Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks. I’ll open this thread every morning at 10am.

A reader found a DC driver’s license on the ground on the corner of 5th and Warner NW in Shaw last night. If anyone knows Alfonso Vollmer Lombana have them email me. If not the reader will mail the ID to the address on the license.

147 Comment

  • Rant: Due to some District shenanigans, I ended up overpaying my 2010-2011 property taxes. (Just payed the bills I was sent..the District miscalculated to amounts.) Now it appears that the District is simply going to keep the money, applying it to a future tax bill. Multiple phone calls and letters to the Office of Tax and Revenue requesting a refund–complete with copies of my checks and property tax bills–have been ignored.

    I hate making forced, interest-free loans to my municipality.

    • Rrrr. That is just plain wrong. You should have the right to make that choice. Perhaps contact your council member to get the service these people are failing to give you. It is just ridiculous that folks need to jump through all sorts of hoops to get a simple matter resolved. Sorry for your trouble.

    • This happened to one of my friends when he bought a house, he paid his property taxes when they came not realizing they already were paid from the escrow account. He had to pester the DC government some, but got his money back. So keep at it!

    • This happened to me. First and foremost, I’m so sorry you’re having to through this; I can empathize and it’s very frustrating. I realize this must be preaching to the choire but, like Matt said about his friend, keep contacting them. They are obligated to give you a choice between: 1) they keep it on hand to pay a later tax bill of yours; or 2) you get the money back. Sadly enough, sometimes it’s a matter of getting the right person on the phone who will listen to you and make it happen. Call your council member. We have elected officials for a reason! Glad to hear you have a paper trail of this, too. Don’t give up until you get your money back. Period. Good luck!

    • Matt, Logan… Yes ours was a recent purchase, but I would have thought that the District would have adjusted the second-half bill to account for the property taxes paid in escrow. That’s how it’s done in most places.

      Anyhow, I *am* aware of the city statute that says that they can keep the money and apply it to a future bill unless I ask for it back. I guess what’s really happening is that the Office of Tax and Revenue thinks that if they delay long enough, the problem goes away… i.e., in April of next year. [sigh]

      • Sigh is right. Waiting for a problem to disappear instead of taking action seems to be a trend across much of our great city’s government. I applaud your initial confidence in them though. 😉 In any case, congrats on the recent purchase! I hope you’re enjoying it despite all this crappola you have to deal with.

        • Logan… Thanks! We love our house, our neighbors, and “Not-There-Yetworth”. The District? Not so much, but we’re learning to love it. :- )

    • Are you sure it’s interest-free? I overpaid my personal taxes by $7. The federal gov’t issued me a refund with interest.

      • Anon… You’re right, I don’t really know. Maybe they’ll calculate the interest and apply both the overpayment and the interest to a future tax bill. However, I wouldn’t put it past the Office of Tax and Revenue to fail to subtract the refund from my FY12 first-half bill, forcing me to have to overpay once again. :-\ We’ll see.

    • It is odd to say but I am having the opposite problem. I have reported a mistake which leads to me having a negative balance and no money due and for months now I can’t get them to fix it so that I can actually pay them what I rightfully owe. It is on the magnitude of 3 years of tax payments that won’t come due. Because my taxes are paid through escrow, the bank won’t pay if nothing is due on the bill. OTR acknowledges the problem, implied I’m trying to dodge my taxes, and said they would eventually fix it so I could pay but that they are very busy. I know, I know–it is a high class problem to have but it would be nice if it were easier to try to do the right thing.

  • How AWESOME is this weather, if only July would never come….

  • Rant: This has been happening to me more and more lately — I bring in my own mug to a coffee shop, and then they use a paper cup to measure out the coffee and pour it into my travel mug. Hello, the point is to try to save a cup!!! Drives me downright batty. So now, in an attempt to be more vigilant, I try to make sure we’re agreed on the size before even handing my cup over, but then the one time out of ten that I forget to make it clear, I see them filling up a paper cup — URGHH.

    Rave: Coffee, period. Sweet sweet nectar of the gods.

