Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

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.

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207 Comment

  • All raves- 9 mile run before work today, successfully made dinner for 10 people yesterday, and weekend looks to be great!

    • maxwell smart

      I’m always impressed when people can manage to run in the morning during the week. I can barely muster the energy and willpower to get out of bed to make it work 45 minutes late.

      • I think you’re my spirit animal.

        • I was just thinking the same thing! I can relate much better to Maxwell Smart than Eric! ah, to be an Eric!

          • I wouldn’t go that far. If anybody wants to join, I leave out of Rosslyn/foggy bottom usually 6:45 am and typically go for 5 miles. Hardest part is stepping outside. I hate it but I do it

          • HaileUnlikely

            Badass. I used to do stuff like that in my youth, before I got old. Or perhaps I got old because I stopped doing that. Or both.

      • Maybe it’s not nice, but when I was running the best part of doing it in the morning was looking at the poor afternoon runners and laughing to myself that I was already done. But I’m always so tired when I get home from work that I knew I could never do it then.

        • maxwell smart

          See – I actually enjoy running after work, if only because it allows me to burn off all my stress and irritation from everything that happened that day at work.

    • you’re the person i aspire to be. instead i hit snooze 3 times.

  • Rave: Mtpkiddo’s school is being honored with a couple of awards–one of which comes with a $25,000 grant!
    Rant: This cold. Ugh.
    Rant: Everyone had a hell of a time getting up and moving this morning
    Rave: Except for mtpbaby, who was largely smiles & giggles–it didn’t hurt that mtpwife let him sit on her lap for breakfast….
    Rant: Ugh on mornings with mtpkiddo. It’s been a rough week. Here’s hoping we can reset a bit this weekend, even though it’s going to be supremely busy.

  • rave: the protesters at the National Prayer Breakfast were SO polite and friendly. I’ve had good experiences at all of the protests I’ve attended in the last couple of weeks, but it made me smile that everyone outside the Hilton was so lovely to the people walking by. Shouldn’t be a surprise, I guess, seeing as they’re mostly from faith communities and were protesting against hostility to strangers, but still. Nice way to start a morning.
    rant: everything else that happened last night/overnight – the draft of the anti-LGBT EO; Trump’s antagonism towards Mexico, Iran, and Australia; the whole freedom-of-speech brouhaha at Berkeley…

  • That One Guy

    Rant: I feel like my head is in a bubble. This sore throat is slowly working it’s way up my head. Ugh.
    Rave: Refinancing of the house is nearly complete.

  • Rant: I’ll be MIA for the next month and a half because I’ll be in a mandatory off-site training course for work. Boooooo.
    Rant: It’s also doubling my commute time both ways. Booooo.
    .
    Rave: Planning on attending the 2/15 Wine and Bitching session still (that’s the name, right? Hahah…)
    Related minor rant: I’ve had multiple people message me on OkC and Tinder the past couple of weeks starting with a nice message — and then suddenly when i respond and ask a question they don’t ask anything back and give a 2-3 word close-ended answer. it’s like pulling teeth to try to talk with them and so I give up even though they had nice initial messages. ain’t nobody got time for this shit.

    • Yes, that’s still the name! 🙂

      Vinoteca – 2/15 – I should be there by 5:30 or 6ish.

    • That One Guy

      Does “mandatory off-site training course” = resistance/guerrilla work warfare tactics? Because that would be awesome. (Blame my medication but in my I picture the A-Team leading the training.)

      • Nope, but I wish. It mostly means sitting in front of a computer for several hours learning about databases. Ugh.

    • Dang, I’ve been so MIA from the comment boards that I didn’t know about this, but I’ll be there too 🙂

    • I was on OKC and met my now-husband on there. Now that I’m out of the dating pool, I’ve had some guy friends tell me what they do on dating websites. Some men generate a form email–they skim your profile to grab one or two things that are unique, pop them into the template and send. THAT’S why they have great first messages and are dead fish afterwards. They have to send *so many* initial messages to get even one reply–this saves them time. (But dude need to invest a little more time in the follow-up…) Unreal, but true!

      • “Some men generate a form email–they skim your profile to grab one or two things that are unique, pop them into the template and send.”
        .
        Some can’t even be bothered to read the profile and grab one or two things that are unique!
        .
        But yeah, I think your theory on what FridayGirl is encountering (nice initial messages, lame subsequent messages) is probably explained by the use of templates.

        • Gross.

          • It’s pretty obvious when there’s a template involved — lots of wording about who the guy is and what he’s looking for, and very little engagement with your actual profile.

          • Or sometimes not all that much wording, but completely generic statements/questions.

        • lol @ textdoc.
          .
          and yes, squish, i agree that makes a lot of sense. I just wish they’d bother with the follow-up if they’re not getting that many responses!

    • The cut and paste introductory email it seems

      • This one time, I got the same exact message from the same exact guy almost a year apart. I wonder how many hundreds of poor women he messaged the same generic thing to during that time. (I never responded originally, and then blocked him when I received it the second time. Good grief.)

  • Rave: Pleasantly surprised by the weather this morning. Bright & not too cold. Perfect for my morning bike to work.
    Rave: Almost the weekend.
    Not focusing on the rants today.

    • Just kidding….. Found my rant: “President Trump offered up a prayer to Arnold Schwarzenegger and ratings for The Apprentice as he addressed the audience at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast.”

  • Rave: Work travel nearly done. Looking forward to coming home tonight to my little family.
    *
    Rant: Everything happening back home in DC.
    *
    Rave: Managed to go 3 for 3 with exercising at the hotel gym while I’ve been away.
    *
    Rave: Favorite shirts are back to buttoning the right way again.

  • Rant: Again, and always, everything Trump.
    Rave: Made french-toast-in-a-muffin-cup, and it was delish!
    Rave: Ollie’s been found!
    Rant: Lots of people getting really sick. Flu?
    Rave: My parents are coming for a visit this weekend! Excited to show them the new house, and to have a fireplace to gather round!
    Question: Can anyone in the PoPville universe recommend any good non-chain restaurants in the Silver Spring/Wheaton area? I’ve only been in the new place 3 weeks and have had hardly any time to explore, and now I need suggestions on somewhere to get dinner with my folks!

