My lease runs out today. Do I have a place to live?

Remember the good old days when I wrote my first post? By "good old days," I of course mean Thursday, but whatever. It was a happier time. That was the day I found out I'd be moving to Silver Spring after over a month of frantic searching for housing. I was *this* close to being homeless.

Here's what I wrote:

"Right now I'm living in tony Cathedral Heights. In a few days, unless something goes horribly wrong, I'll be moving to the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area. This move means I will depend on both the subway and bussing to get from my house to my friends and my job. I'm sure that will create enough fodder for a million DC-hating blogs."

The good old days indeed. I was so young, so naive. Since DC is Opposite Land where the evil (i.e. politicians, lobbyists) are rewarded and the good (me) are punished, I really should have expected something truly and heartbreakingly awful to happen.

Less than 24 hours before I was to pick-up my U-Haul and start my wonderful new life as a Maryland commuter, I got a phone call from my new roomies...who subsequently pulled backsies and left me ***this*** close to homelessness. That's four more asterisks.

Why the backsies? Who knows. They claimed that a current tenant's brother needed a place to live and bros (broes?) before handshake promises, as the old saying goes. That story is almost certainly bullshit. I guess one of the roommates didn't like me after I hung out with them and their friends on Friday. I admit I was a little awkward. My fault since it's obviously easy to be social and fit right in with 20 people that you've never met before. Piece of cake. And...24 HOURS NOTICE. DOUBLE-EW-TEE-EFF.

If it matters, these immature vagina-faces are from the University of Maryland. By not living with them, I probably saved myself from getting tear-gassed after a Terrapin victory over Duke.

(On a related note, syndicated sports columnist and poker commentator Norman Chad has this gimmick where whoever asks him the best/funniest question wins $1.25. Here's what won yesterday:

"Q. A University of Maryland basketball player recently was declared academically ineligible. Isn't that like falling out of a boat and missing the water?"

Of course UMD is somehow rated higher than American, so this proves nothing.)

Anyways, instead of having a total nervous breakdown, I got my act together. Tomorrow, I'm moving to Bethesda, MD. Right next door to the Naval Hospital and 495. My lifelong dream of being a Maryland commuter begins tomorrow. And I still depend on Metro (which hasn't fucked up since I got the keys to this blog...small miracle), so expect Metro rants in the near-future.

And, just so I'm making myself perfectly clear: Fuck you, Maryland kids.


A penny saved is a soldier dead...

The Washington Times, which I only read to find content suitable for this website, has published an interesting story on ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff. I assume everyone knows that he and his cameraman were injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He and the cameraman are now in Germany and in serious-but-stable condition.

The Times story, which is via the AP and therefore lacking the crazed wingnuttery one would expect from the Moonie Times, has this interesting lil' nugget:

"A hospital official said body armor likely saved the journalist's life."

I remember reading something about body armor...something recently. Hmmmm.

Why, here it is! From Woodruff's own ABC News! Posted two days ago!

"Sen. Clinton Says Lack of Body Armor is 'Unforgivable'"

"Clinton pointed to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney as the culprits. Some have said that supplying Marines and soldiers with armor that covers their sides is too expensive — costing about $260 for each person...

The lack of adequate armor has been a hot topic during the war in Iraq. In 2004, a soldier confronted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a Q&A session in Iraq about the issue. The question turned out to be planted by a journalist. Recently, Howard Dean, former presidential candidate and president of the Democratic National Committee, called for Rumsfeld to resign.

The Defense Department and Army said that they needed more time to acquire the armor and that publicly discussing issues of body armor aided the enemy — claims that Clinton dismissed as out of hand."

It's good to know that, with this post, the Secretary of Defense accuses me of aiding "the enemy." Sweet.

Anyways: Body armor! Good enough for journalists! Too expensive for American troops!
I wonder what costs more, the $260-per-soldier cost of body armor or thousands of military funerals?


Never forget that Virginia borders Kentucky

I try to be a sport when it comes to guns. The second amendment is no more outdated than any other aspect of the Bill of Rights and you have a right to defend yourself and blah, blah, blah.

But you have to be pretty stupid to shoot your gun off inside Virginia's General Assembly Building. That's what Delegate Jack Reid did. Obviously, Reid is Republican.

"If you asked me if I ever put a finger on a trigger when I wasn't at the shooting range, I'd say no," Reid said at a news conference after his apology. "Whether that's what happened, I can't tell you. I really don't know."

As the proud owner of a Rifle Shooting Merit Badge (TROOP 50, REPRESENT), I can tell you exactly what happened, Delegate Reid. You fucked up.

