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For two hours, I was the DC Public Library's newest member.

Oct. 7th, 2017 | 04:52 pm

I hope I get to choose the location of my commemorative brick.

I've always enjoyed owning physical books, so I can lend them to people, return to them anytime I want, and generally have good furniture. And for a few years, getting all the books I wanted for super cheap from online (mostly Amazon resellers, but other options too) was working well. Of late, many of the books I wanted were becoming quite expensive, and I had trouble stretching my annual book budget to the number that I really wanted to read.

So for the first time in six years, I have a public library card again. After going to the online sign up site intermittently all week and getting an error message every time, it worked on Thursday and I requested a permanent card plus my first book from them. By Friday it was ready to pickup, so I went to our lovely branch library yesterday to pick it up.

It is kind of fun to become a new member of something, as the person reaches into drawers for things and you don't know how much you will get. I received a physical card and a mini-card for my keychain from the lady at the checkout desk, plus instructions on how to pick up my holds. They are organized by last name and put on a shelf, which seemed reasonable enough until I turned the corner and it was an entire wall of shelves that I and another patron had to awkwardly sift through until we found our books. Still, it works and I need to avail myself of more books from there. They also offer all kinds of e-magazine subscriptions to members.

It all seems impossibly generous. Of course the District is run better than a lot of people give it credit for and our tax revenues are at record highs, so we can afford this stuff!

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Reporting live from my food coma.

Oct. 4th, 2017 | 11:30 pm

My typing is unaffected, but any other activity is off limits.

B made an amazing dinner tonight: roast chicken, gravy, broccoli spears with chili oil, and some lovely potatoes from his favorite food blogger. That we now just say "Kenji" in response to the source of many recipes shows how frequently we are relying on his mad science of food!

It has been a decent week, if a bit crazily busy. I did a long run on Sunday afternoon, when the weather was perfect. I have gone to work out each day since, at 2 pm on Monday and after work yesterday and today. Not coincidentally I also sleep better when I stick to this routine! The many things that were not working at the gym have all been corrected! The wifi wouldn't work on my phone for a while, but that is now back. And for the entire time I've been going there, the network would not allow streaming audio. This is not crucial and also not really surprising, as they don't need me sucking up all the bandwidth, but I tried it yesterday and it does work now! Back to my Hype Machine playlists I go, where I have much more workout-appropriate music than on my phone. Also, the water only had one temperature, SUPER HOT, on various recent days but that too is now back to normal. I'm sure the gym manager is dreading what will break next.

Work has indeed been nutty, but I am making significant progress on my portions of our many projects. This will continue tomorrow, then on Friday most of the office will be out for the Community Service Day. For that one I envision a much less intense day, and hopefully another midday gym visit.

On Monday I got drinks with Brandon at Trade and we shared many life updates that are pretty exciting. He and Ben are tentatively planning their wedding for September 2018 in PTown! Can't wait. Then on Tuesday afternoon B informed me that Meg would be at his bar at Looking Glass that day, so I wolfed down dinner and went there. New Guy was also there and we had a grand time half-watching baseball and planning random occasions, such as the next Red Lobster Day.

That's about all I've got! I know I still need to write a post about the wedding, but let's save that for when I have not just had a quarter of a chicken and a pile of heavenly potatoes.

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A possibly redundant Friday Five.

Sep. 30th, 2017 | 10:44 pm

It's Saturday anyway, so deal with it.

1. How did you choose your LJ/DW username?
I actually created it in 10th grade when we were signing up for email addresses in CAD class and I thought it sounded nifty (favorite color + what 15-year old doesn't think petty crime is "nifty"?). But the name sans numbers was taken, so I added a 2 and called it a day.

2. What has been your favorite day this year and why?
February 11th. It was unseasonably warm and I went with Chris, Josh, Andrew, and Travis to hike a huge chunk of the C&O Canal Trail while gabbing about life.

3. What is your favorite film you've seen in the past year and why?
Dunkirk was truly amazing. We saw it on the biggest IMAX screen in the DC area and it was made for that. Also, it turns out to have been quite historically accurate. I expect it to win wheelbarrows of awards when they come along!