    • Not “fine” dining but Quarry House Tavern is awesome for what it is… There is always multiple things that I want to order when in there and their drink menu is the size of an encyclopedia lol

    • Mrs k tollhouse is more fine dining. I’ve never been, but it’s consistently rated well.

      • +1 I took my parents here for Sunday brunch on Mother’s Day. Definitely recommend a reservation in advance, but we enjoyed it!

    • About your question: I just moved to Silver Spring as well and hear there’s a good Thai place in downtown SS.

    • Seoul Food on University Blvd just west of GA Ave. It’s attached to a gas station so it seems a bit weird but it is really good. They’ve got some seats but it’s also great for takeout.

      • Also I’m guessing by “Silver Spring” you don’t mean downtown SS, but if so, Mandalay on Bonifant street is good.

        • I’m flexible – while I don’t live in downtown SS, I’m more than amenable to taking my folks there. I’m just trying to compile a list of options they can choose from. They are not big fans of chains, though they would also like something clean and pleasant to be in.

          • Sorry, I missed the part about taking your folks. Both the places I mentioned are VERY casual so maybe not places to take your folks.

          • So, with your folks, Pacci’s in SS is casual but nice. I like their pizza. Another nice place, not too fancy, is 8407 Kitchen.
            .
            In Wheaton, I enjoyed Nava Thai.

          • +1 for Nava Thai… I haven’t been there in awhile, but has been regularly pretty great!

    • Tons of places in downtown Silver Spring- Urban Butcher and Cubanos being two favorites but can be a little on the pricier side. Quarry House is awesome (great beer and whiskey selection), but definitely a brewpub feel.. Up towards Wheaton/Aspen Hill: Azucar, Full on Craft Eats & Drinks (in Olney), Rens Ramen (cash only), The Limerick Pub (pretty standard Irish restaurant). There are lots of others!

    • The list below is probably more for you than your parents. I’ve starred the nicer places. One star – Wait service. Two stars – good service, nice ambiance. Three stars – fancy pants. No stars – more of a cafeteria style place.
      Silver Spring
      *Mandalay – Burmese Food, delicious
      *Roger Miller – West African food
      ***Ray’s Classic – Steaks, pricey but classy. Like the name.
      **Sergio Ristorante – Italian. Don’t let the basement location distract. Food is good and service friendly.
      La Casita – Salvadoran, great food for the price. Pretty informal. Piney branch near Sligo Park
      Arepas Pues – Colombian/Venezualan. I haven’t been, but the place is usually full when I go by
      Wheaton
      *Cam Rahn Bay – Vietnamese. Much more than Pho. Their chicken curry soup is fantastic
      Ren’s Ramen – Cash only
      *Ruan Thai – This is my favorite Thai place in SS/Wheaton area
      Takoma Park
      *Mark’s Kitchen – Informal, cheap good brunch spot.
      **Republic – Decent food. Pricier, decent drinks. Sometimes have a live band.

      • holy crap! thanks so much for this, this is soooo helpful!

      • HaileUnlikely

        Arepas Pues is one of my favorites. They do have table service, but it is by no means a fancy place. I go there pretty much any time I’m in downtown Silver Spring.

      • Middle Eastern Cuisine next to Mark’s in Takoma Park is also really good. (Guess what they serve.) They also just did a renovation.

    • Wheaton:
      Ren’s Ramen (very casual)
      Thai Taste by Kob
      Ruan Thai
      Nava Thai

      SS:
      Pacci’s (pizza)
      Mandalay
      Samantha’s (slightly upscale Salvadoran, on 193 at Piney Branch)

      Takoma/Langley/Hillandale:
      Woodlands (south indian all veg)
      Tiffin (Indian with veg & meat)
      Jewel of India – more upscale Indian in Hillandale

    • LBP, thanks for asking this question. As someone who rather recently moved to Silver Spring, I know have a great list of places to eat.

    • The below are all Silver Spring area, but I did check out Wheaton on Yelp and it looks like there are a bunch of well-reveiwed restaurants (grain of salt, of course, b/c Yelp):
      – took parents to All Set Restaurant and Bar and it worked well
      – Bibim for Korean food
      – La Malinche for latin tapas
      – Ray’s the Classics also has a good prix fixe menu for the bar area
      – Olazzo for Italian
      – Adega is good for snacks and wine, especially before a movie
      – Mi Rancho is good for standard-issue Tex Mex
      – heard good things about Lotus Café for Vietnamese
      – I’d like to try Hen Quarter

    • houseintherear

      Mi Rancho!!!!!! I miss living in Silver Spring if only because I could go there whenever I pleased. Also there’s a delicious Thai place between the Petco Unleashed and Piratz Tavern place on Georgia… super good food.

    • Blithe

      These are all old school recs:
      – Mrs. K’s Tollhouse is great, and very pretty. This would probably be my first choice for dinner-with-visiting-parents-from-out of town in the Silver Spring area.
      -Crisfield’s used to have awesome seafood. I’m assuming it still does, but I haven’t been in years, so maybe check recent reviews to see if they’ve maintained their extremely high quality. (lobster norfolk, crab imperial, yum).
      – Oriental East. Good in general, very good for dim sum.

      • Crisfields used to be the spot back in the day. Havent been there in a while.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I live near Crisfields and like it quite a bit; my first time eating there was about 5 years ago, so I am not really able to compare it to their heyday. It is more expensive than you’d guess by simply poking your head in and looking around; you can easily spend as much at Crisfield as any of the more upscale places TKPK mentioned above.

