Friday, January 30, 2009

Work Quote of the Day X2

Coworker on the Octuplets: And now she has 14 fuckin kids. 14!!! Two starting basketball teams with 2 subs each.

Me: I wasn't aware

Coworker: Yeah, well... communication. it's the new black.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fashion Faux Pas

I went out to dinner last night with two girlfriends of mine and in the midst of catching up, one of them revealed a strange and awkward problem with her boss.

She told of how her boss had called her into her office and proceeded to lecture her about how uncomfortable she felt when my friend said good morning to her.

Her boss claimed my friend looked her up and down every morning and it made her feel very uneasy, and like how dare she judge her and her outfit. "It makes me not even want to walk by your office!" Boss lady said.

Let's set aside the fact that we all know that's weird, my friend's boss is probably just insecure and now my poor friend will have to spend her days staring at the floor or ceiling when her boss walks by.

Of course my friend wasn't aware she did that. None of us notice we do it anymore: Checking out what other women wear to see if we like that for ourselves.

I do it all the time. I look other women up and down, and they look me up and down - my boss included. It happens when I'm walking down the street. It happens when I'm washing my hands in the bathroom. It happens when I'm in a meeting or when I'm out to eat. It's female fashion information gathering.

Granted, sometimes I'm internally mean, thinking, "Ugh, leggings with UGGs, UGH! Put on some pants!" or "Really? A silver jump suit?"

But most of the time I'm thinking, "Wow, I love that chunky necklace she pieced with that shirt." ... "Huh, I never would have thought to wear that color with olive green pants, but it works!" ... "Gasp, I MUST find out where she got those brown boots! They're so cute!"

Sometimes, I'll be bold and compliment the girl out loud - when I mean it, of course - and the girl always lights up. She spent time and effort standing in front of her closet, figuring out what she should wear today and a compliment - especially from a stranger - is YES! VINDICATION! I DO HAVE GOOD FASHION SENSE! YOU LOVE ME! YOU REALLY LOVE ME!

I had a high school biology teacher, Mr. Renkwitz, lecture on this very practice from a scientific standpoint as he was explaining the animalistic nature of attention grabbing for mates. Competition, he said, is what it was all about. I also very distinctly remember him saying that in the animal world, males are usually the ones with the brighter plumage, the bigger manes, the larger horns, etc. using these adornments to attract females. But humans were different.

"Women, will look other women up and down, checking out their appearance and think, 'Is she more attractive than I? Her clothes are a mess, she doesn't stand a chance against me.' But men will only look in three places and think, "Nice face, nice tits, nice ass, yeah I'd probably do her."

So is it social? Is it biological? Or is it that women just like clothes? Perhaps a combination, because why else would our next thought after noticing someone's outfit is, "Ohh, where did she get that?"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun Web Word Toy!

The site is called and it takes text and automatically generates the words in different font sizes, based on how often the words are used in a piece.

They used their cool text cloud tool to do a really fascinating comparison of past presidential inauguration speeches. New York Times uses it all the time, especially during the 2008 primary stump speeches of the different candidates.

I inserted my spa post into try it out and I thought it was kind of funny. (See above) The tiny, tiny word on the bottom right says "cinnabuns."

Here's what the top story on the Washington Post at 3 p.m., Federal Reserve Leaves Target Rate Unchanged, looked like just for some perspective (or maybe I just like playing with the thing).

It's been a while since I've seen ice like this in Maryland...

This is just the windshield, but my whole car was bathed in ice like this when I walked out the door this morning. I had to chip away ice just to open the door.

Although blurry, you can see how thick it was... I'm guessing about 2/10 of an inch.

Also interesting... The New York Times had a piece that read for the first time ever, some scientists studied the effects of hot liquids on cold/flu symptoms. Before, there had only been studies on the effects of hot foods. I was more surprised to learn that the study was conducted only a few weeks ago rather than the results: yes, hot liquids can make you feel better when fighting colds.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Going to Work on a Snowy Morning

Being out of school really sucks the fun out of waking up to a snowy morning.

Here's how my yard and neighborhood looked at 7:30 a.m. this morning. A good half inch or so and no plowed roads.

Coming into work was treacherous. I prepared myself no less than five times to have my car slam into the sidewalk or embankment because none of the roads were plowed in my county. By the time I got to work, it really was coming down. About an inch on the ground by now, and you can see how much was falling in the shadow of the metro overpass.

View from my floor at work at 9 a.m., which you can see the nicely plowed roads in Montgomery (I'm such an old woman, complaining about plowed roads).

