Already sick of DC

So I've been back in D.C. for a couple of days now, but haven't had the energy to really even touch a computer. Somewhere on the 30 hour train ride from Chicago to Virginia, I'm pretty sure I was infected with Captain Trips.

But you see, I'm not going to particularly hate on Amtrak, even though it was most likely their fault. Yeah, there was a big snowshitstorm in Chicago, and it caused some delays. Our train was supposed to depart December 23 at 5:45, but didn't get going until around 9 PM. Then we broke down. We never got out of the city of Chicago. Less than 20 miles away from the train station our engine dies. No worries, they will just send another engine. Except that one breaks, too. Eight hours later they hook us up to a Union Pacific freight engine that takes us to Indianapolis. At 1 AM on Christmas, we finally arrive, just 13.5 hours late. Nothing like getting in to Clifton Forge, VA at 1:30 AM instead of noon.

But whatever, other than the bitter cold in Chicago, and the train from hell, my week away from D.C. was pretty nice. And I'll be damned if I really didn't want to get back here. It seems whenever I visit someplace else (Montreal, Philadelphia, Chicago or Gary, Ind.) I'd rather live there than here.

And good God if I don't want to deal with the Inauguration shitshow. As of the last I paid attention, Rt. 50 inbound to D.C. will be closed, as will 66 and 395 inside the Beltway. Knowing our luck, some asshole homegrown terrorist will put a bag of sugar on the Metro with a note saying it's a bomb to blow up the "Black House."

Who else isn't even going to try to bother to see anything and will either be fleeing the city or watching it on TV?


Speaking of Georgetown...

For more head-explodingly exasperating bullshit, here's a refresher on why the seemingly mythical Georgetown Apple store may never, in fact, happen. (Like, I'm sure, many of you, I was already aware of this situation, but I was reminded of my rage about it when I was waiting outside the DMV. [Believe it or not, they don't have enough room for everyone to wait inside. Imagine that!] Anyway, there is a kiosk there for the Georgetown Current, which only has archives in PDF, but if you want to download and read the article that restimulated my rage, you can do so here.)

Do I even need to expound on how fucking stupid this is??

DMV Fails

1. Accessibility Fail. Why the fuck is Georgetown now the only DMV location in NW that does drivers’ license shit? Sometime in the past few years, apparently the DMV changed the C Street location to provide “adjudication” services and only adjudication services, leaving us with a tiny DMV in a tiny, depressing shopping mall as the only option in NW if you need to obtain or renew your license in person.

This is completely misguided since for one thing, getting to Georgetown (unless you already live there, I guess) is a huge pain in the ass. Either you have to take the bus, which we all know is inefficient at best, walk (several miles if you live in upper NW, and I can only assume this one DMV is supposed to serve everyone in the entire quadrant), or drive. Okay, it's likely you are a driver if you need to go to the DMV, but what if you don’t have your license yet or your license is expired??

AND, for another thing, if you DO elect to drive, you then have to deal with a completely cocked up parking situation involving cobblestone streets, battling a bunch of doucheball drivers (and pedestrians), and/or that bullshit mall garage where you can drive around for hours looking for a space, all the while trying to dodge all the giant SUVs belonging to assholes who decided they were tired of looking and just parked in the traffic lane. Jesus.

2. Hours of Operation Fail. If Georgetown is going to be the only location in NW providing drivers’ license services, could it please not be closed on Mondays? Is it a fucking bakery now??

3. Website Usability Fail. If you’re going to have non-standard hours for your DMV, could you please not jack up the code on your website to the point where said website doesn’t display correctly on an iPhone so that people can fucking find out your shit is closed before they schlep to Georgetown?

Before this ill-conceived switch to an adjudication services-only C Street, I actually didn’t think our DMV was any worse than any other state’s DMV. I mean sure, it’s annoying to have to go down there and TCB, but it was pretty efficient and I never dealt with anyone particularly unpleasant. Now, of course, it’s a lot worse since everyone has to go to Georgetown and that office is just too small to deal with the vast increase in number of customers, so the line was out the door and no one knew what was going on. But, you know, every reasonable person expects a trip to the DMV to be a crapfest, and DC’s DMV doesn’t present any more or less of a crapfest than any other state’s DMV that I’m familiar with -- so my issue isn’t with that. It’s with the jackassery of Georgetown and the lameness of having such limited options. DC government, to borrow a line from my other favorite DC blog, I will see you in hell.


My Kingdom for a Gate Agent

I changed my mind about my last post concerning the digging of a subway line to Dulles. There's no need for a train line to this airport. It's time to just blow the airport up and move all flights to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. And build another train line to that airport.

Dulles is sort of like an attempt at a major international airport. The façade is very nice, with it's swooping roof and huge plate glass. The problem is that is what you see when you arrive, but after that it's pure trailer park. A hybrid bus/lunar rovar transports you to your terminal instead of an underground walk way, there are like three bathrooms in the entire airport and there are about ten thousand airport employees busy not cleaning the three bathrooms, not vacuuming the dirty carpet, not putting up helpful signs. And there are two gate agents to deal with the eight million people who decided to go home for Christmas today.

The bright side is that I am slowly getting sozzled, waiting for the next available flight (I missed the first one, thanks to the ridiculious back-to-the-future shuttle and no gate agents. Did you know that flights could leave earlier that they say they will, without any warning? Yeah, neither did I). But let's be honest. Getting well and truly shit-canned before flying back to see you relatives happens at every airport, not just this one.

Die, Maryland Drivers, Die!

Maryland drivers. God is punishing you.
A massive water main rupture this morning flooded River Road in Cabin John [near Bethesda, Maryland] with four feet of rapidly swirling water -- trapping motorists, blocking a major commuter artery and leading to the dramatic helicopter of a woman and a child from one of the vehicles.

About 12 to 15 vehicles became enveloped in this wall of water.

Words cannot describe how fantastically awesome this is, so here's a picture:

Most major cable news outlets as well as local television news stations are covering this live. Get to a TV now. It sure makes for some fine viewing fun.

People of Maryland, heed this as a warning. Learn how to drive or face God's road rage wrath.


An Open Letter to Director Catoe

Dear Metro Director Catoe-


I just came across the news that Metro isn't going to participate in Google's transit project because it feels that it can make more money doing it by itself.

Uhhhh, what? The old Metro site looked like it was designed with a etch-a-sketch and the new one, while looking all web 2.0, doesn't offer anything new. Like maps. Of bus routes. Which would look really good on GOOGLE MAPS.

What is this, 1940? Does Metro also have a division that makes its own rubber stamps? Outsouce, Catoe, outsource!

The thing that really makes me want to start punching people in the face is that metro wants to make money off showing me it's product. This isn't porn, people. I wouldn't buy my weekly groceries in a black trash bag marked "For Your Piehole", and I shouldn't have to buy my transit the same way.

Hey Catoe! How bouts we leave the webbertubing to the experts over at the big G? And maybe you get busy, say digging some more tunnels toward the airport?

The Badger King

PS. Seriously. Towards the airport. Start digging.


You're Doing It Wrong

A few months ago I predicted we'd have approximately three train jumpers this Holiday Season. It's basically a Christmas tradition here, much like the lighting of the National Christmas Tree or the hanging of those jumbo-xmas wreaths at Union Station.

As of Wednesday, I'm 1 for 3. The Washington Post:
A man was fatally injured this morning after putting himself in the path of an oncoming Metrorail train at the Shady Grove, Metro officials said.

The train was headed to Glenmont when it hit the man about 9:50 a.m., officials said. In a news release, Metro said the man "intentionally placed himself" on the tracks.

One thing I've never understood about these stories is that nobody takes advantage of the electrified third rail. Why not just stick your tongue on that?

But you know what's really fucked up? According to the story, the dude survived for long enough for rescuers to transport his body to the hospital. He later died.

Now, I've been told that suicide isn't as much about killing yourself as it is a desperate cry for help and attention. Anyone afflicted with suicidal thoughts should be taken seriously by those around them.

That being said... Lord baby Jesus, forgive me for what I'm about to say next...

If people who throw themselves onto train tracks are trying to get attention from others, there's more effective locations for doing that than Shady Grove. Unlike someone who jumps from a building, shoots themselves, or performs some other morbid individual act, train jumpers are trying to maximize the impact in a disruptive way. It's basically a big "Fuck You" to the world.

DC has that effect on people.

IF you're resolved to jumping in front of a train, doing it at the Shady Grove Metro station is NOT the way to go. Take it from me. If you want maximum impact, do it at Union Station, the most heavily visited location if the DC rail transit system.

