Lead, as in coerce

There's lead in the water in D.C. The Water and Sewer Authority tested over 6,000 homes, and two-thirds had water that exceeded the EPA's set limit.

The best part is, WASA has known this was a serious problem since last summer, and they knew that at least a small number of homes had a problem as far back as 2002. They didn't start notifying homeowners until November.

Lead, as you may know, is not good for the kiddies. Brita can't help you, and neither will boiling the water.

At least the end of the article cheered me up a little:

Cleopatra Jones, a neighborhood advisory commissioner in Bloomingdale, east of Howard University, said some neighbors played down the risks because they buy bottled water.

"I said, 'Don't you brush teeth, shower and cook?' " Jones recalled. "It's got to be alarming."

Awww yeah! You best be listening to Cleopatra! I always knew she'd wind up fighting for the people. Too bad Detective John Shaft and Superfly TNT were unavailable for comment.


Bullock Sentenced in Union Scam

Depression led the president of the Washington Teachers Union to embezzle $4.6 million from 1996 to 2002. No word on excuses for the other five people who helped.

I'm an INSIDER now!

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I just signed up for the Washington Times' "Insider" online service.

Where else can I get the exact same content that's on the Times' regular website? Oh, guess I answered my own question.

But that's not all... I also get a section called "Civil War" that has articles about... the Civil War? "Civilians fall victim at bloody Antietam!" Well, that's... timely.


Sen. John Kerry declared at a South Carolina Democratic presidential debate last night that the Bush administration has exaggerated the threat of terrorism for political purposes. "I think there has been an exaggeration," the Massachusetts senator said when asked whether President Bush has overstated the threat. "They are misleading the American people all the way." What's next? Charges that the Bush White House staged the events of 9/11 on a Hollywood set like the conspiracy nuts used to say about the moon landing?
Front-runner status brings with it heightened media scrutiny, and Sen. Kerry may find that comments like this don't bear repeating. You can be sure the Republicans already have a tape of the comment in safe-keeping for use this fall. - Fran Coombs
Ummm, so there's the inside dirt... on politics. That Fran Coombs really knows her... his... stuff.


Newsy news

Following the grand tradition of Washington, where doing a poor job is rewarded with more money, Waste Management's much-maligned recycling collection program gets a contract extension in D.C.

The Anacostia River is a toxic waste pit, unfit for swimming on 86 of 100 days in 2002, thanks to waste runoff from Maryland and D.C.'s antequated sewer system that tends to dump sewage in the river. Damn you Pierre L'Enfant!

More Metro cuts coming in the nation's third-worst traffic city.

One possible cut is to end weekend service after midnight, rather than the current closing time of 2 a.m., which was one of the few positive changes during the last couple of years. So much for trying to have a nightlife. Does any other city with a subway system close it down at midnight on the weekend? Take that, New York!

P.S. They're thinking of another fare increase too.

P.P.S. The cold weather once again severly hampered the system and caused delays all week. Which is OK, because everyone's work closed early, except mine of course, the bitches.

When in doubt, always blame the victim

A 14-year-old girl who had been questioned about murders was herself murdered execution-style. Then, the mayor's office inexplicably blew off the family of the victim.

"I got some very strange information from a city official," a reporter for a national magazine told me after receiving a call from mayoral spokesman Tony Bullock. In an off-the-record conversation, Bullock told the reporter, as he has told other news outlets, that Princess Hansen had a 1-1/2-year-old baby, that her mother had a parade of drug dealers coming through her house and that the mother had refused to cooperate with police.


We may yet learn that Princess was deeper into the gang scene than her family admits. But what we know is even more disturbing: The city reacted as if the Hansens are filth, and before helping Princess's family, it scurried to sully her name.
An even better passage about when the mayor finally did visit:

Just after 10 yesterday morning, four workers from the Sursum Corda Cooperative, armed with shovels, spades and salt, started digging a path through the ice from the spot where Mayor Anthony A. Williams's black Lincoln Navigator would soon park to the front door of Judyann Hansen's townhouse.

