Friday, February 11, 2005
Well, after learning as much as possible about websites, HTML and Movable Type, and after toiling away for the better part of this week, I'm just about finished with my new site. It's not perfect yet, but it's close enough for now, and there aren't that many more kinks to work out. Besides, I really didn't feel like copying my entries onto Blogdrive anymore. Weird things happen when you do that. And it's Friday. No one should get frustrated on a Friday.
So, without further adieu, I'm moving this blog over to my new website at www.bleetown.com. Feel free to update your links and read away. Hopefully, the site won't implode from my complete ignorance of HTML, CSS, RSS and all the other geek acronyms that I cursed this past week. But I'm making no promises. Right now, it's a fragile house of HTML cards.
Posted at 03:01 pm by B.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
The Only Thing Worse Than a Seminar is a Day-Long Seminar
So I'm in the middle of a day-long seminar on some software package I don't really care about. What I thought would be a good change of pace and a free lunch has turned into something quite different. I know, I know. It's true what they say -- there's no free lunch. And boy, am I learning that the hard way right about now. The trainer's nice enough, but anything that starts with, "For the next 3 hourse, we're going to talk about..." isn't really something I want to be a part of. Unless of course, the next words that come out of her mouth are, "...how to spend your lottery jackpot winnings." Okay, then maybe I'd sit and listen. For at least the first 15 minutes.
I've been busy working on moving this blog over to a new website, which I'm hoping to launch sometime next week. The hours spent working out all the annoying (and frustrating) kinks is one of the reasons I've been writing less. But the good news is that I'm almost done. I just need a test run and some fine-tuning and I'll be set. Awesome.
Dinner at the French Embassy tonight, which ought to be nice. That'll give me at least something to look forward to as I sit through this painfully long seminar. Okay, I've taken advantage of a 15-minute break by stretching it to 45 minutes. I'm sure they haven't missed me.
Okay, I have to go back in...which I'm sure I'll survive. After all, I think lunch is being served soon...
Posted at 11:39 am by B.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Friends and Shrinking Shirts
I think that one of the sad and inevitable results of growing older is that your world begins to shrink. At first, it's barely noticeable. There's too much to do, and too many places to see for you to notice. There's party after party to go to. Ridiculously packed weekends. Birthdays. Dinners. Super Bowl Parties.
But in the years following college, things begin to happen. People move away. They get married. They go to graduate school. They have kids. Responsibilities grow. Doors begin to close. And just like that...like a new shirt fresh out of the dryer, your world feels just a little bit smaller. Even a bit uncomfortable, though you can't seem to figure out why. I can see it in the friends I have now. Friendships that have less growth and shallower roots than you'd imagine (or I'd like).
While I loathe friendships of convenience, I've felt recently like I've been somehow connected to a fragile network of them. Some friends, like Jenga pieces, have been pulled out of my life because of breakups I've had. Groups of friends, actually. And that makes me sad. Still, in their absence, other friendships have been kindled. Fun, kind people that share similar interests and values. Some are entirely new friends. Others are old acquaintances that have evolved into something deeper. But like a freshly landscaped garden, they still look a bit out of place -- new plants in this old garden. With topsoil and mulch covering the fallow ground. It is the unmistakable smell of freshness and infancy.
I suppose no matter who you are, the truth is simply this -- we all crave deeper friendships. Which, when I think about it, is probably why I'm headed down to Birmingham in a couple weeks to visit one of my best friends. To spend time with someone who has the same struggles and sees life in the same way I do. To escape the feeling that I'm more alone than I imagine.
This past weekend, I went to a friend's birthday party with 6 other people. No grand party for 50. Just a table for 7 (and a baby) at Teatro Goldoni. And as I looked around, I realized that I've been friends with these people for over 15 years. Through some amazing times. Through some bumpy rides. Times of sorrow and of conflict. But somehow (and Lord only knows why), they keep inviting me to dinner. And I keep coming. They have become my extended family and if I were to have only them in my life, I'd consider myself lucky.
Still, that being said, the world to me still feels a little bit smaller than yesterday. And sometimes, I can't help but feel like I'm choking.
Posted at 03:36 pm by B.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Generally, my commute to work is about 45 minutes. It's a pain driving from Tysons Corner to Dupont Circle every day, but I grin and bear it. Actually, I just bear it. It's a lousy 45 minutes too, driving over DC potholes and millions of other angry, aggressive drivers. It stresses me out enough that I will usually plan my work schedule around rush hour. And of course, after my last traffic debacle, I was pretty much fed up with commuting in general. I was ready to quit and become a full time reclusive writer. Just give me a gin and tonic and call me Earnest Hemmingway. On second thought, didn't he kill himself? Okay, just a gin and tonic, I suppose... I can learn to like them. Really.
Now I hear this. I mean, come on. Apparently, adding 16 movie theaters, a food court and 300,000 square feet (which is still not done) isn't enough for their greedy little paws. Now the developers want 2 million more square feet of office space, 600 apartments and a 120-room hotel. For anyone who knows what Tysons Corner is like, that's like trying to fit an extra 6 eggs into a 12-egg carton. There's just no room, and if you keep packing crap in there, something's going to break. When I moved out there, I thought I was in the suburbs. There are actually now suburbs of Tysons. Crazy.
