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… and a miracle has happened, tonight.*

Sometimes, writing a post is like pulling hair: you tug and you tug and the best you can hope for is a handful of broken strands with no idea how to weave them together.  Other times, ideas fall like manna from heaven, or like a sourdough bacon cheeseburger from Roy Rogers.

Tonight – well, last night by the time you read this – a blogging miracle happened.  Just when I thought I had no idea what I’d tell you about the weekend, this pulled up in front of my house:

img_0759

There is so much about this picture you can’t tell from the photo.  I’ll try to do the moment justice.

It starts with tambourines.  Had we not heard them, my roommate and I never would’ve looked out the window.  We heard the tambourines coming from down the street.  Now how could we have isolated the sound of tambourines on our hugely busy Busy Street?  Well…

1) How often do you hear tambourines anywhere outside of a parody of The Music Man? They stood out.
2) They are all over the vehicle.  As you can sort of see, there are about 20.  There are some around the antenna in the back, the passenger-side mirror, and even the windshield wipers.  They all had furry, brightly colored streamers affixed to them.  The driver also had one or six, but I couldn’t capture that in my haste.

The car also has all sorts of entertaining prose all over the door.  While most of it was oddly fine print we couldn’t really read, there were two lines in larger bold lettering:

1) “The almighty posse soldiers to stop Satan.”
2) “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”

Now as for #2, as a formerly churchified child, I recognized it immediately, though I always thought it counter-intuitive: the idea of being too wrapped up in god to be worried, that is… seeing as how being wrapped up in god requires constant worry re: whether you’ll make it to see god or be banished to flaming, eternal damnation.  That actually was a lot of stress for me.  But hey, who am I to tell people how to book their souls’ vacation?

As for #1 – the what?  The almighty what?  Posse soldiers?  This made no sense to me; until I realized that the car’s audio wasn’t blasting Yolanda Adams or Donnie McClurkin, but none other than the undocumented disciples of Christ, Dem Franchise Boyz; because if Jesus could walk on water, he sure as balls could lean wit it rock wit it.**

Before we could read more of what was on the door, the car backed up, blocking both sides of Busy Street to which my roommate quipped:

Must be too blessed to obey traffic laws, too.

Hip hip hooray for us though, the posse-mobile – I think it was a convertible Chrysler Sebring – pulled up behind our house, continuing the antics.

img_0761At this point, we didn’t know whether to cry from laughing or go ask for some of his materials and pamphlets (because you know he had pamphlets.. or a CD).  Here, we realized there were yet more tambourines on the driver-side mirror.  But the most important discovery was the identity of the driver.  I swear to you this: it was George Clinton

georgeclintonlargeOk, so obviously it wasn’t actually George.  And, obviously, that would’ve been amazing.  But this was apparently someone thinking dressing as the Parliament leader would add credibility to his posse-soldiering.  It most certainly did not.  And hence you reading about it all here.

What happened for the rest of the weekend?  Good question.  I remember us eating Baconators, watching four hours of Black to the Future, and then some movie called The International.  But who cares?  I saw the possie soldiers.  You?


*And I’m not just talking about the snow.
**By the way, the best job security during a recession is having camera phone video footage of your boss trying to lean wit it. How I wish I could share it.  But I won’t.  Because I’m a nice guy.

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… it’s more of a series of observations.

We went to see Mos Def at the 9:30 Club on Monday.  Yep; on a school night.

img_07451Wait, wait, wait.

I’m getting way ahead of myself.  The title says “complaint.”  You didn’t think this post was about things going as planned, did you?  The beginning…

There were two shows that night.  Doors for the first were scheduled to open at 6:30p; doors for the second, 9:30p.  Call it a penchant for sloppy seconds, or not knowing about Mos coming until the 6:30 was sold out, but we had late show tickets.  We rolled up and got in line at the door.

me: Weird.  That sounds like generic house audio coming from inside.
Miss Bianca: *shrugs as only someone who dates an over-thinker can*
me: Why doesn’t it sound like Mos is in there?  It’s 8:35…

