Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hallelujah!

Finally sat down to do taxes - for some reason I was just in the zone tonight and had to knock it out. TurboTax makes it a breeze, especially when you can free file through the IRS (why didn't I figure that out sooner?).

So I'm entering my W-2s (all three of them), and there's that neat box in the left hand corner that was happily green, showing my refund. As I'm doing the last W-2 I watch my refund spiral down from $600ish to me owing $54. What?! I was pissed. About to have a freak out, since Crate and Barrel stopped taking out federal taxes when I switched to part time - was it gonna burn me that badly? Thank goodness the two deductions I can claim (maybe I should get some dependents next year?) put me back up into the few hundred dollar refund range. Whew. There's one good thing about paying off student loans.

So now comes the question - do I be responsible and put that money to debt, or do I use it in NYC in a few weekends? Eh? Eh?

Monday, February 27, 2006

American Tourister

Job searches suck. I'm glad I'm not going through that anymore! My friend JH, a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer, come down to DC and crashed at my place for a couple days, just to be closer to two job fairs. Gotta print your resume out, get the right paper, type all those damn cover letters, wear a suit, fake smile and ask all sorts of questions, come up with interesting things to say. Blech. Buena suerte, JH! Guess I'll be doing that after grad school someday though Eh :/

JH and I met up with another college friend and his Italian wife on Friday night in Chinatown, aiming to get into the bowling alley, which is ALWAYS busy. Some stupid private event - we didn't even have a shot. We decided to take a little stroll and find a place for dessert. Call us stuck-up Europeans (or wannabes, since two of us are actually Euro) , but nothing in the surrounding area sounded good. All the ridiculously overrated bars trying to be the hippest spot of the night by only letting in the very best-dressed, or the dumb chain restaurants like Ruby Tuesday's that I typically abhor. Where are the quaint cafes with coffee and pastries? Oh wait, we're not in Europe. So we wandered off into the freezing night, stupidly, since everything downtown closes at 10pm. With time running out and our fingers almost frozen off, where did we end up?

The worst place possible. The place you can't go when you actually live in the city.

Yep. Hard Rock Cafe.

We almost pretended to be tourists, not locals. So sad. And our portion sizes in America are dumbfoundingly HUGE. I wanted a brownie sundae - couldn't get anyone to share one with me, as they opted for cheesecake. I'll just order one, I thought, how bad could it be? Turns out an entire kindergarten class could share one of those things! Awful. Awful. Awful. I mean, it tasted good, the 5% I could shovel in. But wow....

Friday, February 24, 2006

Check that One Off the List!

I've had a deep love for the 930 club ever since I moved to Washington, almost 7 years ago. I remember my first show there (Fleming and John, Train & Ben Folds Five), and I've been to countless shows since. I was so grateful at that point in life to get out of Podunk, Middle America, and get to a place where I could actually see a band that wasn't countrified. Not too many of my favorites made tour stops at the Leflore county fair.....

PE and I braved the mostly high school crowd on Thursday night to see the Damnwells (so-so), Cary Brothers (good, but mellow), and the Fray (lots of pop fun). Every girl there was decked out in Uggs, jeans and tiny shirt, grabbing onto all the guys in their polo shirts underneath a vintage tee and blazer. The way they were fake smiling and snapping photos, I thought it was the first night of Spring Break in Cancun. BFFs forever! We finally found a spot that was mostly teen and camera-free, thank goodness.

Just after the Fray went on, I was standing directly in line with the balcony that overlooks the stage. I saw a couple men up there in suits, very overdressed for the occasion, but hey, this is Washington. Just behind them I saw about 1/3 of a girl's face that happened to look very familiar. Could it be? No....but yes! She's from Denver, the band was from Denver; indeed it was the fantastic Charity Sunshine! There, up in the balcony, the place I've longed to stand for almost 7 long years!

I quickly sent her a text message, convinced that she wouldn't even notice it til the next day. Within seconds of hitting the send button, I noticed her jumping around the balcony, looking over for me. I hadn't seen the girl in months, but there she was. Needless to say, I made it to the balcony, fulfilling a long-time dream.

