Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jordan Barab

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.

276 Comment

  • Rant: The Amtrak derailment. I often take the train from here to NYC. How terrifying and utterly tragic. I hope they figure out what caused it, and my thoughts are with loved ones/family members/friends of those who might have been affected. I just cannot imagine.
    Rave: Cabaret was awesome last night! I’ve decided to career-stalk the actress playing Sally – incredible voice!
    Rave-ish: I have a date tonight (it’s an “ish” because I haven’t seen him in a few months, and while I am cautiously optimistic/looking forward to it, I am also nervous about whether we’re going to move forward, or if this is the last time I will see him, but trying very hard not to overthink it).
    Rave: My costume is all set for a theme party my friend is throwing this weekend.

  • Rant: the Amtrak derailment. So horrific and terribly sad.
    Rant: woke up at 2 AM (went to bed at 11 PM) and couldn’t go back to sleep.
    Rave: was in the office at 6:45 AM so have gotten a lot of work done!

  • Ally

    Rave: Finally getting over this cold.
    Rave: Weather is absolutely gorgeous today.
    Rant/Question: Not sure quite what to do for a friend I’ve known for years who has now found himself homeless and out of work for well over a year. Have lent/given him hundreds over the years. Have tried paying his phone bill a couple times so he can still job search, but as far as I can tell, he’s not applying for jobs at all and still somehow manages to find money to head out for beers several times a week. I alternate between feeling like I haven’t done enough, like I was a patsy for doing what I did, and thinking it’s not my place to say anything.

    • Does he have any substance abuse issues? Do you know where his beer money is coming from? I think you’ve done a lot, but if he had substance or mental health issues maybe you could encourage treatment from there. Perhaps get in touch with his family or other friends so the “burden” is shared. He may be a bit depressed too. Ultimately you’ve done a lot, so there is no reason to feel bad.

      • Ally

        I think his beer money comes from a circle of friends who he just rotates asking for money/if he can crash with them. He had stayed with his grandmother who (probably for good reason) kicked him out month back. Unfortunately I only know how sister, though reaching out to her is one possibility (she seems to have her act together). Regarding mental issues, he’s mentioned wanting to go on disability due to anxiety and, while I know this is very judgmental, I can’t help but think this is a way to put off looking for work since I’ve known him for years and he’s never had any issues of that nature. Have sent him numerous job openings and worked on his resume for him, etc. As far as I can tell, he never even applies. So, it’s hard to keep up a friendship based on some of that.

        • Ally

          And apologies for the typos; time to get some coffee!

        • I would stop helping him. You’re doing more for his well-being than he is doing, and I don’t see why. If everyone stopped subsidizing him, he may finally get his act together. Don’t let him make you his crutch.

        • There is a fine line to walk between helping someone and enabling them. It sounds like he is very happy to live off the kindness of those around him rather than help himself to fix what’s going on. Even if he does have substance abuse issues or a legitimate anxiety disorder, he need to get help for both of these that goes beyond couch surfing and bumming money for beers. If family have already kicked him out then I’d take a big clue that there is either a real, serious underlying issue going on or the guy is a complete mooch. At anyrate, you are not responsible for him. You have tried your best to help, it’s ok to stop trying.

        • If his family (grandmother) kicked him out, then it’s time for you to move on and stop the help.
          This person will never learn until people stop enabling him. Sorry if that sounds cruel but I think you have done your part as a friend. There comes a point where people start taking advantage of others.

        • You can continue to be a friend but without giving him money

      • Have you listened to the Dear Sugar podcast? There’s an episode from this week or last about complicated friendships like this one you might find helpful.

    • If you’re able to talk to the sister or grandmother to confirm addiction issues, you could redirect the financial help towards paying for part of a rehab stint. I had several places (not in DC) that were willing to work with me when I paid for a friend to get help – they charged me if he went and returned payments if he didn’t.

      Good luck!

    • My girlfriend’s been going through that with her brother, who would have been homeless if she didn’t keep giving him hundreds or thousands here and there. He has two PhDs, and would be able to earn a living if he didn’t insist on working in academia. At one point he was drinking heavily and it was frustrating to see her money being squandered on booze instead of rent. Fortunately it should be a non-issue soon because he got an offer for a tenured position (and got his drinking under control) but I think I would have advised her to cut him off if it kept going on that way. It’s easy to defer responsibility for yourself when you know someone else will step in to take care of you.

      • “He has two PhDs, and would be able to earn a living if he didn’t insist on working in academia.”
        I feel like this is the tragedy of our modern age.

        • Yeah, after years of trying to piece together adjunct positions he’s moving to a third world country where they still treat professors with respect and compensate them properly.

      • “It’s easy to defer responsibility for yourself when you know someone else will step in to take care of you.” This is totally the case with my parents and my brother — they have a looong history of enabling him.

        • The problem with my girlfriend’s situation is that if she stopped enabling him, her mom still would. And the biggest reason her mom still works (she’s in her 80s) is because she feels like he needs the money. That’s really not fair.

  • Rant: Got up WAY too early this morning because..
    Rant: traveling to Philadelphia tonight hopefully on Amtrak. This crash has me a little uneasy about it even though I know nothing is likely to happen. Heart goes out to the deceased and the injured.
    Revel: Actually almost booked the exact train that crashed last minute, but decided to stick with my original plan. I would have gotten off before the accident, but still glad to not have changed.

  • palisades

    Rave: Oysters and French 75s from BlackSalt. Absolutely perfect hot weather cure.
    Rant: Walked by Drew Barrymore (she was promoting her new wine there) and didn’t even notice.
    Rave: Chef’s Table. Absolutely bizarre show on Netflix. Made by the people that did Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

    • Tell me more about Chef’s Table. I adored Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

      • palisades

        It’s a 6-part documentary, with each episode focusing on a different chef. We watched the first episode, and it was about this Italian chef that has a 3-Michelin Star restaurant in Italy. He talks about his food and his inspirations – but he is on a completely different plane of reality. Eccentric, artistic, fantastical stories and behaviors. His wife is equally bizarre too. Each dish is treated like artwork, with fascinating camerawork and music, and accompanying stories.
        It was very dense and bordered on pretentious, but I enjoyed it.

