Archive for December, 2006

Happy New Year DC!

Yes it is almost 2007 Washington DC! And I do hope you are thinking what I am with these two supermodels on my arm.

24 hours until Smoke Free DC!

So soon I will be able to smell their presence in my life, not the Buffalo Billiards smoke out. Soon they will need not wash hair and clothes the day after a night out.

So soon we all will not risk lung cancer when we go out.

Arena’s She Loves Me

First in a two-part series of Reviews too Late to do You Any Good, I thought I’d tell you about my experience last week when my darling girlfriend and I caught Arena Stage‘s production of She Loves Me. This is the musical you’ve never heard of but know the plotline to: it’s based on the same Hungarian play that inspired the classic Jimmy Stewart movie “The Shop Around The Corner,” and later the cinematic corporate product-placement strokefest, “You’ve Got Mail.”

Well, two out of three ain’t bad, and She Loves Me was good enough to wash the taste out of my mouth put there by a few minutes inflicted on me by caught on HBO.

She Loves Me was somewhat of a surprise schedule for Arena, put into the lineup because the planned work, A Civil War Christmas by scribe Paula Vogel, “deserves the necessary time and development in order to
bring it to its full potential.” Hard to know what that really means, but the end result was a pleasant one. The numbers in She Loves Me were catchy and often amusing. I can’t think of any side-splitting moments in the musical but I caught myself humming bits of it for days afterwards.

President Ford Memorial

president ford Former President Ford’s body will remain in state at the Capital Rotunda through 6:00PM tomorrow and is open to the public. If you are interested in a viewing, the public waiting area is located just across from the Botanical Gardens.

On Tuesday morning the casket will be moved to the National Cathedral in preparation for funeral services that begin at 10:30AM. Unfortunately, tickets are sold out. Immediately following the service, the President’s casket will be taken to Andrews AFB where it will be flown to his home town of Grand Rapids, MI. After a local funeral service at Grace Episcopal Church on Wednesday, he will be taken to the Ford Presidential Museum where he will be interred in a private ceremony.

Gerald R. Ford is the only executive to hold both the vice-presidency and presidency without being elected to either office. He was appointed as VP by President Nixon after Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973. After the Watergate scandal forced Nixon to himself resign in 1974, Ford took over as Chief Executive. Ford’s earlier political career included over eight years as Republican Minority Leader of the House, representing Michigan’s 5th congressional district. In a highly controversial move, Ford pardoned Nixon and many believe this lead to his defeat to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

1975 saw the debut season of SNL and Chevy Chase’s notorious parodies of the president. While in truth he only stumbled a few times on camera, Chase depicted Ford has a complete klutz, which helped to boost his own career from a little-known comedian to movie stardom. It is well known that Ford was good natured and took it all in stride. Years later the two became friends, and the former president and his wife even took Chase on a tour of his home town.

Free First Night for Active Military

If you’re a military family man or woman home for New Year’s and looking for an event outside the home, First Night is offering free admission for you and reduced entry for your family.[pdf] Just bring appropriate identification to the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1900 Diagonal Road. If you’ve got a Forecast magazine hanging about there’s supposed to be coupons in it as well.

With admission $15 for adults and free for kids under 12 I don’t know just how cheap “reduced” is – they don’t specify – but a buck’s a buck. If you think you might be interested, the map of the First Night options is here and the program is here.

Thanks to James from Atlanta for the heads-up on the Alexandria First Night website.

The Danger of Intuitive Parking

I have a tough time wrapping my head around the signs that say when you can or can’t park somewhere. To me they’re all, “Blah blah blah Zone 2 even days no standing streetcleaning Tuesdays snow emergency fibblety foo callooh callay.” Instead I go with the crowd. Why read signs when I can let others do my thinking for me? I know if I can park somewhere based on if anyone else is parking there.

Friday evening I went to the Wyndham Hotel at 1400 M St. (where I’m told recently departed news legend Ed Bradley would joke with the staff by requesting the “Marion Barry Suite”). I pulled up just before five and right out front there were a handful of metered spaces available. What luck!

