Friday, March 28, 2008

Welcome to the 'Hood, Best Buy

And then there were four...
Best Buy opened in DCUSA yesterday, joining Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Marshalls in our NW DC behemoth.
With the opening came Mayor Fenty and Councilmember Graham - both dropping a few bucks to get things started.
DC Wire humorously recaps the mayor's attempts to go digital with a new camera. Hopefully his new camera will capture more than some of our local crime cameras.
And for our area's weekly ad click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Butts on Poles: A Rant

Please, my fellow commuters, get your butts and backs off my pole.

I'm aware that the folks at WMATA have been playing with the configurations of our metro cars for years now, but no matter what they do the problem of butts on my pole will not go away.

Let me explain... there are poles on the metro. They are there for standing commuters to hold while the train is in motion. When everyone just places a hand on the pole, up to five or six people can easily crowd one pole, and not have to reach up for the high bar (thus exposing the whole train to their pit stank).

BUT - DC commuters are leaners. And this leaning on the poles has two results:

1. Butt contamination, and
2. The pole ceases to serve anyone but the leaner. The pole-contaminating leaner.

This problem is especially prevalent on the car configuration on the Green Line. The wall poll that curves below the map deceives people. Sure, the low part IS good for leaning, but get your junk off that high part! These cars have no other center polls (HUGE mistake WMATA, almost as bad as your butt leaning pads config.), and the high part of the poll is a necessity for the shorties. I'm not even a shorty, but it's not like they don't have rights! And it's not like ANYONE should hold the high bar after a long day at work. ALAS! Your 10 minutes of leaning, fellow commuter, is RUINING my night! GET OFF MY POLE.

And with that, I have photos - one of a pole-o-phile, and another of a pole in its natural form. Enjoy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Other People's Photos

The Columbia Heights Flickr group has a great selection of local photography, naturally. While neither Spud Lite nor myself have any pics in its pool yet, be sure to check it out.

Columbia Heights, DC - View this group's most interesting photos on Flickriver

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Adventures Beyond The Heights: H Street NE

ArtBart and I have nearly died four times while driving across the city to Rock and Roll Hotel. She went the wrong way on a one-way... The picture is from moments after the incident.

The show is now sold out and a local band, Pash, is awesome but about to wrap.

ArtBart says, 'That is so mean cause it is totally not true.' But really, the girl went the wrong way down a one-way.

At least we don't have to find a taxi home. I'll give her that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Update on Retail Openings

I was reading the Columbia Heights News forums this afternoon and came across some opening dates for DC USA, Kenyon Square, and Park Square retail:

March 20 - Marshalls
Will its shoe collection and prices rival DSW? I hope so.

March 20 or 21 - D'vines
One of my favorite stops in Adams Morgan and thrilled they are coming to the neighborhood.

March 27 - Best Buy

March 27, at the latest - Julia's Empanadas
Its website lists the Columbia Heights location hours as 10 am - 8 pm, but hopefully they will stay open later.

While heading to work this morning, I saw that progress is being made on the Potbelly's at the Highland Park metro entrance. Does anyone have news on opening dates for this and the other food venues and restaurants there? Is it still June?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Wildlife of Columbia Heights, part 1

The squirrels are back!

Surprise! Bed Bath & Beyond Opens

Bed Bath & Beyond opened in DCUSA today with little fanfare and no real announcement.

I noticed the shelves filling up but was clueless that the opening was coming so soon after Target.

According to ArtBart, the best bargain shopper I know, the new store has a health and beauty section like the Chinatown location. ArtBart says that BB&B usually has better prices than the competition, so that section is certainly worth a look.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Drunk and Disorderly on Irving

As I exited the Metro just before 9PM I ran right into an arrest, complete with horses.

An attractive young man passing by asked if maybe the fellow in cuffs was caught feeding the animals, but since the creatures were contained butt-out in their trailer, I didn't think so.

I spoke with one of the police officers who had been transporting the horses. He said they came across the now-arrested man on their way out of the neighborhood for the night. No hard criminal here, he was just drunk and belligerent.

The officer also told me, "We try to keep the neighborhood safe."

Yes, they do, not always successfully - but they were certainly present and in control this time. And hey - they brought the horses!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Review of Radiance

When I first moved to Columbia Heights, I itemized everything I could get within a 1 to 2 minute walk of my place...

Coffee, shipping, tutoring, insurance, money and now... botox?

Radiance Medispa on 14th offers just that, along with a plethora of other services. I'm not really a spa type, and I'm certainly not a botox type, but maybe once or twice a year I indulge. The other day my indulgence was a massage.

The place was incredibly clean, friendly and I immediately felt comfortable. My masseur was very professional and I suppose very good. I say suppose because I thought I was going in for the "Swedish" massage, but it seems my masseur thought it was "deep tissue." Deep tissue kind of hurts, but Swedish - not so much. Either way, I imagine it was a good service, despite the soreness that came with it.

