Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user beaufinley

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 celebrate things about daily life in DC.

135 Comment

  • Rant: I was taking a short cut through an alleyway in Mt P yesterday around 4pm, when a man started yelling obscenities and grabbing his crotch.

    Revel: about two hours later, I noticed a police presence in the same alleyway. Hopefully the situation was resolved.

  • Rant: At least once a day I get a call on my cell phone from “Restricted.” Nobody says anthing when I answer and there’s no call back number. Pisses me off!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Noticed nails poking up in my hardwood floors. Is this just settling (1920s building) or will my apartment be falling into the apartment downstairs soon? Can I just hammer them down?

    Rave: Tooth fixed! By a sadist, but fixed so I’m a-ok with that. (If you want to know: there was an extra canal that was not derooted because it was not found.)

    Rave: Great night’s sleep last night!

  • rant/rave: trial of the main animal who beat Mr. Maslin almost to death last summer is ongoing, story in the post today. Hope he gets the maximum sentence of 30 years. Maybe someone in prison will beat him into a coma, see how he likes it.

  • Rant: Los Nacionales. Rendon on third. Moore at first. Larouche as a PH??? What the eff? Where’s the Natitude fellas?!!

    Rave: Ate my weight in freebie nachos, hotdogs and BBQ
    Addtnl rave: Tums

  • Rave: Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event – Dressage Day One πŸ˜€

    Rave: Heading there tomorrow!

    Rave: Beautiful evening at the barn last night – two great (but tough) rides and a gorgeous sunset.

  • justinbc

    Rave: New 64″ Samsung plasma shipping confirmation email just arrived, TV should be here early next week.

    Rant: This means I now have to deal with Comcast again. Bastards.

    • I got a 60″ 240hz Sharp… I love it. Screw Cable! I just play DVDs and movies off memory sticks, have my laptop connected for streaming video, Netflix and an antenna connected for local channels. I can’t even watch regular cable any more because I’m no longer used to commercial breaks. It’s wonderful.

      • How do you get your internet?

        We asked Comcast how much JUST internet could cost, and they said $75/month. Which is ridiculous considering our TV with Internet (and HBO) is under $100/mo (for now)

        • justinbc

          Their pricing schemes are all absurd. I wish that I could go sans cable like many of my friends do and just rely on Netflix, Hulu, etc, especially since Samsung has such a fantastic built in hub for all of that, but I watch so many live sports and there really is no reasonable alternative (that I’m aware of).

          When I first moved to DC my cable bill with Comcast, including internet and TV (with HD-DVR) was under $150 for basically all the premium channels except the paid ones (like HBO, Cinemax, etc). When I left it was over $220, with zero changes made by me.

          • yeah, I would NEVER pay that much. I wouldn’t even pay $150.

          • I wish I could go sans cable (there is absolutely nothing that we watch; we shouldn’t even have a TV). But we need internet, and a landline for out security system, and the cheapest options seems to be our Comcast Triple Play package for $141 a month. Getting rid of the cable doesn’t decrease the price. Has anyone else been in this situation and been able to just do internet/phone for less?

          • Anonymous 1:12 p.m. — I have a Verizon landline for something like $21 a month, and Verizon DSL (at their lowest speed tier) for $19.99 a month.

            The problem with the various Verizon/Comcast “bundle” deals is that they force you to get all the bells and whistles. If all you need is something really basic, you’re probably better off getting the services individually.

          • Oops, I meant Anonymous 11:12 am, not 1:12 pm.

            Apparently I need a little more caffeine today…

          • Thanks, I tried pricing out services individually with Comcast and Verizon and it still ended up being more expensive. I don’t need anything special for the internet but I do want long distance calling so that bumps up the price a bit.

          • I also downgraded to the most basic cable package (which is still something ridiculous like 100 channels), though it only saved about $10/month.

          • There should be an even-more-basic cable package that Comcast does its best to conceal.

            I ended up getting sufficiently good over-the-air reception in my new place that I didn’t need cable, but when I was scoping out the possibilities (about two years ago), the cheapest cable TV plan was $15/month.

          • thebear

            Anon 11:12 — I have Verizon Freedom Essentials + “Enhanced” DSL (up to 15mbps) for $59.99 (before the various taxes and “Because We Can” fees). My speed is typically about 10mbps.

            Dumped Comcrap 4 years ago because I was paying $125/mo for TV+HBO+Showtime only (no phone or Internet) and they absolutely refused to lower the price or let me switch to a bundle. (Multiple calls to different reps on different days, even retention wouldn’t budge.) Screw them. With OTA I’m getting a far better HD picture for network channels than Comcrap has. There are only a few shows on cable that I watch, and I can get them online…plus Verizon Internet has no usage caps.

