Archive for March, 2007

Metrobus Madness

So has anyone determined yet what type of extra training the Metrobus drivers are going to have to complete because of the recent accidents and fatalities since the beginning of the year?

This subject came to mind just this morning as I was driving along M Street and bus #4322 (DC license plate number B37176) ran a red light, turned on its left signal, careened into the right lane and then returned to the center lane. The swerving was apparently to avoid a large mass of air particles. Nothing else was in the way.

Whatever the extra training might or might not entail, I think this driver could certainly benefit from it. Granted, I did not see a collision, but that is more likely due to chance than strategy in this case.

MC Rove?!

rove.pngWell, if your collection wasn’t complete without a velvet Karl Rove, then you clearly need to see the video from last night’s Press Correspondent’s Dinner, featuring the cast of Who’s Line is it Anyway, and MC Rove. Now, Yahoo video sucks, because you can’t just link to the player for whatever reason, so, read the story on the correspondent’s dinner, and then it’s on the left hand side. It’s actually pretty funny, if you’re willing to laugh only at the dancing involved.

I Miss WMATA Escalator Etiquette

This is the escalator scene at the Austin Convention Center during SEPG 2007, everyone standing on the left.

I never realized how fierce we maintain a stand-to-the-right rule on Metrorail, or how much I enjoy the ability to tackle stairs at my own frantic pace, until this sight confronted me every day this week.

The first day I would barge past folks without even an “excuse me” but by today I just wait for the moving stairs to take me to the next floor.

I have learned that this is not DC, and these flyovers are not getting out of my way no matter how much I bitch on the up or the down escalator.

For you new arrivals…

As I go through the annual pain of filing my taxes (and marvel that I now pay the Fed more than I earned in a year as a teen) TurboTax has asked me an interesting question. A stupid question, I must say, since it asked me for my address already and a smarter programmer (like, say, ME, *ahem*) would have checked the zip code to determine if this was likely to be true. But that’s neither here nor there.

If you just moved into our fair city last year and bought or built a property there’s a goodly sized deduction you can take. It’s no good to you if you owned a property in the district before and it’s not going to do you any good if you bought it this year (though it seems like a persisting credit – something to make sure you/your tax filer check next year, Wayan) but make sure you don’t miss it if you do qualify- an extra $5,000 deductible is nothing to sneeze at.

Lord knows I could use it…

Memorial Bridge Cluster Fcuk

If you were stuck in traffic this morning for what seemed like an eternity, like my co-worker, and were perhaps foolish in thinking that it would have cleared up by 2 p.m., oh how wrong you were. Said co-worker has been stuck in traffic on the memorial bridge with cars backed up onto Route 110 for quite some time now. Washington Post Radio reports that the Memorial Bridge traffic problems are due to the filming of a movie. Anyone have the foggiest on the movie they’re filming here in the District?

Word to the wise, check traffic reports over the next few days to avoid the Memorial Bridge cluster fcuk.

Street Level Exodus?

Does anyone know what’s going on in Clarendon above Highland? It seems that every storefront between Orpheus Records and the Kabob Bazaar is now shut, and the whole area looks like a scene out of a bad union-strike movie set in West Virginia rather than just blocks away from some of the hottest nightlife in the region. What’s with all the empty storefronts? Is this gentrification in process, or are the landlords asking for too much money? With about a dozen spots empty in the two blocks between the Clarendon Ballroom and the Metro, Arlington’s got to be losing out on some serious revenue if those places stay empty much longer.

What’s going on?

Arlington’s $10 Compost Bins

Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to get those bulbs, seeds and saplings in the ground. That garden’s not going to tend itself, as my father might remind me if I were still 15 and playing the Dead Kennedys as loud as I could. Back then I didn’t know composting from Jello Biafra‘s left nut but now that I am a middle-aged guy living out here in the ‘burbs my ears perk up when someone speaks of such yard care wonders.

Arlington County has made compost bins available to residents for the low sum of $10. Is this a bargain? Hell yeah. Have you seen the prices compost bins go for from some of those fancy-pants gardening catalogs? $10 is more than a great deal for your pocketbook; it’s a wonderful way to help the environment, reduce your ecological footprint and get those worms making some great castings.

Even for this particular product, the Presto Compost Bin, $10 is way lower than prices on some of the web sites I came across. This is a low-tech composting system, just slightly fancier than the way nature does it all on its own.

