn't sing. Band class never really took off for me. So one could argue that I am not the foremost authority on musical talent.

But, I have ears. And those ears were freaking pissed at my feet for dragging them to this nightmare.

The girls and I looked at each other with sympathy. The Caterpillar noticed a sign behind the bar that said "Earplugs: $1," and took the bartender up on that offer.

"It turns out any schmuck can have a band," I declared.

It was thus decided that when we inevitably start our band (which wouldn't be nearly bad enough to properly drive the point home, as the Caterpillar and Tweedle Wit actually are musically inclined) it will be called Any Schmuck.

Oh, yeah, it's happening. Watch for our first single, Faux Hipster. It'll be off of our debut album How Dare You.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turning 26

My 26th birthday is quickly approaching. I racked my brain trying to think of an appropriate way to celebrate.

Not dinner out, as I always feel uncomfortable when friends feel obligated to pay for my meal, and/or I always feel obligated to choose an inexpensive place.

Not to a fancy bar or club, as I am definitely not the club type.

Not a dinner party, because as much as I adore throwing dinner parties, I didn't want to do too much work on my own birthday.

I contemplated going to my favorite dive bar, complete with beer in mason jars and copious board games, but the Queen of Clubs declared that was anti-climactic for a birthday celebration.

It would be hard to top last year's outing, which took us to Showbar: Palace of Wonders in our Halloween costumes. A couple I didn't know bought me a shot of Grey Goose, and an almost completely naked burlesque performer told me she thought I was cute. And that she liked my hat. I mean, come on! How do you top an evening like that?

So, climactic or not, I have decided to have a low-key party at my place, with gourmet snacks and lots of booze. And if we head out somewhere after hanging out at home (aforementioned dive bar? somewhere on H St NE?), so be it.

Because really, when it comes down to it: it's my birthday. And I just want to enjoy my three very favorite things in this earthly life: great company, delicious appetizers, and beverages of an adult nature.

Is that so wrong?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Honking Horns

When did we as a society become so goddamned irritable?

I used to commute via car. Back home, I had a job that was a 25 minutes' drive away. Granted, most of that commute was highway and not trafficky city blocks, but I don't remember the occasional bottleneck sending me into a spiral of road rage. When did we become so angry? So impatient? So ignorant of life's pleasures?

Yes, the economy's in the shit. Yes, every year the weather gets a little warmer. Yes, our leaders are douchenozzles (ZING! LOLsarahsilverman). Yes, there are some exceptionally fucked up people in this world doing some exceptionally fucked up things. Yes, we're all commuting to jobs we hate for lower salaries than we deserve.

I get it. Really, I do. But let's face it: there's no need to lay on the horn the second the light turns green. Our society needs to, in the wise words of the Queen of Clubs, PULL IT TOGETHER.

My commute this morning was lovely. And it has been for the past week. Haven't these people noticed the clear skies and lowered temperatures? We're a heartbeat away from the leaves changing, kids. Time to take your hands off the steering wheel (or, in my case, the handlebars) and welcome autumn with open arms. Let's be grateful for what we do have, and not bitter for what we don't.

I swear, I'm not usually such a pollyanna, but can't these angry motorists see that everything looks better in fall light? Can't they tell that October breezes are delightfully calming? Don't they know that autumn dusk smells fantastic?

Maybe they just need to get bikes.

Doing Coke

I had dinner last night with the Queen of Clubs. I rarely got to see him this summer, no doubt partly because I've been occupied myself, but mostly because of his newfound and well-deserved explosion onto DC's gay scene (no poorly chosen sexual imagery intended... oh god, THE HUMANITY).

Um, moving on... he has since formed a group of gay friends with whom to hit da clubs, a group I affectionately refer to as the Gay Mafia. Well-groomed, well-dressed, always arriving to parties as one unit, always leaving parties for somewhere too fabulous even for my hag dreams.

Last weekend he went to a house party being thrown by the friend of a friend of a friend, where he pretty much only knew his mafiosos. Soon a guy arrived at the party that the Queen had never met before. The guy was schmoozing with other party-goers when the Queen noticed him take a bag of cocaine out of his pocket.

The Queen stared, putting white powdery puzzle pieces together. The guy noticed him.

"...Is this okay with you?" he asked.

"Hey, you do what you do," the Queen replied. The coke-doing group moved to the next room over. Remembering that he works for the federal government, and spent a year waiting for those pesky security clearances, the Queen realized that this was his cue to exit, and told his mafiosos he was out.

Oh, um, the early '80s called. They want their scene back.