hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Just Chillaxin'

I decided yesterday that it's somewhat possible that a portion of the drama I experience in life I inflict upon myself. Note my strategic use of words like "possible" and "portion." I'm still somewhat in denial. Whereas I used to believe that I am simply a magnet for chaos and scandal, I'm starting to think that I might be encouraging it without meaning to. It's something I intend to work on.

With that in mind, I decided that the time has come to diversify my leisurely activities. Methinks that drama follows me around because I spend a lot of time tipsy, interacting with similarly tipsy individuals. Many of whom are boys. It's probably also time to bid adieu to these individuals, as I'm sure that even engaging a little bit in the whole "will guy who I did x,y, or z with a week ago ever call" game is no doubt bad for one's soul. I need to come up with a new system for emotionally managing my expectations of men. Probably being more judicious about who I get involved with would be a good start.

Normally my weeknights consist of either going to the gym and getting home kind of late, or hitting a drinking-related event and getting home kind of late. I used to be proud of this routine, as it signaled a healthy interest in self-maintenance and that I have a lot of friends because I can almost always find somebody to have an adult beverage with.

But in all honesty, I think I'm in a rut. Doing the same two things five days a week after work gets old. So although I have no intention to stop working out or to cease my hours of happy, I have decided to throw some new activities into the mix. I came to this decision late yesterday afternoon and decided that there was no time like the present to implement my plan.

Rather than going home and flopping down on the sofa to watch Tivoed episodes of the OC (Soapnet, holla!) as I had planned because I was still burnt out from the weekend, I instead headed over to Olsen's in Dupont Circle to watch and hear Marisha Pessl read from her novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This book has been on my to-read list for a while. All the major literary critics have been fawning over it and her (I'm sure it doesn't hurt that she's quite young and pretty), comparing her to David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Safran Foer (future husband of Hey Pretty, btw).

Pessl talked a bit about her inspiration for writing and her life before she became a full-time novelist. Apparently she worked in a soulless corporate job in a cubicle she referred to as a "veal fattening pen", and used to spend several hours a day there furtively working on Special Topics until she eventually quit to give it her full time attention.

As a young writer who has kicked around the idea of writing fiction for a while, Pessl's little talk was inspiring. She spoke of two failed novels she wrote in college, and how she was finally able to write Special Topics because she had a clear plan for what it would be about.

Now that, I envy. On any given day, about a million independent mini plot lines for stories kick around in my brain. I can't seem to find a common thread to unite any of them, nor can I really elaborate on a full plot. When it comes down to it, I have no idea how to write fiction.

Following the reading I purchased a copy of Special Topics, along with The Paris Review Interviews Volume 1, and one of the 33 1/3 series of music history books, this one about the band Love.

Although I have yet to finish my book club book, I tore into the Paris Review Interviews when I got home. Reading what Dorothy Parker and Truman Capote had to say about their craft was reassuring. It seems that all writers are hampered by doubts and sporadic battles between id and ego. Good to know. I was also reminded that Parker is best remembered as a short story writer. She never once tackled prose in a longer format. Which got me to thinking--why overwhelm myself trying to write a novel if I can instead try my hand at short stories. After all, I have never been much of a long distance runner, but my sprinting skills are rather impressive (well, they were at one time).


With summer basically here, I foresee my schedule shaking itself up with more and better new activities. Tonight, I will attempt to re-introduce my creaky old joints to the concept of yoga (I've been on an I-hate-yoga-kick for a while, but maybe I can shake it) and in just a couple of weeks, we'll experience the glory that is Fort Reno.

Here's to a creatively productive and calm summer in DC.

Oh, and if any of you can recommend some nice, safe hiking paths in Rock Creek, do let me know. I want to go hiking this weekend, but I'm still a little freaked out about Chandra Leavy (yes, I know it was almost a decade ago....)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rumble on the Mall

A message went out on a list-serve that I am on for a knitting group I keep on meaning to join up with in person but haven't gotten around to yet. It suggested that everyone forgo their usual crafting location this Sunday to instead go "heckle" kickballers on the Mall. This suggestion struck me as absurd for several reasons.

1.) More and more, it has come to my attention that kickballers are viewed as something of a scourge in our nation's capital. Sure, we play a game designed for 3 graders, drink beer and sometimes get a little rowdy. Um, that's what makes it fun. Plus, it's social and sometimes you meet cool people who then enrich your life in various ways. Sure, some kickballers are total twatwaffles who complicate your life or simply annoy you. But there are some real gems among us, and we don't appreciate being lumped-in with ignorant generalizations about how obnoxious all kickballers are.

2.) This email was penned by a guy who is part of a knitting group. Although I am open-minded enough to not cast judgments upon men who sit around knitting, not everyone is so enlightened. I'm sure some of the kickball twatwaffles would have some choice words for said individual.

3.) The author of the email obviously has no idea that some of his list-serve members happen to play kickball and that some (or one, and really I'm fine with being the only one) would take offense to his suggestion.