        • Blithe

          Well, as my Dad used to say when we were digging into our seafood platters: “Pay for the food, not the furniture”. When I was a kid, this was my restaurant of choice, followed by dessert at the still-lamented original Giffords. The seafood was definitely among the best you could get in the area, and I think they brought in some of it from Crisfield, MD – straight off the boats. The more upscale expansion on Colesville Road was meh, so I’m glad to know that the original restaurant is still quite good. I’ll add it to my nostalgic field trip list.

          • Giffords! We used to go there when I was small. There are some online rumors that the guy who used to be in charge of production at Giffords now runs York Castle (the yellow one on Rockville Pike) and uses the original recipe, or as close as possible. I’ll add nostalgia for Farrell’s ice cream parlor in Wheaton Plaza.

          • Blithe

            Wow sarracenia! Thanks for the info! Rockville field trip in my future… If we’re gonna do nostalgia, I have a vague memory of being taken to the University of Maryland as a very young child, where they apparently had their own cows, dairy, and ice cream. I am now going to google furiously to see if this is still a thing!

          • HaileUnlikely

            I definitely agree with your Dad; just don’t want to steer anybody there with the incorrect expectation that it’s going to be cheap.
            .
            I didn’t know about Gifford’s – was that where Moorenko is now (i.e., one or two doors north of Crisfields)?

          • Giffords was at the corner of Sligo and Georgia (now a daycare) – it went brankrupt in the mid 80s and the family literally ran away in the night. They supposedly sold the recipe at the time, but the rumor is that a false recipe was given to the buyer (there was an article in the Post a while back), and the subsequent use of the Giffords name was all with the incorrect recipe. The York Castle guy now specializes in tropical flavors but has some of the ‘original’ flavor as well.

          • saf

            Blithe – the Dairy does indeed still exist at UMD

          • The Dairy is now inside the Stamp Student Union, where the restaurant Adele’s used to be.

          • Blithe

            Thanks saf and textdoc! Okay — that’s yet another future fun field trip added to my list!

    • Awesome Indian in lovely environment at Ghar e Kabob on Wayne in downtown Silver Spring (they do a lot of take out business, so don’t worry that it looks dead in the restaurant). Seriously London quality, plus they have some nepali specialities.

      All the Thai places are solid.

      McGinty’s has some nice entrees in addition to the Irish pub classics, and it’s way nicer than it’s location in the mall might suggest.

      Because I live there, I’m not eating out much in the area and usually end up finding myself at Nando’s, Big Greek Cafe, or Qdoba (and the occasional hate chicken) for takeout.

      But seriously, Ghar e Kabob.

    • just a reminder but there’s parkway deli (i think a PoP favorite).

      been to Seoul Food in the gas station, very good.
      Up rockville pike (past the wheaton metro) are a number of chinese places–i like A&J

      for something different there is a Filipino Pop-up (mostly Lechon belly but also sisig and a few other specials) at Gwenies Desserts on the weekends–but keep in mind that it’s in an industrial strip with fold-up chairs and tables, https://www.facebook.com/kuyajaslechonbelly/

      in Downtown SS the Thai Market has a lunch counter, Hen Quarter would be a more normal place for parents. Near downtown SS there is the reliable La Casita for pupusas!

      but if you’ve never been to Parkway, that’s actually a great place to take parents, though we took my girlfriends mom to Kuya Ja on the weekend and she loved it!

      • Prince Of Petworth

        Yes – I absolutely love parkway deli – if I lived closer I’d lunch there every single day!

        • By the way, I just tried out a new place in your new neighborhood, Sfolgina. Delicious. In fact, going there with my parents tomorrow night.
          .
          And, if you try out Parkway, go on Saturday, so you get the pickle bar!

    • I live in SS. My three favorites are Copper Canyon, McGinty’s, and Not Your Average Joes. Great food for family setting. Cheers!

    • Samantha’s, La Casita or El Golfo for Salvadoran/TexMex
      All Set
      Pacci’s – the one on GA Ave is just pizza but the Forest Glen location has fresh pasta
      Olazzo for Italian
      Urban Butcher for meaty stuff
      Ren’s Ramen
      Hollywood East, Full Key or Oriental East for Chinese

    • saf

      Dim Sum at Hollywood East (Wheaton Plaza)
      Steaks at the Classics (Colesville Road)
      Cuban at Cubano’s (Near Silver Spring metro station)

  • rave – a woman at my gym realized that her body spray was really bothering me (gave me an asthma attack a couple times) and asked me if it bothered me. When I said yes, she offered to stop spraying it.

    Rant -I wish I had a stronger feeling on the type of housing I want. It would be a lot easier to compare condos to condos. Instead of condos to row homes to coops.

    Neither here nor there – thinking about putting an offer in on a house with an enormous gas fireplace. No idea how hard/easy it would be to have it replaced with something more sensible.

    • On your rave, did you know the spray gave you the asthma attack? If so, why didn’t you mention it?

      On the rant, not the best for comparisons but having a lot of options will hopefully make the search easier.

      • On the spray – two times immediately after she sprayed it, I had the attack. Couldn’t breathe, horrible coughing fit, etc. And I didn’t say anything because I’m very passive and also tend to believe that other people shouldn’t have to cater to my health issues. I just paid attention to where she was in her routine and tried to be dressed and out by the time she sprayed after that. 🙂

        • Kudos for being so nice, but your health is more important. Asking for a small delay with the spray isn’t a big deal. Most people are reasonable humans after all.

          • As someone who also has asthma attacks to sprays of perfumed stuff (I remember the hair spray in the gym locker room being especially bad), I have found that the people who are reasonable about such things are very few and far in between. This fellow gym goer is one of the nice ones!

        • Blithe

          I know this is a lot to ask of someone mid-asthma attack, but if you can bring yourself to do so, please know that I, for one, would very much appreciate the heads up, as it would never occur to me that my spritz of perfume or a waft of my shrimp salad from several feet away could endanger someone’s health. And I would definitely be willing to change my behavior if it would keep someone from getting ill.

