Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user  Jim Havard

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.

228 Comment

  • Aglets

    Rant: no snow day. C’mon winter……gimme at least ONE.
    Rave: Radio played balloon man by robyn hitchcock this morning and that’s one song that just immediately triggers happy memories for me. Yay for music as a time machine!

  • Rave: PG has a snow day!
    Rant: I really needed it after spending way more than the equivalent of a regular school day grading.
    Rave: I taught my kids how to use email last week and now I periodically get emails from them just to say “hi, you’re the best teacher ever!”
    Rave: Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish at the Fillmore tomorrow night.
    Rant: None of my friends wanted to go since they’re not 14 and this isn’t 1998 anymore.

    • I never really listened to Less Than Jake or Reel Big Fish, but I realized last year that I missed seeing both Saves the Day and Brand New and I died a little inside 🙁 No need to be 14 to be excited!

      • jim_ed

        Saves the Day came with Say Anything to the Fillmore in November. I’m still bummed my wife and I didn’t go.

      • I wish my friends would get that memo. Oh well, there are worse places to go alone than a concert in a loud, noisy place.

      • Also did anyone ever listen to Texas is the Reason? Now I’m sitting here at my desk listening to all the ’90s and early ’00s emo music I loved. This actually made my day.

        • I was more of a tooth and nail records fan (before I realized all the bands were Christian rock) as far as emo goes for a year or two in the 2000s. But mostly I listened to punk and third wave ska in the 90s.

        • jim_ed

          Oh yeah, although I personally preferred Hot Water Music to Texas is the Reason in that vein. But I unashamedly love early 2000s emo, no matter how absurd and over the top the lyrics seem now. Bayside, Taking Back Sunday, The Early November, Silverstein, Brand New, etc etc. I still listen to it all, even though I’m approaching middle age and my life is decidedly free of teenage angst and heartbreak.

          • palisades

            Jim you’re my hero.
            Sidenote: Brand New seemed to survive the emo fad and come out the other end a pretty timeless band. Their albums are surprisingly great.

          • I’m with you, I still listen to Taking Back Sunday and Brand New

          • +1 to palisades comment

          • Pablo Raw

            I like Opera and Slayer. That’s why I don’t have any friends. 🙁

          • Aglets

            Engine Down!

          • jim_ed

            I’m glad to see there are plenty of people in PoPville who aren’t afraid to let their inner 17 year old control the radio.
            Palisades – yeah Brand New has matured nicely. They’re overdue to put out some new material. Similarly, the new bands I’ve been listening to are quasi-punk/rock bands that I call ’emo for adults’, most of which is coming out of Philadelphia. I cannot recommend The Menzingers “On The Impossible Past” enough, it’s easily my favorite album of the last 5 years.

          • It’s actually my inner 13 year old in my case. No shame here!

          • Jim_ed, when I saw the beginning of your message (“I’m glad to see there are plenty of people in PoPville who aren’t afraid to let their…”) in the “Recent Comments” box, I thought it was going to be a reply to Andy2, continuing with “… packages show through their running tights.” 😉

    • I can so relate to your last rant. My concertgoing friends are either out of the area or have kids, so I’m pretty much on my own for that now. 🙁

    • I’m so hyped for this show – both those bands put on an amazing live show.

    • Last concert I went to was the Street Dogs. We were volunteering for Toys for Tots, and I’m a huge fan of theirs….but I was like HOLY CRAP I’m old. I just want to go to sleep!

    • I bought nearly every Epitaph and Nitro Records release for a few years in HS.
      One of the best concerts of my (young) life was when my buddy got us All Access passes to the Warped Tour in ’97. We were exactly like Wayne and Garth when they get to meet Alice Cooper, lol.
      Highlight of the day was sitting on stage when NOFX played and Fat Mike tossed 15 year-old me a Bud Lite, which I promptly shotgunned and then dove off the stage.

      • Sorry, I meant the 1996 Warped Tour. Still got the t-shirt somewhere in my mom’s house.

      • Dang, and I was all excited about when the guy from the Juliana Theory tossed his guitar pick on the stage and I got it in 2003.

      • OP Anon, we need a LOT more of these stories!

        • Ridiculous lineup, all these bands were in their PRIME. Beck had just hit it big with the release of Odelay. His appearance rocketed the Warped Tour into the mainstream.
          311, The Alkaholiks, Beck, Blink 182, CIV, Dance Hall Crashers, Deftones, Dick Dale, Down By Law, Face To Face, The Figgs, Fishbone, Fluff, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, NOFX, Mushroomhead, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, Rocket From the Crypt, Unwritten Law
          My personal highlights of the day were Dick Dale, Beck, NOFX, Fishbone, and Pennywise. I had seen Blink and RBF a few times before, so they were not a priority for me. This was right before Blick blew-up and still had the original drummer.

      • SFT

        Ahhh…I went to every Warped Tour from ’96 – ’02! I watched “The Other F Word” recently and loved seeing all of my punk rock idols turn into doting fathers, it was pretty great. It’s also pretty cool to see Ian MacKaye walk up Irving Street with his son!

  • Rave: took another day off thanks to unscheduled leave.
    Rant: got barely anything done with my day off yesterday – trying for round 2 today.
    Rave: lunch yesterday at the Diner and dinner at Nam Viet. Delicious all around.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rave: Having the option to work at home so I don’t have to go out in the cold.
    Rave: Apparently, after I went to bed (at 9; I was exhausted), Eldest Zelda made fudge. This is why I had children.

  • Rave: Two hour delay, yay extra sleep! I think I’d be a much better person if I even got an extra half hour of sleep each day without having to go to bed at like, 8:30pm.
    Rave: Friends who are far away but always take time to talk and empathize.
    Rant: A little overwhelmed at work. I can do everything, but the past few days I’ve come in and had trouble getting started with my to-do list. I feel like a deer in the headlights.
    Rave: Going to work on compartmentalizing things in my brain today — one thing at a time! With good thoughts in between!