Despite these facts, the imagery this suggestion suggests is priceless, and may be brilliant enough to actually make his lame suggestion a good one. I can just picture a face-off under the Washington Monument wherein a group of kickballers in their color-coded tees shimmies and struts up to an opposing pack of bohemians, waving their knitting needles in the air like swords. The soundtrack to West Side Story plays in the background. Fingers snap. A pretty dark-haired girl from one side catches the eye of a rouge individual from the other. Kickballs are pierced by the needles. Chaos erupts. Elicit love blossoms, only to end in tragedy and heartbreak.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The More They Change, The More They Remain the Same

As many of you know, I traveled to Ohio for a college reunion this past weekend. I didn't know what to expect--who I'd see, who would remember me, who I would remember, even what I would do. From my perspective, I've felt that I've changed a lot in the past 9 years--evolved from angsty, rebellious, clueless teen into a person who at times resembles a responsible adult. Although still a little shy and prone to periods of darkened mood, I like to think I'm a little more together than I was when I graduated.

Reunion weekend was a series of highs and lows, presenting me with the same dysfunctional human interactions I experienced back in my college days. The institution of learning that I attended is renown for attracting some eccentric personalities. Although brilliant and wildly talented, many lack simple people skills. The setting for reunion was small and intimate, and we mainly saw the same people over and over again. Whenever you place a group of eccentrics in a social fishbowl, strange things are bound to happen.

The Highs:
Catching up with old friends. There were several people there I knew I'd see, so their presence, although not a surprise, was a real pleasure. Also in attendance were several characters who I had been friends with early in my college career, but had sort of forgotten. Why we ever lost touch is a mystery to me, because hanging out with again revealed them to be total kindred spirits. Hopefully we'll be better about staying in touch this time around.

Making new friends. There were a lot of people there whose faces I knew, but had never befriended. To be honest, a lot of them had intimidated me for whatever reason back in school. But being thrust into a very small environment with them sort of forced us to interact, and a lot of these interactions were quite pleasant. I even met an extremely cool woman who lives in DC, who I will hopefully get to hang out with in real life.

Visiting old haunts. The coffee shop where I spent a lot of my time back in the day is now a bar. The town used to be dry save for beer and wine, but this place now serves liquor. Their bloody marys are to do for and I very much appreciated the fact that gin and tonics are only 3 dollars. Ohio is cheap, yo. And they serve tater tots.

College-subsided debauchery. Every night after checking out the scene at the only two bars in town/random college house party/campus dance club, we'd return to the dorm that we were all staying at and partake in free beer. Lots of free beer. Saturday night at 2 am found us drunk and making huge forts out of sofa cushions just as we did back in the day. Some of us stayed up until 5 am. I know I heard birdies chirping by the time I made it up to bed.

The Lows:
Boredom. There isn't much to do in Ohio, yo. Because of this, we spent the majority of the weekend drinking. Also, campus and town are SO small. I find the fact that we used to complain about walking across campus to be hilarious, as it would take a total of 15 minutes to get from far corner to far corner, and most of the places you'd be inclined to visit are crammed together in a very small space.

College dorms suck. How I managed to live in a dorm as long as I did is beyond me. Between the horrid bed, the dingy lighting and the weird smelling showers, my group house back here now seems like a palace to me.

Boys continue to suck. Leave it to me to visit Ohio for the weekend, only to meet a boy from DC who would eventually torment me. The details are hazy but we had a very dramatic 48+ hours together. The trajectory of our relationship went as follows--we meet, he initiates flirtation. Flirtation sustains itself for a healthy 24 hours. Several hours after he gives me his business card, I make the foolish mistake of suggesting to him that we hang out back in DC. This inspires a flurry of angst on his part, informing me that my actions towards him (mainly saying, "Hi, you're cute, let's hang out back home) are inappropriate, so on and so forth. And that he made out with somebody else earlier in the evening. How reciprocating the actions of a person who is clearly trying to get into your pants is inappropriate is beyond me, but boys from my school are notoriously weird. Anyway. We patched things up the next night, as I wasn't willing to repeatedly run into him and exchange menacing snarls.

Essentially, I pointed out that we started off an strange foot and perhaps we could start over. He agreed, introductions were made and from there things were just fine. Part of me thinks I will probably just "lose" his card. Although extremely cute, I can't get a good read on him and trying to is getting to me more than it should. But then again, he's extremely cute and I think there's something there. But perhaps he's crazy and not worth my time. Lord knows I have enough extremely cute boys in my life who are already causing more than their fair share of drama. Time will tell.

For better and for worse, my weekend plunged me right back into my late teens/early 20's. I'm sort of happy to be home, although I'm feeling extremely shell-shocked. The fact that my coworkers are being extremely demanding today hasn't helped a whole lot. To be honest, I'm having trouble caring about much of anything relating to this city today. Maybe I need a vacation from my vacation.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wanna Take a Look? Take a Look...

