Archive for the ‘Ballston’ Category

speaking of sandwiches

The large buildings that line the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor are required by zoning law to provide retail space on the ground floor (street-level). As a resident, I think this is a great bit of regulation, because it provides me with a broader array of services within walking distance of my house – particularly the necessities of food, coffee, and alcohol.

So when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) doubled the size of its Headquarters office, I was curious whether any business would set up shop in the newly created ground floor. This curiosity stems from the fact that the nearby Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) building has successfully argued against providing street-level business space because either (a) they need the space for their offices, or (b) any retail space would be too close to their mail operations (which happen to be on the first floor) and would constitute a security risk. Seeing as the FDIC is probably a cornerstone of the American financial system – I wasn’t holding my breath.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw workers avoiding the space when they were developing offices on other floors. Yet, I am no longer that happy… because the space is going to be occupied by yet another damn Cosi sandwich shop. As if we don’t have enough of these in the area!

It really disappoints me this space wasn’t given to some sort of small business – or at least a chain that doesn’t already have a similar outlet within walking distance (e.g. the Cosi at Ballston).

virginia candidates for senate face-off tonight

Virginia Senator George Allen (R) and challenger James "Jim" Webb (D) will face-off in Richmond tonight. The 8 p.m. debate will be moderated be moderated by Russ Mitchell, an anchor on The Early Show and Sunday Evening News on CBS. Viewers in Northern Virginia will be able to watch the debate live on WETA (local channel 26).

So far, both candidates have spent a considerable amount of time issuing and responding to personal questions or attacks. For Allen, the central issues have revolved around his (supposedly hidden) Jewish heritage, his use of the word "macaca," and his office’s showcase of a Confederate flag and rope tied into a noose. Webb has been questioned about a 1979 article on women in combat. Although I am hoping the debate will provide a showcase for both of these candidates to present clearly distinguishable platforms – I’m afraid that most of the debate will end up focused on questions of character…



Allen is predicted to say "Well shucks, you know that I was a bit of a rebel in my younger days, so I’ve always liked having a Confederate flag and noose ready for when the South will rise again."

Webb will think "…jackass," while stretching his hands in anticipation of the vicious pimp slap he is about to lay down.


my endorsement: mike mcmenamin for arlington county board

Not to say that the Presidential and Congressional elections aren’t important – but I believe that local elections are the most important.  I would even go so far as to say the impacts of local elections affect us on a more frequent and direct basis than those of national elections – and this is magnified by “how local” it is.  

For example, if you own a home in Arlington County you may have noticed that taxes have been increasing faster than other areas in the Northern part of the state (Fairfax, I’m looking at you).  At the same time, zoning restrictions on single family homes are among some of the strictest in the state – and parking is a nightmare that grows worse with every new condominium complex and apartment building that is built.

So you assume that the money raised by these taxes must be important for providing some sort of service that you and your neighbors need.  Yet, capital projects for fire stations, libraries, and parks across the county are behind schedule and over budget.  Perhaps you live in the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor, Pentagon City, Crystal City, or Shirlington where there has been a lot of development and improvements over the past few years.  But like too many areas in Northern Virginia, the dividing line between these areas and the forgotten neighborhoods surrounding them is so stark – you can point to individual streets that mark the “boundaries” between us.  


I think Mike McMenamin sums up a lot of people’s concerns when he observes:

“Mr. Zimmerman has been on the Board for more than 10 years, during which he has doubled the County’s debt. The average yearly residential real estate tax bill has increased by nearly $2,700. Spending is up over nine percent – the largest increase in nearly 20 years. He even increased the car tax. Where did all of our money go?”


sundays are for recovery

Like many people living in the DC metro area, I am a firm believer in the benefits of exercise. I lift weights for the muscles, run for the heart and lungs, and drink for the liver. This weekend was a bit of a marathon for the latter…

Started off on Friday night by polishing off a few martinis with some other authors at Pinzimini; the restaurant/bar in the Arlington Gateway Westin. While I agree
with Wayan
that the bar service was slow – at least they don’t pour rail when you ask for top shelf.

After the warmup on Friday night, I was ready to go the distance on Saturday.

We were entertaining a friend from London, so after the obligatory “here are all the monuments and memorials” tour, we headed out to Mie N Yu for dinner. Dinner there can be on the pricey end, but the food is excellently prepared and they have a great bar. I recommend you try the Tunisian martini, made with ginger infused vodka, cointreau, and cranberry juice – it’s got a crisp taste that perfectly
complements these cooler fall nights. Thai red snapper, red curry mussels, and barbecue lamb shank all got rave reviews – the blueberry crusted lamb loin was surprisingly unimpressive.