What isn't so great about Radiance is the price list. I paid $90 for an hour long massage. That's not cheap, and if you shop around DC you can certainly find cheaper ($40 facials at the Aveda institute!). But - they do have daily specials and every Friday botox is $100 off! I can't tell how much botox costs to begin with, it just says "$13 per unit," but I guess that's like getting about 8 units free? What's a botox unit?

What I can't figure out about Radiance is who they think their customer is in CH. Those places can't depend on people like me visiting once or twice a year, they need regular customers. Columbia Heights doesn't seem like a place with a lot of rich old people (aka weekly spa customers), and they don't do the smaller services that might get more traffic (mani/pedi).

But good luck to them. Maybe I'll be back next year.

Online: Radiance Medispas

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Taxi Zones Live for 7 More Weeks

From today's WaPo, but I read it first on DCist, natch:

The District's taxi switch from zones to meters will now start on May 1.
The new deadline, replacing the April 6 starting date, came about after [D.C. Superior Court] Judge Henry F. Greene ruled that the D.C. government had published different timetables for public comment on the final regulations for the new meter system. A city official blamed it on a typographical error.
Over the years, the talk about cabs switching to meters has been as numerous as the Real World:DC rumors. There are many arguments as to what is the best option for the city and its taxi drivers, but as someone who lives and works in DC I prefer the proposed metered system.

The WaPo (again, I know, and this will be one of the few times I say something nice about the paper, so savor it) has a great interactive map that allows you to estimate fares comparing the zoned- and metered-systems. For example, going to Capitol Hill from my office is $1 cheaper if charged by zone. But to catch a ride to Columbia Heights from anywhere south of U Street on a Saturday, it will only cost $4.50 under the new meters, compared to $8.80 it costs me every weekend.

It'll be neat to add the taxi zones under my growing list of "I remember when ..." DC potpourri, such as:
  • I remember when DC USA was just a giant hole in the ground.
  • I remember when The Spot was on F Street instead of condos and the Cowgirl Creamery.
  • I remember when there was a movie theater at Connecticut and R streets.

Marshalls! Best Buy! Oh My!

Soon, very soon, that $600 TV and those 75% off shoes will be available in our very own beloved Columbia Heights.

As of this morning, the CH metro station is saturated with signage promoting the opening of the next big things at DC USA.

You can expect Marshalls to open at 8AM on March 20. And Best Buy is set for March 27 at 6PM. Both are opening on Thursdays, just in time for some Spring weekend shopping.

So, Bed Bath and Beyond? Where are ya?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What Just Happened at 14th and Irving?

Either a PETA protester thought that Metrobus was made of fur, or the police were just cleaning blood off the street.

By the time I walked by the bus had been unloaded, but there was still a confused looking crowd meandering about. It's unclear what happened - only a couple of officers and no medical personnel were on the scene. Hopefully my PETA theory isn't too far off?

UPDATE: I just spoke with the friendly neighborhood bike cop (who knew we had a friendly neighborhood bike cop?!) and he said there haven't been any incidents that he knows of. A broken down bus and a busted ketchup bottle? Maybe. (PS - Friendly neighborhood bike cop was also young and good looking, thought the ladies may want to know.)

Coffee in Columbia Heights

For most city residents, having a local coffee joint is a must. There are those who are Starbucks loyalists no matter how much the chain raises its prices, and there are those who will only drink cup of free trade coffee at an independent shop. As retail in Columbia Heights continues to expand, so do your choices for a cup of joe. Check out the map below for where to get your caffeine fix when taking 10 minutes to make coffee at home just won't do.

View Larger Map

Wonderland Trivia: One Spitzer Joke Too Many

I can't tell you who won Wonderland trivia, but I can tell you about eight new Spitzer jokes.

Winning team name: Oy Vey, This Is Bad For The Jews.

Winning team? Maybe this video will help (but it probably doesn't).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Councilman Jim Graham - NoVa Hater?

Could it be that our city councilmember feels the same way we do about the suburban black hole that is Northern Virginia?
In an email to the Columbia Heights listserv on the topic of the new Target, fearless leader Jim Graham said:
What we believed has proven true, there is a great pent up interest in shopping in DC rather than having to go outside our boundaries. And that is good news for local prosperity!
Good news for local prosperity, sure... but bad news for the big box abyss just across the Potomac! RIP NoVa.

What to do? Trivia Night v. Manhattan Mondays

It's Monday in Columbia Heights. It's probably also Monday in the rest of Washington, but those folks don't have to deal with my Columbia Heights Exclusive Monday Dilemma...

Trivia Night at the Wonderland? Or Manhattan Mondays at the Red Derby?

On the one hand: Organized fun and happy hour, but a slight risk that someone from NoVa might be there.

On the other hand: Better drinks, video projections, and a no-NoVa guarantee.
Columbia Heights Exclusive Monday Night Dilemma will be decided as all such dilemmas are decided: a mass email.

The Morning Commute

And it's Monday...