    • What else is on your home-buying wish/must list? Some of those factors lend themselves better to rowhome versus condo.
      .
      For instance, we had outdoor space as a must on our list for our dog and ended up settling for a condo that has shared outdoor space down the stairs, up the driveway and through the parking lot. While it is nice that she gets to socialize with other pups from time to time, in the very cold or very humid weather seasons I curse the fact that we didn’t buy a rowhome with even a teensy backyard where she could’ve done her business and come back. (Not that she’d ever bother coming back in the cold, but she and I both hate the humidity.)

      • Mostly stuff that can be found in any type of living situation – in DC near metro (mostly agnostic as to which metro), parking, gas cooking, w/d, decent kitchen/closet space, a place for a dining table (even if it is small). A second room (den or bedroom) for bookcases and maybe a desk/place for an air mattress or bed. And I have a monthly payment I’d like to stay under. I’ve seen condos, coops, and town/row houses that almost meet all of these. They’re just all very different.

        • I’d start narrowing down off that list. You’re agnostic to which metro, but do you use one line more than others? That could knock out a few places. What about proximity to necessities: grocery, drycleaning, gym, etc?
          You have your needs; more focus on wants if you still feel there are too many choices.

          • I agree completely.
            .
            Although I must admit that it would be kind of nice to have too many choices! I personally tend to be too picky. It’s too bad we can’t smush our personalities together to be one decisive person, It’s just me. Hahaha…..

          • honestly, In the 3 months I’ve been looking, I’ve only seen 3 properties that really fit these wants. And each of those left off something (one didn’t have w/d, another I’d have to put my dresser in the guest room, another had a tiny kitchen where I’d have to use the guest closet for some kitchen stuff) and two of them were in neighborhoods I wouldn’t have looked at if I was narrowing down neighborhoods (but that I ultimately decided I liked). If I start adding more criteria, it’ll be even harder to find something. I know the market is tight now, but I’m in temporary housing that is going to end soon, so I don’t want to narrow the field too far.

          • It is always hard to get all your criteria. I’ve been there. You have to figure out what matters most to you. For me, having a a W/D in my unit isn’t a deal breaker if there is one in the basement or somewhere in the building, but I have to be able to access it 24/7 (late night laundry doer here.) Also, having clothing in the guest room wouldn’t be an issue for me – I kind of like having a dressing room – my clothing isn’t strewn all over my bedroom, which is nice, when most of it it stored in another bedroom. Now, the kitchen stuff in a guest closet is a deal breaker – my mother has that in her condo and it drives me nuts when I cook there. Everybody is different about what is and isn’t OK for them.
            .
            I think you have a good handle on what you want, you just haven’t found it yet. It can often take a long time of looking to find what is just right – you’ll know it when you find it. How do I know that? – I did. Good luck – and enjoy the search.

        • Have you thought about what bus lines might work for you? I am decently close to two metro lines but always take the bus. Buses run more frequently. If the bus breaks down, you can get out and walk. If traffic is terrible, you can get out and walk. Just something to think about.

        • It’s just me- I misunderstood a bit. I thought you were finding an abundance of perfect places across home types and were having a hard time choosing.
          Honestly, all those things would be rejects for me except maybe the kitchen if it was just to store infrequently used items. Pots and pans; no way. Winter is a tough tone as you know, but I hope you get close to perfect soon.

    • Have you ever owned a condo before? If not, do some research not only about what to expect in general, but also specifically for the condo association you end up looking at. Reviewing their financials and how big their reserves are – what capital improvements are scheduled, what’s included in the condo fee, etc are key. When I went from apt living to owning a condo I didn’t do enough research and walked into a really shady situation. It was a real eye opener and one that I lived to regret. Not all condo situations are bad, just putting it out there that they are different than owning your own rowhouse. There are pros/cons to investing in both.

      • Not sure where to place the blame, but your realtor should have provided full financial disclosures from the association and mentioned you could back out if you didn’t like them.
        Was the issue that you didn’t get all the info or that you didn’t know what to look for?

        • The financials presented prior to purchase were not this condo associations financials. They lied in other words. By the time I realized what was going on, it was 6 months after purchase and the attorney I consulted said I could sue – thus suing myself as I was now part of the association or work to try and rectify. I opted for the latter and was on the board for 5 years. But it was a tough five years and I eventually had to sell to get peace of mind. They were in receivership with the gas and water company when I purchased – something that if I had known, I never would have bought. They also weren’t collecting condo fees from everyone and hadn’t done much required maintenance or capital improvements in over 10 years due to the lack of funds (and no reserve). Paying bills every month was a shot in the dark – shall we pay for trash pickup or water? They had that little coming in. If I had been more savvy with what came with purchasing a condo – I might have been able to avoid the money pit, but who knows – considering they provided false financials anyway.

          • Wow! Sorry you went through that. I’m not sure how I’d know the financials were fraudulent…lack of paid bills maybe? I’m glad you were able to get out of there eventually.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Unless you bought with cash, I’m surprised you were able to get a mortgage for this place. They must have been sophisticated enough to pull the wool over the eyes of your bank. When I was trying to buy a co-op years ago, my lender put the kibosh on the deal because they discovered that too many owners in the coop were delinquent on their coop fees.

          • I got a mortgage, but it was in the height of the market where anything and everything went. I WISH the lender had put a stop to the deal, b/c in the end I was only able to get out by doing a short sale. But that was the best business decision ever.

  • Rave/rant: Date in a week, but she really wants to try a crappy bar.
    Rave: No matter how badly it goes, I have fun things planned afterwards.
    Rant: Co-workers who rarely come to work may keep the rest of us from getting overtime.
    Rave: Treating myself to restaurant week.
    Rave: Old man dog is still in good health and energetic.
    Rave: 6 months with mia roommate. Bliss!

  • I Dont Get It

    Rave/Rant Question: After seeing the impact of poorly documented estate planning, I want to update my will. I’ve been using LegalZoom but I’m thinking I want to use an actual IRL attorney this time. Any recs? How much should I expect to spend?