I've already gotten some heat from Midwesterners and New Englanders for documenting the storm, but coming from the Shore where snow fall over a dusting happens once every 10 years, I find any snow fall enchanting.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Drinks and a Spa Treatment

Coming off a crazy week at work putting together the Earth site, it was time to blow off some steam - and get some sleep.

A pretty uneventful weekend, my coworkers and I did the Silver Spring bar scene for a while on Friday night at a place called Quarry House - a regular after-work hang out for us. Usually, we have the place - a dimly-lighted bar in the basement of an Indian restaurant - to ourselves except a few loners on stools, but on that night it was PACKED. Kasey and I glared at a couple for taking up two tables so they could sit next to each other as we waited for our own table for the first time ever. House chips with dill dip and several rounds of Hoegaarden on tap made up for it though.

Feeling the stress of the week in my shoulders and neck, I splurged on myself on Saturday at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. It was the first time I had been to a spa where you changed into a bathrobe and slippers from the moment you walked in and sipped on water with cucumbers and lemon floating in your glass. I felt like a princess, but it was hard to relax because I had signed up for a seaweed body wrap - something I had never had done before - and while I specifically asked for a female attendant, the receptionist politely told me only a male one was available.

Hiding my nervousness with cute jokes and awkward laughter, I was led into a treatment room by Patrick. Understanding my uneasiness, he walked me through the process of the body scrub to exfoliate my skin, then the seaweed liquid clay application and then a lotion massage to lock in moisture, post-shower. "It detoxifies your skin but dehydrates you," he told me. So lying on a table wrapped up in nothing but towels, Patrick kept the conversation flowing, which really helped me out because I'm a talker so it made me relax.

The seaweed is not like this...

It's more like this...

Things I liked about it: It was very relaxing, felt amazing - kind of weird actually, like cool liquid, and not fish smelling, more like a clay smell - and my skin was baby soft afterwards.

Things I didn't like about it: Even though Patrick was great and he didn't make me uncomfortable, respected my space, and was totally professional, there was still this awkward uneasiness that made me unable to completely relax because he was a guy that I think I would have been able to do if it had been a woman. Maybe because it was the first time I had had a seaweed wrap and I didn't know what to expect, it just left me on guard most of the time.

The other thing was after he put the seaweed liquid on, I was wrapped up tight and warm to bake for 15-20 minutes, which was wonderful and comfortable, but then it was shower time. Patrick left the room while I changed into a robe to be escorted to the showers, but as soon as I got out of the wrap I started shivering uncontrollably. Even in the robe, it was hard to keep my teeth from chattering. I can't really explain why other than the clay-like seaweed cooled down rapidly and wouldn't warm back up.

After Patrick was the facial by Flora, a gorgeous middle-aged Iranian who had better looking skin than mine at any age of my short life. She told me I had this minor skin problem and that minor skin problem, and I ate it up. I couldn't stop noticing her flawless skin so I paid close attention (and even gave into buying a skin product). I felt even more wonderful and relaxed coming out of the facial because having a clean face makes me feel calmer (I usually wash my face as soon as I get home from work) and because my face felt lighter, cleaner and had a nice glow to it - a complete 180 from the facial I had at my first spa experience. That treatment left my face red, scarred and blotchy. Flora made my face have a healthy glow, so I was very pleased.

Sunday was fairly boring. I slept until whenever p.m., something I hadn't done in weeks, and then I got up and made cinnabuns. I cleaned the house, did laundry and took my 3 p.m. on Sunday photo. Erin's in Thailand so I'll present it here for now.

Just my boots after I took them off on our front porch. A lazy Sunday photo to sum up a lazy weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Site Is Live!!!

This has been my sweat and blood these past two weeks, so check it out! Discovery Earth -

Some of our links and archive things are still very primitive because we're just getting started, but looks pretty sweet, no? Now, give me clicks!!! (please).

Not to worry about my sanity... I have a spa appointment at Red Door tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"High Taxes, High Budgets and High-Fives"

I wasn't able to be on the Mall for inauguration. I wasn't able to leave my house. I was working, working from home to avoid what I thought would be enormous traffic jams making my morning commute impossible. We have a huge project launching tomorrow so I was sitting on a company-loaned laptop crackin' away to get it ready.

We had it on the tube the whole time though, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that counts a little bit, right?

To make myself feel better, I've tried to stay off Facebook, Twitter, Gchat, Email, my phone to avoid photos and message of friends in ski gear and ball gowns, but technology has gotten the best of me and I have seen it all and heard it all on all of those platforms. Now, I fear I'm suffering from the sickness I feared I would catch - jealousy and disappiontment.

