Thursday, November 30, 2006
From now on, I am only going to blog about non-Thinky matters ...
Earlier today, I dumped my lunch on the floor. It was an accident. I only dump other people's lunches on the floor on purpose. Instead of yummy avocado sushi rolls, I ate a bag of potato chips - Kettle Chips Buffalo Bleu [barbeque and blue cheese]. They were tres yummy. I almost bought the other new Kettle Chips flavor, Mediterranean Three Cheese, as well, but decided to save those for another day when I [accidentally] dump my lunch all over the floor again.
Now, after consuming nearly the entire bag of chips, I feel I can not justifiably eat an entire bag of microwave popcorn for dinner, as I had planned. I feel like I must eat something *gasp* healthy, like salad. Or something. Maybe an omelet.
Or maybe I'll buy egg nog.
Egg nog is good.
And I'll try not to dump it all over the floor.
Court Hears Global Warming Case: Justices to Decide Challenge on Greenhouse Gas Emissions is an interesting article in this morning's WaPo. Basically, 12 states and the District of Columbia are asking the Supreme Court to ask the EPA to reevaluate its decision not to pursue stricter carbon dioxide emission limits on cars and trucks.
The EPA argued that it does not have the statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (um? hello? Clean Air Act?) and -even if it did (which it does) - it is not required to use it (which it should be).
He [Justice Anthony M. Kennedy] noted Milkey's "perhaps reassuring statement" that the court does not have to make a judgment about global warming. "But," Kennedy asked, "don't we have to do that in order to decide the standing argument, because there's no injury if there's not global warming?"
It's not "global warming" folks. It's climate change. Say it with me, "climate change."
Parts of our planet are warming. More significantly is that this warming will lead to catastrophic changes in climate. Areas which were once fertile will become deserts. Coastal areas will flood. Small islands will disappear. Even more species will become extinct (which is, like, forever, yo. They won't be back). Drought. Famine. Floods. The northern migration of disease. It's not a pretty picture. Not at all.
And, yet, people -including Supreme Court Justices- with minimal scientific background are debating scientists who have studied these changes for most of their professional lives. The political arrogance, the overwhelming ignorance is astounding.
In my environmental policy program, we often referred to a very useful equation: I = PAT, in which I = environmental impact, P = population, A = affluence, and T = technology. Briefly, the environment tends to be negatively impacted by increasing population and affluence. Technology can have either a positive or negative impact (but is usually negative).
Some people believe that human intelligence will overcome all environmental problems. These technological optimists believe that a business as usual policy will have no negative long term effects, because our technological advancements will mitigate any environmental impact. We can pollute and grow and rape and pillage as much as we want. Everything will be fine. Technology will save us.
The frightening question which must be asked is: What if you're wrong?
Ask that question to a technological optimist and he (or she) will look at you like there are alien antennae protruding from your head. He can't even contemplate that possibility. So, I will contemplate it for him.
If the technological optimists are wrong, the world is FUCKED.
If environmentalists are wrong, and climate change isn't happening or technology does mitigate its negative effects, the world is a little cleaner.
I know which option I prefer.
Justice Scalia, you may not want to deal with "global warming," but you have to. We all have to. What you need to do is shut up and educate yourself. Then, maybe you'll be able to make non-politically motivated judicial decisions, at least as far as the environment is concerned.
And, if any of you are interested in educating yourselves, here are a few books on the subject which I found helpful:
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery
Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis--and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster by Ross Gelbspan
and, of course,
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore
In other, non-climate change related news, last night, I did laundry, ate leftovers, knitted, and drank a martini. My life is so exciting.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I only use Bombay Sapphire gin, which I store in the freezer. I keep my vermouth in the refridgerator. I tried keeping it in the freezer, too; however, I soon discovered an interesting fact: Vermouth freezes!
Prior to making a martini, I put the martini glass in the freezer as well.
I measure out approximately 3.5 oz of gin in this cool cocktail measuring glass that I have and add a splash or so (0.5 oz) of vermouth. Next, I dump in some ice cubes and let it chill for a bit.
While it's chillin', I take the martini glass out of the freezer. I place 2 or 3 olives in it and a one or two tablespoons of olive juice.
I give the gin and vermouth a quick couple of stirs and strain into the glass. I like to add a few bits of ice too.
And, there you have it. A VUBOQtini.
As for drinking them naked ... well ... I shouldn't say.
About halfway through the movie, I started to get hungry. I decided to make my Meat-Free Monday meal, which I didn't make yesterday because I had leftover pizza. Mmm. Pizza.
On Monday, I had purchased a sweet potato, a bag of spinach, some goat cheese, and pine nuts. I couldn't wait! Goat cheese and sweet potato is one of my favorite combinations. I know it sounds a little gross, but, for some reason, the tangy goat cheese and sweetness of the potato really work!
I planned on microwaving the sweet potato. Then, adding the sauteed spinach and pine nuts and covering it with melted goat cheese. However, when I pulled the sweet potato out, it was soft and covered in mold. How could it have gone bad in only one day??? I was so disappointed. Fortunately, I have my receipt, so I'm going to Whole Foods and will hopefully be refunded.
As a last minute substitute, I boiled some pasta and mixed that with the sauteed spinach, toasted pine nuts, and goat cheese. I'll have enough for dinner tonight, too!
Here's the photo:
It was good, but didn't quite hit the spot ... *sigh*
Stupid rotten sweet potato.
I spent a lot of time on the phone last night. Mike and I had a long talk about nothing much. Then, my friend from college, Lori, finally returned my Thanksgiving phone call. And, I briefly spoke with my cousin.
All in all, not a bad way to spend the evening.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
A caller asked me: "How do I clean up toxic pigeon feces?"
I referred her to her EPA Regional Office. Silly Virginians.
This year's StickSteven letter seems to be gravitating towards lots of toilet humor. And, I have discovered that I can't draw toilets worth crap. *heh*
I'll either need to practice my toilet-drawing or think of some other non-toilet related items for my letter.
Oh! The Dilemma!
So far this morning, I have:
- rented a car [for my Xmas trip to NC]
- made a hair appointment [Tuesday, 6PM]
- typed up a brief issue for the weekly report
- completed and distributed the weekly report for in-house approval
- came to the sudden and shocking realization that if I don't transfer funds from savings into checking TODAY my mortgage check will bouncity bouncity bounce bounce
- transferred funds
I think I'm going to take the rest of the day off and devote it to blogging! *woot*
Hm ... what do I want for lunch ...
Dykewife asked about liquid cheese ... which is also called "cheese dip." It's basically melted cheese with jalapenos and stuff in it. You dip tortilla chips in it.
The easiest way to make liquid cheese is to cube about 8 oz of Velveeta (mmm ... Velveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeta), add a can of diced tomatoes with chilies (or salsa, I suppose), and nuke that stuff until the cheese melts. Simple. Delicious.
The stuff you get at Mexican restaurants tends to be a bit higher quality than Velveeta.
Anyway ... after making a martini and eating leftover pizza, I paid bills (woo hoo! which reminds me I need to transfer some funds into my checking account). Then, I watched a movie, Brazil. It was OK. And, I knitted. I started a hat for myself, using some blue merino wool I had lying around. Hopefully, it will be enough. If not, I guess I started a headband for myself.
My boss is out sick today, so I need to go type up the weekly report and send it out. Fun times.
More later. *smooches*
Monday, November 27, 2006
Here's a brief rundown of what I did:
Wednesday: Left work at 4:30. The weather was crappy, so I bought a giganto bottle of gin, some garlic-stuffed olives, and I drank martinis and knitted all night!
