Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowpocalypse and being an adult

Unless you are living under a rock (or on the West Coast, possibly), you know my fellow mid-Atlantic-dwellers and I are currently experiencing a record-breaking December snowstorm, which the Weather Channel has dubbed "a winter wallop." Now, aside from the obvious grumbling that this had to happen on a weekend and couldn't buy us all a few days off work by doing its walloping on, say, a Tuesday, I've learned a few things in the past 12 hours. With the exception of a year and a half I spent being a Viking in Copenhagen, Denmark, I've lived in the mid-Atlantic region (Maryland) since I was nearly 8; the better part of, um, 15 years?! Eeep. Anyway, my point is not to age myself. My point is to illustrate that I should have a basic understanding of what you need before -- and what you need to do after -- a major snowstorm. Here's a list of things I've come up with of basic things responsible adults need to do before a snowstorm.

Things Adults do Before and After Snowstorms

1. Buy salt for sidewalks and walkways.

(I live in a house, not an apartment where they have groundskeepers to "de-snow" for you). I realized we should probably get salt for our walkway around, oh, 9:30 last night, after it had already started snowing. I needed to go to the grocery store anyway, so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to pick a bag of rock salt for the walk there. Unfortunately, rock salt is either hardware store-exclusive or they were completely sold out of three grocery stores. I'm guessing the latter, considering it was already snowing and meteorologists have been predicting snowpocalypse since Wednesday. More on grocery store madness in a minute.

Anyway, being the resourceful Bob-Villa-cum-McGyver that I am, I picked up a $.52 container of table salt and decided that would work for the walk (we don't have sidewalks in our neighborhood and thus aren't bound under sidewalk clearing laws -- in my parents' neighborhood, they have to be cleared within 12 hours of the end of snowfall). I came home, ripped the spout off the container and "liberally" "sprinkled" the walk. When I woke up this morning and saw over a foot of snow outside my bedroom window, I ran to the front door, anxious to see my salt at work, doing it's chemical-melting-thang on the walk. Um, no. EPIC FAIL #1.

2. Locate your snow shovel. Place it by the front door, ready for action.

Last night, I was explaining my brillant table-salt-on-the-walk idea to my roommate (sounding overly pleased with my "resourcefulness," I'm sure). I distinctly remember saying something along the lines of "No worries if it doesn't work, we have a snow shovel." Well. Thing I've learned number two is that you need to know where your snow shovel is to USE it. Like, if it's sitting out back, leaning against the side of the house, maybe go grab it before there is over a foot of snow on the ground. Now I have no idea where our snow shovel is and the table-salt-on-the-walk brilliant chemical reaction isn't working. EPIC FAIL #2. This will probably become EPIC FAIL #s 3, 4 and 5 when my roommates and I need to "dig" our cars out.

3. Go to the grocery store, stock up on necessities, like bananas.

Wait, bananas? As mentioned above, I did have the foresight above to go to the grocery store (after it had already started snowing) to get some "necessities." "Necessities" for me included soy creamer for my coffee and cottage cheese. Normal people's snow storm "necessities" include things like soup, milk, eggs and bananas. Wait, bananas? Yes. Man, it was crazy. I just wanted two or three bananas to go with my greek yogurt and oatmeal and you'd think that bananas are out of season on the East Coast (haha, wait a second...!). In all seriousness, though, three out of three grocery stores I visited were completely out of bananas. In two of the three, the banana area of the produce section looked like the water aisle at Harris Teeter in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo. There were ripped open banana boxes everywhere and not a banana in sight. When checking out of the second store, I spied one lonesome, already-browning banana right by checkout. I grabbed it. The old woman in line in front of me was like "Wow, where'd you find that banana?" I was pleased to have gotten what was probably the last unclaimed banana in three states. In retrospect, I probably should have offered to give it to her. Oh well.

It's still snowing, so this list will probably grow once it stops. I'm going to gear up and go on a Snow safari to find the snow shovel and, once I do, pretend the excursion was my plan the whole time. Maybe I'll also go visit Mike Seidel, Weather Channel's on-location reporter in Tenleytown (about a mile from me) who just said "oops, I tripped over slush" on the air. Maybe I can audition to be the next Jim Cantore. Where is my favorite meteorologist, anyway?

Stay safe, DC. Don't let your white pets out in the snow. Enjoy your bananas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

“I wake up in the middle of the night and write things that are beautiful” or Does the New York Times hate Orrin Hatch?

The following was published in the New York Times on December 8, 2009. Apparently Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is quite the songster and holds a soft spot in his heart for Jews. I've bold italicized the best parts.

December 9, 2009

A Senator’s Gift to the Jews, Nonreturnable

WASHINGTON — The canon of Hanukkah songs written by Mormon senators from Utah just got a little bigger.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a solemn-faced Republican with a soft spot for Jews and a love of Barbra Streisand, has penned a catchy holiday tune, “Eight Days of Hanukkah.”

The video was posted Tuesday night on Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish lifestyle and culture, just in time for Hanukkah.

Known around the Senate as a prolific writer of Christian hymns and patriotic melodies, Mr. Hatch, 75, said this was his first venture into Jewish music. It will not be his last.

“Anything I can do for the Jewish people, I will do,” Mr. Hatch said in an interview before heading to the Senate floor to debate an abortion amendment. “Mormons believe the Jewish people are the chosen people, just like the Old Testament says.”

In short, he loves the Jews. And based on an early sampling of listeners, the feeling could be mutual.

“Watching Orrin Hatch in the studio, I said to myself that nothing this great will ever happen to me again,” said Alana Newhouse, the editor-in-chief of Tablet.

Set against a bouncy synthesizer beat, the song begins:

“Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah,

The festival of light/

In Jerusalem,

The oil burned bright.”

Adding to the project’s only-in-America mishmash is that the song is performed by Rasheeda Azar, a Syrian-American vocalist from Indiana. But Mr. Hatch is the song’s unquestioned prime mover, or macher. He is featured in the video, sitting stoic in the studio, head bobbing slightly, donning earphones and contributing backup vocals.

The song’s contagious refrain goes:

“Eight days of Hanukkah,

Come let’s celebrate.

Eight days of Hanukkah,

Let’s celebrate tonight, Hey!”

At one point, Mr. Hatch unbuttons his white dress shirt to expose the golden mezuzah necklace he wears every day. Mezuzahs also adorn the doorways of his homes in Washington and Utah. Mr. Hatch keeps a Torah in his Senate office.

“Not a real Torah, but sort of a mock Torah,” he said. “I feel sorry I’m not Jewish sometimes.”

The genesis of “Eight Days of Hanukkah” came a decade ago. Mr. Hatch was considering a run for the presidency in the campaign eventually won by George W. Bush (Mr. Hatch wound up writing a song for Mr. Bush’s second inaugural, titled “Heal Our Land”). He was discussing his love of songwriting with the writer Jeffrey Goldberg, a well-known mensch-about-town in Washington with a longtime grievance against “the general lameness of Hanukkah music.” (As a columnist for The Jerusalem Post years earlier, Mr. Goldberg had organized a “write-a-new-song-for-Hanukkah contest” that attracted 200 entries, most of them — in his estimation — “dreck.”)

He asked Mr. Hatch if he would write a Hanukkah song. The senator said he would, but never did.

Mr. Goldberg, who now writes for The Atlantic, mentioned the decade-old promise in his blog last year a few days before Christmas. A day later, Mr. Hatch sent him an apologetic e-mail message that included the first five stanzas of “Eight Days of Hanukkah.”

“I am willing to serve as a Semitic song muse for any United States senator,” Mr. Goldberg said. “God forbid any of the Jewish senators write a Hanukkah song.”

Mr. Hatch enlisted his collaborator, Madeline Stone, a Jewish songwriter from the Upper West Side of Manhattan who specializes in Christian music. “I’m a pretty liberal Democrat,” Ms. Stone said. “But it became more about the music and the friendship for me and Orrin.”

The song was recorded in October at a studio in Manhattan.

Mr. Hatch speaks of “Eight Days of Hanukkah” as a gift to the Jewish people. “This song means more to me than most of the songs I have ever written,” he said. “People need to know the story of Hanukkah. It was a miracle.”

