Thursday, December 31, 2009

... and the "naughties" are finally over

Note: Click Naughty Cat At Your Own Risk
Hope all you cats have a great time tonight! Catch you on the flip side.

*Naughties: Best term I've seen so far to describe this awkward decade. You know, like the eighties, but with "naught" for the zero. Funny, huh? Not so much? Well, screw you. What do you call it, the zeros? The 2000's? Whatever, I call it the naughties. Anyway, who cares, it's over in a few hours.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm Engaged


Though it does not begin to describe my wonderful fiancee.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

...And To All A Good Night

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

National Chrismas Tree Lighting 1

My first national Christmas tree lighting, in which the first lady read "Twas The Night Before Christmas" to me and my first lady.

Steamed Over Parking Spots

A good blizzard always brings out the best in city folks. Sunday, as many emerged from their snowbound homes for the first time, I saw dozens of my neighbors out and about, shoveling their walks, or their elderly neighbor's walks, and helping people dig their cars out. Everyone was cheerful an enjoying the glorious, sunny post-snow day.

It also brings out the strange. While not a unique phenomenon, in DC, the act of digging your car out of a street spot apparently grants you ownership of it until the snow melts. As quickly as cars started moving out of their snowy prisons and onto the crusty streets, the vacant spots were filled with pylons, lawn chairs, and pleading notes and candy canes. Gotta love the hippies... I'm guessing the lawn chairs were more effective.

My favorite one is below. Monday around noon, I saw this one on Webster Street NW. It cracked me up so I took a picture. If you can't see what's behind the chair in shot #1, proceed to shot #2 for a better view.

Mah Parkin' Spot 1
Ironing out the parking situation

On my way to work this morning, at 7:15 AM, I was pleased to see that the ironing board was, in fact, an effective way to keep people from stealing your hard-earned spot. I do have to wonder how they will press their shirts for Christmas Eve, though.

Mah Parkin' Spot 2
Hard pressed to find parking

Hmm... that looks a like a pretty nice dining room chair, too. It's going to be a wrinkly, standing-room-only Christmas dinner, I guess.

As hilarious as this is, it does beg the question. Clearly, someone is willing to go to great lengths to defend their parking spot, nay, their honor against any and all invaders. They have moved much of the contents of their dining room, and laundry room, to the sidewalk in order to ensure parking.

So far, I've observed the spot twice, occupied only by furniture and laundry accessories. No sign of a car, either at noon on Monday, or at 7:15 AM, two days later. In this day and age it seems that parking, even rarely needed parking, is now at least as valuable as your home furnishings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Paradox: Garbage Trucks vs. Unplowed Alleys

Sunday, the mayor's office jubilantly announced that normal trash collection would resume Monday. I am curious to know how that worked out for everyone who had trash collection yesterday. Because in my alley, there are 18" of glorious, untracked snow. At least there were as of yesterday morning. As of this morning, it was more like 12" of glorious untracked snow, with 3" of ice melt that had refrozen into a spectacular impenetrable shell.

Today, that question has been answered by DDOT. I received this little note by way of the Ward One DC mailing list:

(Washington, D.C.) – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Public Works (DPW) want to remind residents that as a policy the District does not plow alleys.

“The District does not plow alleys,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “We do not have the resources and in the majority of the alleys there is no place to push the snow. It would be too difficult and labor intensive to plow any type of alley, whether narrow or wide, in the District.”
I am having a hard time getting my head around these two seemingly diametrically opposed notions.

DC does not plow alleys.
Normal trash collection will resume Monday.

These really exist. Not in DC, though.
In my mind, I am trying to put a square peg into a round hole. I have even tried turning the square peg sideways. I am now thinking about going to the basement with the square peg, and chopping the corners off it. I am sure I can make it fit in the round hole, but it will not be pretty, and there will be a lot of damage to the square peg. And using the miter saw on small blocks of wood is very dangerous and sometimes results in the blocks of wood flying across the room. I will wear safety glasses.

Umm... anyway... where was I? Oh yes. Garbage trucks in unplowed alleys. Alleys which, actually, DC has not only not yet plowed, but has no intention of plowing.

Yesterday I complained about the fact that many side streets near where I live had apparently not yet been plowed. DC has an online snow-plow tracking tool that is actually very cool. It will show you where snow plows went interactively using a time-lapse map. It also confirms that a lot of Petworth was not plowed at all.

But here's what I don't get. In the press release reminding us that the alleys are not (and will not) be plowed, they said:
“We are receiving numerous requests from residents, higher than in years past,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “Our crews are focused on clearing the District’s 1100 miles of roadway, in particular the residential and side streets. We just do not have the resources to plow alleys.”
This note was interesting for several reasons.
  1. Why are residents higher than in years past? Is marijuana use on the rise in DC? Or is it the quality of weed that's improving?
  2. So, you are basically admitting that more than two days after the snow stopped, you still haven't cleared all the roads.
  3. DC has 1,100 miles of roadways. That's a lot, but actually less than I would have guessed. Very useful information.

DDOT's web site says that "The District has 330 pieces of equipment and 750 personnel available for any given storm. This includes additional contract plows, if necessary, for major weather events."

So we have 330 snow plows and 1100 miles of roadway.

That means that if we mobilized all the snow plows, and each of them plowed one mile of road every 30 minutes (which seems like a pretty conservative estimate), then every single mile of road in DC could be covered in about, oh, two hours.

Let's account for mismanagement and bad routing and double that, to four hours.

Let's account for half of the snowplows being broken down and double that, to eight hours.

I am really trying hard to think of other reasons to add more time to this estimate, but I can't come up with any. DC should be able to go over every inch of road in this city in eight hours maximum.

It is now approximately 50 hours since the last snowflake has fallen.

Can you tell me again why you are too busy to plow the alleys? Actually, never mind the alleys. Why I am still driving on 4" of hard packed snow and ice until I get to 16th Street?

Monday, December 21, 2009

DC Snow Removal Up To Usual Standards

...for the Barry Administration, anyway. Yeah, this was a record-breaking snowfall. No, I don't exepect miracles. But at the same time, there hasn't been a snowflake coming out of the sky since late Saturday night.

Nor have I seen a snowplow since sometime Saturday. Nor have I seen any evidence of salt or sand on the roads, anywhere.

