Posts Tagged ‘carl weaver’

Fortune Telling at Taverna Cretekou

My lovely wife and I went to Taverna Cretekou in Alexandria recently. The food was fabulous, as was the service. The highlight of our visit came after the meal, when the waiter read Elise’s fortune in her coffee grounds. Was it simply a ploy for a bigger tip? Probably, and likely it worked.

I highly recommend this restaurant. Fabulous food, great service and reasonable prices for an upscale place.


Drummers in Meridian Hill Park

This video doesn’t make the day any warmer, but at least we can remember what warm sunshine is like. It’s on the way, for sure, but in the meantime, enjoy this video shot at Meridian Hill Park by Giganova. This is the type of thing that makes DC great.


Panda-Optional Friday

Those of you who know me and my drive to make Friday officially pants-optional may be surprised that I will not mention it this week because instead we have panda-optional Friday. I just opted in. Join me by watching what is possibly the cutest panda video ever. Many thanks to DC-based social media (and everything else) expert Andy Carvin for linking to this video.

Incidentally, this is the first video on the NPR YouTube channel. Keep your eyes peeled as they add new videos. It is a contribution by David Gilkey to the Chengdu Diary series. Read Gilkey’s notes here.


Winning Over a New Yorker

I was pretty sure that my good friend and colleague Jonny Goldstein (of Jonny’s Par-Tay) was never going to warm up to a city like Washington, DC. He moved here the same time I did, about two years ago, and I could tell that DC didn’t really have the spark he had come to love about the Big Apple after ten years there.

We met up at the Brickskeller with Andy Carvin one summer evening after the three of us had moved here independently within a month of each other and I sensed, from how Jonny described his DC experiences thus far, that he found the place serviceable but not necessarily interesting beyond the obvious tourist sites. I was excited to have moved somewhere with built-in friends and was a bit sad that Jonny may not be satisfied enough with the area to make it his home.

This is why I was happy to see the serene emotions in his post about five really cool things that happened to him in DC within about 90 minutes:

So, for all my griping, DC sometimes surprises me with little moments like these. And I appreciate that this former swamp has turned into a city that every once in a while even a jaded dude like me can appreciate.

Jonny, I know you won’t be here forever, but I am glad you have warmed up to the place a little. Hopefully when you go back to New York, whenever that may be, you will take positive memories with you, not just the occasional soullessness of the city and the bleak strip malls that pockmark the roads and highways. It’s a different kind of high here, but one definitely worth trying and I am glad you eventually inhaled deeply enough to get it.

To anyone lucky enough to have ended up here, like Jonny and me, I offer you this hope – give this city, in fact, the whole area, a fair chance. You’d be surprised how at home you can feel after just a short stay.

Readers, I would love to know what brought you here, what has kept you here and what do you find here in the DC area that you can’t get anywhere else. Please chime in.

Kensington Painting Exhibition on Friday


Please join Shara Banisadr and her students to celebrate unconventional ways of painting. They request that youRSVP so they know how many people to expect. You can visit the site about this event here and see others’ works as well.

The above painting is by local artist Kristin Bruch, a very talented and interesting young artist. As I have said before, I am not schooled in such highfalutin’ things as art history or art appreciation, but I know what I like and her work is drenched in it. Come on down and see Kristin’s work and that of many other artists as well. Here are all the specifics:

Reception: Friday, May 2, 2008
Time: 6:30-8:30

Location: Kensington Framing & Gallery
10805 Connecticut Ave
Kensington, MD 2089

Cyber Seder with Carl and Elise

How is this night different from all other nights? For one thing, it’s the wrong darned night. Don’t let that stop you from attending the third annual Cyber Seder at This is the third year we have done a live cybercast of our Passover Seder. Unfortunately, we were out of town the first two nights of this important holiday, but we feel that it is important enough to continue the tradition that we are doing it on the third night to play catch-up.

Not sure what Passover or a Seder is? Read all about it here and then come join us. As long as we are here, your wanderings have not taken you too far from home, or at least a virtual representation of it. The broadcast will start at 6:30 and the actual Seder will commence at 7 p.m.

This can’t be good: Metro All Lines alert

This just in from the Metro Alert system:

Disruption at All Stations. (Expect delays in the Metrorail system due to a system-wide signaling problem.)

Signaling problem? Yikes… I can’t wait to get on for the ride home!


New alert:

Disruption at All Stations was cleared. Thank you for riding Metro.

I don’t think I feel much better about this. What do you think? Eager to get on a train today?

Hire Education

Hire EducationIf you have not read this week’s Washington City Paper, I encourage you to do so. Especially, there is an article called Hire Education that really sums up the frustrations of tutoring rich kids with entitlement issues and dealing with their parents, who often have entitlement issues. The article takes a hard look at these kids and paints them with a very negative brush, but not all is as bad as it seems in the article.

As a tutor myself, I can vouch for many of the experiences the author relates and found it reassuring that I am not the only one with clients who sometimes seem like they recently came off their meds. However, the difficult kids and parents are the exception, in my experience. Most kids are okay, regardless of why they seek out tutoring, and most parents are understanding when I assure them that I am an expert and know what I am doing.