    • I’ve had that happen to me before…the worst was at a starbucks in Ohio they told me they couldn’t fill up my mug because of “cross contamination issues”. They said having my mug behind the counter was against their local health codes.

    • Read recently about BPA leching from plastic travel mugs – might want to check to see if your mug (if plastic) is BPA free.

    • I sit across from the water cooler and am constantly AMAZED at how quickly people go through cups! I’m about ready to NOT order more coffee cups so people HAVE to bring their own.

  • claire

    Rave: Day off and it’s ridiculously nice and sunny out!
    Rave: Brunch at Poste tomorrow!

  • Rant: Dude swerving and braking randomly on Vermont this morning, because he decided not to defrost OR scrape off his windshield. He was literally hanging his head out the window to see! WTH?

  • Rave/Rant: FBI has raided Harry Thomas’ home – http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/harry-thomas-home-searched-by-law-enforcement/2011/12/02/gIQABjDlKO_story.html

    Not too happy we have such a corrupt scumbag on the DC council, but glad to see somebody is taking his sleaze-bag actions seriously if the DC Attorney General won’t.

    • From what I read in the past all the DC AG is legally empowered to do is sue for return of the money, so when Thomas agreed to return the full sum his hands were tied. I’m pretty sure the corruption/embezzlement statutes are federal in DC. But maybe a lawyer with knowledge of the exact statutes can chime in to refute or confirm this?

      • No, DC Statutes makes bribery, public corruption embezzlement (and all kinds of theft), illegal. We just don’t prosecute it.

        • It would be a new low in jurisprudence to imagine an Attorney General being specifically barred from criminal prosecution of $300K in theft. This is DC, however, so I guess anything is possible.

          As I understand the situation, since Thomas agreed to pay back the stolen money, the Atty General agreed to drop the prosecution. How that is actually justice I have absolutely no idea.

          • houseintherear

            Sorry to be naive and too lazy to google this… Does anyone know if/how it’s possible to vote people out of city council office in DC?

          • Yes. At election time, vote for the non-incumbent.

          • Nathan wasn’t pursuing a criminal prosecution. He agreed to drop a civil suit against Thomas for return of the full $300,000 (he dropped a opportunity to claim damages). I’ve been looking through old WaPo articles and they seem to imply that Thomas was in violation of district civil law, so maybe the US attorney is in the best spot to file a criminal case (as usual the Post is unclear). Either way, I would love to see him behind bars and out of a job. I’ve voted against him as many times as I could. Too bad he just keeps riding his dad’s coattails.

  • Rant: So far there have been 102 homicides in DC this year.

    (not really a rave, but definitely trying to be more positive) – That puts us on pace to have by far the least number of homicides over the course of a year since 1963 when a total of 95 people were murdered.

    • Dallas, TX murders in 2010: 148
      Dallas, TX population: ~1,198,000
      Washington, DC murders in 2010: 132
      Washington, DC population:~600,000

      We have a problem, and a big one at that. I wish I just knew how to fix it.

      • Dallas is a very different city than DC, so I’m not sure how useful that comparison is.

        Incidentally, I’ve taken public transit all my life in NY and DC, but it wasn’t until visiting Dallas that I saw an open air drug deal in broad daylight at a bus stop. Not that it really relates to the original post, but it makes for a pretty good story.

        • Yep its very different, twice the population, but around the same murder, so twice the rate per 100,000.

          • Rant: And the murder rate for young black males in DC is practically the worst in the US and is freakin’ totally off the charts compared to others in the US! Not to mention the constant exposure to all the innocent kids and all of us residents who have to fear it week after week.

            Rant: Memories of an elected official who in response to my question actually said “who cares if a few dozen teenagers are killed each year!” (implying it really shouldn’t be a high priority for top government leaders.)

  • Rave: I got a promotion!

  • Rant: I had surgery in the spring to repair a torn meniscus – it recently re-tore and the pain is worse than before surgery.

    Potential rave: Hoping that a series of shots injecting sodium hyaluronate (joint lubrication fluid) will relieve the pain and need for second surgery.

