I was once anti-blogging just a short time ago and here I sit. A full-fledged blogger just a year or so later.
Always Fishing has been going strong since January 2008. It started when I needed an outlet to complain about creepy, old parking attendants leering at me and getting in my face to ask me out when all I was trying to do was park my car in the garage.
Since it's conception, I've had numerous people ask me where I came up with the name "Always Fishing." Do you go fishing a lot? Are you fishing for compliments? Are you a born again Christian and you need announce your love for Jesus with referencing the fish?
No, no and definitely no.
About 16 months ago, I had a dream that I was blogging for an online D.C. community magazine and the name of my blog was "Always Fishing." No explanation in the dream as to why. I was just typing away on a piece for the magazine - I don't recall what it was about. I woke up the next morning, thought about how random it was, mulled it over, kept getting hit on, got frustrated and decided to make one of my dreams come true.
Most days, I'm giving the NY Times columnist a big fist pump and a good laugh when I read her saucy, smart sentences dripping... no... seeping, drowning in sarcasm that points out obvious flaws on everything from your meat and potatoes politics to your whipped fluff celebrity foul-ups.
But today, I was left with indigestion. In her latest column, Dowd goes Rambo on the founders of Twitter. OF TWITTER?!?! Saying "I would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account."
The interview is definitely worth reading. Hilarious because the Twitter guys keep right in step with her and lash back with saying "I'm a vegan" when Dowd asks them why in the hell would they care if their friends knew they were eating cheeseburgers. But Dowd just comes off as another angry, old biddy who's upset that technology is ruining everything. EVERYTHING!
The best part of all of this - I found out about this story on Twitter this morning. HA!
It's all over the online news now, but I thought the L.A. Times had the best wrap-up of the story, which starts out explaining the Maureen Dowd Twitter account is a fake, and then launches into the obvious reason why. You can read here.
The Washington Post did a fabulously gooy contest challenging people to use PEEPS - the Easter sugary, (faux)-marshmellow candies - in art and sculpture. Some took to recreating famous paintings, others took scenes from TV shows, movies and breaking news events. There's even a "Mrs. Peepcock, in the Conservatory, with the Revolver" murder scene and "Bernard Peepoff's" office FBI crack down. A few are gruesome, all are hysterical. Genius on a sugar high! Here's an Edward Hooper original (get it?) ... and the full gallery here.
The Hills' Lauren Conrad said she had to research "a lot of facts and a lot of big words" to get through her lines for an upcoming role on FOX's Family Guy. (Thanks Emily! I'm with you. I felt this was too sad to not say what the article was about outright.)
Not even Pulitzer Prize winners are safe from layoffs.
When the weatherman said tomorrow's forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of rain, I never had a problem understanding he meant there's a 7/10 chance I might need the umbrella. Apparently, most of America didn't get the message.
I seem to blog about things that go "tweet" a lot of late.
We have a new neighbor ... or perhaps it's a new roommate.
This bird couple made a nest in the crook of our front doorway. I'm like a gitty third grader as I've gotten into the habit of checking the nest building process every day. First it was a few random twigs, a bit of straw and finally, some fluff of some sort. I find it pretty cool how the birds can shape these tiny twigs into a tight circular, hallowed-out basket. But then again, I'm a silly science kid now. Thanks Discovery News.
The birds fly away every time we walk within five feet of it - to go up the stairs, to go outside, to take a photo of it - but I was able to capture this shot of Mama last night. My research tells me it's a House Finch. Ha!
Tad says we should knock it down because if they lay eggs in it, they may abandon the nest if we keep scaring them away too much. Or maybe he's just saying that because the bird tweets incessantly at all hours before the sun rise, making it hard to sleep in past 5 am. Makes me sad :(
Under most popular topics people are twittering about: Susan Boyle... Pirate Bay... TGIF... #unfollowfriday...
Yes. A new movement on Twitter has arisen. Every Friday, people "cleanse" thier Twitter by de-following those who a.) follow anyone and everyone b.) constantly Tweet very annoying things about themselves c.) bombard you with ads. Huh! Interesting. A practice akin to what I and others do all the time with our Facebook profiles has trickled down to put an end to annoyance presented in 140 characters or less. Impressive!
