Misadventures in D.C.

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April 11th, 2009

Let's not mince words here -- this blog is now dead.

I hesitate to say it so officially.  After all, most people don't consciously acknowledge such a passing, letting silence speak for itself. And wow, I have more than eight great years of epiphanies, celebrity sightings, work embarrassments, rants, and cultural adventures dutifully recorded here. But it's become very clear to me that I'm never going to update this thing again.

We've had a shockingly long and rewarding relationship... but to be honest, I've been two-timing on Livejournal for quite some time. Social networks like Facebook have usurped the primary purpose of this site: to keep in touch with friends across geographical distances.

Rest assured that I still remain in D.C., with misadventures to spare.  I will totally miss sharing them here.  In a small but very real way, doing so made my life in DC more ALIVE, and more alert to all the pleasantries and quirks and beauties that fill each day.

The weird thing, of course, is that blogging now seems... well, so QUAINT. So old-fashioned, this idea of taking the time to construct paragraphs of text, telling a story, fleshing out an idea or thought through the process of writing about it. We've been reduced to brief one-sentence status updates (or worse, in the case of Twitter: 140 characters).  It's easier to stay in touch than ever before. Yet our communication becomes more superficial with each sign of "progress."

You will never learn as much about me on Facebook as you might have here. But such are the sacrifices of life, and mine grows busier -- and richer -- by the day.

I still READ my friends' contributions on this site, and will continue to do so.  And I am accessible via email and the aforementioned FB.  So please, let's stay in touch.  The original desire that drove me to create this blog still lives on, and I certainly don't want to miss hearing your own life's misadventures!

December 19th, 2008

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

December 6th, 2008


I don't know what it is, exactly, but the intersection of 7th and H attracts all the crazy people. Yesterday there was a guy singing at the top of his lungs. Other times it's the dancing man who hops around in furious circles to a tune only in his own head. And then there's the black supremacist militants who break out their loudspeakers every Friday afternoon to pound the ears of those returning home for the weekend.

* * * * *
Related to this, on my walk out of the station, I noticed a conspicuous item hanging on one of the escalator construction signs -- a random bra. Who left this there? Why? Did it just "fall out" of someone's bag?

* * * * *
Finally, I was walking up a broken escalator the other day. All the other ones were broken as well, so there was traffic going up and down in both directions -- not a convenient thing in the middle of rush hour. The young professional woman in front of me had these bright blue slip-on shoes that I was admiring in my direct line of eyesight. Then, one of the shoes simply fell off her foot, and down a few steps below hers. She let out a little shriek, and the slow climb up the stairs stopped while she quickly fussed to find and then return the shoe to her foot. Meanwhile, I grinned, while studiously trying to stifle my laughter until I could sprint past her and out of sight.

November 23rd, 2008


A few weeks late, I know... but, still, in advance of January's inauguration, I'll call this poem "Thank You America."

* * * * * * * * * * *

I promised I’d write an election poem
But my pen, I fear, has been rusted
From excessive disuse from my teenage years
A shame, since at one time I trusted
I could rhyme without eliciting
Total pity or embarrassment.
Well… no matter. I’m not easily deterred.
I’m older, but still a semi-literate gent.

And besides – the subject of my writing
Deserves the praise and cheery prose
That comes most easily in verse.
Thank god – election returns weren’t close!
Change has come to America!
And with it, a new administration
With a heavily Democratic Congress
That, together, can start fixing this nation.

After years of living in this capital city,
Dreading to pick up the daily paper
To scan the latest in shady back-room dealings,
That constant, so-sad-it’s-funny caper
That’d became our backward government:
What a relief! A new man is in charge!
And not just new, but someone smart
Who uses sentences that are large,
And reads books, not just acts the part.

Out with the old, and in with the new
A period of healing and one of hope
But not without challenges - that’s to be sure.
It’s increasingly hard for the poor to cope
With soaring expenses and shriveling pay.
An absence of jobs; banks closing by the day.
These are tough times, and it’s silly to count
On the government to solve all our issues.
Still, it’s heartening to trust in the good sense
Of a man sure in his skin and his shoes,
And in whom I can feel pride, and not need tissues.

November 5th, 2008

Last night was an extremely exciting night in Washington DC.

I cannot imagine a similar amount of elation in the streets if the Redskins won the Super Bowl. Celebrating at a friend’s house, the end of Obama’s acceptance speech was met with a symphony of car horns outside our open living room windows, accompanied by the cheers of neighbors and pedestrians venturing out to share the occasion with others.

We soon grabbed coats and participated in the victory scene ourselves. I can’t express how shocking or heartening it was to see our divided city come together like it did last night. Kids from the projects joined together with drunken hipsters and cab drivers in one unscripted, spontaneous expression of joy. It made Obama’s words of unity and hope come alive, seeing the barriers that typically divide us come tumbling down.

