Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get excited...

The fun begins! Time to start educating ourselves on Team USA.

Coverage of the figure skating teams
, including--finally--a sort-of explanation of why the U.S. only has two entrants in the women's competition, as opposed to three in most of the others

NHL hockey players: Olympians, or no? As my fondness for hockey grows (Go Caps!), I'm getting more and more excited for the Olympic hockey tournament. "Miracle," which I have never seen, is next up on my NetFlix queue. [Side note: I attended the Caps-Maple Leafs ass-kicking game two weeks ago and, by the third period, I was seriously mad that I might not see any fights. And then, when one finally broke out, I cheered. What does this say about me as a person?]

And finally, for your daily dose of flamboyance, here's the ever-glittery Johnny Weir doing "Poker Face" at the US Figure Skating Championships.

T-minus 16!

Next up:
Olympics terminology -- What, exactly, are twizzles? The answer--and why you should care--coming soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yet unnamed new feature. Vote today!

On frequent occasions, I'll have a thought in my head that seems like it might turn itself into a nice, substantive blog post, and then...nope. I've got nothin'. But sometimes I want to share it with you anyway, and since I've locked my Twitter feed and can no longer feed it onto this site, I'm starting a new feature. Possible titles include "Fleeting Thoughts," "Shortest. Post. Ever," and "Buried Ledes" (journalist humor! gotta love it). Post your vote in the comments!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heard.... (or, rather, typed): Work Edition

As is typical when you work with a bunch of 30-something guys, an innocent chain of work-related emails devolved into sci-fi "humor"...and then unnecessary meanness.

We can do better.

K: We will do better.

Me: So say we all!


Me: Sorry. Battlestar Galactica humor. Don't know where that came from.

S: Are you three going to turn all Star Wars/Trek on me?

K: How about we make a new Star Wars-esqe anti-slogan for our department? It will show our toughness to the others. "The [company name] Marketing Department. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

JK (our boss): In the words of Vader, "Perhaps I can find new ways of motivating them, as the emperor is less forgiving than I am."

Me: ...well, that's not ominous at ALL. [begins updating her resume]

JK: I hear [my former employer, having financial troubles] is hiring.

Me: Ok, that was unnecessary.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


How have I not mentioned this? The Olympics start in 22 DAYS. We still have three weeks to wait (THREE WHOLE WEEKS. I cannot abide it), and yet my life is already being taken over by them. Yesterday I spent my lunch hour comparing the event schedule with the proposed dates for our next book club meeting. I may even have used the phrase “we have a bit of an Olympics situation here” in an email. (And we did. The Tuesdays and Thursdays in question directly conflicted with the figure skating short and long programs, first the men and then the women. Obviously, that was not going to work.)

The festivities were mentioned in our staff meeting this week, and JK told our department, “Don’t book any meetings for Hannah during those two weeks.” I assured him that my work performance would not be affected, as the games aren't in another hemisphere this time.

IRS-willing (assuming my tax refund arrives in time), I will have my new TV in time for the Opening Ceremonies. I haven’t yet found out whether my man Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post will be blogging from Vancouver, but my fingers are crossed. I don’t know how I’ll make it through without my Cheese of the Day reviews or insights on the New Zealand curling team. Seriously. Otherwise, how else would I have learned the world's greatest curling song? (That would be “Jeepers Creepers, Where’d You Get Those Sweepers,” for those who are wondering. Sweepers are the members of the team that—shocker—sweep the ice in front of the "stone"--the big rock thing--and the aforementioned song is sung to the opposing team when their sweepers have, uh, swept particularly poorly.)

I don’t actually know the rules of the game, but I do know the terminology. And now, so do you. You’re welcome.

I love the Olympics. But you knew that.

Font foibles

The formatting on several recent entries has gone berserk, and I can't seem to fix it. I know that this makes for some odd reading. Sorry about that. My HTML skillz are not what they should be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cuckoo from cocoa

My boss is addicted to coffee. He downs at least a cup an hour during the workday, and I have suggested that perhaps he should look into one of those catheter thingies or an IV drip directly into his veins. I would dismiss it as a side effect of having a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old who have entirely opposite sleep schedules, but this has been true for a while now.

I, on the other hand, can't even enjoy a Dr. Pepper AND a cookie with my lunch without turning into a jittery mess in the afternoon. Eighteen cups of coffee would send me jumping out the window.

This fall, I began inexplicably awaking in the middle of the night and lying there for a while before falling back to sleep--not every night, but every few days. Yoga provided some relief at calming the mind, but I felt like a fool, doing Downward-Facing Dog in my pajamas at 3AM in the dark. And eventually I figured out what it was: CHOCOLATE. Consumption of chocolate of any kind after about 9pm! I only did this every few days--a scoop of ice cream here, a couple of Oreos there--but there was a direct link. I've avoided it for the last few months, but I had a chocolate cookie while watching the Golden Globes last night, and--once again--I found myself wide awake at 4AM.