        • This sounds right up my alley.

          Have you seen Entre les Bras? That’s a food documentary worth watching. It is about a chef in France turning over the kitchen and restaurant to his son; it is as much a story about family as it is about food. (And it also inspired me to bake bread for the first time at home.)

        • Have you seen Somm? It’s a documentary on Netflix about students studying for master sommelier test, which is extremely hard to pass. Very interesting look into the wine industry.

    • Speaking of French 75s… who said they paired amazingly with cheeseburgers?? I haven’t forgotten and am waiting for an awesome summer day to try it out.

      • Emmaleigh504

        Me! I love champers and cheeseburgers, and when I’m feeling #fawncy I have French 75s and cheeseburgers.

    • baobaofanclub

      Here’s a conversation starter for next time you walk past Drew: http://www.today.com/food/are-celebrity-wines-worth-price-766938

  • Rant: DC Police Week. On Monday night, I saw six or seven police officers from Florida walk through the emergency gate at Judiciary Square to exit without paying. When the station manager halfheartedly tried to stop them, they flashed their badges at her. Last night, there was a police SUV from Rhode Island parked in a bus stop at 5th and H NW. It’s still there this morning.

    • Wasn’t there some discussion here last week about law enforcement officers getting to ride for free on Metro? Not sure if it’s limited to local law enforcement… if it is, those guys were being jerks, but if it isn’t, then they weren’t doing anything wrong.
      No excuse for the car parked in the bus stop, though.

      • Really? All law enforcement officers, including those from Mount Dora, Florida? Seems like there isn’t much chance for reciprocity on their certainly robust public transportation system.

    • Police week is just our city’s chance to appreciate all the hard work our nation’s police engage in, by letting them park illegally, urinate publicly, ruin Chinatown, cheat Metro, harass people, and stumble drunkenly for justice!

    • Ugh, yes. Tons of them parked illegally all over the city, including a few I walked by in Foggy Bottom yesterday in bus lanes or in front of fire hydrants. Also a number of them were riding their bikes by the canal and calling out to one another to “hold the center” and “don’t yield to pedestrians” as they rode by people were practically diving out of the way to avoid them. I appreciate law enforcement, I just wish so many of them didn’t take this occasion to act like entitled jerks in a city that’s not their own – especially when so many law enforcement agencies are coming under fire right now for this same kind of attitude.

      • From what I understand, the leadership (and their hand-chosen favored officers that accompany them) get to go on this trip. So this is literally the entitlement that trickles down to the rest of the police force.

  • Rave: working from home on a beautiful day.
    Rant: the show and tell featuring trucks and buses at Adas Israel has been nothing but continuous honking for the last fifteen minutes. So much for keeping the windows open.
    Rave: supportive friends. They’re the best!

  • Rant: Roommate is so overworked and stressed. Hopefully she’ll take me up on my offer for a treated hh or breakfast.
    Rave: Able to take some time to myself and having no stress.
    Rant: Finding out about things last minute and waiting to hear from jobs. Why do you put out a notice only to wait another month to decide?
    Rave: Date night tomorrow.

    • justinbc

      I had one agency call me 3-4 months after interviewing to offer me the job, after I had already taken a different one. Some hiring people really fail.

      • This isn’t even govt, but I guess it might as well be. Ugh!

      • Oof, yeah. Agencies can be terrible about getting back to folks. I applied to a position at Fort Monmouth in NJ in late 2007. In summer 2009, I received a call asking if I was still interested in the position. Ridiculous.

      • I got a call from a (non US government) job over a year after I applied to see if I wanted to interview. Funnily enough, it was after I started working at a different branch of the same organization!

    • Have you ever been in charge of a hire? Let’s say you post a job, for which you get 300 applications. (Totally normal, by the way.) Sure, you review and sort them as they come in, as best you can, but once the deadline passes, you still have dozens of applications to read through, all while doing your regular job which is probably more than one person can handle, which is why you’re hiring. It takes at least a week. Then you schedule interviews with your top candidates. This takes a minimum of two weeks, since your top candidates are probably busy professionals, and your own calendar is pretty crammed as it is. Then you pass the best two on to a director or VP or whatever. Then you check references. Then you make an offer and you wait for it to be accepted and then wait for HR to nail down the paperwork. And ONLY THEN can you inform all the other applicants that the position has been filled. Sometimes, you’ll go through all this and have your offer rejected, and so you go on to the second most-qualified candidate, prolonging it all further.
      tldr: A month is really not a very long time.

      • This is not the setup for the job I’m waiting for. Interviews may be scheduled, but it’s generally submit a resume, get submitted to the firm, and wait until the firm decides. This is a leadership position, so I know hundreds weren’t offered the chance to apply based on past poor performance with the agency. Typically things are decided in under a week as searches are done right before a project is starting, so yes, in my field a month is a long time.

        • Are you talking about doc review work?

          • Ah, okay. Now it makes sense why people were so confused about equal pay and interview/hiring practices.

          • I didn’t see any confusion, but glad it’s all cleared up now.

          • See Emilie504’s “unicorn” comment yesterday in Random Reader Rant and/or Revel and wdc’s comment above. That’s what I’m interpreting as “confusion.” Equal pay and special interview/hiring practices make sense in the doc review word, whereas they may seem unique to people outside of doc review.

  • Rant: Couple from last weekend not taking my apartment.
    Rave: Have another person viewing it tonight. I will somehow find someone to either start a new lease this summer or sublet while I’m away and I’ll just scramble to move out once I return. Fingers crossed.
    Rant: Sick. Sinuses. Ugh.

    • P.S. In case whoever posted yesterday about the apartment didn’t see my response, if you want me to send you the listing, you can email me at ck0643a at gmail dot com
      Person viewing it tonight just cancelled. -_-
      I have no luck.

