Monday, February 27, 2006

I Joined The Unfriendly iPod Nation

For the past year, I always looked at a certain group of people with scorn and contempt. They thought they were just too cool to mix with regular society. Yes, I'm talking about The iPod Listeners On The Metro. Those white headphones really acted as a status symbol, letting the public transportation riding general public know that you have expendable income. Like $250 in expendable income. I always saw it as a combination of this showing off factor, but also an excuse to not say hello to anyone. Pretty much to disregard the existence of anyone living in the iPod. After seeing this for a year or so, I was pretty sure that I would refrain from carrying mine, thereby acknowledging other people's existence.

That is, until last week. I am sorry to admit that I joined the iPod people. Spurred on by a few events*, I started bringing my iPod along for the ride to work. It makes me feel incredibly unfriendly and shut off from the world. I thought I'd be making it better by not using the white iPod headphones also, and using some cheap earbuds. Shockingly, it didn't make me feel any better about the whole situation. So from now on, its back to just reading The Express or Examiner on the Metro. No more iPod. One week was enough time cutting myself off from society.

*A couple new albums came out, and I realized I really don't have a lot of time to just listen to music. I barely drive, and the car used to be my primary music listening location. Hence, resorting to iPodlating myself (yeah I just invented that). I'll take this opportunity to promote three bands I love:
1. New album, Broadcast to the World, by Zebrahead. This band sang the song Playmate of the Year a few years ago, and has been turning some great, unique music.
2. I Hate Kate. This is a small, up and coming band out of L.A. They just put out a new EP in preparation of a major label debut. I really wouldn't be surprised to see them blow up in a year or two.
3. Rediscovering Jimmie's Chicken Shack, a local favorite. To think, like 6 years ago they were touring the nation, headlining HFStival, and on the main stage at Warped Tour. Three years ago, as a fraternity social chair, I hired Jimmie's Chicken Shack to play our basement, and I guess this is what their stuck doing nowadays. Quite a fall from grace, but even with that, they still turn out good music, and put on an awesome show. They still play around Baltimore regularly, and their last album was silly.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Totally Fratty

After that more serious post about how I'm never going to be able to buy a decent place in the DC area (you know, like 3 minutes before this one), I thought I'd just point out that Google, the Metro DC Sewer is the #1 page returned for the search phrase of "frattiness". Which is totally sweet. This could be viewed as good or bad by some. Frattiness can be compared to having a wild time out with the guys, playing wingman to help your friend pick up a lady at last call, and coming home at 2 AM to play an impromptu game of Beirut (or Beer Pong as I've heard it improperly called). Or it could be related to complete immaturity, failure to advance past the college stupidity stage, and latentely homo-erotic "out with the guys" and "bros before hoes" mentality. But regardless of the connotations, only one blog can be number one in the field of frattiness. And that page is the Metro DC Sewer.

Maybe Not A Good Time to Buy

I don't like admitting that something is scaring me from doing something, but it's definitely happened. A couple months ago, I was gung-ho about buying a condo here. That has changed dramatically. Whether it's the blog articles I'm reading (here and here), the real estate companies themselves forecasting bad times, or whatever, I'm frazzled. But what really got me: I'm sitting at my desk at work listening to Don and Mike or something, and I hear REPEATEDLY, an ad for some new condos in Alexandria, the Exchange at Van Dorn, and how they're for sale at $270K. But what got me is that a year ago, there's no way in hell a condo developer needed to advertise on the radio to sell a metro-accessible condominium. They had buyers lining up at their cheesy parties, just dying to lay down 5 grand to reserve a unit. And now they're reduced to running 20 ads a day shilling their condo projects. At that moment that I first heard the ad, I was done with the idea of buying a place. I'm not dropping 350 grand, financed with a risky mortgage, while interest rates are growing and growing, locking myself into living in the DC area for at least 2 more years, just to have the value flounder or drop. If I'm going to drop that much money on a place, I'd rather do it elsewhere and get something decent for my money. Which led me to do a quick survey of craigslist listings (actually I used housingmaps, the google maps version of craigslist. Great way to find an apartment) to see what exactly $350K will buy me in another real estate market. In probably a more attractive city. Here are my results:

Newport Beach, CA

I found a 3 BR house in Newport Beach, which is just north of Laguna Beach in Orange County. Very posh. Here is the craigslist listing:

Located in Bayside Marina Village is a 3 bedroom, 2 full bath home. Beautiful side yard...pets and friends welcome for entertaining. Very private and quiet neighborhood! Property includes 2 pools, exercise room, and 2 club houses. This well decorated home is a must see! It would make a great summer getaway home or permanent residence. Asking price is only $284,000! You can't find a better price in Newport Beach!

