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Dueling advertisements at Dupont Circle!

May 21, 2009, 7:44 PM

Nothing like a mid-spring day to hawk some stuff for the rush hour crowd. Today, there were two groups out doing advertisements.

First, the sign spinners, on the west side of 19th Street:

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Categories: Advertising, Washington DC

Friends don’t let friends wear mullets…

April 2, 2009, 9:26 PM

The fashion faux pas of the century:

Mullet lady on the Metro

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And the forecast calls for snow!

January 26, 2009, 11:29 PM

You know, when I was younger, the word “snow” meant the potential for an unscheduled play-day, since in Augusta County, Virginia, you could dump an ice cube tray out on the road and they would cancel school. As an adult, there is no such thing as a snow day, and so snow is a colossal pain in the behind. I remember last winter going back to the Metro after work, and slipping and sliding on the sidewalk on P Street. Not the most enjoyable thing in the world.

For that matter, really cold days are a bother, too. Today, I had a very cold commute to work. It was well below freezing, and that would have to be the day I got a 5000-Series on the way in to work. 5000s are a bit of a novelty for me since they are uncommon on the Red Line, but they’re well known for being the coldest cars in the fleet, and from what I understand, Metro isn’t going to fix the problem (cold CAFs are fine in the summer, but not in the winter). I got to Glenmont, and boarded CAF 5120 to ride to work. I sat down, and the seat was cold. It wasn’t just the air that was cold, but the seat cushion itself was cold. Not a good way to start the day. Good thing I have a nice, warm winter coat and that dashing hat of mine.

And then of course the walk down P Street to my office building was cold, too. But at least things warmed up from there, as the building was nice and toasty.

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I paid my last respects to the Infoshop last night…

December 7, 2008, 7:41 AM

I went into DC yesterday evening in order to pay my last respects to the Brian MacKenzie Infoshop, which is closing this month. It was kind of a bittersweet moment. On one hand, it’s a shame to see the Infoshop go, as it was more than just a bookstore, since even more so, it served as a social gathering place and meeting point for DC’s radical community. On the other hand, I’m happy that I got some closure to my four years of visiting the Infoshop. Recall that I first visited the Infoshop immediately following the Million Worker March in October 2004.

While at the Infoshop, I picked up a vegan cookbook for 25% off. That excites me, since I absolutely love vegan cooking, but never have taken the time to try it out. Maybe this will get me to actually do some real cooking, vs. preparing stuff in the microwave (which isn’t “cooking”, in my opinion).

I also found out that the reason the Infoshop was closing was due to its dwindling volunteer base, and loss of its lease. That’s a shame on both counts. I admit, however, that I had stopped going to the Infoshop a while back partly because of their hours changes, and even then, I would go down there only to discover that no one had showed up to open the place up, making the whole exercise a wasted endeavor. However, the location was amazingly Metro-accessible, being about three blocks from both Shaw and Mt. Vernon Square stations on the Green/Yellow Lines.

One group of people at the Infoshop at the time of my visit was optimistic, however, that there would be another Infoshop in the future. I hope that’s the case, since despite its basement location (no “storefront” and therefore no foot traffic) and its erratic hours, it did serve a purpose for the DC radical community, as a place to share information and as a gathering point, as well as a place to chat with similarly-minded individuals.

But for now, we must say “so long” to the Infoshop, and hopefully we’ll meet again one day in a new, rejuvenated form.

Categories: Activism, Washington DC

Mom, Sis, and I had a great time…

June 15, 2008, 10:24 PM

I always enjoy when my sister comes back from Chicago. This time, she took a week and went to Stuarts Draft. However, as my own schedule precluded going down to Stuarts Draft, which meant that we didn’t get to have a the-four-of-us kind of moment this time around, I still did get to see her. Mom and Sis spent Thursday and Friday in DC with me, so the fun was still had.

First off, Mom and Sis met me Thursday afternoon at the office. Mom knows where my office building is, and so after stashing the car at Wheaton Plaza, she and Sis rode on down to Dupont Circle and met up with me in my office.

Getting back to Wheaton, they got to see how much I had done my restaurant homework for them. See, Mom was displeased in her earlier visits about how little I knew about the restaurant scene where I lived. I could tell you everything about places in Pentagon City and Dupont Circle, but nothing right in the immediate area where I actually live. After all, if I’m going to eat near where I live, I’ll just save the money and nuke something at home. But I found a restaurant for us to go to, and in Wheaton, no less. It’s called Umbertos, and it’s a family-owned restaurant located in this cluster of hispanic-run businesses in between Georgia Avenue and the Wheaton Plaza shopping mall. If you’re ever in Wheaton, I highly recommend it.

Then Friday, we headed to Georgetown. Yes, that Georgetown. So after an unexpected shopping trip at the JCPenney in Wheaton Plaza (Mom and Sis seem to be unable to turn down a sale on clothes), we took Metro down to Rosslyn, and then from there, walked over the Key Bridge to Georgetown. Sis’s big thing in Georgetown was seeing the Exorcist steps. And here they are:

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A belated reportback is better than no reportback at all, I suppose.

