unrequited narcissism

Archives: D.C.
Archives: D.C.
August 30, 2006
August 30, 2006
f.w. in the house D.C.

mark your calendars: the next f.w. thomas performance will be at the warehouse monday, september 18. i especially like the promise of how "F.W. Thomas Impresario and Master of Ceremonies Adam Mazmanian will explain what it is like to watch one's father slowly but inexorably transform into a doppelganger of Kim Jong-Il."

i know the feeling, buddy.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 21, 2006
August 21, 2006
doin' d.c. D.C.  - travel  - weekend report

as you may have surmised from the millions of new flickr photos pouring in over on your right, i was in d.c. this weekend for a visit. and it was great. but like tommy, this summer has just been Too. Much. Travel. it's always worth it to go to d.c., and my trip in two weeks to the outer banks and my move back to d.c. right after will be good, but. christ. may i recommend something? don't move FOUR TIMES IN ONE YEAR. i mean, i know budget truck and the airline industry appreciate me single-handedly supporting their revenue, but, oh my god! i'm tired! and broke!

still, though, d.c. all the fun. i got in thursday night, and tommy knew how to cure what ailed me: he took me straight to crisp and juicy. what's so best about that place - besides the hot sauce - is the cashier lady totally has a crush on him and remembers his order every single time (mine too, now, but i don't feel lesbianistic overtones from her). tommy always gets green peppers on his sandwich, but this particular evening they were out. and before we could even tell her what we wanted on the sandwiches, she looked at tommy with mournful eyes, shook her head, and said, "no green peppers tonight." very cute.

MORE...
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August 18, 2006
August 18, 2006
"no worse than tremors" D.C.  - movies

don't get me wrong - as behind the SOaP silliness as i am, i have moments in the night where i wake up, sweaty, fevored, and screaming, "WHAT IF IT'S SO BAD IT MAKES ME WANT TO KILL MYSELF?!?! THEN WHAT?! WILL MY URBAN TRIBE CAST ME OUT? CAN I EVEN BLOG EVER AGAIN!!?"

but the first two paragraphs of this review have calmed me. (don't read beyond that as there are apparenly spoilers)

What the hell, I said. Now or never, I said. If I'm going to see those motherfucking snakes on that motherfucking plane, it's going to be at the very first motherfucking showing, I said. So I drove to the local five-plex, plunked down my $9.25 and stayed up past my bedtime for a raucous screening of "Snakes on a Plane."

Short version: I had feared that, after all the hype, the movie itself would be underwhelming, neither good nor bad enough to merit all the attention. But it delivered exactly what the greatest title of all time promised: lots of snakes, lots of screaming, lots of silliness, and Sam Jackson again demonstrating that he can take anything seriously, so long as there's a paycheck involved. Not a great movie -- not even really a good one -- but no worse than, say, "Tremors," and with a more elegant concept. I definitely got my $9.25 worth. Of course, it helped that the small theater was packed with kids from the local high school who went nuts for everything, up to and including some of the trailers (whoever got Jackson's "Black Snake Moan" trailer attached to this movie deserves several raises).

no worse than tremors, and more elegant?!?! if you know anything, you know that tremors was one of the best bad movies ever (it's basically snakes, underground). so my hopes have again been raised. see you tonight, at RFD, at 8 or 8:30ish.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 14, 2006
August 14, 2006
my faux food snobbery rears its uninformed head D.C.  - food

the washington post best bets contest proves itself to be a fraud in every way year after year (starbucks?! fuddruckers?!? FRONT PAGE?! [the caps for front page are done in mock rage as we all now wearily expect that drool bucket of interns to win, like, everything]). but the way the list reveals itself to be most terrible is by having the best italian restaurant be maggiano's. christ almighty. the EVEN WORSE part? the truly best italian restaurant in the city, obelisk, doesn't even make the top ten. if you want a delicious - but pretty expensive - meal, head on over there. it gets the zunta five star rating.

UPDATE: with his usual aplomb, the dceiver takes down the best bets list. i lie not when i say some coffee spray made its way onto my keyboard this morning. i cannot wait to see SOaP with this man.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
SOaP update 2.0 D.C.  - movies

even though the snakes on a backlash has (deservedly) begun, there ain't no stopping this snakes on a plane...train. um. the dceiver, the governess, and i (putting myself amongst those two names almost makes me wish i had a cool internet alias) will be at R.F.D. for some beers and some fun times starting around 8:00 or 8:30. the governess will be dressed as a flight attendant.* should be a good crowd - by my count we have about 15 people, if not more, willing to participate in this ridiculous evening. awesome!

*this may or may not be a lie, but how great would it be?

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 11, 2006
August 11, 2006
SOaP update: D.C.  - movies

snakespromo.1.jpg

courtesy. it's all professional-like!

also, when the governess and i were first talking about this legendary day, we traded our snakes on a desktop:

snakes on a desktop
comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 04, 2006
August 04, 2006
just curious D.C.  - movies

there has to be some sort of super-awesome-totally-fantastic plan in place for the debut weekend of "snakes on a plane," right? because, yeah. there just has to be. i'm counting on you all!

(my only thought was to make lots of these and sneak them into the theater, but i am not really sure how super-fantastic an idea that is.)

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 03, 2006
August 03, 2006
or not D.C.  - media

fishbowl's annual hot media hotties hot hot list is up - and in the male off-air selection alone, we have three competitors of whom i know. 1) joe heim: wonderful man. sweet as pie. i interned for him at washingtonpost.com. 2) nick gillespie: he must be hot, because i am a bag-eyed ho unworthy of his love. 3) a mysterious man who i hear likes chia pets.

who to vote for?!

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
one night only D.C.  - music

I realize it's hot out, but tonight is probably the best Fort Reno lineup of the summer (and certainly the one with the most Unbuckled alumni): Georgie James, Hard Tomorrows, and The Fake Accents (who I'm not familiar with). Show starts at 7:15 and is free, as always. And it's within walking distance from the Tenleytown Metro. Who's in?

comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 01, 2006
August 01, 2006
relatively so D.C.  - blog

folks on the DCist mailing list this morning pointed out a legal times article that refers to DCist as "relatively hip." how awesome is that? at least as awesome as the time i got called a d-list internet celebrity.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
July 20, 2006
July 20, 2006
now it's getting interesting D.C.

The Borf saga continues. This flyer, courtesy of Rob, has been making the rounds on DC's streets:

flyer for borfyou.com

The domain in question isn't curently live, and the WHOIS information is fake — it lists prominent leftist lawyer Bernadine Dohrn as the contact person (no, I hadn't heard of her before either). That's pretty much in keeping with the vibe I picked up from the kids we met at last summer's Borf-in at Dupont: basically, that they're the sort of folks who show up at WTO protests but don't break any windows.

They've still got until the 27th to hook the nameservers up to something, I suppose. I didn't have a lot of faith that they'd be able to pull this meager feat off, however. But now I hear that New York's Graffiti Research Labs are involved in the proceedings. Suddenly I'm considerably more interested.

GRL are the folks who invented LED throwies, popularized the electro-graf (which I hope to adapt toward making a fablab-assisted sign for the new office), and had a significant presence at the Maker Faire. And, although I didn't realize the extent of it, I guess I did know that they'd conducted some pro-Borf agitation, too — including some right here in DC.

So they're basically big-time geeks with a mischievous streak. If they're gonna be at Borf's welcome-home party, count me in.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
July 17, 2006
July 17, 2006
the worst place on earth D.C.

Good lord.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
July 16, 2006
July 16, 2006
weekend report: whirlwind in d.c. style D.C.  - weekend report

yay for weekend trips and spending short but quality time in d.c. i flew home this weekend on friday night and just got settled back in atlanta an hour or two ago. it was a tiring trip, but worth it. however, i must admit, the entire enterprise started off inauspiciously in the ATL airport. witness:

IMG_36821

somehow the atlanta airport has taken it upon themselves to set forth on the world an "art" "project" that consists of having your faucet sing "row, row, row your boat" every time you attempt to wash your hands, at least in the bathrooms of concourse d. you may think: charming! you may be: wrong. since my flight was delayed a couple of hours, and i am constantly drinking water, i was spending a lot of time in the bathroom, watching the murderous expressions cross women's faces as we were assaulted over and over again with the dischordant tunes of several faucets singing "row, row, row your boat," and not even in an awesome round. save yourself while you still can, atlanta. worst. idea. ever.

after that whole debacle, though, everything was pretty alright. tommy and i stayed in friday night, where he managed to get me loopy drunk off of two vodka tonics. saturday we went to lunch with la famiglia at logan tavern, where i had a yummy mimosa, and then we took in a screening of pirates of the caribbean. please tell me internet folks that you also thought this movie was the pits. it kind of looked amazing; i really loved the envisioning of davy jones and his crew. but, plot? hello? what? and why the hell does keira find herself attracted to jack sparrow?!?! ew?!?! it was also amusing to me that the man who played the tiny evil east india trading company boss played mr. collins in the most recent pride and prejudice adaptation, because of course there he was creepily wooing keira k. but here he was just find of tinily evil.

saturday night we met up with ryan for a drink or more at the saloon, where we spent some quality time chatting about europe (london visit planning imminent!) and, um, natural disasters. i talk about those a lot. i blame yglesias and his spiel on the supervolcano in yellowstone park, which terrifies me to this day. then we mosied on over to yglesias' and kriston for one of their quality parties and chatted and drank the night away. as for the aftermath, i highly enjoyed this post of beck's detailing her morning after.

sunday involved a late lunch at chinatown express (i am obsessed with their pork dumplings) and couch naps. also, "end of days" was on tv, which is always good entertainment.

and that brings us to about here, and sleepy time. check out the photos!

comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
July 12, 2006
July 12, 2006
fame and fortune D.C.  - media

rob got linked on romenesko. cool!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
soviet-style drinking options D.C.

Some things everyone can agree on: an evening that begins at Russia House and ends at Recessions has been badly misconceived in at least one way. Fortunately, it was still pretty fun.

We were celebrating Kriston's emancipation from the working world, as he quits his glamorous cancer-research-editing lifestyle in favor of freelance writing. I know just how arduous it is to pursue a career from your couch and in pajamas, so I was ready to buy the guy a few condolence drinks.

Russia House was the plan — I'd been bugging folks to go for a while. Not because I enjoy being packed into a tiny, expensive space filled with preppies, tourists and aspiring Eurotrash. it's just that every guy wants to feel like James Bond. Or, failing that, he'd at least like to be treated like shit by a hot Russian girl (even if it's just the waitress). Russia House doesn't disappoint on either of these counts.

But we'd barely gotten through the vile infused vodka sampler before our numbers grew too large and we had to move. Brickskellar? Nah. In keeping with the places-we-don't-usually-go theme, we decided to head to Science Club. But it was mostly reserved for private parties, and its remaining corners were packed. Where to?

If you don't work around 19th and L you might not be familiar with Recessions. Let me get you up to speed: it's terrible. Located in the basement of an anonymous hotel, it's a drop-ceilinged, fake-stone abomination that may actually only exist in a 70s-themed parallel dimension. The prices are low and the staff is friendly, but as you sip your enormous Bud Light it's tough to escape the feeling that you're just there as cover for the guy who's cooking up a bucket full of heroin in back. Also, the internet jukebox seems to be connected to a different and considerably crappier internet than the one you and I are familiar with.

For a while and for reasons I can't explain Recessions was serving as EchoDitto's preferred happy hour destination. So it was nearby, I knew it, and Catherine wanted to see what all the complaining was about. So we descended into and onto Recessions.

I'm afraid that's pretty much it. We had a good time; Catherine took some photos. One word of warning to future patrons, though: when Catherine and I left, a little after midnight (we had to drive to the airport in about 4 hours), the bartender had to unlock the front door to let us out. I think you can count on the beer being cheap, but escape is far from guaranteed.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 14, 2006
June 14, 2006
fame! D.C.

best baseball game ever tonight (thanks kriston!) - i mean, except for the nats losing. a lot. because, in addition to delicious beer and sausages and free little american flags and stuff, we had TWO FAMOUS SIGHTINGS. (ahem, for d.c.) outside, while tommy and i were lounging around on the armory steps, we saw MARK WARNER. be still my heart. it was actually our second sighting - we'd seen him apple-picking in charlottesville once. second sighting: david gregory of nbc. not as awesome, but still kind of cool. people in the bleachers actually recognized him. d.c. is such a dorkily awesome town.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 13, 2006
June 13, 2006
summer in the city D.C.

i'm not gonna lie: i miss chicago something awful. it's really been hitting me hard the past couple of days. i miss my neighborhood; i miss the slew of bars and restaurants and boutiques; i miss the lakefront running path and i miss the sidewalks full of people (d.c. somehow seems a little more deserted); i miss the best drinking buddies west of the mississippi not on the east coast and i even miss class, as stressful as last quarter was.

at the same time, it's really really weird how easily you can slip back into the rhythm of a city, and i seem to have done that with d.c. and it's nice.

yesterday i woke up when tommy said goodbye and headed to work (which means i slept in a little; the bastard doesn't head out until 9:30 or 9:45). i spent a couple of hours tooling around on the internet then headed out of the house. i walked my well-worn path down to chinatown where i spent a couple of hours browsing at urban outfitters and h&m (not exactly d.c. institutions, but still fun). i hopped on the metro (i still had money on my smartcard, woo) and went up to dupont circle, where i stopped by alberto's for a slice of pizza, then went to get my hair cut by little john at studio 2000 (g., we chatted about you and your loveliness!). later in the evening i went with folks to the f.w. thomas reading at the warehouse, which was funny, and ended up for one person with an art purchase. everyone came back to porch it up afterwards, where i learned how deliciously dangerous ginger ale and whiskey is. but, i woke up hungover free! i am bionic woman!

today i woke up again at tommy's goodbye, headed out to azi's for a coffee and a croissant (one thing d.c. has over chicago is a good independent coffee store with illy coffee within a block of the apartment!). i headed out later for lunch at pizzeria paradiso (i swear i've eaten more pizza since i've come back to d.c. than i did my last month in chicago) with a bunch of medillians. we stopped in at the d.c. newsroom (13th and F) where i heard about the wonders and perks of the national press club (free gym, taco fridays, free breakfasts). jen and i then headed to the museum of natural history, which, something like 15 years since i've been there, is still teh awesome. i'm still obsessed with that elephant in the entrance hall and the insect museum. then we headed up to the national gallery of art, where we ate gelato. and i have to say, i was impressed. i had remembered thinking the cafe's gelato sucked last time i tried it, but the frutto di bosco and zabaglione flavors at least were delicious this time around. it's no snoopy, but, hey. i'll take what i can get.

and lots more fun stuff coming up this week. my little sis's graduation; dinner at palena; galileo grill; possible nats game; celebratory affairs with kriston for him finishing his job. woo, d.c.!

comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 12, 2006
June 12, 2006
mssr fw thomas D.C.

i do believe tommy and i will be headed to the warehouse theater tonight to catch the f.w. thomas reading. if you can believe it, i've still never been to the warehouse even though it's like five seconds from the apartment, so i am excited. should be a good literary time.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 11, 2006
June 11, 2006
la festa D.C.  - personal  - photos

the party? was teh awesome. a smaller crowd than we were anticipating showed up, but that was actually good because a) more time to talk to wonderful people and b) lots of leftover beer that we'll need help killing the rest of the week. highlights of the evening included seeing all the great regular zuntaparty folks plus a few new faces, getting to know some of the lovely echoditto crowd that have made tommy so happy these past months and meeting the absolutely charming becks, one of my favorite bloggers. i mean, any night that ends around 4:30am with a bottle of whiskey being passed around and a rousing episode of karaoke revolution can't be a bad one, right?

emily was particularly gung ho with tommy's camera last night so you can expect some flickr action soon. thanks so much to everybody who came out!

UPDATE: drew comes through with the first photos.

UPDATE II: here's tommy's set.

comments [19] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 10, 2006
June 10, 2006
ryan and lisa's wedding D.C.  - personal  - photos

tommy and i had the pleasure of attending ryan and lisa's wedding last night at the arts club of washington, and it was looooovely. everything about the ceremony was wonderful, including the vows that each of them wrote, which i usually pshaw. but tommy pointed out that it helps vows if you happen to be excellent writers. anyway, they both looked gloriously happy, the arts club was a beautiful setting, lisa was beautiful, the dinner was incredibly delicious, the cake (which was actually artfully arranged cupcakes from cake love) was actually....really good. i guess when you do let them sit out long enough they are, in fact, yummy, contrary to my previous thinking. the open bar was very open, and the dancing was fun. and one of my favorite parts of the evening? ryan, on his wedding day, was kind enough to bring me a stack of dcist temporary tattoos. god bless the boy.

photos here. frankly, a lot of them are really terrible - some because i didn't want to blind everyone with flash, some because i went on to get kinda drunk. but peruse freely!

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 09, 2006
June 09, 2006
party time! D.C.  - personal

don't forget: charles, tommy and i will be hosting a fine, fine party tomorrow night, starting around 10, and you're all invited. if i somehow neglected to get you the evite, just shoot me an email asking for details. my favorite "yes i'm coming" evite response thus far:

Michael (06/05)
if only to get to the bottom of this "tommy" craze, i'm there. plus i'm eager to discover that catherine is more than an alias that you created on your blog.

interesting theory. if tommy keeps popping in and out of the bathroom in a blond wig...well, just be prepared.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 08, 2006
June 08, 2006
yay! D.C.

i'm home! tommy picked me out of the 125 middle schoolers crowding the baggage claim, cabbed me home and made me a burrito. you don't get this kind of boyfriend service in chicago, i tell you.

i blogged on the flight over. and by blogged, i mean "scrawled an incoherent screed on the back few pages of my book, which was the only writing surface i had available." believe it or not, i STILL have one final due tomorrow at noon, but if i get that done, i will faithfully type up my nonsensical words for you.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 03, 2006
June 03, 2006
desmoulingrate D.C.

Is this kind of shit just a DC thing? I'm with Rusty: these ridiculous private online clubs creep me out. Aside from the invite-only Bittorrent tracker where I'm a member, of course (ah, hypocrisy).

Judging from some recent conversations I've had, it's not just the Georgetown set, either. Sigh. I completely understand and accept that the internet revolution is a chance for our generation of geeks to play high school all over again (this time we can win!). I just wish folks were interested in doing it better.

Maybe I'm being naive about all of this. I donno — I certainly wouldn't want to make the DCist staff list open to anyone who might want to join and observe our editorial process. And I genuinely believe in a right to privacy. But these virtual cliques still leave a bad taste in my mouth.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 02, 2006
June 02, 2006
pimping: actually fairly easy D.C.  - personal  - tech

echoditto adSome of you might remember me asking for career advice a while back. I ended up deciding to take the new job, then blogged the first day. Then everyone at work discovered this site (using their strange internet powers), and, aside from some generalities, I haven't mentioned it.

Well, let me fill you in. It's been about six months, I think. People use the phrase "it was the best decision I ever made" to describe getting a hair transplant, or buying a boat, or ordering a Cobb salad. So I'd like to avoid joining their idiomatic ranks, but I can't. It just seems so obvious. These are the smartest, coolest, funniest, most talented people I've ever worked with, and the job itself is interesting, varied and rewarding. I look forward to work every day. Okay, every non-hungover day.

