Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Update from the Farm

I've been busy as hell, and therefore not going out too much, which usually results in getting into trouble, observing or participating in crimes, taking illicit pictures, and consequently blogging.

But I feel compelled to post something, so my seven Google Reader subscribers don't think that I've disappeared. Hey, it may not sound like much, but it's up from three a month ago! And I figure for every Google Reader subscriber I've got, there are 1,453 who just have me bookmarked or use other readers.

So in the absence of time to think of or instigate anything interesting to write about, I thought I would share some fascinating information about this web site's readership. Below, you can see the statistics from the last month. Those are some pretty impressive numbers - on one single day, nearly 200 people read my blog! That means with the I potentially have about as much reach influence as, say, your average bullhorn wielding nutjob on the sidewalk downtown.

Actually what's really amazing is the power of Google. Despite this post about Radiohead getting linked from and then reproduced on a dozen other media web sites, including Reuters, my 13-month old article about removing a nasty piece of spyware generated more traffic last month than the Radiohead thing.

If you google for "remove spector pro" this site comes up 4th. Before a lot of people who actually sell software.

But if you search on "radiohead clusterfuck", I'm only 6th!

Anyway, back to my regularly scheduled neighborhood rambling. I actually did witness a crime this weekend (hard to go long without that happening in Columbia Heights) and did a lot of work on the house so I'll have something to say when I come up for air.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taxicab Meters: Good; DCTC Web Site: Bad

As of May 1, all taxicabs in DC must have meters. In practice, they won't be fined until the end of May, but the rule of law still says they're all supposed to have meters now.

It's annoying that the cabs are being permitted to just break the law and get away with it. But what's more annoying is that if you get your information from the DC Taxicab Commission web site, you'd think the zone system were still the rule of law.

First of all, in about 10 minutes of Google searching, I can't even find a current, complete description of the new meter rate structure. I eventually came to the DCTC web site, and what do I see at the top of the page, but a link to the fare calculator. Guess what? Zone system. At least there's a note that says the site will be taken down on June 1, but still, it's a joke that the only link referencing fares on the DCTC home page goes to the technically obsolete zone fare calculator.

Then, under "News," there's a link to a press release entitled WMATC to Change Meter Rates. This is a scanned court document that, even upon reading through it, doesn't actually completely describe what the rates are going to be.

We have the following information from this document:

"The base rate will change from $3.25 for the first half mile, plus $0.90 for each additional half mile or fraction thereof, to $3.00 for the first 1/6 mile, plus $0.25 for each additional 1/6 mile."

Okay, that's useful information. Not that I remember the base rate ever having been $3.25, but whatever. How about the other charges?

"The charges for additional passengers, telephone dispatch service, additional luggage, and personal service will not change."

OK... will not change FROM WHAT? There's another link to some 25 page document from May 1. I scanned through it, but found nothing useful.

On Google, I found a Post article from January 17, in which Fenty changed the drop fare from $4.00 to $3.00. Not sure where this $3.25 mentioned in the court document before came from. No mention of the other fees.

I finally find from DCist on March 3 that the extra passenger fare of $1.50 has been added back in, but the rush hour surcharge is gone, but of course the article has the caveat that "it's unclear if this is set in stone."

Seriously, can anyone tell me what the hell the final rule is for the cab fares that are now in effect? Why is this so hard to find?

DCTC: Please get your shit together. Take five minutes and put a link on your web site that actually tells us what the rule is now without making me read a bunch of court filings and conduct a google forensics investigation!

I guess you're never too old...

A friend, after receiving a phone call while at brunch on a Sunday:

"I think my mom just drunk dialed me."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rights of Photographers

From a comment on a City Desk blog post today is a link to a great USA Today article (I know, it's an oxymoron, but bear with me) that discusses the rights of photographers, specifically, what you can and cannot take pictures of.

It seems in this era of overreaction and fear created so cleverly by our commander in chief, people -- especially in DC -- get harassed a lot taking pictures.

The USA Today article also references The Photographer's Right, which is a concise, one-pager that gives the long and short of your rights. I am going to carry a copy with me from now on and I've linked it here permanently.