Turns out the line by the door was the wrong line.  Go figure.  The real line was about 20 yards behind us, peeling out of the side alley.  This is where the whispers started.

stranger 1: I heard Mos Def isn’t even here yet!
stranger 2: You’s a lie.  You just mad cuz we almost left you…
us: *slow, silent blinking*

We stood shaking for about another twenty minutes.  How cold was it?  I now have a scar on my left cheek from where a tear-turned-icicle fell.  We made jokes with the girls behind us about having to drag ourselves, frozen, to Howard U Hospital right up the street.  The 9:30 Club staff tried to assure us they had everything under control.  Correction: they might as well have come out and thrown buckets of water on us.  They were about as helpful as…

staff 1: Stand there.
staff 2 (not 3 minutes later): Why the [french] are you standing there? Against that wall, please.
staff 3: Mos just isn’t here yet. He’s at the airport, though.
us (in unison, via silent mouths and screaming eyes): The airport?  Which airport?  The one within reach, or one of the two 40 minutes away?

It was 9:15p.  We had “learned” from “reliable” sources that Mos definitely wasn’t there yet.  They were still going to do the 6:30p, even if it was the new 10:00p.  And as for the original 9:30p performance, we just had to wait and see.  Meanwhile, we wondered if sadness could be measured in Fahrenheit and I nearly lost a hand trying to tweet the whole thing.

Enter Crazy Lady.  I’d have a picture for you, but I lost the use of my right hand during the tweet fiasco.  So, if you can imagine, imagine her in a “fur” coat that looked much more like a caramel-colored Snuggie with a hood, hiking boots, capri jeans, bright orange socks in that “Where’s Waldo” sweater pattern, and bright orange sunglasses resting atop the kind of hat Picabo Street might’ve worn while competing in Lillehammer.

She had parked across the street from our line, plainly illegally, and then disappeared into the alley in front of us.  When she came out, she bent over and looked at something out of sight.  She called to it.  Miss Bianca thought it might’ve been a cat.  It wasn’t.  It was an orange safety cone; an inanimate, unresponsive object.  She picked up said cone and had her partner-in-crazy use it to mark her parking spot as she pulled away.  She was reserving it, which Miss Bianca solidly noted was odd, seeing how blatantly illegal it was to park there in the first place.  And by “pulled away” I mean, with her car facing east, pulled away east about 5 feet, turned around violently in a double K-turn, and then sped off east.  That’s right, she completed a full freaking circle achieving absolutely nothing.  In her haste to cover no distance at all, she nearly hit two people.

But just when it seemed it could get no worse, Mos Def arrived.  Though at first, no one knew it.  Why?  Because he rolled up in a 1996 Montero Sport.  Not a bus; not a bus.  A 1996 Montero Sport.  We laughed, because, well, that’s awesome.  He said, “Sorry;” we, fans, quickly forgot we were upset.  It’s 9:30p.

It’s then a few of us realized there was a line developing near the door; you know, the very place they told us we couldn’t be.  We asked a staff member.  He said he didn’t know what we were talking about.  We re-explained.  He didn’t get it.  Losing our patience, we tried to break it down nice and easy for him:

us (now about 5 of us have formed a bonding unit): There’s a line at the door.  We were in it about an hour ago.  They told us this line was the real line.  But now, there are about 75 people by the door, who got here after us and all the people behind us, as if you’re gonna let them in before us.
staff dude: Yeah.

Too cold to slow-blink and try again, we gave up.  After a while, we got the attention of staff-guy-with-a-goatee-shaped-like-a-spear.  He got it, but had no idea how the confusion could’ve happened.  He promised us he’d work it out.  And he did.  A few minutes later, the first 30 or so of us in the correct line were shuffled off around the corner and let in to the Backbar.  It was about 11:30.  We were grateful beyond words for the warmth, but have you ever entered the Backbar?  Again, this is not a complaint, but it’s like being smuggled into a loading container on the docks.  Here’s a glimpse of the journey in pictures:

img_0731img_0732img_0736

Inside was bliss.  No arctic wind blasts and the waiting music (Naughty by Nature, Black Sheep…) spurred a party: hands waving, crotches grinding, celebrate, good times.

