Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

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.

109 Comment

  • RAVE: Stumbled upon this public DoD website that explains why individuals failed/passed their security clearance background checks. Utterly fascinating and sometimes frightening.

    RANT: That website is a HUGE time suck. You’ve been forewarned!

    • Favorite one, thus far: “Applicant periodically masturbated while sitting at his desk in a cubicle at work, when other coworkers were in the area. No mitigating conditions were established. Clearance is denied.”

    • Well…reading all the cases in which clearance was denied due to delinquent debts reminds me to pay my American express bill.

    • This. This is my new favorite thing.

    • Thanks for providing me with entertainment.

    • If you click on the case number you are directed to the DOD Dept of Hearings and Appeals with details on the case. More wasted time….

    • Whoa, did you see the one about the guy who had over $800k of delinquent debt??
      But it’s really disheartening to see all the people who were denied because they “remain close to family members in Pakistan/ Afghanistan”. This is why I will never apply for a government job. I’m married to a (naturalized) foreign-born man and knowing how our government tends to paint all furners with the same suspicious brush, it would be a waste of everyone’s time.

      • Yeah, it looks like lying and having ties to those countries are the only disqualifiers.

        • Don’t forget substance abuse, gambling addiction, being a pedophile, etc…

        • epric002

          you should always disclose. your behavior becomes an issue primarily if you lie about it, b/c that demonstrates that you’re not trustworthy. and that’s essentially what security clearances investigate/establish- your trustworthiness.

          • Although you’re not obligated to disclose if you’ve seen a counselor for a few specific reasons (grief, family issues, serving in a conflict environment, maybe a few others).

          • Regarding what Monroe said… I remember seeing that when I was filling out my security clearance paperwork and being in a bit of a huff, thinking, “Great. So it’s ‘OK’ to seek help if it’s family/marriage counseling or military-related PTSD, but otherwise, seeking help for mental illness is still stigmatized.”
            For what it’s worth, I disclosed my being in treatment and did still get my (low-level) clearance. As epric002 says, the investigators are a lot more concerned about people lying/concealing things — because if you’re concealing the fact that you are in treatment for a given mental illness, someone could exploit your shame to blackmail you in exchange for national secrets.

          • That seems arbitrary. There could be a lot of things someone is shamed and secretive about– sexual orientation, abusive spouse, an affair, being raped, something a sibling or child or parent did, etc.

          • If you have a condition that falls outside of these categories of grief, family, serving in conflict environment (which isn’t just for military, and not only for PTSD), the investigators will want to know that you’re complying with treatment recommendations. It’s an additional step in the security process, but part of looking at the “whole of person.”

          • Victims of sexual violence can also answer “no” to the question about seeking mental health treatment. And how someone defines “family/grief/marital issues” can be quite broad.

      • There was an Afghani man with over $900K in debt. Though, I can imagine people getting into that mess if they have a few bad small business investments and a few investment properties that went belly-up during the Crisis. Still, my student loans are high enough!

      • I see your point, but not all government jobs require security clearances.

        • Pretty much all tech jobs in the area do. I know a foreign-born engineer who’s going back to school for international development because it’s too hard to get an engineering job that doesn’t require a clearance.

    • This… is fmylife for the DC crowd.

  • Rant: Chris Brown felony charge was reduced to a lessor charge. I was hoping the felony charge would stay in place against this thug and he would get some jail time.

  • Any thoughts/experiences on living at National Harbor?

    • People live there? I kid, I kid. It’s probably not as bad as people make it out to be. Super-easy to drive into the city from there, and you’re surrounded by water, and nice restaurants and stores. As long as you don’t have a problem with tourists it seems like a peaceful place to be.

    • binpetworth

      Do you work there? It doesn’t seem particularly affordable, but if you worked there and saved on transportation, then perhaps that’s a plus. You’d really need a car to go anywhere outside the immediate area (or else rely on the Alexandria water taxi), and parking ain’t cheap there. It would seem a bit too manufactured & touristy for my personal taste, but the trade-off is likely less crime.

