Sunday, March 30, 2008

DC Adventures Part II

So, that last one was kind of fun, and I figured I’d do another. Maybe there is something in the air here that has re-activated the writing gene that was inactive in Columbus (perhaps something in the…Blogosphere? Thank you. I’m here for 2 months. Tip your bartender).

I’m sitting here at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, right in front of the reflecting pool, a fitting place for some reflecting I think, especially since the water is way too grungy to display any actual reflecting properties.

I’ve remembered another big difference between Ohio and DC: People here don’t smile nearly as much. Back home, I smile a lot…I smile when I run, when I drum, to strangers, etc, and people often smile back, or at least don’t recoil in fear. I get the impression that when I do that here, people suspect I’m some sort of creeper, which is sad.

People take themselves far too seriously.I’ve actually made an active effort to smile more over the past year, and I can honestly say that I’m happier because of it. Smiling forces you to momentarily step outside your own ipod-fueled bubble, and acknowledge other people, and it also keeps you from taking everything too seriously…it keeps you grounded and humbled. I can only really think of two objects where are exceptions to my new “smile and be happy” policy.

a) People who stand on the wrong side of the Metro escalators. Now that they have the “metro voice guy” telling you where to stand, ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse. This can send normal people into delirious rages.

b) People who are wearing Georgetown University stuff. Sorry. I have to assume you’re a prick.

Speaking of which, I don’t think I’m going to write very much about my job, which is of course, the biggest reason that I’m here. I’m an Intern people…there are hundreds of thousands of people just like me, proudly displaying their Hill badges like some kind of Sneech from a Doctor Suess book, dressed like they’re off to some College Republicans meeting. I don’t even work for a sexy government department. People will Hill badges sometimes wear them to bars around here, hoping that some na├»ve out of towner will be impressed. Nobody *ever* goes “I just met this cute boy, and then I found out he works for the Federal Judicial Center! I just had to have sex with him then”. Nope. It’s never happened.

I’ve worked for several government entities now in my life, and I don’t have the desire to name drop and puff out my chest like I used to. I enjoy my work, I like being here, but lets not sugarcoat what I’m doing. I’m interning. We all know what that means.

Finally, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time around the monuments, this being my first week, and a lot of the other fellows in my group haven’t seen them before. I don’t mind, I really like the national mall area, even though I’ve seen it several times already.

But then I got to thinking. A lot of our nation’s treasures are gifts from other countries! The Statue of Liberty is from France. DC’s cherry blossoms are from Japan. We have some random golden statues from Italy. I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed, and they’re all awesome.Have we done this for anybody? Is there a statue somewhere in the world that has from our friends, the United States under it? (I’m not trying to be snarky…if we have, I’d like to know). More importantly though, why aren’t people still doing this? Why are we not writing checks for new monuments to try and get our world status back? Why not go “Hey, sorry about that whole Iraq stuff Europe…can we make it up to you by giving you something marble and shiny?”

Seriously, everybody loves monuments. They make a great backdrop here, tourists come from all over the world to ogle at them, and at night, they can make a serviceable cheap date (just avoid the war-themed ones. Nothing is a bigger buzzkill than the Vietnam wall). Maybe our next president ought to look at bringing some new ones to the world.

Until later my friends. I’ve got a whole notebook full of notes for new entries.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Adventures in DC, Volume I

Well, I've been down here for a few days, and I thought I'd let ya'll know whats going on.

First, as some of you know, I decided to celebrate my return to the city I love by getting very very sick right off the bat. I spent my first night here throwing up, and then followed that up by puking in a stairway during my first group orientation meeting. I am *awesome* at making first impressions! However, I think I'm okay now.

Its kinda weird to come back after 2 years. At first, I was beyond excited...I wanted to just hug everybody I saw on the metro, and I'm sure I creeped a few people out with me grinning everywhere I went. I'm not a creeper...I'm just happy to be back.