  • Rave: While walking to the metro this morning, I saw two bikers stopped at the light. Biker 1 was commuting with his toddler in her toddler seat on the back of his bike. Biker 2 was behind Biker 1 and noticed that something wasn’t properly hooked on Biker 1’s bike. Biker 2 fixed it for him. It was just really nice to see such a neighborly act first thing in the morning; it made me smile.
    Rant: I have reached my emotional saturation point this week. I have so little patience for people’s minor, petty complaints. I know that it really isn’t fair of me, but it is hard to tolerate those things when I’m watching people I love deal with such crappy “real” problems. So judgmental and unfair of me, but that’s where I am at this week. .
    Rant: I need to put myself in time out.
    Rave: Cooler today! And my sinuses aren’t bothering me as much.

  • Hey PoPville globe trotters, I’m going to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen next week. What should I make sure not to miss? Spending the most time in Amsterdam and I’m definitely going to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, as well as the Ann Frank House. Thanks for any suggestions!
    PS: As a lurker who loves reading the dating stories from LA and FridayGirl—you ladies are great!

    • Not sure if you’ll have enough time while in Copenhagen (if you’re hitting all three of those cities within a week), but if your schedule permits, check out the Louisiana Museum, which is a modern art museum maybe an hour’s (?) train ride north of Copenhagen. I’m not always the biggest fan of modern art, but I really liked the exhibitions I saw there, and the museum itself is really nice — it’s right on the coast and you can see and hear the waves breaking, and maybe even (I can’t remember) see Sweden in the distance.
      Oh, and they have a nice restaurant (overlooking the sea) with a buffet meal option that’s very tasty and actually a good value for the money.

    • Bear

      Buy tickets in advance for the museums in Amsterdam! We tried to go in February – which is supposedly the slow season – and lines for both were wrapped around the block. Really bummed we missed seeing them, but I guess we’ll have to plan a follow up trip at some point.

    • Former Copenhagen resident here….go up the rundetaarn (round tower) – you can see Sweden from there, too. DEFINITELY go to Nyhavn and have a beer on the canal. So beautiful. Just walk up the Stroget with a camera and some money to stop and eat delicious things – especially at La Glace pastries and Sommerbird chocolates (seriously amazing – can I give you money to bring some back?). The little mermaid is a waste of time. Amalianborg and Christiansborg palaces. Kronborg Slot in Helsingor if you have time – AKA Hamlet’s castle. Christiania can be neat if you go with someone who knows it, but it’s lots a lot of it’s charm. I also really like the architecture museum on HC Anderson’s BLVD.
      For food on the cheap, try skildpadden in Gråbrødretorv, where you can make your own sandwich in a beautiful little hidden square. There are a few Riz Raz locations – I frequented the one near the university – inexpensive middle eastern and vegetarian buffet. A lot of other places I used to get food from were just places I found, and never remembered the names….Have a great time and bring me some Sommerbird!

      • +1 on the Amalienborg and Christiansborg palaces.
        IIRC, the Amalienborg Palace is the more impressive of the two, so if your time is limited and you have to choose, I’d recommend that one.
        There is a nice garden around the Rosenborg Castle — if the weather is good, that might make for a nice stroll. I don’t think it’s rose season yet, but IIRC, there are lots of rosebushes.

    • In Brussels, I’d highly recommend visiting the Magritte Museum and doing the Art Nouveau architectual walking tour (or, at the very least, tour the Horta House and museum – fantastic).
      For a delicious and affordable traditional Belgian brasserie, eat dinner at La Boule d’Or.
      Be sure to visit the Grand Place Market square (it’s so impressive), but everything around there is a drunken tourist mess. The Delirium Cafe is pretty cool and has tons of unique beers to try, but it’s also a tourist trap. Lots of brew pubs in the main tourist area.
      Most importantly: pray for good weather. I had 3 perfect days in early March; it was bizarre.

      • Also, Brussels is surprisingly cheap and the food is farm-to-table fresh. Be sure to eat and drink lots there before heading to Copenhagen (where it will be 2x or 3x as expensive).

      • I remember the Horta House being very cool — recommendation seconded!

      • justinbc

        Delirium is a lot less touristy during the day. And per your note below, I couldn’t believe how cheap the beers were, even for imported stuff.

      • justinbc

        There’s also a really good chocolate shop walking tour. And head out to Cantillon if you’re into beer.

  • justinbc

    Rave: Someone explained to me the concept of “office hot” yesterday. Sometimes our society is just too funny. the stuff we come up with.
    Rant: Probably won’t be able to make the Acre 121 HH this Friday due to scheduling conflict with our bathroom contractors out in VA, but still hope to see everyone next Thursday at Bluejacket.

  • Questions for popville mothers: Did you drink DC water when you were pregnant? Did you install a sink filter for cooking? Did you use it for your baby formula later? Thanks!

    • I drink filtered tap water, and have since I moved to the area, pregnant or not. We didn’t use formula, but I’d use the filtered tap water for formula too if we did. I think I used the filtered water from the fridge for boiling pasta the first pregnancy, but haven’t bothered this time around. I use the filtered water for drinking water, making tea, coffee, etc–but that’s always been my habit. My daughter largely drinks filtered water but occasionally drinks straight tap water. Her lead test at 1yo was totally fine. She’ll have another one next month with her check-up and I don’t anticipate any different this year.

    • We have water filters, so I drank filtered tap water. Didn’t bother while cooking – for the most part, all the major lead pipes have been replaced so unless your house is really old and it’s possible the connection to the street is still a lead pipe, you’re good. I did find myself drinking more bottled water when they were doing the chlorine flush, but only because it smelled so terrible

    • I drank filtered tap water. Still do. Same with formula – though, I filter it and leave it in a glass bottle on the counter because formula doesn’t dissolve as well in cold water.

    • We drink filtered tap water. Did not do formula, but would have done the same. Note, I do not live in a house where lead in the water pipes was a risk. If it was, I probably would have drank only bottled.

  • Hive: How do I properly dispose of a vacuum cleaner? Will they take it with regular trash pick up or….?
    Rant: Amtrak – like everyone else here, my thoughts are with those who never made it home on what many of consider a routine trip.
    Rant: How often John Oliver’s segments shock/surprise people. You mean you didn’t know your $4 shirt from H&M was made with slave labor? You mean you didn’t know women didn’t paid maternity leave? I LOVE me some John Oliver, so I guess rave that people are learning about how f’d up so many things are?

