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2006 St Paddy’s Day 10K

Heads-up DC Runners!

Rgistration is now open for the St. Patrick’s Day 10K 2006 race, scheduled for Sunday, March 12. And, as incentive to enter, they’re are offering a special discount to runners who register by midnight: the registration fee is $20 now (just $18 for ChampionChip owners!), and will go to $25 January 1 and climb to $35 by race weekend.

While the race ostensibly benefits the Special Olympics DC, I’ve found a way to corrupt it. I follow a pink ass each year and my times just keep getting faster. This year: 45:02 of blazing speed.

How you gonna beat me?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Red Rover, Red Rover

Since my job is half sales and half recruiting, I spend a lot of time out of the office, trying to visit people, build relationships, get to know clients and prospects, etc. One of the things the company encourages us to do if we can’t get someone to set up an appointment with us is to stop by and say hello and bring a little gift- calendars, staplers, little magnetic desk-sculpture thingies, etc. The idea is that we aren’t supposed to put anyone to work until we’ve had a chance to visit the site where they’ll be working. Not a bad idea, really.

The problem is, my company’s US operations are based in the South. Before employees from northern metropolii go to training for a week in Georgia, our managers often warn us, “Don’t be upset when the people from the south schedule more visits than you. People are just friendlier there than here.”

But more than that, this tactic seems to ignore the fact that in most buildings in DC (and I’m guessing most in New York), you can’t just waltz in and go see somebody. You have to engage in what I like to call “Office Building Red Rover” to get past the lobby to the elevators.

The difficulty of Office Building Red Rover varies from building to building, but the players are generally the same. There is always some sort of uniformed security guard behind a large and imposing desk between you and the elevator. And most importantly, between you and the building director. This person will usually need to know who you are and where you’re going before you may proceed.

Maybe the building is like mine, where I waltz past the security desk each morning with a wave to the guard, who is only asking for IDs and sign-ins before she lets people upstairs. Maybe the building is like the RIAA’s, where the security guards call upstairs and ask if they have permission to let you into the elevator just so you can bring them some candy (not that I blame the RIAA for being paranoid. If I were Satan, I would be too). The worst case is the Hogan & Hartson building at Columbia Square. There, visitors have to be “on the list” at the front desk before being issued a proximity card that will only send the elevator to the floor you have been specifically authorized to visit. Building security at the World Bank rivals the process at most airports- when we visit that client, we offer to take him out to lunch, just to make it easier.

Don’t have picture ID with you? Tag! You’re out! The receptionist at the client doesn’t want your Halloween candy? Tag!

It’s hard to be in a relationship-based business when everyone is to busy or paranoid to see you.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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F-ing DC signage

I freely admit that I have no sense of direction. None. My ability to get lost is the subject of epic poems. In a former life, I was an Israelite wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, or a member of Odysseus’ crew. Whatever primal part of the human brain most people have that responds to the tug of Earth’s magnetic fields just doesn’t exist in my world.

Unless I’m looking out a window, I don’t know where the streets are around the building I’m in. If I step into an elevator, I forget which side of the building my office is on. If I’m outside, the only way I know what direction I’m facing unless I see a familiar landmark (so I’m completely fucked when I’m someplace new). It’s more than just an inability to find north and south, it’s that if I’m driiving around a city, and I make a few turns, I have no idea which direction I’m facing relative to the direction I was originally headed in. It’s not something I can just “get over,” either, any more than a dyslexic can just “get over” their tendency to mix up letters. So short of extensive occupational therapy or a GPS jacked into my skull, coping is pretty much the name of the game at this point. How do you cope with an utter inability to navigate-by-feel? You watch for signage and follow it religiously.

Which is why this town never fails to thwart me. You get blocked out of your merge to 395 South, and there’s no good way to get off and get back on from 395 North. You get off 395 North and see a sign on your left, pointing left, that says “NORTH 395.” You look to your right and see a semi-obscured sign that just says, “…TH 395″ pointing to the right, so you follow that, thinking that since it’s pointing the other way, it must take you south… and it’s ALSO a sign for 395 North.