      • Less crime, and probably a lot less traffic (something you don’t get in most of the suburbs).

        • Though, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of amenities down there – grocery store? Pharmacy? Dry cleaning? Since it’s a tourist/convention haven, I’m sure everything is overpriced.
          Honestly, the place sounds like a generic, soulless money pit.

          • There’s a CVS, and lots of people don’t need a dry cleaner. You can drive to a Harris Teeter or Giant in 12-13 minutes. I don’t think it’s any worse than living in most of the suburbs. At least the area is scenic and walkable, and there are some good art galleries and events out there.

      • Yeah, that’s the thing, the whole “fake town” bit kind of puts us off. OTOH, DC isn’t exactly affordable and we already drive most places anyway. We’re pretty much done with the constant rat problems, car damage thanks to street parking, 100 year old house issues, and having few walkable amenities other than liquor stores and funeral homes. The older we get, being near the water, in a clean area, in new construction, with a two-car garage, fun events right there, and hello OUTLET MALL sounds more appealing. :p

        • I don’t know if you’ve ever lived in new construction, but it’s not the trouble-free life many people assume. The most problems I’ve ever had in houses is in the 2 brand new places I’ve lived (once as a kid, once as an adult). The kinks have all been worked out in older homes, and they’re often built more solidly, so you’re dealing with maintaining the moving parts rather than fixing fundamental problems. YMMV, of course.

          • We’re from Florida, so we’re overly familiar with new construction. LOL Always had good luck. Never had a rat problem. Never a structural issue. Of course that’s entirely possible and I’d still get a home inspection, even on new construction.

        • I would be so sure you’d be free of rat problems living near so many restaurants.

          • The townhouses are pretty far removed from the restaurants. And nothing could compare to what we’re living through now. Pretty sure the residents out there wouldn’t stand for infestation.

          • I don’t know, I had the worst rat and roach problems when I lived in yuppieville (Fairfax County). Unfortunately when you live in a townhouse anywhere it’s always a risk. But it’s manageable. Within a few months we were able to get the roaches out of our house and back into the one they came from, and the rats stayed outside so they didn’t bother us too much.

  • Rave: Awesome, awesome photo! Magnificent!
    Rant: Work is such a drag. Sigh..

    • Yes, today it is already crazy annoying in the office. I have been here since 7:30 am and already had to resort to listening to music to tune out the rest of my office.

  • Rant: Maternity leave almost over
    Rant: Afraid my daughter will forget who I am because of daycare
    Rave: Healthy daughter that I love!

    • If it makes you feel any better, they never forget who their parents are. And the MOST AWESOME THING IN THE WORLD is when they’re older, and they see you quietly enter their room to pick them up and they bowl over all the other kids in their excitement to get to you and give you a big, big hug. Best thing ever – will brighten up your worst days. Should be bottled and sold as a depression cure.


  • Rant: Hungover
    Rave: fun evening with friends was totally worth it.
    Rant: Friends who want to bend your ear with the same rant overandoverandoverandover instead of dealing with the (many) underlying issue(s.) I am here to vent, not be your personal dumping ground/psychologist. Stop expecting me to deal with your issues because you refuse to.
    Rant/Rave: Things are about to get crazy busy at work, and while I should be stressed out (and expect I soon will be) mostly I’m just excited to have a challenge again. I’ve been way underutilized and bored at work. This craziness is actually making me love my job again.

  • Rant: I had to wait for five buses before I could get one that wasn’t stuffed like a sardine can this morning. Then I accidentally set off the “person trapped in an elevator” button on the way up to my office. Oy, I need more coffee.
    Rave: Amazing weather lately.
    Rave:I love my fall wardrobe. I look so much better when I can layer on the clothes. Also, I am rocking Dr. Who knee socks under my boots today. The little things make me smile.
    Rave: Checking out a meditation class after therapy tonight. Yay self-care Tuesdays. I’m hoping the extra exercise/socialization schedule that I’m trying to implement will make this winter less agonizing than last.