The reason for my gushing: we're hiring. If you're geeky, really smart and interested in working in the non-evil sector, you should think about applying. You'd like it. Seriously.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 31, 2006
May 31, 2006
a double dose of good news D.C.  - chicago

the first: last night after returning from some delicious margaritas, i saw a guy struggling with a heavy-looking box and trying to get into my apartment lobby. i ran to hold the door open for him, then was, like, huh. i hope i am not letting in psycho murderer dude. so i asked him if he was moving in, because i didn't recognize him. and he said, yes, he was moving into I2, but just for the summer. and then i wept tears of joy. because I2 is the apartment above mine. and that must mean that NUN has moved out. noisy upstairs neighbor is dead, long live noisy upstairs neighbor. of course, this only happened when i have approximately 10 days of staying in my apartment left, but i'll take what i can get.

the second: we're having a party! the O street gang (that sounds terribly retarded but i'm going with it anyways) is having a party june 10. no reason, except i'm in town and am super eager to see all the lovely d.c. people in one convenient place. if you didn't get an evite, don't feel slighted - i'm just disorganized. you're certainly all invited, so just shoot me an email if you want the details.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
huh D.C.

remind me to avoid republic gardens when i come back next week.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
May 25, 2006
May 25, 2006
tonight, tonight D.C.  - music

Unbuckled 3, tonight, DC9, $8

It's on, people. Come see the excellent Deleted Scenes and Georgie James. And, as if that wasn't enough, there might — just might — be some temporary tattoos given away. I know!

I'll be there, although I'm afraid I won't be sticking around too long after Georgie James' set — there's morning news to be rounded up, chest colds to be fought and pre-beach packing to attend to. But although I won't be rock-and-rolling all night, it should still be a fun time. Hope to see you there.

comments [11] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 22, 2006
May 22, 2006
h is for haute D.C.  - weekend report

So, the weekend. It happened, there's no denying that. On Friday I watched basketball and drank beer with Matt, Kriston and Charles, and it was good. On Sunday I saw The Da Vinci Code with Mark and Rebecca, and it was not (although it was good to see M & R). In between I somehow managed to pick up a cold and an accompanying case of nocturnal laryngitis: for the past two days I've lost my voice right around 8pm. Yesterday it occurred somewhere during the course of the movie, so it's not from overuse.

But, my fascinating symptoms aside, the big excitement of the weekend was making the trek to the Argonaut on Saturday. This has been on my to-do list for a while. I like U Street just fine, but there's no denying that its cachet diminishes a little bit more with every new trainload of prelaw girls crammed into tubetops. Not that, you know, *I* am an authentic participant in U's cultural offerings. It's just that I, too, own a Gap card. I've been on a GSA schedule. I drink light beer, and shop at Ikea, and have strongly-held opinions about olive oil. I'm sorry. I can't help it. But I find these things just as noxious in others as you do, and consequently try to avoid doing my socializing in the presence of too many similarly callow twentysomethings.

In order to achieve that goal I'll eventually have to identify the next bar scene ahead of time, so that I can enjoy it in its unspoiled state/get a head start on ruining it. The early indications have been that H Street is going to be that scene. It's got all the signifiers: climbing real estate prices; a new music venue and several bars that are threatening to open; race-baiting WaPo gentrification articles; and, of course, the neighborhood is terrible, aka "edgy". Surely this is where one ought to go to find the city's artists, poets, intravenous drug users and other creative types. In my mind I had pictured Paris cafe culture, only with more stupid t-shirts and public urination.

So on Saturday Kriston, Matt, Ian, Valerie, Sommer, Genevieve, Jon and I — fortified with sausages and beer — ventured out from the shadow of the Ellington, hailed a couple of cabs, and headed east. "That's right by my house!" said the cabbie. He didn't seem like the indie rock type, though.

Well, we went to the Argonaut, and it was pretty good. The Sierra Nevada-ish house beer was okay, and the prices were okay, and the jukebox was okay. But there was barely anyone there on a Saturday night. The only folks out on the street seemed to be in the process of a) waiting for the bus or b) getting arrested. We had a fine time, but I don't feel particularly compelled to go back.

The X2 makes it more convenient and awesome-sounding to get there than I would have guessed. But until some more stuff opens up and some more people start going, I don't see a particularly great reason to head to Trinidad.http://www.zunta.org/tomsblog/archives/005333.php

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 15, 2006
May 15, 2006
pretend like you've got some culture D.C.

Edition two of the F.W. Thomas Performances is tonight at the Warehouse Theater. I don't know any of the acts this time around, except for T.M. Lowery, who was a highlight of the last show. But I have been told that the event is being held in a larger and presumably more accessible performance space than the last one. So if a fire breaks out during the show, you're less likely to die a horrible, agonizing death. How's that for an endorsement? This is probably where I should also note that it only costs $3.

I intend to go, but that plan may be short-circuited. Charles and I both came perilously close to starving to death this weekend, so some emergency grocery shopping might be in order instead.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 09, 2006
May 09, 2006
cat out of the bag D.C.  - tech

Well, my SMS project has finally been loosed on an unsuspecting world. And yeah, it's for DCist. Go check out the announcement message here — it's got all the details on what the service does and how to use it.

My dirty little secret? Throughput is an unimpressive 4-6 outbound messages per minute. If things don't crash horribly under the announcement traffic, I'll be very surprised. But there's nothing I can do but dive in and see how it handles load. Once it breaks I'll start sorting it all out.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 08, 2006
May 08, 2006
the bowl D.C.  - food

npr's weekend edition has a piece up where two gourmet food writers go to ben's chili bowl. it's actually kind of poorly paced and boring, but, it's ben's! and there's this great exchange:

npr lady: "i'm listening to you order, and you've ordered a substantial amount of food..."
male food writer: "...and we've only had four meals today..."
npr lady: "is there...some secret to your digestive system?"
male food writer: "oh, here come the cakes and pies."

they also address the problem they had of finding a d.c. local food speciality, and agree it's the half-smoke.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
May 05, 2006
May 05, 2006
the latest from zunta labs D.C.  - tech

So, as everybody knows, Mike Grass, friend to me and Catherine and cofounder of DCist, has launched his newest professional endeavor, a blog for the Washington Post's Express newspaper. The site looks great, and I have no doubt that it will be a wild success — Mike was born to be an editor. It seems highly likely to me that I'll be pestering him for a cushy IT job someday.

But there's already a tic of the new site that's erupted in controversy: the bolding. Between this and DCist's now-partially-abandoned editorial "we", Mike's establishing a pattern of copy-editing controversy.

Well, personally I can't get enough of it. And if you can't either, I can help sate your bottomless lust for bold. Presenting the Expressamifier, a Javascript bookmarklet to bring FreeRide's distinctive look to virtually any webpage! Just click on and drag this link up to your browser's quicklinks bar (where Firefox sticks "Getting Started" and "Live Headlines" by default):

Expressamify

Then browse to any site and press it. Our sophisticated algorithms will selectively highlight text to maximize, uh, boldousity. Yeah.

And, as a special bonus, you can try running it on the Express website itself for a unique surprise. The resulting reaction is not unlike matter and antimatter colliding.

SPECIAL BONUS NOT TONGUE-IN-CHEEK ADDENDUM: Okay, so the bookmarklet will try to remove the bold from FreeRide. But it turns out that there's so goddamn much of it that you have to run it several times to remove it all. No joke.

ALSO: This bookmarklet is pretty inefficient, and could easily crash your browser. Don't use it if you have unsaved work in some other tab.

AND: It seems to produce an error in IE, and doesn't work at all in Safari. But shouldn't you be using Firefox anyway? This clearly isn't the sort of thing I'm going to waste time debugging. Probably.

FINALLY: Because it's late and I apparently can't adopt a consistent sarcastic voice, I should point out that the stuff above about Mike is meant in earnest. The stuff about liking the bolding... yeah, not so much.

comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 03, 2006
May 03, 2006
math means it's true D.C.

How can it be five games into the Wiz/Cavs series and I haven't checked in with the WizNutzz? It's inexcusable. Fortunately, TNT is trying to educate me about Heineken Light at the moment, providing an opportunity for me to check in with the font of all Wizards commentary in the universe.

And as always, they deliver. One example: mathematical proof that Gilbert Arenas is better than LeBron James. Evidence supplied by real, professional math dudes! You can't get this kind of in-depth analysis at the dead-tree sports outlets, people.

UPDATE: Tonight's empirical confirmation of the above proof seems to have suffered from some sampling error. Don't fret, by game 7 I'm confident that further stochastic measurement will have vindicated science once again.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 23, 2006
April 23, 2006
whole gees D.C.

I just got back from Whole Foods and I'm alarmed to report that it suddenly contains a large number of thugged out white guys. Shorts were pulled low; fake earring bling sparkled in the afternoon sun; and stupid hats were in abundance — particularly wrongly-colored baseball caps. And the latter were fully-utilized: I saw the gentleman ahead of me in line proceed through an amazing three distinct ballcap-bill positions during our brief time together in line.

They talked about this obscure "Magic Hat" beer they were buying, and one enthusiastically introduced the other to Washingtonian, an up & coming restaurant-finding resource. Then they asked the cashier if they could split the checkout amount across two credit cards. All in all, it felt like I was standing behind Turtle from Entourage, except twice. Deeply unsettling.

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 10, 2006
April 10, 2006
because first and foremost, the net is about time-wasting D.C.  - photos

You can watch the progress of today's immigration protest via DDOT's traffic cameras. Looks like the crowd has made its way down 16th to Scott Circle as of now (3:50 PM).

pro-immigration marchers

pro-immigration marchers

pro-immigration marchers

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 06, 2006
April 06, 2006
circumspection D.C.

You know, reading this post of Matt's and reflecting some more about my own post (and what Heather said in comments), I've begun to think that this kind of talk is counterproductive. Sure, it's fun to belittle the Tom-Toms of the world, but it's really just egotism. And there's no point in getting into a hipster pissing contest: despite impressive recent gains in indie cred among the HTML-authoring set, our cause would still be hopeless. I've got a feeling the cool kids are already spending their evenings on H Street. It's no use trying to keep up with the Spike Jonzes.

But that's alright. All that you and I really want is a good pint at a good price with good friends — and not to have to take a cab to do so. That goal can be achieved without constantly reminding everyone how much Mr. Days sucks. Because here's the problem: nobody likes being told their preferred watering hole is lame. Push those people far enough and they'll start looking for cooler pastures.

Sure, it won't happen right away. And sure, it won't be all of them. It'll start with the borderline cases — the guys and girls who don't really like their jobs on the hill. The ones who kind of wish they'd double majored in English, too, instead of just Econ. The ones who in the deepest, most secret corners of their hearts feel that yes, there is a limit to the number of live versions of "Ants Marching" that a person ought to have on their iPod. The kids who keep meaning to put some time into updating their Late Night Shots profiles, but just never seem to get around to it. These are not bad people. They could be saved.

But that's a risk we can't afford. This is a sinking-sub type of situation: we have to close the airlock or we could lose the whole ship. I know there are a lot of good people on the other side of that door, but we can't take the chance. They'd show up; and stop wearing clothes prominently featuring the letters A and F on the outside; and fall into line, larding their mp3 players with the Pitchfork-approved pantheon, just like we all did. And for a while everything would be great.

But then kickball season would end, and their friends would start asking why they never see them anymore, dawg? They would say they should totally hang out sometime. They would say alright, why don't we come to your 'hood?

And then they would begin to arrive. The guys who gave up i-banking jobs to open mail for Frist because they wanted a chance to "make a difference" before business school. The girls who email old friends to ask "how they're all doing, especially the ones who are recently married". And then it's all over. Beer prices go up. Lines form outside. Dudes start getting into fights with other dudes. Finally, one dark, dark day, the guy at the door won't let you in because you're wearing sneakers.

I'm not trying to imply that the readership of this site, or even Matt's site, is large enough to cause a meaningful shift in the migratory habits of the urban collarpopper. But every little bit counts. So let's live and let live. Some people prefer cheap dive bars filled with t-shirts and PBR; others prefer clubs full of eighties cover bands and guys with names like "Chet" or "the third". This is America, and you're free to chose. There's no need to talk trash about other people's preferences — at least not with sufficient specificity to drive them away from those preferences and into ours.

And on that note, have you guys heard about this new place, Smith something or other? I think the second word starts with a P. Anyway, I hear it's, like, totally underground or something.

comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
yikes D.C.  - bitching

I'm sure KAC is a perfectly nice person, but her advice on nightspots for meeting new people reads like my personal anti-manifesto. To be fair, I suppose I am pretty bad at making new acquaintances when I'm out for the evening.

But that doesn't change how much the Front Page sucks. Between the crowd and the taco bar, it provides more ways to catch hepatitis than any other venue in the city.

However, there is one good piece of advice buried in the entry:

Into java? Meet someone online, and then go on a coffee date, compliments of Yahoo! personals and Starbucks.

Suggested icebreakers: was Sun's decision to open-source the language too little, too late? Is there a compelling reason not to switch to C#? How big does your web app really have to be to justify the hassle of JSP development?

(By the way, Kelly, the J's supposed to be capitalized.)

comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 03, 2006
April 03, 2006
commence calendar-marking D.C.

DCeiver's hilarious Metro/terrorism slice of life is coming to the stage! Better yet, it's a stage mere blocks from my house. Better yet again, it's starring at least three people I know, and two more who I may have met and parties and boorishly forgotten.

Here's the post that got this theatrical venture rolling. If you can make it to the Warehouse next Monday, though, you might not want to spoil the surprise.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 29, 2006
March 29, 2006
warning! D.C.

Justin reports that cops are handing out jaywalking tickets in the Golden Triangle this morning. Beware! Also, as always please bear in mind that your downtown business district may be haunted. Take appropriate precautions.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 25, 2006
March 25, 2006
saturday D.C.  - misc

tommy and i spent saturday eating lunch at pizzeria paradiso, taking in the dada exhibit at the national gallery and making fun of kids who can't fly kites good at the smithsonian kite festival. photos!

national gallery of art entrance to the west wing of the national gallery of art azi's on 9th and O
dada entrance to the west wing of the national gallery of art azaleas in the national gallery of art
kite festival kite festival kite festival
comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
March 06, 2006
March 06, 2006
happy happy! D.C.  - personal

now that it's public knowledge i can publicly congratulate them: cheers to the lovely and wonderful ryan and lisa, who got engaged this weekend! we couldn't be happier for them, and not just cause they do fun stuff like ply us with pomegranate martinis and wear DCist underwear on their heads (well, not lisa). congrats, guys.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 27, 2006
February 27, 2006
voila D.C.  - photos

a few of my photos from the trip to d.c. are up, if you're into that sort of thing.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
modern liquors D.C.

this article is a couple of weeks old and probably many of you saw it already, but i just wanted to note it. it's about modern liquors, the liquor store a couple of blocks up from tommy and charles' apartment in shaw. and it is the best. the guy who works the counter there is the sweetest; they hold wine tastings every once in a while; and best of all, you don't feel like some shady, gross crack ho prostitute when you go in there to buy stuff. it's nice, and clean and well-lit. etc. a model liquor store!

but as the article shows, it didn't always used to be that way.

To make a living, Ed and Anna Fleming did whatever it took. When customers paid by pulling crumpled dollar bills out of their shoes, Ed and Anna would dip each buck into a big jug of green disinfectant. Half a dozen times a year, the place was held up. Anna had a gun pointed at her 15 times. Once, Ed was shot right through the groin. The bullet hole remains in the back wall.

Modern Liquors never generated the easy money associated with liquor stores. Not at Ninth and M streets NW. In the four decades since Ed Fleming bought the place, the city tore down blocks of rowhouses to build a college campus that never happened; homeless people were kept for years in trailers on a vast parking lot; the streets were closed off in the early 1990s to dig Metro tunnels; and the Flemings' block was turned into a construction site through the late '90s to put up the convention center.

Customers who managed to get to Modern tended to be winos and druggies. The bestsellers were 32-ounce bottles of King Cobra malt liquor, pints of Wild Irish Rose and half-pints of Velicoff vodka, Skid Row's finest.

Then, over the past few years, the storm surge of gentrification hit Shaw, just north of downtown Washington.

blah blah gentrificationcakes blah. anyway, modern liquors is awesome, so if you need to grab some booze while in that area (9th and M streets NW) i highly recommend it.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
weekend recommendations: d.c. style! (aka, why i get fatter every time i see tommy) D.C.  - food  - personal  - weekend report

back and not really refreshed from a wonderful weekend in d.c. my flight left the district at 6:30 this morning, and as soon as i landed i headed to the newsroom for some fun and fabulous journalism work. as i'm sitting here brainstorming and tapping away, i had to take a blogging break to talk about what went on:

thursday night: unbuckled. dc9. olivia mancini and the housemates; the hard tomorrows. you saw the pictures here.

friday night: tommy and i decided kind of last minute to head to coppi's, a pizza and italian joint on U street. though dcist reviewed it back in november, we had never been there and in fact hadn't heard much about it otherwise. walking in at 7:30 on a friday night without a reservation, we weren't surprised at being sat at the bar, which turned out to be nice and cozy, with an excellent view of the wood-burning oven, and an attentive bartendress. we started off with some excellent calamari, a bottle of red and then two small pizzas - i forget what was on tommy's, but mine was prosciutto and funghi. though the crust was a little iffy, we both thought their pizza could easily place a very close 3rd in district pies, after two amy's and pizzeria paradiso. i can't believe we'd never dined there before. fairly reasonable, as well. (though that's always easy for me to say when tommy foots the bill, as he almost always insists on doing.) 1414 U street.

saturday: i hit up the glorious, glorious tyson's mall with my family. we ate at brio, which, for a chain restaurant in a mall, was actually pretty decent. then my mom bought me a pair of editors pants at express. discuss: editors pants from express, best pants ever? i own like six pairs.

for dinner that night, tommy and i went to queen of sheba, a recently-opened ethiopian restaurant. pluses: a block from the apartment; nice space; pretty great ethiopian food. minuses: no liquor license (though hardly their fault); about, oh, a FIVE HOUR WAIT for food. well, more like 40 minutes, which struck us as pretty ridiculous seeing that the restaurant wasn't even half full. maybe they're still just working out service kinks, but until they start getting their food out in a timely manner, i'd go to sodere or dukem.

UPDATE: man, MT fucked up the rest of this entry. i talked about the rest of saturday night and EVEN sunday, too, but it somehow ate it. quick recap: ellington party, fries at the saloon, sunday lunch at saint-ex, and attempting to convert tommy and charles to grey's anatom. which i don't think worked.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 26, 2006
February 26, 2006
we're FAMOUS! D.C.  - media

...for d.c. as the saying goes.

there's a quick piece in the reliable source column this sunday where tommy and i are interviewed about the Legend of the Butterstick. though tommy isn't given really proper credit (he came up with the name, but the article doesn't mention that), AND our blog URL is not mentioned (le sigh) it is still a nice article, and, hoorah! and it mentions dcist a lot, which is awesome. anyway, there we are: our names in the washington post. maybe one day i'll actually get mine in there for something non-zoo critter related.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 24, 2006
February 24, 2006
unbuckled evidence D.C.  - music  - photos

tommy's got a bunch of great photos up. unfortunately, my flight was delayed so i missed all of olivia mancini and the housemates' set. i would like to say i had an opinion of the hard tomorrows, but frankly, i was too busy being one of those annoying people who talks at concerts because i was so eager to catch up with everybody. so i didn't really pay attention. but everyone else thought they were excellent. hooray!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
d.c., bitches D.C.

i'm back in d.c., and it is teh awesome and teh perfect all together. dcist's unbuckled concert was an unqualified success, and everybody, including myself, had a fabulous time. hoorah. that is all. cause i'm a little drunk. more d.c. updates to come.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 22, 2006
February 22, 2006
for immediate disbelief D.C.  - bitching

I'm still annoyed, but it turns out that Shepard Fairey is the real victim here:

press release

(What portion of the proceeds do you think he means?)

