I Can Not Let This Stand

So there's this blog called Life Off Balance. It appears to be written by some vegetarian lawyer who doesn't use capitalization. I find this to be incredibly annoying, but, hey, no one is awarding me any style points either. The author of Life Off Balance lives in Takoma Park. She wrote a post about how great DC is and it got linked to Wonkette. Here's what she had to say about people like me:

i’m so sick of hearing people talk about what they hate about dc. it’s so boring. no one is forcing you to live here. as the post’s j. freedom du lac said to one dc hater in his freedom rock chat yesterday: “don’t let the door to the beltway hit you on your way out.”

Oh man. I just got burned. The post goes on to list the ten best things about the city. I am here to rip those things apart.

1. the diversity, in every sense of the word.

I don't know what senses of the word she's talking about. The enormous gap between the rich and the poor? Because most people would argue that that's bad. The racial diversity? Because the city is incredibly segregated. Hell, any place in Washington that isn't segregated is just being gentrified. This isn't diversity. It's inequality.

2. the people. even when they annoy the heck out of me. was it mark twain who said, “if you don’t like the weather in new england, wait five minutes”? in dc it’s the same with the people. if you don’t like the people in dc, walk down the street five blocks. dc has a reputation for being overly status-conscious and obsessed with politics and power, and among a certain crowd the reputation is well-deserved. but that crowd is just one part of what makes dc. dc isn’t just the hill or K street. if you don’t like those folks, walk down the street five blocks and you’ll find plenty of other people to hang out with. i rarely cross paths with the stereotypical “dc” crowd.

Well, I often cross paths with the stereotypical crowd and it's no picnic. The reasoning here can be summarized as "DC is great because it has both good guys and douchebags." Well, every city has people to hang with. Every city has douchebags too. At best you could say this comes out neutral; a reason that DC is neither that great nor that bad. I say "at best" because I suspect the douchebag to nice guy ratio is slightly skewed in this city. Hollywood for ugly people, am I right?

3. great food from all over the world.

This is a good point. Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston don't offer any international cuisine whatsoever. I mean, Hell, Washington has a Maggiano's. That is some authentic Italian right there.

4. very vegan friendly. some of my favorite vegan spots include: java green, asylum for vegan weekend brunch and 75 cent vegan soft tacos washed down with shiner bock, ella’s for vegan pizza and sangria, sticky fingers, the black cat’s food for thought for late night cake, and the burrito cart at 15th and K.

Ugh. If I could eat any animal on the planet Earth it would be a vegan human. Just to prove a point. Yes, DC is very vegan friendly. And I could give a crap. Two weeks ago I had a steak wrapped in bacon and topped with shrimp and butter. Fuck vegans.

Also, please take special notice of her choosing Shiner Bock at Asylum. I've been to Asylum enough times (even getting a vegan burger once) to know that the Shiner tap is fucked up. It comes out flat and warm. People who get the Shiner there don't know what they're doing.

I have heard good things about that burrito cart though. Of course, I'll never try it because they don't offer meat. Sweet, succulent meat. Chipotle has four different kinds of meat. Chipotle wins.

(By the way, does anyone think that Chipotle should start serving breakfast? All they would have to do is brew some coffee and replace the rice with eggs. This would be so freaking delicious. Why won't Chipotle answer my calls?)

5. dc has most of the benefits of living in a small town, combined with all of the benefits of living in an international city. in some ways, dc is a much smaller town than its actual size suggests. in part, this relates back to the second item on my list: dc is actually made up of a number of smaller communities, many of which are very tight knit. i see people i know everywhere. everyone knows everyone. i don’t think i have ever gone to java green and not seen someone i know. same thing with the black cat. i go could on and on. on the other hand, when i start to feel trapped i can easily seek out new people and places and visit a completely different city without leaving dc.

I guess. I admit I enjoy how spread out the city is. I'll give this one to you, vegan lady.

6. ease of getting around. for a city of this size, dc is very manageable. i know people love to complain about the traffic and the parking, but i think i have it pretty good. my metro commute (including walking to the metro) is 45 minutes, or if i get a ride home from the metro from trav, only 35 minutes. if i lived in new york or san francisco, do you think i’d be able to live in a single family house with a yard within a 35 minute commute from downtown? moreover, on the weekends, it takes only 15 or 20 minutes to drive down to the black cat or the 9:30 club, and i don’t usually have much trouble parking when i get there [knock on wood].