Sure, I have had parents call and fuss at me, send nasty emails and even had one jerk of a father try to physically intimidate me. If I weren’t twice his size with greater strength and a longer reach, it may have bothered me. As it worked out, I let him know he should back off and I resumed tutoring his son.

Student issues include being inattentive, sometimes even snotty, feeling entitled to high grades or high SAT scores and generally not wanting to work. Another problem is having little unstructured time, with too much emphasis on academics and other school activities and not enough on enjoying being a kid. Helicopter parents shuttle them around from school to soccer to tutoring to study groups and in the end the high school graduates have no idea how to manage their own time or actually study in college, instead of having tutors tell them what to do.

I have also had parents who were very gracious, students who were polite and attentive and with those families it is a lovely time. To me what makes the difference when working with students is having kids who want to learn or are interested in the subject material. Whether they like the material or not, they should have a good attitude about it and at least be open-minded to learning it.

If you were ever curious about tutoring, I highly recommend it. Seeing kids absorb and integrate information is a blast. Take that article and my own complaints with a grain of salt. Most kids are good and most parents, when the rubber meets the road, simply want to help their kids. However, I can tell you with all certainty that helping kids get A’s instead of B’s or helping them get higher SAT scores is far less worthwhile or rewarding than helping kids with bigger issues, like literacy or their GED.

Having prepared many kids for both the SAT and GED, I will take an interested GED student any day over an interested SAT student. The pay is lower and the barriers higher, but getting someone over that hump means so much more opportunity that the trade-off is worth it.

So who wants to join me in shaping the minds of our future leaders? Before you answer, let me assure you that there is work to be had in this market because I have had enough of it for now and will be focusing more of my time and attention on my photography business. The kids? The parents? The last-minute test preparation? You can have it all.

Photo Rights Challenged at Chinese Embassy

As a good photographer, I sought out the rally at the Chinese embassy on Connecticut Avenue today. In case you were driving by and were curious what all those people just south of the Woodley Park Metro were hollering about, it has to do with the rights and freedom of the Tibetan people. Tibet has been occupied by China since 1959 and has been subject to many violent instances, including what you have been reading about in the news recently.

Like I said, I figured there would be a big rally there, so I made my way down there and was snapping pictures of the crowd when I noticed that someone had thrown red paint at the embassy earlier. I crossed the street to get a few pictures of that and was approached by two uniformed Secret Service officers who informed me that I was not allowed to photograph the embassy or even be on that side of the street.

I have been through this before with other law enforcement officers. The difference this time was that the lady and her male partner were polite when they stopped me, even if they did lie about my rights.

I explained that I was on public property, it being a sidewalk, and that I was within my rights to be there and photograph the building. After about a minute of back-and-forth, they could see that I was not budging and after examining my press credentials, they determined that I really was a journalist, or perhaps that I simply knew my rights, and left me alone, but not without some huffing and puffing about crowd control. They were determined to have the last word, even if the words were ultimately empty.

Okay, I get that the police need to keep order and make sure that nobody does stupid stuff and to ensure that a peaceful rally like this does not turn violent, but to me, photography is not a very threatening activity. If there had been a “do not cross” tape set up, that would be different.

When are we going to learn that photographers are not the problem? When is the last time you were told by police that you weren’t allowed to take pictures of something or walk on a public sidewalk?

Photo: Secret Service Officer, Tibetan Independence Rally
Originally uploaded by carlweaver
See more photos of this event here.

myLHBS Newsletter – Triple Threat, and Just in Time!

I just got the most recent newsletter (PDF) from Derek Terrell at myLHBS and was thrilled to see that this month’s recipe was a Belgian Triple. This is a type of beer I have had on rare occasions and always enjoyed. Now that I know a recipe, I can darken the doorway of my favorite homebrew shop again to get some ingredients.The newsletter came just in time. I am going to bottle my current brew tomorrow morning and will soon have empty equipment. This is another Derek Terrell recipe – a hefeweizen similar to Blue Moon, if I did it right. I wasn’t sure how much orange peel and coriander to add to the boil, so I added the minimum Derek suggested, since he had given me a range. I wanted to avoid an overpowering flavor but definitely wanted hints of these flaovrs. I can’t wait to try it tomorrow, fresh from the fermenter.Are you a homebrewer? What do you like to make? Interested in homebrewing? There’s no better way to get beer than from your own stovetop, so go see Derek to learn about it or send me an email and maybe you can come by next time I brew a batch. Beer and photography really do go together well!Here is this month’s recipe, from Derek’s newsletter:

Triple ThreatOne of the really nice things about Belgian ales is their simplicity and the degree to which they can be altered by even minor changes to basic recipes such as this one. Triple Threat is one I brew when I’m in the mood for something Belgian yet also can’t settle on exactly what I want to make. Choose Clear Candi syrup for a Strong Golden, or opt for Amber for something akin to Ommegang’s Rare Vos (and maybe even spice it lightly for a Grand Cru). Either of the Dark syrups will brew up a rich Strong Dark Ale. (more…)

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