Apologies to any theoretical blind readers, but as I mentioned before: I really don't want to encourage this guy.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 21, 2006
February 21, 2006
dad, is that you? D.C.

i love this article:

Just over seven months after he made his first appearance at the National Zoo, giant panda cub Tai Shan, has apparently discovered that he and his mother are not alone.

Zoo officials say that over the weekend, he began staring into the outdoor enclosure next to the one where he has been playing over the past few weeks with his mother, Mei Xiang.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 15, 2006
February 15, 2006
ctrl-alt-rock D.C.  - chicago  - music

fun stalkable moment: i (along with dcsobloop) will be at chicagoist's first local concert event, ctrl-alt-rock, on thursday evening. the assembly, may or may not and the alphabet will be playing. 8 p.m., $8, schuba's. if you all remember correctly, i was involved in dcist's concert last year, unbuckled, so i'm all about supporting this show.

and guess what? i'll be at the second coming of unbuckled as well! you should be there. thursday, february 23, dc9. excellent d.c. groups the hard tomorrows and olivia mancini and the housemates will be playing. come on out!

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 14, 2006
February 14, 2006
rock meet paper; suspicion meet apathy D.C.  - bitching

I was pretty wary when Mike pointed me to ob/eybuttersti/ck.com (googleproofing to avoid encouraging them). WHOIS revealed that John Hl/inko owned the domain. He's a PR guy, and had bought ads for it on Atrios and DailyKos. That's a serious amount of money for something this stupid. He responded to emails asking what he was up to with too-cute dodges. I was afraid something nastily commercial was coming.

Well, as of today the seemingly-random countdown timer has reached zero, and the site has officially launched. It looks like the threat is overblown. T-shirts rehashing various well-tread "underground" memes are being sold, and there's a "posse" functionality that appears to run a technorati or similar search on butterstick and rank the sites that come back. The site's also using CafePress, and claims to be donating "a portion of the proceeds" to panda-related charities. All in all, not the commercial juggernaut I'd feared.

I apologize for my misgivings, John. Welcome to the exciting and dynamic world of unprofitable panda websites.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 01, 2006
February 01, 2006
vox populi D.C.

The Post has a pretty slick Flash app that allows you to listen to the finalists in the competition to be the new voice of our subway system. It's a neat idea for a contest, but the finalists are pretty uninspired (why does that sound familiar?).

Jill Apple
Telemarketers are told to smile when they speak; you can hear the difference. You can tell that Jill knows this. But really, who the fuck likes happy people? Typical metro scenario: it's 9AM, and you have just literally descended into the underworld in order to exchange eight more hours of your life for the gift of your family not starving. You aren't going to want to be smiled at.

Steve Broide
Steve sounds like he got bored halfway through the 5 second recitation task, and consequently defaulted to a weird, unbecoming valley-girl lilt. I want someone with a little more focus. Eyes on the prize, Steve.

Linda Carducci
Linda has a pleasantly artificial tone that reminds me of the voice of the computer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Which, I should mention, I've been watching a lot of since G4 started showing it. It's never very entertaining (dilemma dilemma, WOW let's bask in the humanistic glow of our deus ex machina) and never very original (energy being, energy being, holodeck gone awry, energy being, wesley fucks something up, wesley fucks something up and becomes an energy being, etc.). Yet I cannot turn away. So thumbs up to Majel Linda. ST:TNG perpetually disappoints, but I somehow can't avoid it. This makes it a perfect touchstone for Metro.

Sarah Fraser
Yikes. Listening to Sarah makes me immediately want to find her boyfriend, who I've never met, and complain that he never hangs out anymore, and is he really sure Sarah is right for him? Don't get me wrong, she's a great girl, I just think you shouldn't limit yourself to one person right now. I bet she could make some other transit system really happy. Okay, fine, you're right, it's none of my business. But seriously dude, don't bring her to St. Patrick's Day. That totally sucked last time.

Jon Garcia
This guy's sample sounds spliced together. Could he really not produce more than two usable words per take? How many studio hours are you prepared to book, WMATA?

John Howell
NOW we're fucking talking. I'll ruin the suspense now and tell you that this guy is the closest to a cowboy of anyone in the contest, and therefore the best. "The doors are closin'... well sir, I reckon every man has seen a few doors close in his day. Ain't nothin much t'be done about it, 'cept to cinch your saddle, lift your head and keep on movin' to the center of that train we call America."

Randi Miller
Randi gets a little exasperated when it's time to ask me to move to the center of the car. I can't say that I blame her. She's probably seen me; she knows I'm a perennial offender. She's tried being nice, but if this keeps up there are going to have to be consequences, buster.

Carol Rabel
Carol sounds like the computerized countdown voice that's used in movies to heighten tension when it looks like something terrible is about to happen but then WHEW it turns out it doesn't. When I close my eyes and listen to her, I see Keifer Sutherland furiously wiping sweat from his brow, intently manipulating an impossible nest of wires and cursing the countdown voice under his breath. "The doors are closing, Mr. President!" Yeah, I could live with that.

Angela Stevens
This woman is clearly insane.

Mary Whittington
Despite being totally unrelated to the Old West, I think I might like Mary's take the best. It sounds like she thought of something funny in the middle of saying it. I don't know what (someone getting caught in the door?), but I like it. She's definitely trying to sell me something, but not in an unpleasant way. And I imagine that as soon as she finishes saying her piece, she steps away with arms spread and the camera pans out to reveal a vast panorama of buffet tables, or biomedical researchers, or cruise ship. Maybe all three! Whatever it is, sign me up.
comments [11] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 20, 2006
January 20, 2006
less smoke, less rock? D.C.  - music

Dante from the Black Cat was just on the usually banal Metro Connection outlining a consequence of the coming smoking ban that I hadn't thought about: crowds of smokers spilling onto the street between sets at his club. That seems likely to cause problems with the neighbors, who seem likely to raise a fuss, which seems likely to make DC an even more hostile place for our already scant rock club population. Drat.

comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 18, 2006
January 18, 2006
you know you want to D.C.

dcist happy hour

I hope I'll see the lot of you at the DCist happy hour tomorrow. It's sure to be mind-blowingly awesome for vast array of reasons, none of which I can articulate.

Sadly, I'm on morning roundup duty for Friday, so the traditional happy hour spectacle of watching me get drunk and embarrass myself won't be available. Maybe next time.

comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 16, 2006
January 16, 2006
at least they have a consistent "robbery" theme D.C.  - bitching  - personal

Via DCist I see that Butterstick now has his own wikipedia page. Neat! The only problem: the Bandit the Panda people have added their own editorializing. "Bandit is also a popular name for the panda"!? Please. You're going to make people think wikipedia isn't trustworthy!

To be honest, I'm not incredibly keen on getting drawn into a juvenile wikipedia fracas, and probably wouldn't have responded if not for one thing that particularly galled me: the Bandit people constructed a sentence grouping the two t-shirt stores together, and listing an aggregate sum of money raised for the zoo. For the record, cafepress.com/bstick stands at just under $2k donated to FONZ. How much Bandit merchandise has been moved, I wonder? Well, I couldn't help myself, and adjusted the wikipedia sentence to break out the individual store totals. I'd encourage them to provide their own details.

I'll happily admit that this is embarrassingly juvenile. But I can't help myself. As I said before, I don't begrudge anyone the right to conduct their own stupid internet fad — all I'd ask is that they refrain from stealing from mine.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 10, 2006
January 10, 2006
hax0rz D.C.  - misc  - tech

My interview with the Shmoo Group is up on DCist, if anyone's interested in reading it. Their DC-based convention kicks off on Friday. I would've loved to have gone (esp. after they offered me a press pass so I wouldn't have to shell out hundreds of dollars). But this weekend I'll be in Chicago instead, having an even better time (albeit a slightly less nerdy one). Oh well — next year, I guess.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 02, 2006
January 02, 2006
2005, we bid you farewell D.C.  - photos

my new year's eve photo set is up. there are captions, so click through on them!

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 30, 2005
December 30, 2005
the best part about not being in chicago for new year's... D.C.

is that it's much warmer here than in chicago (near 50 degrees! crazy!), thus affording me the opportunity to wear this dress out to new year's parties tomorrow evening. (though without the creepy pink half-tights.) my plans? a late afternoon party with tommy's coworkers, then onwards to goodspeed's pre-party party, then out to julian sanchez's craaaazy libertarian party (which is "strongly welcomed black tie," hence the dress).

what are you all doing?

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
officer horse D.C.

On Wednesday I dialed 911 for the first time. In retrospect, I shouldn't have. I had just gotten back from dinner with my mom in Louisa and was unloading the car when I saw some guys fighting at the end of the block. Two combatants, two onlookers. From my vantage point, it was hard to tell if it was a fight club situation or a serious brawl. But someone ended up on the ground, so I went upstairs and called the cops. Despite the perennial horror stories about 911 service in DC, the system worked great for me. A patrol car coincidentally rolled by and scared off the brawlers (who left together on seemingly friendly terms) before the 911-dispatched cops could make it to the scene. But a squad car did show up within five minutes, flashing lights and all. The dispatcher called me back, the miscreants dispersed without getting arrested, and generally everything worked as it was supposed to. I considered myself a satisfied DC resident.

But the DCPD has really gone the extra mile. Spurred (I like to think) by my hawk-eyed citizenship, our neighborhood now has a police horse. Or it did last night, anyway. Take that, evildoers!

police force horse

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 23, 2005
December 23, 2005
the sincerest form of flattery D.C.

Look buddy, I understand where you're coming from. We don't have some kind of monopoly on producing stupid, panda-related memes. You're welcome to continue your campaign to have people call the baby panda "Bandit" (although: don't you think you're confusing pandas and raccoons? Admittedly, I'm not a zoologist. Perhaps you have some unique insight in this area that's not immediately apparent. I'll reserve judgment.).

So look, you're free to keep tilting at wwwindmills. But don't steal my bit, goddammit.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 21, 2005
December 21, 2005
sigh D.C.

These are pictures from the open house tour that took place in my neighborhood. Q: What do these smiling middle-aged WASPs have in common? A: They are all in a much higher economic bracket than I am.

I thought I was the one who was supposed to be doing the gentrifying, goddammit.

BAH!: Movable Type seems to be broken for some reason. I didn't do nothin! Trouble ticket submitted, etc. Hopefully I can at least post this update.

UPDATE: Yes. Yes I can. No new entries, though.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
huh D.C.

yes another post about the fucking panda i'm sorry but what do you expect when i'm sitting around all day with nothing to do except watch the fucking cam oh my god i need to get out of the house

check out this excerpt from a washingtonian buzz column:

We waited in line outside the zoo’s panda exhibit while the 11:20 group went in. Some kids, but mostly adults—like the journalist from Beijing who said he’d report back home that the pandas were being well taken care of, or the woman who said she’d become so addicted to Animal Planet’s pandacam that it was interfering with her work, or the blonde in a black butterstick T-shirt, the ones for sale at several gift shops around the zoo where you can buy all things panda.

black butterstick t-shirt?

is somebody selling counterfeit butterstick tees??

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 19, 2005
December 19, 2005
naughty pandas! D.C.

i like this latest entry on the national zoo's panda blog:

Tian Tian managed to get honey on himself from one of his enrichment activities. This event was followed by a roll in the dirt. What a dirty panda! Tian continues to restlessly wander his enclosures and scent mark. His body is preparing him for the spring breeding season, and Mei Xiang is unavailable this year. Between Tian Tian and Tai Shan, we have loads of material for a "Bad Panda" movie.

i think there was a gross panda sex reference in there somewhere, but am not sure.

UPDATE: FYI, butterstick is in the bowl RIGHT NOW!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 17, 2005
December 17, 2005
buon natale! D.C.  - personal  - weekend report

so, our party, it was teh awesome. and you know what? it was FILLED WITH BLOGGERS and it was still totally awesome. in fact, it was made even more awesome by that fact. we have crossed some sort of bizarro line, my friends, when bloggers are advertised instead of shunned at a social gathering.

i met many lovely people that i hadn't had the chance to before, and i don't want to list them here, because i will definitely leave somebody out and then feel terrible about it, but you know who you are all and you are all internet sugar and spice, like the governess writes (and no pirate eye, lady! you look lovely i promise especially your hair of which i was v. envious). i stopped being surprised a long time ago at how much i like people in person whose internet personalities i like. that sentence did not make sense but you know what i mean.

the hot chocolate and the egg nog were big old hits (a ratio of one cup whole milk to 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in a big old pan, and doctored with as much amaretto or creme de menthe as your guests like, is especially yummy, and jeff swears by the joy of cooking egg nog recipe and it was delicious). unfortunately i didn't take as many photos as i would have hoped (if you took some please leave the link in the comments!), but those i did take are here, including some awesome pictures of kriston and charles dueting it up on some terribly maudlin love song. i would like to take this chance to say that tommy's and my rendition of "i've had the time of my life" was probably some of the most painful 5-6 minutes in the entire history of karaoke. my apologies, friends.

today will be spent recovering, maybe making lemon bars, and then probably humiliating myself in front of kevin drum. onwards!

UPDATE: Changed the Flickr link so Tommy's photos show up, too.

comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 13, 2005
December 13, 2005
lobotomizing the smartrip D.C.  - tech

I recently took apart a SmarTrip card — one of the RFID-based farecards that work on DC's buses and subways (and subway parking lots!). Those interested can have a look at a Flickr set of the proceedings here. A detailed writeup should be appearing on DCist soon (possibly tomorrow), so keep an eye out for that. My goal is to get this thing reliably mounted on my keychain, freeing my wallet of the SmarTrip card and bringing my ass one precious millimeter closer to seated equilibrium.

UPDATE: The longer DCist version is now online.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
grim pandango D.C.

catherine by the sign for the baby panda exhibit

As Catherine mentioned, we finally went and saw the panda cub. He was cute. People cooed. Good times, all having them, etc. It was a close thing, though — if not for the dedicated zoo staff's willingness to harass young Butterstick, we would've just had a view of some rocks. Which, while adorable by rock standards, would have been kind of a letdown.

I knew better than to try to compete with the Nabob's action shots, so I just took some video instead. It turns out that my camera's zoom function works really, really badly when you're shooting movies. Oh well. Cleanliness is next to Godliness is next to Mysteriousness is next to Blurriness is next to Fuzziness, and that is, after all, why we've declared this ball of fur to be our new golden calf (although he's probably pretty filthy, so I'm not sure if that the transitive property actually holds all the way through this construction).

Anyway! You can get the panda viewing experience without paying $40 for a FONZ membership if you click here (MPEG, 16.6MB).

PS: Catherine and I promise to try to stop making horrible panda-related post titles. Or at least we'll try to try.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
oh panda my panda D.C.  - photos

tommy, charles and i hit up the butterstick exhibit today, and boy howdy, it was great. not that i'd have expected anything else. we had to wait in line for about ten minutes, and there was palpable tension between the 12:20 group (us) and the 12:30 group when it seemed apparently that some from the later group might try to sneak ahead of us devotees who DESERVED TO BE FIRST. i thought a panda riot might break out.

anywhere, when we got in the viewing room, butterstick had apparently ensconced himself behind a rock, impossible to even get a glimpse of, and the guide told us to wait for a few minutes for he would surely come out. my heart sank when nothing happened, because i definitely thought the zoo would shrug and say, tough shit, panda lovers, you'll have to come back another time because we are sure not as hell going to disturb our goldmine of panda fur from his beauty rest. but they did! yay! a zoo worker came in, scooped up butterstick and brought him to the front of the glass for a walk-by viewing. the collective "OOOOHHHH" that escaped from everybody's mouths, from the 3-year-olds to the grandpas, was truly adorable. i told tommy that if only we'd send baby pandas to iraq, everything would be hunky dory there in a few days. then the zoo worker placed him on a rock where he rolled about and collapsed his head in his paws, like, "holy CHRIST, these people, with the camera flashing, do they EVER FUCKING STOP?" then he rolled himself off the rock into a pile of hay and went to hide behind a different corner. butterstick was sleepy. we all went to the panda video monitor station and watched him on the tv as he tried to find a comfy position to nap in. he was beyootiful. then i went and bought a butterstick magnet from the shop, though i could have had my choice of 32 billion iterations of the stuffed panda. not to mention butterstick xmas cards. too bad i already bought mine.

after the panda viewing tommy and i went a little crazy and visited the great apes, the small animals and the reptiles, along with the bonkers toddler elephant who spent the entire afternoon maniacally playing with a hollow metal ball chained to the wall. guess things get lonely when you're not the adored baby panda. aw.

UPDATE: unrelated, sort of, but the flickrblog pointed me towards these amazing monkey photos - go here, enter the site, and click on the monkey photo. go through them all - they're really profoundly strange and beautiful.

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 12, 2005
December 12, 2005
hullo! D.C.

i'm back in the district! yay! i waited for tommy to pick me up in the lobby of national's ghetto terminal, reading my book (the devil in the white city which is just as good as everbody said it was, and i haven't even got to the disgusting torturing and mutilating of women yet!), and was dismayed, as i stepped outside upon tommy's phone call, to discover that IT. WAS. SNOWING. just flurries, mind you, but i have just gotten out of a snowbound hell that is chicago - we had something like 12 inches over the past week. thursday afternoon, after our last classes as it was snowing and i was walking through evanston with some friends, i was all like, "oh, so pretty! the snow! it is pretty!" TEN HOURS LATER when it was still snowing and the sky had shat 10 inches upon us i was like, "the snow, it can go to hell, and suck some donkey balls on the way down there." the main problem is a) i still don't own a proper pair of snowboots (uggs DO NOT COUNT, and i refuse to buy them, even though it's all that the chicago ladies wear) and b) chicagoans, many of them don't seem to think it necessary to shovel their sidewalks, so you end up wading through snow calf-deep, which has resulted in the total and utter destruction of my favorite pair of sneakers and the ragged, dampened hems of more than a few pairs of jeans. oh well. at least i have my arctic parka, which is still the best thing ever.

speaking of (an)arctic, i finally watched "march of the penguins" yesterday (part of a movie renting binge in which i saw "crash," "a very long engagement," "finding neverland" and, uh, "bridge jones diary: the edge of reason aka worst movie ever," and i know, i should have known, but seriously, the first one was really kind of charming). and penguins are cute and all, but did anyone else find the movie sort of..totally pointless? penguins play in the sea, they march, they mate, they try not to die of cold/starve to death/step on their babies and then they do it all over again. also, i found it very odd when a penguin's baby would die, or the male and female would have to be parted, and morgan freeman would say, "it was an agonizing, terrible trial," and i'm like...really? i mean, first off, how does morgan freeman know? second off, maybe they were sad for like, a second, but don't penguins have brains the size of walnuts? i'm not sure "agonizing" is really a good way to describe how they process things. it is pretty awesome when they flop on their bellies and scoot around, though. i wish i could do that. maybe with a little more eating...

anyway, now that i'm back with nary a thing to do except read/bug tommy/get fat, i would hazard a guess that you might see more of my blogging on here. just a warning. for example: tomorrow, i go to see the butterstick! i doubt my recap will be as exhaustive and awesome as the nabob's, but i will try my darndest to recapture the experience. and to not make butterstick into a delicious meat kabob.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 09, 2005
December 09, 2005
just a note D.C.

to say that dceiver is my hero.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 08, 2005
December 08, 2005
what would be another single word exclamatory post title if i hadn't been doing that a lot recently! D.C.

