The Belly Button Window Details

About Belly Button Window

The Semi-Regular Newsletter


America, December 2, 2002

The TSA Loves Santa Claus Piñatas!

What I do for a $2.50 treat

i would clash in those pants
I did think of a flag...
but he's so cute!
If you've flown recently, then you've seen the new Transportation Safety Administration security guards at airport security checks and you may have wondered how they're adjusting to their new role.

Over the last three days, I've found the best way to meet them and get their undivided personal attention, all the way down to the kind of shoe you wear, at the metal detectors, the departure gate, and even the airplane door: carry a Santa Claus Piñata.

Last week, in the midst of celebrating my cousin Norman's wedding in Chihuahua, Mexico, I spied a cool Xmas treat, a Mexican piñatas in the shape of Santa Claus. How cool, festive, and oh so Mexico!

Now once I showed this threat to the relatives, all manner of discussions arose as to how I could get it back to DC with minimal hassle, and with a $2.50 purchase price, minimal cost. In the end I decided I would brave the stares of those not so cool, and just take it on the plane.

That was before I wandered up to the first security check in El Paso. Twenty minutes and a very through check later, including Santa going through the scanner three times, I was so late getting to the gate that I missed my flight.

Ready to go on a new flight the next day, the same guards broke into big smiles as I entered the security line again. A second round of detailed screening, shoe search and all, followed, but this time I made it to the gate before the flight left. Just in time to get a second search, at the gate, of Santa, my luggage, and my shoes.

Once the flight arrived in Houston, I scrambled to my next flight to DC, arriving this time to an overbooked flight and a $400 flight coupon if I'd take a flight the next day. Gladly, I got bumped and spent the evening with my cousin Paul, before heading back to the airport the next day.

This time, I switched two different metal detector queues before I found a security check that would allow me to bring aboard the Santa Claus Piñata to begin with. Then, we went through the whole luggage to shoe search again, before I was free to find my gate.

There, I was (miraculously) allowed on the plane without my fourth search, but did get a little chat with the pilot who was quite interested in my Mexico travels, at one point asking if my newly-grown beard had any religious significance. I assured him that I was a devout atheist, on my way back from a very Catholic wedding, and with a great desire to land safely in DC.

And so, three hours later we did, three days and three full luggage searches after I started, with what is now my very prized possession: a Santa Claus Piñata

America, November 11, 2002

The Happiest Laid-off Man in America

Time to live my dreams, yet again post-tramitic stress I must think... my new office Yes, you read that right, I've been laid off by my Internet company, and I couldn't be happier. Before you start wondering about my sanity, especially in this job market, let me explain:While I enjoyed...

America, October 28, 2002

Eleven Steps to Self-help Speaking Success

Step right up and dream your dream We are inspiring! my inspiration Mexico's inspiration National Post, October 22, 2002 Eleven Steps to Self-help Speaking Success By Neil HrabMy head hurts today. I think it has something to do with the series of self-help seminars I attended last week. The speakers...

America, October 21, 2002

Taking Orders at Trios

nutting like slinging hash for Maurad Maurad running the show Heather slinging hash Assan in control Its dinnertime and I am hungry, but too bad, I can't eat till 10pm, and then I'm restricted to one menu. Now I'm not on some crazy diet, I'm at work, as a waiter...

Continue reading "Taking Orders at Trios"

America, September 23, 2002

Chicken Shack Lunch

Tempt your tummy with a Chicken Shack lunch looks can be deceiving now that's tasty! Back when I first started at this Internet job, I didn't have a car, so I would take the Metro to work. Each morning, as I walked from the Braddock Road Metro station I would...

Continue reading "Chicken Shack Lunch"

America, September 16, 2002

One day I'll beat 21

A day of running and biking across DC the bikedc action shot my partners in sweat How did I get myself into this? I've been running flat out for about 20 minutes, and now, with a final uphill sprint awaiting me, I'm asking my body to find one last burst...

Continue reading "One day I'll beat 21"

America, September 9, 2002

The Dupont Circle of Life

Dupont Circle completes the cycle of life and let the show begin! look! gym bunnies now join us in prayer I love Washington DC. It's such a livable city, with four mild seasons, manageable population density and an amazing number of tress and parks, of which Dupont Circle is my...

Continue reading "The Dupont Circle of Life"

America, September 2, 2002

The Future is Automatic

Stop the Box any way you can! 100% human-free 100% humane Walking home from Adams Morgan last week, I encountered another small step in the automated end to human interaction: the Tik Tok Easy Shop, or 'The Box' as a community activist calls it. It's a van-sized vending machine, capable...

