Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oscars, Zombies, and Being a Badass

A word on the Oscars before it gets too late to bear mentioning:

Once upon a time, I was obsessed with who was nominated for what, and made a point of seeing every movie that was nominated in as many categories as I could. This once resulted in a girls’-night-out with Mom consisting of a trip to see Saving Private Ryan in a theater with some PTSD-addled WWII vets, for which I think she still hasn’t forgiven me. This was back when my life’s dream was to write for Entertainment Weekly, back when I once made the statement “I just wanna have fun in my job! I don’t want to save the world or anything!” That one really gets a laugh at do-gooder NGO happy hours on the Hill, I can tell you. But then, we’re an easily amused bunch.

Anyway, this particular year I saw exactly one Oscar-nominated movie. Just one. And I’m not just talking about Best Picture. I hadn’t seen any other nominated movie, not even Norbit (best makeup). And the one that I did see, There Will Be Blood, I had seen just the evening before, and I came damn close to seeing yet another zombie movie. I think I’ve seen every zombie movie that’s come out in the past 18 months. You might wonder just how many zombie movies there could possibly be in a year and a half. Plenty. I’ve seen slow zombies, fast zombies, truly-undead-zombies, zombies-that-are-really-just-sick-people-zombies, zombies in London, zombies in New York, zombies in Las Vegas and a surprising number of dog zombies. I even recently had a dream that Mark and I were prepping for a New Year’s Eve pool party in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. At this point, zombies have become such a common fixture in my life that I was fairly unconcerned in the dream about the zombies, any more than I would be a traffic jam on the Beltway slowing us down. I was more concerned with which bathing suit I was going to wear, which of my friends were going to be at the party, whether or not I had shaved adequately, and the fact that New Year’s is a stupid time to have a pool party. Even the fact that my cats seemed to have become little kitty zombies was more of an annoyance than anything, because I had to keep them in the bathroom.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to see less zombie movies, and more quality films. And that doesn’t mean Rambo (which I have seen, and it was very, very loud). Although the last time I rented an Oscar-y movie, Babel, I thought it sucked big time. At least with zombie movies you know what you’re gonna get.

And a quick word on work:

I’ll not pretend I have the most glamorous job in the world. Okay, so there’s the odd photo-op with Bono and Bill Clinton, but really, that’s two days out of five years of being gainfully employed. I think the thrilling-to-ho-hum ratio is still a bit skewed. But today, we rocked the house, if I do say so. We helped the World Health Organization launch a major, major report on tuberculosis, and it’s all over the New York Times, BBC, Reuters, AP, etc. Watch for it. That was totally us. Is it okay that that makes me feel a little bit badass? Sure, it’s a scary, scary report on the resurgence of tuberculosis around the world, but it’s okay for me to be a little proud of myself, right?

Hey, at least it’s not a resurgence of zombies. Though I think I’d be something of an expert on that point as well.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow Day Tease

Washington's a weird place when it comes to inclement weather. Just the thought of a flurry is enough to close most schools in the suburbs. But it takes a snowstorm of apocalyptic proportions to shut down the federal government, which is what every business in DC goes by when determining whether to close for the day. So despite some nasty, icy days, the federal government-- and consequently, yours truly -- has yet to take a snow day this winter.

So when they really were calling for an apocalyptic ice storm to hit this morning (at rush hour, no less), I got all kinds of excited. Don't get me wrong, I still would have had to work from home, and I'm not one to shirk my responsibilities, but I do get giddy like a little kid at the thought of a snow day. Somehow, the thought of pitching drug-resistant tuberculosis stories to the mass media seems so much more appealing if you can do it in your PJs, sipping hot cocoa and watching the People's Court in the background.

So this morning, I jumped out of bed to check the news, certain that the icy mix falling from the sky would keep me nice and cozy at good ol' OneTwoThreeFour Mass Ave. Of course, all of the suburbs were snow and ice-bound -- and DC was open for business. It was rainy and slushy and gross, but the roads were clear. No People's Court for me. It was on with the giant South Park-esque Parkazilla, and out to the bus stop.

It didn't help that there was practically no one on the streets, as most people had to stay home with their kids. There was one person at the bus stop: a crazy dude screaming about how Dick Cheney took his X-Box. Why is it that the crazy people are always so politically informed? They may not know where they are at any given moment, but I bet they can rattle off a good portion of the cabinet. At least they can in DC. We have very informed crazy people. Sadly, homedude did not get on my bus, so I never found out what happened to his X-Box.

Weather permitting, we're off to Philly tomorrow to see my pal John Ciocci and his band Hard Cider play in Warminster. Really, my friend's bands are the only kinds of bands I see anymore. I love going, and I heart my friends big time, but I'm beginning to think I should branch out and see other bands whose members I haven't known since before puberty. Or not. It's a lot more economical this way, and I gave up being hip a long time ago.

Of course, our luck, the snowstorm of the millennium will hit tomorrow morning and prevent us from going anywhere. But I bet it will be all cleared up by Monday.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Does This Say About Me?

I came across the following headline in today's Onion:

Kitchen-Floor Conflict Intensifies As Rival House Cats Claim Same Empty Bag

And I laughed. I laughed hysterically. I laughed so as to arouse the curiosity of my officemates. Once I collected myself, I felt deeply embarrassed about having gotten so much out of a story about cats. What does that say about me? What kind of line have I crossed? It's only a matter of time before I start clipping out Cathy comic strips and putting them on my bulletin board. That cannot be allowed to pass.

Just when things looked as bleak as they could get, I saw this, and chortled anew:

Employees On Other End Of Conference Call Just Want It To Be Over

It's kind of like the first time I ever laughed out loud at Dilbert. I knew there was no going back at that point. I used to think that strip was deeply unfunny, and that anyone who liked it was sadly work-obsessed. Now, I laugh at Dilbert all the time. And a little part of my soul dies each time I do.

Maybe I should spend the weekend going to foam parties, sniffing glue and/or doing coke off the back of a toilet at Madam's Organ. That should set things right.

Or I could just watch Jeopardy with the cats and the boyfriend. Yep. That's probably what will happen.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Face-Plant on G Street

I feel like I've been on something of a roll lately. So it was inevitable that karma would literally give me a swift kick in the rear sooner or later.

I was coming off a great weekend where my guy friends and I went up to NYC for our friend Shwa's CD release party. Anytime I get a Manhattan fix and a friend releases a CD is an occasion to celebrate, and is sure to keep me in a good mood for few days. Plus, I've recently reached a bit of a milestone on a weight-loss plan I've been on since Thanksgiving, so I was feeling good. I put on my new, skinny Ann Taylor dress and some fetching little black pumps and set out to work today to bring the sexy to the office.

Then, during a work-mandated run to track down Saturday's NY Times at the library, I twisted my ankle stepping off the curb and executed a spectacular, ass-over-head/shoes-flying-off face-plant into the gutter. There was no stopping it. At some point mid-fall I knew I was about to make full-body contact with the ground, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was kind of emancipating for a moment, and then I felt nothing but pavement and deep, abiding shame.

I emerged with nothing more than a sore ankle and torn stockings, but even as someone who's had some legendary public falls, it was pretty awesome. Awesome enough to be rendered in crappy marker drawings. That's how awesome it was. Enjoy.