Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My "Adoring" Feedbag Fans

A while ago, one of the listeners of Discovery Channel's Friday News Feedbag podcast started an impromptu Facebook group for us - completely without our asking. If you read my blog regularly or you're my parents, you know I sometimes moonlight on the show when one of the regulars is out.

One of the regulars on the 'Bag, Jorge, pointed out this note on the group's page to me today.



"That. Is. Wiiillllddddd" -- it somehow has become my catch phrase and there's a really stupid story behind it as to why. I may get it on a t-shirt though.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Britney Post

"You? ... uhh really? ... why? ... really? ... was it awesome?" That's been the typical response I get after I tell people I was at the Britney Spears Circus tour concert on Tuesday night.

With a front page spread on the Washington Post carrying the headline, "Britney Rules 'Circus' Ring with the Greatest of Tease" it's no wonder I got a few raised eyebrows since I'm writing this in a GAP cardigan as we speak.

Don't be fooled, I didn't camp out for tickets. I wasn't in line hours before the show, and I didn't buy a tour t-shirt (I wanted the one that said "You Want a Piece of Me" in red glitter so badly but I couldn't justify buying a t-shirt that cost almost as much as my ticket.) However, I was so excited - and albeit scared - that I found it hard to sit still and not stop listening to Brit-Brit throughout the work day.

My coworker Kasey-Dee and I left work around 6 p.m. headed down to Chinatown to meet up with a gaggle of her gay friends at Fado. After running into multiple groups of ten-year olds girls AND BOYS that were either dressed like slutty catholic school girls or rejects from a Richard Simmons workout video, we both needed a drink. Okay five.

Feeling that knocking a few back with good friends who "were more excited for Britney than for Madonna" was a better use of our time that seeing Pussycat Dolls, we polished off a few lemon drops and sandwiches and headed over to Verizon Center around 9.



Our timing was perfect - by the time Kasey and I climbed to our section 400 seats they had finished setting up for Britney and an enormous jumbo-tron of a "fat lady" in drag introduced the one. The only.

What happened over the next two hours is difficult to put into words because it wasn't a concert. It was a circus - complete with three ringed stages, midgets, acrobatics and Ms. Spears descending from the ceiling in a sequined ring leader jacket and diamond encrusted black leather whip. Flashes from her shaved head, umbrella welding and baby dropping days were gone. She was now back in her proper queen of pop throne... or as Tad puts it "her proper ho-full state."



From pasties to policewoman there were multiple costume changes, stunt bikes, singing "Sometimes" while sitting on a giant umbrella, two cage dances are just some other things worth mentioning. Oh yeah and "CIRCUS," "BOYS," "GIMMIE MORE," "IF YOU SEEK AMY," "TOXIC" AND "HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME" wrapping up with "WOMANIZER" before calmly taking a bow and walking off stage - nothing at all like her explosive entrance. You better believe Kasey and I out-danced any middle schooler (and their moms) sitting in my section.





We screamed and went wild. Britney sang and randomly said "Merry Christmas," "Do Si Do, Swing Your Partner" and went wild. Hell yeah it was awesome! (Complete photo collection on Facebook).

Monday, March 23, 2009

NYC Subway Art Gallery Opening

A New York City based improv troop called "Improv Everywhere" held a fake art gallery opening on the 23rd street platform in Manhattan. BRILLIANT! Ahh New York, art and humor - just a few of my favorite things.

Tad sent me this link to the group's latest antics, showcasing the fashionable-ist of the fashionable storm drains, exquisitely stained graffiti walls and fine grimy fire extinguishers while guests sipped cider, left their coats on the coat rack and strolled to live cello music and the stench of the city's underground. Yes, they treated everything from trash cans to trashy advertisements as masterpieces.

They even included an exact replica of MTA's "Service Change Alert" sign as a gallery opening announcement.

My favorite "works of art" are "Woman Sitting on Bench" (Ongoing), "Drain" (1975) and "The Arriving and Departing of the Train" (Ongoing since 1932).



With the motto "we cause scenes," the group has executed over 80 "missions" involving thousands of undercover agents and their point is to just bring humor and light to the everyday mundane. The best of all was this photo:

Note included with it: Agent Small with the Europeans.