            I *might* take FiOS when it gets here. Depends on what they say the pricing will be after the introductory offer runs out.

          • justinbc

            I had FiOS when I lived in McLean. I would take it in a heartbeat over Comcast, it’s far superior.

          • I had FiOS when I lived in Annandale and it was terrible. The customer service people were nice but they were never able to solve all the problems we had with it. Comcast is far from perfect but it’s far superior to FiOS.

          • thebear, does that include phone also? Otherwise it doesn’t solve my problem.

        • I pay 28$ a month to Comcast for Internet only… They run promotions at various times. After the 12 month period, you can call them and complain if they raise the rate, then they keep you at the same rate. The price for Internet service should go down over time. I also use my Android phone as a backup hot spot for whenever Comcast goes out, but lately Comcast has been pretty reliable.

          • that’s the problem – our internet sucks, hasn’t worked for over a week (we do have a service call coming on Saturday). My husband wants to use his phone for tethering, but I don’t want to do that. if he’s not home, then I can’t use the internet (my phone is old as crap).

            I wish google fiber would come to DC….sigh…

          • @jindc

            Upgrade your phone! I pay around 70$ a month for the phone service but it includes internet that I can use anywhere (unlimited). I guess I’m kind of spending the money I saved on cable there, but my phone has been a pretty solid backup for when internet is out at home, and I can use my Android phone as a hot spot when I’m out on the road to connect my laptop. This comes in very handy during power outages as well.

          • justinbc

            It’s still 4G speed (likely) when used as a hotspot, so not all that great for something like streaming content.

          • Exactly – when comcast works, it’s fast. My phone is 4G. We have TMobile and pay les than $100 a month for two phones with unlimited everything. that said, I want to stream and my husband is a gamer, I think the speed would be an issue.
            Comcast’s cheapest “internet only” option is $29/month but it seems like it would be too slow to use as a TV provider while gaming. the next tier is $50 a month, which if you add the cost of netflix and amazon prime and maybe hulu plus, you’re looking almost at what we pay per month now.
            Stupid comcast.
            But we do watch a LOT of TV and for $85, it’s worth it. It’s just not worth dealing with them every f’ing year to keep that price.

          • If you get high speed service already from Comcast and choose to downgrade, they don’t increase or decrease the speed after that when you change your contract. I can stream live channels most times on Internet sites alone, without paying. I have no speed/data caps on my service, but I gave up networked gaming because it was only mildly entertaining to me and kind of “unhealthy” behavior. Also most new release PC and console games are ridiculously priced and they’re only useful for a few weeks until you get bored.

            I also gave up my desire to watch shows right when they come out, and don’t miss it at all. I do end up spending the money I save in other ways though, so I can’t fault you, as long as the money spent is put to good use, but paying for Cable TV is a major DC hoax.

  • Rant: Glen’s Garden Market is SO EXPENSIVE and has way too many condiments.

    • so over this locally grown and sourced bs. to each their own. if people want to spend the money, stores like this will survive.

      • Do you get angry about people who can afford to install solar panels on their homes? I am glad there are more and more opportunities for people to reduce their impact on the environment, even if some of them are things I can’t afford to do personally.

    • I thought there would be more vegetables, a bigger selection. The parsnips were soft, and way past their prime. Plenty of lettuces, though. And sauces.

  • Rant: Working as a web developer when I really hate computers/technology and would rather run a bar on a beach in Hawaii.

    Rant: Not a pay week.

    Rave: 400$ check in the mail from my bank – Yay escrow overages! (My money to begin with though) :/

    • Do you have GMAC? The FAQ says they would do my escrow analysis in April, and I am anxiously awaiting my estimated $1000 check.

      • Nope Wells Fargo… They always overestimate my fund… One time they sent me a $2,000 check. Amazing to see how poorly a large company can be run. πŸ™‚

  • question to the PoP community: 15th and H — safe to live?

    • OP here — sorry, just to clarify: 15th and H NE

      • justinbc

        Everyone’s definition of safe is different, but it’s important to clarify whether you mean “feel safe” or actually safe. The chances of you actually being assaulted, robbed, etc are very low in that area, especially long term, but there are enough remnants of the crime that was lingering around that people who are especially thinned skinned will see every “questionable subject” on the corner and wonder if he’s going to do something to her (or him). Skinny white girls leave Rock and Roll Hotel just down the street every night and manage to make it home OK.

