I'm A Legal Alien Now

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bloody Hot

It's bloody hot these days in DC.

Perhaps in response, I've started to see movies by myself. I've been a bit all over the shop really, moody then perky. Last week I saw Hairspray, then this week The Simpsons.

Hairspray didn't make me laugh, but I did have a fairly constant grin on my face. The music is pretty much instantly forgettable and it is irritating when the MESSAGE gets whacked across you (how can Queen Latifah have the most boring songs?) but I still enjoyed it.

The Simpsons didn't suck, so my response is mostly of relief. That said, it wasn't fantastic either. No Krusty Gets Kancelled or Last Exit to Springfield. Not even The Old Man and the Lisa. It certainly had its moments- the Disneyesque moment for Marge and Homer, seeing Bart's penis (at last!), Mr Burns' final line. One of the articles recently that has talked about the Simpsons losing its way pointed out that in the first six-ish seasons, slapstick and more high-brow humour seemed to be relatively in balance. Now it's nearly all slapstick and even the high-brow stuff (high-brow is not the right term, but it's the only one I can think of currently) is completely overstated, it seems more to prove the writers can still do it (I'm thinking of a recent Thomas Pynchon scene).

So The Simpsons made me laugh a couple of times, and kept me fairly reliably amused for a couple of hours and it didn't blow.

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Friday, July 20, 2007


Despite some notable highlights (C managing to pick up 12 new Marine recruits- who were probably 18- on the walk to dinner last night being one in particular), this week was a little depressing for something I can't post.

My new boss also wants me to drive. I'm adjusting to the concept of driving, but having to drive an Embassy car scares the shit out of me.

Walking home tonight there were two guys in Dupont Circle... playing Monopoly. This does not strike me as a particularly park-friendly boardgame (all that paper money flying away in the slightest breeze though they seemed to have it under control) but it brought back many fond memories of Trivial Pursuit in New Farm Park. Then I got a little sad. But, happily, Jack has invited me to a Board Game Night tomorrow night after dinner with his new boy-of-interest. I'm very excited about that. I hope he realises I play to win.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Good Lord, the Nats Won

Went to the baseball last night but much to my shock the Nats actually not only managed to get a home run, but to win as well. Turns out when you win/home run fireworks go off and it's all tremendously exciting.

Otherwise, last weekend was another random party in Columbia Heights where I fell in love with a buff opera fan.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Year and a Bit

So I feel like I should make some sort of incredibly intelligent observation that I've been here now for a year and two days. Last July 8 I touched down in LAX (hell) and then on July 10 I started working in Washington. Thing is, I just had three G&T's at the Anniversary Party I threw myself (a surprisingly successful strategy- I shall remember it) so the idea of intelligent observations are a bit beyond me.

Thing is, it seems unfathomable that I have now been in Washington for a whole year. It seems extraordinary that I've stuck it out this long, and have no desire to return to Australia on a permanent basis just yet, and that I have managed this long without my family. Just a year ago, I was living with them and I have essentially been living by myself in a foreign country no less ever since.

Do I feel more grown up? I suppose in a way. But not more than you'd expect after making the shift to a full time job. That the full time job was in another country and I had to find my first apartment in said foreign country on $200 doesn't really seem to factor in to it, that I'm aware of.

In other news, for some reason the US Dept of Agriculture has a Graduate Language School. I did their online French test and got 325/500- far better than I'd imagined I'd get. I'm seriously considering taking a class but as yet have no idea how much it will cost and I am going to Montreal for Labor Day.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Drag Brunch was not to be

This morning with a spring in my step I tried to go to drag brunch, but alas the wait was to long so I had a very pleasant time at Tryst instead.

The weather sucked but Xena's roof party for 4th of July was fantastic fun. What I love about it here is that fireworks are legal so everyone is setting them off all around you- it was like a little chain of explosions over the skyline. Amusingly, then you start to hear all the sirens of ambulances and fire engines.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth!

My first 4th of July! I shall celebrate by expelling the British and draping myself in as many flags as is humanly possible. I'm going to Xena's roofdeck later to watch the fireworks.

In order to gain admission to the roofdeck, I have to make a chicken salad, so a trip to Safeway is in order. Not only do I need to buy the contents of the salad, I also need to buy something to put it in.

