Archive for the ‘Foggy Bottom’ Category

Frank Warren: The Man With All The Secrets (Part 2)

As the front house staff let me in to the jealous looks of the crowd outside I felt a little extra special that night.

After our first conversation, Frank Warren encouraged me to come out and experience one of his PostSecret Live events and I agreed. So my friend Wendi and I trekked down to the Lisner Auditorium where he was about to speak in front of a sold out crowd.

I walked in and saw him onstage, playing with his MacBook as he tested some videos and slides to be used. At the moment I found him he was playing the Dirty Little Secrets video that features his PostSecret postcards.

I wasn’t the only one there to hang out with him, a camera crew was nearby busy filming his routine, a sign that his fame is growing by leaps, not bounds. Warren’s story is so unique: a man who collects secrets sent to him to share with himself and the world. As they are posted on his PostSecret blog, he becomes not only the most trusted man in America, but perhaps a conduit and sounding board for thousands. He is always willing to listen to anything that anyone would like to share with him.

As other press outlets show up and line up for interviews there’s still a sense of humbleness to the man behind the Germantown-based blog. Before retiring to his dressing room for interviews he walks to the back of the house to personally thank all of the ushers and staff working the event.

The dressing room backstage is a plain white room with leather couches. Frank invites special guests, press, and myself to sitdown with him as he gathers his notes for the presentation. There’s a coffee table in the middle of the room with a copy of the Washington City Paper. It was open to a photo of Frank and a story on tonight’s event opposite an article on former VP candidate Sarah Palin. As I point it out he dismisses it casually, “When I see my photo in the paper I don’t really see me, I see PostSecret.” He’s simply glad to see the project get some publicity and once again displays his humbleness.

After asking for a Coke he proceeds to talk to the various press members that fire off questions and record quotes to use later. A writer asks if he ever felt a burden to be the one that is sent so much personal information and thoughts. He jokes that while he doesn’t see it as a burden,”I have been having some recent back pain- maybe it’s from carrying all these secrets for so long.”

More questions probe into the secrets themselves, “Do you ever think some of the secrets are made-up? That people are making up secrets in hopes of making the blog?,” one reporter asks. To respond to that question he pulls out a small gray box and opens it. Inside are various e-mails and postcards. He pulls out an e-mail and reads it to the crowd, “Dear Frank, I sent you a secret awhile ago but I wanted to tell you that it’s no longer true.” For Frank the act of sharing secrets with him is just as important, if not more, as the secret itself.

“The act of sharing is one step in a personal story or journey.” He hopes that even just the act of sharing a secret with someone else is therapeutic and one step closer to helping one face one’s true fears.

Meanwhile the lobby fills with GW students and fans from far and wide that wait for the doors to open. At the head of the line are Carla and Katie, two students from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Not only are they fans of the website and art exhibits, the two trekked down the Beltway in hopes of meeting Frank to deliver him postcards of secrets they had designed and had tucked away in their bags.

Daria, a GW sophomore, traveled a bit further to see Frank. A native of Trinidad, she was a fan of the site back home before coming to the US to study at George Washington. Going to college in DC brought her that much closer to her favorite blog, “I’m a nerd for PostSecret… as soon as I knew I was going to GW, I wanted to meet Frank and maybe intern for him,” she said.

The house opens, the auditorium quickly fills up, and Frank walks out to the cheers of hundreds of adoring fans. His talk explores the PostSecret project further, with videos and postcards that weren’t allowed to be published, what Frank calls “the secret Secrets.” Along with the visuals, Frank offers his own personal thoughts and insights on the impact of his project and what he’s learned about humanity and the idea of sharing one’s intimate details.

At the end of the show he shares with the audience a personal secret of his own, but there is one secret that is left to be discovered after the show is over. Before the show Frank took 200 actual postcards sent to PostSecret and inserted them into the PostSecret books that were for sale in the lobby. As fans pick up copies to have autographed at a post show signing, a surprise awaits them between the pages of secrets.

