Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

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.

126 Comment

  • Made pumpkin seeds with some sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cayenne. The taste is great but the seeds are sooooo chewy. Is that what they’re normally like? It’s unpleasant.

    • binpetworth

      I made this recipe 2 weeks ago with the same result. I wasn’t sure if I didn’t roast them long enough or what. But when I sampled them again yesterday, they were much crisper. Maybe it pays to let them sit around awhile.

      • Did you let your seeds dry out really well before you roasted them? I didn’t, and I’m wondering if that might also be the problem.

        • binpetworth

          No, I didn’t either. Maybe that is the problem!

        • I recall having this problem the last time I made pumpkin seeds– I think I’d just tossed them in the oven. This year I boiled them in salted water before baking and they turned out crisp and perfectly salted. Too late to do anything about that now, but you could try storing them in the oven where it’s drier (or perhaps re-baking them at a very low temperature).

          • Sugar is generally a humectant (I think that’s the term) and will attract moisture. The seeds might have been crisp coming out of the oven, but the sugar will attract moisture back to them and make them chewy.

          • Ah, yes, the sugar would do it too! Especially on a humid day like this.

  • gotryit

    Rant: Biking to work in work clothes, I got caught in surprise rain this morning. I was able to swap out my dress shirt and socks for my workout ones, but my wool pants got a bit damp.
    Rave: non-iron shirt seems to have survived being stuffed in the bag fairly well.
    Rave: this is the first and only time so far in over 5 years of biking to work.
    Rave: the guy in front of me on his bike in a full suit who also followed traffic laws.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rave: Sick day.
    Rant: Cuz I’m sick.
    Rave: Thanks to whoever suggested SolarOil (epric002?)! I’ve only used it a day, so I don’t know if it’s doing my nails any good, but it smells divine and I love it!

    • epric002

      oooo, very well could have been me- i love the stuff. glad you like it! oh, and i’d been slacking on mine b/c i’ve been keeping my nails painted for the last few weeks and i wasn’t sure whether the oil would do any good over the polish, but the manicurist said you’ll still absorb it even through the polish, so i’m back on the bandwagon- so long peeling nails!

      • Emmaleigh504

        So sick of my peeling nails and lately my cuticles are crap, I hope this oil works, but if it doesn’t, it still smells good!

    • Hope you feel better soon! Maybe having divine smelling nails will help speed your recovery! πŸ™‚

  • pablo .raw

    Rave: Got a media pass to shoot the High Heel Race last night. Apparently I look like a photographer, I didn’t even open my mouth and she said “Media?” I said “Yes” and I got a pass πŸ˜€
    Rave: Had fun during the weekend shooting a sports event
    Rant: An external hard drive where I saved a lot of photos stopped working. Took it to a place for them to transfer my data and they couldn’t do it. I think I’ve lost some files :/
    Rave: At least they returned me the money ($150!!!)

    • oh yay! I was just going to post on here to ask if anyone could recommend a site/feed for some good pics from last night. I was sorry to miss it but always love seeing the costumes. Please let us know where we can see your pics from last night when they are ready. WaPo only had a couple up on their site.

    • There are some decent software programs out there that can recover the files. I did this before for a corrupt hard drive on my old computer. I probably got 85% of my files back. It’s better than nothing!

      • pablo .raw

        thanks but unfortunately the problem is that the drive never showed up on my screen; its like it was stuck and kept clicking. It is destroyed now πŸ™ so I’m going with the cloud! and DVDs

  • Rant: Major traffic backup on 16th Street this morning meant that I was late once again. I’m having such a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings. It makes me cringe at how painful this winter may be for me. I think it may be time to order a light box.
    Rave: Green ginger tea. I may drink a vat of it before the end of the day.
    Review: Meditation class went well last night. The space wasn’t the greatest for meditating. I could hear the yoga class going on in the studio. But maybe that’s a good thing in terms of challenging one to get centered regardless of distractions. I was surprised how quickly a half hour passed by, and I left feeling very calm. I would go back.
    Rave: I’m having dinner with some of my dear friends tonight. Living in different cities and having busy lives makes it a challenge for us to get time in the same room anymore, so I’m grateful for the opportunity tonight.

