Monday, March 30, 2009

.... And It's Over

Winter, that is. Even though the weather is still cooperating fitfully, the DC entertainment season has officially begun and I had a completely packed week.

PICT0029It started Wednesday on H Street. I went to the Pug with a friend and ate a surprisingly edible "bangers and hash." The Pug has no real kitchen, so everything is made either on a George Foreman grill or in the microwave. So we're talking a lot of paninis here and a few other choices. This sounds dodgy at best, but it actually kinda works out. All the food has been prepared in advance with care and the choices are oriented towards this sort of prep. I mean, this isn't haute cuisine but for quick bar fare it's really not bad. I have always had incredibly friendly and accomodating service at The Pug and Wednesday was no exception - this is a great neighborhood spot.

PICT0040The Pug stop was followed by the Palace of Wonders amateur burlesque show, in which a friend was performing. This was my first time to the Palace, actually, and it's a really unique and interesting place. The picture above is of the bar facing the street. The Palace seems to have adopted a cat and I was trying to capture the mascot sitting on the end of the bar with this picture. You can only see a shadow but I like the picture anyway. As for the show itself, it's hard for me to say if it was especially good or not, because I have no basis for comparison. But the performers were all enthusiastic and the costumes were great. I was thoroughly entertained.

Light Rail
Move on to Friday and the first installment of the Hirshhorn's After Hours series this year. This one featured a number of large scale projections by "video artist Ricardo Rivera and the Klip Collective," which made for an outstanding and visually interesting backdrop to the party. While the off-and-on rain throughout the evening tempered things slightly, it was still very well attended and a great time. This one was structured a little differently than past events. All tickets were sold in advance, and it was sold out a week before the event. The price also increased from $10 to $18 -- still a great deal for an evening of entertainment and a chance to see an exhibit with a buzz.

Onc criticism - they really need to work on the "check in" process. For past events, only part of the tickets were sold in advance. Some were held back for sale at the door. So if you had an advance ticket, you generally got in pretty fast, while people who came without tickets (suckers) had to wait in a long line. But this time, you had to have an advance ticket. No more VIP status.

Naturally, most people buy their tickets online. But there is never an option to receive printed tickets, so the vast majority of attendees will have to go to will-call. The only way to get actual tickets is to buy them at the box office, in advance, in person. There is also a security checkpoint that is a huge bottleneck - it seems like there's only a single portal that every one of the attendees must pass through before you can even go to will-call. My group kinda snuck around the security line (yeah, it was really secure...) with a little help from one of the empployees there who was probably breaking the rules to alleviate the obvious backup. So we were lucky. But there's no reason for this quarterly event to continue to be inadequately prepared to handle the crowd on entrance. It would also help a lot if you could actually get printed (or downloaded) tickets online, eliminating the fairly ridiculous will-call line. These issues should be easily resolvable.

PICT0024Finally, Saturday, my friend Sara reserved the upstairs at Stoney's for her going away party. Sara's about the only person I know who's been in DC as long as I have and has decided to pull up her tent and move to Seattle. We will all miss her, but true to form she threw an awesome party. Everyone came out and in fact as of about 1:30 AM it wasn't clear that people were willing to let her leave... much love. We will miss you Sara. I think you'll be back one day... nobody can truly resist the black hole that is DC. I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.

So I will close with a kind of arty picture of the bar at Stoney's, since anyone who doesn't know my friends probably won't get much out of a bunch of random people having too much fun (and probably too much to drink.) The rest of my weekend was overwhelmed with long-overdue chores, favors, and other necessities of life that have been building up. Some progress was made, luckily, though the list remains long.

So until next time. I have been meaning to post about Ruby Tuesday's in Columbia Heights. That will most likely be my next post. Ruby Tuesday's rocks. No, I am not kidding. More later.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Val Kilmer To Save Cats And Dogs, Get Drunk

Disclaimer: The primary purpose of this post is to get the goddawful snuggie picture off the front page of my blog. Since I can't come up with anything especially useful to say right now, instead I am going to make fun of bad/unlucky/drunk celebrity photographs instead.

Via facebook a friend made me aware of a fundraiser for the Washington Humane Society, a worthy cause. Unfortunately, I'm a little short with regards to the $2k buy-in for a VIP table. But I do plan to adopt another cat soon.

What is not so good is the picture of Val Kilmer. The former hearthrob is looking, shall we say, crusty. I love Val Kilmer. And I am not just making this up so I can get away with making fun of him, see this post for proof. But seriously man, what the hell happened?

This is your warning, Val. I, the ghost of Drunk Celebrity Future, give you one final chance at redemption. You have two choices. You can lay off the Jack Daniels, hit the gym, cut your hair, and become an aging heartthrob, like Harrison Ford.