Parental knittens! I am totally loving them! AND, now the fam's Xmas presents are DONE! Must start to work on the friends' presents now. A knitter's work is never done. *heh*
Thursday: I got up around 10. Assembled the Not Chelsea Clinton's Sweet Potato Casserole and the Cranberry Apple Casserole. Mike picked me up at 1. I hung out at his house, baking and drinking until everyone arrived around 5ish. We ate. It was good.
Mike yelled at me when I took this picture, because it "messed up the casserole." Little did he know that I come from a long line of "people who sample the cooking then make it look like no one has touched it." [Which is very similar to a long line of "people who can open Christmas presents and return them to their original unopened-looking state."]
I fixed the casserole. No one was the wiser.
Mike drove me home a little after midnight. I was still bloated from all the yummy food.
Friday: I blobbed around the house in the morning. Mike picked me up around 3 and we went to his place for leftovers. Then, around 9, we drove out to Prince George's County for a slumber party with Darryl. We were up until at least 3. Then, we passed out. Oof.
Saturday: Very. Hung. Over.
Sunday: I went shopping, but didn't buy anything ... except for a new pair of sunglasses (which are exactly like my old pair ... only without the scratches). I met Robert for liquid cheese and margaritas at Lauriol Plaza. We then wandered down to Java House for coffee and into several shops. Finally, we ended up at Halo, where I checked out many hot mens and drank too much.
I got home around 10. Fell asleep soon after. But was awakened by a loud CRASH at 1. Car accident. Right outside my window. Flashing lights. Beeping tow trucks. GAH. No one seemed to be hurt though.
But, I'm a bit groggy this morning.
All in all, a most pleasant Thanksgiving weekend. I hope yours was wonderful as well.
And, here's a hearty "Welcome to Bloglandia" to Cooper. *smooch*
Oh. I haven't done Meat-Free Monday for awhile, but that would be today. Do your part for the environment by enjoying a meat-free meal today!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, probably my second favorite after the GREATEST DAY OF THE YEAR, St. Patrick's Day. I like it for two main reasons:
1. It's all about cooking and eating and food and drinking and family and friends. And I love cooking and eating and food and drinking and family and friends.
2. There is none of that stupid gift-giving madness associated with it. Now, granted, I like to give gifts. And, god knows, I love to receive them. BUT, I hate the gift-giving obligation that accompanies some holidays (and, I'm looking at YOU, Christmas). Seriously, how many times has a friend given you a gift at Xmas and the first thing you thought of was "OMG. I didn't get him anything?" I'm sure that's not what our friends want us to be thinking.
I digress ...
Here are 10 things I am thankful for, in no particular order:
1. Family, Health, Job (even though I hate it, it pays the bills), Home, Psychokitty Isabella.
2. This blog. Because through it (and through my previous incarnation as enviroboi at diary-x), I've met and been able to correspond with some very cool people. So, I'm also thankful for Al Gore inventing the Internet. What a sweetie.
3. My friends. You guys (and gals) are the bestest ever. Seriously. I totally *heart* you.
4. Dirty Sapphire Martinis (except ones from Therapy).
5. Saturday Afternoon Margaritas.
7. Cute shoes.
8. Days filled with sunshine.
10. Hope, and that I still have it ...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Such was my existence with my brother at the wheel. But, it was either suffer that existence or suffer a far worse fate - riding the bus to and from school. *shudder*
In the Spring of 1986, my brother was driving me and our friend, Brian, home from school. It was the day before Spring Break started and the day before we were going to Florida on a school trip (woot!). I had loads to do before leaving - pack, go to the bank to get traveler's cheques, etc. etc. etc. As my brother sped down the road towards home, the driver of the car in front of him suddenly decided to stop and turn left.
*screech* went my brother's brakes. Fortunately, we managed to stop in time.
Unfortunately, *CRASH* the car behind us did not! We were rear-ended by a little red Chevette (almost a Prince song, but not quite). I was crammed in the backseat and not wearing a seatbelt. I was thrown up and forward, banging my head on the roof of the car.
The Green Hornet, being from the days when cars were actually made of steel, only had a cracked rear light. The Little Red Chevette was a steaming pile of smashed front end. I had a headache. The police came. Reports were filed. I made it to the bank before it closed and had a fabulicious holiday in Florida with my friends.
However, ever since that accident, I occasionally get very sharp (I believe the term is "acute"), stabbing pains in the back of my head [always in the same place]. It feels like the pain is inside my skull, which is weird since the brain doesn't have pain receptors. The sensation only lasts for a few seconds, but it is often enough to make me stop doing whatever I am doing and, sometimes, brings tears to my eyes.
A few minutes ago, I felt that familiar pain. Every time it happens, I am reminded of that car accident, and I think "maybe I should go get that checked out." The pain subsides and doesn't come back for several months, so I won't. I won't even think about it until it happens again.
My blog has had a few hits in the past few days for people searching for Chelsea Clinton's sweet potato casserole. And, yes, I did post a recipe for a sweet potato casserole, but it's not Chelsea Clinton's. It's MINE!* And I expect FULL CREDIT!!! So, I've made a few changes to that post.
I seem to be feeling a little me-me-me today ... which, come to think of it, isn't all that different from any other day.
Nothing of note happened yesterday.
The Storehouse where I bought my sofa is going out of business and is having a huge clearance sale. Unfortunately, most of the good stuff is already gone. And if I wanted to pay $400 for a table, I'd buy one that wasn't all beat up and scratched and shit.
I'm thinking of applying for a part-time job at Borders. Not that I'm all that desperate for the money, but it would be nice to pad my savings account a bit. Well, that and EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS! In a BOOKSTORE! GAH! I would just DIE!
My bathtub drain is blocked. Ew. I need to remember to buy some de-clog stuff at the hardware store during my lunch break. I would blame a certain blogger friend of mine, who wreaks havoc whereever he goes; however, he wasn't in my home when it became blocked. Alas. The fault must be my own. *sigh*
I'm about 1/3 of the way finished with my mother's second knitten. WOOT! AND, it looks like I'll have enough yarn to knit an extra pair. YAY! I am totally loving the yarn [some sort of Scottish wool] and the color [raspberry]. I had purchased a pine green as well, so I may make knittens for myself and include a little raspberry stripe or two! So. Excited.
Once the mother's knittens are done, I only have one or two more Xmas presents to knit and I. am. done. Then, I can start on a certain other blogger friend's knittens and another blogger friend's scarf. THEN, work can resume on the Neverending Sweater of Doom! Plus, I want to knit a supercute hat for myself. At least, winter weather is more conducive to knitting.
I guess that's it for now. I need to make my grocery list so I can go to the store after work. Fun. Times.
More Later. *smooch*
*OK. Actually, it's not mine. It's some little old lady's recipe who went to one of our churches. But, whatever. It's mine NOW!
Monday, November 20, 2006
The Washington Post has been running this weekly feature called "Date Lab," in which singles fill out a questionnaire, the WaPo editors read it, and match up couples. They then interview the couple about the date and publish it for all of us to read. Apparently, they only match up the Straights. [You can read past Date Labs here.]
Anyway, I decided to type my answers to [most of] the questionnaire ...
1. In six words or less, tell us what you do for work: I answer the telephone.
2. Rarely is someone living in D.C. actually from D.C. So how long have you been here? 7 years [and I don't actually think being a D.C. native is all that "rare."]
3. Where are you from originally? North Carolina
4. Do you: Smoke? No
5. Drink? Yes
6. Work out? No
7. Attend religious services? No
8. Eat meat? No
9. Have pets? If so, what kind? Yes. A cat, named Isabella.
10. Quick-what's the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Must. Have. Coffee.
11. What's the last book you read? The Eyre Affair
12. If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why? Being able to fly would be cool. Not having to go through airport security would be the best!