For reasons unclear even to myself, I have joined Facebook. I have resisted up until now because of some pre-conceived notion on my part that individuals who are 30 are too old for the site. Somehow, my lovely roommate convinced me to join. Enter a whole new era of fruitless cyber, um "research."

My embracing of Facebook is indicative of prominent thread that runs throughout my life. Whenever I make some appreciable step forward into becoming more of a full-fledged adult, I slide just a little further backward on a parallel path.

What am I talking about?

Yesterday I gave my BIG PRESENTATION. The one that has had my stomach in knots for the past several weeks. The one I was convinced would reduce me to jumble of anxious tears because that's how terrible I am at public speaking.

Instead, a funny thing happened.

I totally ROCKED it.

Yeah, I was a bit stiff and nervous at first, but 10 minutes in, I was cracking jokes, making sly asides, answering and deflecting questions with aplomb. I pretended I was an actress on the stage, playing a role--that of the brilliant young professional with a great new business idea. Only I was only in part playing, because in reality, that was me. At least in part.

Long story short, they loved my idea, and gave me the go-ahead to proceed (at least for the time being). A note from the CEO declaring my brilliance soon followed.

And yet today, I find myself immersed in the new world of Facebook. Of course, not even 5 minutes into joining I happen to discover that a boy, a boy who was once of significant note, recently reduced to a mere footnote within my everyday life, is a member. Not only a member, but a friend of a friend, through a really random, yet significant connection.

Just when you manage to put something out of your head, the Internet knocks it back in. Not particularly pleased by this new reminder, I'm now left pondering the possible reasons why these two people could know one another, and in what ways their friendship could shed light on to his bizarre behavior over the past several months.

Or I could just try to forget about it again. You know, like an adult would do.

In other news, my excitement about that other boy is waning, for various reasons currently too new-feeling to document.

How I am grateful for the upcoming long weekend in O-hi-O.

And for my hilarious friend who I haven't seen in 8 years, who I will get to see this weekend. Here's a snippet of a recent email exchange:

From: Hey Pretty
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 1:15 PM
To: redacted
Subject: reunion

A. and i are both prepping for reunion hard-core. she's been gorging
herself with tater tots and falafel.

Since I was recently blown off by the vegan graphic designer with
communication issues i was dating, i have since transitioned to an in-denial
hipster. and last night i had something like 5 beers for dinner.

we are both totally ready.

as for old and fat, not us. we're even more glowy, svelte and youthful than
we were at 19.

-----Original Message-----
From: redacted
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 5:40 PM
To: Hey Pretty
Subject: RE: reunion

It's going to be seriously fucking awesome to hang out again. You getting
in on Friday?

-----Original Message-----
From: Hey Pretty
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:38 PM
To: redacted
Subject: RE: reunion

yes, I arrive on Friday.

-----Original Message-----
From: redacted
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 5:25 PM
To: hey pretty
Subject: RE: reunion

Awesome. We just got home yesterday from an 8 day / 7 night trip to CA, so
we're still in vacation recovery mode and can't believe the reunion is just
three days away. I can't wait. There are going to be some serious

-----Original Message-----
From: Hey Pretty
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 5:28 PM
To: redacted
Subject: RE: reunion

There better be some serious antics. I'm not riding in a car from DC to Ohio
to stand around discussing the dominant paradigm for 3 days.

-----Original Message-----
From: redacted
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:03 PM
To: Hey Pretty
Subject: RE: reunion

Fuck the dominant paradigm. I'm going to count on you to spill a drink on
the first person who uses the term "paradigm" over the course of the

Here's to the first of many spilled drinks...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bad Artist, Bad!

I have been neglecting my photography so much recently, it's crazy. As I've told you before, I'm getting a bit tired of paying to process rolls of film with no good images on them, but I can't yet afford a really good digital camera. I have a crappy Canon point and shoot, but what I really need is a solid digital SLR. Since my film camera is a Canon Elan 7, it makes sense to buy a digital Canon SLR, as the lenses are compatible.

But what that requires is money, something I don't have a whole lot extra of.

To be honest, I'm also feeling rather short on inspiration. I think what I need to do is bribe some of my friends to sit for actual portraits, as shooting people is what I'm best at and the most interested in. I'm also tempted to take a portraiture class, as I'm sure there's a lot I don't know.

Yesterday I ran across the website of somebody from college who is now a professional photographer. His images blew me away and I was once again reminded of the frustration I feel whenever I look at images created by professionals. There's this quality that theirs always exhibit that mine lack, yet I can't pinpoint exactly what it is they do that I don't do that creates said quality. My photos, even the best ones (which are lovely for a non-pro, I'm not half bad), still have this snapshot-ish, "real life" quality about them, whereas the ones created by professionals look much more "filmic" much in the same way that the image quality of film looks different from a home video. Objects and people just seem to occupy images differently. Color and light is better, saturation is improved. Depth of field looks not quite real. What I can't figure out is if it's a technical thing, like they simply have a better understanding of the controls of their camera and when to use what, or if it's a question of equipment. Does buying a Canon 30D magically improve your images? Or is it something else entirely, and I'd be just as well off with a lower end Rebel XTi?