Oh, well, not everyone has a car. For those of us who don't, there are parts of DC that are dead zones. Like, almost all of Northeast. Lots of Southeast too. Or up 16th Street. And people love to complain about traffic and parking because the traffic and parking are notoriously terrible. The Metro is the Metro. Some days it's the greatest public transportation system in the world. Other days it's a disaster where you're stuck stationary on the tracks for 15 minutes without a damn explanation.

7. tons of stuff to do, often cheap or free. film festivals, concerts, art galleries… i think a lot of folks here take it for granted how lucky we are to have access to all of this stuff. in particular, i appreciate the cheap dance nights. i never pay more than $10 to go out dancing, and often much less. for instance, most weekends i could go to a free dance night at the backstage of the black cat, spend $5 ($4 plus tip) for a yummy red room ale, and have an entire night out with my friends for the price of a cup of coffee from starbucks. i suspect my dancing addiction would be a much more expensive habit in new york or san francisco.

Dancing addiction? Jesus Christ. You had me at film festivals, museums, and shit. But cheap dance nights? The reason it costs you five dollars to dance at Black Cat is because you're only getting one beer. Some people prefer more than one alcoholic drink in one night. Call me crazy, but that's how I roll.

Last time I was in New York I went to a birthday party at a bar on the Lower East Side and danced the night away. (Thank God there are no pictures of this.) There was no cover and the beer was cheaper than the beer in DC (which blew my mind). So your suspicions aren't necessarily correct.

8. the architecture. next time you are downtown, don’t worry about being mistaken for a tourist and look up. there are a million beautiful architectural details everywhere. there’s also the fancy townhouses near dupont, the old neon signs on georgia avenue, union station, the majestic old apartment buildings on connecticut avenue, the old bridges over rock creek park… again, i could go on and on.

Silly blogger. People aren't afraid of looking like tourists because it's embarassing. People are afraid of looking like tourists because they don't want to get mugged on the Mall.

Washington's architecture is a disgrace. The buildings represent the buttoned-up Serious Sallys (Sallies?) who make up this shitty city. It's boring and uninteresting. Except for the Old Executive Building. That place is badass. Naturally the New Executive Buildings a block away are incredibly ugly. They look like they were built soley to keep a wolf from blowing them down. Brick embarassments.

The "majestic old apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue"? Are you out of your fucking mind? Yesterday I walked home from work. Dupont to Friendship Heights. I took Connecticut Avenue all the way to Nebraska Avenue. The apartment buildings are dime-a-dozen. They're boring.

9. i know it’s obvious, but there is no better place to be in the spring than dc. the cherry blossoms are so beautiful they break my heart. but there’s also the magnolias, the azaleas, the dogwoods, the smell of the hyacinths…

Is this a blog or a tampon commercial?

10. it’s the frickin’ capital of the united states! my office is a couple of blocks from the white house! the original copy of the constitution is just a couple of blocks further than that! although it may not seem like it these days, we are living in the world’s epicenter of freedom and democracy. that’s pretty remarkable.

I am so glad that she ended with this point. This is, my friends, exactly why I hate DC. It's the world's epicenter of freedom and democracy and we don't have a fucking vote in Congress. Hell, legislators from neighboring states don't even give a fuck about whatever laws we try to pass as they carry their guns all willy-nilly. The city is segregated. Crime only matters when a white person is the victim. Et cetra, et cetera, et cetera. This city is the capital of the United States and it's being run like a funny farm.

Lady, you seem nice enough. I'm glad you found things to enjoy in Washington. You seem to be a glass half-full kind of gal. However, I'm sure if you look a little closer, you'll see the same things that I see. Incompetent government, crime, inefficient public services, inefficient public safety, and douchebags (and lanyards!) around every corner. This city is shit.


  1. hey, who are you and what did you do with rusty?

  2. Does this mean the post sucked or that it was awesome? Either way, thanks for the backhanded compliment?


  3. Did you know there is almost 2 miles of white marble lining just the corridor floors of that building? It was all set to be demolished in 1957, and another of those brick abortions erected in its place. Ike saved the day.

