Happy New President Time

Obama in the Oval Office

This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures from Obama’s first official day on the job. There’s just something so awe-inspiring about that huge desk. So everything that room has seen, it always impresses.

When I was 9-years-old, I wanted to be President when I grew up, and Obama gives me hope that maybe might pipe dream is a possibility for someone like me. (Though I seriously doubt I will ever be president.)

Some of what the President is doing is already very exciting. Check out the Obameter, which tracks what Obama promised, what his team is working on, and what he’s already passed. Some highlights in less than a week are the repeal of the global gag rule and orders Guantanamo’s closure.

While the economy is still depressing, I’ve been enjoying listening to news and hearing good things. Hearing the effectiveness of a government. Hearing a hopeful message.

However, as I was looking at the picture above, I realized something was missing. Granted, it was the first day and everything might be moved in, but not in place. For contrast, check out my desk at home.

Yeah, for a President addicted to his Blackberry, a computer or any technology is missing from the picture of the office. Traditionally, presidents have chosen not to use e-mail due to it being subject to National Archiving and can be subpoenaed in court. However, Obama won that battle and will be using his Blackberry. Though with a limited scope of who can access it, and the National Archive has said that they won’t archive personal things, or as I like to think, the cute little messages he sends to his daughters.

However, it’s not just Obama that’s going through tech withdrawal. His very tech-savvy team is horrified about how draconian White House technology is. The White House has PCs running Windows XP compared to their slick Macs. White House web filters block Facebook, MySpace, and personal e-mail among other sites. Sites that Obama’s staff used to help him win. Access to instant messaging forbidden. Even the phones didn’t work.

On a side note, I’ve heard government filters are extremely strict. I have a friend who works for the Washington State Patrol, and if he surfs to a blocked site — like Facebook — his web browser locks and he has to have his supervisor come over and unlock it. 0_0

As some tech blogs noted, Welcome to the Corporate World as many of the Obama staff’s problems are familiar to anyone who’s worked a desk job. However, I would say that I’m looking forward to Obama’s people upgrading the White House. (I’m sure Apple would not turn down the pr opportunity to show the shiny Macbook in the Oval Office.) The White House just isn’t another corporation. It’s the government. Supposedly, the most powerful government in the world, and personally, I want to them to have access to the best technology that they can.

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

I love red potatoes. They are by far my favorite. I love them boiled and roasted. I’ll even eat them cooked with nothing on them. This recipe, originally from Foodnetwork’s Paula Deen, is simply and delicious. The original one calls for garlic, which due to my food allergies, I substituted thyme.

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme
Continue reading “Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme”

Re-Cap: Bunny Sitting

Erica and NibRecently, Jason and I bunny-sat for one of my co-workers and his wife as they vacationed in a tropical paradise. The rabbit in question’s name is Nib. Nib is a black Mini Rex, which means he’s extra soft as his fur doesn’t have any guard hairs. It also means that when he gets stressed, he molts.

Nib is a very spoiled rabbit. His favorite treats include corn chips and books printed before 1960. Both which aren’t rabbit friendly. But he also like hay, apples, and carrot tops.

For those of you who don’t know, I used to raise rabbits when I was growing up. My first rabbit was an Easter gift when I was 7, and I showed them in 4-H as soon as I was old enough. Going to college was an exercise in not having pets.

Books aside, Nib was a good little rabbit. And also very cute. He liked to run around our condo and snuggle on the couch. Okay, maybe he was actually trying to eat whatever was on our plates.

This was also my time to convince Jason that if we get a pet, we needed to get a rabbit. (Rabbits are the best.) I think Jason really enjoyed having the rabbit around. But I think that he also wants to wait until we have house, specifically a library where we can store all our books and is a no bunnies allowed zone.

Now Nib’s home and I’m sure being extra super spoiled from his parents. Continue reading “Re-Cap: Bunny Sitting”


I went ahead and deactivated my Facebook account. Hopefully, this will solve some of my feelings toward it.

Facebook — To delete or not to delete

Erica's Facebook

I think a lot about deleting my Facebook. I don’t use it for networking; that’s why I have LinkedIn. I don’t use it to contact my close circle of friends. We have face-to-face visits, phones, e-mail, and other methods of communication.

Part of met thinks that I haven’t hammered out how I’m going to use it just yet. Is it networking, keeping track of life lived a long time ago, or connecting with friends? I think this when I get connection requests from co-workers that I don’t like all that much. (Obviously, this does not apply to all, and probably doesn’t apply to you when you think it does.) Or when yesterday, I received and accepted a request from a woman I went to 2nd grade with. And since I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, I don’t really mind those requests. I don’t put overly personal things on it, and since I’m not into partying and one beer at dinner is my limit, I’m not going get caught in some saucy photography.