Ah well, I was working, and they closed down my metro station by 9 a.m. for crowd control, so I did the best I could from my couch and beamed with pride to be an American with the rest of the 3.6 million on the Mall. It's not to take away from the importance of the event - trust me, I wish I could have experienced the madness first hand.

I'll get down there for the first woman president. I suspect that'll be the next big crowd pull.

To cheer myself, and anyone who sat at home on Tuesday, I present this. All you Marylanders, wait for the Steny and Ben high-five!!! Though, I think the scene when Newt Gingrich is trying to hail a cab is the best.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere

I was home again on the Shore this past weekend for my mom's birthday, and in the middle of enjoying my book on a lazy Sunday afternoon I got a distressed phone call.

It was my other roommate Roberto, calling to ask where Tad was and to tell me "there's water everywhere and the house is flooding, something, something, washer, something, neighbor came over, something." I immediately packed up and headed back up to our house.

By the time I got there, Roberto had left to go to his parents house in Rockville but had managed to get a hold of Tad to learn how to turn off the main water valve. I walked in through the front door, down the hallway, and into the kitchen where I noticed some muddy foot prints but nothing else. Strange, I thought. Then I opened the door to the back room off the kitchen.

Water, dirt, tiny pieces of dry wall, tile and massive balls of wet lint were everywhere. The floor, the walls, the carpet, the washer and dryer and everything we had set back there for storage - including the vacuum cleaner - were soaked. Best we could tell, the pipe leading to the washer had frozen and then burst open several hours prior. We had all been away that weekend and Roberto has just stopped in to pick up something, when he heard Niagara Falls coming out of the back room (which doubles as a laundry room and an enclosed porch).

Tad was on his way so I set to work cleaning up. It took four dish rags, a roll of paper towels and squeezing out another bucket full from the mop to clean what was on the floor as best I could. Using a giant plastic cup, I scooped out 12 10-gallon bucket loads of water sitting in the washing machine. When Tad arrived, we set to work pointing every portable fan we had in the house down at the carpet and at the walls to try to dry everything out.

Not having water made for a complicated situation. We used what bottled water we had to wash our hands, but we couldn't flush the toilet or take showers. I was so gross from cleaning, and considered going back to the Shore, but was saved by my coworker Kasey, who let me use her shower late that night. By the time I got back from her place, brown mold spots had spread all over dry wall in the back room and we still couldn't turn the water back on.

Several calls to our landlord later, his handy man Mark showed up this afternoon. The verdict? Not only did we have a busted pipe inside the house, but as he crawled on his back through wet, 25 year-old insulation under the house, Mark informed us there were also four cracks in pipes under there. Armed with a blow torch and a flashlight, he worked for two hours to fix the pipes before we were able to turn our water back on. He said he would be sending the bill to the landlord and be back later in the week to check on the pipes.

Showered and satisfied in my own home as I write this now, three things come to mind. First, how lucky we are that there are good people who will crawl through the muck under our house in the bitter cold. Second, ah the beauty of renting and not owning. Third, as this is comes at the bottom of several problems we've had with this rental, I'll definitely be moving into an apartment at the end of my lease.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Moving On Up!

So here's the new desk in Discovery headquarters, with an almost view out the window if I stand up and look over my cube wall to the west. Exciting!

This will be the third desk I've moved to since I've been with the company, but this time it's an upgrade: A whole cube! Complete with a locker! Not a half cube like I had been sitting in.

And yes, I am important enough to have two computers - one's a PC and one's a Mac. Reason: I'm really not that important just some programs we use for Discovery run on a Mac and some run on a PC. Nevertheless, I do usually look pretty important.

It's a whole different feeling over here than in the old building - a lot more people, a lot more going on, a lot more busy. I'm so glad not to be in the cave anymore, and even more pleased to be multiple floors away from the cafe. We made the move so that our digital media team would be on the same floor - more or less, at least in the same building - with the rest of the company's digital team.

Some guy with a big, swanky office (I mean real office, with a TV and everything, not a cube) next to me came into my cube and said, "Did you really just move in today? Wow. I've been in my office for over a year now and your space looks a lot more homey than mine. That's sad."

And for a Work Quote of the Day: "Well that 100-character limit totally sucks."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today I'm Awesome

Before 8 a.m. this morning, I managed to...

- Wake up at 5:38 a.m. and not be able to go back to sleep.

- Run into a cabinet door.

- Change shoes twice.

- Burn my hand with oatmeal.

- Take out the Brita pitcher to fill my water bottle, only to put it back into the fridge before I remembered I hadn't filled the water bottle yet.

