Archive for July, 2004

Dispelling my slacker label once and for all…

Oh yeah, baby, that’s two posts in one day…now who’s a slacker?
Well, actually, I am.
But, I digress.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know before it’s all over but the crying: it’s Restaurant Week again, kids!
Now, go eat somewhere other than Chipotle for a change.

Let a smile be your umbrella. Or, you know, not.

Whenever I walk through a Metro station or a street in D.C., I have to remind myself not to smile at people. I went to a very small Christian school, where most people got into the habit of giving everyone on campus little smiles of acknowledgement, even when they passed people they didn’t know. Now that I’m away from school, it’s hard to get back into my original frame of mind. When you smile at people in D.C., they don’t smile back. They think you’re crazy. They want to cross the street and get away from you. They probably think you’re a terrorist.
Maybe Elaine had the right idea in that episode of Seinfeld where she suggested that everyone wear a nametag so that they would be friendlier. Oh, wait, that didn’t turn out so well. Never mind.

Calling All DC Bloggers…

It’s time once again for that most informal of gatherings: The Blogorama on Kalorama.
Think of it as our own little Algonquin Roundtable…if the Algonquin Roundtable was a bunch of bloggers standing around in a crowded, smoky bar talking about RSS feeds, and, of course, this being DC and all, politics.
Okay, fine.
So, just think of it as a chance to come out and mix and mingle with other DC bloggers. A chance to put faces with URLs. A chance to meet like-minded folks. A chance to argue with not-like-minded folks. And, of course, a chance you just might hook up.
I’m just sayin’.
At any rate, as with all past Blogoramas, Thursday’s festivities will take place at the impossibly located Rendezvous Lounge [Killing me with the not-Metro-convenient over here], and things get under way around 7:30 or so.
See you Thursday….

Metro Cops Packing Heat?

This morning, as per my morning routine, I ended up at the Pentagon Metro station and I saw something a bit unexpected. Usually, it’s not uncommon above ground to see police walking around carrying submachine guns with ammo bags, but in the metro station itself, I found it odd to suddenly see someone walking around, scanning faces in the crowd, clutching a submachine gun.
Is there some alert that changed the presence of police in the stations? Anyone else notice a well armed policeman?

Múm’s the word

Just a few words about Saturday’s Múm concert at the Black Cat.
The band was in top form, enveloping the Black Cat’s main room in a sonic atmosphere inhabited by sweeping hums and subtle noises that combined to make some of the most beautiful music in the world. The six band members buzzed around the stage, each taking turns at the myriad of instruments ranging from violins and keyboards to more unconventional ones such as a saw blade and tiny porcelain bells like Aunt Hilda used to collect. They played most of the new album, two of their “big” songs and blew us away with some new jams. Watching Múm was less like watching a band than it was like watching a six-armed, Victorian age, steam-powered robot; each arm powered by gears and archaic pulleys that work with uncanny precision at pulling off impossible feats of intricate music. It’s mind-blowing to think that these six humans can recreate what they did on Saturday night every night of a tour. The Múm experience makes you feel like you are seeing something truly unique, a special one-of a kind performance that’s just for you.
For the most part that’s how the show went. But there was also the extremely annoying quality that is especially particular to Black Cat crowds; rude, inane chatter of drunk hipsters. Every show is going to have its “loud drunk guy”, who usually ruins the first few songs and then gets his ass-kicked into silence. That’s to be expected. But at the Múm show, there were a hundred of them. AND THEY WOULD NOT SHUT UP! The main room was nearly full at the start of Múm’s set and there were literally more people talking than listening during the first half of the set. Múm are a band who use silence and tiny sounds as an integral part of their music and most of it was lost, buried under the chit-chat and laughing of all these jerks. It was particularly embarrassing when one thinks of the thousands of miles this band came to perform here, and people couldn’t even respect them enough to shut up and listen. It was like the hipsters were all there to show how cool they were for liking Múm, when really they could care less who the band was. Mercifully the posers began to filter out and the chatter died down by the middle of the set. I guess the hipsters got their cool points so it was safe for them to leave. By the end of the show, which soared into epic proportions after the jerks left, there were about 60 people remaining out of the original 150-200. I left the main room thinking that it would have been a better show had it only been the 60 true fans in there to begin with.

