Tuesday, January 29, 2008


i love this word. in case you don't know:
agita (n) /aw JI tuh/: agitation or anxiety. Ex: The house remodeling gave her agita.
Etymology: Italian agitare: 'to agitate'

tony soprano used it a time or two when things didn't go his way. garbage contracts. disputes with the new york family. me, i've tended to use it with those minor annoyances that don't quite make you angry or truly aggravated.

someone driving five below and you can't get around them. people driving (instead of passing) in the left-hand lane. not being able to start the boulder problem that you flashed last week. only having a half cup of milk when the recipe calls for three-quarters. your roommate uses the last roll of toilet paper and doesn't replace it. rubberneckers that slow traffic to a crawl. a black fly in your chardonnay. those little pet peeves that bother you slightly, but quickly pass. then they make you laugh when you remember how worked up you seemed over it.

what gives you agita?

Monday, January 28, 2008


'twas a busy weekend. tour of the capitol, swing dancing, and tour of gunston hall. here's some pics from the whirlwind. enjoy!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


myself back to health that is. the whiplash-like symptoms are gone, thank God! the bruise on my lower back is still there, but it's not reminding me every single step.

climbed for the first time tonight in about a week. went well. i sent a long standing project of mine. ok, it was only 2 weeks, but give me some credit! anyhow, i was careful of any falls or anticipated falls. no major mishaps. if this injury lingers, maybe it will help my climbing. sounds crazy i know, but my footwork improved vastly when i sprained my ankle. it helped that i had to be really deliberate about foot placement and movement to not tweak it. with this, i make sure that each move i make is going to stick, and i'm ever aware of the jarring my body takes when i just jump off after i send. perhaps i'll be more ninja-like when i land once i finally heal...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

snow day controversy

this was in the washington post today. i hear it was on good morning america too. thoughts?

Va. Student's Snow-Day Plea Triggers an Online Storm
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2008; A01

Snow days, kids and school officials have always been a delicate mix.

But a phone call to a Fairfax County public school administrator's home last week about a snow day -- or lack of one -- has taken on a life of its own. Through the ubiquity of Facebook and YouTube, the call has become a rallying cry for students' First Amendment rights, and it shows that the generation gap has become a technological chasm.

It started with Thursday's snowfall, estimated at about three inches near Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke. On his lunch break, Lake Braddock senior Devraj "Dave" S. Kori, 17, used a listed home phone number to call Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer for the county system, to ask why he had not closed the schools. Kori left his name and phone number and got a message later in the day from Tistadt's wife.

"How dare you call us at home! If you have a problem with going to school, you do not call somebody's house and complain about it," Candy Tistadt's minute-long message began. At one point, she uttered the phrase "snotty-nosed little brats," and near the end, she said, "Get over it, kid, and go to school!"

Not so long ago, that might have been the end of it -- a few choice words by an agitated administrator (or spouse). But with the frenetic pace of students' online networking, it's harder for grown-ups to have the last word. Kori's call and Tistadt's response sparked online debate among area students about whether the student's actions constituted harassment and whether the response was warranted.

Kori took Tistadt's message, left on his cellphone, and posted an audio link on a Facebook page he had created after he got home from school called "Let them know what you think about schools not being cancelled." The Web page listed Dean Tistadt's work and home numbers.

The Tistadts received dozens more calls that day and night, Dean Tistadt said. Most were hang-ups, but at one point, they were coming every five minutes -- one at 4 a.m., he said. At the same time, his wife's response was spreading through cyberspace.

Within a day, hundreds of people had listened to her message, which was also posted on YouTube. A friend of Kori's sent it to a local television news station, and it was aired on the nightly news program. As of yesterday, more than 9,000 people had clicked on the YouTube link. Hundreds of comments had been posted on the Facebook and YouTube pages, largely about what constitutes proper and polite requests for public information from students.