  • Rave: Recycling pile was gone this morning! Still awaiting word on the fate of the garbage, but there wasn’t much there so we should be fine. I’m going to recycle even more this weekend!
    Advice seeking: I have a new colleague on my team who is a nice, bright 23/24ish year old and this morning he came to work reeking of alcohol. So far it hasn’t seemed to affect his performance, but I can smell it from several feet away and don’t think he realizes how obvious this is. I’m not sure if I should just mind my own business, or if this calls for a bit of intervention. We’re a team of five and work closely together and if this is more than a single-time thing, it will definitely have bad consequences for him here. If I do say or do something, what is the right thing to do? It may be important to note that his position was really hard to fill and everyone really wants him to succeed.

    • I would say something casually. But that’s just me. And probably better you than someone REALLY important later.

      • I’m thinking this is the right move because if our big boss catches on, she will really not be okay with it. I guess the challenge is in figuring out how to say it casually and have it get through. I’ve tried to casually drop hints on other things with him (e.g. coming to work on time, not taking hour breaks mid-afternoon) and he either seems to blow them off or not notice that I’m trying to help. Maybe he just really hates the job and hopes he’ll get fired?

        • Reading a bit between the lines here, but it sounds like he’s not really happy with the job (admittedly hard-to-fill job, blowing off your advice).

          • I wonder if -that’s- the part I should focus on. Maybe I’ll take him out to coffee later for a check-in and write off this incident until I learn more.

          • BTW, when I said the job was hard to fill, it wasn’t because the job stinks. It’s because it requires a very specific, hard-to-find skill set and location flexibility.

          • Shawess I think a coffee check-in might be a good idea – see where he’s at mentally with the position and get a read on if the behavior is because he’s not interested/checked out or if he really doesn’t know any better.

        • Huh. That’s peculiar. Perhaps he really doesn’t like it. Then again, who in their right mind WANTS to get fired. That never looks good. Maybe he’s oblivious. Honestly, I’m a pretty blunt person so I’m not good with suggestions, but you could say something like “Did you go out last night? Any special occassion?” … I don’t know.

        • So he’s a new employee, and he’s already having problems coming to work on time and taking hour-long (!) breaks during the afternoon? I think you’ve got a problem that goes beyond alcoholism if that’s what he is. Bummer, but I predict you’re going to be looking for someone else in the relatively near future. It’s not worth it to cover for someone like this, and I’m not sure how much intervention is appropriate or even worthwhile. Sometimes getting fired is the best medicine and a wake-up call to fix the bad things in your life.

          • FWIW, none of this is totally crazy behavior here. A lot of veterans come in late and people come and go fairly freely, so I can see why he might think this is okay. I am also not going to jump to call this alcoholism. He could have just had a long night.
            And maybe it’s just selfish of me to not want him to get fired — it means that I have more schedule flexibility for myself, and opportunities to delegate a lot of junior-level work to him. Plus I genuinely like him.

        • Could it be that he’s starting to think the job is beneath him? I had a kid the same age working for me a couple years ago, and it was clear that he didn’t feel like he should be doing grunt work, and his admin work/writing got increasingly sloppy as time went on. He really wanted to do more client-facing, high-level work. But when we would ask him to do bigger projects to prove he was capable, he would half-ass them.

          • It may be this. I think it’s a real challenge to find the “sweet spot” for motivating people on your team, whether you’re they’re manager, colleague, or a more junior person “managing up.” It’s sort of a dance between wanting to challenge people to do their best but not let them take on more then they can handle. I’m sure I pose my own management challenges 🙂 I suspect I’ll find out more about his at coffee.

    • Personally I would say err on not mentioning it until either it can be linked directly to a performance problem or if it just happens again. While its super unprofessional, there’s a chance he already knows but can’t bring it up out of awkwardness? It’s tough though for people on your team who might just be sensitive to strong smells, so that’s a real conundrum.

    • Is this the first time he’s come to work like this? If yes, I’d just give him a heads up that others can smell it.

      • Yeah — as far as I know, it is. I might do that. Simple and not too preachy.

        • Although he’s been here two months, so that’s not saying much 🙂

        • What about simply saying “rough night last night?” I think that’d give him the hint he needs.

          • Second that, when I was in my first year out of college I enjoyed hh with the maturity of a 23 year old on occasion, but a one time call-out by my boss with that exact phrase meant I showed up showered and professional or stopped going to hh.

            As for the other behavior, I wonder if that’s an age thing that’s more of a do your work than punch the clock personality or lack of professional experience. I know the junior people I work with have had issues learning to understand the value of facetime, and unless someone in authority sets an expectation, it’s hard to remedy.

          • I’d actually recommend against hinting. He might say yes, or no, and still not get that he smells like alcohol.
            Perhaps say “you may not be aware of this, but you smell of alcohol.” That’s it.

          • Agree with MPinDC.

          • Agree with MPinDC. I think in general hinting is a terrible idea, because there’s usually a good chance the recipient won’t get it. If he needs to know that he smells like alcohol then you should tell him and not just hope he understands a vague reference to it.

          • You’re all making good points. Until today, I’ve been hesitant to direct him because I’m his colleague, not his boss, and think my comments could backfire if he thinks that I’m telling him what to do. But I may need to use the seniority card here, especially since his actual bosses have been a bit absent.

    • Only bring it up if it is a recurrence. Everyone has one of those nights/rough mornings now and then.

      And if you keep smelling alcohol but it NEVER affects his performance, you could just casually give him a heads up that you can smell it to warn him that people will know.

      • Eh, honestly, I don’t think everyone has those mornings. On weekdays at least. I haven’t. Unless it was an office happy hour or something it’s not really excusable, and even then….

        • I was going to say the same thing. I realize different workplaces have different cultures and that’s fine, but this is definitely not the culture of my workplace.

          • That’s fair, but consider boozing and hungover isn’t the culture of any workplace be it a lab researcher or a bartender

          • Mintwood, I’ve worked at two places where senior people kept bottles at the edges of their desks and drank Mad Men style on a regular basis. One of those places was actually a great workplace in many respects, but I’m happy my current work environment is a lot more “dry.” It’s certainly more predictable..