To make things seem nicer, they even drew pictures with watercolors. Here's one rendition. Incidentally, the arrow is where I live. Seriously. That's my neighborhood back there.
I know that once the Metro comes to Tysons and all of this stuff is built, that the value of my house will go up. But what good is a house whose value is appreciating, if you can't get to it?
Posted at 09:19 am by B.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
While I was waiting for my grilled chicken sandwich yesterday at lunch, I heard a muzak version of "Don't Know Why," by Norah Jones. Which of course poses this simple question: "With all due respect to Norah Jones, aren't her songs basically muzak already?" I mean, seriously...do you have to go the extra mile and cut the song up into generic pieces of electronica? I would almost be happier hearing some Korn or Linkin Park on muzak. At least that showed guts (if not bad judgment). I really thought muzak died a fiery and ear-wrenching death years ago. But apparently, it is still alive and kicking...at least at the Dupont Circle Fuddruckers.
Speaking of music, last night, after happy hour with some co-workers, I went to see Paquito D'Rivera play at Lisner Auditorium. Boooo on everyone who flaked (apparently musical culture, even if it was paid for, isn't worthwhile enough to get off the couch and stop watching "The Amazing Race"). He was awesome, and the addition of two classical guitar players (the Assads) seemed perfect for his style of Cuban jazz. He seemed at ease with his playing, and had fun with the audience. It was vibrant and melodic. And in typical jazz style, he colored outside the lines a lot with improvisation and syncopation. There was even a tribute piece to Dizzy Gillespie featuring a lot of his old songs. Awesome.
As a musician myself, I am convinced that your musical style is intimately linked to your personality. For instance, jazz players typically are more laid back, much like jazz itself. People who prefer something baroque tend to measure their lives in that fashion too. If you are a logical, analytical person, it will undoubtedly show in your music. It's no wonder that most jazz musicians had troubled pasts, for their play is loose...without boundaries. And I guess that in a weird way, it is those past experiences that make for the best jazz.
As for myself, my playing is generally creative and improvisational, but in public, it's more reserved and timid. When I am by myself, I play without fear. But in a concert setting, my playing feels much different. More mechanical and intentional. I suppose you can draw your own inferences from that. But hey, it could be worse -- at least I don't like muzak.
Posted at 11:32 am by B.
Monday, January 31, 2005
This morning was one of those times that it took all of my willpower just to get out of bed. Somewhere between the snow and the ice of this weekend, my head gained about 100 pounds. My nose is actually swollen from whatever sinus thing I've got going on. I feel like I was just on the business end of a fistfight. I can barely breathe. Just how you want to feel on Monday morning. I would have stayed home had it not been for a meeting today. But I'm thinking that as soon as it ends, I'll be on the express train to MyBedsville. So I guess I have something to look forward to after all.
In my annual bid to watch all of the Academy Award nominated films (which actually may be possible thanks to Netflix), I saw "Maria Full of Grace" on Friday night. It was excellent in that independent movie kind of way -- completely depressing, but interesting nonetheless. Not "21 Grams" or "House of Sand and Fog" depressing, but not quite a Disney movie either. I heard that Catalina Sandino Moreno insisted on not practicing swallowing the drugs before the shoot to make the scene more lifelike. That had to be a fun day of shooting...swallowing 62 balloon props as big as your thumb. All in all, a pretty powerful and sobering movie, although I have to say that the last scene, where Maria is leaving the airport, and she passes by a billboard that says, "It's What's Inside That Counts" was a little cheesy. Boooo on the director for trying to bludgeon us with cliched Hollywood conventions.
Went to Great Falls during the day on Saturday to watch the snow fall, and then went to a "bling bling" party on Saturday night, which was pretty fun. It gave people the chance to show off their Christmas "bling", though some people took it to mean to get out their best pimp gear. And still others apparently thought that this was an excuse to dust off their old bridesmaid/high school prom dresses. I'm not sure that a bridesmaid dress really qualifies as "bling", but whatever... Truthfully, some of it was hilarious, and there was lots of flash and ice to go around. Despite the snow and frigid air, an enjoyable time was had by all.
Sunday was spent reading the paper and all the magazines I hadn't gotten a chance to read. Speaking of bling, I ran across an amazing article on the life of a man who had won the largest powerball lottery in history, and how his life (and those around him) subsequently devolved into chaos and pain. Incredible how money changes you. It's a long article, but worth the read. Really.
Posted at 11:22 am by B.
Friday, January 28, 2005
I Usually Like Them a Bit Older...
I just got these pictures of Jen Roe's daughter, Meg, yesterday. I think these were taken over last Christmas when Jen was in town. I have no idea why Meg's holding a framed picture of me (or for that matter, why there's a framed picture of me). No, she didn't get it as a present, as it kind of looks like from the pictures. And if she did, it wasn't from me. I'm not sure what to think, but I guess I'm a bit flattered (although the last picture is starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable).
Posted at 09:28 am by B.