So. My next project is to widen the experiment to include non-chocolate sweets to ascertain if it's just caffeine or (¡QuĂ© horror!) sugar as well. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday miscellany

I’m sitting in the relative warmth of my apartment, congratulating my friends on the wise decision not to go ice skating in a 20 degree wind chill. Because, naturally, the obvious thing to do in below-freezing temperatures is to strap on metal blades and go skidding around on a sheet of ice. Sounds awesome! Let's all go get frostbite.
Hey! Guess what. Apparently, I am nearing my 200th post! I also realized that this is the fourth calendar year of this exercise in naval-gazing, though I technically only began just over two years ago. It took me a good five minutes to get my head around that little fact (two years….four years…what?), because, as I frequently remind my boss when he asks me to do budgets or accounting, I don’t do numbers. (“Okay, I’ll do it, but you remember this day when the auditors come calling.”)*
And finally, do you know what currants looks like? This, apparently:
I had no idea! I mean, sure, the amount of time I spend pondering the physical merits of a currant ranks somewhere just above the amount of time spent pondering the merits of Spencer Pratt** (because that would be a colossal waste of time), but it did take me by surprise.
*Note to my mother: No, I don't REALLY talk to him like that. Usually. Okay, he knows I'm kidding.
**(In Googling Spencer Pratt to find a suitable link for those of you who are [blissfully] unaware, the third thing that popped up read as follows: "The loathsome Spencer Pratt is a random dumbass who has gained celebrity gossip notoriety from being on MTV's The Hills as Heidi Montag's loser boyfriend." HA! So true.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Homeward bound: a story in 248 parts (or, the weekend I learned to tolerate coffee)

It is friggin' cold here in D.C., though--in the interest of full disclosure--when that phrase goes through my head, as it does at least thrice daily, "friggin" is not usually the first adverb that comes to mind. On top of the cold, it's windy, which is just all-around unpleasant during the trudge to/from work.

The one thing it really isn't doing is snowing. It flurried a bit last night--maybe even an inch or so--but that has ceased, and now it has returned to being friggin' cold. I would rather it snow. But Hannah, you say, didn't you have more than enough snow during the blizzard the weekend before Christmas? Well, you'd think so, except that I wasn't in D.C. for it and thus was unable to enjoy the Monday off from work. Why?


Due to the impending snowstorm, which was scheduled to start on our around Saturday, December 19, I left town early--at 1:30pm on Friday--bound for the homeland. All was going according to plan until I reached Harrisonburg a few minutes before 4pm. It started to spit snow. I pressed onward. By 5:15, it was sticking to the highway and traffic was slowing down. By 5:45, aware that I was obviously not going to make it home that evening, I began watching for hotels. At exit 205, I pointed Lola toward the off-ramp and the distant lights of a Days Inn, the only hotel at the exit. I crept up the snowy hill--the car in front of me skidding and fishtailing--pulled into the lot, and tromped through the already accumulating drifts into the lobby. (Word of advice: Chuck Taylors are not meant for snow. You're welcome.) Clearly, plenty of others had had a similar idea.

By 6:30, I was ensconced in my room taking stock of my food supply (Corn Flakes: 1 large box. Brownies: 1. Bottle of water: 1.), watching the news (BLIZZARD! SNOWPOCALYPSE! MAYDAY!), and trying to figure out where the hell I was. According to the sticker on the phone: Raphine, Virginia.

I have driven I-81 probably 100 times. Never before had I even noticed Raphine, Virginia. Probably because it consists entirely of a Days Inn, a gas station/Wendy's combo, and The Smiley Face truck stop/liquore store. (If I'd known what was coming, I might've stopped there on the way into "town."

Anyway, as we all now know, the east coast got pounded with snow that weekend, gracing the metropolis of Raphine with about 2 feet. I-81 South was closed for a large stretch, and we were stuck.

Luckily, I had a half-dozen new books to read, a (rather spotty) wifi connection, and exactly sixteen TV channels, seventeen if you count the fuzzy TBS. For food, I had the aforementioned cereal and brownie and the rather unappetizing contents of the third floor vending machine.

On Saturday morning, once it became clear that no one was leaving, the residents of the Raphine Days Inn settled in for a day of, well, boredom. Periodically, people would wander down to the lobby for some bad coffee, to see if anyone had any news, and to speculate about when the plow would arrive to clear the parking lot. (Answer: never.)

I met three other people around my age: Maddie, a Towson University student; Tommy, a dude travelling from PA to FL; and Johnny, headed from DC to Charlotte. We trudged down the hill to the gas station/Wendy's for lunch, taking orders from the less-nimble older folks at the hotel and returning with sacks of burgers and fries.

We sat around for a while.
"Too bad nobody has a deck of cards," one of us said.
There was general agreement, followed by silence as we pondered the endless hours of amusement lost.
"Oh hey!" said Johnny. "I have Hannah Montana playing cards."
A pause. "You have...Hannah Montana playing cards?" I said skeptically.
"What? They're a present for my little sister. We'll have to unwrap them, but whatever."
I don't know if they ever did, because I disappeared outside to see about digging Lola out for our eventual escape. Tool of choice? The trash can from my hotel room.