I can't believe it took me this long to get up there; I did work for a radio station at one point, had friends who worked for radio stations and record labels, and I've even known some bands passing through. I've gotten to do all sorts of fun backstage stuff before at the 930 club, except for stand on that balcony. Finally!

I'm so ridiculous.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not Again

Really, hot water heater, can you be my friend? Sometime you save a lil' something for me, even though I'm the last person in the house to shower. But sometimes when I'm the first or second, ya got nothing for me. What's up with that?

You made me stand in the bathroom for 4 minutes, waiting for you to get hot; even warm would've sufficed. Nope, you're just cold. So I had to rummage through the house gathering everything I need to get ready in the morning and haul it to the gym at work so I could get some hot stuff there. At least I got today's workout in, which I didn't think possible.

Today's agenda: work like mad, funeral, rush home and pass along keys to friend that's crashing my place for a few days, then run to the 930 club for three sweet bands. At least I had one shower today....

I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh-no, I got to keep on movin'

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wacky Wednesday Weather

What was up with the snow this AM? I seriously had no idea it was coming. Okay, okay I haven't checked the weather channel lately, as usual, but really - snow? I left home in rain. Stopped in CoHi for tutoring. Left there an hour later - still just rain. But just two metro stops up at Ft. Totten it was snowing like mad! Even worse when I got to Silver Spring. Good thing I've kept the marshmallow coat in rotation. I hate being cold.

Time to settle into a couple hours of work so I can take off for a funeral tomorrow afternoon. I'm not well-versed in them, thankfully, so I hope it's not awkward. :-/

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back to the Grind

Work wasn't half bad today. Super busy, which is good, but not in an overwhelming way. I'll probably have to put in a couple extra hours this week, but I don't mind. I like when things are that way, and I usually perform at a higher level when I have to stay on top of things. Bring it on! Sadly the same can't be said for my personal life lately. There's too much going on, and I know for a fact I've let some people down. Still trying to figure out how to manage that one, besides apologizing AGAIN. Hmmm....

The Self Challenge 2006 started yesterday, so I made sure to hit the gym hard today - I gotta keep up with the buddies I'm linked to! Superstar's been working out like a mad woman and when I see all the exercise she's done, it's awesome motivation. It felt so good to sweat today, after not being in the gym for 5 days. Goal for the summer - sculpted shoulders and back, along with getting rid of the belly fat. Watch out sunshine and beaches - I'll be ready for you this year. Pilates already kicked my trash this weekend; I'm eager for more such punishment.

After the gym I rushed home tonight to meet up with Jorge, getting there just 5 minutes before he did. We went out to Bowie to eat at my favorite Italian place, Carrabba's. I don't advocate chain restaurants by any means, but this one is a worthy exception. I haven't found a better spaghetti and meatballs anywhere, and I'm what you might call a pasta expert.

Jorge and I are going to World Cup this summer, at least we think so. All our attempts at securing game tickets have been unsuccessful, so I'm inclined to a) not go at all since I should probably pay off some debt or b) go to Europe, just not go to Germany where things are going to be very costly. Jorge on the other hand is full-force, gung-ho, fully engage, we're on no matter what. Yeah....we gotta talk about that some more.... He certainly deserves a trip after spending the last 8 years in premed/med school. He's got a couple weeks between med school and residency, AND he's never been to Europe, so he's gotta do something to celebrate. Sigh. Time to research other options.

And now, time to catch some figure skating, chat online with friend in Uzbekistan, return my dad's emails (he just got a Palm Treo, trying to convince himself that he's young and hip. He hung up on me 3 times today and was only successful in sending email from it after a detailed conversation - he's got some catching up to do), finish a movie to get my Netflix queue moving, answer more emails, finish a short thing for work, play academic counselor to my brother, and get to bed so I can get to tutoring at 8am. Good night!

