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Shelf Space Cartoons Bar

Public Bar in Dupont quickly became one of my favorite spots a few weeks ago. Rooftop bar, great music, and decent drink prices solidified it as a go-to haunt for my girlfriends and me.  So it was no surprise when after dinner at Raku on Saturday, we settled on heading there – just Boots and me.

On our last evening there, Boots, J-mint and I received a lesson from a couple guys who came up to talk to us. They informed us that a group of 3 women is extremely intimidating for a guy and his wingman to approach. 2 is perfect, 4 is okay, but 3 is impossible. Truthfully, this didn’t make much sense to me, but I guess it’s that one “extra” person that overwhelms the pursuer. Perhaps one guy feels weird having to hold a potential conversation with 2 girls. I would think this would be less of a pressure situation because the awkward pause factor diminishes when there are more people to talk to – but on the flip side, when there IS an awkward pause…it’s probably super uncomfortable with 3 people looking around and into their drinks searching for the next thing to say when compared to 2. With 2, you can just start making out and that takes away the tension (hopefully) – am I right? Yes? No? Maybe?

It was an interesting lesson to think about and one both Boots and I remembered as the pair of us headed toward Public bar. We knew it was going to be a top night.

So we grabbed a beer, scoped out the scene, gossiped, listened to music – a great start to a summer evening in DC – we didn’t see anyone in our first perusal who piqued our interest so we just continued to hang out and people-watch. Then Boots spotted a relatively cute guy (Scruffy) laughing with some friends. I told her I’d play wing-gal if she wanted to chat him up…but she played the “shy” card and we watched as he sat down next to some girl and began talking with her.

“Ugh – I guess I missed my chance – I should have said something!” Boots lamented.

“Yo – maybe she’ll puke and then you can swoop in for clean-up…” I said.

We continued to watch Scruffy and Girl banter…when suddenly Girl bolted up. I leaned into Boots, “what just happened?”

“I don’t know…” As Boots and I stared (openly gawking now), Girl turned around, and splayed across her back were chunks of purple vomit (we’ll go with red wine as the culprit). The Puker hung over the back of the bench Girl had just vacated. Scruffy looked a little green.  A crowd stared on as she puked again down the bench. Girl, rightfully pissed, escaped that spray of projectile mastery and headed toward the bathroom/home/a large hole…

Boots and I couldn’t believe it.

“Well – that’s gonna be quite a conversation starter for the rest of the night – hey…did you see the chick that got puked on?” We shook our heads with Scruffy, in disbelief that what had just happened had just happened.

“Did you get any on you?” I asked him.

“Thank God – no – I have a really weak stomach. If it had touched me, I would have puked on you, you would have puked on her (he pointed at Boots)…”

“Yeah it would be like a domino chain of projectile vomit,” I laughed.

We talked a bit longer then Scruffy moseyed back to his friends as Boots and I tapped off our latest beer and continued our night.

The next day, I shared this story as the highlight of our evening with Sis and Co. I still couldn’t believe it, and was more than grateful it wasn’t my back that became a Rorschach painting. We wondered how Girl coped – I’d have gone straight home in an effort to get clean. And apparently we weren’t the only ones that thought about Girl…

Boots emailed me last night: Subject Line: OMG!!!! with a link in the body of the email:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/mis/1243969202.html

I clicked on it as you should do, but for those of you who are lazy…here’s where it takes you/what it said:

Washington DC Craig’s List/District of Columbia/Missed Connections

Girl that got puked on at Public – m4w – 26 (DC)

Reply to: pers-usqwn-1243969202@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-06-28, 3:13PM EDT

We were talking for a bit and having a good time, then out of nowhere, some drunk bitch projectile vomited on us (98% on you). You took off to the bathroom while I tried to coax my weak stomach into not throwing up myself. I didn’t see you again after that, probably for good reason.

The throw-up brought them even closer together. And just think…if they hadn’t been sitting there, and she hadn’t been puked all over, it may have ended like most Saturday bar nights – with a bar-make-out session, perhaps worthy of on-lookers before going their separate ways. As it is, apparently it was love and how they met will definitely make a great story for their grand-kids.