Soon we were upstairs, and much like you, thinking this story was over; that we’d see an awesome show and go home tired but satisfied.  Mos took the stage at midnight.  And we tried.  We did.  But damnit, everybody had used all their energy jumping up and down outside, over-working their immune system, just to stay warm.  We were outside in well below freezing wind chills for three hours.  Mos and his DJs desperately tried to get us involved, but the energy was just so flat.  Even Mos was tired and a little off.  He abandoned the set-list plan and at one point thumbed through a book trying to find songs to perform.  He was good.  Everything he does is good.  But it wasn’t meant to be, for any of us.  And so sometime after 1:15 am, when I turned to Miss Bianca and realized the “is it bedtime, yet?” glaze had set on her eyes, too, it was time to go home, before the show was even done.

We headed out, defeated, and jumped in a cab.  But unlike so. many. other. cabbies. in this city, this cabbie was a cool guy and had a GPS.  I tried to get a picture of it while moving:

img_0749But it gets even better.  He was listening to some sweet Lite FM station and so we got to ride in exhausted glory to Gloria Estefan’s “Here We Are.”  And yes: I (lamely) sang along.  And yes: Miss Bianca just laughed at me.  And yes: we were so tired from staving off hypothermia and were so unable to function on Tuesday, that had we been given any real responsibility to get something done at our respective places of employment yesterday, we probably would’ve both lost our jobs.

But that’s why this is mos def not a complaint.  (Some) Mos Def: check.  Jobs: check.  Each other: check.

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It was bound to happen, some day. Mine eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the end. Though there was still a combo-moment of disbelief and silence when my glasses broke in half on Wednesday.

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I’ve been correcting my vision for almost 13 years now. Why? Well, because just before my 14th birthday my vision turned wrong. Wrong as in:

me at age 13: Hey, look! It’s Greg.
friend: That’s my sister, dude.
me: *squints* *frowns*

I started with my first pair of glasses in 1996. 1996 was impeccable timing for my eyes to fail. I was already unspeakably excited to enter high school a year younger than everyone. So slapping some poorly-shaped and therefore bonafide game-eliminating, anti-coital lenses on my face seemed like a good idea.*

These lenses I have lost were not that first pair. I can’t show you that first pair – you still respect me and most photos of me from then are in a box somewhere.

But the ones that broke, those captured above on their deathbed, I’d had since senior year in high school. And they were magic. “Magic” like they let me see Salma Hayek in person outside of a dream? No. But “magic” like for a finite time they were infinite. I never changed the lenses. Yet, on a whim, I had them checked while at an Hour Eyes** in the spring of 2008. The verdict? 20/20 with the ten-year glasses on; “you’re fuzzy” with the glasses off.

I’ve been wearing contacts for years, now. So the magic glasses, if ever, only came out at night for the last eight years or so. We had some great moments. But even though they’re gone, I’ll continue to be grateful. Because there are a few things I’m now guaranteed to never see while wearing them:

1. a Jonas brother
2. From Justin to Kelly
3. anyone legitimately break Hank Aaron’s HR record


*For the record, the right pair of glasses can make all the difference in the world.
**An experience about as riveting as its namesake pun.

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This post happened because I ran out of body wash.  Oh right, I’m a man.  I ran out of liquid soap.  Whatever.

Anyway, as anyone who’s a fan of hygiene knows, this is a problem time makes worse, not better.  I stopped at the Farragut North CVS on the way home from work with dreams of quick resolution.  Instead, I failed like a new sitcom on the CW network.  The what network?  Exactly.

Trust me, I’m definitely not the kind of person who rushes to ignore his mistakes.  But this was not my fault.  The male section of the liquid soap aisle was like a stationary parade of horribles.

 

First up, the Personality Disorder line of soaps.

can't I be both?

can't I be both?

Nivea gave me two choices: Cool or Sensitive.  But I don’t like settling.  I like to think that, on most days, I’m both: awesomely cool and sensitive to, um, needs.  My liquid soap should capture all of me.  What if I had chosen Sensitive… and one day, someone notices me, “Wow, that guy’s, like, dripping in cool.”  I’d have to correct, “No, no: I’m seeping Sensitive.”