The Butterstick Store has earned over $1100 in profits, according to its front page. I bet whatever moron runs it is feeling pretty stupid about giving all that money to FONZ. Although on the other hand: no lawsuits (yet).

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 06, 2005
December 06, 2005
updated designs D.C.

... at the Butterstick Store (UPDATE: fixed link). For those interested in such things. They've taken yesterday's design and made it into two okay shirts rather than one ugly one.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
we don't have a lot of time D.C.

On Saturday Charles and I elected to flee our freezing apartment, and headed for the toasty confines of the Chinatown Express. Along the way through Chinatown I noticed this restaurant:

Tai Shan restaurant

"Huh!" I thought, "Tai Shan — that's the same name as the one the zoo gave to the new panda cub. 'Peaceful Mountain' must be a pretty common phrase in Chinese culture. But wait, what's that photo in the right window..."

MORE...
comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 05, 2005
December 05, 2005
wintry mix D.C.  - bitching  - personal

It sounds like the winter storm currently bearing down on Washington (shotgun full of snow, etc.) isn't going to come through. Topper Shutt's Bread-O-Meter stands at a meager 4.5, and is likely to dip even lower. Normally I wouldn't put a lot of stock in a local weatherguy's opinion. But Topper has always been Catherine's and my favorite: he has the saddest eyes of any weatherman. The rough and tumble world of meteorological prognostication was never meant for a soul as gentle as he.

But maybe it's for the best that the storm is dissipating, seeing as our furnace has been broken since Friday morning. For a while it was just freezing cold every morning. I was prepared to chalk this up to my inability to comprehend our stupefyingly complex digital thermostat, but our landlord had an HVAC guy come by on Friday to have a look anyway. I don't know what he did, but I know it was a bad idea. Prior to his visit the furnace had been deeply troubled but high-functioning. Afterward — well, on the plus side there was now a red LED illuminated on the thermostat. On the minus side, the system no longer produced actual heat. Hmm.

Saturday morning brought a 52 degree wakeup — time to call the landlord, who came right over, accepted our mutual impotence in the face of a broken heat pump, and then went to buy us some space heaters. Charles and I can now be luxuriously toasty in up to one room at a time, provided we don't mind tripping the circuit breaker every time so much as the refrigerator light goes on.

Being cold sucks, but it's at least conceptually pleasing to my cheapskate nerd side. Every power adapter, light bulb, computer and appliance around me, although cherished, is horribly inefficient. Entropy's inevitability doesn't just mean that you and I will die and that our universe will someday collapse into a cold, empty cloud of lifeless elementary particles (although its more practical upshot is just that I'm usually too existentially distraught to bother picking up my room). It also means that nearly everything in your house that takes electricity turns more than half of the energy it consumes into heat rather than useful work.

But with the furnace broken, suddenly all of that waste heat is an asset. I'm glad of every wasted watt-second, every gently warm plug pack. Up yours, physics! I'm getting my money's worth at last, Pepco! It's true that the heat-pump's 100+% efficiency has a distinct perpetual-motion-machine allure, but for now I'm happy shooting heat out of every available appliance and into my frozen toes. Time to start Linux recompiling again for no particular reason.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 01, 2005
December 01, 2005
the weight falls from our shoulders D.C.

The original Butterstick blog seems to have foundered. Via Wonkette, here's a new one. Better name, better content, better panda-tracking.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
lucky strike D.C.

Last night Charles and I joined Martin and Hemal for Lucky Strike Lanes' preview night. I've got a review of the place over at DCist. I'll tell ya, nothing makes you feel like you've really made it more than being given free beer and bowling (even if we were just Hemal's +1's). I took a bunch of pictures.

Considering that it's a bowling alley, the place is fairly ridiculous. For one thing, it's got a dress code. For another, this enormous monstrosity is what you get when you ask for a glass of water.

But hey: it's bowling, it's within five blocks, and it's less overpriced than I expected. Call it a win.

comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 30, 2005
November 30, 2005
impossible! D.C.

how can one be "over" the name butterstick? I DOUBT IT. jealous they didn't come up with themselves is more like it!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
November 28, 2005
November 28, 2005
at least someone is going to be wildly successful D.C.  - blog  - personal

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has launched a blog helmed by the one and only Kriston Capps! Nice job, buddy.

You can congratulate Kriston here; you can write to your congressman about this horrifying waste of tax dollars here. Don't worry about sending mixed messages — it's all part of the stealth marketing campaign. If we can get Rush Limbaugh to declare a fatwa on Kriston, we'll know he's really made it.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
worst dream ever D.C.

somebody assassinated butterstick. i am not even kidding.

anyway, back in chicago. back to broken laptop, missing cellphone (slipped out in my dad's car on the way to the metro), computer desk from hell that arrived while i was gone and i need to put together although it seems highly unlikely that i will be able to, and back to the last two weeks of the quarter and several billion projects. yay!

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
November 25, 2005
November 25, 2005
stalkable moment numero due D.C.

we'll be at big hunt in dupont circle tonight from 9:30 or 10 p.m. on. come on out, bitches!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
November 22, 2005
November 22, 2005
stalkable moment D.C.  - music

i'll be at the black cat backstage tonight at the lucky bastards show, reporting for DCist's excellent Three Stars feature. come on out if you'd like!

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
November 16, 2005
November 16, 2005
drama on O D.C.  - personal

The interview went well. I like these guys, and I think they liked me. It really seems like an ideal workplace: more structure, but still with plenty of freedom. Projects for clients worth giving a damn about. And, most importantly, coworkers from whom I can actuall learn things. Anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Other news: when I got back to my block, I found it filled with MPD officers. I'd estimate six police cars (some of them unmarked), and ten or twelve cops swarming in and out of the run-down house on the street that always has folks hanging out in front of it. "Search warrant," said the cops, in a way that made it clear that this statement encompassed all of the information they were prepared to share.

Judging from the variety of people who'd hang out in front of the house,, the cars that'd stop by, and the occasional stray whiff of pot smoke, it was pretty clear that those guys were dealing something. But they never really bothered me, or Charles, so far as I know. I got a "what the fuck do you think you're doing" one time when I dared to walk through a pre-deal crowd of their friends on the sidewalk, but I don't think that outburst came from anybody who actually lived in the house. The only other interaction I had with them was when two of the guys hanging out there stopped me and Charles as we walked by and asked us to settle a bet: which has the larger penis, a whale or an elephant? I said whale. And I stand by that, goddammit.

Anyway, it looks like bad times for those folks. I can't say I feel too sorry, though. Sometimes on my way to the Metro on summer mornings I would see a little old lady sitting on a cushion on a folding chair outside that house. Maybe she was escaping the heat; maybe she was escaping something else. She doesn't deserve to have some deadbeat nephew or grandson selling drugs on her lawn, even if they were doing it with a minimum of ruckus. On the other hand, she doesn't deserve to have her relations thrown in jail, either. Here's hoping it all works out for her.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 10, 2005
November 10, 2005
i'm kind of surprised it took this long D.C.

I don't know who has decided to create the inevitable Butterstick blog, but I find the early signs encouraging. I particularly like the tagline, "I'm a panda, and I've got things to say." Tell 'em, stick.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 09, 2005
November 09, 2005
pandabulous D.C.

my classmate laura sent me this link with the note: "i fear this is the path you are heading down." i'm not sure if she thinks i'm just a wee bit too into pandas, or i actually like pandas so much that i will eventually one day marry one, but either way it's pretty funny.

even just two months into my program, my panda obsession is legendary. BUTTERSTICK 4EVER.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
November 07, 2005
November 07, 2005
there goes the neighborhood D.C.

Cripes but there's a lot of white people around here all of a sudden. Don't get me wrong, I'm decidedly one of them. But my trip this evening to the Shaw Giant was a strange experience. It's not unusual for me to be the only white face in the store on such trips, but tonight the place was crawling with my caucasian yuppie peers. Including, in a particularly preposterous touch, a group of three apparent hill staffers — one of them wearing a "ROOTS" sweatshirt — discussing how great Barack Obama is. The girl behind me in line was checking her Blackberry. But the kicker was when the line moved efficiently and a separate clerk bagged my groceries. Giant must be pouring some money into this previously forsaken store. I expect an olive bar to arrive any day now.

I don't mean to claim innocence here. I'm just as guilty as the next guy of contributing to this process. In a small way, some of the neighborhood's residents will be gradually priced out because of my personal preference for living near the cool bars (they should take heart: I'll eventually fail to find affordable property, and be forced to move to Manassas). It's inevitable, and although I don't feel guilty, I do feel bad. And so should you, fellow Shaw Giant gentrifiers. Try to keep your head down a little more. It's not our neighborhood, and it's impolite to point out that it's going to be.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 03, 2005
November 03, 2005
express ombudsman, part 2 D.C.  - bitching

More complains about the paper I get for free. Well, sort of get for free. There are still rarely any copies at Mt. Vernon Square circa 8:30AM. I usually find a copy on the train instead. I like to pretend that I have a yellow-line manservant who dutifully crams a copy next to my preferred window seat at some earlier stop, but today he was derelict in his duties. Should I ever meet him, I will have to have him caned.

So I only managed to find a copy of the entertainment guide today. A few things jumped out, and since I have nothing better to blog about, here they are:

  • E3: Boy George did not invent gender bending. I'm not claiming to be an authority on the intersection of pop culture and identity politics, but it seems like the word "Bowie" should have crossed someone's mind while considering this article's thesis. Also, the answer to your question, "Could 'boy/girl' be hardwired into our brain stems alongside 'friend/foe'?" is a definitive "yes". Although I don't think the relevant pathways are actually located in the brainstem.
  • E5: Gwen Stefani's harajuku girl coterie is a product, not a source. They're Americans hired to pretend to be harajuku girls (info via the Governess, I think? Solid sourcing, I know).
  • E11: I know that the phrase "x-cum-y" sounds all scholarly & shit, but you may want to avoid it for instances where y is equal to "tasting".

I've made the appropriate notes to your personnel file. Otherwise, keep up the good work. See you at the office Christmas party!

UPDATE: Whoops — apologies to Sommer, who points out that I probably got the faux-Harajuku tip from her.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 02, 2005
November 02, 2005
baby steps D.C.

if you seriously want to warm the cockles of your heart, you should watch this video of butterstick taking his first steps. it is. so. freaking. awesome. isn't there some sort of hormone drug we can inject him with to make him stop growing? cause he's pretty much at a perfect panda size right now.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
October 30, 2005
October 30, 2005
we have a winner D.C.  - personal  - photos

Last night was interesting. We made it to a good party, a great party, and a bar. More on the parties in a sec. First, the costumes. Adams Morgan turned out to have the best ones. We met all of the folks pictured on the street, and all in quick succession.


I hope you'll all agree that this is the year's clear winner.

MORE...
comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 27, 2005
October 27, 2005
butterstickerprice D.C.

So it looks like somebody — I couldn't say who, of course — has put up a Butterstick CafePress store. There's only one design, and it looks like this:

Butterstick!

Best of all, the $1 profit margin on the shirts will be donated directly to FONZ! Isn't that nice? Wouldn't FONZ be jerks if they sued whatever dashing man (or woman!) of mystery is responsible for this design? Of course they would.

comments [6] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
October 26, 2005
October 26, 2005
foreshadowing D.C.

You probably heard about the Post offering a video podcast. If you're like me you don't own a video ipod and can't stand using iTunes except when absolutely necessary, so you promptly forgot this news. But the segment about the baby panda really is worth watching. He squeaks, you know.

You can download it directly from here, then use QuickTime to watch it, despite QT not naturally recognizing it as a supported filetype.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
blogan circle D.C.

Thanks to DC Blogs I've just discovered Logan Circle News, a site that's doing a great job chronicling the area's recent uptic in crime (worried parents should probably not follow that link). Between this and In Shaw the internet has my neighborhood pretty well covered.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 23, 2005
October 23, 2005
vegetate D.C.  - food

This evening I headed over to Vegetate, the new vegetarian restaurant that's opened up around the block from here. There'll be a real review up on DCist later this week (by someone else — probably Hemal), but my quick impression: not that great.

The four of us split two appetizers, which were quite good, although the roasted vegetable appetizer was ridiculously tiny. For the entree, I got the jerked tempeh. I hadn't had tempeh before — turns out it's kind of unpleasant. But even ignoring that, the jerk sauce was weirdly creamy, not at all spicy, and not particularly appealing. The potato latke and greens that came with it were nice, but making fried potato delicious is easy. I also had a glass of lemonade, which was small but tasty. For some reason they provide straws that I'm pretty sure are intended to be used as drink stirrers (seriously). They look pretty and nicely match the tiny glass, but they're extremely irritating to use.

Entree, half an appetizer, a glass of juice and tip set me back $30. Given the small portion sizes and the fact that vegetarian cuisine represents comparatively little ingredient cost, this is kind of a ripoff. Let's compare: add costs for meat and the booze that the restaurant can't yet serve and I'd guess that you're looking at about $50 a plate. You can eat much better than this for that amount of money.

Speaking for the defense: they've just opened, they're just around the corner, the space is beautiful, and their staff was very pleasant. If they become a little more generous and proficient in the kitchen, this place could really take off.

And it's hard not to sympatize with the owners: Shiloh Baptist Church has given them a very hard time. We spoke with a manager/owner after eating and he said that the church has actually been chartering buses to get people to the ABC hearings to oppose the restaurant's license application — yet Shiloh has refused to answer the requests for meetings or discussions made by the restaurant. Shiloh is acting in bad faith, imposing the will of a congregation that primarily lives in Maryland onto a street that badly needs revitalization. This isn't just a difference of opinions — Shiloh's members really ought to be ashamed of themselves. Vegetate didn't impress me, but they deserve the chance to try to impress others.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 21, 2005
October 21, 2005
i thought that was just a song D.C.

it's fun to stay at the...

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 19, 2005
October 19, 2005
i realize this is getting tiresome D.C.

But today's Post features a rambling column from Courtland Milloy that mentions the Butterstick campaign approvingly.

Thanks to Melissa of DCist for pointing it out.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 18, 2005
October 18, 2005
hmmm D.C.

Now that we officially have a grievance, who feels like applying some arts and craftiness to a butterstick tee?

(via Make:Blog)

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 17, 2005
October 17, 2005
butterstick hits the bigtime? D.C.

Some DCist commenters are saying that Miles O'Brien mentioned Butterstick by name on CNN this morning — but the official panda-related video and transcript don't offer confirmation. Personally, I suspect a coverup.

You should still watch the video though — the cub is pretty goddamn adorable, whatever its name.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 13, 2005
October 13, 2005
oh panda my panda D.C.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

this totally ruins my trip home from november 21-27. (unless i get drunk with all you all, which i better.)

UPDATE: OH HOLY LORD OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND ADORABLE: i highly recommend that you watch this. butterstick, you've gotten so big!

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
October 11, 2005
October 11, 2005
into the wild D.C.  - blog  - tech

Wonkette picked up my Google Maps Metro hack a little ahead of schedule, so I've pushed this sucker up to its final resting place — surprise surprise, it's DCist — and put up a forwarding notice.

Anyway, if anyone was biding their time to link to it, now you can go nuts. It's also had some bugfixes applied. There'll be an announcement on DCist later today if you want to trash me in a higher-profile venue.

comments [3] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
October 10, 2005
October 10, 2005
this sucks D.C.

Over at In Shaw, Mari notes that the neighborhood has been seeing a significant increase in crime — one that I was oblivious to prior to my bike getting taken yesterday. But looking through the Logan Circle Yahoo Group archives for the past week is discouraging. Some of the robberies were at gunpoint; several happened with bystanders present. With Catherine (and now my bike) gone, I find myself walking around alone a lot more than before. Maybe I'll take some time at lunch to gmail myself all my credit card info, and the phone numbers I would have to call to cancel them.

Also: turns out there is a reason for the city's bike registration system — but it just doesn't have anything to do with getting back stolen property. Citypaper article here.

Sorry to fixate on all of this. I could write a post explaining what terrible, terrible people you all are for having the day off from work, but I'm not sure you'd enjoy it as much as I would.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 28, 2005
September 28, 2005
for the record D.C.

Rob did an excellent job refashioning this post into something appropriate to DCist, but I wanted to assure my friends: I'm meaner than this.

The photo (by Amanda) speaks for itself, anyway. Good for St. Ex.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
express an opinion D.C.  - bitching  - media

What's up, Express? I know and like people who work for you, so I'll try to spare you the worst of my righteous internet fury. But you've gotta step your game up.

First: why are there no copies of you at the Mt Vernon Square Metro? All that's in the designated box are a few old copies of El Tiempo Latino. That's not going to do it — I'm already bad enough at the crossword. I emailed you about this, and for a couple of days the problem was fixed. But no longer. I demand free entertainment, dammit!

Second: what's up with the bloglog? This daily ticket to the narcissism lottery (top prize: egomania) is one of the most compelling features you've got. I just think a little more care in selecting the featured excerpts might be good. At the moment we're on a brisk trot toward complete incoherence — I'd estimate about two weeks until an "OMFG!!!" sneaks in. Why not feature some of the big names? They got that way for a reason. It's not like most of your readers will know who, say, Kevin Drum is. Spotlighting the little guy is a nice idea, but not when the little guy is a complete dope.

On the other hand, if this is a subtle tactic by print journalists to defuse the threat they perceive from new media by revealing bloggers to be superficial illiterates... well, good job, then. Carry on.

Finally: the comics. I know the comics in your big brother paper are also terrible. But I truly believe that it doesn't have to be this way. There must be good comics out there. Or maybe you could continue courting your net-savvy twentysomething demo (hi!) and run some webcomics. It's hard to see what the downside would be — today's edition featured a comic that, in addition to having a hilariously unoriginal "he went to a hypnotist and now he thinks he's an animal!" gag, was really badly pixellated. Probably just a print error, I know. Resolving the Quark problems won't make it any funnier, though. It's not your fault, but you can do something about it. Unlike the Post, you can ditch the Garfield and Blondie equivalents in your pages without crotchety geriatrics leaving angry voicemails for Mr. Bradlee. You have the power. Self-actualize! Or something!

comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 26, 2005
September 26, 2005
holy crap D.C.

Via In Shaw, have a look at this CityPaper article. It's about the church at the end of my street and their suburban parishioners' attempts to block restaurants, bars, or seemingly any other businesses from moving into the empty neighborhood buildings that currently serve as toilets for the homeless — and little else.

UPDATE: Added the link. I'm dumb.

comments [1] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
September 25, 2005
September 25, 2005
speaking of activism D.C.

I might set up a CafePress store soon with some Butterstick shirts. I'll have to redo it in a higher resolution, but I'm thinking something like this:

NOT MY PANDA

What do you think? Too subtle?

comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 24, 2005
September 24, 2005
welcome, affluent suburban readers! D.C.

