Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Car Diet

So with Sven still in the shop, I've been pondering my transportation dilemma. Do I really need a car? If so, what kind do I get? Used or new? Agh! The mind boggles.

But I've been thinking about the first question the most. Do I really need a car? Most weekends I don't get into my car (except to go to the gym). During the week I go from my condo to Rosslyn for work and back. I do drive other places for work occasionally. But one of my customers is in San Diego (and I usually fly there) and the other has an office in Crystal City literally a two minute walk from the Metro stop. Sure I sometimes have to go other places, but could I either get a ride from someone else, or could I go with the Zipcar approach? I don't know. I think so.

So I'm thinking of going on a car diet. For the month of June, I'm not going to drive my car. Well, ish. It looks like I'm going up to WVA on Monday for work and then down to Pax River on Thursday. But those trips don't really count since in theory I could get a rental car for them and charge them back to my client. So what I really need to do is go through a whole month and see when do I feel I *have* to drive because of some external meeting or other reason. So I plan to keep a little log book to help me keep track of when I drive and why so I can analyze it later. Yes, I know, how lame-o, but it will help me make a decision.

If I did need a car a couple of times a month and don't think the Zipcar approach will work, then I'll readdress the replacement car problem.

Now I've identified two initial challenges that I need to work out. First is the backpack. I've been lugging my laptop home every night and when I plop it in the trunk of the car, it's no big deal. But when I hump it on the Metro and walk up & down 15th St, it's a small problem. Just wearing it makes me sweat big time on my back. And that's when the weather is nice. If I'm humping that back and forth from work come July and August, to say I will be moist will be an understatement. So I either need to come up with a different way to carry it, or . . . . . . I leave it at work. So leaving it at work wouldn't mean that I couldn't' check email at home, but it does mean I couldn't work on other things. So I would have more free time at home. Maybe enough for a personal life? Hmm, that could be an upside. The second issue is the gym. If I think hauling my laptop back and forth via metro is a haze, let's talk about my honking big gym bag. That is so not an option. Plus, the idea of hauling my carcass up beyond the Metro to work out at night after work and then riding home on the Metro all stinky and sweating does not sound appealing at all. So I'm going to need to change my gym routine. But change doesn't have to be bad. The Y is close to my place. Before work and after work I can go to the gym. It won't be as convenient as the Golds in Rosslyn, but I can deal. I think. Hey, it's only a month trial period. We'll see where it ends up.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Time for a Divorce

Sven and I have been together for eight years. Like most relationships, the first seven years were fun. Oh there were few problems, but stuff you just sort of assumed would happen eventually and then you moved on. But lately it's getting worse. The problems are more frequent. And more expensive. I had to take him in to get looked at last week and they wanted to keep him overnight for some tests. That's never a good sign. We went back for the tests yesterday and today I got the diagnosis. Some cylinder/oil issue thing-a-ma-bob. Look, I don't speak car mechanics very well. The upshot is that it's another $1600 dollars to get him fixed. And that's on top of the $4000 I spent last year in maintenance. So I'm sorry Sven, but it's time for a divorce. It's not me, it's you. I'm thinking I need something smaller, younger, hipper. It's just time for us to end this. I'm not going to kick you out right now, but I think we know this is the end of the relationship.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Letter from Hilary Clinton

My Fellow Hard Working White Americans,

This has been a historic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and I want to thank you again for supporting me against Senator Barack Hussien Obama. Your support and fear of African Americans, Muslims, and people who look different has been a key component of our successful[1] campaign. Despite the fact that it is almost numerically impossible for me to capture enough delegates to win the nomination, I need the support of hard working white Americans like you to continue my campaign. Please go to and donate generously.