**Picture courtesy of ShelfSpaceCartoons.com

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On Friday night, I went out to dinner with two friends in DC. Dodge* and Boot** (nicknames, obv.) met me at Etete, an Ethiopian restaurant on U and 9th Street which stands out against other fluorescently lit storefronts on the street.

This was my first experience with Ethiopian culture and cuisine.  I did have a friend in college who was Ethiopian, but he never cooked for me and I don’t think he’s your typical Ethiopian anyway. He’d always make dry comments about growing up eating only rice and running barefoot on dirt roads to the schoolhouse. I’m pretty sure they were sarcastic as he ended up going to a small, private Liberal Arts school in the middle of rural PA. So I doubt he grew up the way most Americans traditionally view the Ethiopian childhood, but one can never be sure. And I digress as all that’s beside the point…the point being, I enjoyed the food. A lot.

If you’ve never been to an Ethiopian restaurant before, you’re in for a bit of a culture shock. You’ve got to throw conventional eating etiquette out and get cozy with the idea that your right hand is your fork and your left, the knife (or vice versa if you’re a lefty-as is my case). After reading through the menu, we asked the advice of our waitress for what she’d recommend to order. She, being a transplant from the country, had a little trouble understanding our questions. But once we overcame the language hiccup, we figured out she wanted to know if we liked our food spicy. The three of us aren’t huge on extremely hot foods (i.e. Thai hot), but we decided we’d get at least one dish a little on the smoking side. Dodge also ordered a glass of tej, their honey wine. Ethiopians believe tej was the wine used for a toast between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. It’s extremely sweet, but is supposed to cut the food’s spicy edge pretty well.

ethiopian-foodOur food came out on a huge round platter. All together we chose 4 entrée’s and all were arranged on this one plate overtop of a special bread, injera. It looks kind of like a bubbled-stretchy crêpe and tastes slightly sour. You are to use it as the primary eating utensil, stretching it over your food and scooping it into your mouth. The sponginess of injera allows all the juices from the stews and meat to be sopped up. We were given an extra basket of the flatbread in which each individual piece was rolled like a napkin.

The waitress also brought out a plate with a whole fish on it (it was part of a veggie combo and only a dollar more!). I’m pretty sure the fish was rubbed with spices and then fried. Our faces were probably priceless as we eyed with calculated wariness how exactly to eat the fish. I broke off the tail and plucked what I think was the spine from the meat and cautiously took a bite. It tasted like fish…not quite sure what I expected it to taste like, but fish it was.

My first bite of one of the stews on our tray burnt my mouth with flavored heat. It stuck in that back niche in my throat. So naturally, I spasmed with suppressed coughs, trying to inconspicuously muffle the tickle out. When that didn’t work, I leaned to the side in favor of a more pleading cough (one that crosses between laughter and embarrassment). My eyes teared and my nose ran until I had slurped a sufficient enough amount of water to dislodge the offending spice from its comfortable nook. People quieted and stared. I reddened. Then the lights went out, literally. And everyone forgot about my hacking. We sat in candlelight for about 10 minutes before power came back on. But the lack of electricity didn’t keep us from munching away. When we finally sat back, we surveyed our progress. Our platter had been suitably demolished.

 Boot commented, “Well, I guess we like Ethiopian.”

 You’ll probably be seeing Dodge and Boots more in future posts. We’ve decided to make dinner nights a common occurrence, and have formed a sort of dinner club to try out different restaurants around DC. You know…so we aren’t like those people who constantly say oh I’ve heard of that place and always wanted to try it.

If you have any recommendations, let us know…also if you have any suggestions for our club name, we’ll take those too! Keep an eye out for their reviews as well…I’m going to let them guest post as we explore the various neighborhoods of DC cuisine. Our next outing is on Thursday for a night of fine Indian flavors and tastes at Rusika. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Below is a list of what I think we ordered…I was able to find the menu online. Check it out if you’re in the area or mood for something a tad more obscure than Chipotle or The Olive Garden.  