One Oakton High School student said in a posting yesterday that the crank calls to the Tistadts' home were out of line but that Kori's call was appropriate. "I am not happy that [Dean Tistadt] gambled multiple times with our safety just so we might have a bit more knowledge crammed in our heads at school," he wrote.

A Westfield High School student agreed: "thank God someone stood up for us at last!"

Some were just as adamant the other way. A student from James Madison High School in Vienna wrote: "It's called a home phone number for a reason. My dad is a physician and I can't tell you how irritating it is to get calls at all hours of the night from people who think they are entitled to immediate attention . . . leave the poor guy alone."

Kori, a member of the Lake Braddock debate team who said his grade-point average is 3.977, said his message was not intended to harass. He said that he tried unsuccessfully to contact Dean Tistadt at work and that he thought he had a basic right to petition a public official for more information about a decision that affected him and his classmates. He said he was exercising freedom of speech in posting a Facebook page. The differing interpretations of his actions probably stem from "a generation gap," he said.

"People in my generation view privacy differently. We are the cellphone generation. We are used to being reached at all times," he said.

Kori explained his perspective in an e-mail yesterday to Fairfax County schools spokesman Paul Regnier. Regnier said, also in an e-mail, that Kori's decision to place the phone call to the Tistadts' home was more likely the result of a "civility gap."

"It's really an issue of kids learning what is acceptable and not acceptable. Any call to a public servant's house is harassment," Regnier said in an interview.

Kori said that he was called into the principal's office to discuss the matter but that he was not punished.

Candy Tistadt did not return phone messages, but Dean Tistadt credited Kori for having the "courage of his convictions to stand up and be identified." He also credited him for causing the high volume of crank calls, not to mention considerable grief and embarrassment for his wife.

"This has been horrible for her," he said, adding that he and his wife both learned a hard lesson about the long reach of the Internet.

on one hand, this kid had a valid point. three inches of snow here is like a foot elsewhere. the plows can't keep up, and the drivers freak out about it. even this florida boy keeps a cooler head in such road conditions! it was just snow, though, no ice.

on the other hand, this kid knows that past 10:30, if the day isn't called for early dismissal, it's not going to be. in a county this size, it'd be a logistical nightmare to recall buses and parents on an hour-by-hour basis. he knew that. additionally, he obviously has not been taught a proper sense of decorum and decency by his parents. just because you have someone's email address or home phone number doesn't mean you should use it. mr. tisdadt has the right to a life separate from work, though many in the media would have you believe differently about public servants or those in the public's eye. thoughts?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

whipped and lashed

she tells me it's going to get worse before it gets better. that this time, it's going to hurt more. it's going to take a few days to heal up. next time, it might take longer.

snowboarding hurts. last time, i did well because i was only concerned with getting down the run without falling. i was like a rocket sled once i got my balance. this time, i tried to amend that rocket mentality in different conditions on what seemed to be different terrain too. the ground was much harder it seemed. maybe i was going faster. trying to slow myself and figure out how to turn slammed me to the ground. the last hit left me bruised and whiplashed, but not broken.

pain aside, i did have a blast. a little too crowded for a lot of runs though. gimme a few weeks, and i'll be back...

Monday, January 21, 2008

changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes

i never gave much thought to how true this title is. life is good. few things lacking. friendships forming. familiar strangers are many. all it took was moving about 10 degrees north in latitude.

"yesterday's over my shoulder, so i can't look back for too long. there's just too much to see waiting in front of me, and i know that i just can't go wrong."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

music is food for the soul

you know that i have an...eclectic taste in music. here are the first 10 songs that windows media player spit out on a random playlist this morning.