A select few users' feelings about the event...
armandoalves: If anyone asks me to follow any of the 3 stooges (@aplusk , @cnnbrk , @oprah) you're getting an #unfollowfriday
SardonicPrick: If I had any followers, they'd prob #unfollowfriday me for this, but at least Oprah has reached the max # of tweets recomended in an hour.
Rineva: Why the hell is Twitter letting me un-follow everyone but @aplusk? I sense a rig. I am sick of the tweetspam. #unfollowfriday
chrisavery: Uh-oh, @jimmyfallon is about to go.. he just mentioned the unmentionable O. #unfollowfriday
tomchau: In the spirit of #unfollowfriday, I unfollowed @unfollowfriday. They wanted me to
ds: Save Twitter! #unfollowfriday @aplusk, @cnnbrk, @britneyspears, @oprah, @mileycyrus
oimperador: RT @smashmouth Why cant we be friends? #unfollowfriday
Most popular #unfollowfriday ReTweet...
davefp: RT @LeoLaporte: Unfollowing anyone who mentions Kutcher, Oprah, or uses the word Internets. Satisfying. #unfollowfriday
Editor's Note: aplusk = Ashton Kutcher. He was the first person to break one million followers.
Let this be a lesson to you. Even in the world of micro-blogging, Tweet wisely.
Danish photographer Peter Funch creates amazing composite photographs of New York City street corners. He takes pictures from a single spot over two weeks, then digitally combines many people doing similar activities into one photograph. David C says, "My favorites are the people taking pictures followed by the people posing."
This is my favorite:
I think taking photos of people on the street is the hardest and most intimidating kind of photography and that's why it fascinates me so much. You have to have the courage to take the photo in the first place, not knowing how the person will react if they see you, and then be brave enough to stand your ground, pretend like its normal for you to be taking photos of strangers, present yourself in a non-creep fashion and explain yourself if they ask. Takes guts.
For those of you who also love photography, are in the D.C. area and have been to the TIME photo award winners hall at the Newseum (GO SEE IT. I bet you'll recognize at least half of the photos on the walls), you might also be interested in...
- Portraiture Now, National Portrait Gallery. This exhibition focuses on the individual perspectives of six editorial photographers: Katy Grannan, Jocelyn Lee, Ryan McGinley, Steve Pyke, Martin Schoeller and Alec Soth.
- Domesticated, Transformer Gallery. Photographs of men in domestic settings question how various contexts affect the appearance of sexuality and masculinity.
- One Life: The Mask of Lincoln, National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition examines how Lincoln used the advent of photography as well as other media to convey himself to Americans.
- The Migrant Project, Mexican Cultural Institute. Though images of migrant farm workers of the 1930s and 40s are now iconic to many, rarely seen are their contemporaries - one of America’s largest invisible and cast-off populations.
We gave my mom an iPod Shuffle for Easter because she started going to a gym regularly and complained about the "bee-bop" music they played too loudly. She was confused when she opened the box, but then ecstatic when I explained to her what it was for.
Here's a sampling of some of the phrases she used over and over as I set it up for her...
"That's really COOL!"
"That is wwwiiiilllldddd" (I kid you not, see where I get it from?)
"So the iPod talks to the computer and the computer talks to the iPod? WHOA!!!"
"So I can download songs and charge the iPod at the same time? That's freaky!"
"It's so tiny how can it do all that? That's freaky."
"You don't understand, when I was your age computers used 500 punch cards to do one task."
"So if I don't like a song I can just delete it? That's wild. Wow."
"I have all these great songs on record, you should get a record player so you can make discs and then we'll put the discs on this tiny thing."
Now my mom no longer has to listen to Britney's "If You Seek Amy" or Flo Rida's "Right Round" while on the tredmill but instead she can happily "bee-bop" to Billy Joel's "Piano Man," Yes' "I've Seen All Good People," Jude Cole's "Start The Car" and six Fleetwood Mac and Hall and Oates albums. It's a step and I feel proud that she got over her fear of new technology. She wasn't too keen on my GPS, "how can that thing possibly know where you are at all times? I don't buy it."
In other news, apartment hunting over the weekend was successful in that we found a place the three of us agreed on. Now, it's just a matter of what type of unit, what budget we can renegotiate and signing the paperwork. I'll keep you posted :)
Old editorial, newly posted photo of a rabbit bigger than my dog from the Chicago Tribune. No extra commentary necessary...
