Tuesday, January 29, 2008

For a certain brown-eyed girl

I met Annette my first week at American University. She was a girl from the town of Alamosa, CO who had lived all around the world. Her worldliness attracted me, but her sense of humor and willingness to do good made me want to be friend. We were roommates sophomore year, living on an all-girls floor in one of the residence halls that was populated mostly by the women's rugby team. But she went abroad junior year, and moved off campus when she returned. Matt and I went to a party at the house once, and there were so many people there, and they were charging an entrance fee for beer, which I didn't want to pay because I didn't drink, and Annette really didn't drink either. We kind of drifted apart, and now I'm not even sure if I saw her at our graduation. I moved back to Texas for a year, and then on to California. I don't think we really even emailed during that time, but there were a lot of people that I didn't really keep in contact with.

Despite not really keeping in touch after college, Matt and I were eager to reconnect with Annette and her husband Figaro when we moved back to Washington. We had only met him a few times before, and he seemed like a nice enough guy. We spent Thanksgiving with them at their teeny tiny little apartment, and two Easters together. I remember laughing at her mashed potatoes because there was so much butter in them that they slid right out of the bowl without leaving any bits behind.

We were sad when they moved to Denver to pursue their studies in 2005. But whatever, Denver is a cool place, and we'll make an effort to go visit, right? They visited DC at least twice a year to see family and friends, and we were lucky enough to see them on most of those visits.

Three weeks ago, they stopped by DC and we had dinner with them at one of our neighborhood restaurants. We talked about the normal things that friends do...work, family, general gossip. We hugged them goodbye and said we'd probably see them this summer.

Last week, I found out that Annette had a brain aneurysm, and later died. Her family and friends were in shock. I felt like my heart was breaking. We flew out to Denver just to be together with them. When we came back last night, I looked through my photo albums, trying to find pictures of her. Shockingly, despite knowing Annette for 12 years, I don't have that many. I guess you always regret the pictures that you don't take, but you can at least cherish the ones that you have.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And this is really gross too

The other day, I opened one of seldom used closets and discovered an interesting smell. I couldn't quite figure out where it was coming from, and to be honest, I didn't particularly want to investigate further. I did feel the carpet though to make sure nothing was wet in there. Nope.

Today, I finally decided to do something about the leaky faucet in our bathtub. For the last couple of weeks, the water has been running steadily and I just haven't had time to do anything about it...that is, call the maintenance guys to come take care of it. I remembered that the pipe access to that tub is in the closet where I had discovered the funky smell, and thought to myself "Aha! I may be on to something!" So I called maintenance and left a message, mentioning the funky smell along with the leaky faucet.

After I got off the phone, I decided to move the stuff out of closet so the maintenance guys wouldn't have to deal with that. I picked up a Camelbak backpack that we taking hiking and camping with us...and out tumbled some mysterious food-like substance. I don't really know what it was. There was some brown stuff in bags that perhaps had started to ferment, and there was something that appeared to be a brown dinner role. The last time we went camping was back in August, and I don't remember taking any dinner rolls along with us.

I'm glad I took the time to clean out the closet before the guy gets here, because he probably would have been terribly disgusted. I know I was.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sometimes working in the library is a little weird

Last Friday, I helped an obviously inebriated but still friendly older man find a book. He was very grateful, and sat for several hours reading in one seat. After he left, I went to go pick up his book and noticed he had left behind some trash: three packets of pepper and a wrapped orange condom (I say wrapped because some of my colleagues have found used condoms in random places around the building, including under the piano cover). I decided to leave the junk on the table just in case he came back to pick it up. I never saw him come back, but someone else must have noticed the stuff because when I came back, the pepper was still there but the condom was gone.

The guy came back today, obviously not drunk, but still very friendly. I wonder if he thought I had taken his condom.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Protecting your photos online

An interesting article in today's Washington Post discusses how corporations are taking photos from Flickr for their advertising...and not getting permission from the photographer to use them.

Hey, Isn't That . . .

People Are Doing Double-Takes, And Taking Action, As Web Snapshots Are Nabbed for Commercial Uses

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy Belated New Year!

I'm a little late, but so far 2008 has been kind of busy for me. We had our mostly annual "Ribarama" party on New Year's Day, featuring college football bowl games and ribs. Usually, we get our ribs shipped in from "premium" bbq locations, such as Rendezvous (check out that URL), the Salt Lick, and last year for Sausage Fest (held on Super Bowl Sunday), we got our sausage from New Braunfels Smokehouse. This year, we decided to stay local, and ordered our ribs from Urban BBQ in Rockville MD. We did this because most places only ship ribs overnight, and with New Year's Day being on Tuesday, there was no way we'd be able to receive the ribs in a timely manner.

Matt and I knew we were taking a chance by getting local barbecue, and we had never tasted Urban's stuff before. So before Christmas, we went out for some barbecue tasting and made the arduous trek out to Rockville (the traffic is really terrible out there due to major road construction). We got lost, because its in the middle of a very tiny shopping center. I kept hoping to catch a whiff of the meat cooking on the pit, but alas, there didn't seem to be a pit on the premises. We tried three different kinds of meat: the ribs were tender and falling off the bone, the sausage was good, but covered in some weird sauce, and the brisket was kind of dry and not really very flavorful. We decided that the ribs and sausage would make the cut for Ribarama.

Despite the fact that I picked up the meats on New Year's Eve, the food was still delicous the next day (I heated it up in the oven). Matt picked up 2 growlers full of beer, we had tons of food and people kind of staggered in whenever they had gotten over their hangovers.

So now that the holidays are over, its back to healthy eating. Cutting back on cheese, bread, sausage. All that good stuff. My guess is that this may be the last blog I post about food for a while.