These are the questions that utterly cripple my inner artist. The same one that once contemplated art school, that now feels utterly dejected when viewing the work of her contemporaries.

In the comments section share with me your theories about why professional images still look better than even the best amateur ones. Is it one particular thing? Or is the sum of several parts--equipment, a better eye, technically mastery, lighting, dumb luck? Also tell me if I should get the XTi or save my pennies for the 30D.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Goal For Weekend: Use Hot Gay Man as Wingman

As mentioned earlier, I'm attended a college reunion Memorial Day weekend. The last time I visited school was the year after graduation. Many interesting things happened during my visit. One of them was running into a boy, we'll call him Dave, who was seriously one of the hottest boys at our school. He used to strut around campus looking all badass in whatever clothing qualified as cool in the middle and late '90s with his equally cool hipster girlfriend, who was stunning in a heroin chic kind of way. They were quite the couple. Dave was also not terribly friendly, which of course added to his hotness.

During our post-graduation visit I ended up spending a bit of time with Dave, mostly because we shared a couple of mutual friends. Dave was considerably friendlier during these chats, like much, much friendlier. And happier, and well-adjusted-seeming. At first I chalked this up to no longer being stuck at a small college populated by nothing but hippy freako weirdos and their pretentious hipster counterparts. I after all, had recently developed these things called social skills, and had been enthusiastically testing them out on anyone who would let me. Dave included. So Dave and I are chatting and I made some sort of sarcastic remark about how funny it would be for somebody to come out of the closet after graduation because our school was so vehemently "gay friendly". I mean, the amount of talk we endured about Kinsey scales, "safe environments", and Act Up events was beyond unbelievable. Sometimes it seemed that being straight was the true alternative lifestyle. Anyway. Dave rolled his eyes at me and said "Coming out after graduation isn't as rare as you'd think." And then he changed the subject.

Wait, *pause*. What?

Dave is happy.
Dave is being nice to me.
Dave is hot and well dressed.


Dave is totally gay. Of course.

Since then I have run into Dave a couple of times. He lives in New York but sometimes work brings him to DC. He's always surprised and happy to see me and we always spend 5 very lovely minutes together. The topic of his gayness is never addressed specifically, but it's always there in the back of my mind and it makes me giggle.

With reunion coming up, I am kicking myself that I never got his email address. Because it would be totally swell to spend the weekend knocking back PBRs with Dave and hitting on cute boys together.

In the comments section, tell me what sort of clothes you thought were cool in the mid-to late 90s and what Dave and I will name our children should I be mistaken about his orientation.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's Not What You Think It Is

In the casual hookup scene, men often gripe about the tendency of women to get all emotionally wrapped up in what to them is purely a fun physical pursuit. Well, I got news for ya. Our so-called clinginess may not be entirely what you think.

[Before I go on, I would like to clarify that this entry was inspired by a PREVIOUS situation, not a CURRENT one. Okay, carrying on....]

When it comes to the hookup, it is true that many women will form an emotional attachment. These are the sort of women who should not have casual sex, ever. These are the women who will start to act all weird, jealous, call all the time, email crazy things, etc. This is the category that I personally try never to fall into (although I did in the past when I was younger, less experienced, and unable to see the difference between "hooking up" and "relationship".) These women should master the art of self-satisfaction and not sleep with anyone unless they're sure it's going somewhere.

On behalf of the rest of us, I would like to say something. Simply because a woman makes contact with you within a week of you leaving her house after a night of wild shenanigans, doesn't mean she wants to get married and have a million of your babies. In fact, if you think this, you need to get over yourself. In many cases, she may be fishing around for what she feels she is owed: a simple thank you.

Now be honest here, guys. How many times have you neglected to follow-up with your casual whatever partner to thank her for say, the nice home-cooked meal she made you, her splendid hospitality, or the fact that she didn't kick you out of bed when you started snoring? Would it be so difficult to shoot off a quick email a couple of days later saying "thanks for dinner, I had a great time with you, catch you later?" Is it really necessary to compartmentalize everything so damn much?

While sex often involves a bunch of potentially icky emotional things, it should never be devoid of common courtesies. If a woman is nice enough to sleep with you, you should be nice enough to treat her with a little respect. Even if you think she's a slut. Who knows--doing so might even up your chances of a repeat encounter, which is much easier for you than having to go out to the bar/on-line dating sites and pick up a new woman. Unless having sex with tons of different women is your M.O. And in that case, I would like to remind you of the syphilis epidemic currently raging through DC.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is Dead...

...probably because God hates biggots.


