Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user J Sonder

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.

124 Comment

  • justinbc

    Rave: The DC Toasts tribute to “The Black Mixology Club” this past Friday at the Howard Theatre was the best cocktail event I’ve attended in this city in the past 5+ years, and I go to quite a lot. Just about everyone of prominence in the DC bartending scene was in attendance, as well as many luminaries from up and down the East coast. The Chuck Brown Go Go band also rocked the venue the entire night. If you see another event sponsored by these guys I highly recommend attending.

    • “everyone of prominence in the DC bartending scene”


      • He’s in the know, you see.

      • it sounds better than saying “a bunch of people you’ve never heard of”

      • Actually, if you don’t take it too seriously, DC’s bar scene is developing a lot of talent and making drinking here more fun. And “everyone of prominence in the DC bartending scene” is hardly the pompous accolade that might have been thrown out (“mixological artistes” perhaps, or “bibulous trailblazers”). Given all the praise some bar people get simply for ordering microbrews from the distributor, folks who make their own bitters, infuse their own booze and invent unique and tasty cocktails for fun and profit deserve a little glory too.

        I mean, don’t get carried away, but Brown Bros. & Chatal, Gina, Adam and others got game, if that’s the kind of game you like. And one needn’t pretend to be “in the know” to get to know them.

        There. Off my booze-soaked soapbox.

        • justinbc

          Exactly. It only requires a minimal amount of effort to find out where to get good cocktails in this city. If you want to knock it, make fun of it, or just people who enjoy that, then fine, but if you’re just ignorant about it then that’s your own fault. I’ve had drinks in this city that rival anything I’ve had in more lauded areas, and that deserves a little praise and respect.

  • Have wasted quite a bit of time on this game. But it’s fun. But I suck at it. But I sometimes get really close. So that’s rant and rave all rolled up. geoguessr.com. Try it, post your score! (no googling!)

    • 13498 points in total. Is that good?

    • 9285… Guess I have to travel more!

    • 11736….

    • It’s blocked on my work network (maybe that’s a good thing).

    • I got 3 roads with nothing but brush around them. I was unable to identify the plants so I had to make random guess, turns out they were all the outback. Then I got a picture with the Canadian flag in it. That was was much easier to be close on.

      • One scene had very flat roads and landscape so I first thought Denmark or the Netherlands. But then zoomed on a 55 mph sign so I thought Nebraska or Iowa. Turns out it was in Florida.

        • I just got one with an Italian flag on a building and the name of the city, Gerace, on a seal in the middle of the cobblestone streets. I couple minutes of closely searching Italy and I found the city. Almost 6500 points.

        • That flat boring landscape can be practically anywhere. I’m from South Jersey and parts of Florida, North Dakota, and Louisiana have all reminded me of home.

          • I keep getting tripped up between the flat/ boring places, too. Central US? Paraguay? Australia? There was one I was dead sure of– it HAD to be Appalachia. Except it was Alaska. All looks the same, unless you luck into a road sign.
            Still super fun, though. 🙂

    • jim_ed

      19118, using a no googling policy.

    • binpetworth

      Great time waster! I just got 17039, but had three clues that pretty much gave away the locations (a Mexican shop, a Norwegian road sign, and Brazilian beach). The ones of just highway & trees are the worst…

  • Rave: Checked out the new coffee place on U Street this morning, The Wydown…great guys and GREAT coffee! I’ll definitely be back.

  • Rave: It’s my birthday and it’s a beautiful day! I hope I never feel too old to celebrate and enjoy my birthday.

    Rant: Working today. Wish I had the day off to be outside and enjoy the cool spring weather while it lasts.

  • Rave: fewer than 100 days until the wedding!

    Rave/Rant: honeymoon planning – we want to go to Europe (preferably Rome/Amalfi coast), but flight prices have gone up so much since I last flew to Europe (granted it was 2006, but still!). Any suggestions for good websites/travel agents/other cities for a September-ish trip at a reasonable price?

    • Are you locked into September? I though that starting in October prices start to drop.

      Also, you might want to try flying through Frankfurt or Brussels instead of directly to Rome. When I went to Norway it was much cheaper to fly to Frankfurt and then book a second flight to my final destination. Trying to book a direct flight to Oslo would have routed me through Stockholm and cost about $600 more.

      • +1 Explore dates in Sep or Oct. I’m doing an Iceland-England-France trip in September – it was way less expensive then than going in July/August as I have initially planned.

