January 28, 2009

Photos from the Obama Inauguration

Old buildings in Washington, D.C. welcome Obama.

Tanks love Obama too.

The Mall was packed like I've never seen before.

Malia and Sasha are also welcomed to D.C.

Apparently, Mongolians like Obama too.

Beautiful view of the National Monument surrounded by an iced pond. The weather was beyond frigid.

Lincoln was Canadian.

The Mall was so packed that people actually climbed the toilets to get away from the crowds. Just glad I wasn't peeing in the stalls at the time.

Here's me posing with the man. I almost brought him home with me, but my pockets were too small.

Choose Jesus or Obama. There's no compromise.

Ben's Chili Bowl sported an Obama on its roof. Standing on a pulpit. With a gavel. A little creepy actually.

Obama! In car dust!

Cool decal of our prez.

Thievery Corporation

This is an email I sent to a few of my friends recently. I've been so eager to go to this concert (it gets sold out all the time), that I'm surprised no one has taken me up on my offer.

Good afternoon!

I've been meaning to see the Thievery Corporation for a while, but their shows are always booked. I managed to buy two tickets before they got sold out. Would you be interested in joining me?

In case you need more information:

Thievery Corporation is a Washington, D.C.-based recording artist and DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton and their supporting artists. Their music style mixes elements of dub, acid jazz, Indian classical and Brazilian (such as bossa nova) with a lounge aesthetic. The two musicians used to own the 18th street lounge...

They're a lot of fun, and the crowd will be young and hip :) Though the band is local, they play internationally, so it's nice to hear them in their hometown.

Let me know if you can join me! Please don't make me go alone :(

> >> ________________________________________
> >> From: tickets@930club.com [tickets@930club.com]
> >> Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 1:47 PM
> >> To: 007 in Africa
> >> Subject: Your Ticket Purchase from The 9:30 Club and Tickets.com
> >
> >> The following is your on-line ticket purchase summary:
> >>
> >> Delivery Method: Please pickup your tickets at the box office.
> >
> >> Your reservation number is XXXX
> >
> >>
> >> The tickets you have purchased are:
> >> ----------------------------------------------------------
> >> RadioRetaliationTour
> >> A Night With Thievery Corporation (Live)
> >> 9:30 Club
> >> Washington, DC
> >> USA
> >> Friday , 1/30/09 , 8:00PM
> >>
> >> Price
> >> $40.00
> >> $40.00
> >>
> >> Total Convenience Fee for 2 seats $13.00
> >> Price for 2 seats $93.00
> >> ----------------------------------------------------------
> >> Subtotal : $93.00
> >> Handling : $4.00
> >> Total : $97.00
> >>
> >> *** Important***
> >> Please note that the time listed above is the Door time.
> >>
> >> Thank you,
> >>
> >> The 9:30 Club

Next stop? Posting them on Craigslist, in the "Strictly Platonic, and I meant it in every sense of the Word" category.

January 26, 2009

Your Walk Score

My Walk Score's better than yours. My Walk Score in Columbia Heights is 91 out of 100 — Walkers' Paradise.

So what’s Walk Score, you ask? According to its website:

How It Works
Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking.

What does my score mean?
Your Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100. Here are general guidelines for interpreting your score:
- 90–100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
- 70–89 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
- 50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
- 25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
- 0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

The top 20 neighborhoods for walking in Washington, D.C. are:

1 Dupont Circle - 99
2 Logan Circle - 98
3 Downtown - 97
4 U Street Corridor - 97
5 Foggy Bottom - 95
6 Mount Vernon Square - 95
7 Adams Morgan - 93
8 Kalorama - 92
9 Friendship Heights - 90
10 Georgetown - 90
11 Shaw - 88
12 Capitol Hill - 87
13 Chevy Chase - 83
14 Cleveland Park - 83
15 Columbia Heights - 83
16 Woodley Park - 82
17 South West - 81
18 Glover Park - 80
19 Mount Pleasant - 77
20 Ledroit Park - 75

I think all real estate deals should disclose their Walk Score. I also think doctors should tell their patients what their Walk Scores are, much like their cholesterol level, weight and height.

What’s your Walk Score?

It's snowing!

It's snowing today. It's made of light, wind-swept flurries that disappear when you breath too hard on them.

I've seen snow many times in my lifetime, but I still get that giddy feeling that you get as a kid. IT'S SNOWING!

I walked out the door to get to the metro, and ran into my neighbor. I almost shouted "IT'S SNOWING!" in his direction; but in my embarrassment, just looked up to the sky, and grinned. He grinned back, knowing exactly what I meant.

It's snowing!

January 23, 2009

The United States of Obama

A friend and I were laughing at lunch, noting that the press is keen on reporting every single move Obama makes: "On Obama's first day in office, he repelled X policy instituted by Bush", "on his second day, he repelled y policy from the Bush team".

I wonder how long it'll take until he signs a bill to rename the U.S. "the United States of Obama".

On a somewhat related note, I attended the inauguration and it was great! I can't wait to post my pictures.

January 12, 2009

Top Ten Reasons You Know You're Working at an Aid Organization Headquarters

This is eerily spot-on:

According to David Letterman (The Late Show on CBS)

1. You just had a pre-meeting to discuss your strategy planning session for the new initiative to reduce poverty by increasing access to Safe water/credit/food/health care through fair and equitable distribution to those with the right to said good or service through engagement with duty bearers in the government and other stakeholders and civil society organizations.