13. You took a three-hour tour with some friends, and now you're stranded on this island.
a. Which three foods do you wish you'd remembered to pack? Whole wheat bread, peanut butter, strawberry jam.
b. Which three DVDs? There's a DVD player on the island? Sweet. Legally Blonde, Singin' in the Rain, and How to Get Off an Island On Which You Are Stranded (Special Edition).
c. Which three people? I don't normally pack people, but ... The Professor (for his technical expertise), Robert (for fun conversation), and a hot Japanese Judo player (for ... um ... well, "entertainment")
14. Imagine your dating history is being turned into a TV show. Pitch it to us. It's like Moonlighting, without the sexual tension.
15. What's the first drink you'd order in a bar? Sapphire Martini. Dirty.
16. What are the chances you'd then start talking to the stranger next to you and end up making a new friend? Not very likely.
17. What's the first thing people notice when they walk into your home? I have a big green sofa!
18. When are you happiest? When I'm hanging out with my friends.
19. In what ways would you say you are very D.C.? I didn't vote for Bush!
20. In what ways aren't you? I refuse to wear pleated pants, and I don't really care what you do ... as long as you do something. I'm not all that interested in politics [which doesn't mean I'm not politically aware ... I just don't live and breathe politics].
21. Think about the last couple of people you dated (and, yes, "only once" counts). How/where did you meet those people? The last person I dated, I met through a friend. We met about a year before at his house. I was dating someone at the time. After that relationship came to a crashing halt, we met again at a happy hour and started going out. [OK. We had sex. THEN, we started going out.]
22. C'mon, brag a little: What makes you a good catch? Hm ... since I haven't been caught, maybe I'm not all that great of a catch? BUT ... since you asked, I'm cute, smart, fun, have a wide range of interests, like to travel, and ... and ...
23. So, what's your type? (And don't tell us you don't have one-that's such a cop-out.) Tall. Heavier than I am (but not overweight). Employed. Thinky. And can totally geek out about something.
24. Most singletons say they want to meet someone funny. But what's your idea of funny? Cleverly witty. Dry humor rather than slapstick.
25. What was you best date ever? We went on a picnic at that park near National Airport. Good food. Nice wine. We played Scrabble. It was awesome.
26. What was your worst? See here.
27. What hobbies/interests/outlooks/passions would you hope to share with your date? Loves to travel, likes to eat out and try new restaurants, socially liberal, fiscally conservative ...
28. In what ways would you hope he differed from you? I would hope he is better organized than I am and more motivated and not stuck in a job he hates.
29. In your world, what features or characteristics would normally rule someone out as a dating possibility? Republican. Socially conservative. Religiously fundamental. Overweight. Straight.
Friday. Happy hour with Robert and Jerry. Fun. Dinner, too. Also fun.
Saturday. Knitting all day. Finished Dad's mittens and half of one more mitten. [Photos eventually forthcoming]
Saturday night. Pizza/Beer/Games Party at Mike's. Fun. Drank too much. Home at 2.
Sunday. Slept until 10. Finished one more mitten. Went for a wander in DC. Ended up at Mike's watching movies and eating leftover pizza. And, no, there was no "watching movies."
Must answer work email now.
Friday, November 17, 2006
2. Make pottery
3. Study bugs
I'm not so sure those can be combined into one "dream job."
Something to think about over the weekend, I guess.
I'm sure Silver Spring could use a Knitting/Pottery/Insect-infested Bar.
Although maybe it could be something like Knit New York, except have booze instead of coffee ... and HOT GAY MEN instead of little old knitting ladies ;-)
And there could be insects embedded in the bar, and printed on the napkins, and stenciled on the walls ... and the drinks could have BUG-LIKE names ... Like a Monarch Martini ... and the Grasshopper ... and ... and ... *heh* fun.
This is the recipe I used [my changes in red]:
Spinach and Orzo Salad
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground
[Oh, and I didn't really measure the basil and pepper, I just kinda shook them over the bowl]
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
After about 9 minutes, add the chopped spinach.
Drain and rinse with cold water.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in
Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Refrigerate and serve cold.
I'll snap a photo when I finish the thumb. You will be amazed at my knitting prowess. Seriously. I rock.
Moving on ...
Apparently, my resume is not all that impressive. I never heard from the job I applied for on the 6th. *sigh* Maybe I need to consider a new field ... like heating and air conditioning repair ... or maybe I'll start playing my alto sax again and join a jazz band ... or there is always Cirque du Soleil tryouts.
I feel like my life is mostly "in place" ... except for having a job that I *love* ... hell, or even having a job that I *like*
btw, this year's Beaujolais nouveau didn't taste as yeasty as it did last year. It was quite nice, actually.
more later. *smooch*
Thursday, November 16, 2006
What is your name?
Sir Gawain of Camelot.
What is your quest?
To seek the holy grail.
What is your favorite color?
Blue ... No. Yellooooooooooooooooooooow...
And that Monty Python moment was brought to you by:
the letters A, F, and G
and the number 42.
How long have you been a vegetarian?
I have been a vegetarian since January 16ish, 2000. I blogged about some of my reasons on my other (infrequently updated) blog, Envirowonk. Here.
That was the beginning of my second semester of graduate school. I had decided to go veg during my first semester; however, I was planning a trip to Beijing during my winter break. I wanted to treat myself to some yummy meat-based Chinese cooking while there, so I postponed my switch to vegetarianism until after I returned.
I do still eat eggs and dairy products. I do not eat fish (unlike some so-called "vegetarians"), but I have the "When I am in Japan I Allow Myself to Eat Sashimi/Sushi" Rule. It's only fair. Sashimi in Japan is fucking fantastic.
This was a dirty story which was circulating through my elementary school when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade:
Kid 1: Want to hear a dirty story?
Kid 2: YEAH!
Kid 1: Two white horses fell in a mud puddle.
Kid 1: Want to hear an even dirtier story?
Kid 2: YEAH!
Kid 1: Two white horses fell in a mud puddle ... and three came out!
Kid 2: I don't get it.
Can you guess which kid I was in the story?
Is that a dirty enough story for you, Gayprof? Or do I need to try again?
Meanwhile, today is Beaujolais Nouveau Day! Woo hoo!!! I know, the wine tends to be crap, but I like to think of the global community all partaking of the same wine on the same day. I like the idea of that connection. It makes me feel part of something bigger than myself.
And all from drinking a bottle of crap wine (which to my untrained palate usually tastes a little yeasty). If only Boone's Farm had thought of something similar ...
Anyway, I plan to celebrate today with brie and bread and wine and knitting and DVDs.
No exciting news from yesterday. I did laundry. I ate leftover pasta. I knitted. I worked on gathering my Xmas Card info together. Fun times. Fun times.
I have one more question to answer from yesterday's post. I think it's going to be a long, slow, boring day, so feel free to leave your own question below for me to answer.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
SOOOOO... how about we open the blog up for questions?
Do you have any burning questions about the glory that is VUBOQ? Now is your chance to ask them.
New to the blog? Old to the blog?
I don't care. Ask away ...
All questions will be answered.
Unless they aren't.
Tonight, I must do laundry.
Tomorrow, the 2006 beaujolais nouveau is released. I was planning on having a little party, but I am uninspired. I think I will buy a bottle for myself, some brie, and a baguette and have my own private party.
I think getting that email from John has made me feel a little down ... or at least reflective about the "might have beens" and the "could have beens" and the "you're going to be alone for the rest of your life so you might as well get used to its."
Luckily, like most things, this too shall pass ...
more later. *smooches*
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
And, this entry will bore the pants off anyone not in my field ...
In today's Federal Register, the EPA published a new final rule in regards to Section 12(b) of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Under Section 12(b), exporters of chemical substances are required (in some instances) to notify EPA that they are exporting those chemicals. The EPA then sends letters to the countries which are receiving those chemicals.