Seriously, this property is on the beach. Look! So yeah, for the price of a crappy 1 BR in Bailey's Crossroads or in a 70 year old building in the crappy part of Arlington or Alexandria, you can live on the beach in Orange County. Moving on...

Miami, FL
How about living in Miami for $280,000 on the bay with a great water view. 1 BR, 1.5 Bath and 831 square feet. And its on the water. Check the location. Now what would $280,000 buy me here in the DC area again? Oh right, a hellhole. Wait a second, a hellhole that is about to lose value, in a market that's about to bankrupt all the retards that got caught up in the condo flipping business just a year too late.





Chicago, IL

Now I'm not a big fan of Chicago, but this loft would seriously be like a cool million here. People are paying like 100 grand more to live in a building that brags about its "high" 9 foot ceilings. And then I find this, and its on the lake to boot. A full on, 1 BR loft selling for $309,000. Yes, you're still stuck with the Chicago weather, but for that loft for that money... it makes it tough to justify spending $300K to live in the Riverplace in Arlington which was built 60 years ago.




So yeah, that's my little unofficial analysis of real estate markets, which has really only made me realize more that there isn't much chance I'll be putting down roots here. It just doesn't make much sense. And we're talking about buying a crappy condo. Forget about buying a house. Do people realize how hard it is to pay a $900,000 mortgage for a new townhouse in Chantilly?!

If you are bored at work, look on housingmaps.com. It's pretty entertaining to just scan other cities and see what's available. Post on the comments if you find any particular gems.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Consumer Warning!!! - Taca Airlines

The real impetus for me deciding on going to Costa Rica was that I found a discount Latin American airline that was offering tickets from Dulles for under 400 dollars. At the time, I thought Taca Airlines was a godsend. Naturally, my reaction was to make an impulse purchase and buy myself a two week vacation in surfers paradise. I was in heaven... for two days. I opened my online bank statement like always (like 10 times a day) and found it overdrawn. Now I begin my sad, sad tale... Taca had double charged my account for my ticket. An extra five hundred bucks (after my impulse purchase, I realized that I'd paid taxes on that 395 dollar ticket that ended up making it a little under 500) was charged, and to me, that is big money, especially when its completely unplanned. I needed to get a hold of Taca's customer service. It shouldn't be a big deal to fix this I thought, they'll show two charges to my credit card in their cashflows with only one ticket sold. I soon found that if you buy the ticket online, you MUST go through Taca's E-Desk, which is an e-mail only customer service service. The back and forth e-mails went on for a full week. Taca couldn't find my double charge. They needed me to send my personal bank statement in. I was a little troubled by this, as no one wants to send their banking information to strangers. I did it anyways. I FAXed them this statement showing two 500 dollar charges, not once, not twice, but THREE times. Each time, the E-Desk representative, Guillermo, told me that he couldn't find it and to please resend it. This is now 7 days of this frustrating back and forth, highlighted by e-mails such as this:

