May 31, 2010

May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

The Army Doesn’t Issue Crocs for a Reason

Apparently I missed the memo on what’s acceptable work wear these days. I’m by no means a fashionista, but I like to think I’ve watched enough “America’s Next Top Model” and “What Not to Wear” to understand how clothing and accessories are supposed to work.

And the things? That I see? On my commute? Every day? Not allowed.

I know, I know. D.C. isn’t sexy like Miami, or chic like New York, or let’s-embrace-our-podunkness like Boise. It’s somewhere in-between. But STILL.

If you wear a suit to work, please do not wear a backpack. Backpacks are for students, and people who hike. You’re getting off at Pentagon; there’s very little chance that your workday will involve either of those things.

(Exceptions, of course, for uniformed personnel. They can do whatever they want.)

If you take any form of public transit to work, you may wear comfortable shoes. Those shoes may NOT, however, be made of rubber or any other waterproof material. If you can wear them to or in the pool, you should not wear them on the train. I don’t care how many sequins are involved.

(Not even uniformed personnel get out of this one.)

You got a Kindle! Awesome! KEEP IT AWAY FROM MY FACE.

If you work for a federal agency that shall not be named, you should obscure your badge while in transit. Gentlemen, you may place the badge in your pocket. Ladies, your purse. This isn’t just good security practice, people. It’s the logical conclusion to the facts that you aren’t going to forget who you are or where you work, and none of the rest of us care.

Finally, if you must expose your arms, legs, chest area, or (shudder) feet, please make sure that they are presentable. There are few things I enjoy less on a morning bus ride than seeing fungal toes. Clean it up or cover it up.

Thanks, and keep counting the hours until that weekend.

May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

That was easy.

TheBoy recently gifted me with an Easy Button. That may seem totally random—actually, it probably SHOULD seem totally random—so let me explain.

While at a recent conference, I naturally tried to grab as much free stuff as possible. Since there are ethics rules limiting what kind of swag can be given to government employees, most vendors offer pens, keychains, etc.

Then you had Staples. Staples not only offered Easy Buttons, but also doled out prizes via a Wheel of Fortune-esque setup. I have wanted an Easy Button for YEARS, ever since I spotted a co-worker’s at my last job. So I was psyched to have a chance to get one, a real one, one for my very own.

I, of course, landed on the spot to win, like, brochures on ethics. WOO FREAKING HOO.

WTF, Staples. I went to the Office Depot booth, also with a wheel, and the guy asked me what I wanted to win. I spun and landed on the correct spot, but he intimated that I would’ve gotten my chosen prize (USB hub) regardless.

(That USB hub totally didn’t work, so I feel as if I was screwed twice, and neither time in a good way.)

Thus TheBoy’s gift of Easy button. Said button has been in my office ever since, and I’ll be darned if I don’t use it several times a day to ease my tension. I have NBC chimes, a Newton’s cradle, and a Magic 8 Ball for similar purposes.

In fact, I may have more toys within arm’s reach now than at any point since my childhood.

Do you have anything that makes you smile as you slave away for the Man?

May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

Top o’ the Mornin’ to Ya

What was your favorite breakfast cereal?

Was it Lucky Charms?

I’m trying to figure out if every person had a different favorite, or whether we’re living in a world full of people raised on hearts, stars, and horseshoes, clovers and blue moons, pots of gold and rainbows, and the big balloons!

(Okay, the fact that I can still recite that is not a little scary.)

(Dang, I remember when the balloon was introduced. I am older than a freaking breakfast cereal.)

I personally was a big Golden Grahams girl. We didn’t have a lot of straight-up sugary cereal around the house, since my mom is very Nutrition Conscious. It’s not that she only bought Shredded Wheat, per se. It’s more that you were probably going to find Cheerios and not Cocoa Puffs in our cupboards.

Anyway, my mom also likes Golden Grahams, so it was one of the few Approved cereals that also tasted like sweetness rather than death. (Sorry, All-Bran. Next time I need to punish a terrorist, I’ll give you a call.)

