Thursday, March 30, 2006

Liveblogging the Most Boring Day Ever

Well, after my little bout with meat last weekend, my whole body was thrown into a tizzying state of ketosis. Yeehaw. In any case, I'm back at home, recuperating, and I'm so bored. So I though I'd help all of you out there in the working world appreciate the working world a little bit more by liveblogging the boring afternoon from my couch.

13:44- Mysterious Ambiguously Aged Asian Female Roommate vetoes watching the same episode of The Cosby Show that we just watched. I punish her by putting on French in Action, a high school French for English speakers program. Le Muahahahaha!

13:46- After the cats bail on me, I realize I'm only punishing myself with French in Action.

13:48- Marcel a tombe, which means he fell. The kitties come back in the room to laugh at him, and promptly leave again.

BREAK: Cup number four of tepid tea is done steeping.

13:50- A British woman on CNN tells me I can pay $325 to find out how many eggs I have left in reserves. I'm not quite sure why they're telling me that this is the biggest advancement since the pill, since it will "tell me when my biological clock is about to stop" Won't menopause take care of that? And why are they targeting this segment to women in their late twenties/early thirties?

13:54- Kat vetoes FoxNews, which has live coverage of National Sleep Awareness Week. I'm pissed, sice this is the awareness week I'm most up-to-date on. I decide to protest by napping.

14:04- Kat and I decide on Animal Planet, which neither of us really likes, but we like to make fun of. The kitties are rapt with attention.

14:05-More napping.

15:41- Nap time is over, and suddenly The Simple Life is on. Wait, we can watch Paris and Nicole, but not FoxNews?

15:47- If I stay tuned long enough to this channel, I can watch Ryan Seacrest do whatever it is that Ryan Seacrest does (does anyone actually know?). I will be tuning in elsewhere.

15:53- Break to get a blanket and wool socks... want the window open, but still have a little fever. Awwwwwww.

16:04 Top Chef is on... It makes me sooooo hungry. After yesterday's success with jam and triscuits, it could be time to step up to salad. Yeah!

16:17- My salad is soooooooooo tasty. I'm still hungry. There may be a need for a Triscuit run.

16:43- Still haven't gotten my head to stop hurting enough to make the Triscuit run. Plus, if I leave now, I won't know who wins this episode of Top Chef. Because we all know that Bravo only airs shows twice, maybe thrice daily.

16:47- Back to napping.

The lesson here kids is not to get sick, ever. It's boring and it hurts your head. And also, liveblogging is fun for no one. NO ONE!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Poofygoo is a vegetarian land, unless evolution dictates that you are an obligatory carnivore.

Reasons I Am A Vegetarian, in Order of Priority:
1. I do not find meat tasty1
2. I couldn't actually kill something to eat it- both lack of ability and desire prevent this (although, lucky me has never been hungry enough to be forced into such a situation)
3. A whole slew of ethical reasons, which are really just excuses to stand smugly satisfied on moral high ground rather than the actual reasons themselves

Great. Now that we've established that, let me tell you all a little story.

Saturday, I ate lunch at the Soho Cafe in Dupont Circle. The chef/manager/cashier etc. for the afternoon was a charming New Yorker- well, charming in an abrasive New York way that made me appreciate not living in New York. When I asked him what vegetarian items he had, he pointed out his corn chowder, which contained bacon. Containing bacon means it's not vegetarian. Even if it's chicken or beef stock, it's not vegetarian. Fish: not vegetarian, and will probably try to eat YOU. This comes as news to many, many people. In any case, I ordered the zucchini pasta salad, which was actually full of veggies instead of what you usually get at most cafes- a big bowl of pasta with a few token lonely veggies. I also got the "vegetarian" bean soup. To be fair, it was delicious- every bite jumped out all over my tongue, pleasing every kind of tastebud with a full, rich flavor, but not overwhelming any one flavor. This chef knew his soup.

But about halfway through my soup I noticed a foreign object. Foreign to me, anyways. I passed it on to the Object, also a vegetarian, but who has eaten meat more recently than I. His best guess was that it was bacon, possibly beef.

I didn't get too upset, because for one thing, the soup was really tasty and I wanted to keep eating it, and for another I was really enjoying my time in the caf. I didn't feel like being the asshole vegetarian, which in most circles, and judging by the chef's earlier comments, gets you associated with crazy PETA types2. I will go to great lengths to avoid people casting such aspersions on me. So I ate the soup, and spent the afternoon in the cafe.

Here's the thing: today I'm paying the price. I'm home from work with a case of severe gut rot. Taco Bell-style gut rot. Don't worry, I won't go into details, though I did briefly consider liveblogging the whole thing. But I'm home from work on a day when I really want to be there. I'm missing a huge networking opportunity, as well as not being there to support my team as they finish up a project. I hate it- letting them down, and also not being there for an opportunity that won't come again for a year.

