Sunday, April 30, 2006

I Was Cheeked!

CHEEKED! Such is the course of my life.

Photo blog to come soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Heaven and Hell

One afternoon my mother and I were engaged in rather busy work folding special pieces of paper into shapes symbolising old Chinese money. We would later take them to a Buddhist temple to burn them, sending the ashes of said money to our ancestors. I was maybe in my early teens, probably in middle school. This is generally as close as I got to religion in my childhood: the one ritual at the Buddhist temple my mother actually engaged in from time to time.

In a room cluttered with paper bags filled with faux Chinese money, we heard a knock on the door. Somehow I knew before anyone got up who was there: it would have to be a Jehovah's Witness. We used to get those from time to time. I thought nothing of it, that whoever answered the door (it wasn't me) would just politely brush them off and we'd get back to work.

My father got to the door first. For some reason that still escapes me to ths day, instead of politely saying "no, no, no" like we usually did (I had been known to feign lack of English skills for this purpose), he invited her in. Before I knew it, a proseltyzing Jehovah's Witness was sitting on my couch, near my mother. I shot a quick "what-the-fuck?" glance at my father, but he must have missed it, for he never responded. Perhaps he had expected me to engage her in some deep philosophical religious discussion (especially seeing as I was the one of us in the room with the best command of the English language), but I had internally vowed to remain silent.

"So, what is this you're doing?" the Witness asked. I presume she was trying to be friendly while searching for a segue into a discussion about our salvation or whatever.

I kept mum, and continued to fold my papers. My mother, possibly equally befuddled (but more likely annoying and internally stewing), did the same.

"Folding papers," my father responded in this broken English. "See, papers kind of like money, we send them to ancestors."

Thing is, Jehovah's Witnesses don't subscribe to the concept of afterlife, nor would they do well with the traditional Chinese rituals of paying homage to ancestors. I don't know if my father knew this and told this woman this just to rile her, or if in some fit of exuberance he was just sharing.

"I see..." the Witness responded. I think she was getting up the courage to get into her spiel about the nonexistence of ghosts or ancestors or the corresponding utter lack of need to pay tribute them, but my father just continued.

"We burn them. When ancestors die, they ... go to hell.... So we burn this, the smoke, go to hell too, for ancestors!" He gestured upwards with his hands, indicating, I suppose, rising smoke.

It was at this point I fought hard to suppress what would have been a very audible groan. Yes, my father had just told a random stranger that my ancestors were in hell.

"Uh, I see...." the Witness said again, now looking visibly agitated. I could sense that she was frantically looking for a way to politely excuse herself, but how does one just ignore what my dad had just said? I'm told that spreading The Word is one of the highest callings for a Jehovah's Witness. I imagined an angel on one of this woman's shoulders and a devil on the other:

Angel: If there's any family in need of saving, it's this one. Save them! Turn them to the Path!
Devil: Just get the hell out of this place before they turn all The Hills Have Eyes on you.

Thankfully, my dad stopped talking for long enough for the woman to politely say, "Well, I can see you all are busy, so I won't take up any more of your time. It was ... nice... meeting you." And she stood up to leave.

I burst out laughing the moment she cleared the driveway. My dad's response to me: "What?"

The good thing is, she didn't even offer to leave some of that literature or anything.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pop Quiz

Okay, Jon started it. I thought I'd have some fun imposing on you, my dear reader. Check out my quiz and let me know how you do!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Eavesdrop DC

It's not yet as big as Overheard in New York, but someone's finally created a rough equivalent for DC: Eavesdrop DC. I'm guessing the guy who does NY didn't want to relinquish the "Overheard in DC" domain name.

Anyway, it's still pretty funny. DC definitely has a unique flavor, though. Different, but not necessarily better or worse, than New York. Of course, this makes each blog just slightly nuanced.

Anne, I know you've wondered twice why I didn't start something like this up. Answer: I'm just plain lazy. But I'm glad it now exists.

Oh, and something I submitted was posted recently, though they didn't give me credit. As I think of it, though, I didn't ask for any. I suppose I should have.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Views from a Subway

Sometimes – infrequently, but sometimes – I feel like I miss out on things by not having to get onto a Metro every day. Much as I love and enjoy my close-to-nonexistent "commute" of three blocks each way, I wonder what kind of stuff I'm missing out on by not having to join the throngs of sardine-packed subway riders on a regular basis. (At the very least, for example, it means very few people ever see me during rush hour commute time, which means I'm less likely to become the subject of a Craigslist Missed Connection.)