    • I was just talking to a coworker about how easy it is to look cute in fall clothes. So much layering potential! Plus boots, non-bulky fall coats, and scarves makes it fun to dress up and look nice. Also, where are you taking your meditation classes?

      • Yes! Fall has the best clothing options.

        I’m going to a meditation class at Yoga District in Dupont. This will be my first time attending, so I will report back tomorrow about how it went.

        • Cool, I’d be interested to hear about the class!

        • I’m so not good at layering. I think I simply don’t own enough clothing to have the right pieces to pull it off, but I don’t have a closet so I lack places to stores more clothing. And I’m short so that makes it harder in my opinion.

          • I wear a ton of dresses because I find, even though I’m average height, most pants are made to be worn with high heels. And I refuse to do heels. The key to layering is good tights, boots, and cardigans/blazers. I find that I can wear a ton of my summer work dresses through the fall and into winter that way. It saves on shopping costs and means I can wear a good portion of the wardrobe year round. For me, the key is making a list every season of the pieces I need to buy in order to make my wardrobe more functional.

          • Emmaleigh504

            Yeah, I don’t have the right body for layering, plus I hate the cold so Autumn is just the beginning of the Hell season for me.

          • That’s basically what I wear (dresses with tights, boots, and cardigans). Blazers are almost always too boxy so I avoid them. I actually prefer heels to flats so the pants aren’t a problem, but I like skirts better anyway. Still, I feel like I look frumpy most of the time. I also feel a tad unprofessional wearing boots to work.

          • epric002

            emilie504- i just bought a pair of fleece lined leggings. as someone who is always cold, they are totally awesome.

          • Emmaleigh504

            epric002 I’ve been thinking of buying some of those, may have to do it!

          • I too, love fleece-lined leggings. They look like tights on the outside, feel like flannel PJs on the inside. Mmmmmmm

  • Rant: Went to some open houses in Petworth last Sunday… My goodness prices have skyrocketed. I wasn’t too impressed with the construction quality on a lot of the houses I saw, and not too happy with row houses being split into condos all around town, they’re way overpriced.

    Question: Has anyone gone to the David Drew clinic and done their comprehensive exam? I’m wondering what the cost would be under Aetna PPO insurance? I think it’s not completely covered under any insurance plan.. It’s hard to find a good estimate online. Every time I go to my doc I get hit with a bill for blood tests. Health insurance is so shammy.

    Rant: I need to find a handyman that will install vent covers on my roof without falling off and suing me or charging me $400. My contractor should have done it, but making him come back is not worth the hassle.

    Rant: I hate it when I let people waste my time when I give them a chance. Having faith in the wrong people is always a downer, but you can’t know they’re shady if you don’t give them the chance to let you down first.

  • Rant: Depressed. I think I need to get back into talk therapy. (Already on meds.)
    Anyone have any recommendations for a talk therapist (psychologist, LCSW, etc.) who takes insurance?

    • All depends on who your insurance carrier is. But I highly recommend you getting started and doing the legwork of finding a therapist ASAP. Your insurance provider should have a catalog of covered therapists but will probably take some digging as mental health is not a big priority for them.

    • If your employer has an EAP, that a good place to start and find providers that take your insurance.

    • You should check out Psychology Today’s website. They have therapist profiles so you can find someone in your area who fits your needs. They sometimes list the insurance they accept.