While I didn’t volunteer or donate to the Obama campaign, I feel like draping myself in an American flag today, in pride for what my country has accomplished.

October 15th, 2008

At the special friend's urging, I took a brief trip up to rural Pennsylvania this weekend, acquainting myself with a corner of my home state that I'd never before experienced.  Falling leaves and Fallingwater made for a postcard-perfect setting, and I developed a fascination with Frank Lloyd Wright that I was not expecting. 

For those willing to brave the 3.5 hour drive from the District -- and especially for those who love great architecture -- I'd recommend the trip highly.

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October 2nd, 2008

The Washington Post is embarking on an ambitious, six-week search for the best cupcakes in DC.  I admire this important effort, as I like cupcakes myself -- but, honestly, I'm more interested in finding the best chocolate croissants in town.  It looks like I may have to launch this effort solo.

Yes, Kramerbooks has amazing pie, Krispy Kreme makes the warm donuts I love, and Thomas Sweet produces rich, delicious,  locally-made ice cream.  Yet I still lament DC's lack of cafe culture -- particularly the good French stuff.  It's all congregated in Georgetown, where the charm of the streets indeed recalls Paris, but where I almost never visit.

Then again, instead of schlepping to all of metro DC's bakeries, perhaps I should stop by Trader Joe's this weekend and pick up this highly recommended product?

September 25th, 2008

If it seems like I'm on vacation every other weekend, rest assured it's just perception. Still, it's true I did use my passport for the second time in two months, spending last week in London and Berlin with the special friend. We caught up with old university friends, and met his sister and her family in England. We also were gleeful attendees at our first gay wedding -- yes, same-sex marriage is now legal in Germany, apparently -- which meant the standard array of drinking, eating and dancing... all with a scenic German twist.

I came away from the week armed with a few important lessons:

1. A piece of cake a day keeps the hunger away.

Only on holiday can you justify interrupting every afternoon with a pit stop at a nearby patisserie or cafe to indulge your sweet tooth. Somehow it escaped my attention until last week that DC really doesn't have any sort of cafe culture! They're everywhere in London, making chocolate croissants and Napoleons a 3pm currency I'm having difficulty abandoning.

2. Ten hours of sleep a day isn't extravagant -- it should be standard.

Who needs coffee when you give into your body's natural desire not to be disturbed? It's almost cruel, having to use my damned alarm clock every morning.

3. Navigating foreign countries is much easier with someone who speaks the native tongue.

I visited Berlin in 2002, and came away completely intimidated by the city. It's sprawling, somewhat gray, and filled with a rich history that can be incredibly difficult to understand when you can't interact authentically with its residents. This time, I spent it with folks with a history there -- and it was as if a black-and-white sketch had suddenly come to life.  I'd love to spend more than 3 days with it next time around.

September 12th, 2008


If it seems like I just got back from vacation, you'd be right. Nevertheless, I'm on the road again tomorrow evening -- or more accurately, in the skies again -- en route to London and Berlin. While there, I'll be catching up with friends, attending a wedding and meeting the special friend's family. Looking forward to the voyage! I'm likely to update while there, and certain to take lots of pictures to share upon return.

September 10th, 2008

After an unfortunate incident in June, my good friend sent me a card reminding me of all of the reasons I love living in Washington. The list was remarkably long, and including things like:

-- A diverse, politically minded, young and international population
-- Access to a thriving art/music/theater scene
-- My string of incredibly good roommate luck
-- Fantastic ethnic restaurants
-- Hearing the sexual escapades of my neighbors through the walls

However, even good things have their limitations. Two months away from the presidential election, I find myself completely saturated by daily updates on the horse race. Living in DC does not help. Am I the only one who finds it telling that at quizzo this evening, four separate teams (including ours) had some variant on the team name "Lipstick on a Pig"?

Despite this fact -- and believe it or not, I had no hand in the naming above -- Sarah Palin has completely exhausted me. I admired her convention speech for its charming insidiousness -- she's an excellent public speaker, and a completely frightening vice presidential candidate -- but really, I don't want to hear her name for another two months. She truly has become the "celebrity" that John McCain wants the entire country to think of Obama . She refuses public interviews, and won't respond to critiques of her record, yet somehow manages to captivate million of folks too captivated by gender and personality to look at the actual issues.

I've taken to putting my hand over front-page Post stories detailing campaign strategy, and find myself spending more and more time with the Style section. It's a hard thing to do, since I'm so emotionally engaged, but it is unhealthy to leave so much of my daily moods to this kind of journalism. Fall may be my favorite season, but much of me wishes November 5th would come sooner rather than later.
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