So, did Adrian Fenty decide that closing the DC government applied to snow removal as well? I have to say, though, I admire his optimism. Apparently, normal trash collection is scheduled to resume today. That will be quite a neat trick, since no vehicle of any sort has traveled through my alley since before the snow. I will be very impressed if the garbage trucks can drive through 18" of snow.

I heard anecdotally that a lot of snowplows had broken down. I don't suppose that there's any connection between the 700+ speed bumps that Fenty put throughout the city, and the inability to remove snow from the sidestreets? Couldn't be. Great thinking, there. Aother brilliant Fenty move: just do whatever you want, without thinking about the consequences.

Petworth - 8 AM on Monday. Illionois Avenue and 4th Street.

Petworth - 2 days later

11th Street in Columbia Heights - Sunday Afternoon

11th Street

Adams Morgan - Sunday Morning. At first I thought this guy was an idiot for trying to turn onto Euclid Street from Columbia Road. After he got un-stuck and traffic started moving again, I realized why. 18th and Columbia Road was basically unplowed and it was obvious that most cars wouldn't be able to pass.

Adams Morgan Snowbound

As of 8 AM today, everything looks pretty much the same as it did on Sunday morning. So what were the snowplows doing all day Sunday? Or did the speed bumps kill them all?

I guess we'll just wait it out like the old days.

Up here in Silver Spring, everything is perfectly clear.

Yo, Fenty, here's a bit of advice. If you are going to install thousands of speed bumps, maybe you should consider that we actually have snow here. That's why we have snowplows. Though given how few I've seen this weekend, maybe you forgot about them? So here's something for you to check out: The snow-plow compatible speed bump.

Now that I've gotten the obligatory DC snow fail criticism out of the way... pretty awesome, eh? A few highlights are below. More pictures here! Enjoy.

My day started on Saturday with the realization that I did not have a snow shovel. I did, however, have a four-wheel drive truck. And there's nothing I like more that tooling around the city in the middle of a blizzard. So I started with a trip to Home Depot to solve that shovel problem.

I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, since you'd figure there had been a run on them on Friday. Luckily, even as the DC government was not prepared for the storm, Home Depot was:

Home Depot Was Prepared

After the first of many sidewalk shovelings Saturday, N. and I ventured in to Columbia Hieghts to find some breakfast and take in the spectacle. The Heights was packed and there was a wait. We were too hungry to put up with that nonsense - and frankly, I find The Heights to be the pinnacle of mediocrity. So we walked to Ruby Tuesday's. Plenty of seating!

So typical of Cohi attitude... we'll pay more for crappy food, as long as it's not a chain. Personally, I think RT has better food than The Heights. It also comes with a lower price and less attitude. Our server was fantastic. I am slightly concerned about the presentation of the bloody mary though:

Bloody Suggestive

RT closed their doors for the day right after we finished, as did much of the downtown in Columbia Heights. Our post-brunch Target trip was thwarted. But we ran into a friend who was about to head downtown to catch Avatar 3D and decided to join him. It seems likely that the Metro would be a disaster (and it was from all accounts) so we drove instead. The movie didn't work out. Shockingly, it was sold out an hour in advance. How did all those people get there? Guess we weren't the only people with that idea. But we had a lot of fun tooling around the city taking pictures.

Apparently, you didn't need necessarily need four wheel drive to get around. At least, you didn't if you are a completely idiot like this guy.

Snow Bike

It seems that that guy wasn't the only one who just couldn't give up his bike in the middle of a blizzard. Ah, Wonderland.

Wonderland Bike

As usual, everyone in DC freaked out and packed the supermarkets at the first sign of snow. We tried to go to Giant to buy a couple things on Saturday afternoon -- the lines were at least 20 people long. Umm... no.

So off to my new favorite alternative, the Petworth Safeway. It was far more civilized. There was plenty of parking and the lines were minimal. We got what we needed. Though certain things were hard to come by even there...

Low Eggspectations

Sharing the Road took on quite a new meaning on Sunday, as pedestrians took to the streets as the only passable place to walk. Many people were out trying to dig out their cars or just walk down the street. Huge props to my neighbors - the sidewalks were 100% clear on my street as of mid-morning on Sunday. It was not so great in many other places.

Share The Road

Park Road between 14th and 16th on Sunday.

Sharing The Road

There was a lot of fun stuff to see out there. Everyone was great. My neighbors were all helping each other dig out on Sunday. Our dogs regarded the snow with some suspicion at first, but soon enough were having a blast. These guys had the right idea though:

Dog Boots

All in all, I love a good snowstorm. It's been a long time for me - I was out of town for the big one in 2003. Glad this one finally lived up to the hype.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Restaurant Week '10. Or Weak Restaurant '10. It's Your Choice.

Once again another Restaurant Week is upon DC. This once annual, and now sort of semi-annual event, is a chance to eat out at some of DC's finer establishments for a low fixed price. From January 10 - 17, 2010 participating restaurants agree to give you a full course meal for a fixed price of $20.10 per person for lunch, or $35.10 per person for dinner. Considering that entrees in the $25+ range are rather commonplace, and even classically cheap places like Pasta Mia are charging $18 for a bowl of pasta (yes, it's true, I was just there), this is a great way to live like the other half on a somewhat reasonable budget.

Or is it?

The problem with Restaurant Week is that a lot of places don't get it. Back in the day, we used to look forward to this every year. The event was embraced by many local restaurants. It was actually their idea, a good one, a way to drum up business during the typically slow August doldrums. But as the tradition took hold and most area restaurants participated, the value has become questionable.

The problem isn't Restaurant Week itself. The problem is that it seems a lot of places participate because they feel they must rather than because they think it's a good business opportunity.

Typical Restaurant Week entree
What this means, practically speaking, is that a lot of places basically phone it in. They offer an extremely limited menu. The waitstaff sometimes seems put out for actually having to (gasp) provide you with the same quality service as everyone else, because you are ordering from the Restaurant Week menu. You sometimes find yourself looking at the pathetic, limited selection of appetizers and entrees, and wondering, if I even wanted a Banana Slug Terrine, followed by Mom's Favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole, would it be worth $35?

Let ask a very pointed question to all Restaurant Week participants.

If we aren't going to be able to order anything that's not from the "kids" or "last night's leftovers" section of the menu, then why did you bother participating?