How the HELL did we end up in a situation in which two signs, at the same intersection, pointing in opposite directions, send you back to the same highway in the same direction? Don’t ask me to tell you where this is, either, because as you might have guessed by now, I have no freaking clue where I was when I saw this. I just know that because I missed a merge onto 395 south on 15th St NW, I somehow managed to cross the Frederick Douglass Bridge before figuring out how to get home.

And how did I get home? I saw the sign for the Suitland Parkway, realized I was definitely headed in the wrong direction, and turned around. When I turned around, I saw the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and signs pointing toward Downtown.

If it weren’t for that dome, I’d be fucked over on a regular basis trying to get around this town.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Waiting for the 36% off sale

While the latest Housing Market Analysis conducted by National City Corp says Naples, Florida is the most overvalued of all housing markets in the United States, don’t think DC is far behind.

Using thier analysis, Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV is 36.2% overvalued. That means those $300,000 condos going like hotcakes should be selling for $200K. Sound like fantasy number to you too?

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Get your pods cheap!

That’s right, and we’re not talking iPods here, we’re talking the AquaPod Nano-Aquarium System which is on sale at Wally’s Aquarium. Like I’ve said before I like Wally’s for their great service, and now they have the Pod on sale for $175.

Get it now & get it quick. For fish, or even better, for Hirshhorn-level art snails, you too can be cool with a tank more unique than some foolish Nano and almost guppy dad worthy

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Escargot

Last month I spent a hypnotic afternoon at the Hirshhorn and was struck by palimpsest‘s ravenous snails. Alas, in just four days those cabbages they are mindlessly devouring will be their last supper. Under the deal the museum struck with the USDA in order to display the exhibit, the snails will not survive their brush with fame. Upon the exhibit’s end on Tuesday, January 3rd they will be exterminated (humanely, though even I can’t really get away with anthropomorphizing snails without shuddering. They’re a bit creepy…).

So if you’re looking for something to do over the weekend other than party like it’s 1999, head over and pay your last respects to these unsung martyrs for art. Farewell, slimy industrious mollusks…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Edmund and Leo – DC Guineas

Hello everyone, our names are Edmund and Leo, and we’re 9-month-old guinea pigs. We’re currently living in a foster home in NW DC, but need to find a permanent home, and we’re writing to ask if anyone in Adams Morgan would like to adopt us. Our feet don’t work well on computer keyboards, but our foster mom has a cute write-up about us here

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Cougars in the house

Now this is a Merry Christmas – I come back from two weeks in Lebanon to find a cougar in my inbox. Yep, a Mom 47 years young, is hunting for boy toys. Her profile might say she’s looking for 35-52, but I’m not (yet) 35 and she’s scratching around my profile, sending me a “wink”. While I’ll pass – if you’re young and fun, you might wanna purr.

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And the sordid license plate wars continue…

goatse2.pngI didn’t think it could get worse, but it has. Live journal writer Kalephunk has gotten a new vanity plate, though calling it that seems very very wrong. The ‘bukakke’ plate was apparently pulled – will this get yanked as well, I wonder, or is it okay to merely make reference to the infamous gross-out image that giggling fratboys like to show unsuspecting friends?

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Escape from the Sunshine State

Well, I’m back.

I don’t really have much else to say, I suppose, except that after a week in Florida I’m so relieved to be back in DC. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed hanging out with my parents and all the accompanying perks of reverting to childhood like eating all the chocolate and cheese you want and drinking two bottles of champagne solo while watching movies til 3am and not having to make a single decision about anything. Ok, maybe that wasn’t quite my childhood but you know what I mean – total absence of responsibility. But after a week your body and brain begin to rebel and begin to crave the bustle and hum of the city. And that is one thing the particular corner of Florida that my parents inhabit severely lacks.