    • Re. the vacuum cleaner: Make a request (via 311) for bulk trash collection.

    • palisades

      Does the vacuum still work? I’ll take it lol.
      I feel that way about John Oliver’s segments, but you have to remember the mass populace isn’t necessarily thinking about that. Similar to the Scientology documentary on HBO. I knew most of the stuff they talked about, but a lot of my friends were just shocked some of that stuff was happening. Some people just don’t care enough to look around, and it’s good we have someone telling them what’s happening.

    • If the vacuum will fit in the trash bin, I’d toss it with regular trash. I’ve tossed plenty of larger items without issue.

    • +500 John Oliver’s bits are usually entertaining, but they’re about well-known issues. So it is weird to see people acting like he’s some sort of amazing sage for saying those things when he’s talking about what to me seems like pretty obvious stuff.

      • I also love how a british guy is doing all of the pointing out of our (apparently not very known??) failures. Infrastructure, US territories, child labor….

        • justinbc

          Sometimes it takes someone outside the bubble to point out the flaws within. And he’s been living here almost a decade, is married to an Iraq War veteran, and I’m fairly certain recently became a full US citizen.

      • jim_ed

        Seriously. I don’t find his show to be particularly interesting or funny. It feels like a smug circle jerk of reinforcement for liberals akin to Hannity for conservatives. Global warming is a threat? Racism exists?! Thanks John Oliver, I never would have known otherwise! Also, I’m tired of the following playing out weekly:
        Sunday Night – John Oliver: “sweatshops are bad!”
        Monday Morning – Half of my facebook feed and internet media I consume: “OMG, JOHN OLIVER TOTES DESTROYS SWEATSHOPS IN EPIC RANT!!!111!!”

        • skj84

          I feel the same. And I am a liberal. Hehe the last time I voiced dissent against Oliver on this page I got torn apart in the comments. Still hasn’t changed my opinion.

        • well, so here your rant isn’t with John Oliver, it’s about viewer reaction, which was my rant as well. I’m not offended if you don’t like him. I don’t like Larry Wilmore as much as my husband does! Good thing is I don’t have enough time to watch most of this stuff anyway! I watched the paid leave one because I’m passionate about that issue.

          • jim_ed

            Mostly, though I find Oliver’s tone to be obnoxiously patronizing in his delivery, especially when treating basic truths as if he were Moses coming back down with tablets from Mt. Sinai. If anything, his show has given me a deeper appreciation of what John Stewart was able to do for so long, hiding any condescension in his work, even if he was regularly scolding American society for over a decade.

          • @jim_ed EXACTLY re: the delivery and the fawning praise afterwards. It is so grating, especially since so much of it is so basic. I can understand that people might not know the ins and outs of every issue, but many of the issues he presents seem like things that most people should have at least a passing knowledge of.

      • Pablo Raw

        Since I moved to the US I’ve only lived in DC; but maybe we know about all those issues and they are “well-known” here because in this city people are involved and hear about politics all the time. It may be different in other parts of the country. My guess.

        • I’m sure that’s part of it, but I don’t really hang out with “DC policy people” for the most part, so I just find it fascinating that people have no clue what’s going on around them.

          • justinbc

            “Around them” though is a misnomer. Are the voting rights of US territories like Puerto Rico really going on around the average person you meet? Or tobacco lobbying in India and South America? One of his recent pieces was on standardized testing here in the US, which surely affects many people (but not me). I’m pretty well versed in the system, but had no idea the level of influence some of the corporations had, or how poorly they were staffed, and how those staffers were influenced to alter grades. The show does provide a lot of information to viewers, and does so in a way (with humor) that can actually get them interested rather than zoning out because it doesn’t have a direct effect on them.

          • Oh, I agree with that, Justin – I’m just saying the level of shock at some of his topics is a bit much – like Jim, my facebook feed about unpaid leave was like “helloooo where have you been?”

          • justinbc

            There’s definitely a correlation between the vociferousness of his outbursts and amount of Facebook posts. If anything I think that it speaks more to the lack of coverage by other outlets and that people (mothers in this case) are happy to have someone stand up and shout loudly in a public forum on their behalf. The reactions are obviously one-sided, because that’s generally all most people can get their mind around.

      • justinbc

        Well-known to you or I doesn’t necessarily convey to the general populace. And even though you or I might know that these things are issues, we might not realize the magnitude or specificity in terms of statistics and other information that is pointed out. I can see how many people who have a multitude of other issues going on in their own life might be oblivious to these types of things and find them shocking.

  • Mug of Glop

    Rant: Looks like my allergies are back this year…
    Rave: Claritin-D
    Rave: Shake Shack run last night was pretty good.
    Rave/Rant: Ate too much food there.
    Rave: My coffee just finished brewing.

  • RANT: Almost won Wizards tickets on the radio 5 mins ago.. then I didn’t. The host selected line 3, i was line 4 -_-
    RAVE: I’m trying again tomorrow. I work 1 block from the radio station and even though this might not be true, I think the proximity is the reason I keep getting through when I have never gotten through before. Those tickets are mine!
    RANT: Its super cold in my office
    RAVE: I’m excited to workout when I get off and hopefully watch the Wiz get a win.

  • That One Guy

    Watched Frontline last night and am now scared to eat chicken and turkey.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rave: Littlest Zelda is off on an awesome 3-day field trip.
    Rave: Have cleared so much off my work to-do list.

    • Quotia Zelda

      Rant I just noticed: Several of the trees in my office’s courtyard look kind of sickly. I want lush greenery outside my window, people!

  • Bear

    Rave: Baby foxes.
    Rant: Trying to get a proposal done that I couldn’t care less about. Hard to get motivated.

  • Rave: Date night at the Purple Patch tonight! Excited for the walk in nice weather and the food.
    Rant: None really, except for the Amtrak derailment. Very sad and scary.