Contrary to what some latecomers to Restaurant Week may believe, the point of RW isn't to unload all the crap that's going bad in your fridge. It's not supposed to be the restaurant equivalent of flying super-economy class on Continental Airlines.

Because you know what happens when you do that?

We don't come back. Oh yeah, and there's a good chance we'll write something evil about your restaurant on our blog. Oh, you think that nobody will read that? Well, think again. Google "columbia heights eating". The sixth hit is my stupid joke post from yesterday about soylent green. From yesterday! And compared to, say, an actual food blog, or, really, just about any other blog, I am nobody. Yet I still have enough google street cred to be on the first page for some pretty basic searches. That's right - if you screw me at restaurant week this year, I will destroy you.

I am always amazed how many supposed businesspeople seem to have no idea about how to run a business. Restaurant Week, a clever invention of actual people who own restaurants, is a way for these places to fill empty tables during slow times, and to get people in their doors who wouldn't otherwise be there. People who may, in fact, be having their first experience at your restuarant during Restaurant Week. People who will come back if they liked their meal, and tell their friends, about the sort of experience they had at your restaurant.

Nobody expects you to go broke or give away the farm. But if there's no value, then you have done nothing more than created an unhappy customer. Or more likely, a one-time customer. If we can't actually order anything other than a tiny, crappy subset of your menu, or even worse, really lame stuff that you concocted just for RW out of leftover bread crusts and beet ends, then why do you think we'd ever want to come again? If we walk away feeling like our so-called bargain dinner was a rip-off, did anyone win?

It's really quite simple. If you don't think that you have anything to gain by having a decent RW offering, one that actually represents the majority of the offerings of your restaurant, then please don't participate. Because to do otherwise makes the customer feel gypped, and probably will hurt you in the long run as word gets around. And believe me, word gets around. There is nothing people in DC like more than to gab about restaurants online.

So where do I go?

I would like to single out Ten Penh as the one place that has always had a stand-up restaurant week. It's a relatively expensive restaurant that always offers basically their whole menu (maybe excepting the lobster) during RW.

I am sure there are others. Unfortunately, I haven't been lucky enough to have gone to one of those during RW in the last couple years. Sad statement, that. The bottom line is, choose your eateries carefully. Many places have their RW menus online. Don't patronize places that don't get it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wanted: Greener Eating Options in Columbia Heights

That's right, I am making a call for the first truly green restaurant to come to Columbia Heights and satisfy the needs of all the crunchy crusaders.

We need a Soylent Green Shack.

In an era where conservation is crucial, what could be more green than Soylent Green?

Solent Green looks green, sounds green, and is made entirely out of people. That's right - it's 100% recycled. Nothing goes to waste, and no additional natural resources were expended in its creation.

I googled "Soylent Green Shack" and there were zero hits. None. I just wanted to make sure that when its time comes, google will verify that you heard it here first.

Trademark pending.

Stange and Wonderful Things

A collection of completely unrelated things.

On one of our routine trips to DCUSA recently, I saw this pasted to a light pole near 14th and Park. Holy dog boy, batman!! What the devil is it?

Boston Terrier @ Columbia Heights

Then this morning at the office, on my way back from an urgent snack stop, I saw, perhaps, the cutest thing I have ever seen:

Child Rope

I found myself with a bunch of apples a couple weeks ago that turned out to be kind of mealy. Since I can't stand wasting food, I ventured into previously uncharted cooking territory. I made an apple pie. I happened to have a pie crust in the freezer from some thanksgiving or Christmas dinner past... and it was delicious.

So this past weekend, I decided to take it up a notch and combine the delciousness of apple pie with the greasy goodness of deep-frying. Apples, sugar, and biscuit dough, as it turns out, are ridiculously good.

Fried Apple Pie

Monday, December 14, 2009

Animal Farm in Columbia Heights

Is this puppy not cute?
Since the last time I posted we got a puppy. His name is Charlie, though we have taken to calling him Jumby. The name was taken from this bad horror movie we saw called The Unborn, which was mostly memorable because of this evil little demon child thing that keeps saying "Jumby wants to be born now!" Wikipedia defines Jumbee as "the generic name given to all malevolent entities," so this is probably where the movie got the name from. Either way, it fits.

This brings the roster to two human beings, two cats, and two dogs. Then there's the cockroaches, though they seems to have packed up and gone to winter somewhere else. Or maybe they just moved somewhere that they can get a little peace and quiet. Because that sure ain't our house. But it's all good.

Charlie is very cute. Though N. insists he is getting uglier by the day. I deny this, though I do accept that he's got some old face going on, and his hair is pretty weird. He's like half shorthaired and half longhaired. He started out soft and fuzzy, but now there's all this wiry terrier long hair growing in along with the short silky hair. And he's got this weird Fu Man Chu thing on his jaw, as well as a white soul patch on his chin. Okay, he looks a bit like the dog version of a skinny hipster at Wonderland, so maybe he's not going to win any dog shows. But he's still pretty cute.

However, he unquestionably has a heart of evil. His days consist of tormenting Sully. That, and biting my ear, and peeing and pooping on the floor right after he's been taken outside. Sully mostly just tries to get some quality sack time on the couch, but Charlie thinks that biting his tail would be a lot more fun. So Sully often ends up under the bed, which has always been his private place. Charlie doesn't see it that way, though, and generally follows him there too. Below is a picture of Sully hiding under the Christmas tree.

Chrismas Dog 1
Please, please leave me alone!
Poor Sully can't seem to find any respite from the little beast, so he seeks the shelter of our indoor evergeen. Or wherever he can go that he thinks Charlie won't find him. There aren't very many places that count.

Though there is evidence that secretly Sully likes the new member of our household. Charlie is too small to get on the bed by himself. So Sully could just hang out there, but he seems to never do so since Charlie's been around. I think he's just putting on a show. Or he's not very smart. Either is quite possible. That gadget at the left of the picture, by the way, is some crazy hot-water wet-vac contraption that N. had gotten for cleaning up Sully's accidents years ago. It's both awesome and necessary for having a puppy.

Back to Jumby vs. Jumbie, though. Though he is definitely a malevolent spirit, there is substantial evidence that he is, actually, a far worse variety than that described by Wikipedia. In the article referenced above, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from a Jumbee. Let's see how these might work with our demon:

1. leaving a pair of shoes outside your door; jumbies don't have feet and would spend the entire night trying on the shoes to get them to fit before moving onto you.

