Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
When Dell (yeah, I think I just nicknamed my computer after its manufacturer - utter lack of creativity on my part, but let's roll with it) started exhibiting minor symptoms of illness, I was a little concerned...but not overly worried. I mean, if I had typed these systems into the WebMD symptom checker, it would probably return a diagnosis of "Ebola virus" or "terminal liver cancer," but it also returns those results if you're suffering from a minor paper cut that happens to be combined with a slight cough. Dell's problems started out small - Internet Explorer windows would randomly close, system seemed to be running a little slowly, so on and so forth.
My concern grew when Dell and Google began to disagree with one another.
Dell: Google, please return search listing for "state tax amnesty programs."
Google: (reply tinged with slight hint of sarcasm) Dell, shouldn't you be using the vast resources available through your PwC internal resources and numerous external subscriptions for a search like that? I'd really prefer to look for something a bit more exciting.
Dell: (small sigh of frustration) You're right, Google, you really are, but sometimes it's just easier, more efficient, and often more effective to see what you have to say on the matter. Come on, help me out, please?
Google: Good point, Dell, I am pretty awesome...ok, here are your search results.
Dell: Thanks so much! Hmmm, this one looks promising...(click)...ummm, Google? You seem to be directing me to crap! What is this, sending me to a random search engine instead of the URL listed in your results?!? Let me try another one...(click)...yipes, this one isn't working either! What's going on??
Google: (mollified tone) Uh, Dell, I don't seem to be feeling so well. Gosh, maybe you shouldn't rely on me until I get over this...seems to be a pretty nasty bug.
Dell: No, Google, noooo!! I was doing ok with the other little quirks I've been experiencing over the last few days, but I rely on you far too often! For EVERYTHING! We're going to the doctor right now!!
Not having developed the deeper levels of trust with PwC DC IT folks (enough acronyms for you?) to trust them with Dell...who holds my entire iTunes library and 30.4 GB of digital pictures, which is not exactly in compliance with firm policy...I turned to my techie friends and the vast resources of the Internet for a possible solution. I mean, busted Google?? You can't function with busted Google. No more of this "redirect search results to crap website" business.
Long story short (actually, long story long with the Google/Dell dialogue up there), a nasty beastie had infected my computer from who knows where and decided to wreck havoc on the technology in my life. Fortunately, I found my savior, and Dell has been restored back to its functional glory. When my techie rescuer scanned some crazy log report I ran and responded with "ok, that identifies the beasties," I just felt like I was in good hands. Skip all the techno-babble and refer to viruses as "beasties" and you're good to go in my book. I highly recommend the Tech Support Forum gang if you ever find your computer on the fritz and haven't the faintest clue how to restore it back to health. Glad you're feeling better, Dell.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Spotted near a security checkpoint outside the White House. Do they intend for the dogs to throw away their trash? "Now, Bruiser, you throw away that greasy wrapper from your street vendor hot dog!" Maybe it has something to do with training vicious attack dogs, fierce canines who sniff out drugs and would-be terrorists...
Snapped this picture while driving through Georgetown. Tons of diplomat plates all over this city, but I don't think I usually see them on a Hyundai Azera. Cost cutting is everywhere!! Actually, this car probably sets you back more than I think it would. I really enjoy the pretty shade of blue that distinguishes a diplomat plate from all the commoners on the road.
This won't comfort Mom and Dad too much, but I snagged this picture while stuck in traffic about a block from the only Target actually in DC. Logically, shouldn't this particular warning be in effect no matter where you are? I'm guessing this area is known for something more than the fairly recent opening of large chain stores...
More to come, I'm sure - there are all kinds of crazies in this city and signs to go with them.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
...to the tile guy......to the man with tub after tub of pickles and assorted other pickled things.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Oh, the Irish car bomb. Classic St. Patrick's Day beverage when you've moved past straight Guinness. The thought of dropping a shot glass filled with Jameson and Baileys into a glass o' Guinness and chugging the whole thing down sounds less than appealing to me, but...the thought of a Baileys buttercream frosting is intriguing. As is adding some Guinness to a chocolate batter. Oooh, and maybe a splash of Jameson in a chocolate ganache filling would round the whole thing out. I'd love to take credit for the baking brilliance myself, but I hijacked the idea from Deb at Smitten Kitchen instead. This recipe is amazing. Caution: you may find yourself swiping excessive amounts of batter from the mixing bowl directly to your mouth instead of dropping it into the liners.
