Monday, September 13, 2010

Party in the USA

Miley Cyrus has a little song you might have heard of, called "Party In the USA." If you've never heard it you can listen to it here. Catchy, right?

Most people mock the song for its horrible pop-ness, but I've really come to appreciate it for its deeper, more subtle meanings. The song came out last year, right as I was packing up to move to New Jersey. Beneath the silly lyrics about rocking kicks and Nashville parties (whatever those are), the song is really about how much of an obstacle homesickness can be when pursuing your dreams. Miley is jetting off to LA to become a big music star, feeling a little wary about being so far from her hometown, when she hears her favorite song on the radio. Despite being thousands of miles from Nashville, and all of the comfort and familiarity that that entails, she realizes she is still "home," in this mighty country called the United States of America, where people in LA are rocking out to the same songs as people in Nashville (or New Jersey, or Omaha, or DC).

There is a bar not too far from my house here in DC called the Union Pub where, every Saturday, Husker fans from across the city gather to yell and scream at the TV and drink pitchers of Elk Creek. The bar gets so packed with people the bouncer has to turn people away at the door, and every single patron is sporting Husker gear. That, my dear friends, is what Miley Cyrus is singing about in "Party in the USA." Thousands of miles away, in a strange and unfamiliar city, I have found a little piece of home to get me through.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I need you to promise me something right now. If anyone, and I mean ANYONE, ever invites you to go whitewater tubing with them, you must promise me that you will go. By far one of the most fun experiences I have had, and it was only $35!

DC was pretty empty this Labor Day weekend. Apparently there was supposed to be a hurricane, or something, so everyone fled, though I'm not sure as to where. A few of my friends and I decided to drive to West Virginia to float in tubes in Harpers Ferry, where the Shenandoah and the Potomac meet to make beautiful things happen. After an hour of listening to "Country Road" by John Denver on repeat to get us pumped up, we arrived. We had two choices, flatwater tubing, a lazy river-esque experience, or whitewater tubing, which they assured us was actually rather difficult, especially with the headwind rolling in to blow us off course into dangerous and shallow waters, and not at all the relaxing river ride we'd anticipated. But of course we've never been ones to listen to naysayers so we packed our cooler full of Modelo's and hit the open rapids.

The beginning, I'll admit, was pretty difficult. They dropped us off on the left side of the river, and then informed us we had to "aggressively paddle" our little selves against the current to the other side of the (rather wide, mind you) Potomac River.

Shortly after reaching the other side we hit a rocky patch and encountered our first rapids. They were small, only Class I and II (and for one brief and shining moment Class III!), but don't underestimate the pure thrill of conquering Class II rapids in a tiny tube.

Four hours of brief adrenaline thrills and lulls of lazy river lounging bliss later, we "aggressively paddled" our way back over to the left side of the river to the pick up point and left the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia river behind. Exhausted and half-starved, we scoured Harpers Ferry for barbecue (isn't that what you eat in West Virginia?) and finally found a place with pulled pork sandwiches and curly fries for $16. Refreshed from nature and packing several pecks of peaches from a fruit stand, we returned to the city with the rest of the masses, trying not to think of the "Terrible Traffic Tuesday" we would face in the morning.

In conclusion, whitewater tubing is something I recommend for everyone in the entire world. Because if everyone went whitewater tubing, I'm pretty sure there'd be a lot less war, and a lot more good times.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Well folks, I yet again find myself in an entirely new place with next to no plan. Yet again I decided to go through the agonizing pre-move jitters, to spend 18 hours of staring down the interstate wondering what in the hell I was doing, and to experience that first night in a strange, empty bedroom, so incredibly far away from anything familiar or friendly (well, except for Obie, of course).

I now live in a rowhouse in the Atlas District of DC, a block north of the bustling H St Corridor. "Up and coming" is the term the realtor used for our neighborhood, but what she really meant was "increasingly white." Popping up next to barber shops and soul food restaurants are hip, expensive coffee shops and swanky wine bars. Gentrification at its finest.

The greatest part about DC so far? Friends. Kenyon has blessed me with an incredible network of people already set up in this unfamiliar city, only a few Metro stops away. Even with the hustle and bustle of moving finally slowing down, I still have a full smorgasbord of things to do, which is exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I hope to start sharing with you here.

Until next time, I leave you with Obie's opinion on this whole moving business:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Conversations about LOST


For 4 years my friends and I both received a college education and got hooked on ABC's LOST (ever heard of it?). Now that we're apart, we meet on gmail immediately following each episode to trade theories. This could be stupid. Or it could be genius. I'll let you know.