You know what? I think it's a pretty heavy price to pay for having eaten meat. Look, I realize that vegetarianism is my lifestyle choice. I wasn't born this way. I don't look at my brussels sprouts lovingly and ask, "Why cain't I quit you?" 3 I have suffered through countless dinners at restaurants where all I could eat was an iceberg lettuce salad, and I haven't said anything, because I valued the time with the company I was with more than I valued complaining about my choice. A few months ago, I was invited to a dinner party for a friend's birthday. The hostess, who was not the guest of honor, called me up beforehand to let me know that she would be accomodating my vegetarianism by making mashed potatoes4,and if I didn't like it, I could bring my own food. Well, I wasn't going to skip my friend's birthday party, as she rocks. So I cooked my own food. I also brought enough to share with other guests. Actually, the tastiest thing that night was the look on the hostess's face when everyone gobbled up my food and asked me all about it. Oh and the cake that someone made. That was delicious, too.

I realize being a vegetarian is a luxury, but it's been so long since I've eaten meat that my body will no longer digest it. When I studied abroad in Senegal, I tried so hard to be culturally sensitive and to eat the goat and fish dishes that were specially prepared for me, the guest of honor. In one very unfortunate incident, I gave evidence of my vegetarian status by regurgitating goat all over the table. After that, I just told people I was allergic to meat. They seemed to accept as one of the many idiosyncracies of the white girl. It was easier than trying to explain that I came from a culture where being a vegetarian is an option, which shocked the cultural nerves of many Senegalese. Being able to afford and having the time to prepare meat evidenced high social standing. When I told them how factory farming, hormones and mass production has made meat cheap, plentiful and low-quality in the U.S., they looked at me like I was, well, a foreigner. I got that look a lot.

If I had stayed in Senegal, I would have started eating meat. It's part of their culture. But here in the U.S., our relationship to food isn't so much about how it nourishes us. We've changed it, processed it, mass-marketed it, glutted ourselves on it, and starved ourselves avoiding it. In Senegal, my host sisters asked me if there really was a disease where American girls commit suicide by not eating, or if that was made up. They were referring to anorexia.

We don't know what food means to us anymore, but we reserve the right to our strong opinions on it. I don't like meat. I'm rich enough to afford veggies and tofu, and I have enough leisure time to come up with a well-rounded menu and recipes. All this means is that I can stomp my little foot and say, "I don't want to eat that." In fact, when I pulled that little stunt when I was about ten or so, my carnivorous mom sent me to the doctor, who assured my parents that the only thing vegetarianism would do to my life would probably be to prolong it5.

The average person in the U.S. watching t.v. is assaulted once every 13.2 minutes by a public service announcement telling us to tolerate each and respect each other's differences6. Here's a great place to start. Just let me be a vegetarian. If you want to eat meat, fine. I have no problem with the meat eating. Yes, I have problems with factory farming raping the environment, freaky food with hormones I don't want in my body, reducing the worth of an animal's life to nothing more than a commodity,the meat industry, agribusiness,and so-called "food" that has no nourishing value whatsoever, but I don't have an inherent problem with eating meat. I really just don't want to. So don't try and sneak it on me. Cuz my gut will figure it out, and then I will come and use your bathroom.

1. I do not find several foods and food categories tasty. I'd like to make a disctinction, though- this doesn't mean I'm a picky eater. On the contrary, I'm a very adventurous eater, and will eat most things once. I am just very aware of what I don't like. Why eat food if it's not tasty?

2. The only groups that supercede the PETA people as groups I will cross the street to avoid the wake of their craziness are the Scientologists and the Lyndon LaRouche peope. Although the latter are kind of funny to laugh at. Actually, they all are.
3. Ok, I do. They're so good, though!Shout-out to my mom's tasty brussels sprouts- I think I grew up in the only household in the U.S. where we actually fought over seconds of brussels sprouts.

3. Mashed potatoes- with gravy.

4. That was probably one of the greatest self-satisfied moments of my life. It set a dangerous precedent of me demanding my own way. If that doctor had known what's really good for the world, he would have told me to shit up and eat my cow. Giving children the power of knowing they're right is a slippery slope leading right to a world of empowered grown-ups who are secure in the choices the make.

5. I made that statistic up. But it has a certain ring of truthiness to it, so just go with it, ok?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Veritable Collection of Animals

Animal Collective belongs to the"freak folk" categtory, a genre that exists to be the counterculture to your parents' counterculture folk music. I know that sounds like the kind of circular logic that produces concert halls packed with young republicans wearling argyle sweaters over their shoulders listening quietly to Barry Manilow singing Mel Torme, but this is a revolution in the other direction. You gotta love such a self descriptive genre- freak folk music is the music you would have heard in the sixties if Simon and Garfunkel had joined forces with Jefferson Airplane. The poster children for freak folk would also be my current idea of Dream Concert: Joanna Newsom accompanying her appealingly quirky helium-voice with her harp, Devendra Banhart warbling in his dark Billie Holiday voice and Animal Collective feeling their tonal way around the sound.

The problem with my current Dream Concert (part of a series!) is that Black Cat keeps rejecting my offers to book shows, so Storsveit Nix Noltes opened for AC last Tuesday night. Storsveit Nix Noltes initially sounded unappealing to me, not because of their name, which means "something I couldn't find on google" in their native Icelandic (Storsveit is Icelandic for google) and has nothing to do with Nick Nolte, even if the Object calls them Six Nick Noltes. What struck me as odd about the band was what I heard about them prior to the concert: "an Icelandic nonet playing all kinds of folk music, but you know, kinda punky..."