No, Really. My Lips Are Sealed (I Mean It This Time)

Sometimes one gets the feeling that blogging about something could really potentially screw it up. I'm just feeling all sorts of unsettled about everything today. I have this big presentation at work about that thing that now has a billing code. If the presentation goes well, I'm officially the manager of my own project. If it doesn't, I'm stuck in my current position with no interesting opportunities in sight, and my next several months of blog entries will be all about my search for a new job.

I hate not knowing what's next.

On another note, I'm attending a college reunion Memorial Day weekend. Part of me wants to pull out the stops to do all I can to look as uber fabulous as humanly possible. Really, anything other than how I looked when I graduated would be an improvement. The details are too awful to divulge. Let's just say I was significantly fatter and I had been cutting my own hair. So even at my utter worst these days, I am significantly improved.

But why stop there?

Isn't the possibility of seeing people you haven't seen in 8 years a great motivator for buying new clothes? I think so. Plus, I have been steadily exercising and sort of dieting since January, and am actually seeing significant improvements. Last night like a complete dork, I measured myself and I am proud to report that I am almost a size 6. I know for many of you that doesn't seem terribly small. But being naturally curvy, it's an accomplishment for yours truly. I don't know if others really notice the difference, but I do. And because of that, I deserve new sundresses, dammit!

I wish I were one of those people who can afford to shop at CUSP and Barney's Coop (seriously, who are you people? would you mind telling me where you get all that money?) so instead I will have to settle for Banana Republic. I just sent my mom links to the dresses I'm considering. Again, because I am a dork and still seek my mother's approval.

My hair was already cut last month and since I'm not wild about it, I intend to leave it alone for a few months. I've been wearing it clipped up and back, which I will continue to do reunion weekend. I was considering an investment in a facial, but never having had one, I am nervous. My skin is incredibly sensitive and I don't think it would be wise to expose it to new procedures the same week I need it to look glowy and ten years younger. Instead, I'm investing in a good mud mask and some new tinted moisturizer. But if any of you have any suggestions for skin products that make you look glowy, dewy and youthy, do let me know.

Beyond that, there will be the requisite mani/pedi; an attempt to get a little color on my skin so I can look less white (on Friday, a friend pointed to the my chest and the veins that you can see through my skin and asked me if I'm sick. I had to explain to her that no, you can see my veins because I am simply "that white."); and probably more fruitless fretting.

So that's where I'm at today--a big old jumble of nerves. In the comment section, tell me what you're feeling anxious about; your favorite skin care product; or where I can buy some killer new dresses. But if you answer H&M, Gap, or Zara, I am deleting your comment. Consider yourself warned.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

My Lips Are Sealed

There comes a time in a blogger's life when they're faced with the fact that not everyone they meet enjoys having the details of their personal life broadcasted for all to read over the internet. You may be wondering what that's all about. Well, it seems that not everyone is as shamelessly self-promotional as us, and some people actually prefer to keep their private lives private. Since I don't have to be entirely tight-lipped, here's what I *can* tell you. I was set up. My married friends set me up. Of course, cynical cynical me entered the situation assuming our little double date would qualify as a success mostly if I completely didn't revile the other person, could manage to not fall down the scary steep steps at RFK, and I could reflect upon the evening without any deep regrets.

Check, check (sticking to Converse and not wearing platforms or heals aided the realization of this particular goal), and check.

As a jaded single person, it's easy to assume occasions like that aren't going reap significant results. In fact, it's easier than getting your hopes up like a total chump only to have them rained on. On Saturday it did rain, but the drops illuminated by the lights at RFK against a breathtaking purple-black sky were achingly gorgeous. Until they started to soak our section and we were forced to move up a several rows, but I digress. Otherwise, it might as well have been sunny and bright.

We were driven away from the game to a friend's birthday party. Several rounds of bourbon and cokes, combined with the effects of giddily-attempting to play it cool in front of everyone else yet failing miserably, reduced us to a pair of teenagers. Giggling and hand-holding ensued. I know, I have officially become *that girl*. Feel free to mock me. I totally deserve it.

Do you remember what I said about just wanting the universe to send me a cultured, literate, sarcastic man with a good job? Well, it finally listened. It even made up for past disappointments by giving me one who is lanky, tall and dark-haired to boot.

Thank you, universe. At the very least, you made this blogger's Monday a little more bearable, as I flit about my day giggling at my email account and girlishly wondering what's next.


Friday, May 11, 2007

The Case of the Mysterious Bag With The Knitting Project In It

Because it's Friday and I am too overwhelmed by the task at hand at work to give it my proper attention, I think I will instead regale you dear readers with a most interesting mystery that is vexing my roommates and I. A couple of days ago, a brightly colored paper bag containing a pair of knitting needles and a ball of dark red yarn appeared on the steps of our front walk. Figuring it belonged to somebody who might have left it there on accident, I hung it from the railing on the walk for them to find when they retraced their steps. But they haven't, because the bag still hangs there (or it was hanging there, I think M might have taken it inside).

How do you suppose the bag found its way to us?