I've yet to have anyone try to physically stop me from taking pictures, though I've definitely had a few people get in my face a little bit. Usually at construction sites, probably thought I was an inspector or something. But seeing as I am in the habit of taking pictures of whatever I want, such as people selling and/or inhaling nitrous oxide, among other things that perhaps someone might not like being photographed, I figured I should know my rights.

They are pretty extensive, actually. I recommend that any amateur photographer read this before you need it.

"Spring," Home Improvement and Tomatoes

There is one good thing to be said about this "Spring" we are having. I use quotation marks in only the most necessary way since "Spring" usually implies warm days, the smell of fresh flowers, and neighbors on their front porches. I don't know what the weather is like in northern Ireland right now, but I expect it is much the same. The normal high for May 20 is 77 degrees, and the normal low 57. We're looking at about 10 degrees below that today. Global warming, why do you taunt me so!!

So back to that one good thing. While it's been bad for running, when the weather blows, there's not much temptation to get out of the house. This means I may actually start to make some headway on my nearly endless list of home improvement projects. On the short list for the next week are a lot of projects that in and of themselves aren't urgent, but will make my life a lot easier as I move forward.

These projects are mostly organizational and storage related. My house, unfortunately, has been blessed with three closets, one of which is a tiny hallway closet. That's right - one of my three bedrooms doesn't even have a closet. So storage space is at a premium. Luckily, I have an attic of sorts, which is useful for storage, as well as a full basement, which is useful for storing tools and stuff that hasn't yet made it to the attic. Right now, though, I'm making horrible use of my space, and the basement is almost impassable, which makes major home improvement projects challenging since I can't find any tools and even if I could find them, I usually destroy something or hurt myself in the process.

So, over the next week I've got the following:

  • Put in an attic ladder to improve access to my crawl space (currently, accessible only through a little hole in the top of one of my two closets). Acquired at Home Depot yesterday.
  • Tear down remaining useless partition walls in the basement.
  • Move workbench along north wall of the basement, near the back basement entrance, which will make working with long lumber a lot easier (since it can then stick out the back door). And free up the existing space for a future pool table.
  • Move anything deserving of long term storage to the attic.
  • Organize mountains of tools and miscellaneous junk. My basement in many ways resembles a typical Home Depot aisle. I probably have more stuff than they do, but I can't find anything.

With any luck, all that will be accomplished by the weekend. (Yes, optimistic, but the weather is crappy). Then, on Saturday, I've got help coming to replace the windows in my kitchen, which can't be done alone. Once that's done I can actually move forward with the rest of the finish work in there, most of which is drywall, tiling, painting, and so on. And I may actually be able to close the renovation book on the very first room in my house a year after I moved in. Hey, I'm not in a hurry... and it IS the kitchen...

Well, time to go to work. But what about the tomatoes, you ask? Believe it or not, the timeline for my attic storage ladder was driven somewhat by tomatoes. I bought a bunch of heirloom tomato seedlings when I went to Gettysburg a week ago to pick up one of the final rounds of my posessions still stored there. I had planned to just pot them in my backyard, but as it turns out, I have almost complete tree cover. No sunlight, no juicy delicious tomatoes. Pretty remarkable given that it's about 75 feet deep. So, by far the next best place to grow them is on my roof. But it's way too much of a pain in the neck to get up there right now with the closet access.

So, this attic ladder should make access easy enough that I can actually go up there every day to water them. I'm even thinking of putting in some permanent plumbing up to the roof for this purpose. I've already got the walls open behind the bathroom so that would really be a pretty minor chore.

My goal for the end of the summer: kitchen complete, basement clean & housing a pool table, and dozens upon dozens of tomatoes to be eaten, gifted or turned into sauce.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Starvin' Marvin

I need to trust my gut more about places like this. I should have known better.

I've been to Marvin twice now. Once was a Sunday afternoon after brunch, because it was a nice day. The other time was last Tuesday meeting a friend for a drink, also because it was a nice day. In both cases we were lured by the prospect of the outdoor rooftop deck. It seemed an alternative to Local 16, which is about the trashiest pick-up joint in DC and not high on my list despite their large deck.

