Archive for April, 2007

That seems unfair

One of my favorite tools the Washington Post online offers is their Congressional vote information and – more importantly – feeds. Using one of a bazillion RSS readers – I’m partial to Google Reader these days – you can track the votes for your representatives with a specificity that is maybe a little unhealthy. The only thing they’re lacking is a quick & easy way to determine your rep if you’re not sure. Senators are easy but House districts can be redrawn. Thankfully you can go to Project Vote Smart and there’s a finder on the left hand side.

Aside from enabling obsessive-compulsive behavior, they also do some useful aggregation like breakouts for late-night votes or most voted on. There’s not-so-useful too, like vote by astrological sign which is only available in the per-vote breakdown.

Then there’s vote missers, which seems like a way for you to get your indignant on and see who failed to do their legislative duty by showing up.

Except that the rolls are filled with folks who are/were sick and out for an extended period or, in the case of the #1 spot, dead. I personally think that there’s a fair number of good reasons to miss work, but departing the land of the living is without question the top qualifying category. Thankfully the listings have notes to indicate these things, but I feel sorry for poor Charles Norwood who seems destined to hold that top spot through the 110th Congress. His attendance record isn’t going to get any better as the term continues. It’s an unfortunate reflection on a man who was at work through the day he died, based on his votes

Is Arlington the New No-Ice Cream Zone?

My wife and I had a hankering for ice cream yesterday and went out in search of it. I know there’s a Baskin Robbins store near my home but that’s not what we wanted. BR is really a dumbing-down of ice cream experience, comparable to drinking coffee from Starbucks or eating at the food court in the mall. It’s like the lowest common denominator of what people will eat and pay for.

It’s not bad, but it’s not good enough for me to want.

I figured we might find some nice, independent ice cream store between Ballston and Rosslyn but never found anything. Have all the mom and pop places been put out of business by the giant conglomerates like Baskin Robbins?

So tell me – what area ice cream places do you recommend? Sometimes a guy just needs a bit of cool sweetness on a warm day.

One Less Fence Corner

This is what happens when cars do not stop when approaching Rock Creek Church Road in Petworth.

One less fence corner at the Soldier’s Retirement Home and presumably one less car too.

No word if it was a veteran headed home or trying to break out. Either way I am glad the tree was not involved.

Wherefore art thou?

Cell phone case

My dear Blackberry Sled, I am coming to join you. The emptiness I feel is like having something ripped from within me. I sit, perched atop this lookout, and try to see to that place, beyond the towers and the river, where you wait for my arrival. Though physical distance separates us, our hearts are together always.

Until we can be together, I will long for you and stay true to our vow.

I will be yours forever.

From Clarendon and lost without my soul,
I will always be,
Your Cell Phone Case

Back to basics at WaPo’s real estate section

Personally I’m addicted to the Real Estate Mailbag and the range of pedestrian to esoteric questions answered there. For the less obsessive, WaPo has run several good articles in the last few days about the terms, players, and concepts in the real estate world. Today’s column by Benny Kass walks through the typical players in a home purchase and provides some basic guidance to some new potential buyers.

Hard to believe but it’s true – some people managed to avoid getting sucked into the home-buying craze this last decade.

Michelle Singletary’s column from Thursday breaks down the loan industry, filling you in on prime and sub-prime lending so that you can be clear on their meanings while you’re being terrified about the economy by radio news.

Lastly, if you need your hand held on just how psychotic some lending can be – and apprarently a lot of you do, since over 1 in 4 home owners don’t know what kind of mortgage they have (a statistic in Singletary’s article above :) – you can look at Jack Guttentag’s article on how it’s possible for you to have a loan that you make payments on slower than the interest is added.

Two Concert Thoughts

I wanted to keep these thoughts separate from my review of the Killers show because they have no bearing on the actual show itself, but rather indicate other trends at work in our culture.