      • Well you can actually check out the crime map since it was back up, but I wouldn’t say robbery chances are very low, 71 within 1500 feet of that intersection over the last year. Put in some addresses from places you are familiar with and feel comfortable in and see how they compare. I lived close by to there for 2 years, and will say that I enjoyed the neighborhood and what I could walk to.

        • justinbc

          There were 73 within 1500 feet of my former residence at 14th and Corcoran NW within the last year, and I never once felt remotely threatened there, or worried about sending my mom or girl friends who visited out if I happened to not be home. I really don’t view that number as all that high, considering the amount of food traffic nearby (and the same would apply for H St).

          • justinbc

            There were however 422 thefts from an auto, and 27 actually stolen autos, which really doesn’t surprise me considering the huge number of smashed windows I saw on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

          • justinbc

            Side rave: Just plugged in the address for the home we’re about to close on off 13th St NE and it has 1/5 the total crime of my block in Logan Circle that I left. Bonus!

          • I never felt threatened in Mt. Pleasant and then early one morning someone broke into my house and pointed a gun at me. “Feelings” are maybe not always an accurate predictor.

          • justinbc

            Neither are anecdotes. That could happen almost anywhere in the entirety of DC.

          • I’m not asserting my anecdote as a blanket assertion regarding the safety of the neighborhood, merely suggesting that blanket assertions are often distanced from reality. To suggest that a certain street corner is safe, because you “never felt threatened” when, in fact, someone’s being mugged there about every five days — and that’s just the reported muggings — is somewhat absurd.

            On the other hand, feelings, individual anecdotes, and statistics in combination can provide a more nuanced estimate of what the reality is.

          • justinbc

            That’s primarily why I asked what she meant by “safe”. I see those types of questions all the time from people moving to the area. There are accordingly so many misnomers about areas, SE and NE DC in particular, that come from ignorant people telling their friends “oh you don’t want to live there it’s (generically) unsafe.”

      • If you are talking about closer to the H st and Capitol Hill, then I think its safe.
        I live on 15th NE right between F and G, and feel perfectly safe. I bought my house in 2009 over there, and haven’t had any problems. My wife had her car window broken, but that was about it. We walk up to H st all the time, and my wife runs around the neighborhood at 6am.

        Lot of young couples, and young (25-30 year old) renters.

  • Question: If you signed up for the homestead tax deduction, how long after you bought your home did it kick in? Did they notify the mortgage company? We bought our place almost a year ago….so I’m wondering…

    • I bought in Oct 2011, remainder of that year’s taxes was part of closing. I don’t remember when I filed the Homestead paperwork, but it would have been quickly. It was effective by the first payment of 2012, though… I didn’t have to do any coordination with my lender or DC OTR beyond the initial application.

      • hm…I just emailed my lender. We put our funds in escrow. I think part of it was that we closed after the tax year (mid-May 2012) so they said that it might not kick in until the new tax year.
        Which seemed weird to me…

        • and he said to call the title company…

          • Have you checked with DC to confirm whether you’re getting the deduction or not? That would be step number 1. You can look it up on the DC website. If you aren’t then find out why; if you are, find out how much they’re collecting from your lender. I think the lender basically just pays the tax bill, and your title company doesn’t enter into it, so you may not get too far with them until you find out more from DC.

    • You can check whether you’re currently getting the deduction on the dc.gov website somewhere. If you’ve filed the paperwork but not getting it yet you should contact DC and/or re-file the paperwork. Apart from that you shouldn’t have to do anything (apart from pay the tax bill, unless your mortgage company does that.) I don’t know what you mean by “kick in” but it didn’t take me anywhere near a year to get it sorted out.

    • novadancer

      weird. We have been getting the deduction for several years and never filled out any paperwork! I guess some lenders do this as part of closing?

  • MsNesbitt

    Rave: I’ve had an incredible birthday week! So glad to be able to celebrate with so many friends and family members.

    Rave: Just four weeks to go until I graduate from my masters program!

    Rant: Only 3 papers, 2 presentations, and 1 final exam stand in my way… :-/

  • Rant: Office 2010 is the most buggy program ever! What was MS thinking??!!

  • Rant: That thing? Where you underestimate how much is left in your cup? And you go to finish it in one bottoms-up swallow, but there’s way more than you thought and it ends up spilling down your face and dripping into your cleavage?

    I do that too often.

  • Rave: Moving ANZAC service at Washington National Cathedral. Nothing like the sound of the Didgeridoo in the nave.

  • Rant: Sometimes my curly hair looks really good and has these perfect ringlets. Sometimes my curly hair looks horrible with random curls sticking out all over the place and out of control frizz. Today is one of those horrible hair days, sigh. I feel like have no control over how my hair looks.