Leaving a pair of shoes outside my door could only have one result: chewed shoes. Quite the opposite, we have found it necessary to leave our shoes on top of tables, speakers, and radiators to avoid destruction. Jumby 1, Jumbee 0.

2. leaving a heap of sand or salt or rice outside your door; jumbies are compelled to count every grain before the sun rises.

Clearly, this fabled Jumbee is an inferior variety to our own. Ours is capable of eating everything in its path, except his own food. This includes Sully's food, toothpicks, my ear and ankles, the rug corners, his doggie diapers, pine bark mulch, and leaves. So any such stray organic matter would be nothing more than a snack to Jumby. So our Jumby would simply devour this (probably even the dirt) and bark until we gave him more. Jumby 2, Jumbee 0.

3. when coming home late at night, walk backwards so that the jumbie would be unable to follow you inside.

Charlie's Favorite Toy
Charlie's favorite toy. It used to be Sully's favorite toy.
Well, I'm not quite sure about this one. Our Jumby is already inside, and the only result of coming home late at night is that he wakes up and starts barking uncontrollably. Though I do frequently walk backwards to avoid stepping on the little beast, it certainly doesn't stop him from following me. And biting my toes. Jumby 3, Jumbee 0.

3. if one is being chased by a jumbie, cross a river, as they cannot follow over water.

I can't speak for the river trick but I will give that a shot whenever I have a chance. This dog appears to have no fear whatsoever, though. Even when Sully gets really annoyed and growls and barks and snaps at him, and even though Sully outweighs him by 30 pounds, he doesn't really care. Actually I think it makes him charge Sully even more. At this point lets assume he can't swim, though, and give a point to the Jumbee. Jumby 3, Jumbee 1.

4. Leave a rope with many knots by your door step. Jumbies love to try to untie knots, so they will forget about you while trying to untie the knots.

Absolutely true. He loves knotted things. Rope, the ends of the oriental rugs, shoelaces. All are a delicious snack. However, there's not a lot of untying going on, just unraveling. But as for this stopping him from chasing us down, not so much. This dog is as ADD as a goldfish. Jumby 4, Jumbee 1.

Clearly, Jumby is a superior form of demon that will not be stopped by these silly tricks. Victory: Jumby.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Columbia Heights has come a long way, but...

Last Friday, Petula Dvorak, the metro columnist for the Washington Post, published this article entitled "Columbia Heights still has far to go." The piece is a dismal portrayal of the neighborhood that is my home from the perspective of two poor neighborhood residents.

The article left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Because I am really not sure what the point is. It seemed to say that despite the incredible changes that we've seen in the last few years, for the "have nots" in Columbia Heights, life is just as bad, and there's no hope. It casts Columbia Heights as a place where the gentrifiers gleefuly dance around in our new parks and malls while the long-time poor residents are still just poor and desperate.

Today, a new resident responded with a letter to the editor rebutting her characterization of the neighborhood. I wish that I had taken the time to write to The Post, because unfortunately, this response is in many ways just as bad as the original piece.

The author writes:

...As for criminals lurking in the shadows waiting to prey on immigrants carrying wads of cash, I could not help but chuckle as I thought about my own experience. I am often out after dark in professional attire or jeans and shirts appropriate for someone in their mid-20s going to a bar. To anyone looking, it is clear that I carry a Blackberry and an iPod, not to mention a wallet and a rather unthreatening stature. Yet, I have never felt uncomfortable or at risk of being accosted.

To this, I can only say, are you out of your mind? I am, frankly, dumbfounded that anyone would choose to move to Columbia Heights without so much as looking at a crime report. As much as Ms. Dvorak's portrayal of the neighborhood is absurdly one-sided and bleak, this response is just as idiotic in its ignorance of the reality of life in the city.

Crime exists in Columbia Heights. When Target/DCUSA opened, the poor did not magically become wealthy. Nor did they disappear. Their lives went on, just like everyone else's. And with poverty comes crime.

Ms. Dvorak paints an absurdly dismal picture of the effects of the development on the most desperate. Without a doubt, the availability of Target, Giant, and many other stores and services that did not exist a few years ago has benefitted everyone -- especially the poorest, who probably do not own cars. Shopping for basic necessities of life would have meant a trip on public transit to who knows where. I seriously doubt that anyone would say they preferred NOT being able to walk to Target and Giant. This has brought convenience, basic services, and jobs to the neighborhood.

But the author of the letter I quote above seems equally ignorant of the reality of life in an inner-city neighborhood. Crime happens. You can never forget that.

I love Columbia Heights. I can think of nowhere else I'd rather live in DC. But I never forget that safety cannot be taken for granted. I don't think it's unsafe here, but I certainly wouldn't walk around late at night advertising my iPod to anyone who happened to see me. At least, if I wanted to keep my iPod. I wouldn't do that anywhere in DC, frankly, becase that's just plain stupid.

Ms. Dvorak's piece is, at best, a misleading and badly-researched article with a hyper-narrow focus, and at worst, gentrification-hating and fear-mongering. While her point still eludes me despite discussing and thinking about it several days later, she's right about one thing: there are, apparently, some people in the nieghborhood who are totally unaware that all is not completely right here. At the same time, the vast majority of people who live here do not live in fear. We love our home and community, and there is certainly hope for the future.

The development has brought many positive changes to the neighborhood, especially for the poorest residents. But it's still new. This place is truly a grand experiment. I can think of nowhere else that's had such a dramatic transformation in such a short time. The fact that there are still many problems is hardly a surprise. But so far, there are many positive signs. The Target is the first-of-its-kind store: a big-box plunked in the middle of a walking community. You know what? It works. It offers amazing convenience without requiring a drive to the suburbs. It keeps people in the neighborhood and out of cars. It saves time and money.

But social problems don't disappear overnight. No amount of development, no matter how big and shiny and new, can make poverty magically vanish. We have a long way to go, sure. But we've come a very long way, too. Just because our problems haven't gone away completely doesn't mean we shouldn't recognize the positive things that we have accomplished and keep working to make things even better.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Repent, for the end is near!

