Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user rfarwell5

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 and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or rejoice about daily life in DC.

92 Comment

  • RANT: I really think it is time to clean house on DC City Council and put some honest good people there. The only problem no honest good people would have the job.

    • Somebody I trust to be a person of integrity knows Sam Biddle pretty well. He vouches for his honesty. He almost knocked off Orange last time so here is hoping he runs again and we can dump that clown.

    • It would help if we reformed how DC’s elections are structured – it’s kind of ridiculous that primary elections typically decide who will win the general elections since the city is so strongly Democratic. I’ve also heard other suggestions (requiring council members not to have outside employment while they’re on the council, increase the number of council members so that there are 2 per ward and have to compete with each other on customer service, instant-runoff voting as opposed to winner-takes-all primaries, etc) which would help attract the type of people and the kind of performance that people in DC deserve. One well-intentioned person can’t single-handedly change the political culture of this city’s government (sorry Biddle) but more than one of them, involved in an effort to reform the city’s electoral and governing structure, could. Is it going to happen? I’m not holding my breath, but the residents that the city has attracted in recent years do seem to be willing to hold the city to higher standards than in the past.

    • I have a very good friend who is currently thinking about running for council, either in November or the special election that will be held in early 2013. She’s a political newcomer but would be far more honest than most of the bums in there now, and it means there’s hope that some decent folks are not completely disgusted with the political process. It’s an exciting thing to contemplate.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rave/Rant: I may have taken leave of my senses…I just ordered some Fluevogs on a whim. They were on sale, but still more than I normally spend on shoes.

    Rave: NEW SHOES!

  • claire

    Rant: Random throbbing head pain has been bugging me on and off for the past couple of weeks. Thought at first it must’ve been the result of a bump to the head, but now I’m starting to get concerned.
    Rant: Finally ready to buy a new laptop – but the particular one I’ve been obsessing over isn’t in stock anywhere.
    Rant: So unmotivated at work these days. Need a vacation!

    • Go get that checked out. Probably nothing but headache can be a warning sign for a cerebral hemmorage. I have hypertension and they always ask me if I have been having headaches. Could be a whole host of other minor stuff too. Lingering flu, need glasses, sinus infection, aliens trying to tap into your brain. Like I said, probably nothing but better safe than sorry.

      • claire

        Yeah, it’s getting to that point… I just hate not being taken seriously by doctors (being young and female doesn’t help, I think) so I tend to wait for something to be serious (probably not good, I know).. It’s weird because the pain is very localized (emanating from a small point at the top back right of my head) which is what made me think it must’ve been from hitting my head – that, and I remembered having hit roughly that spot on the bottom of a cabinet, though the pain didn’t start until a couple days later. Damn bodies, don’t make any sense!

        • Have you had an MRI or other scans/tests?

        • Please don’t wait on this. Head injuries are things where time can really matter. I don’t want to be alarmist, but if you can see a doctor, please do so. (Or at the very least, if your insurance company has a nurse’s info line, you can call and ask them if they think you should be seen.)

  • Rave: Back in the US! So happy to be home.
    Rant: Husband stuck in NYC until Wednesday night so he cannot enjoy the homecoming with me.
    Rant: It’s going to be an all-out stressful sprint until my next overseas work trip at the end of the month…
    Rave: DC, my neighborhood, my neighbors, yummy food, ice cream, sleeping in my own bed 😀

  • pablo .raw

    Rant: looks like I have or I’m developing carpal tunnel syndrome
    Rave: just cut some papayas and mangoes from the trees for breakfast!

    • Carpal tunnel sucks. Sorry you have to deal with it. My doc gave me a wrist brace, and I got a nice ergonomic keyboard with soft keys to type on at my old workplace. I also made sure my hands were warm at all times, b/c my old office was like a meat freezer.

      Oddly enough, my current job keeps the place at least 10 degrees warmer, and my hands are happier for it! Holding my hand at upward angles, though, still makes it freeze up. No more playing piano, I’m afraid 🙁

      • pablo .raw

        Thanks for the advice! I’ll have to do something about my very cold office when I’m back.

        • No problem. It really makes a world of difference, and for me the cold just exacerbates it. Finger-less gloves usually do the trick. If your office allows space heaters, you might want to spring for one of those too.