It’s Venice, a quiet little town on the Gulf Coast with some lovely wild beaches (my favorite – Caspersen) and a cute avenue with local merchant shops and a real soda fountain cafe. It manages to feel very sleepy while also being developed within an inch of its charm to hold the first wave of the retiring Boomers as they flock to Florida’s no income tax and temperate climate.

Now, with apologies to my parents, I could never ever live in a place like that. Everything revolves around the car, of course, as with the exception of the little avenue most everything is strip mall shops. Its infrastructure hasn’t quite caught up to the expensive real estate being built everywhere – though the gated communities for the Northern snowbirds are in abundance the local movie theatre has closed, restaurants are nothing spectacular, only golf courses abound. It’s very casual and the classic idea of retirement that everyone says the Boomers are going to eschew but they seem to be moving there anyway. Everyone calls you “honey” and are so perfectly outgoing and friendly in that Southern way that makes you wonder what they are saying behind your back.

Sigh. Let me repeat – I could never live in a place like that. City life for me. I am so glad to be back in DC. Now it’s off for a night on the town with visiting guests from crazy Amsterdam. I hope I don’t overdo it in my desire to re-urbanify.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Battle Royale at 2B

We have two second basemen who are quality players: Jose Vidro (3 time All-Star). Alfonso Soriano (4 time All-Star, 1 time All-Star MVP). The problem is, only one of them can start on any given day. Now, both of them have objected to moving from second. Ever wise David Pinto sums it up:

Maybe the Nationals can think outside the box to satisfy both players. Instead of the shortstop moving for a shift on a left-handed batter, just bring in Soriano from left. The team doesn’t expect a lefty to go the other way if there’s a shift on, and this will give Alfonso a chance to play the infield, especially against Barry Bonds. Of course, the winner of a Celebrity Death Match works too.

At this point, I’m seriously thinking that Celebrity Death Match might be the way to go. Of course, with nine second-basemen, perhaps it might be better to go the all-2B, all-the-time route.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Curtains for Independence?

Flyer Talk thinks that DC-based Independence Air may be on their way out:

Furlough Notices Have Been Received at Independence Air

Final disposition is pending the outcome of the auction next week of course, but it sure looks like they’re going to sell just a few pieces of the airline and shut down.

A thread at ACA-LOUNGE.COM, a bulletin board for the airline’s employees (and a place rife with rumors), indicates that pretty much everyone has gotten their furlough notices

While we’re sorry to see Independence bite the dust, perhaps maybe this will herald a new era for JetBlue in DC?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Courts Strike Down DC Prescription Drugs Pricing Policy

The Federal Judiciary struck down a DC Law enacted this year designed to help limit the cost of prescription drugs to a percentage above foreign wholesale costs. This, of course, is against that whole federal patent law thing, not to mention the very important interstate commerce clause of that pesky US Constitution. There’s more detail and analysis over at Just Barely Inside the Beltway.

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Metrobus and You

I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent standing at Pentagon’s Bus Metrobus Depot waiting for the 7E, only to get on a crowded bus with seat pitches so shallow you’d think they were meant for midgets. The routes for the District apparently still follow the same routes that the old DC Streetcar lines ran in the 1950s. But we all realize that the schedules are a written comedy, and we’ve all been stranded somewhere when a bus drove its last. There’s a good piece in the Post today that highlights the problems of the bus system here in DC. Perhaps that new Riders’ Advisory Council can do something about busses that cut people off, or Wayan’s dislike of the Circulator, or Jenn’s Rules for the 66.

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Happy HanaChristmaKwanzakhah!


Tannenbaum

Originally uploaded by tjbax.

Merry Christmas, Christmas-celebrating DC-ites! And Happy Hannukhah, Hannukhah-celebrating DC-ites!

We’ll see you when we wake up from our holiday food comas, and when I tear myself away from Tom’s gift to me- A PS2 and Katamari Damacy. I am mesmerized.

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The Official DC Metblogs “Oh Crap It’s Christmas Eve I Need A Cool Gift” Guide

Well, that’s right, it’s coming up on 1pm on Christmas Eve and you still need to get working on your gifts. We’re here to help. The following suggestions are just a few places you might be able to score a sweet, unique, cool and local gift before the morning.