And why in God's name would a legislator need a gun inside a government building? Is Reid stubbornly libertarian? Is he psycho? Are "stubbornly libertarian" and "psycho" interchangeable? What's the effing deal here?

"Richmond is a dangerous place," said Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson), a former state trooper who spent a year as an undercover police officer in Richmond and carries his gun in the lawmakers' office building. "I carry to protect myself and my family."

Republicans can be so stupid. Protect yourself from what? The only guy shooting guns in your office building is this douchebag. If someone mugs a legislator inside a government building, I will give all of my loyal readers $50. I feel pretty confident making this offer since, as far as I (and Google) can tell, that's never happened before.

The only thing being mugged in that building are the rights of gay Virginians. *swish*

Of course, this story would be funnier than a bucket of monkeys if it weren't juxtaposed with a day care shooting and a 13-year-old dying playing Russian Roulette.

Yup, guns sure are awesome. Yeee-haw.


This introduction was supposed to be brief, but I kind of got carried away...

Hello! My name is Rusty and I'm here to replace the highly-esteemed and Seattle-bound James F.

My story goes something like this:
-Go to school in DC to pursue politics.
-Immediately abandon political dreams to avoid dealing with ladder-climbing jackasses.
-Write a column in the American University student news paper.
-Graduate and get an entry-level job.
-Create a crappy and unpopular blog. (How unpopular you ask? A reader once had this to say about me: "You have no respect for the dead. I doubt the announcement of your death will even reach a paper, let alone the hearts of anyone else. Fuck you.")
-Win an arbitrarily decided essay contest.

A true recipe for success!

Right now I'm living in tony Cathedral Heights. In a few days, unless something goes horribly wrong, I'll be moving to the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area. This move means I will depend on both the subway and bussing to get from my house to my friends and my job. I'm sure that will create enough fodder for a million DC-hating blogs.

The entry-level job is located in the beautiful Golden Triangle area of Dupont Circle. Recently, the creator of the "Golden Triangle Business Improvement District" blew her brains out. I refuse to accept that this is a coincidence.

My job title is "legal assistant." My business cards say "administrative assistant." Needless to say, no one ever sees my business cards. My job consists of answering phones and running errands for the boss. Here's a typical day:

Boss: "Rusty, PDF this for me!"
Rusty: "Aye, aye, cap'n!"

And then I will PDF that document with such fervor and authority that the scanner won't even know what hit it.

Since people reading this are probably big fans of James, it's only fair that I point out some differences between the two of us:

1. James has a car. I do not. So, I'm in no position to criticize traffic. But, this will lead to the aforementioned increase in bitching over the Metro. And, it's DC. Everyone knows about the shitty traffic anyways.

2. James has a wife. I do not. In fact, I've been involuntarily single for far too long. This means that ripping into the terrible DC dating scene is fair game. (i.e. "Fuck you, Georgetown girls. You are not better than me and your collars look ridiculous.")

3. James is James. I am not James. James was awesome. I don't know if I am awesome or not. If I am not meeting your blogging standards, I apologize. Please don't hesitate to tell me so at the e-mail address whyihatedc@yahoo.com. Of course, I expect a little bit of leeway so I can get my bearings straight.

Ok, that's it. True DC-hating will begin shortly. I hope you accept me into your hearts, minds, and monitors. And remember, at the end of the day, we all hate this city. If you can't love me, surely we can still share the hate together.


Good night, Irene

This is it, people. Time for me to bow out. You won't have James F to kick around anymore.

First, thanks to everyone who participated in the essay contest; Spitfire Grill 4EVA! I'm getting ready to hand over the blog to my successor. But before I do, here's one more long-form post before I go. It's about my friend Michael Jantz.

Michael is coolest person I know. Not to slight my other friends, but noneayall can touch Michael. He's a musician who's been playing the local scene for a couple years now. He's already done some amazing things creatively; he's played sidewalks in Europe and opened for Paul Simon. I'm not going to bother trying to describe his music in depth, because I'm not good at that kind of thing; the best I can tell you is that he's apparently influenced by bluesy-folksy sounding type things. (This is why I'm not a music journalist.)

Michael's situation seemed to kind of parallel mine. He had actually made a pretty good name for himself on the local scene in Cleveland, and moved here so his girlfriend could attend the same graduate program as my wife. Actually, Michael may have had it worse than I did here; our apartment was crappy, but theirs was crappier. I had a mindless job but was making decent money, while Michael was having to work multiple side jobs to support his musical career. Plus, he had to struggle to get his name known all over again, and as you may know, we're not so good about supporting our local musicians. He would try to get a band together, but people would move away from D.C., as they often do. He would play local venues, but they would only pay him in free booze (which doesn't sound bad, but you'd rather get actual money).