I appreciate your effort in getting this matter referred to your billing department. However, I am unbelievably displeased at the THIRTY FIVE days of processing time to handle this transaction. From the time of this purchase originally to the end of that processing time is TWO bank billing cycles. That is thirty five days of me not having the service of my $496.72, nor the over a hundred dollars in overdraft fees that will not be forgiven in my bank account until Taca makes this credit to my account. I am shocked that it will take 35 days to do a simple charge back to my bank account when it is clear that I was charged twice, as seen on my bank statement. That is 35 days that Taca will have use of my money without any offer of compensation. Even a bank would pay interest on that money. Let's keep in mind that this double charge was 100% Taca's fault (whether it was the reservation system or the billing system). Yet, I am the one that is being asked to essentially provide Taca Airlines with a $496.72 loan for roughly 45 days total (Not to mention the overdraft fees that this error has caused me to accrue). At this point, I have to demand that Taca provide me a refund as soon as possible for this double charge. This, in addition to the fact that the seats I chose at reservation are not the seats that are showing up on my itinerary (which I am told I CANNOT change until I check-in, meaning I may be stuck with a middle seat assigned to me despite picking window seats for the entire trip). Yet, the best offer of reconciliation made my Taca is to make me wait for 35 MORE days before I get the money that is rightfully mine. At this point, I am prepared to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Affairs department if this matter is not resolved satisfactorily. Please update me on the status of my chargeback due to the negligent errors that are wholely Taca's doing. I want to enjoy my vacation to Costa Rica, but this entire process has already put a damper on that. Mr. Duque, I realize you are not personally at fault for this, but some quality customer service at this point would be appreciated in resolving or expediting this matter. Thank you.

For some reason, Guillermo didn't seem to be scared by my empty threat of an FTC complaint, whcih really probably wouldn't have accomplished anything except making me fill out more paperwork. My bank told me they didn't want to contest the charge yet, not til I went through the proper channels with Taca. I found that Taca had offices in the DC area. I went to the one in Alexandria on Mount Vernon Ave., near Del Ray. I expected a ticketing office for Taca. I got Chirilagua Supermarket, an El Salvadorean grocery store with a FAX machine to send documents to Taca, as well as someone behind the counter who spoke zero English (I noticed when going to the Play Lounge this weekend that there was a real Taca office in downtown, but if I were betting on it, even this office would have proven completely inept at helping). I walked out of Chirilagua having accomplished nothing. FINALLY, on the fourth FAX attempt, Guillermo of Taca gets the FAX. I finally thought I'd get my money. I get this e-mail:

Your request for a refund to your credit card has been reviewed and
required information forwarded to our billing department.

Please allow 35 work days processing time.

After this is completed, the issuing bank of your credit card will
process our request (this time varies according to the bank).

Thank you for your patience and sorry for all the inconveniences.

Great... thanks Taca. 7 weeks to process it, then however long it takes the bank to
process it. Meanwhile, I'm leaving for Costa Rica in 3 weeks from this date. Utterly useless.

I finally got my bank to just protest the double charge and give me my money back, as well as the 60 bucks in overdraft fees caused by the double charge. The bank makes me write up a couple paragraphs explaining and providing proof that I did everything could trying to deal with the airline. It takes them 24 hours to put the money back in my account. Finally. So 3 weeks after the fact, I finally have the money thats rightfully mine. As a result, it is now my mission to ruin Taca... As soon as I think of a clever enough plan... And probably after I get back from Costa Rica so as not to risk not being let on the plane... But then I'll let them have it... Trust you me, they'll pay... Oh yes... Like seriously, way worse than complaining to the FTC... Or I'll just forget in like 2 days... We'll see.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Paid to Read the Express?

Everyday when I walk into the Pentagon City Metro Station, I am greeted by either one or two metro cops standing by the turnstile. I understand this is so they can find terrorists trying to sneak a bomb onto the train or something, or maybe to catch people trying to hop the turnstile to save 1.25 on metro fares. The real goal is to instill confidence that the Government is lookign out for us. Which is fine. It might not work on me, but I'm sure some people get a warm fuzzy seeing cops in the Metro. But what doesn't instill confidence is seeing them reading the newspaper EVERY SINGLE DAY that I walk by them, when they should be standing at attention and looking surly to scare the terrorists off (snicker). I'm the first one to defend the Metro system, because I'm willing to look past broken escalators and crowded trains. But this is pretty big money we're talking about. Probably like 50-75K per cop when you count all the benefits they get along with salary. I'd really much rather they stick these Metro cops out on the beat. Maybe stop some crime along the way.

On a related note, I don't want to construe this as my being against the reading of the Express while on the job. I know I need my newspaper hour where I run through the Express and the Examiner after I get to my desk, do the Sudoku and crossword for a while, then get to work. But when you carry a gun, and your job is to protect, I'd rather you were doing your job than checking out the Bloglines.