UN and butterstick make this month's issue of washingtonian (hat tip to my dad):

Pandamaniacs Want Butterstick

The newest addition to the DC scene has become a star. While he wont be appearing on Meet the Press or hanging out at Indebleu, the National Zoos baby panda is looking for a name.

Chinese tradition says the baby shouldnt be named until he reaches 100 days olda delay that has given the zoo a chance to poll the public.

The zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association have narrowed the field to five names, all Mandarin. Choices include Hua Sheng and Sheng Huacombining the Chinese words for Washington and China. Another name, Tai Shan or peaceful mountain, may ring a bell: Its a restaurant in DCs Chinatown. Panda lovers can vote on the zoos Web site (nationalzoo.si.edu) through September 30.

The five choices are not enough for some panda fans. The blog Unrequited Narcissism (zunta.org/blog) tried to add the panda nickname Butterstickafter the reference to a newborn pandas sizeto the zoos voting choices by connecting its site to the National Zoos. The zoo soon safeguarded its voting, but some Washingtonians want a compromise. How about Naiyou Baoor milk-oil dumplingwhich Jingyuan Zhang, professor of East Asia languages and cultures at Georgetown University, says is the closest approximation to butter stick in Mandarin?

Regardless of the eventual name, dont get too attached to the little guyhe heads back to China after his second birthday.

milk-oil dumpling - of course!

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
September 22, 2005
September 22, 2005
mmm, butterstick D.C.

i know what i'm doing when i come back in town for thanksgiving!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
credit where it's due D.C.

For those interested, I did an interview with Eric from Thievery Corporation for DCist, which is now up. My flimsy excuse for this egocentric post? I need to credit Charles for coming up with one of the questions (#4). Also, I was short on time, so Martin wrote the intro. And a lot of people provided general input. But I resized the picture all by myself!

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 20, 2005
September 20, 2005
our cubs are somewhat worse at baseball D.C.

...but they're way more endearing. From today's Express:

Butterstick

Someone has to keep Catherine updated on important Butterstick-related developments.

If you can't see the image, click here.

comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 16, 2005
September 16, 2005
operation ceasefire D.C.  - music

Anybody want to go to this with me next Saturday? I know Yglesias had expressed some interest in the past. Personally, I'm most interested in catching (in order):

  • Steve Earle (never seen 'im)
  • Le Tigre (same)
  • Ted Leo (always fun, but it wouldn't break my heart to miss a show)
  • The Coup (I'm curious)
  • Thievery Corp. (DC represent!)
  • and maybe Head-Roc (the same, plus curiousity)

Or some subset of those. I'm thinking head down in the afternoon, catch a couple acts, grab some dinner and drinks, then back for the main events... what do you guys think?

comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
wondrous D.C.  - chicago

the chicago tribune lists the reader-voted seven wonders of chicago here (use bugmenot for registration). in short, they are:

First wonder (26,231 votes):
The Lakefront

Second wonder (19,718 votes):
Wrigley Field

Third wonder (18,800 votes):
The "L"

Fourth wonder (17,957 votes):
Sears Tower

Fifth wonder (17,747 votes):
The Water Tower

Sixth wonder (17,004 votes):
University of Chicago

Seventh wonder (16,962 votes):
Museum of Science and Industry

as far as what i've seen, it seems like a reasonable list, though i'm not convinced the el is as amazing as some people seem to think it is. we'll see if it does the previously-thought impossible in the coming year: make me appreciate WMATA.

anyway, what'd be the seven wonders of the d.c. world? the cherry blossoms would have to be up there (they really are beautiful), and i don't doubt that loads o people would vote for butterstick. the smithsonian would surely make it, and there are enough monuments to fill the list on their own (not to mention stuff like the white house and the capitol). the insane amount of awesome ethiopian food? ben's chili bowl (though i know, i know, many think it's overrated). the chicago hot dog did make it on the lower half of the list, after all, so there's no reason not to think the half smoke couldn't do the same thing. personally, d.c. foodwise, i'd vote for kriston's smoker. a work of brilliance if there ever was one.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
September 13, 2005
September 13, 2005
before i forget... D.C.

go! even though i won't be there, cake, champagne, and loads of awesome people will be. i expect detailed reports!

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
September 10, 2005
September 10, 2005
my friday D.C.

in awesomes and not so awesomes:

awesome: dinner at obelisk. why were we wasting all that time and money on galileo?
not so awesome: sliding up against a curb and face planting off my bike on the way to dinner in dupont circle. in front of about 32 million people.

awesome: getting a new cellphone. it has this thing called a camera in it!
not so awesome: waiting for an hour in the verizon store for any sort of service. old, fat middle-aged dude sitting next to me who tells me out of nowhere to stop biting my nails. i love complete strangers who comment on my bad habits and tell me they're not healthy for me and that it probably means something is psychologically wrong in my life and i should fix it and then maybe i won't bite my nails anymore. thanks. maybe you should lose 50 pounds. then you won't be a fat jerk anymore.

awesome: the wrens at the black cat. it's like - so, you've wanted to be a rockstar for 30+ years. and suddenly, you are. and what do you do? you rock the fuck out and are completely awesome. if you have never listened to the meadowlands, please do yourself a favor and listen, listen, listen! it's so wonderful.
not so awesome: being a complete zombie at the show as a result of four hours of lifting boxes and furniture. as i was sitting at the bar, staring blankly into space, as tommy and others were off being normal people and drinking beer and talking, a guy actually tried to come on to me with this line: "so, YOU look like you had a TERRIBLE day!" oh, lord.

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
September 08, 2005
September 08, 2005
se-rock-us D.C.  - music

I just picked up tickets at the Black Cat, and from the sound of the guy that sold them to me, it's about to sell out. If you want to see this show — and you should — get yourself to 14th or ticketmaster quick-like.

UPDATE: Uh... the Wrens. I'm talking about the Wrens. Man I'm dumb.

comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 06, 2005
September 06, 2005
sigh D.C.  - food

sorry for the relative lack of blogging. i've been too busy throwing up about my rapidly impending move to chicago (four days or so to go). the bedroom's a mess, half of my stuff isn't packed, i have two shirts and one pair of shorts to wear for the next six days because what is packed is most of my clothes, and i'm stressing about not wanting to give my dad a heart attack when we move since we'll be the only two doing it in chicago and i have about three thousand pounds of stuff. i've also been doing a lot of retail therapy, which i'm sure filene's basement appreciates ($600 wool coat from barney's marked down like a billion percent! cheap pointy leather and suede shoes from kenneth cole and bcbg's!) but which my already rapidly dwindling student loans don't. yes, they're already rapidly dwindling even though i haven't yet received them. they are very sensitive.

anyway, stuff i've been enjoying lately that's helped the stress:

  • eating my way through the city. good lord, i'm fat. d.c.'s determined to make its mark on me before i hightail it out of here, and that mark is being made on my enormous ass. in the past couple of weeks i've eaten at: al crostino (see my DCist review here); oohs and ahhs; amsterdam falafel in adams morgan (i thought this was yummy, but not the mindblowingly good drunk food i'd been led to believe it was. but damn, that garlic sauce is addictive); matchbox pizza (pleasantly surprised by this place down on H street in chinatown. nice, thin crispy pizza with pretty good toppings and a good ambience); and a final ethiopian meal at dukem (does chicago even HAVE ethiopian? probably. hell, they seem to have everything). tomorrow i'm going for one last sausage sandwich at the galileo grill (i know everybody says this, but please believe me that you MUST GO TO THE GRILL at least once), lunch with a former coworker at thai chef in dupont on thursday, and dinner with tommy at obelisk on friday. good lord.

  • biking the capital crescent trail. so, was this weekend incredibly gorgeous or what? tommy and i tore ourselves away from our computer screens and got on our bikes on this path that is parallel to the C&O canal (but the CC trail is better cause it's paved). i recommend stopping at the fletcher's boat house, getting a gatorade, and sitting on the rocks in front of the potomac river. it was achingly beautiful. it looked like you could rent canoes from the boat house, and i have to imagine that if you have any sort of coordination at all, unlike me, it'd be a blast.

  • finishing off my doing d.c. list. i went and saw the exorcist stairs in georgetown sometime last week. and you know what? they are BORING. they are just stairs. oh well. but i walked up foxhall to check out a big field with an abandoned train track over it. you can see a picture here - it's the field where my brother and i used to run down to, cut through and go to the C&O canal, just steps from our old house. pretty nice. memories...happy golden memories...

    i also did the asylum 25 cent beer happy hour, and let me tell you: that shit is awesome. everyone's all, "let me get this round! no, me! c'mon!" and the waitress is all, "your total for eleventeen beers is 1.75." sweetness. despite the fact that i went home and passed out by 10pm.

    unfortunately, i'm not sure i'll have time to do eastern market and the byzantine monastery in brookland, though i plan on trying my best. i know, i've failed you. but i'll give it a valiant attempt! and if i can't get them now, i'll get them when i come back to d.c. because i am. you can't stop me, suckers.

  • comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    September 05, 2005
    September 05, 2005
    turn on, tune in, drop out, write new catchphrase D.C.

    Catherine and I ran into some hippies in Georgetown on Saturday, right in the middle of DC's Republican heart of darkness; it was weird. We had been biking on the Capital Crescent Trail and decided to catch the Circulator back home. At Wisconsin and M, there they were: dirty, dirty hippies. Actually, I had run into these same two guys before, over by Farragut North. Both times they were hawking t-shirts bearing the slogan "Stop Bitching, Start A Revolution", and trying to interest passers-by by asking, "Would you be interested in some revolutionary art?"

    This sat the wrong way with me. The "Stop Bitching" slogan is something we've all seen on somebody's crazy aunt's bumper, right next to "Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History". I wouldn't call it revolutionary, per se, although I'll grant that technically speaking it is of or pertaining to a revolution. Anyway, it seemed very weird to see two twentysomething guys selling these and only these little swatches of banality. Don't they know the astounding advances in clever t-shirt technology that our ironic-silkscreenologists have made over the past decade?

    But today I followed the URL on the shirt — zendik.org — and it turns out that these shirts are probably the original medium for the Stop Bitching slogan. Apparently they're sold in support of an "artist's community" in West Virginia called Zendik Farm. So it's just a bit dated, not really the colossal catchphrase miscalculation that it at first seemed to be.

    Shit like this still puts the members of this particular commune on my bad side (Zendik's deceased patriarch sounds a little like L. Ron Hubbard without the paranoid schizophrenia). But at least it's all a bit clearer now. Has anybody else run into these guys?

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    September 02, 2005
    September 02, 2005
    katrina in d.c. D.C.  - media

    check out the post's newest blog, Katrina's Impact on Washington. they state that up to 400 victims of the hurricane will be bussed to the D.C. armory. as they say:

    As the Post reported this morning, the city's "mass care" effort would provide victims with food and water, medical attention, counseling and other services. The announcement also means that events scheduled to be held in the armory over the next several weeks -- at least six concerts, a job fair and a Marine Corps Marathon expo -- will likely be canceled in order to accommodate victims.

    Officials are urging people interested in making monetary donations to call the Red Cross at 1-800-HELP-NOW. To find out how to contribute items locally, call the mayor's call center at (202) 727-1000 or Serve D.C. at (202) 727-7925.

    this is EXACTLY the kind of thing a blog can excel at. the katrina blog also talks about gas station closure rumors, gas prices in popular labor day destinations around the area, and what local charities and organizations are doing. good job, post.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    practically free beer! D.C.

    yes, the rumors are true: i will be at asylum tomorrow night at 5 p.m. for their infamous 25 cent happy hour. come on out if you're so inclined. i will not, sadly (or happily, depending on how you're looking at it) be at at the jello wrestling, though, as awesome as it sounds.

    things on the d.c. list left to do:

  • asylum happy hour
  • monastery in brookland
  • eastern market

    i did the exorcist stairs in georgetown a few days ago. it was boring, but i will report back on it soon.

  • comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 30, 2005
    August 30, 2005
    dire D.C.

    i was planning on heading down to georgetown today for some window shopping and exorcist-stair-viewing (part of the d.c. to-do list). but upon checking weather.com, i'm not so sure anymore...check this out:

    Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms.

    Storms could contain tornadoes.

    ....okay.

    so, like, how does a storm contain a tornado? it seems like it should be the other way around.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 29, 2005
    August 29, 2005
    dur D.C.  - media  - science

    Yeesh. Via Atrios, check out this Post column, which is in the sports section, and about intelligent design. Cause, you know — athletes are impressive. Which means they're complex. Which means they're irreducibly impressively complex! I realize the argument is a little complicated, so I'll just cut to the end: Sally Jenkins is a fucking idiot. Q.E.D.

    And she doesn't even live in the area! That's right, for the past several years she's been phoning it in from NYC. C'mon, Post editors. This column puts her well past "irrelevant" and deep into "embarassing" territory.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 28, 2005
    August 28, 2005
    going away D.C.

    aww, thanks to everybody who came out to my going away party and wished me well. you are all sweethearts, and i had an amazing time. i'm still in town for two weeks, though, so y'all better be sure to hang out with me at least once more. or i'll cry. bitches.

    going away party photos can be found here. they're pretty much all of me. you've been warned.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 26, 2005
    August 26, 2005
    doing d.c.: gravelly point D.C.

    gravelly point 003
    Originally uploaded by CatherineA.
    for those who haven't heard of it, gravelly point is a small patch of park off the GW parkway that's pretty much just a stone's throw from national airport. it's famous for its views of incoming planes, and though i am not what you call a happy flier, i'm fascinated enough by planes and how the hell they a) get off the ground b) land to have had a long-standing desire to see this d.c. landmark.

    i started off by biking down from our apartment near the convention center. so, i would like to thank whoever implemented the bike lanes down 9th street. they're hysterical! first off, everybody ignores them. second off, they are pot-holed all to hell. third off, the narrow lanes change their location every block. sometimes they're in the center of the road. sometimes they're to the right of the lanes. it's quite a lot of fun to dash back and forth in between the bike lanes amidst fast-paced traffic. kind of like a rollercoaster. a rollercoaster of death.

    anyway, i made it down ninth street and biked down constitution towards the end of the mall where the lincoln monument is located. you can reach the mount vernon bike path by 14th street, but i felt like biking the length of the mall because i hadn't been down there in a while, and it was a cool, lovely day. i navigated my way through the throngs of tourists down by the lincoln memorial, then crossed the memorial bridge. once you get to the end of the bridge, bear left on the sidewalk and you'll see the yellow-slash-dotted mount vernon bike path join up. you have to cross a few streets, but just head towards the water and you'll eventually see a sign pointing you towards the official path (or you can just follow the planes coming in to the airport).

    the mount vernon trail is very nice; you follow it along on the potomac and by the the navy-marine memorial (i took a few pictures of that as well for peter; it's the big memorial surrounded by red flowers of seagulls over a cresting wave).

    after about 1.5-2 miles of biking along the trail, i reached what i presumed was gravelly point park and realized...holy crap, i've already been here! i've passed it several times on marine corps marathon training runs, in particular, the 21-mile run from hell that i did a few weeks before the actual marathon last year. i was just too busy not wanting to die/puke/pass out to realize that's what it was. (for anyone interested in reading my marathon experience, go here.)

    so anyway, i dumped my bike, sat down on the grass (i was surrounded by several families, couples, and kids running around) and waited for a plane. at first, nothing was going on - you could easily see national airport and planes taking off, but they were headed in the opposite direction. about five minutes in, a little kid screeched and pointed in the sky, and you could see a pinprick of light headed our way over the trees. oh, cool! i thought. the plane got closer and you could see it was a united airliner. and then it got closer. and closer. and then it was like HOLY FUCK THE PLANE IS TWO INCHES ABOVE MY HEAD PLEASE DON'T LET IT SQUISH ME and there was an unbearable roar and i swear to god, the wind rippled the sky for several seconds after the plane landed safely. i literally had to fight the urge to throw myself to the ground and cover my head. a little kid near me was crying hysterically and being comforted by his kindly-looking grandfather, and i was like, uh, grandpa, can i get in on that? because that was TOTALLY FREAKY.

    but after that, it was all neat. i watched several more planes land, and take off, and marveled at flight in general, because, seriously, how do they do that?

    anyway, gravelly point itself is unremarkable - just patchy grass, some portapotties, and a picnic table or two - but the views are seriously cool. i can imagine at night that it's even better, and no doubt fairly romantic. you couldn't bike down there in the dark, but gravelly point is reachable by driving along the GW parkway.

    more pictures can be found here.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    roocentricity D.C.  - photos

    The Australian embassy, located on Scott Circle, is one of my favorites. Not because it's a particularly attractive building, but because it's got this thing sitting outside of it.

    sculpture outside the australian embassy

    This is the sculpture of a country that's comfortable in its own skin. What do you think of when you hear "Australia"? Weird animals. Also, some vague British bullshit. Maybe.

    And that's exactly what they put on the sign outside of the building chosen to represent their country to the world (presumably the sculpture will be replaced with Paul Hogan's bronzed corpse when it becomes available). I admire Australians' forthrightness about this, because it's a quality that we're obviously lacking. You can bet there aren't any US embassies boasting sculptures of Yosemite Sam firing his pistols atop a McDonald's logo.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    lordy D.C.

    butterstick makes it to NPR.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 25, 2005
    August 25, 2005
    doing d.c.: the hay adams D.C.

    as i mentioned earlier, sommer and i headed to the hay adams bar, off the record, last night for some fancy drinks and a classy atmosphere. because we are nothing if not two classy broads. for those who don't know, the hay adams is one of the fanciest, most elegant hotels in the city; it's located on 16th and H streets, very close to the white house. the bar itself is incredibly classic and timeless looking: low lights, heavy, polished wood paneling, and a customer age average of about 55 - mostly men in suits. i had been told by fritz that john, the bartender, was amazing, and he was totally right. john made our night. he is an incredibly jovial guy who is smart, well-traveled, and a great conversationalist. not to mention that he passed out free drinks when he learned i was leaving for chicago. overall, sommer and i had a great time - a little too great of a time. if you know what i'm sayin. after four drinks each, a plate of fries, and some interesting conversation with our bar stool neighbors, we left the hay adams nearly five hours after we arrived. unfortunately, the atmosphere of the hay adams is such that it's not really conducive to taking photographs, so i didn't get any interior shots (except one of me and sommer in the totally awesome bathroom), but i will leave you with some of the area between the bar and the white house. it was a beautiful evening, and i was glad to have a chance to walk around the area.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    and so is everyone else D.C.

    To Metafilter users: first, sorry I can't respond in your own thread. I don't want to pay five dollars to post in a blog's comments. But I did want to clarify that I only started calling the form thingy a hack after others did. Yeah, okay, I do like the sound of it. But no, clearly this is sub-sub-script kiddie level trickery, not anything impressive at all. What can I say? A search for "butterstick" on packetstorm doesn't return any hits.

    But it did at least appear to work initially. As Catherine pointed out in your comments, it's only today that it ceased to function. The whole thing is a testament to the zoo webdev's laziness, not my personal awesomeness.