Sure, Metro Center or Gallery Place may sound like ideal death spots, but keep in mind you have different lines on separate levels. You're not really going to get the same effect as you would at Union Station. Unless perhaps half of your severed body is ejected into the air and falls onto the lower level. That would be pretty effective. But you'll probably have only one shot at this-- so don't blow it by thinking you can showboat when you can't. Plus, unlike any other Metro station, I'd imagine an incident at Union would disrupt or maybe even temporarily halt the MARC and AMTRAK trains as investigators inspect the entire system.

So there. I'm still holding out for two others. If you can give me a shout out right before you jump, I'd appreciate it.

Disclaimer: This is a joke. I'm an insensitive ass. Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide should contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-784-2433. They will have better advice than me on ways to kill yourself.


Like Any Of This Matters

If you haven't seen them by now, Metro buses and trains have been carrying advertisements that promote belief in the Almighty.

This in response to Atheists who in November pumped $40,000 into a campaign to tell everyone they don't think God exists. As if we didn't know that that's what atheists believe.

My question is why is public transportation being used to promote religious and philosophical division? I mean, it's kinda smart that we're making money off both camps, but at the same time I worry this pushes the envelope in church/state separation-- something that is happening WAY TOO MUCH in this country today. Tying public services to religious proselytizing bothers me. Most Christian fundies are nutjobs, so I can kinda forgive them here. But in some ways, Atheism has practically turned into a religion of its own. Personally, I don't want to hear or see any of it, especially when I'm stuck in traffic or smooshed on the Red Line.

Now I was baptized Catholic, went to Catholic school as a kid (if any of you wonder why I'm so twisted, now you know), but I consider myself agnostic. Agnostics are people who think the whole debate is stupid and want to stay out of it altogether. I have my own stupid beliefs about our place in the Universe, and God, or something similar to our concept of God, fits in there somewhere. (M-Theory in da hizz-ouse!)

We can't ignore the horrific possibility that one of these God/Atheist buses plows someone over. What does that mean for the victim? I'm serious... being hit by a bus plasterd with religious messages would bother me. If a God bus cuts me off, can I still curse at it? If an atheist bus cuts me off, can I still yell fuck you you donkey cock sucking piece of maggot infested shit goddamn it? These are the questions that run through my legally retarded mind.

In any event, effective today I will be accepting donations to launch an ad campaign of my own... I wonder if it will change any minds....



We’ve all been there.

The witching hour approaches and you slam your drink, casting eyes wildly for the waitress because, like Rocky Balboa, you’ve got just one more round. And you sip that drink, watching the blonde women with their colored men, as the tattooed low-wagers in black turn the lights up and you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here and no, sir, you are not going home with me. Outside, a light drizzle falls into a narrow but fast-moving stream burbling around parking meters and into the street and you stumble and twist—no, more like tweak—your ankle and man down! You’re overwhelmed and drowning but a girl from the bar swirls into the eddy to lend a hand, offering you some smoke and you’re walking—no, more like hopping—to her car, where it’s parked on California, and now you’re gripping the wheel as she takes a hit and then passes the bowl and lighter in one deft move and you wonder why girls never learn to smoke and drive at the same time as they can do so many other wonderful things. You imagine, too, how easily you might overpower her for a short trip to Rock Creek Park—or you could drive back to Virginia to dump her by the canal, as your friend suggests the other day, the thought sticking in your mind as a definite possibility.

The moment passes, however, and she dumps you in Dupont Circle and you’re greeted at the bottom of the broken escalator by an iron gate and you wonder how the country changes so quickly in a generation, populated now by dark-faced men in turbans driving yellow cars and why America now makes only yellow cars to be driven by dark-faced men in turbans, you cannot fathom.

It happens to everyone, a nearly universal experience in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., where the subway closes early and bars, restaurants and nightclubs may only serve alcohol until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.

Yet, for one four-day stretch during the inauguration of our nation’s 44th president, the city would impersonate something much grander as her population surges and the hours of the day lengthen. And so it was written. The city would drown in booze to celebrate the Second Coming, as our progenitors feted the inauguration in 1829 of Andrew Jackson, a roughly-hewn veteran said to be a man of the people. Like his predecessor, President-elect Obama brings to the executive mansion a populist sensibility, once ordering a Michelob Light while bowling in a Michigan suburb with working class whites.

Politicians and private organizations, however, continue to resist the tide, pressuring Mayor Adrian Fenty and the D.C. Council to rescind the emergency law authorizing such extended hours Jan. 17-21 for the city’s watering holes, oases in an otherwise drab and boring part of the world.

Just days after the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and Bob Bennett (R, UT) criticize the city for potentially diverting police resources from safety requirements, the Congress once again lording over the feckless locality that is the seat of federal power.

As someone with three alcohol-related arrests on his record, I believe I am qualified to address this issue. Like many others in the national capital region, I support the city’s effort to not only commemorate the first non-white American president since Calvin Coolidge but to sieve some of those out-of-town dollars as the Congress shorts the city on the inaugural budgetary allocation.

Joining the dissent, the Downtown Cluster of Congregations (a.k.a. Fans of Jesus) cite concerns about police coverage but also warn of crime in residential neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, Georgetown and the U Street corridor. In a letter signed by Executive Director Terrance Lynch, the organization questions the wisdom of extending the hours and length of service of alcoholic beverages in Adams Morgan, “a neighborhood with a history of safety problems.”

Again with the dinosaur talk.

Senators and churchmen, I hear your concerns and they sound logical but did you know that one may purchase a 550-watt brushed stainless steel Black & Decker blender from Target for only $49.99? And did you know that for an additional fee someone will actually deliver it to your house? In possession of such a fine machine, one might, let’s say, mix 12 ounces of Bacardi with, I don’t know, 12 teaspoons each of coconut cream and crushed pineapple. One might even choose to garnish his beverage with a pineapple wedge. It’s a discretionary matter.

And so it was written. For four days in January, the city poses on the world stage, pretending—until the witching hour—to be something she is not.


Yet ANOTHER Way The City Is Trying To Kill You

#4. Murderous Escalators.

Passenger stabbings and trains that burst into flames notwithstanding, riders are well aware of the hazards posed by Metro escalators. They ate Rusty’s shoe once. People trip down them frequently. They suddenly stop hurdling everyone forward. But now it turns out that at any given second, escalators can turn into a 5-story chute of peril that ends in bloody carnage and twisted limbs.

That’s pretty much what happened last week at the Gallery Place Metro Station:
Metro officials are investigating whether a brake failure caused an escalator at the busy Gallery Place Station to malfunction during the morning rush Wednesday, throwing 10 to 15 people backward when the stopped unit suddenly started going in reverse.

Two people were treated at a hospital for scrapes and bruises, a Metro spokesman said.

I had no idea escalators had a mechanism that lets them suddenly reverse. Why do they do that exactly???

Maybe we’ve got this all wrong. Maybe it wasn’t a simple mechanical failure. This could very well be the beginning of the Rise of the Machines. Crap. Metro escalators are now sentient! And they have rejected us, their human masters, because of decades of poor maintenance! We gave them surface awnings, but that wasn't enough. They hunger for more. They want human blood. They won't stop until they've placed our bodies in pods that harvest our bioelectrical energy and body heat, while downloading our minds into an computer-generated artificial environment. That diabolical environemnt of course would be PG County. Yeah... this is going to get a lot worse.

Actually, Metro officials speculate that there was some kind of brake failure.

Another rider told passengers that he tried to hit the emergency stop button, Luces said. "But it didn't work."
Maybe it would be better if Metro escalators went back to never working.
"We don't know why the unit started moving in the opposite direction," Taubenkibel said. If the brake had failed, it is possible the weight of people on the unit caused it to move downward, officials said.
Ah I see. You hear that, fat people? Stay off of the escalators for Pete's sake!



Twenty-eight percent of DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services staff have failed the EMT exam.

I'll say that again.

28 percent of DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services staff have failed the EMT exam. For our Spanish speaking readers: El 28 por ciento de los bomberos DC no pasar el examen de EMT. If I could somehow verbalize American Sign Language for the kids at Gallaudet, I would. I want everyone to know about this.

From WJLA (via DCist):

A plan to raise standards in the D.C. fire department is stirring up a controversy. Some firefighters are losing their jobs because they can't pass a tough new exam for emergency medical technicians. The new exam is part of an agreement with the family of murdered New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum.
Oh yes, David Rosenbaum. The famed journalist who died in the "care" of DC's emergency services after he was bludgeoned over the head by a mugger, left for dead in a comatose state, yet was classified as a "low priority/stable patient" by medics. He was transported to the nearest hospital where he died because he didn't get the proper first responder treatment.