If your college cafeteria was anything like mine, there’s a good chance you ate more cereal during those four (or five, or six) years than during your entire childhood. Being able to eat cereal at any meal is definitely in the top four perks of adulthood, right?

May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Avert Your Eyes

Anyone else wishing that Lost finale had ended a little earlier?


My Hello Kitty interest probably began with the HK diary I got as a young girl. Like many Asian females, HK is small and emotionless. But also, zomg cute. With the little hair bow. And the bear. STFU, am I right?

So, anyway, after my visit to Korea and too much Googling, I have discovered that there is a whole world, nay, UNIVERSE of Hello Kitty products out there. Not just typical things like school supplies or lunchboxes. We’re talking stuff like this:

Let’s ignore for a moment the Starship Enterprise-worthy control panel on that thing.* Instead, let’s focus on the fact that you’re basically doing your business in front of Hello Kitty’s face. She is RIGHT THERE. In your privates. Quietly judging you, as all Asian women do.

I realize that no man is going to use a bathroom decorated with a HK theme. I’m a girl, and even I would rather suffer kidney disease that pee near the giant red bow.

Perhaps this is just another sign of the end of Hello Kitty.

* Though seriously, wtf are the Japanese doing in there? Is this why they’re so much better at math?

May 20, 2010

May 20, 2010

Things I’ve Read: The Devil Wears Prada

Y’know how people say the book is always better than the movie? I think I’ve found the exception. (The rare, very rare, VERY RARE exception. I daresay 999 out of every thousand books will kick film adaptation butt.)

In the twoish years since I first saw The Devil Wears Prada, the movie has really grown on me. I’ve seen it twice since, and enjoyed it each time. It’s a “smart girl girl power” film for my generation, with just enough haute couture and skinny bitch to keep me buying sugar free fudgsicles.

Thus I expected that reading the novel on which the film was based would only intensify my enjoyment of the work.

Hoo boy.

Let’s talk about what the movie excised: Lily, the graduate student best friend with a drinking problem. Mom and Dad, the aw-shucks-ain’t-our-girl-fancy-now parents. Lots of personal angst. All unnecessary, in my opinion. It’s not that I don’t like graduate students, or parents, or personal angst. I just thought they were complications with little payoff. I preferred the streamlines version in the movie: Andrea lives with her boyfriend, goes out with friends, works for the World’s Worst Boss.

Speaking of, Miranda was even more evil in the book. Point for the novel there. When you have 300+ pages, you can put in even more of the “Oh no she DI’INT” moments. I’ve had a few crappy bosses (okay, like two), but whoa. At least mine didn’t verbally abuse me and (gasp) prevent me from eating lunch.

May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

Nerd Merit Badges

Okay, go to nerdmeritbadges.com. Go on. I’ll wait.

Squee, am I right? I’ll take homonyms and Family Tech Support right off the bat, please. I want Full Stack Web Developer, but only because of the pancakes.

Frankly, they’ve got a great idea here. Think of the possibilities. A badge for grabbing the last five pints of Ben and Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns during the “5 for $5” sale. A badge for getting the closest non-handicapped parking space. A badge for maneuvering the Wal-Mart checkout line in less than 10 minutes.

The way I see it, every blissful moment when you beat the odds deserves a badge. One of my favorite parts of being in Brownies was the badges. I still have that little sash somewhere, with its badges in neat rows. You know what a badge is? A tangible proof of accomplishment. Why doesn’t that apply when you’re an adult? Adults get certificates, coffee mugs, plaques. For longevity of service, meritorious blahblahblah, special accomplishments in whatever. BORING. I’d like a way to show the world that I once ran four errands in under an hour. THESE are the things that make your day when you’re an adult, amiright?

May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010

Uncheck the Box

Why do people group similar taskbar buttons?

I actually don’t know if this is something that can be done in Linux or Apple operating systems, but I know it’s the default option in Windows. And I hate it.

Call me anal retentive (I certainly do), but is one button for one window so freaking hard? No window left behind, I say!