The one time I join the subway crowd is Tuesday nights, when I more-or-less regularly head out to Clarendon to play some poker. Last night's ride netted me a few stories:

Sandwiched in as we were, eavesdropping was absolutely unavoidable. At one point, a nice young woman (literally six inches from me) (go ahead, get the "six inches" jokes out of the way now; I'll wait) mentioned to her companion (a handsome young man who, alas, wore a wedding ring) a birthday lunch she had to go to tomorrow, at which point I let loose an involuntary "D'oh!" and smacked my hand over my mouth. She looked at me funny, obliging me to explain that I had forgotten to email a friend of mine, whose birthday was yesterday.

Later, at a different stop, people tried to jam their way into the doors. As the doors came to a close, I heard the unmistakable gutteral noises of a person who didn't quite make it all the way into the train before the doors hunkered down. I involuntarily laughed; the young woman laughed with me. Or at least I hope she laughed with me, and not at me.

A nice woman was reading to her daughter on the train. This is most welcome sound as compared to other, more obnoxious chatter one could have found on a train. So I got to hear a bit of Amelia Bedelia for a little bit. From what little I heard, that girl never is referred to as "Amelia"; it's always "Amelia Bedelia." What's up with that? By the way, if your last name is "Bedelia," I suggest that it's criminally cruel to name your child "Amelia," and facing a firing squad at sunrise is the only real acceptable punishment. Anyway, I digress: while it was nice that this woman was reading to her (very sweet and kind) child on the subway, man, she was boring at it. Very few vocal inflections, not a lot of animation to the story. And she was reading a bit fast, too. Really, the kid's supposed to enjoy that? I would suggest that the reader slow down and make it more fun for the listener. I know I wasn't terribly excited by her reading style. I could kick ass at reading to kids.

At some point, I managed to grab hold of one of the vertical poles that extends up from a seat back. Bored, I started to tap on it with my nails. I was tapping out a song, really, so I'll admit that this wasn't just some idle tapping. As if enchanted by Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (I'm deeply regressing to children's books now), a woman from the window seat looked up from her book then looked at me. Keep in mind, the train, while not exceedingly noisy, is not pin-drop silent at this point. I made it a point to avoid her gaze, but my peripheral vision picked it up and, well, I could feel her eyeballs descending upon me like a swarm of locusts. After maybe ten agonizing seconds of this game (me tapping the pole and looking away; she glaring at me), my eyes drifted to her. Without any actual sound coming from her mouth, the words "Could you stop that please?" formed on her lips. I made a quizzical face at her and mouthed back, "Huh?" Of course, while I did that, I stopped tapping, and she mouthed, "Thank you." Some people are so sensitive. I still have no idea why she couldn't actually speak the words. Apparently a significant sensitivity to, well, anything with an actual decibel level.

Eventually – because I was nice enough to move toward the center of the train instead of crowding around the doors like a veal before the slaughter – I had to push past about 8 people to get out of the train at my stop. Thankfully, most everyone accommodated my request to excuse me (ah, the power of "please"). Note I said "most" everyone. Because there's always one, isn't there?

And yet, as I checked today, I still don't think I made it into a Missed Connection.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Punch Drunk

My plan hit me on the way to the deli for lunch today. I must admit, I chuckled all the way to and from the deli as the plan played forward in my mind.

After getting my sandwich, I stopped by the Hot Dog Guy on my way back to the office to pick up a can of Hawaiian Punch.

Because I don't usually get Hawaiian Punch for lunch (or any drink for that matter, since my officemates and I appear to be singlehandedly keeping Coke Zero in business), my co-worker T. had to make reference to it as I sat down to eat. "Hawaiian Punch today, huh? Going for something different?" she asked.

"Sorta..." I responded. Then I launched into my insipid plan to plant a stupid and wildy irritating song into T.'s head. "I was on my way to get this sandwich," I told her, "when suddenly this popped into my head --"

And I sang:

I'ma get get get get some punch
Get some punch to drink with lunch.
My lunch my lunch, my lunch my lunch my lunch.
My lunch my lunch, I love Hawaiian Punch!

Check it out!

Okay, much more fun if you have the Black Eyed Peas stuck in your head.

Damn stuff is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, but it was oh so worth it to execute this joke.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Emancipation Day!

Happy DC Emancipation Day!

From the information linked above (for those of you who didn't follow the link):

On [April 16,] 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, For the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. The Act freed about 3,100 enslaved persons in DC nine months before President Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation telegraphing the eventual end of slavery to the rest of the nation. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to free enslaved persons.