          • I can’t believe that is actually a thing, like I do, but wow! I’m half jealous and half thankful I’ve never encountered that in my professional career.

          • The good one was in New York and that made some sense in the context. The bad one was in DC and was just one of the many reasons I couldn’t get out of that job quickly enough. Either way, I think you should be more thankful than jealous.

        • Uhm- the night before a possible snow day is definitely a reason to drink anticipating being snowed in. So it is possible he and his friends decided to drink?

    • Cut the kid a break. Everyone has come into work at least once in less then ideal condition. Happens again, say something. This one time, let it go and mind your business.

      • What he did last night is totally his business, not mine, and I’m not trying to pry. I like him and I want him to do well here and don’t want his cluelessness to get him fired.

    • If I were in his shoes (young, oblivious, and often f#cked up after work/school), I’d definitely appreciate a casual heads up. It would be a wake-up call and make me moderate (or completely eliminate) my consumption on “school nights.” He probably has no idea that he reeks.
      Though when you talk with him, stress that he’s not in trouble and that you won’t tell anyone else. I’m sure he’ll really appreciate it.

      • I totally agree. I may not even bring it up. For now, I’m going to consider it a sort of heads-up that we should be paying more attention to keeping him motivated and engaged.

        • Bringing it up with him is going to be awkward — I don’t think there’s any good way around it — but if you can get yourself to do it, I’d do it, and I’d do it today.
          I don’t know whether this is his first job out of college, but either way it sounds like he doesn’t fully understand what’s appropriate for the workplace. Much better that you give him a gentle nudge now than him getting in trouble later with someone higher up.

        • Blithe

          I like the idea of your doing a coffee check-in, and he might welcome the coffee! Given his age, I’m wondering if this is his first, real grown-up job — and he hasn’t shifted from the mentality of being a student — with frequent holidays, a flexible schedule, and possibly a culture that supports partying, and being a full-time employee which has a very different pace and a very different set of expectations. If he’s only been working for a couple of months, particularly on a small team — without the benefits of a cohort of peers and or a training program to provide structure and survival tips — it could be good to check in just to see if his expectations and the reality of your particular office/organization are fitting together as well as they could. I wouldn’t bring up the alcohol — but might talk about how the current office culture skew — and what kinds of qualities (i.e. no wandering off for extended breaks) tend to be noticed and rewarded in your particular office.

        • I’m going to feel out whether/how I should bring it up over coffee. This is his first “real”, non-internship job and now that I’m thinking about it, we haven’t given him the structure and clear expectations that are likely to be very important for -any- new employee. The people who are actually responsible for that have been tied up with other things — long story — and I think they would appreciate my help here. I’ll see what I can say and do that’s “within bounds.”
          Thanks for helping me think this all through, everyone!

          • +50000 Since it’s his first “real” job post-college, I think your read is correct and he is probably still feeling out the amount of partying he can get away with and still be on for work the next day. It will be helpful for him to have some parameters to work within to manage his social life and still stay on the boss’ good side. While this seems like really basic stuff to anyone who has been in the workforce for any small amount of time, it is not for someone so new to the working world. You’re kind to look out for him.

          • You sound like an amazing coworker. It definitely seems to me like an age/maturity thing, rather than a “real” problem. Not that it wouldn’t be a “real” problem if he never learned, but it sounds like you’re going to help him do so.

          • You guys are really nice, but all I’ve done so far is kvetch about him semi-anonymously 🙂 Let’s see if this actually works out well for us both before I get any kudos 😀

    • Had the same thing happen with a coworker and I just told him that he should stay home if he is going to come in drunk or face getting fired. I’m not an intervention specialist, so that’s about it – dont come into work drunk or reeking of alcohol.

    • Talk to another person on your team – you don’t want to put yourself in a vulnerable situation where you could face blow back for this.
      It might be wise to talk to HR and ask the right procedure for dealing with an employee with a substance issue.

      • No, not after one incident. You’re going overboard. No reason to bring in HRD (which sucks in many companies/organizations anyway). Just giving him a head’s up this one time should be sufficient.

      • Accountering

        Why are we saying he has a substance issue? He got drunk one night, this does not indicate a substance issue.

        • Exactly. If he was in his 40s coming in that hungover, it would be a bigger red flag to me. But a kid in their early 20s coming in hungover occasionally is a lot more common and I would want to see more evidence of a pattern before concluding it was alcoholism.

        • Absolutely. I remember throwing up in my trashcan on the Tuesday after a Bacon Dinner at David Gregory (anyone?) when I was in my 20s. Getting hammered on a work night once does not equal a substance problem.

        • I am sorry – I thought it was repeated behavior. Misread the comments by Shawness.
          Either way – I’d be cautious calling out another employee on behavior if I wasn’t directly in her/his management chain.

    • For a different take, I’d say from everything you’ve written, since you’ve talked to him already about issues and he doesn’t care, is to just stay out of it completely. He’s not a kid – not 16, where I might expect such behavior – he’s an adult. It isn’t rocket science to show up and tow the line a bit. He obviously doesn’t care at at all – why should you care so much? And, if you have drunk so much that it is reeking from your pores, it is affecting your brain somewhat still. He’s not your responsibility – he needs to take responsibility for himself. And he won’t learn to do that from you – your efforts have shown that already.

      • Sure, it’s not Shawess’s responsibility, but I think it would be a kind gesture. And as she mentioned, if he gets fired, it would affect her — the position was difficult to fill, and his presence gives her more schedule flexibility and some opportunity to delegate things.
        It sounds like it’s in everyone’s best interest for Shawess to take this guy aside, let him know that he smells like alcohol, and tell him that she’s concerned because she wants him to stay and succeed and something like that (esp. in combination with hour-long breaks) could cost him his job.