Counting My Blessings for Good Roommates

Jack Bauer can't do the same, however. Poor guy is in one of the weirdest roommate situations I've ever heard....

The world is full of nutsos........

Monday, February 20, 2006

TGI President's Day

Finally - a day where I don't have anything to do, so I can do all the things I have to do. Makes sense, right? Feels like life's been rushing by me at a pace I can't keep up with, so today means a bit of a breather. Laundry's going, room's getting a bit cleaner, still have some errands to run, but I'm off to a good start.

Thank you Lincoln and Washington, for giving me a head start on the week!

PS. Friday night I discovered the neato cave and lights at Cafe Japone. Too bad I hate sushi, or I'd hang out there at least once a month, but YOU should check it out. And Saturday after I got home from shopping - who knew it'd be so supremely crazy delicious? Being at home is more fun than I realized.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Outlet Heaven

I am a master marathon shopper, truly I am. I don't get to practice my skills all that often, but I was able to bust 'em out this weekend at Potomac Mills. Dangerous, lemme tell ya. By the end, clerks at various stores were commenting on how many bags I was carrying. I can't pass up a deal (though I AM practical about what I buy - no maxing out the credit cards or anything). I'm also very systematic in my strategy at this mall. I have to start at one end and work my way to the other end, giving every store equal opportunity to lure me in. And lure they did.

The rundown:
Haircut from a cute Afghan lady
Pants at Banana
Cute red top at Ann Taylor
Jeans at Gap
Underthings from two different stores (no, I won't model them :)
Black boots and brown croc heels from Nine West
Super soft towels
and my favorite of all that caught me by surprise -
This Reaction jacket screamed from the rack that I needed it, which I just had to agree with.
Delish!



















Just a side note, getting on the Beltway from Route 1 is really confusing....we had some fun detours, along with Salt 'n Pepa and Richard Marx sing-alongs. Shoop!

Friday, February 17, 2006

You Know...

... it's gonna be a good day when you turn on the TV first thing in the morning and see Uncle Rico!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wardrobe Functions

This past Monday I successfully pulled off the black and brown pairing - a former pet peeve of mine (along with black and navy blue - tricky to get right in my book). It's trendy this season; I thought I'd try it out, and I managed to make it out into public without changing my mind. We'll see if I can do it again!

I also managed to not wear all black on V-day. I originally had it on from head to toe, but thought it was a tad morbid for the day of love. I still wore 80% black, but I felt better about leaving a little room for red and pink festivities.

Monday, February 13, 2006

La La La Monday

It’s time for the weekend update, but frankly I’m too tired and blogger is being really, really slow. Or maybe that’s just my internet. Whatev.

So, the short version:

Telling NN to not wear so much random stuff in one outfit
Curry party
The Belvedere building
Dancing in a sushi joint in the basement to DJ LOGO
Missing an exit
Wawa at 4am
Bestest slumber party ever, complete with Mickey D’s for breakfast
The yummiest lemon berry scones ever!
Nap #1
Cleaning out a moldy fridge in the front yard as it started to snow
Nap #2
First date
Feeling like you’re on the Titanic
Plentiful laughter
Toffee nut steamers
Losing the car
Stupid parking tickets
Cancelled church
Italian dinner
Georgetown basketball vs. the Brokeback Mountaineers

It was a rather eventful weekend with plenty of goodness. I like my life. It’s busy, but good. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday on the other hand started out well but slowly slipped downhill all day. Why oh why can’t the bus come on time after rush hour? Seriously, waiting for 30 minutes in the cold isn’t fun. I suppose it was worth the workout though, except when my iPod quit in the middle of my run. It better resurrect itself tomorrow. It’s my lifeline. I dunno what I’m gonna do until I can get to the Apple store. Sigh. The gym is therapeutic though, iPod or not. Apparently so is writing, but I don’t have time for that sort of therapy tonight.