Three Days of Glory

Most times, I really can't figure out why I work for the Federal Government. It's pretty clear to me that I can make more money working for a private company. The old timer Federal workers will always talk about how great the benefits. But this is because they have a pension that will pay them around 80K a year when they're retired (this system changed over to a 401K-like retirement plan). But I don't see the advantage. It's not like Lockheed Martin doesn't give their employees health insurance, an actual dental plan (unlike the Government), a 401K, and probably stock options or something. But one benefit of my job CAN NOT be beat. I take every other Friday off, in exchange for working 9 hour days. This means I have a three day weekend every two weeks, which is awesome. Plus, I get all the Federal holidays off which is nice.

This particular three day weekend, I'm not sure I really utilized it to its fullest (which I have the luxury of wasting, since I need only wait 3 more days for my next 3 day weekend). Here are three things I learned this weekend:

1. Piano bars are not to be associated with middle aged patrons. I went out to Mr. Smith's of Georgetown, thinking it would be full of plenty of 40 year olds well past their prime. I was surprised that I actually had a great time there. After bashing the overplaying of Green Day a few days ago, I was caught singing along to a piano rendition of Basket Case. My only complaint was the five dollar price tag for a Miller Lite which I really should just expect to pay when I go to Georgetown. This night was made all the better when compared to the previous night. The woman decided to go out to Play on Connecticut Ave. with some of her friends, and of course drag me along too. To preface this, I hate going to clubs. I hate the music that gets played at clubs, and I hate a lot of the people that go to clubs (mostly the males). I just have difficulty being around guys whose going out routine consists of gelling up, unbuttoning that extra button, shining up their square toed shoes, so that they can go to dark room with a strobe light to cop cheap feels off of drunken girls, all the while feeding them more Cosmopolitans in hopes of getting a cheap handie at the end of the night. The woman tricked me. She called it a lounge, and said it would be full of plush furniture and it most definitely wasn't a club. Plus we could drink free because she knew the bartender. When we walked up to the place, I saw the line and I heard the music. I gave it 15 minutes. Pounded two beers, then left my girlfriend there to dance it up with her friends and took a cab back to Virginia. Ugh.

2. I enjoyed eating a real brunch at Tallula on Sunday. I had the best tasting chili I've ever had (other than my own prize winning chili) to go along with some biscuits and gravy and a grilled cheese sandwich. It beat the hell out of eating out of the trough that is the Whitlows brunch buffet. Not that I don't enjoy the food on the Whitlows buffet, but it's nice to eat quality instead of quantity once in a while.

3. I hate all of the professional sports teams in Washington (especially the Redskins), but I can't help but root for the three college teams here that are going to go to the NCAA tournament. I found myself watching the George Mason game on Friday on ESPN2 and really pulling for them not to blow that game in the last 2 minutes. I may even make a trip out to see a game in Fairfax, or maybe at George Washington if I can get a ticket. It's time I see what James F. was talking about before he sadly departed the DC area about how fun a GW game can be. Coming from Southern California and hating UCLA, I haven't had much chance to root for a winning college basketballt eam, so I'm officially adopting the local teams as my own now.

That's about it as I embark on this torturous three day work week (although to my credit I went in for four hours on Sunday to finish stuff up). At this point, I'm really just counting down the two and a half weeks til I fly down to Costa Rica for vacation.

Special Note: Thanks to RoarSavage for the link to my blatant stereotyping of women into five easy to categorize groups. I'll have to think of some way to pay her back.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Boulevard of Broken Eardrums