    Rave: I love this weather!! And I love DC in the spring.

    • Blithe

      I highly recommend jane carter solution’s “condition & sculpt” . It’s about $10 a bottle. I get mine at the Friendship Heights Whole Foods. This stuff is up there on my Best Hair Products Ever list.

      • I feel like I’ve tired every hair care product on the market but I haven’t tried this one yet! I’ll look for it next time I’m in WF. Thanks!

        • Regardless of your ethnic background…MixedChicks leavin conditioner is THE TRUTH. My curls are crazy, and this tames them πŸ™‚

      • I think the P st WF and the Target also carry that product. I like the shampoo as well.

      • My solution (I’m a guy): #2 and #1 razor on the sides, longer on top. Cut off the curls and the conditioner doesn’t matter.

    • What recommendations for me?? I used to have straight, limp hair, (boring, but tidy) but ever since I started going grey, it’s gotten frizzy and always-messy looking. I think tea tree oil shampoo made the problem much worse, and the hair hasn’t recovered, even after six months back on the Pantene, or whatever’s on sale.

      • I think the “whatever is on ale” approach might be the problem. I am not a label seeker, but notice a big difference when I use the slightly more upscale shampoos.

        Also, the biggest problem for me is DC water and the level of chlorine (even when they are not in spring flush mode). Two days somewhere (anywhere) else and my hair always looks better.

        • Get a chlorine filter shower head–it does wonder for hair and skin. They are cheap on amazon and easy to install.

    • As a fellow curly girl, I feel ya. Although today is a good day for me…

    • GiantSquid

      Some curly hair tips (in my experience):
      -use a satin pillowcase
      -only shampoo once or twice a week
      -use a shampoo and conditioner that don’t contain sulfates (they dry out your hair making it frizzy, moisture is your friend). I buy my shampoo and conditioner from the organic store. More pricey than Suave, but when you’re only supposed to use a dime or nickle sized amount, they last.
      -when you get out of the shower, if you’re able, bend over and flip your hair, run whatever product you use (mousse or gel, but without alcohol, that also dries your hair out) through your wet hair, use an old t-shirt to scrunch your curls up to your head, until hair is damp.
      – either let air dry or use a diffuser to dry it most of the way
      – put a filter on your shower head. we have a Culligan filter, switch it out every six months, makes a big difference.
      – if your hair needs a mid-day pick-me-up, I find having a small spray bottle of water helps. Mist hair, flip, scrunch a little, and flip upright. I suppose a leave-in conditioner might work as well.
      – they’re not cheap, but get a haircut specific to curly hair. I get mine cut at Parlour when its long enough. Fiddleheads is another good one. Look for a stylist trained in the Deva school. It’s a dry cut, then washed, dried, and trimmed again. It makes a big difference in how the curls fall.
      – I’m a big fan of DevaCurl’s foaming mousse for product. Smells great, lasts a long time (over a year for one container). They have many things to sell you, but again, not cheap. In a pinch, I like Herbal Essences’ curly gel. As always, find what works for you.

      I have a friend who passed along much of the above information. Maybe not life-changing, but definitely hair changing. Curly hair is gorgeous and not a huge PITA if you take care of it.

    • Most of the tips suggested here (or on sites like naturallycurly.com) don’t work for me, personally. The cheapest products work just as well as the higher end ones, sulfates don’t seem to make any difference, and it doesn’t matter if I sleep on a silk pillowcase or not. I got a Deva cut at Fiddleheads once and it was nothing special. I tried the Deva hairdryer with the hand-shaped diffuser attachment and it was so awful that I returned it immediately.

      What works best for me is to use every kind of styling product all at once. That means running a cream/lotion product through the hair while it’s still damp, mousse followed by gel once it’s dry, spraying the roots with a touch of hairspray, and finishing with a shiny spray. It sounds like a lot but I’ve never felt like I had too much styling product in my hair. Over the years I’ve also gotten more comfortable with frizz and don’t see it as such a bad thing on curly-haired people. It’s a natural part of having curly hair and there’s only so much you can do to control it.

      One of my favorite tricks is to take sections of hair, while it’s still wet, and twist them at the crown to form ringlets. If you don’t have tight even curls this helps to shape them and make them more uniform. Normally I air dry, but I also have one of those bonnet dryers that you sit under.

  • Rave: Meeting a nice, age-appropriate guy the old-fashioned way… in a bar.

  • Rave: I haven’t felt this great physically and emotionally in weeks. Hope this continues!

