Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Nikoo’s Photos

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.

99 Comment

  • Rant: Twice in six months our house has been tagged with graffiti.

    Rave: Both time the Dept. of Public Works has cleaned it off/removed it within a day of our request. Glad that the city takes it seriously.

  • That 14th St intersection @ Target/Giant in Columbia Heights needs to have someone look at it! Regularly, no one is moving in the intersection, nor is there a pedestrian crossing “white man” saying it’s okay. It’s just red as far as the eye can see for both pedestrians and cars. Rant!

  • Rave: As of today my husband has been home for a full calendar year from multiple deployments overseas. It has been amazing actually getting to spend real time with him without an end date in sight.

    Rant: Beginning to feel dejected about my employment opportunities when we move overseas in September. I have worked over the lat 8 years to build a career in my field that doesn’t exist overseas for an American diplomat. There are no positions open within the Consulate that are of any interest. Working on the local economy will be extremely difficult not speaking the language.

    Rave: I am going to an amazing post. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

    Rant: Unable to find a 220v single serve coffee maker. Emailed back and forth with customer service from Tassimo yesterday and they make 220v models, but they refuse to ship one to me in the US. Grrr.

    Rave: Today is my Friday! 240 hours of accrued sick leave means I am taking every Thursday off until it is time for us to leave.

    • Try a small french press. I use one everyday at work. They are easy to use, easy to clean, and they make delicious, full bodied, coffee.

      • Thanks for the suggestion. I do plan on bringing one. The Tassimo makes a whole slew of different kind of beverages which is helpful as I will be doing a lot of entertaining and like the option of offering different kinds of drinks.

    • anon. gardener

      re: coffee maker, hey, that’s one less thing to pack and carry with you. locate a retailer over there that sells it, or get Tassimo to ship to you when you get there.

      We use an Italian stovetop coffee maker everyday. Super easy, delicious coffee, no voltage worries.

    • Have you considered volunteering while living abroad? I know it is not the same as having a career, but it could be a good way to create a network. Also, you might not know the local language but you know English and depending on where you are, maybe teaching English or providing English services (editing, conversation classes, etc.) could mean extra $ in your pocket.

      About the coffee maker… check out the local dept. stores (again, depending on the country) and see what they have available. You might be able to purchase it upon arrival.

    • Wow… your work lets you use accrued sick leave as vacation??

    • sounds like state department talk. you in the foreign service?

  • Rave: Spending my free time in between regular work assignments today working on my article about Astana, Kazakhstan for my writing assignment!

    Rave: Boyfriend’s first day at work in the building across the street from mine.

    Rant: Not enough hours in the day.

  • Rave: Cities.

    Rant: Is it possible to be in love, or what I think is love, with two people at once?

  • Rave: Energizing yoga, relaxing massage and dinner with a friend – now I’m feeling better able to face the long trip home.

  • Rant: Was randomly hit on the shoulder by a 13 year-old DC youth while I was minding my own business, biking down the street near Harris Teeter in Capitol Hill South. The kid came out of nowhere and hit me. And yeah, he walking from the Potomac Gardens projects, which I help pay for. Nice.
    Rant: If this youth is already assaulting innocent women at the age of 13, who wants to take bets on what he’ll be doing in the next few years?
    Rave?: It could have been worse given what other bikers have encountered on the Metropolitan Trail, 11th St, etc… Yeah, I guess that’s a rave.

    • “which I help pay for. Nice.”


      • Sorry, I should have been a lot more enthusiastic about that. Let’s try this: “I’m so excited to be paying taxes to subsidize warehouse-style concentrated poverty. While this antiquated form of housing hasn’t shown any success in the past 50 years of its existence, it is totally awesome that my neighbors and me get to be victims of robberies and assaults by some of its inhabitants.” Is that better?

        • How much of your tax money is going to this housing?

          • Let me be Irish and answer a question with a question. How much money going towards Potomac Gardens (a failed experiment) could be used for worthwhile efforts elsewhere? Answer: All of it. It doesn’t matter if I personally am paying only $30 for PG. With tight budgets all around, why waste money on policy failures?