I was vaguely aware that there are parking spaces you need to clear out of during rush hour, and maybe it should’ve been common sense that numerous spaces that good wouldn’t be so easily available, but there were a lot of other cars parked there so, you know, safety in numbers.

I pulled into two free spaces and took the one in front. I got out and someone pulled into the one behind me, making me more confident that I was fine parking there. I went to feed the meter and saw that the space behind mine still had a bunch of time on its meter. I thought, “Oh fudge, I should’ve taken that space. Too late now.”

The guy from the car behind me, who reminded me of Ludacris, came to the meter with his change. I said, “You’re lucky, you get 43 minutes free!”

A Bad Sign at the Bling Bling Giant

Walking into the Bling Bling Giant for last minute New Years Eve shopping, this empty cart rack is a bad sign.

A sign of a packed grocery store that shocks me. Why are so many folks shopping today. Are you?

I am here because my fridge is empty after two weeks vacation in Puerto Rico. But why is everyone else here?

Don’t they have Monday and maybe Tuesday to shop too?

Amateur Night

new years eve I can’t remember the last time I went out on New Year’s Eve. It’s a recipe for disaster if you ask me. The scenario goes something like this: Take countless regular Joes and Janes, folks who ordinarily drink very little or not at all, and feed them beer, shots, cocktails and champagne. The result? Cops are very busy arresting people for DUI, D&D (drunk and disorderly), public intoxication, urination, vomiting…you know, people on their best behavior. Cabbies and limos, not to mention ERs, are also barely able to keep up.

I prefer to stay home, have a nice meal and watch a movie or read a book. The latter is often undesirable as a nice loud movie will drown out the din of drunks shouting on the street, the traffic and car horns, sirens and fireworks, etc. Okay, I sometimes watch the Times Square ball drop on TV.

After the inexperienced inebriants finally pass out I get a good night’s sleep. Rested and clear-headed, it’s time for a hearty breakfast and fine day of college bowl games. For extra special fun, I sometimes go to my favorite sports bar to watch them. In between plays, I enjoy people watching (and listening)—bloodshot eyes, Sahara tongues and pounding brains, “Oh god, I should not have had that last Jager bomb!”

I’m not sure about DC, but in many of the cities I’ve lived in cabs and/or mass transit are free on Amateur Night. If you are going out, play it safe and either have a designated driver or leave the car at home. Oh, and Happy New Year to the crew and all our visitors!

Stuck inside Toronto with the Arlington blues again

It’s snowing here in Toronto. Not bad, mind you, but any snow at all means it’s colder than I like. I just looked at the Arlington weather predictions and saw a high of 55 for today. Only two more days before I get back to decent weather and grits for breakfast.

Bear Rock Cafe Review: 2.5 out of 5

I visited a new cafe with a friend recently in Shirlington. It’s part of the newly developed part right at the end of the strip and we were looking for something fast but still with great food.

Bear Rock Cafe had just opened it’s doors the day before we tried it out, and I’ll give most of their staffing and timing issues a nod to it being their second day on the job. I do hope, however, that if I visit again in a few weeks we wouldn’t encounter some of the same issues.

Bear Rock is a small chain in just a few state. You might want to call it a rustic (and more personal and original) version of Panera Bread and has a less “corporate” feel about it. At Bear Rock you aren’t one of a thousand and so it has a more intimate feel. Their menu is also much more diverse and the food has much better presentation.

Right Place, Right Time

While browsing through photos of DC using one of my favorite Flickr tools, I did a double take when I saw this shot. Maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t seen a ginormous chopper landing on the White House lawn, but it’s a scene straight from the movies. It’s as if they were filming the next Tom Clancy film and Jack Ryan was being airlifted to Andrews to catch the next plane to North Korea. Or maybe Iran? You know, one of those “Axis of Evil” countries.

Seriously, kudos to Martin Brossman for being at the right place at the right time…with his camera!

On a side note, I just received a new ND filter in the mail from B&H today that I can’t wait to play with. Neutral Density filters allow less light into your lens allowing for longer exposures. This particular filter will let me take an incredibly long exposure during in the middle of the day, for the effect….well you’ll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned!

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