He said his ultimate goal would be for his idol, Ms. Streisand, to perform one of his songs. “It would be good for her and good for me,” Mr. Hatch said, while acknowledging that given her outspoken liberalism, that union might require another miracle.

You can watch the video of Hatch in the recording studio (complete with taking his muzuzah necklace out of his shirt!) here.

The frosting on top of the cupcake is that Sen. Hatch's Hanukkah song has been A DECADE in the making. The Times published the following article on August 1, 1999. Again, I've bold italicized the best parts:

Love Is All Around

Orrin Hatch is a distinguished U.S. Senator who is running for the Presidency. But what he really likes to do is sing sweet songs of love.

By Jeffrey Goldberg

The New York Times, August 1, 1999

Midway through a conversation about his quixotic bid to be the Republican Presidential nominee, Orrin Hatch, the grim-faced Mormon patriarch who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked a question no other United States Senator has ever asked. Or, at the very least, has asked me.

The question: “Have you listened to my love songs?”

I had not, in fact, listened to his love songs. I was familiar with his gospel music—he has a new CD out, “Put Your Arms Around the World,” featuring Jesse Jackson’s daughter Santita—and I have listened to his patriotic songs, including “You Gotta Love This Country.” But I had not yet been exposed to his love songs.

Orrin Hatch, the senior Senator from Utah, is not associated in most minds with romance. Orrin Hatch talking about his love music is sort of like the farmer in “American Gothic” jumping off the painting and saying, “You know, what I’d really like to do is go to an all-night rave.”

Hatch asked me this improbable question as we walked through the Hart Senate Office Building. His press aide had warned me against bringing up Hatch’s budding career as a songwriter, on the grounds that he would never stop talking. The Senator loves talking about his music, so much so that he barely noticed the Secretary of State walking by. “Hi, Madeleine,” he finally said. “Keep up the good work.” Albright looked as if she might have something to say, but Hatch’s mind was elsewhere.

“You know, some of my songs are written just for Barbra,” he told me as we continued walking. Barbra, as in Streisand.

Hatch once wrote a song in honor of Ted Kennedy and his wife, Vicki, called “Souls Along the Way.” “Oh, he loved it,” Hatch said, speaking of Kennedy, his sometime legislative partner. “Everybody loves that song. Everybody in the industry thinks it could be a major hit.”

“We are souls along the way—in my heart you stay/You know my secrets, I have cried your pain,” the song goes.

I asked Hatch if he thought the Republican Party would expel him for writing songs for Ted Kennedy and dreaming of working with Barbra Streisand. “I’m not prejudiced. I love Democrats. One of my favorite Democrats is Gladys Knight.” On an album of inspirational music, Knight sings “Many Different Roads,” a song about Mother Teresa and Lady Diana that Hatch wrote the lyrics for: “A princess and a pauper/Walked the lonely roads of life/In many ways so different/And yet so much alike/Many different roads can lead to glory/Many different lamps can bring the light.”

“The music,” Senator Kennedy told me, “is a side of Senator Hatch that not too many people know about.”

Hatch would like that to change, because this is all you need to know about Orrin Hatch: while he would like to be President—name a Senator who wouldn’t—what he would really like to be is Neil Diamond.

Senator Hatch, who is 65, has written poetry for a long time, but he branched out into music only a few years ago, when a Utah composer, Janice Kapp Perry, asked him one day if he would give lyric writing a go. One thing led to another, and soon “he was sending them in batches of 10 and 15,” Perry said. Their first collaboration was “My God Is Love,” a CD of Christian praise.

“This is a way of getting my feelings out without hurting anybody or irritating anybody,” Hatch told me. “Well, some of the songs might irritate people.”

His music is a little bit country and a little bit rock-and-roll. A very little bit: though he professes to be an eclectic listener—I like some of the rap music”—his music fits comfortably into the easy-listening category. Everything rhymes, more or less, and subtexts are nonexistent. I asked him if he would ever write about darker subjects, like his poverty-stricken childhood (the Senator once worked as a janitor), or about controversies in his public career. But Hatch said he had no plans to set the Anita Hill episode to music. His music is straight uplift. “I wake up in the middle of the night and write things that are beautiful,” he said.

Listening to his Christian music gave me an idea. I have been on a 10-year campaign to encourage the writing of better Hanukkah songs. The current Hanukkah catalogue, Adam Sandler’s songs excepted, is insipid and shopworn. Perhaps, I suggested to Senator Hatch, he could write a Hanukkah song to go along with his vast repertory of Christmas music.

“I’m going to show you something I don’t show everybody,” Hatch responded, and pulled out from under his shirt a small mezuza on a chain.

Hatch cottoned to the idea of a Hanukkah song; some of the themes of Hanukkah, the quest for religious freedom most of all, echo the story of the Mormons. He said he would give it a try and invited me to return to his office later that week, to talk about the Hanukkah song and to—and there’s no other way to put this—kick back and listen to his love jams.

So one weekday morning, when the other dozen or so Republican candidates for President were presumably squeezing donors for money—Hatch is roughly $36 million behind George W. Bush, though he has asked that one million Americans contribute $36 each to his campaign—the Senator sat in his office for an hour and listened to CD’s.

“Do you like Sting?” he asked me as he began playing “Whispers of My Heart,” one of the love songs. Yes, I said. “This is Sting,” he responded.

It is?

“Well, no. Actually it’s a kid from Utah. But he sounds like Sting.”

I had prepared, at Hatch’s request, an outline of themes for his Hanukkah song. I would have suggested the title “Light My Fire,” but Orrin Hatch plays things straight, so I thought better of it. He read the outline carefully and said, “I think we can really do something here.” I recommended getting the song out in advance of the New York primary. But he said he doesn’t mix politics and music.

It is not entirely clear why Hatch is running for President. Unlike the other Republican munchkins, he has stature to lose. He has an impressive legislative record and the chairmanship of a powerful committee. He is running, he says, because he is the best alternative to George W. Bush, and because he could do a good job as President.

But then I put this question to him: If he had a choice between the Presidency and superstardom in the world of popular music, which would he choose? “President,” he said. With all due respect, I didn’t really believe him.

Orrin Hatch is my new favorite Senator... Mr. Congeniality.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who's regulating this? OR The existence of Santa and his carbon footprint...

On my way to work this morning, I noticed my neighbors had tacked this sign up on a telephone pole. Good thing I park on the other side on the street... But, on that note, doesn't the big guy park his sleigh on rooftops? Why does he need a reserved spot on my street? Maybe this is the new way parents ease into telling their kids Santa doesn't exist. This year, it's "kids, Santa has traded his antiquated (albeit low carbon footprint) sleigh for a mini van, which handles better and boasts greater fuel-efficiency than an SUV, the only other commercial class option that could possibly hold all those gifts." (Santa probably eats organic kale and Scottish oatmeal over cookies, too.) Next year, it'll be "kids, Santa has morphed into your mother. Sorry, they're one in the same."
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The sketchiest ATM in the world...

Spotted at Friendship Heights Metro station (Maryland side entrance under Indique Heights). Yes, it is just a box with air vents with a huge sticker that says ATM on the three visible sides. It's very poorly lit and there is no bank affiliation or anything... Um, yeah, go ahead, that seems legit.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

When it rains...

I saw these rainboots abandoned in a flower (tree?) bed at 9th and F NW tonight. They were large, so I assume they were men's boots, unless some female criminal stole them from the scene of a crime... Why not a girl borrowing them from her boyfriend? Because if someone borrowed them from someone they cared about, they wouldn't have just ditched them, they would have returned them -- rainboots aren't exactly the same as the throw-away shirt from your last half marathon. So why criminal? Because they were just abandoned when it was raining and they could have been useful? What bothers me about this theory though is that they were positioned the way the were. They were taken off deliberately. They weren't "run" out of in a chase (they would have been one in front of the other). Maybe the person wearing them. Took them off to go into Gordon Bierch (sp?), the restaurant directly in front of the tree bed? But why would you leave rainboots outside when it's still raining? It clearly wasn't to dry them out -- unless the decision was made when it was not raining. And then maybe the owner was in the restaurant and didn't realize the conditions had changed? (Drunk? Impaired by the darkness augmented by artificial light?) But that begs the question of safety... Washington, DC isn't rural Idaho. Stuff gets stolen. Why risk the "safety" (ownership) of your wellies to dry them outside? What would be wrong with the air inside the restaurant? Sure they wouldn't be scented like, um, DC (?!?!?). But... These boots are mystifying. This could be because I admittedly had one (or two) too many chard-cranberries (I know, I'm so gauche it hurts sometimes), but it could be because I naturally like to analyze the life out of everything and I occasionally thought-vomit all over my blog. Wait, who am I kidding? This blog is called 'So, Sarah Says...' It's 100% thought-vomit and random musings. That's the point. I write all this for myself. Anyone who reads this should be interested in hearing about what goes on in this gobbeldy-gook mind of mine. No apologies.

