Category Archives: The stories I tell

Random stories I like to tell.

Hi, I’m Alyson, I’m friendly

Fore!

Fore! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have met me in person, this will not surprise you.  If you have read anything about me — like my LOVE of karaoke and stand-up comedy, you will not be surprised either.  Everyone else, sorry.

I am an extrovert.  I am also a Leo and a redhead and a New Yorker so the extrovert part should be a given (I had a boss who after working with me for over a year thought I was the opposite but he was pretty self-absorbed).  When I was a kid, when I met people I would say, “Hi.  I’m Alyson and I’m friendly.”  Both those things were true.  I suppose I would have to amend that to “Hi, I am Alyson and usually I am friendly but sometimes I am a huge bitch so watch your fucking step” now but I have just stopped announcing my intentions so casually.  There should some damn mystery to me after all.

There is one other thing I used to do.  Serenade people on the street.  That’s right, I sang to strangers.  All the time.  If I was walking somewhere and someone was stopped at a light or a sign or on the side or the road or whatever, I sang to them.  My favorite song to sing was — and yes, I am serious and no I have no idea why I picked this song, Huey Lewis‘ “If this is it.”

I’ve been phoning night and morning
I heard you say “tell him I’m not home”
Now you’re confessing, But I’m still guessing
I’ve been your fool for so so long
Girl don’t lie, just to save my feelings
Girl don’t cry, and tell me nothing’s wrong
Girl don’t try to make up phony reasons
I’d rather leave than never believe

Now, thanks to Glee, I have rediscovered my love of song (and despite the people who at karaoke who SWORE my voice is “good” I am aware of how loosely I am using that term).  It started with me screeching along to the show.  It continued with me doing karaoke — totally sober — it is not fair to the universe to keep my serious gift of song to myself and the people lucky enough to live near me.  Now I may be on the verge of taking this a little too far.  Not that the idea of “taking something too far” has ever stopped me from doing anything so there is little to suggest this will be any different.  I have found myself singing along to my iPod.  I am sure that makes me look all too sane on the street because that’s where I do it.  All the time.

To indulge my extroverted nature even more, I am going to start working (playing?) with a local performance art group — Cloudism — I am going to suggest we do a flash mob thing with song à la Glee.  Like maybe we get musicians to join in and we just start singing Don’t stop believing to unsuspecting people in Dupont Circle or on the Mall?

Just don’t be surprised if a strange redhead serenades you in Washington, DC or NYC.  It might happen.  But don’t worry.  I don’t bite.

Guest blogger: I am a cat and damnit, I am cranky

Guest blogger:  Hobbes the cat

I am a cat and right now I am pretty fucking pissed off.

For years, I have just dealt with it when I heard how “finicky” cats are, how the people we live with are “crazy cat people” and how we make people sneeze.  I have put up with all of these insults and innuendo but now CNN has just pushed me a stroke too damn far.  That’s right CNN, and you know my buttons really have to be pushed when I stoop to blogging at the bottom of the barrel “news” outlet that is CNN.  I would do a better job of hosting news shows than some of the clowns you hire.  Seriously, one woman told Budget Chairman Ryan that she “didn’t want to get into a numbers game with him.”  Jesus Christ, I am a freaking house cat and I know BUDGETS ARE MADE UP  OF NUMBERS.

But even that crap didn’t piss me off as much as this:http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/05/14/why.cats.bite.mnn/index.html?hpt=C2

What the hell?  I don’t have the same right to personal space as everyone else?  Sure, I appreciate the affection and love but they go out all day — sometimes I get left for DAYS and then they come home and I need to be all instantly in the mood?  What if I was sleeping?  Do you know how tiring my life is?

And to add insult to injury, why is it that everyone thinks all cats are girls?  Do I look like a girl to you?  Do I?  Do I?

Yes, yes I do.  Do you know why?  Because one one winter day several years ago, the people I live with cut my balls off.  That’s right.  Just took me away and had it done.  Did they say boo about it?  No, they did not.  Did they ask if I was ok with it?  No, they did not.  I went to sleep and woke a little lighter.  And really fucking sore.  Bastards.

Pre-castration kittyNote the before and after photos.  The photo on the left is what I had as a kitten.

Four year old cats should not be in this state.

Ok, this isn’t the easiest picture to make out but do you know hard it is for cat to take of photo of this? Take my word for it, it is a sad state of affairs.

The right is what I carry around now.  I am four years old.  Seriously, if you cannot see a size difference there, you are not looking.

Ok, that first photo is actually the kitten that lives here now, but it could be me.  You don’t know what I looked like when I was a kitten, I didn’t know I needed to take photos to prove the size of my junk.

Do you see why maybe we don’t always feel like snuggling when you get home from work?  We are proud animals.  We deserve some fucking respect.  And hop to with the litter box, I am no fucking mood to smell my own pee

You won’t want to miss this

Tonight, some of the best DC area comedians will perform at the Velvet Lounge.  They include:

Emily Ruskowski – will also host
Valerie Paschall
Mariya Alexander
Tyler Richardson
Alyson Chadwick
Pete Bergen

You won’t get to see this much talent for $10 any other time.  Seriously.

The Velvet Lounge is at 915 U Street, NW — across from the U Street Metro.  This starts early (at 7) but probably won’t start on time so if you can come but will be late, no worries.

The money is going to a good cause, you can read about that here: http://www.facebook.com/events/367174039967984/

Things I do on purpose

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Image via Wikipedia

Most of my closest friends can tell you that my actions don’t always make the most sense.  Not to them or even to me.  I don’t spend as much time as I do on the treadmill for my health (really) or even to lose weight, though those are both good things.  I do it because I like to.  And once on, I cannot stop until Morning Joe is over but that is a topic for a different therapy session.

