Thursday, April 29, 2010

Say it isn't so

From the Washington Post:

Well, now I feel really bad. I think I was a bit more invested in the poor thing's uterus than I realized.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ice ice baby

Seen on a D.C. street this morning around 10 a.m. Just chilling on the sidewalk. Pun intended. No idea what it is from or is to be used for.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lunch break

One good thing about jury duty: Lunch downtown. A meatball bento box at Teaism. I only ate here for the first time last week and I'm in love.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Panda Watch 2010

I've lived in D.C. or its environs for a little more than two and a half years now. In that time I've picked up some behaviors that I blame on living here. Things like:
  • Shooting murderous looks at anyone who stands on the left on an escalator. Any escalator, anywhere
  • Bitching about tourists. All. The. Time.
  • Developing strong feelings on Virginia suburbs and Maryland.
  • Being able to identify "Hill" people and knowing what a vague "I work for the government" really means. (I.e. spy!)
But there is one behavior I've largely avoided. One thing that just never interested me as much as it seemed to interest many others around me. And that thing? Pandamania.

Yes, I made my trek to the National Zoo to see our bears. Yes, I was sad when they sent Butterstick back to China. (But more so because of my feelings on China than the bear.) But they're just bears. They're endangered, I get that. And it is freaking adorable when just a baby or when one sneezes. But overall I can kind of just take them or leave them.

But then spring came and with spring a ritual that seems ridiculous to someone inside the beltway, so I can only imagine how ridiculous it must seem to those outside. And the ritual? Panda pregnancy watch. Yes, you read that correctly. The capital of this great nation. The center of American government. The home of leaders in media, business, and politics. The town consumed with the desire to have a knocked up panda in its borders. 

Maybe this is what they're really thinking of when they say Washington is broke.  Because after artificially inseminating Mei Xiang eight times, the poor thing has only given birth to one panda baby. (The aforementioned Butterstick, now living out its days in China.) Meaning that each spring the metro area reads about her hormone levels and behavioral changes, and then gets locked down in "pregnancy watch" mode. Will it be another Butterstick? Or is it just another broken dream, another dashed hope, another pseudo pregnancy. (Which as far as I can tell, happens often. Hormone levels and behaviors say one thing, but the lack of baby panda goodness distinctly says another.)

I became one of those who broke down on Saturday and watched part of the Panda Cam live feed on the Zoo website. All I saw was Mei Xiang kicked back, gnawing on some bamboo, probably guffawing in her head at how stupid humans are.

Then it occurred to me that I didn't even know what to be watching for. Should I have been looking for "What to Expect When You're Expecting" on her nightstand? Was I waiting for her to stand up, grab her back, and exclaim, "My water just broke!"?  Or was I possibly going to see a live panda birth? Because, well, ewwww, I don't want to see that! 

But let's focus on the practicality of this whole endeavor for a minute. Surely there must be a better way to tell if she's pregnant. If we can inseminate a bear and hook up a video camera to watch its every move, can we not invent a home pregnancy test for the thing? Maybe it's not so much the technology we're lacking, but someone willing to assist the bear in peeing on a stick. Not to mention holding its hand while they wait with bated breath to see a little pink line. (Or two lines? I don't actually know what one sees.)
However, I guess there's something nice about doing it the old-fashioned way. Or at least as old-fashioned as you can get when you throw in frozen panda sperm and a web cam. I suppose it's as close as I'll get to being a 1950s husband pacing and smoking in the hospital waiting room, oblivious as to what's to come.

I just hope that somewhere out there in this great universe of ours, there is a planet of pandas, glued to a 24-hour feed of some human, taking bets on whether or not she will give birth. It only seems fair.

(Screen capture from the Panda Cam. If I had the nosy eyes of a city on me all weekend, I'd be tired to. )

But after all this cynicism and sarcasm, looking at that bear curled up, sleeping contentedly,  I can't help but hope she gets a new little one. They took her other one away, after all, and I have to admit, they are just freaking adorable.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Soapbox

I'm going to start un-friending Facebook friends who use slang for one's sexual orientation as an insult, greeting, or adjective for what they deem unacceptable behavior. (i.e. cheering for a certain team or liking a certain band.)