At work I am quite limited as to what radio stations I can pick up at my desk. Usually WJFK comes in fine which is great, because talk radio seems to make my day go by a little faster. Plus they have the Junkies in the morning, who I am really starting to enjoy (and strangely enough making me not miss Howard Stern). Overall, their lineup is good with my day starting off with the Junkies, and Don and Mike when I go home. There is one glaring hole though: Noon to 2 PM is Bill O'Reilly, the worst commentator in America. I CANNOT stand to listen to his self-important, George W. Bush fellatio-giving, boneheaded analysis of politics. So, I have to change the station. I receive two other stations loud and clear: W-PGC (Radio PG County) and DC 101. Clearly, that choice is easy. But what is starting to piss me off is that everytime I turn on DC 101, one of three Green Day songs is playing... like always. I mean, that album came out a year and a half ago. They played American Idiot for 6 months non-stop. And now they play Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Holiday like there's no tomorrow. I assume that's because their corporate minded program director has decided that the general DC populace is clamoring to hear those songs just one more time. I mean really... is there anyone that is dying to hear Holiday for the 17,000th time? If there is, please leave me a comment and I'll be sure to send you out a windbreaker for proving me wrong. And, if its not songs from American Idiot, they're playing 6 year old Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. Why?! Is there no other rock/alternative music that can be played?! Maybe shake it up a bit. I'm not a big reggae fan, but I wouldn't complain about hearing a Matisyahu song instead of the same tired Bob Marley song. Or maybe some Coheed and Cambria or Social Distortion or Alkaline Trio instead of the 1 millionth playing of that Nine Inch Nails song. Anything else but what is played. Even a little more My Chemical Romance or Louis XIV... And I can't bring my XM radio to work because of security restrictions which makes it worse.

Someone needs to start up a new rock station here that doesn't play this garbage. Like an independently owned station. It doesn't have to play indie rock (because the pretentiousness of some of the DJ's would surely grate on me) non-stop, just stuff people want to hear without drowning us to death with the same songs. Just as a backlash to the Clear Channel-ization of radio, I could see a strong listener base developing. I swear, if I hear Boulevard of Broken Dreams, I'm liable to pull a Kurt Cobain.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Totally Scientific Female Classifications

Today at work, as I was checking my regular stable of blogs, I found that Roar Savage (who I'd like to add may be the one of about 3 people that read this blog judging from the comment section) had an interesting article attempting to classify all guys into 5 categories. Generally, I am all for classifying people into easily distinguishable categories, and feeling the need to defend the male gender, I decided to attempt to classify the average 20-28 year old female into five easy to define groupings. Main characteristics might be a better way to put it, because I think in many cases, a female could have small parts of the other groups in them, but for simplicity's sake, let's just assume everyone fits in their nice, neat category. And let's get started on this magical quest for easy sterotyping and typecasting:

Slutty McPlowed-a-Lot

This specimen is what every guy on a cold streak is looking for on a Friday night. She is the girl who's attire was chosen primarily to show off her breasts and ass (AKA "the goodies"). She will respond to most come-ons and feign interest in whatever lame work story the guy is telling her in hopes that this guy will be the one to put up with her for a couple hours in exchange for a fierce game of hide the salami later. Often, The Slut's eternal quest to be plowed is fueled by her gasoline of choice, the Red Headed Slut (clearly). After the tepid night of passion, The Slut will not be heard from again by the guy. If she is spotted and recognized, she will respond with either a quick brushoff or a "Who are you again?". In many cases, The Slut is mainly friends with males, both because girls despise her and guys want to keep her around so that they all get their turn (and they all will). In a strange twist, in non-going out/bar/party situations, I've found that The Slut is often not easily distinguished. She watches ABC Family Channel and 7th Heaven - but as soon as she gets out on the onramp to drunktown, its only a few exits to Intercourse City.

MRS Buy-Me-That (the degree, not the prefix)

This specimen is commonly found in the DC area. The main feature she looks for her in guys is their earning power. To feed their insatiable hunger for Louis Vuitton handbags, it becomes a neccessity to find a guy that is able to supply her with luxury goods. Their relationships tend to be much more superficial, seeking a night on the town at the exclusive, be-seen hot spot, rather than the intimate dinner at the hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. This is the type of girl that follows a sexual tit-for-tat; if he goes down on me, I'll give him a beej. It just so happens that the type of guy she requires, the power hungry, huge ego, down-up hair style is oh so similar to her. The guy may or may not have the money to support her shoe habit and may bankrupt himself to retain these usually attractive specimens for as long as his debit card will allow. I honestly, other than their hotness, see much of a point in pursuing The Gold Digger other than for a short term trophy conquest. It's easy to appear rich and important (which is all The Gold Digger is looking for), but the ones that are don't usually need to flaunt it constantly.