That sounds suspiciously like perfomance art, doesn't it? The kind you agree to watch only while high on crystal meth. Actually, that's the only kind of performance art.

But when I arrived at Black Cat, I was moved- not in some kumbayah metaphoric way; I actually couldn't resist movement. I was willed to dance. To be fair, it doesn't take much to will me to dance, but everyone was dancing. Not just disaffected hipster swaying, or that weird white boy hopping up and down rhythmically, but actually dancing.

What would cause such a stir at the Black Cat? Imagine Bjork conducting a Scottish punk band playing klezmer music with a mariachi trumpet thrown over the top for shits and giggles. Now imagine that the whole thing works really, really well: the band is seamless, fronted by a woman with stringy hair wearing a Talbot's dress, circa 1994, who is rocking out. She's not a guitarist or one of those ubiquitous chick bass players; she's the band's cellist. For the first time in my life- and I'm including the years spent at music conservatory- I heard the phrase, "Holy shit, that cellist fucking rocked the house!" I bought the cd halfway through the second song.

However, no band can truly set a crowd up for the phenomenon that is Animal Collective. Their set started with a throbbing, electric pulse, which the band then built on it with layers and layers of inchoate sound. The whole show was meiculously produced but never contrived, despite the band's dangerous flirtation with the gimmicky, like a drummer named Panda Bear (I would have been totally ok with it if his name were Butterstick; I'm no hypocrite). I still don''t understand what the hell "The Geologist" was up to- as far as I could tell, his job was to stand centerstage, working the bells and whistles soundboard and to wear a headlamp-not unlike a miner's light (get it?). It sounds gimmicky, doesn't it? But it actually added to the fervor of the show- Geologist shook his head back and forth the whole concert, sending out strobes of "NO! NO! NO!"- almost as if he was protesting the intensity of it all.

The strongest aspect of the show was easily the harrowing vocals. Avey Tare gruesomely manipulated his voice from a sweet, droning murmur to a guttural scream and back again in the timespace of a footstep. Occasionally through the layers of chaos, melody briefly emerged- desperately beautiful moments that sank back into the mire of tonality. You'd think such moments would be frustrating teasers, but they were gratifying, like coming up for air after exploring underwater for a long time. I haven't actually ever done that, but I imagine the feeling is just about the same, except that there were no fish at the concert. That was also one of the highlights of the concert- no fish.

The effect of it all was devastating, making the concert experience manic, dissociative and oddly euphoric. Animal Collective kneads their way through a loose definition of music, exploring every emotion in the spectrum of human experience and creating a sound to match it. Hearing my emotions so vividly expressed through sound pained but also comforted me- not because of some symbiotic understanding, but because someone out there simply feels the need to express it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

So Far Behind

I have so much to write about here in the land of Poofygoo- I have a concert review of the Animal Collective concert, which cannot be summed up in a mere one to two words, so I won't even try- but other things keep popping up: last night, the priority was watching the "controversial" episode of South Park (more later), and today I actually have to work. But I have sometthing important to share with the world.

Walking home last night, I saw not one, not two, not three but FOUR (that's 4) piles of fresh vomit. What? It was 5:45 in the afternoon? What's going on? Big, chunky vomit, too.

I have to go work now, but more speculation later.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Don't Spray It

I think the people of DC woke up a little more aggressive than usual this morning. On my walk to the bus stop, an SUV drove straight into an emergency vehicle flashing its lights and sounding the siren. The ambulance's axle broke, so it had to stay there in the middle of 16th street, blocking two lanes of traffic.

What? Who is in such a hurry that they can't let an EMT get by? It was just about the most avoidable accident ever. And of course, the driver of the SUV was indignant and self-righteous, leading to a lot of head shaking and shouting from passersby on 16th street.

Then I got on the bus, only to find out first hand why Metro doesn't allow people to eat on the bus. Metro, in their infinite and woefully underfunded wisdom, seeing that the buses on 16th street are constantly packed to capacity and often have to drive by lines of people at the bus stop, has recently taken to putting the oldest, most poorly designed buses on this route- they have much narrower aisles and fewer seats, but are just right for stoking the embers already overfueled tempers. In short, it's a powderkeg waiting to blow.

I sat in one of the last seats available. A young woman- about my age, but who had spent a lot more time on her hair and make-up (not to her benefit) stood over me, chomping on a pita with hummus and olives on top. For the sake of clarity, we'll call this woman Stinky McSpasmo.

Ewwwwww, olives.

An older woman sitting next to me asked Stinky McSpasmo to please stop eating over her. Stinky replied that since the driver hadn't said anything to her, this woman had no authority telling her to stop eating, and so she was going to eat. Of course, this degenerated into the standard "Metro's gonna arrest you". Stinky McSpasmo did not like this little old woman speaking the truth and started to get very exercised, proclaiming that this woman had no right to boss me around; she was just a stupid old woman; I'm not bothering anyone. Normally, I stay out of these things- I prefer to blog about them later, rather than be a spoon to stir up trouble. However, as Stinky was railing on this woman, she was still eating, so that her words were punctuated by hummus and olive-y spittle- all over me.