    • As someone who does this trip fairly often, I would also suggest the following:
      1. Sometimes prices from NY/Philly are a lot cheaper, so if you can take the train + plane or car + plane you might be able to save a good amount.
      2. Connecting anywhere in northern Europe is fine. Consider AerLingus (connect in Dublin), Delta/KLM (connect in Amsterdam), Lufthansa (Frankfurt) or AirFrance (Paris). I try to avoid Heathrow (London) unless the price is a lot lower.
      There are a lot of low-cost flight options all across Europe. The only thing to keep in mind is that you have to pay extra for luggage.
      3. Delta has direct flights from NY to Pisa (Tuscany) which might or might not have good prices, but it might be worth looking into that. You can then get a train from Pisa to Rome — this is not a fast train (about 3 hours if I recall correctly), which also means that it is pretty cheap.
      4. Any time after the first 10 days in September is great. All Italians get back to a normal work/school schedule at that time, so vacation spots are a lot emptier. October also tends to be a great time to visit Italy.

  • Rave: today is my 5-year divorce anniversary! Best decision I ever made; he was an abusive jerk. I was living in GA, in a house I couldn’t afford, in a dead-end job, facing an uncertain future. Now, my life is dramatically better: I have a phd, an exciting, challenging, and rewarding career, and I’m slowly but surely making friends and establishing a life here in DC.

    Maybe a tiny rant: I thought I’d be re-married by now. Or at least in another relationship. But I’d rather be single than settle for anyone just to have someone (again).

  • Rant: My landlord is telling me I can’t give my boyfriend keys to my apartment, even though he’s there 3-4 nights a week. She thinks she can control us just because she lives below us

    • Just to play devil’s advocate: as a landlord who lives above my tenants, I would be extremely concerned with the liability issues involved in giving someone who has not signed a lease keys to my apartment. That said, if your boyfriend wanted to move in and he was put on the lease, there wouldn’t be a problem.

      • She may not want another person living there, and it sounds as though things are moving in that direction. She certainly has the right to control how many people live in her apartment.

        • Yes I agree with this. Especially if your utilities are included. Extra person = higher utilities.

          • And more noise and wear and tear.

          • If utilities are included, wouldn’t that be an illegal basement apartment? I thought legally certified basement apartments were required to have separate metering.

            (someone please correct me if I’m wrong)

      • She lives in the same house. I’m sure she’d notice after a while if he was coming in and out with his own key.

        I used to think my landlord was super paranoid and weird about things like who can stay in the house, etc. Then I became a landlord and realized when you are financially liable it isn’t exactly “paranoid” to want control over who lives in your home considering if anything were to happen you’d ultimately be the one responsible.

        • justinbc

          If she were really looking to bust her, I guess. I lived in the top two floors of a 3 level rowhouse and barely had a clue when the girl or her guests below me came home. I could obviously hear them if they were being loud once actually inside, but in terms of knowing who was coming in or out I think I might have seen that twice in 2 years.

          • It is a reasonable wish on the landlady’s part and must be respected – you really can’t go around ignoring other people just because what you want to be the case is different than reality.

        • If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t be a landlord. You can’t take money from people and then expect to control who gets to use the apartment that they rent (within reason, of course). You’re not their parents.

          I could understand that you’d want to cap a limit on roommates or take action if they are renting out the apartment for commercial purposes (e.g. Air B&B). But it’s utterly ridiculous to tell them that they can’t give their boyfriend a key or to try to control if they let a friend stay in their place. That’s why you have insurance – it assumes liability for things out of your control.

          Is there a separate/enhanced insurance policy if you are renting out a portion of your residence? I imagine you’d need a policy that’s more robust (and expensive) than a normal homeowners policy.

          • Actually, you certainly do have a right to control who has access to your own home as a landlord. Having guests over and giving someone who is not on the lease a key are two entirely different things. Does the landlord have a right to tell you you can’t have guests? Absolutely not. It’s not about “being their parents” but more of a legal issue.

            For example: when we bought our house, the previous owner allowed a “friend of a friend” and his girlfriend to stay in the apartment downstairs- no lease, no money exchanged, just a verbal agreement and a key. They ended up breaking up, the friend of a friend moved out, and the girlfriend stayed. When it came time to sell, she refused to leave. There’s this thing called “squatter’s rights” and the owner was forced to pay her $7K to leave so he could close the sale. Point being, I would never ever ever let someone have access to my house without being on the lease. Period. And I’m well within my right as a landlord to expect that wish is respected by my tenants.

    • That is silly – every apartment I have ever rented came with 2 keys at the lease signing. One to use, and a spare. Who is she to tell you what to do with your spare key?