  4. The racial diversity? Because the city is incredibly segregated.

    The city is actually less segregated than in Boston, in my experience. The people who work in many of the stores in DC tend to be people that are from DC. In Boston, the entire restail working force seemed to be drawn from the students and alumni of whichever university happened to be nearby.

    Anyone who claims that DC has good ethnic food has clearly moved here straight from some isolated exurb or lived here all her life. Don't even get me started about the lack of ethnic grocery stores.

  5. Agreed. Amen. Again, beautiful. But I have to say after living in LA for 7 years....DC's architecture is a little better. It's not Venice or Paris but damn.

    DC still sucks ass and I AM SICK of people tell us to leave, as if some of us had a CHOICE--dude the beltway could suck my ass on the way out if I could go.

  6. Having spent the last three years in Boston -- the most provincial backwater I've ever been (and I'm from SW Virginia) -- D.C. is bleeping Utopia.

  7. re: line item number 6

    how is this woman so gifted that she has absolutely no trouble finding a parking spot ANYWHERE in this town on a weekend night?

  8. oh and ALSO regarding line item 6, this girl has clearly never driven out of the city via route 50 (or probably any other road for that matter) any time after 3:30pm. it takes me 35 minutes just to get to pass south dakota ave.

  9. Evil AndrewMarch 29, 2007

    You've been nominated again for BEST DC Blog. Will you do a post reacting to this special validation?

  10. dude, rusty...funniest shit ive ever heard about dc. hollywood for ugly people. so true.

    let me buy you a luke warm beer sometime, buddy

  11. A happy-sappy lovey-dovey vegan who hangs out at the Black Cat. My future BFF (*eyeroll*)

    Speaking of the Black Cat, does this lady moonlight at there? Could she have mentioned it any more times? Maybe this is the only place she goes. And the Black Cat blows. Their house beer is not "yummy." It is swill. It is filled with pretentious dorks (the bar, not the beer). The bouncers are rude and make you wait in a line outside, and for what? To make the place look more interesting than it really is.

    That said, it is still better than a good deal of the bars in D.C.

  12. Bravo! Now that was a blog!

  13. Cheers Rusty! Save a cow, eat a vegetarian! Awesome post.

  14. Ten to one this chick didn't grow up here. The only time you ever hear anyone use the "ZOMG! We're the nation's capital!" argument is if you're a transplant or somebody's mom.

  15. That some asshat vegan loves DC so much explains why the rest of us hate it.

  16. Jim PerdueMarch 29, 2007

    Faster, Rusty, kill, kill!

    I take back everything I said about your love for raging veganazi Fiona Apple. You have redeemed yourself in my eyes.

    I tried to post a long, reasoned response to that stupid vegan hippie's post, but she didn't want to post it. Thank god you're so less discriminating. To summarize: YOU LIVE IN TAKOMA PARK - THERE ISN'T EVEN A FUCKING BAR IN THAT BORING ASS SUBURB!

    P.S. Hot outside? Enjoy some cool, delicious Perdue Farms Turkey Coldcuts!

  17. Yeah, Rusty, fuck her. Fuck her good. Who's your daddy.

    I wonder if she'll still feel that way about DC when her car is broken into for the third time or she's stabbed in broad daylight wanderig around dupont circle looking at the "majestic" apartment buildings which she will probably never, ever be able to afford.

    And I love the argument "If you hate DC then leave." The whole point of hell is no escape.

  18. Not eating meat make your body capitalization deficient.

  19. "If I could eat any animal on the planet Earth it would be a vegan human."


  20. LOL hilarious! Does Ms. Crunchy ever go anywhere but the freaking Black Cat? Lame. And yeah, our nation's capital - in other words, we all have a big bullseye on top of our heads. So long when some rogue state finally launches that nuke!

  21. I hate this woman so very much.
    I hope she gets knifed.

  22. No grownup calls beer "yummy"

  23. wait, the bitch doesn't even LIVE in DC. She lives in TAKOMA PARK, MARYLAND. Screw her.

  24. For me, the fact that this woman has another blog devoted solely to KNITTING totally discredits anything she has to say. Ever.