Not one other patch of pavement in the grim housing project just off North Capitol Street NW had been salted or cleared.
Call me cynical, and, well you'd be right. But that right thurr seems to sum up Tony's feelings about his poorer constituents. And helps explain why there's a recall effort on.


The Caps: we welcome audience participation

After somehow finding a buyer for overpaid "superstar" Jaromir Jagr and putting all their other stars on the trading block, the Washington Capitals are resigned to finishing last or next-to-last in the league standings with bargain-basement players and a more-than-half-empty arena.

That is, until the Capitals' no-necked owner Ted Leonsis assaulted a fan who was mocking him at a game. Clearly the prospect of having a chance to lay a beat down on AOL alum Leonsis is designed to drive up attendance. You've got pain, bitch!

P.S.: Wizards suck too. Worst. Sports town. Ever?

We heart rich people

You know what we need more of? Gated communities for the super-rich. There's really no better way to improve your community.

In this case, Bowie, Md. has plans to add a big complex featuring "two luxury hotels, a gated community of half-million-dollar homes, restaurants and specialty stores," as well as a new private school.

Yep, not nearly enough $500,000 homes in this area. As someone who rents a shitty apartment and has no hope of affording a decent home, I'm flipping this story the bird right now.

The accident

If you were driving north on GW Parkway Tuesday morning, and got stuck in traffic near the Key Bridge overpass around 7:30 because of an accident in the road, you might have seen a bleary-eyed man in blue at the accident scene, wearing a scarf and black knit cap, standing in the snow on the side of the road, almost completely covered in pink liquid.

Yeah, that was me.

So how does one find one's self in such a situation? As it turns out, thanks to a multitude of factors, including:

  • The driver who had skidded off the road, and decided it would be a good idea to back up into oncoming traffic.
  • My wife hitting the brakes and skidding into said driver's car.
  • The fact that my grape smoothie from the airport Smoothie King was apparently not in an accident-proof container.

    Thusly, I was covered in smoothie. The airbags popped in the car, unleashing a nasty burning-plastic smell, which, co-mingled with grape smoothie, will be hard to forget. We got out of the car, and Kimberly thought I was bleeding badly because of the smoothie all over me. Turns out I was fine, but her hand had been badly bruised by the airbag. We put snow on her hand to try to keep some of the swelling down, until an ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital.

    I had just arrived on the redeye from Las Vegas, which meant I hadn't had much sleep and my luggage was still in the car. So there I was, covered in pink, carrying both my luggage and the snow shovel Kimberly had used to dig out my car. A vision in ridiculousness.

    It's going to take some time to sort through this one. I haven't gotten the insurance logistics hammered down yet, so that will be fun. My car had to be towed away and had some pretty bad wheel/axle damage, so it may be a goner.

    And seeing my wife crying and holding out her badly bruised hand seriously broke my heart.

    Which is why, anonymous other driver whom I fortunately didn't have to talk to, I'd now like to say: you are a fucking moron, and I hope you burn in fucking hell. You put our lives in danger by driving like an idiot in snowy and icy conditions. When you originally skidded off the road, it should have been a sign to you that the road was icy and dangerous, and would require more reaction time to brake. Instead, you backed up into the flow of traffic. Now I have to help my wife with changing clothes and washing her hair because her hand is so badly injured. If your ignorant ass gets behind the wheel of a car again, it will be too soon.

    Good night.
  • 1.22.2004

    "Never a dull moment," if you're a very, very boring and shallow person

    As we all know, Washington is a socially conservative and generally boring place to live. Thankfully, the Washington Post's new "Sunday Source" section has come along to save us from the doldrums.

    It does this by printing 200-word feature stories that, as far as I can tell, are either written a) entirely by women, or b) by the gayest gay men from the planet Gaylon 12. Last week's section featured articles on both making a pretty customized place mat... for your dog, and how to dress your dog up in sweaters and little booties when it's cold out.