EEWWWWWWWWWWWW! Olives spat on me! Double huzzz.

I told her just to stop eating and shut her Stinky McSpasmo hole, since she was spraying flecks of breakfast all over me. Ugh.

That apparently was too much to ask, and Stinky McSpasmo flew into a huffy rage, yelling and wildly gesticulating. Keep in mind that we're on a moving and extremely crowded bus. At the next stop, several people de-bussed(if we can have de-train, then we can sure as hell have de-bus), leaving room in the aisle in the back of the bus. As several new people boarded and the bus driver asked people to step to the back of the bus, Stinky McSpasmo was still spittling away. So someone shoved her and took her pita and threw it down. It was a fantastic moment in militant pedestrianism. In any case, a shoving fight ensued, and the bus driver threw Stinky McSpasmo off the bus, which simply made my morning.

Oh schadenfreude, how I love thee!

Monday, March 20, 2006

That's Why It's Going to Snow Tomorrow

Happy Spring!

Here in Poofygoo, we love spring. Unabashedly. That's why I wore my gauzy pink (yes, I own exactly THREE pink items of clothing) spring skirt. The problem is that it's forty-five degrees and windy out. For the record, in DC it's been in the mid-fifties to sixties and sunny for the past few weeks. Now that spring is here, it's finally cold.

cause and effect + Murphy's law= cold legs.

Two happy spring things:

Cherry Blossoms are coming! The peak bloom time will actually take place during the festival.

In Iran, Nowruz starts at spring. It's nice to see a picture of Iranians wherein the caption includes "revelers" instead of "rebels" or "you're next, fuckers- right after we figure out this Iraq thing."

Militant Pedestrains, Unite!

OK, as most of you out there know, I'm very bitter towards DC drivers, especially when I'm walking. Two broken ribs and way too many near-hits make me a very militant pedestrian. That's why I'm so encouraged by this news.

Keep your eyes open- and not just for cars that are about to hit you: in the next few days, with the help of the new lappy, I will be outlining the Militant Pedestrian Agenda. I'm sick of reading stories like this one.

Feel free to email me with your own militant pedestrian stories- or why you'd like to become a Militant Pedestrian, and what you'd like to see happen.

The "Scare Quotes" Edition

Unless you live under a rock (actually, knowing some of the people who read this, that's a very distinct possibility- and I mean that quite literally), you know that today marks the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I think it's something we're all trying to figure out.

I was studying abroad when September 11th happened; when I came home in late December Americans feared shoebombers and wondered where Osama was. When I left the country in February 2002 to study abroad again, we were championing the "successful overthrow" of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Upon my re-return to the States in July, suddenly, everyone as talking about invading Iraq. I felt like I'd missed a step in logic- what happened to Afghanistan? How was Iraq involved? Wait run that by me again? People had to explain it to me over and over. "You see, there are these weapons, and if Saddam has them..." But I just couldn't quite get it.

But I still don't get it.

I didn't get it when Bush stood on a ship on my birthday almost three years ago and declared "Mission Accomplished."

I don't understand how Bush can be "encouraged" by the "progress" while former Ayad Alawi concedes that his country has degenerated into civil war.

"It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more.
"If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."
Mr Allawi added that a national unity government may not be "an immediate solution" to the country's problems.

I don't understand why Bush is going on the road to promote the efforts of the war while still not demonstrating any hint of a plan. The whole debacle has always been comparable to the quagmire of Vietnam; if the situation weren't;t so grave, the comparison would be comical at this point. Just like Dicky Nixon had a secret plan to get us out of Vietnam, Bush has total confidence in the troops, and secretly, somehow they will get us out. Finally, a man who understands my nebulous usage of the word secret!

Finally, I don't understand how Bush can continue to ask Americans- and de facto, the Iraqi people- to make such extreme sacrifices when he won't even maintain his symbolic sacrifice.
Sorry I don't have a link for this one, but it's just too good to pass up:

Dana Milbank reports on breakfastgate, reported here earlier:
President Bush is a man of steely discipline, but it appears the commander in chief has not gained complete mastery over his sweet tooth.In a new book by author Stephen Mansfield, "The Faith of George W. Bush," the following passage appears on page 173: "Aides found him face down on the floor in prayer in the Oval Office. It became known that he refused to eat sweets while American troops were in Iraq, a partial fast seldom reported of an American president."Seldom reported -- and apparently little observed. When the White House sent out the shared "pool report" of Bush's roundtable interview with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Australia, it became apparent that the president had fallen off the candy wagon."And he was relaxed. Very relaxed," was the description. "As a reporter began to ask about the Middle East . . . Mr. Bush popped a butterscotch Lifesaver in his mouth. He smacked the candy as he said: 'Middle East, that's right.' "

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Who's Dumberer Now?

