Archive for the ‘Rockin’ the Suburbs’ Category

Breakin’ Out the Wings


A scant six months ago, I joined the wild and crazy crew here on MBDC; I was branching out in my blogscapades and wanted to try my hand at writing about the area that I’ve come to love.

Everyone here has been extremely good to me, one of the new kids on the block. The experience has been inspiring and has driven my creativity in approaching this area to new heights. I’ve been driven to explore this town more than I ever have before, in search of new restaurants, new venues, and new entertainment. Much of these experiences I’ve yet to share; sadly, I won’t be doing so on this stage.

Instead, I’m leaving MBDC and moving to We Love DC. My continued excitment over living here remains unabated. With our imminent purchase of a home in northern VA, I look forward to planting our roots deep into the soil and growing old with the District – inside the zone and through the Beltway. And sharing all of this with the great people of the area with more passion and freedom than before.

So thank you, readers, writers, commentors and the MBDC staff for taking a chance on and accepting the missives from one of the small fish in this vast pond. May your futures remain bright and your cameras nearby.

See you on the other side.

Jesus loves you, and dispenses aspirin along the way

Photo courtesy of MeI actually took this picture a few weeks ago when out in Chantilly to have dinner with a friend, but the Washington Post got around to writing about the pro-life pharmacy before I did. [and let me assure you, we were at a nice little Indian place a few doors over, not at any of the crap chain restaurants mentioned in the above story]

I don’t know that I have a lot to say about the matter, other than it being somewhat interesting that this kind of thing crops up wayyyyyy out in the burbs rather than in the city. I wonder who their market is, or what their necessary purpose might be. After all, if you don’t approve of Plan B, you’re just as able to not get a prescription for it filled at CVS as you are at DMC Pharmacy. Is it that important to be able to fill your prescription for penicillin somewhere that there’s no condoms on the rack, tempting you?

Perhaps it’ll all a way to get a job for a friend or family member who is a pharmacist who finds himself unemployable at the majors because he won’t dispense birth control pills. Beyond that I’m hard pressed to understand the need for this business – when you open an alternative to Outback you don’t serve everything BUT meat, you have an entirely different set of offerings. What’s DMC Pharmacy going to bring to the table other than… what it doesn’t put out on the table?

Detained by Montgomery County Police For Buying Sugar

I was detained by the police today and accused of stealing. I was also illegally detained against my will by several Wal*Mart employees preceding the detention by police. My crime? Leaving Wal*Mart with four bags of sugar (that I had just purchased) without showing a receipt, because I was not given one by the Wal*Mart cashier. I was threatened with being taken to jail, threatened with physical violence as I attempted to leave, and had to defend myself and my property while Wal*Mart security attempted to rip it from my hands, breaking my bags and causing one of my items to break open on the pavement. After I was released (having been completely innocent all along), I was lectured by the police officer and Wal*Mart manager about how next time I could make it easier on myself by just agreeing to give up my rights to their goons to begin with. While the initial employee who detained me apologized, the others, including the Wal*Mart Manager, did not.

I was at the Germantown Wal*Mart to buy four bags of sugar because earlier in the day I had been at Butler’s Orchard picking 10 pounds of strawberries to turn into delicious jam. And to make delicious jam, you need lots of sugar. I grabbed four bags and headed to the checkout, where I also decided I could use some refreshment. I grabbed a Mountain Dew from the cooler, but the cashier had already processed my card for the four bags of sugar. He apologized and rang up another transaction for the Mt. Dew. At that point, he crumpled up my receipt for the four bags of sugar and handed me the receipt for the Mountain Dew. I headed for the exit, and was greeted by Wal*Mart security who wanted to check my receipt. I produced the receipt for the Mountain Dew and explained that the cashier had tossed the other receipt for the sugar. I would repeat this explanation 6 more times before this affair ended. The rest of the tale is below… (more…)

Dead Watermelon at Safeway

Dead Watermelon at SafewayI was at the Safeway on Old Dominion Drive in McLean on Sunday and saw this bugger there. Not only was it rotten and split – yes, way past rotten and soft – but there were ants all over it, which are too small to be visible in this picture, unfortunately.

Safeway employees and managers – every time I am ready to give your store another chance, I see something like this. It doesn’t take much to keep the place looking decent. Is this how you save money? Do you try to reduce shrinkage by waiting until the ants carry everything off to their intricate system of nests somewhere in the building?

Do any of our readers work for Safeway and want to comment? All I can think is that if there is one ant-infested part of the building, there are likely to be others.

Stone Cold Silence


So last night me and the missus went to look at a couple of townhomes, one of which we’re considering purchasing. We’d both had a really long mental day at our dayjobs, so I suggested we make the trip out to the Cold Stone Creamery on US 1, near the I-495 interchange. There’s not really a good place for ice cream near our current home and we both like the taste of CSC’s ice cream. So it’s worth the drive for us.

Read the rest of our adventure after the jump. (more…)

Foray Into Foreclosures – Part I

Self Affirmation Thru Real Estate

(photo by bcostin)


So as previously mentioned, my wife and I had determined now was the right time for us to look for a home in Northern Virginia. (Considering my decades-long “dislike” of Maryland, it was automatically disqualified.)

This past weekend was our first outing with our Realtor to see what the area had to offer. We stuck to Springfield this weekend; no need to rush hither and yon right out of the gate.

We saw about 8 houses over the course of the last two days. Four were flat-out clunkers, two were ‘ok’, and two were outstanding! So much so we were hard-pressed during a late dinner at Mike’s American Restaurant to decide between the two – supposing we would place an offer so quickly from the start.