10:21 PM me: HELLO
10:23 PM lexie: okay
and go
me: haha
lexie: from the end
work our way backward
me: richard was a slave on the black rock!
lexie: alive? or is that the man in black
WHAT? how'd you get that
me: OR is it jacob reincarnated?
MIB referenced chains@
10:24 PM and richard being in chains
10:25 PM lexie: got it
me: what elssssse
um knew it with the smoke monster = that guy
10:26 PM lexie: yes
me: also now it makes sense about the ash
around jacob's cabin
smoke monster can't get through it
lexie: aaaahhhhhhh
10:27 PM right
so whats with the parallel lives
me: ugh i don't even want to get into that haha
10:28 PM i don't understaaaaand
lexie: me either
10:30 PM me: i think that's something that's not going to make sense for a while
lexie: probs not
me: so i'm filing it away for later

10:26 PM Kate: theories???????
10:27 PM me: richard was a slave on the black rock
Kate: yesssss
into it
obvs sayid = not sayid
me: sayid = jacob?
Kate: no sayid = guy who killed jacob?
or possibly jacob i guess
me: i think he's jacob
Kate: since the other guy is already john lock
10:28 PM me: yeah
10:29 PM Kate: ahhh so confusing
so good
i want answers
10:30 PM me: i knooooow
Kate: poor juliette
10:31 PM we thought that was kinda unnecessarily sad
me: yeah that seemed pointless
i mean she is the star of a new TV show
Kate: now sawyer is just SO ANGRY
me: it makes sense why she's not in it
Kate: yeah
me: but did we really have to full on kill her again
10:32 PM Kate: yeah
and "it worked"???
she knew there was an alternate universe?
me: yeah
that doesn't make sense
10:33 PM Kate: also
ahhhh i forgot how mad this show made me when you can't watch 5 seasons consecutively in two weeks lol
me: hahaa

i know


9:03 PM me: say WHAAAAAT
9:05 PM me: do you think claire actually died when that house exploded that she was in
way back in season 4
before she disappeared
Kate: i don't knowwwwww
9:06 PM are they all just going to get taken over by the evil force guy?
9:07 PM me: noooo
not hurley
Kate: booooo
9:08 PM i like that kate and claire are still friends in the alter universe
me: haha i know
9:09 PM although what the hell claire
that woman just held you up at gun point
is everyone super naive in this alter-verse
Kate: haha
9:11 PM me: ok what else
i'm getting really sick of the intrigue from temple guy
Kate: haha yeah
me: "we'll tell you everything you need to know"
9:12 PM Kate: haha
9:13 PM me: jack seems so different now
9:14 PM Kate: yeah
9:15 PM traumatized
he doesn't know what to believe
doesn't trust himself
me: he's lost his leader pizazz
9:22 PM Kate: why did kate choose sawyer
i am getting so sick of that
Kate: oh you're grieving for your gf? wanna di?

not everyone can be evil?
me: i think she died when her house exploded back in season 4
9:27 PM and then became "infected" and disappeared
lexie: what is this infection?!?!
me: i don't knoooow
lexie: is it like rouso's group of guys
me: i think so
because they go down into the temple
9:28 PM and come back "totally changed" or whatever that japanese guy said
lexie: HMMMMM
is she the new rousseau
lexie: OH SNAP
9:30 PM me: i guess they do have similar life stories
island baby
lexie: makes senseee

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Market Street

For the three months I worked at Market Street, I tried to write about it. I have three unfinished posts waiting in the wings but I could never finish. There was always too much to explain, too much filler I would have had to write to make my point. And I hate filler. So I'm taking a different approach. When I remember something worth telling about, I'll write it down.

I'd like to start with Marlene. Marlene Sanders is an animal communicator. A pet psychic, if you will. I don't know how she does it. I'm not entirely sure she knows how she does it. But for $75 you can call Marlene and ask her to tell you about your pet. All she needs to know is their name, their general location in the world, and if there is anything specific you want her to ask about. She'll pause, and take a deep breath. And then she just talks.

I know. You don't believe me. I don't believe it either, at times. She once said that one of the horses compared the barn where he lives during the winter to a Motel 6. I don't believe that Seven Oaks, in all of his horsey splendor, could understand the concept of a motel, let alone be able to name one and understand that it is second-tier. But maybe it's more complicated than that, and Marlene is just trying to put it into terms we stupid humans would understand. That I can believe.

Erin called once about her dog, Baloo. Baloo is a half-husky and the smartest dog I have ever met, like he's only one life away from being full blown human. Baloo was in pain, and no one could figure out what was wrong. He would wake up suddenly from a nap, yelping in pain, with nothing obviously wrong about him. Erin tried everything, and finally she caved and picked up the phone. This is what she said: "His name is Baloo. He lives in New Jersey, and he's having health issues, and I don't know what's wrong with him." She didn't say anything else, didn't ask any questions, didn't give any other specifics (she's skeptical too, you see).