    • Ah, I’m sorry to hear that. My mother just recently went through that surgery and did not get near the results she had hoped. I’m sure the shots will hurt like crap but hopefully will give you some relief!

      • Thanks! The MD said the shots take a few weeks to work (if they are going to work) — my knee felt better after the first so I am optimistic 🙂

  • Rave: Just read about area law schools that bring in adoptable puppies for the students to play with before their finals. The pictures are so adorable. Can someone bring me a puppy to play with before my finals?

  • Rant: Sick and on deadline means that I’m not at home in bed, but at the office instead – quarantined in my office and disinfecting everything I touch.

    Rant: Either someone let their dog poop on our front steps or a wily raccoon is paying us back for making our garbage bins hard to break into. Either way – not cool. I never anticipated that knowing how to clean poop off of concrete was a skill I would need.

    Rant: Cold. I don’t like winter.

    Rave: If I need to find a rave … sunlight? Or at least the poop wasn’t human this time?

    • Was it human another time???

    • Is raccoon poop a similar size to dog/human poop?

      The doormat for my back door was ruined by poop that looked suspiciously like human poop… but I couldn’t figure out why someone would go to the trouble of climbing over the (tall) fence just to poop on my doormat.

      There are feral cats in the neighborhood that could’ve gotten in through a small gap in the fence, but the poop looked too big to be cat poop.

  • Rant: Co-workers bickering over how to prepare documents and which ones are required

    Rave: So much easier to ignore it now that I’ve made a plan decided on date to quit this job.

  • Rave: I decided to go back to school to get my masters!
    Rant: I need a rec letter from my boss because it would be amazing.
    Rant: I was planning on leaving this job in a few months.

    Would it be evil to ask for a rec letter and then leave after 2 months for a new job? Or should I just get a rec letter from one of my internship coordinators if I’m planning on leaving?

  • I’ve done it before, your skills are yours and if they get you one it’s bc you deserve it, plus, my boss didnt seem to care that much that I was leaving, nor that they could blame me for looking for better job to advance in my career, right?

    • my boss probably would take it personally if i got one and then left. but i want to get in more manager positions, and i know i have the skills to do so.

      i figure i’ve been working at my job for two years, so having her write me the rec letter makes the most sense.

  • Rant: I was riding my bike the other night on the east side of Meridian Hill Park when I almost collided with this other guy riding north. I apologized, but this guy chased me down and punched me in the face. So much for cyclist solidarity. I mean, who the f*** punches a girl?

    • um, report it. people shouldn’t be punching people in the face. wtf.

    • WOW! That really sucks! Too bad you didn’t have some pepper spray handy.

    • That’s awful!

    • WTF? Messenger or hipster? Description,what was he riding?

    • For starters – I hope you’re ok. Sorry that this guy took matters into his own hands like this. It’s a completely insane reaction to chase somebody down and assault them. There is no excuse for this.

      2nd – Your rant is not clear as to where you were and what way you were heading, but from the wording I gather you were going the wrong way down a one way and collided with a cyclist heading the right way…That would piss off just about any cyclist. I’d be more careful out there. You certainly don’t deserve to be punched in the face, but if you were riding the wrong way down a one way, that is very dangerous and can result in something far worse than what happened.

  • Rant: My tummy is a little upset this morning.

    Rave: Cute raccoon in the pic above (be careful raccoon!)
    Rave: Looking forward to a nice quiet weekend alone doing whatever I want.

    • You must be having the same sort of day as I am. I actually thought all three of those things nearly verbatim this morning.

  • Rant: The construction at the Marriott Wardman Park in Woodley Park.

    Now, I know a lot of this is “tough cookies,” but presented the solicitation for a rant, I’ll abide. Basically, they just finished the process of taring down a building to soon start construction on new condos. I live in the apartment building right next door, and my apartment is located in maybe the worst position possible for having to deal with it: At the end of the hall, overlooking all the construction.

    The tear-down process luckily just ended, but they started early (7 AM) and were very loud. They also did this on some saturdays. Then the other night, they set up this huge flood light directed at my building and into my windows. Luckily they only did this one night, maybe someone complained.