Currently, there are no de minimis amounts for those exports, meaning no matter if you are exporting 1 gram or 1000 pounds of a chemical, you have to file an export notification. Which, if you think about it, is pretty stupid.
So, the EPA published a new rule which sets de minimis amounts for certain chemicals.
In the Federal Register, the EPA states in the preamble to the rule that
"EPA is finalizing the requirement that export notification will not be required for chemical substances or mixtures if the chemical is being exported at a concentration of less that 1% (by weight or volume), unles that chemical substance is a known or potential human carcinogen ... For such chemicals, a de minimis concentration level of less than 0.1% (by wieght or volume) will apply." [71 FR 66236]
Later, when the EPA lists the new amended regulations as they will appear in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), there is a glaring omission:
40 CFR 707.60 (c) (2) states "No notice of export is required for the export of a chemical substance or mixture that is a known or potential human carcinogen." [71 FR 66244]
*heh* They forgot to include the de minimis concentration level in the actual regulations! According to the CFR (effective on January 17, 2007, unless a correction is filed), exporters can ship human carcinogens at any concentration without notifying EPA! *HAH!*
After pointing this out to the EPA technical contact, we got the following response:
I am afraid we have to do a correction notice. 707.60 (c) (2) should say "No notice of export is required for the export of a chemical substance or mixture that is a known or potential human carcinogen where such chemical substance or mixture is present in a concentration of less than 0.1% (by weight or volume)."
Fun times today, yo! Isn't my job fascinating?
I did absolutely nothing of interest last night, other than finish my knitten (yay!) and start its mate.
Thus, I'm stealing a meme from the Persian Guy:
A is for age: 36
B is for beer of choice: Guinness? Maybe ... I also like dark microbrews.
C is for career: GAH!
D is for favorite Drink: Sapphire Martini, Straight Up and Dirty
E is for essential item you use everyday: toothbrush
F is for favorite song at the moment: Unfortunately, I don't have one ... before my CD player died (or was KILLED by JAKE), I was listening to a CD of medieval music I bought in England.
G is for favorite games: Scrabble
H is for hometown: er ... I was born in Morganton, NC
I is for instruments you play: Alto Saxophone (or at least I used to play it)
J is for favorite juice: Cranberry
K is for kids: None!
L is for last kiss: Drunken peck on Friday night
M is for marriage: probably never
N is for names of your best friends: Robert. Isa. Tomoko.
O is for overnight hospital stays: None
P is for phobias: None to speak of ...
Q is for quote: "It is during difficult times that true friends become apparent." - Chinese fortune
R is for biggest regret: Not really a regret, but I see how my life would have been different if I had opted for the research grant in entomology from NC State instead of deciding to teach high school.
S is for self confidence: Sometimes it oozes out of my pores ... right now, not so much.
T is for time you wake up: 6:20
U is for underwear: Anything CUTE, but I *heart* STEVEN underwear (wonder why?)
V is for vegetable you love: Broccoli
W is for worst habit: procrastination
X is for x-rays you've had: Twice, I think. A sprained ankle in 2nd grade and a broken toe in 7th grade.
Y is for yummy food you make: Thai Green Curry.
Z is for zodiac sign: Pisces
In other exciting news, I think I may have found a fairly major mistake in a new EPA regulation which was published today. Fun times!
Monday, November 13, 2006
His email was really sweet, and he obviously put some time and thought into writing it. It made me sad when I read it. I guess I still miss him.
Don't know how you will receive this or if you will even read it...but here goes:
I got you message a few weeks ago and it was great to hear your voice. Oscar is doing fine. He is with my parents now as I finalize my plans to go to Iraq for 4 mos. If the mission isn't cancelled again, I will be in Baghdad doing counter insurgency operations with the military
fast strike teams. But anyway, I felt the need to at least respond back to you in this forum because even though I don't feel that where I'm going is all that dangerous for the most part there is certainly some risk involved and I don't want to leave anything unsaid. Everyday I walk around this house or venture out in DC I have nothing but the fondest memories of our time together...Not just as my bf but really as my friend. I miss Sunday morning breakfasts, talking on the phone when I'm away, our time in Vegas and a host of other adventures
we had together. I know my behavior was inexcusable and the tragedy of that was I felt I may have taken a guy with the warmest heart I've ever known and turned him into yet another bitter dc gay guy. It was nice seeing you at Be Bar with another guy. It told me that you were back in the saddle and at least giving it a try again.
With all that said, please know I miss you in my life and will always cherish what we had. I don't expect you to respond to this but it does feel goodto get it off my chest. Best of luck to you and may God give you blessings you so richly deserve
Thank you for the email. I rarely check my personal email accounts anymore (maybe once a month or so), which is why it's taken me so long to reply. I really appreciate what you wrote, and I, too, have a lot of very good memories from our relationship.
I want to wish you the best when you go to Baghdad (or if you are already there). I will be thinking about you and hoping that you stay safe. I do have one request, though: If it's not too much to ask, would you please let me know when you return to the States? Well, that, and maybe if you could bring me back a Saddam Hussein snowglobe ...
PS. Please give Oscar a big hug from me the next time you see him.
So, there you have it.
I noticed when posting that this is my 504th post. *woot*
The only drawback? I am so friggin' tired today. But, let's start from the beginning ...
Friday, I arrived at Union Station in DC about 30 minutes prior to my trains departure ... except my train was delayed by about 30 minutes. GAH! I didn't arrive in NYC until nearly 3PM. I was supposed to meet Nida at 3:30 at this knitting/coffee shop in the East Village.
So, I didn't stop by the hotel to drop off my bags, but instead went straight to Knit New York. I was a little early. I bought a Time Out New York to read while I waited. Nida and I had a nice chat and looked at yarn.
I headed to the Park Central hotel around 5:30, I guess. Unloaded my bag. Watched Top Chef reruns. At 6:30, I met Jake in the lobby and we went to dinner. We ended up at Jane. It was yummy. For those of you familiar with the DC food scene, I would liken it to Logan Tavern, only more upscale and with better food.
After dinner, we headed over to a bar that a friend of Alison's boyfriend recommended, G Lounge. It was a nice space, very cool, but where were all the beautiful people? I guess we were there a little too early and the beautiful people hadn't emerged from their hermetically sealed vacuum chambers yet. Tomoko called, so we decided to meet her back at the hotel and then walk to Therapy. It was at Therapy where I had the absolute WORST dirty martini EVER. *cough* *gag* *spew* It was so salty I think ever drop of moisture was sucked from my mouth at the first sip.
We left around midnight I guess and headed home.
Saturday morning, I was a tad hungover ... but, Tomoko and I had to take our bags to our next "hotels" [I stayed at Alison's; Tomoko stayed with a friend in Brooklyn] and meet Nida and The Husband for brunch at 11ish. Somehow, I made it to E 95th Street and then down to Elizabeth St in Soho (?) on time. We ate brunch at Public. Yum. Very good bloody marys. Mmm. After brunch, we ended up wandering around SoHo, shopping and stuff. We went to the opening of the new Uniqlo, a Japanese H&M-esque store. Alison met us. We all parted ways. Still lots of shopping ... Jake joined me and Alison. Still more shopping.
I didn't buy anything, btw.
We returned to Alison's apartment to freshen up and get ready to go out. We met Alison's boyfriend for dinner at Bread (just down the street from Public - did I ever leave that neighborhood?). Hm... can't find a web link for the restaurant. It was good though.
We finished dinner and decided to walk to the dance club, Element (previously known as Bank, and by "previously" I mean, it was listed in TONY as "Bank" but is now called "Element"). We got there around 10:45. It was dead, but I knew it would pick up around midnight. So, we got some drinks, found a good place to sit and sat and drank. It was fun. The club was very cool. Around 1 AM, as the dance floor got more crowded, we decided to leave. I was having fun, but I was so tired after shopping all day and then dancing.
