Friday, March 28, 2008

On the Bus - Live Blog

I'm on my way to NYC for a rugby tournament, its been a pretty good
ride so far we've killed a 15- pack of Red Bull (beer, not the energy
drink) and most of a bottle of Jim Beam. There is about an hour left
until we hit the City, that's when the real party starts.

I'll be updating on twitter.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Circus - After Action Report

I probably hadn't been to the circus in at least 25 years but I just got back from the Verizon Center (FWIW that still sounds weird to me) with BabyRat (BR) and her daycare class and it was outrageously fun! 
The show was titled "Bellobration" and revolves around the antics of Bello the clown who, seemingly can do anything and everything, plays off the Ringmaster as his straight man.  There are a few set pieces where Bello develops a crush on one of the acrobats and goes through a series of gaffs and missteps to win her affection; the highlight was the "sway pole" act that takes place about 90 feet in the air.
Before we could even get to our seats I had to get BR the popcorn I had promised her when we first started talking about the circus a few weeks ago and then after we went to the bathroom I was bamboozeld into buying a $20 light up sword that I'm sure will delight WifeRat.  During the first acrobat routine BR also informed me that, "The acrobats have to be careful!" 
All the kids in her class had a great time, but a couple of them Molly and Cindy (not their real names) got bored right before the end of the show and broke out ten minutes early.  They missed the Human Cannonball routine that closed the show.
My only beef was with the shorts, or really lack thereof, that the women acrobats were wearing.  They weren't thongs or anything, but ass cheeks were clearly hanging out and it just struck me as kind of gratuitous.  It's a 10:30am show for crissakes and it's not like the circus is where dudes go to get titillated anyway, would it be too much to ask that they use an extra $.10 worth of material and cover the women's entire ass? 


Live from the Circus

Second act just started, I don't know who's having more fun me or the
little one. More later.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

jimmy valentine's lonely lonely lonely hearts club


this Friday, 3/29, DJ Strange w/ DJ Medusa, doin the math

and this Saturday, 3/30, it's the Angry Peruvian DJ Collective: EZ Gruuv,
Rob Raver, Charles Martin, Jarret Parker, Chris Han,
Cultcha, and possibly Jonny5 (none of whom are Peruvian or angry) spinning
Jungle, D&B, Breaks, & Hardcore (none of which is
Peruvian or angry). you do the math

that's all folks!



Ulah Bistro

A close friend of HillRat, a guy nicknamed SOS, helped open Ulah Bistro. Things are still in a state of flux at Ulah with an obligatory chef walk out two weeks after the restaurant opened. The recommendation I got from SOS's lady friend was to stick with the pizzas and burgers, but she heard the tuna tartar was good.

I was happy because I hadn't had tartar of any type in a while and it had caught my eye when I looked over the menu. My only minor complaint would be that the salad served on top was a little overdressed, still is was tasty and complimented the tuna nicely. The wasabi cream painted on the plate wasn't just there for decoration, it had a healthy kick and added zing to whatever you dragged through it.

Early looks seem to be pretty neutral so far.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Political Talk

All this talk about Obama's minister is starting to get on my damn nerves.  So his preacher was talking some crazy shit, so what?  You've probably noticed that both Hillary Clinton and McCain are keeping their mouths shut about this issue.  I wonder why?  Is it because they both have plenty of religious skeletons in their closets?  No one's hands are clean on this issue.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Few Quick Thoughts - Mostly Whining

1. The camera in the iPhone is laughably bad - No zoom, no lighting adjustment, and no ability to capture movies. The two year old phone that my iPhone replaced had all of that. Jobs, WTF?

2. Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton has really fallen off - My folks like to go there for brunch, what can I say? It wasn't that it was bad today, it was OK; but it wasn't the transcendent experience that an $80/person brunch is supposed to be. For $80 you should be able to get Eggs Benedict.