4. What is your favorite book you've read in the past year and why?
Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? is done well, and has direct applicability to the inequalities that I've been writing about for a while now.

5. You get to program a half-hour of music videos on MTV. What videos do you pick?
Lots of Kylie Minogue, Madonna, and Janet Jackson, with newer stuff from St. Vincent, Robyn, and maybe OK Go.

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New Mexicans, lock up your empty calories.

Sep. 24th, 2017 | 09:59 pm

Or I will ingest them, just to prove I can.

Been in NM since Friday night. It has been a short but very food-focused trip. AA got me here perfectly on time with a stop in DFW, where I ate chicken nuggets and tried to get steps in by roaming terminals. Upon landing I got my rental car without incident. A Kia Soul, which has more room than I'll ever need but less oomph than even my little Cavalier. I would very much like to be able to get to the top of hills, Alamo Rent-a-Car. I navigated to my usual Sonic and got a bag of delicious salt and grease plus a limeade as my first stop, because traditions are important. :)

That makes 2017 the first year since college that I've flown three different airlines (AA, B6, and DL). It's been good for my wallet and my free time to book whatever works best instead of being blindly loyal to just one.

Anyhow, I spent a not very exciting but comfortable night in a new hotel off the interstate, then woke up early for showering, breakfast burrito-snagging, snack shopping at Smith's, and repacking. Then I drove off to Pecos, meeting Mom and Earl at noon at El Arbolito. We got ready in a mild frenzy and then set off for the church to attend the wedding. That old building is close to exactly the same as it's always been, though they now have new pews? I'll write more about the wedding, reception, and long intermission between those two events in a dedicated post later.

We spent last night in Pecos, then went to Mass at the Monastery this morning, because even a wedding with full Catholic Mass embedded (including communion wafers!) doesn't count for some reason*. Once we got out of there, we went straight to Frankie's for brunch with Aunties Laura and Martha. It was crowded but the food was super great, and we lolled there for a good long time.

From there we packed up our bags, went to Auntie Laura's house to see her remodel and the new RV. Both insanely nice! Can I please retire so I can build a sun room and a gazebo and a new deck? Thanks, universe. I also followed her dog a lot, a super adorable husky mix. Then we popped over to Uncle Arthur's house to catch up, and it was a merry battalion of children with Araceli and Vincent's kids. Nice to hear from everyone about what they are doing, though. Robin is a sheriff's deputy! We then were doled out leftover food from the wedding catering and drove home. I've done very little here but move stuff around at my parents' request, then we had grilled trout and salad for dinner. At least there is wifi, so I am now reasonably caught up on news, LJ, and internet browsing.

And I participated in this friending frenzy. Pop on over if you want to make some new LJ friends.

Tomorrow I leave here around 11 for the long drive back to ABQ and then fly back to DC. I arrive at 10:45 pm assuming all is on time, kind of crappy but not as bad as the 11:53 pm arrival I was going to book originally! Just because airlines need to push their equipment to max utilization doesn't mean I need to be on flights at these nutty times.

*The masochism inherent in being a Mexican Catholic?

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"Sonny Bono, get off my lanai!"

Sep. 17th, 2017 | 03:14 pm

Now high on my list of preferred curses.

Well, as predicted my posting schedule has gotten erratic again. But I'm back! Recent happenings that were keeping me away from the LJ include:
  • Last Sunday, Alex H. was in town and we had dinner at District Commons. Though we can't specifically remember where we saw one another last, it was an excellent opportunity to catch up. He was in town for a conference, not that notable except the closing keynoter was Barack Obama. Color me jealous.
  • On Wednesday I went to New York for the day for work. Sounds super fun, but I had literally less than 12 hours in the city and was in our NY office for six of those. The occasion was training for the product we are going to launch in less than a couple of weeks, a product about two years in the making. Maybe more about that later.
  • After my time in the office, I set off for drinks and dinner in Hell's Kitchen with Lee S. He helpfully chose the venues and we had a lovely time, before I got an Uber back to Penn Station just in time for my train. And the Amtrak folks were excellent as always. With luck I'll get more time on the next trip!
  • General catch up on work before and after that trip. Management may be ever closer to hiring a new manager for me, which would cut down on my to-do list a great deal. But then again that's been communicated how many times before and it didn't happen? Too many.