    There's also no better place to go for articles on monogramming your tank tops, properly maintaining a fish bowl, throwing a Czech dinner party, and wearing clothing with skull designs on it because that's cool for reals, yo.

    Occasionally Sunday Source will try to get you doing something athletic, such as in this article on curling (!), which begins like this: "Ah, curling."

    Other times, they'll interview famous people and ask them what they like about D.C. For example, Mandy Moore likes the National Building Museum. Why do I feel stupider now that I know that?

    The best/most useless part is the "big table of media stuff that comes out this week", which sadly is not online. They pick one or two titles from various forms of media (movies, books, video games, CDs, etc.) and give a half-sentence summary on why it's good and bad for each, along with a grade. The grades all range from A to B-minus. So presumably B is pretty bad, I guess. Who knows? The reviews only scratch the surface of why something is good/bad, so it's hard to make a judgment on whether it's something you would like.

    That's why this TV advertisement (download the Quicktime video) is hilarious.

    In the ad, a woman ostensibly named Lory Levitt (whom a Google search reveals may actually be a real person, so sorry for making fun of you) is sitting in her living room drinking a wine glass full of water. The first thing we hear her say is, "My husband says I suffer from TMC: Too Many Crafts." (Yeah, your husband's a dork, lady. So are you.)

    Then she explains how the Sunday Source is like her, because it's like the little voice in her head that makes her go out and do new things (but not like the voice that tells her to set fires). As she's saying this, we see a little animation of the Sunday Source being pieced together, including articles on "soccer chic", one called "wash and ride" with a picture of a car wash (whee), one that says "run the rapids!", a syndicated column called "Tell Me About It" (which I've read and is clearly targeted towards retarded people), and the big, exciting feature article on cilantro, which the camera zooms in on until we can see all the little dots that make up the image of the cilantro. The camera loves it some cilantro.

    And then, the comedy coup de grace. My wife and I wince every time this comes on the TV, at the moment when Lory utters:

    "...whether it's going out to a new restaurant, or going to buy a CD of some group you've never heard of -- but they gave it a B+, so it must be pretty good."

    This phrase has become the new comedic phrase that pays in my household. (It replaces yelling "Bad Boys II Soundtrack!" at random intervals, a la "Shake Ya Tailfeather". Thank you, Chingy or whoever, for telling me exactly on which album I can find this song, so that I may run out and buy it. And goodbye, whatever artistic integrity that had remained in rap.)

    Anyway, it's funny that this woman would willingly base a CD purchase on the little capsules in Sunday Source, which tell you almost nothing about the music. It probably said, "What you'll like: Andre 3000's shimmy-inducing "Hey Ya"! What you won't: the free-form solos on Disc Two. Grade: B+."

    Well, hey, they gave it a B+, so you know it must be pretty good.

    Guh. The New York Times this ain't. They should rename it Now That's What I Call Reviews!

    Anyway, I implore you to somehow use this rationale in everyday conversation. For example, if you're trying to convince someone to go with you to a movie, restaurant, sex shop, what have you: "Well, Sunday Source gave it a B+, so you know it must be pretty good." That can be your homework assignment while I'm in Vegas this weekend. (Sunday Source gave Vegas a B+, so you know it must be pretty good. See how easy it is?)


    There goes the neighborhood

    About a block from my sketchy apartment is a sketchy but popular 7-11. Next door to the 7-11, ever since I moved here, was Rita's Place. Rita's Place was your typical dirt-cheap, nasty-ass... I can't even call it a diner. "Food-serving type establishment." The menu behind the counter advertised cheeseburgers for something like $1.85 (so you know it's high quality).

    Rita's Place was always dark, always gross looking, and according to the sign on the door, usually always "cerrado." Which, if Sesame Street taught me anything, is not good for business. Over the past two years I kept threatening to eat lunch there, or have our anniversary dinner there, etc.