    • If you get any good recommendations from therapists who don’t appear to take insurance, it may also (depending on your income situation and budget) be worth asking if they have a sliding scale. I know some therapists do that as a way of accommodating income-constrained patients without having to deal with insurance. A good friend of mine is an LCSW who’s practiced solo, in a group, and with and without taking insurance, and from what she’s said, most of the options with insurance kind of stink for the therapist. She said most of the time, despite her wanting to be inclusive to insurance-holding patients, it doesn’t make financial sense for her, since the payment rate from some companies is around $30-40 per session AND there’s the additional time (sometimes an hour+) that she has to spend hassling with the insurance company to submit the claim, not to mention the delay in getting reimbursed that can be tough on a solo practitioner. (Group practices generally have an admin assistant/biller that handles those tasks, but then, of course, the group takes a cut of the therapist’s revenue to cover that overhead. My friend also found herself getting over-burdened with insurance patients very quickly, when she continued to accept insurance while most of the other therapists in her practice did not–meaning, that anytime someone cold-called the group looking for a therapist that took insurance, all those patients were shunted to her, which made it difficult to smooth out her income by taking a balanced mix of insurance and full-paying clients. Ultimately, she decided to stop taking insurance, charge full rate, and then work out sliding fee arrangements with lower- or middle-income clients on a case by case basis.)

    • I recommend Dr. Kenneth Smothers. I do know he takes most major insurance and Medicare Part B. Dr. Smothers graduated from Morgan State University and Georgetown University Medical School. During the holidays, many people feel overwhelmed and they become depressed.

      Dr. Kenneth Smothers
      Address: 3801 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20008
      Phone:(202) 364-0035

  • Rant: still having issues with my back. Results from an MRI show that I need to see an orthopedic surgeon. Anyone have a recommendation for a good one in the DC area that is metro accessible?

    • I like Dr Peter Moskovitz (Washington Circle Ortho) his office is 3 Washington Circle. Or any of the MDs at Office of Ortho Med & Surgery (1850 M St)

    • saf

      I liked my orthopedic surgeon a lot, but I don’t know if he does backs. (He did my hip replacement and a friend’s knee replacements.

      Anyhow, his name is Andrew Holmes and he is at GW MFA.

    • I’m a fan of Warren Yu at GW MFA (one block from the Foggy Bottom metro). He’s the chief of the Spine Section of their orthopedic department and specializes in spinal procedures.

    • Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (www.wosm.com)

  • Rant: Could NOT get to sleep last night which is really unusual. Resorted to taking an Ambion at 3:30 am. And then dreamed I left the door to my house open and someone came in and stole all my jewelry. Now I’m unmotivated to do anything productive.
    Rave: Coffee

  • Rave: had a very nice time in San Diego and Orange County this weekend.
    Rant: Every time I go somewhere else in the US (generally the west coast or NYC), I am reminded how inferior our food options are here. Prices are higher, food is worse. It’s frustrating. But hey, better than it used to be- right?

    • It’s absolutely gotten better and it’s better than a lot of cities in the world.

      • binpetworth

        +1. Try living in Scandinavia for several years. There’s only so much pickled herring and mackerel one can take.

        • My roommate from New Zealand was really impressed with the food here, in particular the variety and how many healthy options there are.

          • A South African friend living in the States was CONSTANTLY saying how much better food was back home. When I went to visit and he took me to the “best” restaurants, I found out that “better” just meant “more meat and potatoes, fewer fresh green things, fewer sauces/ spices/ flavors”. I didn’t eat what I’d consider to be a healthy meal the whole time I was there. If there’s a salad on any menu, it’s iceberg lettuce. (This was quite a few years ago. Perhaps things have changed…)

          • Familiar food is always “better”. That’s why transplanted new yorkers are so obsessed with NY pizza.

    • Friends and I who have lived here 10+ years were just talking about this this past weekend. Food in this city has definitely gotten better in the past 4 years or so. Before that, it was a true culinary wasteland.

      • So 5 years ago DC was a culinary wasteland?

        • i would say pre-2007, yes, it was a wasteland. So 6 years ago. But back then, the likes of Georgia Brown were still touted as “great restaurants” when really, they’re overpriced expense-account joints.

          • gotryit

            I have to call BS on that. I’ve been eating at great places around town since 2004, and I don’t think they were new back then. There have been tons of great Ethiopian food restaurants for a lot longer than that, and plenty of other good neighborhood gems. But you’re right if you consider a lack of overpriced “small-plate concept” places a wasteland.