1) "down home" by alabama. early 80s country classic.
2) "get me off this f***ing island" by chin up chin up. indie rock? i'm not even sure where this track came from.
3) "whisper leaf" by arizona. indie-acoustic. free download.
4) "the eagle" by waylon jennings. jingoistic outlaw country.
5) "natural born killaz" by nwa. groundbreaking gangsta rap.
6) "it's bad you know" by r.l. burnside. background score from the sopranos.
7) "shake it baby" by john lee hooker. blues blues blues.
8) "lightning bolts" by morningbell. the current old men of the gainesville music scene. myspace calls them psychedelic rock.
9) "buffalo soldier" by bob marley and the wailers. classic reggae.
10) "b boys will b boys" by black star (a.k.a. mos def and talib kweli). smart hip-hop emcees.

missing from the mix were jazz, classic rock, soul, punk, bluegrass, dance, folk, electronic, funk, grunge, irish, metal, big band, rat pack-ers, r & b, reggaeton, and southern rock.

then there's the stuff that can't really be categorized. stuff that crosses genres, on the fringes of all. that's the stuff i really like. musically, it sounds like country, but lyrically it's punk. musically, punk; lyrically, 80s bubblegum pop. you get the idea. any recommendations for new stuff to listen to?

Friday, January 18, 2008

gastronomic delights

this week is d.c. restaurant week. prix fixe three-course menus at the best restaurants in and around the district. $20.08 for lunch, $30.08 for dinner. last night, she and i went to bobby van's steakhouse on new york avenue. described online as the birthplace of the power lunch, i had high hopes for a great meal. having been to bern's in tampa though, bobby van's had a high bar to meet as well.

appetizer. we both had the mussels and vegetable chowder. great for the nasty, wet weather we encountered in our two block walk from the metro. a little thinner than most chowders i've had before, but it was phenomenal. yes, it helps that mussels are probably my favorite shellfish. i'm going to see if i can replicate it sometime soon. the salad that looked the best to me had a grapefruit vinaigrette on it, and i'm not a fan of grapefruit at all.

main course. i the filet mignon, she the penne pasta with sausage and cream sauce. the filet was the only steak choice on the abridged menu, i felt obligated to try their steakhouse fare. i was not disappointed. perfectly seared, melt in your mouth perfection. i shared some with her, and she didn't eat another bite of her pasta. not because the pasta was bad, the steak was that good and she didn't want to lose that great taste. the pasta is currently in my fridge. i think she forgot about it!

dessert. i was going to order the chocolate pineapple flan, but i was "told" i was having the cheesecake. it was good, but the flan was better. amazing. i may go to bobby van's for a beer and the flan sometime real soon.

oh yeah, i almost forgot. the wine list only sold by the bottle, which i guess i should've expected at a quality steakhouse. i asked for a guinness instead. rebuffed by the waiter, "we don't serve guinness." asked then what the gentleman at the next table was drinking (which i could see was clearly a stout), he replied, "murphy's irish stout."


delayed, round two

without christmas shopping to do, i'm busy killing time until i have to leave for work. traffic news is a mess. overturned vehicles everywhere. accidents on my route to work. hopefully the black ice will melt by the time i have to leave.

(for my loyal florida readers, black ice is quite possibly the most treacherous road condition i have ever come across. yes, including s. fla. flooding. with flooding, you go slow, but you don't lose control. black ice occurs when the roads are wet and the temperature drops slowly to below freezing. the water on the roads and sidewalks freezes from the ground up, leaving a thin layer of water on top of already slick ice. think cooking oil on a tile floor wearing bowling shoes. marbles on a bowling lane wearing roller skates. as the boys down south say, slicker than snot on a doorknob. i was first humbled by black ice in indy super bowl sunday 7 years ago. pulled into a parking lot full of it, going five mph. back end of my truck started coming around...and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop the slide short of aiming for a bush.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

what the foxtrot...?!

for some stupid reason, the laundry room in my apartment building has posted hours. it's not like there's a lifeguard that needs to make sure no one drowns in the washing machine.

