Photo by PoPville flickr user Laura_Grageda

“Dear Galaxy Note 3 Owner,

It was really cool checking out your phone last night. It is so big! It was basically the perfect size to block out me having to see any of that annoying band playing in the background. The way you held it directly in front of my face definitely helped obscure the view and blocked those God awful bright lights they kept flashing in my eyes.

I am really impressed with the features that your phone the size of a laptop possess. How much memory does that thing have? You must have taken at least 80 pictures! I am glad you didn’t waste time just standing there watching that [again, annoying] band, but instead were chronicling the event for later. You are going to love those pics. So jealous. And the quality looked so sharp –those photos absolutely capture the feeling of what it was like to be there. It felt like I was seeing a live show through your screen. And if they didn’t, oh man, I am sure that video you took of their most “popular” song definitely did. I mean, you got the whole thing! That will be a real treat for you to go back and watch over and over and over again in the comfort of your own home, when there are not all those jerks standing around you trying to strain the heads to NOT look at your phone.

I was so embarrassed for that idiot with the iPhone. Remember when he pulled that wimpy thing out and tried to take his own picture? He only got one! And then went back to talking and laughing with his friends. How is he going to remember what it felt like to be at a live concert like that? It is people like that that really get to me. That guy is probably going to go through life just experiencing things as they happen to him. What, no pictures?! I bet he doesn’t even post the ones he does take to Facebook so everyone can see exactly what is happening that moment in his life like you did. I think I hate that guy.

I am sorry we didn’t exchange information. But I have no doubt that I will run into you again at another show. And at a hockey game. And in that new restaurant. And that art gallery. And on the sidewalk (for some reason). I cannot wait for all the times that I will get to look at your great big phone instead of being pestered by the stupid crap that is going on around me. It doesn’t even have a filter!

Accidentally Living My Real Life”

“Dear PoPville,

Street Altercation in Penn Quarter

On Sunday afternoon on the 600 block of E Street NW I heard yelling of obscenities from a few hundred feet back. I was unsure what was going on and kept walking. The yelling stopped but a few moments later it resumed and sounded much closer. I turned around again and realized it was a mid 20’s black male on a bike hurling verbal abuse at a white couple. It was now clear to me that he was the source of the initial yelling and was biking on the sidewalk from group to group getting very close to people and violating them verbally. He called the woman in the white couple the c-word and said he would rape her. I knew he’d bike over to me next. Sure enough he did. I decided I wasn’t going to just silently take it. As he berated me I called him a b*tch, a coward, unleashed some f-bombs, and said I would beat his ass. He began to biked off and I kicked tire real hard. He continued to pedal away furiously but his anger over his bullying being dished back made him eventually circle back to start following me.

At this point I was on a very busy sidewalk on 7th street in front of Carmines. I was ignoring his constant stream of “You F’d up. I’m gonna get you” verbal vomiting. I decided to walk between the tree boxes and the parked cars so he would not be able to bike directly behind me and cheap shot me. As I was walking I noticed a 3/4 full cup of some kind of iced coffee sitting on the sidewalk. I picked up figuring I needed something to stun him if he attempted to get violent. I crossed 7th street and as he followed I kind of got boxed in in front the Protein Bar. I saw he had a metal U-lock in his hand and intended to use it as a weapon. He remained on the bike and flailed at me with the U-lock twice. While he didn’t come within 18 inches of hitting me with his pathetic flails I clearly needed to get out of this situation. I threw the iced coffee in his face and then sprinted down the block and around the corner into a bar to have a beer. I looked back over my shoulder a few times while I was fleeing and luckily he did not follow me.

While I didn’t want to merely ignore the street harrasment like I had done dozens of times before I recognize I didn’t handle this well. I needlessly put myself at risk. I escalated rather than diffusing the situation. In hindsight I should have remained calm, filmed him with my phone and told him I’d call 911. Still, the coffee on his face was a little priceless.

This was not a disheveled looking unstable homeless person. He was clean shaven. Had a nicer and newer winter jacket on than I had. This was not mental illness triggered. I would say it was anger and racist rage from a cowardly anti-social individual who was getting his jollies off verbally assaulting random people.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

“Dear PoPville,

I live in the basement apartment of a homeowner who is my landlord. A few weeks ago, my landlord threw a wicked loud party that raged on late into a Tuesday night. When I sent her a text message about it (at 12:00am), I received no fewer than twelve angry text messages in reply, ranging from “I can’t wait until you move out” to “Do not contact me again”. I was instructed to contact the property manager (her close friend) about issues moving forward. He and I had a lengthy conversation, the result of which was basically in addition to being her birthday that night, the landlord is having “personal issues”, so her response was warranted given the context. I’m over that, though a little bitter. I was given the option to break the lease and move out, something I’m considering for January. Needless to say, the tension certainly is enough.

Now, she has turned on the ancient forced heat furnace. She alerted me to this and added a caveat that the furnace has a “hum”. Apparently, that “hum” is a loud, constant, high-pitched ringing noise that permeates through the concrete walls. What’s more, it seems to resonate through the vents in my apartment – and it’s still freezing cold in here.