For years, Austrains and Australians have tried to wearily explain to us 'Merkans about the difference between their countries. They claim it's more than just a syllable: one country has Alps, one has kangaroos. The following exhchange from the classic film Dumb and Dumber perfectly illustrates the point:

LLOYD-Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the medical school? I'm supposed to be giving a lecture in twenty minutes and my driver's a bit lost.
YOUNG WOMAN-Go straight aheads and makes a left over za bridge.
LLOYD-That's a lovely accent you have. New Jersey
LLOYD-Oh! (chuckles, and puts on an
Australian accent) Austria!? Well then. G'day, mate. Let's put another shrimp on the barbie!
YOUNG WOMAN-Let's not.

It turns out they have been lying all along.

Just when you thought you had it straight. Sigh.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's Saturday!

Why on earth would I be posting on Poofygoo on a Saturday? Usually I post from work, because that's where I have access to a computer.

Until now.

Sitting on my lap, is the new laptop.

Poofygoo has a new home: the lappy! I love it. And now I can actually answer my emails on the weekends. There is now no need to leave my house ever again. But it was nice knowing you all.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Ok, I have to clear a few things up.

1. It's NOT St. Patty's Day. Patty is a GIRL'S name. St Patrick was a BOY. It's St. Paddy's Day. And don't get all pedantic and tell me they're pronounced the same, so it doesn't matter. If you can get all willy nilly with letters on holidays, then Santa really is just Satan, and Rudolph is Adloph. The next thing you know you're heiling in hell. Please, I beg of you, use discretion on this holiday!

2. Neither corned beef nor cabbage are tasty, and now the elevator at my work smells like my climbing shoes. Seriously. How can people get sooooooo upset at the stank emanating from my climbing shoes, but then go eat something that has roughly the taste, texture and smell? It just doesn't add up. Either people have to stop eating corned beef and cabbage, or else they need to stop bitching about the smell of my shoes and refusing to belay me.

3. It is appropriate to bring a flask of whiskey to work on St. Patrick's Day. It is NOT acceptable to bring bourbon. You know who you are.

4. Irish Step Dancers don't keep their hands at their sides becuase they're trying to keep their skirts from flying up and showing their lack of underwear, or because they're sexless tools, or any of that blarney. At one point, arm motion was a part of step dancing. However, during Oliver Cromwell's reign of terror against the Irish and the Royalists, all manifestations of Irish culture were seen as savage and outlawed. This of course, included dancing. The Irish are a hardy people, though, they weren't just gonna give up their culture, especially not for that douchebag Cromwell. So dancing took place inside homes, and dancers kept their arms at their sides so that the British soldiers passing by wouldn't see that they were actually dancing. Tricky, no? I'm sure the British were so disdainful of the Irish that they thought the bouncing around was simply what you did when you were a lesser life-form. When the occupation ended, the tradition continued as a symbol of Irish perseverance and crafty rebellion. So next time you think about those step dancers, remember how punk rock it is that their hands are at their sides.

I can't tell you what's up with the ridiculous curly hair, though. You're on your own for that.

Ok, we're clear. Go drink like you're Ted Kennedy on a Monday morning.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One Good Reason to Work on the Hill

OK, here's the basic gist of a conversation I had with a friend who works on the House side of the Hill:

Staffer: I took a nap at lunch. Sweet.
Poofygoo: I wish I had an office to nap in!
Staffer: I don't have an office...I went to the NURSE! Ha, totally 5th grade style! You basically just go make up some excuse why you're tired (my allergies kept me up, I was up on meth all night, etc.) and they let you lay down as long as you want. Soooooooweet.

That has got to be the greatest job perk ever. I was sulking all morning, wishing I had it, until I remembered the time I faked a vague stomach ailment to get out of class. When the school nurse called my mom, she put her on speakerphone. My mom proceeded to ask when when the last time I had a b.m., opining loudly that she was pretty sure I needed to pass a b.m. I'm pretty sure she threatened to keep saying b.m. over speakerphone until I agreed to go back to class.

Ewwwww, b.m.! That's why we have euphemisms! No more nurse visits for me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Little Racist Pony

Oh, Wonkette, how do I love thee for dredging this up:
Adele Fergusen wonders Why Do Blacks Continue to Support Democrats? She then opines:

Remember Ronald Reagan’s story about the kid who had to shovel a huge pile of manure? He went about it with such joy he was asked why and said, “With all that manure, there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere.”

The pony hidden in slavery is the fact that it was the ticket to America for black people. I have long urged blacks to consider their presence here as the work of God, who wanted to bring them to this raw, new country and used slavery to achieve it. A harsh life, to be sure, but many immigrants suffered hardships and indignations as indentured servants. Their descendants rose above it. You don’t hear them bemoaning their forebears’ life the way some blacks can’t rise above the fact theirs were slaves.
First of all, I'm not sure how Adele has missed out on every single white candidate for office telling the heartwarming story of their immigrant ancestors raising themselves up by their bootstraps. It's Hallmark Channel movie of the week fodder.

