Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not. Good.


Is never good.

This is what happens when I plug a USB device into my computer. After ruling out any problems with my Ipod, Itunes, or other devices, looks like the fix shouldn't be too difficult--just uninstalling and reinstalling the USB drivers.

But still. Sometimes I think I must be like Jubilee from X-Men, able to destroy any electronic device with just a touch.

UPDATE: the problem seems to be more serious than originally thought. The computer has been passed off to my Stepmom for her expert computer-repair skills. Keep your fingers crossed for me kinds--it's not looking good.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Well I never thought it was actually possible, but I managed to find a place even more humid than Washington, D.C. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you: Atlanta.

While actually cooler than DC last week (by about 8 degrees), Atlanta had more humidity than my humble home, and managed to transform what should have been a quick and easy walk to the Kroger into a steam bath. I'm not usually a big sweating person, but darn if I wasn't dripping before I had gotten to the first stoplight.

Thanks, Atlanta!


For some reason, for the past few weeks, I have been mistaken several times for a student of some kind, usually high school. It all began with the exchange I blogged about earlier (at the gas station) where some dude asked me how school was (WTF), and then continued with my business trip to Atlanta.

There I was eating breakfast, in my work clothes, when the chaperon of some school group comes up to me to tell me where I needed to meet up with everyone. Lady, I am almost 30 years old! Come on now.

The second incident occurred when I was being driven to the airport. Instead of a regular cab I was in a town car (he happened to be first in line at the hotel taxi stand) and I was chit chatting with the driver. When he asked why I was in town and told him I was here for work, I'm an attorney with the government, blah blah blah, he (very vocally) expressed surprise that I was a lawyer since "I looked way way too young!" I laughed a little uncomfortably, and then told him I was actually 29. His response was to hand me his card and tell me that if I was ever in Atlanta again and "needed anything or wanted to hang out" to give him a call. Thanks?

Now when I relate these cases of mistaken age, most people say how awesome it is, how I should be flattered. But here's the thing. It kind of pisses me off. I know it's good that I look young, and I'm going to be loving that shit in like 10 years, but right now I'm at a place in my life and career when I want to be taken seriously. I want people to see me as someone they can relate to as an equal, and not think I'm an 18 year old punk (because all 18 year olds are punks in some way. Talk to one, you'll see).

It's not the same thing as being carded at the bar, or called "miss" instead of "ma'am." That's something I can appreciate. But when I am carrying a briefcase and wearing a suit and someone still thinks I am of college-age, it's kind of a problem.

My solution: more make-up? But then all those high school girls look like whores now anyway so I'm not sure that's going to help.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The following conversation took place this afternoon while I was pumping gas:

Old gas station attendant man (OGSAM): Well, hello there young lady!

Me: Hello!

OGSAM: How was school today?

Me: .......

Me: I wouldn't know!

OGSAM: Aren't you in school??

Me: Actually, I work for the federal government.

OGSAM: Really? No way!

Me: I'm afraid so.

And I can't decide if it's really awesome or kind of sad that this guy thought I was still in high school.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Remodeling a kitchen and a brain.

Do you realize that I have lived in my condo now for almost three years?? It seems like just yesterday I was chronicling my search for a condo on this very blog and writing about my brief panic attack the first night I spent in my new place. And now here we are, almost three years later, when being a homeowner is something I take completely for granted. Until something breaks. Then the reality of it all comes crashing back.

"Wait. I have to pay to replace your bathroom ceiling because my toilet was leaking? Fuck."

Around November of last year, I made a decision. If I was going to be a grown-up then dammit, I needed a grown-up kitchen. This also happens to be around the time I decided I would start cooking regularly and realized that my current kitchen situation was completely inadequate. The lack of storage was getting to be something of a critical problem, and the consequential stacking of all my cookware on top of my refrigerator was quite an eyesore.

So I decided that I would start saving my pennies for a kitchen remodel. Now we aren't talking a full gutting; I'm not getting any new appliances, and the floor and wall color are all staying. What is coming in are new kitchen cabinets and counter-tops.

Let me just say, this has not been as easy as I thought it would be.