There are a few things that I love to do that I can explain, however, and they include writing and working in politics.  I connect the two because of a piece I read today about Rick Santorum‘s ad guy in the Daily Beast.  The article about John Brabender has a quote from a friend of his that says he “didn’t care if [a client] were Democrat or Republican. They could have been communists, just as long as they were able to pay the bills.”  It continues to say that Brabender is motivated more by a hatred of bad, political ads rather than a commitment to an ideology.   Both sentiments bother me but the latter got me thinking about my recent post about grammar.  I don’t write because I hate bad writing, I write because I love self expression. (And I could go on a tangent about I feel about people who define themselves by what they oppose but that is also a subject for another day.)

A few months ago, I went with a friend to see The Ides of March.  Normally, I avoid political fiction of all kinds because I like to escape my reality every now and again (it’s the reason I never liked West Wing — though I am glad I saw it because I liked it).  Once I got past my nit-pickyness about the particulars of presidential campaigns and the world of politics, I had only one real issue with the film: I felt like a prostitute when I left.  Presidential primaries are a lot like family squabbles, they may get nasty but everyone ends up on the same side at the end.  That’s always been my experience — I didn’t start the 2004 campaign working for John Kerry, for instance, but that’s where I ended up.

Campaigns are not like other employers or clients.  They consume your life for the duration.  At least that has always been my experience.  These are not 9-5, 40 hour a week jobs.  They are 24/7,” you’re on when we need you on” jobs.  I love them but the idea of working for someone that I couldn’t vote for, well it wouldn’t happen.  For the record, I know that money does motivate some people more than it does me (and that’s NOT me saying it shouldn’t).  I worked briefly at a PR firm and they wanted me to work on a project that I had serious problems with.  After a half a day of this, I ground my teeth so badly in my sleep that I broke a back molar and it had to be pulled.  I never had it replaced to remind me of how badly that job made me feel — I also quit the day after.

And I think I know what you are thinking; that I feel this way about Santorum’s “message guru” because I don’t like Santorum.  Well, I don’t like Santorum.  I think his social views are beyond extreme and his fiscal policy is absurd.  I think going to college is a good thing.  And no, I don’t think Satan is lurking behind every corner.  But I also think most people who go into politics do so because they want to make the world a better place. Read any of my pleas for civility in politics and you’ll see I make that point as often as possible.

Truthfully, reading about Brabender gives me the same feeling The Ides of March did and that’s why I don’t like him.

Farewell, Capitol Hill

Politics brought me to Washington, DC.  As I have told countless people, and National Public Radio (story here), I worked on my first campaign when I was eight.  I went door-to-door for a local NY Assemblyman who was running for Congress.  On election night, we went to the campaign headquarters to watch the results come in.  When the areas I canvassed had a huge turnout for my candidate, I thought it was because of my hard work (Who can resist a cute, little girl with red hair and freckles?  The mean woman at the end of the street with the mean and large German Shepard, that’s who.  She had her dog chase me from her property.) and was hooked.

My first job after college was on Capitol Hill — for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca).   I have lived here most of my time in Washington, DC.  I am obsessed with Congress and the legislative process.   Will always believe that the Senate is like grad school where the House is kindergarten.  And if you have never gotten into watching C-Span coverage of the House of Representatives, well, it can be like a good tennis match.  Rafa Nadal v. Roger Federer good.

Life on the Hill has been a great experience.  This is like a small town in a, well, my frame of reference is New York so, in a small city.  People here really look out for each other.  Case in point, back when I had a landline, I returned from work to get the following messages:

  1. This is your neighborhood watch, we think we saw some suspicious people outside of your place.  Please be careful when you come home.
  2. There are definitely two people outside your apartment and we think there may be a third in the bushes.
  3. We went by again and there are the three people – it looks like they are waiting to rob you, or anyone else, when you get home.  We’re calling the police to report it.
  4. We called the police and they chased everyone away from your place.  They are also keeping a car on the block for the next few hours so you should be fine coming in.  Hope you have a nice night.

I remain relieved that I didn’t get home at anytime before message number four and it could be my inherent, dark personality but that whole exchange left me feeling like my neighbors had my back.  Another time, right after I was mugged, one of my neighbors (this happened right in front of my apartment) made it a point to keep his pitbull, “Precious,” outside in his yard around the time when I usually came home.  People would cross the street to not walk by that dog.

The community feel extends beyond my safety, of course.  When the best dive in the world, the Tune Inn, had a fire last summer, a bunch of us came out and helped clean the place.  We painstakingly took each item from the walls and cleaned it.  Yes, I enjoy my Jameson and like to have it there but that’s not what inspired me to help out.  This really does feel like a community and it was heartwarming to see so many people come out to help each other, that is the point of things, right?  If you go in, make sure you look at the Guy Fieri plaque in the front window.  Then look at the plaque just below it.  You may notice a familiar name. (Thank you, Lisa and Thomas.  I feel like I will always be a part of the Hill.)

So, from the feeling that my drinking water is infused with political knowledge to the fabric of neighbors helping each other and looking out for each other that makes this such a special place.  I make a point to be as impressed as possible when I look up at the Capitol Building because it is a beautiful thing.  This place brings out the Mr. Smith in me (I know you know this but I am referring to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).

So, it was not without a heavy heart that I am moving from this magical place on the hill.  I need a change of scenery for personal reasons that I am sure I will explain in excruciating detail at some point and hope this will force me to do the big things I want to do this year but I love this place and the people who inhabit it.

Thank you, Capitol Hill.  I am not leaving, I am just going part-time!