      • Blithe

        Not that I think that this is a GOOD thing, but in many ways now, 24 is the new 16. And I’m not clear where the alcohol smell is coming from — but this is a first time thing, and his behavior doesn’t seem to be impaired. So, you never know, maybe he thought it would be a DC Snow day, slept over at someone else’s house, and the dog knocked a bottle off the table onto his only set of work-appropriate clothes and he’s hoping he can make it through the day and go home and shower. I realize that this is an implausible — but quite possible scenario, but it’s the first time it’s happened, so assessment should trump assumptions IMO. .

        • I should have probably mentioned earlier that we don’t follow OPM guidelines — we have to work even if there’s a snow day and even have complex plans in place for disasters — so we can rule out the idea that he thought he might not have to work. That said, I completely agree with you and Textdoc here.

  • Rant: My office had a 2 hour delay! Rant because they didn’t notify people through the phone / text notification system, and only through an office email which… I couldn’t check until I got into the office this morning. What the what? Still, its not like it was trouble getting to work and I got some good stuff done so eh.
    Rant: I miss when my apartment building was empty and so was the gym. Now every evening it is full of dudebros who don’t wipe down anything! Huge pet peeve, along with metro manspreading and litter.
    Rave: at least I still worked out.
    Rec request: a good laptop sleeve/bag for a 13″ Dell Ultrabook?

    • I buy my laptop sleeves off Amazon – Kamor makes a good laptop sleeve that’s water resistant (great investment for someone who’s gotten stuck in rainstorms with tiny umbrellas).

  • skj84

    Rant: manager didn’t call a two delay until I was practically getting on the bus. He sent out an email that office was open at normal time around 6, then reversed the decision a few hours later. I wanted that extra hour of sleep dammit!

    Rave: I decided to kill time in my favorite coffee shop. Had a nice red eye and read a bit.

  • gotryit

    Rave: Snow blower… I figured out I have about 300’+ of sidewalk, so even this little dusting was easier with it.
    Rant: Woke up early to clear snow (instead of taking 2 hours extra) because I thought people were coming into town for a meeting.
    Rave: No meeting – I can get something done this morning.

  • Rant – really wanted a snow day.
    Rave – super fast commute since no one’s on the roads.
    Rant – was annoyed at the boy for being non-communicative/MIA – turns out he actually has the flu. Oops. I feel bad about that.

  • Learned that one of the high-level managers in my (federal) office thinks that the 2-hour delay means that you’re supposed to leave at your normal time and you can be excused for up to 2 hours if the weather slows you down. I had always interpreted it as “Arrive two hours later.” Good thing I decided to telework today so that it wasn’t an issue.

    • Ug, that’s annoying. I always thought the point of it was that you could give the roads some time to get plowed/thaw so you weren’t driving in the worst of it.

    • epric002

      someone ought to clue him in on what it really means. OPM has a very specific definition (assuming your office follows OPM guidance).

      • Could you point me to where they say that it’s “come in two hours later””? My work says we follow OPM but think that OPM means that you need permission and it’s only if you need it (otherwise you’re expected in at 9). The say the “granted excused absence” means it’s only if you get permission from your department head and say you need the extra time (otherwise they want you in at 9). If it’s otherwise I’d love to show it to my job and see if we can start getting proper delays.

        • epric002

          go here http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/work-schedules/ and select the link for “Washington, DC, Area Emergency Dismissal or Closure Procedures” fact sheet.
          on page 16 of the PDF begins very detailed explanations of what the OPM operating status announcements mean. for the delay it states, “Delayed Arrival. Non-emergency employees should plan their commute so the arrival for work is no more than XX hour(s) later than the employees’ normal arrival times. For example, if OPM announces a 2-hour delayed arrival policy, employees who normally would arrive at 8:00 a.m. should arrive for work no later than 10:00 a.m. Such employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for up to the designated number of hours past their normal arrival times.”

    • My work is the same, and everyone is under the impression that that’s what OPM means – if you face “unavoidable circumstances” and request permission ahead of time, you can come in late, but otherwise they expect you here at 9. Is that not the case?

      • OPM’s status thing says: “Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive. Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for up to 2 hours past their expected arrival time.”

        • Right, I know that – just seems there’s confusion about whether it means it’s normal to come in 2 hours later, or if it’s just if you need the extra time. My office thinks that OPM means “if you have unavoidable circumstances and let us know, you can be excused up to 2 hours, otherwise we want you in at 9.”

      • I guess it’s because most of us grew up with 2 hour delay meaning school started at 9am instead of 7am. 🙂
        I’ve been wondering the same thing– I know Feds whose commute consists of walking two city blocks and taking a metro, and it seemed odd that they would need two hours to deal with that this morning.

        • I’m not a fed, but we follow OPM. I do feel kinda bad taking a delay only to walk 3 blocks to the metro, metro here, then walk a bit more to the office. Everyone knows I metro when it snows, so sometimes I just take part of the delay, like today I was about an hour late.

        • Exactly. That’s why I thought it meant “just start two hours later”, but my office doesn’t think that’s what OPM means. They’re very… literal and don’t understand the concept of a delayed office opening, since that’s not how their culture does it. It’s just either open or closed. But then they say they follow OPM.
          I also live in the city and don’t think I really needed a two hour delay today, but sometimes it definitely helps. Especially since the sidewalks etc. near where I work are never shoveled by 9 am (if they get shoveled at all).

      • There’s definitely nothing in OPM guidance about needing advance permission from a supervisor.

        • Apparently my office thinks that the “granted excused absence” means you have to ask permission ahead of time to get the excused part.

          (They’re non-Americans/ESL, which adds to the confusion.)

          • Knowing what Japanese office culture is like, I can totally see them interpreting things in the most hardass, management-centric way possible. 😉

          • textdoc – Preeeetty much! They claim to follow OPM though, so that’s why I’m trying to figure it out haha.

      • No that is not the case. The whole point of these delays is to keep people off the roads to give them a chance to get cleaned and limit the people on mass transit at a time when it may not be operating at full capacity. If people left their homes at the normal time, it would completely defeat the purpose. The OPM alert says employees “should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.” If you can leave two hours later than normal and meet that deadline, you have complied. On the other hand, if it’s going to take you extra time than normal to get to work, you might have to leave at the same time or even earlier.

