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.


Foilwoman said...

Don't be looking for any volunteers to help Forest Hills Frank out, Jamie. Maybe he needs to get laid, but I can't think of any women I know of who need to get laid with him. So sorry. He does seem like many of the fine bachelors available and ripe for the picking now: destined to get much, much riper before anyone deigns to pluck them.

Thanks for the fascinating insight into the life and mind of this very, very weird dude. Knowing he's in government, well, let's just say I'm glad I don't live in his neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Also, his tendency to refer to the councilwoman as a "Councilatrix" ads an extremely "interesting" twist.

Anonymous said...

Frank's address is
4545 Connecticut AVE NW #508
Washington, DC 20008

Anonymous said...

I walked into the Brandywine on Friday and informed the receptionist about the bird. She said, after looking like she wanted to bite my head off, "We know about the bird."