Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cuisine d'Estade

I went to a Nationals game yesterday. I believe that's the first time that I've been to a baseball game since 2000 -- when I scored free tickets for interviewing the COO of the minor league Trenton Thunder and Carolyn and I danced on the dugout with the Wawa Goose and sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Ah, the perks of journalizing part-time for the Bucks County Courier Times.

Although the Wawa Goose had major B.O. That I could have done without.

No such golden stinky moments this time around, but it was a good game. I got me a hotdog and a super pretzel. Being that this was the first time I've been to a game since being able to purchase alcohol, I imbibed that a bit as well. Again, I had the pleasure of adopting a Pittsburgh team for the day, as I accompanied Beth in supporting the Pirates and incurring the wrath of pint-size Nats fans there for Little League Day. Snack it, kids...

I don't pretend to be a baseball expert. But since football season's a few months off, I'm happy for a day out. I'm also firmly of the belief that there hot dogs taste better when ingested in a ballpark, so I'm happy to seize the opportunity when I can.


Public Service Announcement

I went to the Save Darfur rally today. Let it be known that I generally avoid the numerous public demonstrations that take place down the road there on the National Mall. The last one that I went to was over three years ago, and I was underwhelmed to say the least. They tend to stray off-message quite a bit, and attract a lot of people whose preferred method of exercising their First Amendment rights is to write naughty words on placards. Nice.

But this one was a fairly pleasant experience. The many speakers stayed on message for the most part, and it wasn't a giant Bush-bashing session, which would have not only been unnecessary, but distracting. I can't say that I was as powerfully moved by the experience as the organizers may have wanted me to be, but I feel like the event did its job admirably.

If you are so inclined, InterAction's site currently has a nifty page of resources on Darfur, assembled by the most dedicated, talented, and fabulous media specialist they've ever had the good fortune to hire. The fact that there has only ever been one media specialist on the payroll does not, in this writer's opinion, detract from this assessment.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ice Cream Tastes Better When It's Free

Is it a sad commentary on my life that I was truly excited about it being Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's today?

Is it sadder that I realized that Free Cone Day was nigh all on my own two days ago -- when my internal clock went haywire after seeing an ad in the Sunday coupons and I realized it was late April, and Free Cone Day must be around the corner?

Is the saddest part of all that after all of this excitement and wrangling of co-workers and researching of new flavors (of which Neapolitan Dynamite and Vermonty Python were the front runners), that by the time we got there I had to settle for a misfit flavor like Bananas on the Rum?

I don't think it's sad at all.

It's the little things, really...


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Gee-oh-par-day, bee-otch.

It is indeed a red letter day in Shepherd family history! Anyone who's down with the Sheps knows of our unabiding love for the best of game shows -- Jeopardy! (you have to love a show that includes its own exclamation point in the title). So when they offered online tests for the first time ever, I was on it like white on rice. I took the test, and must say that I felt like I rocked it. Lo and behold, last night I got the word that I have been summoned to come to an undisclosed hotel in Washington to properly try out. Tres exciting!

If you're rolling your eyes right now, please understand how this warms my geeky little heart. I shan't go on and on, but will post more updates as events warrant, if they indeed warrant at all.



Wednesday, April 12, 2006


So we had our big old conference again this year, and if you're truly concerned about the state of foreign aid reform in the U.S. government, then you'd have found it scintillating. However, most folks are not as jazzed about that as most, so I'll break it down for you quick as I can.

First, a quick word on putting on a Forum. When an organization loves itself very much, it decides to make a conference. And although there are many people in the organization, only a few special people get to make the conference together. When it's time to have the conference, there is a lot of pain and screaming and crying. It hurts a lot. But after awhile you have a bouncing, squalling conference that everyone says is lovely and it brings you much joy to see it thrive on its own.

Plus you get to wear suits and squawk away on a cell phone holding a clipboard and everyone thinks you're much smarter than you really are when you do this. This is good for the ego.

The highlight this year was hosting President Clinton for a speech on tsunami recovery (riveting!). It was a shortish speech, for him anyway, but we did get a picture. It should be up on the homepage soon, or in the Washington pictures section. See if you can spot the former President! He is very large. Tall, like a giant. I got two handshakes and a shoulder pat. It's not quite Bono, but I guess it was cool. Some ladies were beside themselves. Meh.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Brit Bits

So the false alarm regarding the potential shutdown of NYU Home prevented me from posting a timely update of my trip to England last month. So I shall try to encapsulate the week thusly:

Despite my fears that York wouldn't be all that exciting, it is a very lovely medieval city with what a travel guide might call a vibrant young university-oriented population. It has a lot of nice pedestrian malls as well on the ground floors of those medieval houses. The old fortress walls still surround the city, and the whole quaint cityscape is dominated by the huge York Minster. If you're into history, it's a goldmine. Their viking heritage is preserved in a museum built atop an excavated village, and you tour the site via an Epcotesque chair ride that takes you through some cheesy/enjoyable tableaux of viking life -- complete with authentic 11th century smells!
York is also Richard III central. A very small museum is devoted to clearing his name in the accusation that he killed his two nephews, and what it lacks in presentation savvy it makes up for in heartfelt affection for its subject. It looks a lot like a very well-done 7t grade project. They are still wicked pissed at Shakespeare for the mean things he said. I appreciate their sincerity, but Dickie 3 totally did that shit.

Edinburgh, Scotland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Last time I was there we had 45 minutes to tour the Castle there and precious little time for anything else. This time we killed a day touring the Castle properly (it took a few hours), and walking along the Royal Mile and touring the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Palace is the Edinburgh base for QE2 and fam, and is also the Ripley's Believe it or Not of royal residences. Not only do you see the standard-issue extravagant bedrooms and parlors and art galleries, but several rooms are full of stuff like Mary Queen of Scots' hair and a cast of Robert the Bruce's skull. Excellent. I also had chicken stuffed with haggis and bacon in a whisky cream sauce. Yum.

Visiting London in 2 days is exhausting. We visited all of our old favorites -- British Museum, National Gallery, NYU London HQ, Oxford Street and the site of the old dorm, Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace -- all in the first day. We also saw the Princess of Wales memorial, which looks for all the world like a drainage ditch. Google it. You'll see what I mean. We spent the next day at the Tower, walking the Thames, and rushing to Harrod's just in time for it to close. We gatecrashed an evensong service at Westminster Abbey since it was closed for touring, and we wanted to see us some famous dead folks, consarn it. Each day was closed by getting engrossed in British TV at the hotel, including the British Apprentice. I have no idea who the Trump equivalent is, but he sure is more intimidating than the Donald.

So it was not a leisurely visit, to be sure. And my poor knees hurt something awful after all that walking and stair-climbing. But it was very worth it to see Christine again and have a little adventure.