Karl Szmolinsky, who raises a breed of rabbits called giant grays, shows Robert, an 8.5kg giant gray who is 74cm long and has ears 25.5cm long, in the backyard of his house in Eberswalde, Germany in 2006. Szmolinsky sold eight giant grays to a delegation from North Korea that wanted to raise the breed as a source of meat for the North Korean population. Szmolinsky said his rabbits reach a maximum weight of 10.5 kg (23.1lbs.).
A GIANT thank you to Mr. Ben Meyerson for passing this along to me. Now, how much would it cost to buy them all and put them in a nice, quite giant bunny farm?
In honor of the anniversary of the Appomattox, my father presented me with the most fascinating piece of medium - a recording of a broadcast and an interview over 50 years old.
On April 9, 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee signed the document of surrender, conceding the Civil War to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, at the courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia. As you can imagine, each year the town of Appomattox holds a remembrance event. Forgive me as I turn somber and sentimental for just this post. This is for my dad.
The recording is a broadcast of this such event in 1950, where renowned historian Dr. Douglas S. Freeman weaves the tale of the final week of the Civil War leading up to Lee's decision to surrender, when Lee said his famous words, "No, you young ones can push back, but for me, there’s nothing for me to do except to go to see General Grant and take the consequences of my acts."
This wasn't just a history lesson. Freeman cleverly presented it as a camp fire story or a legend full of details and moments left out of history books. As Freeman told it, when Grant received word Lee wanted to meet him, he had been lying down in his private tent nursing a migraine headache, but immediately got out of bed and put on his cleanest uniform when he heard. In turn, Lee dressed himself in his finest, telling his chief of staff, "If I have to surrender I want to be at my best."
They agreed to meet at the Appomattox Courthouse. A new courthouse was being finished in the spring of 1865 to replace the old one, but the men recognizing it's historical significance declared, "Here's a name of the immortals... give the new courthouse a new name."
Lee waited alone for Grant to arrive, Freeman recounted, "who knows what he thought, waiting to surrender the greatest army ever to be raised in America... the army of northern Virginia."
Once it was done the terms agreed to, Lee walked out of the courthouse, put on his gloves, got on his horse and rode towards where the last of his men had been waiting for him down the hill. "Men, I've done the best for you I know how to do," he told them, "you're free to go home and just stay there."
Deemed "a reconciliation of gentlemen by gentlemen," Grant included some of Lee's words from that day in his inauguration speech, "let us have peace... a reunion of brothers." Although Freeman tells us that the day after the surrender, Lee said to Grant, "Yes, I am grey and you are responsible for most of those grey hairs."
Following the historian came a recording of an interview with Julius Franklin Howard, a CSA soldier. This was the most touching because it's so rare to hear the eyewitness recounts of a Civil War battle and to listening to his retelling of clashing with generals, being alive when Lincoln was shot and living through a country torn apart is just breath-taking.
Born in 1846, Howard began with explaining how he didn't becoming politically conscious until age nine or 10, his "mind wasn't developed to take in what the politicians wanted," and so he "sympathized with elders" by default and wanted to fight.
He got his chance in 1862 when Lee called for more men "even though the big battles haven't come yet" and so he was signed onto the 24th Virginia Calvary at 16. His first account of serious battle didn't come until 1964 when his unit was camped around Petersburg, VA just as Grant began his invasion
"Across the James River, there we saw long lines of blue."
The first and only he was shot was during a charge at Richmond where he was shot in the leg and sent home for two months. At 19, back around Petersburg, Howard tells of how "Sheridan over took us on our way back and after a fighting a few hours he surrendered us and thus I became a captain," dropping Sheridan's name as if it were nothing.
Howard even recalls waking up one morning to the field before him covered with flags standing at half mast. He and other men asked what it all meant only to be told by their commander, "President Lincoln was shot last night."
On the day of surrender, Howard stood with other coats of grey. "I almost worshiped Lee, even those he wasn't divine... and saluted him the very best we could. I never saw General Lee after that."
The question of what Southerners fought for came up and Howard had an answer for that without missing a beat. Explaining Lee has drafted policies to free the slaves long before the war began, Howard didn't think the war was about slavery at all.