Point the First: What’s up with half the audience wearing Killers shirts to a Killers show? Seriously? Didn’t any of you see PCU? The scene where Droz lambastes Gutter for wearing the shirt of the band he’s going to see to the concert? Nobody does that. You don’t wear the shirt for Frog and Toad are Friends to the Frog and Toad are Friends concert. You don’t wear Killers gear to a Killers show. Seriously, people, are you not aware of the rules governing such events?

Point the Second: I had to have seen 50-100 LCD screens lit up on the floor in front of the stage. There must be a complete video/picture record of the concert last night between the various kids with cameras. What’s that trend mean? Is this an issue of trying to capture more memories? Is it perhaps something related to the ephemeral nature of culture and an attempt to grasp pieces of that for posterity? What’s it mean? This one’s a bit more interesting than the first point, I’ll admit, but I’m not sure I can grasp it entirely.

And Kickball Begins Again

Oh yeah, the sport I swore off a year ago is back in my life. Clock-stopping hottie has me playing kickball flip cup yet again.

I am not sure if I can take another year of Miller Lite in plastic cups but I will endure. What we all do for love.

And now it is time to lead the team in a cheap beer challenge. I may dislike the games but I am a kickball & flipcup master.

The Killers At the Patriot Center

The Killers

Originally uploaded by robssouto.

All day yesterday, I was on the fence about going to see The Killers. Hot Fuss is quite possibly my favorite album of all time, and Sam’s Town is easily in the Top 50. Part of me was nervous, will they stand up to my imagination of their live show? Can they really sound that good in person?

The answer in short, is They Can, and They Did. Last night’s sold out show at the Patriot Center was an opulent, yet slightly trashy, burst of Las Vegas fueled Rock and Roll that pulsed and throbbed at the right moments, and shone bright like a star when it needed to. It was replete with the glorious rock cliches, like glitter cannons and seizure-inducing light displays, but the heart and soul and urgency of their music was right there at the front of the stage.

Highlights of last night’s show included a slowed-down dirge version of “Uncle Jonny” that was amazing. The intensity of the already-rocky song was clicked up just the extra notch to drive home both the tragedy and ecstacy of drug addiction. The high-tempo version of “Read My Mind” was clearly the band’s favorite song of the night, all their performances were elevated beyond their normal level. Ending the show with “Mr. Brightside,” I wondered what they could possibly have planned for the encore. The crowd was screaming and demanding more before the band had even left the stage.

They came back out, much to the delight of the crowd, to perform “For Reasons Unknown”, Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, a new song that I didn’t recognize, and they finished the encore set with “All These Things That I’ve Done,” that left the crowd exhausted, in post-rockgasmic bliss. Brandon Flowers standing on the blocks on the front of stage, holding out the microphone over the screaming crowd, singing “I’ve got Soul, but I’m not a Soldier” is the image that’s just burned into my consciousness from last night. It comes back unbidden in my sleep, and in my morning routine. That’s the sign of a great concert, the one that bubbles up in your consciousness days later.

Well done, Killers.

my 5 minutes of intartubes fame

Hey, remember that comedy class I took? When I invited the other Metrobloggers to the show, it was with the caveat that I wasn’t ready to publicize the event here and I was really only inviting friends. A Metroblogger who will remain nameless agreed, on the condition that after the show, blogging and critique would be fair game, and there might even be a recording posted.

Well, that Metroblogger didn’t actually show up, but there was indeed a recording of the performance. Now you can see my 5 minutes, all without having to sit through an old guy telling graphic self-gratification jokes first! The YouTube video his hidden behind the jump.

Shaw’s Super Bloggy

Shaw: slum historique

Originally uploaded by David Boyle in DC. is reporting that of the ten most bloggy neighborhoods in the world, DC’s own Shaw is number two! Joining Brooklyn, which is #1, and LA’s Downtown (#3), Shaw is one of over 3000 location-based blogs that are tracked by, in 59 cities around the world.

Featured among the posts listed today, are a review of a local play, a call for volunteers to clean up Eckington this weekend, a Cry to save the Queen of Sheba’s liquor license, some local renovation progress. There’s so much to the DC blog world, go find your neighborhood on and read up!

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