Monday, September 07, 2009

Sayonara Silver Spring

Well folks, I'm closing up shop here. I'm moving away to Japan for a year. No, not to teach; done that already. This go-around I'll be learning the language full time.

I'll miss the District, with its wobbly Metro system, its bike-car tension, and its 99% population of DC-haters. I never hated DC, though I never loved it as a place to live.

I'll miss Silver Spring, too. I don't know how you can hate Silver Spring, although many turn their noses up at it. It's got tons of downtown stuff to do, great bus & Metro access, the AFI, the Quarry House, the Piratz Bar... about the only thing it's missing is a good sushi restaurant. But it's not yuppie-central, either. 10 years ago you would have smelled urine on the sidewalks. Do the Springhaters want to get back to that? Silver Spring still has a lot of community, life, and spirit; sorry if you have to walk up & down Georgia a bit to find it.

I'll miss this blog, too. After I got hit by a car and got laid up for a while, my friends all said, "Why aren't you blogging?" Well, what was I going to blog about? How the pillows aren't propping my leg up properly that day? (I'm walking now, but I'm far from all better.) I enjoyed writing here and on my coblogger's blog Hatandcoat, but it's time to shutter this one up for a while. I'll be back in a year or so, so until then...

...follow my new blog!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I just saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch, performed live at the Warehouse on 7th Street NW. It's only showing for a couple more nights, so see it while you can.

I'm not going to write a review of it; that's someone else's job tonight. In general, though, it was a lot better than I had thought it was going to be. I knew nothing of the story, I only knew that some people compared it to Rocky Horror. What an inapt comparison. Might as well say anything with gender issues, glam sensibilities, and rocking songs is like Rocky Horror.

The beauty of the show is in the breakdown. Hedwig floundering and at a loss. That's when real feeling comes out.

Anyway, I'm off to study how bodies break down polysaccharides.

(Oh, and did you know I'm going to Japan?)

Friday, May 29, 2009

As Long As We're Being Honest...

As Long As We're Being Honest...
My coblogger has erupted back onto the blogging scene, pulling me out of nonblogging slumber, with an insightful examination of drivers' annoyance toward bikers.

Good. Because I'll tell you, when I'm on my bike, following the laws on the road, I hope I annoy as many drivers as possible.

Part of it is retaliation. When a convertible speeds dangerously close past me, just to stop at the red light, I truly hope the sight of me slowly biking my way past him to the light gets his blood pressure skyrocketing. When a bus driver plays leapfrog with me, swerving around on my left just to stop short in front of me at a stop, I hope she gets angry with me when I get in front of her in the middle of the right lane (as I have the right to do if necessary to my safety).

(I don't go out of my way to be a d**k to drivers. I don't want them to get so mad as to try and kill me. Just following the laws is enough to peeve them, but I do try and get out of the way of madmen.)

Part of it is awareness. If drivers are annoyed at me on my bike now, there's the chance that they'll be more aware of bikers in the future. They might not like it, but too bad. As Hatandcoat pointed out, the law says we share the road. And if that means that cars have to go 15 mph in a 35 mph zone, good. I'm glad to slow the a-holes down.

Drivers' first reaction to me might be annoyance across the board, but, even though I relish their annoyance, I hope my sensible biking scores some points for me and fellow bikers. I'm with drivers on the scofflaw-biker disdain. When a biker zips past me through a red light, I think, "What are you doing?" I hope that drivers see me on the road, get annoyed, but then realize that I'm just trying to follow the rules.

Also, Hatandcoat, you really shouldn't be driving in the city. Don't you know DC is driver-unfriendly? Of course, I'm not opposed to you driving when you're taking me home at midnight in a torrential downpour. But when it doesn't benefit ME, please refrain from getting behind the wheel. Your blood pressure will thank me.

There's, like, no shame in the occasional repost?

I know Aak will at least appreciate the shirt in this clip (note, Mos Def hosts the show, hahaha...

Gf sent me this clip because I love the scene in Family Guy so much (I couldn't find the embed code):

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have a confession to make, though it will make an enemy of my co-blogger: I hate sharing the road with bikers.

I see why I must share the road with them. I see that it is the law. I agree with it. I plan on buying a bike and making it my transportation. I'm on board in principle.

But say I'm traveling uphill behind a biker on a narrow road:

1) Oh my GOD, I don't have the patience for it. Every human alive hates being stuck behind old people - probably other old people too. Same deal here, though I know people who will tell me in this situation that I need to learn patience and respect. Whatever, my blood pressure sky rockets when I have to go 15 mph in a 35 zone, and that's not going to change.

2) I feel like I'm on the brink of vehicular manslaughter if I turn 1 degree to the side. I want this man in his spandex beside me to live a full, long life, but if I hit a pothole then nick his back tire it's over. The situation puts me on edge and I find myself getting mad at the biker. I talk myself down but I can't help it. When I do finally pass him I gun the engine because I don't know how much time I'll have.

Then, when I'm at the light and I see a him creeping up in my rear view mirror, the whole time I'm thinking "go, go, go!!! Don't let him catch up!" Then if there's a little bit of stop and go for a while, then it's: "he's in my blind spot, oh wait, no he isn't - oh wait, he - oh, he's next to me, oh, blind spot...DAMN BIKERS!!!"

I'm sorry, Aak, if this post offends you. But, hey, if you can't speak from your heart in your own blog where can you? ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We're Going Streaking!