"I guess you would say I fought in the 'Civil' war but the citizens of the south don't like that term, they like the expression "the war between the states," Howard said. "I thank god my boys and girls were not brought under a world of slavery, but the war was for states rights, and I look back now and i see my heart in it."
In this day and age, friends let friends text during verbal conversations. Friends let coworkers, family members, significant others, fellow grocery store stand-in-liners and themselves text during verbal conversations. Sometimes, it drives me crazy. Where art thou, eye contact?!
Two of my friends and I went out to lunch a few weeks ago and we started chatting but not five minutes in, one pulled out his BlackBerry, and then so did the other one. Conversation drifted for a few minutes into silence. I ate quietly until they snapped back and were off and running again. Then it happened again. And again. While walking back to the office afterwards, the same thing happened again. This was over the span of 30 minutes.
"Sometimes I don't even have a purpose for taking it out," one said. "I just get awkward or the other person gets awkward and so it's awkward and I need to get out of it and do something! I need to keep busy. Sometimes I just reread old text messages or look at my menu options."
Sadly, it made perfect sense and to be honest, I've done the same thing with my boring $50 Samsung flip phone. But I see it happen all the time! In meetings, in the car, out to dinner... the digital age was supposed to make us move faster, but instead we've all become zombie slaves to a pocket-sized piece of plastic. Can't anyone have an uninterrupted conversation anymore?! I didn't realize a 30 minute lunch was so hard to get through.
The most amusing is on the elevator. As soon as the doors closes after everyone gets on, instead of looking at the ceiling or your fingernails like in 2005, everyone pulls out their phones and pretends to be searching frantically for something important to do.
The most annoying is with my 18 year-old sister, who has FRIED four cell phones in a year from over-texting with her friends. It has actually become a permanent extension of her arm. You know, when I was your age, sis, we used AIM. I can only imagine the riveting conversations she must be having when they start with, BUZZZ.... flip.... New Text: "Sup? I'm bored."
It pains me to think we're headed into a life where our vocabulary becomes mute and the only noises we make are 'buzz' and 'beep, beep, beep' and sometimes a Janet Jackson or My Chemical Romance song.
Best bit of the article: "Oh, I can retaliate," says Erin Lamos, who works at a Washington think tank. "I can be way more engrossed in my iPhone than anyone could be on their BlackBerry. 'Excuse me while I use this iPhone app to play a song on my flute.' "
Self hypocrite alert: Who doesn't want the iPhone, myself included. I'll most likely have one or a BlackBerry one of these days, but promise to take the oath of consciousness of other people's conversations, or at least try to reconcile BlackBerry war instead of declaring it.
In other related texting news, students in Moldova used Twitter to organize a violent protest against their country's Communist government regime yesterday - and 10,000 people showed up! +1 microblog, whoever said you weren't useful?
Erin updated the page this morning (my time)/last night (her time) so the latest 3 p.m. on Sunday post is live. Enjoy!
In other news, Tad, Roberto and I are moving out of our rental house and moving closer to D.C.! Moving on up to the Red Line! We have two apartment appointments on Saturday with three more prospective places on our list. We're really excited about it but we'll see what happens. Stay tuned!
I feel a little ashamed that this made me laugh as hard as it did because it firmly seals how much of a Harry Potter dork I am.
Special thanks to Emily for blogging about this first so I could find it :) Hogwarts Snaps is the genius behind turning a mythical story about a boy wizard into foul 'Yo Momma' jokes started by the Nerdist. Here's a sampling...
'Yo momma so fat her patronus is a cake'
'Yo momma so fat the Sorting Hat put her in all four houses'
'Yo momma so stupid, she thinks Sirius Black is the soul station on satellite radio'
'Yo momma’s so ugly the Dementor’s Kiss was swapped out for a hearty handshake and a promise to give her a call sometime.'
Normally when you think of bakers you think of a sweet, older couple who gets up at 4 am every morning to make the bread fresh in their yellow and green tiled kitchen. Their cakes are delicately decorated with sugar daisies and thick buttercream icing that's a secret family recipe passed down for generations.
What you don't think of is a kitchen outfitted with lumber, table saws, sanders and a blow torch, or elaborate cakes filled with movable car engine parts, live explosives and in prefect replicas of family dogs, guitars and even the Hubble Space Telescope (coming this weekend at NASA's Yuri's Night party). But that's how they run things at Charm City Cakes.