Continue reading "The Future is Automatic"

America, August 26, 2002

Living in Cell Phone Hell

I love AT&T Wireless Cell Phone Hell! where they should be what I want to do Great! (when it works) How long have you waited on hold when trying to speak with a customer service representative? My record was about 30 minutes while trying to talk to Verizon's DSL technical...

Continue reading "Living in Cell Phone Hell"

America, August 19, 2002

Preaching to the Corrupt

Six years on, I get flashbacks from WeeCheng Red Square in Winter Documenti, Pazhalousta Keeping the Peace Do Bribes Buy Mercades? Beauty that Inspires Religion Orthodox Christian Perfection Five years after I started this site while evading police in Moscow, I'm getting a fresh look at Russia's insanity from my...

Continue reading "Preaching to the Corrupt"

America, August 12, 2002

Somebody's Watching Me

Now that I'm famous, I always feel that somebody's watchin' me The Price of Fame I Search From the Sky Recently I switched my website hosts from Pacbell to, and in the process, took a detailed look at my referral log. A referral log is a list of all...

Continue reading "Somebody's Watching Me"

America, July 22, 2002

Kickball on the National Mall

Nuttin like Kickball on the National Mall such great form! nice monkey suit All season I've played with this adhoc team, coming in next to last in the pre-championship standings, which really don't matter. We've been making errors left and right this sudden death championship game, which if we loose,...

Continue reading "Kickball on the National Mall"

America, July 14, 2002

The Flight of Matisse's 'La Negresse'

La Negreese took my mind into flight nuttin like the real thing the live version Its been a while, like five years, since I wandered the halls of the National Gallery of Art, so today, on a cloudy yet hot summer day, I retreated from the heat into the cool...

America, June 30, 2002

My Re-Activization!

How I got my Activist Groove Back yeah, you try it! my lazy days Claudette's Cats You might not believe this, but before I went to Russia, I was somewhat of a cultural deviant in staid & conservative Washington DC. For starters, I was a vegetarian for eight years, once...

Continue reading "My Re-Activization!"

America, June 23, 2002

Multiple, Magical Microclimates

The Myraid and Multiple Microclimates of San Franciso moonrise in the mission now that's a paintjob! oh the colors! would that include me? I may be in a bar called Amnesia, but I sure do want to remember this amazing day in San Francisco. It was a true representation of...

Continue reading "Multiple, Magical Microclimates"

America, June 16, 2002

Biking the Berkeley Hills

The Berkeley Hills Biking Bonanza Matt: hiding or drunk? speachless I could smell the ocean too Way back in my Russia daze, I would spend countless hours playing Age of Empires with Matt, who was one of the many Peace Corps volunteers in Russia. His claim to fame in the...

Continue reading "Biking the Berkeley Hills"

America, June 9, 2002

The Hype Deflation Tour

Southern California sure doesn't live up to the hype Which way out?! working on my star Misty Making Moments thanks deans! Okay, for a guy who grew up in Florida & lives in Washington DC, I've heard way too much about California. In Florida, everything was measured against LA or...

Continue reading "The Hype Deflation Tour"

America, May 8, 2002

What is Belly Button Window?

What would posses a guy to put up almost a decade of his life now on the Internet for the whole world to see? Am I some freak exhibitionist? A narcissistic exhibitionist even? While I've been called both on occasion, I am more humble than that - yes I swear!

See, it was early 1995, and I was a fresh face in Washington DC, having just graduated from the University of Central Florida where I studied business, surfing, partying, and women, trying to excel at each. In that foolishness I never thought about the permanence of my memories, I just made as many as possible.

Continue reading "What is Belly Button Window?"

Tags: | | | |

America, May 6, 2002

Curve Balls

The begining of the end Curve BallsSometimes, life throws you a curve ball. And all you can do is hope to hit it when you swing. I missed.Wayan PS: You'll know more when I do....

Continue reading "Curve Balls"

America, February 25, 2002

Thirty-six hours in Philly

Life is more than Philly Cheese Steaks Never Waste Beer! Dave says raw meat is tasty! "How to order a Philly Cheese Steak" by I. M. Hungry Step 1. Specify if you want your steak with (wit) or without (wit-out) onions. {if you're not a rookie this should come naturally}...

Continue reading "Thirty-six hours in Philly"

America, February 11, 2002

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'll be twenty-nine next year too! Hi, George Jr! Nuttin' like home cooking! This past weekend, I turned twenty-nine for the first of many years, and in the process had one of the oddest birthday's of my life. Now, Jingmei did treat me to a great day of attention and...

Continue reading "Happy Birthday to Me!"