      • Seriously. The landlord is blowing hot air; I’d call her on her bluff. She can’t do anything to you and DC’s tenant-friendly laws are in your favor.

        Next time, don’t give the landlady a head’s up about things you want to do in your home. She’s obviously unreasonable and a pain in the ass.

    • What does the lease say about guests? Or does it have more to do with him having the key? I guess I’d be worried if a complete stranger had access to my house. What if he turns out to be a weirdo, and still has access to the place after you move out?

    • valentina

      Why don’t you just put him on the lease? If he is at your apt 3-4 times a week,he is wasting money paying rent wherever he is living. And I’m a little confused as to how the landlord can’t regulate who comes and goes, that’s one of the things you have to deal with when you are renting. *kanye shrug*

    • The source of your landlord’s control over you is her ownership of the apartment you are renting and the lease you signed. The lease spells out the rights and responsibilities of both you and your landlord. If the lease says you can’t give keys to anyone else without the landlord’s permission, than you can’t do it. Or you can do it and take the risk that if your landlord finds out, you will be subject to whatever remedies she has for you breaking the terms of the lease.
      If you have no lease, do whatever you want.

      • Actually, this is the right answer. As a small landlord, she’s exempt from many of the rules that govern larger, commercial properties in addition to being exempt from rent control regulations.

        That said, if these restrictions are not in your lease, then you can do what you want, so long as you’re not breaking laws. If she wants to implement these restrictions, they would need to be provided in writing in a new lease.

      • If this is a separate apartment with a separate entrance not connected to the house above, you can give keys to whoever you want unless specifically forbidden in the lease.

  • Rave: Great event with Anthony Bourdain. Was expecting a book talk, didn’t realize it was a 2 hour comedy show. Very fun.

    Rant/Rave: Got a note that my building is doing heat/K9 treatments for bed bugs. I don’t have them, but I’m glad they’re being so proactive. Any ideas of what to expect?

    • I had a bed bug scare recently. I had a K9 inspection done and I had NO bed bugs. Biggest PoPville Rave ever!! The company I used recommends heat treatment for bed bugs over pesticides or freeze treatments. They told me heat kills everything in one shot, adults and their eggs, no matter where they are hiding – in your baseboards, pictures frames, etc. You also don’t have to bag up all your clothes and sheets. Just follow their instructions (you have remove heat sensitive things like photos) and leave the room for 8 hours and you should be fine. Good luck!

      • Thanks! I know I could have googled it, but pictures of bed bugs give me the willies so I thought I’d turn to the hive mind (pun intended).

        Glad you didn’t have them!

      • But, it’s a large difference in the cost between the chemicals and the heat treatment. I had the K9 and 2 chemical treatments for approx $700. The heat is about $500 more. Expensive little critters!

    • Had this at my old group house when one of our OCD roommates thought that finding a bug in her room meant we had bedbugs.

      The dog was a cute beagle puppy. The exterminator leads the dog around your house and he sniffs for bedbugs. This is actually the best way to find them, as bedbugs hibernate in dark crevices during the day and are difficult to spot with the naked eye. They will be all over your bedroom, so make sure you put away anything you don’t want them to see/sniff into. Lol. The dog will sniff around and under your bed; you might also need to lift up the mattress. It will also sniff around your drawers, the baseboards, couches, etc. Basically any furniture with wood crevices or upholstery.

      We didn’t end up having bed bugs, so I never got the heat treatment, but I read a lot about it online. Basically, if the dog finds bedbugs, you’ll get the heat treatment. They seal the windows and door in your room and wheel in high intensity space heaters, which brings the temperature in your room to 150+ degrees. This kills the bedbugs that are living in the crevices of your furniture. It’s a pretty big procedure and you’ll need to do lots of prep for it.

      Tl;dr – bedbugs suck.

  • Rave: Rihanna dance party in my office right now!

    Rant: sinus infection. I just want to sleep and not cough. For a few minutes please.

    • Rant: Rihanna. That whole flat affect thing she does just creeps me out. Did she have a stroke or something? *shudder*

    • Hell would freeze over before that ever happened in my office! Sometimes I wish I didn’t work with old conservative men.

  • Rant: Started cleaning the house because I have family visiting on Friday, and wow, what a project! We’ve been too busy to vacuum the past couple months and there is so much dust everywhere. I also discovered the windows are filthy! I don’t think I’ll have time to do anything but work and clean this week.

    Rave: Made some delicious fish tacos last night, and grilled vegetables to put in paninis tonight. Yum!

    • justinbc

      fried or grilled fish?