  • Rant: The terrorist attack in Quebec City is almost as if it never happened. Its really getting swept under the rug in the media and I dont see all those #PrayersforQuebecCity hash tags like we saw with the France incident. Just another reminder of the hypocrisy of how people treat these tragic events.

    • We see it here on PoPville: if readers can distance themselves in any way from victims, they will. If it happened at 2am, well I’m never out at 2am. If it happened in Anacostia, well I never go to Anacostia. If the victim knew the assailant, well I don’t hang out with people who carry guns. In the case of Quebec, well I don’t go to mosques. Etc etc.
      But France was indiscriminate. Could have been anyone who likes to eat and go to concerts. Could have been ME. That’s why everyone got all emotional about it. They could no longer distance themselves. It’s sad, but it’s human nature, I think.

      • All of these things. In addition, it’s an act of self-preservation (or, to use my least favorite phrase de jour, “self care”). Most people (myself included) don’t have the spare mental or emotional energy to expend on each and every tragedy/act of terror/otherwise awful thing that happens. So we choose, sometimes consciously but more often subconsciously, which to get worked up about. (The methods by which we choose, however, certainly leave all of us open to charged of hypocrisy.)

        • +1. I have been so grieved by what I see, and reading just a bit more about the white nationalist who perpetrated the mass shooting at the mosque just kills me. And I can’t, I just can’t deal with it. I know I need to but I’m so overwhelmed by all the other awfulness that I am starting to feel paralyzed. But thank you, stacksp, for calling us to account.

        • On top of all that, it was “only” six people who were killed in Quebec City (while many more were killed in France). That kind of mass shooting happens so often in America now that it’s more or less background noise (unless it was perpetrated by some out-group, in which case it’s a Big Deal)…

    • I think it’s being overshadowed by the ongoing Trump craziness. It also had a much smaller death toll than the Paris attacks.

      • dcgator

        No, the death toll does not matter. The bodies do. Their religion, their color. Think of the outrage if this had been in a (non-black) church!! You’d have every member of Congress sending their ever-so-helpful “thoughts and prayers” and the conservative media resurrecting the “War on Christianity.”
        .
        stacksp is definitely correct–hypocrisy is at play here–and worse, racism.

        • Sure, hypocrisy and racism are factors, but the death toll DOES matter. In the United States, we’re getting so accustomed to mass shootings that it now takes something big and/or dramatic to make much of an impression.

          • dcgator

            Cool, so tell me why the Charlie Hebdo attacks got wall-to-wall coverage for weeks on end when “only” 12 people were killed? Celebrities even got involved with the #jesuischarlie hashtag, and videos, and other PSAs.
            .
            I obviously recognize that 12>6, but in the larger scheme of things, 12 is not as “big and/or dramatic” as 100+ in Brussels and Paris.
            .
            Also unmentioned—a mosque, like a church or temple, is a place of calm, of worship, and peace. It is UNTHINKABLE that people are killed while praying, which I feel most people would agree is of the utmost sanctity, never mind supposed separation of church and state. I don’t subscribe to your train of thought here.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I think you both have points here. I don’t think the death toll is wholly irrelevant, but I don’t think it’s a major factor either unless it’s really really big. Personally, I was as baffled by the extent of the Charlie Hebdo coverage as by the lack of coverage about the shooting at the mosque. I don’t think it is necessarily a function of racism, though I recognize that it may well be a factcor. I suspect that it is largely a function of ability to identify with the victims and feel “this could happen to me.” Although I recognize that humans are not very good at making accurate predictions about what they would do in situations they haven’t actually faced, I suspect I personally would feel more personally impacted by an act of violence in an urban Catholic church full of immigrants that resulted in 2 deaths than by an act of violence in a suburban Evangelical megachurch that resulted in 50 deaths, because I identify with the people in the urban Catholic church full of immigrants and would feel personally vulnerable in the event of such an attack.
            .
            At risk of being way overly general, most of the people I saw doing the #jesuischarlie thing and stuff were urban liberals who are into liberal-leaning political cartoons and don’t go to religious services. I can’t recall a single one of my religious or conservative friends making a big deal about Charlie Hebdo – none of them cheered over it or anything like that, but it didn’t register for them (us) in the same way as it did for the crowd that we saw doing the hashtags and all.

          • Targeting of the media by religious extremists is a fairly recent development — I think that’s why the Charlie Hebdo incident got so much press; it was the underlying principles.
            .
            I’m not disputing that hypocrisy and racism are at work here. Remember the Sikh temple shooting? It didn’t receive much coverage either, in part because of the tendency to dismiss white-supremacist mass shooters as disturbed individuals rather than terrorists.
            .
            I think the Quebec shooting would be receiving more attention if Trump weren’t outraging people daily (or multiple times a day) with his latest actions. I also suspect it would be getting more attention if it had happened in the U.S. rather than Canada. From what I’ve been reading, Canada in general and Quebec in particular are doing some pretty serious soul-searching at this moment.

          • +1 to HaileUnlikely’s “I suspect that it is largely a function of ability to identify with the victims and feel ‘this could happen to me'” and to wdc’s earlier post.

          • ” Personally, I was as baffled by the extent of the Charlie Hebdo coverage . . . ”
            .
            It was an attack on the media, so the media coverage was out of proportion. All of the other factors mentioned were in play too, but the coverage was over the top because the media was attacked, and the media decides what lever of coverage to provide, so . . .
            .
            This particular phenomenon replicates itself in big and small ways all the time. Does it really matter that much if the White House briefing room stays in it’s current location? No nearly to the extent the White House Press Corps makes it seem. Does it matter if the events at the Super Bowl are far apart and difficult to get to? Only to the reporters trying to attend them. But since it affects the media, it’s given outsized coverage.

