Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Pigmental Problem

"To blacken" means to turn black. "To redden" means to turn red. "To brown" means to turn brown, like with meat. And "to bleach" literally means to turn white, but we have a seldom used "to whiten" as well. I'll accept "to yellow," but Webster says that "to green" and other color words work, but I don't buy it. No one uses them very often. So I wonder why the first few are used more often, when plenty of stuff turns blue and green, like rotten meat and strangling victims. And why do only black and red take the suffix "en" when they become verbs? They don't seem any more deserving than green — "to greenen."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Four Sisters and Their Respective Ins and Outs

A short list of English expressions in which the speaker says the opposite of what he or she actually means but is not using any form of sarcasm:
  • Tell me about it! when the speaker actually means "Yes, I fully agree with your statement and do not actually need to be told any more about said statement to further my agreement."
  • You can't be serious! when the speaker actually means "I know you are serious and, though I am surprised, I believe you fully."
  • I could care less! when the speaker actually means that "I care so little that I actually couldn't care less."
  • I just can't believe... when the speaker actually means "It's hard to believe, but I know it's true."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Also: "Hawaiian Punch was originally made to be an ice cream topping," said the talking cup that's been on my desk since I moved in here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Salt Island, Beef Island, Ginger Island

Presently, I'm making myself a minor expert on the British Virgin Islands.
  • Located: just east of Puerto Rico
  • Not to be confused with: the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Capital: Road Town
  • Nationality: British Virgin Islander
  • Official Language: English
  • Official Currency: U.S. Dollar
  • Comprised of: Thirty-six islands, sixteen of which are inhabited
  • With names like: Tortola (also known as "Chocolate City), Peter Island, Mosquito Island, Salt Island, Beef Island, Ginger Island, Jost Van Dyke (named for a pirate) and Virgin Gorda (which translates to "fat virgin")

Chipotle Turkey Club

In case anyone was wondering, I live in Washington D.C. now. I made it. I'm alive. I found my apartment. I'm wearing a tie.

In fact, I'm writing this from Washington, as I sit in my own private, windowless, cluttered office on the fourth floor of the National Geographic Building, which sits all of two minutes away from my apartment, which I share with Adam, who I didn't think I'd be sharing a room with. I live roughly six blocks from the White House. The girls live one floor above me and Lu lives in the ninth floor. At work I respond to Heather, who looks like a prettier version of Parker Posey and couldn't possibly be any older than thirty and seems like a good person to have as a boss.

Sample Heather-me dialogue:
Me: So what time should I come it everyday?

Heather: I'm not really a morning person, so I usually make it in by 9:30 every morning.

Me: Oh good. I'm not a morning person either.

Heather: If you wanted to just come it every day at ten and then work until six, that would be fine too.
And I would do that, only it might infringe on happy hour. Today's accomplishments: finding the building, finding my office, finding the cafeteria, finding the bathroom.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Oh Rio, Rio, Dance Across the Rio Grande

A far-too-tardy photo essay about my summer vacation. As you can see, it's a whopper.

Monday, September 13, 2004

I'll Go to Hell to Be With You

In my constant search for strange music, I ordered a CD called “Incredibly Strange Music.” (Sometimes, things have a way of working out perfectly for me.) It’s pretty good, I guess. Some of the tracks are genuinely bizarre, like this one by a woman named Lucia Pamela about talking with cows and chickens during a walk on the moon. One of the tracks stuck with me: “Lover’s Prayer,” by Myrtle Hilo. I don’t know anything about Myrtle, except what I can gather from the photo on the cover of her album. She calls herself “The Singing Cab Driver.” She looks about fifty in the photograph and she’s holding a ukulele. Beneath the shadow of her straw hat, she’s plainly grinning. She’s leaning out the passenger window of the car, and behind the car there’s a palm tree. I also know that Myrtle’s song struck me on some level. The first half is in Hawaiian. It's beautiful, even though I don't understand it. The second, English half is as follows:
I do believe the lord above Created you for me to love He picked me out from all the rest Because he knew I'd love you best I once had a heart that was true But now it's gone from me to you Take care of it as I have done For you have two and I have none [something indecipherable about heaven] I'll put your name on a golden spell If you're not there by judgment day I'll kow you went the other way I'll give the angels back their wings Their golden harps and all those things And just to prove my love is true I'll go hell to be with you
Maybe it’s sick or sappy, but there’s something beautiful about willing to go to hell for love. She repeats the last two lines, which I didn’t feel like actually typing twice, but I feel like the repetition only hammers in the meaning of the song. I like it. I think there’s something touching about it. But its inclusion on this album almost pisses me off. It’s not strange at all, at least not on the level of cows on the moon. It’s honest. It speaks of a level of emotion I'm not sure most people are capable of. I know I'm not. I'm envious. I guess I have to be glad it's there on the album; otherwise, I never would have heard it. But still, there's nothing strange about a fifty-year-old Hawaiian taxi driver singing about true love.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Like Sharpened Knives Through Chicken McNuggets

I’m walking down DP, like I haven’t done in months and may never do again. For some reason, I know it’s just before Halloween. But it’s late, too. Real late. Houses have lights on, but no one’s out. It’s too quiet.

So walking down the deserted party street, I hear a phone ringing. I check the phone in my pocket, but that phone’s off. I check the rest of my backpack, but I realize the ringing is coming from somewhere else. I look around. The ringing, I find, is coming out of a garbage can. Naturally, I reach into a bin of somebody else’s refuse and root around for this mystery phone.

I pull out what would appear to be a house made out of popsicle sticks. Inside the popsicle house, I can hear the phone ringing. I toss the house on the ground. I stomp on it. Sure enough, there’s the phone, which looks just like my phone and glows with the same neon blue light. Even though I’m sure the phone would smell like garbage, I answer it.


No answer.

“Hello? I found you in the garbage. Who is this?” (I actually said this.)

Silence — then, “Sometimes… it’s too late.”

Then I can feel the phone change from hard plastic to something squidgier — wet and slippery and moving around in my hand like a giant banana slug. I try to let go, but the thing’s stuck to my face. I could feel it inching into my ear canal before I wake up.