Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Into the Netherworld

So...I have no idea if anyone is actually even reading these. Obviously, the narcissistic side of Austin (and no predictable comments like "is there any other side?" please) wants to think that people might actually be interested in the minutiae of his life. The other side realizes that even if nobody is reading this, it's still a fairly cathartic process to just put something into words. In other words...part of me doesn't give a damn if you read this and the other part is begging you to. It's a little disconcerting to share parts of yourself and just send them out onto the internet, hoping that people read\enjoy them. You also hope that the wrong people don't read them.(just ask if you want me to post the story\stories of my two 40-something male stalkers, one of whom thought\thinks that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the joke) I'm also a little leery of the whole "blog" thing. It seems to me that "bloggers" just talk to other bloggers, respond to other bloggers, and believe that the entire world reads blogs. In actuality, while they're blogging away (and seriously, is there no better word we could use? A blogger sounds like the kid who got made fun of by the chess team in high school.), the rest of the world is out having fun and meeting people. In the end, bloggers end up only associating with themselves to such a degree that the entire community becomes intellectually inbred. Before you know it we will have people writing blogs who look and think like the offspring of royal families in which brothers have been marrying sisters for the last 4 generations. I suspect that in a few short years, most bloggers will be typing their blogs by banging their protective helmets against their keyboards until they short-circuit out from the drool emitting from their mouths. Or maybe I'm way off. Anyway...I meant this to be a post on the Senate "business meeting" I attended today, (Don't call it a "hearing" when it's actually a "business meeting" or else people will know that you're new to the scene and don't know who is staffing with whom, or what bill is up for review, and they will send e-mails about you on their Blackberries and you won't be able to respond because you're not important enough to have a Blackberry, but instead have a ghetto cell-phone with a Rice Krispy sticker on the back and "Informer" by Snow as the ringtone. Then you will feel stupid. I'm assuming anyway, this is all hypothetical.) but I worked for 16 hours and had to make my way home by myself because the taxis were on strike and\or not driving to my neck of the woods. So this will suffice for tonight. I will attempt to put something of substance up tomorrow for everyone (all 2 of you?) who is reading this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Walking while white

First, an update on my job and living situation, which will segue into the ignominy of racial profiling that I've been forced to weather. I'm waiting tables at the Melting Pot, a slightly pretentious fondue restaurant right on DuPont Circle. For those of you not in the know, DuPont Circle is the most gay-friendly district in D.C. Now, you might have read that last sentence and decided that I pointed it out due to myopic Texan intolerance. I point it out, however, so that you understand the problems posed by the uniform that I wear to work. My uniform is a tight black t-shirt tucked into black pants, black shoes, etc. Add to the mix the fact that my hair is cut short, that I actually style it occasionally and that I still carry my (very manly) Bolivian man-purse, and I find myself that recipient of more male attention than a half-naked jogger in a room with Sam Wright. Now, when I come out of work, I tend to have real loud conversations on the phone about my fantasy football team, fried foods, the large trucks I like to drive, and my love for the female form. If you find yourself on the receiving end of these phone calls, just roll with it. Thanks.

That job pays the bills, but I didn't come out here to wait tables. Last week I started at Citizens for Global Solutions (, a fairly progressive non-profit. They work for more engagement with the international community, ratification of the UN Law of the Seas, membership in the International Criminal Court, and a lot of other things that would bore the hell out of you, so I'm going to stop here. I'm working on the external relations team, which means that I'll be lobbying Congressmen, getting our positions in newspapers, meeting with other non-profits, etc. It's about forty hours a week, and I'll be getting paid enough to cover my transportation costs (about 4 dollars a day). In retrospect, all of the vitriol that I heaped on my friends getting business degrees seems like it might have been unfounded. Yes, I got a degree that taught me how to think and gave me a "real" education. I doubt, however, that my friends who didn't "learn how to think" are making cheese fondue 35 hours a week. Whatever. That's the price for saving the world, and it'll look good when I campaign. In the future, please don't refer to what I'm doing as an "internship". I prefer to call it "pro bono employment", because that implies that I am independently wealthy and able to dedicate myself to altruistic causes. Something I didn't realize about this organization (hereafter referred to as CGS) is how progressive (liberal) they were. I agree with them on most topics, but they're to the left of me on several. I'm not sure how to convey to them my semi-conservative bent. I'm thinking about driving a Hummer limo to work while spraying Chlorofluorocarbons into the air. I'll then walk into work drinking oil out of the skull of a freshly-killed woodland creature and present a proposal to keep troops in Iraq, invade Canada and Mexico, and nuke a country a week until the world admits that global warming is fraudulent. That would get the point across, but might it be just a little extreme? Facetiousness aside, I really enjoy what I'm doing and am hoping for a raise to 30 dollars a week. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Anyway, now that you're filled in, onto my being racially profiled.

I get off work around 11 during the week and 1:30 on weekends. I take the metro home, and it's an 8 minute walk from the stop to my house. Three Friday nights ago I was walking home around 2 in the morning when a cop car pulled up next to me. The cops looked me up and down (damned work uniform!!) and asked me if I was ok. I responded affirmatively, and they then asked me if I was lost. I told them I was walking home and was almost there. What followed was about 15 seconds of silence, followed by an incredulous "you live here?" A little nonplussed, I told them yes. They told me to be careful and to keep an eye out for them if I needed help.'s getting to the point where a white kid can't go anywhere these days without being hassled by the cops. Next time, they might even offer to give me a ride home. Where will it end? Anyway, I'm realizing this story might not mean as much to people who aren't familiar with D.C.'s quadrants, but this post is already a behemoth, so I'll fill you in next time. This is for you Kent Breard III.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Post the First

There is always a lot of pressure to make the first sentence catchy. If it's a school paper it needs to evince your knowledge and hard work. If it's a text to a potential significant other it needs to be witty and memorable, but come off unscripted and original. If it's a suicide note it doesn't really matter because everyone has already skipped ahead to your will anyway. So what about a blog? Damned if I know. I suppose I should consider my audience and tailor the first line towards them, but I haven't the slightest idea who will be reading this. I imagine there's an audience out there, because everyone always tells me that I have lots of opinions and good ideas but that I'm far too shy and unwilling to speak my mind. This is exactly what people need - a chance to hear what I think without me censoring and filtering it like I normally do. Ok, let's be honest. The prospect of me saying what I think without running it by people (Sam, Matt, Brett, Neil) is terrifying, both to any hopes I have of having a future unsullied by (well-founded) accusations of insulting anyone and everyone, and to anybody I know or write about who is easily offended. In all likelihood though, I'll just end up writing about the most ridiculous parts of living in DC, rhapsodizing about restaurants I've eaten at and sharing recipes, plagiarizing straight from The Onion, and insulting Sam Wright. Next time I post, I'll tell you about getting stopped by the cops for "walking while white" (huge problem these days, we can barely make it to a Starbucks and a J. Crew without getting hassled for our race) and I'll post pictures of my house on Islamic Way. Ohh...and Philip Quebe.