        • I sweat it never happened. No digging into the guys background for days on end. No camping outside his parents home and interviewing cousins, aunts and brothers. No round table discussions on CNN/Fox. No linking the guy to some extreme organization. I am not even sure that they call it an act of terrorism. No update on his first day on court.. Zero Coverage

      • Everyday there seems to be just more and more violence. The UC Berkeley situation looks crazy. I have never even heard of the speaker but apparently a lot of people have because they came ready to raise hell and that they did.

        I am looking at the pictures now and everyone is in all black with ski masks with an assortment of weapons and small explosives. Broken glass and fires….crazy times

  • Rave/Rant: An appraiser is coming to look at my place tomorrow and I have no idea (even with the comps my realtor was awesome enough to pull for me) how much it will be appraised for as sales in my building have ben all over the place, and I really want a specific number in mind. So rave that it’s happening (yay lower interest rate), and rant that I’m so nervous about it.

    Rave: My house is a lot less cluttered than before!

    Rave: Looking forward to seeing friends and having a fun weekend. First time in almost 2 months that I am feeling well!

    • Yeah, but as I found, appraisers don’t really care about clutter. My appraiser spent about 1 minute in my place when I had it appraised. Like you, though, I go to enjoy my clutter clean-up while it lasted.

      • What do they care about? I know my place older (so I don’t have fancy new things) but it’s well maintained. Will that matter?

        • Location, number and type of rooms, square footage. That’s about it (maybe some other items in condos?).

          • Bear

            Age of kitchen, bathrooms, etc. There’s a rating system for this stuff–newer/nicer means a higher appraisal value.

          • Bear

            To elaborate – condition of the property as a whole is rated from C1 (new construction) to C6 (substantially damaged), and this is where age of kitchen/baths can make a difference (you can google the ratings to see a more complete description of each value). When we had our house appraised last summer the mortgage broker said this was one area where you want to pay attention to the rating that the appraiser assigns. That and the comps the appraiser picks are the two areas that most affect your appraisal value, and that you might be able to contest if you don’t agree with what the appraiser says. That said, it’s really hard to get an appraiser to change their assessment if you don’t agree.
            .
            Other items that should affect value are central HVAC, fireplaces, porches/patios, parking – not sure if any of those would apply to your condo or not.

          • We had done quite a few renovations so he definitely cared about that. He also took note that we had parking in the rear. He spent about 20 minutes in the house and our appraisal came in right where we needed it–actually about 3k more than we needed. We also gave him a list of comps and a list of renovations/replacements.

          • HaileUnlikely

            On the property condition, if your description is remotely accurate, it will almost certainly be rated C3 or C4. It would have to be majorly f*cked up to be rated C5, and if it is not been completely renovated recently (e.g., a flip), it can’t be a C2. Other than re-painting surfaces where the paint is showing its age and patching holes in walls if there are any (you don’t want to have big holes in walls when the appraiser comes), there is unlikely to be anything that you can do that would change the condition rating without spending a ton of money.
            .
            If you know of comps that you think are sensible, make a list and be ready to give it to the appraiser. Note that they must be from within the past 6 months; if they are older than 6 months the appraiser will not use them.

        • I have comps – the completely re-done condos are selling well. Mine needs to be improved (hoping that the magic appraisal number will bring it up to where I need it to be in order to make that happen) – hopefully he’ll be kind!

  • Rant: Washing machine is dying and I have to find a new one
    Rave-ish: my state tax return should cover the cost of a new machine

    net: $0

  • Rave: Started digging out the patio, the last home improvement project for a while.
    Rave: Had planned on and budgeted for it, so it’s pretty painless . . .
    Rant: If I can restrain myself from any improvements/upcharges.
    Rave: Particularly excited about the fire pit.
    Rant: Busier than I’d like to be at work.
    Rant: On the downhill slide to 50.
    Rave: Better than the alternative.

  • Question: Thinking we should re-fi, but all the lenders I’ve worked with in the past have been pretty terrible. Anyone have any good recommendations?

    • If you don’t mind an online back, I had two excellent experiences with Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct).

      • If it’s a condo, don’t bother. I’ve been a customer since it was ING, have a healthy sized mortgage relative to the national average, but they didn’t care because it was a condo.
        The most annoying part is that they didn’t stop sending me materials about refinancing with them. Ugh.

    • I got excellent service and a great rate from Trish McCall at Consumer Direct Mortgage. When I refinanced 1.5 years ago she was working 1-9pm so it was easy to get in touch and her assistant dealt with my (at the time) totally incompetent condo association management company to extract what I needed. I’ve recommended her to a couple people because I liked the process, rate, and closing costs so much.
      Direct: 561-419-9310 | Cell: 702-901-3086
      Email: [email protected]
      Web: www .cdmtg .com
      NMLS #: 343384

    • Andie302

      All three of these will give you excellent service: Chris Jordan, Hillary Legrain, and Greg Kingsbury. Just google their name and mortgage afterwards. All three have online applications. I can’t say enough good things about all three of them!

    • If you have enough equity, you could take out a home equity line of credit and pay off the whole mortgage. I did that through TD bank for a 2.75% interest rate.

      • Are HELOC interest rates generally lower than regular mortgage interest rates? (So it would make better sense to do a HELOC and pay off the mortgage than to just refinance the mortgage?)
        .
        I’m wondering if it might make sense for me to do this with my house. Otherwise, its gains in equity are meaningless until I sell, which I don’t intend to do any time soon.

      • Curious – I don’t know anything about HELOC – are the interest payments tax deductible?

    • I’ve done a purchase and 3 refis in the last couple of years, and no one’s been able to beat Sebonic – Cardinal Financial (purely on numbers…I have no problems with their customer service, but it’s not so good I would rave about it). If you have at least 25% equity and a top-notch credit score, they’ll probably make you an offer no one can beat.
      .
      They have the basics, as well: online application and paperwork submission, long staffing hours (you can usually reach someone until 7-8 PM), and no-fee/no-point rate locks for long enough that the loan will get done without drama (when I did my last one, they locked the rate for 45 days since volume was high…purchase before that they locked me for 38 days so I could close on the last day of the month).

