27 July, 2005

Bloody hell!

It's the third hot day of the week. It's been 90 degrees fahrenheit and above since Monday. It's a swamp here. I can't wait until summer is over.

I have to stay at work until 12-1am today so the House of Representatives could "debate" DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic - Central American Free Trade Agreement). I have no love for Bush's free trade agreement. However, I can't stand labor union's kneejerk reaction to any trade agreements. I suppose Washington, DC is just not a place for moderates like me.

The House seems to spend all day naming post offices. But Democrats and Republicans have no time to talk to each other to work things out. Who knows? Maybe there is no common ground and we're destined to kill each other over every little piece of legislation that come to Capitol Hill.

26 July, 2005

DC and Rugby

I have not commented about a couple things that take up a significant chunk of my life - rugby and working on Capitol Hill.

I find working on the Hill to be pretty boring. Ideas exchanged here are mostly recycled material. Unlike the parliamentary system in the UK or Canada, we don't exactly have free debates on the House floor. Member of Congress speak to largely empty chambers with prescripted talking points. Furthermore, since I hate people, I hate dealing with constituents. They ask for the government to solve their problems but at the same time want the government to be out of their lives. They write in asking for answers that they could find on the Internet with a simple google search. I wish we have different governing style.

I wish our campaigns are not focused so much on fundraising and politicians' dependence on donors. No matter how much Shays-Meehan reformed the system and banned soft money, as long as elected officials and candidates are required to solicit donations from private sources, our government will be influenced by those who are affluent enough to contribute. Because I find my work experience less than satisfying, I'm pretty grumpy everyday. This is not healthy. I didn't use to be this way. I used to get up bright and early and get to work early just so I can get an early start.

While I don't want to work in politics for too much longer, I hope to find my faith in government again. Perhaps moving back to Los Angeles and Southern California's laidback ways would help me become less angry and care more about the state of our country. I used to be concerned about Southern Californians' lack of interest in public affairs. Now I wish I can care less about politics.

On rugby - I started playing the sport competitively in college. I get more satisfaction out of rugby than any other sports. Sadly, work and my desire to relax while I'm not at work stopped my playing days. Now I help out at American University Rugby Club, my old college team.

I'm glad I got Jennifer (my girlfriend) hooked on rugby. She watched the 2003 Rugby World Cup with me and became a big fan of the sport. I hope to take her to an international match in Europe or Australia/New Zealand someday. Unfortunately, we don't root for the same team. I usually support France while Jennifer is an All Blacks (New Zealand) fan. I like France's flair, and how they attack (nicknamed "champagne rugby"). Jennifer seems to like NZ's precision and their offensive skills, and their former flyhalf Carlos Spencer (I can't figure out if she's a NZ fan because of the way they play or Carlos Spencer).

Dodgers won again! But I shouldn't get my hopes up. They're likely to disappoint tomorrow or shortly after.

So Missouri was like "I like your shoes" and Jennifer was like "uh huh."

Jennifer and I spent the weekend in Manhattan. While it was a short overnight trip, we had a fantastic time. Jennifer got her shopping done and I was just happy to see her enjoy herself.

We had dinner at Pampa, an Argentine restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue and 97th St. We had the mixed grill, complete with beef short ribs, flank steak, chicken, blood sausage, and chicken. In short, it was more meat than we could ever consume. The bill came out to a tidy $68. It was a great deal for a beautiful meal.

I took this photo of the city through a window at Barney's New York. It was a good way to pass the time while Jennifer shopped and tried up a few dresses at her favorite department store.

The water fountain at Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
New York City remains as romantic as ever. Although the redeveloped Columbus Circle is now filled with chained stores such as J. Crew, it is still charming to see the sights and the lights.

I snapped these photos while walking by Times Square on July 23, 2005. As on any night, Hells Kitchen was a mass of humanity. While novel for tourists who haven't spent much time in Manhattan, I don't fancy spending much time there dealing with the foot and vehicular traffic. Nevertheless, all the lights and colors are incredible.