Alison and I got up on Sunday around 9, blobbed around, and eventually headed for breakfast/brunch at a little before noon. We went to a cafe near her apartment, the Barking Dog Luncheonette. Tomoko told me later that it was on Sex and the City. Aiden wore a Barking Dog t-shirt or something. Anyway, good breakfasty food.
Alison and I, then, took a short walk around her neighborhood and, at 2, I headed to Penn Station to meet Tomoko and catch the train.
The train was PACKED! and SLOW! I guess the rain/wind prevented it from going full-speed. Instead of arriving in DC at 6:34, we got there at 7:45. I was STARVING. Robert had caught the train in Philadelphia. The three of us had a late dinner in Union Station and then we all went home. Yay. Home.
Also, in case any of you are interested, I did this on the train ride to NYC:
I didn't knit any on the way back. I have to figure out how to do the rest of the thumb and pick up stitches, whatever that means ...
In other news, I was able to check my personal email at Alison's. I had an email from John. I need to reply today. I will write more about this later.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I. have. been. rejected.
I sent an email to 6 friends this morning asking if they'd like to do happy hour tonight.
EVERYONE said no. NO!
How could they?
How could they abandon me in my happy hour of need?
This is why people ... ok, me ... end up drinking alone.
So, I guess I'll go home, make a cocktail [*heh* "cock" *heh* "tail"], and pack and knit and maybe watch some TV ... if the miraculously working TV is still miraculously working [Praise, Saint Charo, the Patron Saint of Guest Spots, hallowed be her name].
1. Will the Democratic takeover of both Houses of Congress result in progress or 2 years of gridlock?
2. Should I take the new black Kenneth Cole shoes which hurt my feet to New York City [Did you know I was going to NYC this weekend?] or should I only take the cute brown boots?
I've bought my train tickets. I know, I should take the bus. It's A LOT cheaper, but it's the bus. It's cramped. It's crowded. It's a bus. Smelly. Dirty. Ick. Whereas, the train is more expensive, but it's the train - romantic, comfortable, smooth ... *sigh* I should be an ad for AmTrak.
I have also located the hotel on a map! Yay! And, found a funky little knitting/ coffee shop in the East Village (I think) where I can hang out makin' mittens, knittin' knittens, until I can check into the hotel around 4ish. Thanks to Bala Wala Shi for the knitting shop info!!!
Now, all I need to do is find a fun, chill bar where we can all hang out on Friday evening and a fun dance club where we can all go dancing on Saturday night! Anyone? Anyone? BWS suggested I pick up a Time Out New York, which I will do upon arrival in the Big City. I am open to other ideas as well...
And, what to do on Saturday after brunch? Hm ...
In other news, last night my TV miraculously started working again. YAY! I am still going to get a new one though, because I believe that it's just being temperamental until it decides to explode or something. Anyway, so last night, I watched Garcon Stupide, which was ... well ... not all that interesting, 'cept the star was cute and frequently nekkid. I, then, put in King Kong (the new version, which I saw in the theater with John). I liked that movie. It was big. And silly. And has SuperMcDreamy Adrien Brody in it. *sigh* He should marry me.
I did laundry. I drank beer. I watched DVDs. I knitted. I ate leftovers for dinner. And, that was my evening. Fun times, yo.
Tonight, I kind of want to go out for happy hour, but I don't think anyone will be able to. I'll probably send out an email just to see ... Then, I will pack. Going to NYC. Have to look cute and stylish (if that's even possible on my part).
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I just uploaded 6 new photos from my holiday in London. [Did you know I went to London for vacation?]
Kurt and I at the shore. Which shore? I can't remember ... I'll need to check my journal tonight to figure it out.
Shuler, Heath (D) 53.85%
Taylor, Charles (R)(i) 46.15%
Pardon me while I do a little butt-shaking dance of joy:
*whew* I'm tired now. Not that Representative-Elect Shuler is Mr. Liberal or anything, but Charles Taylor is GONE! GONE! GONE! YAY.
[You may remember that he was the man who blocked funding for the 9/11 Memorial in Pennsylvania.]
I can't count the ways I despise him.
ANYWAY, in other news,
Have I mentioned I'm going to New York City this weekend? I can't wait. I'm wearing my new shoes in order to break them in a bit. They hurt. Ow. They may not be going to NYC.
I want to go to yarn shops.
And fun bars.
And maybe a dance club.
And I want people to shower me with gifts and money.
"Make it so, Number One."
Seriously, if anyone has recommendations of things to do, places to go, let me know :-) [and quickly!]
Tonight is laundry night.
I hate having a dead TV.
I will probably do laundry, knit, and have a drink or two to celebrate the Democrats taking over the House. Woo hoo.
OH. Last night, after work, I met Mike at Caribou Coffee on 14th and Rhode Island. We had some sort of caramel apple cider. Very yummy. He's off to Philly this weekend. Is there anyone not travelling?
2. OK, crazy Democratic conspiracy theorist bloggers, hit me with your best "the Democratic takeover of [possibly] both houses of Congress was all part of Karl Rove's evil plan to hold on to the White House in 2008" entry.
3. Finally, and most importantly, LOOK:
My first attempt at using double-pointed needles! Many thanks to Chelsea, Dharma, and Goblinbox for their advice on getting started.
I'm attempting to make mittens for my dad for Christmas using Scottish wool I bought in Glasgow. So, my thoughts last night were as follows:
"GAH! DPNs! GAH!"
"Easy Striped Mittens, my ASS!" [Not that I'm doing stripes, but still ... ]
"What up with the big loopy mess that would be my row of cast on stitches?"
"I'm not sure these are going to be big enough, even though my gauge seemed correct."
"Maybe wool mittens aren't such a good idea."
"Five rows! I'm going to bed!"
*happy victory smooches of Democratic joy*
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
His aura of destruction and devastation continues to run unchecked in my apartment. Last night, my television died. It does this weird thing now: Whenever I turn the TV on, the screen comes on. However, after a few minutes, the TV clicks off. And clicks repeatedly, like it is trying to turn on by itself, but it keeps turning itself off before it can. The clicking doesn't stop until I unplug and replug the TV.
I don't remember how old my TV is. It's quite possible that it is over 10 years old. So, I guess its time had come. *sigh* So sad.
I will have to get a new TV, as soon as I pull all that money out of my ass. Maybe I can convince my parents [and my loyal readers! *heh*] to contribute to a Christmas TV Fund (but early! I need my TV!). I don't need anything huge or overly expensive, because I don't watch TV shows [I don't have cable]. I do watch a lot of DVDs though.
Have you voted yet?
I showed up at the polls this morning around 7:45. The line wasn't too long. I saw my company's former receptionist voting. I guess I waited about 15 minutes (or 3 Madonna songs).
The electronic voting machine was easy enough to use. I only wish that the ones we used printed out a paper receipt of some sort.
Oh, I also ran into one of my neighbors who was working the polls. She tried to convince me to vote for the Green Party candidate for senate. As if! Seriously, if the race weren't so close I probably would throw that vote away on the Green candidate. But only about 3 percentage points separated Cardin and Steele (with a 4 point margin of error).
On my walk to the polling site, I started to think about my foreign language ability. I used to be semi-fluent in Japanese and I could speak a smattering of Mandarin (enough to order in a restaurant and get on and off the bus in the right spots). I haven't used either language in AGES and the fact that I'm rapidly forgetting it all is a little disheartening.
I decided that I need to find a Japanese boyfriend. That way, I'll have someone I can speak Japanese to all the time :-) Yay! Anyone know any available Japanese guys? Hm???