After my first drink last Tuesday, I remembered the problem I'd had from the first visit. The drinks. They are absurdly expensive -- and weak. I ordered a rail gin and soda. This is a drink which Wonderland sells for 2 bucks at happy hour. Marvin? $7.

Seven bucks for a rail drink is pretty outrageous. At least it seems that way, until you decide to switch to a top shelf drink, hoping they might actually put some alcohol in it if you pay the premium.

Another eleven dollars later, I had a Bombay Sapphire and Soda in my hand. Unfortunately, it too contained a virtually undedectable amount of gin. I didn't have my CSI kit on hand to test conclusively for the presence of alcohol, but I can say from experience, if there was any to be found, it was only trace amounts. Suddenly, the 7 bucks for a glass of soda water with essence of juniper seemed like a pretty good deal.

I don't think it's a lot to ask that when you pay 11 bucks for a drink, it have at minimum a standard pour. I then remembered how things had gone down on my first visit here on a Sunday afternoon.

I'd had had three gin & sodas that day before I noticed that I was experiencing none of the effects normally associated with such consumption. So I commented to the bartender about this, and asked if it might be possible to get more than a splash of liquor for my 11 bucks. The bartender without missing a beat said, "So, you want a double?"

Umm, no. I don't want to pay $22 for a double. Let's do some simple math here:

$11 for approx. zero ounces of gin
x 2 (double)
$22 for approx. zero ounces of gin
Bad Deal

So, three drinks in, I left entirely sober and vowed never to return to a place that charges more than Palena for a mixed drink, yet doesn't see fit to actually provide any alcohol. Sorry, Marvin. Your trendy, yet oddly cruddy atmosphere is not worth paying strip club drink prices for.

I wonder if I'm missing the point. Maybe this is all a cover-your-ass scenario. Marvin is basically a higher-priced (yet equally skanky/hip) version of Local 16. There are probably lots of under-age college kids in there at any given moment. If they ever got busted for serving minors, they could simply argue that they hadn't actually served anyone any alcohol.

n.b. I discussed this situation with my friend Sara, who immediately confirmed from her own experience that Marvin short pours. She said you just can't get hard liquor there - always order beer, since they can't water it down or short pour. OK, fair enough. The beer's pretty damn expensive too, but at least you know what you're getting. But I still feel that on principle, why should I patronize someplace that is going out of their way to rip me off? Why should I try so hard to find a way NOT to get screwed at a bar run by cheapskates? Far easier to take my business to one of the many places in DC that actually isn't trying to screw their customers.

Update ... made the blog log on 5/20. I know, it's silly, but I love this shit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cab Hater No More?


Took a cab from U street to home on Wednesday night. My first meter cab ever. What a glorious sight to behold.

We asked the cabbie how the meter thing was going from a financial perspective. He said the fares were lower, no question. But he wasn't bitter or resentful or anything - actually, he more or less reiterated the position I've had all along. He thought more people would take cabs for short trips because of the new fare structure and expected things would work out in the end.

The fare for two riders from U Street to my home at 11th & Otis was $7.50. That includes the extra rider fee and gas surcharge. This is the minimum amount that you would have been charged under the old structure with one rider -- in-zone base fare is $6.50 plus the $1.00 gas surcharge.

I gave him 10 bucks. Possibly the best cab ride I've ever had in DC. I am cautiously going to consider not being a cab hater anymore. If all the cabbies would just embrace the meters as much as this guy we'd all be better off. And I will actually start taking cabs sometimes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike to Work Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day according to WABA, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Despite my historically suspicious relationship with WABA, I think I'm going to do it unless we are in the middle of another monsoon, the likes of which seem to soak us about two or three times a week this spring. My backyard, incidentally, resembles something between the field at RFK Stadium after a truck and tractor pull, and a pig sty. I nearly had to tow my car out of the sludge on Monday.

Back to the biking. With gas topping $4 per gallon, and the warranty several years since expired on my car, I had been thinking it's pretty lame (and expensive) to be driving to work every day. And seeing as I work for an environmental consulting firm - that is, my job is actually to get people to burn fewer fossil fuels, among other things - it's downright hypocritical. Oh, did I mention that I live three blocks from the metro, and my office (three stops away) is also three blocks from the metro?