Cathedral Gift Shop
One of the best ideas for out-of-town relatives is to get some cool only-in-DC kind of gift. No, not one of those ridiculous “FBI” baseball caps or a “You Don’t Know Me: Federal Witness Protection Program” t-shirts that you can get at CVS and which screams, “I’m a lameass tourist! Pick on me!” I mean a unique and thoughtful gift from one of DC’s many historic attractions.

This year, people on my Christmas list are going to be receiving gifts from the National Cathedral Museum Gift Shop. Scarves and umbrellas are boring gifts… except when the scarf is velvet and is embossed with a pattern based on the Cathedral’s Gothic windows, and when the Rose Window shines through the translucent umbrella fabric. The usual supply of Cathedral Christmas ornaments and postcards are there too, of course, but
give those a pass in favor of the unique gargoyles and and stained glass items. For the loved one who is tired of the noisy, shiny crap of an
over-commercialized religious holiday, there are creches from around the world, most of which are fair trade.

Tickets Now
so you’ve waited til last minute? can’t think of that cool gift that your recipient won’t forget? well, if you’re willing to blow your budget, and want to return to the land of oz, grab some wicked tickets (and i do mean wicked) at the kennedy center.

showing from wed, dec. 21st to jan 15th, tickets are sold-out through the center’s site, but are available through ticketsnow or stubhub. you will pay quite a price, my pretty as tickets run upwards of $250-350 a piece; however, you’ll have “peace” of mind that that you’ve got a chance to see a most amazing musical and find out how the wicked witch of the west and glinda the good witch came to be.

14th and S St., NW

The eclectic shops at the intersection of 14th and S Streets NW have saved me from more than one last minute shopping disaster. With Go Mama Go! stocking stylish Asian drinking/eating sets and other items that seem right out of an Eastern bazaar, modish cook/bar/bathware at Home Rule, and the amazing collection of woodcut printed stationary, divinely scented candles/incense, Thomas Jefferson action figures or Queen/Bitch bath products at Pulp – you will never have a present emergency again! You could even branch out and get a plant at Garden District or
treats for that special feline at Pet Essentials.

Then end it all at Sparky’s with a chocolate chai and relax, confident that you’ve not only finished your holiday shopping in style and ease, but also helped support local DC merchants in the process. All in a half-city block. Brilliant.

Target and Flickr

If you’re looking to add a touch of homemade magic to your gifts, go out and get some digital photos today, and then take advantage of Flickr’s partnership with Target to print out any of your Flickr photos at a Target. Nothing says love quite like framed photographs of you, this is a gift even Wayan could love! Cheap, too, at less than 30¢ a print, it’s a real deal.

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Thankfully they move slower than a whirlwind

femalicious.jpgDad being a hobbyist pilot, it’s rare I visit home in Miami and don’t get an on-high view of the city and this trip is no different. Rather than the red-barrel ceramic tile that’s so common in South Florida, however, I saw many swaths of blue – a fairly uncommon roof color under normal circumstances. Recent hurricanes have left a lot of people with damage they’re having trouble hiring people to fix, so many houses sport huge FEMA-branded blue tarps tacked down with long strips.

In talking about it my father was fairly philisophical – every area has occassional catastrophies, he said. “Florida has hurricanes, the midwest has tornadoes, California has earthquakes. What’s the big trouble that sweeps through your adopted home and mucks things up?” he asked me. I thought about it for a few seconds.

Congress,” I said.

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The most wonderful time of the year…

Llori Stein of Falls Church is featured in the Post today for having, um, garish Christmas lights up on her balcony. The photo is pretty impressive, but I’m sure some of you can do better.

Who’s got the ugly* Christmas lights in your neighborhood?

*“Ugly” should not be construed to mean that I’m against massive displays of Christmas lights. I love it when people try to signal alien civilizations with their holiday decorations. Seriously. Nothin’ but love for this holiday tradition.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs