Archive for March, 2006

Of Noses and Grindstones

It is 21:45 on Monday and I’ve already worked 25 hours this week (our work week begins on Sunday). I’m going home. Fuck this.

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Irish Retirement Account

We had a meeting today about the company sponsored IRA. I was excited because, as a one-time owner of The Anarchist Cookbook and a fellow lucky to still have all his fingers, I felt I might have something valuable to bring to the table. I practiced my accent to myself and made a sign that said “reef, th’ limey bastards.”

Honestly I was disappointed. Apparently, our branch is mostly concerned with the financing of operations. I suppose that makes sense given that we’re on the wrong side of the pond. The whole meeting though was about investing and other such boring things. The guy they sent over didn’t even have an accent. I’m pretty sure he was as American as I was. Maybe you have to start off at the bottom and after you prove yourself a bit you get to move into the real action.

Anyhow, he said that there were three things we should take from the meeting. I don’t really what they’ve got with liberating our people, but maybe one of y’all can help me out:

  • Plan your retirement like you’re going to be taking a twenty year vacation. You don’t want to have to stop and find more money in the middle.
  • “Just Do It.” © In thirty years a lot of the choices you make are not going to make a lot of a difference. The most important thing is to start doing something.
  • When you get ready to retire, make sure that you’ve got at least enough money for three years in cash or government bonds. Three to five years is how long it takes for a bad market to begin to rebound. Apparently most funds went down an average of 50% between 2000 and 2002. People who had to withdraw during that period were simply sol.

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re: Karin

I had a really fun yesterday. It just about ran me into the ground, but such seems to be the hallmark of my times as of late.

Tai Shan

It started out with me sprinting to Union Station since I’d found it much more pleasant to lay about snuggling with McKenzie than hauling my ass out of bed. I managed to make it to meet up with Karin a mere ten minutes late. ☺ Cheetahs
After explaining about how the repairs on the red line had the schedule all messed up and forced me to be late, we headed on the the zoo.

The sun was shining. The clouds hung picturesquely in a bright blue sky. Birds were out singing and enjoying the mid-70’s temperatures. It was beautiful and a perfect day to be out. Unfortunately most all of DC had picked up on this as well and al least half of them had decided to go to the zoo as well.

It was a lot of fun hanging out with Karin. We discussed a variety of subjects Armadillo such as how good a panda skin rug would look in front of fireplace, how tender and delicious baby pandas likely are and the benefits of being reincarnated as a panda where your only job is to eat 40 pounds of bamboo a day and do fuck all. These were sparked by the zoo’s biggest star, the new baby panda, Tai Shan. We got our panda viewing tickets without any problem, but the pandas were all sleeping and not all that entertaining aside from their ever present cuteness.

Actually sleep turned out to be something of a theme. Pretty much any animal larger than a breadbox was unconscious. The notable exception were the orangutans. There are cables strung about 30 feet above the walkways at the zoo and the orangutans hold reign over these aerial byways. The same question occurred to Karin and myself simultaneously: a load of orangutan poopie falling 30 feet onto your head; emotionally scarring or funny anecdote?

The O-Line

Neither of us had eaten breakfast and so we breezed by the second half of the zoo and headed to Chinatown to find some lunch. We wandered about a bit trying to find a place that had food for less than $15 when we happened upon a little place called Tai Shan. Clearly this is where we were meant to be. golden They had $4.95 lunch specials: perfect. I asked the waitress if they had any panda and she said “no,” but when she brought me my “chicken” she gave me a little wink. Once I started eating I realized that my chicken wasn’t chicken! I know sweet and sour panda when I taste it. That or golden retriever; they’re similar tastes. ☺

The one thing that was unfortunately missing was bubble tea. Supposedly out in California these fruit based infusion teas with tapioca pearls in the bottom are so popular as to threaten Starbucks market. Fad chaser that I am, I just had to try this latest rage, but didn’t get the opportunity yesterday.

After lunch we headed back to Adams Morgan and went to Bedrock Billiards where Karin schooled me mercilessly in checkers. Along the way we saw some of the teams from the Idiotarod running about with their shopping carts. I definitely want to do that next year.

Post checkers it was starting to get dark and so I walked Karin back to her hotel, said goodbye and headed on the second half of the day: Cowboy Mouth!