    But basically, although its all within DC code, this is a neighborhood, and they are being far from considerate neighbors. Maybe these hours, noise levels, lights, etc. are fine further in to the city, but c’mon. I moved to Woodley Park because its a pretty quiet, yet convenient, place, and my rent, comparative to the area, is a steal. I otherwise love it. But I am very seriously, and unfortunately, considering moving next year because of this. I’m fearing what it will be like once they actually start construction on the condos. 🙁

    • Emmaleigh504

      I have never understood why construction workers want to start at the butt crack of dawn. There is some work going on at the building next to mine, so I totally feel your pain.

      • austindc

        Lots of reasons! The biggest one for the crew I was on was traffic. We usually would have to load trucks with equipment and drive to sites. If we got started earlier, then we could get to sites a lot faster rather than charging hours for sitting in rush hour traffic. Also, some of us took advantage of the fact that the day ended earlier, so we could work second jobs or pick up kids from school, etc. That being said, our crew tried to be mindful of noise early in the morning and on weekends, though sometimes it can’t be helped. Head on over to the site, introduce yourself, and see if they wouldn’t mind keeping it down in the early hours–most construction workers are very nice!

        • Emmaleigh504

          That all makes sense. However, I’m a night person and (good-naturedly) distrust anyone who starts the day before noon.

          • I’m like you. However, I also understand that at this time of year, we’re losing valuable sunlight by around 4, so you gotta get an early jump. I was working on a project in my backyard last weekend and had to quit around that time just because, while it’s still light out, it’s not good light.

          • Yeah, and even though not everyone has a 9-5 I think it’s safe to assume the majority of DC residents are at least up by 7. Unforuntately they can’t accodomate everyone’s work/sleep/play schedules.

      • I think it’s to beat rush hour traffic (both in the morning and the evening). If construction crews started at 9 and ended at 5, they would spend a lot more time sitting in traffic like all the office drones in DC.

      • Well, they don’t have much daylight to work with these days. I go to work at 7am, just as the sun has fully risen, and it’s dark shortly after I get home. In order to get in 8 hours of work with a break for lunch they pretty much have to start at 7am.

    • I imagine that the guests at the hotel are complaining too about the noise, so I would hope this won’t happen for very long.

  • Rant: I got on the 42 yesterday and noticed many fellow bus riders having problems requesting a stop with the yellow cord and red buttons. I went to the front of the bus, sat down, and told the driver about it at a red light.

    “Nothing’s broken. Everyone is pulling the cord too late,” she replied, with a healthy dose of attitude while staring straight ahead. I vigorously yanked the broken yellow cord to make my point. No beeps or animatronic “Stop Requested” response. She muttered something under her breath. I replied, “I just thought you’d like to know, since YOU’RE the one driving the bus.” Silence. I hopped off at the next stop.

    Admittedly, WMATA been trying to make improvements, but they wonder why they’re lacking in quality and safety…

    • Discouraging story.

      There’s such a range with bus drivers — some of them are very professional (and sometimes friendly and knowledgeable into the bargain), and some of them are just awful.

      Bobby, if you have any identifying info (driver’s name, number of the bus itself, or even just “the 8:14 42 bus”), maybe you could complain to your councilmember (since complaining directly to Metro doesn’t seem to do much good)?

    • Aren’t the drivers supposed to be responsible for checking the systems are all working on the bus before they start driving it on the route? And, if something like a cord is broken, shouldn’t they be reporting it once they drop the bus off at the end of the shift?

      I agree that the majority of bus drivers are courteous and customer-friendly. However, there’s a not insignificant number who are downright hostile and appear not to give two s*$! about the paying customers who use metro.

      Perhaps the best thing to do is complain about the specific bus number (inside above the windshield, I think) and time of day so management can presumably follow up. However, given WMATA’s apparent ability to ignore their customers, I’m not going to bet on it (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/many-more-metrorail-riders-than-formal-complaints/2011/11/21/gIQAr5hfIO_story.html)/

    • I had that happen a while back, but with the opposite effect. The driver hollered out the stop name, and people would just say “next stop!” It was so cheerful and cooperative that everyone kinda exited with a smile.