    Sadly, I missed my chance. Rita's Place is no more; it has been replaced by...

    Wesley Clark campaign headquarters?!

    That just came out of nowhere. Some day last week, the dingy, dark diner was replaced by the brightly lit Clark camp. And they're there all the time; I'll walk by at odd hours of the evening/night, and people will be in there working the phones, with news on the TV. Fortunately for them they have a 24-hour convenience store next door. Perhaps that's by design.

    Anyway, it's weird, but in a funny way. The neighborhood's just not sketchy enough with Gen. Clark around. It just doesn't fit; you've got the 7-11, the psychic lady who advertises $10 palm readings, the myriad small-scale used-car dealerships that presumably prey on the Hispanic population; and Gen. Clark., with his little volunteers skittering around.

    But will they serve me a $1.85 cheeseburger?

    Save our city; give up your vows

    A group called Save Our City is organizing a petition to recall Mayor Williams. Williams has vowed to "crush" the recall effort.



    Crack detective work

    The family of a missing Silver Spring man finds out he is dead. Their first clue was when they got a bill from the hospital.

    Hospital officials told Hossain that federal law prohibited them from releasing any information on the patient. For the next 16 hours, they pleaded with police and hospital officials to tell them whether they knew the whereabouts of Abedin.

    "Can you tell me what happened to this person?" Hossain said he asked repeatedly of hospital officials. "Is he still alive or dead?"

    On Jan. 6, Hossain was finally told to go to the D.C. medical examiner's office, where it was confirmed that Abedin was dead.

    "I said, 'It can't be true. He's been missing almost two weeks. He died on Dec. 19, and nobody contacted us,' " Hossain recalled saying. "If we hadn't got a hospital bill, we may not have found my friend."
    Police failed to locate the man's family. Despite the fact that he had identification and an addressbook in his pocket when he died. And despite the family filing a missing persons report in Montgomery County.

    I have a dream... a DEADLY dream

    D.C. celebrates King Day the way it celebrates all holidays... with murder. And since it happened in a fairly upscale Northwest (*cough* white) neighborhood, the Post actually gives it above-the-fold coverage in the Metro section.

    So far in 2004 there have been 18 homicides in 20 days in D.C. Police chief Charles Ramsey had decalred an end to the "crime emergency" a few weeks ago, but it might be time to invoke it again already.


    It's awesome, despite no sign of Bruce Springsteen's band

    I have to say that one of my major complaints about Washington has been addressed: the need for a cool cinema that shows not-in-the-mainstream films, in a proper movie-watching environment. Ladies and gentlemen: I present to you the E Street Theater.

    It's a cineplex located two blocks from Metro Center station. Thus, no driving required, although there is a garage next door if you insist on driving down. The theaters themselves are actually underground, but the architects somehow managed to pull this off without making it cramped. Some of the theaters even have stadium seating. All of the screens are regulation Olympic movie-theater size, so there's no feeling of "I'm watching a tiny screen at the end of a long hallway" feeling you might get at Visions and Dupont Circle. The sound is good; the ushers are friendly; Andale is within walking distance. Life is good.

    Most importantly, the selection of films is incredible. I've already been to see Girl With a Pearl Earring, in limited release, and Bubba Ho-Tep, in extremely limited release. (They even had Bruce Campbell there in person on opening night. Unprecedented.)

    This week they're showing Francis Ford Coppola's 1982 musical One From the Heart, now infamous for being pulled after just a couple weeks of release and for being a huge financial disaster. In the coming weeks, they'll show an amazing looking French cartoon feature and an experimental musical drama by Neil Young. Maybe someone could drag the President over to see The Battle of Algiers, since it's within walking distance of the White House? No, not likely? Oh well.

    Anyway, I'm flabberghasted. All of a sudden we have a cool new multiplex showing some extremely rare releases and re-releases. The film buff in me is throwing a party right now. (Probably a pretentious wine-and-cheese type party, but a party nonetheless.)