          • Great, and that’s your opinion and I have mine. In my opinion, there were a lot of good staples but the culinary outlook was not exciting by any means. Bistro du Coin is still one of my favorite restaurants but it’s not really exciting. The Ethiopian food is good as well but again, not exciting. And when you compare it to regions that have had and still do have dynamic restaurant environments like NYC, SF or LA, DC does pale in comparison. But it has gotten a lot better… I’m not taking out my dick to measure it against yours but I’ve been here since 2001, have lived in other parts of the country that we’re talking about here, and distinctly remember thinking “kind of a wasteland here.” From 2001 to 2006/2007, the only place I distinctly remember being anywhere remotely excited about was Oohs and Aahs. Everything else that has opened up during that period were carbon copies of each other and none too terribly exciting. The Heights was a clone of Logan’s Tavern. I do like Chef Geoff’s places but again, all copies of each other. Remember when Cosi was everywhere?

          • gotryit

            Keep your pants up, sport. You and I have very different ideas of an interesting / exciting restaurant. I much prefer a hole-in-the-wall with great food. You just call that a wasteland – I don’t.

          • Gotryit-

            What hole-in-the-walls do you speak of? Minus ethiopian and Salvadorian perhaps, they are far and few between in DC. What are the neighborhood gems? I am genuiely curious.

          • gotryit

            That’s a bit of a handicap – those are a couple of my favorites. Here’s a few (some not open anymore, or significantly changed).
            La Villa pizza on 14th St for about as close to NY pizza as I’ve found in DC
            Chicken Tortilla on 8th st SE for charbroiled chicken / tortilla, although I stopped going often after 2007ish when they changed ownership / raised the prices.
            There used to be a great Jamaican place on Florida (around 9th I think?) that’s since closed. I’ve heard the one on N Capital is where it’s best now.
            Salt & Pepper Grill on Georgia Ave for Indian / Pakistani food – definitely a favorite.

    • A friend who was just visiting from San Francisco told me that he thinks the DC food scene may be actually challenging San Francisco. Granted, he’s only been out there 3-4 years, but that was quite a statement for someone who goes out all the time. (I was rather incredulous at this remark, but he seemed fairly set on his view.)

      • That’s a load of bullsh#t. SF’s ethnic food scene is vastly superior to DC’s. I guess if all you care about is the new hot expensive “concept” restaurants, then I may see where your friend has a point. But to look holistically at the cities’ food scenes, SF’s is much more balanced, has a wider range of options, and better quality throughout the price point spectrum.
        SF is also right next to the largest agricultural producing region in the U.S., in addition to having amazing seafood. They also have year-round agricultural production due to a Mediterranean regional climate. DC will always be a food backwater, when compared to SF if solely for this reason.

        • Yes. Your friend living in SF must be doing something wrong. Seriously wrong.

          -Bay Area native

        • Perhaps your friend was trying to be nice. Lived in SF for 2 years, agree with the others…. DC can’t hold a candle to the SF restaurant scene. But it is vast improved.

          • Yea, I’m not quite sure where he was coming from either. I’m guessing that it likely had more to do with all the new pricey “concepts” in DC that ultimately swayed him. We left off as “agree to disagree”.

  • Rave: First major event at new job under my belt and things went really well, despite some hiccups we encountered by made it through.
    Rave: Boss’s boss’s boss sought me ought to say she was so proud of the job I did and that I made her look good. That made my day, for sure!
    Rant: Sleep still messed up from the travel and long hours. Hoping things even out soon.

  • Rave: still riding the endorphin high of finishing my first marathon on Sunday! It was awful…but awesome all at the same time. Finished an hour slower than I expected, so there will definitely be a #2.
    Rant: stairs.