Alaska blows up, another Feedbag podcast and "It's Britney, Bitch"

After a relaxing weekend back at home on the Shore, I came into work to an explosion on my desk. Mount Redoubt, an active volcano in a Alaska, finally erupted after scientists had been analyzing, waiting and reanalyzing for months and then the monster had the indecency of blowing its stack on a Sunday night when all were asleep and couldn't capture any photos. We scrambled to put together a website on it and with much back-and-forth produced a voluptuous volcano package.

Here's the full story. And below a "webicorder" readout from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (what a cool place to work, no?) of what the Redoubt eruption shocks looked like:



In other news, for all my Discovery Friday News Feedbag fans, I was on another Feedbag podcast last week which you can list to HERE. This week I'M HOSTING! Should be wwwiiilllldddd. Actually it should be rough since I've never hosted before, but Will's on vacation so I'm stepping up to the plate.

Okay, that's enough of showing off my dork factor. Here's my weekend recap:
Drove to my parents house on the Shore. Swooned over my mother's adorable dog. Slept. Went for a walk with my sister. Sat in the hot tub. Watched TV. Drove to Tad's (he was home for spring break). Saw "I Love You, Man" (cute! go see it!). Watched TV. Drove to my parents house. Swooned over my mother's adorable dog. Slept. Sat in the hot tub. Went out to lunch. Went shopping. Fought with my sister over what prom dress she should wear. Slept. Drove back to my house near DC. Good weekend.


And the grande finale... I'm going to the Britney Spear's Circus concert tomorrow night. I thought it was best just to throw it out there so the shock hits you all at once. It's rare that I'm terrified and terribly excited at the same time but it's supposed to be an insane show so I'm pumped! After all, "it's Britney, bitch" and oops, she's doing it again.



Photos of the sheer madness (pending on how true the rumors are of this concert earning an X-rating) will be posted later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2,000 year old Chinese medicine can't be completely wrong

I mentioned in my post about my back that I was considered acupuncture treatments as an alternative option to seeing a chiropractor. What I didn't mention was that I had made an acupuncture appointment for Tuesday before learning on Monday that the chiropractor would see me as a new patient same day - unheard of! To cancel was to charge me the fee of the service so I said, "why not? I'm not going on vacation after all" and I kept the appointment.



Like chiropracting, acupuncture is another treatment I was skeptical of because they also don't believe in "Western medicine." How can turning me into a human pin cushion possibly cure me of all my ailments though? On the other hand, I have two coworkers that swear by it, one says it helped her quit smoking, another said it cured him of migraines. So to the Still Point I went to see Robin the acupuncturist.

Since this was my first visit to an acupuncturist ever, most of the appointment time was spent drinking rose hip tea and discussing my work life, personal life, diet, exercise routine, my mood, my stress level and other various tales of my body's inner workings. "I want to know the things your doctor would brush aside," Robin told me. I suppose we had to open up the mind and soul before we could cleanse the toxins from my body.

After discussing me for about an hour or so, Robin had me lay down on a table on my back where she felt my pulse not just on one area on my wrist, but six, telling me she could tap into six different organ systems just by moving her fingers around on my wrist. She informed me that going by how the "pulse" of my kidney system felt, she understood why I had a stone. Surprise, I have stress. She felt my feet and legs, looking for more "negative pulses and heat energy."

Then came the needles. This was the most interesting. Since the pain was in my back, Robin had me flip over on my stomach and she felt and counted each of my vertebrates. Instead of placing the two inch long, hair-thin needles all over my upper back where the pain was concentrated - as I thought she would do - she instead stuck the needles on both sides of my spine all the way down. Or at least I think that's what she did...

The weird thing about them is you don't feel them going in unless you have a spot of "negative chi" and so sometimes I would feel a slight pinch, and other times I would think she wasn't doing anything at all. Mostly, I was carrying a lot of negative chi.

She left me to rest for 15 minutes and when she came back, she commented that I was "clearing up very nicely." When I inquired, she explained that when the needle strikes a spot of negative chi, a small read circle will form around the puncture and as the negative chi is dispersed, the circle will fade. Yeah okay, like having my skin cells react to a foreign object piercing it is out of the question.

Just as I was starting to wonder if this was really worth it, Robin announced I was done and took the needles out. Much to my astonishment, I did feel better. The soreness left over from the day before that the chiropractor wasn't able to fix was gone. Only my neck was stiff from having my head in the face holder for so long. Robin was pleased to hear that I was feeling better but concerned with my high stress levels. She asked me to come back every week for four months for treatment. Thank you, but nice try.