    • 16th street seems to be pretty bad lately. I’ve literally counted 4 buses on the same block at 7:15 in the morning.

    • Thanks for the update on the meditation class! I definitely want to check it out.

      • Pixie, apparently the meditation group meets daily around 7pm (sometimes 6:45) M-R at the Yoga District Dupont location. The class is by donation only, and the best part is that the donation go to an organization (I forget the name) that works to bring yoga to people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford it (in this city affording yoga is definitely a luxury).

    • 14th was bad too. I think a motorcade went through downtown this morning and screwed up traffic generally.

      • The Iraqi PM and assorted delegation is staying at the Willard and they’ve got massive street closures up for security. It’s totally screwed up 14th and 15th.

    • Emmaleigh504

      My light box helps so much with waking up and getting out of bed. I am so not a morning person and waking up before the sun is up is torture. The light box makes it tons easier.

      • Emilie, how often do you use it? At morning or night? Does it really matter?

        • Emmaleigh504

          I use the Sunrise System light box model srs320 like this one on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Simulator-Alarm-Clock-Light/dp/B0098IZUZU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383154724&sr=8-1&keywords=sunrise+system+light+box+srs320. I have had this box for about 5 years and love it. It’s taken a beating too, I’m clumsy and knocked it on the wood floor many many times. A couple of the leds have gone out b/c of that, but it still works great. And it’s not too big.
          I only use it to wake up and I use it every day in the winter. I use the sunrise simulator alarm and on particularly difficult wake up days or when I haven’t seen the sun in a while I will spend an extra 20 minutes or so in front of the box. There’s a button you can push to just turn on the “sun”. I don’t bother with the sunset feature because I simulate that with the lamps in my apartment.
          The best part of the sunrise alarm is that you can set it differently for each day of the week and just forget it. If you don’t need the alarm just turn it off, but it remembers your settings. It’s also a gentle wake up. I don’t find I need the sound, but it’s there if I do.
          It’s an investment, but it’s been great for me. I really love my light box. Hope this helps. If you have any other questions I’ll answer them as best I can.

      • I’ve also been considering a light box for several years now, and I think that this might be the year I take the plunge.

        What kind of light box do you have and/or recommend? There are so many kinds on Amazon, it’s a little overwhelming!

        • Yes, please give us recommendations! I’ve been oversleeping like crazy lately, and especially this morning. Daylight savings should get me back on track somewhat, but ideally I should be getting up at 5:30 which is dark almost year-round.

    • Perhaps the street closure, and detour onto 16th Street, is the culprit for the traffic jam? Unfortunately, this will be ongoing for 6 months.


  • Rave: Getting new glasses. It’s like every two years or so, I get an image – tweak. And, thanks to an Amazon Local deal, I’m saving money on an expensive-for-me purchase.
    Rave: Finally — I hope — getting it: I can take something seriously without having to make it a life or death struggle. Practice does, indeed, make progress.
    Rave: I feel much better than I did a week ago. My healthier habits are paying off!
    Rant/Rave: My first project requiring a trip to the hardware store is now on its way to requiring a third trip. The people at the store have been consistently kind, patient , and helpful — even though what I’m trying to do is extremely tiny from a do-it-yourself perspective.
    Rant: Read a news-bit about a woman who plans to hand out admonitory letters instead of candy to trick or treaters that she deems “moderately obese.” Why not give small toys or healthy treats to everyone? Hmmm. Hope she’s ready for the “trick” part of the holiday tradition….

    • Your rave reminds me…. Has anyone had any experience using an Amazon local/Groupon type deal for glasses along with insurance?

      • i used a groupon to get glasses at myeyedr (not my actual eye doctor, that little walk-in store) and it couldn’t be combined with insurance – ended up costing an arm & a leg. now i use warby parker.