 

Not to be outdone, though, was the Lucky Charms collection.

silly rabbit, charms are for leprechauns

silly rabbit, charms are for leprechauns

 

Irish Spring or Emerald Mist?  Emerald Mist or Irish Spring?

Damnit CVS.  As if avoiding smelling like a four-leaf clover wasn’t desirous enough, you just had to go the knock-off route.

Here’s what’s weird though, CVS: I’ve never actually wanted to smell like damp moss, because that would be a disaster.  You thought you knew better and tried to recreate.  But you know what happens when you aim for disaster and fail?  Catastrophe.  And that’s what it smelled like when I cracked open that standing tub of Emerald Mist: catastrophe.

 

 

Third, the Your Smell, is Offensive: Off-e-n-s-i-v-e* line.

"destroys?!"

"destroys?!"

Dial tried to woo me with it’s 3-D Odor Defense product.

3-D?  Meaning washing with this is like absorbing LSD, and I can then see love and things in dimensions I never could before?

No.  3-D like destroys, deep-cleans and defends.  The middle D = not so bad.  But the other two?  “Destroys?!”  What the french, toast?  Destroys what exactly?  What is after me?  Am I under attack?  Is that why you have to “defend” me, too?  Please, share this top secret info re: the danger I’m in from not using your product.  Because I’ve apparently been reckless with my hygiene for nearly three decades, now.

 

 

Next, the Weaponry line.

This has two featured sets: Axe…

choppin' down funk since 2000-something

choppin' down funk since 2000-something

… and Blade.

 

'cause who wants to bathe with a shiv?

bathe with a shiv, like it's prison

The Blade bottle even looks like a blade!  Great.  Because when I’m in the shower, and the water’s slippery, the first place my mind goes is, “How could I add the metaphor of a knife to this?”  And I know you can’t tell from the photo, but in the Axe picture, the far right scent of Axe is Snake Peel.  Uh huh: Snake Peel.

 

If you can believe it, there are two lines left in the aisle of disappointment.  Second to last, the Not if that Guy Does line.

 

lame.

lame.

Lever 2000.  This may not be so bad.  But this guy used it.  Seriously, watch the whole video.  At some point, he says he’d rather leave “overbearing, overpowering, too much… outward odor” scents for his body spray.  And I’m not taking scent advice from a guy who aims for outward odor.

 

Finally, winner of the f.B’s Worst in Industry award, the Just Say No line.

 

come enter my red zone

come enter my red zone

To wrap it up, Old Spice offers its Red Zone series.  There’s After Hours, Showtime and Double Impact.  While Showtime just smelled “green,” After Hours at least smelled like its name: stale cologne.  But the reason this line wins the award is Double Impact.  Curious about what seemed to be mutant ooze leaking from the bottle’s cap, I picked it up and inspected.

 

the best of Papa Smurf

the best of Papa Smurf

And that, my friends… that gnarly blue stuff… it looks like someone robbed a smurf sperm bank, added flour to the “mixture” and decided they should pass it off as soap.  Not having it.  Won’t do it.  No smurf-surge for me.  I don’t wanna smell like a smurf-handjob, but thanks for asking.

 


*If you’re thinking that sounds like it could be a cheer, you’re right. Think this, at the 2:32 mark, and know I got you, again.

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Well, at least some of it; because some days I remember I have a cell phone in my pocket that takes pictures, and on other days I think it’s 1995.

 

Tuesday:

the bright side of lifeGood Stuff Eatery.

The name has changed since the opening, from “Spike’s 5 Napkin” to “Spike’s Sunnyside.” And the change works.  My egg took orders.  It ran, but only when I wanted it to, so there wasn’t a huge yellow puddle on my wrapper where the burger used to be.

Paired it with the Village Fries.  They had a little more rosemary than I wanted, but not enough to be disappointing.  Actually, what would’ve been perfect would’ve been boardwalk fries.  And not those fries made at the food court at The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.  But like fries made at a stand near a body of water, like on a boardwalk, at the ocean.