Despite all that, Michael never seemed to be down about his situation. Michael just kept playing and kept plugging away, even though he basically had to start his career over from scratch. We would go to see him play once in a while, at Wonderland and Iota and DC Nine, and sometimes there would only be a handful of people there, but Michael gave us a great set. Also, these were basically the only times I felt cool while living here. (I would by him shots of whiskey after shows when I could, as thanks.)

I wish Washington would support local musicians better. It doesn't have any dominant college radio stations, which normally play up local talents, and the other stations are too corporate-driven to focus on the local scene. (Personally, I don't follow music closely enough to know what's good unless somebody plays it for me.) There was one exception: Z104 was running a local-music show on Sunday nights. In fact, they had just named Michael their "Z104 Artist to Watch in 2006..." riiiiiight before they got shut down to become a classical station two weeks ago. How's that for timing?

Michael was playing a hurricane relief effort gig at Iota last month, and I told him we would be leaving town soon. We talked a little bit about what we had done since coming to Washington, and I came to realize that D.C. really was as difficult for him as it was for me. Their first apartment was so small that he often had to write songs while sitting in the bathroom; a lot of the songs he wrote came out of the frustration of having to start over. We had more in common than I realized; just as I created this blog and rediscovered my love of writing out of my disdain for D.C., so had Michael created an album's worth of songs out of his less-than-ideal situation. (And he was also a lot better at keeping up a more positive front than I did... obviously.)

I love music because of the power it has over memory. I happen to be listening to "Feed the Tree" by Belly right now; every time I hear it, I'm transported back to the 10th grade (for some reason, it reminds me of chemistry class). Michael's music is going to be the same way for me; the songs he played over the past couple years are going to make it onto his next album, which is coming out in a few months. I can't wait to hear it, because I know that when I fire it up and play "Sierra" or "You" that it's going to transport me back to those times I listened to him play in D.C., and actually, for a change, felt kind of cool. Washingtonians may be too busy bankruping Angola and keeping the war machine turning and stranding the handicapped to care about local musicians. But I know Michael's going to do great things, and make a name for himself all over again.

The moral of the story: even out of misery, you can create something great. If you're completely frustrated with your situation, and you feel trapped and unappreciated, keep doing what you love, even if nobody around you cares or notices. I feel that both Michael and I are emerging victorious from tough situations. And that's a beautiful thing. We win; D.C. loses.

Frankly, my dear, suck on it.

(Woo-hoo, bookend! Oops... I just ruined it. Never mind.)


What a week I'm having

It went something like this.

Sunday. I was all set to fly to Seattle out of [Product-placed jelly-bean-loving president] National Airport, but when I got there, I learned the flight had been cancelled due to high winds. The agent booked me on a flight out of Dulles, and I had to high-tail it down there as quickly as possible in a cab. Naturally, they picked me out for a random security search. I raced to the gate and made it with minutes to spare. The rest of the day was filled with me driving around Seattle, getting lost several times, and checking out various apartments, and not really liking any of them, and just generally freaking out about the move, and all the money it was going to cost me.

Monday. Interview with Mister Softee. You may recall that I interviewed there last October, and didn't get it, despite not getting voted off the island (i.e. I made it through the entire day). Well, despite not having as much time to prepare for the day as before, it went really well. I again did not get voted off the island. In fact, I talked to seven different people in all, and was there from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Monday night. Still kind of freaking out, but the interview process was actually a little calming. My fears reduced further when I went to Crave, a restaurant, and had an amazing meal. Crave is an example of what eating out in the big city is supposed to be like: fun, creative, quirky, different.

I did run into a road block getting back to the hotel, literally: some trees fell down on the highway, blocking the way for a good 30 minutes. I opened up my laptop to have something to do, and was surprised to see it find a wireless access point. I was in the middle of nowhere, but sure enough, there on the screen, it said: "SoundTransit." I checked my mirror, and, sure enough, sitting in traffic behind me was a public bus. Turns out they're running a pilot program that offers wireless Internet connections while riding the Seattle-to-Redmond express bus. Or, to put it in a way that more appropriately expresses my feelings on this subject,


If there was ever an indicator that Seattle is the town for me: that's it. Wow.

