Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Capitol Hill Fashion...

...or lack thereof.

Now, I've only taken the metro to and from work four times now, so I am not sure if the outfits I've seen since Monday are anomalies, normalities, or perhaps figments of my imagination.

I'd like to start by saying that I won't pretend to know anything about what goes on in Congressional offices or in the hallways of the Senate. I can't say that I am versed in politics or understand lobbyists. But thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, I do know how a bill becomes a law. But that's about the extent of my knowledge. Being a DC resident and announcing that I'm ignorant about politics in Washington, DC might sound ridiculous, but it really is more common than one might expect.

With that said, WHAT IS WITH THE BOWTIES?!??!! I'm sorry, but I don't think that men need to dress like Tucker Carlson to be taken seriously (not that good ol' Tucker should know what that feels like). Besides, the only people I've ever known to wear bowties and get away with it are two college professors of mine in Ann Arbor (you know the type). My history colloquium prof wore one, but he did not look good. He looked more like a 6-year-old waiting in line to take Christmas pictures at Sears than a historian trained at Harvard (something he pretty much reminded us of each week).

On my short walk to the metro on Monday morning, I saw three bowties. Three bowties in a four minute period. But the clincher for the day - and the thing that made me laugh out loud - was the man in the brown fedora and trench coat.

Maybe fedoras are considered cool on Capitol Hill and automatically make you a part of the in-crowd, I don't know (are there cliques on the Hill?). What I do know is that he looked like a reporter for the Daily Fourth Gradian.

As for the women, I'm sure that wearing suits every day gets monotonous. I am lucky enough that I don 't have to worry about that - I can even wear jeans on Friday! They answer by pairing colors that boggle the mind. Today I saw a pink bolero jacket with light blue trousers. Amazing. I wish there had been fringe, though.

Can't wait to see if they are allowed to "dress down" on Fridays!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

New Apartment!!!

We are finally on Capitol Hill! The walk to the metro is only five minutes - I was even early to work! I don't think that I've been early more than twice, for serious. And only two stops on the metro. Super fantastic.

The transitionary period is almost complete, but several things remain in Arlington including: two suitcases, my diploma, bathmats, the Christmas tree, three window air conditioners (two of which work), a tall pile of fat textbooks, old Vogue magazines, all of our liquor, and a few 20 ounce bottles of Vernors under the sink. And that's just a random sampling of the things we have yet to retrieve. In addition, there are a ton of boxes in my old room with papers and little junky things that I hid away. Great.

I can't wait to go and throw everything in a bag and go through it again to see all of the stupid things that I've insisted on keeping over the past three years.

Borrowing Betsy's camera tomorrow and will post pictures soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Everyone says that fast food is bad for you. Ever wonder how bad? Now you can calculate the calories and fat for some of your favorite guilty pleasures! Read on and get ready to be disgusted with yourself:

Burger King
Taco Bell


Who wants to join me for a jog tonight?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Two Days 'Til Capitol Hill!

We went to pick up the keys to our new place yesterday, but we couldn't go check it out because it's still being painted. So that was a bit of a bummer, but we're moving so soon, that it doesn't really matter!

I didn't really realize how much junk I had crammed into this apartment until I filled five boxes within ten minutes. How does one accumulate so much stuff? And the bags of stuff to donate to Goodwill? Might take more than one trip. Maybe one if the trunk of the 'Scort wasn't rusted shut.

I love packing, though. It's an exact science. The only science I am actually good at, really. Remember high school chemistry? The moles, or whatever? 6.23 times 10 to the whatever power? (Is that even right? I have no idea). Ugh. Give me a nice English Literature class over that any day.

But yeah, packing. It's like Tetris - theoretically, everything fits. (Man, I wish I had a Super Nintendo - Tetris and Dr. Mario. The best!). Awesome roommate thinks that I should just put everything in paper bags. But she doesn't like to pack, so what does she know?