    Honestly, I don't know why I'm not there right now. I almost feel like I'm living in a real city again.

    Well, maybe if it wasn't for that whole people don't get fired from their $90,000 a year city jobs for lying about going to college on their resumes thing. That makes me regret getting my masters degree; I could have skipped that whole process by simply lying. Oh James, when will you ever learn?

    Beware of secret herbs and spices

    From the Post's Travel section:

    The U.K. post office wouldn't mail the package because a new FDA rule prohibits the mailing of any food or drink to the United States as of Dec. 12, unless the sender had filed "prior notice" with the U.S. agency and got permission.

    It's part of a law to prevent bioterrorism.


    But no one at the agency could answer CoGo's questions:

    • Can you trust a terrorist sending bioterrorist agents in food to honestly self-report?

    • If a terrorist were refused permission to mail, say, anthrax in powdered sugar, couldn't he just mail anthrax in baby powder?

    • Will baklava be treated with more suspicion than, say, baguettes?
    Ahhh, good stuff. Incidentally, I'm going to Vegas this weekend (yes, again). I'm leaving on Friday. I wish I was leaving now.


    My blog

    So... very... bored. My office-mate and another co-worker spent, no kidding, 30 minutes talking about driving in traffic. It's my fault for taking a job as a computer scientist, I guess. Every time I try to talk at work about current events, or pop culture, or something, I don't know, HALFWAY INTERESTING, I get blank stares.

    So to cheer myself up and try to feel somewhat relevant, I went to the Dupont Circle movie theaters to see The Cooler. Not the best multiplex ever; the theaters I was in had room for only about 50 people, and the screen was tiny and at an unnatural neck-stretching angle. The heating system causes the ceiling to crackle while it's running, and the sound from the screen isn't that great anyway. Which didn't stop them from charging $8.50 for a ticket and $8+ for a popcorn and coke.

    Basically, it's not too different from Visions; if you love movies, it's hard to watch them this way.

    In an attempt to dodge the cold, I stopped by the Four Courts pub in Arlington for a pint of Bass. Four Courts would be more authentic as an Irish pub if it wasn't filled with MBA yuppie scum. The choad next to me was showing off his wireless PDA and making himself feel self-important by checking his e-mail. Which I'm sure was necessary at 10:30 p.m. Then, for the next 20 minutes, he and the bartender discussed which satellite radio stock is better to buy, Sirius or XM. I think they thought it was strange when I started banging my head against the bar.

    I must, I must... I must get out of this city. For my own sanity.


    If only the DMV worked as hard as the car jockeys

    Tom Knott tackles the D.C. DMV, the new cell phone driving ban, and car jockeys.

    The cell-phone ban really does seem odd to me, because it allows you to use hands-free devices, which don't really alleviate the distraction:

    "The intuitive belief is that if it’s hands-free, or voice-activated, it is safe, but we haven’t seen any proof of that," says one source who asks not to be named but is actively involved in driver distraction research. "The research we have seen is showing that is not true at all."

    So far, the National Traffic Safety Board seems to agree.

    "Our studies seem to show that cognitive distraction can be more significant than visual distraction."
    Of course, in D.C., with its confusing network of one-way streets, dead ends, traffic circles, traffic-snarling construction, and the lack of adequate lighting and signage, it's sometimes distracting enough just trying to figure out where the hell you are. Talking on a cell phone probably doesn't help.

    My suggestion: force D.C. drivers to play Mario Kart at home for at least one hour a day. That's helped me immensely.

    More cartoons, vich ve love

    Not my work, but I agree with the sentiment


    Way to go

    There was a big accident on I-95 yesterday south of Baltimore, involving a tanker falling from a ramp onto the Interstate and melting everything and everyone nearby.

    No big deal; you live in a big city, you have to expect a mammoth road-melting accident once every decade or so. But here's the part that I hate:

    Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said there were no indications that the crash was an act of terrorism, a possibility many in the area feared when they heard the explosion and saw the tall cloud of smoke climbing from the fire.
    People, I'm just going to go ahead and say what nobody else will: the terrorists won.