I guess this is one instance where federal plenary authority over the District of Columbia wasn't a totally bad thing. But sitting around depending on the benevolence of unelected officials really shouldn't be the way things run in the nation's capital. DC Vote.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Some Clothes Should Not "Fit" Quite So "Well"

To the Two (TWO!) women at the sandwich place getting sandwiches before me today:

Let me start off first by just saying that I, as a not-anorexic gay male, am totally not going to be one to judge you for your weight. No, seriously. Things don't always go swimmingly for us not-skinny people, so I get it.

Oh, you don't think I know what I'm talking about. This is because you think I'm skinny. Let me tell you, though, it's all in how you dress and carry yourself. (There's a reason not many people get to see me naked, but I digress.)

But, see, therein lies my very point: dressing well is key when your body, standing alone, isn't drop-dead fantastic (as opposed to drop-dead-of-a-heart-attack). You, in particular, need someone to tell you that those pants do not look good on you.

First of all, they're white. Every larger-than-life person should know, black is the slimming color. So whenever possible -- even if it's kinda muggy out -- eschew white clothing, and try for a darker color (preferably in breathable fabric, for those summer months).

But most importantly -- oh honey! -- those pants hug way too well, if you know what I mean! (Well, perhaps you don't, because I would hope you did not decide to wear those things out today knowing what I mean.) Cameltoes are classless and out of place even at the beach. You should not be sporting cameltoe on what purports to be an at least semi-professional outfit.

Honestly, I don't even know the solution to this problem besides suggesting a whole new pair of pants. Control top underwear, maybe? Would that work? Maybe a fabric that's less likely to "hug" as much?

But no, seriously, just say "no" to cameltoe.


** I'd offer up a google search result here, but I think it would be too inflammatory, so I'll leave that off. And I certainly wasn't going to snap a shot of your cameltoe while waiting for my burger.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Whaddya Know?

I suppose it's a matter of human nature. Me, I like to at least act like I know my limitations.


We had some computer issues at work recently. The server was acting funny, so my IT guy asked me to disconnect all the users from the server (everyone else had gone home) so that he could safely poke around remotely. I complied. At some point later, I went home.

The next day, everyone in my office was wondering what happened to the computers last night. I told them that I had shut them all down, because the IT guy asked me to. "Well, what did he do?" one of my co-workers asked me.

I have no idea what he did. I didn't ask, because I knew it would take me over my head. And I'm willing to bet that if I had told my co-worker that the IT guy "needed to verify that the WAN address was properly synched up to the PPP node vis-a-vis the antipodes diodes which feed lubricating oils through their sebaceous ducts to each of our monitors," she wouldn't have understood what I meant.

So why did she ask?


This morning, the same co-worker popped her head into my office. "If the phone rings more than twice, could you snag it? I'm going to be poke my head around the telephone closet real quick."

Uh, the telephone closet? I've been in there. It's a huge jumble of technicolor wires going from one panel in the wall to another panel in the wall. I have no idea where they start, or where they end, or for what purpose they start and end where they do. If there's a large dangling wire that starts at one panel and leads nowhere... well, hell, that might be because it's supposed to be like that.

I'm willing to bet my co-worker doesn't know anything about those wires either. So why is she checking to make sure everything's all right in the telephone closet? Would she recognize it if something was amiss? (At least, in the absence of a sign that says "Cut here to mess up the phone lines.")


Once the above-referenced co-worker asked me to look at another suitemate's computer to investigate why she wasn't getting sound out of her speakers. (For some reason, I'm kind of the office computer guru, which is sad.) I told her that I frankly wouldn't know what to look at, so I wasn't sure I'd be a very big help. She huffed at me and gave me an attitude for the rest of the afternoon.

Her reasoning: The other suitemate has done some very nice things for us over the years, so the least you could do is look into her problem.

My response: But I'm telling you now I won't be able to help. It's like asking me to diagnose her brain trauma. I know I won't be able to. You’re really just asking me to invest some of my time sitting in front of the computer poking around even though I pretty much know I won't get anywhere.

Eventually I gave in and looked that the damn computer. It's archaic. And sure enough, despite my best efforts, I could not get the speakers to work.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Go fig

I'm feeling better than I have for the past two weeks or so. I have no doubt that this is because I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. My body hates me, and is probably laughing at me for the delicious irony. And were I to cancel my appointment for tomorrow, my temperature would spike to 104.3 immediately upon hanging up the phone.

