Mid-Week Excursus: BlackBerry v. G1

The end of the week excursus that never was…Mark and I have found it is much more difficult to brainstorm varying topics in which our views are differentiated by more than a fine line. There is one thing we can completely disagree on, though – our cell phones, or for you techies, our pda’s. So hear goes a debate for the history books:

BlackBerry v. G1

Hand in hand, my BlackBerry and I have come of age together. After I graduated from college and made the I-70 trek east, my mom handed over my bills one by one. The first one up – cell phone. And that is when I met BlackBerry, my first real responsibility. And despite its lame belt holster and click wheel, I loved it just the same.

Since then my BlackBerry has undergone a few upgrades and is now a metallic pink with a lovely roller ball. And I have diamond on my left hand and a lovely partner in crime (read: husband). My obvious support behind BlackBerry is far more than my emotional attachment. Today, especially in my neck of the woods, it’s rare to cross a street, take a seat in a bar, hop on a train where people typing furiously on their tiny connection to the rest of the world.
While technologically, aesthetically, Google-y, the BlackBerry is obviously no match for the likes of the iPhone, Droid or even….sigh…the G1. They are sleek, exciting and pretty damn cool. These phones, however, cannot match the wide spread use and fan base of BlackBerry. It’s not the kind of “if she jumped off a bridge, would you too?” I need to have a BlackBerry because she does phenomena. BlackBerry has simply become America’s phone; the darling of the fierce consumer competition. 

Each of the competing fancy shmancy touch phones with the interactive main screens and infamous “apps” are sold exclusively by the competing providers. You want a G1? I hope you are subscribed to T-Mobile. The BlackBerry, however, reaches across all party lines. T-Mobile – BlackBerry. Sprint – Blackberry. Verizon – Blackberry. And once you are member of the BlackBerry community, you have access to BlackBerry chat which connects you to any and all community members, regardless of provider. Oh and yeah, we’ve got apps.

The stigma that was once attached to the pda is long passed; BlackBerry is no long the phone of suit clad business men. Students, carpenters, fundraisers, assistants, moms, dads – they are all BB chatting.

The G1 can find where you parked your car, but the network may blink out when you are driving through the mountains, so don’t park there.

Sorry, there is always a winner and a loser.

(Click here to read Mark's rebuttal)

25 Days of Dinner

In my quest to become a full fledged societal contributing human being, I have realized that I have some skill sets to improve upon, ahem -- skill sets to build. Exhibit A, Cooking. I just can't wrap my mind around it. I can put a pizza in the oven, am great at toasting bread and pairing with a poached egg, and am superb at dialing the phone, but if you asked me right now to open the cupboards and make dinner, I would probably have a panic attack. Seriously, I would not even know where to begin.

Now baking is something I can handle; perhaps it's my love affair with sweets. If I'm out of baking soda I could whip some up, know that there is a real reason for using room temperature ingredients when specified and the difference that unsalted butter can make in a cake. But if you asked me to make a wine sauce for anything, I would probably attempt adding Moscato.

Last Wednesday marked the season of Lent and for Catholics and many non-Catholics alike, it is the season of deprivation. I utilize the 40 days as an exercise of self-restraint from something I enjoy in my everyday life, mostly just to prove to myself that I can. (This year's edition of Lent blacklists Starbucks.) However, after talking with friends about the different Lenten practices within Christianity, I learned of a different side to the season. Said friend (a.k.a. Blair), discussed how he was raised to do good, or build good habits in lieu of giving something up.

Light bulb.

This is the perfect opportunity to conquer my fears of cooking. No, it's not something that is going to better the entire world, but it will brighten up my little corner, launch my career in adulthood forward and hopefully help build a good habit. So starting next Monday, and continuing each week night until Easter, I am taking the self proclaimed challenge, "25 Days of Dinner."

So it is with a heavy heart that I say au revoir to my Cheerios for awhile and try my hand at more than putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Now, bring it on Martha.

(Apologies in advance if I burn down my apartment complex.)

Spring is in the air!

The mountains of snow are melting. The days are lengthening. The need for gloves is diminishing.

And all in a couple of days.

The promise of spring is finally in the air. I smelled the hope of budding leaves and rain storms. The scent that once upon a lifetime meant spring break was right around the corner. In my current stage of life it more closely means a relaxed dress code, patio happy hours and the Today Show Summer Concert Series are almost within arms reach. Even the ducks that bath in the fountain outside of my office were perched hoping the water would be turned on; for now though, they may just have to settle for exhaust stained snow.