Now tabs, tabs I can deal with. Two clicks to get where you’re going: once on the taskbar button, once on the tab. But when you click a grouped taskbar button, you still have to figure out which of the 8 things labeled “Internet Explorer” is the right one.

(Yes, I still use Internet Explorer and not Firefox or Chrome or what-have-you. Shutup.)

Don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness of hiding inactive icons.

It’s just that I like seeing everything at one glance. It’s why I get drawer dividers and shelf organizers and more containers than you can shake an Ikea giftcard at. Piles be banished—long live smaller, neatly-contained piles!

This blog entry has been brought to you by the Container Store. And OCD.

May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

In My Opinion: An Education

Though this film has been out for quite some time, and seems like the sort of film I’d jump on (angsty! indie! Oscar-nominated! British!), I didn’t consider it until the final five hours of my flight from Korea. I’m going to chalk it up to Peter Sarsgaard, whose last name has too many vowels to be kosher. And this is coming from a girl whose last name is eleven letters long.
This bildungsroman is set in 1961 England. Jenny, a high schooler played by the luminous* Carey Mulligan, hitches a ride home from band rehearsal. So far so good, right? Plus, it turns out that David, the man who gives Jenny a ride, is tres charmant with a capital squee. He’s older. He’s into music and art and literature. He takes her to concerts, and jazz clubs, and Paris. No one’s surprised when she becomes completely besotted.

It’s not perfect, though. Jenny’s willing to overlook a lot, but even she can’t stomach David’s shady business deals, which include real estate scams targeting the elderly and, um, art theft.

Then there’s the whole underage sex thing. Yeah.

Still, there’s the music and the art and the PARIS and all, so she agrees to drop out of school and get engaged. At this point I took a little issue with the film, because HAS SHE LOST HER FREAKING MIND?

Ahem.

Seems like everything’s going to work out for these two crazy kids until Jenny finds a letter in David’s glove box. Addressed to Mr. and Mrs. David Goldman. As in, he is already married.

Oh. Snap.

Jenny breaks off the engagement, yells at her parents a lot, breaks her way back into school/exams/university, and ends up okay. She puts the whole incident behind her, treating it as a lesson learned.

I enjoyed the setting and the characters. Jenny’s parents in particular struck the perfect balance between “We are SO in charge of your life, young lady” and “Hey, we used to be cool, too, you know.” Peter Sarsgaard was a little creepy to me, but that has been true of every character of his I have ever seen. I think the man is evil.

* Yes, I’m allowed to call her that. I’ve been a fan ever since she appeared in a PBS adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. HA.

May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

The Worst Meal I Ever Ate

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” As far as I can tell (non-subscriber that I am), each episode involves food celebs talking about their favorite _____. Dessert. Fried food. Entrée. Whatever. Great idea, really. I’m all for talking about food. Good food.

This entry is not about good food.

You see, while on my recent trip to Korea (land of half my forebears), I had the worst meal of my life. Well, my life so far, but unless I check out North Korea someday, I’m calling it now. I will never put anything more vile in my mouth than I did that night.

(That’s what she said.)

It started out so well, too. The restaurant had many small, private dining rooms. The four of us sat at a sunken table, so that our butts were floor-level but we had space underneath the table for our legs.

Yes, the four of us. It was my parents, my grandma, and me. My non-English-speaking grandma. This was key.

Anyway, the kimono-clad waitress brought out the condiments. So far, so good.

Then some veggies and salad-y items. I could deal with those.

And then…oh SHIZNIT.

RAW, RAW, ALL OF IT RAW. Rubbery. Salty. Slimy. All at once. It was like eating a gummi fish made of actual fish.

Since my dad and I had no idea how many more courses were on the way, we grinned and bore it. Thank goodness my dad has a stomach of iron. And there were two Korean women involved, both with the metabolism of a hummingbird.

Finally, some more recognizable stuff came out.

But seriously. Once you’ve eaten something that was swimming around a tank mere minutes earlier, there is no joy left in the meal.