All in all, a fairly excellent way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. They're even work appropriate. Maybe not for the teetotalers out there...but I just didn't tell them about the cupcakes. Everyone else was warned about the slight potency of the frosting and filling, and when their eyes lit up with glee, I figured it would be ok. Basically a big hit all the way around, plus I had entirely too much fun sprinkling green sugar on top to add that extra dash of festive.
I mean, what better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Except, of course, for dumping some green dye into the fountains at the White House for the first time ever.
They were going to stay green until the dye ran out, so I went by on the 18th just to see if we were still in shamrock stage or if the waters had worked their way through the color. Slightly sad to report that the fountains showed no trace of green on the 18th.
May the luck o' the Irish watch over ye'...on March 20. Yes, I'm a wee bit late in posting this one, but I figure I can get by with it because of my name. Erin always works for the Irish, and for a short time in March I claim "O'Bryan" for yet another dash of festive.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
A couple of websites I check fairly regularly also seem to have caught bracket fever, or at least provided handy links to other websites with symptoms of the disease. I present for your entertainment/amusement/disbelief:
- Which meat deserves the title? Divided into regions of red meat, poultry, seafood, and pork, 32 meat products battle it out for the title of...well...greatest meat. I'm amused and also putting down some early money on bacon. Come on, what else would have my support?
- Following off the meat vibe introduced in #1, Washingtonian magazine is putting together its own burger bracket to find the best hamburger in DC. I look forward to working my way through the city in this way as well. Hmmm, maybe I should do that with a lot of things....pizza, ice cream, Chinese, Tex-Mex (if there were more options!!), cupcakes...stayed tuned for Erin's Food Bracket Challenges.
- And just to toss in something not related to food (or more specifically, MEAT!), Mental Floss is throwing its own Tournament of Genius into the mix. I mean, who else is going to have a first round matchup featuring #2 seed Ben Franklin, genius and innovator extraordinaire, against #15 seed Pat and Harry Olivieri, creators of the Philly cheesesteak? Haha, I did bring it back to meat! Go vote in this one, or at least go flip through it - good for a laugh while also potentially thought-provoking.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
In desparate need of a really delicious burger (I miss you, patio at Jake's...and barstools at Twisted Root...and cheddar fries at Spanky's...) and intrigued by the fact that I could eat at a restaurant opened by a former Top Chef contestant, I recruited Dana for a trip to the SE quadrant of the city, a formerly unexplored territory. Anyone remember the guy with the hat from season five? Oh yes, Spike! Also known for being a bit of a jerk to go with the hat, but turned out enough decent dishes to redeem himself somewhat. Good Stuff Eatery is his latest culinary endeavor, right here in DC, so I figured I'd give it a shot...for both the food and the potential of seeing someone who's been on TV (there I go, contributing to the American fascination with "celebrity"...rest assured that I was more excited about the possibility of good food, but a little Spike sighting wouldn't hurt things).
Earlier this week I was pretty pumped about taking a mid-day break to walk over to the Borders about five blocks away to attend a reading and book-signing by Molly Wizenberg. Who?? Well, hence the "minor food" caveat in the title here. She started a food blog a few years ago, Orangette - it took off, she had the chance to write a book, now zooming around the country greeting fans and promoting said book. I adore both food AND writing, hence my immediate purchase of said book and excitement about actually meeting her. It was great to hear a little bit more about her and why she writes, how she got into doing the blog, and just the great big roller-coaster ride her life is taking.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I say "can-can" because they were dressed up like can-can dancers, complete with feather boas and heels, handing out bright pink flyers sporting the slogan "yes we can-can stop the war!!" while twirling around on the sidewalk. I give them props for their enthusiasm.
There was also a rather old man with a rather odd large sign containing indecipherable script...who was singing rather loudly...with bits of English and perhaps gibberish thrown in. I opted not to go for a picture of that one since I had no idea what kind of statement he was trying to make. And also because I was maybe a little bit freaked out.
We also have tent lady demanding peace. She's been stationed out there for quite a while and has a pretty decent set-up:
I think I'll head back periodically to see what kind of statements people are making. Just a guess that the statement-makers might pick up once summer tourist season rolls around. If we get another snowstorm, I'll go see just how many enthusiasts brave the slushy mess.