Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sanity: Restored

Anyone who gave my facebook so much as a passing glance this weekend will already know that I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in DC Saturday. You may have also heard me say that it was the Woodstock of my generation; somewhere between 200,000-400,000 people from all over the country came out for a mix of irony, sincerity, and hilarity. That's the way we like our politics.

Gibb and I arrived at New Carrollton around 11 am and parked at a nearby office building (to which parking had already overflowed). We passed by a stream of people who were already headed back to their cars because the lines were so long at the station. We asked ourselves, how long must a line be to deter people who were excited enough to make signs and t-shirts? We soon discovered that the line actually stretched out of the station, wrapped around the parking garage and then back inside the garage. In the end we were in line for about an hour and fifteen minutes, but it didn't feel terribly long because we were surrounded by friendly, excited people and there were plenty of fun costumes and signs to look at. At one point we marveled as a very helpful guy behind us politely suggested that we create a bend in the line so it was less confusing for people looking for the end. I should mention that the line was only for people who were buying tickets. Had I been carrying my SmartTrip card as I almost always do, we would have zipped right past the line. Epic fail.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bay Area Adventures Part II

Saturday afternoon we headed into San Francisco for sister (+Sergey) adventures. Our parents booked us a night in the Union Square Hilton with reward points, and we were pretty impressed with the view from our tower room on the 38th floor. We settled in, went to H&M and then got ready for a night out in SF. Our first stop was Bourbon and Branch, a speakeasy a few blocks from our hotel. From the outside it is just a nondescript brick building with a sign that reads "Anti-Saloon League." When we knocked on the unmarked wooden door, a hostess peeked out and asked for a password. Once we gave her the password we were ushered inside and seated in a booth in the dimly lit front room. The atmosphere was fantastic, complete with rules banning cell phones, cameras, and ordering Cosmos. The drinks were yummy and not as expensive as they could have been (mine were each $11). The place felt like an authentic temperance-era speak easy right down to the cloth hand-sewn coasters (upon which I fixed and plan to replicate) and the fedora that Sergey was wearing. After that we went out to restaurant where we had wine and good seafood, and then we went back to the hotel to hang out and enjoy the view of the city.
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Bay Area Adventures Part I

I occassionally have to remind myself that I am not being graded on how efficient of a tourist I am. My quick trip to California this was week was one such case, but all in all I had a nice taste of San Francisco, and more importantly I got to hang out with my sister and see how she lives.

I flew into SFO Wednesday night, ate some In-N-Out with Erin and Sergey before collapsing into bed. Thursday morning I took a walk to get some coffee, and caught a mid-morning train into San Francisco (only $6 one way!), with a few vague ideas of what I wanted to do. I had of course read my Lonely Planet Encounter Guide and highlighted some things I wanted to do. I started out with lunch at the Ferry Building, a historic building turned yuppie marketplace. At LP's suggestion, I got the recommended sustainable fish taco and a Mexican bottled coke at Mijita, a Mexican place known for using fresh local ingredients. One smallish taco was $5 but it was tasty and surprisingly filling.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Standing or Falling

I recently came across a doodle I did in a Bible study that used the book Journey Through the Psalms, which talked about Walter Brueggemann's idea that three "seasons of life" are represented in the Psalms - orientation, disorientation, and new orientation.

For some people, jumping off a cliff with a parachute seems like a fun idea, but I am not a thrill seeker. I generally prefer to keep my feel on solid ground. That is the orientation stage. Solid, stable and safe. I realized that at the time even though I was in a place of orientation, I was fearful about when the next period of disorientation would be. Disorientation is the place where the floor drops out from under you suddenly and your stomach is in your throat. Periods of disorientation are difficult, but they (eventually) bring us to new orientation - the place of joy, and thrills, and new perspective. We usually cannot get to new orientation without disorientation, but disorientation is not fun.

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