May 25, 2008, 5:29 PM

Hey, I’ve been busy. So sue me. But I must report back that Katie and I had a great time last weekend. We went all over the place, and had a great time.

However, it started out somewhat rough – Katie took the train up to DC, specifically the Cardinal. And it was late. According to AmtrakDelays.com, on May 16, the eastbound Cardinal, train #50, was an hour and 42 minutes late arriving in Staunton, where Katie got on. Then at Union Station, where I was waiting for her, the train managed to rack up another 44 minutes of delays, and thus ended up getting in at 8:21 PM. That would make it two hours and 26 minutes late. This thing was supposed to show up at 5:55 PM, which would have fit my schedule quite nicely. Leave work, take Metro to Union Station, wait a few minutes, get Katie, and then ride back to Glenmont. However, I found out about the Staunton delay from Katie well in advance, so no problems there. I compensated other places as far as that delay went, and ended up staying later at work, since there were a few things I needed to take care of anyway, and planned to arrive in time for the new delayed arrival. Okay.

So arriving at Union Station, I got in, and immediately checked the boards to see what the deal was. Another delay. Lovely. So I ended up just kind of wandering around Union Station for the next two hours, as I had nothing else to do. I was totally unprepared for a longer delay. However, I did have my iPod, and so at least I got to listen to Randi Rhodes (now on Nova M Radio!). And with headphones on was how I passed a good hour or so of that delay, as I went in and out of stores, seeing what amused me. I also managed to find a relatively quiet corner of the station to make a phone call, finding out about how things were going on the train from Katie. That quiet spot ended up being in a far corner of the parking garage, interestingly enough. But hey, it was nice out, so it worked. I got to watch train movements north of the station, and found out that the initial delay was due to weather, and then heavy rail traffic caused the delays closer in. Okay. Beyond the control of either one of us. What are you going to do, I suppose.

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The Watha T. Daniel Library has actually been demolished…

April 23, 2008, 8:28 PM

I’ve known the Shaw neighborhood in DC for almost four years now due to my patronage of the Infoshop that is located within it. In that time, Shaw has definitely grown up, as the Washington Convention Center is causing gentrification of the area. However, one major sore spot in the neighborhood for as long as I’ve been visiting Shaw has been the Watha T. Daniel Library, which is located directly across the street from the Shaw Metro station. The library closed in 2004 for a reconstruction, and was originally projected to reopen in 2006. That didn’t happen. From its closing in 2004 through about early 2007, the building just sat abandoned.

You may recall that I ran a photo of the Watha T. Daniel Library last May in the Photo Feature, shortly after the fence went up:

A chain-link fence surrounds the site of the Watha T. Daniel branch library in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC. The facility has been closed since 2004.

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Categories: Washington DC

A couple of pictures I found amusing…

June 27, 2007, 10:08 PM

Did I mention how much I love living in the DC area? I really enjoy life in and around Washington. You see so many interesting things and so many interesting things happen. And I have a couple of amusing photos that I captured with my cell phone…

Portable toilet at 17th and P

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A whole bunch of miscellaneous stuff I’ve been meaning to show you…

June 17, 2007, 10:07 AM

I realized recently that I’ve gotten a little bit of a backlog of stuff I’ve been meaning to show you that I’ve captured with my cell phone over the last week or so. So here we go.

A deer in the vacant lot next door to me
So there you go – photographic proof that deer do wander through the vacant lot next door. Apologies for the blurry picture, but this is the cell phone, and not Big Mavica.

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So far, I like living up this way…

May 15, 2007, 5:28 PM

I’ve been up in the DC area continuously now since Saturday, and I have to say, so far, I seem to like it. I won’t get Internet service until next Tuesday, the 22nd, however, so I’m writing you from the Infoshop, though I’m using the Lappy. The Infoshop is seven blocks straight east on P Street from the building where I work, through Logan Circle.

Speaking of Logan Circle, I had a little accident there on the walk from work to the Infoshop. I was turning to cross the circle, stepped on a curb wrong, lost my balance, took one very unstable step to try to regain my balance, and then splat. I hit the asphalt. I skinned my elbow (ouch!) and tore a few small holes in my pants pocket where my keys are – enough to consider the pair wrecked. So now I have to buy a new pair of pants. Not my idea of fun. But at least it was nothing major – I got right up and continued on my way.

Otherwise, since last we spoke, I got to go grocery shopping for the first time on my own. That was interesting. I went to Giant in Wheaton, and did my best. I think I did all right, but I was going through this store and basically thinking to myself, I used to work in a grocery store, and I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing! But I think I did well enough.

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Remember not to misspell, now… that’s B-O-R-F.