    Now I promise to stop talking about this, because, as mentioned, it's gotten way more attention than it deserves. The name is the thing, people. Butterstick. Say it with me. Make t-shirts. Spread the word.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    they're on to us D.C.  - tech

    It's been fun basking in blogospheric attention for an HTML hack that could be performed by any number of middle-schoolers. But, sadly, a commenter has pointed out that the zoo is on to us -- the butterstick submission form no longer works. I'll try to have another look at it tonight, but it's likely that there's nothing to be done. On the upside, this means that there probably were votes labeled "butterstick" making their way into the zoo database. Which is pretty great.

    Catherine suggested explaining the hack, so for those interested, a rundown of the relevant webdev principles is behind the cut. The rest of you should start thinking about the next step in fomenting the Pale Yellow Revolution.

    MORE...
    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 24, 2005
    August 24, 2005
    injustice! D.C.

    So, as noted in Catherine's DCist post, Butterstick is not an option in the zoo survey. Well god dammit, we'll make it an option. I hereby present a modified name submission form. It'll post to the zoo webserver just like the real form (you might get a security warning). The only difference? We don't hate democracy.

    Depending on how badly the survey is coded, there's a slim but real chance this will actually show up in their results.


    My vote goes to:
    Hua Sheng (hwah-SHUNG), means China Washington, magnificent
    Sheng Hua (SHUNG-hwah), means Washington China, magnificent
    Tai Shan (tie-SHON), means peaceful mountain
    Long Shan (lone-SHON), means dragon mountain
    Qiang Qiang (chee-ONG chee-ONG), means strong, powerful
    Butterstick (BUT-ur STIK), means stick of butter

    One lucky person, randomly selected among all voters, will receive a trip for two to Washington, D.C., (including round-trip air transportation and hotel accommodations) and a private, up-close visit with the pandas. Cast your vote and provide your email address so we can contact you if you win!

    Email Address:
    (We will not share your email address with anyone. We are collecting email addresses for the sole purpose of notifying the prize winner.)

    If you are under age 13, you must give your parent’s (or guardian’s) valid email address instead of your own for a chance to win the trip and panda visit. Please see our Children's Privacy Policy.

    I have read and understand the above statement.

    UPDATE: as noted in comments and more recent posts, the zoo has wised up and fixed their form, making this one no longer work. Still, I think we got our point across.

    UPDATE 2: Commenters are now indicating that it's started working again. Weird.

    comments [29] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    BS D.C.

    okay, so who sent me this washington post article on the naming contest for the already-unofficially-named butterstick? it was from a very cleverly-named butter@stick.com. too cute. i actually just wrote my own bit on it for DCist.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    zee list continues D.C.

    so, cheetahs are, for all intents and purposes, done. next up: drinks tonight at the hay-adams at 16th and H streets. please help me: what drink should i order? frankly, i know nothing about nice drinks. at bars, i almost always go with a gin and tonic because, well, i like it, and it's super easy and cheap. but i want a nice, classic drink tonight. tips?

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 23, 2005
    August 23, 2005
    zee zoo D.C.

    well, i went to the national zoo earlier today to try to knock off the baby cheetahs. not knock them off in a big game hunter type sense, but, you know, to check 'em out, ooh and ahh, and leave all happy and full of cuddly fuzzies. but it pains me to report that the national zoo is A BUNCH OF FUCKING LIARS. though their web site promises the babies will be on view every day from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m., today that was not the case, and i was only able to see the older batch of cheetah kids after having pushed my way through 23 million screaming children, perhaps knocking a few over in the process. oh well. i'm going to consider it crossed off anyways. i saw the last group of baby cheetahs when they were still tiny and fuzzy and squishy, and i spend enough time watching the baby cheetah cam that i think i can call it done. if you're interested, you can see a batch of photos from my trip to the zoo a few months ago here.

    i wanted to stay longer at the zoo, but after seeing the papa panda and a few other close by exhibits, i hightailed it to the starbucks across the street, got a drink, and sat outside in the gorgeous weather for an hour or two reading my current book, the historian. it's really good so far - it mixes mythology, history, travelogues, and totally awesome vampires together in a lovely, suspenseful mix. hopefully i'll write a real review of it when i finish.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    zee list D.C.

    i'm a-getting the list a-started. and stuff. to do today: see the baby cheetahs at the zoo. to do wednesday: grab a cocktail with sommer (and anyone else who is so inclined?) at the hay adams. thursday or friday: head down to georgetown, probably on a run, do a climb on the exorcist stairs, collapse in sweaty heap. saturday morning, i might try to go to eastern market, but yall know what is saturday night: ME. and my party, that is. the going away one. you best be there. it'll get started around 9 or 10.

    anyway, if i get all that accomplished this week, what i have left is: the byzantine monastery in NE, watching planes at gravelly point, and getting drunk by 6 pm at the 25 cent beer happy hour at asylum. if at any point you want to join up in the demolition of the list, let me know.

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 22, 2005
    August 22, 2005
    the visual arts in DC D.C.  - photos

    beaded badge holders

    I have a hunch that a lot of government contractors work near Crystal City. But of course it might just be my imagination.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 17, 2005
    August 17, 2005
    the List D.C.

    okay, thanks to your input (esp kanishka's), i have a good start on a list of things to do in d.c. before i head out of town. and here they are!

  • participate in the 25 cent beerathon at asylum on saturdays
  • go see the new batch of baby cheetahs at the zoo
  • hit up gravelly point park to watch planes landing at national
  • go to eastern market (what day/time is best?)
  • visit the byzantine monastery in brookland
  • go to the top of the washington monumnent (though i've lived here nearly all my life, i have never done this)
  • have a fancy cocktail at the mandarin oriental or hay-adams hotel bar
  • visit my old house on 44th street nw (and perhaps combine this with na's suggestion of running up and down the exorcist stairs, just down the street)

    any other ideas? and if you want to join me on any part of my list adventure, just let me know.

  • comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 16, 2005
    August 16, 2005
    doin' d.c. D.C.

    when DC SOB left town for chicago, he spent a good chunk of time crossing off items on a list of things to do in d.c. before you go. since i've got nearly a month of unemployment before i head off to the windy city myself, i've been trying to create a list of my own. i've got plenty of time; my two jobless days so far have settled into a nice pattern of waking up around 9:30, going for a run, showering, eating lunch, then drinking wine and surfing the internet. anyway, i'm having a bit of trouble filling out the list. i've only got three items thus far:

  • participate in the 25 cent beerathon at asylum on saturdays
  • go see the new batch of baby cheetahs at the zoo
  • hit up gravelly point park to watch planes landing at national

    i am creatively challenged at this point. can you all offer up suggestions as to what i should do? bonus: i'll blog each item as i do it, WITH PHOTOS!

  • comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 12, 2005
    August 12, 2005
    the two DCs D.C.

    two decidedly different views of the city from two smart, lawerly-type girls. amber has had a positive experience here; zoe, apparently, not so much.

    i wonder how i'll feel about d.c. after i move to chicago and will have another american city (beside collegetown; who couldn't adore charlottesville?) to compare it to. right now, it's coming off pretty well, but i suspect that may have more to do with the people i choose to hang out with than anything else. i've been pretty lucky in that regard.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 11, 2005
    August 11, 2005
    the baby panda is also very hot right now D.C.  - pop culture

    In recent days it has come to our attention that many are experiencing increasing difficulty when trying to distinguish between the newborn baby panda and Owen Wilson. In order to resolve any potential confusion, we present this handy chart. It should serve both to help you identify the subtle distinctions between the two, and to spot possible "trouble areas" that may cause confusion. Feel free to print it out and keep a copy in your wallet for quick reference.

    Baby Panda Owen Wilson
    Dairy-Related Appellation Butterstick Butterscotch
    Girls' Opinion Of Highly Favorable Highly Favorable
    Nose Stupid Looking Stupid Looking
    Anal Regimen Mother engages in prolonged licking sessions to stimulate waste elimination Engages in prolonged licking sessions (motivation unknown)
    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 09, 2005
    August 09, 2005
    panda update #2937 D.C.

    HOLY CRAP!

    it is so fat and awesome.

    (thanks to kanishka for the tip)

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 05, 2005
    August 05, 2005
    stick it to 'em D.C.

    I'm very happy to see that Chrisafer, John and Michael are campaigning for DC's new panda to be permanently called "butterstick", a name originally conceived in this very apartment, and then forced on an unsuspecting world via DCist. Okay, it's not exactly an artifact of astounding creative genius. But cmon, it's catchy. And check it out: Michael's even gotten the Mandarin script for it

    butterstick in mandarin

    Alright, so the trailing "stick" after it on his blog makes me wonder if maybe that isn't just the Mandarin for "butter". Nevertheless! We've got a graphic, which means that soon CafePress will be disgorging butterstick promotional gear by the truckload.

    Bloggers: do you need an exciting meme to fill that blank, taunting blogspot page?

    Tattoo enthusiasts: are you looking for another bad idea to immortalize?

    People with a totally humorless respect for Chinese culture: want something to get upset about?

    Then come on! Butterstick: it's catching.

    Besides, if we don't act now you know we'll end up with a bear named "1000 Blessings of the Wind" or some bullshit.

    comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 04, 2005
    August 04, 2005
    reagan reagan everywhere D.C.

    for those not reading DCist, here's the latest in the GOP scheme to rename america the united states of reagan.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 02, 2005
    August 02, 2005
    panda cuteness update D.C.

    panda.jpg
    during its first exam. it's a boy.

    PANDAAWWW.jpg
    cuddling with its mommy.

    yay for the transformation from repulsiveness.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 27, 2005
    July 27, 2005
    less wormlike D.C.
    panda_7_27.jpg

    Looks like the panda cub's actually zeroing in on "cute". Maybe this wasn't all a horrible mistake.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    just my luck D.C.

    the one day i don't give in to my obsessive umbrella-toting...

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 25, 2005
    July 25, 2005
    billbored D.C.

    A billboard in baltimore, visible from 95 north:

    this is not washington, dc
     
    this is gin
    BEEFEATER

    Are we being insulted? I honestly have no idea.

    PS: overturned greyhound bus north of Charm City. Not something you see lying in a ditch every day. Hope everyone's okay.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 22, 2005
    July 22, 2005
    they like us, they really like us D.C.  - media

    the post gives DCist a shout out (and a web link) in the metro section today. hoo fucking rah. now if only they'd mentioned us by name in their borf article, i would be placated.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 18, 2005
    July 18, 2005
    summer in the city D.C.

    Con: Going outside feels like swimming through a suspiciously warm kiddy pool.

    Pro: I only had to go as far as the Convention Center.

    Con: For reasons that remain unclear, the neighborhood around the Convention Center smells like rotting garbage. GarbageCon '05?

    Pro: The new DC Circulator bus provides quick and efficient service to and from Union Station, which is a block away from the server I had to go fix.

    Con: The ride's sights currently include a dead body lying in the field near 3rd and H, plus the police that are milling about it.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 14, 2005
    July 14, 2005
    borf, we hardly knew ye D.C.

    I was ambivalent about his antics before, but today's Post writeup made me realize that I'm going to miss Borf. His politics were pretty silly (or at least unclear), but the revelation that the iconic Jerry O'Connell stencil is actually a portrait of a dead friend gives his superficially-goofy work a bit more heft.

    If nothing else, the guy had style. Too bad he turned out to be commuting into the city from Great Falls.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 13, 2005
    July 13, 2005
    that does not resemble a stick of butter D.C.

    It's been pandamonium around here as the city celebrates the zoo's newest addition with the zeal of a pandacostal revival! Yes, the excitement is panda-emic here in the nation's capital! Sorry: pandapital.

    But I have a terrible secret to share, people. The media wants you to think that the newborn's situation is too delicate to allow photographs. They throw out all this "the size of a stick of butter" nonsense because a stick of butter is small; delicate at room temperature; and something girls "just want to eat up". Clearly, the rhetoric is designed to evoke human babies.

    But panda cubs are not the cute, scruffy pups you've been imagining. BEHOLD!

    MORE...
    comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 11, 2005
    July 11, 2005
    lien and mean D.C.

    Today's Kojo Nnamdi show was all about the annual DC Tax Auction, which began today. It's a massively confusing system -- but even considering that fact, the callers still seemed amazingly clueless. The gist of most calls was along the lines of "wait... explain to me again why I can't just immediately seize poor people's property?"

    Sheesh. If you're actually interested in acquiring a pain-in-the-ass investment vehicle with a slight, slight chance of turning into a real estate acquisition, In Shaw has a couple of interesting posts about the process here and here.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    scientology hijinx D.C.

    Via the DCeiver, an entertaining craigslist post recalling Scientologist antics. This kind of nonsense is standard operating procedure for them.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 09, 2005
    July 09, 2005
    mild trouble in little china D.C.

    I was slightly excited by the announcement of DC's new red buses. It's not that I particularly need more bus service, but their hub is right by our apartment, and it'd at least make it easier to get to Georgetown on my semiannual trip to the comic book store. There's another route, too, going from the convention center south.

    But, driving out of the city today to have lunch with my mom, I saw that DC has found a way to make these seemingly innocuous buses a terrible, terrible idea. Namely: dedicated bus lanes on 7th and 9th streets. The crews are out there right now, measuring things, looking confused and blocking traffic in surprisingly inventive ways. It's a little early to tell exactly how it's going to shape up, but as far as I can tell the rightmost lane southbound on 9th and northbound on 7th will be dedicated to buses. At least, that's what I'm taking away from the "BUS ONLY" inscriptions that are being installed as I write this.

    I'll admit: for 9th street, this is not an obviously bad idea. It's mostly a one-way street, providing three(ish) southbound lanes. A person who insists on devoting one of these lanes to buses is no doubt deeply troubled, but probably not insane in any clinically diagnosable way (although I do have to note that, assuming 40 foot buses running five minutes apart and at 25 mph a mere 3.6% of available lane space will be used at any given moment).

    But 7th street? We're talkin' 'bout 7th street? 7th street? We're talking about seventh street. A street already badly snarled by potholes, MCI center traffic, and clueless tourists. A street with only two northbound lanes, and no left turn traffic signals. This buses-only lane, if actually enforced, guarantees that 7th will become a godawful exercise in waiting for the guy ahead of you to turn left (although I understand it's still legal, I've always considered insisting on turning left to be extremely poor road etiquette). Not only that, but this is a street that already requires drivers to break the law by changing lanes as they cross intersections, due to the way the various left-or-right-turn-only lanes are configured. This bus lane makes that fiasco even worse.

    The solution that other cities have implemented is to give buses the center lane, and turn it into a buses-slash-left turn lane -- you only need one bus lane per street, after all, and one left turn lane can be shared by traffic going in both directions. The buses might have to occasionally wait for drivers to turn, but come on -- it's a goddamn bus, and it costs a dollar. What did you expect?

    comments [3] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
    July 05, 2005
    July 05, 2005
    the anarchists next door D.C.

    If the Governess hadn't mentioned it, I never would have known it existed: the DC InfoShop is about one block away from us. You guys need a better sign. Also, smarter patrons: suddenly all of the juvenile anarchist graffiti in our neighborhood makes a lot more sense.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    note to greenpeace D.C.

    best not to employ clipboard boys around d.c. who:

    -are indistinguishable from the potentially harmfuly and loony homeless man around the corner. a shower and a haircut will go a long way in this town.

    -see me coming from a block away, pick me as obvious target, converge with your fellow unwashed greenpeace mate, who has not engaged anybody in conversation either, most likely because the stink is warding off everybody in the goddamn golden triangle, and start doing a strange clipboard/monkey dance in which you swivel your hips and suggestively thrust said clipboard towards me.

    -shout something imperceptible at me as i turned my ipod up and speed the hell away from you as fast as i can in my heels.

    note to self: never, EVER, give money to greenpeace.

    goddammit, i hate the clipboard jerks around town in summer.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 04, 2005
    July 04, 2005
    dumb dumb dumb D.C.

    I'm watching PBS's Fourth of July broadcast at the moment, and while it's nice to have a talented orchestra underscore American awesomeness, I'm a little confused. Sure, I don't know anything about classical music... but did you guys really just play a piece from the last Star Wars movie?

    I may actually be a culturally illiterate dimwit, but I don't usually expect PBS to be the one pointing it out to me.

    Also: for a celebration of Americanousity in all its forms, this show has got a pretty high percentage of foreigners performing. When does Charlie Daniels go on?

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    June 23, 2005
    June 23, 2005
    DCist announcement D.C.

    well, not really an announcement, especially for those of you who know me and have been reading my blog for a while. but anyways!

    come september, i am leaving D.C. for chicago to study new media at northwestern university. it's a year-long program, and i do hope to return to the area after i graduate, but i can't be in denial any longer: i'm going to have to give up my position as Associate Editor at DCist.com. and so we're looking for a replacement.

    i'm posting this on my personal blog instead of on DCist itself mainly because i want to hopefully get responses from a smaller, more select group of people. not that like my readership is of UTMOST AWESOME quality - uh, i mean, you totally are! best readers ever! - but that people who read this blog probably have a better understand of a) what i do at DCist b) the music scene in D.C. c) the blogging scene in D.C. and d) blogging and DCist style in general.

    as it stands, my responsibilities at DCist aren't entirely focused, but i do the following every week, or at least try to:
    -write a weekly music agenda on mondays of shows that i think will be good
    -do a DCist music interview with a local band, to be published on thursdays
    -write a weekend picks post on fridays, highlighting interesting events on friday, saturday, and sunday
    -try to write or solicit-and-edit one or two concert reviews every week or two.

    every once in a while i'll write a post on a random topic, like my Baking In post from yesterday, or various news items that interest me. you can see a list of all my posts ever here.

    behind the scenes, the responsibilities are more general. for example, i've done (with kyle) most of the planning for the Unbuckled concert (to which you ARE coming), and some planning is usually involved with happy hours and editorial direction. the core staff of DCist meets, i'd guess, about once a month to talk about these things.

    anyway, DCist is totally great and has been one of the most positive things i've ever been involved in. all the staff have become good friends, and they're an amazing group of motivated and talented people. i'm too sad to be leaving, but since i have to, i want to find one (or two, perhaps) really good, committed people that would be willing to cover music stuff and help DCist grow even more awesome. so if you're at all interested and would like to email/meet in person to talk about it, send me one of those email thingies, and we'll chat.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 14, 2005
    June 14, 2005
    seriously guys D.C.

    exhibit one:

    "[T]his is the longest day of the year. Its called the 'summer solstice' and happens around 21 June. Astronomers call this the start of summer"

    Today is June 14. I haven't double-checked my math, but I think that makes it still officially spring.

    exhibit two:

    "The high temperatures Tuesday are forcing some schools to close early, including D.C. Public Schools, which will let students out at 12:30 p.m."

    Hmm.

    On the upside, the mayor's heat plan includes the extension of public swimming pool hours and "street showers" (which are presumably more pleasant than they sound). I hear Fenty's promising free ice cream.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    June 09, 2005
    June 09, 2005
    unbuckled! D.C.
    unbuckled.gif

    DCist presents: Unbuckled! save the date and come on out! or i will cry like a little girl...

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 05, 2005
    June 05, 2005
    braves on the warpath D.C.

    Well, it looks like talented Redskins safety Sean Taylor has just turned himself over to police in Miami-Dade. ESPN is reporting that it's for a felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm and a count of simple battery, but the cops aren't yet confirming that. There seems to have been some shooting, but nobody was hurt. Well, Coach Gibbs did say he was going to have the team use the shotgun more. HAH!