Party On! The Wayne and Garth of Females

Ah yes, the party girl. So hard to define because there are so many subcategories, but I will do my best to provide a generalized and stereotypical description. This girl is pretty normal in most respects, in that she works an average job for an average salary, probably drives a late model green Honda Civic and lives in an average apartment. To escape the daily drudgery of their life, they live for their Friday and Saturday nights, as well as the occasional Happy Hour. I may be in the minority, but I don't believe The Party Girl is the one that needs to go out every night and show up at work hung over everyday. I think that they go out on average 3 nights a week, but when they go out, they don't sell themselves short. It is these females that Loverboy wrote their classic "Working for the Weekend" for. In many cases, these girls were in sororities, and in some respects try to maintain their sorority values in the real world. They party hard, and play down their sexual deviance. They will be found in your local Irish Pub, at Old Glory, sometimes at a hot place downtown (but not as a habit). Guys need to expect things to progress a little slower physically, i.e. maybe expect a handie the first few sessions. These girls hang out with their female friends primarily, and generally travel in packs out to the bar. They dream of Mr. Right sweeping them off their feet, but will settle for the best available. I see this group as the most chameleon like, because at any time, they could display elements of each of these groupings.

Geek-O-Rama

The geeky girl is usually not found on the usual DC social circuit. She is found at home watching C-SPAN or on the computer. She's shy, sometimes shunned by the image-conscious average DC male. She can be found writing W4M ads (I assume some of those aren't transvestites. Seriously SOME of them must be... right?) on craigslist. In many cases, these girls are deprived sexually (either because of looks or social skills). On the other hand, they often attract like-minded guys, and you'd be surprised how many of them have serious relationships. In some ways, this category could be the classic good personality girl (with widely varying levels of attractiveness).

What People Used To Actually Believe Britney Spears Was

Yes, I'm talking about the Virgin. In many cases, this category does not describe a full-on virgin; it could include The Tease also. This girl, for whatever reason, religion, been burned to a a crisp in past relationship, abuse, whatever, will not put out. It will take months to get a smooth HJ at the least. She is like quicksand. The guys that aren't immediately turned off by the lack of action, the ones that feel like they can be the ones to unlock the treasure, get sucked in more and more. After a few months, they feel like they can't get out until they get something out of her because of the time they've already invested. This girl is a dead end for 97% of guys over the age of 21, but are often attractive, truly making them the forbidden fruit.


Just Though of This One

In some cases, this specimen (regardless of promiscuity) could be represented by The Female Friend. You know, the one where the guy is eternally in the friend zone. The one that no matter what, you will get nothing out of (other than repressed misery). This girl will sometimes use the interested guy as a conduit to his friends, giving her a supply of hook-ups and minor relationships to further torment their "friend". Not to put all the blame on the girl, the guy involved with this girl is so taken by the attempted friendliness of the girl, often confusing it for repressed interest, that he puts the pain on himself. This really isn't a classification of a girl in general, now that I look at it, but it is a situation that many people see.



There it is. My rambling, probably retarded analysis of the stereotypical female categories, along with a brief overview of what a guy is to expect from each grouping. After reading it, it appears to be about equal to a DC Bachelor D+ quality blog posting (he is quite a bit better at this than me, my specialty being complaining about living here yet finding minor things that keep me going), but I never claimed to be a social scientist, nor as active on the DC dating scene (due to being tied down to a classic Party Girl for a while now). Please help me expand on these categories so that a definitive tome of female social categories can be established. Join in!

Administrative Note: Once 24 ended, I had a very slow night tonight. Also President Logan is the lamest President since Warren Harding (at least Harding had Teapot Dome to his name)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

George Bush Doesn't Care About Black Puppets

Friday was a day that will go down in infamy for fans of quality television. Arrested Development was aired by FOX for the last time in a glorious 2 hour block of hilarity. I was a late comer to this show, but got addicted quick. I just can't understand why this show didn't catch on with a mainstream audience. The jokes really aren't that hard to get, and sometimes are even silly, which the average American Idol viewer should have found laugh out loud funny. Now I'm stuck hoping Showtime or some other cable network picks it up. Anyone that Tivoed the last two hours is in for a treat. The puppet wearing the "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black Puppets" gag was a riot. Some other classic lines from the show:

Tobias, referring to his Speedo and shorts: Excuse me, do these effectively hide my thunder?