  • Rant: texted my landlord about installing a cable jack, haven’t heard back.
    Rant: I always knew it was pretty easy to figure me out on here, but it’s much easier then I thought.
    Rave: progress report grades are due tonight, which means the school year is 7/8 over
    Rave: cooler weather

  • Rant: Granddad was back in the hospital last night. They may have to take him off blood thinners, which will increase his risk of clots/strokes (he has heart issues) but may give him better quality of life so it might be worth the risk… He’s been in the hospital at least once or twice a month, if not more, for over a year. 🙁 He managed to stay out for the month of April, but now he’s been back in twice in a week. At least my mom just flew down yesterday to see them, so she’s there to help them out.
    Rant: Amtrak.
    Rave: The baby foxes videos. They are absolutely adorable!

    • Interesting read. This comment: “Thug is racist because it removes race from the picture,” seems to be priming the pump for a vicious Catch 22.

      • justinbc

        I remember when Thug Life came out in the early 90s. It’s hard to imagine now that two decades after people wanting to be called thugs it’s now become so taboo.

  • Rave: Wegmans to Brooklyn MIGHT mean they’re more likely to come to DC
    Rant: I might not live here by that time but still

  • skj84

    Rant: When friends make dumbass statements. Riding with my best friend on the beltway yesterday and some over driver does something stupid. Friend exclaims “Black women are the worst drivers”. WTF. I’m black, friend is white and has never said anything that gross to me before. We joke about race sometimes, but this was seriously uncool. Honestly ALL drivers in this area suck regardless of race.

    Rave: Digging my part time gig. Its chill, I can wear what I want, and free coffee!

    • On your rant — whoa, that is crazy!
      Did you say anything to him/her afterwards, or were you still in the processing/”I can’t believe he/she just said that” stage?

      • skj84

        I told her I didn’t appreciate her comment. ANd pointed out most of the drivers in this area suck. Like, I don’t even know where that even came from? Granted I don’t drive, but I’ve never heard any sort of stereotype about black folk being bad drivers before.

        • justinbc

          I’ve definitely never heard it about black people specifically before, but I generally assume that most of the people who phrase “Maryland drivers” to mean that, because they generally aren’t thinking about the people in Bethesda when they say it.

          • Yeah — I’ve always gotten the impression that “Maryland drivers” in that context tends to mean “drivers from Prince George’s County”… which tends to mean “black drivers.”

          • Emmaleigh504

            oh dear, I’ve been using it wrong.

          • Really? I guess I’ve never thought of it that way…but maybe I am in the minority on that one?

            I’ve always just noticed that generally when I see someone driving in a way that I consider a bit “crazy-time” they happen to be an MD driver…it never even occurred to me to associate that with a certain race. And this is coming from a former MD driver for 7 years.

          • I usually think of PG County (or Charles or Ann Arundel) when I see a bad MD driver, but that’s because I’m a lot closer to that part of MD than Montgomery.

          • justinbc

            Your exposure will definitely form your inherent bias. For me, living in Capitol Hill, most the MD plates I see are either going up 11th St or H St NE, and the drivers are almost exclusively black. So when I hear someone say “Maryland driver” in that neighborhood, they might not be saying that all black drivers are bad, but they’re pretty much stating that all those particular ones of the subset are.

    • I’ve dropped friendships because of that in the past. Not about race at all just regular stuff. I had a “bestfriend” who would point things out about strangers that she hated when in fact those very things described ME. It was obvious and she was an a-hole. Not saying drop your friend, just saying I’ve been there. smh

      • skj84

        I’m just shocked because we’ve been friends for almost a decade. She usually is warm and super open minded people of other races. But I have noticed a “judgy” streak in her sometimes. I don’t think I’ll drop the friendship, but I am disappointed she would say something so nasty.

    • And she’s still your best friend? That’s one of those things that’ll make me drop someone like a hit potato.

      • justinbc

        If it truly was my “best friend” I wouldn’t be so quick to drop them, as I would be to actually have a frank discussion with them.

        • My thinking is they have racist tendencies that they’ve kept hidden. I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s unacceptable. There are plenty of racist folks with black friends, but damn if they’d want their kid to date someone black.

          • justinbc

            I have a feeling is that probably every one of my friends has something that if I knew it about them I would view them somewhat differently. You certainly can’t change a racist mindset, but perhaps this person was truly joking with SKJ and a conversation about why it’s out of line might help them learn better for future circumstances. Everyone has their own thresholds for tolerance though, so I can understand others treating their friends with less leeway.

          • Skj doesn’t drive, so I don’t think it was a joke about her bad driving. If it was a poorly worded joke, I’d definitely talk about it. Having lost friends to casual racism I’m very sensitive to figuring out joke vs racism that slipped out. I’ve heard very funny, very racist jokes, fwiw.

          • I heard somewhere once that in order to have really close friends, you have to overlook one serious flaw in each of them. I’m not saying that you should overlook racism, but it’s certainly worth a conversation with a really close friend, as opposed to an immediate dismissal of 10 years of friendship. Especially if there’s been no indication of racist leanings in the past.

          • I will agree that no friend is perfect, and agree to disagree that it isn’t so bad that I should throw them aside after many years. If there were indications sooner we’d never have it made it that long though.

    • baobaofanclub

      Amen to all drivers here being the worst. That’s one generalization I can get behind.

    • emvee

      That’s horrible. I’ve definitely dropped friends over tasteless immigration jokes because, hey, first generation here. I’m so sorry. Sometimes learning someone’s true colors is super crappy at the time, but helpful in the long run.

  • Rant: Yesterday’s hot weather.
    Rave: Today’s cool, breezy weather.
    Rave: Did some gardening after dark last night and finished evicting my orange daylilies. I am a little sad, seeing as they would’ve been blooming in a few weeks, but I know it’s for the best.
    Rant: If I’d known how hard it was going to be to dig the daylilies up, I’m not sure I would’ve planted them in the first place. Ah well… trial and error.
    Rave: Got some decent sleep last night, with dreams that were only weird (time-traveling back to the late 1950s?) rather than unsettling.