On an unrelated note, I'm bummed because I missed The Amazing Race this week. I did see a TON of commercials advertising the date change ("Good news, America! The Amazing Race has moved to a new day!") because I remember thinking, every single time it came on, "How is that good news? I have to rearrange my TV watching schedule now!"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Alternate Sexuality

I've noticed that some of my recent blogposts are tending toward a common theme: the imminent heterosexualization of Dennis!. It's like there's a toaster oven in it for someone or something if I convert. Like the universe is trying to send me a signal: Check out some boobies.


Steven Lynch is hot and funny. I've had this song for a long time, but I just found the video and damn, he's cute to boot! (Lyrics NSFW, btw.)

I suddenly want him.


So, because I'm exceedingly bored and because I've nothing better to do with my evening, I came up with my own version of this song. I dedicate this to all my heterosexual female friends. (Strangely, the phrase "heterosexual female friends" is like a huge exercise in redundancy when coming from me.) [WARNING: Wildly inappropriate language ahead.] The following lyrics are much better appreciated after you've heard the Stephen Lynch song above.

Here we are, just you and me.
It's Friday night and we're watching TV.
We really should be on dates with guys,
Instead we're at home sharing some fries.

And if I were straight, we would walk on the beach.
And if I were straight, for your arms I would reach.
If I were straight, we'd be all "Greatest Hits"
But I'm not straight, so I won't be touching your -- hair.

You know that we're good friends, for sure!
You're cute and smart, and so demure.
For some hot guy you'd be quite the catch,
He'd better appreciate that snatch.

And if I were straight, I would make out with you,
And if I were straight, I would tenderly touch you,
If I were straight, you would so do the trick.
But I'm not straight. You suffer from lack of a -- Y chromosome.

We've hugged before.
We've even kissed.
But it's never felt
Quite like this!
I renounce
My gay-boy sins...
Get over here and
Free -- the -- twins!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

You know your life is completely pathetic beyond all redemption when you actually find yourself engaged in a thought process that goes something like this:

"Man, it's been a while.... I need to get off.... I could masturbate.... Okay, let's do that.... Hey, look, an unfinished sudoku!"

I'll leave it to you to guess which activity I ended up engaged in.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Under the Weather

Okay, I just have to whine a bit.

I've been fighting something or another for two weeks now. Two weeks! What the hell? I blame a woman from my office, who took a day off one day, then came back on the second day even though she didn't feel 100%. Though I tried to keep my distance from her, I seem to have nonetheless caught something.

So for the past two weeks, I have managed to alternate between all kinds of medications, some of which seem inconsistent:

- CVS generic Tussin: For cough and congestion. I literally feel like there's a tightness in my chest, and if I cough hard enough, something will emerge. You know that episode of South Park where everyone realizes that if you eat through your ass, you crap out your mouth? Yeah, I feel like at some point I would cough up something resembling a large piece of shit. I wish there were some device a doctor could use (preferably outpatient) for the purpose of shoving something into your throat or nostril and just sucking out all the crap accumulating in your lungs. Unfortunately, I don't think those exist. Anyone have any success with that Mucosamine stuff (the one with those commercials with the talking bog of phlegm)?

- CVS generic decongestant (sudafed type stuff): Despite the fact that the mucous in my chest felt thick (like something from The Blob), my nose was actually running. I've gone through two boxes of tissues already. It's gross the amount of wadded-up tissues randomly placed around my place (such as near my bed, where I hadn't bothered to put a trash receptacle). So while I was trying to loosen up the mucous in my chest, I was trying to dry up the mucous in my nose. This is a tricky balancing act.

- Advil LiquiGels: I took this when I felt like I had a fever. At one point, I took my temperature and found I had a 99.9 degree reading. I was also suffering from the chills. I have to say, Advil is now my fever reducer of choice. Damn, it worked well. Then, I figured, given how thick my chest phlegm was, there must be some element of fever involved, so I kept popping them.

- Asthma medication: All this has, of course, exacerbated my asthma, which makes some things next to impossible -- among them, breathing. A close second, sleeping through the night. The latter is also made difficult by having your nose not function all that well either.

All this is not good at all.

A colleague at my office suggested that I not see a doctor. "You're just suffering from a cold," she told me. "The doctor's going to give you antibiotics and you're just going to end up being resistant to them!" Silly me, I decided to actually listen to her, and did not go to a doctor.

But now it's just too much. It's been too long. I need to get a professional's opinion on this.

And I'm pretty much miserable much of the time.