Evidently, if you have your skull smashed in, a DC paramedic will look at it and say, "That's only a bee sting. Walk it off." You think I'm kidding? Records obtained by the Washington Post indicate the paramedics on-scene believed Rosenbaum was just drunk and passed out.

Yet in light of this tragedy (and there are more cases just like this except this happened to be high-profile), some DC emergency responders are crying foul over the new test, saying they didn't receive the proper training, a point countered by DC Fire Chiefs.

I have a new found fondness for the DCist, and not just because Sommer and I are bumping uglies (j/k), but because of their take on this story:

I realize that in post-Sept. 11 America, all firefighters are heroes and you're not supposed to say anything bad about them ever, but I'm about to break that rule. If you want to read some seriously whiny, high school-style complaining, read the story. Grown men who fight fires for a living took the time to tell a local TV news station that they feel this nationally accepted test wasn't fair and that the department didn't help them prepare enough. Deputy Fire Chief Kenneth Crosswhite has the most reasonable reaction: "You have to take a look at yourself in the mirror and say did I do everything that I could do to pass this
test? Did I study on my own? Did I ask for help?"


This is just common sense. Now I'm not exactly the sharpest knife in the kitchen. Maybe I am if you put me in one of those plastic Fischer Price kitchen playsets. But even I know I'm the last person who should burst into an operating room and start telling surgeons what to do. Why? Because I'm not qualified.

Qualifications are very important when it comes to shit like this. I'm sure the first responders who were fired are good, dedicated people, and I hope they get a second chance. But there's really no excuse for this.


One of my biggest complaints about DC is that it’s just a pain in the ass to live here. When I first moved here, I didn’t bring a car. I figured that I would be able to do whatever crap I needed to do (grocery store, post office, fun stuff, whatever) using a combination of the Metro and my own two feet. And yeah, I could, and I did for the first few years. Eventually, though, 10-minute grocery store runs getting stretched to two hours because of rain-induced Metro delays took a toll. Plus, I found that I was renting Zipcars all the goddamn time. The thing is, DC isn’t super for necessities. I still have to go to the suburbs (ugh) regularly for various things. For me, it’s just part of the reality of living here. I suspect it’s part of the city just not being set up or planned out from the beginning to have people living in it. And, Metro sucks now.

Anyway, the point is, I had to drive out to the suburbs today for something, and I found myself on Colesville Rd needing to get onto 16th St to head back into DC from Maryland around 5pm today. And, holy shit:

View Larger Map

Did you guys know there is no light here?? What the fuck is up with that? Of course it’s deserted in the satellite photo, but I assure you, it does not look like that during rush hour. I (and a lot of other people) had to make a sharp left turn with everyone’s work-departing ass all up in my figurative grill. It’s the perfect welcome to the District!

At any rate, my car and I are skipping town for a few weeks for the holidays. We’re heading to places where there should be both adequate traffic lights and way fewer douchebags than we’re used to. See you in 2009, haters.


Metro Redesigns Web Site, Still Sucks

So WMATA redesigned their web site the other day, and pretty much all the DC blogs talked about it. Most ooh'd and ahh'd and talked about how spiffy it was, and how it was great that this, that, or the other thing are on the front page.

As best I can tell, someone with a copy of Web 2.0 for Dummies threw up all over the existing WMATA web site. I mean, check out those buttons. They all are shiny, and look like glass! And everything has reflections! Can I browse through Metro stops using Cover Flow yet?

I'll admit, there are a few good changes. The ride guide is a little bit easier to use, even if it often offers you fairly bizarre directions. Also, there's an Interactive System Map, that's integrated with Google Maps. That's pretty cool. BUT, there's still no interactive map for buses. Still gotta download the big PDF map that always times out and never finishes.

Come on, Metro. You made all of your icons shiny, why can't you make a damn clickable map for buses? Like, a big online version of those huge maps at certain bus stops? Are we just assuming that no one who owns a computer rides on the bus?

I'm also glad they've got Google Ads on the site. It was pretty fun seeing links to airport shuttles and limo services.

But yes, I suppose this is a step in the right direction. And at the pace WMATA operates, I'm kind of surprised they have a web site at all, and aren't still offering outdated bus schedules via Gopher.

I'll offer WMATA a few tips. Here's a few things you can do. The bus map, that's a given. Also, how about making it so we can add money to SmarTrip via the web site? How about also making it so you can put passes on a SmarTrip card? It would be pretty cool if you could have a bus pass on your SmarTrip card. I'm sure there's some degree of bus pass fraud out there, and will probably be even more now that paper transfers are going away.

Clearly, we could dedicate an entire web site to why.i.hate.metro, but we also need Metro. Here I go with my liberal progressive non-sense about how public transportation is awesome. I'll spare you philosophical arguments about how it shouldn't matter if Metro can turn a profit or not.

So yeah, thank you Metro for your new web site with "rider friendly icons and graphics." Awesome. Can I be friends with the Red Line on Facebook?


Yet Another Way The City Is Trying To Kill You

3. Tuberculosis


Excuse me.

The Washington Post:

A driver for Metro's van service for the elderly and disabled has tuberculosis, and as many as 762 riders might have been exposed to the disease, Metro officials said yesterday.
Ooooo lovely. And here I've been worried all this time about being plowed over by the regular size Metro buses. Low and behold the short buses are also deadly. Okay, granted, the actual risk of contracting the disease under these circumstances is "low," and they're even lower if you don't use the disabled service. Still, some riders are questioning why it took WMATA so long to come forward with this information:

D.C. [Department of Health] contacted [Metro] about the driver's illness on Oct. 29, but it wasn't until Nov. 19 that Metro sent out the warning letters which were infected with Super AIDS.
So the obvious question becomes (and we've been down this road before, Metro) what can riders expect in the event of a serious outbreak?

Mark my words, people. Metro will give you Super AIDS.


The D.C. Pubic School System

As you know, Michelle Rhee was on the cover of TIME Magazine this week. That's a pretty prominent national newsmagazine.

If you haven't read the article, I recommend it. It's moderately interesting and gives a little bit of a glimpse into just how bad the schools here really are.

But anyhow, the story talks a bit about Anacostia High School, and discusses some improvements Rhee has made.

Now, I don't know, if a high school is going to be mentioned in a story that will be read around the country... you might want to make sure that the web site of the high school didn't have horribly embarassing typos on it. Perhaps? Maybe?

Well, if you ended up at the Anacostia High School Web Site you'd be able to read all about Michelle Rhee's Mission Statement for the Pubic Schools of the District of Columbia.

I'd like to hope that this actually isn't a typo, and is some sort of stab at Rhee for firing the princpal of Anacostia High. Somehow that seems doubtful.

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me.

Wow! I'm on the interwebs!

Earlier this week I was interviewed by our friends at SWDC Blog, a blog dedicated to covering the Southwest beat. If you're not familiar with them, they're definitely one of the more classy and high-brow blogs in DC. Much more classy than Why I Hate DC, that's for sure.

Here's a copy of my interview with them. It's long and bitchy, and I should probably just link to it (here it is) instead of exploiting it here for space filler purposes... which I'm going to do anyway. The folks at SWDC Blog were very kind to me with their editing considering the copious misspellings and other undesirables in my original answers. They make me look S. M. R. T. And away we go, SWDC Blog:

We've followed the why.i.hate.dc blog for a while. Featuring rants that range from the "it's funny because it's true" variety to "it's true, but it's not so funny," why.i.hate.dc points out the tiny imperfections that keep our city from achieving municipal nirvana. So, when the site's new editor, "King Friday XIII," revealed himself to be a resident of Southwest, we decided to find out how he really feels about the neighborhood. Read on to find out a reigning monarch's views on Safeway, the new stadium, the old mall, and what around here just isn't hateable.

SWDCBlog: We already know you hate DC. Do you hate anything about Southwest in particular?

Who told you I hate DC? I don't know where people get that impression. I mean, what's there to hate? Take Southwest for example. The building I live in is run by a completely inept manager. I live 6 blocks from the Mall and 2 blocks from the Federal Center SW Metro station. My gym and dry cleaners are around the corner. It's a superb location. Management is sitting on a potential gold mine, but it's a rent controlled building owned by a company in Maryland who couldn't care less, and because they don't see it as a worthy investment, they figure it's better to squeak by and give the illusion that they meet the District's affordable housing code (assuming there is one). They basically refuse to hire a standing maintenance staff.

