Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user johnmcochran2012

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.

145 Comment

  • epric002

    rave: squashes, cucumbers, tomatoes oh my!
    rave: my new steam cleaner “gun” arrives today. i am a steam cleaning fool.
    rave: my dog is adorable.

  • Rave: Days when the boss is off… Come in early, leave early. 🙂

    Rave: Peppermint oil looks like it’s working out in keeping mice from coming into my house from the “hotel house” next door. Rant: House smells like a giant candy cane.

    Rant: I saw a giant rat stealing a chicken bone from a cat last night in my alley. No es bueno senorita…

    Rant: Online dating is really not my bag… I’m an “in-person” type of person… Not enough social spots in DC outside of the generic DC bar/restaurant scene. I wish Georgia Ave would get some new culture spots already…

    • what is a culture spot? Also, dont give up on online dating…it can work you are going to have to shift through the bad apples (just like you would do already if you were picking people up at a bar or a culture spot)

      • Culture spots for me are like book stores, music shops or a small (no cover) concert venue for acoustic alternative bands or solo performers, movie lounges, a cafe like tryst, a dog park, maybe even a motorcycle shop…

        • Third spaces! This is the term to used for these places where people can congregate (outside of home and work). I agree, they are really important, but one consequence of high rents is that these spaces are harder to support.

    • I’ll 2nd your anti-online dating rant.

    • epric002

      curious- have you tried multiple online dating options?

    • I live on Georgia Ave, and have met tons of people just sitting at the bar at the Looking Glass and seeming friendly.

  • The Shaw Main Streets festival this past weekend was poorly advertised. I’m not sure how the turn-out was. However, the organization’s leaders should be fired. Shaw/U Street, its commercial establishments and residents deserve and can do better.

    • There was a Shaw festival this past weekend? That’s silly… who throws a festival to compete with the Gay Pride events?

      • There are only so many weekends to choose from and there are still quite a lot of straight people in DC believe it or not. Plus I heard that many people were able to attend Pride *and* do other things this past weekend, so apparently you don’t have to pick just one thing.

        • Lots of straight people attend pride, many of whom don’t have the energy for multiple events.

          • And lots of gay people don’t. Point is, there’s lots of people in the city, most of whom don’t attend Pride. There’s enough people to go around.

        • And a big chunk of those straight people choose to go to a Pride event. S/he’s right: it is a dumb day to have another festival.

        • Pride is literally the largest street festival in DC all year. I sure as heck wouldn’t put my event up against that. Especially in Shaw, which has way more gay residents than most other neighborhoods.

    • Wow.. they must have done a terrible job advertising as I live in Shaw and follow a lot of Shaw-related twitters and blogs and had no idea it was happening this past weekend.

      • It was really a “commercial vendor pride” affair – rather than a festival. There were 16″ x 11″ printed participation forms with 30 or so Shaw vendors, whom you could visit, and taste free food, etc.

  • Rant- A woman literally screamed at me on my way to work this morning. Where I turned there were two left turn lanes and she was in the “third” left turn lane (which is actually a middle lane and isn’t supposed to turn left but apparently people do sometimes anyway). She thought I cut her off by being in the lane I was supposed to be in so she pulled up beside me, rolled down her window and was yelling ‘You can’t do that! You can’t do that! You can’t change lanes in an intersection!!! You put my life in danger’ I didn’t change lanes at all, and we were going like 5mph, no one’s life was in danger. I’m sure you can all guess where her tags were from.

  • Rant: feel icky
    Rave: I have the best friends and family, helping out!

  • Rave: We have another mayoral candidate!
    Rant: It is Carol Schwartz

    • Schwartz must be on Bowser’s team because she doesn’t have a chance in hell, and she just tanked whatever chance Catania had. Schwartz will get single digits on election day, and those votes will all come from Catania.

      • saf

        I disagree. There are still a lot of us in town who are very pleased to see this.

          • saf

            Carol was a good council member, and she has the best interest of the city at heart.
            So, no, not Sulaimon Brown. And I doubt she and Catania share a constituency.
            And I am neither a Bowser fan nor a Catania fan, so this gives me an actual option.

        • I have nothing against Schwartz. I think she was a decent council member. My point is that she and Catania will split the same vote, handing the election to Bowser. So, if you like Bowser, this is a great thing. If you don’t, not so much.