I've reached the point where it's no longer about respecting viewpoints that are different from mine. I can respect differing views on abortion, government spending, war, etc. I absolutely can not when it comes to gay rights. It's my line in the sand. It's seriously the only issue I can think of where my only response is "You're wrong," end of story.

It is just incorrigible to me that in 2010 people still think it's acceptable. I guess it should count for something that the vast majority of people I know now, the people I've been exposed to since high school, even those with the most conservative beliefs, would never use such language. They may not agree with the "lifestyle," for lack of a better word, but they would never demean them in such a way. There are good, classy people out there. There are.

My anger may be partly because of something that happened on Facebook a few weeks ago. Someone I barely know from high school, who didn't go to the school, posted a status about liking Carolina basketball. Someone else responded "why do you want to cheer for those fags?" To which the person responded, "no, the b-ball team isn't fags, just the students that go there."

First, let's get this out of the way being that it is my number one pet peeve, thorn in my side, line I refuse to cross: using slang for sexual orientation as an insult, adjective, or method of judgment is unacceptable. I HATE IT. And even hate isn't a strong enough word. Gay doesn't mean weak, effeminate, dumb, or sad. There are plenty of words that mean those things, so use them!

Second, basketball players are students. And from what I've read about players, at least past players, they adore Chapel Hill and would not be ashamed to be considered a part of it. And I know he or she intended the "fag" to be an all-encompassing insult for that which they fear the most: PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT. People who buck the status quo, dress differently, think! Because compared to lots of places, Chapel Hill is different. (Thank, God.) I've been faced with this kind of judgment of UNC students for years, long before I went there, while I was there, and even now after. It doesn't bother me so much if people want to assume I'm a crazy liberal lesbian who doesn't shave her legs. Whatever. I am a crazy liberal, I'm not gay but I love them, and I do shave my legs, but not because society tells me to, but because I want to.

I'll never forget a trip home-- a place I love and defend, by the way, but does have its flaws -- while in college and having a grown woman ask me about Carolina: "Is everybody just really weird there?" Again, the word "weird" an expansive term to cover everything she dislikes or fears. It was then that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that age doesn't equal knowledge, that money and social standing can get you far but it will never get you to a place of tolerance and class. All three of which, by the way, I was brought up on and only had reinforced and strengthened at that "weird' Chapel Hill.

Bottom line: "Gay" either describes your mental state or your sexual orientation; that's it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Judging a book by its cover

Thomas Jefferson once said that he "can not live without books." Nor can I. And despite the convenience and technical benefits of the various e-readers out there, I remain a fan of the real thing. I can't imagine curling up on a rainy day with a Kindle. I don't think it's a good idea to take a Nook into a bubble bath. They don't have that new, or old, book smell. (I will, however, be filching my mom's e-book on my mini-vacation next week to read The Lost Symbol. Don't judge; it takes places in D.C.)

I recently read an article on CNN—Book jackets: An endangered art—on how e-readers threaten the beauty and lessen the importance of cover art.

My favorite part of the article:
The existence of a gorgeous jacket amplifies the truth that a book is not, or at least should not be, disposable. It is a part of your life that is there for the long run. You might not read a book a second time, but its jacket wrapped around it, sitting in your home, is a reminder of certain things: what you were going through as you first held it, who in the world was important to you, how the words on those pages made you feel.

That last line—what you were going through as you first held it, who in the world was important to you, how the words on those pages made you feel—is a post for another day. (And actually relates to my statement in the beginning re: Dan Brown books.)

I have no problem, and feel not the least bit guilty, in admitting that I judge a book by its cover. I am a voracious reader and if I'm going to invest the time and money into a book, I rely on cues to help me decide if it's worth it. Cues such as:

  • Cover art (Is it a pretty color? Has it been done before? How relevant will it be to the story?)
  • Size, location, and content of author photo (Pretentious smile or background? It's their first book but it takes up the entire page?)
  • Reviews (How many and from what sources?)
  • Blurb length, relevance, and location (Is it on the back of a paperback, where it should be, or do they move it inside to make room for laudatory reviews?)
  • Awards (Which award? Did they win or were they a finalist? Have I heard of it before?)
I am a terribly visual person, so I think cover art might be the most important cue of all. (Aside from the actual words in the book itself, of course. I love words most of all.) But the cover does set the stage for the adventure on which you are about to embark. There's just something about the rush of holding an about-to-be-read book in your hands, the gleaming cover staring up at you, hinting at what's to come as you prepare to dive in.