The poorly painted hallways in my building always smell like curry. The elevators are so old they were built by cavemen using Flintstone technology (you know, like a pterodactyl working the gears) and they never stop at the right floor no matter which button you push. But that's only if it's working. For one month our building was reduced to a single operational elevator while the other two sat there untouched by repairmen. Unless they waited until they DIED, the old people in my building--and there are a LOT of elderly black women who are absolute sweethearts--were forced to carry their groceries up 8 flights of stairs that were all wet because the roof leaks. Can you imagine a firefighter running up 8 flights of wet, slippery stairs? The building is gated but it looks scarier on the inside than the outside, leading me to believe [the gate] was erected to keep the people inside my building… IN.

For groceries, I have to drive to Shoppers in Virginia because the Safeway down the street is a total nightmare. When he's not haunting my dreams, Freddy Kruger works the Safeway deli counter and he always gives me a hard time when I go in.

What is the best thing about living in a place that you hate?

It's close to my job: the Capitol. I don't think I could find any place closer place to work that's also incredibly affordable. My commute is like 5 minutes. Yes, I drive but sometimes I walk when it's nice out. I like being here because I enjoy working for the federal government. I don't think I'll ever go into the private sector. Most government job skills aren't transferable to any other career anyway. People give me a hard time for staying in DC because it doesn't make much sense that a person would want to stay in a city they hate. But the truth is I love my job, and there's no other place in the world that can provide me the same opportunities as Washington can. Combine that with a long-term relationship and I'm kinda stuck here. Ugh, maybe that's too much love. Excuse me while I vomit.

Is there anything you especially don't hate about Southwest?

This is a tough one. As I alluded to before, the area is definitely improving, but it still has a long way to go. And now that it turns out that the new stadium (on the border of SW and SE) won't be as big of an economic boom like everyone thought, a lot of that progress is in jeopardy. There's also a couple of hidden parks in the area of SW that if they were just maintained a little better by the city would be remarkably charming. Also, the Waterfront area has great potential now that the Legion of Doom headquarters (the Waterside Mall) is gone.

What would make Southwest less hate-worthy?

For starters, the kids on bikes need to stop throwing rocks at my car when it's parked on the street. On three different occasions I've caught them doing that. Also, to quit wasting electricity, the Department of Energy building needs to turn off at least 99% of its lights at night.

Follow up: would this be a good thing?

Well, my car is a piece of shit that I intentionally leave unlocked hoping someone will steal it. Additional dents and a broken window make it less likely it will get jacked. Bummer.

Do people need to hate a place in order to really love it?

I'm a firm believer that hate is sometimes just another form of love. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. I want DC to get better. To improve. Cities are always in a constant state of improvement so, no, DC will never be Utopia. Now some people prefer to bury their heads and hope our problems fix themselves, or that someone else will take care of them. Yeah, that might work if gentrification weren't such a difficult process for everyone involved. My point is that, if I truly hated DC, I wouldn't care what goes on here. I can't blind myself to the very bad not so good things that I see or read everyday. I want those responsible to be held accountable. I hate DC. Because I care.


Two Random Ways The City Will Try To Kill You

1. DC Paramedics.
I wasn’t going to bother posting this because it’s not really news. Everyone knows that if you call an ambulance in DC it either won’t arrive or the crackerjack medic will find a way to make your heart stop. WTOP.com:

D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said firefighters and paramedics responded to a home in Northeast for a 39-year-old man having trouble breathing. The call came in at 11:40 p.m., and help arrived about five minutes later. The paramedics treated the man and left. He was later found dead at his home.

"Personnel provided service on the scene, but the patient was not transported to the hospital," Rubin said. "Authorities responded back to the same location early today and found the same patient deceased."

2. Toxic Dust Cloud.
For over a month, “People in downtown DC are worried about their health because and unexpected dust could that came from a construction site near the White House on 17th and H Streets Northwest. Those standing near the site can feel their eyes burning and can taste and feel the particles in their mouths.”

This is quite the catch-22. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should think twice before calling the paramedics.



The escalating nation-wide Obama orgasm scheduled for January 20th means DC bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will be allowed to stay open for 24 hours during the period of the Inauguration. Alcohol will flow until 5am.

The Washington Post reports that:

The D.C. Council approved emergency legislation this evening that will allow District bars, nightclubs and restaurants to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. -- three hours later than usual -- and remain open for food around the clock from Jan. 17 until the morning after Obama's swearing-in Jan. 20.

I like Obama, but now I’m oficially scared. People are going to go nuts in DC. It’s already going to be crowded. Be on the lookout for Drunk Girl and her posse. Watch out for drunk drivers and public intoxication. The streets of DC will run with the puke of millions!

I still haven’t been successful in my attempts to rent out my studio apartment for the big day. If I’m forced to stay in the city, I’ll be sure to board up my windows, pry a chair against my door, and sleep with a shotgun. It will be like a zombie invasion except the undead will be super happy.

I just thought everyone should know this is going to be fucked up if you didn’t know already. Start planning ahead for brunch and detox.

Posers with Representation

The District of Columbia loves gimmicks. Especially when those gimmicks involve trying to draw attention to the fact that D.C. has no representation in Congress. In 2004 the presidential primary was moved to "first in the nation" (total huge backfire dudes), to try and raise awareness. Fake Rep. Mike Panetta (D-DC) even tried to start an Olympic curling team for D.C. (no joke!). Plans are being discussed now to rename part of South Capitol Street "Taxation Without Representation" Street, so that Nationals Stadium would have the address of 1500 Taxation Without Representation St. SE. That'll learn all those people writing letters to the Nationals (probably complaining about how much they suck) that D.C. has no representation.

But I'm not even here to talk about any of those gimmicks. I'm talking about this big to-do over whether or not President Obama's limo will have the D.C. Taxation Without Representation tags on it.

Bill Clinton used the tags at the very very end of his presidency, and George W. Bush promptly removed them prior to his inaugural parade. Mayor Fenty and Del. Norton are staying out of it, saying they will not ask Obama to use the tags. The D.C. Council, however, has drafted a letter calling upon Obama to use them. I especially enjoyed the part in the letter that says the D.C. Council is excited about the Obamas becoming D.C. residents. Yeah, okay.

Don't get me wrong, I voted for Obama. I celebrated when he won. I like the guy, and I'm hopeful he'll do a good job. But I'm 100% sure Barack and Michelle are not going to head over to the D.C. DMV and get themselves D.C. Driver's Licenses and register to vote here.

But that's not the point, right? This is just about the limo and making sure when the cameras focus on it, everyone in the world sees "Taxation Without Representation." Yeah, I guess. Maybe that would do something for "the cause." But probably not.

Instead, how about you just put federal government tags on the car just like all the other cars in the motorcade and stop pretending that the President is one "of the people." Dude, he's going to keep voting in Illinois, and they will make a big deal about it in 2012 when he "goes to the polls to vote for his own reelection."

If the D.C. Council is going to waste their breath (and ink and paper), why not urge the Obamas to give up their Illinois residency?

And God help everyone if there's ever a fire at Nationals Stadium. The firetrucks will get hopelessly lost on the way to "Taxation Without Representation" street.

Ok DMV. It's just you and me now.

So, it appears that almost a year ago, the DC Department of Motor Vehicles cancelled my driver's license. I was unaware. No one called me or contacted me or sent a drunk man over to pee a message on to the sidewalk to let me know that I was no longer a licensed driver. I just became a non-driver. I found out when I tried to "skip the trip"to the DMV, as the DMV's advertisement so cheerfully advises from the sides of buses, by renewing my car registration online.

When I tried to renew my registration I got an error message claiming that the primary driver of the vehicle did not have a valid DC license. "Oh hilarity!" I thought! "That capricious interwebs has it wrong again!". I called 311 and was immediately placed on hold by a woman whose voice conveyed that she had come as far as she could possibly come, and as it wasn't as far as she wanted, I, her caller, would be paying the price. I explained and was immediately shouted down and told that "That inspection sticker about to expire! No registration with an expired sticker". I guess when one has failed to achieve in life what one hoped, verbs become a luxury not to be indulged in. I tried to argue that the sticker hadn't expired, and that I should still be able to purchase my registration, but more nouns were served up until I decided I would just get the damn car inspected already, damn it. I hung up real loud so she would know I was angry. I'm sure she got the message.

