Monday, 26 January 2009

obama's speech

i have lots of photos and stuff to say about last week. ever since obama became president, i have been SLAMMED at work. super intense, but good. hopefully my head will not be so full and i won't be so sick of my computer that i will upload those photos and tell the stories soon. in the mean time, i suggest taking a gander at this...a graphic representation of obama's speech. it is super cool. you can learn more about how this came to be (and see a bigger version) here. it is the artist's website.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

preping for the inaugration

the last week i have meant to take my camera to work. i finally did on thursday and friday, but it was so cold i didn't have the thought to pull it out and actually take some photos.

it was a big week. i said good-bye to the bulk of my office, as they were political appointees in the bush administration and had to resign on friday. it was really weird say good-bye to so many colleagues at once. it is always sad when work friends get new jobs, but this was a huge mass exodus. next week it will just be me and ben trying to figure out how to get our work done as we try to figure out what our work is.

until the bitter, ridiculous cold hit, i was running quite a bit on the mall in my new fancy shoes. it was getting more and more difficult because of all the inauguration prep. and it is clear that there are more tourists than a regular january.

on sunday i went for a tuesday i went jogging and had the hardest time because of the smell of all the port-a-potties.

i borrowed this photo from the NYT
it really doesn't do it justice.
you cannot imagine how many port-a-potties there are on the mall
i heard a worker say that every, unused, port-a-potty in a five state radius was on the mall and parade route

that's me
just kidding, but i was running in that exact spot recently, just not in the day

here is the view i've been passing on the way to my office
it looks awesome, and even tho people are driving like idiots and don't know how to handle a cyclist, i don't care because obama is about to stand on that podium and become our president!

in other good news, my friend amanda contacted me at work on friday and told me she had a "silver ticket" for me to get in to see the inauguration. that means i will be really close, but still standing (really close is relative)

it also means i am going to have to ditch my girl scouts...i feel kinda guilty
but i am totally sure they would ditch me if they had this opportunity
we don't even know each other

i just have to get the ticket from amanda!

yesterday after a good hearty swim with katie, elaine, and mike
cheryl and i headed out for a bunch of errands
we got burnt out and decided to end early
i was walking into my house
ladened with stuff when my neighbor told me that obama was going to be at union station in about 30 minutes and that there weren't very many people there
i was SUPER excited
cheryl and i popped over to union station
by the time we got there, it was obvious that other people had gotten that memo too

in retrospect it is obvious that we weren't really thinking
because why would obama try and make his way through union station.
it is a pain to make it through when it is crowded and you aren't so loved
we should have waited outside where the limo was picking him up

i scouted all around trying to figure out where he would end up and how we could best see him
cheryl planted herself at the ben and jerry's, which was a good move because eventually we got ice cream

today is the concert:
Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor,, and Stevie Wonder.

i am pretty excited

Thursday, 15 January 2009

inauguration with the girl scouts

i volunteered to help out with the presidential inaugural committee right after the election. unfortunately, i couldn't just quite my job and work full time for the committee but i did promise to help during the weekend of the inauguration.

i was hoping i would usher at a ball or a dinner or something i could get all dressed up for. OR that i would help the president's family take their seats on the podium and make sure everyone was warm. but no such luck . . .

i will be on 12th st in between madison and the jefferson streets with 25 girl scouts and their leaders. we will be handing out flags to the masses...

they want us there at 4:am.

would you go at 4:am? i am thinking i will tell the scouts to get there at 6 and i will get there at 5:30 and still we will sit around for 6 hours (the ceremony doesn't start until 11:30). i am kinda wondering why i did this?

at our training tonight we did an "ice-breaker". i usually hate those things, but this one was awesome. we said our name and one word we would use to describe how we will feel on tuesday morning. it was awesome. i got super excited. i started taking notes half-way through and tried to remember what everyone said. i found the exercise super inspiring . . . here is the list:

Excited -- lots of voices said this!

biking to the inauguration

more on the inauguration later tonight (or maybe tomorrow) after i have my training from the presidential inaugural committee.

but i am planning to ride my bike to the mall that morning. i thought this was SUPER helpful. well okay, this is only slightly helpful, but the google map they link to is SUPER helpful... so i will just put that here

View Larger Map

America Bikes to the Inauguration!
WABA Announces Free Valet Bike Parking for Inauguration

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is pleased to announce it will be providing free valet bike parking services at two locations during the 2009 Inauguration festivities on January 20th, as a way to encourage more people to travel that day by bike. The bike valets are being made possible through the support of America Bikes, Dero Bike Rack Company, and the District Department of Transportation. America Bikes, a coalition of national bike advocacy organizations based in DC, is working on incorporating the needs of cyclists into the forthcoming economic stimulus package as well as the future reauthorization of the federal transportation bill. Dero, a Minnesota-based manufacturer of commercial bike parking racks, will be supplying the bike racks that will be used to hold bikes in the valets.