  25. What, no racist comment in this posting yet? You guys are slipping...

  26. Thank you for this. When I read the posting earlier and she talked about going out I thought, "Who the fuck goes out and has one beer? What a douche." Also people who use the word yummy annoy the hell out of me. Thank you for this blog it reminds me every time I check how great my life is now that I am out of DC.

  27. If I could eat any animal on the planet Earth it would be a vegan human.

    I think I love you.

  28. jim perdue lied. there were only two comments i didn't post and neither were long, reasoned responses. they were both short insults. i'm sure i'm douchey enough as i am without having to make up additional douchey things about me.

    now i'm off to the black cat to drink half a warm beer! hugs!

  29. Jen, by the way, I want you to know that I have no personal animosity towards you (except for the no meat thing). I just disagree with you is all.


  30. I loved DC for the first five days until I got my paycheck and saw how much I pay in taxes to live here and then looked around the city and saw just what it got me. Not a fucking thing. Add that to the fact the city takes in 3.3 million dollars booting cars in a year makes me wonder really who runs the finances. Because the only thing I've seen this city spend 3.3 million on is a new baseball stadium for a hardly mediocre baseball team. They can't even get a fucking convention center hotel built in a decade of talking about it but they can boot several hundred thousand cars that unfortunately didn't find the fantastic parking this bitch seems to find all the time.

    I came home a few weeks ago to see my apartment had been burglarized and my laptop stolen. Which means all my porn gone. Someone took my porn. Who can love a city that allows such criminal activity?

    In summary, Takoma Park is trash and the Black Cat is a dump for indie losers who can't handle moving to a real city like NYC and so have to try to make DC interesting. Do us a favor and open a vein before I hit you with a metrobus.

  31. am actually a blogger, just not blogging right now, so chose anonymous.

    am a writer in the same sense, btw.

    ok, so, first, relatively polite response at the bottom from both of you, i think...well done. so rare these days.

    i think in some sense, it's just the same as any american city right? ...all shaped by the same forces, all big machines to keep us busy selling each other hamburgers...

    my city has parts just as awful as your parts & for the same reasons.

    that being said--your city, in particular, has one thing more so than any other city: a whole bunch of rich, white, OLD, assholes spending their time congratulating each other on how they fooled us, again. That black hole of evil would haunt my dreams if i lived there.

    hell, it still does anyway and i'm a couple thousand miles away.

  32. For all you people who say you hate it here but can't leave because of work or whatever, please grow a sack. Nobody's stopping you. This is America. You can do whatever the fuck you want if you actually show initiative. But seeing how complaining is a lot easier than actually doing something to improve your shitty, hate-filled lives, I guess we're stuck with you.

    Seriously, please leave. You won't be missed, and there will be that many fewer cowardly douchebags living here.

  33. i love it when people say "just leave then" as if it's an option for everyone. newsflash: it's an option for people of privilege (aka, people with money). lots of people just cannot AFFORD to leave, do you have any idea how much moving costs?

  34. Cowardly DouchebagMarch 29, 2007

    To "Just Leave": I am, bitch. Four years in the hole was enough for me. It's nice that DC folks can be so complacent about the ups and downs of the national economy given that everyone working here is subsidized by the entire nation's taxes. I'd have loved to have gotten a job that paid enough to pay off my college loan in my home city, but unfortunately it does not have the recession proof economy we all leech off of here.
    My conscience can't stand it any more, and my bank account can stand the strain of moving and setting up again, so screw you guys, I'm going home.

  35. Count me in with "Cowardly Douchebag."

    Don't forget how policies made in this cesspool ran the economies of most industrialized U.S. cities into the ground. I love driving up 270N on Friday afternoons watching everyone go home to Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh--where career opportunities are few, 25 years after the heavy industries were flushed away.

    ...and as for the "wonderful" ethnic food here, where can you find real Eastern- or Southern-European groceries? Oh you can't?! You have to go to Baltimore or Philly to find them!?! Hmm--how odd!