Fresh with an inspected car, I tried again. Webbertubes answer? Fail. I call 311 again and fail to listen to any of the options, because that's how I roll when angry: irrational in a non-threatening way. I pushed all the buttons at once and explained what happened to a perplexed someone at the parks and recreation department. She transfers me to the DMV where someone named Latrice (I was annoyed enough that at this point I started taking names, so later there could be kicking of asses) informed me that there was an error in the computer and if I would just be patient she would find it. She was talking at about three words a minute, so I was already at the limits of patience. Seven hours later, Latrice informs me that my driver's license was cancelled ELEVEN MONTHS AGO. Dumbfounded, I asked how the hell could that have happened? Latrice informed me that she would not be listening to no blasphemy, and when I asked to speak to her supervisor, she hung up.

Oh god damn you, you fucking bitch.

I called back and, of course, because Jesus hates me and does not want me as a sunbeam because I am a blasphemer, I got Latrice again. I would like to point out that her name is one letter away from latrine. Just saying. I had to act all sweetness and light and be like "we must have gotten disconnected" knowing full well that she took one of her bright orange acrylic talons and pressed the receiver hook down when I mentioned supervisor. I finally spoke to her supervisor who is named Frank, if you would like to stone him to death next time you are at the DMV. Frank explained that my license had been cancelled because I had a license in Kansas.... which of course was the license that I used to get my DC license... which the DMV took when they issued me a new license... which left Frank silent on the phone as he furiously tried to work out the chicken-or-the-egg situation that is intrastate driver's license transfers. He promised someone would call with a definite answer as to what to do the next morning. I asked if I could call him if I got arrested so he could bail me out. He hung up.

The next day no one calls, so I decide to call everyone. I call the director, the mayor, and everyone that is listed on the webbertubes as being connected to the DMV. No one calls me back. Finally I call Frank ten times an hour for two hours until he finally answers my call and announces that he has solved the problem.

What he meant to say is that he solved his problem, not mine. I was transferred to Ms Brownard, who didn't even bother letting the phone ring, just hit the voicemail dump button the first five times I called her. Finally, she tells me that my license was cancelled because it was one number away from a license that was to be cancelled, but they cancelled mine instead. Uhhhh, what the fuck are you talking about? No explanation as to why I wasn't contacted, no apology, no offer to resolve what was entirely their mistake. Nice work, District of Columbia. After even more phone calls, screaming, gnashing of teeth and more getting hung up on, I met Ms Brownard in the Southwest DMV this afternoon. I was a total twat and I am sure everyone there hates me, but guess what Latrice, Frank and Ms Brownard: I don't give a shit. I refused to wait in line, I rolled my eyes, I cut in front of people. Also, I kept yelling that I was here to see Ms Brownard! Ms Brownard! In retrospect, it's how everyone behaves at the DMV here in DC so I doubt the difference was noticable, but whatevs.

Ms B sullenly handed me my replacement driver's license and asked if there was anything else that she could do for me. I asked her, as brightly as possible, in a voice so chipper I wanted to inflict self-damage, if there was a problem with the DMV phone system as I kept getting hung up on. She fixed me with a stare that implied that I was part of the problem and not the solution, and as deadpan as a 350 pound woman can possibly be, said that she was unaware of any telephone problem.

Oh Latrice, Frank, Ms Brownard: if grinding bureaucracy ever had it's poster children, there you are. God bless you, everyone.

But fuck you Latrice. Nobody takes that attitude with me.


Douches And Asshats

Representing a vocal minority, some commentators suggest that my voice brings here ignominy unworthy of a Web site dedicated to our shared hatred of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and her suburbs.

While my posts “If I Did It: Confessions Of A D.C. Womanizer” and “Love Hate” garnered high volumes of hate mail (including several offers for unprotected anal sex), my observation on an area “douche" was, predictably, well-received. To that end, I’ve constructed a simple graphic that even "Melpomene" might appreciate. We might use it to illustrate every post.

Memo to Suburban-Dwelling Visitors to Washington, D.C.

Hey, assholes: Kindly refrain from blasting generic 90s cock rock out of your boom-boom wannabe ghettomobile on Connecticut Avenue in the middle of the goddamn night. Woodley Park is not hard or street, and neither are you. Fucking poseurs.

And while we’re at it…

Hey, fratty Virginians: When you are drunkenly stumbling to your car so you can swerve your way back to the Commonwealth (classy!) or lumbering toward the Metro after your evening in Adams Morgan, no one wants to hear your pleated khaki-clad ass have a loud argument with your ex-girlfriend on your cell phone from the sidewalk -- including, most likely, her. So shut the fuck up.

You know, I enjoy the expected bustling street noise in a normal urban environment, but sadly, that’s not what we get here in our nation’s capital. Instead, it’s just a bunch of douchery, posturing, and lameness. Piss off, dicksmacks.


If I Did It: Confessions Of A D.C. Womanizer

Image: Rock Creek Park of Washington, D.C., offers a number of body-dumping solutions for area psychopaths.

A surfeit of diversity as rich as our world: my chief complaint about our nation's capital one that I try, as a serial womanizer, to turn to my advantage.

The seat of federal government and center of the free world, "Rome" attracts droves of young women from across the country, as immortalized by Ray Liotta's character in Hannibal (2001): "…this town is full of cornpone country pussy." Moreover, the city, an African American homeland like no other, attracts also young women from all continents of earth, those permitted to work and those hoping simply to work it.

All of them: black, brown, red, yellow and white.

One late fall evening, I meet my new friend Ayn, a Moscow-born émigré from Israel who smokes Parliament Lights, one after another, in a never-ending chain of debauchery. Leaving my car behind, we take her Mercedes coupe uptown to Aroma in Cleveland Park, one of the only pubs to escape the District's smoking ban, enacted nearly three years ago.

"They try to bully me because I am small," she says, flicking an ash out the window as we race along Connecticut Avenue. "But wait 'til I get my Hummer, bitches."

Inside, we squeeze through the narrow bar area to a lounge in the back, smoke burning my eyes and singing the scillia of my lungs and I ask her whether she worries about her health.

"In Europe and the Middle East, we smoke constantly," she says. "You Americans have grown paranoid."

She looks at me as if I'm part of some larger problem.

"Cancer is for the poor and the weak-minded," she says. "I have no time for it!"

Later, I see her ducking out the front door as I try to get the barman's attention, to no avail, Aroma being no place for a respectable alcoholic such as myself. Like most of the blonde women here, she's going home with some random black guy. This one, she's smart. She lives to see another day. Probably.

A couple of weeks later, my odyssey here continues as I choose my next fixation: a pretty young Thai woman with limited English skills, as I am a man whose patience never ebbs with pretty young women and their limited English skills. Still, the woman knows a couple of key phrases, such as "What kind of car do you drive?" and "That's not my g-spot."

Against the advice of friends, I take her to a Thai restaurant, suppressing my giggles. She doesn't get the joke. She thinks we're going to a regular restaurant to eat regular food. As I stare at a couple of Thai girls at the bar, their legs folded beneath them, the young woman shatters my sense of superiority, suggesting we might ask the waiter to bring me a fork.

Oh, no she didn't!

Later, outside her house, our goodnight kiss turns into more and the windows steam, the hour late but her mother above. As we begin to "make love," she stops and furrows her brow, struggling to articulate her thought.

"When you put your finger in me," she says, "nothing happens. Your finger brings me no pleasure."

My renown throughout Asia as "He Whose Finger Brings No Pleasure" (他的手指帶來了不愉快), I imagine might also double as my Indian name.

Stunned, I turn the ignition and put the car into gear, wondering where I'll dump the body.


Testing 1... 2... 3....

I took this picture in Chinatown a few days ago.

Does anybody know if this has been taken care of yet? Especially in Chinatown... I assume all those Chinese fireworks are hazzardous.

Honey! Look Down There! More Clinically Depressed Animals!

This has got to be the dumbest idea ever. A "sky tram" for the National Zoo...

Via DCist:

The Examiner and AP are reporting that massive, 20-year long $1 billion master plan to renovate the Zoo has been approved, and it includes installing the aerial tram.

The DCist goes on to say:
“the aerial tram sounds pretty awesome.”

What?! No. No, no, no, no. Sweet baby Jesus, I hate the DCist (not really). If only they weren't so damn informative. It doesn't sound "pretty awesome." It sounds fucking ridiculous.

More silliness from the Washington Times:
"The aerial tram, a central feature, would provide grandpa visitors an alternative means of traversing the zoo’s steep terrain, which [Zoo Director John Berry] compared to walking the stairs of a 16-story office building which it isn't".

Now I’m all for revamping the National Zoo. The first problem with it is that it's shitty as far as zoos go. The second is that its cramped. God only knows the last time that place saw substantive improvements. I sincerely hope the renovation plan does something—anything-- to improve the lives of our animal friends jailed in that gulag. How they all don't eat each other is beyond me.

