Archive for December, 2005

Best of 2005

2005 was a great year and a terrible year, all at once. We saw people rejoice with the arrival of the Nats, and weep at the arrival of a hurricane in New Orleans. Six people declared candidacy for the Mayor’s position. The Wizards made the playoffs. The Redskins might do the same. Hockey’s back after a year absent. We turned one.

January brought us the demise of WHFS-DC, and Tiffany’s discovery of Medaterra, as well as some really expensive Onions in Georgetown, while the weather was chilly.

February came in with the debut of the DC Examiner, a new free tabloid daily, a politician who isn’t cheating on his wife (and subsequent resignations), valentine’s day at the gun range which jibe so well with the 14% rise in DC Property Values. Narni ran into abusive bouncers, and Michael realized that DC can dance.

In March, it was Spring Training and the the Nats’ first victory, and mercury spill after mercury spill in the DC schools as kids figured out how to manufacture a few snow days. Julia found Carmina Burana a bit much and asks where she should’ve had dinner near MCI. Hal Straus of the Washington Post was kind enough to talk blogs with us, and give us all the goodies on the Post’s new blogs, and WTOP started podcasting as well. Arlington threatened to sell your car to pay library fines while the Arlington Pediatric Center logo was the subject of internet ridicule, which prompted us to examine our drinking options in DC.

The cherries bloomed in April, bring tourists and residents alike to the Tidal Basin and driving others to other alternatives. Tiffany appeared on Penang Factor, and Tom took himself out to the (opening day) ballgame. Emily, Michael and Tiffany talked food options. Michael got attacked by a giant bird and Emily Found God/Buddha/Allah on New Hampshire Ave. New mascot Screech was revealed to be a scandal all his own, which lead to my favorite piece of Post journalist: Screech vs. Screech.

May brought IMF and World Bank meetings, and with them, protestors, and John thought they weren’t up to snuff. Michael saw the end of civilization in a Subway. We also got to watch pandemonium as DC hit Code Red when a private plane flew too close to the Capitol. Heavy Storms drove us to the movies, and sparked some introspection at the Uptown. John watched the Wizards lose in the playoffs.

June revealed Mark Felt’s identity as Deep Throat, causing Mike to remember living near there. The Nats took sole possession of first place in the NL East. The U St. Lincoln Theatre blocked a Dad from taping his daughter’s dance recital. We welcomed new Metbloggers Jenn Larsen and Wayan to the roster. Tiffany got ogled and chatted up at Right Round. The Smoking Ban discussion hit pretty hard, too, with contributors weighing in for the ban, and against it. The weather was finally good enough for Jenn to invite folks to play Hookey.

July brought summer to DC, complete with heat and humidity, and course, blockbuster movies. It also means the Fourth of July which means Fireworks and wonderful neighborhood moments. Wayan tells us a bit about his favorite restaurant. The Wizards filled a hole, and traded a problem. Of course, the biggest story of July and maybe the year: the Birth of Butterstick! July also marked the debut of the Circulator bus line and the arrest of Borf. We also celebrated our first birthday, in hopes of many more to come (want a DC Metblogs t-shirt? email me). And last but not least Darpino survived an encounter with Chuck Norris. Of course, we know all about Chuck Norris

August stirred up some passions in the traditional “quiet month” in Washington. First there was the Day Laborer site in Herndon, then Raffy said he’d never taken steroids. Michael posted about the end of “We Fought the Big One”, which was subsequently saved. Pete Rojas and the gang from Engadget also graced DC with an August reader forum, while Jenn Larsen tried on lingerie from Coup de Foudre. Local football owner Dan Snyder also tried to bribe the Interior Department to let him take down some trees on his property. Instead, Secretary Norton gave me her seats for Crosby, Stills and Nash. Wayan figured out how to avoid hefty fees at Redskins Stadium. The Mayor’s short-lived blog comes under fire.

September brought the end of summer, and the beginning of towing scams and bicycling incidents. The hurricane may not have brought infrastructural devastation to DC, but it did bring Higher Gas Prices. On a lighter note, there was some serious applesauce wrestling and clothes thievery in August. Darpino discovered the dark side of podiatry. Erin loves the high school kids too young to remember the 80s, even though they can sure dress like them. Wayan thinks he’s got what it takes to join the FBI’s new Porn Squad. Meanwhile, Candidate Fenty takes a moment from his busy schedule… to tell us he has a lot of yard signs, while Mayor Williams decides not to run again.