While my husband (who may have been the first black President, but who is really white) and I are multi-millionaires many times over, we need your financial help to help pay off the massive debt my campaign has incurred. With the economy in the tank, Bill and I feel your pain and are doing our part to help cut some corners. So please go to and donate whatever you can. Each and every day I’m on the campaign trail wracking up huge costs to prove that I’m a better general election candidate than Senator Barack Hussein Obama, I’m inspired by the stories of white children selling their bikes and video games so they can give that money to my campaign. Its stories like these that touch my heart and remind me why I’m running for President. I want to support the hard working white Americans who support me.[2]

As the campaign enters the summer months and hard working white Americans like you are hurt by sky high gas prices, I want to ensure you that I will use every cheap, pandering, counterproductive solution to solve the problem. I want to make sure you have enough money in your wallet to not only gas up that SUV, but that there’s a little left over for you to give to my campaign. So please go to and give generously. Your donation will allow me to continue to drag out this important, historic, nomination process, creating further hate and discontent in the party while giving John McCain a free ride until the Democratic Convention in case something really really bad happens to Senator Barack Hussein Obama.

So I humbly ask that you go to and give generously to my campaign[3].

Your fellow, hard working white American,


[1] Please see current campaign talking points for the latest definition of success.

[2] And also the lobbyists, special interests, and PACSs who’ve given me tons of cash also.

[3] Any left over funding will be applied to my 2012 run for President.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Springtime in Paris!

So I finally went to Paris and the weather was nice! YEAH!

The flight over was a little bit more than the usual punishment since I had to fly through Chicago to get the frequent flier seats. But I had a nice little pill to help me make it through the flight and United even gave me a free cocktail, so that really put me out. Plus, leaving from Chicago means you don't get to Paris until 930 or so, much more civilized than the 630AM arrival from DC.

The first thing my niece said to me? "Did you bring my DS?" The first thing my nephew said to me? "Did you bring us anything?" Love them to death, but how about a hello Uncle Trey? Is that to much to ask? The DS was a big hit. And it's amazing how quickly they can master the games. It reminded me of my days at the arcade playing Tron (which I *RULED* at). And how quickly they go into the zone and are quiet as they go through level after level. I did "borrow" the DS a couple of times to try my hand at it. It really is fun and so very addictive. But like I need another way to throw my time away?

Now, with the better weather (and btw it still rained almost everyday) and the sun coming down (sometimes) you get better feel for Paris. But you also get a better smell of it. And maybe "better" isn't the right word. It's amazing how many times I would be walking down the street and smell some just amazing perfume, and then someone would walk by who obviously doesn't use deoderant or bathe frequently and that pungent smell would want to make you hurl. The other smell I must comment on is urine. Sure there is dog poo everywhere, but you just ignore that. But with the warmer weather, the smell of urine seems to waft through Paris. One day as I was walking through the Tuilleries I realized that I need to rest. So I saw the sign for the WC and headed over. The steps down to the left led into a small restroom where for only 40 centimes (probably a buck with the exchange rate sucking so bad) you could relieve yourself in a clean, decent smelling bathroom. I did my business and headed back up the stairs when I realized that instead of walking down the stairs to the left, some guy had walked down the stairs to the right and was pissing in a corner. So you're too cheap to pay 40 centimes to use a public bathroom? I mentioned this to my sister and she laughed. She said that it doesn't even surprise her anymore when some guy will just turn against a wall and let loose. And sadly, I did see that two more times. How odd. Have you no shame? No dignity? No common courtesy for your fellow Parisians? Apparently not.

But Paris is not all about the strange odors. Paris is about the food (love the pain d'raison!), the beautiful architecture, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre'Cur, the Marais, and just people watching. I did get up twice to run down the Champs. That's one of my favorite things to do. Well, it would be it it actually didn't involved running, but I digress. So I'm hauling my fat carcass up and down the Champs and I LOVE the people watching. First of all, everyone is IMMACULATELY dressed. I mean there is some fierce fashion going on! Second, they are all very thin. Really, like rail thin. Which is probably do the cigarette that is surgically attached to their face. Ye gads people, put the cancer sticks down!