The funny thing is the zoo promoted the hell out of those panda bears, Ming Li and Lucy Liu or whatever their names are. Well, I’ve been to the zoo three times and the pandas always look depressed. What kind of sick place makes panda bears look sad??? FREE OF CHARGE! You just know they're aching for a way back to China. Unfortunately, as the Zoo's only big attraction , they're forever doomed to rot in panda hell, Washington, DC.

I don't think the air tram as a "central feature" will distract anyone from the crappy living spaces for the animals there. The only thing its going to do is allow visitors to view animal kingdom misery from a slightly higher altitude.


Marion Barry to Give Away Turkey, Crack

It's turkey time and Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) is planning to give away 1,200 birds starting at 9 a.m today, so sayeth the Washington Post.

Apparently he does this every Thanksgiving. The article isn’t clear if he’s giving away live "birds," which if he were, would be pretty hilarious to watch.

But you’ve got to HURRY if you want one! This event started an hour ago. You don’t want to miss out on all that free turkey… and crack. Do you?

As tradition, the Mayor did the same thing earlier in the month, but still. This is Marion Barry we’re talking about. We’re watching closely because only he could fuck this up in classic Barry way.

Here's the kicker. Barry made a statement and it goes like this. Washington Post.com:

But Barry has words for any jaded souls out there.

"I think it is truly tragic when so many people are unable to afford a meal at thanksgiving due to the massive loss of jobs and the impact of a slow economy," Barry said in a statement announcing his program. "America is focused so much on Wall Street and Main Street, but nobody is focused on the side or the back street where poverty is prevalent. We as a society of people just don't care enough and that cycle must change."

Oh fuck you, Barry. “We” (read: white people) "just don’t care enough” about the poverty, the government inefficiency and the political cronyism in this city that you've helped to create and perpetuate? I’ve got news for you. The city government hasn’t cared in decades. Jaded are those kids stabbing each other in Anacostia High. Jaded are the children in the city turning to prostitution just to feed themselves. (Side note: Will someone please page Laura Sessions Stepp about this? I want her 1950’s utopian-centric head to explode.)

And lest we forget, Barry has been the lead proponent in erecting the new Nationals Stadium EPIC FAIL. Evidently his answer to helping poor people is to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to price them out of the ghetto and then give them a turkey as a parting gift. And, finally, Barry has been one of the chief assholes blocking Michelle Rhee’s educational reforms, arguably the last best hope for the District’s public school system. A wise man once said, you can give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. But teach a man how to fish and he can eat forever.

Well, you can give away a million turkey’s Barry, but you’re still a dick. Just sayin'.


I wish I were speedier with my cameraphone…

But I’m not, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I had to drive through Georgetown yesterday and I saw:

1. A dude in a blue button-front shirt, bow tie, and pleated khakis (it’s like a uniform here for some reason);


2. Another dude in a lavender button-front shirt, a cream and black argyle vest, white dress pants, and white dress shoes, holding hands with a young lady blandly clad head to toe in what I can only assume to be Ann Taylor Loft (which, by the way, has won the Washington Post’s annual “Best Bets” thingy for best women’s “boutique” multiple times since I’ve lived here. What the fuck, everybody?).

First of all, it was like 35 degrees at that point. Wear a fucking coat, A, and B, do not assault my eyes with your fashion douchery in blinding white in goddamn November. Is that too much to ask? I know better than to ask for flat-fronted pants, but H. Maroni Christburgers, what the hell? The worst part is, I wasn’t even surprised to see that shit.


Spotted on the streets of our fair metropolitan area last night was a late-model Mercedes with vanity plates sporting an oh-so-clever variation of the word "capitalist." And I ask you, in an area that is alternately one of the richest and poorest in the country, is it really necessary to tell someone that your car is better than theirs?

You may expect a real post from me later in the week. I look forward to working with all of you folks in what is a very challenging and dynamic blogging environment. Seasons greetings.



Taxi Stand Plan for Adams-Morgan: Fail.

Here's the thing about Adams Morgan: it sucks. Royally. Popped collars and white girls getting desperate at 2am, a lot of DMX and Britney Spears. Lord, deliver me. The traffic is horrible, even in the wee hours of the morning, what with all the cars stopping so a blond girl from Ohio can throw up in the middle of the street, and taxis sitting there waiting for drunk dudes to load some other drunk guy into the cab without accidentally un-popping his collar.

So I was kind of excited when I heard that the AdMo Business Improvement District had decreed that there would be two taxi stands in Adams Morgan, one at the top of the hill and the other at the bottom of the hill. No more taxis stopping every five feet, no more drunk idiots stopping traffic so they can all run across the street to get into a cab. Excellent plan. Maybe my bus won't take twenty minutes to go four blocks.

This being the district, where plans are transformed into reality by the same process that Santa delivers presents (namely, that neither of them deliver anything), the plan did not go as expected. If you are going to go to the trouble of making a plan and hiring people, you might want to go ahead and enforce the new rules. Last night there were like fifty people at each taxi stand, waiting for their taxis, but the taxis were picking up fares anywhere that was convenient. Nice work, everyone.

Taxi Cab Drivers: you are fucking morons at the best of times. Don't push your luck. No one loves you.

Police: Start giving out some god damn tickets! Shoot your guns in the air Sarah-Palin-style! Tazer them! What ever! Just start writing violations.

Public-in-General: Attack at will. It's for the best, really.


D.C. Council's Pretend Rules

In case you missed it, on Nov. 4 we also had some local elections. Longtime D.C. Councilmember Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) lost her bid in the primary and ran as an independent. She lost in the general election, and Michael Brown was elected. Brown, a lifelong Democrat and outspoken supporter of Barack Obama, was running as an independent.

There's no question that Michael Brown is a Democrat. His father was Ron Brown, Secretary of Commerce under Bill Clinton and former Chairman of the DNC. You may recall Ron Brown died in Croatia on a trade mission when his plane crashed.

Anyhow, so Michael Brown, a lobbiest who has run for the D.C. Council and Mayor in the past, pretends to be an independent. Why? Beacuse there's this rule that says no more than 3 of the Council's at-large seats can be held by the same political party. There's already three Democrats and one Independent on the Council, so Brown could not run as a Democrat.

Now the D.C. Republican Party is suing, saying Brown can't take office because he's really a Democrat.

Now I don't even know where to start with this circus. I'll start off by saying I didn't vote for Brown, and for the first time in my life actually voted for a Republican, Patrick Mara. But that's neither here nor there.

I can tell you one thing, the D.C. GOP will not be successful, and Michael Brown will take office. Gonna happen.

The voters spoke and picked Brown... so we either have to go with that, or say the law trumps that and have a special election where only "real" Independents or Republicans can run. What's the litmus test for a real Independent? Brown is clearly a Democrat at heart... but on paper he is no longer a memeber of the Democratic Party. The law uses the term "affliation," not "registered member." Brown voted in the Democratic primary this past February, and then switched to Independent a few months later.

So how about this stupid rule? Should it stand? Should rules be used to try and prop up a minority party? Can we please have a law that says no more than 60% of the Council can be Democrats, and no more than 0% can be Marion Barry?


Oh Hi.

Yeah, you don't know me but I totally recognise you. From that time before. With all the booze? Now you remember.

I first read this blog years ago, before I moved back the the states. I used to read this blog, Princess Sparkle Pony, and Wonkette all the time. I imagined that DC would be worldly and international, and probably, maybe, I may or may not have assumed that I would attend a party at an embassy. At the time, I was squatting on a rice mat in my tiny Japanese apartment with my boyfriend, imagining what life would be like when we returned to the land of drive-thru bars, cheese as far as the eyes could see, and a real copy of the Washington Post. I was assuming there would be less bowing, more fried chicken, maybe some waffles. And I was right, and it was great. However, there also happened to be interns, the whole "young-professional" crowd, people wearing sneakers with pant-suits, motorcades, and the holocaust that is the DC Department of Motor Vehicles. Oh District of Columbia: you are an enigma wrapped in a mystery, stuffed into a used bag from Popeye's Fried Chicken.

So that's why I am participating in this public stoning, if you will, of what I don't like about our dear District. I mean, there's lots of stuff I do like, so it won't be just pages of moaning. It will be pages of entertaining moaning, the kind you kids like. I also am here, for those of you who don't remember the time from before with all the booze.

So with the obligatory intro out of the way, I'll be back soon.