In other news, last night, I finished a hat. OMGWTFBBQ!!!11one, it is so f-ing cute. GAH. I can't stand it. And, no you can't see a photo because it's a Christmas present. Unless I decide to keep it. *heh*
I started to read the instructions out of Stitch n' Bitch on how to use dpns and got all confused. What the heck does "slip the stitches off the needle purlwise" mean? GAH. So, I started knitting the test swatch gauge thingy. Got bored and decided to finish reading The Eyre Affair, which was a lot fun. You should read it. Now.
I'll finish the test swatch tonight. Hopefully, my gauge will be fine and I can wrestle with the dpns for awhile. Fun times. Fun times.
Meanwhile, I'm heading up to NYC this weekend. Anyone have any good ideas on things to do? See?
Oh. and for Meat-Free Monday, I had leftover couscous salad and cheese and crackers.
Monday, November 06, 2006
I walked down P Street and, as I headed around the Circle to the south Dupont Metro entrance, I saw a car stopped at the Massachusetts Avenue intersection that was a similar color and make as John's. I looked at the driver. He was a similar color and make as John. I looked closer. OK. I was a little tipsy, and I was staring. HARD.
And, then, it happened: The driver met my eye, smiled and nodded.
I nodded back and hurried to the metro station.
If you're interested, here's the writing sample I submitted. It's kinda crap, and even though several friends suggested I make edits, I didn't edit it. I'm lazy. What can I say?
China’s Dilemma: Population, Politics, and Environmental Degradation
Three ways to control population growth are (1) limiting the number of offspring, (2) increasing the ages between offspring, and (3) postponing the age at which women start having children. The Chinese government has applied its authoritarian, heavy-handed, top-down style to each method. The government has imposed a strict, if not always obeyed, one-child policy. It controls how far apart women can legally have a second child, and the government has imposed laws regulating at what age people may get married in order to postpone the age at which women can start having children.
Surveys indicate that less-educated couples generally have families above government quotas (Qu and Li, 179). Because one-half of all peasants are illiterate and only 0.18 percent of the population is university students, “the low intellectual and cultural levels of the general public” make the environmental impacts of huge total population increases worse (Smil, 13). In order to improve the situation, universal primary education (at the bare minimum) is necessary. In addition to primary education, voluntary family planning including reproductive health care for all women should be provided. The Chinese government should educate women so that they understand they have more options than early marriage and babies. In addition, proper health care and advice for when the women finally decide to have children are essential.
Smil, Vaclav, China’s Environmental Crisis: An Inquiry into the Limits of National Development (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1993).
Qu, Geping, and Jinchang Li, Population and the Environment in China (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1994).
Friday, after work, I met Robert and Margot for drinks at Halo. I had 2 sidecars, which, in retrospect, was not a good idea. Margot left to meet friends, and Robert and I had dinner at Luna Cafe. I had a glass of wine with dinner, which, in retrospect, was not a good idea.
I don't really remember how I got home. I have a vague recollection of taking the metro. And, I have a vague recollection of resisting the urge to call the Cheating Cheater. It seems like every time I'm drunk and passing his metro stop I want to call him. At least I didn't do it. Yay me.
Saturday, I was very over hung. I did lots of blobbing around the house. Around 2PM, I decided that I really needed to motivate and try to do something... So, I walked up to beautiful downtown Silver Spring, where I:
1) Bought a new pair of shoes at DSW
2) Bought a book at Borders, using my Borders Rewards certificates (so actually Borders paid me $0.30 for the book. HA!)
3) Ate eggplant fries (mmm. grease.) and drank a class of cabernet at Adega
4) Bought potting soil and little pots for a gardening/Christmas present project
5) Bought a bag of salad greens at Whole Foods
6) Ran into Margot.
Once I got home, I began the little gardening/Christmas present project. Then, I fixed a simple couscous salad for dinner and watched Capote on DVD. What a great movie! So good. Apparently another movie with almost the exact same story (and Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee) opened recently.
I also knitted.
And read my book. It's very good ... so far. My cousin recommended it to me several months ago.
Sunday, I blobbed around the house some more. I finished one knitting project (mostly. I still have to sew it together. I'll do that tonight). I think my TV is about to die. That makes me sad.
I left the house around 2:30 to meet Mike and Tomoko. We went to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D. What fun! I love that movie and seeing on the big screen was a great experience. We, then, had dinner at Bangkok Bistro in Georgetown. Drunken noodle. Yum. I haven't been to Georgetown in AGES. I felt so hetero there.
Tomoko caught the bus back to the burbs and Mike and I headed for our bus stop. However, the bus never came. We ended up walking to Dupont Circle. And then to Halo. Where I had two apple martinis (one of them was a caramel apple martini). We had a good time.
I got home around 9:30. I called my friend Isa to see how Elon's homecoming was. I had a glass of wine to help me unwind. And I went to bed around 11:30.
Needless to say, I am very tired this morning.
And a little hungover to boot.
Hope you all had a fun weekend.
*many happy smooches*
And, don't forget, today is Meat-Free Monday! Do your part for the environment by enjoying a delicious meat-free meal today!
PS. I'm planning on starting a new knitting project tonight: Mittens for Christmas. It will be the first time for me to use double-pointed needles. If anyone has any helpful hints, I will be most appreciative!!!
Friday, November 03, 2006
A. Happy Hour at Halo with Robert and Margot
B. Possibly dinner afterwards
C. Stagger home
A. Wake Up
C. Watch DVDs
D. Figure out something to do.
1. Perhaps venture out by myself?
2. Perhaps stay home and be boring
A. Wake Up
B. The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D (so excited)
C. Dinner afterwards?
D. Stagger home
Details to come on Monday ...
Not Chelsea Clinton's Sweet Potato Casserole (6-8 servings)
IT'S MINE, BITCHES!!!
4 medium sweet potatoes
9 oz. can of crushed pineapple
1/4 cup butter
1 egg (slightly beaten)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp brown sugar
Cook and mash potatoes. Add pinapple, butter, egg, salt and nutmeg. Beat until creamy. Spoon into baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Top with marshmallows. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until marshmallows are golden brown. [Note: You may want to add sugar to potato mixture, especially if the pineapple is in its own juice and not in heavy syrup. Taste to check.]
AND, as a bonus ... here's my mom's Cranberry Apple Casserole Recipe:
3 cups unpeeled, cubed apples [I usually use Granny Smith]
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick margarine (or butter)
1 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup blour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Mix apples and cranberries in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over the fruit. Melt butter. Mix oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and add to melted butter. Mix well. Spoon over fruit. Cover completely but do not smooth and pack. Sprinkle nuts on top. Back 1 hour at 350 degrees.
It's been a topic on my mind recently. Wednesday night, Mike mentioned that he is going to Bali in the Spring for some sort of queer spiritual nudist thing. It's supposed to help you become more comfortable with being nekkid or something. I wanted to laugh. I also wanted to mention that he seemed perfectly comfortable being nekkid when we were together. I must be missing the point. Mike doesn't seem to have body image issues, so maybe he's going more for the spirituality part? Or maybe there's something about nudity that makes people more spiritual and able to attain higher levels of consciousness? Maybe?
I shall simply wish him good luck on his quest. I hope that he does find whatever he's looking for.
Last night, I watched Oh! Calcutta! on DVD. For more information on the play, here's the Wikipedia entry. One of my friends in high school and I used to come up with different variations on the Oh! Calcutta! theme. The only one I can remember right now is Oh! CalCATSa! CATS in the Nude!
As for the play, I can't say I was overly impressed. It was pretty damn boring. I suppose the nudity -and the controversy- was what kept it running for so long. I can see all sorts of Puritanical 'Murcans getting their panties in a knot over extended full frontal nudity and frequent use of words like orgy and cunt and masturbate. Too bad the play wasn't more interesting.