Kristen Adams and Lisa Lustig from Fairfax, VA are two George Mason alumni who decided on attending to the show after hearing about it days before. They were lucky to grab tickets before it completely sold out. After getting their books signed they thumbed through the newly purchased items and ran across the postcard. At first they take it for as a promotional item. “I thought the secret was fake, but when I took it out, I realized it was a real secret. I feel special that I’m not entrusted with someone’s secret!” remarked the surprised Lustig.

Tamara and Rebeka, two GW freshmen were so excited to find an actual PostSecret postcard that they are reconsidering the purpose of their recent purchases- as gifts for family members. Rebeka explained, “This was going to be a gift for my sister but now that I have a real PostSecret secret- it’s mine now!”

Inauguration 2009: Weekend of Destruction Day 4

Ah Inauguration Day, a day that started for many in the wee hours of the morning. For me I value sleep a little more. However I did have a plan to be on The Mall for Inauguration and I’m happy to say everything worked out relatively well.

I started out the morning well bundled. I wore many, many layers and had hand/toe warmers, water, snacks, and maps ready to go.

At 8:30 AM my friend Carrie and I proceeded down to the Clarendon Metro stop to check out that option, if everything appeared all right a possible entry route was to simple Metro into a station and walk to The Mall. While that option was the simplist it was also one of the most popular and I expected to see the Clarendon stop overflowing with people as we walk the short two blocks to the station. (more…)

Pepsi Max Hits The Streets

I took a walk to Georgetown today, and here is what I found on about six street corners:

Courtesy of Lara Gori

Pepsi Max is running a huge promotion in Washington DC, as I would imagine they’re doing in other large cities as well. The basic premise behind the campaign is simple: give away as much free Pepsi Max to as many people as possible. It is actually very good. During the course of my three hours in Georgetown, I downed at least five cans. This is the second time I’ve seen the Pepsi Max crew out and about. Last time was on Friday in Foggy Bottom. Keep your eyes open.
Courtesy of Jim Goldston

Courtesy of Jim Goldston

Pepsi Max is very similar to Coke Zero. Both have no “sugar” and zero calories, though like the Diet lines they contain the artificial sugar aspartame.  It is definitely worth a try. I would call it superior to Coke Zero and the Diet sodas.

Fun fact from the all-knowing Wikipedia: “In the… Borat TV series, a Pepsi Max factory is… responsible for the decrease in Kazakhstan’s Aral Sea.” It’s nice.

Un-Bear-able Heat??

I took the above picture (on the phone-sorry for the blurry) this past Saturday at 23rd and Constitution-right where it turns into US-50 just south of Foggy Bottom.  My first thought “Well yeah you need help-you’re a Polar Bear and it’s sweltering out here!”

My second thought was an incredibly geeky thought that had to do with Lost, time-space travel and “Moving the Island.”  I won’t recount it fully here. 

After going back and forth over whether it was a person in a suit or just a suit (we determined it was just a suit) it appears I wasn’t the only person wondering if the National Zoo had become so overcrowded that Polar Bears had taken to wandering the streets homeless.  In what is likely another artsy/kinda vague/have to think about it for a minute demonstration/protest it appears that citizens concerned about global warming have been putting polar bear suits at different locales around the city in homeless garb. (As a friend put it “Ohhhhhh so like if Global Warming causes the ice to melt, like in Alaska, then the Polar Bears would be homeless! I totes get it!”)

Or at least that is the best guess so far-no one knows for sure. 

The Post picked up the story when one bear was called in as a suspicious package (it wasn’t, but-hey it could have been.  I mean The Dark Knight came out this summer and this would be a Joker-esque way to cause chaos…right?).  Add that to  fact that the demonstrators have yet to step forward to claim/explain the stunt, or even say how long it will go on for, and it leaves the question of what the ultimate disposition will be?

What about you DC?  Have you seen bears?  Lions?  Tigers?  Is this stunt going to get the point across, or will it be lost on all of us?  Know who’s responsible or have a good guess?  Then leave some comments, would ya?

The Morning News: Windswept Edition

Yep, it’s pretty windy out there, and dammit, it’s cold to boot. 18F here, -5F with the windchill. This is the kind of weather that has me thinking that California may be a better place to live by far. But, not quite as a nice a scene in Modesto, if you know what I mean.