        • Why? She is — to put it gently — well past her prime and the only possible outcomes with any significance are kicking the election to Bowser and replacing fond, if fading memories of her glory days with images of a political Norma Desmond, desperate for attention in her dotage.
          It’s a bad move.

      • Sulaimon Brown revisited!

      • Why do you think she will take Catania’s votes? Because they are both white? If the white vote is the limit of Catania’s appeal, he’s toast.
        I haven’t heard anything from Carol Schwartz in years. I have nothing against her but I wonder why anyone would vote for her now (again)?

        • You are correct, Catania can’t win on white votes alone. But his base is white “good government” types and he certainly isn’t going to win if Schwartz cuts substantially into his base.

          • Catania getting a significant portion of the white vote is necessary, but not sufficient, for his victory. For him to win, a lot of things need to break right. While a third candidate who would draw significant votes from Bowser would fit the bill, Schwartz certainly isn’t that candidate, and may be the opposite.

          • Agreed on everything you said.
            With Schwartz, Bowser can run a “nicer” campaign (i.e. she won’t have to explicitly run on race alone). Catania already had to win all the white vote, the Hispanic vote, and a good sized chunk of the African-American to have a shot at winning. Schwartz has torpedoed that plan.
            Barring a major political scandal, I’m sure they’re already popping champagne corks in Bowser HQ this morning.

        • They are both fiscally conservative ex-Republicans, so yes, they will inevitably be chasing the some of the same voters. I doubt that there is a significant portion of the DC electorate who would vote for a white candidate simply because he/she is white, so, no, I don’t think that is the issue. Bowser is the Democrat and so she has the upper hand from the beginning. If she were to be beaten, it would be by the slimmest of margins. So, in a three-way field, I see her coming out on top.

          • Catania has had 5 terms to become likeable and it hasn’t happened yet. So, blame him for being a jerk, whatever his politics or policies are.

            Carol was beloved for her tone, if not her vision, and it made her politics palatable to voters. That’s the difference right there.

          • Carol is just doing to David what he did to her. He supported another Republican which split her vote and caused her to lose her seat.

          • Both of the above are valid, but beside the point.

      • Carol will have the biggest hair.

  • Rave: Bonnaroo wednesday! “BachelorOO”
    Rant: 16th street busses (thought dc clears out in the summer but it seems to be getting worse)

    • The earliest clearing out in DC starts around the 4th of July (but is countered by a flood of tourists), while it seems to peak in August.

    • Gotta wait at least until schools get out to notice significant clearing. Although Arkansas => Piney Branch => RCP was surprisingly quick this morning.

    • BachelorOO, eh? Be careful — those hippie chicks are nothin’ but trouble!

  • Rant: Ate from the Tasty Kabob truck yesterday and it made me sick. Warning to all: eat Tasty Kabob at your own risk.
    Rave: Kid started summer camp today! He is so excited! So are his moms!

  • Rant: work project where we are all getting really annoyed with each other. Came in to an email of someone saying “I hope there were no hard feelings” from a heated discussion yesterday. There weren’t on my part and I replied as such, saying I hope there weren’t on hers either and we are all just getting burned out on this project. She writes back with, “oh no hard feelings. It’s just that’s never how it has been done in the past and your predecessors knew better than to question our area of expertise, but you can’t be expected to know that.” Seriously? C’mon now.

  • Rant: hit a concert last night at Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar but could only manage to stay through the first set because the venue was too hot (AC set at 82!), literally smelled like poop, and someone brought friends who talked over the music. Tiny hot venue that smells like poo with no cover charge? Go elsewhere with your friends for a conversation.
    Rant: food at El Tamarindo last night was exceptionally bland.
    Rave: participated in some exceptionally good people watching the past couple of days.

    • Has the food at El Tamarindo ever been good? Aside from when you’re already hammered. I’m pretty sure El Tamarindo exists to get people sobered up and to sell drinks to college kids who don’t want to be carded.

      • I was carded yesterday.

        I put it on par with Alero (Cleveland Park edition). Now? Maybe Cactus Cantina quality.

  • Rant: I feel so guilty when I don’t get along with someone or dislike someone. It really makes me feel like a terrible person. Feeling pretty deflated right about now due to a strong dislike of a friends’ SO
    Rave: They seem happy, despite being crummy dysfunctional people.

