Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Things that are making me cranky

1. I'm sick. There is some snot involved, but generally it's the sort of cold I don't get very often, where I feel exhausted, lethargic, and generally hideous. This happens to be at the same time that I'm helping several students prepare for their midterm, so I really can't not tutor unless I'm completely incapacitated.

2. I can no longer access my Washington bank account online. It's the one I use the most. Boo to Bank of America. Five years since I left Seattle and they still haven't synchronized all their fragmented computer systems. Get on the ball, Bank of America people.

3. We are using Netflix, which is cool and I highly recommend it. What's not cool is that the postal service doesn't always or even frequently deliver or return movies in one day like they're supposed to. And last week they just decided one day not to deliver mail at all. I feel like we're not getting as much out of our Netflix subscription as we could (although it's still a good deal) because the movie turnaround isn't as fast as it should be. Boo to the U.S. Postal Service. What happened to that neither rain nor sleet nor snow thing? It's like seventy degrees and sunny right now, anyway.

Tonight is, of course, Halloween. If we get trick-or-treaters, it'll probably only be a few, and I don't want a bunch of leftover candy (well, I want it, but I think it's a bad idea to have it), so we're going to turn off all our lights and pretend we're not here and hopefully not get toilet paper or pumpkin shards all over our...whatever. The nice thing about a condo is there's not really much to vandalize.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What should I do with my hair?

I am getting a haircut tomorrow morning. I'm way past due.

Justin likes to brush my hair sometimes, which I don't. It's kind of sad. I have long, thick, wavy brown hair. It's probably my best feature. I don't like using products on it, washing it more than necessary, or putting any time into it at all, really. For the past year I've just been pulling it back in a sort of scrunchied poof most of the time, because otherwise it just gets everywhere. I shed more than my two cats do. So my husband, who doesn't begrudge me most of my excesses but doesn't often suggest I splurge on anything in particular, told me to get a haircut. A good one.

So I'm going to Bristles, the salon where my bridesmaids and I did our facials, pedicures, manicures, eyebrow waxes, and wedding hairstyles. I haven't gotten a haircut there. But I've never gotten a haircut in Charlottesville. The last time I got a haircut was two years ago, when I was in Seattle for Thanksgiving. Yes, it's been that long. My hair grows slowly, but still.

Part of the reason I know it's time for a haircut is I hate all the pictures that have been taken of me this year. (Or maybe that's because of the 20 pounds I've gained since the wedding.) This is an older picture, shortly after my last haircut, which I thought was okay but not great. I'm the one without a beard.

So what should I do with my hair? I'm thinking something between chin and shoulder length and low maintenance. But I'm not really good at these things.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


What's the first thing that came into your head when you read the title of this post? I mean, the very first thing.

The first thing that popped into my head was "metrosexual."

"Metronatural" is the new slogan for the city of Seattle.

Well, it's not that far off, I guess. (?) Don't get me wrong, I like metrosexuals. I had crushes on several of them back in my single days. [Editor: No, they were actually gay.] But will reminding people of metrosexuals get people to visit Seattle? I don't really think so. Move there, yes. Visit? Do people from Oklahoma really want to visit the Emerald City (there was nothing wrong with that slogan, now, was there?) to see metrosexuals?

The second thing that popped into my head was that the regional transit system had started using biofuels. Which would be cool (and maybe they are), but that's a little specific for a city slogan.

Oh well. I'm not really the target market, anyway.

What you really want to see is a picture of the slogan on the Space Needle. Everything looks good on the Space Needle. Christmas lights, enormous crabs, you name it.

I got the link from my dad, who keeps me up to date on what's happening in my hometown.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The other Washington, and the Washington that no longer is

I was born in Seattle, and knew from a young age that I lived in Washington. In the manner of all young people I knew very little outside my immediate surroundings, so I didn't always understand that there was another Washington out there. And why would I? My Washington produced planes and apples and software; the other Washington just ran the country, and how hard can that be? It can't be as hard as they make it.

Anyway, I have been thinking recently of how I learned about The Other Washington, because it's tied to some of my earliest memories.

There was this burger chain in the Northwest called Herfy's, which now no longer exists. (Long Google-researched digression: Except it does again, but the new Herfy's restaurants aren't related at all to the old chain, they just use the old name and logo, and apparently also have good burgers. Herfy's is not to be confused with Herfy, the name of a Saudi Arabian fast food chain. Who knew?) Herfy's used to have Happy Meal-like kids' meals called Wacky Burger Boxes, which (props to Google again) predated actual Happy Meals, although both existed when I was a sprout. I remember that one of the Wacky Burger Boxes had an elaborate cartoon about our Washington and "the other Washington" with a lot of "Washington slept here" type of jokes that I didn't sufficiently appreciate at a tender age. As I dimly recall, the cartoon ironically (I now realize) cast our Washington as the real, famous Washington, and the one on the Potomac as just this place that happens to have the same name, but none of the real Washington's charms.