22 July, 2005

The Dodgers won two in a row! Considering how they've been playing this season, this is great!

20 July, 2005

Dodgers lost against 5-4. This time our talented closer Yhency Brazoban sunk us in a 9th inning failure. It's challenging to be a Dodgers fan from the East Coast, especially when they're posting such a disappointing year.

The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohon Singh visited Washington, DC today and addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress. I was either too lazy to watch or too involved in reading the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill to hear out what the PM said.

18 July, 2005

It's another very hot day in Washington, DC. We have a heat advisory for people to stay inside and stay out of the sun. The high temperature is around 93 fahrenheit with high humidity. In another word, it's bloody awful!

The worst part is, it's been like this since early June, and will continue to be this swampy for the foreseeable future.

In Southern California, we used to measure the livability of an area by how many days per year the temperature soars above 90 fahrenheit. Washington, DC would fail that test miserably. Boy do I miss LA!

16 July, 2005

Damn it to hell! The Dodgers lost again. 0-6 this time to those cheaters from San Francisco.

It has been a week since I interviewed with the Los Angeles Chamber. I'm fairly relaxed and I''m trying not to think about it too much. But I am very excited about returning to LA.

I'm a hobo. I can't stay in one city for too long or I would get bored. Since moving back to DC in 1998, I've had a good run. But I am bored at my job and the city. As the old saying on Capitol Hill goes, once you stop being excited about working on the Hill, it's time to go. I stop enjoying my work a few years ago. Right now I feel like how Brad Penny looks like in this picture.... mad all the time (and I'm not sure I know exactly why I'm mad). The rest of the time I just don't give a shit. I feel like my existence in DC is without purpose, without taste or real pleasure. It's like I'm braindead.

Moving to a "transitional neighborhood" also makes me want to move out of DC. Although Mt. Vernon Square is 100 percent better than Shaw, Jennifer and I still do not enjoy it. Both of us still face daily/weekly/monthly insults of a racial nature, and our cars are still getting broken into (twice in 18 months). Walking Jack and Missouri down the street is an exercise in frustration because of the amount of trash and chicken wing bones we have to manuver through. I know that's better than Shaw (5 times in one year for me and I believe 3 times in one year for Jennifer's car), but that is not saying much.

So on I go dreaming about moving back to Los Angeles. I busy myself trying to network and put myself in a position to get a decent job in LA. In the meantime, I hate being in DC.

On the other hand, I hate being a Dodgers fan from afar. I'm relegated to watching the games on the Internet, and checking the scores on the LA Times and Dodgers websites. So far, this season has been been a bust. At exactly the halfway mark of the season, my boys in blue are 7.5 games out of first in the NL West. They are showing no signs of catching up to the lowly Padres, who currently occupy first place in the conference. Against the hated Giants tonight, it's the top of the fifth and the Dodgers are already down 5-0. I can only hope that they turn the night and the season around soon. But looking at the photo of Brad Penny getting tossed from the game last night, I fear we're not going to make it.

11 July, 2005

23 hours in Los Angeles

I traveled to LA last Friday. Arriving at 11:40am on July 8 and leaving at 11:55am on July 9, I was on the ground for less than 24-hours. But it reminded me of how much I miss LA's food and weather. I still hate the traffic.

I stayed at the Standard Hotel in Downtown LA. At $99 per night, it was excellent value. The hotel was comfortable, fashionable, and affordable.

Los Angeles Public Library Posted by Picasa

Advertisements in LA's subway platform
Posted by Picasa

Waiting area at LA's Union Station Posted by Picasa

It's nice to see public transportation in my hometown. In a town such as Los Angeles, where cars rule and only the poor take public transit, I'm hapy to see Angelenos actually using the subway and the light rails. Now only if the Metro system could be extended so that one can actually use the trains to commute to work or just run about town.

Downtown Los Angeles viewed from Pershing Square Posted by Picasa

Taco shack in downtown Los Angeles Posted by Picasa