Below are a few of the covers that first popped to mind as I read the article. Covers that I think of every time I think of the book. Covers that are the reason I bought the book in the first place. Covers that I saw on the other side of the bookstore and raced to get to. Covers that may not represent the "classics" but represent something to me.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday Soapbox

I saw this on the shelf at Marshall's a few weeks ago. I think this week is the perfect time to post it.

It's an odd thing to be selling, even for $1, given that it's half gone and there's a footprint on top. But then you see the name on the side and, suddenly, it all makes sense.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

"I always skip Wednesdays." (Tim Riggins, FNL)

In high school I:
  • Never went a day without having my nails painted.
  • Owned no real t-shirts.
  • Never left the house without everything looking just. so.
In college I:
  • Had my nails painted some days.
  • Accrued more than 50 t-shirts.
  • Never wore pajamas to class and rarely wore a hoodie out.
In real life I:
  • Sometimes go days with chipped nail polish or unevenly filed nails.
  • Wore a hoodie to work. Twice.
  • Had to talk myself out of wearing a t-shirt today that has been previously used to exercise and sleep in. And I wore a baseball hat.
At this rate of decline, in ten years, my wardrobe will consist solely of housecoats and slippers.

This could be looked at as a sign that I'm letting go of some of my perfectionist control freak tendencies. But...

I ironed both the sleep/exercise shirt and the shirt I ended up wearing. Both of which had to have navy in them to match the hat. Then I lint rolled the hat because it had fuzzies on it. On the feet were black flip flops instead of brown to match my black bag. Finally, I went through several pairs of earrings and necklaces before settling on ones that went with the casual and effortless look I was going for.

It turns out that even when I'm being a lazy slob I'm still a perfectionist control freak. Maybe I don't need to say hello to the housecoats and slippers just yet.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't lose.

After years of hearing from a variety of people -- in real life, on tv, and on blogs -- I finally caved last week and started watching "Friday Night Lights." And, just like they all said, I am obsessed! To the point that I watched all three seasons on Netflix instant play in entirely too short of an amount of time. This is why I resist watching shows that have already been out for awhile. I get addicted and can't stop until I watch them all and know everything about them. (See: Doctor Who, One Tree Hill, General Hospital, etc.)

This might be one of the most realistic shows I've ever seen. I feel like I could walk into any small town in America -- including my own hometown -- and find people just like this with issues like theirs. The good, the bad, and the over-the-top. And it's about so much more than just football. The characters are dynamically written and acted, their interactions and experiences honest and poignant. I find myself tearing up at every episode, which might not normally say much since I cry at everything, but it really is that good and moving.

(Though I must say I'm not sure there's any way normal teenagers could have as much sex and drink as much alcohol as they do and still have time for football. Not to mention have no pregnancies or drunken driving incidents. Though I guess there have been a fair number of arrests. But there aren't always consequences for bad choices in real life, so they're still keeping it real.)

It is also very witty and delivers some great lines, usually said in the driest manner possible, my favorite kind of humor. Current favorites:

Matt: I can't just quit the team.
Shelby: What would they do? Shoot you?
Matt: Probably. We do live in Texas.

Coach Taylor: Contrary to popular opinion I'm very good at communicating with womenfolk.
Tami Taylor: Sweetheart, that's just ridiculous.

Grandma Saracen: Is that my tiara?
Landry: That will be beautiful when you zip over to Rite-Aid.

Bottom line: Everyone should watch this show.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

For every season turn turn

Hello, Spring. I never thought you'd get here.

I feel like skipping through the streets with unfettered joy at the blue skies, hot air, flowering trees, and friendly breezes. I feel like because of the harsh Winter people are just going to be crazy as Spring continues to spread. Good crazy or bad crazy? I'm not sure, only Spring can tell!

Saturday I took a long run/walk around the Capitol and then through Eastern Market for some lunch and flowers.

Sunday I went with the roommate to church for Easter and then out on a few errands.The church service ended with the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. I think every day should start with the Hallelujah chorus and warm weather.


Related Posts with Thumbnails