But that's besides the point. Adele also missed out on that key component- the choice factor. You see, all those immigrants rose above their circumstances through their own volition. Fergesun implies that a previously godless people were saved and brought to better through slavery. The culturally elitist and nationalistic overtones of her argument defy belief; I can almost hear the chants of USA! USA! in the background.
What does Adele know about those peoples' lives prior to be slaves back in Africa? Has she never seen a picture of Goree Island, a major slave port? It's an island paradise! Well, at least it had been prior to becoming a slave port. It was still an island paradise, but then, only for white folks. The assumption that all those black people are better off having suffered through centuries of torture and humiliation insults not only African-Americans, but also the people living in Africa, who have been reduced to a godless, primitive society.

Racism is still alive and well today in the USA. And what's worse is that it's not the blatant and violent racism that led to the early victories of the Civil Rights movement, but a much more insidious and naive kind. The War on Terror or the Global Strife Against Brown People or whatever we're calling it this week has just given us a new vehicle for racism. Why do blacks continue to support the dems? Adele Fergesun answered her own question without even realizing it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


DC is finally officially cool, having hosted the first DC Idiotarod. The Idiotarod is a race in the tradition of the famous Alaskan Iditarod, except that instead of sleds, there are shopping carts, instead of dogs, there are drunken DC denizens, and instead of a musher, there is Penelope, our slightly misogynistic masthead (for the record, it was the only woman on the team's idea to take off Penelope's clothes and have snakes coming out of her, so don't call the guys on that one... By the way, I was the only woman on the team). Oh, and there's lots of drinking. I imagine that's a similarity to the Iditarod, though- if I were riding through thousands of miles of tundra with only some dogs, you'd better believe I'd be drinking. Heavily.

Friday night involved our team bonding and cart prep. I met up with the other Columbia Cobras- Ben, our fearles captain, Palmer, Chris, Kevin, The Object****, and me. First, we worked out the team's philosophy, and then summed it up through our motto: blind, then kill. We then worked out team rules: 1. Blind. 2. Kill. After spending several hot, gluey minutes around our cart, we prepared her for the test run. One of Palmer's lame-o Mt. Pleasant neighbors came out and told us we were being too loud and inconsiderate. Granted, we were racing a shopping cart down the street, blowing horns and screaming "blind and kill!" at the top of our lungs, but C'MON! It wasn't even 11 pm yet! Still, when we plead our case for twenty more seconds, we received a Very Stern Glare. Mollified, we went back inside to prepare for the actual race, namely, by drinking.

I can't quite remember why we didn't blind and/or kill him.

The next morning, I donned my bikini and grass skirt (almost 80 degrees out! In March!) and went to Ben's house to meet up with the team.We put the finishing touches on our finished out preparations by making the coolest t-shirts EVER, (how much do I love iron-on printer paper!) regluing snakes to Penelope, applying glitter liberally, working on our cheers ("do you think I yelled 'blind and kill' menacingly enough?") and drinking some more. We also affixed our trophy to our cart. That's right: we knew we were the winners already, so we brought our own trophy. We won this thing back in '55, before we were even born.

Upon our triumphant entrance into Dupont Circle, most of the other teams wet their pants/leopard print underwear. Passersby stopped to participate in the blinding and killing revelry, and oh, people took notice of the terror that strikes in the eyes (and ears)of all DCists... The Columbia Cobras.

At the stroke of 2, the race began! (Ugh, drinking and running)

First we got ambiguous clues, which I thought meant we were supposed to take our shopping cart to Camalot, the strip club across the street from my office on 19th St. When we got there, a very angry looking bouncer was unamused and told us to get away from him before he called the cops. It turns out we were supposed to go to The Palace, the strip club three blocks from my office, on Connecticut Ave. We raced over there and received our race itinerary: we had to go to Rumors, Adam's Mill and Fox and Hounds, spend twenty minutes at each bar (where we got $2 shots an $2 beers!) and then end up at Tom Toms on 18th St.

There were rules of war: sabotage was encouraged, however, if you locked up another team's carts, you had to leave them a way out. Unfortunately, no one informed the Mario Bros. team of this rule, and we had to buy a hacksaw to unchain our cart. While the men of Columbia Cobras were busy scraping through metal, I sprinted up the 18th Street hill to Adams Mill, only to find out that at this bar, the rules had changed, and now your whole team had to be present in order to start counting the twenty minutes. I almost threw up on the judges, which made sucking up to them later a little difficult, to say the least. In the end, Penelope won them over, and we got a few time credits.

Yes, that's The Object and me beating the crap out of some guy who is trying to get in front of us. I don't understand how sabotage was encouraged but violence was out.

The party afterwards was insane. Technically, according to the blinkered view of winning set forth by the race organizers and adhered to by most of the racers, we didn't win anything, but we were definitely remembered as the team that was the most obnoxious. And that's what really matters. Because this was for the children.

By the way, I was not aware my mouth opened that wide.