Anyway, the burger was awesome.  It’s like the snack version of a steak and eggs breakfast.  Except GSE adds bread, bacon, cheese, and special sauce.

 

 

 

Thursday:

img_06741It started with Eggos for breakfast.  I know, I know. But I’m not apologizing.  There was a problem, though.  I opened the box and one looked normal and one looked like a mistake.  I tried to toast out the mistake, but nothing changed.

That right there –>, on the right, was the mistake after toasting.

Don’t worry.  I didn’t eat it.  I don’t hate myself that much.  But I also have this thing about throwing out food.  So, I stuck this thing in some tupperware and left it in the fridge for a couple days, as if cold air could season the “gross” out of something.*

 

Later that day, I saw this in the store and just thought it was hilarious.

img_0697

 

 

Friday:

img_0700Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Little Fountain Cafe.

We had a few things that stood out: Lobster Spring Rolls, Chorizo and Apple Stuffed Quail…

But none of them had a heart wafer, like the Passionfruit Cheesecake.

And yes, I ate that heart wafer without shame or checking over my shoulder to see if any other guys had just left their heart wafer on the plate.  I did so because ranking appetite after how eating it would make me look seemed unforgiveable.

 

 

Saturday:

This food was made at home.  And maybe inspired by stuff I read on posts earlier this week, or maybe inspired by DC’s own Top Chef contestant, Carla, dinner was kept simple.  The request was fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  A little heavy for V-Day?  Maybe.  But you do what you’re told, right?  So we had some mashed red potatoes, roasted asparagus, cornflake-crusted buttermilk fried chicken, and some sautéed mushrooms atop it all.  Here was the chicken as I got ready to plate it.

img_0701

 


*Yes, I did throw it out by the time you read this.

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Be wherrwy, wherrwy qwiett.  I’m hunting wabbits.

elmer_fudd_a_wild_hare

Ok.  Well, not wabbits.  And I guess I’m not really even hunting.  But I may or may not possibly be at work, so you have to keep your voice down.  It’s very officey around here and I don’t wanna get caught being useless.

See, there’s something new in the office kitchen today, or at least something I’ve not seen before.  And I need you – yes, you – to help me figure out why it’s there.

What, pray tell, is this?

img_06331

I’ll come in a little closer for you.

img_0635

That’s a Shrek Chia Pet, right?  Ok, good.  I’m glad we’re together on this.  But why?  Why is there a Shrek-faced Chia Pet in the office kitchen?  I’ve got very few ideas on this.  Here they are:

  1. Grab bag gone wrong.  At some point, before my time here, the office Secret Santa “unfortunated” some poor soul with this.*  To get back at the person who gifted it anonymously, the receiver puts it on the counter, clearly absurd and clearly unkempt by default (there’s not a sprout of Chia on that pet!), in order to drive home how awful of a gift this was.
  2. Someone likes it.  This is a stretch, I admit.
  3. This office is like the one from Being John Malkovich.  There must be a little portal-like hole in a wall somewhere, and someone is sneaking through it, messing with the space continuum and planting inexplicable objects in obvious places.

Got anything better?

*Couldn’t avoid the Disney reference: “… you poor, unfortunate soul…”  Guess the movie, win a smile.

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I have met my bacon quota for 2009.*

Bacon Explosion?

Yeah. I met that challenge head first. I ate about 20% of the thing.

It hurt. Bad.

But it was tasty, I think? I just don’t remember much after the first time my spirit collapsed. There’s a funny thing about chasing a bacon-wrapped-sausage-wrapped-bacon loaf with buffalo wings: it FAILS. Your body, that is.

I wanted to cry about it. But the recipe called for a Dead Sea’s worth of salt. So I was completely devoid of moisture. There’s so much salt in my body, I could cough – assuming I ignored social mores and didn’t cover my mouth – and thereby season a pound of ground beef.

And it’s what yesterday is all about.


*Not that I quit you, Bacon.  I just need some space.  If I was making you a mix CD, there’d be a Dixie Chicks song on it, because I need wide open spaces… like in my arteries.  Because they are clogged.

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