Marlene paused, and took a deep breath. "Oh he is a handsome dog, isn't he!" she said (It's true. He is.) "Yes he says people tell him all the time how handsome he is." (It's true. They do.) Marlene then told Erin that one morning when Baloo was by his favorite tree (whenever Erin and Baloo walk to the barn in the morning Baloo runs off to the same spot in the woods to do his business) a squirrel suddenly fell from the branches above him. Baloo then either chased the squirrel or ran away in fear. That part, Marlene said, wasn't clear. What was clear was that in his fight or flight he ran smack into a tree, and misaligned one of his ribs. His rib at the L3 vertabrae, to be exact.

Marlene also told Erin that Baloo was worried about the gray cat. He hadn't seen her in a while, and he was concerned. Erin had a gray cat named Puddin in Omaha, that she left behind when she moved to New Jersey, but she never mentioned that to Marlene. Baloo also said he didn't much like the red bed that Erin bought him, but he loved the blue one. In Erin's living room there is a red dog bed next to her blue couch. Three guesses as to which one Baloo prefers to sleep on.

A few weeks later one of the horses' massage therapists came to the barn. She also does dogs, so Erin asked her to look at Baloo, without telling her anything about what Marlene had said.

After a few minutes of working on him, the massage therapist said "Oh! He has a rib misaligned."

"I know this is a weird question," Erin said, "but can you tell which vertabrae?"

"Umm, the L3?"

I know I probably haven't convinced you, and I'm not going to pretend that I haven't called BS on Marlene a number of times. I still don't know if I really believe the part about the squirrel.

One morning Hoffy called Marlene because her horse Ruby Slippers wasn't touching her water. Ruby told Marlene the water was too cold, so we then had to lug hot water to top off all of the water buckets. We cursed Ruby and Marlene for a week after that, and tried to blow it off as craziness.

But Ruby drank almost a full bucket after that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

East Coast Friend Tour 2009

I don't have a job. Sometime this fall I will be gainfully employed by the likes of Anne Kurskinski, Olympic Equestrian and rumored German diva, but until then I occupy the glorious ranks of the Funemployed. I wake up every day around lunch time. I eat lunch, exercise, eat dinner, go out with friends who tell me about their work day, and repeat. This has been my oh so relaxing routine for almost three months, with the exception of two weeks spent in Kentucky earning enough money to fund my early retirement summer. For those of you writhing in jealousy, try it for one week and I guarantee you will be knocking down the door of your workplace to regain some sort of purpose in this world.

I wanted to go on a trip. A majority of my friends from school found their niche on the eastern seaboard, so I decided to point my little orange car east and see where it took me. My friend Kate who had been living at my house all summer was moving to North Carolina to live with our friend Lexie, which gave me a first destination. I made a plan: NC to DC, DC to CT, CT to MA and VT, VT to NE. It would be a lot of driving, and not that much time visiting each place, but I managed to give myself a few days at each location.

About three hours in to our epic journey, I learned that only fools make plans. Thirty miles outside of Kansas City we drove through some construction; I was in my car in the lead and Kate was driving in her car behind me. They were working on the shoulder, so instead of the smooth expanse with rumble bars to wake up sleepy drivers drifting off the road, the side of the interstate just dropped off a good 4 inches. As Kate listened to "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" and snacked on some beef jerky, her car slipped off the edge of shoulder. I noticed movement in my rear view mirror, and watched in horror as she spun off the interstate at 75 mph. She hit a cable barrier fence with the front of her car, chunks of her Subaru flying everywhere, which spun her around in the opposite direction, tearing off her back bumper and brake light as the back of the car hit the same fence and took out a sign that read, "Caution: Shoulder Drop Off."

Somehow I managed to pull my car off the side of the interstate and started sprinting the half mile it took me to stop safely back to Kate's car, which sat facing West. I must have looked fully capable, because not a single other person stopped to help. Miraculously Kate was entirely unharmed, so I called 911 who connected me to highway patrol, who sent 5 whole vehicles to get us out of our pickle. With the help of a very impatient trooper, who threw all of Kate's worldly possessions onto the side of the interstate, we transferred everything from Kate's car to my car before the tow truck arrived to whisk the mangled vehicle away. Everyone seemed confused when Kate and I didn't know what we were supposed to do next. "Well if you're driving that way you might as well keep going," the tow truck driver told us, without any explanation as to what was going to happen to Kate's car if we just left it in Oak Grove, MO while we trotted off to NC.

Kate started calling her parents, who tried to get in touch with their insurance company. State Farm is indeed like a good neighbor, but if it's Sunday you're going to have to wait until Monday for them to do anything about it, so we became reluctant residents of room 211 at Days Inn. We found one restaurant open on Sundays, a Chinese restaurant where the owner's 8 year old daughter was our waitress and my chicken fried rice had actual fried chicken in it. We drove around the Missouri countryside for a while, trying to calm our nerves, sure that we would be on the road again soon the next day.