My dad and I asked for sodas and they brought out this Sprite-like drink. My dad’s diabetic, and it wasn’t diet. As he put it, “After that meal, just kill me now.”

My poor grandma probably spent upwards of $400 on that meal. We paid, too. In other ways. Good thing my mom kept the conversation going. In Korean.

May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

In My Opinion: The Invention of Lying

After I finished with Avatar and went to the bathroom on my neverending flight from Korea, I queued up The Invention of Lying. With some hesitation. Normally, I’d be all over a Ricky Gervais project with the same zeal normally reserved for Swedish furniture, sugar-free Coke products, and Tina Fey.

But.

But I knew that some of the morality would rub me the wrong way. It was a lot of years of dogmatic upbringing I went through, people, and not all of it was for naught.

Still, I had like 10 hours left on that plane and I’ll be damned if I was going to whip out the Uno cards.

The Invention of Lying is set in a world where lying does not exist. Everyone tells the truth. Always. There’s no otherwise about it. Gervais’ character, Mark, is a screenwriter who hates his job, has an almost non-existent love life, and pretty much no reason to live.

But then. But then he lies. He’s not sure what happened. But he finds out that by saying what ISN’T true, he can get money that isn’t his. He can get women to sleep with him. He can prevent his mother from fearing death.

He does that last thing by inventing the concept of heaven. The afterlife. God, called “The Man in the Sky.” Blasphemy? Pretty much. Let’s move past it and look at the rest of the movie.

Mark realizes that it’s more important for The Girl to love you for true reasons, and not because your lies compel her to. Despite the attentions of Rob Lowe, The Girl (Jennifer Garner) ends up falling for Mark. Their son inherits the lying gene, though.

Though I’m not a fan of the implications that religion really IS the opiate of the masses and nothing more, there were a few funny moments in this movie. Like with Avatar, though, I consider it something best experienced when nothing else is available.

May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

In My Opinion: Avatar

The consequence of a 14-hour flight from Korea was a desire to watch anything and everything I could on the in-flight entertainment system. Anything to distract me from 14 hours—yes, HOURS—in coach. Thus you’re going to be treated to a few reviews this week of films I would probably have never seen otherwise. Starting with Avatar.

I realize that until this point, I was probably the only person on earth not to have seen Avatar. As it stands, I an probably the only person on earth to have seen Avatar only on a 10-inch airplane monitor and not a screen so large it is viewable from space. Sorry.

I’m going to paraphrase the plot of Avatar as Pocahontas with aliens. Seriously, I was getting a very Mother Willow, “paint with all the colors of the wind” vibe from this thing. The evil developers want to ransack a new planet because they’ve wrecked their old ones! We must pray to the glowing energy tree for wisdom!

Lest I sound cynical about the whole thing, I’ll admit that the visuals were great. Even on a tiny screen. Was I psyched to see freaky blue people flying freakier animals? No. But those luminescent plants were pretty cool. As was the destruction of that home tree.

(Yeah, I voted for McCain. I’m so totally NOT the target audience for this film.)

Would I see it again? Probably not. It was long. I disagreed with many of the underlying philosophies about the relationship of man and nature. I found unobtanium an uncompelling MacGuffin.

But if I have 14 hours of uninterrupted free time? Fly me to Pandora.

May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010

It’s all about the Facespace.

Are your parents on Facebook? If so, you’re not going to understand this entry at all. Best check out what’s on Slashdot.

All right, so here’s the thing. If you’re still reading, I’m hoping your parents are as technologically-challenged as mine are. How to tell? Here’s a conversation I had with my dad recently:

My dad: “Do you use the Google?”
Me: “Um, I do.”
My dad: “Is it free?”

Sound familiar? If so, you know what I’m talking about. Perhaps your parents, too, have referred to “The Google.” Or think Twitter sells birds. I mean, it’s okay. It’s totally okay. Their heydays were filled with typewriters and ditto machines and stuff. They carbon copied. It’s all good. This is how parents are supposed to be.