I figured that by going to Home Depot I could do one-stop shopping. You know, I'd pick out the cabinets and counter-tops and they would install everything and there you go! Unfortunately, the cabinets are separately ordered and delivered through Kraftmaid, the contractor then comes in and installs them, I have to find a separate person to do the counter-tops (since the Home Depot contractors won't do counter projects as small as mine) and then the original contractor comes BACK and makes sure everything is a-ok. That means there's a lot of planning and organizing. But you know what? If there is one thing I am good at, it is planning and organizing.

Over the past two months I have been meeting with the Home Depot kitchen designer to plan my perfect kitchen. Everything was peachy until the goddamn condo association told me I couldn't take my cabinets all the way to the ceiling on one side and cover the forty year old non-functioning exhaust vent. And this was after I had called the city and spoken to one of their engineers who assured me covering the vent was fine as long as I had the permit.

Now let's just pretend I've gone ahead and ranted for like half an hour about the condo board, ok? I mean, it was obviously a huge pain in the ass, but I've reached the point where I'm kind of over it. Done. Finito.

So, it was back to the drawing board. I ended up with cabinets going all the way to the ceiling except for a two foot area in front of the vent. While it looks kind of goofy having one area of not as tall cabinets, I'm filling the space with some custom wine racks, so at least it won't be wasted space. And hopefully it will be more pleasing to the eye.

After a week of internet searching and asking people if they know any handymen, I found someone to cut and install my new counter-tops! I ended up going with a neighbor of my mom's who owns a handyman business and whose daughter used to babysit me. So, random. But all in all, it seems to fit in with how things usually end up. You roam all over looking for something and it turns out to be staring you in the face. Like me looking for the ketchup in the fridge and there it is, right in front of me.

The cabinets are being delivered Friday, September 11 and the contractor comes Monday, September 14 to install. So I have a month to prepare. Although we all know I'm going to end up running around the kitchen the night before madly trying to empty cabinets. It's how I roll.

Currently Reading: "Marked," the first in the House of Night series. I've been on a serious YA fantasy/vampire fiction role lately.

Currently Listening To: "Nothing Rhymes With Woman," the new Carbonleaf CD. Gotta prep for the Wolftrap concert at the end of the month!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Operation Get Mom Out of the House

Since my mother's heart attack 18 months ago, I made it my personal mission to get her out and about. Of course she's been doing a lot of the work on her own; rejoining the synagogue she attended as a child (Beth El in Alexandria), going to Jazzercise classes three times a week, but I still it as something of my responsibility to see that she goes out and has fun.

So this last Saturday I dragged her to The Birchmere in Alexandria to see 1964, a Beatles tribute band. I figured this would be right up her ally, I knew she loved the music (she introduced me to The Beatles when I was 14 when The Beatles Anthology aired on ABC), and the Birchmere is a small enough venue that she wouldn't feel overwhelmed. I'm not sure how much she was looking forward to it, but it was a lovely night and as we walked into the Birchmere she had memories of standing in line for tickets there for a show about 30 years previously.

We got there an hour early, but apparently it wasn't early enough, since we got stuck at a small table in the very back in the room. We still had a great view though, and it really just meant that if we wanted to get up and dance (which we did) it didn't bother anybody else.

I had a great time, and the best part was, Mom did too! She mentioned that she hadn't been to a concert with an actual rock band for maybe 20 years, and I can't remember the last time I saw her dance, whoop, and clap her hands like that. She couldn't stop raving about the concert afterwards, and she sang along to every song. In fact she pretty much schooled me on rocking out.

Here we are at the show:

And here's a blurry photo of the band:

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Comic Con Adventures: Friday

Friday at Comic Con was a big day for me. It presented the opportunity to meet my two favorite writers, one of books and short stories, and the other of television: Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon. In fact, the entire day was structured around my being present for the panels including these two.

Luckily, I didn’t have long to wait for the first star appearance, since Neil Gaiman was participating on the panel for the DVD and Blu-ray release of the film adaptation of his book, Coraline. In case you aren’t familiar with Neil, you should check out his books Neverwhere and American Gods, or if your taste run more to the ridiculous, Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett. Some of his writings have been made into movies; the aforementioned Coraline, as well as Stardust and Mirror Mask. He also has a blog that you can find here that I can’t recommend enough.