I measured the noise at a peak of 75 decibels inside my unit, furthest from the furnace (using a smartphone app, efficacy unknown). According to DCRA, any mechanical equipment noise will be measured at the property line (so, outside). I can’t hear it from there, so I wonder if going to them would make any difference. I have sent a text message to the property manager and have not heard a response.

I worry that first, there is a real issue with the furnace. I also wonder which will explode first – the furnace, or my brain.

Do I have any recourse here, except the noise cancelling headphones I just purchased? How’s the rental market in January (or next week, for that matter)?”

“Dear PoPville,

I live near Blagden Alley. Within the last couple of month’s I’ve seen prostitutes on several occasions hanging around seemingly looking for business. They just started construction a few doors down from us and now they’re around more frequently. This morning on my way to work there were 3 on the corner of 10th and N and a few interested construction workers walking by. I walked by a cop parked over by 12th and told him, and he drove off in their direction. Not sure what he can do if they’re not actually transacting, but hopefully will scare both parties into thinking twice before coming back to that corner. Is there anything else I could do in situations like this, especially if I didn’t happen to walk by a cop? I don’t know if 9-1-1 is an appropriate option as there is really nothing illegal going on with them standing around. Just not something we like to see in the mornings or at any time of the day, especially in our own neighborhoods. I’m wondering if other people have experienced similar situations and how they’ve handled them?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

I have a question regarding leaf removal from sidewalks. I live on a residential street in Kalorama, some of the houses are single family-owned, some have been subdivided into condos/apartments. This November I’ll be completing my first year on this street and I’ve noticed there are about three houses in a row that never clear the sidewalks of leaves or snow. I thought I heard once it’s the property owners who are responsible for cleaning the sidewalks but I wanted to make sure. Is this something I can go to 311 about or am I just stuck with the mess? Please note, it’s not the unsightliness of trampled leaves or the muddy snow (although it does look bad) that’s getting my goat, it’s the fact that I also have neighbors who don’t clean up after their dog’s waste resulting in hidden landmines.

I know at least one of these houses has been converted to condos/apartments but there’s nothing indicating who owns/manages the property. If this is something I can go to 311 about, will they be able to figure out who to contact or will they simply leave a note on the front door (a note that will most likely go ignored and end up on the sidewalk)?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user washingtonydc

“Dear PoPville,

My neighbor’s car alarm has been going off literally every 5 minutes for the past four hours directly outside my window. I work from home and it’s really starting to drive me nuts. Is there anything I can do about this? No one is near the car, it’s clearly malfunctioning.”

Washington Aqueduct where the water treatment process starts courtesy DC Water

From DC Water:

“We saw this post earlier this morning and wanted to contribute to the information sharing. The musty odor and taste that some residents are experiencing are caused by algae byproducts that occur seasonally in the Potomac River and drinking water reservoirs. The concentrations of these byproducts are extremely low and are not harmful to human health.

This year has been particularly noticeable, but the taste and odor should disappear very soon because of the colder weather. A carbon-based filter, such as a Brita pitcher, will help to reduce the taste and odor. The Potomac River and the drinking water in the District’s distribution system are constantly monitored to ensure the safety of the water. If you have any questions about the quality of your drinking water, please contact our Drinking Water Division at 202-612-3440 (M – F, 8am – 4:30pm).


Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric Spiegel

“Dear PoPville,

There is a medium pitched humming noise that comes on every 5 or so minutes and stays on for 5 or more minutes, all day, every day. The noise has been going on since spring or so. We live on Belmont Street between 13 and 14 and this noise is a real nuisance to a point where it is bothering us and affecting our quality of life. The noise is coming through open windows and even through the bathroom vent. We have tried to track down the noise, but we can only go as far as maybe 14 and Florida and we can’t follow the noise anymore, and I think that is because we are walking on the ground level and the noise is coming from some roof top. Our best guess as to the origin of the noise is from an HVAC system on one of the buildings between 13 and 15 and south of Florida and north of U Street. I am sure we are not the only street being bothered by this annoying noise since I have heard the noise when I walk around the area mentioned above, so I hope to hear from you guys who live around this area who could point us to the building that is causing this noise so that we can notify them to fix it. Thank you!”

Probably too far away but over the weekend on the Columbia Heights listserv a resident wrote:

“For those of us who live in close proximity to the Giant grocery store at 1345 Park, or just frequent it, it’s a common occurrence to hear hours of a high pitched tone. We’ve asked over and over how to fix this (what we’ve been told is that it’s an alarm initiated by an open back door, though closing the door doesn’t seem to shut it off), but it keeps happening. Today it’s been going since about 9am. Does anyone have any contacts there with management or the owners of the building to figure out a strategy to fix this? It’s making us nuts!”


“Dear PoPville,

Why can’t we just cut down all the female gingko trees? Certainly we could plant something better and less noxious on our streets. Just a random thought I had today when walking through the stench.”

Ed. Note: The District does spray the trees in the Spring and their leaves are awesome but agreed that the stink caused on certain streets is pretty brutal.

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80