Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

It would be ruder if I didn’t

Kevin Drum and Andrew Sullivan think that checking one’s phone in the presence of friends is rude, with Drum in particular chalking this up to his and Sullivan’s advanced age compared to those disrespectful youngsters .  And that’s their right, I suppose.  In my personal experience, however, they’re as wrong as wrong can be, and I attribute our different attitudes to our difference in professions rather than in age.  In short, Drum and Sullivan are professional bloggers, while I on the other hand have clients.

To explain I’ll have to delve into my work history a little bit.  I’m an e-discovery professional, and I’ve worked previously at a law firm but currently work for a vendor.  When I worked for the firm, I didn’t have access to email on my phone, and my ability to work from home was hampered by the technology available (at that time a very subpar VPN hookup).  While this might be a fine setup for a federal employee who lives the 9 to 5 life, I was still receiving and expected to answer client and attorney requests at all hours.  This meant I was spending a lot of time at the office.  I frequently stayed past 10 PM on weeknights and would regularly work at least one full day on the weekends.  Obviously, my social life suffered.

When I started working for a vendor, the first thing my company did was pay for a smartphone with an unlimited data plan.  Now I check email from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed, and of course I check it when I’m out to dinner with friends.  I’m in the office whenever I feel like it, and never come in on weekends.  Anything I need to do can be done on any computer with an internet connection, as all our work is on virtual machines.  I’m the guy at the party constantly checking my phone, but at least I’m at the party.

In essence, I’ve exchanged a tether to the office for a tether to my mobile phone, and I fail to see how that’s not an upgrade.  The choice I face is not between checking or not checking my phone, it’s between checking my phone and not having a social life at all.  I get to see my friends without worrying about what I’m missing at work, and my co-workers and clients can get a hold of me in a timely manner and not feel like they’re dominating my life.  My friends and my job are no longer in direct competition with one another for my time.

While I’m sure it’s part of it, I don’t think age fully explains for the difference in opinion.  After all, my teacher and federal worker friends (all in their late 20’s/early 30’s) all feel the same way as Drum and Sullivan.  But of course, principals don’t expect to reach their teachers at 11 at night, nor will editors miss a federal court deadline if their writers aren’t available to answer a question.  Client services is a 24 hour a day business, and people outside the field simply don’t understand how freeing and valuable it is to be able to carry around connectivity in your pocket.

I am going to check email at dinner, and if that makes me rude, so be it.  But I’d rather be rude than be an office-bound hermit


Nana nana nana nana

So I uncharacteristically ended up going out to some clubs this weekend (I’m usually a bar man).  Who did I happen to spy on the other side of the dance floor?

That’s right, Hipster Batman.

He was no where near as suave as I imagined he’d be.

So I suck

So apparently, being on vacation does make one blog less.  A lot less.  So much less that one neglects blogging the entire week after one’s vacation.  I know Kevin and Betty were worried that I was kidnapped and killed by PUMA brownshirts, but really I was just being lazy (although this is a completely rational and non-paranoid fear to have).

Before I get started again, let me hit the highlights of my week and a half jaunt to the Northeast:

  • Did you realize it could hail in August?  Apparently in the Adirondacks, this can and does happen.
  • It rained one day, so my parents, my brother, and I decided to take a day trip to Burlington, Vermont.  I would totally live here, if not for all the hippies.  A pedestrian mall right in downtown, frequent bus service, interconnected transit hubs, and a focus on biking from the city government:  this place is Ryan Avent’s wet dream.
  • We also visited the Magic Hat brewery.  They have a beer that smells like scotch.  This foretells a paradigm shift in my alcohol intake.
  • After a short interregnum where I demonstrated my croquet mastery on the Jersey shore, my brother Kevin continued his domination of our rivalry in non-athletic sports, besting me by 3 points in horseshoes and one freaking stroke in miniature golf.  As he’s the reigning Kan Jam champion of everyone I know, it seems I’ll have to take up archery to get a leg up.
  • I indeed met Ned Resnikoff in lovely Middletown, Connecticut.  I rudely quaffed a few beers in front of his underage ass, but we bonded, blogga style.  If he asks you to ride on his magic bus, you should definitely take him up on it.
  • I enjoyed thoroughly my time in Middletown, especially the wedding of my friends Michael and Megan.  Fun was had by all.  Although you know that scene in A Beautiful Mind where Nash explains his theorem as a reason he and his friends don’t get laid?  Yeah, that sorta happened to the best man and me.  It was interesting, if frustrating.