          • My tax money goes to all sorts of things that I do not want it to: other people’s mortgages, wars, churches, people having babies, etc. Guess what? I deal with it. It’s called living in a society. If more public money was actually invested in social services and education we would not have nearly as many problems with “DC Youths.” But despite tax rates across the board being at a historical low, people want to complain about “their tax dollars” being wasted. So, prove how much of your money is actually being spent on these things, and how it really sets you back, or move on.

          • Well, actually we don’t have to “deal with it.” We live in a democracy. We have the right to disagree with idiotic policies, we have the right to evaluate programs and reject the status quo when it is not working, and we have the right to vote accordingly. We may not get what we want, but we sure as hell have the right to fight for it.

          • We definitely don’t get what we want. We do get what we deserve however.

          • Because it would take a huge investment to find alternative homes for the people living in the “failed” public housing and the political environment is not really keen on this. You are advocating leaving over 1 million people homeless, since your solution is just to stop supporting these developments.

            Also, get your facts straight. While there are many examples of PH failing, there are also some great examples of it working, particularly for elderly or disabled properties, or those that have been turned into mixed income under the Hope VI project (although I do realize that Hope VI also has many problems).

    • I go to that Harris Teeter all the time, and pass by the Gardens on my way there. I think the residents there are generally harmless. 13-year-old boys do stupid things all the time and you can’t really generalize the inhabitants based on that.

      • Yeah, and that’s why I specifically made use of the word “some.” But that’s great that you’ve never been victimized. Can’t say the same for the girl who had her jaw broken in two places over a year ago by another youth, or for the other crimes that are connected (in one way or other) to this island on the Hill. I hope that you remain aware of your surroundings when you’re strolling past PG. My “fault” was in biking slowly and fiddling with my jacket. That lack of awareness on my part made me a target yesterday.

        • Biking slowly does not make you a target, but yeah, I’m aware of my surroundings. The area was a lot worse when I started working here in 2006, so I’ve learned to be alert.

        • Actually, you should have used the word “one” – since it was one kid that attacked you. And you have no idea whether or not the kid is an inhabitant of that project. But I am sorry for your bad experience.

  • Rave: Casey trees planted THREE trees in my yard today (great program for DC homeowners by the way), including my favorite, a pink dogwood
    Semi-Rave: I forgot I selected a “London Plane” tree and I didn’t realize that it gets those seed “balls”–I hate those things but the Casey lady said they aren’t spikey if you walk on them.
    Rave: kicked ass at crossfit last night. I am the most out of shape and slowest person in the class but I am totally addicted.
    Rant: I have a few but am making a conscious effort to only focus on gratitude in my life. And I have a lot to be thankful. I really do love trees and the City needs more of them.

    • I really want to try crossfit, but am so intimidated (those Reebok commercials do nothing to help). I’m in decent shape, but can’t do pullups or some of the other exercises I’ve seen (I’m looking at you little ring thingys). Are you expected to be able to do those types of exercises when you start – and if not, does it make a difference?

      • Anon: the videos are intimidating but thats cause they show the most bad ass people in them. I think a lot depends on which affiliate you join. I picked on that had a mandatory “foundations” class if you were new to crossfit. A big difference is in the coaches and how seriously they take teaching you technique. I am about 20lbs overweight and run an 11 min mile but in the last 8 weeks I have noticed I am getting faster and doing things I never thought I could do like “double unders” on a jump rope. Last night I used bands around the pull up bar to help me, less weight on other exercices etc. So far no one has made me feel like loser for doing that either. So yeah I usually finish things last but I feel like folks are cheering for me and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Different workout every day, so some days actually seem way easy and not much of a workout. I swear I am not financially affiliated with crossfit and I am not even gonna say which one I belong too in DC…try the free classes at various locations and see what you think!

        • Cool. Thanks for answering. I’ll have to check some of the different gyms out.

          Oh and I can’t jump rope either (seriously), so I should probably practice that before I head over there. 🙂

      • If you can’t do pull ups, etc. just try your hardest…you’ll improve leaps and bounds over time. All that matters is you are trying!