  • Rave: The life of Ace Rosner, my neighbor, who recently passed away. One of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

    Ace’s life story is amazing. He was a 94-y.o., WWII vet who lost an arm while serving. He went on to work for the CIA. And he had a classic car collection you wouldn’t believe– including though a brand new Benz SLS Gullwing.

    John Kelly of WaPo wrote about Ace on several occasions, and had a nice “obituary/ode” style piece when he died. Watch the video interview. He has a lot of good old-person stories:


  • Rave: Chocolate Almond Croissants at Paul Bakery. So good!

    No rants today; it’s shaping up to be a pretty good Friday!

  • Rant/Rave: Heading back out to Rwanda (just returned two weeks ago!) on Monday- just got clearance this morning and I’ll be away all weekend for family events. Lots to do- ahhh!
    Rave: Co-worker’s family is doing ok – was able to drop off food for them last night and give hugs.
    Rave: Beautiful weather – here and in Rwanda.

    • People that rave about their foreign travels make me super depressed and feel like my life totally sucks. I go to work, leave work, go to school, eat, bed, repeat.

      • Plan and save… “Pay yourself first!”

        It took me three years to save and plan for three glorious weeks in Europe this past summer. There was lots of McDonalds and cheap eats but at least one local high-end dinner in every city.

        Good Luck. It is well worth it.

      • Anonymous- I’m sorry to make you depressed. I actually am heading out to Rwanda for work – in fact, to close an office and to put people out of work. I’m glad I get to go to this amazing country but not glad I have to be there to do this kind of work. In fact, I’d kill to have a week where I have a normal routine. My past couple of months have been non-stop travel for work and family issues…

        • +1 Constant international travel (especially for work) always sounds way more glamorous than it actually is. In my case, I’m usually too jet-lagged to appreciate whatever country I’ve landed in!

          Hope your trip goes well. Sorry about the office closing.

        • Sounds like it will be a tough trip. The kind of work where you’ll want to pack an extra dose of *take care of yourself* – whatever that might be.

  • Rave: Just learned of a really cool event called Help-Portrait: on December 10th photographers around the world volunteer their time and talents to provide portrait photography services for needy families. I’ve been wanting to volunteer my photography skills and get better at portraiture, so I’m really excited to be participating! Even if I’m just holding up reflectors all day for the pros, it should be a great learning experience.

  • Rant: the whole foods on p st is out of the little trees (tabletop i think they call them). Does anyone know if they’re getting more/somewhere else in the city I can get a short tree?

    • Emmaleigh504

      I saw some at the Sandinista Safeway over the weekend. I didn’t look at them closely, so I don’t know if the quality is good.

    • em

      Maybe the Whole Foods near Foggy Bottom?

    • Just saw them at the WF in Tenleytown. Very cute.

    • Bancroft Elementary School (18th and Newton) tree sale tomorrow and Sunday. They have them!

    • St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church is selling trees at 3rd & M St. SW (the once and future site of their church). They’re only $20 so I imagine they aren’t that big, but I haven’t seen them yet.

      Revels: hearing went well today! Fun-filled weekend ahead! The team I supervise at work is doing well!

      Rants: in pain. Not severe, but annoying.

      Final revel: aleve.

  • Rave: going to see my family in Ohio!
    Rant: going to Ohio. It’s hard not be judgmental of their McMansions and one car a person ways and no trees and all the talk about how much money they saved on sales and “you should really think about buying a house Maria”.

  • austindc

    Rant/Rave: Little old lady blew a fuse last night at Columbia Heights Target. I guess she couldn’t figure out how to get out from the second floor, and she just lost it. She was screaming and swearing at everyone who was trying to help her (“I’m not getting back on the elevator! No, what I want is to get out of this f-ing Target! Don’t tell me to calm down, it’s not alright, someone should smack you!” and so forth). I felt bad for the lady that she was frustrated, but the reaction was a bit extreme. I’m looking forward to being that age though.