Back to those wellingtons... Maybe the person kicked them off to do run around footloose and fancy-free in the rain. I mean, when YOU think about running around footloose and fancy, don't you first factor in kicking off your shoes? Oh. Well, I do. Someone is dancing around Penn Quarter, boot-less! Why am I on my way home and not searching for them?! I bet my overanalytical self could learn a lot from them.

Oh, here's my Metro stop.

End drunk, bored, Metro blackberry post. (Other people read on the Metro, don't they? I type away like a 14 year old. Sad. At least I'm not texting or, worse, sexting. God.) END.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

My colleague sent me this screen shot in an email

I was amused. (click to enlarge.)

Notice that the title of the email is "Um, too busy to get my jams done er what?" The window is busy?!

I hate when you have an epic computer fail when you are trying to work... and of course it always happens at the most inopportune times, like when you're under deadline... or when you're in the middle of some intricate calculation or eloquent prose and haven't risked breaking your intense concentration to save in awhile... or when you're browsing Facebook and your boss walks up behind you and your computer freezes and you can't close the window... Wait, what?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Witchcraft and Wizardry

Snapped this in the window of Bloomindale's in Chevy Chase. It's probably Alexander McQueen.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Why do Scanvinavians love licorice?

This is another previously unpublished draft from the archives. It was originally drafted on January 30, 2008. I'm not really sure why I never finished this one. I'm sure I could dredge up at least a half dozen more possibilities to explain why Scandinavians love licorice, but I'm hitting publish as is.

Scandinavians love licorice. As a general rule - the saltier, the better. Living in Denmark, I've talked to many a Dane and a foreigner about this unusual propensity towards salt liquorice. What makes them so fond of it while people in other countries are repulsed by the taste and absolutely despise it? Moreover, why do Scandinavians tend to favor progressively saltier licorice as they get older, moving from mintier, children's varieties to salt-infused adult-only types? One friend, Libby (of Copenhagen Revisited), believes that there may be some kind of tolerance build-up over the years as Scandinavians are culturally encouraged to frequently indulge in liquorice treats. Or, perhaps Scandinavians share a genetic inclination towards liquorice, similar to the way the are genetically inclined towards blue eyes and blonde hair (in comparison to people of other cultures).

I did some quick, Google-aided research on liquorice because I was curious about possible health benefits of frequent liquorice consumption. I wonder if, over time, Scandinavians have taken to eating mass-quantities of liquorice as a kind of inadvertent herbal remedy against ailments that may plague the Northern-dwelling residents to an extent significantly greater than other places in the world.

My findings were as follows:

1. Licorice Derivative May Slow Karposi's Scarcoma - According to the American Cancer Society's website, a "sarcoma is a cancer that develops in connective tissues such as cartilage, bone, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or fibrous tissues (related to tendons or ligaments). Kaposi sarcoma (KS) was named for Dr. Moritz Kaposi who first described it in 1872. For decades KS was considered a rare disease that mostly affected elderly men of Mediterranean or Jewish heritage, organ transplant patients, or young adult African men. This type is called classic Kaposi sarcoma." (For a detailed description of KS symptoms and it's general manifestation, please go here) Already, it seems that as there are not significant populations of any of these typical 'types' for whom KS usually strikes in Scandinavia, preventing against KS does not seem to be a likely reason for Scandinavian propensity towards salt liquorice.

The ACS website continues by stating that in the last 20 years most cases of KS have developed in association with HIV and AIDS, esp. (as these diseases oft tend to be, among homosexual males). This strain is deferentiated and specified as AIDs-related KS. Like the latter, however, I don't believe that AID-related KS is the reason for Scandinavian licorice consumption, as HIV and AIDs are primarily found in homosexual male populations in Europe and percentages of infected persons are seemingly declining (at a rate that is likely not corollary with licorice consumption!)

2. This Study (on a website that admittedly looks largely non-academic and thus, none-too-trustworthy) claims that eating black liquorice may reduce body fat without any side effects. "Our study showed that licorice intake of 3.5 grams a day [roughly 1.4 ounces] reduced body fat up to 4% without any change in blood pressure," says co-author Carlo De Palo, MD, a clinical researcher at the University of Padua. "One explanation is that the strong taste of licorice suppresses the appetite," he adds.

Perhaps Scandinavians eat licorice to stay thin, though a 4% decrease in body fat hardly seems like anything to write home about. Moreso, judging purely phenotypically, I think Scandinavians have a genetic disposition to be relatively thin, so I don't see a need for them to eat licorice to stay thin. Hmmm...

3. Drug Derived from Licorice Improves Memory - A British study found that a drug derived from licorice root improves memory in older men and may protect against age-related cognitive decline. The drug, carbenoxolone, which is usually used in treatment of stomach ulcers, boosted memory and slightly augmented subtle memory decline in healthy older men with type 2 diabetes.

This study is relatively useless to me for a number of reasons. First, the study was extremely small, with only 10 subjects. Second, researchers used word association and verbal tests to evaluate subject's memory, tests in which there is extreme variation in all populations. Furthermore, if the researchers really wanted to test carbenoxolene's usage as a combatant against memory decline or towards memory improvement, it seems they would have needed to run a longitudinal study... not a series of piddly word association tests!

The study goes on to talk about specific compounds, etc., but it does not mention if the chemicals found in carbenoxolene are available with regular consumption of liquorice or if it can only be garnered through a modified derivation process.

4. Treating Latent Herpes with Licorice - This is another dodgy looking site, but claims that findings of a recent study have found that a compound in licorice shows promise for treatment of latent, lingering herpes virus. The compound, glycyrrhizic acid kills cells of the herpes virus that cause... guess what... Kaposi Sarcoma! Glycyrrhizic acid targets key proteins involved in the latency without causing a toxic effect on tissues. Researchers hope that their findings will lead to drugs that can eradicate herpes from the body altogether.

Again, not really sure if this may be why Scandinavians eat so much licorice. Do they have a lot of herpes here?

The Swedish concept of 'lagom', Jante Law, and the fact that Americans just can't escape!

This post was drafted on September 12, 2008. Twelve days after I moved back to the United States from Denmark. The bottom of the post is italicized, which generally means I didn't write it. I probably intended to use parts of it for commentary, and never got around to it. I'm not sure where I was going with the title of this post... "the fact that Americans just can't escape!" Hmm... I'll have to think about that, it's intriguing. I think I was going somewhere.

A few days ago I discovered Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show on The Travel Channel. In this particular episode, he went to Sweden. In addition to watching Anthony eat pigs knuckles, try to glass blow his own bowl, visit Lapland to hunt reindeer (where he claims he had previously gotten "flat out lied to about the connection between Lapland and lap dancing"), and sing traditional (non-ABBA!) Swedish songs, I learned about the Swedish concept of 'lagom.' According to my favorite internet resource, Wikipedia (I know, I know!), Lagom is 'a Swedish word with no direct English equivalent, meaning "just the right amount", "enough, sufficient, adequate, just right", "in moderation", "balance," "suitable", "average." But whereas words like "sufficient" and "average suggest some degree of abstinence, scarcity, or failure, lagom carries the connotation of perfection or appropriateness.'

The Wikipedia entry elaborates that "the word "lagom" has no exact translation in English, although similar words exist in some neighboring languages. [...] In a single word, lagom is said to describe the basis of the Swedish national psyche, one of consensus and equality. In recent times Sweden has developed greater tolerance for risk and failure as a result of severe recession in the early 1990s. Nonetheless, it is still widely considered ideal to be modest, avoid extremes, and seek optimal solutions."