In October, we began with Confusion about DC Festival and more Confusion about Tularemia bacteria. It also brought a discovery of the bizarre DUI laws here: you can get arrested at .01, which was quickly a source of controversy and then a source of new legislation. American University’s President got in some hot water. We also added Stacey, William and Glenn to the roster of Bloggers here.

November brought snow to DC, an early present, and Ridgewells Catering’s Deceit. Erin has tips on getting mugged. Of course, it also marked the defeat of a commuter tax lawsuit and series of ensuing discussions. Jenn discovered Penn Quarter and the Theatre in the midst of a beautiful fall weekend. In one of the most bizarre matchups of the year, Tom Jones played the 9:30 club. And of course, then there was the Cell Phone Bandit and her subsequent arrest. Jenn found out about the office fashion police and their horrible war against denim, while Wayan sang the haberdasher’s praise. November also means the annual Oyster Riot at Old Ebbitt. Darpino outed an Arms Dealer in Alexandria, causing them to shut down their web presence. Prior to the Turkey Day break, Jenn also left us with her sweet potato savior recipe to wow our families with, while Darpino and Wayan got stuck in traffic. We also welcomed Don Whiteside and Tom Mills to the DC Metblogs family.

December is always marked by holiday lights in DC, and some lovely snowfall. This year, it was also marked by a a talk from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, some potential interference from Congress on the subject of taxation, and we discovered the fatal problem of jay-walking. Jenn Larsen also ran into Tony Bennett. The passing of the smoking ban enflamed passions of many here. Tom Mills discovered that bigamy is still alive and well in Northern Virginia. All the while, it was Stacey blocking you in over at the Marriott. Narni wondered what Clinton Portis’ deal is. Holiday Season was then upon us, with Jenn wishing shoppers a Super Saturnalia, and Tom and Tiffany heading to the Pageant of Peace.

Thanks for a wonderful year, everyone. Catch you on the flipside in 2006.

PS. Check out Darpino’s Top Ten Concerts too.

2006 St Paddy’s Day 10K

Heads-up DC Runners!

Rgistration is now open for the St. Patrick’s Day 10K 2006 race, scheduled for Sunday, March 12. And, as incentive to enter, they’re are offering a special discount to runners who register by midnight: the registration fee is $20 now (just $18 for ChampionChip owners!), and will go to $25 January 1 and climb to $35 by race weekend.

While the race ostensibly benefits the Special Olympics DC, I’ve found a way to corrupt it. I follow a pink ass each year and my times just keep getting faster. This year: 45:02 of blazing speed.

How you gonna beat me?

More loose @ real-life Frogger

News Flash – the number of pedestrians killed on D.C. streets has increased in 2005, despite an aggressive ticket-writing campaign this summer that targeted jaywalkers, bicyclists and motorists, D.C. officials said.

Now why doesn’t this surprise me? Maybe because of the heated reaction to the cold ass sh*t dropped on a run-over pedestrian last month. Maybe the hatred of bike messengers or most egregious, the Bling Bling Giant‘s takeover of a sidewalk for cars, only recently thwarted.

No matter, as the WashTimes reports 15 pedestrians died by the car in 2005. While the cops wonder why, I ask: Why is this sidewalk closed?

Red Rover, Red Rover

Since my job is half sales and half recruiting, I spend a lot of time out of the office, trying to visit people, build relationships, get to know clients and prospects, etc. One of the things the company encourages us to do if we can’t get someone to set up an appointment with us is to stop by and say hello and bring a little gift- calendars, staplers, little magnetic desk-sculpture thingies, etc. The idea is that we aren’t supposed to put anyone to work until we’ve had a chance to visit the site where they’ll be working. Not a bad idea, really.

The problem is, my company’s US operations are based in the South. Before employees from northern metropolii go to training for a week in Georgia, our managers often warn us, “Don’t be upset when the people from the south schedule more visits than you. People are just friendlier there than here.”

But more than that, this tactic seems to ignore the fact that in most buildings in DC (and I’m guessing most in New York), you can’t just waltz in and go see somebody. You have to engage in what I like to call “Office Building Red Rover” to get past the lobby to the elevators.

The difficulty of Office Building Red Rover varies from building to building, but the players are generally the same. There is always some sort of uniformed security guard behind a large and imposing desk between you and the elevator. And most importantly, between you and the building director. This person will usually need to know who you are and where you’re going before you may proceed.