        • epric002

          +1- you don’t have to use the delay/all of the delay, but the intent is to keep people off roads so that conditions can improve/roads can be salted, plowed, etc.

        • +1. Stay off the roads to give the crews time to clear. Shovel your own walk before everyone tramples the snow into solid ice. That’s what the two hours are for.

  • Bear

    Rant: Rough day at the office – unrealistic client expectations, employee issues, and general frustration are piling on to extreme fatigue from working 12-15 hour days for the last three weeks. I do love being in the field, but it is so exhausting sometimes. Two more weeks to go, then…
    Rave: Meeting the BF in Amsterdam for a long weekend. I’m looking for a nice restaurant where we can do a belated birthday/valentine’s day dinner. Does PoPville have any suggestions? Semi-fancy would be good, nothing too over the top.

    • I once went to D’Vijff Vlieghen in amsterdam and it was very cool – it’s a collection of townhouses dating back to the 1600’s, and the food is good (not mind-blowing, but good) not super expensive.

    • Fine some Indonesian. Otherwise, honestly, Dutch food is awful (though, that’s my opinion….). Blauw is excellent.

      • Agreed, it’s pretty terrible. Though I think a lot more international cuisine (read: high-end continental/French/Italian) has been introduced in recent years because the Dutch are fairly high income (though notoriously frugal) and Amsterdam gets a large share of international business travelers passing through.

    • hooville

      Go to Sichaun Food (http://www.sichuanfood.nl/amsterdam/sichuan.html) . It’s in the Centrum, tablecloths and candlelight but come as you are dress code. Order the “Duck meal” for 2 and enjoy. One of my favorite meals!! Starts with ducks in pancakes carved tableside (and will make Peking Gourmet in NOVA look like the McDonalds of duck), then clear broth duck soup, then duck three ways as the main course served in a large dish for the table.

      Perfectly located and easy to get to if you’re doing anything in the centrum, from a multitude of tram stops, and right next to the flower market (Bloemmarkt).

      Fantastic attentive service, head waiter was a friend my British boyfriend when I lived in Amsterdam for 3 years.

      If you do want to go over the top, do Michelin starred Vinkeles, also in the centrum, on the Keizersgracht.

      Don’t miss the stedelijk museum or the van gogh, they are deservedly well-hyped. Canal boat ride is a fascinating way to see the city as well, worth it — book one with wine and cheese! I never tired of them in 3 years! A friend even did a round about through the canals before her wedding for the bridal party and we had a fantastic time.

      Anything else, just ask 🙂

      • hooville

        For a more casual meal, definitely do a rijstafel (“rice table”). Highly recommend Longpura on the Rozengracht for that. Great service, ambience, and food. And as you will realize if you’re in Amsterdam long enough, great service is mostly unheard of.

      • Bear

        Okay, this sounds amazing. We both love duck and I botched the Christmas duck this year, so this may be my chance to make up for it!

        • hooville

          Wonderful!! I’ve recommended it many times (and to my airbnb guests when I rented out my flat that way), never a disappointment. Have fun!

    • I vaguely recall Amsterdam having lots of restaurants specializing in “pancakes” — not American-style pancakes, IIRC, but crepes with various fillings. Maybe not what you’d want for a fancy romantic dinner, but definitely worth checking out for breakfast/lunch.

  • Rant: So tired lately. Even 9 hours of sleep last night doesn’t feel like enough. I really hope I am not getting sick.
    Rave: No traffic this morning because of snow delays.
    Rant: I know most people curse this viewpoint, but I really wish we’d get some snow accumulation this year. If it is going to be gray and wet, I want snow!
    Rave: Wool sweaters.

  • Rave: Two hour late start – got to sleep in an extra hour.
    Rant: Have a conference call so didn’t’ use the full two hours
    Rave: Morning run in the snow – in tights with no shorts!

    • Aaaagh! No shorts?? I hope you were wearing a suitably long shirt.

      • Nope – I’m not gonna run with a cover up just because some folks have modesty issues. It was dark and deserted so I guess that is okay.
        In my purely non-scientific poll, today there were 75% (3) of male runners in tights without modesty shorts on and only 25% (1) with puritanical society imposed modesty shorts on – and he looked silly.

      • Leave the running tight wearers alone!
        They are out running, so they are out wearing appropriate running clothes. I have no problem with running tights. In fact I think wearing shorts over them is silly, because you’re caving to the pressure of other people, a lot of whom are not out running. It would be another thing if you’re stopping to run errands on the way home, but if all of your outside time in your running tights is spent engaging in your warm up, running, cool down, or whatever your routine is, then keep on keeping on and ignore the haters.
        Some people, myself included, are very picky about many aspects of their running gear, so adding another layer would mess with my no fabric flopping rule. Also, these people are running, you’re not going to see them for very long.

  • Rant – apparently the management of the condos across the street decided to have guys come out at 3 am and shovel all their sidewalks and stairs……… at 3 am. The entire length of the block.
    Rave – didn’t slip on my unshoveled side of the street

  • Rant: Two hour delay for me means if you come in late, work two hours extra during this pay period or use paid time off (and I have no PTO left.)

    Rave: I still came in early (I’m pretty sure my building is open 24 hours, and sometimes I’m in by 6:15) so I’ll be out of here by 3:00. Also, Metro was empty and it’s very quiet here today.

    Rave: The meatballs, simmered in a homemade red sauce, I made Sunday night. The leftovers are really great reheated and I have enough for at least three more meals.

    • I am planning to make meatballs in red sauce this week. Question for you regarding technique: do you brown the meatballs before simmering/cooking them in the sauce?

      • Yes! Brown the meatballs (I do them in my dutch oven) and put them aside. Then make the sauce in the same pot, add the meatballs and simmer for about an hour. It’s like doing Italian sunday gravy, but without all of the other meat,

        • Thanks. I make a pretty good red sauce (taught to me by my very Italian-American college boyfriend), but for some reason I have never paired it with meatballs. I’m excited to eat this later in the week!

  • Anyone have the day off and wants to bum around the city a bit?