    • Hire Paula to clean! I recommended her recently on the forum. She lives in Petworth, does a wonderful job and charges a great rate. Another great thing is that she is flexible – you don’t have to sign up for bi-weekly or anything. Paula – 763-807-4864.

      • Thanks! Unfortunately cleaning people end up costing a lot because we live in a rowhouse. Unless the poor woman is working for practically nothing I don’t think it’s something I can afford right now.

        • I didn’t post her charges because I actually think (and told her) they are a bit too low – but she was asking $20.00 an hour. I suggested she add a little extra for travel time. But 3 hours of Paula in a row house – even at a fairer $75.00 – will get you top to bottom clean.

    • A few months? Unless you are a special ops in a foreign war, I think you really weren’t too busy to vacuum for a few months. Maybe you should buy a roomba.

      • No, I just have too many other priorities that come before housecleaning. And my girlfriend vacuums her mom’s house every week so she has no interest in doing ours.

        • Emmaleigh504

          Don’t listen, a few months is fine if you are ok with it. Vacuuming is overrated.

          • We don’t have any carpeting, and I sweep or Swiffer the floors if they look like they need it. I think that’s good enough most of the time. Clean bathrooms and kitchen are more important to me.

  • Rant: Having one of those days where I feel like the people who are supposed to care the most actually care the least. How hard is it to ask, “how was your weekend?” or “what’s new with you?” rather than talking at me about yourself all damn day. (Nothing dramatic is actually going on, so even if they asked my answer would be, “not much!” But still, it’s nice to be asked.)

    Rave: This weather! I know everyone is hating on the cold and I get that it’s May and it’s not supposed to be like this, but I am loving it!

    • Reminds me of this scene from Seinfeld:

      George: Why can’t there be some things just for me? Is that so selfish?
      Jerry: Actually, that’s the definition of selfish.

  • Ranty: DOD furloughs….11 days (way better than 22). Coworkers already decided their days they want off. So…thanks for including me in this discussion? I’m looking forward to a required day off that I otherwise would never take, but not pleased with the loss in pay given the year of the baby is not the best time to reduce income.

    Rave: No more uncertainty. That was the real killer – never knowing what was happening with this issue. Now we know and can plan accordingly.

    • Ugh furloughs suck. I’m glad you are getting a lot less than you anticipated. Forget about your co-workers, taking a day off means you can take a day off from them too! And if you are in the office when they aren’t, you can enjoy the quiet.

      And congrats on baby!

    • Do they affect the Navy? I’m a contractor and I’m surprised this is the first I’m hearing of it being settled.

  • Anyone ever purchased a refurbished washer and dryer??

  • Can someone tell me about at home work or internet jobs for easy side cash?? Trying to double up on my student loan payments and was curious to know what others are doing for side cash.

    • Buy an ATM and find a place to set it up. You’ll get all the ATM fees.

      • Genius!

        • My girlfriend looked into it. There are some things to decide/set up in the beginning (like how the cash will be replenished and how the machine will be maintenance), and you have to find someone who’s willing to have it in their store or whatever, but once everything’s in place you’ll have passive income coming in indefinitely.

        • I heard the ATMs are run by an organized crime ring so be careful!

      • valentina

        That’s a great idea! Are they expensive?

        • Depends on a lot of factors. Are you going to get a new model, an older one, or a refurbished one? Are you going to have a contract with the ATM company where they provide support and maintenance? Are you going to give the store/bar/etc owner a cut of the profits, or will they allow it at no charge because it will bring them more sales? Are you going to have a contract with a company to refill it, or do it yourself and hope you don’t get robbed on the way?

    • justinbc

      I did some secret shopper work while in undergrad. Some of the jobs pay pretty decent cash for very little effort, but there are a lot of rip-off sites out there, so be careful and thorough in your research.

    • Tutoring rich kids via Skype. My buddy is getting paid $70/hour to tutor an entitled rich twat Corporate Finance 101. He said it’s the easiest money he’s ever made. He only does 3 or 4 hours per week, but it’s basically become his spending money.

      If you have a specialized background – especially graduate-level accounting, finance, economics, or hard sciences – you can make good money.

    • Learn to sing or play an instrument. Join a band. Profit!

      • If only it were that easy. (The profit part, that is.) I couldn’t imagine my life without it but it has not made me financially richer. At least people are impressed when I use band jargon like “gig”, “axe”, and “shred”.

        • I don’t make a living playing music, but I supplement my income by a couple of thousand dollars a year doing it. And I get paid to have fun!

    • How about working for a catering company. It’s getting into wedding season and they will probably be looking for extra help.

