Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

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.

115 Comment

  • RANT:The agency I work for blocked the panda cam.

  • rant: cars using the L st cycle track as a passing lane…for a whole block…yuck

    • gotryit

      It really is surprising how many people in DC are actually The Most Important Person in the World.

      • You haven’t been to Northern Virginia!

        • Actually I think Indianapolis (strangely enough) takes the cake.

        • agreed! NoVa people will run you over in a heart beat even if you have the walk sign. Last I checked you are in your toasty car and I am walking in the fridged cold.

          • gotryit

            I’ve had the opposite experience in NoVa. I’m waiting for a car to pass (their right of way) so that I can jaywalk (with no cars coming), and they stop and signal me to go. No F-ing way am I going to walk in front of your car when you have the right of way.

          • I think gotryit’s experience happens more in the parts of NoVA where pedestrians are rare and considered an exotic curiosity. Drivers in non-urban areas across the country behave that way when they encounter a rogue pedestrian.

          • gotryit

            hah “exotic curiosity” – I like that. That’s probably how we’re both seeing eachother. Coming out of NYC, a car that stops for you when they have the right of way is an “exotic curiosity” or, as we’d call them “F-ing nuts”.

          • I walk past a highway ramp on my way to work, and I encounter a lot of suburban drivers who stop and hold up traffic while I sheepishly scurry across. Good intentions, but it drives me crazy!

  • justinbc

    Rave: BCS title game, woohoo! Seats were 4 rows from the field, perfect line of sight to see the Winston to Benjamin game winning pass.
    Rave: So much amazing food over our 9 days in SF and LA, but the highlight of the trip for me was dinner @ Ink in Beverly Grove. For those unfamiliar, the head chef is Michael Voltaggio, the brother of Volt/Range’s Bryan here in this area (and the one who bested him in their season of Top Chef). The food was all flawless.
    Rant: The last hotel we stayed in had clearly been used by smokers and left me with quite the sore throat (combined with all the yelling at the game), so today I’m sitting at home and enjoying a fire rather than going into the office.
    Rave: Favorite bars of the trip – Wilson & Wilson and Mikkeller Bar in SF, and Harvard & Stone and The Varnish in LA.

    • Oh I love Mikkeller! I went to the original in Copenhagen and every beer I tried was great! I wish there was an easy way to get their product here :(

      • ChurchKey regularly gets Mikkeller; they even had a massive tap takeover last year with several of their single hop series on at the same time. P St Whole Foods carries a small selection as well.

  • Rave: Just got back from a great trip visiting friends overseas
    -
    Rant: reminds me how much I desperately want to live overseas and I just haven’t been able to make it happen. At this point I’m not sure I ever will, at least not until I retire, which is a long way off.

    • You can do this! Depending on where you want to live/what you want to do check out Peace Corps, JET program (teaching in Japan), apply for a Fulbright Scholarship…

  • Rant: Sick
    Double Rant: Spilled an entire bottle of petpo-bismal in my purse.
    Triple rant: Found a dead mouse under our sink last night.
    Grrr

    • Hey at least the mouse was dead. The live ones are driving me INSANE right now!!! Hope you feel better soon!

      • So now I’m terrified he wasn’t the only one. Any idea how to tell if there might be more? We’re putting out traps *just in case*

      • Me too. The mouse population got ahead of us in the fall, and then they got smart. Between us and the cat, we probably got four or five. The remainder moved into totally inaccessible spaces– like in the ceiling/ floor. We can hear them, but can’t get to them to place traps. I quail to think about what they’re eating and drinking… or how we’re going really get rid of them. 10 years in our house, and this is the first time we’ve had a problem the cat couldn’t handle.

      • Similar Rant. We had a mouse in the house, thought it had died, but just before Christmas and again last night we heard them crawling in our basement ceiling. Sigh. We cannot for the life of us figure out how they got into our ceiling/ducts, so we can’t figure out how to kill them without bringing an expensive exterminator. Once it warms up we were going to check the outside perimeter of the house. Grrrrr. Sometimes I wish we had stayed in our condo!

      • I had a bad mouse problem last winter. I got two of these traps: http://www.amazon.com/Snap-E-Mouse-Trap-by-Kness/dp/B0002ZINDY and was able to curtail the population in about a month. Initially I was emptying the traps three times a day! It’s gross and takes some patience if you have a lot of mice, but it’s humane and inexpensive. I still keep the traps set, and caught a stray mouse in the fall.

      • I’d recommend getting covered mouse traps – I can’t tell you how many times the mice would take the cheese/peanut butter from the snap traps and not get caught. They’d take the bait from the sides and even if it snaps it wouldn’t trap them. D-Con makes an inexpensive covered trap – this kind of traps also makes disposal of the dead mouse easy.

  • Rant/Rave: A new job opportunity opening at an organization I work at and love that would put me front and center in a leadership role. I’m pretty young and the role I’m currently in is my first role out of school (I have been in this role for about 18 months). I am generally well-liked and have been encouraged to consider this new role by multiple people, before the role even officially opened; however, my first few months were a little rocky, and though I have shown tremendous growth (which has been noted in writing in my yearly review), I’m still anxious my actions (namely showing more emotion than necessary in what is a very emotionally demanding job) may color decision-maker’s opinions. I’m fairly inexperienced in terms of career strategizing, and just not sure what steps I should be taking to be accountable for the mistakes I made early on (particularly in an interview) while simultaneously highlighting my growth.

    Rave: Being lucky enough to have job opportunities in a great organization.

    Rave: My cat thinks I’m the shit.

  • RAVE: that picture of the cat. It is an awesome photo. Poor cat thirsty cat though.
    RANT: the BF and I can’t share a bed lately and he ends up camping out on the floor. I guess I must have been kicking a lot last night. Poor thing.

    • After 15+ years, my spouse and I parted bed-ways. One of us snores, the other hogs the covers and kicks, and with kids in the bed-picture too, it wasn’t good for anyone. I wish we could ditch this stigma against separate sleeping arrangements for couples. I find myself hiding the fact in conversation because so many people think it’s weird, or a sign of impending marital doom.

      • +1000

        I thought it was a sign of a bad marriage when I first learned that my partner’s parents have separate beds, but after two years of leaving together, I think we’d do it if we had a second bedroom!

      • Thank you for this! I’m ashamed to admit that I sleep better alone too. It has nothing to do with the state of our relationship. My partner snores, and tosses and turns all night long. And I steal all the covers. I have to wear earplugs to bed to help block out his snoring. Whenever I travel for work and sleep in a hotel room by myself, I get the best night’s sleep! If/when we move to a bigger place with 2 bedrooms, I’m going to insist on having my own room!

      • My parents had separate bedrooms for 30 some years – my father is a heavy snorer and it worked for their relationship to not share a bed. They did however share a bed long enough to have five kids :)

    • Someone is bound to be judgemental, but F them – you get to do what’s best for you and your partner.

    • Two twin blankets instead of one queen sized one did wonders for me and my spouse!

  • Random query: Does anyone have advice on a company to go with to book shorter (4-5 day) touring trips in France or Italy? Want to plan something for me and the spouse and I’m a bit overwhelmed with the options.
    Rant: Can’t seem to get more core temperature up. Cold nose :-(.

    • If you’re going for 4-5 days, you might consider booking it yourself. Both countries’ train systems have online purchasing options, and you have a lot more freedom to wander. You can do a reputable wine/food tour in either country if you want that experience without having to do the driving.

      • There’s a ton of companies that will do day tours out to wineries/smaller towns/etc once you get to Italy. I used Viator in Tuscany a few years back and really highly recommend them. We had samples at all the wineries, no one had to drive, and no dealing with parking (you think it’s confusing here, try Europe). Really reasonable too.

      • +1. France and Italy are easy to get around, especially with guidebooks/recommendations from blogs (!). The south of France is beautiful, for example – to go between Avignon and Nice with a rental, or be based in Avignon and drive to Roussillon, Chateauneuf, Gap, Nimes, Pont du Gard, etc. 4-5 days really isn’t a lot of time, so one or two places should do it. Good luck! My spouse and I have started to scale back our ambitions a bit by not doing a night in a different place – we now prefer to base ourselves somewhere and take day trips.

    • Having just heard horror stories — ok, a litany of annoyances large and small — from a friend’s tour company trip through Israel, I wonder if you’ve considered just flying out and renting a car (or taking a train) and not having to deal with other people’s rigid schedules and pre-set priorities. I don’t know about Italy, but France has a particularly supportive tourist infrastructure and you would be able to do fine.
      .

      For core temperature, I recommend hot coffee with cream and a half-shot of Irish whisky every two hours. If your co-workers comment, tell show them your prescription from Dr. Streete. ;)

    • 4 or 5 days is barely enough time to see one city. I’d suggest finding the cheapest flight to either Paris or Rome, and then simply enjoying the good life for a few days.

      It’s also true that you can book trains online. They even send PDF tickets so you can print them in advance.

      • And, when traveling with spouse, there are many better things to do the morning after a romantic dinner (at a bistro selected by you, not some kickback-drive “Americans are afraid of good local food”-thinking tour operator) than throw your clothes in the suitcase and hustle down to the lobby for the bus.
        .
        Just sayin’.

      • I agree completely. There is plenty to do in both cities. You’re likely to have a better time if you relax and explore one place for 4-5 days rather than spending half your time on buses and trains.

    • Have you traveled overseas before? It might be daunting for a first overseas trip to figure things out as you go. If you’ve traveled before, I’d echo the advice of others and do it yourself. Especially for a short trip, I’d think you’d want the flexibility to see what you want to see (or hang out and drink coffee/wine/etc at a neighborhood cafe). Decide where you want to go (Paris, Rome, Milan), book your flights and look for rooms on AirBnB or something similar. You shouldn’t have a problem finding local tour companies for a day trip or city tour.

    • If you only have 4 or 5 days on the ground, stick to one major city or a small region. Last thing you want to do is spend half the day repacking your bags and shlepping your stuff to a new hotel everyday.
      .
      I’d recommend doing Rome (or Tuscany) and staying in one hotel for the whole trip. You can do day trip to sights in the surrounding area, either by renting a car and driving yourself or hopping aboard organized tours. Most places in Western Europe have English speakers, so you’ll manage just fine.

      • I was actually surprised by how many people were willing to speak English. Make sure to know a few local words like please, thank you, I would like, hello, goodbye, excuse me in the local language. In my experience, even just trying goes a long way with the locals. No one expects you to be fluent (especially as an American) but making an effort helps tremendously.

        • Yes, making an effort helps. Also, if going to Paris, forget about the stereotypes of rude Parisians. I have never found that to be true. All they want is what pretty much anyone wants–to be treated with respect. Imagine how you would react if someone came up to you and started shouting in French. Attempting a few words in French makes people more likely to respond to you in English when you switch to English. (And most people can speak at least some English.)
          .
          Oh, and leave your University of _____ sweatshirts and baseball caps at home. This impresses no one and just marks you as a tourist to be avoided. Picture all of the folks down on the Mall in August–that shouldn’t be your model.

    • Thank you everyone for the extremely helpful suggestions! Strangely enough, all of my overseas travel has been to places without heavy tourist infrastructure (Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc.) and I’m always bummed that I never get to travel in Europe which seems so much easier. I think we’ll pick one city and figure it out on the ground ourselves.

      • I am in the planning stages of a trip to Europe as well, though it won’t be until next year, and based on my research, I can honestly say between the travel (US to over there and in between countries)/jet lag, you may get 1-2 days out of a 5 day trip. I am trying to book with this company called Go Ahead Tours, they are based out of Boston. Flexible payment plans, hotel, tours, some dinners, airfare is all included. Quick google search brings up an 8 day Paris and Rome trip where you spend 3 nights in each. I’d take a look at them.

    • Can’t speak as much for France, but I lived in Italy for years.

      Do it yourself! It is incredibly easy to rent a car (or use the train… a shorter trip like that would justify just doing 2 or 3 cities) and move around. Figure out what you are interested in getting out of the trip (some of the main tourist sites, history, art, relaxing, food, hiking, etc.) and that will narrow down the geographic area.

      Once you have an idea of what you want to do, post on the TripAdvisor forums. If you can show that you have done initial research and can articulate your interests, it is incredible how many [knowledgable] people will actually put together a whole itinerary for you.

      In addition, there are also current and former expats who speak the language and know the country who facilitate trips. A bit more intimate and nonintrusive than working with a tour company.

    • msmaryedith

      My friend just started a business doing just this–you may want to get in touch! thetriparchitect.com

    • The woman who runs this company was amazing for touring Paris: http://parisartstravel.com/

  • Rant: Woken up at 4 AM because carbon monoxide alarm was sounding
    Rave: Carbon monoxide alarm worked and the Engine Company 16 firemen arrived in record time, all people in our building are safe.

    DC firemen and EMS crews are the tits.

  • Rant: Taking on a large project at work that requires learning new skills, but I’m unable to give an estimate of when I’ll be done because I’ve never done anything like this before. I understand that the management needs to give an estimated date of completion to the client, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to meet my self-imposed deadline. I might just make up a date and do what I can to get it finished by then.
    Rave: The boss is considering giving me a promotion this year and this is my chance to prove myself.

    • Not sure how helpful this is, but I always pad my ETC a little because it’s better to meet a deadline early than have to keep pushing it back. Also, if there is anyone you know who does this kind of work or something similar that may be able to help you estimate the time needed, that would be a plus. Good luck!

  • Rant: We moved away from DC in August and now live overseas. The experience will always be a positive when we look back, I’m sure, and we are really enjoying ourselves. But, there are days, like today, where I so miss DC and the lives we had there. My wife and I both moved around a lot when we were growing up, so when people here ask where I’m from, I don’t really know what to say.

    Rave: By moving away, we realized that DC is most definitely our home city. We’re both looking forward to returning home to DC in September.

    In the meantime, thanks Popville for letting us stay connected.

    • What a great story :)

    • I also moved around a lot growing up, and left the DC area (after 5 yrs) many years ago. Suddenly I realized that DC is pretty damn awesome and it’s not easy finding a place that is a good fit, or finding a town with people who actually have similar values, personalities, sense of humor, etc., so I came running back after a year. Been here 6 years since. I’m definitely glad I left because otherwise I’d have the “what ifs” but even happier that I came back. (an expensive lesson with moving your crap cross-country twice in a year, but oh well)

  • pablo .raw

    Rave: taking a photo of Ashlee (Emilie504′s pet) that will keep her memory alive.
    Rave: 2013 was in different ways a difficult year, started in a funny way and ended in the most beautiful way possible which was the beginning of 2014 watching fireworks in Baltimore’s inner harbor.
    Rave: 2014 is going great so far, I have a new wonderful photo project.
    Rave: I’m encouraged to make 2014 a great year!

    • Emilie504

      Thank you again, it’s such a great portrait of her!

    • GiantSquid

      Pablo, we still need to do photos if you still need subjects.

    • I’d love any advice you have on getting a pet to pose for a photo. :)

      • pablo .raw

        In my experience, some pets are more difficult than others; in Ashlee’s case, I was already packing after a photo session w Emilie504 and several attempts to photograph Ashlee. Then she came and sat on the right place, so I quietly installed my lights back and took the photo.

  • epric002

    rant: employer’s websites- they NEVER work. when the nature of your business is to support primarily federal clients, you better figure out a way for your effing sites to work when your employees try to access them remotely, so that your employees can do all the company-related BS you require of them. ARG!

  • Rave: I’m buying a house today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch out Bloomingdale, here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rave: Been reorganizing one drawer, cabinet, shelf, or closet a day. My house is getting so much neater!
    Rant: Undecided about whether to enter the Exposed DC photo contest this year. It’s only $10, but I don’t think my photos are really the style they’re going for.

  • rave: this picture. substitute a siamese face, and I see this play out any time I leave a glass of water within my cat’s reach. I actually stopped giving my cats water in a bowl next to their food bowl, they get it in a glass now.
    rant: internal temperature is all thrown off and the cold that I caught last weekend isn’t going away fast enough. achoo!
    rant: freaking out slightly about upcoming okcupid dates. maybe because the ones I went on last year went so badly? but the guy I met for coffee last weekend was totally normal and not creepy (and he wants to see me again) so… trying to be optimistic!

  • Rant: Sat in line for almost an hour and then failed my DC emissions inspections. Actually didn’t fail, they said they couldn’t inspect it due to a leaky exhaust system. Unfortunately I had waited until the last minute and as of today my previous inspection will expire. It’s a 15 year old car and I don’t know if it is worth fixing it. I really don’t need a car but I enjoy having one.

    AND I’M NOT POSTING COMMENTS TOO QUICKLY!!!!

  • I’m fairly broke, jobless, not many marketable skills but debt free, and mainly unencumbered.
    What would you do if you you found yourself in this position?

    • What have you always wanted to do?

      • i’d love to get paid to travel to exotic locations and drink.
        is there a career in that?

        • Peace Corps. Not a career but a great way to spend a couple of years.

          • Not a career, but it opens up opportunities you may not otherwise have. And there are a number of graduate programs that give special consideration (reduced tuition) to returned vols

    • What do you want to do? Do you have a passion? Outside of the fairly broke part – which can be fixed – you are in a perfect position to pursue it.

    • Peace Corps! Wish i had done it when I was in the same place as you. I’ve also met people from various places who traveled for a while and then work in dive shops for some period of time, if you like/want to dive and live in the islands for a while.

      • maybe i should do that. do they take people without many skills?

        • You need a ton of references. That’s what kept me from applying. I didn’t even know enough people for that.

          • Have you looked at the application process recently? A friend works there and said they’re doing a major revamp of the application/placement system to make it more streamlined.

          • i had zero references, and was accepted to the peace corps 3 weeks after applying with zero useful skills (thanks, liberal arts, degree!). maybe they were just desperate when i applied, but i also said i’d be willing to go to any country/region.

        • You have some skills – you’ll want to think about how to take whatever skills you have and how they are relevant to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Look at the PC website – that will give you better information on what they’re looking for in a Volunteer. If this is something you want to do, look at ways to increase your skills in the area that interests you. Volunteer work as well as paid work counts – so perhaps seeking out volunteer opportunities that would increase your chances of getting in.

        • pablo .raw

          I come from a country where they are sent regularly. If I was you, I would and you end up doing it, I would try to learn a skill that will help me be useful to the people of the community where I’m going to stay. Imagine you are living in a small village where there are no paved roads, maybe there’s electricity, maybe water. People are really poor, there’s one little school. How could you contribute to improve the health of these people (i.e.)?

          • PCVs are sent to a country/site to work in a particular sector (health, youth, agriculture). Which isn’t to say they don’t do other things but they are given specific technical training in that sector when they first get to their assigned country.

          • pablo .raw

            Interesting, that’s not what I’ve seen.

          • The theory of Peace Corps (technical training for volunteers who then work on a specified project) often deviates from the reality (volunteers do what they can/what the community needs). When I was a volunteer, this varied a lot even from volunteer to volunteer, depending on their placement, personality, opportunities, etc.

          • Vols don’t find out where they will be living until they get to the country and are in their initial training. Vols are also expected to work with the community to achieve the priorities of that community, something that they typically wouldn’t know in advance.

    • I’d probably find the cheapest ticket I could to a foreign country and bartend or do some other under the table work for a while. Save up,then move on to somewhere else. I’d travel the world for 6 months to a year like that. I’ve had a couple friends do this and I’m so jealous. But I’m encumbered, so I can’t do it.

    • DO NOT go to grad school (unless it’s on full scholarship)

    • Join the military. Seriously, I’d go to recruiters for the Army, Navy, and Air Force and see what you can get offered. I’d skip the Marines, but that’s because they are more likely to be in combat and die.
      .
      I joined the Army out of college, but wish I had been more adventurous. In retrospect, I would have signed up to be a linguist and had them send me to Monterey for a year to learn a language, then volunteered to go overseas.

  • What’s a decent, unusual, not too expensive, but not divey restaurant in arlington/ shirlington area?
    anything off the beaten path?

  • Rave: Two months after making the offer and about a year after starting the search, my company finally announced our new CEO. Too bad no one here has any idea who he is. But, the suspense is over and for the now the rumors can die down.
    Rave: I met with two guy who work for a generic veterinary drug manufacturer. Everyone at their company has their pet on the back of their business card! It’s the cutest, yet still professional, thing ever!
    Rant: I ordered an amazing credenza from a small place in LA that makes them in house with beautiful wood and craftsmanship, but the delivery service they use is driving me nuts. I just want my credenza, which I ordered the week after Thanksgiving.

    • Love the pets on the back of their business cards. I just put a photo of my cats on my new credit card. I hope I don’t regret it.

    • let me guess – thrive furniture?

      • No, Radius Style. I’m not super into mid century modern furniture, I like it and I appreciate the design, but I have no desire to recreate the Mad Men set in my house. But the style of their credenzas, plus the wood they use and the size really appealed to me.
        This is my splurge piece. I have never spent this much on a piece of furniture, my sofa cost half as much as this. I just want it delivered, the run around is driving me nuts.

  • Emilie504

    Rant: This weather has giving me the worst headache!
    Rave: Lots of great people in my life.
    Rave: That cat tongue! So cute!

  • Rave: This picture!

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