    OK? Happy, 9/11 hijackers? It's almost two and a half years later, and you've got us fearing the worst every time something bad happens. Hats off to you. Mission accomplished. You've given us the Patriot Act and double-secret arrests; we fought all these wars throughout our history to protect our freedom, and now we're our own worst oppressors. You gave us the asinine "terror color scale", which I predict will never fall below yellow in its lifetime, and the unnecessary full-scale invasion of a similarly brown-skinned country. You wanted a jihad and you got it!

    And we're so skittish that we cower in fear every time some bad accident happens. We're not a brave country any more; we're a bunch of Chicken Littles, running around with our heads cut off.

    So way to go!

    Anyway, I've got to return these books to the library before Ashcroft gets suspicious, so see ya...

    Bang your head

    If not for these freely available remixes, I would have thrown myself out of my office window. Get them before the RIAA finds out and they go away.

    Beats make work bearable (or at least enough so that I don't actually kill myself). MORE BEATS PLEASE!


    Non-binding Democratic primary update:
    You may wish to consider revising the 10% turnout your cite in your Jan 14th entry to reflect the most recent numbers from the DCBOEE.

    The turnout for the Democratic primary was 16.5%, which is about twice the turnout for the last couple of primaries. Overall turnout, including Statehood Green & precincts 63 & 64 recall effort was 12.6%.

    So there you go. Still 0% binding though, compared to 100% binding in the last election.

    A "non-binding beauty contest"

    The first Democratic presidential primary in the nation was held yesterday in the District, in an attempt to get out the message to the rest of the country that D.C. has no actual voting representation in Congress. It was a challenge that D.C. accepted, and then hilariously failed.

    Because what better way to demonstrate your willingness to be enfranchised than... holding a non-binding primary that only four of the nine candidates participate in, and that only 10 percent of registered voters show up for? Oh right, any other way would be better.

    "Were we going to get record turnout? No. I didn't expect that," said Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), who did not endorse a candidate. "But what we've gotten here today was more exposure on the issue of D.C. voting rights than any other time."
    [crickets chirp]


    Logic surrenders

    Still no baseball in Washington or Northern Virginia. But apparently Norfolk, Va. has a shot at the Expos!? Fuck you, Bud Selig and Peter Angelos. Fuck you up your stupid asses.

    Meanwhile, the RIAA has some people impersonating police officers to shut down on-the-street piracy. "Drop that From Justin to Kelly soundtrack, put your hands up and back away slowly!"


    It's very cold

    I'm in my apartment. I can't feel my toes.

    I wish my apartment had been built after heat was invented.


    Primarily retarded

    D.C. is gearing up for its Jan. 13 presidential primary, which is sure to bring all kinds of attention to the fact that D.C. has no representation in congress. The nation is on the edge of its seat, waiting to see whom the District will annoint as the best Democratic candidate for President in this non-binding primary.

    Now, if you'll allow me to close the HTML sarcasm tag...


    Ah, that's better. Only four of the major national candidates are on the ballot: front-runner Dean, Kucinich, Mosely Braun and Sharpton. One of them didn't show for today's big debate at George Washington University... you guessed it, Dean.

    So the big debate today was between Kucinich, Mosely Braun and Sharpton. Yeah. The probable 7th, 8th and 9th place finishers squared off in a battle of wits... to the death!

    Hey, now there's a way to garner attention for the District. Have them battle to the death. Not sure who I would bet on. Probably Mosely Braun.

    Icy Roads, Metro Delays Cause Commuting Headaches

    Washington combines the worst parts of living in the Northeast and the South into one city. Apparently, we inherited the South's penchant for being unable to deal with a "nano-layer" of snow, as the city comes to a complete standstill this morning after a light dusting.


    Jen Waters' new (unpublished?) masterpiece

    Brace yourselves.