According to WABA's Executive Director Eric Gilliland, cycling could prove to be the ideal way to get around on inauguration day. "Many roads will be closed to vehicular traffic, access to bridges into the city will be restricted, and Metro will be packed. If you have a bike, we encourage you to ride it that day and we hope to make it as easy as possible for you to do so," Gilliland said. WABA has also created a special inaugural web page with information about the safest routes to the valets, a map of security closures, information on safe cycling and bike rentals, as well as other tips to make riding safe and enjoyable. That page can be found at While supplies last, cyclists who take advantage of the bike valets will receive a free commemorative claim check and bicycle wheel spoke card courtesy of WABA, America Bikes and Dero.

The bike valets will be located on the south side of the Jefferson Memorial and on 16th Street NW between I Street and K Streets NW. Both will be open from 7am to 5pm. In case of extreme weather, the valets will be closed, but the unattended bike parking racks will still be available for use.

For up to date information please check the WABA website for details.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

kickin' a

i am ramping up my tri-training, as you my have noticed . . . i need to really focused on my cycling, but it is so hard in winter. when it is cold, i struggle to be consistent getting out on my saddle. of course, i ride my commuter bike all over, but i am not on real bike much. in the meantime i am working on running and swimming.

i found these swim drills recently and i am super excited about them. i was reading an old article about swim technique that highlighted the importance of kicking. i have been focusing almost entirely on pulling so this was kinda a paradigm shift for me.

apparently a good strong kick will help keep your body position more hydrodynamic. it also turns out that kicking is a core strengthening exercise, when it is done right (think of pulling your bellybutton up to your spin a bit). when you kick with your core you are even MORE hydrodynamic. who knew?

(if you really must know, your iliopsoas gets ridiculously strong from lots of good kicking. but be careful to take care of your core . . . "Overdeveloped and tight hip flexors can contribute to lower back pain by causing the pelvis to tilt forward. To counteract this, you must stretch the hip flexors and strengthen the Abdominal muscles. This will reduce pelvic tilt and decrease lower back pain. Strengthening the lower back can also help improve the balance between the muscles of the hip region."

i have thought for years that during a triathlon i want to pull more than kick because i will be using so much of my legs on the bike and run, but i am wondering if that is a little narrow-minded. i don't want to do my swims with all out kicks, but the laissez faire of my legs during my tri-swims is pretty pathetic. i am wondering if amping up my strength (mostly core) and kicking with purpose, though not like a porpoise, will make me more efficient (hydrodynamic) and get me out of the water quicker? i am going to work on it and see . . .

this is a basic swim workout for me these days:
  • a warm up. 5-10 minutes
  • then one of the kicking drills posted below.
  • then swimming drills. my swimming drills are focused on technique (body position, stroke, rotation, etc. ) i really really slowing down the whole movement. working on moving purposefully and actually improving my whole stroke (pull, kick, body position, rotation, etc) my goal right now is to swim more efficiently. i am not concerned with getting in heaps of mileage as much as getting tons of slow basic improvement. speed work will start up in a couple of months.
  • then another kicking drill
  • and possibly an "underwater". these are a drill i got from a coach years ago. you swim completely underwater for 25M then sprint your brains out for 25M then do the slowest most restorative 50M swim ever. this really helps improve your lung capacity and the efficient use of oxygen by your muscles.
  • then a cool down.
without further are the kicking drills... remember don't do them all in one workout.

• 100-meter repetitions (or 100 yards in a 25-yard pool). A good basic drill. Kick 100 meters at a speed as fast as you can maintain, rest for 20 seconds, then kick for another 100 meters. Try to keep your pace consistent. Do 10 repetitions or work your way up to 10.

• 25-meter sprints. Kick 25 meters (or yards) four times, going faster each time. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat, increasing your tempo with each repetition. Aim to do the entire drill two to four times.

• Speed work. Kick as hard as possible for five minutes, rest for one minute; repeat two to four times.

• Continuous kicking. Kick nonstop for 20 minutes, alternating hard 25-meter sprints with slower 50-meter recovery swims.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

tree rebate for DC residents

FYI for DC residents. i am going to get a tree for my front yard tree box!

Plant a Tree in DC and Earn a $50 rebate

Because trees provide extraordinary environmental and community benefits, Casey Trees and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) have teamed up to offer a rebate of up to $50 to individuals who plant a tree on private property in DC.

Ask your garden center, arborist, or landscaper for right tree, right place selection advice and for planting instructions. And be sure to read our tips for planting your own trees below. One rebate per residential property. Most trees are eligible. Ineligible trees include ash trees and invasive trees such as Norway maple, Bradford pear, sawtooth oak and Siberian elm.