    Anyway, it's nice to see that Sean's been keeping himself busy. You might remember that Mr. Taylor has declined to participate in the Skins' "optional" workouts, or even pick up the phone to let the team know where he was. His buddy from Miami, Clinton Portis, assured us that Sean was just letting off some steam. In retrospect, someone probably should have asked for a clarification.

    Oh, and those optional workouts? The team posted video of them on their website, showing drills being conducted with contact -- which under league rules is a no-no for these kinds of offseason gatherings. It's likely that the Redskins will face some sort of sanction as a result.

    I find all of this highly encouraging. The team's had great offseasons and terrible uh, onseasons, for years now. And if one gets worse, clearly the other is likely to get better. C'mon, you went to elementary school. You remember Opposite Day. That's how these things work, right? Right?

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 26, 2005
    May 26, 2005
    wow D.C.

    I just heard an ad on the radio for the Nationals that included the line

    "See the Nats make cowards of the Atlanta Braves this Saturday and Sunday!"

    Is that great or what? Run with it, DC ad execs. I would love to see a promotional campaign for Redskins season tickets based around the phrase "the lamentations of their women".

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 23, 2005
    May 23, 2005
    half price half smoke D.C.  - food

    Wandering around the internet last night, desperate for something cheap and/or electronic on which to waste money, I came across this intriguing offer. Restaurant.com lets you buy certificates to a variety of eateries for less than their face value. Their DC list is mostly uninspiring... but wait! Ben's?!

    Yup. I was amazed when Catherine pointed out that the place featured online ordering. But apparently the Chili Bowl's online strategy goes even further than that. You can get $10 certificates to Ben's for $3 per. The catch is that they're only good after 5pm and the minimum purchase for your order is $15. But that's not bad -- for just 8 bucks you get $15 worth of deliciously blistered sausage and transcendently bad chili (also available by the gallon, by the way). That makes these certificates worth ordering and keeping folded up in your wallet, I think.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    meta D.C.

    the washington socialites, cleveland park mens club, and, indirectly, DCist and DC SOB hit the pages of the express. i'm a bit late on this as i was in charlottesville and didn't get a chance to see the article until today, but i'm not quite sure what to think. it's kind of awesome...right? it's also so insider it sort of makes me want to projectile vomit everywhere. i can't decide whether i'm excited or depressed that the popular kids have taken over the blogosphere. can't they just leave us inhaler using nerds our internets??

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 16, 2005
    May 16, 2005
    oh yeah D.C.

    Wiz v. Heat 5/12/05
    Originally uploaded by sbma44.
    Perhaps I should have mentioned: Charles, Matt, Charles' Dad (who is also Charles) and I went to the Heat game last Thursday, when the world was new and the playoffs a joyful novelty. And it was fun. I had my heart set on making a number of banal observations about the size of Shaq, but the poor baby had a bruised thigh. Don't tell him I said that, though.

    Anyway, the series has come and gone, but I've got the precious memories -- and better, a commemorative towel encouraging towel-viewers to "Beat The Heat". Well, it's a little late for that, and the seats proved to be too close together for the kind of coordinated towel waving that the Wizards were no doubt counting on to confuse and terrify their opponents. But having a washcloth-size square of fabric -- that possessed some absorbent power in spite of itself -- was a lifesaver when it came to spilled beer. Next season: commemorative Stadium Pals?
    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 13, 2005
    May 13, 2005
    bringing love online D.C.

    thought i'd give a shoutout to two d.c. blogs i've recently started reading regularly but will probably never add to the blogroll because i am so incredibly lazy: rock creek rambler and cleveland park junior club (who of late have morphed into pygmalion in a blanket, starting things off swell with a lovely, funny post about concerts this summer, with which i 100% agree, especially the parts about the ted leo show and travis morrison's magical impregnating hips). go. read. discover that d.c. isn't full of embittered, lowly idiots. rejoice.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 12, 2005
    May 12, 2005
    THE HORROR D.C.

    AHH! must...avert...eyes...

    flashbacks...to...terrible uva sororities...MY GOD. THE PLAID. MY GOD. GOING INTO BURBERRY-INDUCED SEIZURES.

    (ps - can i propose a photoshop contest if anyone is feeling unoccupied and bitchy? that guy in the cowboy hat deserves some SERIOUS adobe treatment.)

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 07, 2005
    May 07, 2005
    put on your robe and wizard cap D.C.

    I was two years old the last time Washington won a playoff series. But now the Wiz are headed to Miami! Needless to say, discussing the likely outcome of that series would be in extremely poor taste right now, so I'll just say that really big guys are much more likely to spontaneously have heart attacks, and consequently the Wizards' chances really aren't all that bad.

    And to answer your question: yes, so far the ride on the bandwagon has been quite pleasant and smooth. Wooo! Go Zards!

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 06, 2005
    May 06, 2005
    DCist happy hour... D.C.  - blog

    was a success, as far as i'm concerned. i'd been wanting to write a lengthy recap all day, but work got the better of me. suffice to say that it was very fun, tons of people were out, i met many cool people, and i about cried tears of happiness when ms. seeking irony busted out "like a prayer" and "since u been gone," two of the only songs guaranteed to get me on the dance floor.

    i met many-a-blogger and was surprised at how lovely they all were. no, scratch that - i'm not really surprised anymore when i met bloggers and end up liking them. maybe it's just cause i'm always drinking when i meet online people, but whatever the reason is, bloggers are the shizznit. excuse me if i'm forgetting anybody, but i had the pleasure of meeting and talking with shesbitter, skunkeye, seeing kelly ann and luke again, several DCist readers and commenters, plus all the regular DCist and bluestate folk.

    the only thing i'm sorry about: not staying late enough to see the fight where some dude BIT A GIRL and the drunk girl who knocked over a toilet. man, i've been drunk many a time in my day...but how the fuck do you knock over a toilet? the mind boggles. any bets on what she could have been doing? and do we really want to know?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 03, 2005
    May 03, 2005
    unanticipated successes D.C.

    The Wizards have drawn even in the series -- this seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone to go visit your friends the WizzNutzz, who're having a banner year themselves: they just got a piece in McSweeney's! Funnier than Fafblog? Aubernica says: yes!

    On an unrelated note, we missed out on game 6 tickets. They previously weren't on sale -- that seemed logical, since the game wasn't guaranteed to happen. But apparently that wasn't the actual reason, because they went on sale sometime this weekend, while game 6 was still but a fevered dream. And now the cheap seats are gone. Nuts.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    relentless promotion, here i come! D.C.

    DON'T FORGET! you won't be able to, because i will be harassing you from now till thursday at 7 p.m.:

    DCist Cinco De Mayo Happy Hour
    Tunes Spun by bluestate
    Chance To Complain To Our Faces in Person, Jerkwad

    if you're a reader of DCist and this site, please don't hesitate to come up and introduce yourselves. despite what you may think, i am a LOVELY person.

    when i'm sober i look like this ('cept usually not riding a duck. usually).
    when i'm drunk i look like this, or this, or this, and will be slurring, "heyyyyy i'm shhooo glad you could come! you're beautiful!"

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 02, 2005
    May 02, 2005
    do DCist D.C.

    or drink with DCist this thursday to celebrate cinco de mayo. either way, it's guaranteed to be a fantastic, drunken party! come out to fawn over/berate your favorite/most hated d.c. bloggers! the fantabulous bluestate will be spinning some wonderful tunes. and i promise to get ridiculously drunk and make a fool out of myself. what more could you want?

    CDM_FLIER.gif

    UPDATE: drink specials for the night:
    All Night Happy Hour
    $3 Corona & Pacifico bottles
    $5 Cuervo & Sauza tequila
    $5 margueritas (rail)
    $3 domestic bottles (Bud/Budlight/Miller Lite)
    $4 rail drinks

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 20, 2005
    April 20, 2005
    wondering D.C.

    walking home from work on this near-90 degree day, and passing people who were exposing much more flesh than they really needed to be exposing, and spending 67% of my walk home wincing, i was reminded of something susan and i talked about in chicago. one day, probably while drunk (because as i remember the trip, i was drunk for 75% of the time), i said something to the effect of "godDAMN there are a lot of attractive people in this city." everywhere i looked i saw cute girls, cute guys, cute babies, cute old people. i wondered if it was just chicago that was particularly good looking, or if most cities were this way (my domestic travel is pretty limited to the east coast). susan turned to me very seriously and said "catherine. you must know. DC is a Very Ugly City."

    now i wasn't sure this was true. i'm of the opinion that all of my female friends are, well, hotties, and the guys aren't terrible either. but maybe it's just that, having lived in the area all of my life except for my italy stint, i have become accustomed to the mediocrity that are the asymmetrical, pockmarked, flabby faces and bodies of the DC elite. i mean, i have long known that DC is an Unfashionable City (yglesias argued a while back that DC's reputation as an unfashionable city is merely due to unfortunate and excessive comparisons with NYC and LA; but have you SEEN how the boy dresses? he knows nothing, nothing!), but are we an Ugly City? a Fugly City, even? and if we are excessively ugly, why is that? i know our congressional representatives are nasty-looking, but their ugliness hasn't taken over the entire city, has it? i would think that the hotness of the southern belles and gentlemen that have invaded the city since the bushies took over would balance everything out. but it seems not...

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 15, 2005
    April 15, 2005
    aramark of the beast D.C.

    Last night, thanks to the generosity of Charles' folks, he, Kriston, Reid and I got to go to the Nationals home opener.

    baseball.jpg

    There it is: DC baseball. I won't lie and say I never thought I'd see the day, or that I've been waiting all of my life for baseball to come back to town. The truth is that as a kid I didn't play it, watch it, or really even care for it. But now I'm settling into it. I don't get excited about the scandals or stars or pennant races. But I do find watching games to be a soothing way to spend an afternoon or evening. To me, baseball is like a nice hammock. I'm glad it's here.

    Besides, when middle-class white guys hit their fifties, natural law mandates that they become obsessed with either delta blues or the romanticized timelessness of baseball. At the moment both seem pretty detestable -- but only one prominently features hot dogs, so I'm planning to go with baseball.

    At least, baseball is supposed to feature hot dogs. That's right -- here comes the official "whining" portion, required in order for this to qualify as a real blog post. We had all met up at Gordon Biersch for a few beers and some garlic fries prior to metroing over to the stadium. GB's garlic fry portions are pretty measly, so by the third inning or so I was getting hungry. Off to the concession stand!

    food_line.jpg

    Here's the line for food outside of our section. I would say that this picture doesn't capture how bad it was, but in a way it does: this picture doesn't move, and neither did the line. As four innings ticked away I watched the clueless Aramark employees run out of hot dogs twice (hint: start cooking more before you sell all of the ones in the hot dog machine) and peanuts and pretzels once -- but the peanut/pretzel shortage was more definitive. Charles scoured the stadium. They were out them everywhere.

    Why did I spend four innings in line? Well, because I'm stupid. I know, sunk costs and all that. But it really kept looking like finally, FINALLY things were going to get moving. But some new catastrophe always arose. Still, I was hungry, and I had committed to getting food for other folks.

    By the time I got to the front of the line I wanted nothing more than to club the cashiers' skulls in with a gigantic animal femur. But viewing the spectacle up close, I couldn't muster too much anger. Yes, they could've done better -- but they were clearly new to the job, and had obviously received no training at all from Aramark. Every employee would stop and chat happily -- and langorously -- with customers. Every route to the soda machine was a new and distinct odyssey. My cashier didn't even count out change properly, picking at the top of a stack of bills with her index fingers rather than deftly shuffling them along with her thumb. A few games from now these folks will be efficient foodservice automatons, appropriately dead to the world. Last night, though, Aramark tried its very hardest to ruin the game for a lot of fans.

    But it ended up alright. The other guys purchased emergency backup beers for me while I was in line. The Nats won, I got a hot dog, and after the game we went to Ben's, where at least the inefficient distribution of sausages is intentional.

    Oh, one other thing: protestor guy. Yeah you, the guy with the southern accent SCREAMING chants about DC schools at the fans going through security. Take a cue from the thoughtful vet(?) who went after you: know your audience, make some sense, and/or shut the fuck up. I'm anti-voucher, I'd like to see a privately financed stadium, and I, too, think DC ought to do something about educating its residents. But trying to link the construction of a stadium to the war in Iraq seemed like a bit of stretch. By the time you had finished speaking I wanted to fill DC's schools with explosives and drop them on Syria.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 14, 2005
    April 14, 2005
    wheat is murder D.C.

    I've been jealous of my friends' brushes with DC fame -- Kriston got to tell off Bob Novak! Yglesias knows Wonkette! Catherine's spotted Stephanopolous! The best I've managed so far is peering at Condi Rice's birthday party on my way to the bathroom at Galileo. That's okay... I guess.

    Last night I came a little closer to evening the score. On my way home from the Y, stopping at Whole Foods to buy some organic cruelty-free skim milk (lactated in the presence of soothing quartz crystals, no doubt) I saw Dennis Kucinich. Well, okay, I didn't see him. The guy ahead of me in line saw him as I stupidly fiddled with my phone. The exchange went something like this:

    Guy (sarcastically): Looks like it'd be a blast to work for him (points).
    Me: Huh?
    Guy: Over there. Kucinich.
    Me: (thinking: what is he trying to say? "goose and finch"? "kaja goo goo"?)
    Guy: Dennis Kucinich. He ran for president.
    Me: That's like, uh, king, right?

    At last I gathered my wits and snapped a cameraphone picture, which I seem to have immediately deleted on my way out of the store. But trust me: the three or four pixels you're missing out on would have been indisputably Kucinichesque. Other fascinating bits of Kucinichiania:


    • even shorter than you'd think

    • hair is made of plastic

    • was giving the people at the bread counter a hard time vis a vis loaf selection, apparently

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 06, 2005
    April 06, 2005
    springtime: not just for hitler anymore D.C.

    sammitch.jpgA painfully and weirdly strained upper back is keeping me from thinking of anything actually worth writing, but I do want to say that in the last twenty-four hours I've been having a particularly good time in the city. Last night we got (sort of) half-priced Belgian beers at Bohemian Cavern; a bizarre antisemitic tract handed to us by a passing weirdo; unsuccessfully shaken down for cigarettes by a homeless guy; amazing chicken and mac & cheese from Oohs and Ahhs; offered the opportunity to purchase stolen bikes by two guys at the bus stop (thankfully, not our own); and grilled sausage sandwiches and pizza for $10 in Galileo's backyard.

    Yeah, I know: "it's all quirky local color until you get mugged, you idiot gentrifier". And you're right. In the past I've found myself decidedly less charmed by bicycle thieves. But with enough beer and enough sun, it's nearly impossible to get very upset about anything. I'll return to withered misanthropy as soon as I can, I promise.

    Incidentally, if you have any inclination to get in on this Galileo grillin' action, you really ought to. They don't do it every day, but they will be tomorrow -- have a look at the menu (and sign up for grilling notifications) here. Folks queue up in the laboratorio, grab their choice of sandwich and then head out back to munch in the sun. Best $10 meal I've had a in a long time.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 01, 2005
    April 01, 2005
    foto D.C.  - music

    rob just added a neat new feature to DCist.com (i know, how could it get EVEN NEATER?) - flickr photos that automatically post themselves to www.dcist.com/photos.php. just upload your photo, tag it with "dcist", or email it to fact18working at photos.flickr.com with a title and description. it's purty cool.

    also purty cool was phoenix last night at the 9:30 club - i've got a brief review up here. they were indescribably slick and french, and first thing kyle said to me when their set was finished was, "all six of them are totally getting laid tonight." and even though they all probably weighed about 105 pounds soaking wet, had greasy hair and skinny, skinny pants, it was true. they were sorta like maroon 5, if maroon 5 was french and awesome. or maybe like jameraquai, except minus all the annoying crap. i recommend you check out some of their videos here.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 28, 2005
    March 28, 2005
    social socialites D.C.

    i forgot to mention - last friday i went with DCist-ers mike, becca and kanishka to a guest-list only party at indebleu thrown by the washington socialites. all i know is that the free drinks kept on a-comin', there were cameras and flat screens in the bathrooms, and much tabletop dancing went on. not by me, thankfully. though it was probably close.

    today i checked the socialite's site and saw that they had put a gallery of photos up. then i realized what else was at the party: a hell of a lot of breasts. thankfully i'm only in the background of one of the pictures on this page, looking about as bemused by the scene as i felt. but it was definitely a good time. huzzah to the socialites!

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 08, 2005
    March 08, 2005
    the shame D.C.

    Alright, someone has to blink. Yes, the DC blogosphere has kept up a brave face, going through the motions of denial in precise synchrony. Keep your eyes up and a smile on your face. Only later, when the lights are out, the alarm is set, and it's just you and an empty universe -- only then can you let in that flicker of honesty that will inevitably send you plummetting down an endless chasm of despair.

    You're a fraud. We're all frauds. Our heroes are weaklings, our imagined power is officious bluster, and the goddamn pandas aren't fooling anybody.

    I am, of course, referring to Roberto Donna's shameful performance on last Sunday's Iron Chef: America. Chef Donna, of Galileo, is considered to be one of our city's top 2 or 3 chefs, and while nobody would rank Washington among the foremost culinary capitals of the world, residents like to think the city acquits itself pretty well, subsidized as it is by thousands of lobbyist expense accounts.

    Sure, Donna would likely be facing one of the country's foremost Italian chefs in the form of Mario Batali -- victory was not certain, but surely it would be a valiant battle. But wait -- what's this? Batali wouldn't be competing? No, instead Donna faced Masaharu Morimoto, that shock-artist prettyboy. Alright, points for disliking Bobby Flay, but this should have been a walk in the park.

    But instead Donna, the region's pride, failed to even meet him on the field of battle: the sack of guts only completed 2 out of the required 5 dishes within the time limit and barely scored half as many points as Morimoto. Oh, Roberto.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 13, 2005
    February 13, 2005
    monumental D.C.

    earlier today, while tommy and i were waiting for kriston in front of the national gallery of art (i was off to the kersetz exhibit, they were headed to a lecture by ed ruscha), we noticed an utterly bizarre monument standing alone on a slab of concrete by 7th St and Pennsylvania Ave. it was a four-columned canopy, covering two grotesque, interwined fish; a wispy crane stood on top of the covering, and the columns were emblazed with one word on each of them: FAITH / TEMPERANCE / CHARITY / HOPE.

    really, what the fuck? it was random. take a look at this photo.

    so, this evening, i turned to the trusty internets to answer my freaky crane/dolphin/temperance monument question. turns out that it was actually a functioning fountain built by somebody named henry cogswell, a san francisco dentist who was disturbed by the alcoholic tendencies of soldiers returning from the civil war. he sponsored this particular d.c. monument, as well as 50 similar other ones across the country, in order to offer free drinking water to people in hopes that they'd take a sip from the fountain instead of heading to one of the nearby saloons. hmm. let's call him an optimist, shall we?

    anyway, searching for information about the temperance monument led me to several pages about d.c. monuments in general, and i learned something important. and that something is that d.c. is an incredibly weird city with hundreds, if not thousands, of pointless monuments and memorials.

    i had been vaguely aware of the scores and scores of random monuments and statues littering our fair city; for example, when i was training for the marathon i'd often run past the hains point "the awakening" statue. sometimes while grabbing lunch in dupont circle, i'll walk past the sonny bono memorial park. (yes, WE HAVE A SONNY BONO MEMORIAL PARK AND IT TOOK US AGES TO GET A NATIVE AMERICAN MUSEUM).

    but scouring through various sites dedicated entirely to d.c. monuments, i'm finding some even stranger shit. for example: did you know this city has a monument (albeit a small statue) to Fala, one of FDR's dogs? or that little stone house on the corner of 15th and Constitution is called the Bulfinch Gatehouse, and it used to be there in order to monitor the then-heavily wooded Mall, where people would let their cattle graze? isn't it interesting that the boy scouts of america memorial prominently features a TOTALLY naked roman soldier teaching a young boy how to, um, hold a sword? and let's not forget the world's largest chair in anacostia and the plaque commemorating mary surratt, the first women executed by the US government for her alleged role in helping plan the assasination of lincoln.

    truly fascinating stuff. forget valentine's day; i'm going to spend all of tomorrow stalking weird d.c. monuments.

    other good resources: kitty tours monuments and DCist monuments features.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 08, 2005
    February 08, 2005
    nobody beats the wiz D.C.

    victory.pngLst night Charles, Brian, Matt and I went to see the Wizards beat the hated Indiana Pacers in an exciting to-the-wire victory that I'm sure was deeply symbolic for some reason. This little outing was thrown together at the last moment, but things went off without a hitch -- turns out it's easy to navigate the challenges of professional sporting event attendance when the team in question hasn't won a playoff game in sixteen years.