I know I'm not alone when I note the noticeable upswing the atmosphere today; the sunshine and above freezing temperatures definitely melted the grumble from the attitudes of morning commuters. Except for the overgrown meat head disguised by Dockers and a tie who kept spitting over the edge of the Metro platform, I don't have a thing to complain about.

It won't be long before ladies are prematurely packing away their nylons, one day of fifty degrees will have many men in shorts and interns will of course still be wearing the flip flops they did all winter. Ah, I love the awkward transition of the seasons!


I am trying new looks on "Attempted Domestication." The old colors were a little drab quite frankly I was sick of looking at them. Bear with me as we hang out in the fitting room!

Some new features: tagged articles, email option for posts and a personalized favicon.

"My look is attainable." -- Audrey Hepburn

When it comes to commuting in the winter, there are few things I despise more. It’s not just the cold half mile walk from my metro stop to my office (which in nice weather is quite enjoyable), the inability to send emails with my BlackBerry from mittened hands or the timeless debate between hat hair or freezing ears. Not to mention the now maze of snow piles at each intersection – it’s a coin toss that crossing the street will end successfully at the other side or plowed over by an out of control Prius unable to see above and around the snow banks. These are all added bonuses to my ever growing hatred of winter and most of all having to trek outside in the elements.

What could be the worst aspect of winter commuting, you ask?

The inability to don my sunglasses during my evening trip home. It’s terrifying and absolutely awful.

When the sun sets shortly afternoon, it’s hardly appropriate to wear sunglasses, to what – shade my eyes from the street lamps? So on my walk home, my invisibility cloak is removed and I must face the cold cruel world. Sunglasses on, I am safe and hidden, staring at who and what I choose; once they are removed that luxury is gone.

And admit it, you too step a little lighter when you are concealed behind oversized shades, free to step along to the musical that plays out in your mind. The surrounding world disappears and you might as well be Carrie Bradshaw.

The days cannot lengthen soon enough. My naked eyes cannot wander Connecticut Avenue much longer.

Solitary Confinement

I am here to testify against wishing for weeks to do nothing. Which is exactly what I had been doing before God answered with the “snowpacolypse” that stopped the D.C. metro area dead in its tracks. If I only had a week of down time, I would get so much done, my life would be more organized, my sleep patterns would be back on track and I would be an overall pleasant person once again – or for the first time ever, depending on your perspective. So I thought. And so we all think.

If you just had a week to breath and have some time to get your life in order…

Nope, it doesn’t happen that way. I was snowed in for an entire week. A full seven days. And by snowed in, I mean I left once to replenish our groceries. This is what I have to show for it – a two week gap in my blog, skin a shade paler and renewed appetite for junk food. I suppose the one good thing that came of my recluse week is the discovery of my building’s gym – okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did finally start working out again…to prevent my muscles from deteriorating.

Really though, I thought I would get so much done, but the days turned into nights turned into more days and any motivation I had was buried in the snow. I think the key is to stay comfortably busy with an occasional break from reality to regroup. However, confinement is a sure fire inspiration extinguisher.

So next time you ask for a break from reality, either take a vacation or a personal day, but don’t wish for a week off. You might just get it.

End of the Week Excursus Bonus: Top Ten of 1/10

This was supposed to be lumped in with last week's EOTWE, which I was a little late in publishing the in the first place. Mark and I have added a new element to our tandem weekend journalism -- a monthly wrap up. Going forward it will be a Top Five List, but for the first installation of our most recent month, we salute our new pre-teen decade with a Top Ten List. Keep in mind we decided that the only unifying characteristic in the list is that we find each event significant. Significant to me, the human race, pop culture, my city, my country, politics, etc. Some may be, uplifting, some may be ground breaking, some funny, some sad -- you get the picture. So here goes (and per usual, in no specific order).....Top Ten of 1/10: 

1. I rang in the new year/decade with a handful of my favorite and most dear friends. And we did it in style, like real grown-ups. Discovery: Flip Cup is not an essential ingredient to a New Year celebration. 

2. One word – Avatar. Now, I really didn’t think I would care much about it and quite frankly, the storyline is shit. If you’ve heard the story about Pocahontas and John Smith, you can guess what happens in Avatar. Buuuuut, the way the storyline is given to the audience, the symbolism and good Lord, the technology. I mean those Na’Vi people look REAL REAL REAL. And the 3-D version is enough to make you seriously question reality.