****For those of you keeping track, the Object is loosely back to being objectified.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Clap Your Hands Say Meh

Last Wednesday capped a week of the most dramatic made-for-t.v. moments I have personally experienced in a long time, so I was glad to meet up with friends to go see the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Show at the 9:30 Club. Apparently everyone else in DC was apparently excited for the show as well, seeing as tickets sold out in twenty minutes and were then going for upwards of $100 on craigslist.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's eponymous first album did not make my list of the top 5 albums of 2005, but only because I hadn't heard the album. "Yellow Country Teeth" is easily the best pop song of 2005: lead vocalist Alec Ounsworth juxtaposes cramped, almost unintelligeable lyrics over layers of rolling bass and guitar to create a perfect sound of happy angst. It's pop perfection.

The coolest thing youshould know about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: they give a shout-out to David Bowie in the song Over and Over Again, and David Bowie actually goes to their concerts.

Needless to say, I had high expectations for the show.

9:30 was packed with DC's coolest hipsters, which, in this town, means a lot of kids wearing Puma track jackets and snappy Urban Outfitters t-shirts. When I say crowded, I mean jam packed. Even the Black Eyed Peas didn't get a crowd this big. What's more, these were excited hipsters, a phenomenon you don't see every day. I even heard one guy sniff, "yeah, whatever, I'm psyched. This should be good. I might even dance." Hipsters? Dancing? When hipsters can let go of their jaded cynicism long enough to dance, you know there's some kind of special vibe. Or else the junior high kids are selling their Adderall again.

After waiting for ages, CYHSY finally came in and launched into their album's first track, Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away. Right away, something seemed off, and it wasn't the fact that onstage, Alec Ounsworth looks suspiciously like Balki Bartokomous. Most bands at 9:30 use the stage's video screen either to play videos, show off works from cool graphic designers or simply to add pictures to enhance the album- all very synesthesia. CYHSY chose a blank backdrop. I can't imagine why they did so, since the majority of the band members spent their set time staring at the back wall, completely oblivious to the crowd. When Ounsworth faced the microphone to sing, he looked down at his toes or up at the ceiling, as though maybe he had written the lyrics to the new songs there in case he forgot them.

The bass player was about the only musician attempting to connect with the crowd. Unfortunately, because the sound quality was so poorly produced, I couldn't even hear the bass. I don't think I was in a dead spot, as other people at the show had the same complaint. It created an eerie, ungrounded sound, losing all of the filmy layers that are the hallmark of CYHSY's sound.

However, the hipsters still danced, and yes, they clapped their hands. The band tested out a few songs from their forthcoming album, some of which sounds promising- as long as they stay in the studio, where they belong.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm Just Not Sure It's Special Anymore

I was out throwing darts in the vicinity of a dartboard last night, when I met a guy with my exact same birthday. Month, day and year. Creepy, no? I always thought my birthday was really special, if only because it's commie labour day (you can tell it's communist because of the superfluous "u").

Here's what's even creepier: we're exactly alike. Well, there may be a few differences, he's blonde, I'm not (seriously, Karin, I'm not); we have totally different jobs; he's a White Sox fan (stupid south siders!) and I'm a Cubs fan; I've already lived in Costa Rica and he's not moving there until next month- just little things. But we both like cats and The Olympics. And we have the same exact birthday.

Can't you hear the Twilight Zone music in the background?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not Cool Enough to be the AntiChrist

As Butterstick gets older and a priori, less adorable, we must compensate by putting more adorability into the world. One man wants to thwart these efforts, singlehandedly.

That man is Scott Stapp.

To see what kind of person he is, check out the DCist review of his recent tour stop in DC. While I think Stapp wants you to see his stage antics as the gravitas of a passionate and thoughtful Christian, I think he looks pretty sweaty and snivelly.

I have to say, I'm disappointed that the porn (someone in hell won a lot of money for grossing out a lot of people) recently released of Kid Rock and Scott Stapp wasn't actually of KR and Stapp together. Not because it's something I'd want to see, but because it's something that would not only be way out of their spectrum of predicatability, and it would totally alienate their entire (albeit ever-dwindling) fan bases. And that would make me laugh.

No, apparently, Stapp is into girls, which is why he made his sister drive him several hours for a random hook up . The best part? It was at Denny's.

Seriously, this guy is so base that he's the antiStick. All the cute buttery goodness that little panda has brought into this crazy world of ours has been undone by Scott Stapp. Why can't we give him to China?

Georgia on My Mind... The Atlanta Trip Report

The Clientele understands. You all know what's going on, so I'm not going to go into the personal details. But allow me to quote from Strange Geometry, which perfectly captures how I'm feeling about the whole sitch:

There's a hole inside my skull
with warm air blowing in
standing on the sidewalk
where do I begin?

Well, I began in Atlanta. After a night of mild partying, I woke up Saturday morning at 5 am to catch a flight to go see Kev, my chef friend. Since our time together was limited, we figured we had to do something really touristy. I'm so glad we didn't; it would have ended up feeling contrived and rushed. Well, that, and we couldn't get tickets to the new Aquarium, which is about the only thing one can do (besides drugs) in Atlanta.