On Monday morning it was raining, but I told Kate it could be worse. "We could be dead," I said, but she wasn't too reassured. "I don't like that the only other situation worse than this is death," she said. We checked out at the last minute, deciding that if we had to stay in this dismal town another night we were getting nicer digs. We went to Subway and watched the torrential downpour out the window as Kate went back and forth between the insurance company, her parents, and Steve Skaggs, Procision Auto.

Kate and I, who clearly know nothing about vehicle maintenance, decided at the latest they could have her car all fixed and ready by the next morning. Steve Skaggs told us it would take him a week and a half. Rather than sit around and pay for hotel rooms for a week and a half we decided the best option was for Kate to ride the rest of the way in my car, and then she would fly back when the car was fixed and pick it up to drive the rest of the way to NC. Before this happened, however, we had to spend two and a half hours sitting in Steve Skaggs' office trying to get a hold of Kate's dad, who, it turned out, had gone to the gym.

At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, three days after Kate and I had left the fine city of Omaha, NE for the Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill area of NC, a trip that should have taken us 19 hours, we arrived. As for North Carolina, I'm pretty smitten. It feels kind of like Ohio at times, but different in a way that's hard to place. The trees are different, we decided, or maybe the grass. We found a weird tea/smoothie place that puts tapioca pearls at the bottom of your drink, which don't taste bad but feel like you're chewing on fish eyeballs. Lexie's boyfriend took us to the beach yesterday, where we battled surfers for waves and got horribly sunburned. All in all it's a place I think I could live if things with the German Battleaxe don't work out.

My future trip plans are cloudy and tentative; losing that travel day really set me back. What I know for sure: on Saturday I leave this sunny southern state for our great nation's capital, where I will stay until Monday. Until then, here's to hoping I used up my drama quota for the rest of the week.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Impending Doom (the 'G' word)

I am ready to graduate. I have loved Kenyon, and I will miss it, but somewhere, deep down, I am ready for the next adventure.

Now that it is spring in rural Ohio, and the birds chirp every morning and the dogwoods have burst into bloom, it is a bit harder to remember that I don't actually want to come back next year. That if, in August, I once again were enrolling in classes that would lock me in the library for entire days and I would once again be eating tacos every Tuesday and some sort of chicken dish every night for dinner, I would throw myself off a small cliff. But right now? Oh man right now I would stay here forever.

In an effort to write in this ol' weblog more and in an attempt to commemorate my fast fading college days, I am going to try over the next two weeks to pay homage to the things I love about this pretentious place.

1. Allstu. Kenyon provides us with an All-student (happily abbreviated to 'allstu') e-mail forum that is used for everything from sharing procrastination techniques and finding lost possessions to epic debates that inevitably blow up into the most offensive diatribes anyone has ever read. My relationship with allstu is Love/Hate; sophomore year I tried to start a conversation about gun control after Virginia Tech and it disintegrated into a snarky outcry about immigration reform. But still, for better or for worse, the allstu is a virtual town meeting, a place where we can make our opinions known about issues at Kenyon or out in that so-called "real world."

It's also pretty darn convenient - if next year when I'm walking home from a party late at night and almost step on a skunk, and proceed to throw my keys/cellphone/wallet at it to scare it away and then run away myself, who will send a helpful email the next morning that they found it on their way to Peirce for breakfast?

2. The fact that I would be walking home from wherever when I run into the skunk because everywhere I would ever need to go is less than a mile from my doorstep. Also the fact that there are skunks everywhere and they always come charging out of the woods at me when I'm talking on the phone outside of my apartment.

3. Being a college student. There's something magical that comes with being a college student. You're automatically excused from pretty much anything requiring responsibility. It's ok to never have any money and yet still not be looking for a job. It's ok to wear brightly colored leggings as pants with a flannel t-shirt and sunglasses from the 80's, and to intentionally look like you haven't showered in a few days. It's acceptable to stay up all night working on something you've known about all semester, and to stay awake by drinking essentially poison.

And man is it hip to be a college student. Somehow we know about things weeks before they happen, we see TV shows and movies the day before they air, we know that something's out before it was even in.

Soon it will be irresponsible if I don't have a job. Unprofessional to dress like a homeless person. And just plain stupid to stay up all night doing anything. And at Thanksgiving when everyone's talking about some Youtube video that was mentioned at the end of the evening news or that a co-worker forwarded to them I won't be able to roll my eyes and say, "C'mon, guys, that was sooo last week, the parody of it is waay funnier."

I probably won't even have seen it yet.