Needless to say, I’m amazed – and appalled – at the selection, even within a small five mile radius. Certain neighborhoods seemed to have ‘foreclosure’ or ‘for sale’ signs up nearly every other house. Others, you’d have a hard time finding even one.

A couple of the homes we visited were what I call “tired.” Scuffed walls, small holes, beaten appliances. Lived hard, then left vacant. Homes like that, I assign about $20K of additional “fix-up” money in my head – I’m no handyman, I’m gonna pay some guy to do it for me.

One home in particular you could tell was “rooms rented” – every door had a separate key, the carpet was beat to hell, and it LOOKED like a flophouse on the inside. You’d never know on the outside, though. We ‘passed’ on that one.

There was one place we went to that was still occupied, sorta. The house was a disaster; the two lower rooms were being ‘rented’, and it was just a sad testimony to the overeagerness of some people who bought over their heads and couldn’t keep above water.

Though I will pass on advice to this homeowner(s) – if you’re going to try selling your house, it would *probably* help if you, you know, CLEANED IT UP first. I know you’re supposed to look at the house and not the stuff, but geez! Nothing says “no way in hell” like old food along the baseboards, dirty clothes everywhere, and piles of junk “hidden” in the garage.

Bottom line? This first outing I’d give a B+. Two great possibilities, 4 disappointments. Prospects are looking good, though. I am really encouraged regarding the homes available for our projected price range.

Next week: the I-95 corridor (unless plans change).

The Morning News: Love Hangover Edition

Good morning DC, I hope you’re all blissful this morning. Going to be downright pleasant for February out there, high in the low 50s before a weekend that may require an extra blanket.

Metro Considers Large Plasmas for Stations

Metro’s giving a good hard look at plasma screens for all the platforms, and if you’ve seen the plasmas at the Gallery Place station, you might have a good idea what the prototype may look like. In addition, the displays would show content from a new “Metro Channel”, designed to provide a platform for live announcements and display of system conditions.

Virginia Dumps Smoking Ban

Despite strong support from the left, the Virginia House of Delegates has killed the smoking ban for the fourth straight year. Since Virginia’s legislature holds most of the power in the State, cities and counties can’t independently ban smoking, and thus it continues unabated in many of the bars and restaurants in the state. Who was responsible? Why, look, it’s Virginia’s favorite son, David B Albo, of the egregiously stupid $1000 moving violation fines! Hooray.

Final Amount in Revenue Scam is $43M

Forty-Three Million Dollars is what several DC Department of Revenue employees stole from the city coffers as part of their years-long scam. My general hope is that they spend some serious time in a federal pen belong to the guy with the most cigarettes.

When in Doubt, Don’t Trust the Flower Guy

Some suspects were caught red handed on Thursday, but a Sheriff’s deputy dressed up like a flower delivery guy. They used a sheriff’s van made up to look like a flower delivery truck, and a deputy in a delivery guy’s uniform to put the cuffs on 12 suspects who had been dodging the police for some time.

Do you think they make fun of you extra if you got caught because you were monumentally stupid?

Metro Fares Rise Today

That’s right, the grim day has finally come when Metro has raised its fares for all commuters. So, remember to fuel up your metro farecards in the morning with a bit extra to cover the new fares. You’re pretty much boned if you have to park, as parking’s going up too, meaning you could be paying Metro an extra $500 or so in 2008 if that’s how you come into town.

What’s interesting is that the fare increase will cost Metro another $363,000 just in new signage and reprogramming of the machines just to handle the fare increase, itself. The Democrats are using this an opportunity to bash Sen. Coburn (R-OK) for blocking a bill to provide $1.5B in matching fundings for the transit system. Sen. Coburn suggests that any increase in funding should be met with a decrease in funding. Anyone have a good source of $1.5B in the federal budget they might want to see cut?

"Zipcar/Flexcar, whatever, they’re the same."

I was at the bar the other day when I heard some guy say exactly that. Well, soon, it’ll be true.

The new Zipcar (they’re taking Zipcar’s name in this marriage, no hyphenation or brand new name) will serve serve 50 cities including the District. With 180,000 customers and 5,000 vehicles between the two companies, the new Zipcar will be a big deal, but I wonder if they’ll still need every one of those parking spots near the Metro?

Both companies are yet to showing a profit, and are hoping that an economy of scale will be available to them once they’re merged.

Here’s hoping.

My Service Sucks Too Bad to Quit

Show me a person who hasn’t had a blood-boiling experience with Comcast and I’ll show you a person who has never had cable TV. Whether they’ve screwed up your bill, showed up five hours late for a service call, or taken three visits to actually fix your problem, their quality of customer service is at the bottom of every industry.

Let’s say for example that Comcast scheduled an appointment to come by your house for an installation, didn’t show up, came by two days later, then botched the installation. You decide to go to the local Comcast service center to complain, patiently wait two hours, only to be told that the manager has left for the day. What would you do?! What would you do?! Stop! Hammertime.

That’s exactly what little ol’ Mona Shaw of Bristow decided to do as she went home and stewed over the weekend, got her husband’s claw hammer, and went back to the service center to let them know who’s boss. According to today’s Washington Post article:

“Hammer time: Shaw storms in the company’s office. BAM! She whacks the keyboard of the customer service rep. BAM! Down goes the monitor. BAM! She totals the telephone. People scatter, scream, cops show up and what does she do? POW! A parting shot to the phone!”

She claims that her blood pressure skyrocketed, she started to hyperventilate, and was ultimately booked by Johnny Law. She was fined $345 and received a three month suspended sentence for disorderly conduct. Poor little ol’ lady. While I don’t think busting office equipment with a hammer is the solution to every problem, kudos to her for letting her voice – and her hammer – be heard.

Photo by yoganerd

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