Things might be easier had my dad not taught me to save EVERYTHING. Seriously, the things that I have saved are just wrong. Those notes from History 318 - junior year of college? Got 'em. Every single phone bill and bank statement from when I lived in Ann Arbor? Yep. Scraps of paper with songs I heard on the radio jotted down? In my desk drawer! Perhaps I need help. At least I'm fairly organized. If I needed to find, say, lecture notes from my first semester of grad school, it would probably only take a few minutes to have them in front of me. Because I have them so well filed. Congratulations to me, I suppose.

So yeah. I pity whoever ends up carrying the boxes of folders and old notebooks, because he'll probably be the one carrying my 10-15 boxes of books. But he'll get pizza and beer when he's done... :)


I fixed the fonts. Sort of. Doesn't change the fact that I am stuck at work. I forgot my CDs and launchcast won't let me listen as I have gone over my listening quota for the month. And, it's raining. LOVES IT.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Um, yeah

The next post has fucked up fonts because... well, I have no idea why. Because the world is out to get me, probably. Dammit. The font just gets smaller and smaller until it's damned near impossible to read. AWESOME.

I hate my job. I hate it. I hate my job. HATE IT.

I thought that I had paid my dues. I sold cricket lollipops in the Exhibit Museum gift shop, sat at a makeshift desk in the lobby of the Gettysburg Foundation, and managed the stupid historical society that no one ever came to see. Probably the worst day that I ever had at that craptastic place almost had me kicking a woman in the teeth:

So in the dreaded gift shop in the damned Historical Society, we are selling reproduction 'vintage' Valentines. And so, yeah. So this woman (50s) and her daughter (20s) come into the store and specifically ask about the Valentines. I direct them. After about 10 minutes, one of them approaches to ask how much they are. Me, "They're one dollar each." Satisfied, she returns to the basket o' cards. 10 more minutes go by. The woman then approaches me at the register and is holding a pre-packaged Valentine. Very ornate, lots of tacky lace and glitter. It is pre-priced. Everything one looks for in a Valentine.

Crazy: Okay, you said that this was a dollar. The tag says $3.95.

Me: Oh, well the pre-packaged ones are priced already. The loose cards are a dollar each.
Crazy: You said that they were a dollar each.
Me: Yes, but I forgot that there were more ornate (I actually used the word 'ornate'), pre-packaged cards. Those are already priced.
Crazy: But you said that they were a dollar.
Me: Yes, I did, but obviously that one is more expensive.
Crazy: Well, I was in here last week, and there used to be a sign there that said that all cards were a dollar.
Me: I'm not the shop manager. She prices the items.
I have to charge you the price that is printed on the item.
Crazy: But you said that the cards were a dollar.
Me: I'm going to give you the phone number for the shop manager. You can call her during the week when she's in.

Crazy responds by walking back to her daughter (3 feet away) where they bitch and moan about what a bitch I am. HELLO? I CAN HEAR YOU! The daughter comes up with her cards. She buys 3 loose cards. $3 plus tax. I ring it up. She's like, "Oh, we're members." So I have to void the transaction because the register is antique. I'm surprised it works at all, to be honest. I don't DARE ask for proof that they're members, for fear of getting my eyes scratched out.

They leave. Another person in the shop comes up and tells me that she was very impressed with the way that I handled them. She would have yelled, she tells me. Isn't it impressive that I know when to use my rage? Like in the car on the beltway?"

The second worst day I had at that place is pretty good too:

I really, really, really, really, really, really HATE my weekend job. I mean DESPISE IT. For example, this past weekend, I went in on Saturday and it sucked. Mostly because I have to be there at 10 a.m.
on Saturdays. Sunday, though. Oh Sunday. I show up and I am all alone for about 15 minutes. Suddenly, there are a few women that come in to shop. You should see this gift shop. Apparently, things that relate to historic house museums are few and far between. I can't even describe the CRAP that they sell. So these women come in to peruse the crap, and all of a sudden, this 55 year old man comes in and goes on and on about how he called yesterday and someone told him that we would love for him to donate his antique typewriters.