  36. Thank You!

  37. "dc has most of the benefits of living in a small town"?? Laughable. The only clear benefit of living in a small town is lower-cost living. Which DC clearly does not offer. Any other "benefit" of life in a small town is only a benefit if you are a small-minded, fearful dullard. Yeah, self-congratulatory provincialism is such a rewarding and inspiring lifestyle. So glad DC is able to provide that small-town feel for us city-dwellers.
    "ease of getting around"?? the Metro forces all travel through the city epicenter therebye imposing additional fare costs and shuts down at night. The bus system sucks, and neither allows for easy access to or from the more interesting neighborhoods during the most necessary times (like late night bar activity necessitating driving alternatives) What an idiot.

  38. "...and as for the "wonderful" ethnic food here, where can you find real Eastern- or Southern-European groceries? Oh you can't?! You have to go to Baltimore or Philly to find them!?! Hmm--how odd! "

    THANK YOU! I have been complaining about this for ages. Doesn't anyone here know WTF a pierogi is?

    BTW, Jen, if you see this, I was one of the readers who submitted a comment -- which you didn't post on the grounds that is was "insulting." It was not an insulting comment, IMHO. I said "If you have to put 'vegan restaurants' on your list, it seems like you're scraping the bottom of the barrel" or something like that. That is hardly a personal insult. If you're going to have a public blog, you'd better be ready to take the positive and the negative. Rusty's blog is a great example of that.

    I didn't bother responding to your email, because I have other douchey things to do.

  39. Anon said:

    "For all you people who say you hate it here but can't leave because of work or whatever, please grow a sack. Nobody's stopping you. This is America. You can do whatever the fuck you want if you actually show initiative."

    Oh ok. So I guess I'll just go work for the United States Senate in Bermuda. Dumbass. For those of us that decided to work in government, or public policy, or non-profits, you kinda HAVE to live in DC.

  40. Does jen work for the Whtie House? Her argument that "DC is awesome" sounds an awful lot like, "Everything in Iraq is just peachy! People need to stop complaining."

  41. lincolnparkerMarch 30, 2007

    Ok, I hate DC as much as the rest of you, but I have to come down on all the whiners who "have to live here."


    First of all, no one is forcing you to work at the job you have. If you like the job so much you're willing to live here, then shut the hell up and deal with it.

    As far as "how much it costs" to move, give me a fucking break.

    Here's how tough it is: sell all your shit on craigslist and get in your car. I know, it's agony.

    Or you can keep your tacky coach from crate & barrel and rent a moving truck. It'll cost a few hundred dollars. If you can't be bothered to save that much, put it on your credit card and pay it off over time. Don't tell me you already maxed out your credit cards buying ironic t-shirts and brunch at wonderland.

    I live here because I'm from here, and my job is great so I can deal with it. Admittedly not great reasons, but that's ok. I'll never say "ooooh, I'm forced to live here and it's SO HARD to move."

  42. KILL EM' ALL


  43. The Old Executive Building is only awesome in its tackiness. If God happened at one point in time to trip and drop the biggest, ugliest wedding cake in the universe, I'm guessing he dropped it on 17th street.

    I will agree that everything on Connecticut starting at Woodley Park is an architectural waste, but I suspect the writer was talking about the buildings on the Dupont side of Kalorama. Basically, the two or three blocks south of the Taft bridge. Have a look - Some of those buildings are pretty cool.

    Sadly, at one point in time, DC had a pretty rich architectural landscape -- lots of victorians, lots of art deco -- but most of those building have been gone for thirty years or more. I have no idea why. Just about every office building from Foggy Bottom to Union Station is just awful.

  44. Yeah your're right, I mean all the splendor of the rat infestation, or the quaint urine smell that all the metro elevators have, or the beauty of all the homeless who sleep in Adams Morgan… Your right DC is a place of splendor and sense arousal…

  45. What is so fucking great about a city where almost 75% of it is completely unsafe? Northeast, Southest, sorry I dont wanna go there! Southwest is no picnic either. So that only leaves 25% of the city left for one to safely explore. That fucking sucks.

    Fuck that takoma park bitch!

  46. Surely we disagree with her without calling her a bitch. We don't know her personally so that's a bit uncalled for.


  47. The haters shouldnt leave DC, its the people who complain about the haters who are thhe ones that should leave. DC wouldn't be such a shithole if all these complacent retards here were adios.