Crime Cameras Go Live

DC Police cameras in high crime areas are live, and the Police are pulling their best Big Brother impersonation together. Wait, you thought this was a repeat? So did I. Except that while 73 cameras were live in August of 2006, no one was watching them. Sure, they could use the footage after the fact, but now they’re watching the cameras feeds live. Most creepy from the Post article was this line from Chief Lanier: “I’d love to have the whole city wired like London.” Chief, technology is no substitute for officers in the field, don’t treat it as such.

GW Finalizes Development Deal for Old Hospital Site

The three-acre Parcel 54 area of DC, near 23rd & I Sts NW is the site of the old GW Hospital, and will soon be the site of 842,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space. The space will include a grocery store, amongst other retail options, as well as 1,000 parking spaces that will be much needed.

Obama vs. Clinton Tomorrow in DC!

Two Senators are facing off on the ballot tomorrow, fighting it out for the nomination of their party for the presidency. Elections across the DC area take place tomorrow, and the polls in Virginia put Sen. Barack Obama up on Sen. Hillary Clinton by 15 points at the moment. In addition, John McCain and dark horse candidate Mike Huckabee are also on the ballot for the Republicans, but the split is far wider between the two.

Epoch Times Revenge

Good morning random Foggy Bottom resident. This is how you’ll find you car this morning – covered in Epoch Times newspapers.

I don’t think that the papers are a specific sign to you, its just the GW student body’s way of saying that school is back in session.

If you live in Foggy Bottom, you’re used to sights like this on a Saturday already. The visualization of a long, Friday night drunk-a-thon in odd street litter the following day.

Enjoy, and please, do recycle.

State Department Signage: Missing

I can understand the State Department wanting to keep a low profile, what with its shoddy Bush-led foreign policy. And I can even appreciate it not wanted to broadcast its location too far and wide.

But I have to say this crosses the line: erasing your name from the sign out front.

While they might fool a few folks by scrubbing off the white paint on the 23rd Street sign’s letters, there’s no mistaking the third largest federal building in DC. Not even re-naming it the Harry S. Truman Building will hide the block of ugly.

Nor will it stop visitors from being confused on which entrance they need or deter taxi drivers from going for one more zone, 23rd being one block past Zone 1.

Its only gonna make me want to call in my favorite sign-maker.

¡Adios Foggy Bottom!

(I had to get “Foggy Bottom” into one more post…)

I’m heading back home after two weeks of work and fun here in our Nation’s Capital. I got to see the things I wanted to see most of all: The National Air and Space Museum (both parts!) as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.


Have you read the constitution lately? It’s not long. Read it. Pay particular attention to Article I, Section 9: “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

Just getting some soapbox time in before I go.

Ciao, Cheers and Aloha DC!

Waiting in Line at Foggy Bottom TJ’s

Kind Princes Can Often Find Gorgeous Secretaries.


Anyone? Anyone?

A Shining Beacon in Foggy Bottom

Friday, after my lovely afternoon at Fort McNair, I returned to the office and had to run an errand to get a particular piece of equipment from the nearest Home Depot. I found the Rhode Island Ave. location and got quick pointers to the Metro and off I went.

First I have to say: nice Metro DC! Carpeted, cell phone reception, AIR CONDITIONING! (It’s really not a dry heat out here.) Plus all the travelers are so polite, standing on the right of the escalators, waiting to the sides of the doors to let folks out before moving all the way into the center of the car. I’m really impressed!

So I got out to Home Depot, which was luckily close to the station, and the item I need is not available for sale because the sales rep is gone for the day. He leaves at 3:00pm (it was about 6:00.) I’m standing there going “Are you FRAKKING kidding me?” I need to spend about $350 on a specific thing (a Hilti Laser Range Meter for crying out loud) And the Hilti sales rep is the only guy with a key to unlock all his miracle treasures to sell to us common people. There was no way for me to part with $350. Crap and damn. So I schlep back to the Metro and exit at my stop: “Foggy Bottom”

Second I have to say: Any city that has a neighborhood called “Foggy Bottom” is okay by me. And that it turns out to be my stop? Even better.

Follow me after the jump for the Shining Beacon…

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