- Forgot said water bottle on the table.

- Got all the way to work before realizing I had also forgotten my cell phone.

- Called Tad, woke him up, to see if he could run my cell phone by my work to which he replied, "Wait, I don't understand. Why did you forget your cell phone?"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Work Quote of the Day

Me: How was the meeting?

Coworker: Fine.

Me: What was it about?

Coworker: Web browser optimization.

Me: Fun. Did you learn anything?

Coworkers: I learned that if I had to kill parakeets with laser beams coming out of my eyes, this is what it would look like (shows me illustration in his notebook).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How to waste time and money: DIY dye your sweater

I bought this comfy shawl-type sweater at Target a few months ago for an awesome Target price. I wore it a couple times and then recently, while flipping through an Anthropologie magazine, I found one that looked exactly like it being sold for much more than the Target price.

I was thoroughly pleased with myself for having an Anthropologie look for a Target price, but then I noticed the Anthropologie model was wearing it in silver. The one I had was tan and I thought the silver one looked much prettier. That's where I got into trouble.

When I was home this weekend, I spent most of my Saturday with my little sister and asked her to go on a mission with me to find silver clothing dye. We went to a Walmart, a Target and two craft stores before finding the last box of dye that was the closest thing to silver - pearl grey - at JoAnn Fabrics.

I bought it was $2.48 and took it home. My mom told me it wouldn't work but I was determined so she set me up with a bucket of hot water and a brick to hold the sweater in the dyed water.

Here's what the sweater looked like going into the bucket:

Here's what the sweater looked like when it came out of the bucket, six hours later (the box said only leave it in for two):

And here's what the brick, once bright red, looked like after coming out of the bucket:

Mothers are always right.

The Year of More

I realized I started this post after the New Year holiday, and never finished or published it...

I read several blogs on a regular basis. Some are personal - close friends, past fellow employees - professional - Post's The Trail, ABC's Political Radar, Politico's... well pretty much Politico's entire site, Maureen Dowd, yet another thing Erin turned me on to, or just something for fun, PostSecret, Stuff White People Like... and when December 2008 became January 2009, most of them had some sort of reflection of the past and motivation for the future.

I'm chiming in to say that what 2009 means to me is a year of 'more.' We're expected to do, produce, live, thrive and continue on more - with less.

At work, we had one of the best quarters in my division's existance, yet they want us to increase our page views. At home, my gas bill continues to cost more. More people are being laid off, and more of us are working through our vacation days for more money.

We're told to exercise more, diet more, but McDonalds had one of their best years ever in America because more people are turning to quick, cheap, unhealthy meals or have just given up.

'Feed me, Seymour' says the world, so we give more, without taking more, but we want more and are left with less.

A pessimistic view for the future, perhaps, but the future for me has become a 24- hour foresight with going to sleep each night counting my blessings that I have a job to go to tomorrow, I could pay the rent if I had to tomorrow, I could buy a hot meal tomorrow, I have a warm and safe place to sleep tomorrow...

To be safe, 2009 will be lived by the day every day for me, one more day at a time.

Bathroom Antics and Other Stories

If there's one thing Discovery knows how to do, it's marketing, but you know when desperate measures are taken during desperate times when the company starts marketing their shows to their own employees.

Sure, the posters on the wall at the office will get switched for Shark Week and Whale Wars, but for TLC's Miss America: Countdown to the Crown series - they've up the ante.

To demonstrate, I take you into Discovery's ladies room...

The marketing elves came in the dead of night to stick window-decal-esqe crowns on all the bathroom mirrors, so when you go to wash your hands your head fits neatly underneath the crown (if you're 5'8") and you too can imagine what it would be like to give the infamous "World Peace" answer.

The slogan for the series - "First meet them, then JUDGE THEM!" So America is voting on the winning contestant this year, but first you have walk a mile in their high-heeled shoes. What isn't an American Idol rip-off these days?

In other news... I did manage to pull through the tooth pain and Percocet haze to hit the slopes over New Years with Tad. See smug snowboarding photo...

No action shots because after spending almost two hours in the rental line, Tad and I decided not to waste any more time. It was so crowded we only got in five runs before Camelback closed - although I was content with leaving at that point. My butt was sore for almost a week!

I spent this week getting back into the normal work groove and man oh man were things crazy. We're getting ready to launch a new site and I'm supposedly getting a new desk at headquarters... lots of movin' and shakin' within the company, but nothing more I can talk about at the moment.

And finally, check back tomorrow for an update to Erin and my visual photo blog, 3 p.m. on Sunday.