The problem is, I like driving. My awesome commute is exactly five miles, from Columbia Heights to Silver Spring. It's a reverse commute, so traffic is never too bad. Most of the drive is on 16th Street, which I can say, without hyperbole, is the closest thing to the Autobahn in the United States of America. I am pretty sure I've made it in less than 10 minutes before. While racing cars on the way to work at 75 mph, before my first cup of coffee, with a hangover, probably isn't the smartest thing to do, it sure is a good way to get the adrenaline flowing.

Umm... did I really say that? Yeah, just kidding... so.... anyway, back to the biking again. I have a great bike that I bought while I was living in Gettysburg a couple years ago (see early entries in this blog for some reminiscing of that). I have hardly used it since being back in DC, despite the fact that it's a perfect city bike. It's a Specialized Tricross, which is a so-called "cyclocross" bicycle. This is a sport in which I am sure I will never participate, but the upshot of the design is that it's basically a road bike but with bigger and stronger forks that can accommodate wider tires than a typical road bike. And put up with a good deal more abuse, which means I don't need to worry about busting a wheel on one of DC's 9,333,452 potholes. But it weighs hardly more than a good road bike, so it's not like riding a mountain bike around paved roads, which feels like riding through jello compared to being on a road bike.

Finally, I'm going to run a marathon in the fall. To this end I'll probably be running at least 5 times a week. Seems awfully stupid to drive 5 miles to work and back, and then run around for 5 miles. I should just be running to work and metroing home, or biking one way and running the other. I haven't figured out the logistics, but I'm sure there's some sensible way to end up with the bike at the right end of my commute on the days I run one way or the other.

So where was I? Oh yeah, biking to work. I figure this is as good a time as any to get on this program. I personally find WABA to be a rather pompous, narrow-minded organization based on debates I have had in the past over road use in DC. And the average DC bicyclist obeys about as many laws of the road as a Cannonball Run participant. I've nearly been in more accidents with cyclists running stop signs and red lights than I can count. And I have always enjoyed the third-finger salute I've received from those spandex-wearing, shaved-legged snobs when calling them out on it with their own "Share the Road" refrain. So I do this not out of solidarity for DC's cyclist culture, which I think does itself a horrible disservice by being both self-righteous and above the law. But I do it because it's downright practical.

Let's hope it sticks. I'll be the one on 14th Street cursing at you for cutting me off tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Track @ Roosevelt High School: You Don't Suck

Roosevelt Track #1I decided to post again today because I became vaguely aware that my last several posts have been of the extraordinarily cynical, ranting sort. Not that I don't enjoy relentlessly mocking those who deserve it, but actually there are things going on around my neighborhood and in DC that deserve being noted in a positive light. The balance must be restored; yin and yang cannot compete for space in a world they share equally. And besides, despite the excessive rain the last couple days, I've been having a great (if busy) week or so, and the tone of my posts has not reflected that. Therefore I wanted to share a couple pictures of the track at Roosevelt High School, at roughly Georgia Avenue NW and Upshur Street NW.

Roosevelt is only about a half-mile from my house, and I frequently jog a route that takes me right by it's front doors on 13th Street. Somehow, I had never noticed this glorious new track, with the paint barely dry on the "Rough Riders" logo at the end of the field.

I was there this morning at the ungodly hour of 7 AM to join my newly discovered Petworth running group. I've mostly been an evening runner lately, but history has taught me that I'm far more likely to stay honest when someone else is waiting for me. I'm planning to run another marathon this fall, so I am happy to have found them, even if they're typically on the morning schedule. Probably do me some good to learn to be in bed before 2 AM on any given weeknight... but anyhoo, this is where we met this morning to do some speed workouts.

Roosevelt Track #2The track is spectacular, as you can see from the photos. And despite the fact that it's been raining more than a typical New Orleans hurricane over the weekend, it was free from puddles or wet spots. Finally, there is something in DC that my taxes were spent on that actually makes me proud, and I can even personally get some use out of.