Speaking of Puritanical 'Murcans, this made me smile: Church Leader Resigns After Gay Sex Claim: Evangelical Pastor in Colorado Denies Male Escort's Story of Repeated Trysts
Thursday, November 02, 2006
R: stress eating
V: mmm. i *heart* butterfinger
R: i devoured it and now i want more
V: and you shall have it!
V: World's Seafood Stock Depleting, Study Says
R: oh no
R: then what
R: we'll have to eat each other
R: the return of cannibalism
V: and no one like skinny people
V: not delicious.
R: true, tough and dry
R: too many bones
R: not plump juicy and moist
V: not at all
V: have another butterfinger.
R: fortunately you can be chopped up and used for stock
R: mmmm, soup
V: i would be ok with that.
R: you're more like veal actually
R: only really really old
V: i h8 u
This is the time of year I love ... and hate. The bright colors of the trees make me happy. But, they also remind me of death and the long, dark cold that is right around the corner.
It's almost been a year since my uncle died from a massive heart attack while harvesting cranberries in a Massachusetts bog. I was in Las Vegas with John and had to change my ticket to fly to Boston (actually, I think I flew into Providence). The night after the funeral I had the worst food poisoning (or something) ever. Somehow, I made it onto the plane and home.
There is death. There is no promise of rebirth, but I know it will come. It will come as surely as the crocus pokes through the snow, as surely as the robins will return, as surely as brilliant green leaves will return to the trees.
There is Autumn.
And there are organic, all natural pseudo-Cheetos with 33% less fat which aren't so tasty.
Mike mentioned that he wants to do the weekend trip to West Virginia on the weekend before Thanksgiving. I told him I would be unable to go. It's mostly financial - London was expensive. Glasgow was expensive. And, I'm going to NYC next weekend. So, it *is* mostly financial, but it's also partly that I'm still carrying a match for him and a weekend away with him and his friends would not be a whole lot of fun.
He's also hosting a Thanksgiving potluck dinner. He wants it to be traditional. I can't remember the last time I had a "traditional" Thanksgiving. Last year, I think John and I had take out Chinese. The year before, I was in Thailand for Thanksgiving. 2003 was the All-Pie Thanksgiving. And for several years before that, I hosted Thai Curry Thanksgiving for my friends. So, maybe, the Thanksgiving of 1999 was my last traditional one?
I figure if I go to the Thanksgiving potluck, maybe I can take broccoli and cheese casserole and sweet potato casserole (y'know, the kind that uses pineapple and has mini marshmallows on the top?). Both of those are easy to prepare and don't take long to bake. Since I don't have an oven, I would have to use Mike's.
As I thought about the casseroles, I thought about traditional Thanksgivings in general. Since my mother is from Massachusetts and my father is from North Carolina, our Thanksgiving dinners tended to be blends of both traditions. Now, I'm not sure which food comes from which region. I mean, some, like oyster stuffing, are obviously from the North. And, I think the mini marshmallow bedecked sweet potato casserole is more than likely Southern [I could be wrong. Would anyone like to correct me on that one?]. But, what about cranberry apple casserole? I have no idea.
And, for the record, here a list of Thanksgiving foods I don't particularly care for:
-actually anything with beets
-actually anything with turnips
-those little nasty pearl onions [unless they are swimming in gin. which at my parents' house, they aren't]
-mashed winter squash (especially blue hubbard)
-that really gross green bean casserole with the fried onion bits on top
Hm. I think that's it.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
We both boarded the train at Dupont Circle. He was holding the magnolia blossom with indifference. Yet, almost unconsciously, he wouldn’t let the delicate petals touch any surface lest they bruise. I assumed it must have been from a date or a boyfriend. The sweet, slightly citrus-y scent filled the car, bringing with it memories of childhood, memories that I’ve treated with indifference, memories that could bruise, memories of the first boy I loved.
My family moved to a county seat in the western North Carolina mountains, in the summer of 1976. I was six years old. Our house, the Methodist parsonage, was directly across the street from the elementary school. The backyard sloped steeply downward, leveled out briefly, then dropped off into a creek. Many a wild winter sled ride down that hill ended with a cold dunking. The front yard was tamer, a small flat lawn, dotted with a few trees – redbud, pin oak, tulip poplar. In the corner stood a tall magnolia tree, with its low sturdy branches perfect for climbing. With brown husky seedpods making perfect grenades and bright red seeds as laser bullets, the tree was our spaceship, our hideout, our super-secret special place. Among the branches, we created dreams and lived adventures.
I can not remember how or when we met. I did not know him, and then one day I did. Matthew. Thin. Dirty blond hair. Bright blue, inquisitive eyes. We were the same age, comrades in arms. He lived with his mother, stepfather, and baby stepsister in a funky house that was known by his neighbors as “The Boat.” We spent more time at my house though, probably because it was so close to our school. We were in cub scouts together. He saw the original Star Wars at least six times and had practically every Star Wars toy known. He didn’t have a magnolia tree in his yard though.
1977. The day before Christmas vacation, the owner of the movie theater in town invited all the students in the elementary school to a free movie. K-2 went first. Then, 3-5. I was in second grade. Unfortunately, a few days before, I had taken an ill-advised leap off our front porch into the shrubbery. A visit to the emergency room and an x-ray later, the doctor said I had sprained my ankle. I couldn’t walk. I was going to miss school, miss the free movie, and miss my class Christmas party. My father called my teacher (who went to our church). She said it would be OK for him to bring me to the movie and then to the party afterwards. By the time we got to the theater, there were no seats left. Matthew and I had to share. Squeezed in together, we watched “Pinocchio in Space” (1964). A scary surprise later, we were hugging in fear …
1978. We sat beside each other in 3rd grade; at least until Mrs. Martin came to her senses and separated us for talking too much. Matthew was amazingly imaginative and could draw anything you asked. Most of his drawings were of space ships and astronauts and Star Wars. On some weekends, Matthew would sleep over. We would play upstairs until bedtime, often falling asleep in the same sleeping bag and waking up tangled and naked in each other’s arms the next morning.
After the summer of 1978, we went into different 4th grade classes. We didn’t see each other as much and began to drift apart. My family moved in 1979. We wrote every now and then, but soon lost touch. My mother heard that he had been held back in 5th grade, that teachers were calling him “slow.” As I look back, I wonder if he was mildly autistic. I’ll never know. Last I heard, he struggled through 5th grade and, then, moved with his family to Kentucky.
At the time, I had no idea what it meant to be gay or straight. I think I loved Matthew as much as an eight-year-old is capable of loving. Sometimes, when something triggers my memory, I find myself thinking about him, wondering what he’s like grown up, if he loved me then, if he thinks of me now.
Like a magnolia blossom, he had a distinctive smell, hard to describe, hard to believe I still remember it. But I do. Like he was here yesterday, and it still lingers, right at the tip of my nose.
I thought they were lost forever!
I've decided to post a few of them throughout the day today ... so keep checking back.
This is the tale of my worst date ever ...
Date Report [April 16, 2004]
I was looking forward to my date last night with nervous excitement. I had been emailing and chatting with Ron for several days. He seemed like a good guy, and we had similar interests. I posted the link to his profile in the previous entry and almost all of the comments were positive.
Isn’t it amazing how so many people can be so wrong about a person? Isn’t it amazing how someone who seems so great on paper and in electronic communications can be such a total fuckwad in person?
I shall now try, to the best of my ability, to reconstruct the date, so that those of you who are still dating can learn what NOT to do and that those of you who are no longer dating can sit back and have a happy little laugh at my expense.
And, thus, my chronicle of the Worst First Date in the History of Dating begins:
We met at the Bethesda Metro Station at 6PM and walked downtown to the Green Papaya, a Vietnamese restaurant that Robert recommended. On the way, we made idle chitchat which was fine.