Our waiter was incredibly attentive and made great reccomendations on food and wine – but the manager who brought the second bottle of wine came off like a stalker when he called out one of our dining companions by first name, named where she worked, and reminded her they met once in a bar – 6 MONTHS AGO – and tested her to see if he remembered his name. Umm… yeah, guy, that’s what we call a dick move.

We moved down to Sequoia after that. Another sign that summertime is over – the
waterfront is surprisingly quiet, despite the very pleasant weather. After a few more hours of conversation and imbibing, we decided to go old school and meet up with a younger co-worker at Garrett’s. The drinks we had there fueled a decision to maintain the “damn I’m getting old” sentiment and head down the street to The Guards. Surrounded by seemingly underage Georgetown/GW students – these days 21-year-olds look like 12-year-olds to me – we rocked out to Journey in the Griffin Room – and polished off a few more rounds.

This morning I wasn’t so much hung over as nursing a sprained liver. Nothing four advil and two liters of water couldn’t fix…

By the way – does anyone know who the"Stop Bitching Start a Revolution" people are? A swarm of dreadlocked caucasian kids were pawning off t-shirts and bumper stickers at the corner of M and Wisconsin with that slogan on it. A little web research reveals they are tied to Wulf Zendik – leader and founder of the Zendik Arts community– who is survived by his wife Arol and daughter Fawn. I guess they are trying to expand upon his "social, political, and spiritual premises" – but honestly I find their website really, really, really confusing… a lot like these guys.

Pass on Pinzimini

This would be the Westin Arlington Gateway hotel bar, Pinzimini, where DC Metroblogging had a happy hour last night on the recommendation of one of the writers.

He likes it because it’s a mellow place, and I have to agree. It sure is mellow. The photo at right is exactly how it looked on a Friday night.

Even with few people there, Pinzimini wasn’t all that. The $8 rail (!) drinks are served slow, the bar is out of napkins and limes (on a Friday!), and I had to request our table be cleared of two rounds of pre-us detritus.

Note to those who cross the river voluntarily: ixnay on Pinzimini-ay.

Caps 2006-2007 schedule released

The Stanley Cup was awarded less than a month ago, but already planning for the next NHL season is well underway. Yesterday, the league released next season’s schedule. Highlights for the Capitals include a visit from defending Cup champions, the Carolina Hurricanes, on opening night as well as some traditional home games on and around holidays.

Like the 2005-06 season, the Capitals will face the other teams in the Southeast Division eight times each and other Eastern Conference opponents four times each. Washington will host the five teams in the Pacific Division – the Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks – for one game each while paying a visit to each of the teams in the Northwest Division.

More than half of the Capitals’ 41 home games at Verizon Center fall on weekends, including 12 Saturday games, seven Friday games and three Sunday games. The schedule features holiday home games on the day before and after Thanksgiving (Nov. 22 against Atlanta, Nov. 24 against Toronto) and New Year’s Day (Phoenix) as well as an early afternoon game on Super Bowl Sunday (New York Islanders).

No word yet on what tickets will cost or when they will go on sale. Off Wing Opinion has a little fun breaking down the schedule.

In other Caps news (all from The Wash. Times), there are discussions about naming Alex Ovechkin captain, even though he is only entering his second season and is not even old enough to buy alcohol yet. Also, the Caps reacquired Richard Zednik from Montreal for a third round pick. Lastly, the new practice facility the team is building in Ballston has fallen behind schedule, forcing the Caps to look elsewhere for training camp.

Check out Japers Rink for more Caps coverage.

Battle of the Comics

Forget the Nats and the Os, the only battle that matters is D.C. versus Richmond in the Battle of the Comics at the Comedy Spot in the Ballston Commons Mall. Click on the link, check out the schedule and support D.C. like only DCers can.

Scientology @ Ballston

Are you uptight this holiday weekend? Do pool parties and BBQ’s with Mom stress you out?

Then take heart and take the handy Scientology stress test at the Ballston Metro station.

No word if you get a free Dianetics book or if you’ll be jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch in a few years.

Panera Communication Censorship

Today, after work and before yoga, I did a little work at Panera Bread in Ballston. Done with the day labour, and wanting to check what’s up with the world, I typed in expecting to find the latest in DC gossip. Instead, I got the notice at right, which says:

The SonicWALL Content Filter Has Blocked this site. If you feel this site has been blocked in error, Please submit a URL Rating Review at:
Reason for restriction: Forbidden Category

Forbidden Category, eh? I wonder which one that is? Snide Commenatry? Jaded Lifestyles? Or maybe Reality Check?

What’s your take?

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