Unusual Household Object Blogging - On the Road

I'm not in my own household, so instead I have something from where I am staying!

PICT0001

I am staying in a house so crammed with unusual objects that it is a little bit of sensory overload.

It's So Strange

Walking back up to Adams Morgan tonight after dinner with a bunch of friends, it really hit me: it's so strange to be back. Everything here is so familiar, so laden with memories. DC is not the place I have lived longest as an adult (that's Boston) but it is long, and recent, and so it feels very comfortable. In Houston I'm "that guy from DC." I know, having up and moved somehwere new before, that it will take a long time for that to fade. Meanwhile, DC feels like hom in a way nowhere else really does.

And so being here is seductive and dangerous. I am in the lucky and strange position of being able to go anywhere on the planet I choose to right now. And this is home, and familiar, so there's always a little voice inside me saying, "so why not come back?" On one level it would be so very easy.

On another level - the practical one - it would be a horrifying nightmare. This city has become even more overpriced that it was when I lived here. While I made a boatload of money selling my house, that was months and months ago. After living less than a year in a place where the basics of life don't require a salary well above the average income, I've gotten used to a more sensible, normal way for things to work.

Bottom line, if I needed life to be that difficult financially, forget DC, I'd just move to LA or NY and live somewhere far more interesting and thus worth the hassle.

But. But. But. This still feels like home. I love those other big cities but they don't feel like home, they aren't filled with memories. They aren't filled with people I already know. They aren't as easy (mentally) as DC.

That's what's so funny: not living in DC, I can appreciate how settled in I was here. Because all the negatives fade away when you don't actually live here; I can just breeze into town and shrug off the hostility, the competitiveness. They are not my problem, so now, having left, I'm finally free to enjoy what I always liked about this town.

But that's also why I can't come back. I am at a point in life when everything is in flux, and moving forward means looking forward, As pleasant as it is to return, I think it will be a while before I'm back. My friends need to visit me in Houston. I need to put my energy other places. So as I walked up 18th Street on this mild winter night, it felt like a last taste of dessert before the meal ended. This is nice but not good for me, and I need to stay away for a while.

Compassionate Conservatism

Up in Collin County, the wealthiest county in Texas, how do they take care of health care for people with no money? They ship them next door to Dallas and let Dallas County taxpayers pick up the tab, the Houston Chronicle reports.

This is the usual Republican "I don't want to pay taxes" crap: everyone must be self reliant, except me!

Read the quotes from the Collin County commissioner in the story. Really disgusting.

Sunday Afternoon

I certainly couldn't hope for better weather for a February visit to Washington. Both weekend days have been gloriously sunny, temperatures around 50, and all of DC running outside to play.

Last night began with a fun party to celebrate Maslenitsa, aka Butter Week, courtesy of the fabulous host Veronica. After having my fill of blini, salmon, vodka, champagne and King Cake (it was multicultural so the Butter Goddess had to share the table with Mardi Gras colors) I went off to Blowoff. Bob and Rich continue to host what is, I think, the most fun it is possible to have in a club. When I arrived it was so packed I thought my head would explode, but before too long the crowd thinned out a bit and it was just fun: great music, lots of friendly guys, and I finally got to meet Copperred (Carl) and Clickboo face to face.

Today has been a lazy day, some brunch, some strolling, and then helping Andy buy a new iMac. We might not see him for days. If the crowds at the Clarendon Apple Store are any indication, these are good days for Apple.

Nap time.

Safe Clear

John Whitmire - my idiotic state senator - apparently has the Texas Legislature confused with the Houston City Council. In the Chronicle, Rick Casey sums the story up well. As far as I can see, Whitmire is into grandstanding, rather than governing. What a putz.

Department of Indoctrination Update

Margaret Spellings may be fairly new in her job as Secretary of Education, but she's wasting no time in proving that she can be a hatchet man for the administration. The lastest in the flap over "Postcards from Buster" getting in trouble with DOE for taking their grant money and, well, doing exactly what the grant said they were supposed to do: the producer of the show has been uninvited from speaking at a conference on children's television(http://www.planetout.com/news/article.html?date=2005/02/03/2).

The message is clear: Don't fuck with Peggy Spellings or she'll take you down, bitch.

iSpam

One last note before I leave the cybercafe and trudge up the hill to Ivycliff for some lazing around the house with magazines.

I love Apple, I really do. But. I was having an issue with my bluetooth mouse and when I went to their support site to look for help, I found that they were demo-ing something new: a web chat applications that lets you chat online with a support agent 24/7. At the moment it's only available to iMac owners but they seem to be trialing it before a broader rollout.

I quickly got the help I needed, and got my issue resolved. Fabulous, and it kind of makes up for the horrifying lack of a email-based support system at apple.com. A day or so later I got an email asking me to complete my survey, and I happily did, giving them positive feedback on the whole experience.

The next day I got an email asking me to fill out a survey on my experience.

Then, the next day, I got an email asking me to fill out a survey on my experience.

Then, the next day, I got an email asking me to fill out a survey on my experience.

We're up to six messages now. You can't reply to the messages (well you can, but nothing seems to happen). I could call them and complain, but I refuse to deal with the phone menus from hell over this. I guess I could use the web chat app to tell them about it, but then I'd probably be getting two emails a day.

I tried clicking the link to go back to the survey and leave a comment about the emails, but it now takes me straight to the "thanks for your input" page - in other words, the system sending the survey email has my survey marked as completed.

Very frustrating. I used the apple.com general web site feedback form to tell them "Stop it god dammit!" We'll see what happens.

But they have turned a very positive interaction into a negative one. Meanwhile, I'd recommend staying away from the web chat app unless you have a high tolerance for junk mail.

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