Or you can stay on the party train and end up like Nick Nolte.

And if, in fact, this just happens to be a bad picture, then apologies. But you REALLY should fire your agent.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh, fine.

It would have been better with a light saber. What the hell is up with my hair? Thanks for looking out!!

Snuggies Are Awesome

Lovely Weekend. Will Someone Please Kill The Groundhog?

The Great Shazmanko
Don't ever do it without your fez on

I attended the "Fez and Mustache" party at the Looking Glass on Saturday night, which was hilarious and very well attended. Nice work Jason. Then proceeded back to my place with a few friends, where we laughed at nonsense and danced on the tables until the wee hours.

Helped a friend move into Petworth. The dog in residence welcomed her by peeing on her mattress within five minutes. She has two dogs so I guess he just wanted to make sure that any question about who was "top dog" was settled up front.

Sat in lawn chairs on my sidewalk sipping cold beers on Sunday afternoon. It was such a gorgeous day. Warm in the sun, breezy, it felt like being at the beach. Well, a beach where the sand happened to be mixed with portland cement, and the ocean happened to be asphalt and parked cars, but it was almost the same. I swear.

And on that note I am officially calling shenanigans on the goddamn weather. Umm, really? 30 degrees? On my way to work this morning, I heard overnight lows in the low 20's. For the love of baby back ribs when the hell is this going to end? I've had milder winters in Maine. For what seems like an eternity now, we get thrown a bone every two weeks with one nice day, then it's back to the igloo and another $350 gas bill.

Yes, I realize complaining about the weather is about as useful as ordering foie gras at McDonalds. But I just need to vent. We are officially in Spring now, and this is freaking Washington, DC where it's usually 90 degrees at some point in April. Yes, that April, the one that's about 8 days away. If I see another snowflake before December I think my head will explode.

Okay, I feel better now that that's out of the way. I leave you with this. While reading my email yesterday, through seven degrees of Kevin Bacon I arrived at this random person's twitter picture thingy or whatever.

I have never in my entire life seen a better advertisement for a realtor. That's right, they are not, in fact, selling professional assassination services. Nor are they offering private aerial moose-hunting lessons. Yes, they are selling homes. This was apparently seen in a shopping cart at a supermarket in Minnestota.

What the hell is wrong with those Minnesotans?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Piles of Tiles

In anticipation of a human being living in the basement bedroom in the Petworth house, I had to do a little work. Such as putting back the wall I tore down when I was dealing with the plumbing. After I had cleared out the bedroom, though, I realized I wasn't going to get away with the carpet. Quite simply, it was disgusting. See Exhibit A, below.

Exhibit A: Before


Note the vile stains from some indeterminate substance, possibly blood or motor oil.

I had to get rid of the carpet. So off to Home Depot. Luckily for me, they had a truckload of some overstock tiles that were pretty much what I wanted for a mere 49 cents per square foot! That's an almost unheard-of price for decent ceramic tiles. So I bought as many as I could carry in my truck. Total cost for 16 boxes (almost 200 sf.) - $105. It was plenty to do the room, but I figured I should stock up so I can do the rest of the basement later. The guy assured me that although they won't sell these again once they are gone, they had TONS of them and I would definitely be able to get more.

Well, I went back yesterday for more, and they had them all right. But apparently I wasn't the only guy who thought they were a good deal, because the market had reacted to demand. They were now 77 cents a square foot. DOH! Still a good price, and 25 cents less than the next cheapest thing. But that really grinds my gears... anyway, I bought another dozen boxes. Need to do some math but I may have enough for the rest of the basement now.

Anyway, I ripped out that nasty ol' carpet and threw down some tiles over a few days this week. Here's an unfortunately blurry picture of the end result.



Hopefully now, nobody will catch Tuberculosis while sleeping in this room.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mama O'Bama's Green Machine

Today, Michelle O'Bama proved that this will be the greenest administration ever by altering the chemical composition of the white house fountains. Using thousands of gallons of unsaleable Shamrock Shake mix from Irish co-conspirators McDonald's, Mickey and Berach O'Bama have made a symbolic gesture of their commitment to the environment, and possibly the IRA.

This was a risky move for the O'Bamas, and lends further credence to their questionable origin. While credible sources have suggested that Barach may have been born in Kenya, Indonesia, or possibly the planet Vulcan, we at Farm Fresh Meat feel that this latest debacle is conslusive proof of O'Bama's strong allegiance to Ireland, as well as potted meat products.

There is no need for further speculation. O'Bama Is Irish!!

I, for one, welcome our new Leprechaun overlords.

State of the Farm

It's been a busy pre-spring, with a couple trips that I haven't even had time to properly reflect upon here, as well as work and house projects.