Yeah, I know the payoff on that one wasn't worth it. Sorry.

Another long digression, in case you thought I was The Good Child: When I was about four, around Christmastime, I expected one day that my parents would take me to see Santa at the Aurora Village Frederick & Nelson and then take me to dinner at Herfy's. (There are three, count 'em, THREE northwestern institutions in that sentence that no longer exist, at least in their previous form!) But for some reason we didn't go, maybe because I had just made up that we were going and they hadn't actually said we would. I still do that. So I pitched a fit and lay on my bed sobbing and screaming "I WANT TO GO SEE SANTA AND GO TO HERFY'S!" for a few hours. Then I finally got over it and meekly emerged and ate my ordinary, boring, home-cooked meal. Chicken, I think.

Imagine how much more miserable I'd been if I'd known about Frangos then!

Eventually I grew to realize that if I told anyone who wasn't from the Northwest that I was from Washington, they would think I meant Washington, DC. Now I just say I'm from Seattle, except technically I grew up outside the city line and only ventured Into the City (reminds me, Istanbul is from the Greek for "into the city," eis ten polin) on special occasions, field trips and such, because it was, and remains, rather a pain in the neck to drive from Shoreline and park downtown. But college and onward I lived in Seattle, until I moved to Virginia. And now I say I'm from Seattle, because naturally if I say I'm from Washington, people will think I'm from the other Washington...I mean, the other other Washington, the one that runs the country. And I know enough people who live there now that I think maybe it is that hard to run the country, or even if it's not, maybe it's good that so many people go there to do it anyway.

Amazon never ceases to amuse me!

I just ordered a new translation of The Five Books of Moses by Robert Alter from Amazon. On my Amazon homepage it nows shows me this book, along with two other similar books (the Tanakh and the NRSV translation of the Bible), and underneath images of each it says:

These phrases occur frequently in each of these books: "one ram"

No kidding! Must be all those instructions for sacrifices.

A little popup window from Amazon explains:

Amazon.com's Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", are the most distinctive phrases in the text of books in the Search Inside!™ program. To identify SIPs, our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside! program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to all Search Inside! books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.

So evidently "one ram" is a phrase you're unlikely to find in any book other than the Bible. And that's probably true. How often do you use the phrase "one ram" in ordinary conversation? "So I was walking by this sheepfold" (you were?) "and this one ram was looking at me funny, so I was like, 'You lookin' at ME, ram? I can kick your furry little butt!'" Or whatever. I just made that up.

Monday, October 23, 2006

DC Blogs

At some point in the next week or so, Girl With Flat Hat should be added to the DC Blogs live feed. No, I don't live in DC. But apparently that's okay. I go there sometimes. I also write and photograph places in Virginia that DC residents might visit when they're not doing inside-the-beltway things like running the country, and I'll probably do more of that if I think more people might read it.

I'll be blogging from DC twice in November: once for the Election Night Extravaganza with Justin's friends (who, unlike us, have cable, and like us, are obsessed with politics), and once for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

Meanwhile, since I have nothing to say, I'll distract you: look at the pretty leaves! (Um, ignore the lens flare.)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Laura in the news!

In this article about co-ops.

I never lived in a CHUVA house because I have cats. And now I have a husband. But CHUVA is cool, as are the people in it.

More from Ivy Creek

It's fall!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Spam box haiku

Laundromat mildew
Say goodbye to extra pounds
Housewives distasteful

Sturdy as an oak
Jigsaw puzzle contribute
Blackbird enlistment

Burn brother-in-law
Hearing-impaired ceramics
Make her worship you!

This will be secret
Make your fat friends envy you
Disregard scrawl

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NoVa vs. RoVa

There's a cute piece in the WaPo style section comparing Northern Virginia (NoVa) and the rest of Virginia (RoVa). Charlottesville is in RoVa, geographically speaking.

There are such gems as the following:

· In NoVa, a lab is the family dog. In RoVa, a lab is the family meth business.
· In NoVa, people spend their dough at Starbucks, shooting the breeze. In RoVa, people spend time in the breeze, shooting does and bucks.
· In NoVa, they listen to NPR. In RoVa, they listen to the NRA.