Hearing Bourdain talk about about this Swedish concept throughout the episode was interesting because it got me thinking about Scandinavian culture in general and discussions I've had with Danish friends about how the culture and mentality of the United States greatly differs from that which is followed de facto in Denmark. In Denmark (and the rest of Scandinavia, according to Wikipedia), they seem to adhere to a "phenomenon" known as Jante Law. Jante Law is apparently practiced under the different nomenclature of Tall Poppy Syndrome in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Jante Law, or Janteloven (The Jante Law) as it is called in Danish, is made up of ten variations on the the of homogeneity. "Don't think you're anyone special or that you're better than us."

In the book, those Janters who transgress this unwritten "law" are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against communal desire in the town, which is to preserve social stability and uniformity.

Later in his book, Sandemose adds an 11th rule, formulated as a question:

11. You think I don't know anything about you? (Du tror måske ikke jeg ved noget om dig?)

This is the threat of punishment—that other Janters will know something about those who transgress, which can be used to punish them. Emphasis can be either on know or on you, or both.

It has to be said that the general understanding of the law was an essential and fully integrated part of the Danish and Norwegian societies long before it was ever written down. Sandemose, however, explicitly said that he had seen the Jante law in operation in all countries he had been in.

The rules are not only applied outwards; Danes apply the rules equally towards themselves. This means that the rules of the Jante Law become a sort of social stabilizer where one does not wish to be either too high above or too far below others socially and economically.

From the archives...

Tonight, I was looking for a post on dating, judgment scales and criteria and how being a member of one of the "higher sets" might not really be better. It sounds stupid or complicated, but I've been tumbling the idea around for awhile and really wanted to get something out, "on paper," to help solidify the idea a bit. It's probably something sociologists have considered and tested (observed), but I like to think I come up with new, brilliant ideas. I know I started drafting the post somewhere (probably on my cell phone, because I can't find it anywhere else. Since I delete everything on my phone periodically, it's probably gone forever until I resurrect it... from scratch. Awesome.). Anyway, while I was looking around, I realized that I have 38 unpublished drafts for this blog. I might publish a few. I'm debating not even editing them and publishing them unfinished. We'll see. Stay tuned.

WMATA's New Workout Plan

On Sunday night, I was riding the red line home when I caught this guy shamelessly throwing it down and pulling it up. He got on at Tenleytown wearing a too-tight City Fitness shirt (if you don't have ripped muscles, guys, you should know that tight shirts "show off" fat and jiggly-bits, too.) and headphones. He found an open area and, as soon as the train started moving, begun doing pull ups on one of the overhead hold-on-so-you-don't-get-trampled-and-subsequently-killed-during-rush-hour bars (seriously, that's what they are called, translated from Italian, patented in Italy where the Metro cars are made). (Of course I did what I'm surprised other people didn't do... I blatantly whipped out my camera phone, snapped a pic and tried to muffle my laughter). I doubt those bars are made to support a 200+ lb guy doing push ups. Plus, didn't you just leave the gym?!? Maybe not. Maybe he just wanted to LOOK like it... And the Metro is really his poor-man's gym...? I got off at the next station, Friendship Heights, so I don't know if he also did shuttle runs or sit ups, but I wouldn't be surprised. I see it, you see it.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

An English take on religion?

Spotted on a Volvo in the parking lot at Giant in Bethesda, MD. The car also had a Sweden sticker, I don't know if that's because the car is Swedish, the owner, or both.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sarah Ave

I'm sure this would be an awesome place to live. Too bad it's in Linthicum, Maryland, which isn't the nicest/prettiest/most happenin' place in the world...
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Times are tough

Spotted in today's Washington Post.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cheap tricks

Spotted at a gay sports bar on U Street, a sign in the unisex bathroom that tries to trick you into thinking you are seeing double:

* I know, I think "gay" and "sports" are kind of oxymoronic, or at least not the most obvious pairing, too. Couldn't they just recreate/reopen the [now defuct because, seriously, who wants to eat greasy burgers in the presence of models?] Fashion Cafe? Le sigh.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Control Center at the Newseum

The Newseum is touts itself as "one of the most technologically advanced museums in the world." These guys sit in the glass-enclosed control center. Newseum visitors can watch them work as part of the overall experience. As I watched this guy, he was g-chatting. Slacker.
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Layoff Cake

I was recently put in charge of planning a going away party for a colleague who moved away, Jess. I pride myself on my hostessing skills, so I arranged for music, food, drinks, wine and a fancy cake, which was to be delivered to the office this afternoon.

The cake was delivered around 1:15pm, two hours ahead of schedule, while I was in the middle of a conference call. My colleague, Monica, ran out to get the cake and tip the delivery guy. She was gone for awhile. She came back with a worried look on her face, just as I was finishing my call.

"Okay, don't freak out, I fixed it," she assured me.

"Fixed what?" I asked.

Apparently the cake was delivered and read "We'll miss you, Jeff" instead of "JeSS." To make matters worse, the guy covering reception when the cake was named Jeff, so when he opened the box to peek, he thought he was getting fired. A layoff cake. Here, eat your sorrow.

Monica immediately took the cake to the kitchen to do damage control. She lifted the bottom two swoops of the (luckily cursive) f's off. It looked more Jess-like.

As we were in the kitchen admiring her skills, the CEO and another high-ranking staff member walked in. The CEO peeked over my shoulder and said "That's a beautiful cake! Who's it for?"

"Thanks," I replied, "It's for Jess. We're having a going away party for her at 4... you should come!" (I hadn't previously invited the CEO because I work in a pretty big office and, frankly, I'm nervous about sending an email to the CEO.)

"I'd love to! I'll definitely be there!" the CEO affirmed. "...I could have sworn the cake said Jeff, though...!"

Monica and I stand there stupidly for a good ten seconds before responding, dryly, "It did."

Way to appear competent.

Luckily, the cake was delicious. Jess was sent off with a bang, and Jeff is still happily employed.

False Advertising

Washington Sports Club, why do you have a Metro Ad with a middle aged man in a wearing a wetsuit, holding a surfboard, accompanied by text that reads "exercising slows signs of aging." Last I checked, you can't surf at WSC. Pretty sure you don't even have pools. Why don't you show someone on a treadmill? You're probably doing a better job tempting people to use potential membership money to buy a beach pass. Just sayin'.

Sorry folks, no picture. Ill work on it.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Haunted Metro

Currently on the way home with Mich... Our Metro train (yes, the entire train, not just my car) has ONLY 3 scant emergency lights on. Redline to Shady Grove, next stop HELL.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

CVS takes funny money

I snapped this photo at self check out at the CVS located at 8th and E Streets NW, Washington, DC. Apparently you can pay with all major credit cards or a twenty-five dollar bill displaying a "Jackoln" (or "Linkson") two-headed presidential monster. Now you know where you can spend the "evidence" of your counterfit experiment that went awry. You know, if you had one of those.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


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Avian Luau

So get this:

I'm lying on a bench in the park outside of Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii, minding my own business, trying to take a siesta while my little sisters went to seek out a snack and my parents take a 45 minute audio tour of the palace (which I decided I was not interested in). All of the sudden, this Hawaiian family rolls up, like, twenty deep, with a picnic spread that could have fed the Spartan Army. Curious as to why, in this relatively large park, they need to park themselves within ten feet of me, I turn my head, crack open my eyes and sneak a peek. What happened next is astounding. First, before they dig into said nosh-fest, they all stand in a circle, bless themselves with the sign of the cross, hold hands and sing a little religious diddy. It was weird. After that, they started opening all their seven-odd million boxes of food. Innocent enough (my mouth was even watering a bit from the delicious wafting smells), until the whole thing turned into a Hitchcock film. No, not Rear Window; Not Psych. THE BIRDS!!! Birds from all reaches of Oahu swarmed around, including the freakish white pigeons they have here. Ack!! I hate pigeons, and I'm not particularly fond of birds of any kind (my Hell on Earth: St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy -- google it.). It only gets worse. I felt like I couldn't get away because I didn't have anything (like a Quidditch bludgeon) to beat the brids away with. I sat up and got on guard, glaring at birds near me and staring in shock an awe at this family, who appeared either oblivious or peculiarly apathetic. As I sat and stared, I started to notice weird sights and sounds. Some birds were hopping around, cooing and pluming their feathers. Another was, for lack of better descriptors, rolling in the dirt. Oh, geez. I realized that not only were they swarming in hopes of food, they were engaging in MATING rituals. A regular keg-laden avian frat party on the lawn of Iolani Palace. Eventually the nightmare ended, but I kinda wished I had just sucked it up and went on the dang 45 minute audio tour.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Text from last night

This post has been rethought and redacted to protect the innocent... and guilty. Muahaha! :)

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

National Lampoon's Hawaiian Vacation

My family and I are currently spending about two weeks in Hawaii on vacation.