    But this year! This year things are clearly possibly going to be different, maybe. So why the game was sparsely-attended is somewhat of a mystery to me: the Wiz (actual alternate nickname: 'Zards) are in fourth place in the East despite star player Larry Hughes being sidelined with a broken hand. Friends who understand such things assure me that (ignoring for the moment their inevitable annual meltdown) Washington will be seeded against the Heat in the playoffs, ensuring an almost-immediate loss -- so now is the time to go see Gilbert Arenas wreck house. A mere $10 ticket will buy you a seat featuring the unofficial halftime upgrade plan.

    This was the first time I've been to an NBA game since the days of the Bullets, although I've made it to MCI for hockey games a bit more frequently. I was glad to see that the franchise seems to be appropriately ashamed of their insipid mascot -- aside from the logo on the court and a pointed hat on the nonspecifically fuzzy mascot, there weren't any allusions to wizardry at all. It's almost like taking the most effete bits from Dungeons & Dragons and marketing them to the fans of a sport defined by contemporary black culture is a bad idea. Weird!

    Anyway, the healthy sense of shame was good to see, but rest assured I still found something to get upset about: MCI no longer sells Gordon Biersch garlic fries! Outrageous! Preposterous! And while my hot dog did resemble rehydrated jerky in an interesting and fairly pleasant way, there were no packets of onions available. C'mon Abe! Washington deserves better than this. We demand concession concessions. Can't you get the folks from Ben's to set up a beachhead?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 07, 2005
    February 07, 2005
    not bad for a monday D.C.  - photos

    turns out d.c. is a rather lovely city to live in, especially when you've more or less got the day off of work and the weather outside is spring-in-february. tommy and i took the opportunity to ride the metro up to the national zoo, mostly because i was just about dying to see the four new baby cheetahs. the tiny little furballs were out, but since they were just in their faraway cage, i couldn't really get any good photos of them. doesn't matter. just check out this set of thumbnails and prepare to die at their cuteness.

    we went on to check out the elephant house (which strangely also houses giraffes, hippos, and the nasty, nasty capybara, which is apparently the largest rodent in the world; some weirdo has archived a whole set of photos of the capybaras' original arrival at the d.c. zoo).

    tommy had to leave soon thereafter, but i spent a while more, just roaming around the zoo and taking bad photos (you can see my flickr set here), and marvelling at the pure weirdness of animals. i mean, i haven't been to the zoo in over a decade so i'm not used to checking out wildlife close up, but really, does anyone sometimes look at a giraffe or hippo or seal, and think, "holy fuck, that is one crazy-looking thing?" it's like when you say a word several times over and it loses all meaning; staring into the eyes of a hippo has the same effect. and it can TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN.

    anyway, after my mind-trip at the zoo, i walked back home (yes, i walked from up on connecticut down to shaw; i couldn't help it. it was gorgeous outside, and it's only about 2.5 miles, and i really needed to do something to get rid of my gut from eating two pizzas and 376 wings the night before while watching the superbowl). i cleaned up around the house a little bit, tommy headed off to meet charles and matt to watch a wizards game, so i have the house to myself, am listening to "the tyranny of distance" and "i'm wide awake, it's morning," and drinking several glasses of chianti. a very nice monday, overall. and after spending almost the entire day at the zoo, where i hadn't been since middle school, i'm inspired to go check out other classic d.c. establishments where i never take the chance to go. so tomorrow, perhaps the air and space museum? the botanical gardens? um, shopping in georgetown? that's totally classic.

    also noted: this advertisement in the metro.

    UPDATE: if you go RIGHT NOW to the cheetah cam, you can see them sleeping, wrapped up into four little fuzzballs in a row, and IT IS SO AWESOME. i've been watching it for ten minutes now. i suppose i should also let you know that i'm the kind of person who watched 45 minutes of the puppy bowl last night.

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 28, 2005
    January 28, 2005
    pitchers D.C.  - blog  - photos

    Now that we've gotten actual snow, even those who didn't hate the site's background are probably pretty sick of it. So I set out to make an irritatingly clever replacement. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to make my idea work with the site, composition-wise, and the actual photos have some problems with shadows and the graffiti fading. I had to use the burn tool in photoshop to make it even this legible -- and you can't even see that I'm rocking out to the Dave Matthews Band! Oh well. Although it won't work with the design, our anonymous neighbor's suggestion would still be a great alternate blog title.

    Yuppies Out Of Shaw!

    And while I'm at it, how about some more graffiti? I shouldn't encourage these idiots, but at least they're more imaginative than simple taggers...

    99 bottles of beer on a fuckin' wall

    comments [3] trackBack [2] posted by tom - link
    January 27, 2005
    January 27, 2005
    d.c. voting, again D.C.

    a bit from abc7:

    D.C. residents fought for voting rights in Iraq, and an Iraqi-American is returning the favor.

    Andy Shallal calls it unfair that he can vote in Sunday's Iraqi elections, before D.C. veterans of the Iraq war will elect a voting representative in Congress. Shallal says he was moved to join the fight for voting rights when he heard about those veterans.

    Shallal and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton were on Capitol Hill where they thanked three of the vets. Norton and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman used the occasion to introduce a bill aimed at giving District residents full voting rights.

    Lieberman says bringing full democracy home is a difficult battle which makes many Republicans uncomfortable. Norton says the voting rights in their bill are available to the citizens of Iraq thanks to the service of D.C. residents and other Americans.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 25, 2005
    January 25, 2005
    82% D.C.

    some heartening news this morning: 82% of people polled in a 1,000-person poll conducted by a nonpartisan group support voting rights for the district. and it extends across party lines, too: 77% of republicans supported it, as did 87% of democrats.

    "The current war environment and discussion about spreading democracy around the world has an influence on people's thoughts when you ask them whether or not people in the U.S. capital should have voting rights," Richards said.

    About 82 percent of survey respondents said the nearly 600,000 D.C. residents should have equal voting rights, after being told that District residents serve in the military and pay local and federal taxes but have no voting representative in the House or Senate. Support was strong among self-identified Republicans (77 percent) and Democrats (87 percent).

    Thirteen percent said D.C. should not have full voting rights, and 5 percent said they did not know. Of those who opposed equal voting rights, 28 percent favored granting the District at least a vote in the House.

    Richards acknowledged that the poll did not pose any counter-argument against representation, which is not provided for in the U.S. Constitution, and that the question's wording may have influenced the responses. But he said the percentage of Americans supporting equal representation has increased from 72 percent in 2000, when he conducted a survey for Bisconti Research Inc.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 19, 2005
    January 19, 2005
    soft white death D.C.

    Well, it's snowing in DC. Hard. So, to my friends and family: I love you all. We had a pretty good run. See you at tha crossroads.

    Snow in DC area is less about meteorology than eschatology. Half an inch and school gets cancelled. Much more and discussions begin about whether we've reached the end of human history, or just the end of our particular civilization. Across the region stores are now out of bread, milk and toilet paper. If they sold ammunition they'd be out of that, too.

    Well, good luck to everybody -- it's getting slippery out there. Walking back from the convention center metro this morning I slipped on a snow-covered metal plate and fell soundly on my ass. Between the irritatingly dangerous conditions and the dangerously irritating inaugural festivities, staying inside is looking better and better. Say, how do cowboy boots perform on black ice, anyway?

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 11, 2005
    January 11, 2005
    it's official D.C.

    i mean, d.c. is perfectly safe from terrorists. president bush, feel free to take the city's money to pay for your party:

    The District of Columbia will pay the overtime costs for all officers from all law enforcement agencies involved in the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.

    The city will pay $11 million from its federal homeland security budget to cover the costs, City Administrator Robert C. Bobb said Tuesday.

    "That includes District of Columbia police as well as all other law enforcement agencies that will be coming in to support the district," Bobb said. "As the city's homeland security advisor, I feel that's appropriate."

    The city is also seeking permission to dip into its $240 million allotment from the federal government to pay for other costs it is incurring during the inauguration. D.C.'s total cost for the event is expected to be $17.3 million.

    District residents shouldn't have to pay those costs from their own pockets, Bobb said.

    Other district officials said the federal government should pay for the city's share of the inaugural costs directly.

    "The president and Congress saw fit to grant $50 million to New York and Boston for security at last year's political conventions, but they won't lay down a single dime to pay specifically for the inauguration," said D.C. Councilman David A. Catania, I-At Large.

    not to mention that tommy, charles and i really are likely to be confined to our house on january 20th: "The Mount Vernon Square-Convention Center station is likely to be closed at some time, Farbstein said, because almost all the inaugural balls will be held at the Washington Convention Center. "

    like i said, it's the apartment's roof and a bottle of tanqueray. good times, good times.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 10, 2005
    January 10, 2005
    we didn't need it anyway D.C.

    fabulous. i can't even get over irony of the fact that most of the major players in the US government right now would rather drink a rat milkshake than consider giving DC statehood, but they've got no problem with the city spending $17.3 million out of its own pocket to fund the inauguration:

    The District expects the whole thing to cost it $17.3 million dollars. Mayor Anthony Williams would like a federal appropriation to help with the costs, but his spokeswoman, Sharon Gang, says they've been told that won't happen.

    Instead, the mayor wants to use 5.4 million from the Emergency Planning and Security Cost Fund. That's been dipped into before to cover costs for things like Ronald Reagan's funeral and World Bank protests.

    But that leaves nearly $12 million unfunded. So the mayor suggests using regional homeland security grant money. He's sent a letter to Secretary Tom Ridge, asking if that's an appropriate use of the funds.

    brilliant, mayor williams! instead of getting a federal appropriation to cover the costs, we're going to take money out of a fund that should be protecting us from terrorists. D.C., a town that's about 95% blue, that is probably one of the highest-risk targets for terrorism, that has no congressional representation, is going to spend a good chunk of its Don't Kill Us, Please money on paying for the activities and alcohol of a bunch of republicans.

    i am so totally spending january 20th on the roof of our apartment with a bottle of tanqueray, throwing spitballs and incoherent, slurred insults at anybody who passes by in cowboy boots.

    UPDATE: from the moonie times: "The Washington Post reported the money is for construction and security costs and the Bush administration is balking at reimbursing the money to the District of Columbia as it and other administrations did previously."

    and more from the post:

    D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.

    Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.

    ... A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor's stance. He called the Bush administration's position "simply not acceptable."

    "It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.

    ... The $17.3 million the city expects to spend on this inauguration marks a sharp increase from the $8 million it incurred for Bush's first.

    According to Williams's letter, the District anticipates spending $8.8 million in overtime pay for about 2,000 D.C. police officers; $2.7 million to pay 1,000-plus officers being sent by other jurisdictions across the country; $3 million to construct reviewing stands; and $2.5 million to place public works, health, transportation, fire, emergency management and business services on emergency footing.

    Congressional aides said the District sought unsuccessfully last year to boost the annual security reimbursement fund from $15 million to $25 million to pay for inauguration expenses. In contrast, New York City and Boston-area lawmakers were able to obtain $50 million from Congress for each of those two jurisdictions to cover local security costs for the national political conventions.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 08, 2005
    January 08, 2005
    cancel that outrage D.C.  - bitching

    Charles reports that those jerks at NBC4 has finally done something besides dashing the snowday hopes of suburban schoolchildren. Seems that the bed & breakfast across the alley from us wasn't too keen on the security restrictions being put in place for the inauguration -- they were fully booked up, but under the security policy their guests wouldn't be allowed in the area. Put that on camera with a sympathetic reporter, add a little incoherent rambling from Jim Vance and suddenly you've got the MPD's ear. I can't find a link for the story on WRCTV's website, but Charles assures me that a police department functionary has promised the security policies will be reviewed and revised.

    Way to go, local news! You may now return to your usual schedule of stories about the lurking threat of death by shopping cart, and the silent epidemic of orthodontia-induced pediatric blindness.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 07, 2005
    January 07, 2005
    they've got balls D.C.

    as tommy mentioned below, we're apparently going to be under house arrest/suspicion of treason for the days before, on, and after the presidential inauguration due to our proximity to the convention center, where many of the events will be held. hmm. time to kick out that terrorist we've been renting our laundry room to!

    i got curious which events, exactly, will be held at the convention center, and found a web site with all of the balls listed for my convenience. out of something like 32 balls, six will be held at the center, all at the same time. there's got to be some law of physics that states with that many drunk cowboy-boots-wearing republicans in the same place at the same time, mixed in with red state triumphalism, bad music, and awkward dancing, anti-matter itself will spontaneously be created.

    but the funniest part of all is the names of the balls. whoever's on the Inaugural Balls Naming Committee should be congratulated for their originality. we have:

    The Freedom Ball
    The Patriot Ball
    The Liberty Ball
    The Independence Ball
    The Democracy Ball
    The Stars and Stripes Ball
    The Constitution Ball
    oh, and the Texas-Wyoming Ball

    what's even funnier? ohio and florida get their OWN balls, which is, of course a coincidence. meanwhile, we're still awaiting the announcement of the Iraq is Not Fucked and the Our God is an Awesome God Balls.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    yay freedom! D.C.  - bitching

    We found this on our doorstep earlier this week (it was in all caps -- I've altered that to make it readable):

    Dear Residents and Business Owners:

    On Thursday, January 20, 2005, the nation will celebrate the Presidential Inauguration. The events are held in the nation's capital. This year there will be the inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Avenue during the day and then several inaugural balls during the evening hours.

    This year multiple inaugural balls will be held at the D.C. Convention Center, thus your neighborhood will feel an impact from these events. Some of your nighttime activities may be restricted (parking, driving, having visitors).

    We would like to report that traffic may be blocked along the 7th and 9th Street corridors. There may be areas (streets and parking lots) that parking may not be permitted during the event, specifically in the 1200 blocks of 7th streets.

    Residents will be required to present identification that verifies their residence in marked, secured areas. Those that do not have proper identification will not be permitted in secured areas around the convention center.

    We apologize for any inconvenience that this event may cause. Due to the heightened security in the nation, extra security precautions are required in a large scale event such as the presidential inauguration.

    Thank you and for further information, you may contact:

    Etc. Great. Look, I understand the need for security, but let's get real for a second: the convention center is gigantic structure spanning 3 or 4 city blocks. I am quite certain that it was designed to allow for security. Now, believe me, I am intimately aware that lots of people are upset with the kind of tuxedo-and-cowboy-boot-sporting dickheads who'll be trundling their Excursions past our home come January 20th. But what do you really think people in the neighborhood could do? Car bombs? It doesn't look like the kind of structure that'd be susceptible to that, but if you're worried, why not just put some Jersey barriers up on the street and some guards at the door? If your guests are terrified of walking past some black folks on the way to their car, maybe they could just take the train to the metro station in the convention center -- wouldn't that be easier for everybody?

    Seriously, am I really not allowed to have visitors? What's with all the "may" bullshit? And what's this about requiring "proper ID" -- my license still says I live in Virginia, you know. Since I haven't changed it, I guess the upshot is that I'm under house arrest for a night so that the Republicans can have a party.

    Yeesh. Count me slightly-more-embittered than usual.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 08, 2004
    December 08, 2004
    is it 2003 already? D.C.  - bitching

    By now, liberal whining about SUVs has transcended mere cliche and taken its place as one of the defining 3 or 4 caricatures most treasured by the world's dittoheads. But as you can probably tell from my writing, I'm not one to shy away from a good cliche.

    The DC Council has just voted to establish some new taxes and fees on SUVs in the District. As you might guess, I'm in favor: I think there are externalities associated with SUV ownership -- things like extra pollution and damage to roads -- that should be paid by people who want to own them.

    But even if SUV drivers pay their scientifically tabulated fair share, I know I won't be satisfied. Why? Can I just not stand the declasse spectacle of shameless and conspicuous consumption?

    Well, yes. But who am I kidding? I'm an American, too. I enjoy consuming barrels and barrels of oil as much as the next guy. I just like doing it more discreetly.

    I think the problem is that some of these externalities simply aren't fungible. There's a personal advantage to having more mass surrounding you as you barrel down the highway, or to being higher off of the ground than the losers in cars of conventional height. Unfortunately, the associated disadvantages to those around you are frequently in terms of life & limb. Charging a premium for ludicrously large vehicles and spending the money on road rage prevention is nice, and it's better than nothing, but it doesn't really make it any easier or safer for me to drive except insofar as it subtly discourages SUV purchases -- which I suspect isn't much.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 02, 2004
    December 02, 2004
    reverse carpetbagging D.C.

    I'm a few days late noting this, but Josh Marshall is moving to New York, thereby edging out Sally Jenkins for the title of DC's top Big Apple telejournalist.

    God dammit, we're a city too! Even if we do only have three rock venues.

    Oh well. At least Wonkette still loves us / has a mortgage here.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    November 22, 2004
    November 22, 2004
    insert team identity here D.C.

    image adapted from dcbaseball.comLooks like dcbaseball.com has unveiled the official team name and logo. It's the Washington Nationals, and the logo is a pleasantly shaded bit of nothing.

    It seems like a conscious decision was made to keep the team as featureless as possible. An adjective for the team name -- and a somewhat abstract one at that. Great. Red white and blue color scheme on the logo? Daring. I particularly like the use of a fucking baseball as the logo's centerpiece. In case people forget what sport they're watching, I guess.

    The worst part is the inevitability of the merchandising evolution. First there'll be the initial wave of "we'll buy anything" purchases. Then sports talk radio will get sick of using two unnecessary syllables -- there are so many athletes and coaches who we need to talk about firing, after all. So Nationals:Nats as Capitals:Caps. Reluctantly, we'll finally admit to ourselves that we're cheering for an airport (or a dead crooner), and Nat will come to mean Gnat.

    Almost immediately, a wave of starter jackets emblazoned with a ferocious-looking anthropomorphized insect will be disgorged onto area department stores. Post sportswriters will start a major push to convince readers that baseball puns involving the word "swat" are clever.

    natslogo.jpg

    Finally, a couple of Christmas seasons later, someone will design a real logo, which will be used for the absolute minimum period necessary to allow the sale of throwback paraphenalia.

    That's right: I have seen the future. And it's like today, but with slightly more holograms.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
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