    • Additional gardening rants/raves:
      Rant: I think two of the five azaleas at the front of my yard are ailing. They each had only a few blooms and now appear to be done blooming. Their foliage also isn’t as thick or green as that of the other three azaleas. Not sure if I can compensate for this by pruning them, and if so, when I should prune them. (Now? Late fall? Some other time?)
      Rave: The other plants I planted last year — crape myrtle, pieris japonica, and two different types of boxwoods — are doing well. The crape myrtle is coming in particularly nicely — I was worried, as it looked a little scrawny when I planted it.
      Rant: My experiment in container gardening on my back deck has been a bust. The knockout roses seem to have died, the daffodils never bloomed (and the bulbs turned out to have rotted), and one daylily (I think cream-colored) seems to have died. Only another daylily (I think a yellow one) has really made it, and even that one hasn’t really thrived. My dianthus (dianthuses?) were still sending out green foliage in late fall, but it looks questionable now as to whether any of them are coming back.
      Rave: I can use the dirt from the containers in the big holes that the orange daylilies left in my front yard.

      • And another gardening rant: DDOT has denied my request to either prune or remove a golden raintree that’s a street tree. (I thought I had a shot at it, given that some states classify it as an invasive species.) Guess I will be stuck pulling hundreds of “volunteer” seedlings from my yard for the foreseeable future.

        • justinbc

          I always just prune them without asking. TBH I didn’t even think to ask about something which stretches out into my yard.

        • Yeah, I think I will be doing some vigilante pruning in the fall. The combination leaves/seed pods that the golden raintree drops in the fall are an absolute menace; I have pulled probably over a thousand seedlings this spring. And the seeds are happy to germinate in mulch, which means that having landscape fabric underneath the mulch doesn’t stop them like it stops most weeds and unwanted plants.

      • justinbc

        Roses dead already in the season? That seems freakish. Did something eat them? Or can you tell any discoloration on the leaves?

        • I think the knockout roses (and other container plants on my back deck) just never came back from the winter. The back deck faces north, so it wasn’t getting much light until recently, and truth be told, the knockout roses weren’t looking so great in the fall either. I probably should have sprayed them for bugs — I think something might have been messing with it in the summer/fall.

          • maybe their feet were too wet? if the bulbs rotted, the container might not have good drainage. I use a 3-in-one fertilizer on my roses – fertilizer plus bug and fungus repeller. works great, and I don’t have to spray.

          • Not sure. Just about everything I planted in my front yard has been succcessful, so I’m figuring I should just plant future plants there (much easier now that I’ve evicted all the daylilies) and not attempt to container-garden in the backyard.

          • justinbc

            Roses really need a lot of sunlight, so that placement definitely wouldn’t help.

          • Justin — Even knockout roses, rather than “real” roses?

          • justinbc

            Well Knockouts are supposed to be about as unkillable as they come, but they will still only take “partial shade” from my recollection. So it really depends on how partial that is for your yard vs mostly shade. One other thing to keep in mind is this was a particularly cold winter for DC and many things that typically survive here died this past year.

          • Justin — One of the other container plants that appears to have died was a lantana named “Chapel Hill” (my hometown and the home of your alma mater). When I saw it at Home Depot, I was admiring its pretty yellow blossoms… and then when I looked at the information tag and saw the name, I thought, “That’s it — I’m buying this!”
            Although Home Depot has quietly gotten rid of its 1-year guarantee on plants, it still has a 1-year guarantee (for replacement, not refund) on trees, shrubs, and roses. So I’m going to pursue replacements for the knockout roses and the lantana.

          • justinbc

            I didn’t realize they got rid of the 1 year guarantee on plants, but good that it exists on trees and shrubs still. I definitely had to use that policy a lot back when I had a bigger yard back in NC. And interesting that plant named Chapel Hill would be yellow…

          • Justin — I think it was developed in Chapel Hill. I can’t actually remember whether mine was the gold or the yellow variety… I think yellow, but I need to find my collection of laminated plant stakes.

          • Oops, that was me above.

      • Azaleas set next year’s buds over the summer, so if you want to prune them do it now. if you leave it too late you won’t have any flowers next year. are you using an azalea-specific fertilizer? I find they really need it. and if the soil isn’t acidic enough, throw some pine bark mulch or pine straw around them – should make them happier.

        • Thanks for the tip — will plan to prune the azaleas pronto!
          I haven’t been using any fertilizer… I am new to outdoor gardening, and when it comes to houseplants, my stance has been that if a plant is finicky enough to require fertilizer, it’s too labor-intensive for my liking. I guess I need to get in the habit of using fertilizer, at least for my azaleas.

          • That is totally my philosophy – you gotta be self-reliant to make it in my garden. But I know azaleas really need acidic soil, and I have mine planted in a “normal” front garden, so I’m doing everything I can to make them happy. Within reason. I had white ones and the standard dark pink. White ones died immediately, but the pink seems pretty hardy. And the 3-in-one rose fertilizer actually reduces the work for me – no more aphids to deal with.

            Sometimes you have to move plants around – a certain spot may be perfect for plant A but completely inhospitable to B.

          • Interesting. I have one azalea that’s the same kind as the other five, but is planted right in front of my house (rather than the front edge of the yard). That one was going gangbusters this spring — bloomed earlier than the others, bloomed all over, and looked exceedingly healthy. I wasn’t sure if it was the light, or the fact that I got that azalea in a larger size that the others (I bought it a few months later, and the cheaper/smaller size was no longer available), or some combination thereof.

  • Rant: thank you to whoever knowing walked away from the jammed copier and made me crawl around and fix it when I should be stuffing my lunch in my face to I can leave for a meeting….
    Rant: an off site meeting that we seem to think will take 90 minutes to get to even though it’s 20 minutes away. And I’m only going to chaperon the craziness. Can’t wait.
    Rave: Porch sitting and tailgating are perfect activities this week.
    Rant: I’m being a pessimist about the Caps game tonight. It’s probably good I won’t be watching.

    • Pablo Raw

      I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: When the human vs machine war comes, *makes I’m watching you sign*; I’m going after the printers. It’s not gonna be pretty.

      • justinbc

        LOL. It’s a good thing answering machines aren’t around anymore, they would have been at the top of my list in their heyday.

      • Oh god I hate printers and copiers so much. Ours at work are always jamming/breaking.
        Also, fax machines. Since they are pretty dubious of scanners here… I also keep getting phone calls that are actually fax machines with the wrong number entered. Over and over and over.