      • I would totally do Crossfit if it wasn’t so dang expensive. UGH!

    • Can you explain how the process with Casey trees works? I thought they give rebates for you to plant your own trees, but didn’t offer tree planting services. I’m interested in planting a tree in front of my house but have no idea where to start. I even went to the garden store the other day and it was all very overwhelming.

      • I think they do both. First I went through the DC Riversmart Home Audit to see what kind of enviromentally items I could qualify for. (this should be on dc.gov somewhere). I qualified for $1200 in pervious pavers for my driveway (I still need to call around for a quote) and subsidized trees from Casey. I set up apt with Casey and they came out last Fall to check my yard size and went over a list of available trees. I had to write a check for $150 ($50/each tree). the planting season starts now. They gave me some flags to put in the yard where I want the trees and they showed up today wiithout me having to be there. I think the trees will include the watering bags and I have to agree to take very good care of them make sure they get a set amount of water weekly for the first two years while they take root. Casey has separate program of rebates if you plant your own (I think). Super nice folks so you can probably just call them and ask. Trees are great in cities for cleaning the air, controlling runoff into our rivers, and combating the heat island effect!

  • Rant: people leaving a copius amount of trash in the square across from the Trivoli theatre. I counted no less than six trash cans with 50 feet of the center of the square. Come on people, take pride in your neighborhood.

  • I’m in charge of two publications at my office plus numerous administrative tasks. When I started Pub A was monthly and Pub B was weekly. Each had a dedicated editor & I served as copy editor/publisher to both.

    Recently my boss changed Pub B to bi-weekly, got rid of Pub A’s editor (w/ no replacement) and added a quarterly piece to Pub A. I am now de-facto editor of Pub A. He thinks this is a fare re-distribution of work but editing isn’t easy and takes more time than publishing. How do I talk to my boss about compensation?

    • I think this is one of those situations where when you’re due for your annual review or after 6 months of this, you go into his office armed with facts and lists of what your increased responsibilities are, what the industry standard pay is for this new position, and ask for what you deserve. mind you, that sounds a little intense, but you do it in a nice way and stay flexible, staying open to other forms of compensation. then if they don’t want to pay you, you tell them you need to hire an employee. if they don’t want to do that, you shop around for new opportunities.

  • Rave: I’m rockin’ the sweater vest today.

    Rant: People don’t use the word “rapscallion” enough.

    • I’m not sure what it means, but “rapscallion” just sounds like an awesome word 🙂

    • I thoroughly enjoy the word rapscallion and haven’t been using it enough myself. My other favorite word to denigrate someone is “slubberdegullion”. It means exactly what it sounds like it should mean, a person who is flithy, slobbering and dissheveled.

  • Rave: Miami tonight with the husband – Woohoo! South Beach Tri on Sunday here I come! Hitting up the new Marlins stadium will be pretty sweet and seeing my husband’s home town will be awesome. Cannot wait!

    Rave: Tunisia for work on Monday!

    Rant: I am so not prepared for either trip. Still need to pack- packing for a tri is terrible! How do I stuff a wet suit, a helmet, running shoes, bike shoes, water bottles, and various other gear into a carry on…? God forbid I check a bag 😉

    Rave: Who cares about packing- I have two awesome trips lined up 😀

  • Rave: Tomorrow marks the 4th anniversary of the first date with a man who I eventually married. <3

    Rave: The past four years have been pretty bad ass.

    Rant: Leaving my job. My boss knows but I am hesitant to tell anyone else because I don't exactly when I am leaving yet. It could be in 3 weeks or 3 months. Trying to schedule work travel 2 months in advance when you are keeping mum about relocating is annoying.

  • claire

    Rave: Planning a paid-for work trip to Istanbul!
    Rant: Apparently I can’t just get a regular tourist visa to attend an academic conference, but the Turkish consulate site is broken at all the crucial places for information on getting the visa. Guess I’ll have to plan on calling and scheduling a visit to the embassy (hooray for living in DC).

    Rave: Homemade maple bacon marshmallows.