I'm guessing that the average Roosevelt graduate is probably about as prepared for the workforce in DC as an Aleutian eskimo dogsled driver*. But really, getting the facilities in order is a start, and is hopefully a sign of a new direction for the schools. This is a good thing beyond just being useful to my running group. Here's hoping they are maintained as time goes on and that the trend continues.

*You didn't think I'd let an entire post go without any cynical comments, did you? And actually, I think Roosevelt is among the better high schools in DC, from my quick survey of WaPo's "Fixing DC's Schools" report. Hell, with only 25% of students testing below basic reading skills, it's practically a magnet school in DC! Seriously - there are far worse. But that's a topic for another post.

Radiohead @ Nissan: You Both Suck

The weather on Sunday was anything but good. Actually, that's being generous. It was a monsoon. But that didn't stop scads of adoring Radiohead fans from making the trek to the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia on Sunday.

I swore years ago that I would never return to Nissan Pavilion. I can say, without hyperbole, that it's the worst venue in the entire country. I have never been anywhere that created an overall less pleasant experience. Just about everything is wrong:

  • It's at least 40 miles from downtown DC.
  • There is absolutely no chance of getting there by public transportation.
  • It involves driving on I-66, usually during rush hour, which ranks slightly above being waterboarded, and slightly below watching C-SPAN, in my list of least favorite forms of torture
  • The last several miles into the venue are on tiny, local roads which inevitably are a mess.
  • It has never taken me less than 2 hours to get out of the parking lot after a show, because of the previous point and awful traffic management.
  • The sound sucks
  • Security are assholes

Basically, there's nothing good about it. I would rather see a show at the Tweeter Center in Camden, New Jersey. Actually, overall driving time is probably less, and it's a much nicer venue, with a great view of Philadelphia. Once you get over the fact that the only businesses in Camden are bail-bonds shops and you will be parked outside a maximum security prison, it's a far better experience than Nissan.

So, Radiohead has in recent times begun using their awesome uber-star power to do whatever the fuck they want. The first we saw of this was giving away their last album, Rainbows, for free or whatever you felt like paying for it. I thought this was pretty cool, actually, because I despise the old guard music industry and their desperate tactics to extort money from the very people who are their best customers. So when Radiohead made a gazillion dollars without even printing a single CD, I was impressed.

This time, they claim to be touring in some kind of eco-friendly fashion. On their web site Radiohead attempts to martyr themselves before their fans by claiming to have selected the venues based on a list of practical criteria that would result in the least carbon impact from their tour.

Richard, the Tour Production Manager says on May 1: The main issue is how the audience moves to and from the show. With the location and public transport links now a more significant factor when choosing venues, fans are being encouraged to think about alternative ways of travelling.

Take a look at the map to your left. This shows the relative locations of Washington DC, Baltimore, and the Nissan Pavilion. In Washington, DC are two perfectly acceptable venues for concerts - RFK Stadium and the MCI Center. MCI center has a capacity similar to Nissan Pavilion, and RFK Stadium can hold much more. Given Radiohead's ridiculous popularity, you'd think RFK would have been a perfect choice. Please note also the relative proximity of Baltimore, which you actually CAN get to by train.

Oh wait - but Live Nation is promoting the Radiohead tour, and of the three, Nissan Pavilion happens to be the only venue that is run by Live Nation!! Oh, crap. It looks like they left one thing off their list of "selection criteria" for identifying the venue that would result in the least environmental impact: Must be run by Live Nation.

But back to the actual disaster, er, show on Sunday. As it happened, it rained. A lot. Now that's hardly their fault, but it underscores just how crappy Nissan Pavilion is. From all over the blogosphere we see reports of wretched experiences:

mistiwalters (dcist): After thousands of cars waited in traffic for four hours, they were turned away because the concert was over by the time they got there. How's that for a carbon footprint?

IMGoph (dcist): 6-hour burger king run. that's what the trip to nissan turned into for me, my roommate, and his girlfriend.

pellucidity (dcist): We spent 3 hours in traffic... Arrived in Bristow at 7:30 and were turned away by the police at about 10:30... I'm not going back to Bristow.

headhot (consumerist): Because of the absolute clusterfuck that is Nissan Pavilion, we almost never go. If it were not Radiohead, and the fact that there were no other shows scheduled in 300 miles, we would have never considered going. After this mess, I don't think there is any band that could get us out there under any condition. Fuck the Pavilion.