(yes, that's a cake)
Famous from the Food Network show, Ace of Cakes, Chef Duff Goldman came out to UMD's campus for a sold-out lecture on Wednesday night. Working in the same office as SEE (Student Entertainment Events) surely has its perks as Tad was able to not only score us tickets, but VIP passes to the after party cake eating party.
Standing at only 5'4", a doughy Duff talked about how he went from spray painting train cars, to welding, to UMBC, to making corn bread and biscuits in hotel kitchens, to snow boarding, to culinary school, to Baltimore where he got his business off the ground by running it out of his tiny apartment with his rocker friends. Cake decorating was a trade he once said was only for housewives, but when he got pigeonholed at a job and realized he was incredibly good at it, he called his dad.
"My dad has a Ph. D. in economics so I called him up and said 'Dad, what do I do?' he said, 'you want to make cakes?' yeah... 'are you good at making cakes?' yeah... 'do you want to sell cakes?' yeah... 'well then make cakes! You want to make cakes, than make cakes!' It was so Jewish it hurt."
With the help of a big time producer brother in Hollywood, plus competing in several cooking challenges across the country where he never took first place because most cooking competitions don't allow cakes to be set on fire, TV show execs started to take notice and boom - Ace of Cakes was born.
"When I was out in Colorado before all of this happened, and my stoner friends all told me 'dude, you should have your own show and we'll call it 'Fuck It, Let's Bake!" and so they did. They make a Monty Python of sorts cooking show, making actual cooking shows look like a joke - complete with having the "audience" smoke pot beforehand to make them "extra hungry." They gave it to Willie, Duff's brother, and well... the rest is history.
"If you come across a chef that doesn't smoke pot, he's lying... or he won't survive for long," Duff said.
The reality show is basically this - someone calls in an order, the baking team made up of hipsters, garage band members and artists all friends of Duff from years ago, design it, they bake, it's awesome, it's enormous and may explode, it's presented, done. One of the main people in the show, Mary Ellen, went to the University of Maryland so Duff called her up while on stage and she gave a shout out to her fellow Terps over a cell phone held up to the mic.
Duff's favorite cake: Hogwarts
One of the most interesting things I took away from the lecture was during the Q&A someone said she had been making cakes for a long time and how important was it to go to culinary school. Expecting Duff to blow it off and say he was too cool for school, he instead explained something completely opposite, saying that anyone can cook a tenderloin but you must be taught the chemical compounds of meringue and the exact temperature for butter to simmer so that your cakes don't topple over.
At the VIP party, Duff stood there and cut the entire red velvet Testudo cake for the 150 guests invited to stay.
Tad and I had a long wait to get a slice but it was worth it - verdict: delicious - can scratch 'have a piece of $2000+ cake made by Charm City Cake bakers' off the list.
Oh yeah, and getting my picture taken with the Duff himself. Check :)
I was sitting in a brainstorming meeting yesterday with a vice president of our Digital Media group, a bunch of Digital Media executive producers and support staff when it happened.
We have these meetings once in a while to go over upcoming Discovery shows and discuss what can we build online to support them or use the show to draw attention to our department. The EP in charge of a show coming down the pike came up with the idea of using a prototype from a foreign game he found online.
EP: "It's awesome - really fun to play - but all of the instructions are in Japanese so it took me a while to figure it out..."
Me: "Does it say 'All Your Base Are Belong To Us?'
The room was dead silent for .8 seconds and in that moment I thought I was going to throw up. I thought I had said something too random and ridiculous to be funny - or sound intelligent. At one full second, everyone got it at once, the room collapsed into giggles and I stopped reaching for my Pepto chewables.
For those of you who don't understand what I'm talking about ... read ... then watch ...
I cannot begin to tell you how proud Tad was of me when I told him.
AlwaysFishing.com was started out of a dream I had about blogging -- no kidding -- but it fits in perfectly with what I do: I'm always fishing for good stories. I use this blog to write about the odds and ends of my life around Washington, D.C. and other places. Sometimes I write about other people's lives or weird things I find on the Internet. I hope my ramblings make you laugh too. This is my personal blog that I use for fun and by no means represents anyone else's views but my own. Connect with me here and on Twitter @leffron831.