So I have to act like I actually care, and I tell him to bring them in, blah. It's 29 degrees out, by the way, and historic homes are not really known for their insulation/warmth. He brings FIVE of these dirty things into the house - one at a time - leaving the door open every time. At this point, I have unzipped my coat (can't take it off for fear of freezing) and wrapped myself around the space heater. I keep closing the door after him each time, and he keeps leaving it open. Oh son of a bitch. I then have to explain to him that I can't give him a deed of gift form because I only authorize non-collection items. BLAH. He doesn't understand this, and that's fine because it is actually a little confusing for someone not in the Museum Studies program, but he won't LEAVE. Finally, one of the 'shoppers' (read: huge sucker) brings something to the register. He leaves.

I ring up her extremely tacky item, and guess who's back? Oh yes, he's come to take pictures. Of the typewriters. And that's not all. He proceeds to tell me about each one. Oh son of a bitch. This was Sunday, December 14. I had a 20 page paper and a take-home final due the next day. I had been planning on working on them at work. Nope. Because here's what happens next:

In walks the director, the education director, and the collections manager. Followed by the entire office staff of 4. They are all carrying bags and bags of food and dressed to the nines. And by nines, I mean the clothing that old people wear. That they think is classy.

But it's really just the things that they would have worn while sitting to watch the McLaughlin Group.

They start "setting up" for the holiday fete (which, I discovered, is pronounced "fet" and not "fe-tay" like I thought. Do you see what I get out of this job? It's not just a great thing for the resume). Apparently, there was a party for the staff and all of the volunteers (average age - deceased) for the holidays. Did anyone invite me? No, but they put me to work cutting up pita bread into little triangles. And then - the best thing that happened the entire day - a cub scout troop showed up for a tour. Who had to give it? That's right, the STAFF MEMBER who wasn't invited to the STAFF PARTY. F-ing kids needed intravenous ritalin. Horrible.

Now, to be fair, even if I had been invited to this fabulous fete, I wouldn't have gone if they had paid me for the hours. Hell, I wouldn't have gone if I had finished the semester a week earlier. These people are ridiculous. Collectively, their sense of humor is... no wait. None of them seem to know what sarcasm is. It's painful.

And now I'm back to being the front desk monkey. I cannot believe this. Now, just more of an incentive to start looking for a new job, I guess. GAH!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Jimmy John's

Last weekend, I discovered the beauty of a Sunday morning - that is, before the crazies leave their houses for their Sunday drives (aka Reigns of Terror). Because of my Lenten promise, the lack of caffeine in my diet has resulted in me having a normal sleeping schedule. That's great, except that I've been craving sugar like you wouldn't believe. It was time to get my weekly ration of strawberry smoothies from Trader Joe's.

First, both TJ's and Target were empty (well, except for the woman in front of me in the Target checkout, who managed to spend $388.24 on a basketful of what appeared to be everyday items like toothpaste, paper towels, juice boxes, and gum), the roads were delightfully devoid of The Virginia Driver, and it was crisp and sunny. Fantastic!

Second, I must go to bat for green tea. It is scrumtrulescent. Have a cuppa - you won't be disappointed.

Third, and most importantly, there is now a Jimmy John's in Alexandria. This is groundbreaking as there is no longer the need to drive to College Park for the best sandwich in the world, thereby reducing the potential dangers to one's car of driving through the ghetto on I-275. Have the 'Turkey Tom' - it has sprouts, and I'm pretty sure that it has less fat than the Double Bacon Cheese ThickBurger.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fat Biffas and Swamp Donkeys*

K-10 makes a good point:

"I'm so sick of everyone telling me how healthy everything is that I eat. 'And you go to the gym almost everyday?' And then they make fun of me for doing yoga and staying in shape. I'm sorry that I don't eat packets of crisps and chocolate bars all day everyday. You feel like CRAP if you eat that stuff. SHEESH. Did you read the new study that thinks that this is going to be the first generation where children die before their parents?They think that 2-5 years are going to be taken off the average lifespan because of obesity (leading to stroke, heart attack, etc). Why are people so stupid? They have to keep up with the Jones's on everything, but they are so fat and can't fix that part of their life. 'I don't have time to work out.' Do you have time to eat that fatty doughnut? Time to watch 3 hours of TV a night? Time to complain that you don't want to spend double for an airline ticket when you clearly take up two seats? Time to go out and get lashed every weekend? Make time, you lazy fat asses of America."