        • My girlfriend and and I have used the MyEyeDoctor deal and saved a lot of money. Our glasses only cost $300-400 each which is pretty good! She recently went to Lens Crafters which is having a 40% off deal (better than what most insurance provides) but it still ended up costing close to $700.

      • The Amazon Local deal that I’m using cannot be combined with insurance. I should say though, that what I’m saving on the glasses is a LOT more than the small allowance that my insurance would have paid.

        • Also, insurance typically covers either glasses or contacts and not both. So if you already used your insurance on contacts it’s a good idea to look for deals on glasses.

          • Thanks! I was hoping that I could use my insurance for contacts — even if it means getting another eye exam, possibly with another doctor. I’ve tried doing it alternating years — but this year I really do need both!

      • I used the My Eye Dr. groupon as well and had a good experience. What I did was use my insurance for the eye exam (since the report about glasses chains giving out the wrong prescriptions, I’ve been leery of getting my exams there.) I ended up spending a few hundred above and beyond the value of the groupon, but that was because I wanted particular (designer, of course, sigh) frames. I could have gotten nice basic (no-name) frames for at or below the credit amount.

        • You must have good eyes and a very simple prescription if you could could have gotten nice basic frames for at or below the credit amount! I’m jealous. πŸ™‚ I get cheap frames and they still cost a fortune.

          • I know, throw in a strong correction and even with deals and insurance the cost is sky high. I’m glad I don’t have astigmatism or need bifocals (yet!).

      • I don’t use Groupon but I’ve used ZenniOptical and had great success. Glasses are usually $8-$20 and last forever (and you don’t need insurance at all, just your prescription)
        However, they are not the best option if you need super special lenses. I only wear mine at night/at home so I don’t need fancy lenses anymore.

    • Try Warbyparker.com — all glasses are ~$90 and they donate glasses to needy folks. I’ve bought several pairs from them and have loved each pair!

      • I don’t know about that – the first two pairs I randomly clicked on were both $145.

        • Oh wow! It’s been about a year or so since I ordered glasses. They must have raised prices. Sorry for the bad info…they still have some cool glasses though!

          • Yes, they’re cute, and if that price includes lenses they’re still a really good deal for those with basic prescriptions.
            I wish they’d offer children’s frames – my face is really narrow so adult glasses rarely fit, and most kids styles have cartoon characters on them. πŸ™

          • Some are still $95, but the new titanium frame ones are higher. I am another happy customer of Warby Parker! They either just came or coming to DC very soon in their school bus/show room.

      • Interesting. Do they do ultra-thin lenses? My prescription is too strong for normal lenses to fit in the frames.

        • I just looked and I don’t think they do. They also can’t handle bifocals.

          • Yeah, I just found the section where they specify what prescriptions they can fill. I don’t remember what my numbers are, but I have a feeling they are outside of that range. And my girlfriend, who has even worse eyes and whose recent pair of glasses cost nearly $1000, definitely can’t be accommodated. I guess it’s just a way for people who already get inexpensive glasses to save a little more money.

          • epric002

            blarg. thanks for the info. i’d heard good things too and wanted to try them but i also need ultra-thin lenses.

          • They do! At least, as of last year they did. If your prescription is above (below?) a certain threshold, they’ll recommend the “high index” (thinner) lenses, which probably aren’t TRUE ultra-thins. They ran $30 extra when I got my most recent pair last August, and the frames were $95, for a grand total of $125. Unless their pricing structure has changed drastically, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. They are wonderful.

          • (Though, oddly, you don’t get to choose the option of slimmer lenses when you order on the site. They’ll look at your prescription once you place your order and email you to offer the option of upgrading to the slimmer lenses. That’s pretty much the only truly annoying thing about it that I’ve come across thus far.)

  • Rave – Giving myself a 3-day weekend! Tomorrow is my Friday, then I’m escaping to Shenandoah for the weekend.
    Rant – People who use hashtags in normal conversations. Is this really common among younger people? We hired two fall interns fresh out of college who say things like “hashtag LOL” instead of laughing at something funny. Its’ so weird. Also, I just realized that “presh” actually means “precious” as in, “you look presh today.” Wow I’m getting old and crotchety.