    • Definitely get an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and the wrist braces. I’ve found I need braces during the day and at night during flare-ups; you can get more padded ones for sleeping at CVS. They’re about $25 each, but worth it, especially if you are waking up with sore wrists or tingling hands. The stretches in The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Book: Preventing and Treating CTS, by Mark A. Pinsky, were incredibly helpful for me, as was acupuncture.

      I had no idea cold can make RSI worse. My office is freezing! I’m going to look into fingerless gloves.

  • Rave: New patio and plantings are done!

    Rant: Contractor’s crew screwed up the drainage improvements on the last day. Now we’re trying to get them to correct their mistake. [grrrr]

  • Rave: Heading back to Uganda this evening for a quick trip. Excited to see friends and coworkers and hopefully squeeze in some non-work travel over the weekend.

    Rant: Seeing someone you love in a lot of pain and not being able to do anything to help.

  • Rave: Just discovered taro root frozen yogurt. Wow, best thing I’ve eaten in weeks.

  • Rant: Whole Foods. Bought two pieces of tilapia for my husband. The fish guy put in “wild caught king salmon” – 6.99/lb vs. 24.99/lb. I didn’t realize until I went to unwrap the fish package. I was SUPER pissed. I hate that store, really wish there were other (fresh) options in the area. Fresh Market? Instead, we have to drive to wegmans when we can.

    Rave: Having 25+ people for our housewarming gathering on Sunday. Hopefully the menu I have prepared will be decent. Anyone want to critique it?

    • What WF are you talking about? I find the one on P street has a great fish section and the employees are wonderful. They’re helpful, knowledgable, and friendly and in the 8 years I’ve been shopping there, haven’t messed up any of my orders.

      • they didn’t mess up the order – we asked for two pieces of fish. We got them. They just put in the code for fish that was 3x as expensive. It’s happened to me before, but it’s usually not enough of a price difference for me to care. 3x, though – yeah I care. I have to do better at checking my packaging and receipts before I leave the store (there’ve been times they’ve rung up more expensive produce than what I have as well, like organic v. conventional).

    • I’ll take a try at giving my perspective on your housewarming party menu.

      • Let me know what kind of vibe you are going for – super casual, dressy casual, etc. You get the gist.

        • Awesome – thanks! It’ll be laid back sunday afternoon – hopefully people will come and go so we don’t have 25+ people in our place at once! (oh, we’re a pretty meatless home, and no pork, hence the lack of ham products)

          Smoked salmon on toast points with crème fraiche, shaved shallots topped with dill
          Watermelon and feta skewers
          Tartlets (gruyere and summer squash)
          Phyllo cups w/ pesto, mozz, roasted tomatoes (if no phyllo cups, make skewers of farmers market tomatos, mozz and basil)
          Mini frittatas
          Cheddar and leek muffins
          Cheese plate with quince paste and crackers
          Mixed olives
          Apricot yogurt scones
          Fresh fruit with Greek yogurt on the side
          Mini cupcakes

          Summer fruit white sangria
          Ice tea and lemonade

          • talula

            oh geez that all sounds DELICIOUS!

          • talula

            May I suggest that you invite your friendly PoPville commentators as well 😉

            But seriously, that sounds like a great menu for a relaxed Sunday afternoon. I don’t think your lack of meat will be an issue.

          • Jindc,

            I like – sounds delicious. A couple of thoughts for your consideration.
            Re: Food. Add some caper to some of the salmon toast points. You could use red onion instead of shallots, though make sure they are not too mature or the onion could be too strong/overpowering. For your tartlettes, I like summer squash and roasted tomatoes, then another with gruyere and carmelized onions. I’d make it easy on yourself, ditch the phyllo cups and either have skewers or platter with summer tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil and salt if you do the platter. Could I suggest instead of doing mini frittatas (a lot of work doing small, individual ones) do a big frittata (or a couple) and slice the frittata (easier for you). On your cheese plate, try to add fresh figs and sliced apple or pear. I’d probably serve mixed nuts. You could either do a variety of plain nuts or do spiced nuts such as Southern Spiced Pecans. Then with the greek yogurt, I’d put out berries and also honey. One more thought, for the scones, save some of the creme fraiche from your toast points to serve alongside the scones and also some jam or a few varieties of jam.

