Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hank underground

My aunt Terri and uncle Sam and cousin Hank were in town this weekend for a visit, and we had a blast! We spent Saturday afternoon at the zoo. We saw a hyrax in a tree, and Hank observed that if he was on the ground, he would be a low-rax. We also watched a grumpy old gorilla grab a helmet, climb to the top perch where everyone could see her, and slowly pee into the helmet. Then, as everyone in the crowded viewing area screamed "No!! Don't do it!!", she slowly raised the helmet to her mouth and proudly drank every last drop. Then she lowered the helmet and stared at us with a look that said, "Are you shocked now? Yeah, that's right, I'm hard-core!"

Then today, Sunday, Hank took his first Metro ride to the Museum of Natural History! Check it out...

Waiting for the train:

Here it comes!

All aboard!

At the museum...

Hank and Terri, learning about diplodocus or, as Hank dubbed the long-necked dinosaur, giraffe-osaur or giraffe rex.

Ready for the 3D Imax!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Falling waters

There is a park in the neighborhood next to mine called Meridian Hill-Malcolm X Park that is one of my favorite places in D.C. I first discovered it on a drizzly, cold November day when my mom was visiting and we were wandering around town. At that point, the park's water features had been drained for the winter, but it was still pretty clear how cool it was. Lots of random statues of people like Dante, Joan of Arc and President James Buchanan; big open spaces of grass with colorful trees all around and lots of little nooks and hidden places with benches; big, elaborate staircases and dramatic changes in altitude throughout the park. The centerpiece is a big water feature, a 13-basin cascading fountain that recirculates from two fountains at the top, down the cascade, into a pool at the bottom, and then back up to the fountains. All along the way are gargoyles with water spewing from their mouths. Anyway, the water recently came back for the spring, and today I walked through it for the first time. These photos won't come close to illustrating what a beautiful, peaceful scene it is, but at least you can see that it's pretty cool. You can click on them to see them bigger.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Name game

So one of the really interesting things about where I work is the strange way that the world's fastest-growing nonprofit manages to hire over and over again people with pretty much the same name. Since I started working at the U.S. Green Building Council seven months ago, we have probably hired between 30 and 40 people. And yet there remain a pretty set number of names of employees here - maybe 10 different names? OK, that's an exaggeration, but for some reason, the people who hire USGBCers like to hire people with the same names. I will try to sum up, from least-interesting to most-interesting.

There are two Dougs. I am one of them.

There are two Joes.

There are two Megans.

There are two Jessicas.

There are two Toms.

There is a Rob and a Robert.

There is a girl Cory and a boy Cory.

There is a boy Courtney and a girl Courtney.

There are two Chrises and one Christopher.

There are two Nickies in our accounting department. There is also a Nick.

There are three Laurens. Two of them are on my team, the communications team. There was a fourth Lauren who recently quit. There is also a Laura.

There are two Ashleys. One of them is on my team, and the other is likely my best friend at work (our human resources coordinator).

There are several Jens and Jennifers. I'm not going to bother to count them.

There are two Bryan H's. That does not include the Brians.

In our IT/technology team there is a Namrada and a Narmada.

The manager of our LEED for Homes team is named Batya. A recently hired member of the LEED for Homes team is named Melanie. Her middle name is Batya.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I just saw the Pope

Some coworkers and I were eating lunch on the roof just now and we heard a motorcade go sirening by. Typically, that's the president or vice president, which is exciting but sort of old-hat at this point. But this time, we realized, it might be the Popemobile. It was. We watched from above as it zipped through Dupont Circle below... Oh, Popemobile!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Give up, Groening

I just finished watching this week's particularly bad episode of "The Simpsons," and I think it's worth noting:
  • Not counting its two-and-a-half years on the "Tracey Ullman Show," "The Simpsons" has been on TV for more than two-thirds of my life.
  • Including its two-and-a-half years on the "Tracey Ullman Show," on April 19, "The Simpsons" will be in its 21st year, meaning it will have been on TV for fully three-fourths of my life. (Well, not quite, since on April 19 I will actually be 28 years, 7 months and 2 days old... But I am not about to do the math on that one. Suffice it to say, sometime in the coming months, "The Simpsons" will be exactly 3/4 as old as me.)
  • "The Simpsons" made its "Tracey Ullman" debut on the day my baby brother turned 1 year and 11 days old. My baby brother turned 22 last week.
  • In its early days, "The Simpsons" was scheduled opposite "The Cosby Show" in order to help FOX move up in the ratings. "The Cosby Show" - which is now airing reruns on Nick At Nite. Nick At Nite - that channel that airs reruns of CLASSIC, OLD-TIMEY shows.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This is how I feed myself these days

Thanks, Trader Joe's!

And thanks, Internet, for teaching me how easy and delicious it is to sear a steak on the stovetop and then cook it in the oven. :)