      • Have these all been primary residences?

        • Purchase and 2 of the reifs. Refied the third tenant-occupied. The premium for that was .15%, but I also have a boatload of equity in that one. I guess this was actually over a span of 4 years. Time flies. But in every case, I got multiple offers, and they always won by a mile.

          • Good to know. Thanks!

          • *.125%* more. They sent me the first preliminary sheet for that one for an owner occupied, since I wasn’t clear enough up front that it was tenant occupied, but, at least, that gave me an exact comparison between owner and tenant occupied (and good for you all that I save and file email! 🙂 ). The fees were also higher for T/O vs. O/O, but that’s also normal, and it wasn’t extreme. The appraisal was a little more (<$150 more) since they required a fair market analysis, and they couldn't give me a lender credit that would cover almost all closing costs (they still gave me a little, but not like when I refied my primary residence and they were able to charge me basically nothing). Should also note the "I wasn't clear enough" isn't a slam on their customer service. It was a simple mis-communication, and they immediately changed it and sent out the updated preliminary offer within less than a minute on the phone, all during our initial conversation.
            .
            Should also reiterate that, to get these great offers from them, you have to have an *excellent* credit score. From what I can gather, 780+. I don't know what their offers would look like for lower credit scores. The purchase, I only put 15% down, and with very reasonable PMI (cost and terms), still got a great offer, but for the refis with 75% or less LTV, that's when they start throwing deals at you.

          • And, finally, should note that they are also “online only.” They send a notary to you to do the closing. I happen to find that convenient, especially since they will usually find someone who will come to you in the evening or on weekends, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Rant: wmata fail with rerouting buses around the prayer breakfast. Drives were rude and uninformed, supervisors weren’t bothering to speak to confused commuters.
    Rave: nice day to walk to work.

  • Rant: More fcking testing
    Revel: My students are meeting my growth goals
    Rant: I haven’t been doing a great job of taking care of myself lately. I need to step it up.

  • Rant: The news. Can we go back two weeks in time?
    Rave: Tutored for the first time last night, breaking down and analyzing an old poem with a 10th grader. Loved it – can’t wait to go back!
    Rave: Excited for Friday’s fundraiser for ACLU at Acre 121. Should be full of fired up people drinking for a good cause.

  • Question: I was just given a $20 gift card by an office admin for my birthday. While it’s very nice of her, I don’t know what to do. We aren’t close – at all – and it isn’t the office culture. She doesn’t work for me, or even with me, at all. She isn’t someone for whom I would buy a birthday gift. So, what do I do? Accept it with profuse thanks? Thank her but tell her it isn’t necessary, and give it back, and tell her I’d rather she use it for herself? I am not interested in getting into reciprocal gift giving (in fact, we’re actively trying to cut down on that).

    • Warm, sincere thanks. That is all that is ever required with a gift. To refuse it would be unkind.

      • This. Write her a thank you note.

        • Blithe

          +1 I’d write a short, genuinely sincere thank you note. Given your comment that you’re actively trying to cut down on reciprocal gift giving, maybe say something like it’s very kind and thoughtful of her to remember your birthday, and that you plan to use gift to buy doughnuts for the office — so everyone can benefit from her generosity. If the gift card is from a place where you can get flowers, cookies, whatever, that the whole office can enjoy, that kind of response both appreciates her thoughtfulness, and also spreads it around and makes it less personal.

      • Yup. I get the awkward feelings of obligation – just swallow them and move on. Donate $20 somewhere worthy if that makes you feel better about it.

    • Does your office have any kind of policy on gift-giving? (For what it’s worth, I believe the federal government forbids people in lower pay grades giving gifts to people in higher pay grades, which sounds roughly parallel to your situation.)

    • This doesn’t answer your question, but I received a wedding gift from the umbrella department I work under and just today received a form telling me that I have to report said gift for tax purposes b/c it’s over $99. Thanks for the sentiment, guys, but SERIOUSLY?

  • skj84

    Rant: In addition to anxiety, I’m getting frequent stomach aches. Got sick last night and the night before. At least i haven’t started having migraines again, though thats probably going to kick in soon.
    Rave: I’m really looking forward to seeing my parents on Sunday. I’m a bit calmer when I’m with family.
    Question: Brother wants to go to a bar to see a chill band play on Saturday. Any suggestions out there? I don’t necessary think he’s looking for 9:30/Black Cat experiance, but more of a grab a beer and chat type thing.

    • The passenger sometimes has weekend shows.

    • All of my suggestions are in Arlington, but these all have live music on the weekends with little or no cover:
      – Ireland’s Four Courts
      – Ragtime
      – O’Sullivans
      – World of Beer
      – Whitlows

  • Rave: Worked out yesterday. That makes 2 days in a row after nearly a month off due to illness and depression.
    Rant: Stuffy nose that never seems to clear up.
    Rant: Constant dry skin. Travel size containers of lotions are now my constant companion.
    Rant: Somebody farted near me on Metro this morning. Eeww!
    Rave: Moved to another seat quickly so that I didn’t have to smell it again.

    • I used to have loads of dry skin in the winter. I find that now that I drink a number of few full water bottles during the day, I rarely need lotion. If I get dehydrated by not drinking, the dry skin returns. Your mileage may vary.

    • A cool mist humidifier may help with the stuffy nose and the dry skin. I also second the recommendation to drink all the water.

      Congrats on working out! It is so hard to get back into a routine, especially when battling illness and depression.

  • Rave: Baby Artie slept a bit better last night.
    Rant: I am still so tired. I need to get into bed around nine so I can’t begin to catch up on my sleep deficit. I am a walking zombie.
    Rave: The chicken and veggie tacos I made last night were delicious, and I have leftovers.