A thinks that it's a chain-knitting project and that we're supposed to knit several rows before passing it on to another house. M thinks he might use it to learn how to knit. I have no clue. While I am charmed by the idea of a chain knitting project, it seems too whimsical a notion for a DC-based brain to have conjured. There are several small children who walk by our house from time-to-time, my guess is that one of them dropped it.

What do you think? Did one of you lose a bag of knitting?


Successful First Date Checklist

Arrived on time, a few minutes before me even, which is significant considering my compulsive punctuality-CHECK
Acted happy to see me when I arrived-CHECK
Helped me with my chair when I sat down-CHECK
Asked me questions about myself, therefore indicating an interest in getting to know me-CHECK
Offered counter information about himself, thereby indicating his status as a semi-open person-CHECK
Had interesting information to offer-CHECK
Cool job-CHECK
Attractive-CHECK (although blond and average height, two things I don't normally go for, but in this case am overlooking)
Chemistry in air, but not so much that it might could my judgement and cause me to do something stupid-CHECK
Gave off friendly, cool, down to earth vibe-CHECK
Possesses slight, yet not self-destructive rebellious streak-TBD, although he does own a motorcycle.
Understanding of my complete fear of motorcycles-CHECK
Didn't feel compelled to get plastered in order to stand spending time with me-CHECK
Seemed at least somewhat into me-CHECK
Walked me part-way home even though his car was parked in the opposite direction-CHECK
Inspired me to announce the success of my encounter to my roommate (hi!) and his friends-CHECK

Yes children, that is what a sucessful first date looks like, in case you had forgotten. It's okay, I had too.

Shout-out to E2 for suggesting the Checklist format for this posting.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Heart Trouble

Yup, I cannot lie. Sure, I complain about the drama once the sh*t hits the fan, but all in all, I am a firm believer that a little trouble is good for the soul. Even better when it simply falls on your lap, saving you the effort of seeking it out. Even even better is when it warns of its decent ahead of time so you can plan ahead with measures such as giving your friends a heads-up, planning a hot outfit, and making sure your cutest set of unmentionables from Coupe de Foudre is ready to be trotted out.

Also hot are girlfriends who fully encourage your bad behavior. I am a firm believer in having a variety of friends capable of giving you all sorts of emotional support. While the settled "responsible" ones are great for granting you a sense of stability and forcing you to repent for your mistakes, it's also key to have a few who help you embrace your inner bad girl. I'm lucky enough to have several of these. While some are overt about their bad-assness, with others it kind of surprises you. I have one in particular who upon meeting her, you think she's the sweetest most innocent person on earth, and then she she'll share a story about dirty text messaging during work or some other similar shenanigans. People who appear to be one thing, and then surprise you by being something even better are awesome.

My life's mantra, which I have shared with you before, is If You Can't Be Good, Be Happy. A hope to apply this philosophy to my Friday night, which is currently quadruple-booked with social engagements. I need to get my fill of the scandal then, as Saturday I will descend into the Land of Couple. This is not to say that I don't enjoy the company of the Land of Couple, because I do. But being there requires subscribing to a different set of behaviors and it's usually quite painfully clear that I am a mere visitor in its lands.

All of this reminds me of a quote that has recently captured my attention. It's in the current issue of Elle Magazine and its source is the actress Christina Ricci. I've long had an affinity for her, mainly because she hit her angsty/rebellious/chubby girl phase at the exact same moment I did, and during that time I could always relate to her in the interviews I read with her in magazines. Well, I have grown up a bit as has she. Reflecting upon how her 15 minutes of rebellion has formed her adult identity she said "You can be a bad girl and still be a nice person. Who says the two says the two are mutually exclusive?" Here, here! I also happen to covet the threads she wore in the spread.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Karma Chameleon

I played hooky from work on Monday. I didn't have much of a reason for this decision. I was not hung-over, more disillusioned with my job than usual, or suffering from any physical maladies. I simply didn't feel like going. When my alarm went off at its appointed time, I played my usual rounds of snooze bar roulette before finally turning it off for good at 7:30. I slept for 2 more hours and then fired off an email to my boss telling her I wasn't feeling well and that I'd be sleeping and working from home for the rest of the day.

My day was a good one consisting of many fine activities including yelling at the construction workers who have been stealing our parking for the last several weeks. A sample of that conversation goes as follows:

Construction Worker: Can you move that moving van parked behind your house?
Me: You mean the van parked in our spaces that we pay for that you regularly use without our permission? I don't think so. And as long as we're talking, I don't appreciate being woken up at 8:00 am on Saturdays with your drilling and hammering either.

There was also a trip to the gym, which I had almost entirely to myself; some takeout sushi for lunch from Tono; a jaunt to the Whole Foods; and several hours of outdoor time with a glass of wine and Sunday's New York Times. In short, it was a nice day. Nothing Ferris Bueller would be especially impressed by, but I did what I wanted, when I wanted.