    Rant: Finals week…

  • have some extra tickets I’m looking to unload to the caps game tonight at 7pm. anyone interested? $35 each

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rave: Mention to someone on Twitter that you need some info & should ask Popville and Pop provides the answer! <3

  • Rave: Almost through the second week of the Couch to 5k program and I can really start to feel the burn! The only place I’ve ever willingly run is the refrigerator, so I’m thrilled with my progress and feel accomplished, even though my time is still pretty slow.

    Rant: I find it easier to not quit if I run every day, which is probably risking injury since I’m pretty out of shape and have a slightly weak ankle. Gotta figure out a way to scale it back while still staying motivated…

    • I did Couch to 5k last year and have the same problem of finding it too easy to quit something I don’t do every day. I solved the problem by just walking for half an hour on the mornings I didn’t do Couch to 5k — stayed in the habit but didn’t overdo it.

      You’re inspiring me to get back at it after a way-too-long lull!

      • Yes, good advice. Do something every day, just don’t run every day. A solid 30 minute walk on “off days” is one good way in doing it.

  • RANT: it’s take your kid to work day, which is fine, but there’s an age minimum for a reason! At my office you have to be five to participate, but my coworker across the cube aisle from me brought her 3 year old twins in and because they can’t participate, they’re spending the day at her desk.

    Three year olds are not happy in a cubicle for hours, especially while their mom is looking a computer screen instead of them. Tantrums!

  • Rant: There is an older green mustang parked outside of my building every day on 14th and Columbia that has an overly sensitive alarm. You so much as sneeze near it and it goes off…at ALL times of the day and night. I want to throw something (like a cement block) at it to make it stop, but i’m sure that would just trigger the friggin alarm again.

    Rave: I ate cold pizza for breakfast!

  • Rave: National Arboretum! Dogwoods & Azaleas in full bloom. Bluebells, Mayapples and other small wildflowers just coming out.

    • I’m trying to decide between the Arboretum and the Franciscan Monastery plant sales this weekend. I’ve never been to the Monastery and the gardens must be nice this time of year. I’ve been to the Arboretum plenty of times but never when the azaleas were in bloom. thoughts?

      • I’ve never been to the Franciscan Monastery plant sale…hmmm. But I love the National Arboretum plant sale. Usually what I get there are unusual annuals for pots and to mix in our garden. They sell lots of new varieties you can’t get other places, I love it.

      • Check out the FMGG website – I’ve been and the selection has veered toward vanilla varieties and herbs, many of which sell out quickly. They say they’ll have more greenhouse-raised stuff, so it may be more interesting than in the past.

        If you are a real plant-hound go to the FONA sale and don’t forget to check the available items on the FONA website, which is amazingly helpful if you are working from a particular design. If you want something more horticultural or very specific go there. I have purchased a number of very good items there through the vendors there – good hellebores and native plants.

        Also, I think SOME azaleas will be in bloom at both – the azaleas are on Mt. Hamilton at the National Arboretum. At the Monastery, they’re on the path/grotto area. My guess is that both areas will be at their max next week, with the hybrid azaleas – which there are probably more of at the Monastery – probably closer to peak now, though I’m just speculating.

        • The Franciscan Monastery is more about roses. I don’t know about the plant sales at either. I went once to Arboretum 3-4 years ago and it was crazy crowded and not at all an interesting selection. I find American Plant on Wisconsin Ave. the very best by far.

          Arboretum azalea hill is nice because it is a large, rambling area with great variety. Though many are actually looking a little ragged, as they acknowledge, due to various storms & management. I’m not even a big azalea fan, but it is lovely. FM is a much smaller garden area.

          Had a really interesting time there with a 4 year old heathen once, trying to explain all the mosaics of the stations of the cross.

  • Heading to NYC this weekend and meeting 4 new babies of some friends (one set of twins (girls), and two boys of two other couples)

    I’d love to bring the babies something cute from DC. All four babies were born in January. Any ideas where I can buy them a gift? Perhaps a cute Obama one’sy? Any ideas?

  • Rave: No time for PoP until late in the afternoon = I was actually busy today!

    Rave: Saw Ben Rector at the 9:30 Club last night and he was AWESOME, as was the opening band, Alpha Rev! Love-love-love them.

    Rave: Had my monthly luch date with the 84 y/o priest. Lots of wisdom to be gleaned.

    Rave: Was assertive and stood up for myself in the office! Co-worker wants me to order certain product for his professional development. Okay, no prob, I have the credit card. But then he tells me to research the product first. Uh, no way, buddy, this is YOUR thing. YOU research it. Said it more diplomatically than that but he still looked shocked.

    Double Rave: Tix to the Caps game tonight!

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