Not to worry dear friends, this is not the beginning of a trend when I start growing my hair down to my waist, wearing long skirts, giving up meat and decorating everything with daisies. It's just my curiosity for finding relief from back pain, and besides, 2,000 year old Chinese medicine can't be completely wrong.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My real age is 28.0

Erin sent me this online quiz that tells you what you "true age" is. I think these things are bogus but I thought the results were kinda funny, and it gives me a better excuse when beg Tad for a dog. For the sake of my health!!!

They give you an X or a + for an activity or health condition that made your age older (x) or younger (+) for someone at your real age to experience. Here's mine...



HEALTH
(+) Taking medications as directed
(x) Family history of ovarian cancer/cysts
(x) Family history of breast cancer

HABITS
(+) Avoiding second hand smoke
(+) Being a non-smoker
(+) Driving a mid-to-large size vehicle

RELATIONSHIPS
(+) Having parents who stayed together
(x) Not having a dog (HA Tad!)
(x) Facing a lot of stress

DIET
(+) Not eating a lot of red meat
(+) Eating breakfast everyday
(x) Not eating enough fruit (Oh come on! I said one serving a day. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," right?)

FITNESS
(+) Strength building
(x) Not getting enough cardio (can't stressing out count as cardio?)
(x) Not having a healthy resting heart rate (I said mine was average!)

If you would like to give it a try, take the realage quiz for yourself and let me know what weird number it spits out for you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I shamelessly stole this from Erin's blog, but I loved it too much not to.

Soaring over Ireland



I've been listening to Carbon Leaf on and off all day to put me in a green mood, and one of these days, I'll get back to the motherland.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Green and Good Posture

Kicking off St. Patrick's Day a little early, I headed out to Shamrock Fest at RFK Stadium with a bunch of college friends. Magically through a sea of Irish green and drunken crowds, our group ended up together under the NCAA tent to watch the Maryland/Duke game and to get out of the gross rainy drizzle. It was so nasty and depressing outside, that once the game was over, we ended up leaving shortly after and headed into D.C. in search of food.


Why it was worth it anyway: The crowd in the tent was a 50-to-1 Maryland-Duke fan ratio (with one random UNC fan who hated both Duke and Maryland) so there was this intense energy when dozens of random strangers were doing the Maryland chants along with us.

Why it wasn't: We paid $30 to drink beer and watch Maryland play out in the wet and cold. We only watched one band do a few songs and two of the songs were covers.

Sunday, I headed back to the shore to see my sister Leslie in her senior class play, Wizard of Oz. It was so strange seeing kids I used to babysat now singing and dancing down the yellow brick road... and kids who used to babysit me now married (some even pregnant or with children). *Shutter*



I'm not trying to turn this into a health blog, but Sunday morning, I woke up and had pulled my back out - again. It's the same spot in my upper back I injured falling out of the top bunk freshman year of college. This would be the seventh or eighth time I've felt this pinched nerve feeling that quickly spreads to a throbbing, aching pain all through out my - wait for it, science word drop - trapezius muscle.


Normally, I wouldn't blog about this because it happens so often - I've pulled it carrying too many groceries at once, moving furniture, sneezing straight up while lying on my back in bed - but I finally decided to do something about it and the result. was. wiiilllddd.

Previously, my treatment had been ice, heat, ice, heat and some strength conditioning... I'm a (former) athlete so I know how to treat sore muscles, but fearing this was nerve damage from the fall way back when, I made an appointment to see a chiropractor. Understanding the controversy around them - chiropractors believe medicine clouds the natural chemical balance of the body as a quick fix and doesn't allow you to address the problem long term, as well as they believe surgery isn't necessary because it's nothing physical therapy can't fix - I decided what did I have to lose. My back-up plan was a massage or acupuncture.

After a quick physical, x-ray and health history, the chiropractor explained to me that it wasn't a punched nerve at all, but that the reoccurrence of the pain was from a weakening posture caused by (surprise) hunching over a computer for long periods of time. He said my long neck and broad shoulders where being forced out of alignment through the fetal position I sleep in, and from what I do every day - sit at a computer. It was causing my weight to shift to the middle of my back instead of being evenly distributed with good posture. Made sense, and I can hear my mother at the dinner table snapping at me now to sit up straight.