Michael: So, this is the magic trick, huh?
Gob: Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money ... [he realizes kids are present] ... or candy!"

Maeby: You get to miss school for that?
Narrator: And that's when Maeby decided to become a devout Christian.
Maeby: Do you guys know where I could get one of those gold necklaces with a 'T' on it?
Michael: That's a cross.
Maeby: Across from where?

And there are at least a hundred other great quotes from this show. At least I have The Office to look forward to every week. I like to think that Arrested Development was regularly watched by a decent amount of people, but looking at the ratings, that's probably a little optimistic. Thank god the networks are getting rid of the ratings "garbage" and replacing it with gems like Courting Alex. And isn't Joe Piscopo due for another attempt at a prime time sitcom? Is anyone else as broken up as I am over this?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Totally Wrong On That One

I'm in shock. The DC council, LED by Marion Barry (Mayor for Life) actually approved a stadium deal. Looks like I wrote that long rant about Marion for nothing. So, on behalf of the Metro DC Sewer team, I profoundly apologize to the charismatic and #1 role model, Ward 8 Councilman, Marion Barry. As a token of my regret, I will add a more respectable picture of you to this post. Additionally, I have now upgraded you from "Would kick you in the groin if I ever met you" to "Will make fun of you behind your back but act politely to your face." I also plan on not cracking jokes about you until you hit the headlines again for an embarassing and sad character flaw. Wait... that happens tomorrow when you get sentenced for not paying taxes on the half a million dollars you earned post-mayoral term. So Marion, enjoy the 12-20 hours of freedom from ridicule from me. I'll be ready tomorrow to crack some more "Bitch set me up" jokes. Thank you Marion for allowing me hopefully many seasons of watching such superstars as Brian Lawrence, Royce Clayton and Robert Fick in their exciting pursuit of 4th place.

NEWSFLASH - Dateline Washington - Marion's trial has been postponed for a month due to him not turning in his tax payment paperwork until today, the day before his sentencing.

NEWSFLASH - Dateline Arlington, VA - Blogger not sure if he has enough self control to refrain from telling Marion Barry related jokes for a month.

Goodbye DC, hello Dulles Corridor

Nice work Marion Barry. Not only have you become a frequent butt of jokes within my circle of friends, now you're taking credit for possibly taking part in the movement to lose the Nationals and become the laughing stock of the nation. And I'm not ridiculing you for the whole crack thing. Everyone has their vices. Some people like Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers too much, some put in too many hours at work, some tend to speed on the interstates. You, well, you like to smoke some crack. To each their own. But, now you're making it personal by taking the one thing I truly, truly enjoyed about DC last year away. You're driving a Major League Baseball team to Sterling, or Las Vegas, or Portland, and in the process proving to the country that DC is a joke city that is not deserving of its reputation as a true to life big city. Marion, today you said "The deal is dead, you can blame the mayor for that", then voted against the so-called last chance stadium deal. Last time I checked the mayor didn't vote against the stadium deal; kind of showing that he's not to blame. But whatever. DC will always be a second class city thanks to shenanigans like this. And don't count on MLB trying to expand here again for the next one or two centuries. It's kind of sad that cities like Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee are able to support a baseball team and a new stadium, yet much richer and more populous DC is unable to find a solution. Also, kiss goodbye the untold millions that were to be made by developing the awful part of town around the Navy Yard. Ugh. So frustrated right now. I need some crack, post haste.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stop the Metro!!! Brangelina to DC?

I remember reading some rumors on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie buying a house in DC, probably in the Express or somewhere. Then, I read it again on the DCist today. Are people in DC really that starved for someone of note to move here (elected officials not withstanding)? Even Detroit, America's worst city (barely edging out Fresno, CA and Camden, NJ), has a fair amount of famous people that live there. Yet, here in DC, the press goes wild about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie buying their 123rd house where they spend an average of 2 days per year at each. People, let me fill you in on a little secret: you will not run into Brangelina EVER. You won't see them taking test tube shots at Rhino Bar. You won't see them bowling at Lucky Strike. You won't see them out to dinner at your local Checkers. Even if they do go out, you can rest assured it'll close whatever place down as a private party. Seriously, we're not dealing with your average celebs here. We're talking about the first phase of the CIA's classified "Master Race Program", commonly referred to, now that it was been exposed by the liberal bombthrowers, by Scott McClennan as the "Terrorist Fighter Breeding Program". Not to crush the stargazers hopes but... well yeah, I am crushing your hopes. I guess this will raise DC's resident attractiveness rankings from the depths it was at last year, making us ALL winners.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Shaken Down in Capital Hill

