A Frolic of My Own


Jazz, Books, Macs, Food, and Life Outside the Academy

Blogging from Cleveland Park, DC




iJunkman at hotmail dot com


Pages Written
in 2004 = 3

August 31, 2003
 
Since I waited too long to book a train ticket, I was forced to take a bus to Charlottesville, VA, Friday night. By avoiding the highway whenever possible and stopping in every small town along the way, they manage to make a two hour trip into a four hour journey. Luckily I packed my iPod, so I was able to drown out the cell phone conversations being shouted all around me on the bus with music by Ben Alison and Woody Shaw. Even over the music, though, I heard the woman across the aisle explain that some man had a scar on his face because her sister had hit him with a beer bottle, but he deserved it.

It's good to be in Charlottesville. I've only been away for three months, but I miss the place. After I arrived, Andrea and I went to Miller's, located on the downtown pedestrian mall, for a drink. The bar is an institution, although the food is pretty awful and the service is slow. But you go there to drink when you're not in a hurry. Andrea and I actually met at Miller's many years ago.

Saturday night we met up with our friends John and Hannah at Crozet Pizza. It's a little pizza joint run by a grumpy hippy. It's so popular in these parts that you won't get a table if you don't make reservations. After dinner, we went back to the cabin John rents on the edge of a farm. It's a working farm, but it's owned by a doctor and a tennis court sits below the barn. We meant to go outside and see Mars, since I can't see it in Washington with all the light pollution. Unfortunately, we got caught up in talking, and drinking wine, and eating olives and cheese and forgot all about Mars. Maybe I'll remember to look up into the sky tonight.


 
Housekeeping note: Three new blogs have been added to the blogroll. Waste, which appears to be written by a literature student at Chicago. He was kind enought to link to me. One From None, a journal of my friend Andy's travails establishing a science writing business from Shreveport, LA. And finally, Why I Hate D.C., because I'm still not sure how I feel about this city.


August 26, 2003
 
InterviewTomorrow afternoon I have a second round interview for a job in higher education policy. Wish me luck


 
On a perfect Saturday, Andrea and I headed down to the tidal basis to examine some of the lesser monuments of Washington. We saw the marble and bronze commemorating George Mason, the battleship Maine, and the inventor of the screw propeller. The Maine is still well remember, at least by those who happen upon its marble monument tucked between two remote parking lots and can read its Spanish inscription. George Mason lounges in a parched meditation garden, just a short distance from Jefferson's more imposing neo-classical tribute. The bronze of George Mason is just slightly oversized, which makes it appear more comic than imposing. Sitting next to Mr. Mason on his concrete bench, I was reminded of the fiberglass statues of Ronald that used to sit on the benches of McDonalds' when I was a kid.

We rented a paddle boat and cruised the Tidal Basin for an hour. When you stopped paddling, you could hear the speeches and the songs celebrating the 40th anniversary of the march on Washington drifting over from the Mall.

Saturday night we dined at Bambulé, a Spanish restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue. The restaurants serves excellent authentic tapas, with none of the unnecessary flourishes and innovations too many places impose on their tapas to hide the substandard ingredients.


August 21, 2003
 
CalPundit warns us that AOL users have entered the blogosphere. I would just like to state for the record that I was blogging months before the hordes stormed the gates.


August 20, 2003
 
Jerry CrinerTommy Glen Carmichael, a Tulsa native, reformed slot cheat, and "known associate" of my great uncle Jerry Criner, has been getting a lot of press this week after an AP profile of him hit the wires. In the article, Uncle Jerry calls Carmichael, "A legend. He's the greatest mind as far as developing cheating tools."

This convinces me even more that I should follow my friend Brad's advice to write a book about Jerry. I haven't spoken to Jerry since I was a kid, but clearly he doesn't shy away from the press or his status as a slot cheat.


 
Ways to Make you feel betterHere's a tip for all you fellow temps. When you are feeling disposable and terrified that you might lose your only foreseeable source of rent money, go out and fire an overpaid stock manager. Tell him he can't play with your six million dollars anymore.

That's the odd disconnect of my current life. By day I'm a lowly temp at a bank. On my breaks, I volunteer as the chair of Telluride Association's investment management board. Over lunch today, I executed about $400,000 in stock trades. Of course, it's not my money. If it were, I sure as hell wouldn't be working as a temp or anything else.


August 17, 2003
 
HousekeepingHousekeeping: Frolic now has a sister site, Frolic Photo. Expect a random image to be posted regularly. No explanation will be given, and no archives will be kept.


 
UpdatIt's been a week since I posted anything on Frolic, and I wish it were because I was on vacation like the rest of Washington. No, I've simply been too busy to write even a single paragraph. This weekend was the quarterly meeting of the Telluride Association's investment management board, which I chair. Many reports had to be written and read, managers evaluated, and an agenda created.

I just assumed the role of chair, so I was concerned this time about being on top of things. As far as I could tell, the meeting went well. We bought some stocks, and we sold some stocks. We fired a manager, and we agreed to hire a new one. Most importantly, we got it all done in one day.

The meeting this quarter was in Boston, and our investment consulting firm rented us a conference room on the 11th floor of an office building over looking the water. I felt like a hayseed when the televisions installed in the elevator amazed me. There aren't any tall buildings in D.C., so you lose touch with all the innovations in high rise technologies.

In an effort to save money, the committee member living in Cambridge booked us rooms in the Holiday Inn in South Boston. Lars, another board member, and I were able to soak up some of the local atmosphere Friday night at a South Boston sports bar. Walking back to the hotel around 1 a.m., we saw that a party was going strong at the local Polish-American League. We considered crashing the party, but then thought better of it.


August 10, 2003
 
The problem with always carrying a camera is that you quickly realize how little of what you see everyday is worth recording.



 
These days, I often wonder if my soon to be granted Ph.D. is worth anything at all. I was happy to learn at InstantDegrees.com that a doctorate does have value. And that value would be $160 USD. That's $25 dollars more than a masters degree.


August 06, 2003
 
KazA few weeks ago, we ate some fine sushi at Kaz's Sushi Bistro. On the way out of the restaurant, I dropped my business card into the drawing for a free dinner. This weekend, a $75 gift certificate and a congratulatory letter arrived in the mail. I guess real people really do win at Kaz's Shushi Bistro.


August 05, 2003
 
Unable to resist the hypnotic charms of Catherine Zeta Jones, I have ordered a T-Mobile Nokia 3650, the camera phone with the rotary style keypad. Amazon was giving it away free when you signed up for a new service plan, so how could I go wrong.

Now that I'll have a camera with me at all times, I can start posting photos on Frolic of all the wacky events that happen everyday, but went unnoticed and unrecorded before we had this technology. Good friends in funny costumes. Weasels climbing up people's pants legs. And dogs driving cars.


August 03, 2003
 
Temp jobI began a temp assignment Friday, and it's actually an interesting job. I work the front desk at the international division of a large bank. All day, faxes come streaming in with wire requests. I have to call back the sender and verify the information. On my first day alone I called a dozen embassies, several foreign countries, and a Latin American general. Quite a few of the clients are Spanish speaking, so they had to hire a bilingual speaker.

That part of the job I can handle. Working the phones is another matter. Trying to remember the phone codes and keep the calls moving in right direction, I felt like Lucy in the chocolate factory.




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