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: person not on our team making our team look bad, so maybe the last unscheduled telework.
    Rant: so much work drama.
    Rave: unscheduled telework!

  • Rant: My office opened 2 hours late but my body decided it was waking up at 6:30am which is earlier than I normally get up!
    Rave: I stayed in bed and did some reading.
    Rant: People on the bus that sit in the outside seat and just sort of turn to the side but don’t get up to let person on inside out. Look I’m a small, petite person but I really do not want to climb over you. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. It will take you a total of 10 seconds to stand up and let me out. Much faster and pleasant for everyone.
    Rave: The bus came on time and was not full.

  • RAVE: came in at the normal time and Metro was dead. Dunkin was empty too 😀
    RAVE: in less than 24 hours, I found a really cool young woman to sublet my place for February while I travel for work. Meeting her on Thursday for a final vetting and to show her my place. So in addition to sweet sweet per diem, I’m also not paying rent for February. Will be a great month for making money 🙂

  • Rant-DC needs a real plan to DC with homeless families. Hotel rooms are a very expensive and not a long term viable option
    Rant 2- Did DC realize that when they started this policy that it would actually draw homeless families to the District who were in surrounding jurisdictions knowing that the law would require them to be housed? This whole policy needs to be thought through. This plan doesnt wrk unless VA and MD are doing the same thing.
    Rave-snow is pretty.

  • Andie302

    Rave: 2 hour delay – I feel like a new person. I took the whole two hours to sleep.
    Rant: Caught two mice in two days, one of which was discovered when the schnauzer pulled the mouse and trap out from the pantry floor. I guess it’s good that the traps are working, and I’m not seeing evidence of mice elsewhere.
    Rave: Just enough snow to look pretty, but not be debilitating.
    Rave: It’s almost lunch time!

  • Rave: the group of men who my neighbor’s management company contracted with to clear sidewalks/front porch–they scraped up the ice so I could shovel/clear my part of the sidewalk more easily. Yay for them!
    Rant: Kiddo had a nightmare or something last night? Barely woke up, but was super upset. Those things unsettle me a bit.
    Rant/Rave: as I predicted, kiddo seems to have developed a bit of a preference for her other mom. Yay! However, it made this morning a little rougher because my wife came up to her room to say hi & then went back downstairs before kiddo was dressed & ready to go. And then kiddo was NOT HAPPY when I took her to school instead of her other mom, who usually does drop off.
    Rant: Something else seems to be going on with kiddo- got the warning phone call about diarrhea yesterday, though she fortunately didn’t hit the third strike while at school. She ate dinner and breakfast fine, but then didn’t want snack when she got to school, which is really unusual (though perhaps just off her game from routine change?) Argh, I’m going to be walking on eggshells all day, waiting to hear that I have to pick her up early….

    • I don’t have kids, but I understand from friends who do that kids go back and forth on their preferred parent when they’re young. Maybe that’s the case?

      • Oh, they totally do. I’ve been telling my wife for months that kiddo will prefer her at some point. I’m perfectly pleased to be correct on that & am fine with not being the preferred parent for a bit since I have been for a year and a hafl. It just made things a little tricker at a couple of points this morning. So we’ll want to plan around that a bit & otherwise roll with the punches.

  • Rave: an extra hour of sleep.
    Rant: How many decades will it take me to learn never to tell my mother about my upcoming plans that include any of the following: winter weather, driving late at night, potentially hazardous recreational activities, caves, mountains, large dogs, alcohol, nausea, driving in flip flops, driving with other people, driving with sleep deprivation, riding in a car with other people who may be wearing flip flops while sleep deprived in winter weather.
    She won’t stop harping on me about this ski trip and the potential ways I might die. Next time I’m keeping mum and posting pictures on FB when I get back.
    Rave: Spin class was extra awesome last night, though I’m not 100% sure why.

    • Rant: how could I forget? My coworker who is at my desk in 10 seconds if I’m coughing, telling me to go home, is here sick. She can barely speak and is obviously not feeling well. I’m not a meddler, so I’m not going to tell her to go home, but the hypocrisy is annoying the bejesus out of me.

      • Andie302

        You should totally go tell her to go home! Or write it in an email so you don’t have to get near her. You can start the email with “I’m taking a page from your playbook…” That’s not cool on multiple levels for her to a) do that to you and then b) come in and share her germs.

    • HA! My mom is the same way–if she knows I’m out late, she wants me to send a text or email to let her know I got in ok. She also calls sometimes if she knows the weather is bad to make sure I made it home ok. Must be something in the water…

  • epric002

    rave: 2 hour delay!
    rave: made baked oatmeal which was perfect after shoveling.
    rant: why doesn’t metro continue peak hour service when OPM has a 2 hour delay? 10 minute wait for a train at l’enfant- ick.
    rave: puppy was very funny and frisky in the snow this morning.
    rave: chatted with my mom, who is watching my 11 mo nephew today, and got to hear how cute he is crawling around and how interested he was in my voice when she put me on speaker phone 🙂
    rave: i get to see him this weekend!
    rant: already sore from shoveling/scraping.

  • Rant: Hungover, malnourished, depressed, embarrassed, lonely, I am totally faking it today.
    Rave: I fake it so well. And this, too, will pass.

    • I hate to tell you this, but Wednesday’s worse and Thursday’s oh so sad. Just hang in there til that eagle flies on Friday…

      • I’m just trying to find my baby
        won’t someone please send her home to me?
        (don’t think she’s in the mood to leave the tropics just yet, though).

    • Andie302

      Don’t fake it so much that people that are closest to you can’t tell. Take care of yourself! Try to get something good for lunch, which will hopefully help with being malnourished and hungover. And, because I have a lot of friends that seem like being embarrassed is an effect of their hangover, I will ask: Do you really have something to be embarrassed about, or are you being hard on yourself? I hope Wednesday is better for you!

    • I hope you feel better as the day goes on. I agree with Andie302’s comment. I find I am almost always too hard on myself, and it really doesn’t do many any good. Can you do something about any of these things right this instant? If not, find one or two things to focus on that will keep you moving.