But since then, karma has caught up with me. I blame my parents for my almost crippling dependency on karma. Throughout my childhood it was constantly drilled into my head that whatever I did would come back to me a million-fold if I wasn't careful. It's resulted in a bit of a guilt complex.

First there was my date last night with boring lawyer guy (BLG). BLG was perfectly charming over email, wildly funny, even. And the photos I saw of him suggested that he'd be cute in a blond preppy kind of way. I was extremely excited to meet him thinking I had finally found the perfectly disheveled preppy guy with a good sense of sarcasm, an appreciation for irony, a liberal mindset and a slight wild streak. Wrong-o. BLG was a total clone of thousands of other young-30 something men in DC. You know the type--average height, a little stocky, boring facial features. The ones whose idea of a good first date is drilling you about what jobs you've had for every minute you've been in the city, who can't understand why somebody would just move somewhere on a whim, who certainly aren't particularly funny or unique in real life. The ones who are all suited up with no place to go.

BLG downed three beers in the 90 minutes that we spent together and made up some reason to cut out around 8:00 pm. Lame. I'm beginning to think that there are no appropriate boyfriends for me in this area. I need somebody a bit artsy and cultured without being totally pretentious about it; dryly funny; liberal without being a drum-beating patchouli-soaked hippy; gainfully employed but not career-obsessed; and cute. He doesn't even have to drop-dead gorgeous nor does he need to be rich. You got that, universe? In case there was a confusion, that's what I'm after. Okay, now that we've cleared that up....God, that paragraph was rather obnoxious wasn't it? I've never considered myself to be rigid in my dating standards, in fact, recently I've been pretty flexible. I've never wanted to be that girl who only dates men who fall within a rigid mold. And I'm not, but in an *ideal* world, that's what I hope to find. Okay, moving on...

Karma really got to me this morning though, when I looked in the mirror before my shower to realize I was once again suffering from puffy eyelid syndrome. This happens once every couple of years. My left eyelid swells up for day and during that day, I withstand funny looks from my friends and co-workers and people remark that I look "different, somehow." I usually wear my reading glasses all day when this happens, the frames of which semi-obscure the issue. I expect this to be healed by tomorrow.

Oh, and my Gmail is totally f*cked today.

I'm convinced this is payback for lying to my boss, which I understand to be a terrible thing to do. Yes universe, I read you loud and clear.

I have high expectations for the rest of the week. Tomorrow I have yet another date, and Friday is chock-filled with about four different social activities. Moreover, a certain inappropriate so-and-so seems to be angling for some special alone time, a rarity in our relationship. Normally he just pounces when drunk, but now he's making pains to tell me how pretty I look in my client-meeting-at-work ensembles and IMing to ensure that I'll be at certain drinking activities. I can't imagine what he has up his sleeve this time, but I'm looking forward to being buttered up a bit more as I find out.

Then Saturday is shopping, a baseball game and a party.

Hopefully the universe believes I have paid my dues and doesn't throw any more of wild curve balls. With my luck, they'd be likely to break my nose.


Friday, May 04, 2007

...And the Slut Gets Cancer

There's this trend I've been noticing on television that I don't particularly like. Many shows that include a female character who "sleeps around" often decide to inflict some sort of awful, unpleasant, and at times fatal, medical predicament upon that character.

*Spoiler Warning* If you care about Grey's Anatomy, like surprises and have yet to watch last night's episode, you may not want to read on (sorry Jason!).

Exhibit #1: Dawson's Creek, Jen Lindely.
When we first meet Jen, she is the mysterious NYC girl with a "checkered past", ie: she used to do E and have sex. Throughout the course of the series she's given more complexity and depth (or as much as Dawson's can muster seeing as how it's a WB show). But ultimately, her days as a slut catch up with her when she's killed off in the last episode by a mysterious heart condition.

Exhibit #2: Sex in the City, Samantha Jones.
This hardly requires an explanation. The most "sexually liberated" of the fearsome foursome, Samantha is diagnosed with breast cancer in the show's final season. Although she triumphantly beats it, this plot line didn't sit well with me. I really felt like they were punishing the character for her lifestyle.

Exhibit #3: Grey's Anatomy, Addison Montgomery.
Addie cheats on her husband with his best friend, gets pregnant, terminates with an abortion, later learns she can no longer have children because she is now infertile. In words, she "screwed up" her only chance at having a child with her evil, evil abortion. Gag.

Obviously, there are consequences to reckless sexual behavior. People who have a lot of different partners and who don't use protection are almost certain to get a sexually transmitted infection (the PC term for STD in case you didn't know). But why must TV go a-moralizing on us by giving its more overtly sexual female characters cancer, heart disease and infertility? When was the last time a television man-whore came down with a life threatening illness? What is up with the double standards? Can we please finally do away with the whole virgin/whore dichotomy? It's getting old.