I had the pleasure of seeing 2012 on Friday night with N. It met my expectations exactly: really cool special effects, repeated brushes with near death at the hands of billowing clouds of smoke and fire, and only brief stints of unpleasant character-developing dialogue.

It was pretty much exactly the same move as "The Day After Tomorrow," unsurprisingly, also directed by Roland Emmerich. You know, scientists realize that the end of the world is coming, nobody listens until it's too late, earth plunges into apocalyptic mayhem, intrepid heroes embark on perilous quest against astronomical odds, and miraculously prevail. It was predictable, preposterous, over-the top, and absolutely without artistic merit. It was awesome.

Sure, there were a few plot holes. Like the premise, which is that neutrinos will cause the earth's core to heat up and the crust to shift around. Then there was a lot of general silliness, like the airport security guy telling people they can't take off in their plane because they aren't cleared. While the city of Las Vegas is busy collapsing into giant flaming rifts in the earth about a half-mile away, and the entire West Coast has already gone fully Lex Luthor. Umm, yeah, like anyone would really give a rat's ass who does what at that point. Most likely he'd be taking advantage of his status of possesing a firearm to get aboard any available plane himself. But whatever, fire and brimstone! Entire cities collapsing in huge chasms filled with flaming lava! Cool!!

Anyway, I don't usually pay much attention to harbingers of the apocalypse from thousands of years ago, but I was curious about what is supposed to be happening in about three years. Luckily, NASA has a web page that clears up all the misinformation going around. So don't sell your house just yet, let's take a look at what NASA has to say. I have quoted NASA's web page in italics, below.

"2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?"

Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation. Impressive movie special effects aside, Dec. 21, 2012, won't be the end of the world as we know. It will, however, be another winter solstice.

Well, maybe it went off without a hitch for you, but I personally found that my Palm Pilot was screwed up. It took at least a week before it worked right again. What's a Palm Pilot you say? Oh, never mind. But another winter solstice!! Thanks for making us feel safe, NASA. Wait. What's a solstice?

Question (Q): Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many Internet websites say the world will end in December 2012.

Answer (A):Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012.

Whew! 2012 should be an awesome year. Nothing bad will happen!




Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

I have two things to say.

1) 2012 will be the first year of the millenium with no Oprah Winfrey show!!

2) These credible scientists do not live in Washington, DC, obviously. Because 2012 is an election year and bad things will happen.

Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?

A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth.


Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?

A: The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids

OMG! Asteroids too!!

...although big hits are very rare.

Try telling that to this guy!

The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs

Jesus Herbert Hoover Christ! 65 million years ago? Obviously we are well overdue for a giant disaster. Without question, we should all prepare for the post-apocalyptic world where the moon has been shattered like a cheap golf ball and large jungle cats have learned to talk.

Q: How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?

A: For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the science?

Where's YOUR science, NASA? This, coming from the same guys who can't even decide if Pluto is a planet or not? All your talk of so-called "rare asteroid hits" and "planetary extinction" doesn't make me feel a lot better.

The long and short of it is that NASA clearly does not have their shit together, and we should trust no-one, least of all some government-funded hacks who haven't managed to get back to the moon in 40 years. If they ever actually went in the first place. Luckily, though, there is proof that the world will not end in 2012. At least not entirely. Because someone will discover a guitar a hundred years later in 2112.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Love Note to Fort Totten

Fort Totten Trash
Fort Totten Transfer Station, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Though I criticize the government of DC, from time to time, there are many things I love about living in the city. At the top of that list is not the gorgeous architecture, nor the Metro, nor the monuments, nor Rock Creek Park, nor even Target. No, it is the giant mountain of trash that resides in Northeast Washington, in smelling distance of Catholic University. It is the Fort Totten Transfer Station.

Many, perhaps most, live their lives never having set foot on the hallowed ground at 4900 Bates Rd, NE. To those, I say, what you cannot see still serves you daily. Because the refuse of your existence, the by-products of your modern life, most likely rest in this purgatory before being delivered to their final resting spot. Probably in New Jersey. But I embrace this place, I choose to interact with it at a personal level, to commune with the compost. In fact, I went there Saturday. Three times.

The glory of Fort Totten cannot be understated. Where else in the world can one load up thier pickup truck with all manner of debris, be it trash or treasure, rubble or rubbish, and liberate your home from its shadow? It's remarkably convenient location is barely 8 minutes' drive from my home, yet in this short time I can make a truckload of trash vanish forever.

The old couch that festers in your backyard, the bags of construction debris from the never-ending home improvement or housecleaning projects. All those things can become a memory with one short trip to nirvana, northeast.

Fort TottenAt Fort Totten you will be greeted by the smiling sanitiation workers who, upon inspection of your DC driver's licence, the passport to perpetual purging pleasure, will point you to a pile for perusal and pillaging. Oh yes - the transfer station giveth as it taketh away. As I was unloading one of my three loads of rubbish this weekend, I salvaged a perfectly functional security gate, needing only minor repair, callously dumped by someone who didn't see its inner beauty. Unfortunately it didn't fit the door where I intended to use it. But no matter, because I will surely be there again sometime in the not-too-distant future. And then I will return the gate, perhaps for collection by some other trash-picker, or perhaps for it's final demise.

To all those who have never known the pleasure of watching a truckload of trash disappear from your life forever, I can only say, go. Now. To Fort Totten. Take your trash, your tree limbs, your old furniture. Take that junk that fills your basement or your backyard, and bring it to the place where it belongs. Fort Totten calls for your garbage. Its appetite is insatiable.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beware the Facebook Scam. And The Cure.

* Yawn * So I got to work at 6:40 AM this morning because of some crazy deadline and was interrupted by a facebook chat from one of my friends. Serves me right, I suppose, for logging into facebook at all when I have so much work to do...

7:53am L hey are you there?

7:53am Jamie: yep

7:54am L how are you?

7:54am Jamie good, you?

7:55am L not too good

7:55am Jamie that sucks. what's up

7:56am L I'm stranded in London got mugged at a gun point last night

(Shockingly, my radar has not yet gone off, despite being a highly skeptical person who knows all about these scams. I blame lack of coffee and early hour.)

7:56am Jamie in london?

7:56am L all cash,credit card and phone was stolen

7:57am Jamie i thought those silly english folks only used knives.
sounds more like a DC story.