Maybe the building is like mine, where I waltz past the security desk each morning with a wave to the guard, who is only asking for IDs and sign-ins before she lets people upstairs. Maybe the building is like the RIAA’s, where the security guards call upstairs and ask if they have permission to let you into the elevator just so you can bring them some candy (not that I blame the RIAA for being paranoid. If I were Satan, I would be too). The worst case is the Hogan & Hartson building at Columbia Square. There, visitors have to be “on the list” at the front desk before being issued a proximity card that will only send the elevator to the floor you have been specifically authorized to visit. Building security at the World Bank rivals the process at most airports- when we visit that client, we offer to take him out to lunch, just to make it easier.

Don’t have picture ID with you? Tag! You’re out! The receptionist at the client doesn’t want your Halloween candy? Tag!

It’s hard to be in a relationship-based business when everyone is to busy or paranoid to see you.

F-ing DC signage

I freely admit that I have no sense of direction. None. My ability to get lost is the subject of epic poems. In a former life, I was an Israelite wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, or a member of Odysseus’ crew. Whatever primal part of the human brain most people have that responds to the tug of Earth’s magnetic fields just doesn’t exist in my world.

Unless I’m looking out a window, I don’t know where the streets are around the building I’m in. If I step into an elevator, I forget which side of the building my office is on. If I’m outside, the only way I know what direction I’m facing unless I see a familiar landmark (so I’m completely fucked when I’m someplace new). It’s more than just an inability to find north and south, it’s that if I’m driiving around a city, and I make a few turns, I have no idea which direction I’m facing relative to the direction I was originally headed in. It’s not something I can just “get over,” either, any more than a dyslexic can just “get over” their tendency to mix up letters. So short of extensive occupational therapy or a GPS jacked into my skull, coping is pretty much the name of the game at this point. How do you cope with an utter inability to navigate-by-feel? You watch for signage and follow it religiously.

Which is why this town never fails to thwart me. You get blocked out of your merge to 395 South, and there’s no good way to get off and get back on from 395 North. You get off 395 North and see a sign on your left, pointing left, that says “NORTH 395.” You look to your right and see a semi-obscured sign that just says, “…TH 395” pointing to the right, so you follow that, thinking that since it’s pointing the other way, it must take you south… and it’s ALSO a sign for 395 North.

How the HELL did we end up in a situation in which two signs, at the same intersection, pointing in opposite directions, send you back to the same highway in the same direction? Don’t ask me to tell you where this is, either, because as you might have guessed by now, I have no freaking clue where I was when I saw this. I just know that because I missed a merge onto 395 south on 15th St NW, I somehow managed to cross the Frederick Douglass Bridge before figuring out how to get home.

And how did I get home? I saw the sign for the Suitland Parkway, realized I was definitely headed in the wrong direction, and turned around. When I turned around, I saw the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and signs pointing toward Downtown.

If it weren’t for that dome, I’d be fucked over on a regular basis trying to get around this town.

Waiting for the 36% off sale

While the latest Housing Market Analysis conducted by National City Corp says Naples, Florida is the most overvalued of all housing markets in the United States, don’t think DC is far behind.

Using thier analysis, Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV is 36.2% overvalued. That means those $300,000 condos going like hotcakes should be selling for $200K. Sound like fantasy number to you too?

Get your pods cheap!

That’s right, and we’re not talking iPods here, we’re talking the AquaPod Nano-Aquarium System which is on sale at Wally’s Aquarium. Like I’ve said before I like Wally’s for their great service, and now they have the Pod on sale for $175.

Get it now & get it quick. For fish, or even better, for Hirshhorn-level art snails, you too can be cool with a tank more unique than some foolish Nano and almost guppy dad worthy

Escargot

Last month I spent a hypnotic afternoon at the Hirshhorn and was struck by palimpsest‘s ravenous snails. Alas, in just four days those cabbages they are mindlessly devouring will be their last supper. Under the deal the museum struck with the USDA in order to display the exhibit, the snails will not survive their brush with fame. Upon the exhibit’s end on Tuesday, January 3rd they will be exterminated (humanely, though even I can’t really get away with anthropomorphizing snails without shuddering. They’re a bit creepy…).

So if you’re looking for something to do over the weekend other than party like it’s 1999, head over and pay your last respects to these unsung martyrs for art. Farewell, slimy industrious mollusks…

Va. picks new design for welcome signs

Earlier this month the Virginia Department of Transportation announced that a new welcome sign design had been selected. Out of over 56,400 votes a white design with a cardinal perched on a dogwood branch took 31.5% of the vote.

cardinalBig.gif

Unlike many states that post new welcome signs every time a new governor takes office, Virginia has been using the current design (with some modifications) for nearly fifty years. They also do not have the name of the governor on the sign.

The new signs are expected to be posted starting April 22, 2006.

Auld Lang… Whatever

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. I think it

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