Of course, so much has changed. I don't have too many friends that I still talk to at American, and I'm a very different person than I was during my freshman year of I'm sure just about everybody else is. I know that I'm not going to be able to come back where I left off, and I'm okay with that.

I think its pretty obvious that I've over-romanticized Washington DC as some kinda of wonderland, where Federal bureaucrats are giving out free hugs and Pell Grants, and where the Potomac is really made of Root Beer. I not only fell in love with this city when I was here, but with all of the things that happened at that time of my life that could have happened anywhere. I became independent for the first time in DC, fell in love for the first time, tried so many other exciting life experiences...and to be honest, all of this could have happened just as easily in Akron or Toledo.

Which isn't to say that this opportunity won't be something special. I've already met some cool people, and I've got a lot of fun and exciting things coming up soon, not to mention a job which should be very professionally rewarding....but perhaps spending my first few hours hugging a toilet reminded me that everything here isn't perfect...which is something I needed to remember.

Keep in real in O-H-I-O (or wherever you are)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm declaring for the NBA Draft

So, I haven’t written in a while. It isn’t that I’ve had a dearth of material, I have manuscripts in various states of completion from everything about Eliot Spitzer, to the Cleveland Cavaliers megatrade a few weeks ago. However, my quarter was winding down, and with finals coming up, and me getting ready to move to Washington DC for a few months, I just haven’t had time to get this finished up…my days are pretty much school, work, gym, study, sleep.

And then it hit me. I don’t have to do this anymore. I have another option. America, I plan on forgoing my senior season here at Ohio State, and declare for the NBA Draft.

A lot of you are probably laughing at this idea right now. I don’t actually play for Ohio State (or Ohio State-Newark for that matter). I haven’t averaged 14 points a game since Church rec league. I’m not even 6 foot. None of that matters, for there are still tons of reasons for an NBA team to take a chance on ol’ Downtown. Here is what I can bring to the table. I’m targeting this to my hometown Cleveland Cavs, but really, the same principles apply.

1) Despite having little formal basketball training, I can guarantee that I will shoot above 55% on free throws. Cleveland, that means I’m better than Ben Wallace.

2) Some might worry about my size. I’m about 5-11, and weigh around 167 pounds. I think, given access to NBA-caliber trainers, nutritionists, and gym equipment, I could get that up to about 180 by next season, at least. Sure, that’s pretty small…but big enough to take a charge from Allen Iverson or Chris Paul….or Eric Snow.

3) You won’t have to worry about me taking bad shot after bad shot. Look, I’m not Larry Hughes. I won’t even shoot if Lebron tells me not to.

4) Basically, I’m good for hustle, running the floor, rebounding, taking charges…basically, I’m a smaller version of Anderson Varejao, even down to being Brazilian. However, I am also *way* better looking than him, so that’ll help a little bit with the merch department. Seriously, Anderson is trying his best to break the stereotype that Brazilians are all good looking…who wants to be the guy wearing his jersey?

5) Think of the total cost of ownership here. I am not demanding 2.4 million to play 60 games and get hurt. Sign me for the league minimum. Sign me for less than that, I don’t care. You want me to spend 3 weeks in Idaho playing for the D-league? Awesome. I’ll be the happiest camper on the team. I’ll even fold towels and do laundry, so you can cut back on expenses.

6) I’d be great in the locker room, and for the community. I can teach players how to talk with the media intelligently about a number of topics. I can tutor the ones who are going back to school. I won’t bicker and fight about money. I’m a Mormon, so you’ll never pick up the paper and find out that I squeezed out 4 shots outside a nightclub at 3 AM. If you’re looking for somebody to read to little kids, or do community service, I’m your guy.

7) Seriously, this would be like, the best thing ever for your karma. You know that movie where the Eagles let a bartender be on the team, and he turned out to be pretty good? Wouldn’t you want that to be your basketball team? Chris Wallace is drooling right now, he wants to sign me to a 3 year deal for 25 million.

Make this happen. I’m leaving these finals and study guides in the dust. I’m going to be Lebron’s sidekick.