Bottom line: Nissan Pavilion, you suck. Radiohead, you suck. And you're full of shit. If you gave even one tiny llama turd about environmental impact, you would never have scheduled a show at a venue 40 miles away from downtown DC, nowhere near public transportation of any kind, and also well known to take hours to exit the parking lot post-show (think: thousands of idling cars). See: here (dcist, pre-show), here (wapo - 4/15/05), here (random forum post from 2007). Finding gripes about Nissan Pavilion is about as hard as finding a lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

And, the ultimate insult, as Radiohead whines, "please carpool!!": There's a $6.00 parking fee charged on every ticket! Thanks a lot, assholes. We carpool, but we pay to park anyway.

I didn't go. I never even gave it a thought, even though I really like Radiohead's music and have wanted to see them for years. I feel bad for those who wasted their entire crappy Sunday in a car in the sticks in Virginia, but you should have known better. And Radiohead, you should have too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Unraveling the Mind of "Forest Hills Frank"

Today is a sad day. Comet Ping Pong, the only interesting thing ever to happen in the Forest Hills neighborhood, has had to move the sidewalk ping-pong table inside. For those of you have never heard of Forest Hills or Comet Ping Pong, well, that should tell you something off the bat.

The neighborhood in question lies somewhere north of Van Ness and south of Chevy Chase. It's a sleepy little place, with high-rise apartment buildings and retirement castles. In walking distance of Comet Ping Pong is... just about nothing. There is one nice restaurant, Buck's Fishing and Camping. Other than that you've got a shady Chinese place, a CVS, a couple gas stations, and Politics and Prose. It's not exactly a thriving business center. In fact the only reason I know anything about it is that I lived there, across the street, for about 9 months.

Last July, we learned that ANC Commissioner Frank Winstead had gotten wise. Comet, in their efforts to attract business and create something interesting, had been setting up a ping pong table on the sidewalk. In the shocking Youtube video that Frank concocted, we can see people actually having fun playing ping-pong outside on a previously useless stretch of Connecticut Avenue.

Well, nobody gave a crap about any of this, and people continued to have fun. Except Frank, that is. Comet's owner James Alefantis recently went to the ANC before applying for a sidewalk cafe permit. Frank, gleefully using every shred of petty power available to him to make others' lives less fun, played the ping pong paddle for all it was worth. In the end, James apparently agreed to get rid of the outdoor table if the ANC would support his sidewalk cafe application. Luckily, the vote did pass, but that backstabbing, buzzkilling Frankie boy still voted against it despite James aquiescing to his power trip.

Now you're up to date. So I said to myself, "Self, what makes someone turn into such a hater?" Why would anyone put so much time and energy into preventing people from having a good time, and working against the success of legitimate, positive, neighborhood businesses? Who is this shell of a human, this grinch, this Debbie Downer?

Well. A little google stalking reveals an interesting psychological profile.

Let's start with his Flickr photostream. The first thing is to note his profile - he's single. The next thing to note is the large number of pictures of Councilmember Mary Cheh, who he has caught like the cat in the goldfish bowl having her car parked with wheels not turned to the curb! But it doesn't stop there. He's got pictures of her at the farmer's market, and even just crossing the street! Obviously, Frank has a secret crush on Ms. Cheh. One can only imagine how many pictures he's taken while stalking her that did NOT end up on Flickr, but rather in enlarged color printouts on his nightstand.

Next, we find his Youtube video collection. Scary stuff here. A few more holes about the personality get filled. First we learn that he is a HAM radio operator - license number KB30SC, one of less than 100 in DC! Now I've been around for a while, but even when I was a teenager, HAM radio was beyond geeky. Those guys made us computer nerds look cool. And then one day there were cell phones and the only remotely cool aspect of "HAM radioing" became immediately irrelevant. His occupation is "Unix Computerist." Now I am a computer programmer myself. I've been in the industry my entire adult life. I can honestly say I don't know what a "computerist" is, but I suspect it's someone who is attached to ancient technology and dead programming languages like FORTRAN and COBOL.