3. Children are animals - We had the first of three birthday parties for BabyRat on Saturday. Our condo went from crispy fresh to post-apocalyptic in less than an hour; half-eaten mini burgers everywhere, Exxon Valdez sized water & juice spills, and ear splitting noise, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. BabyRat and her friends had a blast and so did I!!


Friday, March 21, 2008

R.I.P. Murky

Damn, I can't believe it!  Murky Coffee's Capitol Hill location is kaput.  Bandwidth mooching bloggers, financial blogs, foodie blogs, and of course yours truly are all talking about the closure.
The official word came down in the form of Washington Post article today that added a few details about the specific payments missed and the personal toll that this financial crisis is taking on Nick Cho, who owns another Murky Coffee outlet in Arlington.
As a long time patron I'm sad to see Nick and his excellent coffee leave the Hill, but I'm more concerned about the hard-working baristas that suddenly found themselves out of a job.  WifeRat and I had our own personal nicknames for many of the long time employees: Liz Lemon, Barista Supreme, Barista that Bugs, The Unseen Cavalier, and, I'm Back Guy.  A lot of folks complained about the size and noise of Murky and it was definitely a little on the small side, but the super awesome staff always made up for any shortcomings in the physical accomodations and the coffee was sublime.
Liz Lemon: Dora the Explorer and Father of the Year miss you!  If you get a job at SOVA we promise to come in to see you.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Community Meeting at Ludlow-Taylor (continued)

What Happened

I’m freaked out, I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of a large-scale meeting or conversation that so accurately reflected our current national debate on race, class, education, and gentrification. All the usual suspects were there: well meaning White liberals who “just want to help”, outraged parents of current students (current stats show that NO children classified as “White” attend LT, take that for what it’s worth), and teachers & administrators caught between the two groups.

After Chancellor Rhee yielded the floor things heated up. A group called ‘Friends of Ludlow-Taylor’ (FoLT) seemed to be getting ready to start leading the meeting but they were interrupted by a parent of a currently enrolled student. He didn’t introduce himself to the crowd, but related an anecdote about getting the run around when he tried to find out more information about FoLT. The Gentleman went on at length, talking about his family’s fifty year roots in the neighborhood, gave a few thoughts on the meaning of gentrification, and finished up by saying, “They’re runnin’ game.”

People then moved into small (8-10 person) facilitated groups. I missed the initial setup while talking to someone, so I didn’t hear the instructions, but I ended up with an agenda and a page with the questions the facilitator was asking on it. The questions weren’t exactly meaningless boilerplate, but they didn’t seem to be much more than a jumping off point for how the people in attendance were going to remake the curriculum and programs of LT. At this point I kind of started wandering around a bit.

I moved over to another table to see how things were going there, the second facilitator seemed to have a slightly better grip on her group. At this second table I got a chance to speak with Dr. Pressler, the current principal of LT. Dr. Pressler struck me as a dedicated and committed educator, he explained to me that some sort of grant proposal had been submitted for him to sign off on that detailed an out of control school. Naturally no principal worth anything would allow themselves to be denigrated like that, so he refused to cooperate.

Judging from what I saw on the posters around the neighborhood, it looks like FoLT expected a new principal to be named at last night’s meeting, but that didn’t appear to be the case. However, WifeRat was still there when Chancellor Rhee was speaking about Dr. Pressler and came away with a different impression.


It looks like a group of well intentioned parents got together outside of the regular channels of the school system to discuss how they could improve LT. It also appears that in their enthusiasm to try and raise the level of achievement at LT, these same parents neglected to include the current administration and parents in their plans. Understandably, the parents of the kids that already go to school there are a little pissed about a cabal of people coming in and attempting what could easily be interpreted as a coup.

Another thing that came out while I was talking to various people at last night’s community meeting was the fact that apparently Chancellor Rhee had met with FoLT and cancelled a meeting with the LT PTA. In her defense, Chancellor Rhee promised to correct that oversight (or diss, depends on who you ask) in the immediate future, but it’s a little strange that the Chancellor of DCPS would meet with a group of people whose children don’t attend a DCPS.