      • Are we having fun yet?

      • Catering doesn’t sound like it would be easy side cash, but rather a lot of work!

        • I have a friend who runs a catering company and is always looking for reliable servers. Nothing too complicated, just be presentable, friendly and show up when you say you will.

          • It can be a lot of work – big parties at the Building Museum or Corcoran, but it is also interesting and fun – kind of a miracle to build a party from nothing.

    • petsitting? put up signs in your building/neighborhood or email on your apartment/local listserv. I had a neighbor who did this–$15 for a short visit/feed/litterbox scoop for my cat, $20 to spend half an hour there playing with her. I usually did one of each every day I was on vacation. That’s $35 a day for her and she didn’t even have to leave our building (she charged on a different scale for dog walks).

      Around Thanksgiving and Christmas she probably had 5-10 households paying her for this, so it was busy for her but she was making hundreds each day.

    • Thanks for the ideas. I think I will go back to tutoring. I did that a few years ago and it is easy money. Put my undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry to use.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: My bosses have told me to micromanage my staff. I hate micromanagers and now I get to be one.

    Rant: This will mess up my productivity. And then my bosses will have to start micromanaging me! It’s going to become a viscous cycle of micromanaging! aaggghhhhh

    Rave: It’s Ice Cream Tuesday!

  • Rave: Celebrated my first mother’s day with my wonderful family!
    Rant: Mother’s Day brunch in DC is psychotic! Who wants to go to the Le Diplomat for Mother’s Day to get their ears blown out. Acoustic hell. We left after five minutes, enjoyed a nice long walk , went home and made meatloaf with eggs in the middle… just like my mom did when I was a little girl.

  • I hope all is well with everyone. I know it has been quite some time since I last posted, roughly 6 months or so but I wanted to share one of my best Raves with Popville.

    Rave: On May 1st my wife gave birth to our first child, a beautiful baby girl. She weighed in at 7lbs 14oz and measured at 20.75″. Both mom and baby are doing very well (dad too). We have had our initial pediatric as well as our one week visit and everything checkrd out like it should. We are both very proud and happy.

    Rave: Nowhere near as good but I was able to catch a 28″ Rockfish prior to her birth. I caught the fish during trophy seadon off of the Matapeake pier a few days after the opener. It was damn tasty too, stuffed it with crab…

  • Rant: I know this may not come off right but oh well. I’m so blown and disappointed that the spot next to Ross (wasn’t thrilled about Ross either but whatever) by my house out Hechinger Mall is going to be a damn Rainbow (and I don’t mean Rainbow foods (for my Midwest folks) but the clothing store. I guess it will do business but I so wish it would have been something else. Petco would have been wise to have jumped on that location.

  • Rant: All the police week vehicles in town taking up legal parking spaces at meters and not paying AND not being ticketed.

    Rant: Wrapping police tape around a row of illegally parked cars.

    • There is an ambulance from Saddleback, NJ illegally parked in front of the Doubletree Hotel on Rhode Island Ave during rush hour each morning. It causes all the traffic coming from Logan Circle to funnel down into one lane. What’s pisses me off even more is that this jerkoff drove that behemoth ambulance from NJ at 10 miles per gallon and taxpayers are footing the bill. WTF.

    • There were like 15 Philadelphia police cars and motorcycles yesterday on E street near GWU. I wonder what’s going on?

  • Rave: my boss has encouraged us to ask for feedback when we meet with him. I did this with some trepidation, but he praised my work and suggested I run with the things I am working on. That’s great in a culture where micromanaging is not only expected, but fostered.

    Rant: I have been tracking my calories and working out- cardio and strength- and lost a quick 2 pounds, then got stuck, now I’m up a pound. It’s not like I wanted to lose a lot (I gained 5 pounds during marathon training last fall, who does that?!?!) and I would like that and a little “I’m now into my 30s” weight gone. Oh well, I’ll just take solace in my increased resting metabolism and strength, and plug along.

  • Rave: A complete stranger stopped in traffic to give my son and me his umbrella when we were stranded in the rain Saturday afternoon. I refused the umbrella no fewer than five times, but he insisted that we take it. All we were able to learn about him was that he worked in the office building next to the coffee shop at 17th and Q. Today I tracked him down, returned the umbrella, thanked him immensely, and finally caught his name: Shelton. Thank you so much Shelton! You are a good man.

  • justinbc

    Rave: So You Think You Can Dance starts its new season tonight. It’s easily one of my favorite shows on television, and the predecessor to all these other absurd dance shows with no real talent (old school Star Search excepted).

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