The Emmys are tonight! After I drop B off at work, I'm going to pick up beer and wine and have Andrew and Stuart over for the viewing party. Not sure how we are going to survive red carpet plus the interminably long show, but we'll see!

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Just call me Queen Eflipabeth.

Sep. 6th, 2017 | 09:36 pm

The least decisive of the Windsors.

Scratch all my prior posts. I am going to Geno's wedding later this month. Going to fly to Albuquerque on Friday the 22nd and stay until Monday the 25th. The flight and rental car are sorted, and were in fact quite cheap. Now I just need to figure out where to stay on Friday night, because I'm not going to land at 8 pm and drive all the way to Vegasville only to have to drive halfway back in the morning to the wedding. Hotel rates also appear pretty reasonable, or I could go the AirBnB route.

That's all I really have for today. Bad hurricane season and bad wildfire season are making for some scary situations all over. Stay safe, y'all. And I know I actually have more active friends in the West than on the East Coast, so hope all that smoke clears soon, too!

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Football, sweater weather, eating pumpkin-flavored everything even though it's super bland!

Sep. 2nd, 2017 | 05:35 pm

Joys of fake fall.

Much progress has been made since my last post. I had to wade my way through Geico's mess of a phone tree* three times between Thursday afternoon and Friday, but I finally got an appointment to take OJ to the shop. Tuesday morning at 9:15. And among the options given, I chose one near a Metro station, too, so there will be no need to fuss with one of their terrible rental cars that will be a pain in the arse to park** anyway. It occurs to me I never actually noted in here why I need repairs and why this not-mine insurance company is involved. On August 7th I was rear-ended waiting for a left arrow on Connecticut Ave. Minor, and I was not hurt. But at first I was a little worried about how painful this could become in other ways, especially upon realizing that The Other Guy is a lawyer. But I did everything right and had no contact with him other than through the police and he/Geico accepted liability within a few weeks. Quite a relief to close this soon with not-much drama and no impact on my own policy at my own much-more-excellent insurance company. State Farm, let's make out.

I also was able to parlay a work deadline into a reason to take the day trip to New York! In short, we're responding to an RFP for a possible new client, and the package is due at 8:00 pm Eastern Time on 9/8 and we are going to need every minute we can get to finish. That same afternoon is also when the Suburbs Office session of the training is being offered, so like magic I am going to the NY session on the following Wednesday instead. The training is set for 1:30 to 5. Not going to consume my entire day, and the attendee list includes coworkers that I really like, so I'm quite looking forward to this! It'll be just a loooong day trip, but I enjoy the Amtrak ride and might get to have dinner or happy hour with Lee S. after.

Other fall events are getting scheduled swiftly. We just RSVP'd for Elliott and Stu's wedding! December 10th. Going to be an epic one. I'm thinking no to Geno's wedding in Santa Fe, just not in the cards. But that does mean I should be able to have a whole week off around Thanksgiving, probably to travel to the exact same place. Should I tack on CO or TX legs to that trip? We shall see.

In other news, this morning was my first haircut with Rusty at the new salon! It was quite lovely, and frankly not as different as I was expecting. I do miss the shampoo ladies and receptionists and other people from the old place, but their counterparts at New Place are also lovely. There is also much to watch as they have much more street frontage and his chair is close to the windows, plus being attached to a very gay gym means lots of attractiveness walking in and out. Most importantly Rusty seems to be happy and adjusting well, and he did have a client come in right after me, so I guess I need not worry that people didn't follow him over. He also texted me his schedule to avoid me having to try to make endless dummy appointments online to figure out when he's there. Winning! It was chilly and rainy out as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey pass over us, but that is expected to pass within a day. Let me not rush on pulling sweaters out of the closet.

Tonight Andrew, Taylor, and I are toying with the idea of going to Town. We'll see if the weather and weekend inertia get in the way of those plans. On the motivational side is that Trinity Taylor will be performing! I certainly did nothing last night, just finished up my last book, so I have social points to spare.