So when 73-year-old Colin Powell gets an iPad for his birthday and likes it, I’m confused. It’s the same feeling I get when one my friends mention their parents’ blogs and stuff. What exactly are these tech-saavy baby boomers playing at? Go gentle into that good night, people, and leave the bandwidth for the kiddos.

In turn, we promise to quietly retire once the Matrix is implemented and let our bodies generate power for the kids. Seriously.

May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

Uncork the Hello Kitty, 2010 Vintage

As someone who often buys things that are a) pink, b) Hello Kitty-related, or (ideally) c) BOTH, I’m in no position to judge the products HK chooses to endorse.

(Yes, for the duration of this entry, I will refer to Hello Kitty as if she were a sentient being. PROVE ME WRONG.)

But I can’t help but wonder what the world is coming to when HK’s mug appears on adult beverages. What’s next? Barbie lingerie? Dora the Explorer prophylactics? Tigger cigarettes?

(If any of those things actually DO exist, please don’t tell me. I’d rather not know.)

I fear for the children who see their beloved cartoon character and assume the product is kid-friendly.

I fear for the adults who need a childish tinge to their grown-up activities.

Sure, I’m a 26-year-old who’s considered HK bed linens. But at least I admit that it’s completely age-inappropriate.

You can’t have it both ways, people. Someone stop this before I see Curious George Vodka out there.

May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010

In My Opinion: Green Zone

I am by no means an expert on war. Despite growing up the daughter of a WW2 fiend (seriously, I could always name more members of the Third Reich than of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation), no particular conflict has ever piqued my interest. That counts doubly so these days, as it’s no longer clear-cut “Good vs. Evil.” Unless, of course, you are playing a video game, in which I case I salute you with a whispered “Call…of…duty…”

Thus the closest I’ve gotten to a movie about modern war is Forrest Gump. (Not that I’ve seen a ton of movies about older wars, but I liked Gettysburg enough to own the soundtrack so ha.) I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker, or Blackhawk Down, or Saving Private Ryan, despite the fact that my dad owns all of them. Probably multiple copies. (He’s a collector with a bad memory. An accidental hoarder.)

BUT Green Zone was different. Partially Mostly because it starred Matt Damon. Partially because the main character wanted to find WMDs, not shoot/stab/explode people. Sorry, guys—I’m playing the girl card here and declaring that violence does not a good movie make. (Explosions, on the other hand…) Let’s not forget director Paul Greengrass, whose Bourne films I found quite enjoyable.

What do you need to know about this film?

Damon’s character, Roy Miller, keeps searching for WMDs and coming up empty. He realizes that the intelligence is faulty and wants to know, um, WTF.

Brendan Gleeson plays Martin Brown, a CIA operative who helps Miller in his quest to find out WTF.

Greg Kinnear plays Clark Poundstone, a smarmy Pentagon uppity-up who wants to keep WTF covered-up at all costs.

Amy Ryan plays Lawrie Dayne, a journalist investigating the “We know there are WMDs” interview given by a source codenamed Magellan.

Take these four characters, add several more Iraqis, and stir.

Is there a lot of violence? Yes. It’s the Middle East; violence is what they DO. Those parts weren’t my cup of tea, certainly—I’m the girl who was traumatized by the vibrating controller during Call of Duty 2. (“WHY IS EVERYONE YELLING AND SHOOTING AT ME? MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP!”)

However, like The Men Who Stare at Goats, this film makes you wonder WTF our government is really up to. And whether really knowing would make things better.

May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010

Land of the Morning Calm

In case you've been clamoring for my Korea pictures, rest assured that there are over 1400 of them.

However, to save us all (but mostly me) some time, I’m posting them only to Facebook. You are probably already my Facebook friend, and perhaps have already gotten a chuckle or two from my snarktastic captions.

If you are not already my Facebook friend, please cross the boundary from blog reader to pseudo-friend by shooting me your email so we can make this happen. I promise not to steal your identity using the information in your Wall Posts and Farmville account.

How else are you going to see my pictures of North Koreans, crazy English translations, and the worst meal I have ever eaten?

Think about it.