Walking back to our place after the 4th of July Ana Moana fireworks, my mom trips over someone's cane...

Laura (sister): "Mom, did you trip over that guy's cane?"
Suze (mom): "It was an accident! People need to watch where they put them in crowds!"
Jenna (sister): "Mom, he's blind."

The "cane" my mom tripped over was one of those blind people's walking sticks.

I die.

In other news, kinda over Michael Jackson 24/7. Kinda really over it. There was one of those Native American bands (the kind that are inexplicably prevalent in cities all over Europe) and they were playing Thriller on, like, a digeridoo. That's a digeridon't in my book. Ugh.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

I see, you see...

What's wrong with 'toilet'? This was taken in the women's bathroom in the Cleveland Park Giant grocery store on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Coyote Habitat in Your Backyard

Seriously, coyotes. In Maryland.

I'm getting ahead of myself. As I begin to write this post (on my COMPUTER and NOT, for once, VIA TEXT), it is 1:52pm on Saturday, May 30. This day has already been momentous, as I feel it deserves recognition as probably my most productive Saturday morning in 2009, thus far. (Yes, that's ambition, right there, after that comma.) That's saying a lot [about my personal laziness] when you realize that it's already almost June. That's right, folks. However, I'm unashamed. My Saturdays are usually spent engaging in one of the following:

a) Brunch. I usually consider getting up and showering, "getting cute," and going to brunch quite momentous and praiseworthy in and of itself. I've clearly got an inner fatkid that should STFU sometimes.

b) Sleeping in.

c) Reading a book or a magazine or, if I'm feeling particularly technophile, watching TV or chipping away at my RSS. Sometimes I even get up and put my ipod in the speakers -- Oooh!

Sometimes a, b and c are combined in various ways. To be honest, I'm usually pleased if I'm showered and out of the house or at least thinking about it by 11am.

Today was not one of those days. Yes, I have days that deviate from the norm occasionally, particularly during running seasons when I'll have to drag myself out of bed at, like, 6am to drive somewhere and run more miles/kilometers than necessary for a good cause and a subpar swag bag while simultaneously beating away thoughts of "what the hell was I thinking?!" Running season is getting into swing again, so I'm anticipating more of these soon, but as of now I'm not signed up for any races, so today was not one of "those" days.

Today, I had to go showdown with the Maryland Tree Huggers. Okay, I don't know if that's what they are really called. In fact, I know that's not what they are called. And, on that note, by "showdown," I mean show up with my tail between my legs. Confused? Fine. In plain English: I got a note a few weeks ago saying my car needed to be Vehicle Emissions Tested. The note came complete with a lovely picture of what one can only presume to be Maryland's Chesapeake Bay wetlands, complete with blue heron, which is why I immediately compartmentalized this to be some tree hugging initiative. My check engine light was on at the time of first receipt, so I ignored this note for awhile. (CEL is an automatic fail). Apparently, I ignored it for too long, because I got a note in the mail last week saying that if I don't take my car in to be inspected, the registration would be rescinded by the state. Considering that the registration for my car is under my dad's name (thanks, dad!), I decided I needed to get my butt in there. Buoyed with ambition to do the right thing in the state's eyes, for the environment and all the blue herons and whatnot, I checked the hours for the Emissions test site near me. NOW GET THIS: The test places are only open 8-5 some week days, 8-7 other week days, and 7-1 on Saturdays. Closed Sunday. WTF are people that don't get home from work until 6:30pm most nights supposed to do. Go Saturday, I guess. Well, last Saturday I slept through it. It was a "b" Saturday. This Saturday, determined to save my registration, I woke up early and drove 30 minutes to the freakin' test place. I send my car through and, miracle of miracles, it actually passes. Yay. I think I might have gotten a free pass, though, because they definitely didn't put it on those spinning wheel things... As far as I could see, the guy just looked at it, printed a sheet, and told me I passed. Um, okay. Thanks. It also cost me $30, which included late fees. Dumb. I hope you're happy, herons.

Anyway, I brought some running gear along with me, just in case there was a cool nature-y trail. I was in Derwood, Maryland, which is kind of natural and rustic, so I was kind of planning on there being something cool nearby - a park or something. Luckily, there was! When I was driving to the Emissions site, I saw this paved trail on the side of the road called "Rockville Millennium Trail." After my car passed, I returned and headed out in an arbitrary direction, figuring I'd do an out and back or something to avoid getting lost.

After an indefinite distance of running and listening to tunes, there was a sign on the trail saying 1.5 miles. I figured I was probably 1.5 miles from the trail head, so I decided to go there, turn around and head back. The anticipated 3 miles plus whatever I had already come would probably put me somewhere are 7-8 miles for the run, which would be fine. I trotted off. A mile and a half later I was at some sort of Rockville community center. I walked around looking for a door so I could go in and use the bathroom before I headed back. While walking around, I spied a sign which read "COYOTE HABITAT. Please keep all pets on leashes. If you see a coyote, call [someone]." Um, WTF? A Coyote Habitat? In Rockville, Maryland? Weirdness. I started wondering how fast coyotes can run. I wonder if they are faster or slower than regular pet dogs. I guess somewhere along that train of thought I decided I didn't want one to show up so I could find out, so I headed back down the trail without using the bathroom. I didn't see a coyote, but now I'm curious. Who knows about this place? What other weird animal habitats do we have in Maryland? Strange.

I got back to my car and continued my morning productivity by heading to the liquor store to get some beer in anticipation of a dinner I'm bringing a friend tomorrow night to celebrate their move... Now, I'm back home and blogging. It's only 2:16 now. Today has been shockingly productive. I'm going to hop in the shower and find something else to do so I can continue feeling narcissistically proud.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ugly Ripe Tomatoes

Is that the scientific name used for classification?? I'm thinking not. (I think they might actually be called heirloom tomatoes) I imagine it's the name used for displays in suburban supermarkets. It's the name hoi polloi housewives use when they display it as part of a center piece display during their memorial day barbeques. Their friends willl say "that's so strange, I've never seen anything like it!" The hostess will respond, "it's called an 'uglu ripe tomato. Isn't it interesting?! I've never seen anything like it; I just had to buy a few!!" The friends will hem, haw and feign interest for a few more seconds and that will be that.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

MC Hammer Milk

Stop! Milk time!
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wine and Silent Bob

5 people, 8 bottles of Maryland wine (wait, what?), 3 hours. Wine in the Woods!
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Amtrak caters to those who scored high on SAT verbal...

Egress? Really? At first I was like, 'what? A female egret?' Damn. I'm one of the dumb ones.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I 'Senz' Disappointment...

Har, har. Faux-homophonic jokes.

But, seriously, remember when I was all excited about Gerwin Hoogendoon's Senz umbrella? I posted about it here and here. Well, I saw it and tested it (superstition be damned!) this past weekend at Takashimaya in New York City and was, I regrettably report, disappointed! Sure, it's kind of cool that you open it by pulling the handle DOWN, rather than UP, but other than that, not so much. The material felt cheap and holding it just looked weird. It might be cooler if you dress all in black and have an art-deco Aveda haircut. Otherwise, not so much. Just looks dorky, like the other part of your umbrella ripped away. Plus, when it's folded up, it looks like it could easily be mistaken for one of those sad ones you see turned inside out in industrial trashcans after a day of wind and rain.