Instead,we visited a rock and took a veritable tour of the restaurant scene in Atlanta. Kev is a chef at the 5 Seasons Brewery and has connections just about everywhere in town. We started out at a Chinese restaurant, the name of which I can't recall. I had the Sichuan crispy tofu, which was supposed to be spicy, but ended up being just too salty. The steamed veggies had a delectable crunch, but there was nothing to offset the crunch- the tofu was not crispy at all, just mushy. It could have used some cashews and a lot more spice. Kev's entree was actually burnt and he couldn't enjoy it. Was not my pick of the day.

Luckily, we ran into Wes, a friend of Kev's who was dropping in there for lunch. He told us to stop by his wine bar and he would hook us up with something a little more memorable. We went over to his wine bar, where he sample is on a whole palette of delicious red wines: from dry, peppery, deep Europeans to plummy, robust Aussies to buttery, velvety Californians.

OH! All you Aussies and Aussie lovers never told me that there is a huge wine valley in Oz called Clare Valley. That means Oz is now on the official register of Poofygoo coolest places ever. As soon as I figure out the HTML involved in creating links, I'll put that registry up. And the links to all the blogs of the peeps who are reading this!

Unfortunately, Atlanta will not be on that registry. Despite the fact that the cool factor of the city is raised considerably simply by it being the home of Kev, I'm just not a fan of the city. You hop on an interstate to get anywhere; it's all sprawly and doesn't look pretty at all. Driving around in Atlanta is like being hungover on a really pretty Sunday; you feel sprawled out and useless, as though you should be doing something a lot better than lying on your couch, watching Law and Order reruns.

Even the skyline is tacky; its crowning glory, so to speak, is two buildings shaped like queen and king chess pieces. I imagine in architecture, just as in writing, there is a fine line between witty and gaudy. Apparently, Atlanta's architects chose the wrong side.

Atlanta does have two things going for it, though: an astonishing and competitive restaurant scene, and my friend, Kev. Seeing my need to go bask on some rocks in the sunshine on a beautiful day, he took a break from our schedule of eating and took me to Stone Mountain. It's a big granite monolith, which normally would make me weep with delight. As we drove towards it, my heart started beating faster: would there be cool rocky trails to scramble around on, new kinds of flora and fauna to experience? I was really looking forward to clearing the mental detritus of the past two days by breathing in some crisp mountain air.

Stone Mountain's beauty is meretricious at best, however. You have to hand it to Atlanta: instead of keeping it a lovely nature area, they've capitalized on their unique treasure by making it a shameless tourist area. Southerners come to see this monument to the Confederacy carved into the stone a la Mount Rushmore. They even managed to lure hefty Atlantans to the top by promising two snack bars at the top of the rock. Upon our ascent, however, the snack bar was closed. Without even a hint of irony, a beefy and mustachioed man turned away from the closed snack bar with a look of disgust on his face and proclaimed the two mile hike up the mountain a total waste.

Driving out, we got lost through the maze of Confederophile streets; our conversation sounded like a Who's Who of the Confederacy:

"Are going towards Robert E. Lee Highway?"
"According to this map, we're either on Stonewall Jackson Memorial Drive or Jefferson Davis Way."
I half expected to get onto "Frederick Douglass was a Sonofabitch Parkway" or "Lincoln Fucked It Up for All of Us Boulevard".

We rewarded our efforts by going to a German Bakery in the town of Stone Mountain, where oddly enough, we got cannoli. It was delicious, despite its inauthenticity.

After a morning and afternoon of eating, it was time to go back to Kev's place and get ready for an evening of eating. We went to Beyond the Bayou, a cajun restaurant Kev's friend Brady opened on Valentine's Day. Considering the neophyte status of the restaurant in the competitive Atlanta dining scene, I was surprised and impressed to see several tables filled. While the menu boasts lots of alligator meat, crawfish, and frog legs, there's a vegetarian section on the menu that read just like this:

Just tell the chef what you like, and he'll make you something tasty!

My restaurant dream come true. He made me an amazing baby arugula salad with cajun spiced pecans, braised onions, goat cheese, peppers and the most amazing dressing I've ever tasted- tangy, spicy, sweet and full. The salad was a perfect mixture of complementary components- no one taste stood out over another, but they blended together like a good SATB chorale. After dinner, we dipped perfectly crispy and doughy beignets into a whipped sugar cane sauce- molasses's lighter and tastier cousin.

After eating, Kev and I had a mission to complete, which could only be accomplished by going back to his restaurant and drinking beers. I tasted the GFY (named for the restaurant's motto, "Go Fuck Yourself" brew, a lighter hoppy brew, as well as their barley wine, which may have been the most delicious thing I'd tasted in the last twenty minutes.

I'm home again, and back to work and life, mostly listening to a lot of music and talking to all you friends.... I really appreciate the calls and emails.

Friday, March 03, 2006

For the Ladies!

I was having the shittiest day ever today. The Olympics are over, and that's just hard to get past. I miss them so much. Everyone at work was wondering why my eyes were all red and puffy, and completely understood when I told them I've been without Bob Costas's exhilarating commentary- second only to John Tesh- for almost a week now. Helena empathized, which is why she sent me this fantastic A & E ice skating video. Watch it with a loved one, especially one of your own gender.