  • Yefem Tibs:: (*Etete’s Special) Charcoal broiled sliced prime tender beef marinated in white wine and rosemary, with a touch of garlic and black pepper
  • Special Etete’s Kitfo:: Minced meat seasoned with herbed butter and hot red pepper, served with special seasoned cottage cheese
  • Fasteing Food:: Combination of veggie dishes with fish
    • The veggie dishes were a mixture of: Yemisir Wat Slit red lintel cooked in Ethiopian red pepper sauce, meten shiro, oil, onion sauteed together; Yeataklit WatFresh green, carrot, potato, green pepper and onion sauteed with garlic, ginger and tomato and Gomen-Fresh green, carrot, potato, green pepper and onion sautéed with garlic, ginger and tomato.

 

*Dodge—so nicknamed because she works for a similar sounding department-of-government acronym and because occasionally…well, she’s just a bit dodge.

 **Boot—she literally walks around with a boot on her foot. You may have seen her on the Metro. Her name may change when doctors say she can finally forgo the boot in favor of a regular shoe.

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Artomatic V-Day

I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of Valentine’s Day, both when in a relationship and when single. Of course I am: I thoroughly enjoy the two main ingredients that go into its construction; candy and men. And yes I realize that both of those things are totally stereotypical and not very original, but I don’t care because both make me happy. I like the little candy hearts, the singing cards, roses. I even like all the spoofs that appear as well (example: Bittersweets). And I will never quite understand from where the animosity for this holiday stems. Every year people inevitably rant about how much they hate Valentine’s Day. They either go off on a tirade about how roses are double the price (they’re not), you have to buy a gift that is the equivalent of Christmas+Birthday (you don’t) or about how V-day is a money making ploy by the Candy,Card,Romantic-Comedy monopolies to suck money out of love-sick, gullible, miserable, sentimental mopes. That rant is by far my favorite; the “corporate commercialism of love”, as if Love is the real victim on Feb. 14.  The ranter spouts that if you (jabbing index finger) go out and by a card for someone, you’re caving to Hallmark’s cult agenda. Bull…shit (as they say in the card game). Maybe when I’m grabbing a bag of Hershey Kisses for myself, I see a card with a funny quip on it that would be perfect for a friend, so I buy it and send it to them with an appropriate love stamp. So what? Why do you care? Find something else to care about. V-day takes the brunt of a lot of people’s anger and bitterness kind of like Howard Stern, and I think it’s unfortunate.

So maybe this year instead of complaining about the cliché that is Valentine’s Day, those folks can step outside the box and do something different. If single, treat it as any other day instead of harping on the fact that this is the one day a year you wish you weren’t alone. Go out and DO something! If you’re a couple…well…I don’t really have any advice because you’re probably one of two types; you either celebrate or you ignore, and I don’t have a problem with either. But one thing I like, whether single or not, is to spice it up…do something unique instead of roses, wine, jewelry, or dinner.

My friend here in DC sent me an invite to this event called Artomatic’s “Luck of the Draw: Valentine’s Weekend 2009.” It sounds like a pretty decent alternative to wooing by candlelight or a protest lock-in with Ben, Jerry, Tom and Meg.

First, it’s free. Second, there will be copious amounts of wine served throughout the evening. Third, there’s going to be dancing without the whole booty-shake, sweaty-grind-down scene you might find at V-day themed parties and clubs.

So here’s the run down: Luck of the Draw is an event that “transforms” select condo units, lounges, courtyards and the parking lots at Velocity Condominium, Axiom at Capitol Yards and Onyx on First residential buildings with photography, sculpture, graffiti artists, live music, DJs and dancing. You can have delicious foodsies, good tunes, and a great atmosphere without reservations or prix fixe menus.

To raise the stakes and make the evening more interesting, you can draw playing cards at each location and then, in true DC pork-barrel-style barter, coerce, and sweet-talk trades for the best five-card poker hand. Combine your Aces and Kings to enter in a raffle for an IPod Nano.