On Saturday, to meet some friends that are Congressional workers, we headed over to Kelly's Irish Times. This was my first time visiting the fine Capital Hill area. I will admit that some portions of this story may sound racist, but that truly is not the intent. To some degree, I believe that almost all people harbor some racism, it just doesn't always come out in the form of a racial slur. Anyways, we got out of the cab, to be met by an African American man that said something to us, but none of us could understand it. We went in, pounded some brewdogs, pretended we were Ron Burgundy by getting some scotch, and a merry time was had by all. The woman eventually had one too many, forcing my hand that it was time to go. I helped her stagger out of the bar, and there was that "friendly" African American fellow. He says "Don't worry, I'll flag a cab down for you." I guess that's what the guy was talking about when we first got out of a cab on arrival. There was a line of five cabs waiting for fares no more than TEN FEET away. The man flags one down by waving his hand to a cabbie. We get into the cab, and the man says "Hey I just got you this cab [as if it was that hard], I just want two bucks from you." At this point, I didn't know what to do. His work probably was worth about 1.5 cents to me. I fumble through the wallet, find a bunch of a 20s and a 5. For some reason, I was afraid of this guy, even though I was in the safety of the cab. For a second, the thought flashed in my head that I was going to get stabbed and the woman was going to get raped. Its horrible that I thought this, but watching the local news around here starts to put those fears into you. Instead of asking for change, I just gave the guy 5 bucks and we sped off. On one hand, I feel bad that I thought this industrious guy was a potential violent criminal, mostly because of his shaggy clothing and race. On the other, I definitely feel shaken down by this guy. I mean seriously, how much do you think this guy makes in a night? He just stands there and flags down cabs that are ALREADY parked there waiting, then pulls in two bucks. Maybe playing off of the same racial stereotype that I was using. It kind of feels like I was a part of a real life Crash.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Time to Freedom Fight


On an unrelated note, I read this tasty nugget in the paper today about GW Bush's comments regarding his SOTU speech last night:

Bush dismissed the idea of increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks and SUVs as a way of curbing foreign oil dependence. “My plan is to diversify away from oil. ... You're asking questions about how you deal with cars running on gasoline made from oil, I'm telling you let's get some cars running on fuel other than oil."

I mean, really, how stupid is it to just mandate more fuel efficient vehicles. Not when we are on the brink of using switchgrass as a fuel that is widely distributed and available for all to use (and when all of the 250 million or so cars in the US are able to take a 100% ethanol fuel). I mean, with all the offroading that DC area SUV drivers do on a regular basis, it would be downright nutty to put fuel efficient engines into the latest Yukon. How would I even survive without 350 horses under the hood of my oversized SUV?! So honestly, let's not worry about fuel efficiency. I think I read that the economy is about to be 100% converted over to ethanol in a matter of weeks, if not days. I think it was in Newsweek. Or perhaps US News and World Report.

Note to George Bush: There's no better way to beat the terrorists than to stop buying oil from them. That would really stick it to them. Turn the tables. Beat the terrorists with economic terrorism (sorry, I mean insurgency; or freedom fighting).

Valentine's is Creeping Up On Me

So apparently I should have made Valentine's reservations one or two weeks ago. I checked opentable.com and found that all the restaurants that were recommended to me are booked up. The woman isn't going to be too pleased with me. Which means it looks like I'll need to buy an extra-amazing present to make up for it. Luckily someone recommended a couple of "less romantical" restaurants that still have decent reservation times available and won't cost me $250 for a dinner for two and wine. Unfortunately I know nothing about these restaurants. So, I am putting this out to my loyal readers - which of these should I go to, and if not one of these, make a suggestion to me:

Restaurant Kolumbia
Zengo
Oyamel
David Greggory

For the sake of this relationship, I need your help!