        • Oh god. The fax machine phone calls. Last week someone kept trying for a solid 2 hours before they finally gave up!

        • emvee

          This! Why are fax machines still a thing? The three times I’ve had to use them in my career, I always have to google how to do it. The one fax I ever received had my name misspelled on the cover page, which was at the end of the fax. Just scan and email!

          • justinbc

            I do not understand the need for a fax machine today. And I hate so much having to explain to people how to dial out on them the 4 times every year someone needs to use it.

          • It’s a Japanese thing. I don’t understand it either, haha. I had almost never used a fax machine before starting this job. If I need to scan something I have to take a picture with my phone using a scanner app since I don’t have easy access to an actual scanner. Such a pain!

          • Yeah — I remember in Japan in the late 1990s, it seemed like none of the Japanese people I knew had a computer, but everyone had a fax machine. It was like the reverse of the U.S. in that sense; most U.S. workplaces had fax machines, but few people had them at home.

          • Pablo Raw

            It’s called: “unnatural selection”, only the stronger machines survive which is kind of scary; but I’m ready for them: “Go ahead printer, make my day…”

          • Not sure if it’s still the case, but I have a vague recollection that sometime last decade, federal agencies (or at least some of them) considered faxed documents to “count” the same as hardcopy documents, but considered e-mailed documents to be inferior to hardcopy (or faxed) documents. So maybe it comes out of that.

          • Textdoc, that would make sense! I also get the feeling that they think e-mail is less secure. And they just love paper copies over digital here too.

          • My favorite is when they ask me to print out an email I just sent them. WHY?! Also, print it out yourself if you want to read a paper copy that badly.

          • emvee

            Or the alternate – scan this fax into the computer and save it to our drive! WHY NOT JUST SEND THE SCAN? It drives me batty.

          • Emvee — I actually prefer it when people at work put large files on a shared drive and send a link (vs. sending them as attachments). For a while, every time somebody sent me a large file, it was pushing my e-mail account over the allotted storage limit and presenting a big hassle.

  • Rant – Feeling sad and overwhelmed about life lately. Wedding expenses, my crazy spaz of a dog, my sister’s issues with her husband, uncle’s recent diagnosis of congestive heart failure, Amtrak derailment, my soul sucking job, my horrible boss, USA jobs frustration. Blah.
    Rave – My supportive SO. My dog is a crazy spaz but she’s also a great cuddler. My birthday is tomorrow! The weather will be beautiful and I’m going out for birthday drinks at DC Reynolds.

  • I Dont Get It

    Ugh!  It’s finally become official that GSA is purchasing the building where I work.  We’ve been renting 70% of it out to GSA so it’s no surprise.  Not sure what will be done with things like my NGO’s Mission Statement carved in the floor of the lobby or things like plaques that say “This elevator lobby was donated by the John Doe Foundation” but not my problem to worry about.


    As we consolidate into the remaining three buildings downtown it appears only SVPs and above will have offices.  The rest of us will have to deal with this:


    “Workstations cannot be reserved and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, even in the neighborhood of the department.  Neighborhoods are assigned to a department. All workstations may be used as needed by staff in that department. Neighboring departments may also use workstations that are available when they experience peak demand. Sharing and collaboration across neighborhoods and departments is expected.”

    Good times!

    • “Sharing and collaboration across neighborhoods and departments is expected” makes me think of “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” 🙁
      Good luck, IDGI!

      • I Dont Get It

        I wish they would be more honest and just come out and say “We don’t give a crap about you and hope you quit.”

    • So you won’t know where your office/workstation is until you get each day? Yuck. I thought research found that hurt performance more than anything. Ugh, I’m sorry.

    • Emmaleigh504

      omg that sounds awful!

    • What is it with these swing stations, or hoteling, or whatever they call this office concept? I have a friend at FEMA who also is stuck with this sort of thing. No one except senior staff has a reliable, stable work space. (And yes, people telework, but they’re not allowed to do that everyday.) Isn’t it inefficient when you have to go find your people because who knows where they are from one day to the next? The whole thing sounds stressful to me. A regular cubicle is a stressful place to be, as studies have documented. Those in Cubicleville have higher cortisol levels by the end of the day and are sick more often than their colleagues in enclosed offices. With these swing spaces, it sounds like they really can’t afford the personnel. If you can’t afford to provide a freaking desk for all of those GS-12-14s, maybe it’s time to cut down on personnel? Seriously, what is it with the worker getting the shaft in these arrangements? It’s like a race to the bottom- even, ironically, when you’re being paid $95K a year to find your own desk each day.

    • I had to deal with the unreserved workstation biz at my last place of employment, while pregnant. I used to have to haul a backpack around the office looking for a place to sit for a few hours. It made me absolutely postal. And working from home was not encouraged….needless to say I no longer work there.

      I was a little peeved to lose a river view in my recent move but at least I have a door and the same office every day.

  • question: I need to get my mom a birthday gift for next week. she is in Pittsburgh so if it’s available to ship on Amazon that is preferred. I need some suggestions. she loves to garden, and she’s a very semi pro photog (occasionally does weddings and events for friends) — I would love to get her something related to either of those hobbies but I don’t know much about either so not sure where to start. (we are not terribly close and in the past I have gotten her massages, random books that I like, or random stuff off etsy.)

    • picture frame for what she photographs? New gardening gloves? Is she a member of the Phipps Conservatory? If not, you could see about getting her a membership if she’s a fan of gardening (it’s so beautiful there)

    • SouthwestDC

      Photography books are always nice for inspiration. There’s also the memoir by photojournalist Lynsey Addario that recently came out. Or you could get her a stylish camera strap (Etsy has lots) or a camera bag if you’re willing to spend more. Even though she probably has a bag already, it’s nice to have a few different styles for different occasions.

    • Uncommon goods has some cool gardening stuff that you can have shipped. I’m not close to my mother, either and I usually send books that I liked/think she might like.

    • I Dont Get It

      Not sure what your budget is but there are some nice gardening pots/planters on Amazon. Otherwise I don’t think any gardener can have too many gloves or pruners.