The times run:

  • Friday, Feb. 13: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 14: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

And even if you have plans for one of the nights to celebrate SAD or act like a DeBeers or Zales  commercial, find some time to check out this unique art and music experience. Also, if you want to wear red because it’s Valentine’s Day, wear it. Paint your fingernails red too. Hand out Indiand Jones or Disney Princess’ Valentine’s because it’s the one day a year where Love is supposed to be the center of attention. So just this once…let It be; don’t do what you normally would do or say what you’d typically say, just sit back, relax, and eat one of those puffy sugar cookies with the hardened pink icing and sprinkles.

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Snowy Day Nostalgia

It started snowing here in DC early this morning, a quiet snow tiptoeing around our neighborhood before the alarm clock sirens announced another day of work. And I woke, secretly wishing I was still a student and that today would be a snow day.

I wanted to see my school flash on NBC4 as CLOSED. Because snow days are the best days and I miss them.

I miss rolling back over buried in my comforter and sleeping ’til I felt like getting out of bed…not getting dressed in real clothes, but pulling on a sweatshirt and slippers. Sipping coffee to a favorite movie. Calling friends to go sledding (before skiing). Dropping marshmallows in steaming hot chocolate. Printing snow angels in the backyard. A good book. Warm, fuzzy snowboots. Red cheeks burnt from frigid cold. Morning talk shows…afternoon talk shows…evening talk shows. Hot soup with mushy Ritz crackers. Naps. A fire crackling in the fireplace. Nothing but white fog outside the windows–no green, no brown, no color–just white light, the effect of combining all visible colors of light in equal proportions. The landscape a pristine canvas, blank and fresh and beautiful.

But I think what I miss most of all about school snow days…was the anticipation that tomorrow would be a snow day too.

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barack-obama-action-figure

I figured in the days prior to the Inauguration, and now living in the DC area, I should probably contribute a comment of two about the upcoming exodus of one G.W. Bush from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As the UHAUL trucks veer Southwest toward Texas, President-Elect Barack Obama prepares to take the oath of Commander and Chief of the United States. I, for one, am excited to see this and the energy surrounding his swearing in is palpable around the mixing bowl.

While I recognize this as an important day in US history, recently I have found myself drawn to more amusing characteristics of the approaching time for change. January 20, 2009 seems to be a valuable deadline for not only Congress and the out-going Executive Branch, but also for retail vendors out to profit on the new face of our nation. As Seen On TV proclaims I can now own a piece of history…with “the Historic Victory Commemorative Plate,” priced at $26.98, made of “quality porcelain” with a “22 karat gold rim.” Change has indeed come to the retail industry because if ordered in the next 10 minutes, they will also include a bonus display stand and Certificate of Authenticity from the American Historic Society (just in case we ever forget or need proof that this day actually happened).

To further enhance the growing collection, As Seen On TV offers a limited quantity of the gold-plated Hawaiian quarter, “colorized” with the image of Barack Obama. If the state quarter is not “official” enough, the New England Mint has rolled out their Barack Obama Dollar to honor the 44th President. As limited edition, un-circulated coins, they truly guarantee a rare, authentic piece of memorabilia. And included in the introductory release is the President Barack Obama 2008 Kennedy Half Dollar layered in genuine 24 karat gold FREE…well with the additional $4.95 shipping and handling of course*.

There is also no shortage of treats should I choose to stray from the certified collectibles in favor of more mainstream gifts. My favorite is the G.O.P.-stomping, change-wielding, proletariat-defending Barack Obama Action Figure. He’s out to kick-some ass, Leader-of- the-Free-World style. Along this line, the Obama Bobble Head easily provides an additional high entertainment value. Republicans can ask any question (in a similar yes/no fashion one may use a magic eight ball). And 99% of the time they will receive an affirmative answer whether about their foreign policy or domestic agendas, various pork barrel initiatives, pay increases, etc. As the ad proclaims,”this Barack bobblehead is a very agreeable listener, no matter your party affiliation – give him a piece of your mind on taxes, health care, national security, anything, and he’ll nod right along.”