Free Bonus: You will also receive a free Ooze Tube® watering bag for your tree.

1. Purchase your tree.
2. Plant it at a residence in DC.
3. Pledge to water and care for it for a minimum of two years.
4. Mail your signed rebate to the Casey Trees office by May 31, 2009.
5. Receive a $50 rebate check (or the full cost of the tree up to $50)

Click here to view the coupon flyer to print and mail-in

Right Tree, Right Place. Where should I plant my tree? Learn more

Follow our step-by-step tree planting tutorial. Learn more

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

free antibiotics?

this is one of the weirdest marketing strategies i have ever heard. i wonder if they have a supply chain issue? you think giant might have too many antibiotics on hand that are about to expire or something?

Giant Food to Offer Free Prescription Antibiotics

By Ylan Q. Mui

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 31, 2008; Page D01

Giant Food stores will give free generic antibiotics to customers with a
prescription for the next three months in what retail experts called an
aggressive move in supermarkets' heated battle for shoppers.

The company said the program, which will begin Friday and last through March
21, covers several popular antibiotics such as amoxicillin, penicillin and
ciprofloxacin. This is the first time that Giant has offered free prescription
drugs and it did not estimate the cost or potential popularity of the program.

"Times are tough," said Robin Michel, executive vice president for
Giant Food, which is based in Landover. "If this is the way that we can
help most people, why not?"

The economic downturn has made it increasingly difficult for many Americans to
afford prescription drugs. An October survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a
nonprofit health policy group, found that 27 percent of people did not fill a
prescription in order to save money, compared with 23 percent just six months
earlier. About 22 percent reported cutting pills or skipping doses, up from 19

The pharmacy business has become increasingly competitive since Wal-Mart began
offering nearly 300 generic prescription drugs for just $4 in 2006. Its rivals
were forced to follow suit, with Giant lowering 90-day supplies of popular drugs
to $9.99 this summer. According to consulting firm Willard Bishop, pharmacy
sales typically make up about 10 percent of revenue at grocery stores.

"Pharmacy tends to be much more of an additional service that kind of can
position the grocery store as more of a one-stop shop," said Jim Hertel,
managing partner of Willard Bishop. "It's more of a convenience."

The free prescription drug program also will be offered at Giant's sister
chain, Stop & Shop. The medications can be used to treat bacterial illnesses
such as ear and sinus infections but not common viral illnesses such as the flu
and the cold. Most of those medications, such as Tamiflu, are not available in
generic form and are more expensive.

Still, several experts said Giant's announcement yesterday was the first
time they had heard of a retailer literally giving away prescription drugs.

"I think it's a gutsy move," said Ron Paul, president of food
consulting firm Technomic. "Free is the best price anybody can ask

Giant is the largest supermarket chain in the Washington region with 182 stores
and more than 160 in-store pharmacies. But it has struggled to recapture market
share in recent years after a rocky relationship with Dutch parent company Royal
Ahold and the encroachment of competitors such as Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.

According to trade publication Food World, Giant's market share in the
Washington region dipped two percentage points to 35 percent in the year ending
March 31. Sales totaled $3.3 billion, down from $3.4 billion at 133 stores last
year. Safeway ranked second with $2.6 billion in local annual sales, and its
market share inched up from 27.7 percent to 27.8 percent.

To revitalize its stores, Giant has spent millions of dollars to remodel its
aging locations and unveiled a new logo in August. It also has cut prices across
much of the store, from produce to paper products. There are some indicators
that those efforts may be paying off: Giant posted its first positive sales
figures in six years during its third quarter.

Paul said that the free prescription drug program is likely to breed additional
goodwill among its shoppers, particularly at a time when many corporations are
filing for bankruptcy and seeking government bailouts.

"Anything you can do to suggest that we do care about more than just,
quote, making money is probably good citizenship," he said.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

dc crime mapping

this is super interesting to me. i can't stop looking stuff up. DC CrimeMap at provides summary information on all "part one" offenses (except sexual assaults and homicides) and provides a mapping function for people to use.

i can't get any of the maps to work, but it might be because i am using a mac.

you can search by ANC, if you don't know which ANC you are in, you can find it here. you can also see all the crime activity in your police district and and your police service area. (if you don't know which PSA or district you are in, the links are provided).

you can ALSO serach within 1500 feet of an address. i did some comparing and contrasting between my old neighborhood, my new neighborhood, and dianna's neighborhood (if a neighborhood is defined by a 1500 ft. radius).

i was interested to see that there were 326 thefts from vehicals in dianna's neighborhood. i wonder if mine counted since the guy didn't get anything, but he did bust my window!

dianna's neighborhood is much more dangerous than mine (like twice as bad). but my old neighborhood is way safer than my current neighborhood. ironically, the only place i have had stuff actually stolen from my house/car is at my old place. so much for statistics huh. (though i would have lost a bundle if the guy who broke into my car in front of dianna's hadn't been caught.)

hopefully i am not jinxing myself.

there is also:
this is even crazier. you just type in your address and it is a google map with all the crimes in your area highlighted. i am tripping out because i started looking up sex offenders who live near me, and recognized one of the guys. i have to stop doing this or the world is going to get way way way too freaky.