            Re: Drink. How about a cool summer cocktail such as a Gin & Tonic. Serve with slices of limes and/or lemon and people can mix and add to their own liking. For wine, since you have on offer a white sangria, maybe offer just a red wine alternative or a rose (for something different, especially if it’s hot). If you know there will be people who prefer white, then you should include white wine as well.

            Hope you have a great housewarming party!

          • Good idea on the phyllo cups (I have people requesting them whenever I make things), but you might be right with the tomatoes starting to become REALLY good – I could use colorful baby tomatoes. I want to skewer to avoid people having large slices of cheese and tomato to make a mess with [same reasoning behind mini fritatas, which aren’t any more work to be honest]. I wonder if that’s too much with the watermelon/feta, though?

            I have LOTS of rose for the wine – and vodka for people to add to the lemon aid if they want. I don’t personally want to buy a bottle of gin because we don’t drink, so it’ll go to waste.

            good call on the cappers. I can make a “gremolata” type of topping to sprinkle on top. Adding mixed nuts or whatnot to the cheese is easy – we also have some amazing pepper jelly we can bring out for it (even if I don’t want to share it!)

          • claire

            That menu looks really tasty! But where’s the homemade ice cream? 😉 (That was you, right?)

            My 2¢ – you probably already have a game plan, but make sure you do as much beforehand (ideally, the day before) as possible. Looks like you have a lot of little baked things going on – tartlets, phyllo cups, mini frittatas, muffins, scones, and cupcakes – and those can all be knocked out the day before. Even if you think you can manage some the day of, you’ll feel a whole lot better if it’s out of the way. Coming from someone who is often unintentionally stuck in the kitchen when hosting people! Can be the nature of an ambitious menu…

          • Jindc,

            I’m not sure what you are planning to put in your frittatas. I don’t think the watermelon/feta with the frittata would be too much, though I wouldn’t necessarily put cheese into the frittata, maybe stick to spinach and red peppers or some such. It’s good to add something fresh and refreshing when serving a frittata. I meant to say that instead of gin you could have vodka and tonic, in the event that you aren’t gin drinkers. More people seem to be amenable to vodka. Since you mention that you will have that, you could just include some tonic in the event someone might want a classic summer cocktail. Sounds like a great party plan and I’m sure it will be!

          • oh – yes, we can definitely pick up a few bottles of tonic. That’s easy! I was thinking the watermelon/feta and tomatoes/mozz might be a bit overkill – I will definitely either not have or go very light on the cheese in the fritatas – I think you might need a little to help them set – I was going to add whatever veggies look good (peppers, squash, whatever) and also use egg-whites and whole eggs to make it a bit lighter. I wonder if doing tarts and fritata are overkill…sigh

            and yes, most of this stuff will be made on Saturday and then warmed on on sunday. The tarts, I’ll get the topping ready and bake it off a bit in advance so they are at room temp or just kept warm. I have a game plan. Retentive girl here 🙂

          • Jindc,

            Your menu looked great the first time you presented it here. My suggestions are only that and I tried to make suggestions that would be pretty easy to incorporate while maintaining the integrity of your menu. Also some of the suggestions were trying to make things a little bit easier for you. It sounds as if you are really organized and doing what can be done ahead of time will make it easier and more enjoyable for you. Looking at your menu I don’t think tartlettes and frittata are overkill unless doing all the preparation for everything is too much for you then you should scale back. If you were to consider scaling back on something, I’d probably lop off either the muffins or the scones, though they are not reptetitive of one another (given that one is savory and the other is sweet). If you’re short on time, energy, ambition or desire, you could replace the savory muffins with a terrific loaf of bread (such as olive, rosemary wheat or rustic bread). You get the idea if you’re worried that cutting out something would leave a hole in your menu, that is where I would consider.

          • Tank you SO much for the input. The bread is a nice idea – would definitely make life easier! I can always send my husband to get on Sunday if I run out of time on Saturday. I think your input has helped a lot, all – no more phyllo cups! I worry about too much cheese, but fuck it – you can never really have too much cheese!

          • I agree with the suggestions that you have too many small precious dishes that require too much prep. Cut out a couple, whichever, and focus on the ones you really want. And add a large main, simple dish that you can easily replenish, like a pasta salad.

            Otherwise you end up worn out and never host again. Your guests will bring drinks, btw.

          • Jindc,

            You’re welcome, happy to help.