Tuesday. Now it was time to really hit the streets and find an apartment. I checked one or two places that looked interesting, off listings I had seen on craigslist. There were some kind of blah, older apartments, and some tiny houses that were hard to get to.

And then... I found my new apartment. I knew as soon as I stepped inside. It has a view of Elliot Bay, and of Magnolia Hill. Completely new appliances, renovated, quiet, in a cute four-plex on the west side of Queen Anne (I know I sound like one of those realtors with the big hair right now, but bear with me).

The property manager curses like a sailor. Because he is one. He's a ship's captain, and easily the most honest, friendliest person I have ever dealt with on the rental front. And, really, he sold me when he told me that DirecTV plus NFL Sunday Ticket was included in the price of the rent. I think I may have started drooling a little bit.

Anyway, apartment lease accomplished. I flew back here Wednesday. As we landed at DCA, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, around me, pulled out their Blackberries. One guy started talking to his row-mate about how he thought the Patriot Act was the one thing keeping up safe from terrorists. Aaaand, I remembered why I want to leave so badly.

I get home, and the phone starts buzzing. It's Mister Softee... and they're making me an offer... and it's way better than the offer I had already accepted from another company. Holy crap... the salary is higher, there's a signing bonus (which is something I've always wanted, just to say I had gotten one), and they cover all relocation fees, which is substantial. Plus an unusual array of insane benefits. All my financial worries just disappeared in one fell swoop. It's like I just won the lottery.

But it's not just the money that has me literally jumping up and down today. Getting a job there, in my field, is nearly tantamount to getting into Harvard. It's a very difficult process, but once you're in... you're surrounded by smart, passionate people who work hard on interesting things every day. I'm going to be able to say that I helped ship the next version of Windows, which is kind of amazing. It's probably going to be a lot of work, but I'm ready.

I realized today that I was experiencing something I hadn't felt in a long time... I was actually excited about my future. I've gone from being stuck in a boring job and not living up to my potential, in an bland, oppressive city that I hate, to working in an interesting field (software security, e.g. anti-hacking) at the biggest software company in the world, in perhaps my favorite city ever.

Everything is coming up Milhouse.

So of course, with all that's been going on, I haven't made any headway in judging the essay contest entries. Hopefully I can work on that this weekend. Meanwhile, if you see a guy in a green-and-yellow Sonics hoodie skipping down the street with an odd smirk on his face, it might be me.


Essay contest update!

I've gotten quite a goodly number. Maybe about... 12-ish. I haven't read any of them yet, because... you know... the laziness.

At any rate, you've got until Saturday to get them in, and then they're going with me to Seattle, as I scout out a new apartment (and this time, it will have adequate heat).

P.S. Yes, I heard about the x-ty straight days of rain in Seattle. Ha ha, it rains a lot there. I had no idea.


Who Wants to be a Reviled Blogger?

Guess who's going to back to work? Oh that's right, James is. The coffee pot is set to brew at 7 a.m. The alarm clock is set for... wow, 6:30 a.m.

Hmmm. Farmers don't get up that early.

At any rate... I'm excited. And excited to be moving on in a few weeks. But... what of the beloved why.i.hate.dc? Surely I can't let it just languish in blogging purgatory (or "blogatory"). It needs to continue. It demands to survive. It doesn't feel pity. Or remorse. Or fear. And it ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT STOP, EVER. Until you are DEAD.

In summary, somebody's got to take this over from me. There are plenty of haters out there whose voices should, nay must, be heard. Sooo... are you thinking what I'm thinking?


The only rule is: there are no rules!

Except for these rules:


1) Entries must be in my inbox by Saturday, January 14, at noon. So that I may read them while also watching football. Send here.
2) Bizarre pop culture references. Visual aids. Creative use of profanity. Fried baby panda recipes. It's all fair game. You can do it blog-post linking-to-things style, or a long-form essay, or whatever. Make me feel the hate, but also... the laughter.
3) You have to tell me a little about yourself... not your life story, just the basics. Include your contact info, so that I can hand over the blog if you win! Speaking of which:


This blog! Yay, exciting!

More importantly: an instant local audience for your writing. It took me a long time to build up an audience, and the lucky winner gets to reap the rewards. Literally ones of people will see your work, and perhaps prank call you. And who wouldn't want that? Someone with a modicum of business sense might even be able to make money off this thing. I have none, so I don't know.

So that's it. You guys know what I like: a keen eye for observation, and a sharp disdain for bullshit. Impress me the most, and I will pass the mic... to you. No fine print required.

(*-NOTE: What you were actually thinking may have varied.)