I've gotta tell you, this is hugely disappointing because the Dutch don't usually let me down. They introduced me to Dutch bicycles (which are different from Danish bikes!), hagelslag, clogs (okay, my first pair of clogs were Sweden's famed Olsen brand, but let's not nitpick), and the Santa with the posse of black men (6-8, unfailing. Dutch Santa rolls deep.) But I've got to pass on the Senz. Too bad. I was really looking forward to looking chic while holding my umbrella in the middle of a tropical storm. :( (side note: If this was a real requirement, I would write Storm Tracker Jim Cantore. I'm sure he has the best trop-sto umbrella in the world.)

Back to the drawing board. I need a new umbrella soon because my cute black one with pink flowers from United Colors is rusting. RUSTING. What on earth? Shouldn't things that are engineered to be used in rain be made with materials that aren't susceptible to water-rust?! At least I have my wellingtons.

Tired. Going to bed. Ciao, ciao.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good Game, Good Game

Though you wouldn't know it if you based you opinion soley on the debaucherous behavior of AdMo "hoodlums" on any given Saturday night, we are quite proper here in Washington, D.C. Maybe it's because we are South of the Mason Dixon Line. Anyway, so when ine is riding the Metro during rush hour, it's all very civilized. We don't push or chew gum like cows and we know exactly how many minutes we have to wait for our next train so we don't get unneccesarily restless or annoyed (*ahem* NYC, Italy, other train systems...) When a train arrives, people form a tunnel to let others off before they board. It's all very civilized.

I think we could jazz it up in the afternoons, though. I get this unquenchable urge to stick my hand out, giving disembarking passengers a high five and a "good game" at the end of the work day. Like you used to do when you were a kid on a soccer team. Even the sucky kids got a high five and a "good game," just for playing. It should be the same with work. Like, thanks for coming out and playing today. It would be so fun. We would really be DC, UNITED. Sah-weet. Except, as I was typing this, I sneezed (in my hand) and people gave me dirty looks. Maybe we would have to postpone our rousing daily games of LIFE (board game: also fun) at time when the CDC is issuing infectious disease warnings, like swine.

Okay, enough Jack Handy for the day. My stop is coming. So, Sarah Says GOOD GAME!!!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Puff Nasty

This shot was taken on the metro's red line between Gallery Place/Chinatown and Metro Center approx 5:15pm. Yes, it IS someone with a pink shower puff attached to the outside top handle of their rolling suitcase. Um, eew? I certainly understand if you want it to dry/avoid putting a mold-prone wet puff in your suitcase, but is hanging it out to collect germ particles (measles, scabies, rubella, lice, flesh-eating disease--leprosy!, oh my!) on public transportation/the mean streets of DC/in the belly of an airplane really a preferred alternative? Really?!? Another yuck-tastic display of stupidity, brought to you by the Planet Earth, in honor of Earth Day and, obviously, evolution -- when your familial line dies out from deadly disease picked up on that shower puff and passed on by YOU. (Too far?) Ask Darwin. Blech!

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Is this a joke? Am I retarded?

This is a sign in the Friendship Heights Metro Station in Washington, DC. Apologies for the darkness - my blackberry camera kind of sucks, and metro stations are lit like caves. This sign is one of the only sources of light in the tubular cavern. Seriously, I go down into Dupont and I'm like "Cool, spelunking! Damn, I forgot my headlamp." Anyways, I see this sign every morning on my way to work. It has been baffling me for weeks. I don't get it. Around the photo, it reads "THE OLD TRANSFER: You saved $.90 when you transferred from rail to bus." Then, below that, it says "THE NEW, TWO-WAY TRANSFER: With SmarTrip, you save $.50 when you travel rail to bus, bus to rail." Huh? Last I checked, $.90>$.50. Doesn't the old way to transfer save you more money? Am I missing something completely, blatantly obvious? Is there a subtlety I'm missing? Moreover, on top of your lost $.40, the SmarTrip card costs a one-time fee of $5. WMATA, I don't appreciate your ruse. (Clerks, anyone?) You underestimate the reading and perceptual abilities of Washingtonians (okay, and Marylanders. I'm not ashamed.). We didn't all go to DC Public schools (zing!) and we aren't all in that much of a hurry. Even if we are, the trains on the red line (which serves the aforementioned Friendship Heights station) is usually delayed anyway, forcing us to wait, read, and lapse into an untenable state of morning confusion. Hmpfh.
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Thursday, April 9, 2009


Yay, my new Hunter Wellingtons (official boot of the royal family!) have arrived!! They're perfect!! I'm actually hoping for a rainy day so I can puddle jump!! :)
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The WTF Blanket

I love snuggies (but slanket comes in better colors), but I love parodies more:

Metro Night Ride

Red line. Dupont to Friendship Heights, 8pm

Saw two things:

1. A man running (futiley) up the down escalator. The UP one was working just fine. Ghetto stairmaster, anyone? Did I mention it was one of those tiny, narrow one person ones?! The people coming down were NOT happy when he did the huff-n-puff-n-run-n-squeeze. Geezus.

2. ZOMG. I just saw a woman that must be at least XXXL wearing a COW PRINT trench coat!! Irony?!?!

Gah, DC!! What's in the water here?!
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Friday, April 3, 2009


Okay, maybe I'm going to Hell for this, but you'd think that, given the fact that he/she/it died when he/she/it was NINE YEARS OLD, Mitchell's family would have had a better photograph to use in memorial in the Friday, April 3 Washington Post obituary pages.

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Testing, Testing

I finally updated to the new Blogger template (formerly, I was one of those "I'll figure out this html myself!" geeks), so if you are one of the 1% of people that actually visits blogs and doesn't have them in an aggregate feed, bear with me for the next couple of days (weeks?) while I fiddle.

Anyone have good ideas for a header? I don't really know what kind of (non-copywritten, personal) image would adequately encapsulate and represent a blog about everything and nothing...

p.s. I also linked with my twitter feed, so check me out in more frequent, 140 character bites (bytes?) over there...

Tap Project 2009

I went to the D.C. kickoff event for the 2009 Tap Project on Friday. World Water Week is this week! Please watch the video and participate. Even if you can't dine out this week (Tap in your city), you can donate on their website. $1 gives a child safe drinking water for 40 days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Morning Metro Musings: Ad Sense

You know how Frosted Mini Wheats are presently targeting children with their television commercial spots? I was just thinking that they could target women with an 'oat-couture' campaign, obviously highlighting the similarities between the American pronunciation of the word 'oat' and the French pronunciation of the word 'haute.' They could focus on how the fiber in frosted mini wheats will keep you slim, how the nutrients will keep your skin healthy and glowing and how the bit of frosting on top will make you happy - perhaps in a vein similar to the way adding diamond jewelry to an already-good outfit makes it special. They could have a lady frosted mini wheat (they have an adult male and a child version now) wearing either heels and a pearl necklace or perhaps a dress similar to the dresses in the Chapstick print ad campaigns (but then you wouldn't see that extra-special frosting) and a personality something like the green M&M, but less sultry and maybe more professional and career-oriented.

No idea why I'm thinking about this - I don't remember the last time - have frosted mini wheats.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shit, it's that easy.

I was going to send this to Twitter:

Don't preach in my Metro station, I won't sin in your church.

Because someone was walking around Metro Center station yelling about saving all our rush hour souls and whatnot. I was trying to think about something that "a religious" [person] would think as equally offensive (and, dare I say ridiculous?!) as an agnostic like me was thinking of his transit tirade. 'Sin, how obvious,' I thought. But then I realised that, no, his behaviour was [presumably] entirely conscious and unavoidable, whereas the tiniest, little white sin is often not - at least for me. I mean, given that I was of sound mind, I could go to a church and obviously avoid the "biggies" like committing adultery or killing a priest. But what about those little, white sin-thoughts, like, "oh, I can't believe she decided to wear those fug-tastic shoes to church?! God can't possibly be THAT forgiving!" As snarky as it is, those kinds of little thoughts flit through my head as lightning speed. I can't like, consciously not have them. That's like trying to tell a skeptic not to imaging the pink elephant in the room. I would rarely say them out loud (okay, I'm modifying that statement to end with "in church"). But, as far as I know, super-religious people would find thoughts like that sinful. You think something snarky like that in church? Boom - lightning bolt, sinner!

So, weird Metro evangelist, preach away. No ones perfect, and I could never please you either.

Btw: I had food poisoning last night and now I think I have a fever, which may explain the craziness of this post. I'm ailing. No, it can't be cured by cowbell. Too bad.
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BONUS! A bit more on the Senz:

... watch the cute Dutch umbrella designer with braces and too many vowels in his name (God, I LOVE Dutch), Gerwin Hoogendoorn, do the Dutch version of Jackass by testing various umbrellas, including the award-winning Senz paraplu while zipping around a race track in an Audi convertible.

Click "speel video" to begin. Hover your mouse over to skip past the explanation (iin Duutch) and see the Audi action. At the very end you get to see an umbrella cemetery.

Note: this video may not display in an aggregate feed, so here is a link:

You can stand under my um-buh-rella

... Or, not. Sorry, there is only room for me.

Dutch-designed (by students!) Senz umbrella. Can withstand winds up to 70 miles per hour. Bring it on, tropical storms.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday morning

Standing on the metro platform now... Waiting...

Its been so long since I've travelled domestically that I had a momentary freak out this morning on my way to the metro because I thought I'd forgotten my passport.

I've got to run to CVS sometime today to get some mini shampoo and conditioner, because I'm not sure if Duane Reed, or whatever that tri-state chain is called, will be open when I get there. This sparked an interesting conversation with my roommate last night. Okay, not interesting at the time, but I was thinking about it this morning. She called the mini products "sample sized." I call them "travel size." Maybe this is a dialect difference in bring from different parts of the country... But, even so, I think I must be right. I mean, who would want to sample Garnier or Pantene Pro-V? Its like, you know they'll do the job, but its not like you're sampling to see if you want to buy the entire product. A small-sized Kerastase or Redken, on the other hand, would be considered 'sample-sized' because the full size products are costly so, in the vein of frugality, it is worth it to try-before-you-buy to make sure you like it.

Okay, this discussion if way too Noam Chomsky-ish for 8am. Have a happy Friday!

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Blog neglect

I've been neglecting SSS, jumping on board the microblogging bandwagon at Twitter (profile link to follow... On BB now...) Did you miss me? ;)

A few things...
1. On metro now... There is a guy with one eye of dark lashes, one eye of white. Not make-up. Can you be half albino? Maybe he has the same genetic disorder as Kate Bosworth.

2. Also metro related... There are two tween girls, like, pole dancing... Swear. 6:30 thursday evening. Wtf?

3. Made a new friend at L'Occitane, Lawrence. He gave me free stuff and turned me on to their amber perfume. Said he hopes I make it home okay. Must be because I smell so fiercely awesome. Buying it at the friends and family next week, then going next door to CoCo Sala for a TDF CoCojito.

4. Tunes of the moment- Amon Tobin, thanks Matt! And the new LP3 Ratatat album. And Santogold.

5. NYC this weekend! Lincoln center jazz, brunches, fashion photography, and overall bourgieness with NYC Interior Designer. Excited! Bringing champy. (Stealing Olivia Palermo's ling')

Over and out. Ill try to be around more!
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Patent leather... Shiny, waterproof, deathproof.

I just almost died. I was crossing the street in FAF-town on my way home and this car almost hit me. Being a roadrager (peds can be too!) I yelled "hey!" And the guy was like "well you're wearing all black!" And then, instead of pointing out the fact that I'm wearing a CAMEL coat OR that I'm in the CROSSWALK, I say (idiotically) "I'm wearing shiny patent leather shoes and your headlights are on, pay attention, asshole!!"

Totes hate myself. I'm dying my hair brown tonight.
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4. It's just the red line... There is no "cruise" involved... Which is why it's baffling why my metro "captain" honked the train horn three times in succession when we left two stations on the line. I wasn't aware Dupont and Van Ness were ports of call. All aboard the red line.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Random Tuesdalies

1. I fucking hate Zips Drycleaners. The ghetto-ass non-folded-over-tip hanger that they returned my clothes on tripped me and made me get a two inch scratch in my brand new, butter-soft leather Delman flats this morning. Nevermind the fact that I left it on my floor.

2. Rasika's palat chaak is delicious. Actually, their entire $20.09 three-course restaurant week menu selection is. I recommend the salmon(s). Yes, you get two.

3. Girl on metro has scandi-white-blonde hair with hot pink streaks. I wonder if you had a skilled enough stylist could you get thin highlights of a rainbow of colors and have your hair look brown from at least three feet away. Like fingerpaints.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Alpine highs and confusion

Random morning-on-the-metro thought: What does it mean when people say "the higher you climb, the farther you'll fall?" Or is it "the FASTER you climb, the harder you'll fall?" (Which, now that I've typed it, makes absolutely no sense considering the laws of physics, right?) Anyway, I know it's metaphoric, but are we supposed to take that to mean "don't climb?" "Climb carefully? Leaving the metaphorical world for a second, I'm sure any seasoned climber will tell you that climbing, no matter how "easy" or familiar, ALWAYS has risks. Something could always go wrong. Does this mean a climber shouldn't climb? No. It means be careful. Logically, I think we can apply deductions about real climbing to the metaphor and realise what a stupid thing it is to say. It's like something boring, ugly, non-ambitious people say out of jealousy over people who are willing to take a gamble. Where's the fun in playing it safe?

I wish I was Rev Run sitting in a bubble bath right now instead of on a nasty orange pleather upholstered metro seat.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

'Grand' is a puzzling qualifier...

Sometimes I get funny commentary on funny things from funny friends. Here are a few e-conversational notes about Denny's "Free Grand Slams For Everyone!" (from 6am-2pm today, as advertised during the Super Bowl)...

NYC Interior Designer:
My favorite line:
"You couldn't beat it. I mean it was a beautiful, beautiful breakfast. It was fit for a queen or a king," diner Annah Shoffner told CNN affiliate WNCN-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Which leads me to another thought? Is anyone in this country employed anymore? (What are they doing on a Tuesday morning at a Denny's?)

So, Sarah Says:
You saw my facebook status the other day, right? [Sarah thinks it is so ghetto that the Denny's website is crashing over free grand slams. ] God, you're right, NYC Interior Designer; America is straight hood sometimes.

NYC Interior Designer:
Yes, which is why I sent you that link. It really is ridiculous. How could someone even come near implying that a Denny's Grand Slam is a meal fit for royalty? ...Then the news actually repeats/reports that! Ridiculous.

So, Sarah Says:
I know, and it's not the Bumf**k Courier either. It's CNN.

PEOPLE!!!! This is funny.

Also, I just got back from taking the GRE and I KILLED IT!!! Straight up son. And no, I am unemployed and would not be caught dead at a Denny's...ever.


Pige ven:
Yay, congrats bourbs!

And NYC Interior Decorator, perhaps all these hardworking individuals went in for breakfast BEFORE work -- it said they started at 6 am. Or they are like the student who "identified himself as DeShawn" (does that mean the reporter didn't believe him?) and are going for breakfast before class.

So, Sarah Says:
What really kills me is that all this fraternizing with the hoi polloi was for a not-even-important-enough-to-be-on-the-online-menu Grand Slam. They could have upped the ante and at least made it a Moons Over My Hammy (Ham and scrambled egg sandwich with Swiss and American cheese on grilled sourdough. Served with choice of hash browns or grits) or perhaps one of the "grander" Slams, like the Lumberjack Slam or the All-American Slam [insert cheering crowd sound here].

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tacky as a bride in black

True story: The Caylee Marie Anthony tribute doll
|Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer
Showbiz Promotions' Caylee inspired doll. (SHOWBIZ PROMOTIONS / January 26, 2009)

A Jacksonville promotions company plans to sell a doll as a tribute to slain toddler Caylee Marie Anthony.

The Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll will go on sale Tuesday for $29.99.

The blonde-haired, 18-inch doll wears jeans and a T-shirt depicting a sun and the phrase: "CAYLEE SUNSHINE." The song "You Are My Sunshine" plays when her belly button is pushed.

Jaime Salcedo, president of Showbiz Promotions, said he is not selling a doll that looks exactly like Caylee because it would be too morbid and difficult for the public.

Instead, he said, they want to honor and respect Caylee's life by bringing awareness to her case.