The house projects have taken a front seat lately since I actually have people living with me now. It's one thing to live in squalor by yourself. Don't get me wrong - residing in a minimally reconditioned former crack house is often interesting and exciting. You never know when you'll find a weapon hidden under the floorboards, or perhaps a vial or some historically significant drug. You can also have hours of fun playing "CSI" with the random stains on the carpets -- it's like having your very own murder mystery to solve!

But at the same time it's kind of a turnoff to company... especially female. And when people are paying you rent, you feel bad about certain things that maybe you were OK with when it was just you. Like having a functioning shower. Sometimes it's just a matter of taste, though. For example, I have created in some cases wonderful architectural details that in high society we refer to as "exposed bricks and joists." While I am slightly insulted when someone asks why a room has "no walls or ceilings," I am willing to forgive such ignorance.

So I am generally working on the projects for at least an hour or two each night after work to keep things moving, as well as the weekends. This has definitely had an impact on my drinking time -- it's pretty hard to get inspired to go out at 10 PM on a Tuesday when you've gone to work all day and then put up drywall for three hours after that. But at the same time it's satisfying to see things taking shape at last. The goal is to get the Petworth place in good enough shape to refinance at a lower loan to value ratio, while interest rates are ridiculously low. Of course, that could be the case for a year or two, but I also need to make sure that my improvements outpace the decline in property values. It's a dangerous game, but hey, I live on the edge.

Friday, March 13, 2009

GeoPet: Now On The Green Line (Or The Sharper Image)

City Desk made me laugh out loud this morning with a new proposed neighborhood/metro station/dog park/open air drug market nickname: GeoPet.

This joins the ever-increasing list of acronyms that apparently apply only to gentrifying neighborhoods. There is no question "snappy neighborhood nicknames" will be appearing in an upcoming edition of Stuff White People Like. In fact, the adoption of an abbreviated, cute, clever nickname for a neighborhood has been consistenly proven to be the first sure sign of gentrification taking hold.

This all began many years ago in the once-sketchy Mount Pleasant neighborhood. What could be DC's first official nickname adoption was stunningly capitalized upon with the ubiquitous "MtP" sticker that now adorns hundreds if not thousands of Subaru Outbacks and Volvos in the greater metropolitan area. To early adopters, the "MtP" badge proudly proclaimed, "I am white, and not afraid to live in a neighborhood that has been secured by the advance team of hippies and homosexuals."

Many blissful years went by in which MtP was really the only well-known acronym for a DC neighborhood, and Mount Pleasant homeowners became fabulously wealthy as their prestige at having a three-letter, recognizable shorthand caused thousands of yuppies to clamor for admittance to the enclave. Meanwhile, no new businesses opened on Mt. Pleasant Street.

Enter CoHi. In record time following the phoenix-like rise of DCUSA, Columbia Heights established its cachet as a cool place for hipster and young urban professional alike to make their home with the adoption of this nickname. It spread like wildfire, it's popularity driven primarily by the approximately 4.2 seconds saved each time it was used in a text message instead of the laborious "Columbia Heights." The savings in time as thousands of hipsters tell each other where to meet for drinks equates to approximately 7.4 man-years per day.

Though exact details of the first usage are sketchy, NoMa came into popular usage at roughtly the same time. But not to be outdone by CoHi, NoMa came with the official sanction of the NoMa Business Improvement District, created in March 2007 for the purpose of ensuring that every gentrifying neighborhood had a nickname and a logo. NoMa also served the very useful pupose of making people forget that their neighborhood is, actually, the minefield formerly known as Eckington.

Other sketchy neighborhoods, not wanting to be left behind, quickly followed suit. Again, details are unclear on the first usage of many of these acronyms, and in some cases, competing nicknames continue to vie for universal recognition:

AdMo: Adams Morgan, though some prefer the older, more fitting nickname "The Morgue." Probably predates most other neighborhood nicknames, but is so completely gay that nobody really used it until the need to keep up with the Joneses arose with MtP and CoHi.

DuPont: Few know that DuPont is, in fact, a nickname adopted so long ago that few remember the true, full name of the neighborhood. But few people enjoyed saying they lived in "Dubious Pontifications" subdivision, a name established by the early artist/stoner community that settled and gentrified the area in the 1960's.

NoHo: My own invention, the ironic name for the area of Shaw between U Street and Howard University. You heard it here first.

Tivoli North: Unfortunate name that busisesses on 14th Street north of DCUSA are trying to adopt to make people less afraid to go there.

NoCo, SoCo, SoPet: Occasionally used, but generally reviled, names for Northern Columbia Heights (e.g, Tivoli North), Southern Columbia Heights (e.g., the area between U Street and the 13th and Columbia shooting gallery), and South Petworth (e.g., the place where the Red Derby is that actually isn't in Petworth).