Yet another kid killed…

Anyone who has been paying attention to the local news this year knows that DC has seen way too many kids die this year as a result of gun violence. The latest victim was a 15 year old girl, Myesha Lowe, who was sitting in a car with friends in a residential neighborhood in NE when a car pulled up next to them and started shooting. One of the other kids killed this year was sitting watching tv in her aunt’s living room; another was sitting on a porch when a stray bullet wounded her. There have been a lot of kids hurt this year in DC.
Compare this to the mayor’s push in the last year or so to encourage more people to move into the district. Incidentally, I believe his focus is on attracting young singles and empty nesters.

“Free” Parking, TMBG, Boulevard and Saturday Night Out

Tonight I had a chance to go out to Live On Penn to catch They Might Be Giants and Fountains of Wayne with a few friends. The concert was great, but a few thoughts for the people who are running the show down at Live on Penn:

  • Beer was plentiful! As such, I bought many overpriced, undersized beers. Food, however, was a pain in the ass to get. Long lines. Lines that Didn’t Move. And only two choices? You had four beer trucks, three wine (okay, okay, Arbor Mist ain’t wine, but still) dispensaries, and only two vendors for food? WTF.
  • Gotta figure out how to better dispense with 7000 people all bound for the same metro station.
  • The extra long scratchy mix of “Hey Ya” was about 6 minutes too long. And I *like* that song.

Overall, TMBG was good, Fountains of Wayne was excellent. The six of us adjourned to Boulevard Woodgrill for some incredible dessert.
We metro’d back to Pentagon City where I’d left my intrepid vehicle at the garage there by the Best Buy. It was locked up tight at 12:30. We circled it, tried all the doors and gates. No such luck. So much for “free” parking on weekends. It cost me a $13 cab ride back to Fairlington. With luck, my car is retrievable tomorrow!
Damn Parking Nazis.

Metro: Now less like sardines!

According to the radio yesterday afternoon, people riding the Metro in the wee hours (or the very late hours, depending on how you choose to see it) Sunday thru Thursday will no longer be packed onto the cost-cutting 2 car trains (in case you didn’t catch the article in the Post a few weeks back, it’s here). This is certainly a relief to those of us who have spent time on said trains with more people than oxygen.
Now if only they’d get the Smartrip thing right.

Visitors from Iceland, music to melt your heart

I don’t know whether to call it a crime or a steal that DC-er’s will get to enjoy the aural tinklings of Múm for only 12 bucks. In a world where the other two members of the Icelandic Beauty Trifecta (Bjork & Sigur Ros) can charge an arm, a leg and a kidney for a ticket, it just feels wrong to reap such wonderful music for such a piddling sum. These guys did come all the way from Iceland for crying out loud.
Múm perfectly balance the beauty of Sigur Ros and the odd fun of Bjork to make music from Iceland that sounds like its from Outerspace.
$12 Múm w/ Slowblow Sat, July 24th @ the Black Cat

Metro, the black sheep of US subway systems

The Metro subway parking lots switched over to the SmartTrip card system a few weeks ago, so that now if you want to park your car at a metro-operated lot, you need a SmartTrip card. Metro apparently didn’t realize that this would cause many, many people to buy SmartTrip cards. So, due to their poor planning, they have stopped selling SmartTrip cards online. They announce this on the website, then go on to talk about how many cards have been sold in the last three weeks. Well, DUH, Metro!
However, Metro kinda sorta does have an excuse for their occasional ineptness. Last month, The Brookings Institution came out with a report about the “extraordinary lack of dedicated funding sources” for the transit system, and how this meant that Metro was having to scramble for money every year, and makes the riders pay for more of the costs, as a percentage, than any other subway system in the US.
If I sound too down on Metro, I just want to say I’m a believer in public transportation, and I like using Metro, despite all the problems. However, I’m not the one they need to convince to take the subway or bus, it’s the people in the cars. Those people need to see Metro as a reliable, easy and inexpensive way to travel, before they will get out from behind the wheel.

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