When the bus finally did come, some guy on there had Popeye’s chicken that smelled AMAZING. I told him so. I came home with the intent to make some fried chicken myself, even though I have no clue how to do it. I did grow up in the semi-South, but my family never ate fried chicken. Or maybe we did and I just wasn’t paying attention. I had to dig out the cookbooks, and of course I didn’t have all the stuff to make it. I searched in the freezer and found some non-marinated chicken, threw it in the microwave to defrost, then realized it was the roommate’s fish, which I had just ruined. Doh! Time for plan B. But wait, dang it! I want fried chicken. I almost threw in the towel completely, but managed to conjure up something resembling fried chicken. I really shouldn’t try to make dinner at 9:30 anymore without proper ingredients.

Tomorrow is V-day. Have a happy one, even though I’m saying that under great obligation and duress.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who's Gonna Drive You Home?

I was already in bed just now, computer turned off and put away when I saw a cheesy lame late-night commercial for some super-great 80s CD collection. And they played Drive by The Cars. I had to get my computer out again and download that song immediately. It's so friggin good. Ah....80s cheese. I luv eet! What was once lost is found again. I can sleep peacefully tonight. Who drove you home tonight?

Save the Date!

Oct 6-9, 2006 - Mark your calendars, folks. I'm going to be counting down the next 8 months, because the festival is returning.

Thank you, hometown newspaper for letting me know. I'll be booking my ticket soon. Who else wants to come along?

Drowning

I really need to get my life in order. Why's it been so crazy lately? I can't even begin to keep up with returning emails and phone calls, scheduling things, meeting up with people, paying bills - my own and for our house - doing laundry, grocery shopping, sending birthday wishes, getting concert tickets, finding a new housemate. Can the worldhalt for me, even just for 8 hours? I'd promise to tackle everything in that time span, then life can go on.........

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thank You, Steve Jobs

From a Spanish-language newspaper this week:

Picture of a man relaxing in his armchair, chilling out with monster headphones on.
Caption: "Tener catorce mil canciones en el i-pod es ahora el verdadero Sueña Americana."

For those of you who don't remember anything from high school Spanish, that's "Having fourteen thousands songs on the iPod is now the true American Dream." Yeppers........

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Today's Shout-Out

Goes to an Oklahoma band - the Hero Factor. Boo yah, OK rockers. They have this energy on stage, this intensity in their music, and I just plain like Ben's voice. Check 'em out. Maybe someday they'll break out of their OK/AR/TX-only shows. They do a great cover of Are You Gonna be My Girl, just FYI. Take a listen.

I love when you're on the metro, jamming to your own soundtrack to life, watching it all go by you. I'm such the observer. Does anyone notice me in return, bouncing around when my latest, greatest favorite song shuffles into the mix?

What about her eyes?
Well, I know them when I see them.
What about her lies?
It is candle or harsh and blinding
What about my heart?
Cause I can't handle one more beating
What about her, what about her yeah

I know she's out there, she's out there somewhere.
I know she's out there, she's out there somewhere.

I'll run I'll crawl
I'll break down every wall
I'll run I'll crawl
I'll break down every wall

What about her hands?
Are they shaped like this when she's uncertain?
What about her smile?
Is it soft to my touch?
What about her eyes?
Will they burn a hole right through me?
What about her, what about her yeah

I know she's out there, she's out there somewhere.
I know she's out there, she's out there somewhere.

I'll run I'll crawl
I'll break down every wall
I'll run I'll crawl
I'll break down every wall


(No lyrics online, I did the best I could).

Monday, February 06, 2006

A Little Piece of Happiness

Even if I can't be there, this helps me cope a little bit:

What Did I Do to Myself?!

More than forty-eight hours after the weirdly easy-while-you're-doing-it-yet-dying-after-workout, I'm still hurtin. Badly. Sunday morning I could hardly get out of bed, much less make it down the stairs. B was nice enough to give me a leg massage during the Super Bowl last night, and even then my legs seemed to be getting tighter. I just have huge knots from knee to hip. I expected to be sore after a new workout, but this takes things to a whole new level!