    • All awesome ideas!!! Thanks guys!!! I love the suggestions for gardening “stuff” (gloves, etc) and photography books. My cousin got her the Humans of New York book for a previous holiday and it was a HUGE hit so something along those lines is perfect. I will look up Lynsey Addario & Gail albert Halaban.

    • How about a hummingbird feeder? They obviously range in price from little plastic doohickey things to really fancy ones, but many are really beautiful- blown glass, etc.

    • I’ll recommend books by Henry Mitchell, former WPost gardening columnist – One Man’s Garden and Essential Earthman. Also In a Green Shade by Allen Lacy and Dear Mr Jefferson by Laura Simon.

  • Rant: Dog woke up very early this morning to be taken out and promptly found a nice fat rat to chase around the backyard. (Apologies to neighbors who heard me yelling at 6am.)
    Rave: Working from home this morning!

  • SouthwestDC

    Rant: I threw on flip flops to walk the dogs this morning, and didn’t realize I forgot to change them until we were on 395 headed to work.
    Rave: My girlfriend offered to switch shoes with me since there are only 3 people in her office today. She’s such a sweetheart!

    • Haha — handy that you wear the same size!

      • Haha, isn’t it the best? Both our wardrobes doubled and I get twice the clothes when we go shopping because we share everything. The only time it sucks is when we both want to wear the same shoes or shirt! Plus she has been wearing my favorite jeans from StitchFix a lot!

        • SouthwestDC

          We used to not share clothes because we had different styles, but then she discovered she looked a lot better in my clothes and we share everything now. It’s a good thing we do because our house barely has any closet space!
          Normally we don’t share shoes– her feet are a little bigger than mine, and I think she’d be annoyed with all the wear and tear I put on footwear– but in this case it worked out because you can get away with wearing slightly-small flip flops.

        • justinbc

          One of my exes used to always steal my warmest hoodies. That’s about the extent of clothes sharing I’ve ever been party to.

  • Just too much today. Really want to stay home and read sad books but that doesn’t help anything either.

  • Rave: My coral bells are sprouting buds! As a first time balcony-gardener, I am so excited!
    Rant: I thought this sick/cold thing had gone away (felt much better for an entire week) but now my throat is starting to feel sore again, do not want.
    Rave: Excited to take my new mother in law out to Beau Thai tonight! I hope she likes it, because I looove it. Pretty sure I’m going to order lots so I can have it for lunch tomorrow.

  • Rave: Interview next week for a very cool job – sister is even more excited because we’d be living in the same city!
    Rant: Under no illusions that it won’t go to the rumored favorite candidate – but at least an application through USA Jobs netted me an interview
    Rave: 9 days till vacation

  • Single people… how do you meet people in DC? Are there particular bars that tend to attract lots of singles? Events? I’m in my late 20s/early 30s.

    And just so I’m following the rules…

    Rant: I was just dumped.

    • justinbc

      And in case that doesn’t post, there are always lots of singles at LMWGD on the weekend. It’s pretty loud though, so expect most attraction to be purely physical rather than mental.

    • If you’ve been following this long enough, we have no idea either. Have you tried online dating? Perhaps a meetup group?

    • The only dating success I’ve had in DC has been online dating. :-/

      • Same here.

      • Which service? Tips on online dating apps?

        • I met my boyfriend on OkCupid. I’d say have fun with it, don’t have so many dating rules that one ‘infraction’ closes you off from someone potentially great, and meet some people you might not normally consider going out with. You also get out of it what you put into it and it can be a time suck sometimes — I know OKC shows you to more people if you spend more time on it. Obviously, YMMV.

        • Also, I know some people are opposed to Tinder but I have several friends who met their SOs on that app (one of them just got engaged) so you could give that a try too.

        • justinbc

          OKCupid is fantastic if you’re a guy, a potential migraine if you’re a gal.

    • I’ve found it so hard to meet people for dating offline. A few ideas though – kickball, bocce ball, rock climbing if you’re into that (people tend to be really social. And fit and good looking), meetups. Bars aren’t really a great way to meet people. I’ve been considering giving ultimate frisbee a try, but I’ve been a bit intimidated since I’ve never played before and it seems like people get pretty intense about it.

      • Where’s the rock climbing? Indoor?

        • Yep, indoor – kind of a hike though, there’s a gym in Rockville (Earth Treks) and one in Alexandria, near the Van Dorn Street metro (Sport Rock).

      • No bars. I would say online dating OR activity based groups. I like the idea of activity based groups because you already know you have something in common, so you can work off that when you meet someone. Although, I wouldn’t go into it prowling for a date just be open to it. Don’t be the group creeper!

        • What sort of activity-based group do you join when your favorite activity is going to bars?

          This is a serious question, even though it sounds tongue in cheek. I get that starting a relationship by meeting at a bar isn’t the best bet, but where do you go to meet other people who like going to bars, if not at a bar? I’m a female, if it makes any difference.


          • It’s summer so maybe go to bar crawls and beer fests with friends. I’ve met some cool people at beer fests.

          • I met my boyfriend at Solly’s, and I ALWAYS tell all of my female friends to come to Solly’s on a Sunday afternoon because there are tons of dudes (this applies a lot more during football season because it tends to be much slower during non-sports sundays, but some are randomly busy). It also depends on what type of person you are interested in meeting. If you’re not looking for a sports and/or dive bar oriented type of person you should probably look elsewhere. My personal recommendation is a bar that you like to go to – go often during daylight hours (Sunday afternoon is a personal favorite, but early HH time works too), and go by yourself, bring a crossword rather than your phone to stare at, and you have a better chance of striking up a conversation or meeting another regular. At night most places are a meat market.

        • justinbc

          We’ve definitely had group creepers, and it’s so obvious. It’s also partly because everyone repeatedly says “go try (insert sport/group) to meet girls”, etc.

          • That One Guy

            I thought the standard operating methodology here was to find out what went wrong with the relationship, suggest some dice bars where he can get help with his hair, build up strong cheek bones, and some talent at striking up conversation with women, and only after all this suggest some other more sensible advice.

          • That One Guy

            It’s the typical rom com recipe. Learn the back story, set out on an adventure where guy grows and then when ready gets to meet someone right.

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