Last night I went to Taint with Jack and some of his friends. I had fun, but was home by 1. Some guy gave me a whole lot of free passes for BeBar which I didn't want so then I just pretended I was a bar promoter, which was wildly entertaining cos I do it a little too well 'ohmigodareyouguyshaving, like, a greatnight? Heyyoushould, like, totallycheckoutBeBar, like, nextSaturdaybecausethey'rehaving, like, afetishnightanditwillbeawesomesoyoushould, like, totallycheckitout!!'

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mexico, Tre


It was time to go to Teotihuacan! Enrique, my driver, picked me up and we were off. On the way, the traffic really wasn't bad because we were heading out of the city past some slums which clung to the hillsides rather impressively.

Then, the ancient city of Teotihuacan itself. Teotihuacan is all a bit mysterious, but what is interesting is that each successive Mexica culture just built over it and it was, at its height, the centre of Mesoamerican commerce which meant that there are things like ocean iconography murals when it is 500km from the ocean. The two main pyramids, the Moon and the Sun, are at perfect cardinal points and are so big that when the Aztecs settled here, they thought they were built by giants.

Near the Moon, I took this photo after Enrique pointed out the relationship between the Pyramid of the Sun and the mountain behind. Neat, eh? The Moon and the Sun are actually the same height, but the Moon is marginally higher because of geographic elevation. You can only climb to the first tier of the Moon though, which I did presently.

Then a brisk stroll down the 'Calle los Muerta' or the Avenue of the Dead (a misnomer as the Aztecs thought the smaller pyramids were tombs).

Soon however it was time to face a formidable foe- climbing the Pyramid of the Sun. This is what confronted me.

Those are some serious mofo steps, suckahs. It may not look it, but they're all about 30cm high and it's very steep which means that going up your legs start to shake and then coming down it's so steep as to be a wee bit scary. There is a railing- in parts- but it wobbles. In one place I found it easier to crawl up the stairs almost like a ladder than use the railing.

I got halfway up when I suddenly started feeling incredibly dizzy. I sat down in the shade of the bricks for a while. I was going to go back down- it seemed ridiculous to keep going if I were going to collapse and tumble down- but then an old lady zipped past me so I had to keep going to the top. Luckily, the last two sets of stairs were perhaps the easiest.

Then, the vista.

That's the Pyramid of the Moon from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. Look at all the tiny people!

It was pretty amazing, and chilly at this height. After I'd had my fill I headed back down. At the bottom, I took these two photos to try and impress upon others the difficulty of the ascent. Physically, it was one of the hardest things I've done for a while.

After this, I popped into the excellent Museum. Enrique then took me to the Obsidian/Pulco workshop. I was expecting a bit of a 'my cousin's shop- very good price' moment but it wasn't too bad apart from the pushy salesman who obviously works on commission. I discovered that Pulco (no idea on the spelling, but that's how it sounds), despite being made from fermented cactus juice, is actually really nice. I bought some nick-nacks then it was back for lunch and a kip.

When I awoke from my kip, I discovered that my legs were really rather sore. They still are. I have to sit down like an old man, bracing myself as a I go. I potted around the Zona Rosa for a while, having a few beers. Here is a typical Zona Rosa scene. The big pink shopfront is a sex shop. They're rather open about these things in Mexico City, surprising for such a Roman Catholic country.

So that ends my time in Mexico City. Fabulous place. I don't need to go back for a while, but I wouldn't mind going back to Mexico again soon- the Yucatan or somewhere.

Last night I went to a party with Jack and his friend. I also got totally smashed. There are ten minutes of time I know I was having a really animated conversation with a relative stranger which are a hopeless blur due to a vodka shot. Got home at 3.30am. The hangover should've been far worse, but I suppose it's true that you don't get much of a hangover with good vodka. We went to Halo for a while until I got so hungry I went across to CVS with Jack for a packet of chips. We ran into a guy who recognised me. I looked at his place- a year ago- and he remembered me! Crazy times. In other news, I appear to have made some sort of financial calculation blunder. I'm not in any trouble, but I thought I was much more comfortable than I am. I blame Dell.

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