Here's where it started to get weird. After the analysis, I was placed face down on a table and the assistant laid ice and electrodes on my upper back. Every few minutes, she would come over and turn up the voltage. At first it felt like a slight tingle, but by the end of it, I was shrugging my shoulders spontaneously and uncontrollably. After that, it was heat for fifteen minutes on an automatic massage table mMmMm.

A little dazed, the chiropractor came back and led me to another room with a flat table. Laying down on my back he was in the middle of explaining how someone at my age would have really great fluid motion when he rolled me on my side and suddenly CRACK! He cracked my spine. And laid me back flat. Like it was nothing. I was so startled I yelped and then couldn't stop nervously giggling. I was in the middle of saying "whoa, haha... what was..." when CRACK! He twisted my head sharply to the right, and then CRACK! sharply to the left. It sounded like someone had set off a bunch of popper fireworks all at once in the room.

A little disoriented, he had me sit up and was explaining how he was pleased with my spinal movement. Fabulous. I was going to protest and say, "Well, did you really do anything?" when I stopped and realized I felt better. A lot better. Not 100 percent - still sore all over as you can imagine - but less, like a huge weight of pain had been lifted off my shoulders. It was incredible! I was a whole new woman!

Now, I've already broken his rule of staying away from the laptop tonight so I could rest my neck and back, but I have to go back on Wednesday to go over the x-rays so I figured a little crack, crack here, crack, crack there and I'll be good as new again for a while. Coming from a medical family, I'm still skeptical about the actual science of snapping the spine, but if it makes me feel better I'll snap to it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feedbag podcast!

We recorded the Feedbag show a few days late because the host was out sick, but it was posted today. To listen, click here or here, scroll down to the "Discovery News" podcast and click on the grey "listen" button. It's a little rough - we're cleaning it up tomorrow - and it sounds like I say "Shit" about half way through when I don't, but it'll be fixed tomorrow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

You shouldn't need a vacation to plan a vacation...


Hot white sand barely moves as the blue-green rippled waves gently tug at it on the shoreline. The tropical breeze smells like lime and coconut as it ever-so-slightly rocks the hammock I'm laying in and the sound of palm leaves slapping together lulls me to sleep...

Oh dear, excuse me. I was staring at the Fiji beach scene poster I have hanging in my cubicle and I must have drifted off. My work email binged, my coworker's cell phone went off again and I snapped back. Sigh. I want a warm beach vacation. Badly. Right now.

The warm weather this weekend was a wonderful break from the chill and ice. I spent most of Saturday on a long (seven mile!) walk with my good friend Ruth, where we walked from Bethesda to the National Zoo, then walked around the zoo. Great company. Great conversation. So many strollers. Still, it wasn't the beach.



I've been envisioned a weekend getaway to South Beach where I could be warm, tan, drink margaritas, RELAX... the usual tropical break... for weeks now. I've combed through every cheap hotel, flight website known to man night after night and lingered over the swimsuit explosion at Target. Then, I got all excited because Tad sent me an article about cruise lines slashing prices so low that a four-day cruise was selling for less than the amount of two weeks worth of groceries. Problem: Money. Timing. And no one to go with because of money and timing.

I just have this urge to get away from it all... for just a little bit. To be fair, it wasn't smart of me to try to make something happen a.) on such short notice, b.) during the peak of college spring break season when prices are jacked up, c.) when I'm still trying to save up to visit Erin and Melissa in South Korea in May. All of the people I asked to be travel companions agree.

Perhaps I thought too large too quickly. Although it's disappointing and it's not beach weather, maybe I can still make a weekend getaway road trip next weekend or the weekend after... some place we could drive too - cuts air fare out and anything within 100 miles of D.C. is going to hella cheap compared to Miami.

If all else fails and the weather corporates again in the coming weekends, maybe I'll say to hell with it and have a luau party at my place. We'll grill up some jerk chicken and have Jose Cuervo and lime do the twist in a blender. Maybe get some bags of sand to dump in the side yard.

Now where can I rent a bunch of tanning lamps on the cheap - or even better, will tanning bulbs work in a floor lamp without burning my house to the ground. Hmm...

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's almost not funny, because it's almost true

Special thanks to Dave who passed it along to me... It's a short, bittersweet, cartoon of a situation that all of my fellow journalists relate to and possibly fear.