*The agents were all perfectly nice, and insisted that "we're here 24 hours/7 days if you need us!" but navigating through the automated options kept dumping me into a voicemail box that stated hours of 8 to 4:30. I finally interrupted the third agent and was like, "How do you actually get to these 24 hour agents?" and she gave me a different 800 number.

**Our apartment building requires registration stickers in every windshield, which I'm not going to bother to seek out for a week at most. And finding on-street parking, while possible, takes more time and patience than I have this month.

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Who needs to sleep, anyway?

Sep. 1st, 2017 | 12:20 am

Then I'd have to add washing sheets to my to-do list.

Re: my post on being overburdened, I signed up to be a reader for some hapless MPP student yet to be identified anyway. Consciously clearing some calendar time in October and November to actually be helpful. And I am curious as to the topics they have chosen. We will see.

Earlier in the day, I had so many undone tasks that I just started plowing through things to get them off the list. That included donating to the Houston LGBT Center for hurricane recovery and buying a new phone case. There were even a few hours of actual work! Didn't make any headway in travel plans, though. Tomorrow I need to figure out which session of a mandatory training to sign up for (either 9/8 in the Suburbs Office or 9/13 in New York; clearly I want the latter but need to see if it's doable!), decide once and for all if I'm going to Geno's wedding in Santa Fe in three weeks, and finally get the Geico jerks on the phone to schedule my car repairs. Plus there's actual work work. Adulthood is the wooooorst.

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Eat one pancake for every Grammy you think Katy Perry deserves.

Aug. 28th, 2017 | 08:55 pm

A quintessential Sunday activity.

Sunday was back to our usual brunch routine at Duplex. Jack, Joe, Blake, and I posted up at the bar and Bradley was back serving us. I had excellent pancakes and eggs with mediocre bacon, plus Blake's unwanted English muffin, while we watched various Real Housewives shows and then the Nats-Mets game. Our boys were getting spanked by the 3rd inning. :/ Their gun was also on the fritz, so Kelly walked in with giant armfuls of soda and LaCroix cases, and later a repairman showed up. By then, Bradley had probably gone through many liters of Diet Coke.

Later I drove B to work, then decided to be productive and go for a short run. The weather was much more cooperative than in prior weeks, and combined with the very deserted sidewalks helped me achieve some real speed!

Like pretty much every year, I did watch the Video Music Awards again in the evening. Definitely one of the more entertaining ones of the past few! Good performances included Kendrick Lamar*, Pink, Katy Perry herself (she hosted), Fifth Harmony, and DNCE with Rod Stewart. Why Rod Stewart? Why the heck not! They were a super fun collaboration. The only truly bad one was Lorde, in which she neither sang (her song was certainly playing; did she even intend to lip sync?) nor danced but just kind of got flung around gently by dancers? Unfortunate, because she's actually a good live performer. Anyhow, I am pleased with the awardees and in general have continued my smidgen of awareness of current pop music.

*His dancers were climbing this terrifying flaming rope ladder kind of thing? Very original, though.

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Can I buy some of your free time?

Aug. 26th, 2017 | 11:30 pm

$3 an hour, which is a pretty good deal in this economy.

Currently experiencing a quite intense amount of backlogged to-do items, primarily at work but also in quasi-work and personal life items. I just this minute voted in our officers' election for Ye Olde Professional Association*, which I had been procrastinating. I want to actually thoughtfully vote for people that I expect will make sound/non-crazy decisions with their limited power, which requires some research (and hence time).

Another opportunity that came up recently was to serve as a reader for my undergrad alma mater's thesis students. I am likely going to pass on that for this year, but it is always an option in the future when I have an assistant more free time to give.

And work is work. Four deadlines between now and the end of September, on enormous projects that are going to take up almost all of my time. I'm reading up on my pomodoros and using co-share offices when the open office environment gets too loud to maximize productivity.

* The idea of a professional body feels pretty antiquated at times, and we certainly have more drama than any association of adults would ever need. Still, they've been helpful to me when I have needed them and provide the connection to young and/or underemployed people in the profession who in turn could use my help, so I stay around.

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