  • Rant: I am so sad to constantly see so many news stories about animal abuse. I will go on cnn.com and see something that haunts me, and today the same in the Washington Post. I understand these are important news stories to report, but they need a warning signal. It just depresses me the entire day.

    • I sometimes wonder if they are important news stories. I feel like a lot of local news (housefires, car crashes, abused animals) is just pure sensationalism. I think it should be reported if there’s some sort of information that can be acted on (reminder not to smoke in bed, warning about dangerous intersection, ways to notify animal control, part of a larger pattern), but too often it’s just exploitative pictures and no information that is useful to anyone. It feels like it’s just the “news” outlet trying to increase ratings at the expense of other people (or animals).

    • epric002

      i have the same problem. i tend to obsess/internalize the animal abuse/neglect stories. i really wish i knew what to do to stop it. it’s even worse with the neglect situations in my neighborhood that i know of- i seriously lose sleep over them.

    • Sometimes some good comes out of all that nastiness. My friend was at the humane society picking up her foster cats and saw a very severely injured dog that they were bringing in to care for. Upset and impressed her so much that she started a fundraising site to benefit the humane society. We’re almost up to $1000 now and her law firm is matching it.

      • epric002

        thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

        • OG here:
          Yes, that is uplifting.

          But what is not uplifting? (WARNING HERE) Cats in microwave, dogs being eaten in asia, chickens being boiled alive (thanks WaPo today). I seriously get very sad about it.

          The worst part is its somewhat turning me into a pescatarian…I still eat meat rarely at nice restaurants, but all of these stories make me NOT want anything meat related.

          • Go vegan! It’s the compassionate thing if you love animals and want to stop their large scale torture and abuse. So easy too!

          • epric002

            i’m right there with ya. but being a pescetarian is great- for you, animals, and the earth. (wow i sound like a hippie). i’ve become a flexi/pescatarian. rarely cook meat at home, but will eat it out if i’m in the mood.

          • epric002

            an- are you kidding or sarcastic?

          • Being a pescetarian is only good for the earth if you eat some species of fish and avoid others. The Monterey Bay aquarium has a really nice webpage/app that will allow you to see pros and cons of different kinds of fish for the environment and for health.

          • epric002

            anon 1:03- true that eating some species of fish is better than others, but it is still good for the earth in that you are not contributing to the farming of pigs/cows/chickens/sheep/etc. and the colossal resources that requires.

          • Some commercial fish farming practice are just as bad. And overharvesting is a real issue, not just for that species but for all of the other it interacts with and can have profound impacts as great or greater than the run-off from livestock farming. I’m not trying to undercut your original point, just trying to add a bit of subtlety.

          • I occasionally eat seafood and use the Monterey Bay app. But I’ve heard a lot about fish suppliers providing false information about the fish they’re selling to restaurants and stores, so how do I really know if I’m eating sustainably?

          • houseintherear

            Doing your research on meat distributors, even on your phone while you’re in the store, is the responsible way to eat meat. There’s no need to go anti-meat if you don’t want to.

    • I totally feel you on this one. I’ve been involved in dog rescue for a number of years and the constant stream of abused animals that show up on the rescue list serve is super depressing. It’s never ending. Sometimes I have to just not look at it for a few days and try to remember all the wonderful people who do everything they can to help rather than all the bad things.

  • I’m so inspired by that LeDroit Park Mom who called out the pumpkin thief. I’m gonna put up some HUGE signs in the front yard calling out ALL the ASSHOLES who annoy me!

    Any thoughts how I can hide the signs from my kindergartner? He’s starting to read.

    • gotryit

      Use script – curses in cursive. I don’t think schools teach that anymore.

      • My husband teaches at a well-regarded university, and says his students can no longer read cursive. It’s not a matter of good schools or good students… They simply don’t learn it anymore.
        I freaked out a little when I heard that.

        • It’s not necessary in today’s business and academic circles. I’m not sure why we should waste time teaching cursive when 95% of our communications happen electronically. It’s really just a twee vintage hobby at this point.
          It would probably make more sense to teach kids stenography, so they can learn how to take quick notes and synthesize information.

          • It’s so trendy to harp on about The Constitution this and The Constitution that… Can any of those people actually read it?
            It might be a “twee vintage hobby” (what a delightfully condescending turn of phrase!) but I propose that pen on paper is one of the few connections to our forebears that remains, and a connection to and appreciation of history, in any of its myriad forms, is never a waste of time.

          • It’s not about what’s “trendy” – it’s about preparing kids for the world they will enter post-graduation. Cursive simply isn’t useful and it takes up A LOT of class time to teach the skill and then even more time for the kids to practice it. I say leave it up to the parents to teach it as an extra curricular activity, if that’s what they want.
            Hell, an introductory computer programming class is vastly more useful for the children. Programming touches nearly every part of academia nowadays. From web design to social sciences and hard sciences. If you can’t program, you will be left behind.

          • Emmaleigh504

            I read some place (sorry forgot where, so no citation) that cursive is easier to learn for kids than print. The article suggested it should be taught before print because it’s easier. I tend to agree. When folks are grown up, then they can use the one they like best, I tend to do a mix which must drive my grandpa crazy (he has the neatest, most #perf print ever).

        • I was working with a 9th grader who goes to a DCPS and she was writing her English homework in cursive! I told her I didn’t think they taught that anymore, but I guess some kids still use it.

      • I have this image of a future war where one side sends all their messages encrypted in cursive because the other side can’t read it. And they use 90 year olds who learned it in the good old days to decipher the messages. Great grampa Harry was a cursive reader in WW III.

    • Huh, I missed that story. What happened?

  • skj84

    Rant: Saw a I’ve been seeing on date with someone else as I wad walking home yesterday. I almost walked up to say hello, then common sense kicked in and I walked the other direction. We are bot exclusive, but it still really hurt to see him with someone else. Going to talk to him about us.

    Rave: Fun time at the High Heel race yesterday! Love to see the ladies out in their finery.

    • That’s tough, but you did the right thing. It would have been very awkward had you confronted him.
      How are you sure it was a date? I hang out alone with female friends from grad school, ex coworkers, old roommates, etc all the time in a platonic manner.
      That said, until you mutually decide to be exclusive, you really can’t expect him not to go out with other people. That’s what “dating” is all about – finding someone who’s right for you.

  • hispanicandproud

    Rave (no rants or revel): Thanks to andy2 for all his motivation and encouragement in getting me signed up for my second marathon in March.

  • Rant: Buses this morning. I waited 15 min only 3 or 4 buses passed and none stopped because they were all packed. There must have been close to 60 people standing at the two stops I passed when I gave up and decided to walk.
    Rave: I had a rave and I can’t remember it. Argh….

    • Blame the unexpected rain. A lot more people use the public transport or drive into the city when the weather is foul.

  • In case anyone finds it, I lost my black Liebskind brand leather purse last night around 8pm. Somehow it fell off of my Capital Bikeshare Bike when I was riding on Columbia Road between 16th Street and 19th Street. It also had a silver wallet inside with a Massachusetts license, several credit cards (all of which have been cancelled and no charges were made), metro card, two sets of keys, a gold necklace. My business cards are also inside the wallet and the purse so please let me know if you hear anything.

  • Rave: Saw a job on LinkedIn that would be absolutely perfect for me!
    Rant: The job was posted on Monday and was removed from the company’s site by Tuesday night. The listing is still on LinkedIn though. Should I try to call the company to see what’s up, or wait and see if it’s reposted? It seems unlikely that the job was filled in 24 hours, even internally. I wouldn’t be so amendment except the job was a perfect fit for me and I want to get my resume to them in case there are other positions on the same contract.

  • Rave(ish): puppy is still at my house
    Rant: puppy was supposed to go home on Monday

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