7:57am L it was a brutal experience but thank God i still have my life and passport

7:57am Jamie are you ok? not hurt?

7:58am L yea
my return flight leaves in few hours but having troubles sorting out the hotel bills
I need your help

(At this point I am starting to become suspicious for any number of reason... not the least of which is, I have not been in touch with this person too much lately, and they are the kind of person who would absolutely have been able to sort out this problem themselves).

7:59am Jamie what can i do?

8:00am L wondering if you could loan me some few $$ to sort out the hotel bills and also take a cab to the airport?

8:01am Jamie sure, but how will i get it to you?

8:01am L you can have it wired to my name via western union
do you know any western union outlet nearby?

(HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! At this point I pick up my phone and call my friend, who is very pleased to hear from me at 8:00 AM with the news that her facebook account has been compromised.)

8:03am Jamie one sec

(Talking to friend on phone, who is now logged in and able to watch the conversation. Interesting and surprising: you can be logged into Facebook from more than one location simultaneously. If someone's logged in to your account, the act of YOU logging in DOES NOT kick them out. Stupid? Yes.)

8:04am L ok. let talk via email.
facebook is tripping

8:04am Jamie
ummm. yeah right.
ha ha
see ya scammer!

(Friend changes password. This action DOES cause all other sessions to be terminated, at least, which I confirmed by testing it myself from two different web browsers).

The Aftermath

Here's where things get a little ugly. This was all fun and games, and the scammer was booted before any damage occurred.

I reported the abuse to Facebook using their hacker victim form. I did this because I thought it was important to let them know about the abuse to add to their data, and possibly help track the way in which the account had been compromised.

I also clearly stated in the report that I had spoken to my friend on the phone and she had already changed her password.

Within minutes, I received a response from Facebook. They disabled her account. They told me to direct my friend to this page to get access restored. That page has no information on how to get your account access restored after Facebook disables it. The page she receives when she tries to log in is similarly unhelpful.

Facebook's security page advises people whose accounts have been compromised to do exactly this: log in and change your password.

Well, we did that.

What To Do Next Time Around

First and foremost, I wasted a golden opportunity to mess with a scammer. For example, this guy enjoyed quite a bit of wonderful thief-mind-f*cking before he finally moved on.

Second: The moral of this story is that no good deed goes unpunished.

If your facebook account is hacked, or the account of a friend is hacked, DO NOT report it to facebook or you will lose access. The only reason I can think to do this, is if you can't get in touch with the friend whose account has been compromised so that they can change their password. But you are setting them up for a big pain in the ass by doing this.

from The Facebook Team
reply-to The Facebook Team
to (Jamie)
date Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 8:22 AM
subject Re: 419 Scam - Friend Report

Hi Jamie,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have taken the appropriate action to secure this person's account.

In order to resolve this matter, please ask the account holder to view the Security section of Facebook's Help Center:

From here, they can take immediate steps to contact us and reestablish ownership of the account.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

User Operations

Thanks a bunch, Jasmin!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Daily Trash: The Story Told By Rubbish

TrashI wrote a while ago about my new hobby of picking up trash when I walk the dog in the morning. While not as glamorous as collecting cars or as interesting as beekeeping, it does have its moments. And it keeps the couple blocks around where I live looking pretty clean, which is nice.

But while some people read tea-leaves or speak to mediums to understand their world and predict the future, I look to my trash. It is a bellweather of the world around me, a sign of the times. Through trash, some mysteries of the universe can be revealed, if only slightly, while at the same time, the trash puts forth new questions daily. Such as, how did that 5 foot long section of someone's bathroom wall end up on the corner of 10th and Spring?

This week, occurring in greater frequency are rubber gloves. I have picked up at least three of them since Monday. This can only mean one thing: swine flu paranoia. I have not yet found a respirator on the ground. You know, those things people wear while sanding drywall which probably have absolutely no benefit versus airborne contagions. But I expect I will see them soon as H1N1 fear grips the nation.

FuneralSeveral days ago, the normal tranquility of Columbia Heights was disturbed by paramedics on my street. By normal tranquility, I mean police helicopters, gunshots, and drunken yelling. This is not the first time I've seen such things, but as we watched a stretcher emerge from our neighors' home, we wondered if things were not more serious this time.

The funeral procession observed yesterday afternoon by N. confirmed this. This morning's trash was a solemn reminder of the passing of a man whom I knew mostly by the clinking of his spoon against his cereal bowl as he ate his morning breakfast on the front porch. That sound from a few doors away, which had become a familiar part of my morning ritual last summer as I enjoyed a cup of coffee on my own porch, has been silenced. Rest in peace.

ExtenZeThe final piece of trash will close this post on a lighter note. Outside "The Asylum," a DC outpatient mental health clinic near my home, I found this blister pack on the ground. Excited by the discovery of what I thought might be actual drugs, I peered purposefully at the pill pack. What would it be? Antibiotics? Antidepressants? A mystery drug which I would have to eat, identity unknown, like Alice and her mushrooms, in order to determine its true purpose? Would I take the blue bill??

No - it was ExtenZe. You know, the natural supplement for male enhancement you see relentlessly adertised by that smiling nerdy guy who gets wayyy more play than his much-better-looking buddies. Who says size doesn't matter... big is back!

Geeky sidenote: Am I the only person who has noticed the similarity between the "ExtenZe" logo and the logo for "ExistenZe," the creepy David Cronenburg flick from 1999 which is almost identically named? I made this connection the first time I saw one of those ExtenZe advertisements on cable TV but never dug further into this important matter.

It appears that I am not alone. A blogger answers the question we have all been wondering: eXistenZ vs. ExtenZe: Which is Better? Click through for the shocking conclusion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's Good In The Hood?

Columbia Heights PlazaA few happenings in the NoCo/SoPet area lately, mostly good.

The best: Thai Tanic II, in The Allegro building at 14th and Meridian. While one must question the wisdom of naming your business after the ship that infamously sank on its first voyage, I have to say, this is some of the best Thai I've had in DC.

I've never eaten at Thai Tanic I, the original vessel of spicy deliciousness, and honestly, I can't believe what I've been missing. Every since the demise of Thai Town in Woodley Park many years ago, it's been next to impossible to find any Thai in DC that didn't cater to the bland. But TT II does not hold back on the heat.

