Thursday, December 07, 2006

Que romantico!

This morning I was walking through Scott Circle and noticed a couple holding hands in front of me. They were in their late-50's, obviously strolling to work together on a chilly autumn morning, holding coffee in their unoccupied hands. It was downright adorable.

Since they were moseying pretty slowly, I eventually caught up to them, and as I was passing I heard her speaking softly but emphatically in Spanish. Then suddenly he yelled, "Calle! Callecallecalle!!"

Ah, that's more like it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh. My. God.

No really. Holy shit. (omg!) Remember oh so long ago, on a fated August day when I moved into the house between the cracklot and Happy Chinese Deli? When my former roommate and I regrettably indulged in movers? And they took, like, sixteen thousand hours to move my entire, full-size, enormous studio full of "furniture"? And broke our front stair doing it? And one of the movers went totally apeshit when I said I wasn't paying him $1000, because hiring monkeys on meth would have been smarter?

Remember how we filed a claim and offered to settle for a third of the bill? And they laughed? Then we found out how much it would cost to fix the step, and sent them a letter saying, oh, actually, you owe us money? And we never heard from them again? And we figured, oh well, free move, and fixed the frontstep ourselves for $30?

Fifteen months after that move, six months since the last time I heard a peep out of them, I got a letter in the mail. I sighed, thinking, jesus, are we really going to continue this? And I opened it up...

AND IT'S A CHECK FOR EIGHTY-FIVE DOLLARS. Word.

Cut off and stabbed repeatedly

Festive titles! I got my hair cut before the party Saturday and I gotta say, I hate it more everyday. The guy was like trimming a Bonsai tree or something. He'd snip off something, then step back, then jump forward real fast and snip another part off. For two fucking hours. By the time he was done, he'd snipped off four goddamn inches. It looked like a poodle'd been murdered on the floor. Then he took a straight razor and dragged it down my hair; after a minute of this I was like, "Are you sure you know what you're doing? My hair is going to frizz out if you keep doing that." "Noooo. You're beautiful! Look! (points to mirror) Sexy!" Ugh. Anyway, now it's short and frizzy. I'd go back but there's nothing that can fix it now that won't require cutting six or seven inches off. Lame.

I got the rest of my vaccinations for India on Tuesday. Meningitis and polio, the latter of which is good for life. Hooray! She warned me that the first one tends to burn going in, but I didn't feel anything and so she praised my high pain tolerance, ha. I think it's just because I've been stabbed with needles five or six times in the last couple of months. And last week I got my depo, which you can now choose to get in your stomach, so I thought I'd try that out. It's fucking weird. The doc was asking me a question as she hit the plunger and I actually gasped as I opened my mouth to answer. Ick. The thigh is just fine, thank you.

On my way out of the travel clinic the doc said she'd email me about my 6 month Hep A booster, to which I responded, "eh...what?" I'm not sure how this detail escaped me, but the Hep A vaccine is two shots, and they're both $130. Geez. At least I don't have to worry about that until next summer. And now, except for possibly yellow fever, I'm vaccinated to go pretty much anywhere in the world.

Also, yeah, I'm folding FtO. It was a valiant try, except...not really. I kept thinking about posts to write, but then I'd never sit down and write them, but write here instead. So, even though I love my banner, I'm just going to do all my blogging here from now on. Oh well. It was the product of a bored weekend anyway, to which the answer is always, "make something useless!"

Two weeks!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Follow up visit

My roommate has a friend getting a masters in public health, so she emailed to ask her why it is I'm too old to live. Here was her response, for interested parties:
The vaccine is for 4 types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). These 4 types cause most, but not all cervical cancers (about 70%), and so it provides some protection against that as well as HPV-associated genital warts. The vaccine is not effective against other strains of HPV oragainst cervical cancers due to non-HPV causes- so women who get the vaccine still need pap smears and are still at some risk of cervical cancer.

The vaccine isn't approved for women over 26 because it hasn't been tested in them (not yet, anyway). This is probably due to the fact that a sexually active woman's chances of having already gotten some of the 4 strains of HPV are much higher by this age (they can't really test you and see which strains you have). Most sexually active women get HPV at some point and chances are high that someone our age has already acquired at least one strain. Protection against the remaining strains is nice, but the real huge benefits are supposed to be for girls who aren't yet sexually active. We public health folks love vaccination, but in this case we have to weigh the costs of the shot against the likelihood of already having HPV, and the fact that you'll still be getting yearly pap tests no matter what you do.
And with that, I'm off in an hour to get meningitis and polio vaccines instead.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh no they didn't

1. What's an RPG?? What's an RPG??? When did Aaron Sorkin decide officially that he wanted to go from smart, if-you-can't-keep-up-you'll-be-left-behind dialog to "if you've been living in the world for the last 5 years you know this, but I think my audience is so stupid we're going to explain everything until the very last person stops listening"? Hmm? Studio 60, you and your "very special" episodes, your moronic expositions, your lame attempts to make me care about an effing skit show are dead to me. Everything about this show is 'special.' Yeah, that kind.

2. January 22?? I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand, how can we go even one week without the awesomeness that is Heroes? On the other hand, I was going to buy another tivo ONLY to record the show while I was in India. Turns out I'm not going to miss it at all, so tivo, I guess you don't get any more of my money.

3. Life without TV is grand. As long as I catch Heroes, I don't miss it at all. I read for hours last night, and when I got distracted because it seems that people just can't help themselves from bringing unwanted drama into my life, no matter how many different ways I insist I want none of it, I set-up my DVD player and watched a movie that I bought two months ago and still hadn't unwrapped. Yay unpacking!