Home Sweet Home

Sunday, March 9, 2008

PSA 302 Citizen Survey Form

Liveblogging as we fill out our police citizen survey form...

ArtBart 6:49PM: There's three emails I look forward to every morning on my bus ride... 1. New York Times headlines, 2. Washington Post headlines, and 3. 3D Substation listserv.

Spud Lite 6:50PM: So what's the first question?

ArtBart 6:50PM: "Residency: Own, Rent, Visitor." Why would a visitor get this survey about living in this neighborhood?

Spud Lite 6:51PM: So what's the second question?

ArtBart 6:51PM: You know what would be really fun? To fill this out as though you were William Jordan.

Spud Lite 6:51PM: Maybe we should do that.

ArtBart 6:51PM: But I actually care that the MPD wants my opinion.

Spud Lite 6:52PM: Whatever.

ArtBart 6:52PM: "How are we doing? Check the box that best describes how you feel about the MPD and the job we are doing: Excellent, good, fair, poor, don't know." I have to put fair.

Spud Lite 6:53PM: Dude, people got mugged in the metro station during rush hour and you want to put fair?

ArtBart 6:53PM: It's not their fault.

Spud Lite 6:53PM: But who's fault is it? Nobody should be getting mugged like that.

ArtBart 6:53PM: It's the hoodlums fault. It's just bored kids. "What would you like to see the police department concentrate on in your area? Check all that apply - burglaries, auto thefts, traffic violations, thefts from autos, vandalism, loitering, loud parties, drugs."

Spud Lite 6:55PM: Put loud parties.

ArtBart 6:55PM: I'm answering this truthfully! So loud parties is out, drugs are out.

Spud Lite 6:55PM: You like drugs?

ArtBart 6:55PM: The drug war does not work. I don't care about a little crack. Loitering could be connected to truancy... I'm putting down community policing and telling them I miss the cop on the Segway.

Spud Lite 6:56PM: Yeah, I like Segway cops better than horse cops.

ArtBart 6:57PM: "How often do you walk, run or bike in your neighborhood?" Do you think they mean physical activity, or just like - walking around. I'll say frequently for daytime, and infrequently for after 12AM because really, we only walk home from the Wonderland that late about twice a week.

Spud Lite 6:58PM: What would William Jordan do?

ArtBart 6:58PM: "Personal involvement: Check all that you would do... report suspicious activity, report crime, assist as a witness, assist a person in need of help, testify against a criminal, not get involved."

Spud Lite 6:59PM: Why didn't you circle "testify against a criminal."

ArtBart 7:00PM: I would do that, but what if it doesn't go trial? I would do that before I would assist as a witness.

Spud Lite 7:00PM: Aren't they the same thing?

ArtBart 7:00PM: No, you can assist as a witness and it wouldn't go to trial. Assist as a witness could also be that someone you knew went on trial for a drug charge and you're going to act as a character witness. I'll circle all of them except "not get involved."

Spud Lite 7:01PM: What's next? What would William Jordan do?

ArtBart 7:02PM: "Circle the word that represents your level of concern for the following questions." I'm not concerned that my car will get stolen... now watch, my car just got stolen. Oh! Awesome! "How would you like to see us better serve you in your neighborhood? Cruiser patrol, foot patrol, bicylce patrol, acceptable as is." I'm going to do foot patrol, police need to get out of the cars.

Spud Lite 7:03PM: Put down that I want William Jordan on a Segway patrol.

ArtBart 7:04PM: "What is your perception regarding the importance of the following existing services?" I fully believe in the power of after school programs.

Spud Lite 7:04PM: Did you do D.A.R.E.?

ArtBart 7:05PM: No, we only had MADD, or SADD... one time my friends played corpses in this role play and they had to lay in body bags in 80 degree heat so fake helicopters could rescue them.

Spud Lite 7:05PM: No D.A.R.E.? That explains why you said you like crack.

ArtBart 7:06PM: Traffic enforcement can be good... Since I know how much you like your D.A.R.E. t-shirt, I'll put that as very important. "Have you had contact with a MPD officer within the last year?"

Spud Lite 7:07PM: Remember that time we came home drunk and saw a guy getting beat up in the alley and I called the cops?

ArtBart 7:08PM: But we didn't actually talk to the police. "Additional comments and suggestions that you feel will improve the effort of the MPD in serving you and your community."

Spud Lite 7:08PM: What would William Jordan do?


So there was this article in the New York Times yesterday about a bunch of bloggers living in a house in Washington, DC. If the New York Times style section said it was cool, we figured we'd better get to blogging...

But wait, all of DC is already living together and blogging. Does this mean the New York Times failed to identify a fresh and upcoming trend? Of course not! The New York Times is always right! Blogging is cool! So we are blogging!

And why are we blogging? Because we sit around over beers with our friends discussing and analyzing our lives as young people living in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC. We figured we may as well write that shit down and see if Google Ads can help us make a buck off it. That's The Heights Life. Welcome.