I couldn't make the photo big enough for it to fit on here and still be readable so follow this link HERE to read more.

It's official now...


My first official business cards came today. I don't know what I'm more excited about... that I can participate in free lunch drawings at cafes or that I can start using the line, "Here's my card."

Also, VERY excited about this...


I'm going to be outside as much as possible! WOOT.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seriously, who would fund that?!?!

Sometimes I fill in on a Discovery Channel podcast called the "Friday News Feedbag." There's a host and two reporters who pick random, off-beat scientific research press releases to talk about on the show. When one of the regular reporters is away on vacation or out sick, they call upon me. There's banter and a lot of back-and-forth, but it's always a good time.

One thing I find myself often wondering when I'm looking through mountains of research press releases for The 'Bag is, "Really. Who would even think of that?" or more terrifying - "Really. Who would FUND that?" Some are hilarious. Some are sick. Some are just down right common sense - study not needed.

Here are just a few of my favorites from today. I should note that I didn't alter the name of these studies in any way. I have written them below as they appear on the press releases...

- New study finds increased prevalence of left-handedness in children with facial development disorder.

- After a few drinks, older adults more impaired than they think.

- Buckyballs could keep water systems flowing.

- Politicians can use fear to manipulate the public.

- Pure fructose frequently confused with high fructose corn syrup.

- Older adults control emotions more easily than young adults.

- Fast-food density and neighborhood walkability affect residents' weight and waist size.

- Geeks may be chic, but negative nerd stereotype still exists.

Sometimes, I feel sad to be an American taxpayer. Tune into the Feedbag every Friday, but I'll be on this week (the March 6th show)!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pranking People - THAT'S WHAT MARYLAND DOES!

Special thanks to Ruth and Tad for sending me this one.

Prank War 7: The Half Million Dollar Half Court Shot at the Maryland/Wake Forest game, Comcast Center



Tip: Click the link highlighted in green. The photo is not a link. It's a photo :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quote(s) of the Work Day

"You know that on every single video I do, someone writes 'that narrator guy sounds like spiderman'... what does that even mean!?"

=================================================

"I love cake day!!!! "

Not my best foot forward

I had a hilarious and slightly mortifying thing happen to me this morning. Although at the end of the day, it's just shoes.

My routine on a workday is to drive from my house to Silver Spring, park my car in the garage at the old Discovery building and walk to headquarters. I tell myself that the 15 minute walk to headquarters and back everyday, which totals 30 minutes of walking, is a sufficient cardio workout. And what sort of footwear does the average person don when she works out? Tennis shoes.

From my porch to my desk, I make the drive and the walk in tennis shoes for really not other reason than I can walk faster in tennis shoes than in heels and I also tell myself that I'm delaying the inevitable bunion problem. When I get to my desk, I switch into work shoes: boots, heels, flats, whatever.

Kasey makes fun of me all the time for wearing my white and red Adidas with black dress pants, grey dress pants, dark dress jeans, skirts, dresses, when I walk to work but I always wave her off and say I'm much more comfortable this way. Well today she won because I got all the way to the little park by the old Discovery building before realizing I had left my work shoes in the car. I turned around and got an additional 20 feet before I realized I had forgotten my work shoes entirely - a first!

Today, I'm wearing a long blue sweater, black pants and white and red Adidas so I look like a young professional who's had foot surgery. Even though Kasey is out sick today, I can almost hear her laughing at me and saying, "I told you! I told you you should just suck it up, look cute and wear your work shoes the whole time," even though when I texted her to save me, she texted me back saying I could steal the shoes she had at her desk to get me through the day. She is the fashion guru and I love her for it.

Perhaps I can slip out to the DSW down the street at lunch time...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our BIG Snow 2009

What was supposed to be a non-threatening forecast for wintery mix became the biggest snowstorm to hit D.C. since 2006. Here's what I was able to snap while I headed out to work. I was too focused on making sure I didn't die along the way to take more than these two:

Leaving the house...

Walking towards Discovery HQ...


It was just coming down in cats and buckets, but I managed to make it to work on time because very few people were (smartly) out on the roads. I came in because I couldn't get connected to the server from home, and we had videos to upload anyway. Oh technology, how you control my life.

Tad had a snow day, but not to worry. He promised to make dinner tonight :)