Speaking of sex and illnesses...What's the deal with jokes about STIs? I've noticed a definite trend among my peers to crack jokes about STIs and refer to them as the "worst things ever" and people who have them as "nasty" or "dirty" or whathaveyou. Given the prevalence of certain strains of these infections, chances are that many of the people who make such comments may be carrying them themselves. And stigmatizing them isn't going to make public awareness any higher. Having an STI doesn't make you a bad person. It might indicate that you made some reckless choices, but even that isn't always the case.

Many people contract STIs from partners who have cheated. Others contract them from partners they thought were healthy because they didn't display any symptoms. Sure, many people who sleep around with no regard for their or other peoples' emotional or physical well beings carry STIs. But not everyone who has one does because they're a dirty slut. So let's stop stigmatizing and start being a little more understanding and accepting. If you suspect you have something, go get tested. Wear a condom, abstain, whatever. And remember, what goes around, comes around.

And on that note, I leave you to your weekends. Be safe, kids!

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Charge It!

I must say, that all complaints about anti-Semitic Scots aside, this is shaping up to be a pretty decent week. The boy I entertained on Saturday hasn't yet to disappoint me in any cunning and original new ways, I received only minor edits on some writing I submitted at work, I've had nothing but lovely interactions with my roommates, and...my top secret project at work has been given a charge code!

In the world of consulting, charge codes are a big deal. They're used to account for our time, determine who pays us, and track our project involvement. A little while ago, I approached our CEO with an idea for a new business venture for our company. Ours is a rather progressive company in that management looks to associates to come up with new business ideas. In suggesting my idea, I didn't think it would go terribly far. But I wanted to put the idea out there, even if all it meant was that I'd be given credit as an innovative thinker.

Much to my shock and delight, our CEO quickly became enamored with the idea, and we've been working on it in secret to bring it into fruition. Sadly, I can't yet share the idea with you as he's terrified somebody else is going to "steal" it from us. But it's a good one, I promise.

I've been working on the project for several hours a week in my own time for the last month or so. But last week we had a meeting with several other associates who we're bringing on for support. Given the fact that several of us are now on the case, our company decided to take the plunge and pay us for our efforts. To mark that fact, we were given a real-life charge code. It's official! We're a project!

Taking initiative has always been a challenge for me, so it's a bit surreal that initiative I took has resulted in something so real and concrete that people actually care about. Normally my ideas are just kind of abstract and pie-in-the-sky. That, and I normally think of myself as a writer, not a business development guru. In a way, it's a little scary. Putting ideas out there is one thing, but once you do that you put yourself in the spotlight for examination. If you fall, more people see you. This situation has been a very illuminating one for me in taking risks. You can't be afraid of possible success. As easy as it is to hide in the shadows under a comfortable and well-worn slacker disguise, it's much more valuable to shake off those layers and let more people see you and your brilliance.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Is That A Swastika on Your Neck or Are You Just a Complete and Total Douche?

Remember the one about the guy who took me to dinner at Charlie Palmers? And remember how psyched I was to have pulled off a successful dinner date? And then remember how I haven't mentioned him in a week and I hooked up with somebody else over the weekend?

I suppose you're expecting an explanation. Sigh, fine.

I ran into said gentleman last week by accident. By which I mean, I was at a bar after Bocce Ball and he was there. I wanted to spend time with my new Bocce friends, but he and I got to talking. Actually, we got to arguing. When I found him it sort of looked like he was on a date, so I took pains to not talk to him for very long before going to see my friends. Because what else do you do when you see your crush throwing back beers with another woman and the situation is too new that any sort of exclusivity has been discussed or even desired? Right, you make polite conversation and you give them their space. So that's what I did.

But he eventually tracked me down and confronted me on my coldness. Apparently they weren't on a date. Apparently they're "just friends" and it was wrong of me not to shove my tongue down his throat in front of her. Fine, whatever. My fault as always.

Anyway, the conversation soon veered into a lecture about my jealousy and tendency to mistrust people and jump to the wrong conclusions. Ouch. Okay, point taken. I do all those things. I'm a woman and I don't have the best track record with men. I get it, I'm jaded and could stand to open my heart a little more. Fine, I'll work on that.

Blah, blah, blah. He starts rambling on about how "what you see is what you get" with him, how he was no secrets and can only date people who can deal with his honesty.

[Normally I consider that a good thing, by the way.]

But then...blah, blah, blah (delivered in a Scottish accent)...I have a swastika tattooed on my neck...

Um, say what?

Yeah...swastika...tattoo...Jews suck...blah, blah.

You know that my dad's whole side of the family is Jewish right?

Yeah, I know...swastika, openness, Jews suck...blah, blah.

Sometimes it's actually sort of refreshing when somebody gives you such an easy out of a messy situation. Our relationship was going nowhere anyway, so it was really for the best that I found out now that he's a complete and total white trash bigot jackoff. And as I was telling another blogger friend yesterday, it's better that he told me rather than having me find it by accident. I can't imagine anything killing the mood of a hot makeout session more than an ugly symbol of centuries old oppression inked on my partner's body.

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