    • You kind of come off sounding like a terrible person in this. Did you really just call your friend (and your friend’s SO, whom you JUST met) a crummy, dysfunctional person? They’re your friend. Be better.

      • How do you know the OP just met the friend’s SO? I don’t see any indication of this.
        It didn’t seem “off” to me that the OP would refer to the SO as a “crummy, dysfunctional” person… but I was surprised that the OP included the friend in that category.

        • I don’t think they are “crummy dysfunctional people”, I was being ironic. However I do feel that they bring out the worst in each other, and it makes me very sad. Despite not liking the SO, I wouldn’t call the SO a crummy person, because, well, that would make me pretty crummy. I also don’t want to undermine the relationship.

          • The intended irony wasn’t apparent.
            That’s too bad that they bring out the worst in each other — I’ve seen similar situations.

      • lol I was joking. it was irony.

        also didnt “JUST” meet anyone…

  • Rave: Planning a major party makes me realize what awesome friends I have. The number of people reaching out to me and asking how they can help is just awesome. I love my community.
    Rant: I am sleepy and unmotivated at work today. Grey weather calls for sleeping in and watching movies on the couch.
    Rave: Yoga tonight!
    Rave: Peet’s coffee on sale at Costco.

  • justinbc

    Rave: Thailand, The Cookbook (http://www.amazon.com/Thailand-The-Cookbook-Jean-Pierre-Gabriel/dp/071486529X) is easily one of the best, most thorough, and detailed cookbooks I’ve ever bought, and a bonus that it’s for my favorite style of cuisine.
    Rant: Not having an H Mart in the District makes tracking down many of the ingredients for the authentic recipes a real pain in the ass.
    Rave: Cooking challenges at home, I love them.
    Rave: All 5 lavender varieties we got are doing exceptionally well and shooting off little spikes all over!

    • Did you watch the recent episode of Parts Unknown where Bourdain goes to Thailand? The food looked amazing. Well, most of the food – I don’t think I would try the brains or raw blood soup.

      • justinbc

        That’s his CNN show? I’ve only seen one episode of that, when him and Ripert went cocoa bean hunting, I forget what country (maybe Peru?). The colors in Thai food are so amazing, it’s hard to resist!

    • If you are looking for another good Thai cookbook, try Pok Pok by Andy Ricker.

  • Rant – Sick day. Feeling groggy and my throat is killing me 🙁
    Rave – Fresh Prince of Bel-Air re-runs

  • Rave: Job offer in Princeton, NJ!
    Rant: I know nothing about central NJ. Reading about towns I’ve never heard of on city-data and other websites confuses me more. Does anyone have any tips about young professionals living around Princeton, Lambertville or New Hope, PA, or decent apartment complexes in Lawrenceville/Plainsboro? Is a car absolutely necessary?

    • Spouse and I absolutely LOVE New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ. They are linked by a bridge, and I’ve spent many a weekend crossing back and forth between both. Great area. I can’t imagine living there without a car, though – aside from all the picturesque stuff and tourist-type attractions, you still need to go to work, buy groceries, etc.

    • It’s been a while, but yes a car is necessary. You might (might) be able to get by in Princeton without a car, but it’s be pretty tough to get anywhere else. Unless things have changed, the area mass transit options are limited.
      That said, it’s a very nice place to live, if you like quiet suburban/rural areas. It’s not cheap – not urban-center expensive, but state taxes are high, property taxes are high, and things cost more than they do in lots of other similar areas.
      Plus, you can go to the original Thomas Sweet.

      • Thanks for the advice. I’d be working right next to the Princeton Junction train station, but the apartment complexes I saw around there also seem to require a car. Plus it is expensive. Sigh.

      • You could definitely do Central Jersey without a car. My sister and her husband live in Metuchen and can walk to the train station in 10 minutes, and from there you can get to lots of places. When they first moved there they didn’t have a car, and did train commutes to their jobs in NYC and Jersey City. The train station is in a cute main street area with lots of restaurants and shops, although you do need to drive to get to a good grocery store (they did delivery and supplemented it with the not-as-good grocery store down the street). Unlike the suburbs here, NJ has a lot of walkable towns with good public transit that aren’t prohibitively expensive to live in (for example their SFH was purchased for $250k). We went to college in New Brunswick, which is more urban and very walkable. I loved it when I lived there and it’s only gotten better since then.