3. The 7.0 earthquake in Haiti destroyed a country already sopping in devastation. Though, out of the rubble rose hope. We were given glimpses of a world united, dedicating to helping these people back on their feet.

4. Republican Scott Brown wins the vacant Senate seat previously held by Teddy Kennedy. Not only does he take the super majority away from the Democrats, but also vows to vote against the healthcare bill. Sen. Kennedy dedicated his life and career to universal healthcare and passed away in the hours before it could come to be.

5. At the age of 23, Heidi Montag, self made/proclaimed celebrity reveals her new self, ten cosmetic alterations later. Can we say it together – doubleyou-tee-eff. This is uncharted territory of utter absurdity.

6. NBC announces that it is cancelling Jay Leno’s prime time comedy show and gifting him the slot directly following local news. To which Conan Obrien replied, “Oh hell no you don’t.” The reveal of the damage done to the network and the gone-and-back again Late Night host will unfold after the Olympics. Stay tuned.

7. My husband’s Aunt Colleen passed away in an untimely fashion, leaving us questioning priorities, U.S. healthcare and with renewed sense of urgency. In life and death she was and is a constant reminder that when opportunities arise, they are not to eyelash batted, given a second thought or reasoned; take it all in. 

8. iPad. Yep, Steve Jobs did it again and scraped all of the other mini netbooks off the soles of his boots. How does he continue to do it? A giant iPod…times are a changin’ folks.

9. President Obama’s very impressive first State of the Union Address. To me, it was dead on. Calling out the bystanders. Putting blame on himself. Setting the record straight. Mobilizing for action. Reaching out. What more could you ask for?

10. I learned how to play two games I swore I never would and actually enjoy them -- Texas Hold ‘Em and Euchre. See, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the Aventures of Abbigail. Now all that is left for me to conquer is Pitch, the card game I have watched my family play at every holiday since birth and even my younger brothers have given in and learned…but let’s not get out of hand here. One thing at a time.

CNN Alert

I just received this CNN "Breaking News" email...

"-- Pentagon has taken first steps toward repealing "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Defense Secretary Gates says."

Things could be looking up, folks. :)

End of the Week Excursus: Top 5 Acts of Congress I would like to see this year

This week's dialog with my cohort blogger was sparked by Wednesday's State of the Union Address. As an avid President Obama supporter, but not a blind follower, I felt like it was his most presidential speech to date. Admission of his faults, call to action while moving the viewers all in one -- go ahead Barry.

That address sparked a conversation as the the Congressional Acts we are hoping to see unfold this year. Here are the five that I currently am pulling for; keep in mind, these are items that I think could take place in 2010. In no specific order:

1. Some sort of national health care bill: Something, anything. When small businesses are dying because employers can't afford to keep their own families insured, let alone their employees, people are dying of curable diseases, because they are receiving minimal care and unemployment is a death threat, we have got to do something. I don't know all of the ins and outs of the bill that is currently being debated, nor if it is the one that should pass, but I do know that socialized health care/health care reform/nationalized health care -- whatever name you want to give it -- has got to be a priority. Or we should all move to Canada.

2. Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell policy: It's a little more than revolting that now, in 2010, there is such a policy that is intended to keep anyone from serving their country. Which is exactly what this is -- "We'll let you join up and won't ask questions, but should your personal life come to light, you're out." Absolutely foul. If we are publicizing our nation as one with justice for all -- right... -- how can a policy like this continue to live? Who thought this was a good idea? I'm going to have to stop now, because I can feel my blood pressure rising as I think of the ignorance that is still real in this country. Basically, this policy needs to be thrown out the window...yesterday.

3. Extension of the First Time Home Buyer Credit: This one is out of a pure selfish agenda. I am really hoping that the purchase of a home in on my agenda in the next year, and the $8000 would be lovely to have in my pocket. So keep it alive!

4. A vote against whatever bill the Performance Tax is attached: For those of you who aren't familiar visit www.noperformancetax.org for more information. Basically the big whig record labels are pressuring Congress to pass a bill that will force radio stations to pay them a royalty for the songs they play. Charging stations for the free publicity they give these fat cats? Simply absurd. If this passes you can say good-bye to radio as we know it.

5. District of Columbia Marriage Equality: The bill that would allow all couples to wed is now sitting in Congress. It was passed by the D.C. City Counsel, signed by Mayor Fenty and is again one more step toward our country living up to it's "justice for all" motto. If Congress doesn't take it up in less than 30 days, it will pass. My city is about to sweep the ignorance from it's corners, perhaps he rest of the states will fall in line.