January 21, 2007, 10:10 PM

Occasionally I have fun with my coworkers. I recently had the occasion of having some cans of spray paint go through the Service Desk to go back to their proper department. And in the meantime, talk of graffiti came up. I made reference to the DC-area graffiti artist John Tsombikos from Great Falls, best known as the main person behind the “Borf” campaign. Of course, my coworkers had no idea. They don’t make these biweekly runs to DC like I do. I remember seeing graffiti from the train along the eastern half of the Red Line referring to “Borf”, and I was like, what-the-heck. “Borf”? It wasn’t until really recently, talking about the “disarm” message that was stenciled on the sidewalk of the Key Bridge, that I really found out what Borf was all about. Very prolific.

Otherwise, it snowed today, as the weather forecasters predicted. Actually, it snowed first, then turned to freezing rain, and then to sleet. All and all, it was not a pleasant drive to work. Actually, going in was worse than leaving. It was all still snow then. Basically packed snow all the way to Waynesboro. The Sable still drives better in the snow than the Previa did, but the trip was not without its challenges, as stopping was something of a challenge. Most notably, I was unable to stop at the intersection of the westbound off-ramp of I-64 and Rosser Avenue in Waynesboro, and therefore slid right through a just-turned red light. So yes, I ran a red light today. I did, and so did the car beside me. Both of us slid right through the red light, blowing our horns to warn any potential cross-traffic of our situation. We both got through unscathed.

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If you can imagine this…

December 18, 2006, 7:53 PM

Picture with me if you will…

I’m walking up Diagonal Road in Alexandria towards the Old Town Transit Shop, and right when I get there, I hear a loud crashing sound and see sparks. Then I see a tire rolling down towards King Street station. A gentleman in a red SUV actually dropped a wheel! Literally dropped a wheel, as the left front wheel separated from the car and, now liberated, went rolling on its own down the hill. My exact reaction was to say a four-letter word that I can’t say in this space. So I went in to see my friend Tristan, and what did we do? We went outside to look. We both couldn’t believe that this guy had dropped a wheel. But the car was visibly off-kilter, leaning down in the direction of that missing wheel. I’m sure that the guy was not happy about that.

Otherwise, I had a lovely walk in Georgetown, discovering The Shops at Georgetown Park, which is a very expensive three-story shopping mall on M Street. I got a few pictures of it, and I’m going to tell Sis about it, since she loves to shop. Those of you who have seen the movie First Kid will know Georgetown Park, since that is the place where the big hostage/shootout scene happens.

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An interesting little trip…

June 29, 2006, 5:37 PM

I took a little trip to the DC area via Richmond and I-95 on Wednesday. Fun trip. I went that longer way instead of my usual I-81 to I-66 route because I wanted to visit Fredericksburg and Potomac Mills.

My visit to Fredericksburg was fairly simple. The question before the house was whether it was worth it to make a trip to Fredericksburg, which is somewhat hard to reach for a day trip, to do a photo set. My determination for Fredericksburg was that while it was indeed charming, and definitely a place to visit when I eventually find a job in the DC area and move up that way, I didn’t see anything on this drive through that I would really want to make a special trip for, and that I couldn’t do using a similar feature in another city that is easier to reach.

However, I did see a sign that was, to say the least, surprising.

Gas allegedly for $1.00 per gallon

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Meanwhile, in DC…

December 30, 2005, 12:26 AM

I took an “extra” DC trip this past Wednesday with Mom, Sis, and her boyfriend Chris Lysy. They had previously ordered tickets to see Wicked at the Kennedy Center for December 28, and when I found out that I would be off that day, I asked if I could come along, and Mom agreed. It turned out that my presence was quite helpful, as I knew exactly where I was going, both on the road and on the train, and also knew my way around Washington better than the rest of them. Plus I’m never one to pass up a trip to Washington, after all. Especially one where I didn’t have to pay for gas.

We were also celebrating Sis’s 21st birthday, which was on the 26th.

The trip was, to an extent, run like a regular DC trip of mine. Get to Vienna, park, ride to Rosslyn, go into Washington, run around for a bit, then go to Pentagon City. Our destinations while “running around” were things that Sis and I both picked.

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Fodder for America’s Funniest Home Videos?

December 22, 2005, 8:24 PM

I went up to the Washington DC area once again on Wednesday, and all in all, I had a good day.

The daytime took me all around the Metro doing railfan stuff. I rode the entire length of the system in Virginia, going from Vienna to Rosslyn to Franconia-Springfield, to King Street, to Huntington, and then into Washington via the Fenwick Bridge. While I was at it, by the way, I also rode the entire length of the Yellow Line all at once, riding from Huntington to Mt. Vernon Square. I also checked out the new entrance at King Street, which opens out onto Commonwealth Avenue. It’s nice and new and such, and still harmonizes with the original part of the station, which opened in 1983.

I spent the late afternoon, which is bad for urban photography due to dark shadows cast by buildings (but great if you can avoid it – same goes for early morning), at Dupont Circle and also Union Station. Dupont Circle was basically a photography thing – in, photograph, back out. Then at Union Station, I got a phone call from Mom: “Where did you go today?” This is where we realized that I forgot to tell Mom where I was going. Told Dad, but not Mom. Oops. So I filled her in.

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