        • And as far as young professionals go, there should be tons of them around there. Lots of people stay in the area after college, or move there because NYC/Hoboken/JC is too expensive.

          • That’s what I thought, but after 5 years of putting a lot of effort into meeting people, I came up empty and fled. I found that in NJ, much more than anywhere else I’d ever lived, that people are from there so already have well established family and friend networks and aren’t very open to new comers.

        • Thank you for this. It’s so nice to learn about a town with a convenient commute to Princeton and a cute main street! Do you know of any decent apartment complexes around the train station?

    • I really don’t think it is possible to survive in central Jersey without a car.

    • I have family friends that grew up in that area. It’s gorgeous! I can’t see making it without a car. Lambertville and New Hope are both wonderful. My friend started her career in Lambertville and loved living there. She rented an apartment that was an old house broken into pieces. If you want I could put you in touch with her…I’m sure she’d be happy to give advice!

    • I have a friend who was living in Princeton (because of a job) for a while. She told me something like, “This is the most boring place I’ve ever lived in, and I’m from Ohio!”

      • Really? I’ve never been to Ohio, but I’ve lived in NJ and it’s a lot less boring than Fairfax County and Alexandria where I’ve also lived. As far as suburbs go the ones in Northern and Central Jersey are pretty interesting. Lots of diversity, lots of cultural ammenties, lots of towns with very distinctive personalities. Plus you’re so close to the beach and mountains.

    • New Brunswick is doable without a car and is 20 mins from Princeton Junction by NJ transit. However, the majority of suburbs and small cities require a car

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: We have a Jacob Two Two at work and it’s driving me batty!
    Rave: Donna Martin.

  • Rant: So. Freaking. Cold. Wearing a v-neck sweater over a v-neck tank top was not the smartest idea. Wishing I had a scarf!

  • GiantSquid

    Revel: ordering shoes online and having them fit when they show up
    Rant: visual distortion and nausea are indicating the start of a major headache

    • epric002

      atmospheric pressure changes? i was getting the inkling of one last night. take some drugs and feel better!

      • GiantSquid

        I just popped two Advil and have been chugging a Diet Coke. It’s making a difference, visual distortion is gone but still have lurking pressure and pain in head. Ugh!

        • Make it THREE advil (you’re safe taking up to four (800mg) in one dose, every eight hours for a day or two), and a regular Coke. The artificial sweetener in diet might exacerbate your headache.

          • GiantSquid

            I start with two and then if it doesn’t do anything I can add another one or two. Which it’s looking like I’ll have to do. I do Diet because the regular’s too sweet for me and can compound the nausea. I have my sunglasses on at work and have acupuncture later so that should help.

        • Have you taken any migraine-specific medicine?
          The over-the-counter stuff (combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine) seems to do it for my migraines, but Advil/ibuprofen doesn’t.

          • GiantSquid

            I so rarely get these, I don’t have anything on hand. If it doesn’t clear up, I’ll buy some.

        • epric002

          i love excedrin migraine for before i can get to/when i don’t have my RX.

          • Excedrin migraine is the exact same thing as regular Excedrin. But this or generic comp. is much more effective for migraines than Advil.

          • epric002

            i did not know that victoria! the excedrin wikipedia page is interesting 🙂 apparently excedrin extra strength, excedrin migraine, and excedrin menstrual complete have identical active ingredients.

  • RANT: AHHH my friend just told me (after law school and undergrad) he is 461K in student loan debt. Compounding 30k annually!!!! What the hell can I tell him to do?

    • Tell him to pray that he qualifies for the new executive order regarding loan forgiveness…holy crap! (It’s income-based and any principal after 20 years is forgiven.)

    • Enjoy the big law salary of 165k starting out that is the only responsible reason he went to law school. Then again at 461k he must have gone to private undergrad so….no sympathy for irresponsibility.

      • you don’t have to be sympathetic, but calling this irresponsible is easy as an adult. When I was 17, I had no concept of debt or how money works, and no real guidance. It was a gamble to try to take out more debt after undergrad in order to get that big entry level paycheck. But now lawyers aren’t finding employment, and if were this guy, I’d be scared sh*tless.