And then Hardees hits us with the Double Bacon Cheese ThickBurger. Just take a gander at the nutritional "values" for that monster - how many calories? See here. GROSS. (Courtesy of Woelker Texas Ranger.)

K-10's response: "That has over 20g of fat more than you are supposed to have in a day. IN A DAY. And 1300 calories? I might vomit."

Luke SkyWoelker's response: "Even that definition is flawed though, as the food pyramid guidelines were set out in the 80's for a 2,000 calorie diet, but was based on the idea of the 1950's physically fit lifestyle. Where they assumed children and adults would be much more active. What do we do now? We go home and watch 'Fat Actress'. Dear Lord!"

*Fat Biffa: excessively fat, ugly
Fat Munter: excessively fat, ugly
Swamp Donkey: Most hideously excessively fatishly ugly
Minger: ugly

(hilarious British slang courtesy of K-10)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Great Falls

Ah. Great Falls. There were kayakers that day. Crazies! And we hiked and threw snowballs and it was flippin' fantastic. Afterward, we went to IHOP and there were four kinds of syrups. Amazing.

I secretly wish it would snow again. Just one last time, so we can journey to Great Falls and go hiking in the pretty, virginal snow. I mean, this March has been unseasonably cold (even I admit it) - it could happen! A ginormous blizzard. Ah, the possibilities...

You may be saying, "But Heather, if it snows, the government will shut down and people will assume that this means that they don't have to shovel or plow roads!" Agreed. But it also means that no one else will be on the road, and we can just fishtail the entire way to the park.

Then again, snow might hurt the cherry blossoms, and we certainly don't want that. Decisions, decisions... Okay, I choose blossoms. As long as there isn't a great windstorm that robs the trees of all of the prettiness like last year. That was obnoxious. If wind ruins everything, then give us snow.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Virginia Driver - A Manual

Congratulations on getting your Virginia driver's license! You are either a: a) long-time Virginia resident - in which case the following rules may not be of much interest to you as you've grown up watching your parents following them and subconsciously know and understand these rules; b) recent immigrant from San Salvador, Puerto Rico, Mexico, or some other non-English speaking country south of Texas; c) new Virginia resident who has most likely moved to the area fresh out of college to work for the federal government. This manual will be of interest to you, as you are well on your way to becoming a Virginia driver.

***If English is not your primary language, we apologize, as we did not have the funds to publish this manual in other languages. Read: We did not want to make the effort, as you have obviously not made the effort to learn English. Oh, was that harsh? Lo siento.***

Now that you are a Virginia driver, we want to let you in on some of our unwritten rules:

1. Never use your turn signal. NEVER EVER.

2. Make sure to drive at least 5 mph under the speed limit.

3. When making a right-hand turn, it is important that you come to a complete stop before you even think about turning that wheel. Coming to a complete stop will let others know what you are doing, especially since you have conveniently neglected to utilize your turn signal. Additionally, stopping completely is necessary because there might be an invisible car in the driveway/street/parking lot, and you want to avoid hitting said car.

4. Your car will fit in any spot, no matter how small the spot appears to the naked eye. If you drive a 1987 station wagon, your car will most definitely fit in the spot that dog just squeezed through on his way to the fire hydrant. No worries! Just make sure to back into the spot in such a way that you block both lanes of traffic. You can do it!

5. Don't buy American cars. People who drive American cars are obviously members of the lowly working class. You do not want to be mistaken for a blue-collar worker, do you?

6. Those funny-looking stop signs? The triangle-shaped ones that you heard your out-of-town friend refer to as "yield" signs? Those signify a complete stop. When merging onto I-395 or Route 50, always slam on your brakes when you see this sign at the end of the ramp. It is always easier to merge into 65 mph traffic from a complete stop. Always.

7. When a pedestrian is crossing at a light, don't think that the blinking "WALK" signal means anything. You clearly have the right of way. If he/she is not walking quickly enough, feel free to honk your horn repeatedly. If the horn doesn't solve your problem, drive as close to the pedestrian as possible to get him/her to walk faster. You are obviously more important and have extremely important things to do. And besides, pedestrians are losers because they don't have cars.

8. Precipitation: rain, snow, sleet, excessive sunshine... All of these things are dangerous. You must drive 15 mph slower than usual. It's just much safer that way.

9a. If you are a member of category "b" (see above), it is necessary to stare at girls in the car next to you. And by "stare," I mean lick the window and make obscene gestures with your hands. Women love this. If this somehow doesn't win their attention, roll down the window and yell something sexually explicit in the language of your choosing. This will almost always result in the girls leaving their car idle on the side of the road, climbing into your Nissan truck, and reward your actions by immediately giving you oral sex.

9b. When driving, if you see a female pedestrian, make sure you "stare" at her as well. Add some greasy comments to your gestures, and this will yield identical results.

10. Driving in both lanes is completely acceptable, just as seatbelts are merely optional. This will help when cramming your entire extended family into your Honda Accord for a trip to Walmart.

11. Lastly, when someone asks if you ever attended a Driver's Education class, lie and say, "of course!"

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Well, it snowed. Sort of. For about an hour, it was pure white outside - I couldn't even watch the building directly across the street being demolished, which is a bummer because that's how I've been passing the day in between the cases I am working on. The wrecking ball is my favorite deconstruction tool at the moment. Concrete wall? Kablam-o! Now it is dust. Dust! Yay wrecking ball! Anyway, the snow didn't stick. Hence, I stayed at work until 5. Hence. Hehe.

So we found out that we can move stuff into the new place early AND we can paint the walls. Super awesome! Moving in - last weekend in March... Goodbye to Arlington in T minus 14 days!

I'm actually looking forward to packing. I love it. It's a very precise science. Can't wait to pack all of the books. Snerk. Well, packing them won't be that big of a deal. Carrying them is what's going to suck. Not that I will be the one carrying them, mind you. Because I'm tiny! Hahaha!

Okay, I obviously need more cold medicine. Awesome Roommate is sick. Hence, so am I. Hence!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


A woman SAT on me on the metro this morning. A BIG, FAT, LAND MONSTER OF A WOMAN. It was raining. So she was covered in rain. Ew. Ew!

And now, it is no longer raining but BLIZZARDING. Like, I literally cannot see out of the window. If only the damn snow would stick - then we'd get sent home because DC is ridiculous and I would get into my warm cushy bed with hot chocolate and finish the crossword puzzle and everything would be amazing.

Here's hoping...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Capitol Hill, Beetches!

SWEET! Awesome Roommate and I have found the perfect place, signed the lease, and will move into its fabulousness before the month is out. How did we do it, you ask? Gotta send my love out to Craigslist. Love it! LOVE. After searching tirelessly for two months, we were rewarded. PLUS, the people that are moving out (and to a house on U Street) are fabulous. They're even going to help us move. New friends are fun. The fact that they are all very attractive just makes things peachier. We love them.

So let's talk about the amazing find. One story, three bedroom rowhouse with TWO wood-burning fireplaces, high ceilings, big kitchen, two off-street parking places, and - one moment while I wipe away the tears of joy - a washer/dryer combo. And it's only a three-minute walk to the metro. Our dream home.

I am so flippin' excited to be in D.C., finally. Arlington is plain super - don't get me wrong - it's just a little, well... plain. I will miss Bailey's and its black forest sandwich, the live bands at Whitlow's, and cider at Four Courts, and... but wait! We're less than five miles away. I don't even have to say goodbye.