    • Have an incredible time in Istanbul- it’s such an awesome city! As for the visa, do you need a special one because you’re entering for work reasons? When we traveled there we just bought a visa at the airport and ferry port- no problem.

      • claire

        Yes, according to the state.gov site: “If you are planning to work, study, or conduct academic or scientific research in Turkey, you should apply for a visa from a Turkish Embassy or Consulate before arriving in Turkey. Doing these activities while on a tourist visa in Turkey could lead to deportation.”

    • pablo .raw

      I almost don’t visit the cistern while I was there, it is really spectacular http://www.flickr.com/photos/benavente/4634665309/

    • I was able to get my visa sticker right in the airport for $20. Are you planning to be there for more than 30 days?

  • Rant: Caps got blown out by Buffalo last night. Playoffs may be a reach.

    Rant: Terps got blown out by Notre Dame last night. No final four 🙁

    Rant: spraying the foundation of the house doesn’t seem to have worked against the tiny ants that have been invading my kitchen for the last week. Every time I enter the kitchen, there’s another battle with trails of tiny ants that are coming in from someplace besides doors/windows. We can’t spray inside because we have cats and I’m pregnant. Guess we have to wait it out again. Yuck!

    • Sprinkle ground cinnamon, or rub a little cinnamon oil, in a few of the areas where the ants like to go. They hate cinnamon, and pets couldn’t care less about it. Plus it will not kill the ants, just make them go somewhere else, which is better (in my opinion). 🙂 You can even sprinkle cinnamon outside on the perimeter of your house. It’s amazing how well it works.

      • never heard of this! I’ll have to do this too. we have an endless supply of ants this year, too. do you know if it works on other insects? we have pets and I’d like to avoid spraying poison, but I hate, hate, hate bugs and have to do something!

    • anon. gardener

      Although cinnamon will certainly smell nicer. 🙂

    • Go get some “Terro” from Ace. http://www.terro.com/ This is the best ant killer there is, you don’t have to spray it everywhere and worry about the cat getting in it. You will only ever need one bottle because this stuff works so well.

    • Diatomaceous earth (crushed diatoms) and boric acid are also options that I’ve had some success with. Both completely harmless.

    • Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I’ll try the vinegar & cinnamon tonight and go from there.

      • It sounds evil but pour boiling water into the area the inhabiting. A bunch will die but any of them that surive will take the entire tribe elsewhere and never turn back. I have seen many a ant infestation in my day and have never found anything that works better than this.

  • Rave: I’ve decided that what appeared to be a strange explosion of weedlings among my garden seedlings is actually the buckwheat I tossed in last fall for a cover crop! It never sprouted then, but now the garden is full. Found a great weed ID website. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/weeds_intro.html

    Rant: Not sure what to do with buckwheat sprouts now!

    • Make buckwheat pancakes?
      And great weed website. Thanks.

      • It would be a long wait for buckwheat pancakes! These are just the little green shoots – very tasty in salads. I wound up tossing them with some leftover grilled fish, chives from the garden, olive oil and sherry vinegar.

  • Rant: The mass of teens beating each other with rolled up metro newspapers last night at Georgia Ave Metro. While wading through them, one of them proceeded to throw down a donut wrapper right in front of me. I immediately picked it up and put it in the trash can that was less than 3 feet away. The kids then started talking shit to me. Get a life, kids. Go do something other than hanging out in front of a crappy metro station.

    • I saw that group of kids just after one little brat through a huge stack of papers on the floor. All around him guffawed, because apparently this is hysterical. Maybe the Metro cops need to station officers on the platform and at the entrances, instead of grouped together and chatting with the station attendant at the turnstiles.

      • +1. When I exited the station last night, there was a woman standing in a little space next to the bottom of the escalator, smoking a cigarette.

  • Rave: Another day of sunshine and two days til the weekend.

    Rant/Rave: After 40 years of life, I think I’m developing a pollen allergy.
    It’s taken 40 years for it to set-in.

    • Mine showed up when I was mid-thirties. Way to suck the joy out of spring. But it appears to be abating. I am a pretty firm believer in 7 year cycles.