  • Rave: most things in my personal ecosphere are going well
    Rant: it’s hard to square that with the world at large
    Rant: it’s amazing how one weekend away can totally throw off your eating and fitness routine

  • Rant: People who mix up “wary” and “weary.” It’s silly, but this has become one of my biggest pet peeves because I am seeing it everywhere. Arrrrgh.
    Rant: Low-grade cold which is mostly heavy congestion and coughing that just won’t leave.
    Rant: Dating a bartender is tough as a 9-to-5er.
    Rave: Kitty makes life so much more positive and it’s so nice to come home to her running up to greet me and meow at me as soon as I unlock the door. 🙂

    • Ditto on your first rant.
      .
      Yay on your kitty rave!

    • Same. Weary is a great word. Let’s keep using it to mean “worn out from a steady strain of some kind but not necessarily physically tired or sleepy”.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Your kitty sounds so sweet!

    • Dated a guy who was a server and, in the end, just couldn’t deal with the hours. The only time we had together was the two nights a week he had off…until he started working 7 days a week and then I was out the door.

      • I’ve been on the restaurant side of this, and if you want to be with someone there should be some mutual sacrifices. Taking off a weekend day here and there and you being open to Monday being date night most times. Doesn’t sound like he was ready for the give and take.

    • dating a bartender when you have a 9 – 5 is tough. luckily for me, my partner doesn’t work nights very often any more, but he works every Sunday during the day, and some Saturdays — which, obviously, Saturday and Sunday are my only days off. Sometimes it’s a bummer and I get lonely on the weekends and I have to be a solo dog parent to our highly energetic pit bull.
      .
      Other times it’s awesome because I can have ME time or hang out with my friends without worrying about what he wants to do. And other times I just go sit at his bar and enjoy free drinks (SUNDAY FUNDAY!). my point is, yeah it can really suck, but there are some positives – if the person is a good match otherwise, and you’re able to find some time that overlaps, I wouldn’t necessarily it’s a deal breaker.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Donna woke me up before I wanted to be up. She is a bad, bad weebis.
    Rave: Had a nice snuggle with Donna anyway,
    Rant: Left my lunch at home.

  • Rave/Rant: Today is my Friday!…only b/c I’m having surgery tomorrow. Blech.
    Rave: The teens who vandalized the historic black school in VA “have been sentenced to read books from a list that includes works by prominent black, Jewish and Afghan authors, write a research paper on hate speech, go to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and listen to an interview with a former student of the Ashburn Colored School, which they defaced.” Hooray for this judge.
    Rant: Friend going through a really tough time and all I can do is say, “I’m sorry, this just really really sucks.” She kicked my ass on our run last night, as she was running out her emotions. Thankfully she talked most of the time, b/c I could barely breathe (and she needed to).

    • Emmaleigh504

      I hope the surgery goes well and you have a speedy recovery!
      .
      I used to work at a public library in Florida where a judge would sentence meth addicts to do research on drug addiction. It was always interesting helping them. And “meth mouth” is so real and disturbing.

    • This just made my day. LOVE that judge!

      • Blithe

        +1 I think the most effective punishments fit the crime, and ideally, include a restorative justice component. Yay judge!

    • Thanks for the update on the school! That judge rocks.

  • Blithe

    PoP Observation/Queary: The last post of the night always seems to be posted at 10:22. So, is it the Prince’s lucky number? Bobby Seale’s birthday? Timothy Leary’s? Hmmmm?
    Rave: I did not start off today catching up on the news. So I have No idea — yet — what awful things our New Administration has accomplished while my attention has been drawn to other things.
    Rave: I’ve started knitting again, and, already, it has become a relaxing habit. And I REALLY need a relaxing habit.
    Rant: I need to contact the IRS re: refunds that I haven’t received. I am so not looking forward to making the calls. I hate it when I do everything that I’m supposed to do — and the bureaucratic powers that be don’t respond accordingly.
    Rant: Dentist asked me if I grind my teeth, and if I drink/eat things high in acid. So, I guess I’ve been grinding my teeth. And I just learned that the kombucha that I’ve been drinking regularly to do good things for my body has been destroying my teeth. Sigh.

    • Rinse or brush after kombucha, so it’s not sitting on your teeth.

      • Blithe

        Thanks for the suggestion! I’m also going to try for a low-ish sodium miso habit instead. We’ll see…. I’m bummed, because the kombucha is such a great sub for sodas.

    • Not an awful thing in the grand scheme of things, but apparently we all have to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger. And not in a, “Oh, he’s ill, we should pray for him” way, but in a “let’s use prayer to make a snide, mean-spirited comment” kind of way.
      Rave: Today’s idiocy merely further reveals Trump’s character flaws, and isn’t actively dangerous to our well-being.
      Rant: That this is what passes for a rave these days.

    • Oh, and I have a mouth guard because I grind my teeth. My daughter and I have matching retainer cases. The circle of life . . .

      • Blithe

        LOL! Yes, the C of L song was echoing in my head as I giggled at your last comment! My current dentist doesn’t take my current insurance, so she recommended trying otc mouth guards first before spending $300+ on a custom fit one. So far the cvs one seems to have made the problem worse — as in, I didn’t even know it was a problem, and now I do. The Sleep Right one is okay, but not ideal. I have a few more that I want to try, since I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew without insurance coverage. If the custom fit one comes in colors though…..

        • I tried the CVS one – the kind you boil, like the old athletic mouthguards? It worked, sort of, but I destroy each on in under a month. Apparently, I really grind my teeth hard. I am even wearing down the custom fit one. It may be worth going one time only to a dentist who does take your insurance to get a custom fit one, assuming that is what you need . . .

  • Rant: Favorite free outdoor workout is going on hiatus. Any recs for free workouts around DC? Am looking into run clubs, but am not the greatest runner. Also have classpass but need something to supplement.
    Rant: Wasn’t paying attention this morning and stayed in bed too long. Had to book it to office to make 8:30 call.
    Rave: Made it on time.

    • Dc front runners (lgbt run club) does runs throughout the week for various levels.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Also Pacers – many of their stores do group runs for a wide range of levels. The 14th Street location regularly gets a big group for their weekday evening runs.

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