Um, this is how people in Charlottesville talk about the rest of the South. The farther I push into what you'd think is the South as conceived by people who don't think they're in it, the less certain I am that any of the redneck hillbilly stereotypes actually exist. I know they do to some extent, after visiting 43 of the 50 states, including all the Deep South, but even most residents of RoVa, I'd guess, live within reasonable driving distance of a Starbucks and can receive NPR on the radios in their aging American pickups. (There's an NPR affiliate in Wise, which is way out in that pointy western part of Virginia, in the middle of Appalachia.) The point of this article is to emphasize how NoVa is far more liberal politically than RoVa, which in a general sense is undoubtedly true, but to conclude that it's all Dukes of Hazzard south of Arlington is dopey.

There are several pages of comments on the article similar to mine. I'm being nicer.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I recently got one of those on-campus (excuse me, on-Grounds) jobs that involve getting paid to do things you only have to do a small percentage of the time. You know those. (I remember now that my promotion of sorts from the circulation desk to book mending at the undergraduate library at the UW involved more work, because I was always doing something, either mending books or searching for lost little books in the library. You know, when the library database shows the book has been on the shelf since 1973 but it's not there, so you have to go into the stacks and mind-read previous shelvers, to determine if someone accidentally put it under BX instead of BT, or didn't notice it was 163.52, not 163, or something like that. That was kind of fun. Juliet Crawford, book detective. All I needed was a sidekick.)

(Geez, my digressions are long.)

So I am supposedly tutoring student athletes in this course I taught a few years ago, except that I started my job right after the first exam, so nobody's come in for tutoring yet. I was sort of expecting some people might come in after they got their tests back--the first exam is always inteded to put the fear of God in you so you'll do better the next time around--but no luck so far. I've also had a bizarre schedule due to "reading days" (aka a long weekend in the last throes of good weather), an Eric Clapton concert in the building where I work, and of course football.

I'm working in a brand-new arena with offices and instruction space downstairs, and of course there's already a shortage of space because that's what always happens after you've spent several years building a multi-million dollar facility. The first two times I was here, I was in a nice, very small classroom-type room, which I shared with another tutor last week (she also didn't have anyone to tutor). Today I'm in someone's office, and the door is open, which is cool because I want to look welcoming in case someone does come in for tutoring, but there are a couple of (I assume) coaches pacing back and forth among the students who are studying at tables right outside my door, and it's making my nervous. I feel like they're going to demand I do 20 pushups if they know I'm blogging instead of tutoring, but nobody wants to be tutored, so what can I do? (Besides, you know, study.) I'm having nightmares of middle school PE all over again. Make it stop!

Friday, October 13, 2006


The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today to Muhammed Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who pioneered the idea of microcredit, small loans to people living in poverty in third-world countries so they could start businesses.

In the AP story circulating among numerous publications, a familiar face appears:

Worldwide, microcredit financing is estimated to have helped 92 million families last year alone, according to Jove Oliver, spokesman for the Microcredit Summit Campaign, part of the Washington-based Project Results Educational Fund.

Yay Jove! And yay Muhammed Yunus!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Justin and I are politics junkies and have been looking forward to the 2008 presidential election since the night of November 2, 2004. But then, who hasn't? I mean that we have closely followed the possible candidates in both parties in an effort to predict the future, which of course is always unpredictable.

So...Mark Warner is dropping out of the race, which is a bummer. Warner was elected governor of Virginia in 2001, my first year here, and he was an enormously popular centrist Democrat in charge of a pretty red state. He was term-limited out of office after four years. I didn't really follow Virginia politics when I lived here from 2001 to 2004, but I was impressed when I moved back here and heard him speak on the radio for a couple of weeks in a row before he left office. He's a sensible guy. He could probably have appealed to a lot of people, once he got over the national name recognition issue, which is not a small obstacle, but then our last Democratic president was a governor of Arkansas, and who follows Arkansas politics? (Besides us, and Arkansans.)

He cited personal reasons for dropping out, which would be enough for almost anyone not to run for president, but on the other hand, he was cozying up to the left wing of his party at the Yearly Kos just a few months ago, so it is a little...suspicious? Oh well. This gives us junkies something to chatter about, as if we didn't already have enough.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Camping pictures

I apologize for the lack of flathattery this past week. I don't really have a good excuse.

I didn't really get much proof of actual camping, e.g. tents (which Kris and I set up on our own, in the dark, while the guys bought food). But here is a picture of the little camp stove Kris and Jove brought:

There were some extremely cool mushrooms. I mean, cool-looking, not cool as in what happens when you eat them, though that might also be the case.

Justin stripped to his boxers and hopped into a swimming pond, then started declaiming in Greek:

Pretty fun, all in all.

Monday, October 02, 2006


We went camping this weekend with our friends Jove and Kris at Martinack State Park on Maryland's eastern shore. Pictures forthcoming.

Seattle skyline by night

(Tried to post this a few days ago, but Blogger ate my post for some reason.)