Cowboy Mouth

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Oeil Poché

Apparently it takes some time for a shiner to develop:

the day after getting jacked at five

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Head Injuries

There have been a couple changes going on in my life that tie in with head injuries…

The first is that my house is emptying like a sinking ship. In the course of the last week three of my five roommates have moved out. In addition to the bills debacle, the landlord was talking about having the tenants shoulder half the burden of the cost of repairs for stuff like the shitpool that occupied our downstairs last week.

I liked Giacomo and Erin, but the real gem being lost here is Mary. A half-Chinese American who worked at Starbucks when not doing o-chem, she had that sort of abruptness that I always find so abruptness. During a recent discussion of whether or not oral sex was degrading to the performer I walked into the kitchen and without any pretext asked her if she practiced and enjoyed carpet munching. The fact that I both felt comfortable asking her that and that she fielded the question frankly and without missing a bit speaks highly of her.

Mary is not terribly fond of her job at “Starfucks” as she affectionately calls it. A couple weeks ago she decided that she needed a little break from the daily grind, but how to get this? Well, she called Erin on the phone and explained her dilemma and then a potential solution. It turns out that certain types of psychologically traumatizing events qualify for paid time off from Starbucks. Among these is getting injured during the course of a mugging. Rather than walking around shady neighborhoods at night, with the incumbent risk of death that carries, she decided to eliminate the middle man and, while she was on the phone with Erin, smacks herself in the face with a Starbucks thermos.

I’ve never done it myself, but it is apparently difficult to punch oneself in the face especially hard. Mary is a persistent sort however and after a few tries she managed to bludgeon herself to the point of blackening her eye:

Mary's Day Off

Last Tuesday was Mardi Gras. (Lulu’s was disappointing. I was lit by a fire eater, but it was outside after we left. The inside had no dancing to justify the $20 cover.) Mardi Gras, of course, is the day of excess which marks the period of purgation that is Lent.

In the past I have done some fairly challenging things for Lent. In Mauritania I forswore English both years and it was very productive. This year I’m dealing with the stress of moving to the States and starting a new job and a new lifestyle, so I’m going a less challenging path. Initially I was going to no booze for the whole period. I don’t really have a problem with how much I drink, but I do recognize that it is a major part of my social life. Whenever I go out to a dinner party I have some wine, for pool or parties there’s always a beer, out dancing I pretty much always have a mixed drink or two. I just don’t think that it should have to be a part of having a good time and want to work on that.

The problem is that it apparently is a part of having a good time. Not all the time, but going out drinking and dancing is a distinctly different experience from just going out dancing. I like the dancing, but if the DJ is mediocre (as most in DC are) the booze helps sort of gloss over the less danceable songs and keep me groovin’ on the dancefloor.

So I struck a balance and will only drink once a week and last night was the night. I started out at a party to say goodbye to one of MPP’s fine IT staff, Sean, who is heading Las Vegas for a while to work a campaign. Unfortunately, I had to leave as things were heating up because I’d promised Cat and Lesley that were they ever to go dancing I’d be there and last night was the night to go to five.

When I get there it took me a while to find the girls and when I did Lesley pulls me in close and tells me she doesn’t really like the guy dancing up on her and asks me to step in. Well, being a gentleman I was obliged to lend my aid to an attractive young lady in distress so I start working my way into the mix and cutting the guy off. Apparently he sensed what was going on and was less than entertained at the development. To his credit, I did get there an hour or so after they all did so I was interfering in a semi-serious time investment on his part.

How he chose to deal with it was not terribly inventive. When I dance I take my glasses off because my hair gets sweaty and it just makes a mess. Because I didn’t have my glasses an and wasn’t paying attention (and was drunk), I didn’t see it coming at all when he blindsided me and punched me in the face. All in all I handled it well enough. The old wrestling instincts kicked in and I hooked his arm and drug him to the floor with me. I had no real desire to hit him, I just wanted to stop him from hitting me any more. Fortunately some other fellows helped me out, and once he was on the floor they sat on his chest and let me disentangle myself. He ran off before the bouncers got there and I went back to dancing.

What I didn’t really realize in the excitement, but remembered this morning is that as we were tussling he punched me in the back of the head four or five times. My face doesn’t really hurt and the gooseegg over my eye is fading, but the back of my head is all lumpy and hurts like a son of a bitch. All in all it was a new adventure. Not something I want to repeat especially. Hopefully the next guy that has a problem with me at least has the courtesy to call me some names and push me about a bit before punching me. ☺

Post blindsiding

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