so, it's 10:30 pm. i have two wet loads of laundry that got about a half-cycle in the dryer before they turned off at 10. what a bunch of hogwash! if i want to wash my clothes at 2am, i should be able to do that, especially for what i pay in rent.

it's not like i'm drinking and cranking loud music.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


i walked out of my classroom to pick my kids up from music. before i got there, swirling, whiteout conditions dumped at least a quarter inch of the white stuff. we went out for recess 45 minutes later, it had subsided. by the time school got out, it vanished, like keyzer soze.

recipe for snow (according to the locals, mostly young'uns):

1) wear pajamas inside out.
2) flush an ice cube down the toilet.
3) perform a snow dance immediately before going to bed.

the first two, easily done. that third one though, i may need some coaching.

Monday, January 14, 2008


friends, countrymen, lend me your ears. last night i took part in the greatest incarnation of barhopping i've ever been privilege to. no limo, no lines, no cover charges. entrepreneurial opportunity for someone with a few coins?

the ride: a reconfigured school bus. seats torn out, replaced with benches facing inward. three "stability" poles in the middle of the bus.

the host: a gregarious former party girl. she apparently has an equally attractive husband that hosts the other bus when the group's big enough. mingling with the riders on the bus and in the clubs.

the trip: four bars/clubs. changes depending on drink specials and what kind of deal the company has worked out with the destinations. about an hour at each bar. now, it seems to me that this concept works best in a bigger city like d.c. because there are numerous nightlife districts that have both no nearby parking and are too far to walk between. gainesville, hmm. going between the redneck dive bars on the outskirts in a jacked-up short bus with rebel flags? nah, that'd suck!

like clockwork, we hit each watering hole for a power hour. skipped the lines, got frisked, partied like rockstars, and moved on. waivered away, we b'ed our o.b. in between stops. we figured they gross more than three grand a weekend to be a lower cost limo crossed with a d.d. and a club promoter. not a bad gig, and everyone has a blast.

...until they wake up the next morning!

Friday, January 11, 2008

kid quotes

thus far today, i've laughed out loud twice at things girls have said.

girl one walks in wearing a brand new ferrari shirt. i comment on how nice it looks. response, "yeah, last night we got our new ferrari, so they gave me this shirt." that's right, her dad bought a ferrari and all she got was a t-shirt. this is the same child whose father has been rolling in a maserati for most of the school year.

FERRARI ADDENDUM: she walks in after school with her dad and asks if i want to see it. um, yes! turns out it's not brand new, but it's close enough. 1987 ferrari mondial convertible. 24,000 miles. arrest me red, black leather interior. cherry! best part, he bought it on a whim more or less. because the transmission on the maserati went out.

girl two, giving an example of a dangerous thing that you should not taste or smell, "iocane powder because it is odorless and tasteless. you shouldn't touch it because it's poison." she obviously is a princess bride fan!

sprint away!

anyone else hate cell phone companies? i do! three and a half years after signing my initial contract (and leaving sprint the first time), i got hit by an early termination fee by sprint (after they acquired nextel) when i ditched them a second time for sub-par service. if you're unhappy with sprint's service, good luck getting loose of their contract without paying dearly. if you're considering changing companies, avoid sprint like the plague.

if i can't get them to drop the charges, i wonder how much it would cost to ship $200 in pennies as a final act of defiance...

fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me.

more news forthcoming.

Monday, January 7, 2008

philly people

oh yeah, so in my rush to tell about the city, i neglected my people. big thanks to becky and pep for letting us stay. three year-olds are exhausting. perhaps why i'm so whooped today. (ain't she cute?)

she and i had a great dinner with my cousins arlene and carrie last night at shiroi hana. they are the family that i'm glad i have and simultaneously the family i wish i knew better. i feel so blessed that i got to reconnect with them this summer at the reunion. more trips to visit second cousins will follow soon. i'm glad that i'm closer to more of them now.