        • Just curious – why would you – even at an unschooled 17 – think that people would just lend you money for free? And why would you borrow money without really understanding what it would cost to repay? Of course, addictive gamblers etc. borrow heedlessly, but for anyone else, it isn’t hard to figure out what debt will cost.

          • Because at 17 you think you’re going to be very successful in life. Because at 17, you’ve never dealt with money in the amounts of tuition, college loans, salaries, and mortgages, and sure they’re big numbers but adults do it all the time so why not you too? And finally, because at 17, you make poor decisions, sometimes because you don’t have the perspective that experience brings.
            P.S. who said anything about lending money for free?

      • You’re assuming private schools cost more. If you qualify for financial aid, they often cost LESS than a pubic school.

    • Holy crap! What school cost that much??? That is more than my mortgage!

    • Oh dear. I thought my friend was the worst out there (250k after undergrad and law school).
      Seems like the options are biglaw or public interest for 10 years…

    • How is it possible to rack that much dept to go to school? Did your firend live large while in school? That is beyond the beyond!

      • GiantSquid

        One of my brothers did undergrad and med school and has a similar amount of debt. He wasn’t “living large”. Advanced degrees cost money if you don’t have an employer paying for them. A sad fact of the system.

    • I think your friend needs to speak to a reputable financial advisor (or someone similar) with expertise in this area. I think he needs some professional help to come up with a workable plan.

    • Explain to him what a loan is. When you sign that piece of paper saying you will pay the money back, you have to eventually pay the money back.

    • Surely it wasn’t a surprise to him that he was incurring so much debt, and it was his choice to sign the loan papers. Did he ask you for advice? Really, there’s not a whole lot he can do but make a plan about how he will pay it off.
      If he hasn’t done so already, he should make a budget for his fixed expenses (rent, loans, insurance, etc), see how much he has left, put some a side for emergencies and budget the remainder.
      He may want to look into getting a second job.

    • Equal Justice Works has a number of resources available for new lawyers facing large student debt. http://equaljusticeworks.org/ed-debt

    • I’m starting to feel pretty good about my $140K in student loan debt (which costs me around $700/month)

    • I have a buddy, she is $300k+ in debt. She had to move back in with her parents, rent-free. With a proper budget, she is putting in about 90% of her income to student loan debt. I don’t know how far she has gotten though. Tha is my only recommendation…try and use as much of your income as possible. Good luck dude.

    • To answer your actual question – don’t tell him anything unless he asks. If he is asking, he should live like a student – roommates and cheep housing, cooking for himself (thinking about things like buying dried beans that really go a long way on your grocery buck and buying things when they’re on sale and freezing them – maybe buy him a good cookbook about cooking on the cheap), paying as much as he possibly can to the loans – every extra penny. Forego cable and just do netflix. If he gets a law firm job, tell him not to be tempted to go get a nice apartment and live alone. He still needs to live with roommates and cheaply. He might need a couple nice suits for work, but after that no extraneous spending. Make a budget – send a portion of his paycheck to a separate account for his loans so that it never hits his normal checking accoutn and he never sees it and isn’t tempted to use it. If he gets paid every two weeks, then the two extra paychecks per year go to the loans. Tax refund goes to the loans. If he gets money for Christmas – to the loans. It isn’t fun, but I paid off $50K in 5 years doing this. Sure, it is WAY less than what he has, but I was also working on a fairly low (for a law grad) federal salary at the time and didn’t take all of this advice (for example, I did live alone).

      If he has federal loans, see if he can consolidate them for a better interest rate and a longer payoff term. Not sure if they still do that, but it really helped me.

    • If he’s working as a Fed (or any other type of public service field – teaching, public defender, DA, etc.), he can consolidate and then they will dismiss the remaining principal balance after 120 on time payments (i.e. 10 years). He should do Income Based Repayments so he’s paying the least amount possible.

  • Rave: It was great to cook at home last night and I was in good company!
    Rant: No chance to get garlic scapes (yet) and it sounds like I might miss them.
    Rave: Maybe next year I’ll grow my own.

    • saf

      Several farmers at the Columbia Heights farm market last week had them and told me they would have more this weekend.

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