Neil Gaiman (in the center of the pic)

The panel for Coraline began at 10:30, but I made sure I was there well before, since I was taking no chances with this one. While the panel also featured the director of the film (the same guy who directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, etc.) and Terry Hatcher who voiced one of the characters…I was all about Neil. He didn’t get the chance to say much, since there were a large number of people on the panel, but just being in the same room as his was pretty cool. I mean, I know it’s lame to get all fangirly over someone, and it’s not like I had the chance to speak to him personally, but on that day, in that place, sitting within 30 feet of me, was the guy who has written some of my favorite books! If I didn’t care about being arrested, I could have touched the head that housed the brain that had created stories I have gotten lost within!

It was pretty cool.

And for once, the questions asked by the fans were pretty good. I especially liked when someone asked Neil which book he wished would be adapted for film next. He mentioned that The Graveyard Book was currently being developed (not as scary as it sounds, trust me), but mentioned that American Gods was the one he would like to see as a movie. This, of course, got a big round of applause.

After Neil Gaiman, I was kind of in a blurry glow of happiness, but I had enough wherewithal to get my butt to the next panel early; a sneak-peak at the new Starz show Spartacus: Blood and Sand (which you can find a post about on the tv blog soon). The show looks pretty badass and features Lucy Lawless who was also present on the panel.

But let me just say this: if you ever get the chance to ask a question to the panel in a situation such as this, think VERY CAREFULLY about what you are going to ask. Because the questions here were, frankly, embarrassing. Remember, the people on that panel are there because they are promoting that specific show. Nobody wants to talk about something they did 15 years ago. So, the endless parade of people asking Lucy Lawless about Xena got really old really quickly. Oh, and to the dude who asked, I kid you not, “Do you think you will ever work with Kevin Sorbo again?” Thanks for wasting my time.

After Spartacus, the four of us, me, Rachel, Selvi, and Carly, dashed over and joined the line to get into Ballroom 20 because nothing was going to keep me from the Joss Whedon panels that afternoon. We managed to get in for the panel before it, Bones, and then…it was time. I was about to see Joss Whedon!

The line for Ballroom 20 was so long, we had to wait outdoors, but at least the view was nice!

He came out with no fanfare, just walked out to the podium and introduced the episode of Dollhouse we were about to watch (a super special “lost” episode, in fact). He looked good, bearded, and seemed to have lost some weight. After the screening, he and Eliza Dushku came out and there was an hour long question and answer period.

Joss and Eliza

Joss in person is just what I expected/hoped: funny, clever, self-deprecating, thoughtful, and appreciative of the fans and the success they have brought him. I don’t want to sound lame, but it was really was a big old love fest. We loved him for loving us and he loved us and for loving him, and that’s because none of us got enough love in our childhood. There was a lot of scoop spilled on the show (as usual it will be on the other blog), but it was just cool to sit there and watch him work his dorky mojo. And, unlike the Spartacus panel earlier, all the questions asked were appropriate and addressed things everyone in the room was wondering.

After Joss had finished, it was getting late in the day, but we all decided to stick around for the TV Guide Sci-Fi Hotlist panel that was starting next. We moved up to the front and scored third row seats for a panel that included Zachary Levi, John Cho, Rebecca Romijn, and Scott Wolf (among others). Zach was fun, but honestly we were all a bit wiped.

Me and Carly in Ballroom 20.

After that panel wrapped up, we dragged ourselves back into the streets and found another place to have dinner; a great Italian place recommended by a pair of guys I chatted with while waiting in line to get into Ballroom 20. They were hating on Twilight (which seems these days to be as popular as the books themselves), but I am not one for criticizing other people’s fandoms. Everyone is entitled to geek out about something, right? Anyway, one of these guys had really done his homework and assembled his own Comic Con pocket guide, including a list of restaurants nearby. So we checked out the Italian place at his recommendation and stuffed ourselves with delicious pasta and wine.

All in all, it was a very good day.