Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Dull Weekend in March

Not real cold, but not springlike. I sat on the Dupont Circle fountain this afternoon after the gym. The temperature at the bank showed 56F, but there was a cold breeze bringing a chill. I'm not a big fan of these early spring Saturdays, as they bring out the extreme dullness in me. And I am just a bit bored.

The weekend started on a bad note, as I completely blanked out on my debit card pin number as I was getting cash to buy a drink at Halo last night. In my panic, I tried a couple of number combinations, forgetting that if I entered three or more improper pin numbers the bank would shut down access to my money. I think I exceeded the maximum number, because the giant steel teeth at the ATM quickly closed and I had to snap my hands back quickly so my arms would not be bitten off.

In reality, it wasn't that exciting. My card just didn't work. That's all. And now I have to go through all kinds of rigamarole to get the thing working again. I'm wondering if I can get through a week without any cash at all. I still have my credit card.

I think the reason I blanked out was: for a couple of weeks now I've been setting usernames and passwords both at work and here at home. All kinds of letter/number/character configurations have been forming in my head and I think my brain is just tired of Qz**&blotto.$RPM-zert. And why hasn't anyone figured out a method of keeping all these codes straight? We've got this entire information superhighway, and vehicles to move us through it, but nobody's figured out what the keychains look like.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Living in DC
I just attempted to file my DC taxes online, through their Electronic Taxpayer Service Center. After I entered my itemized deductions and clicked "save and continue," the deductions screen re-appeared with this note: "Please verify your DC deductions." However, there was no button with "verify" on it, no link to what this sentence means, no identifiable way to move the process forward. I called the DC tax office, and was given a phone number of the ONE person who can help in these online matters. I said "You mean you only have ONE PERSON who can answer questions on the web site's tax form?" "Unfortunately, yes, that is the case," the person on the end of the line said. "You'll have to leave a message and have her call you back." I told the tax office I wouldn't even bother to call. Doesn't DC realize that, when you're offering an online service like this, that there will most likely be THOUSANDS of people with THOUSANDS of questions, who don't want to wait around for someone to call them back? Oh, yeah, right. I forgot. I'm in DC.

In the end, I did call the number I was given, and got voicemail. I didn't leave a message. DC needs to learn a lesson from about effectively building an online system of forms and customer service.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

PD took me through a workout today that was notable for the level of
I experience during the 90lb calf raises.

Screaming, searing, apocalyptic pain.
Pain that flowed like lava up from my ankles
shot along my shins
and gathered, spinning
like hot gas at the beginning of the universe
right there in my gastrocnemius.
And that was during the rest phase of the superset.
PD saw that I was letting the weight touch the floor,
taking off some tension.
"Oh, no," he said. "Don't let it rest!
Guess I gotta watch you like a hawk!"
So he started counting down from 30, again,
and the big bang started, again,
and whole galaxies must have been forming in my lower legs,
that's how much pain I felt.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It’s Leave it to Beaver gone all wrong.
It’s Dr. Seuss’s only live-action movie (that he actually wrote.)
It’s on TCM TONIGHT! (Thursday):

The 5,000 Fingers of
Dr. T

When I was a kid, my elementary school would show movies on Saturday afternoons. For a dime, plus a couple of nickels for candy (which they sold right in the open in those days), we were treated to a string of grade-C westerns, grade-Z 3 Stooges flicks, and once, a Hammer-produced pirate flick which I remember mostly being about piranhas eating wenches, mostly. Only two movies they showed stand out in my memory as being any good – The Incredible Shrinking Man, featuring 50’s hunk Grant Williams, and "The 5K Fingers"...

Now the Shrinking Man was exciting stuff. The 5K Fingers was ... well ... LSD for those of us who weren't removed in the first 15 minutes. I remember thinking “cool!” when some kids started crying and their moms had to take them home. Hopped up on Sweetarts and Junior Mints, my “fragile little mind” eagerly scooped up this Hollywood accident of good intentions and subconscious boyhood trauma.

I wouldn’t see it again for almost thirty a now-defunct U-Street bar, the Andalusian Dog. Flying baguettes all along the ceiling, multiple video monitors throughout. The Washington Psychotronic Film Society programmed it and, along with the $1 Rolling Rocks and the festively attired crowd, I sat on a bar stool and the movie worked on me. Again.

I suspected the Dog’s patrons were ready that night to laugh post-modernly at the onscreen battle between Bart and his prissy piano teacher. They didn’t. They loved it.

The film is now considered “cult.” Some people even believe that the Bart Simpson/Sideshow Bob Terwilliker conflict owes its origins to this movie, although this has been disputed.

I own Dr. T now, and I usually watch it every third Christmas Eve.

Things to look for:
On top of Bart’s piano, at the beginning and end of the movie – notice the two framed pictures - of the roller-skating bearded guys.

Mrs. Collins criticizing the “beanie-makers” for producing a limp-wristed “Happy Fingers” skullcap.

Also her “half and half” outfit in the same scene.

The nonchalance with which the flick introduces its most bizarrely Freudian concoction – the “Lock-Me-Tight.”

The somewhat-shirtless boxing guys in the aforementioned dungeon dance.

The bear-ish guards who need to shave twice each day.

The pre-diva era snap-and-leap Dr. T’s impossibly broad-shouldered valets execute in the “Dress me, Dress Me, Dress Me” number.

Monday, March 20, 2006

But it's still cold.

I found a great recipe for turkey meatballs on Scroll down past the Falafel and the Dal Masala to the "Baked Yam with Turkey Meatball Marinara." Actually, now that I look at it, I didn't follow this recipe. Using it as a rough guide. I procured a pound of ground turkey (from Whole Foods, dark meat, claimed it was 4g fat per serving unless they're lying sacks of circus peanuts), and mixed it with a couple of egg whites, some chopped onion and garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, and the universal ingredient Mrs. Dash. The resulting concoction was a bit sloppy and formed into meatballs rather messily. I baked them at 400 for 20 minutes (got that from the recipe). They stuck a bit to the cookie sheet (note: gotta get more Reynolds Release foil) and they looked like turkey macaroons, but they tasted FANTASTIC. At least to me. My kitchen was a mess afterwards. And now the leftovers are beckoning, sirenlike, which is just fine, since it's time for dinner.