I was walking to the Rosslyn Metro station the other day. It was raining. I was on the phone, so my vision was pointed slightly downward (it prob. would've been anyway), and I didn't see the woman fall on the ground in front of me. I almost tripped over her at the corner of Wilson and Lynn.

"Are you okay? Would you like some help?" I said.

"NO!" She snapped.

Then the same response to the nearby building security guard and I thought, ok maybe she's embarrassed or self reliant. I leave her alone and go to cross Wilson.

I look back about halfway and look that she has started crossing Lynn and fell again about halfway through. She looked frustrated and upset, and I figured maybe it had to do with her ankle length dress tripping her. She got up, walked to the curb, dropped her umbrella and started taking off her shirt.

She struggled with it for second, got it off, then undid her bra. Then the skirt. Then the underwear. She left her stuff all in a pile and started across the street waving angrily. When she got to the island in the middle of Wilson she grabbed a low hanging tree branch and threw the flowers.

I would say that over 100 people saw her do all this because when she disappeared around the corner from my view, she ran toward the metro stop.

Weird experience.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Crazy Idea?

A Crazy Idea?
Riding this morning, I remembered that recently DC was soliciting suggestions as to what to do with their stimulus money. (I can't find the link right now, and I''m not sure they're still taking.) Of course I wrote in saying we should have more bike lanes and expanded mass transit. Now I'm thinking that the two could be even more related than anybody's tried to make them.

Why not build an elevated bike trail on top of the above-ground Metro lines?

I'm mainly thinking of the Red Line from Silver Spring to Union Station here. It's a section of town that is far from the Crescent Trail and that could use some more healthy people going through it. Yes, there are a few bike lanes woven through the grid around there, but bike lanes are unsafe compared to dedicated bike trails, even elevated ones.

Here's how it works, how it would be safe, and how it makes money: make the bike trail above the Red Line only accessible at Metro stations. Charge a high one-time fee for each bike that people want to use on it (and this will tie into DC's push for bicycle registration) OR supply rental bikes at major hubs. Also charge a flat $0.50 fee every time a cyclist enters the Red Trail. This charge would necessitate having a Smartrip that was also registered.

The charges should not ever be increased, because there'd be very little cost to maintain what will essentially be a cover for the train. The excessive registration would be to help Metro get over the fact that people could theoretically stay on the Red Trail all day, with access to the rail possible (though unlikely, due to the elevation and the side-railing that Metro would put up).

I understand it might be difficult to construct, and I would never want Metro to go through with it if it would shut down the Red Line to do it. But how cool would a Red Trail be?

(I don't know about the name, though. Sounds a little... Cold-War-ish?)

On the Trails: Custis, Crescent, Georgetown Branch

On the Trails
Today I woke up in Falls Church. Don't ask me how I got there (although under duress I might let slip it had something to do with Go).

I decided to bike back to Silver Spring, so I went the most even-sloped way I know: Custis Trail to Capital Crescent Trail to Georgetown Branch Trail. I predicted it would take me over two hours, but it actually took just under 2.

It's really just so nice to take trails the whole way. No traffic. No death hills. Green and blooming stuff around you.

Actually, there was a fair amount of bike traffic on the Custis and the Crescent. None on the Georgetown Branch. Why is that? Is it because it's unpaved and people don't want to get their road bikes all bent? Maybe.

On my ride I noticed that the torn-up part of the Crescent had been fixed. You know, the part on the hill, just south of the park where you cross into Montgomery County? The one that had a gravel side-path for three years or so while we waited for somebody to finish it? Well, it took over three years, but it's done. Now that's efficiency.

I enjoyed my ride so much, I had a crazy idea...

Sakana: A Good Alternative to Sushi Taro?

Sakana: A Good Alternative to Sushi Taro?
Since Sushi Taro did not open in time for my birthday, we went instead to Sakana.

Sakana is best with the Japanese food other than sushi, but their sushi is still decent.

Their appetizers are what really get me. I like the spinach dish at any time of year, but I like their tofu dish in the summer. I've also had their nabeyaki udon (noodles in a clear broth with seafood etc) and it's really nice on cold days.

Today we had sushi, and it seemed better than normal today. The spicy tuna was better than usual. The yellowtail with scallions roll was subpar somehow, like there wasn't enough fish or flavor, or both. The green caterpillar roll was overpriced for what you got; a $10.95 roll is supposed to be a huge maki, but instead they just loaded a regular-sized roll with too much avocado. The unagi was great, though, and the nigiri tuna and salmon were good for the price.

I really like Sakana's take on tempura sushi: rectangular-pressed blocks with crunch on top and in the middle. We had both the veggie tempura roll and the sakana sushi tempura roll (which I think was shrimp). Really good texture, no oiliness, and just enough shrimp to the rice to make it feel worth it.

It's too bad about Sakana's service. Although today there was a dude with a teapot and water pitcher going around, on other days (when it's just the middle-aged woman) our drinks haven't usually stayed full. Also, better order everything you want right away. It'll take a while for your (sushi) order to come, but once it does, the waitstaff doesn't look out for a second round of orders.

So, while Sushi Taro's rebuilding, I suggest Sakana for a cheapish alternative where you can also partake in other Japanese items. This is only if you're committed to dining in Dupont Circle, though; there are better places, but they're more expensive.

(By all means, don't go to Uni for sushi! It's just down the road on P Street, but it's terrible!)