"We want it to be a tribute," he said.

Salcedo said this is the first product his promotions company will sell that is inspired by the victim of a crime.

Salcedo said he plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to charity -- though he does not have an organization lined up yet.

Salcedo said he's waiting to hear back from several organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He is considering donating $3 for every doll sold.

Asked about whether it's appropriate for his company profit on Caylee's death, Salcedo said he is anticipating critics.

"I think that that is going to come up," he said.

Salcedo said the public does not understand what it costs to make the doll, ship it, import it, and his company's expenses.


Gross. I don't understand why someone would want to buy a doll in the likeness of a murdered child. Will she come with tape and a heart-shaped sticker? Okay, okay, way too soon. But seriously, yeah right $3/doll is going to go to charity. That thing is going to be selling for $4.99 on the Toys 'R' Us clearance racks before the ides of March.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No shirt, no shoes, no bike lanes? No problem.

Since moving back across the pond from Denmark and leaving my beloved 'cykel' in the care of viking family, the Scandinavian in me has been aching to get back on a bike. I dream about blowing past the Friendship Heights Metro Station in the mornings, breezing down (up?) Wisconsin Avenue, jetting through Georgetown, and arriving at work astride a glamourous British racing green colored old Raleigh with a soft, tobacco colored Brooks saddle and maybe matching leather-wrapped handle bars, too. Did I mention I'd do all this in high heels? Emphasis on the word high. I don't do 'mid-heels.'

As I believe I've mentioned before, this pipe dream is unfortunately subject to a few glaring problems. The first is that I don't actually own the dream bike (yet.). The second is that I'm not sure how to bike in a pencil skirt and, because my office frowns on commuter shoes, there is little doubt in my mind that spandex/sweats/anything more bike appropriate would absolutely not be tolerated under any circumstances, even if I went straight to the restroom to change, did not pass go, did not collect $200 on my way in. The third problem, which I am delighted to announce is close to solved, is that bike lanes in D.C., while getting better, are sparse at best. According to Google maps' quickest route from my home to my office near Chinatown, I'd have to potentially go around not one, but TWO, traffic circles. All during rush hour traffic. With Virginia drivers and, worse, drivers from non D.C. border states. Twice a day. Yeep.

Enter: The Light Lane or, as I like to call it, the "Fuck you, I win! lane." As it claims, I will take safety into my own hands... with James Bond-style lasers shooting off of the back of my bike. Motorists be wary. I can't wait to see if this is actually released for public sale and what the price tag would be.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Wizard of LSAT

Soooo, tonight I went to this practice LSAT class thing. It was pretty uneventful. You know, some kids were really dumb and couldn't get the most basic of questions (God, what don't you get about the fact that Leopold can only work session three?! It's outlined in the effin' constraints of the game!!). Other kids were so obviously cut from the "front row, nod, laugh at dumb jokes and kiss the prof's ass cloth" it hurt. Others, like yours truly, were just kind of assholes. I mean, I'm all about the LSAT (*cough cough*), but this particular score-upping company has this "summer intensive" program where you go to Boston University for six weeks and do ALL LSAT, ALL THE TIME. Except when you have "social events" with the kids that are there for the hardcore MCAT summer intensive program. SIX WEEKS. When the instructor was talking about this [for. some. reason.] I couldn't stop laughing. He glared at me and was like "I'm sure some of us can think of better things to do over the summer..." I'm blonde so I got in Elle-Woods outraged mode for like three seconds (in mah mind!) until I realized that, um, yeah, not an insult because I can think of lots better ways to spend THE ENTIRETY OF EVERY DAY FOR SIX WEEKS OVER THE SUMMER. Like, going to the beach and getting a tan. Or hiring a Coppola to film my law school admissions video while claiming I use legal terms in every day language... "I object!"

Did I mention this whole shindig costs $8000 PLUS $3000 room and board. I better be guaranteed a 180 for that kind of pocket change. I'd rather spend my $11k on a luxury vacation and call it a summer, but I guess if you get a 180, fast track it at Yale, and start earning the mucho dinero you can take lots of lux vacays. I guess it's a payoff.

Okay, okay, tangent. What's new?

I'm getting ahead of myself. That was actually my second asshole move of the evening. My first asshole move was when the LSAT guy was talking about test scores. I don't know how much you, dear readers, know about the LSAT, so I will explain using a method similar to the LSAT guy's:

"The LSAT is a standardized test scored on a bell curve. The highest score you can get is 180. The lowest you can get is 120." (Why standardized tests always give you points for signing your name is completely beyond me. Like, seriously, it's as bad as vanity sizing. Why can't they just make the lowest score zero so when you EPIC FAIL it feels like the big, fat 'you suck hard' that it is. You're also a size 10, not a 6.)
"Now, let's call this area up here past the 80th percentile 'Oz'."
All of us in the class nod.
"Now, what would we call the area around the 50th percentile?"
We all stare at him blankly.
"Kansas! Now, Kansas is a good place to live, but it's not Oz."
We're all, like, open mouthed in bafflement of this weird LSAT score/Wizard of Oz analogy.
"Now, what would we call this area on the left side of the bell curve, down at the bottom, way below the 50th percentile."
No one answers, so I volunteer "Hell."
Everyone laughs. The presenter guy looks uncomfortable for a second. He quickly recovers.
"Actually, I was thinking 'Munchkin Land'."
Class: [...]
Because Munchkin Land is bad??! Munchkin land is where trees are made of candy and everyone lives in gingerbread houses, where Glinda the beautiful good witch is. Sure, everyone is a weird dwarf/short person/midget/whateverthehellisPCthesedays, but it still seems like a pretty good place if you can avoid getting a house dropped on you. Way better than Kansas, anyway. IMHO. I'd rather be in Munchkin Land than in Hell. Munchkin Land is probably one of the worst comparisons you could make. I can imagine way worst places. He could have made, like, Denmark (happiest place on Earth) the right side of the bell curve, America the middle (or maybe Canada), and the Middle East (the war torn parts) the left tail. MUNCHKINLAND?! God, can you imagine getting, like, a 135 on the LSATS? You can? Sucks, right? Now can you imagine slitting your wrists and killing yourself over your lost future that is so dark you have to wear nightvision goggles to see?? (This is the flipside from your future being so bright you have to wear sunglasses). I bet you can imagine slitting your wrists and killing yourself in Hell. Ladies and gentlemen, may I have a big Jack Handy-style "that's my point" ?!


end of weird late night rant.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

USC Gould School of Law thinks Washington, D.C. is:

A) A state
B) Delaware
C) All of the Above


Image scanned by me, Sarah, from page 33 of the 2009 USC Law School Catalog. Note how, in the part I circled in red, they marrooned-in Delaware and labeled it D.C.

D.C. already has Marylanders and Virginians to contend with. I'm sure Delaware doppelgangers are the last thing they want. But if Delaware wants some of D.C.'s inauguration crowds, I'm sure they can have them, gladly.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

BARACKALYPSE: Munch on the Metro

You know the Metro on inauguration day is still going to be a complete shit show, blow-up Edvard Munch Scream dolls or not.

Do WMATA employees make these videos while on drugs? (Yes, they make special instruction videos for every big event in D.C.) My favorite is the part where The Scream gets squished in the Metro doors, falls to the ground in slow-mo, and they pan down to it and hold the frame for, like, ten seconds too long. I just have to point out, though, that their comment about the doors not popping open like elevator doors seems like a ruse to strike fear into tourists and encourage them not to overcrowed the trains. I know those suckers pop open if they hit someone because, WITHOUT FAIL, at at least one stop every morning during my commute (red line from Friendship Heights to Chinatown/Gallery Place) the doors will open and shut like five goddamn times while saying *ding, ding, ding* "Please step back. Doors closing"... (doors try to close, open again) *ding, ding, ding* "Please step back. Doors closing"... repeat, repeat, repeat ad infinitum BECAUSE SOME ASSHOLES SQUEEZE THEIR FAT ASSES ON AT FARRAGUT NORTH BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO FUCKING LAZY TO WALK TO METRO CENTER SO THE DOORS CAN'T CLOSE. Please. You really think Metro would make it so the doors don't pop open? That's a lawsuit waiting to happen.