    From the moment the sun comes up in the morning to the second the moon and stars appear in the night sky, human beings see everything around them because of light, says Anthony Johnson, director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. In fact, every time someone listens to a CD, watches a DVD, buys something at the grocery store or makes a phone call, light is most likely enabling the activity.
    I... wow.

    Light is most likely enabling the activity.

    Human beings can see things because of light, according to this random expert in photonics research.

    Why are those presses still running? STOP THEM NOW, DAMMIT!


    Summing it up

    Bad Boys II soundtraaaaack!

    I'm glad the Redskins have finally found their next Joe Gibbs. But I can't help thinking that Spurrier better represented the spirit of the town, making $5 million a year to sit on his ass and basically not care about the kind of job he was doing.

    I've maintained that the Redskins represent Washington not just on the football field, but in all the ways this mish-mash of a megalopolis suuuuucks. Someone wrote a letter to the Post after attending a miserable Redskins game in the cold rain that summed up my theory nicely:

    I don't begrudge Dan Snyder's profiting by offering expensive options to fans who want to pay for them. I do mind how he's been "squeezing more revenues" out of the average fan in ways that degrade the game-day experience.

    My personal last straw came on the day of the Redskins' miserable loss to Dallas on Dec. 14. It was raining, with temperatures in the 30s, and I bought a cup of coffee on the mezzanine. For $3, I got a cheap, thin cup, powdered creamer and no lid.

    Anyone buying that coffee had to carry it back to his or her seat. I spilled some on my coat sleeve and the rest promptly got cold.

    Mr. Snyder probably saved a half-cent a cup by not buying lids, but he just lost a $2,400 season-ticket customer.
    And that's life in Washington in a nutshell: paying three dollars on a cold, rainy day for a small coffee that tastes like shit, because you have no other option if you want to stay warm.

    Hmm. My wife says I need therapy. She's crazy.

    Meanwhile, I sold the tickets I had to the last two games of the season, and used the profits to attend the Ravens-Titans playoff game in Baltimore. And my critics will be happy to know I didn't drive to Baltimore; I Metroed (not a word) to Union Station, trained up to Baltimore's Penn Station, and light railed to the Ravens' product-placed bank stadium, which by the way is about 20 times better than the Redskins' product-placed shipping company stadium.

    But what I don't get is: why did it cost me $12.60 to go from Washington to Baltimore via Amtrak, while going to New York City on the same train would have cost me $77? I don't understand... it would cost me less to fly there. And yeah, it's further, but it would also cost me less to go to Chicago, which is a much longer trip.

    I would totally be willing to train up to NYC, a city with actual personality and life, to escape Washington, avoiding all the tolls and traffic along the Northeast corridor, if it were priced somewhat more reasonably. Instead, stuck here. And paying $1,035 for my two-bedroom apartment, which oh-by-the-way has very little heat on this 24-degree night.

    God, I can't believe I've been here almost two and a half years. I'm beat down.

    That's the best way to describe it. Work is a chronic beat down. I dread going in now; it's all meetings and conversations that go nowhere. Projects that go nowhere and have no direction. There's no interaction, no feedback. I stay up late, sleep in until 9, show up at 10. Flounder around on the Web for hours because I can't bring myself to do the work. Nobody cares; nobody looks at or acknowledges any of the work I actually do anyway.

    I long for a job that involves some shred of creativity that will also keep me from being homeless. There are none here. I lack the capital to start a business of my own that will keep me from being homeless. Instead, I trudge into the boring job every day. Aimless. Beat down.

    Therapy? Fuck therapy. Just get me out of Washington. I hate being bled dry and beat down, and nobody cares.

    Nobody. Cares.

    Welcome to my blog.

    Bad Boys II soundtrack.

    Update coming eventually

    I've been busy lately, and there's been so much as been going on in town (or not). For the record, the 2003 homicide total in D.C. was 148, lower by about 6 percent from last year.