On Sunday morning, muscles screaming at me, I was up and outside at 7:30am to re-scrape Lola, pack the car, and GET OUT of Raphine. A posse of men--fellow refugees--spent the morning digging people out and pulling cars out of icy, snowy holes. "What ya gotta do," one burly fellow told me, "is ROCK the car." I responded by handing him my keys. Seven minutes later, after some grunting (the men) and anxiety (me, as I watched my wheels spin wildly on the ice), I was on the road.

Four hours later, at 1:30pm, I pulled into the driveway at home, exactly 48 hours after I left D.C.

Weirdest. Road trip. Ever.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Your Thursday moment of zen

My sister thinks that I am "obsessed" with the Muppets, and while that is not remotely true, this probably does not help my case.

Before Christmas, the Muppets were on Jimmy Fallon's show singing the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was enjoyable. But even better is this outtake, featuring Fallon in the Muppets as they spontaneously break into "One" by Three Dog Night while doing a camera test.

There are so many awesome things about this clip: The fact that they all seem to know all the words. Pepe, inexplicably wearing a tutu, bellowing "NUM-BAHR!" Animal bopping from one side of the frame to the other. That they all stay entirely in character while singing. I mean, really, how can you not love the Muppets?!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Cop-Out

This has been all over the interwebs in various forms (including on Jules’ blog), and as it does not require any creativity on my part, I will reproduce parts of it here:

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more next year?
Heh, well, I just found my list of resolutions from last year, and while it was a bit ambitious (25 resolutions!), it was nevertheless an unequivocal FAIL. I kept exactly three of them in their entirety.

What countries did you visit?
None other than this one, but I spent
quite a bit of time on the road!

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A new TV. How long have I been saying that?

What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 20
, the day the world watched Barack Obama take the oath of office.
September 12 and 19, when four of my best friends got married.

What was the best thing you bought?
My new slippers are pretty awesome.

Where did most of your money go?
Rent. Though more of it went to Ann Taylor Loft than probably should have.

What did you get really excited about?
The inauguration/new administration.
My Christmas miracle boots.
Weddings, weddings, weddings.

What song(s) will always remind you of 2009?
“Fire Burning” and “Poker Face,” due entirely to Jules and M’s wedding. Also, the Glee versions of “Somebody to Love” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

What was your favorite TV program?
Glee, obviously, tied with Bones.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, but I am utterly disgusted by the Gosselins and Tiger Woods. What an ass.

What was the best book you read?
Oh, man. Where to start? Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese) was fantastic. I finally read, and enjoyed, Wuthering Heights and Rebecca. Tana French (In the Woods and The Likeness), Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Geraldine Brooks (People of the Book and Year of Wonders) kept me engrossed with their thrillers and historical fiction.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
(All together now!): The Glee soundtracks! Also, I’ve gotten pretty into Mahler, though I don't think I can count that as a discovery.

What was your favorite film of this year?
It was NOT It’s Complicated. But other than that, nothing really sticks out.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went out for Lebanese food with seven of my best friends for my 26th birthday.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more statisfying?
Immeasurably? Winning the lottery, I guess. But I’d say it was pretty satisfying year.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Two things popped into my mind when I read this: "What a stupid question" and "John Krasinski."

What political issue stirred you the most?
Healthcare reform; gay marriage (it’s impossible to live in DC and not feel strongly about this)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The decade that was

On New Year’s Eve 1999, I went to a party. It was held by a guy from school—not a close friend, but a fellow band member with whom I had numerous mutual friends. I don’t remember how I ended up there. All I remember is watching “Good Morning, Vietnam.” At 11:30, I was bored and went home. I rang in the millennium in my pjs, with my family, and was asleep by 12:15.

A lot has happened since then.

2000: With my family, went abroad for the first time to Austria, Germany, and Liechtenstein and developed a taste for travel.
2001: Graduated from high school; started college; met Jules, Michael, and Ashley
2002: Apparently nothing happened in 2002. That I can remember.
2003: Picked a major (and a minor)
2004: Spent semester in London; met Ed, Val, J, Annie, and Karen; was offered an internship that that would turn into a career; traveled around England and to Ireland, France, and Italy
2005: Graduated from college; got my first (paid) job—financial independence!
2006: Got promoted
2007: Bought a car; moved into my own apartment
2008: Quit a job and started a new one
2009: Got promoted

A lot happened over the last ten years, but the thing that has stuck with me most is that in the 00s, I met the people who would become my second family—some here in D.C. and some not near enough.

On New Year’s Eve 2009, I made chili, watched the Vols lose their bowl game, and then walked to Ed & Val’s apartment. With them and J and Heather, we played Scrabble and Apples-to-Apples, watched Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, and toasted the new year. Not a bad way to start the new decade.