          • Yumm – only suggestion is for lemonade. Try rosemary lemonade (with gin or vodka in case folks want to spike it).

        • I was going to doctor up already made lemonade with some fresh lemon slices and mint. Rosemary sounds yummy in lemonade!
          If it starts turning in to too many things, I’ll cut them out – but my game plan has most things being made the day before except the tarts and then either warmed up or skewered before guests arrive. The harder part is going to be figuring out how to layout everything given the number of RSVPs vs. the square footage! We have a buffet along the wall for drinks, but that’ll put too many people in the dining room. So we might move that to the kitchen. Drinks on the kitchen counter (open floor plan) and all food in the dining room might have to be the way it is.

    • This might be totally out of left field…I’ve never tried returning anything to a grocery store before, but would it be worth it to call customer service and explain the mixup? WF staff are usually pretty nice. They might be willing to work with you, even if you already opened the package.

      • oh, yes, we ripped the label off and I put it in a ziploc bag. I couldn’t really return fish that I’d opened. It’s happened before at whole foods – I once bought a pineapple, went home and cut it up and it was ALL rotted inside – they gave me a new one. They are usually pretty good, but it’s a pain in the ass to deal with it. I find the whole foods p Street to be the worst whole foods in the city in terms of being careful. The employees are perfectly nice, it has nothing to do with nice. Everything to do with attention to detail, which they lack more and more these days.

        • I would definitely bring the receipt in. If they wont refund the difference, calculate the difference (including tax) and dispute that amount with your CC company.

  • Rant: Work or lack thereof. I am nervous because I am slow and summer, which is slow, just started. A lack of production for a prolonged period of time in my business is not a good place to be in this economy.

    Rave: Slow at work means more time with the kids. On my death bed I am not going to say I wish I spent more time at the office.

  • Rave: Planning to get away for all of September. India, Far East or Hawaii. Can’t decide!!

    Rant: Western Europe was cool when I was in college, but now it kind of bores me.

    • LOL at what appears to be a(nother?) deliberate attempt to troll.

    • How about South America? Spent 3 months there in 2010 and loved it.

    • Stay small in your foxhole PPercy, the taxman is coming for you if Obama has his way.

    • Methinks you should save your money instead of going on a trip halfway around the world. After all, you’re not rich, remember?

      • Well, duh, I think he knows that. When you’re not rich you can only afford to get away from it all for one month at a time. It’s not ideal but sometimes you have to give things up.

        • You’re right- I was being unsympathetic to his plight. My bad!

        • Yeah. In PPercy’s world, a one-month vacation to an overseas destination isn’t “rich.”

          For PPercy, presumably one also doesn’t qualify as “rich” just from having been to Western Europe enough to become jaded and blasé about it.

    • Don’t you have over $100K of students loans that still need to be paid off?

      • So that means I am not entitled to a vacation?

        • I’m guessing if you keep using the handle ‘PPercy’ then the only thing you are entitled to around here is mockery. (Not endorsing this idea, just an observation.)

        • Hmm. Let’s just go ahead and say yes. So, now that that’s figured out, you can go away now. Buh-bye.

        • I’m sorry, of course you’re entitled to whatever you want. I just get somewhat annoyed when you come on here to complain you’re not rich despite your high income, complain that you live paycheck to paycheck because of your massive student loan debt, and then rave about going for a month-long overseas vacation. But what do I know? Maybe you’ve been saving for this trip all along.

        • Yes, it means you’re not entitled to a vacation. Are you that dense? Go to the shenandoah for a week or something. Your irresponsibility kills me.

      • A student loan is the same kind of long-term debt as a mortgage.

        By your logic, homeowners with existing mortgage balances should not take vacations until their mortgages are paid off.

        I guess you don’t understand the idea of a ‘structured’ loan repayment plan.

    • Kabul and Pyongyang are supposed to be very nice this time of year.

    • Good food for thought in this New York Times opinion piece that discusses the relationship between money and happiness — apparently the increase in happiness levels off after the $75K mark:

      Don’t Indulge. Be Happy.
      Published: July 7, 2012

      • Are you or could you be? Not trying to be snarky but it depends on where you put values in life.

  • Rave: Doing it.

    Rant: This HUMIDITY. Sweating at the bus stop. Stale, wet air with no breeze to speak of. *dies*

    Rave: My brother.

    Rave: My parents too actually.