      • I’ve heard that 7 year cycle theory for allergies. I have never suffered any allergies (knock on wood) so I don’t know from personal experience. Hope I don’t develop them once I hit a multiple of 7 birthday.

  • Rant: Yet again, another day of work with no work.

    Rave: First hip-hop class last night was so much fun! Can’t wait for next week! (and the soreness that will surely appear tomorrow…)

    Rant: The amount of money I spend on transportation each week! “You’re killing me, Smalls!”

    Rave: I’ve decided that by the time I turn 30 (June) I will look my age–at least for the day. Most people think I’m anywhere from 24 to 28 (tops) and it’s depressing!

    Rant: My roommates came home completely wasted on Saturday night, and I’m sick of living in what feels like a frat house at times. I’m too old for this, and so are they! In their drunken state, they drank my beer. When asked about it, the response was , “We didn’t know what it was, so we drank it.” Uhh, if you don’t know what/whose it is, don’t touch it! They also broke a glass right in front of the house…which is still laying there. I’m passive agressive (I guess) and refuse to pick it up. I really can’t stand drunk people and hate being around them.

    • me

      That’s depressing??? The older I get, the more I enjoy the fact that I am sometimes mistaken for someone in their 20s. My parents are in their mid-60s, and people generally think they look like they’re in their mid-50s, so I am hoping that the trend continues down the line.

    • You have to stand up for yourself, or people like your inconsiderate roommates will walk all over you your whole life.

      They drank all your beer? Insist, (insist!) they pay for it. Bring it up every time you see them until they pay. Be an a-hole if you have to. They clearly don’t care a whit about you, so why should you bother?

      There’s broken glass in front of your house since Saturday? Seriously? These people are acting like children. They need to be scolded like children.

    • what! Enjoy it! I’m the same way, am 30 but look like 24, but I love it. If it means I can wear black nail polish to work and leggings as pants (with a long top – simmer down people), why not milk it! you have so many more years to wear grown up clothes. Although I do rock a pencil skirt once a while, it makes me feel my “age”. 😉

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: All the Mack trucks that roll through my neighborhood at all hours of the day and night.

    Rant: Cranky because I didn’t get enough sleep because of all the noise.

    Rave: Weird meeting with boss went ok, next up annual review.

  • Rave: Free cupcakes at the Sweet Lobby from 4-5pm today.

  • Rant: The spring is so beautiful and I can’t enjoy any of it because of allergies. No drugs seem to help anymore. This year is particularly bad.

    Info: The Verizon man knocked on my door to tell me that FIOS has finally come to my neighborhood. As crazy as Comcast can be at least I can get them on the phone and the service works so I’m loathed to change. Does anyone have FIOS and, if so, what is your experience with the customer service and channel offerings?

    • I left a comment about this on the recent Comcast vs. RCN thread, but the short answer is that Comcast is actually better than Fios. The customer service people might be a nicer, but the costs are about the same and the quality/reliability of TV service is terrible. Don’t believe the hype!

      • My experience is 100% opposite.

        FIOS finally came into my DC neighbohood about 18 months ago. I had Comcast (begrugingly) for 4 years prior.

        My FIOS internet is the fastest I’ve ever experienced and the most consistant. I had been paying for Comcasts 15Mb service and I never actually got 15Mb. It would range between 3 and 10 Mb. I’ve never gotten lower than 15 with FIOS.

        The HD tv picture quality is exactly the same as Comcast and the combined tv/internet bundle I have is 9 bucks a month less with FIOS. I have also never had the TV service go out, which happened atleast once a month with Comcast.

        I’ve never had to call FIOS for tech support, so I don’t know how it is but I couldn’t be happier that I left comcast behind.

        • My TV service was ok for the first year or so but it got to a point where all the channels were unavailable more than 50% of the time. Verizon attempted to fix this dozens of times with no luck.

          Internet I had no complaints aobut, but then neither do I with Comcast. I guess I don’t do enough heavy usage to notice the differences in speed.

  • Rave: slideshow of the winning Peeps entries on WAPO. There are a lot of creative people out there!

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