Mostly I think about getting rid of it due to the voyeur factor. Facebook gives you just enough information to stalk someone, but not enough information to really know them. I suppose that you’re suppose to message people or write on their walls or compare your movie capability. But those still seem like only surface connections.

Sometimes my reactions to Facebook remind me of when my mom was going to attend her 20th high school reunion. Her friend Carol was over and my mom pulled out her old high school yearbook. Carol and myself stood around as my mom started going through her memories and looking at the pictures of the people she used to know. Her high school years, like my own, were not her shining glories. She was an average student and not popular or overly involved.

After we giggled at my mom and my uncle’s ’70s hair, my mom started recounting the people she hung out with. But then it got to the people she hated. The ones that stole her boyfriends or snubbed her friendship. The ones she hoped she looked younger than. The ones she guessed had gotten fat and ugly with age. Or the ones she thought deserved to have landed themselves in jail by now, based on her judgments of them for what they did 20 years ago. She was so bitter. So full of ill wishes and mockery.

Facebook sometimes turns into that for me. I see people I used to know and some of them aren’t people that I like very much. Some of them hurt me and some of them were assholes. Facebook becomes my yearbook, only updated every moment of every day. Unlike my mother, who can leave her yearbook the shelves, I can access Facebook any time of the day, from anywhere. That is why I think about deleting my Facebook account and putting the past on the shelf.

House, Why You Gotta Be That Way?

House M.D. PosterBe thinking about what to post here. Been thinking about it too long instead of just writing. Just writer, stupid. So I fall back on what I like to talk about: TV.

A random blog comment stirred my thoughts about House, M.D., which is a show I massively fell in love with (Seasons 1 and 2), almost gave up (Season 3), and won my loyalty again (Seasons 4). (It’s in it’s fifth season for those paying attention.)

House, M.D. is a medical show about the cranky, but brilliant diagnostician Dr. Gregory House. House is an unapologetic bastard. He’s also a cripple and walks with a cane. When he’s not tripping people with it, that is. House is by far my favorite character, perhaps because I am a little envious of his ability to put everyone on edge.

He has underlings — doctors by their own right — but who want the experience of working under an asshole a genius. In Season 1-3, it was the ducklings: Cameron, Foreman, and Chase. But ducklings grown into ducks that still hang around the pond with Foreman as lead. In Season 4-5, House hires Taub, Kutner, and Thirteen. Then there’s House’s best friend and fellow doctor, James Wilson, a rather needing man who prides himself on being there for his cancer patients. And Lisa Cuddy, the competent and hot doctor who’s also the hospital administrator.

As a show, House, M.D. is incredibly formulaic. There’s a patient –> a diagnoses and treatment –> fails –> new diagnoses and treatment –> looks like they’re getting better –> fail again –> House has a brilliant moment where he diagnoses the patient correctly and most of the the time, no one dies. The End. The medical factuality of the show varies.

Of course, the patient, the diagnoses, and the routine is not the point of the show. It is merely the window dressing. Granted, a good patient story is always more entertaining than one that that you don’t care a lick about the patient or even remember what was going on.

House, M.D. is a story of character studies, specially a study of House himself. The patients can related in ways. (Certainly not in the same manner as Grey’s Anatomy where every single patient is a direct link to the pain and joy and psychology of the characters.) Mostly, patients serve as the backdrop. The backdrop so Wilson can hold House’s guitar hostage and delete his TiVo. Or so Cuddy can yell at House while having hot sexual tension with him. And so Cameron can hold the hand of the dying and heal from her dead husband.

This is not a show where the A Plots really matter. This is a show built around B Plots. B Plots are what most House fans watch for. They don’t care how many time it’s not Lupus. They want to know Taub’s wife still loves him or if House is really addicted to Vicodin. (House and his Vicodin are one hotly debated issue that any and every fan will gladly go on a rant about.)

The world loves the asshole anti-heroes like House (see Iron Man and Anthony Bourdain), but building a narrative based on B Plots is why House, M.D. has endured as a show. And why it’s a little different than just a typical procedural. And if you have a thing for character studies, you might really enjoy the show.

My Great Holiday Trip to the Other Coast

Santa lights
Santa welcomes me to Virginia Beach

My journey started with a trip down my hill. Normally, I’d drive my car down it, but there was about six inches of snow with ice and my road was closed. Thankfully, Kenny (my supervisor) was able to pick up both Jason and I up at the bottom of the hill. Jason and I only fell on our butts once each while going the four or so blocks down with the hill with luggage in tow. (Yay for garbage bags to protect luggage from wet snow and also long, waterproof jackets to protect me and Jason.)

Thankfully, the day we flew out (Jason had to reschedule his plane and we seriously considered not going if we couldn’t reschedule) was the first day that the Seattle-Tacoma airport was fully operational. Planes were delayed and lost, but we made it safely to Virginia sometime after midnight on separate flights. Continue reading “My Great Holiday Trip to the Other Coast”