Praise the stars. I'm not saying this will be like really authentic Thai on the west coast or anything, but it's damn good and the flame is on. Beyond the fact that they aren't afraid to put a little hot pepper in there, the menu is a lot more interesting than the typical Thai place, with lots of inventive dishes I've never seen before. I've beeen twice so far and had the Bird Nest on Fire (stir-fried chicken with chili & garlic paste, topped with red pepper & surrounded by crispy kale) and the Nua Ka Ting (beef slices marinated with wine, stir fried in Thai garlic chili sauce, topped with deep fried basil leaves). Actually, I just ate leftovers of the latter for lunch. Delicious.

Park Place at Petworth Metro is finally showing signs of being finished, meaning that walking and/or driving around the Petworth/Georgia Avenue Metro is no longer a giant pain in the butt as the sidewalk obstructions have finally been removed. It looks fantastic and I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first-floor retail that's planned there, to include a new restaurant from check Gillian Clark of the now-defunct Colorado Kitchen.

Cohi PlazaThe New Plaza at 14th and Park - this thing is just so cool. Every time I've walked by it, there have been at least a half-dozen people hanging out on the grass or the seat-border, playing in the fountian, or just taking a breather. It's a really cool little space and I think the design came out wonderfully. Nice work.

Went to Social just up the street from Thai Tanic a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, they were hosting some kind of event that evening and we couldn't even get to the bar to get a drink - it was packed. I hope this is a good sign for the place, because a lot of what I've been reading elsewhere is a little hit or miss. But I blame the mediocre reviews more on the classlessness of the reviewers, than on Social.

Without having tried their food or beverage yet, I hope they succeed. The space is definitely interesting and takes a different direction than most places in Columbia Heights, which tend toward the casual. Social is certainly not stuffy, but it's pricey and you just get a vibe that says "Smith Point" a lot more than "Wonderland." But quite honestly, while I'm not a huge fan of Georgetown-style pretension, there is absolutely nothing bad about having businesses that attract a higher paycheck of customer than the ones I generally frequent around here.

Because that can have only one consequence: In 20 years I will sell my house for three million dollars, and be able live out the rest of my days in Bali with a staff of three to prepare my pureed peas and change my diapers.

So keep 'em coming, and dammit, spend lots of money at Social.

New 4-Way Stop at 13th & Taylor Streets NW. I bet you didn't know about that one, did you? Well you have to get up pretty early in the morning to sneak one past this guy.

This intersection used to be controlled only by a stop-sign on Taylor Street. 13th
Street traffic did not stop. As I live nearby, I must drive through this intersection frequently. It is interesting that this happened, because I had become convinced that there was a home for people who are smart enough to get a driver's license, but too stupid to drive, somwehre nearby. More than any other place in DC, people attempting to cross 13th Street from Taylor never seemed to be able to comprehend that 13th Street traffic did not stop. I have had to slam on my brakes many times because of this. Apparently the idea of a two-way stop is mind-boggling to some DC drivers.

Anyway, my theory is that with all the new development in Columbia Heights, the resulting influx of population finally put enough pressure here that someone noticed and decided a 4-way stop was in order. I think it's a good idea. Taylor Street is the principal route into Rock Creek Park and points west from hereabouts, and there are so many other stop signs on 13th Street already down here, what's one more. It makes it easier to turn left onto Taylor into the park (especially in the morning during rush hour, with heavy southbound traffic), and it eliminates the possibility of some moron thinking you're going to stop even though you don't have a stop sign.

For the record I am not in favor of traffic signs that are installed to deal with the fact that some people are morons. In this situation, though, it was warranted. All hail the new stop sign. Cyclists: no worries, like every other traffic control device, it won't affect you in any way.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Would The Law-Abiding Cyclist Please Come Forward?

Good BikersI have, against my better judgment, engaged in debates with members of DC's cycling community on local blogs. From time to time. These discussions are usually sparked by an accident between a cyclist and a car, and generally without any solid details on the actual circumstances surrounding said accident, a bunch of people will immediately rail against the driver. They will call for inquisitions, hangings, and protests. The assumption is, without exception, that the motorist is at fault.

The problem is, cyclists break laws all the time. But in the course of these discussions, these avid defenders of the impossibility of a cyclist being at fault in an accident refuse to admit this. Rather, they claim that the cyclist-scofflaws are the "exception," the bad eggs that give the vast majority if the cycling community a bad name.

Anyone who leaves their house more than once a year knows this is, simply, a crock. The reality is quite the opposite: cyclists who actually stop at stop signs and red lights are the exception.

Today, I spent about 15 minutes at the corner of 14th and Park in Columbia Heights taking videos of cyclists.

Not a single cyclist waited for the light to change before proceeding.


The reason I chose this intersection is because it's unquestionably not safe. There is construction going on. It's a complex intersection where Kenyon, Park, and 14th all converge in a mayhem of traffic lights. There is tons of pedestrian traffic. I also included one shot I took last week in Adams Morgan, where I was initially inspired to conduct this little video collage by the shocking frequency of light-runners I saw.

Spend two minutes watching the video as every single cyclist blows through the light, despite the presence of construction equipment, cars coming from all angles, pedestrian traffic, and cops directing traffic. I apologize for the awful quality. Cell phone video technology leaves a lot to be desired. But even so you can clearly see all the cyclists ignoring the light while pedestrians wait on the corner.

In a couple of the shots, you will see traffic coming northbound (on my side of the street) while a cyclist goes south. They are still running the light - those cars are coming from Park Road. You can't easily tell in the crappy video but the light is always red when you see a cyclist crossing Park.

Also note pedestrians rarely cross against the light while every cyclist does, and further that there's actually a traffic cop standing on the opposite corner of 14th and Park throughout the whole time.

So, cyclists, would you care to explain how these people are merely the rare exceptions to an otherwise law-abiding group of citizens? Would you like to explain why even the pedestrians generally saw fit to wait for the lights to change at an intersection that is clearly unsafe, but not one cyclist did?