He also has dozens of "Amateur Radio Exam Prep" videos. I was hoping they would be of him so I could actually see an image of "Forest Hills Frank", but alas, they are beyond lame. I watched a couple, and they are all incredibly boring: a video made of nothing more than a bunch of black and white text flashcards. I've seen more interesting powerpoint presentations.

But let's move on. Forest Hills Frank has a Facebook page! I thought I'd hit the jackpot on this one, but sadly, we learn nothing more except that he's not gay. It says "Sex: Male, Interested in: Women, Relationship Status: Single". Oh, and zero facebook friends.

So what we have here is a geeky, lonely, obsessive guy who stalks DC Council members and UPS truck drivers. Friendless, reclusive, with too much time on his hands, he endlessly scrutinizes the DC legal code looking for obscure laws with which to hassle Mary Cheh and neighborhood businesses. And making boring amateur radio training exam videos.

Ladies and gentlemen, the answer is obvious. This man needs to get laid.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sucks To Be You, Ramsey

There's nothing funny about this incident, in which Philadelphia police are videotaped brutally beating suspects. But at the same time, you can't help but smirk a little when something like this happens... and it's NOT in DC. So nyah nyah to you Philly, you're stuck with our sloppy seconds in charge of your police department, and look what's happened already! Hey, you guys don't happen to be looking for a new CFO too, do you? We got one who's got about 50 million reasons to be looking for a new job. You can have him, cheap. Expect a resume soon.

Anyway, if you haven't seen the video, which was taken from a local news channel's traffic helicopter, it's pretty shocking. Up to 15 policemen are captured on film beating, kicking and generally assaulting three suspects after pulling them from their car. Chief Ramsey, stating the blindingly obvious, said in a TV interview on Tuesday, "The video kind of speaks for itself." Umm, yeah. While promising a full investigation, Ramsey and the Mayor almost try to excuse the incident, saying it might have been related to stress because of the murder of a police officer over the weekend. As it turns out, though, these people weren't even suspects in that particular case.

Worst of all, while everyone else in the world seems to think this is news, if you were to just read the Philadelphia Inquirer online, you'd probably not even notice the story. It's more than halfway down the page, well "below the fold." Apparently, the big print is reserved for such important stories as "Harried Homeowners Seek Out Help," and "Phil Sheridan: The Flyers' Hatcher is tough, and then some" today. I archived the page here in case you aren't reading this today.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Jazz Fest 2008 Part 2

Sign from GodSome more pictures from the weekend. The highlight of the fairgrounds music was Leo Nocentelli's Rare Funk Gathering, with Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun of Living Color. Doug Wimbish apparently replaced Victor Wooten Muzz Skillings as their bass player. Will Calhoun was the drummer from day 1. I haven't seen Living Colour in years but they were always a great band back in the day... should probably check them out again. Doug certainly proved himself on the stage with Leo.

Anticipate home improvement posts soon. I've finally gotten my new windows and after putting them in I can finally proceed with the finish work in the kitchen. Once that's done I'll be moving outdoors and hopefully get my backyard fenced in this summer. Anyone want to come help me dig holes...


Doug Wimbish. Nice shout out to DC with the 9:30 club tee shirt

Leo Nocentelli

Leo Nocentelli

Will Calhoun

Will Calhoun




Congo Stage

Hand Grenades


Jazz Fest Shower

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jazz Fest '08 Part 1

It's been a long time since I posted. Don't worry - I survived New Orleans. Why is it so hard to go away, even for a few days, without creating a backlog of work and life? On the plus side, it seems to still be winter here in DC so at least I haven't been missing much while working late this week.

The weekend was a lot of fun, as always. Those moments where you find yourself hanging out at a bar with a pirate at 3 AM who's telling you about his failed marriage and how much his therapist has helped him are really what make New Orleans so special. Did I mention he was a pirate?

Anyway. I still have a lot of pictures to go through but I put some up on flickr today. Here are a few that I like, in no particular order. I'll tell stories here when I have a bit more time, so for now, enjoy these images from the swamp. You can see all my pics (so far) in my Jazz Fest '08 set.

Haircut 2