      • I get in these moods at times, usually (not surprisingly) brought on by bad weather, hard living, work shirking and bad eating. Just have to work through it. Get a decent lunch. Whine a little (thanks, y’all). Check off a few minor boxes at work to keep appearances up.

    • Um…you don’t work with Shawess, do you?

    • topscallop

      I recommend tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, but your comfort food mileage may vary.

  • Rave: 2 hour delay
    RAVE: My kid slept until almost 8 (with one wake up). Whaaat?
    Rant: slipping on my way to the metro. There isn’t even a lot of snow, people…SHOVEL/PRETREAT!!!
    Rant: never ending packing to move. Where do we get all this crap?
    Rave: can’t wait to donate stuff

  • Rant: Delays mean nothing for me, sigh. I want to sleep in… Government workers – does the OPM delay mean you go in two hours later as a matter of course, or just that if you get permission and need the two hours you can take them but they would like you at 9 if possible?
    Rave: Parents have not lost power up in CT! (That happens a lot – rural area, always get trees falling on power lines.) Sister has not lost power in Boston! Although her flight tomorrow (to interview for a PhD program) was canceled so she’s stressed about that.

    • Glad to hear they still have power! My parents are still smarting from the October storm about 2 years ago that knocked out their power for 9 days. They’re even adding a gas fireplace and sleeper sofa to the living room in case that happens again.

      My mom almost had to stay at work overnight and work on her day off today, but luckily the nurses working today made it in last night and she got to go home.

      • Fortunately the one good thing about an otherwise terrible relationship I had a few years ago was that he made me help him buy my parents a power generator (after they lost power for a week at a time after a surprise October snowstorm and Hurricane Sandy). So they can keep a couple things running and mom no longer has to throw everything out of the fridge/freezer even if they do lose power. 🙂 I’m glad they don’t need it this time around though!

        • That’s good. My parents’ street is getting a gas line this year, I think they’ll get the gas fireplace and a generator won’t be far behind.

    • Honestly, it depends on your boss. That being said, you don’t need to get permission nor are required to explain your delay as long as it is no more than 2 hours long.

  • Rant: Finally had the “where are we going” talk and it turned into we might as well end this now 🙁 He said he thought he was ready to commit, but has realized he isn’t, so he doesn’t want me to wait around for him. I guess it is good to know, but still bummed out.
    Rant: Back to the dating scene.
    Rave: Condo purchase moving forward

  • Blithe

    Rant: “Curate”. I hate, hate, hate seeing this word used on menus or about clothing choices. “Curated” closets and “carefully curated kitchens” really bug me. Hate, hate, HATE it! Whew. I feel better now.
    Rave: Just the right amount of snow: pretty, but not majorly disruptive. And now everybody has groceries for a few days.
    Rave: I submitted a short story to a contest — and, like buying a lotto ticket, am enjoying imagining the possibilities…..
    Rave: My Doc Martens. They’ve been exactly what I need for a lot of walking in a little bit of snow.

    • I 100% agree with your first rant. Even (good) curators at museums avoid this word. Simply put, “curate” is not a verb.

      • Simply put it is a verb: cu·rate2
        verb: curate; 3rd person present: curates; past tense: curated; past participle: curated; gerund or present participle: curating
        select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition).
        “both exhibitions are curated by the museum’s director”
        select the performers or performances that will feature in (an arts event or program).
        “in past years the festival has been curated by the likes of David Bowie”
        select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge.
        “nearly every major news organization is using Twitter’s new lists feature to curate tweets about the earthquake”

      • I know some dictionaries will disagree with me on this and that’s fine. I’m not normally opposed to new words and new word uses, but this one really irritates me. “Selected” is more precise and isn’t hackneyed.

      • I’m fine with “curating” a museum exhibition, or something like the Southbank Festival (music festival where the performers are chosen each year by a different artist)… but yeah, it’s become an overused buzzword. I don’t want to read about curated closets, curated kitchens, etc. either.

  • palisades

    Rave: The Knick. Started watching it last night. Clive Owen f*cking rocks.
    Additional Rave: I’ve been casually watching old James Bond movies when I’m bored. Licence to Kill was my choice last night. Got to love all the casual sexism/racism and corny jokes.

  • hispanicandproud

    Rave: Shameless on Showtime! Sunday’s episode what quite explosive. Every scene was so dang good.
    Rave: That’s it. Rewatching it again.

  • Pablo Raw

    Rant: A while ago I posted about drama awaiting for me at home when I go for vacation. I should have said DRAMA. The e-mails keep coming, I’m not Jesus, I’m not the Messiah that is going to fix everything.
    Rave: I’m not really sure, maybe the fact that I can stay away from all that. Relatively.
    Rave: I think I found an amazing way to stay out of the drama for at least some days and at the same time fulfill a dream of mine.

  • topscallop

    Rant: like most other people, I wanted a snow day. My conscience wouldn’t let me be 2 hours late, either, since I metro and didn’t really need the delay to get to work safely. I managed to be about 40 minutes late.
    Rave: soup for lunch and some Cosi bread that someone at work was giving away
    Thank you to those who endorsed The Good Wife a few weeks ago when I asked for input on the next series to watch! I’m just starting season 2 and still liking it, though all that binge-watching has led to me looking guiltily at the stack of books by my bed…but that’s what metro rides are for, I guess.
    Question for other online daters in our midst: if I “like” someone on OKC, do they get a notification of it? I don’t get one if they like me, only if we like each other…

    • Yes, they get a notice if you like them, and you get a nice if they like you. Another notice if you like each other. Who you like and who likes you is under quickmatch.

      • topscallop

        Oh thanks! I haven’t used quickmatch at all yet, it wasn’t an option when I first joined OKC and then I disabled my account when I started dating my ex soon after.

    • They only get a notification that you liked them if they have A-List (the paid service, allows you to see everyone who liked you), or if you like each other. If it’s one-sided, it doesn’t tell you (except for occasional random ones that they e-mail you).