    Rave: The saintly customers who finally corralled that lady to the exit! Amazingly helpful and friendly, and they didn’t even work there!

    Rave: Thanks DC for picking up our leaves!

    Rave: Thanks Bicycle Space for fixing my light and for the cool new helmet (and CaBi member discount)!

  • Rave: Mintwood Place cafe is really coming along! The old, vacant market facade is gone and the new exterior seemed to magically appear in very short order. Looks great and I’m truly excited to have a new option in the neighborhood.

    Rant: Ear infection number 11 since February. Sitting at the desk with a fever and a swollen ear canal. Never had chronic ear infections before this year. Don’t know what’s up with that but I’m really tired of it!

    • houseintherear

      I have my first ear infection right now– what do you do to help it heal? Any helpful hints? (I don’t do antibiotics.)

    • My GP juts recommended Affrin nasal spray to drain fluid from your ears (use 3 days MAX). You could also take decongestants.. I am particularly prone to ear infections in my adult life, and I love me some non-drowsy Sudafed!

    • Sorry to hear that you are similarly afflicted. Ouch! These things hurt!

      Not to be a drama queen about it but mine are bad to the point of doc visits and antibiotics. Sometimes I’ll just tough them out but basically, it’s a prescription of eardrops and antibiotics for me. 🙁

  • Rave: Pablo Raw, we are so lucky to have such an awesome photographer in our midst.

    Rant: Racism sucks. It is really dragging our country down the tubes and needs to change for us to live as a healthy integrated society. What is it going to take to get over this petty crap? If it’s magical italian dinners, county me in. I’d be happy to start with a good old backyard BBQ too.

  • Rave: Great Christmas bonus year, way higher than exspected. I worked hard this year and deserved it.

  • Rave: Downtown DC Holiday Market opens today! I’m not really a holiday person, but I love love love the holiday markets. And the holidays give me an excuse to shop for really cool stuff and support artists, jewelers, craftsmen, etc.

    • Pretty cool. I didn’t know about this (under a rock, yes) and will definitely be checking it out!

      One question, though: what are “ethnically produced goods”? Aren’t we ALL ethnic? If so, then shouldn’t they just say “produced goods” (which is silly, of course)?

      • I am guessing that the “ethnically produced goods” are crafts from a non-American tradition, like handmade scarves made by villagers in Madagascar or somewhere. Perhaps not the best way to phrase it, but that’s my guess.

        Last year, I bought the most awesome Christmas ornaments carved into dried out gourds (I believe gourd-carving is a Peruvian craft). The artist was local but of Peruvian descent, so I suppose that would be considered an “ethnically produced good.”

        • Yeah, I figured that’s what they meant, but it’s just poorly worded.

          I’m still gonna shop there! Gotta get me one o’ them gourds! Sounds cool.

      • Any possibility they meant “ethically produced goods” and had a typo?

  • Rave: Signed up for an Ironman: swim 2.4, bike 112, run 26.2

    Rant: signed up for an Ironman

  • Rave: Maggianos for lunch today! And not as many people showed up as RSVP’d, so more for me!

    Rant: It is currently 64 degrees in my office. This makes for a loooong day.

    Rave1: Heading out for my friend’s b-day tonight – awesome group of people going! :o)
    Rant1: It’s all the way on H Street….

  • me

    Rant: Job that my husband just applied for was given to someone else. Not only should he have been a shoo-in, but he LITERALLY had that same job a couple of years ago. In the same office with the same people, who encouraged him to apply for it once the spot opened up. (He had to leave it when he left the military.) He especially wanted it because it seems that his contract, and therefore his job, will be gone as of this coming summer. My heart is breaking for him.

    • I had a similar thing happen where I thought a job was so perfect, but then it didn’t work out. It’s disappointing. However, eventually I got an even better opportunity. If I had taken the “perfect” job, I would have missed out on the one I eventually got. In the end, things will hopefully turn out well in spite of this particular setback.

      • me

        Thank you. I’m not usually a “Things Happen For A Reason” type of person, but I will have to try to be. I appreciate your nice comment.

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