Photo by Hugh Clarke
Ed. Note: If you have a personal question you’ve been dying to ask me – fire away! You can ask in the comments (which I’ll go back to and pull from) or just send an email with your question to [email protected] with “Ask me Anything” in the title.
I always wonder what a typical day is like for you.
-Do you plan your walkabouts in advance? With a map?
-When you go on walkabouts, do you bike to a starting location or just start walking from wherever you are?
-Do you ride your own bike or are you a bikeshare member?
-What kind of camera do you use and do you ever feel strange photographing someone’s house? (especially the close-ups)?
-When was the last time you held a typical “day job”?”
So, a misconception that some folks have is that I do a big walkabout every day. I wish my friends, I wish. Back in the day, I did go on more mini walkabouts during the week but I’m actually in front of the computer far more often than some realize. These days I have day care drop offs and pick ups and when I’ve completed them I am usually at the computer non-stop from 9am-3pm. During that time I pre-load posts through the whole day as well as that evening’s posts. I will then juggle posts around as breaking news/interesting reader notes/tips come through. Then I usually do the dishes from last night that I’ve left sitting in the sink. Then I’ll crack a beer. Usually a delicious delicious Dogfish Head 60 minute or an RAR Nanticoke Nectar. If I just want a lager I’ll have a Devil’s Backbone Gold Leaf Lager or a Bikini Blonde Lager from Maui brewing. But I digress
Big walkabouts are actually only once a week. But they are big. They range from 10-12 miles on the low end to 16-18 miles on the high end. I’ve had some 20+ mile days but they are rare and they hurt. I do not use a map. I usually have some points of interest that I want to check out like a restaurant opening or a some reader tips. I’ll then zig zag my way around to hit them all. As I’m zig zagging I usually remember spots that I need to check up on. So I do that every week for months and months at a time before a restaurant opens. Fortunately I love walking just for the sake of walking.
A common walkabout for me is – Van Ness to Cleveland Park to Adams Morgan to Dupont Circle to Downtown to Chinatown to H Street, NE and then I’ll take a metro home. Or I’ll go through the park to Crestwood or Petworth and go all the way down Georgia to U Street to Shaw to NoMa. Or I’ll start through Georgetown and zig zag my way downtown and east. When I plan my walkabouts I like to mix up what neighborhoods I’ve most recently been to ie if I haven’t been to H Street, NE, Capitol Hill or Navy Yard in a while I’ll make sure that happens. I’ll soon throw SW Waterfront into that mix as the massive Wharf development progresses.
I used to go to more events during the week but like I said that is harder and harder to do with young children’s schedules. But I do try to go to some from time to time. For example, I went to the Colada Shop’s opening the other week. When I do go to an event like that, I usually walk there and take photos along the way.
I was an original bikeshare member – I even have the original red t-shirts they gave out as a perk. But then after a couple years I let the membership lapse after I bought my own bike. While I do enjoy riding when the weather is nice, I don’t like riding a bike for the blog because I miss out on all the little details I love so much, like stained glass, a cool tree etc. When my hips or knees totally shit the bed I may get an electric bike one day.
As for cameras, I use a Canon G15 after my Canon G11 died on me. But I am strongly considering just switching to an iphone camera if I ever upgrade my phone because the quality has improved so much. I don’t feel strange photographing houses for houses of the day because 99/100 I am posting those photos in a complimentary way. I genuinely love something about the houses of the day I post. Of course there have been a few occasions when owners have come out and asked me “what the fuck am I doing?”, more or less, and I explain myself. These days most people are familiar with Prince of Petworth/PoPville and they just laugh. In 10+ years, I’ve only had 1 person ask me not to post the photo.
The last time I held a day job was September 2009. I was a consultant doing work for Homeland Security. Since then it’s just been Dingo (my cat) and me. I don’t work in an office share space so there are plenty of pros and cons to working alone. To work without any colleagues coming on 8 years can drive you crazy from time to time, make no mistake, especially if dealing with trolls. But in the end I still love it. And now you’ve inspired me to go take a walk.
So for those who haven’t been bored to tears – if you have a question you’ve always been wondering about it – have at it.
-Dan Silverman: Citizen of the District of Columbia