      • topscallop

        Oh rats, that’s lame. I’m definitely not paying for A-List. I guess I should put on my big girl panties and just message the ones whose profiles I like, rather than “liking” them and waiting for them to message me 🙂

        • YES, take the reins. I message guys too, and they’re generally responsive. You’re only notified when you both like each other if you are using the free service. It’s a fun surprise though.

        • $5/month to be able to browse someone’s profile anonymously is well worth it to me. I can be a bit shy, so I like being able to browse a profile more thoroughly before writing someone, and if they saw I visited 5 times before writing they may get concerned. 🙂
          Sorry, I didn’t realize it was different for not Alist.

        • Yep! A lot of guys appreciate taking initiative. 🙂 Also, if a guy has it so people won’t see when he visits a profile, he also can’t see if you visit a profile – so he won’t know you visited and maybe liked him. Just go for it.
          (Still not always easy – I haven’t gotten responses to most of the guys I send messages to. But at least I feel more productive and I just keep trying, haha.)

    • The Good Wife recommendation may have been me! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’m just into season 3 and still loving it 🙂

  • Rave: Kittycat is snoozing nearby, all curled up on a fuzzy throw blanket.
    Rant: The lower back pain I mentioned last week does not seem to be going away, despite NSAIDs, heating pad, and muscle relaxers. It doesn’t actually feel like a muscle/tissue thing — it feels like it’s deep, like at the bone or something. I mainly get it when I move from a seated position to a standing position. Sometimes it’s just a little painful, but other times it’s excruciating.
    Should I see my primary care physician first? Or some kind of orthopedic specialist?? I have no idea how physical therapy works under my health insurance, but I guess I have to get diagnosed first to see if PT is even the appropriate treatment, right? (I can see specialists without a referral under my health insurance, BTW.)

    • Next steps would be to see an ortho MD (who will probably send you for an MRI).
      Also try ice instead of heat – see if that makes a difference

      • I know you and a couple of people mentioned ice before, but I haven’t been able to make myself try ice when I’m so cold and bundled up already. 😉 Maybe I’ll try braving it sometime today.

        • If you don’t have an ice pack (one of those freeze/heat things), a bag of frozen vegetables would be a good alternative.

          • Ice pack + hot tea = balance. I’d specifically recommend Tulsi rose tea because it is “stress-relieving and magical”

    • Emmaleigh504

      I always go to my primary care person first. Just in case it’s something they can treat easily. Feel better! Enjoy time with fluffy pillow kittycat! And I will now use your mention of your cat to mention that Donna’s new nickname is Boopsy Lumberjack. And she loves to have blankets fluffed over her head just like a toddler.

    • Sweet rave 🙂

      I think you should choose whichever of those docs is more readily available to you. PCPs sometimes have long wait-times, but you might want to get a reference for a good Ortho MD from one even if you don’t need a referral. If you know an Ortho MD, you can probably skip this step. Either way, you probably will want to get an MRI or another type of test before going to PT so your treatment plan is clear.

    • epric002

      if you haven’t see a doc at all for this i’d go to your PCP. maybe a couple of days of muscle relaxers will help things out. i highly recommend chiropractic as well. good luck!

      • I’ve seen my PCP for back pain before and was prescribed muscle relaxers. I’ve taken them twice for this current pain, and was surprised because they didn’t seem to have much effect — in the past they’d been miraculous for unknotting all kinds of muscle knots. (I’d never taken them right away, but went to them as a sort of last resort if ibuprofen wasn’t doing the trick.)
        Maybe I should try taking them a few days in a row.

        • epric002

          hmmm. i don’t remember how quickly muscle relaxers are supposed to work, but i think probably after a few days it should. but if you’ve already tried them and it hasn’t worked, it’s likely not muscular. good luck- back pain is the pits.

  • Rave: Done with interview process for one job – it was EXHAUSTING. But now it’s up to them to decide…
    Rant: Still sick. And brain full of cobwebs. And have an interview for another different job next week.
    Rave: Going to get soup and see a movie in a dark theater – thinking Paddington. Should be exactly what I need.

  • Rave: Friends that make you the perfect Spotify playlist when you’re feeling down about a relationship.
    Rave: Skiing last weekend (and surviving) makes me want to try it again next weekend. Glad we live in a place where there are plenty of options within 2 hours.

  • Rant: parental visit last weekend. I’m not sure why I expect better from them, but their level of self-involvement and tone-deafness was really through the roof this time. I was more glad than usual to see them leave this time.
    Rave: grocery delivery. It is the best thing ever to have someone else do the legwork of stocking your pantry when you’re not feeling well.
    Rant/Rave: It was nice to get a little snow and not have any of the inconvenience or dangerous traveling that a real blizzard would entail. But I’m still a little bummed about not getting a snow day.

  • Quick PoPvillains question:
    where to go for a late lunch with healthy options (but also has beers) in Woodley/Adams Morgan/Dupont today? My buddy is in town and already did the Diner and is hitting Kramer’s tonight.

    • Mellow Mushroom? Does the Shawarma Spot (?) have beer? Tryst?

    • The first thing that popped into my mind was Le Pain Quotidien in Dupont. Lots of healthy options and I’m pretty sure* that location has beer. It may be a bit far south for you, though, and you may want to bring your buddy to a DC place rather than a chain.
      * If you’re thinking about going, it’s worth calling to ask about the beer. They definitely have wine and they’re a Belgian chain so beer would make sense. But I’m not 100% sure they have it.

    • Pizza Paradiso – one of my coworkers used to go there all the time and drink during lunch, lol…

    • I know I’m a bit late, but Doner Bistro on Columbia Road is amazeballs. It’s like it was plucked right out of Berlin and teleported to Adams Morgan. Great food, awesome imported beers. You’ll usually find a bunch of Germans from the IMF and World Bank meeting there for dinner before a big night or to watch Bundesliga matches.

    • He’s staying with a lady in Chevy Chase – so we ended up at Blue 44.
      So much for healthier options.
      Thanks, all! Great recs. I can’t believe I forgot about so many good spots!

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