The one teacher I spoke to said that she and a couple of other teachers had been denied admittance to FoLT. I don’t know if it was an oversight or an intentional slight, but it strikes me as kind of strange that a group trying to help a school wouldn’t want input from the teachers at the school.

Now I'm finally ready to mention the big ol' elephant in the room: race. Let's be serious shall we? It's obvious that the members of FoLT are working off the standard model of participation (The Peace Corps, Teach for America, VISTA, etc.) for White people who "want to make a difference". Swoop in with the ink just barely dry on their diplomas, do some stuff that doesn't affect the structural/institutional forces that created the conditions they're trying to correct, and then leave feeling good about themselves. All the while completely ignoring the input and experiences of the people they're allegedly there to "help". I'll stop now because I'm enjoying this a little too much.

Don't think I'm going to let Black people off the hook, I'm not. When I asked if PTA meetings were usually this well attended (see the previous post) one of the parents I met during the table discussions clued me in to the fact that PTA meetings usually had less than five attendees. But the very idea that some White people were "trying to take over the school" had the parents of LT's current students crawling over each other to get to this meeting.


I'm not sure what the hell is going on at Ludlow-Taylor, it seems like everyone is mad at everyone who's not in their little clique. The one thing I saw that made me hopeful was that there were a lot of different people representing disparate interests and rather than folks just pitching a fit and storming out or throwing up their hands in frustration that their carefully laid plans had gone astray, people stayed and talked to one and other. Really, that was about all I could have hoped for out of that meeting.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Community Meeting at Ludlow-Taylor

Whoa! I don't quite know where to begin.

About a week ago I was walking home from the park with BabyRat and saw a sign on a light post about this meeting at Ludlow-Taylor tonight. I was interested and excited because my last foray into finding a school for BabyRat didn't go so well.

All three of us (me, wife, and baby) went to the meeting and before we entered the school I noticed the sign outside said "PTA Meeting 5-8". When we got inside (a few minutes late) we were surprised to see DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee speaking before a crowd of 100-150 people. We arrived shortly before the question and answer period started, the floor was opened up, and the fireworks started.

Being a relatively new dad, I hadn't been to a DCPS Community meeting before but somehow I wasn't surprised that the quickly established theme of the meeting was gentrification and its discontents. Rhee did a good job of keeping things under wraps while she was answering questions and not getting too far off track, but after she left things took a turn for the worse.

I'm a little shot out after that meeting, I'll post a more thorough report later.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Apparently People Are Reading This Blog

So after a few pops with the boys down at Hamilton's after practice I stopped into Jimmy Valentine's on the way home. OK, so I had to drive past my crib to get there, but it wasn't like I drove all the way across town or something.

Anyway, after the greetings and whatnot Mark asks if I'm the person who has been posting some of their e-mails. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I had no idea that anyone was actually reading this blog. I'm mostly doing it for my own amusement while I try to "find my voice" as a writer and seeing if I can build an audience and some buzz.

Can I get some love or at least a few comments?




Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Frozen Tropics: Interested in Ludlow-Taylor?

In keeping with my promise to try and keep folks up to date on the goings on surrounding getting BabyRat into some sort of DCPS 3 year-old program, here's a link to Frozen Tropics that has info about some sort of meeting. I actually saw a sign posted about this on my way home from the park today and plan to attend, but if anyone is actually reading this and looking for info I thought this might be helpful. Frozen Tropics: Interested in Ludlow-Taylor?


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

With Apologies to DCist - Pope Benedict XVI to Bring Seven Extra Sins to D.C.