On Friday night, my sister and my BNL had a dinner party to go to, so I head to the gayhood, the Marais, to grab a bite to eat and to wander. And what do I run into? The Bear Happy Hour! Outside of a bar called, "Le Cox Cafe." Naturally. It was insane, there must have been a 50 people hanging out on the side walk outside of the bar. And while few of them would really qualify as bears on weight alone, a lot of them were sporting some decent facial hair, or shaved heads, or some interesting tatoos. As I approached this swarm of men, I realized that they were all on the sidewalk is because you can't smoke in restaurants. So my first order of business is to get inside and order a beer. And it was packed inside also. I wormed my way to the front of the bar and quickly ordered a beer. It was so packed that I was momentarily trapped at the bar, but I was okay with that because one of the bartenders was drop dead gorgeous. Tall, muscled, tight NYPD tank top stretched across his very firm chest, and a huge tribal tatoo on his shoulder/arm. HOT! But eventually I started to have a little bit of claustrophobia, so I escaped from the bar and hovered near the door where there was little bit of space. So I'm slowing sipping my beer and I realize that I have no idea what I'm doing here. I don't speak French. The odds of me going up to some guy and trying to have a conversation with them are insanely low. And I'm tired of getting jostled. So I bail to a little pizzeria down the street. I sit in the outside of the cafe, and of course there are two guys sitting next to me. I'm not really paying attention to me until the waft of smoke comes my way. Since we are technically outside, he can smoke. Fine! I've got some good real estate and I'm not moving. But the funny thing, is that said smoker is apparenlty sick and coughing up a lung. So he has this huge coughing fit, and then pulls out another cancer stick. Obviously he's not too bright.

Overall it was a great, fun, but too short trip to Paris. It was good seeing my sister, BNL, niece, and nephew. I may try to go back in September, but we'll see.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Lesbionic Operas and A Magical Kingdom (ish)

So a couple of weeks ago I went to see Tamerlano at the Kennedy Center. We had seats in the Presidents Box (yes, I *know* people!). Absolutely amazing seats. Plus a little lounge where we quaffed some champs and nibbled on presidential chocolates. And having your own bathroom is essential. Only the little people use the public restroom. Hello Joke!

Anyways, an old Navy friend of mine who works in the White House got the tickets. And Placido Domingo was performing. And he's just amazing. The problem is that the opera was just a little bit weird. So Placido played the old vanquished king. Check. But then the Prince who conquered him and is in love with his daughter is played by a woman. And then the Emperor who controls the Prince is in love with the daughter also, and he's like a super high tenor. So really girly sounding. So the Prince is really a Princess. The Emperor sounds like an Empress. And they are vying for the daughter. So it had a very lesbionic feel to it. But it was an amazing performance and just so much fun.

After that, I skipped down to Orlando to visit the Magic Kingdom. Eh. It was okay. The resort we were at is for conferences so it wasn't really *that* nice. More like a mediocre Holiday Inn. I did go down early to check out Epcot which was good. But I'm really not the target demographic they are going for. It seems like there are three things to do at Disney. Eat, shop, go on the rides. And most of the rides are for the little people. Which were everywhere. Hello people, shouldn't your children be in school! Now I know I've gained some weight (my diet starts after France!), but there were a LOT of people there who were just obese. Yes I know it's a problem throughout America, but it was just so obvious when I was down there. Now, after my bitching, I will say that I didn't see a single freakish tatoo or earing on the employees (aka cast members) or hear a single curse word. Which was refreshingly nice. The conference was just okay. I know a lot of people who come to Disney World every year, but I'm not feeling it right now. Maybe if I went down with someone, and sans conference it would be better.

So, off to Paris tomorrow to visit my sister and the kinder. I'm smuggling a Nintendo DS for my niece and a strange M&M dispenser for my sister. Plus I got my niece and nephew a new DS game for them to play. So I'll be the good Uncle, atleast for the first day!

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