Below are a few other highlights of the Obama-craze:

President Obama Commemorative Sculpture with Stand Photo sculpture (in various sizes)

President Obama Commemorative Inauguration Keds shoe (again in various sizes)

President Obama Commemorative Beer Stein Mug (sorry- one size fits all)

Barack Obama Picture – Yes We Can – President Barack Obama Commemorative Wall Clock

President Barack Obama Throw

But the coup de grace, for me at least, has to be the Barack Obama Life Size Cutout. At 6’1,” He can stand in your office corner or in a place of prominence at the head of your dining room table. Wherever you choose to put him, you can have your own personal Barack sounding board (pardon the pun) for a steal or $33.45. You can argue policy or just ask for economic advice! Best part about this is…if you check out Amazon.com, you have the option of buying brand new…or used (only 2 left!). But America always offers many options. And while Amazon’s offer of a used Obama is tempting, I’d consider the Barack Obama Standee at CelebrityGift.com. This Obama is 6’2″ (so a whole inch taller), but the real sale is you can put your head on his body. For a more “personal” touch, this alternative allows any ordinary American to stand-in as the next President, thus proving this country IS the land of real opportunity.

*View the infomercial here: Obama Coins

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Today I quit my first job

and promptly threw-up.

Well, I thought about it anyway. Going into that little room to tell my boss who I love initiated the immediate secretion of excess amounts of saliva and sweat. I felt like I’d just stood in a steam room at 112 degrees for an hour. My cheeks were red, hands shaky, and I became suddenly fascinated by the skin on the sides of my fingernails, you know…that pillow-cushion pouch of skin that is ever-so tempting to naw on when you’re nervous.

The decision was not easy, and in all truthfulness only stemmed from the fact that my lease was up and I didn’t feel like finding another apartment…well that and a few other things.

I love my job, and would gladly stay but when the offer from another company came in, I realized it was an astounding opportunity, one I would be foolish to pass on.

So here I am…10:00 at the end of the day I handed in my two-weeks notice.

It’s amazing how sometimes things just fall into place. When I first decided to come to New York, I immediately took the necessary steps to get here. I found the job, then the apartment and in less than a months time I was taking the 6 and walking down Madison Avenue into my office building.

This change came with a bit quicker turn-around. I applied and within a week of submitting my application, I had two phone interviews and had set up a trip to Maryland for the face-face.

My half-day, planned-to-the-minute interview was to run from 8:30 in the morning until around 1:30. Ushered from office to office, I met with my potential colleagues and answered their questions about my job, my interests, my passions and my life; biggest change, best strength, one weakness, what would your manager say you need to work on, what do you like about your job/hate about your job. The clock whirled past 1:30. My interview finally ended at 3:30, and I was shmattered. Drained, I felt my switch super-glue and stick in the on notch so that when I walked into my sister’s house at the end of the day, I sat at her kitchen table and nodded, smiled, answered, nodded, smiled, and answered until they realized I hadn’t heard a word they’d said. My brain was mush. And when I surfaced and shared that I hoped it went well, my family all laughed at me. An interview lasting an unheard of 7 hours had to have gone well…right?

Right. They offered me the position right before I left for vacation, and sent me the official letter while I was on sunning on the beach. I had to take a drug test within two business days of receiving the letter, so while I was on vacation; to help, the company sent through directions to the nearest LabCorps in Atlantic City, New Jersey, our family vacation spot. Yes…AC…where drug paraphanelia once washed up alongside seashells. Naturally I passed as if there were any doubt, although Mom raised her eyebrow at me once or twice before the results were in.

When I got back from AC on Friday, I gave a lot of thought to if I wanted to leave NYC and this morning (a mere 3 weeks after it all started), I officially accepted the position. Another move, another change, another adventure. And to quote one of my favorite books, “so it goes…” and I’m going with it.

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