Aye Carumba!  I'm not a religious guy, I tried it but it just didn't stick.  After I tried to bargain for help when I was fucking up in school is about when I realized how much I didn't feel God's love or anything like it when I went to church or read the Bible.  My folks are religious and it seems to make them very happy, PoppaRat used to *love* that Promise Keeper shit and even tried to get me to go a few times.  I decided to finally just be straight up with my Dad and I told him all that "sexual purity" stuff wasn't really going to fit in with my lifestyle.  Interestingly, he said that no one really expects the young guys to really abide by that all that closely.  Whatever man.
Anyway, DCist posted about the Pope coming to DC and not surprisingly the comments got a little hectic in no time whatsoever.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Fight Club

So after hearing about the Skate Parties from Dr. Mayhem for the last couple of years and always being thwarted in my attempts to attend, I finally made it on Saturday night.  Aside from the fact that there were Bad Brains t-shirts and the ubiquitous 3 stars/2 bars logo everywhere, it would have been really easy to forget you were in DC.  The place was amazing for its distinct lack of attitude and poseurs, two things that are usually in great abundance in DC. 


Friday, March 07, 2008

jimmy valentine's lonely hearts club of fools

From: Mark Thorp

Date: Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 10:43 PM
Subject: jimmy valentine's lonely hearts club of fools

situations & circumstances:

this Friday, March 7th, DJ D Thrett w/ DJ LS
this Saturday, March 8th, DJ Sharkey w/ DJ K

that is all, carry on


ps. problems have solutions


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dumb Ruggers

Check out this video on YouTube:

Sent from my iPhone


Book Discussion

I work in a gov't building as a contractor and one of the events they had here for Black History Month was a round table discussion of Carter G. Woodson's The Mis-Education of the Negro.  I don't know that I had ever seen any kind of widely publicized event in the workplace (gov't or otherwise) that centered around the reading of a book, it was actually kind of weird.  I mean seriously, when was the last time that you weren't in school or taking some sort of training class and someone offered you a book to read and opportunity to discuss it?
When I got the e-mail back at the beginning of February, I responded to the point of contact and was instructed to come down and get a copy of the book.  Thinking that I had three weeks to read the book, I promptly stuck it in a drawer in my desk and forgot about it until I saw a broadcast e-mail to the entire building reminding everyone about this event.  Fortunately the book is relatively short so I was able to just read it in the couple of days leading up to the discussion.
Anyway, last Thursday was the day of the originally scheduled discussion and, because everyone felt like so much was left unsaid and unexamined, we got together today again for a follow up session.  It has been pretty interesting (and cool) to see two dozen people sitting around a table sharing thoughts outside of an academic setting a couple of weeks in a row.  It seems like I see a lot of complaining about how dumb everyone is getting or how little people read or whatever, but the enthusiasm in the room both weeks made me think that people are hungry for this kind of interaction but we simply don't have any kind of framework to support it.  I dunno, maybe that's why Bible study is so popular among the church going types.
The discussion itself was nothing spectacular, but it was definitely earnest.  Of course you had to have one person who totally got off topic and wanted to ramble on about segregation and whatever, whatever; but thankfully the woman leading the session was a very able facilitator/moderator (F/M) and was able to wrestle control back pretty quickly before the rambler caught a verbal beatdown.  The discussion was good in large part because the F/M was very adept at asking questions about specific aspects of the book, stepping back and allowing people to answer and participate, but then stepping back in before people started getting too far away from the book. 
Both times after the sessions broke up, the other young guys and I found ourselves having a sidebar.  I took the time to get everyone's information and sent out an e-mail to everyone urging us to get together again without quite so many people, we'll see how it goes.  It's always kind of weird trying to start a new friendship; for me, it's like getting your mack on.  You don't want to come on too strong, but you still have to show that you're interested.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Hate My Job

There I said it.  The only thing this job has going for it (other than the fact that it's super-easy and allows me to endlessly comment on DCist and other blogs) is that it's walking distance from my home.  When I listen to people's horror stories about their commutes I nod in sympathy, thinking back to the many years that I commuted to places like Reston, Quantico, and Rockville and all the time I wasted in the car.  It also makes me realize how good I have it with this walking to work thing and how someone would have to offer me a lot of money to get me commuting again.