Normal blogging to resume shortly, I swear.

Vacation, all I ever wanted

This week I’m at my family’s ancestral summer estate manor cabin in lovely Schroon Lake, NY, and this weekend I head directly to hopefully lovely Middletown, CT for the wedding of a good friend.  For most bloggers, this would mean limited writing until next Monday.  However, as my biggest impediment to blogging is my job, this vacation will probably mean an elevated post count from yours truly.  Enjoy it while it lasts.


I’ll be hosting trivia again tonight at the Wonderland Ballroom.  However, I just remembered that this morning, so I’ll be frantically writing questions for the rest of the day.  Shit!

Let’s just get this out of the way

Now that John McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee, I wish to preemptively clarify something. Yes, his name is very similar to mine, and yes, we are both of Irish ancestry. But no, we are not related. This should be obvious due to the fact that we have different last names.

I know most of you are going “Well, duh” right now, and you’re right. But I’ve been asked about my possible kinship with the Arizona senator numerous times since he gained a national profile, and I just want to nip this in the bud if I can.

I exercised my rights! (provisionally)

Well that was certainly the most interesting time I’ve ever had voting.

I left work around 5 and headed over to the Hill to cast my ballot, still undecided but determined to have my say nonetheless.  Emerging from the Union Station metro stop, I ran across Columbus Circle to catch the bus that would take me the rest of my journey.  It seems I miscalculated the effects of that day’s weather, for after crossing the street at full gallop my feet flew in front of me and I promptly crashed my hip and elbow onto the concrete.  In serious pain, I managed to gather myself together and board the waiting 96 bus.

In hindsight, I should have given up right then and there.

Before I continue, I need to write a few words about my voter registration status.  I’ve been a registered Democrat in the District since moving to Capitol Hill, all under the name of “John K. Cain”.  Of course, that is not me, as my middle name is Joseph.  Some clerk apparently had a typo while entering my information, and being the lazy man I am, I never called to fix their error.  Election after election, I voted as John K. Cain and heard nary a peep.

Additionally, over a year ago I moved from the south side of Lincoln Park to the north side.  Not only did this prompt a change in quadrant,  it required a change in polling precinct.  Displaying my previously mentioned laziness, I never reported this change to the Board of Elections either, and kept voting at my old precinct, the aforementioned Episcopal church.

Back to the story at hand:  I arrived at the church only to find my name (or “name” as it were) absent from the rolls.  Disenfranchisement was afoot!  I suspect at some point since the last election, they compared the names on the voting rolls to those on tax returns and booted ones that didn’t match.  As I’ve been paying taxes under my real, non-typo’d name and that apparently there isn’t a John K. Cain residing in the District of Columbia, I was given the boot.

I was able to vote provisionally, although I don’t know if my vote will count.  I got my sticker though, goddamnit, and that’s good enough.

Oh, and I voted for Clinton.   Leave your high-fives (Sam) and disapproving gazes (Mike) in the comments.

Things That Are Not Awesome

#257:  Getting stuck in an elevator at work.

Thanks for the assist, DCFD.

So is a black and tan “triangulation”?

From a chat yesterday with Young Zeitlin (somewhat verbatim):

JC: Yeah, so I went to a second party later on last night. I remember being there, but not much of what went on.

MZ: Then you clearly had a good time.

JC: My friend was there, and he said nothing too crazy happened. I got so hammered because I didn’t know where the beer was at the first party. But I did know where the rum was.

MZ: That’s the way to go.

JC: I’m nothing if not a pragmatic drunk.

MZ: You’re the Hillary Clinton of drunks. You know how to get it done.

JC: …I am totally using that line someday.

Happy New Year, everybody!

This never gets easier, does it?

While many social situations have gotten easier to handle with age, I still get as nervous calling a girl for the first time as I did when I was 14.  Case in point, I just got off the phone with a lovely young woman I met a two Saturdays ago (I didn’t wait this long to call, in case you’re wondering. I had called last week and gotten voice mail and the long holiday weekend threw a wrench into making plans).  I actually had to psyche myself up to overcome a vast collection of jitters, and even now with the deed done, my pulse is still racing.  And while I’ve decided to eschew the “meet-fuck-figure it out afterwards” model of initiating a relationship, I almost yearn for such a less mentally taxing method of going about these things.

Am I alone in displaying teenage-level anxiety in these matters?  Has anyone really become the cool, collected epitomy of suave in their twenties?  Share away.