    Rave: In the end, it doesn’t really matter what other people think of me. Now how do I really convince myself of this?

  • Rave: Took a really important step that I had been dreading for my mental health this morning.

    Rave: All Star game tonight- let’s take it back, AL!

  • Rave: Having two dogs for a couple of weeks. I have one of my brother and sister in law’s dogs while they’re on vacation. She and my dog get along great and keep each other busy all day. So far, they haven’t destroyed anything or caused any kind of trouble.

  • I know we’ve talked about this before, but given some of the raves and rants today I was wondering if someone could share a great resource for trying to get some international jobs – particularly in development?


    • I work in development (I think there are a couple of people on here who work in international development). Devex is a great place to start to find out who does what work and InsideNGO and other organizations SID (society for id) and young professionals in foreign policy are good places to connect. My org has a couple of development project and operations positions open. If you want, perhaps PoP can put us in contact.

    • Bear

      I also work in development, and Britt’s got the right suggestions for getting a feel for which organizations are doing what type of work. From the outside I think it can seem like we all kind of do the same thing, but there’s a big difference between working for a contractor, a small nonprofit, or a donor like USAID–it all depends on what level of work you want to get into. Do you want to do more high-level policy? Look at the government agencies involved in development, or possibly think tanks. If you want to be closer to the actual project work in developing countries, better to look at firms and organizations that are implementing contracts or grants from government and/or private donors.

      I think PoP set up an email chain a while back with me, Britt, and a couple other people interested in development. Maybe we can get it started again.

    • I’m also in development with Britt and Bear425. I would suggest reliefweb.org for great entry level positions.

  • novadancer

    Rant: hubby is on another work trip
    Rant: all the work travel is interfering with IVF 🙁
    Rave: hubby has a Monday meeting in SFO, so we’re going to make it a long weekend!

  • Rant/rave: I’ve somehow got a totally impractical new goal in life – owning an MG Midget convertible to zip around in on days like today.

    The rant part is that it makes little financial sense. Do-able, but not exactly responsible, either in terms of the initial purchase or on-going maintenance.

    The rave is that once I get things into my head, I generally figure out a good way to make them happen!

    • My brother used to drive a similar car, a Triumph (british I believe) two seater convertible, built in the early 70s. It was AWESOME. but you need a back up “real”car. we had more fun riding around in that car during the summer back when I was in high school but dang, it broke down like every three days and finally died on the side of the road. It was great while it lasted and thanks for reminding me!

    • I absolutely love MGs. I fully support your goal 😀

  • Not a rant or a rave, but whatever happened to that PoP feature where he tries to hook up two single PoP posters?

  • Rant: Our city leaders tolerate a violent gang called KDY.

  • Rave: Vacation starts tommorrow at 5 p.m.!! A whole week with my mom and family! And hoping it will give me some perspective on life here in DC v. what life could be in Iowa. I’m thinking that DC will prevail!

    Rant: Still have a work event to get through before then. Stupid procrastination……..

    Random: Am I the only person who really doesn’t care about the Avengers movie? I saw it last night b/c some friends wanted to and then was ridiculed because I slept through a good part of it.

    • Allison

      You are not the only non-Avenger fan– husband went to see it and raved and raved, and I just… didn’t. Super hero flicks never do it for me: no more spiderman movies, etc., for me.

    • I was actually looking at B&Bs in Iowa this morning (for a visit with my mom to her home town) and thinking about how it feels a little like I’m preparing to jump into a land and time far, far away. I haven’t been to visit since I was a kid and I’m fully anticipating some sort of culture shock – just not quite sure which way I hope it goes!

    • I haven’t seen it, but I probably will when it’s on dvd. I WILL see the last Batman movie in the theater, maybe even at an IMAX theater.

    • The Avengers movie was awesome! I don’t get someone sleeping through any of it because it was pretty action packed. The new Spiderman however – BORING! The most accurate critique I have seen is that it really did not have to be made because it adds nothing to the last Spiderman. Way too much story, not enough action. Main villain was not engrossing at all. Great chemistry between the two leads but that was about it.

  • alxindc

    Rant: DC court system is a complete nightmare of indifference and confusion.

    Rave: I guess I should start planning my camping trip to the ocean, it is about time…

    • What is the issue. The clerk’s in DC Superior Court are not particularly helpful but there are other resources available for free guidance.

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