This morning was still bad (man, am I a complainer or what?), and I think I got some strange looks on my way to work, as well as some laughs when I went out to lunch and walked up and down a couple flights of stairs. Of course on the way home the escalators at the metro station were out of order and I had to walk down them. Yeah, made sure I was last in that line. At least I wasn't forced to decide between rushing to catch a train and killing myself on the stairs or sucking it up and waiting 17 minutes for the next one.

Thankfully LW2, aka Spyder, introduced me to muscle relaxers this afternoon. Oh yeah.... Drugs=GOOD. Within half an hour my legs were much better. Still hurts to walk, but it's a big relief to have about 45% of the knots gone. I popped another pill tonight and can't wait to take the one in the morning. When is this thing gonna be over?

In other random thoughts, every kitchen should always have fresh baguette, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yuummmm......

I never really discovered the joys of balsamic vinegar until a couple years ago. I remember seeing some in my mom's pantry while growing up; we just never used it. Will my kids think I'm weird when they see me eat it every night before dinner? Or will they join right in as if that's the most normal thing in the world? I think I'm truly an addict.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Scary Little Man


I was a slacker at the gym this week since work was so crazy, so I decided I'd work out at home this morning.

Somehow my house ended up with a video from Scary Dude Basedow; I think we found it in a box of junk from the previous resident. My roommate swears that it's awesome, though a little strange to watch, so I gave it a try. Seriously, does the man not have any body fat?! He's gotta be a mutant of sorts.

Anyway, he kicked my arse. I think I pulled a butt muscle. Getting up and down the stairs is gonna be interesting for the next couple days. Ouch!

Metro Travels


Metro just started using 8-car trains on the Orange line to ease some of the crowding. It's been a long time since I've used that line during rush hour, so that news didn't mean much to me. However, Wed night I trekked out to Clarendon for dinner with PE. It was around 7:15, the mad rush should've been over. Nope! I didn't even get a seat for a few stops. When I finally did, I had to squeeze into my little space - no spreading out. The aisles were even packed. I'm not used to sharing anymore. Thursday morning on my red line commute to work, I only had to share the entire car with 6 people. That's it! Even coming back into the city from VA at 10pm, I had to wait for a seat. Where are all these people going?! Thank goodness for a reverse commute. I'm so spoiled.

I hadn't traveled out to VA in quite awhile; I'd forgotten about perfect little suburbia. Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Barnes and Noble, all those little chain shops and restaurants. I'm a fan, I can't deny, but it's a totally different world from my neighborhood. I wonder when I'll pack up from the ghetto and move outside the city. Not looking like any time soon, but who knows what'll happen?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hold Me Back!

Coachella 2005 was about the most perfect weekend anyone could ask for. Someone loaned us their Palm Springs condo for the weekend, in the land of breakfast burritos and In-N-Out burgers. I spent the mornings lounging by the pool and the afternoons in Indio, digging on some of the best bands in the world. When you're surrounded by a California sunset, mountains, and some Arcade Fire on stage, life is pretty sweet. And seeing Coldplay with 40,000 people singing:

Your skiii -iiin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn iiiiin to something beautiful
D'you knooooow you know
I love you so!

Amazing. To me, it was perfect. And this year's line up is just as incredible.
Depeche! Daft Punk! Sigur Ros! Franz! YYY! James Blunt! Kaskade! Gabriel and Dresden! Minus the Bear! stellastar! Imogen Heap! and many more! So do I go? Or do I save my $$ and time for World Cup (even though I probably won't get tix to any games - still waiting to hear on the lottery)? Or there's always more weddings to travel to this summer. Hmm.....

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Crazy Little Thing

Shouldn't more of the world's population be committed to a mental institution?

February's National Geographic features Love (say it together now, awwwwhhh) on its cover, with the following quote:
Scientists say that the brain chemistry of infatuation is akin to mental illness — which gives new meaning to "madly in love."
I know some mentally ill people at the moment. It's not a pretty sight. Where's that strait jacket? (thanks B)
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