the many phaces of philly

face one: history. save d.c., there doesn't seem to be another city that i've been to that has more history than philly. devouring the typical philly historical sites in two hours. independence hall and the liberty bell. random other smaller places. hmm...what do do, what to do.

face two: artistic. recently, the city of philly commissioned many artists to paint murals all over the city. as we roamed, random buildings had amazing murals. the most impressive was below. four story building easily. a hundred yards long at least. mosaic of tiny tiles. no, i'm not making it up. phenomenal way to brighten up an industrial city.

face three: a city on the rebound. parts of the city, particularly downtown, showed huge signs of urban renewal. scaffolding and cranes scattered. gleaming new skyscrapers and crazy expensive stores. it was an odd sight seeing stores like burberry and tiffany's on the same street as a rundown mcdonald's and a payless shoes.

face four: exhausting. pictures of me today show bleary-eyed fatigue. we walked through the streets upon streets of rowhouses that constituted a lot of philly's housing. some remodeled and awesome. some rundown and in need of a lot of work. not that i want to live in philly, but i think the rowhouses and townhouses that are in capitol hill or georgetown might be a place that i'd like to live someday.

Friday, January 4, 2008


she and i went to the corcoran gallery tonight. second attempt after sunday, rainy sunday. we'd only have had an hour on sunday because of the weather and such, and boy am i glad we decided to come back! one hour would not have been enough.

first on the palate: an exhibition on annie liebovitz. most know her for her celebrity portraits, but her career was much more prolific. she had more of a photojournalist tilt in some of her career, photographing sarajevo in the early 90s. she also had several projects involving dancers. i really enjoyed her shots of vegas showgirls in street clothes juxtaposed with them in their costumes for shows. some of the women, gorgeous anyways. some of the women, not so much! by far, the bulk of the prints on display were simple, everyday shots of the people close to her. the happy times spent with her parents and her niece at the beach. the wretchedly heartbreaking times in her partner's final days, fighting a losing battle to leukemia.

the last of the liebovitz shots that we saw were her landscapes of monument valley. they were markedly different in both size, clarity, and composure than anything that ansel adams produced. she noted the influence that adams had on her in that commissioned project, yet i saw very little similarity in the finished product.

two hours down, one hour 'til the gallery closed, we more or less raced through ansel adams prints. his early career and its soft focus shots had a more amateur quality to them. it was only when he got into his f/64 club era that his shots hit their prime, at least in my opinion. sweeping landscapes, microcosmic focus, architecture, trees. all in breathtaking detail as a result of the small aperture. it seems that my point-and-shoot digital style was influenced by adams more than i realize.

i can't wait to get a digital SLR someday and go nuts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

security in relationships

i'm aiming for a little discussion with this post. i want to know what you think of this all-too-common scenario that plays out with opposite sex friends.

as billy crystal's harry burns famously said, "men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way...no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her...the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story." when both agree that something might be there and dating is attempted, sometimes it's amazing and lasts. sometimes it's a disaster, both parties agree, and the friendship remains after a date or a month.

hang on. i'm getting to my point!

after moving on, why do the new beaus have a problem with the resumed friendship? leda thinks (and i agree most of the time) that an ex is the last person that a current should be concerned about. they tried, it didn't work, they think highly of one another, and if it's possible, they have a normal friendship. why the concern for lingering feelings? or the sense that the ex is some sort of threat?

i can easily see the issue with a long relationship. there's a better chance of lingering feelings in that case. although i'd say that in most cases, if the person is dating once more, aren't they gone? i'd define the shorter one as one where the friendship was and is a longer amount of time than they dated. no worries, right? she (or he) is with you now. you win, ex lost.

if you're one that takes issue with such friendships of your beau, why? if not, why not? i'm severely curious about this, as it seems to be such a cause of dating strife. so much so that i wonder if it's not better to just leave out that detail when describing your old friends to a new flame...

(i know people read my scribblings, but rarely do i expect much comment. please do!)