4. God, my knee hurts. I have no idea what I did to it, except I think it happened Saturday night. But, for once at a party, I didn't get all black-out wasted (um, yay?), and I think I would have remembered stumbling in my heels. It sort of feels like someone twisted my knee right around, and now all the tendons are pulled out painfully. Crossing my legs hurts. Walking down the street hurts, but mostly because I walk funny and tend to hyperextend my legs, not helping the tendon situation. I don't know why I do that, but people insist on telling me I walk funny all the time, so it's not like I don't know, yo. I blame it solely on my height. Partly, because when I was an adolescent I grew like a weed. No, I grew like one of those gelatin-coated pills with a humorously-shaped sponge inside the second it hits water. Seven inches in a year, ten in two years. And "growing pains" is not just the name of a delightful early-90's sitcom. It's hard core real, and due to both I was one dweeby, gangly pre-teen. And, I think it kind of stuck with me. And then partly because of my cross-country coach. Because I used to be very short, I had a very short stride, which I guess I kept after I grew, though it felt just fine to me. However, it didn't stop the litany of commands from the coach riding next to us on his bike during practice, "C'mon Heather, step it out! Pick up your knees! Relax your shoulders! Lean forward up that hill!" And so on and so on until I totally forgot how to move forward in any kind of standardized motion. He finally stopped after that time I won league championships. But not cause I won, but because I did extend my stride since I was, you know, winning and running faster then I ever had before because I thought #2 runner was right on my heels (she was actually about 100 yards behind me) and... then I tore my back muscle just before the finish line. From extending my stride. Oy. So...what was my point again? Oh right. Man, my knee is killing me.

5. Okay, Studio 60, you kind of saved yourself with a chuckle out of, "I just mentioned the Star of Bethlehem and everyone got on the internet for two days." Heh. But then there's, "I'm an astronomy buff." "You mean loser." Sigh. Apparently I'm liveblogging the show now. For some reason. No tivo for you!

Do something good

Hey folks, I don't usually use this forum to talk about serious things, but since I know there are a few people out there who actually read this, I figure I'd use my tiny soapbox for something useful for a change.

I've talked about my friend Steph here before, and her cousin Sylvie, and some of you guys have probably met them in person by now as well. Stephanie's father, Hoan Nguyen, is a U.S. Citizen who opened a school in Vietnam. Eight months ago he was imprisoned after he was falsely accused of misappropriating money, when the school finally became successful and he attempted to pay back his U.S. lenders.

He's being held without charges, due process, or access to a U.S. attorney. Her mother recently saved up and paid $85,000 in bail to the Vietnamese government, who took the money and did not release him. Steph's family has kept quiet about it because they feared publicity would make the situation worse, but now have no other options.

There is trade legislation pending that would give Vietnam Most Favored Nation status and states in paragraph 5, "Vietnam has undertaken ... extensive legal reform. These measures have dramatically improved Vietnam's business and investment climate." Clearly this is not the case if they imprison foreign investors without cause or due process. Steph's family is asking people to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge them to defer consideration of this bill until Hoan is released, the bail money returned to his wife, and if Vietnam claims a dispute does exist, that they submit it to an internationally recognized arbitration forum.

Please see the web site for more information about Hoan, the trade bill, and how to contact your representatives.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The aftermath

I would say, Success! We threw our housewarming party last night and I, for one, had a blast. I even feel great today, mostly because I managed to ingest some water in between my dirty martinis, tequila shots, and random leftover liquor + juice drinks. Oh, and I think I ordered a pizza at 2am. I only took a few photos, but the roommate and Steph took a bunch they're going to send me later.

Surprisingly, we have zero liquor leftover, which is kind of a shame, cause we were selfishly hoping we'd be able to stock our bar afterwards. The roommate had a bunch of friends drive down from PA and they showed up around dinnertime, so they got to watch us hurriedly finish throwing things on bookshelves and into stuffed closets. I think we cleaned up pretty well though, and everyone seems to love the apartment as much as I do. Her friends were great, too, although it caused us to start partying about five hours before people actually started to show up, contributing to the liquor dry-up, and concerning us that no one was actually coming cause like, hey, we're plenty buzzed already!

We ended up having a good showing, though I hear a lot of people are hurting this morning. This apartment seriously is great for entertaining. There's so much room to wander around, sit and chat, and dance (woo!). I think I've psyched everyone for the impending bar-b-que season in my spacious backyard.

Weirdest moment of the night: Walking into my bedroom and finding a girl playing a bass. A stand-up bass. An enormous, gigantic, stand-up bass. In my bedroom. It was totally surreal. I guess a guy had arrived earlier from one of his performances and, naturally, didn't want to leave his instrument in his car in Columbia Heights, and some girl at the party recently had to sell hers, so she insisted he unpack it and let her fool around. I thought my room was large until I saw that bass in the middle of it.

Oh, and since I know she reads the blog, thanks to Sylvie for bringing all that booze and food. She was like my unofficial party planner. She'd text me in the middle of the day last week, "I picked up some pineapple I'm going to cut into stars!" Heh. In fact, most people are attributing their hangovers to Sylvie's empty bottle of 1800, with which she made frequent rounds at the party with shot glasses.

And of course, most importantly, my awesome red wedges didn't actually destroy my feet like I feared they would. So yes, success all around!

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