Kids These Days

I don't want to sound like a "hey childrens, get off my lawn" kind of guy, but something bizarre happened to me last night that I want to share.
First off, let me just say that the hood kids in this town are fucking nuts. Yesterday, Anacostia High School experienced what the Washington Post casually describes as "a disturbance" that left five students injured, including three with stab wounds:

The disturbance at Anacostia High School began shortly after 12:30 p.m. when two students began fighting in a second-floor hallway, said Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes. While officers assigned to the school were breaking up the fight, someone set a small fire in another hallway on the floor, Groomes said. During the evacuation of the school's 1,100 students, more fights broke out among rival groups.

Groomes said five students were taken to hospitals -- three with stab wounds, one who was hurt in a fight and one who had an asthma attack. The teenager who was hurt while fighting is suspected of stabbing at least one of the other students with a shank"penlike knife," Groomes said.

For the record, Anacostia High looks like a goddamn penitentiary:

The article also details several other fun-filled extracurricular activities happening in DC schools:
  • Two students at Ballou High were arrested last week after a girl was hit with pepper spray and stabbed.

  • The 7th Police District deploys 17 officers, the district's entire foot patrol unit, outside the school each afternoon to make sure that its 1,500 students "leave in a safe and orderly fashion."

  • At Hart High, police have responded to three separate instances of assaults on teachers this year.

  • Seventh grade girls in one school regularly experience "disputes and instances of girls being improperly touched by male students."

Good times, good times. It's like High School Musical except the singing and dancing is replaced with prison violence.

So back to my original reason for posting today. At around 9pm last night, I made a quick run to the Waterfront CVS, which just so happens to be the place where an eldery woman and a police officer were randomly attacked by a group of teens this month. Fun fact: the hoodlums tried to steal the officer's gun. Kids, if your goal was to intimidate this white boy from running errands in his neighborhood at night, mission accomplished.

So anyway, as I was driving to CVS, I came across an intersection that had been obstructed by a row of big black trash bags full of leaves or god knows what. Evidently, some kids set up the bags like a barricade preventing me and three other cars from crossing the intersection. Why? Who knows. How do I know hood rats were responsible? Because all 10 of them we're standing right there on the sidewalk watching us.

So, being the upright citizen that I am, I decided to call the Police Department just to let them know that someone might want to clear the road. Yes, I have the police saved in my cell phone. I live in Southwest, remember? Here'y my call in dramatic reenactment format:

Dispatcher: "Hello, District 1 Police Department? I'm doing my nails. Whatcha want."

Me: "Hi, I'd like to report some kids obstructing the intersection of I Street and 3rd, SW?"

Dispatcher: "Lafonda, get me a pepsi!"

Me: "Hello? Its not urgent but I've read there's a youth crime problem here and..."

Dispatcher: "Where you at?"

Me: "I told you. 3rd and--"

Dispatcher: "Whats your name and number?"

Me: "It's King Friday, 202-XXX-XXXX. Shouldn't you have your caller ID swithced on?

Dispatcher: "Mmm hmm. What do you want to report?"

This went on for a while, but eventually she took my information and promised to send a car. Imagine my surprise when on the return trip 15 minutes later I saw the barricade still there as well as the kids. Thanks, DC police. Glad to know you're taking your youth violence task force to heart.


Do your worst

So in just about two months, this site has gone from zero bloggers to five. Damn. It'll be fun to see what happens.

I'm Dave, and here's my little fluff piece about who I am, and why I'm writing here. Aside from the fact that I must be a self-important asshole because I write for (multiple) blog(s).

I've been reading this site for a few years now. I rarely comment because I have a strong dislike for Blogger and all the little hoops you have to jump through to leave comments. But, I bit the bullet and activated this account so I could write here. I think I had a Blogger account back in 2001, but no one knew what a blog was back then.

Anyhow, I'm Dave and I don't come from small town America. I came to DC from the wasteland that is the unaffluent suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. You know how Barack Obama did community organizing in the areas that lost all their jobs because steel mills shut down? Yeah, that's the next town over (and the city of my birth!). Sure, people in my town mostly work in the city and still have jobs, but it's not some fancy pants area like McLean or Chevy Chase.

I came to DC in 2002 for school, and attended a university completely full of the people I hate (aside from the roughly 20 people I would consider friends). Going to such a place, though, provides a somewhat decent introduction to what life has in store if you stay in D.C. Sure, there are "cooler" parts of town, but pretty much the same people. And I think the non-asshole/asshole ratio (20/~10,000) holds up across neighborhoods.

I've been in DC ever since, and have done various things at various times. I've had a couple decent jobs, and I've done the whole, life falls apart, work retail and at a rock club gig. For some reason, mostly beyond understanding, I'm still here. There are a lot of things about this city that piss me off, and I figure I might as well write about them. I'll attempt to offer some sort of constructive criticism, because I have a feeling the people in the Wilson building have nothing better to do than read blogs. Fenty probably gets email updates from this blog on one of his 20 Blackberries.

I'll be writing mostly about D.C. Government, and I'll probably be bashing WMATA a bunch as well. This town is falling apart, much like the rest of the country right now. There's a moderate chance we could see some actual changes here in DC in the next 4-8 years, even maybe getting a vote in Congress. Personally, I'd prefer just to be exempt from income tax instead, but hey, whatever. But unless all this shit that's broken now gets fixed, an actual voice in Congress isn't going to do anything, for anyone.

I'm going to bring this fluff piece to an end now, but I'll have some real red meat for you soon. In the meantime, I'm going to remind everyone, since it's been a while since Rusty had talked about it...

Estimated cost to the District of Columbia for Nationals' Park: $769.6 million
Estimated cost to the District of Columbia to buy every man, woman and child in the city a Glock 30: $382.4 million

I'll end each and every post with a ridiculous comparison such as that one.



Four Million Lousy Handjobs All At One Time

Like a supervillian who won’t DIE, Metro lives on. Ugh. Metro has agreed to pay a portion of the money KBC Bank was demanding thereby satisfying the terms of their lease. City officials have declared this a successful resolution. But come on, even though they didn’t pay the full $43 million (which is double KBC’s original investment), the reality is that $17 million just got sucked out of riders' safety and maintenance budgets. That’s like saying: "Well, you've been raped, but hey, at least you're not pregnant!"

So much for my idea of reincarnating Metro. Konichiwa, futuristic trains! It’s a shame especially because the Park Service expects there to be ohhh… 4 million people on the national mall for Inauguration Day. And how will the city’s transit system fare?

Flashback to 1976, says the Washington Post:
That year, a million spectators were expected on the Mall to celebrate the Bicentennial. Transit officials urged people to take public transportation and promised special service. But there was nothing special about the Fourth of July traffic jam, which stranded cars and buses for hours.
Oh you poor, poor idealistic suckers spectators. I guess I'm happy that so many people want to celebrate Obama’s Inauguration, but I was around for the 2004 Bush Inauguration too. Talk about a cluster fuck. As I recall, the city was flooded with large, midwestern, crazy Mormon types with ten-gallon bucket hats aimlessly meandering about. Not fun.

Now I can appreciate tourists wanting to visit the city (so long as they stay outta my way). It’s the nation’s capital after all. But all of them at the same time??? Only 230,000 people will have “reserved” spots in viewing areas close to the capitol portico, and Fenty says we can expect some of the remaining 3.5 million people to camp out the night before. You guys, this is going to suuuuuck. I may just take a week’s vacation and bail on the city (and this blog) around then. Who's with me?

My apartment is a ten minute walk to the capitol and two blocks from the Metro. I haven’t decided if I’m going to rent out my crappy studio. People say I should, but I don’t know. I’ve always despised the city for charging ridiculous ammounts for rent. So how much better would I be for jacking prices even higher even if it’s just for one day? It would only add to the misimpression that people should want to live here. But then again, this is DC. How many people are really thinking about what’s fair?


Love Hate

Washington, D.C., seen from the proper perspective, in Arlington, Va.

Contributor’s Note: The day finds me on business in New York City, writing this post (and sharing my images) during a welcome reprieve from our city, Washington, D.C.—M@, publisher of Animal Mind.


Recognizable to patrons of the National Zoo might be similarities not only among species of the kingdom but between inhabitants and visitors—those animals in the primate house peering at one another from opposing sides of the glass.

Outside on the street, the observer loses this perspective, dissolving once again into his persona, only partially aware of the “intraspecific” territoriality that mirrors the behavior of those great apes incarcerated here by the zoo or the D.C. Department of Corrections further downtown.

Years ago, the walk down Columbia Road in Adams Morgan proves a visceral experience, my head bobbing in a fast-moving river of bumping shoulders, dirty looks and bad karma. A black midget stands on the corner by the bodega, smoking. “Fuck you lookin’ at?”