Sorry suckers. Credibility: gone.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fix For Bosch Range Door Closing Problem

Update 4/11/13

Wow, it's been three and a half years and I'm still getting comments on this! I thought the latest one was worth calling out because it seems that Bosch has, finally, recognized this as a design flaw and come up with a solution. Anonymous says:

Bosch has a permanent fix for this problem and will cover the cost of the part. They will only cover the cost if it is installed by one the Bosch Authorized Repair services. I was able to take the door in to the repair shop for a flat price of $50 for them to install the kit. 
  • Step 1: Call around to a Bosch authorized repair center till you find one who will do it for a flat fee. 
  • Step 2: Call Bosch and tell them you have been having the door problem since you bought it and want fixing kit that was designed to correct the manufacturing flaw. They will ask you to send a copy of your receipt for the stove. When they agree to cover the parts only tell them to send the order to the shop you have an agreement with for carry in service. 
I used Jamie's fix years ago but it eventually failed again. The fix kit has reinforced steel plates tack welded to the inside of the liner where the hinges attach. You can buy kit and do it yourself $175-$211. Or Have Bosch cover the part and do an in home.
Good information. Personally - the fix I made back in '09 is still working fine for me. This solution seems fairly inconvenient and/or expensive (either you have to take your door to an authorized service center, and/or pay $175+!). But it's good to know there's at least a real fix available if this "hack" fails eventually.

Frankly, it's pretty crappy that Bosch won't just send you the hinge so you can install it yourself for free in 10 minutes. How generous of them to agree to pay to replace their defective part after five years of ignoring the problem.. but only if you pay them to install it!! So this doesn't really do anything to change my opinion of the lousy quality of their customer support. But still, good to have options.

In the nearly 4 years since I posted this problem, I've gotten over 80 comments, thousands of views, this page is the #1 google search result for bosch range door and on the first page for lots of important variants such as bosch range problems. You know how many times someone from Bosch has tried to contact me, commented here, or even addressed this issue in any public forum?


It's 2009. Oh wait. Now, it's 2013. Wake up. Your potential customers read this stuff. This is bad press. It could have been good press if you responded to it, ever.

Original Post 10/17/09

This is going to be one of those posts that most of you should skip, now, unless you happen to have a Bosch range on which the oven door doesn't close properly.

I have a Bosch HDI7282U 30" slide-in range which I bought new about two years ago. A few months ago the oven door stopped closing all the way, preventing a good seal. This caused a lot of problems, not the least of which is half the heat goes into the kitchen instead of staying in the range. Uneven cooking and verrrry long preheats was a consequence. While the range is probably still under warranty, my online research into this problem told me that I was far from alone. At least it's a common enough problem that others had discussed it in a few online forums. Unfortunately there was no good resolution that I could find, and those who had dealt with Bosch's service (even under warranty) did not get satisfaction. Can't say I'm excited to hear about that since I own three Bosch appliances. But I finally got around to trying to figure this out myself, and came up with a good solution that is simple and takes about 15 minutes.

Remove The Range Door

Start by taking off the range door. To do this, open the door all the way and flip the hinge-locks toward the door all the way. The two pictures below show the hinge in the normal position (left), and the locked position (right) needed to remove the door. Complete instructions are on Page 48 of the manual. You can also download the whole manual here -- I assure you it is a riveting read.

Once the hinge is in the locked position, you can basically just lift the door up an pull it out. The hinges have a little slot on the bottom and are cantilevered against a pin on the top. So you raise it up about 1/4" to clear the slot, and pull it straight out.


Below is a picture of my oven door with the hinge in the locked postion.


You must tilt the door to a 45 degree angle with the hinge locked before removing it. Do not try to close the door all the way with the hinge locked. From this position, just raise the door vertically about 1/4", then pull it horizontally awayfrom the oven.


Remove the door hinges

To do this you need two torx wrenches, a T10 and a T20. There are four screws holding the inside of the door to the outside, and three screws holding each hinge onto the door interior, for a total of 10 screws. Their approximate positions are circled in the photo of my door below. Yeah, it's pretty gross, and that's AFTER I cleaned it. Remove all the screws. When you take off the two at the top, be aware that the handle will no longer be attached to the door.


After all the screws are out, lift the door interior away from the exterior. The hinges are just loose now, they look like this:


You're not going to do much now except put everything back together, with one minor adjustment. I'm not quite sure exactly what's causing the change in dynamics here resulting in the door not closing - either the hinge isn't quite right any more, or the pin inside the range itself that the hinge cantilevers against moved slightly. I saw no evidence of anything bent on the hinge itself so I am guessing it's the pin. Accessing this looks like a big hassle, even if it could be adjusted, so I went for a different solution.

To correct the problem, all you need to do is change the dynamics of the door so when the hinge is in it's "closed" position, the door once again is shut all the way. The simplest way to do this is to add some space between the back of the hinge and the door at the top of the hinge. In th picture above, you may be able to make out a couple little washers on the counter behind the hinge. Re-attach the hinge to the door interior, but put a couple washers between the large screw and the hinge itself. I used two washers on each side like the ones above, adding a little less than 1/8" of space. This results in a significantly bigger difference at the top of the door, and was just right to cause my door to close snugly.

Put It Back Together

After you've re-attached the hinges with your spacer, completely attach it using the two small screws for each. Put the door interior back over the door exterior, being sure to line everything up correctly. There are three tabs on the bottom that should go inside the interior, and make sure the handle is correctly positioned before tightening the two screws at the top.

After it's completely reassembled, simply put it back on the range, open it all the way, and return the hinge locks to the open postion. You're done.

3-year Thanksgiving update (11/20/2012): some early commenters wondered how long this fix would work. I am still working on the original fix and the door is still quite snug. Commenter #69 gives a very believable explanation as to the physics at work and why this happens in the first place or might fail again. Perhaps the pin can only bend so far in the way this is set up on the Bosch and in my situation it's reached that point. But I have not had any further trouble since I originally posted this fix.

On the other hand the thermostat is off by about 25 degrees now...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Things I've Seen Lately

A cell-phone photo journal of slightly strange things afoot in Columbia Heights and thereabouts in the last couple weeks.

Hashers in Crystal City. Yeah, it's raining too.


For these guys, it's ALWAYS halloween. Or maybe they went to Wesleyan.

Haunted House

Seriously, what's up with the creepy paint jobs?

Weird Bricks

Cyclist running red light on 16th Street. Okay, not that weird. At least he's in the sidewalk.

Bad Biker

Cyclist not running a red light. Now THAT'S weird.

Good Bikers

People hangin' at the new Plaza in Columbia Heights. Cool.

Columbia Heights Plaza