    To argue that we haters should just up and leave our jobs and homes because we refuse to be complacent about a horrbily run city is ridiculous.

  48. lincolnparkerMarch 30, 2007

    I never said you should be complacent, and I don't equate non-hatred to complacency. You do, for some reason.

    And yeah, by hating DC on a blog you definitely make this a better place to live. Honestly, if everyone was an anti-DC blogger the city would be paradise.

    But anyone who says he's "forced to stay here" is a total pussy.

  49. if i lived in new york or san francisco, do you think i’d be able to live in a single family house with a yard within a 35 minute commute from downtown?

    Yes, actually, thousands of people do just that here in the San Francisco area. What sort of vegan hippie are you for not even trying to live in San Francisco?

    Everyone raved about the great international cuisine we'd find in DC, but we were disappointed.

    To the people who say just leave DC if you hate it: If my husband has to live in DC for his job, but I hate DC... my only option is to not live with my husband? Yeah, it's not that easy. And I'm not being theoritical. He spends several months a year working in DC and I don't go with him. Eventually we'll have to live there full-time unfortunately.

  50. I'm with the guy who lived in Boston. I grew up in Kentucky and, even with all the problems, DC is wonderful compared to that backward shithole.

  51. GhostofJamesFMarch 30, 2007

    I am so glad I moved away from D.C. and all its smug, jackass liberals. Now that I live in one of the great cities around, I have found that no one really thinks of D.C. as one of the great cities to live in.

  52. The Old Executive Building is only awesome in its tackiness.

    You know, I would go for more "tacky" wedding-cake style buildings if we could get rid of all the concrete-block monstrosities in judiciary square and ugly sprawling apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue.

    The is the nation's capital-- we're supposed to have overwrought, gaudily-decorated baroque buildings. Just look at Vienna. Modernist "I hate humanity" architecture is for "I wish I were a world-class destination" second-tier cities.


  54. you are one huge downer.

  55. Any city is what you make it. You people must be huge losers to complain so fucking much.

  56. I don’t live in DC so I don’t have a dog in this race. Sounds like you have some good solid points though and I would probably tend to agree more with you. I just wanted to point out that I’m sure you did not mean to hurt Jen’s feelings, just disagree with her strongly but your collection of comments really gave her a beating. I don’t know how she found the post, maybe just through her sitemeter but it would be hard to click over there with a vision of someone sweetly linking to your post and finding what she found. No need to be mean even if you’d love to eat a vegan. Being mean does not prove your intelligence it just makes you look like a dickhead. Dickhead away if you most but you don’t have to.

  57. Connecticut isn't the place to see cool architecture -- 16th Street is. I literally live in a building called "The Majestic." It's so art deco it makes me want to puke -- with pleasure!

    The burrito cart man on 15th and K isn't making some sort of radical argument with his meatless burritos -- I think he just didn't want to fuck with the bureaucracy of getting a license to sell meat. Please, don't mistake him for a vegan and eat him.

  58. Sorry I am about a year late to the table on this discussion, but it “breaks my heart” to hear people slobber about how “beautiful” those effing cherry blossoms are. I had the unfortunate experience of working around the Tidal Basin, or as I prefer to call it, the Not-So-Tidy-Bowl, for over a year and got to know the lay of the land pretty well (an unfortunate experience in and of itself). If you cast your gaze down from those lovely blossoms for just a second you will see the Tidal Basin is America’s Great Cesspool where junkies, perverts and sex offenders abound (but what a great nod to diversity, I suppose). I used to take walks abound the NSTB at lunch and apparently I should have mixed up my schedule a bit because this one twisted sicko used to wait for me in his van (yes, a perv in a van down by the river…doesn’t get any more clich├ęd than that!) every day so he could watch me walk by. How do I know? Well, because he told me. And then offered to take me to lunch. In his van. But he didn’t have any candy, so I had to decline. In the spring the area becomes a gas chamber with exhaust from all the tourist busses, and have you every actually examined one of those cherry trees up close? They look pretty scraggly and diseased to me. Besides…most of them are not even the original ones given by Japan. But if you still insist upon going, watch your step…wouldn’t want to trip on any of the dead rotting carp, used syringes or condoms dotting the pedestrian path. Sniff…I think I’m tearing up…