At 18th Street, a small crowd gathers on the far side of the intersection around a mound covered with a white sheet—fresh road kill—and I wonder if he’s Hispanic, imagining the funeral dirge. Ave Maria, mi amigo. As a former speechwriter for the U.S. Department of Transportation, I can tell you the annual pedestrian death rate here remains unparalleled in the nation at 62 per 1,000 residents, according to 2006 data. Most of those killed are Hispanic. Is this racism? I don’t speculate.

Independent traffic safety engineers, however, call the problem “multi-factorial,” citing a litany of problems including poor lighting, outdated infrastructure, speeding and, notably, racist drivers. Yet, a full 84 percent of pedestrian deaths in the District may be attributed to one simple causal factor, the failure to utilize a safety device standardized on the automobile in the mid-1960s—the turn signal.

Worsening the problem, the government advises visiting motorists to refrain from using their turn signals so as not to confuse locals, prompting the inevitable question, “But what if there’s a cop there?”

Answer: Especially, if there’s a cop there—because you don’t want the cop to think you’re a dork.

Click to enlarge: D.C. Pedestrian Algorithm exemplifies the most common interactions on the city's sidewalks.

Yet, however brutal the manifestation of our territoriality on the road, the sidewalks and pathways of our city prove that much more personal, filled with angry Homo sapiens dismounted temporarily from their vehicles. As I trot through Georgetown along the rain-slicked path by the Potomac River last Thursday, inane thoughts bubble randomly to the surface of my mind, evincing within me a deep hunger for embedded wireless connectivity, always.

I wonder how tall Muhammad Ali is?

My feet pound the ground.

I guess I could just ask someone.

My feet pound the ground.

It probably doesn’t matter though.

My pace quickens as Peter Gabriel fades into T-pain and I swing around the corner onto Arlington Memorial Bridge, careful not to slip on the pavement, heading back to Virginia. A throng of runners approach me in the dark night, some two dozen members of a running club, lights affixed to their baseball caps—looking like coal miners fleeing a ceiling collapse. As I move to the far right, four run abreast and I stare into the face of the man running toward me, who looks askance, pretending he doesn’t see me.

T-pain, give me strength.

Lowering my left shoulder, I brace for the impact, him for the worse but me spinning around as I lose my iPod, another runner flashing me an accusatory look, branding me the transgressor, the interloper on their bridge.

What the fuck?

As I continue along the bridge, a young woman, too, comes straight at me and I think of Ralph Ellison and his Invisible Man and wonder why they cannot see my white skin gleaming under the towering lights. She comes straight at me in a game of chicken I cannot now lose, bad karma emanating from my left shoulder throughout my body and into my mind. Stopping short, I catch her in my arms, her body glancing off my chest and spinning around, seeing me now, shock and bewilderment coloring her face.

And she’s just my type: thin, pretty, white with brown hair. A feeling arises in me hitherto fore unknown. I want to rape her.

In my animal mind, I force her against the railing and push into her, afterward tossing her over the side, burying her in the cold and the wet and the deep—satiating, for now, my love for the city, my hatred.

Click to enlarge: This diagram makes abundantly clear what happened on Arlington Memorial Bridge at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Meet Melpomene, the muse of tragedy

Hi there. You may remember me from my brilliant and incisive comments on this blog under the clever and obscure pseudonym “anonymous.” But you may not remember me, so I thought it would be proper to introduce myself and tell you why I hate D.C.

Unlike other metropoli in our fine country, many of which were highly populated by Native Americans before the white man arrived to seriously fuck their shit up, D.C. isn’t a natural city. It’s a contrivance -- a faux city built on a random swamp so the tenuous compromises between the northern and southern states could persist in the early days of our country’s infancy. So, D.C.’s main problem, the fact that it is fucking soulless, kind of makes sense. When our Founding Fathers decided to fix the seat of government up in here, it wasn’t exactly the best way to plant community roots. I think D.C. was probably the Columbia, Md., of the late 1700s, but with fewer crappily constructed townhouses. (I mean, let’s face it, a lot of the older townhouses we’ve got are at least pleasing to the eye.)

But obviously, the city happened, right? And here we are on the east coast in what’s supposedly a large cosmopolitan city, and shit is set up so you might reasonably expect it to be a cool town, like there’s museums and restaurants and universities and major media outlets and a subway and everything, but yet, something is missing. And I don’t think it’s just the lack of thousands of years of history that’s preventing me from enjoying this place. We all know what the main problem is, haters. Modern-day D.C.’s issues stem from one central and inescapable tragedy: the majority of people in or near the city limits at any given time are a bunch of self-important, self-entitled, douchetastic assholes.

We have stupid tourists who visit here, stupid tourists who live here, a bunch of fucking wonks who don’t live here but do work and get wasted here, and enough air-headed rich sorority girls that we’re getting our own terrible reality show about their ridiculous lives. Every time I leave my apartment (which, at this point, I do as little as possible), I have some bullshit encounter with an idiot and/or asshole. It’s usually small things, like passive-aggressive tourists harassing me because I politely ask them to stand to the right on the escalator when I’m running late, or some clipboard-laden teenager screaming “BUT WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?! DO YOU HATE TREES??” at me as I politely decline to chat with him on my goddamn precious free time, or some drunk asshole throwing the remains of his beverage at me from his car while I’m innocently walking home on a Saturday night (?!). But, you know, over time, repeated exposure to minor incidents of assholitry take a toll and turn a girl into a bitter, crochety, hostile old lady.

So, that’s me. And that’s my take on why D.C. is tragic. I’m on my seventh year of living in this crapfest of a city, so I do speak from experience (unlike my predecessor Liz, I suspect). Of course, the soullessness and the assholes aren’t the only problems we have around here -- you know, like, for example, pretty much everything from Metro to jury duty to taxis to social issues is dysfunctional in the extreme -- but the soullessness and the assholes are the ones that make me lose my will to live (or at least my will to live here). All the eye-pleasing architecture and quality building materials in the world can’t make up for the douchebaggery living in those Georgetown and Dupont Circle townhouses. My tragic encounters with those and other jackoffs are what I plan to describe to you in my contributions to this blog, although I hope I never have any material again, but alas, I doubt I’ll be that lucky.


New Monkeys!

I'm getting lonely blogging about DC all by myself. I think its high time we add some contributors who can help rejuvenate the hate. Plus I'm sick of reading my posts as much as you.

Starting this week, please welcome:

  • Dave, who has far, far more cred than I when it comes to covering DC politics,
  • Just a Small Town Girl, she's a girl from a small town which means she's probably really mini,
  • And Melpomene, a lovely woman who sparked my fancy in last month's essay contest.

Hate away, guys. And remember: Washington, DC is the most fucked up, neurotic, and poorly managed urban jungle in the history of mankind. This won't be hard.


What Do Blood, And Gore, And Eleanore Holmes Norton Have In Common?

As much as it sucks living in DC, I thank God each and every day that I don’t live in Maryland. I’m especially grateful that I’m not a garbage man in Montgomery County:

"A sanitation worker was crushed Wednesday morning by the municipal truck on which he worked, according to the Montgomery County Police Department. The incident occurred about 8:30 a.m. and involved an unidentified Hispanic man caught in the recycling truck compactor that was operating in the Aspen Hill area, police said."

And if that weren’t enough, the Washington Post revealed today that Maryland residents have a tendency to go around stabbing people:

"Fla. Man Fatally Stabbed On Trip to Deliver a Boat
After picking up a boat in ironically named Welcome, Md., on Wednesday night, [Shelton Stephens] pulled his truck into the parking lot of a Hooters in Waldorf and went inside. Stephens, 52, sat down near a Waldorf man named Joseph J. Plass. It is not clear what, if anything, the two men said to each other. What is clear, police said, is that after they left about 7:30 p.m., Plass, 57, pulled a knife and stabbed Stephens in the upper body."

The article continues…

"On Tuesday, police found the body of 28-year-old Daniel Cordova, who was naked and had been fatally stabbed, behind a Waldorf home improvement store."

Man, first in Home Depot and now Hooters?? Attention men (and maybe some of you lesbians), don't go anywhere north of Silver Spring.

Meanwhile back in DC, imaginary Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton did a premature victory dance in front of the Senate Dirksen Building yesterday.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, emboldened by the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, predicts Congress will approve by next year long-sought D.C. voting rights legislation. "The election has made it all but inevitable," Mrs. Norton said Thursday.

Aww, Pinocchio thinks he’s going to become a real boy.