  • epric002

    rant: i observed the following on the green line yesterday evening. guy #1 (early 20s?) sitting in back corner seat with his feet/legs on the seat next to him. guy #2 (mid/late 40s?) comes over, says nothing, and shoves/kicks guy #1’s legs feet off seat and sits down. at this point i assume they know each other, b/c otherwise who does that? guy #1 apparently does *not* know guy #2 b/c he proceeds to WTF guy #2, who stares straight head and refuses to answer/engage. guy #1 gets increasingly irritated, yelling about how he didn’t ask him to move his feet, didn’t even give him a chance to, etc., and i’m just waiting for a full on fight. guy #1 apparently calms down and stays in his seat, train car fills up and i can’t really see what happens. about 3 stops later some standing guy says something about “yeah, my cell/wallet are in my front pocket, but nice try pick-pocketing me” as guy #1 and/or guy #2 get off the train (i’m seated and can’t see who does what). doors close and train doesn’t leave station, which allows all of us hear a confrontation start on the platform and cops start running down the escalator towards guy #1 and/or guy #2 and whatever they’ve caused on the platform. OY VEY.

    • Rave: Maybe guy #1 will think twice before putting his feet up on the seat again?
      (I love a good metro story.)

      • Emmaleigh504

        There are so many people on metro I want to kick, maybe I should invest in some steel-toed boots. (kidding!)

        • saf

          I have a pair I don’t use any more. You are welcome to them.

        • Ah, makes me kinda nostalgic for my (long gone) steel-toed Docs from my college days. (And that was back in the day when they’d set off the airport metal detector, I’d smile and shrug and say “It’s my boots! Steel toes!,” security would *maybe* wand my feet–but most of the time not–and wave me on through to the gates. Feels like a million years ago!)

      • epric002

        maybe? i’m less offended by the feet on the seat than i am by the guy forcefully removing them. maybe if guy #2 had actually asked guy #1 and he’d refused…but otherwise, not cool guy #2.

    • If 3 stops hadn’t elapsed between the confrontation and the pickpocketing, I might have speculated that it was a 3-man pickpocketing operation, with the two seat-fighting guys assigned to create a distraction while the third lifted some wallets. Since they calmed down before the pickpocketing, probably not, though.

  • Although you’re not obligated to disclose if you’ve seen a counselor for a few specific reasons (grief, family issues, serving in a conflict environment, maybe a few others).

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Had to sit through the longest, boring presentation today. Of course they didn’t let the guy with the sexy accent give the presentation, they let they guy who had to keep asking for backup give the presentation. I swear he had no idea what he was presenting or how we use the product. Presentation fail.
    Rave: Hoping to find a Veronica Mars t-shirt with bonus stickers when I get home tonight!

  • Rave: Stumbled across Big Business while flipping channels on Sunday afternoon, and I could not resist watching…a real nostalgia trip. It is a thoroughly silly movie, but oh how I loved it when I was around 10-11 years old (watched it a bunch of times back then and probably hadn’t seen it in over 20 years).

  • Rant: I walk south on 15th street to work most days. The east-west traveling bike-riders seem hell bent on crossing 15th against traffic signals and they never look north before proceeding into the intersection and crosswalk (they are just focused on avoiding cars approaching from the south). They almost mow me down everyday. What can I do to make them respect a pedestrian’ right of way to cross the street?? A coworker tells me that the DC council says they are ALLOWED to block the crosswalk?! This rule seems like madness.

    • gotryit

      As a bike rider, I recommend being forceful about taking your right of way. Keep going, shout at them before they get too close to you, and make them swerve / fall to avoid you. If you happen to be carrying a cup of hot coffee in front of you that they run into and scald themselves with…

      As far as a “DC council rule” (?) I’ve never heard of anything like that. No one is supposed to block the crosswalk. That said, no one enforces cars or bikes blocking the crosswalk, so good luck with that.

    • Also a bike rider, be forceful. I would not even be opposed to sticking an umbrella through their spokes because I’m tired of paying for the sins of other riders in this city.

  • Rave/Request: Is anyone going to the Pearl Jam concert in Charlottesville tonight? My ride fell through, so I’m taking the train down there but looking for a ride back to DC (Shaw) after the concert. Wish I could have posted this earlier, but maybe someone will still see it. Please email jcappola at gmail if you can help out a fellow fan! And I’ve got gas money!

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