2. You just repeatedly slammed your head into your keyboard after spending the last 20 minutes trying to get your Skype conference call
between Port au Prince, West Bank/Gaza, Delhi, Nairobi and New York to work only to fail miserably.

3. You realize that you can no longer squeeze into your cubicle past that cool hand-woven cloth from Mali, the wooden mask from Congo, the elephant figurine from Thailand and the rug from Afghanistan.

4. You just completed an annual report to your donor explaining that you're very sorry that you only managed to accomplish 2 of your 14 objectives due to sudden onset of war, drought or an invasion of futuristic nano-robots.

5. You just finished explaining to the donor that you are likely to need a two-year extension and an extra $200,000 to hire an independent
Consulting company to come up with a plan to fight off the nano-robots, carry out said plan and then finish up the original activities.

6. You realize that you just used cheers, karibu, Insh'Allah or namaste in casual conversation despite the fact that you are neither English, Kenyan, Arab or Indian.

7. You realize that your favorite and most frequented cafe is located in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

8. You just finished depressing a volunteer caller from the Red Cross for the 12th time this year who reluctantly agreed that you are not
eligible to donate blood because you just got back from .

9. You're pumped with antibiotics more frequently than a cow in a
concentrated feeding operation.

10. You tell yourself it's not failure if you turn it into a lessons-learned document.

January 09, 2009

Yogurts are my Speciality

A good friend of mine came to the rescue, concerning yogurts. Here are the facts, paraphrased from a nice, long email he sent today:

1-France surpasses India in yogurt consumption per capita, volume, sales, etc.

2-See total sales of yogurt per region in the world in 2006, by product. The graphs show that European consumption largely surpasses Asian consumption in total, and that would prove that consumption is greater “per capita”.

3-Of course, these are sales only, and one could argue that exchange rates and price differences can explain that difference. A comparison per volume would be more appropriate.

4-Comparison per volume:

Data from Euromonitor for consumption of “spoonable yogurt” in India and France, with his calculation per capita (thanks friend, you went above and beyond the call of duty on that one).

Sale of Spoonable yoghurt in 2007 :

- 172,260,000 tons / year (estimated population in 2005 = 1,147,995,898)
- 0.15 tons / capita

- 983,340,000 tons / year (estimated population in 2008 = 64,473,140)
- 15.25 tonnes / capita

Source : Euromonitor

The United States, as usual, dominates when total consumption is concerned, but per-capita, it is not comparable with France :
- 1,521,670,000 tons / year (estimated population in 2008 = 303,824,640)
- 5 tons /capita

Argh, if only this had been a Trivial pursuit question!

January 07, 2009

The Art of Yogurt Schooling

For some weird reason, my neighbor and I got into this ridiculous argument about which country consumes more yogurt, per capita: France or India.

The "per capita" portion of the equation is really important, because France's measly 60 million people cannot compete with India's enormous 1 billion people.

Here are some interesting facts about yogurt:

1-The word is derived from Turkish yoğurt, and is related to yoğurmak 'to knead' and yoğun 'dense' or 'thick'.

2-There is evidence of cultured milk products being produced as food for at least 4,500 years. The earliest yoghurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria living on the goat skin bags carried by nomadic people. Today, many different countries claim yoghurt as their own invention, yet there is no clear evidence as to where it was first discovered, and it may have been independently discovered several times.

3-Until the 1900s, yoghurt was a staple in diets of the South Asian, Central Asian, Western Asian, South Eastern European and Central European regions.

4-In India, yoghurt is commercially sold under the name "curd", or more commonly under the local name of "dahi". Ancient Hindu religious scripts 'VEDAS' have depicted idols of hindu gods and godesses being washed with curd known as 'ABHISHEKAM'.

5-Bihidasu, of the thicker variety of plain yogurt in Japan sold in 500g containers, comes with a package of powdered sugar.

6-Yogurt is a fermented dairy product made by adding bacterial cultures to milk, which causes the transformation of the milk's sugar, lactose, into lactic acid. This process gives yogurt its refreshingly tart flavor and unique pudding-like texture, a quality that is reflected in its original Turkish name, Yoghurmak, which means "to thicken."

But I still think that French people eat yogurt way more often than Indian people. Do you have any idea of where I could find information on per-capita yogurt consumption? I would like to school her on yogurts.

Previous posts on lactose:
Holy Cow
Powdered Milk

January 06, 2009

Renewing a Driver’s License...

...or how to accidentally enlist in the army.

I’ve never been particularly lucky with my driver’s licenses. This time is no exception.

These are the documents I need to renew my license and convert it from a Maryland to a D.C. one (yeah, I’ve had my Maryland license for the last 3 years of being in D.C.):

A-A completed application – check
B-A passport – check
C-My social security card – check
D-Proof of current District of Columbia residency - problem!

There are several ways to prove you live in D.C.:

D1-Utility Bill – oops, the only utility bill we have is electricity, and it’s in my roommate’s name
D2-Telephone Bill – oops, I only have a cell phone bill, and apparently, that’s not valid
D3-Unexpired lease or rental agreement – oops, our lease is expired and we are currently on a month-to-month agreement with our landlord
D4-DC property tax bill issued in the last 60 days – oops, I don't owm property
D5-Unexpired homeowner’s insurance – oops, I’m not a homeowner
D6-Letter with picture from Court Services and Offender Supervising Agency – whaaaa?
D7-Current military orders – hum... that's not currently applicable

That's preposterous! Here I am, a completely legal resident of the District of Columbia, and yet unable to prove my residency.

I’m almost tempted to enlist in the military, just to get that stupid license.