25 November 2009

Things I Learned About Life by Watching NCIS

While unemployed over the summer, I developed an affinity for the CBS show NCIS. In the evening hours, when I was truly bored, I would turn on the TV and it would be on some channel, somewhere, at nearly every hour of the evening. So watching it while I was eating dinner turned into watching it in between dinner and The Daily Show; THEN I got caught up on last season and saw the season finale, so it was a natural transition to watching the new shows on Tuesday nights.

At the beginning of October, when I went to DC for the Solar Decathlon, I had a surreal experience that brought me a few degrees closer to NCIS. I sat next to my favorite plane neighbor ever, a guy named Mike who was a former Assistant Director of the REAL NCIS. Mike was a super-nice dude who told me all sorts of amazing stories about working as a Special Agent in his early days and later, how he helped set up a forensic lab in Iraq that assisted in catching terrorists who targeted our soldiers. Now I realize that Mike could have been pulling my chain, but he was an Irish-Catholic-Boston type, and he seemed like a honest guy with a humble outlook who was in awe of his good fortune. Anyway, we had a great chat and I was tickled by his stories of meeting Mark Harmon and the rest of the cast of the show when they came to his office. Would that plane neighbors could always be that cool!

And, clearly, because I wasn't nerding out enough on this show, I decided to dress up as NCIS's goth Forensic Scientist Abby Scuitto for Halloween. I was pleased to find that roughly half the people I encountered in Portland on Halloween night knew who I was (many fellow nerds, I assume). After posting a photo of myself in my costume on Facebook, I received a text message from my friend Lisa who was at a Halloween party in Los Angeles while I was partying in Portland. It contained a picture of Lisa with the fabulous actress who portrays Abby (they were at the same party together), thus cinching my loyalty to the show:

Therefore, without further ado, here is my fledgling list of Things I Learned About Life by Watching NCIS:
  1. British people started driving on the left-hand side of the road because their horses originally rode that way; since most people are right-handed, it was easier to sword fight from their horses if their right sides were passing each other. (I don't know if this factoid is true but it sounds good, and Ducky said so, therefore I am going with it)
  2. There is ALWAYS evidence at crime scenes. It is nearly impossible to NOT leave DNA evidence at crime scenes.
  3. Nerdy, sensitive computer types are, in reality, quite a bit hotter than supposedly hot beefy jock types.
  4. Do not mess with Marine snipers, aka "gunnies". *
  5. If you are a female working for NCIS, your life will always be in danger, and you have a good chance of dying; UNLESS you are a trained Israeli assassin, in which case you are almost always doing the a**-kicking. The opposite is true for the men; male NCIS team members have a much greater chance of survival, while the male trained Israeli assassins have a good chance of dying a violent death.
  6. A "Probie" is a probationary officer.
  7. A "LEO" is a Law Enforcement Officer.
  8. A "bolo" is an alert put out by LEOs to find vehicles transporting bad guys.
  9. "SecNav" is the Secretary of the Navy.
  10. Whereas the Army and the Air Force have completely separate "jurisdictions", the Navy and the Marines share many things, including NCIS, and the Medal of Honor (for the honorable few who get one).
*My ex-Army friend informed me that actually snipers and "gunnies" are not equivalent; apparently "gunny" is a nickname for the level that Gibbs achieved while in the Marines, and he just happened to be a sniper who was called a gunny. Thanks, Scott!

...I'm sure I'll figure out more. Post them if you have some! Nerds unite!

20 November 2009

Current Cravings

...Not necessarily in this order:
  1. Sunshine
  2. Fast Food
  3. Driving my old stick shift VW
  4. All of my books
  5. A feather bed
  6. Companionship
Yeah I'm a little cranky. Basically I miss my friends; I'm cold, tired, and feel like I need to hibernate; and I miss my books a lot (funny how you take them for granted when they are just sitting there but you want them when they are gone). But I haven't been back to Cincinnati in nearly a year, so I think some displacement anxiety is beginning to set in. I know it will pass - I'm making new friends, and I've got my space heater to keep me warm. While I'm waiting for it to pass, I think I will go take a nap...

15 November 2009

Learning to appreciate the darkness

Most of the past several weeks have been a combination of one of the following things for me:
  1. Trying to stay warm. No, it's not THAT cold here in Portland, but it's colder than what I've experienced over the past two years so I'm trying to readjust.
  2. Trying to stay dry. It doesn't actually rain CONSTANTLY here but when it does rain - which is often - it seems to stay wetter, longer afterwards.
  3. Trying to watch football. I now have three teams to root for: the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom being a fan has been very frustrating over the years but who are competing effectively this season; the USC Trojans, who are normally very good but who've had a few awful losses this season; and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, who, for all intents and purposes, have never really HAD a football team until the past couple of years. Watching football has helped me adjust to the changing weather and my change in circumstances.
  4. Trying to get used to the darkness. Portland doesn't seem to have the same type of light pollution as some other cities that I've lived in, and especially since I'm staying in a place that is in the hills and surrounded by trees, it's really DARK.
That last one is especially challenging for me. Rain and cold, I can handle. Trying to watch football, well that's fun, even if I'm not always successful in finding my games on TV. But the darkness... well, it's not that I'm afraid of the dark, but I definitely prefer daylight, and I've always been drawn to the city partially because of city lights. Sometimes it's so dark here, especially when I get off the bus, that I can't see two feet in front of me. But then there's times when I'm riding around on my bike at night, and I'm lucky if it's not raining, but the Fall air is crisp and I make sure that I've got all my bike lights going, and the city is so beautiful. So as the title of this post suggests, I'm definitely learning to appreciate the darkness - or trying, anyway. I'm certainly looking forward to getting the next month over with so that, come December 21, I can start appreciating the increase in daylight that the Winter solstice brings. Because I don't have to learn to appreciate daylight... I already do.