But the best nickname yet to be conceived - and one which is sure to result in the immediate skyrocketing of crack-house property values, is BloMi, coined just last month by aaronsinger on DCist. This, of course, refers to the Bloomingdale neighborhood.

And so GeoPet has been coined, and I think it's a good one. Buy property in Petworth now -- if this nickname catches on, it won't be long before crackheads and car fires are replaced with baby carriages and bake sales.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Total Rehash

Hollywood, why must you suck like a Dyson?

I dutifully see your big-budget blockbusters, no matter how bad they are, ensuring that Tom Cruise can pay for a new Scientology center and afford the quality psychiatric care he so desperately needs. I buy your DVDs, despite the fact that I could download them for free before they are even released, sometimes even before the movie is in the theaters. I do this not out of martrydom, but because I believe that the hundreds of people who work for months and months on a movie production should be paid for their efforts. I believe that all this money serves some higher purpose -- ensuring that future works will be created, that the industry will continue to thrive.

I am not even upset when you trick us with such filth as "Signs," which is marketed as a sci-fi thriller, but is in fact a dogmatic religious preach-fest. Or when you re-release a DVD/BD for the seventh time, extorting yet more money from your most loyal fans who want to own the best version of their favorite movies. I'm only slightly upset about the brutal raping of the Indiana Jones franchise, but I haven't actually seen the movie so that may change one day.

But why, oh why, must you remake Total Recall? I can only imagine that you will take a movie that entertained me over and over again and turn it into a lifeless, soulless CGI-fest. Even today, nearly 20 years later, Total Recall stands up -- even the special effects. It's Paul Veerhoeven at his best, it's classic Arnie, and it's an immersing story that captivated the imaginations of every self-respecting sci-fi fan.

What next? Are you going to remake Lawrence of Arabia? Maybe take a shot at Gone with the Wind? Oh wait -- you can't fucking be serious!!! Hugh Jackman??

What has the world come to. Some things should just be left alone. Remaking "Total Recall" -- a mere 19 years later, when I'm pretty sure everyone who was in the movie is actually still alive -- is beyond offensive. How about a fresh new take on "A Clockwork Orange," with a cameo by Jar Jar Binks? And why don't you just dig up Peter Seller's grave and spit in it, while you're at it? Oh right, you did that already, again, and again, and again.

Hollywood, you suck.

Ngggghhghghhggghhgg! Nghghghghhnghghhghghgh!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Don't Go Away...

Been a little busy lately. Five days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras a couple weeks ago. Went to Hampton on Sunday for the last night of Phish's reunion after five years of detoxing. Bunch of stuff going on with the houses. Good weather outside means not much chance of me curling up with a book on any given night. And things are busy at work.

Bottom line: This blog is not dead, it's just resting. I've had no downtime in weeks. Not that I'm complaining, I've been having a great time. Made some new friends. Caught up with dear old friends on the trips. The Phish show was silly and fun and refreshing and awesome. Mardi Gras was an otherworldly experience and I didn't want to leave. I've made some good progress on the houses and some things are starting to really come together, I'm loving both of the neighborhoods. So life is good. Whenever I have a minute to breathe I'll post something substantive, but for now enjoy our wierd spring and get outside often.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Watchmen - The End Is Nigh!

Watchmen Coming

Aaaagghhh! They're coming! Pack your bags, hoard ammunition, run for the hills! Make your last confessions!!

Oh wait. Maybe they're talking about the movie opening tomorrow.

I have to say, advertising budgets have certainly gotten tight these days.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Winter's Last Clutch

Stormy Monday

16th Street Northbound, 9:15 AM, March 2

Barack Obama, 1/28/09

"My children's school was cancelled today -- Because of what? Some ice? As my children pointed out, in Chicago school is never cancelled, in fact my 7-year-old pointed out that you'd go outside for recess. You wouldn't even stay indoors. We're going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this."

Adrian Fenty, 3/2/09

"We don't believe that the condition of the roads should have prevented anyone from getting to school within the two-hour delay that we gave."

"I've often thought that DC needs to not be so knee-jerk in closing--not just the schools, but so many of our government buildings and stores and everything else. I think we're developing that. We're still kind of-- we're not as North[ern] as some other cities but I think as we continue to develop the capacity for responsiveness then I think that business and government will feel more comfortable staying open."

Dee Does The District, 3/2/09:

"The Virginia and Maryland suburbs were closed. The majority of DC-charter schools, if not all, were closed. Baltimore County schools were closed. New Jersey schools were closed. New York City schools were closed. Boston schools were closed. Even my brother's school, which is arguably the best prepared school for snow and ice because they receive 3'+ of snow each year, was closed!