The bin is simply a piece of flat plastic with a bunch of holes drilled in it. Nothing fancy, nothing complex. Throw your vegetable-based kitchen scraps, yard waste and even crushed eggshells in there, layer on something good and nitrogen-rich and pretty soon you will have some of the most beautiful black soil you can imagine. The worms will love it and you will too.

Here are some more details:

This compost bin has an adjustable capacity – up to 3 ft. in diameter, or 17.6 cubic ft.
Compost bin is constructed of 50 mil thick plastic (minimum 50% post consumer waste) with natural ultra violet inhibitors to prevent degradation by light
Excellent ventilation for aeration
Helps retain heat and moisture
Easy to assemble; lightweight

Go give yourself and your garden the gift of compost. You will never look at food scraps or worm castings the same way again.

Lauriol Plaza: Mexican Paradise

It’s official, DC. Spring is here. Warm weather has arrived. The ice storms are gone, our spirits have been lifted, and our minds are thinking of lifting spirits (aka “drinking heavily”). There are two windows of time in this city when the weather is perfect, neither bitter cold or disgustingly hot and humid. It’s a time when you can leave your windows open at night, go outdoors without dreading it, and join your friends for dinner and drinks at one of our many patio bars (Local 16, 18th Street Lounge, Wonderland, etc). It’s also time for the beautiful people of the city to start packing themselves into Lauriol Plaza as if Corona and swirly margaritas were life necessities.

Most people either love or hate LP. I’m quite fond of it myself, partly because I think their food and margs rock, and partly because it takes me 5 minutes to walk there from my house. The biggest complaint I hear is, “Oh but the wait! You have to wait for hours to get a table!” Nonsense, poopy pants! If you’re a party of 8, sure. But if you’re 2-4 people, the most you’ll have to wait is 45 minutes, usually only 10-15. They key is getting there before 7:30, but if that’s too early for you, just hang out on the patio with your friends and a pitcher of margaritas and enjoy this weather while it lasts.

As far as the food goes, I highly recommend sticking with the basics. The fajitas, tacos, burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas are all tasty treats. You may be tempted to get something fancy like lamb fajitas or crab enchiladas, but it’s your gamble, not mine.

So what say you, DC residents? Can you name a better Mexican food restaurant in town?

Photo by our very own Tom Bridge.

Learning Something New Everyday

Here’s something I found out about that sounds interesting:

“Have you ever wanted to learn how to play African drums, change a bike tire, or fry a turkey? Or do you have a secret skill that you’re dyingto share, like “How to Juggle”? On April 28th, you’ll have a chance to
do this all and more, for free:

Learn-a-Palooza DC is a first-of-its-kind community organized event happening on Saturday, April 28th, 2007. From 10AM-6PM businesses, homes, and community centers in Adams Morgan, U St, Dupont, and Columbia Heights will open their doors to hold short “workshops” on
every topic under the sun, from “Intro to Yoga”, to “Beat the Sugar Blues”, to “How to Learn 19 Languages”, to “Acting 101”, to “Buying Your First Home”, to “Understanding Your Camera”.

Participating venues so far include the DC Arts Center (DCAC), Potter’s House, Transformer Gallery, City Bikes, Emergence Community Arts Collective, Red Onion Records and Books, Patricia M. Sitar Center, Affinity Lab, City Fitness Gym, and many more.

For B. Stanley, Executive Director of DCAC, Learn-a-Palooza is a chance to not only give back to the community but also attract new people. “DCAC has served the Adams Morgan neighborhood and Washington area for eighteen years presenting high-caliber, challenging works of art and theater. We hope to get some new faces in the door who will come for a Learn-a-Palooza class and then make a point to come back for an exhibit or show.”

Google Maps Breaks DC Letter Street Names

Google Maps DC Bug “Hope you don’t need to use maps in our nation’s capital!” Those of you who regularly use Google Maps might have noticed that ever since late February, the addresses and directions may have been stumbling over most letter streets. Seems that a recent update of Google Maps’ address parser has broken addresses along streets with single-character names, so that it goes wild. A search for 15 E St NW, for example, gives you the generic location of 15th St NW, although if you search by name of the specific establishment at that address, in this case the Hotel George, the map seems to work fine. The Google Maps Help Group isn’t much help at all, and there hasn’t been any action on the bug for weeks now, so those of you entertaining Google Maps-using visitors to DC would do well to warn them of the bug, and avoid Google in favor of other map apps for now where the District is concerned.

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