We’re seated. The restaurant has a nice décor and wasn’t overly crowded. We order drinks. I have beer, “33” – a Vietnamese beer, he asked for an Absolut Mandarin baybreeze (or something like that). The waiter brings my beer and apologizes to Ron, because they are out of grapefruit juice. Would he prefer a –something something- instead?
“No,” said Ron, “I’ll just have Absolut Mandarin on the rocks.” The waiter left. Ron complained for a good 10 minutes about them having no grapefruit juice: Do they have bad relations with neighboring restaurants? Couldn’t they go borrow some? It’s not busy. They could just run to the 7-11 and buy a bottle. How could they be out of grapefruit juice … and so on, and so forth …
I’m like. Yes. Whatever.
First Date Tip #1: When the bar/restaurant is out of something you ordered. State your disappointment. Order something else. Move on. Do not continue to harp on friggin’ grapefruit juice for the REST OF THE EVENING!
Every time there was a lull in conversation or we talked about the food, he had to bring up the “no grapefruit juice” thing. I don’t even like grapefruit juice. I could not care less.
The conversation turned to shopping. He said something about he doesn’t shop at bargain stores. “I’d never go into an Old Navy.”
“I’m wearing Old Navy underwear,” I responded.
“Can I see?” he asked.
First Date Tip #2: Although I am partially to blame for this one, never ask to see your date’s underwear.
We started to talk about our jobs. He works for a non-profit foreign exchange organization. I tell him about my work for an EPA contractor … blah blah blah … you know the drill.
He said, “We’re supposed to recycle in my apartment complex, but I don’t. I just throw everything into the trash.”
“Really, recycling is required by law in Montgomery County. And, it’s not that difficult to do. I have two trash cans in my kitchen: regular trash and recyclables.”
“I just don’t bother. I don’t know what is recyclable and what isn’t.”
“Well, it’s not that hard to learn. Your apartment complex should provide you with a list, translated into several languages, of what is and what is not recyclable.”
First Date Tip #3: If you are dating a person with a master’s degree in Global Environmental Policy, do not go on and on about what an environmentally careless person you are.
Conversation shifted to families.
He was born in Germany, lived there until he was 18. Then, he came to the United States to study. He has an older brother (still in Germany) and a younger sister (living in New York City). I asked about his parents’ ancestry.
He said, “Well, which version do you want to hear?”
“Whichever one you wish to tell me, I guess.”
“My father is German and my mother … ha ha … I’m kidding … do I look German?”
“Not really, but that doesn’t mean your father couldn’t be German.”
“C’mon. It’s obvious that both my parents are Asian. I couldn’t possibly be half German.”
“My best friend from college’s mother is Okinawan. Her father is American. She looks just as Japanese as anyone.”
He wasn’t buying it. Apparently his features are too Asian to be only 50% Asian. What a crock.
His parents are from China, somewhere in Canton (Guangdong). He asked if I only date a specific type of person. I said no, I don’t limit myself to one particular type, race, ethnicity, when there are so many fantastic guys out there. He said, “I do.” He also said, “I don’t really like Asians, unless they are very Westernized.”
First Date Tip #4: Don’t even allude to racial purity issues.
By now, are you thinking, “Enviroboi, it can’t get any worse than this?”
“Ha ha,” Enviroboi laughs.
Attempting to lighten the conversation a little, I asked about DC. He’s only lived in the area for about 8 months. Apparently, that is enough time to form some very strong opinions. DC is horrible. Unsafe. We had a mayor who did drugs. The whole Clinton affair was because of DC culture. The streets have potholes. People sell drugs on the street. He kept saying “Astounding. Astounding” and would then spew forth on everything that is wrong with the city.
I was … um … astounded.
First Date Tip #5: Never insult the city/area where your date lives. Especially after the date says, “I love [name of city]. I think it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Have you ever seen it at night?”
He recounted a story about how he had to walk down K Street one night and it was “the only time I’ve ever felt unsafe.” This is coming from a man who lived for –at least- three years in New York City (but never left his apartment?).
As he was telling me the story of being accosted for money late at night on K Street, he kept saying, “If I had had a gun, I would have killed the man. I would have shot him. I would have killed him.”
What does one say to that? Well, I said, “That wouldn’t have been a very smart thing to do.”
To which he responded, “Don’t you believe in capital/corporal punishment?”
I replied that I think in some instances the death penalty is justified. However, it has to be approached very, very carefully because we should not kill people for crimes they did not commit. There have been many instances in which innocent people have been absolved of death row crimes.
He then blathered on about how the men that killed Matthew Shepard are now requesting leniency. “Only in America. Only in America can people do this,” he ranted.
“Do what? Have due process under the law?”
That must have thrown him, because he asked, “What do you think about abortion?”
“Abortion. Are you pro-life? Pro-choice?”
“What? How… the innocent babies …”
“Don’t throw the word ‘innocent’ back at me, buster,” I thought. Maybe my ideas about capital punishment and abortion seem on the surface contradictory, but I can explain:
“I feel it is not my body, so it’s not my decision. I can not dictate to a woman what to do. If she can live with consequences, it’s her choice. Plus, I don’t have to support the child for 18 years. She does.”
First Date Tip #6: Never, ever mention controversial, divisive topics. And, if, by accident the topic does come up, never, ever attack your date for his (or her) beliefs.
By this point, I noticed my posture. My arms were folded across my chest, and I’m sitting at least a foot from the table, leaning back in my chair. Could I get any farther away?
The waiter approached, “Would you like any coffee or …?”
“No, thank you,” I responded, quickly, “Just the check please.”
As we were waiting for the check, he started talking about how attractive Paris Hilton is. What? Paris Hilton, the fabulously wealthy, bleach blond, fake tanned bimbette? Attractive? I said, “But, she is so fake. She’s a Barbie doll.”
“I like Barbie, too,” he said.
We leave the restaurant. He kept talking about how good the food was (except for the minor grapefruit juice incident – LET IT GO ALL READY), how it was decent service, better than he usually receives (maybe that’s because you were with a person who tends to be polite to the waitstaff).
As we walked to the Metro Station, we passed a movie theater. There were a few high school/college age girls standing there wearing low cut tops and flip-flops.
“How can they be wearing that now?” he ranted. “It’s too much skin. Flip-flops at this time of year.”
“I don’t think it’s too much skin. It’s the fashion. It’s warm. What’s wrong with it?”
“Showing too much skin can make people who see them become rapists.”
Uh-huh. I let that one slide.
We turned the corner. A woman walked past us. “She’s wearing open-toed shoes. You shouldn’t wear open-toed shoes until after Memorial Day,” he said.
“Maybe she doesn’t subscribe to out-dated fashion dictums,” I responded.
“It just shouldn’t be done.”
Blah blah blah … get over yourself.
When we finally arrived at the Metro Station, I shook his hand and said good night.
What I think he said was, “Can I get a hug?”
I said, “What?”
He replied, “Good night.”
“Good night. See you around.”
He walked home. I went down the escalator and immediately called Robert. We met at Food Bar so I could recount my WORST FIRST DATE EVER and drink myself silly.
At least that part of the evening was fun. The bartender was good-looking, too.
And, that’s my story. I hope everyone can learn something from my Tale of Woe. I have. And, now, the bar is set really, really low for my next first date. I would say it couldn’t get worse, but that is just inviting trouble.
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In other news, I finished knitting my brother's Christmas present! YAY! It's a "Harry Potter scarf" in his university colors (black and gold). Now, all I have to do is wash it, block it, and attach the fringe. I cast on another Christmas present as well, and got my crap together to try to figure out how to use double-pointed needles (dpns) to make mittens for my parents. I bought some really nice Scottish wool to use. Very excited about that. Wish me luck.
Today is laundry day! Plus, a few friends are coming over after work to finish off the leftover party booze and food. Fun times. Fun times.