Monday, 5 January 2009

when is it jingoism?

i know people are super excited about the inauguration, but i think this is going a bit too far.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

yummy rice: tamaki haiga

this is my new favorite rice.

i didn't even know i had a favorite rice, but now i do. thanks elaine.

i like it because it has 3g of protein per serving and tastes super duper delish! i made sushi out of it on new years day and it was SUPERB!!! it is just a bit nuttier than regular sushi rice.

it is great for all things japanese. i actually used it for a chinese type dish tonight. i think you are still better off with a nice basamati for indian dishes though . . . but if i am making mexican rice, i might be okay just using this stuff. but i am guessing you are better off using a real mexican short grain. mostly because they are yellower and have a more milky type flavor.

here is a blip about haiga (which apparently is so sacred it must be written in all caps) from the company:
"HAIGA" is the word for "rice germ" in Japanese. HAIGA rice is a fully milled kernel of rice, which retains the nutritious rice germ. Under today's sophisticated milling techniques, we at Williams Rice Milling Company are able to remove all the bran from the kernel, yet retain the nutritious rice germ on the kernel. The rice germ in the HAIGA rice is rich in nutrition (Vitamin E, B1, B2, B6, and GABA). so it is said to "carry its own vitamin capsule on its head." Our HAIGA rice tastes similar to white rice and is better than ever before. Our HAIGA rice utilizes the Koshihikari variety of rice, which has become well known for it's high quality characteristics of stickiness, sweetness, and softness of texture."

if you live in the dc metro area, i know you can buy this at grand mart, because that is where i bought it.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Residents Should Set Out Holiday Trees, Greenery January 2-11 for Recycling

a note for DC residents from DPW

Dear Neighbors,

The Department of Public Works (DPW) will recycle holiday trees and greenery during the first two weeks of January. Residents who receive DC trash collection service are encouraged to place holiday trees and other greenery in curbside tree boxes—without ornaments or tinsel—from January 2-11, 2009.

Trees not collected by January 17 should be placed with residents’ regular trash. DPW will collect the trees, along with the regular trash, as truck space permits over the following weeks.

DPW also will provide free tree chipping service, January 2-17, for residents who bring their trees to the Ft. Totten Transfer Station at 4900 Bates Road, NE, weekdays, 1 pm-5 pm, and Saturdays, 8 am-3 pm.

“We’re pleased to be able to provide this free, tree chipping service for residents,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “This will be added to our compost mix, which will be available to residents, free of charge, in the spring.”

Trees collected after January 17 will not be recycled. For more information about DPW services, visit

Thursday, 1 January 2009

welcome to the year of

A W E S O M E ! ! !

i am super excited about this year and its theme.

this is how the year of awesome works. anytime i am faced with a decision, i ask myself, "what is the awesome thing to do?" or some variation of that. some examples:

Q: should i go swimming even though i am COLD and tired?
A: what does an awesome person do? swim

Q: should i work on writing my book or surf the internet?
A: what is more awesome? writing

you get the picture. it can get deeper than that too. about how i react to people, perform at my job, etc. the goal of this year is to be awesome.

the theme came to me about a month ago. dianna wrote me a heartfelt email that only the closest of friends can write. it was what some may call a "come to Jesus" for me. i am not totally sure why, her email was not about any of this and really wasn't even about me. still, as i read it i felt keys turn, doors open, synapses connect. it was really crazy. a true epiphany. i realized that my 2008 had been a super out of balance year. i had not been a person i want to be, i didn't feel the movement of becoming that i like to feel. i was stuck and fixated on a couple of things and held too doggedly to outcomes. (mind you, nothing in dianna's email said anything like this. this was some unintended consequence. still, thanks for writing it d!) at anyrate, i realized i wasn't who i wanted to be, but i felt the power to change and the idea of the year of awesome was born.

so my 2009 is dedicated to me being (and becoming) as awesome as i can. i am going to challenge and push myself in a balanced way.

some of my goals:
  • compete in a half-ironman, OR place in an olympic distance triathlon
  • write my book
  • be more aware of the needs of those around me.
  • honor those i love more.
  • drink more tea (just kidding)
i am super excited about this. i have been having a trial run of the "year of awesome" this last month. it is a motivating mantra that is helping me to stretch a bit more. i am loving it.

if you want to join me in living an awesome 2009, let me know. we can collaborate and support each other.

cheers and welcome to an incredibly awesome 2009.