My first 10K

International Race to Stop the Silence

I’m really getting into this running thing, apparently. Three weeks from today, I’m going to do my first 10K race. I’ve never actually run that far, so this should be interesting. And the race fights child sexual abuse. I’m opposed to child sexual abuse. I imagine most people are.

My wife is actually not looking at me like I’m insane as I do this, so that’s a good sign. I mean, 10K is not all that far. 6.2 miles. I ran 4.1 today. I can do 6.2. I don’t think I’m going to finish at the top of my age group, but I don’t think I’m going to embarrass myself.

Anyway, it should be fun. And I’ll even have a few hours afterwards before flag football.

So you need a home security system

Yesterday, we had Vector Security install a system in our condo. We’re on the first floor, so a few of our windows are pretty exposed, and we figured it would be a bit of peace of mind.

So far, I’m very impressed with Vector. We talked to ADT and ASC, and weren’t impressed with either. ADT was okay, but I don’t feel like they were being completely straight with us. ASC postponed the first appointment by calling 45 minutes before they were supposed to arrive, and then forgot to show up for the second appointment. When I called at 4:30, half an hour after the guy was supposed to show, their answering machine told me to call back during business hours, 8-5. So we didn’t expect much from Vector, who actually sent us junk mail that turned out to be good for both us and them.

I wasn’t there for the installation. My wife took care of it, which she’s done a lot of lately, and for which I’m very grateful. She said the install guy was exceptionally polite. He waited to be invited in to enter the house, he swept up the dust from drilling in the closet when he was finished, and just did about everything you’d want from someone coming to your home to do some work. Vector has also been responsive and very pleasant on the phone, and I love their web interface to the alarm. If I forget to turn the alarm on when I leave for work, I can go online and turn it on from there, or see the status, and all kinds of information about the alarm. It’s pretty cool.

Anyway, it’s too early to give a full evaluation of Vector, but so far I’d highly recommend them to anyone looking into a security system.

Pizza and basketball

Tell me if this sounds like a nice Thursday evening.

It’s about 72 degrees out, sunny, pleasant breeze. At about 5:30, I walk to 16th St to catch the S2 bus down to K St and walk over to meet my wife and some coworkers at Bottom Line. A former coworker and good friend who moved to Philly was in town, and another former coworker and good friend who just switched jobs was there, too. We hung out until about 8 and then caught the 42 bus back (Never mind running diagonally across the intersection of 17th and I, that never happened). Around about Dupont Circle, we realized we had no food at the house. No problem, send a text to Google and get the phone number for Radius Pizza, which we’ve been told is some of the best in DC. Forty-five minutes later (A little slow, but tolerable), they arrive with a giant pizza. Wow, was it good. Expensive ($23 for a large), but a huge pizza, and one of the best I’ve had. Then we fell asleep watching the NCAA tournament.

And now it’s my last day at my job. I’m staying with the same company, but moving to a new project. I start the new on Monday (Unfortunately I can’t take some time off in between), and it’s on Metro, which is really cool. I’ve only had one commute in my life that didn’t involve driving, and that was just a winter break job one year in college. So I’m excited.

So, I’m in a pretty good mood. And rambling. You can tell I’m in a good mood when I start rambling about not much in particular.

Sorry folks, streets closed

Wirefly National Marathon

I just realized that my street is closed from 8:25AM to 12:05PM on Saturday as the marathon goes past. That should be interesting. Our flag football game is at noon, I think, so we’ll have to make sure we can get the car out. I don’t suppose parking around here is going to be easy at that point. Maybe we’ll have to take the bus or something.

Why Al Gore wont be President

There have been many who hope to see Al Gore run for President in 2008.  His recent push to clean up the environment has energized a lot of people.  And it’s nice to see people excited about cleaning up the environment.  Whether or not you believe Gore’s claims about global warming, you have to believe that we are doing things that hurt our planet, and that we should do something about it.

In any event, the real reason that Gore won’t, and shouldn’t, be President is that he is much more valuable to the country and to the Democratic party as a lightning rod.  Recently I’ve heard more conservative venom directed at Gore than at Hillary Clinton.  And when you can make the National Review start seeing Hillary as the moderate candidate, you are doing a great service to the Democratic party.  If you help make Hillary President, you may be doing a disservice to the country, but that’s a question for a different post.

Web 2.0 for running

A little while back my sister told me about Map My Run. It’s a site integrated with Google Maps that lets you plot out your running route, and share routers with others. It’s really cool in that you can add point by point to your route, so you can show how you turned left at that intersection and doubled back at the next one and all that. It also tells you how far you went, and lets you share a list of your public runs. This is mine, so far. I did the “Up 29th in Woodley Park” run today. 29th is pretty rough.

So far there aren’t a lot of runs mapped out in Columbia Heights and the surrounding area, but I’m going to do my part to change that. And now that I’ve told all of you, I’ll be embarrassed if I don’t.

Inform, offer incentives, walk away

Energy Roundup – : Look for the Carbon Label

The label will show how many grams of carbon dioxide were emitted in the process of making the product and delivering it to store shelves. Companies joining the scheme will vow to cut that footprint in two years or risk getting booted from the project

Hopefully this idea will cross the pond soon.  I really like the idea.  Inform consumers about the real environmental cost of what they’re consuming, and let them make their own decisions.  Don’t force people to change, but give them an explicit picture and let them choose for themselves.

Contrary to the hysterical first comment (And I mean “hysterical” both in the “I thought it was really funny” and the “the person who wrote it needs to relax” kind of ways), this is a very Republican/conservative/non-hippie way of trying to bring about change.  Instead of adding regulations and forcing people to cut down on carbon emissions, they’re informing people of the facts, giving some incentive to change, and then walking away.  The commenter obviously has a knee-jerk reaction to anything related to global warming and the environment and would rather spew a canned response than actually think about what’s really going on.

On a related note, a friend mentioned the Wall Street Journal blogs to me last week, and I just started reading them.  I like them so far, and it’s nice to see the WSJ offering more free online content.

The zoo is all uphill

Ever gone in the back entrance of the zoo? The one off Adams Mill and Harvard, not Connecticut. If you haven’t, you probably have no idea that every single path in the zoo going from east to west is uphill. Every one.

I found that out the hard way, it turns out. Went out for a run, decided to go through the zoo and see if I liked that route.

I don’t.

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. It was about a 45 minute round-trip from Columbia Heights through Mount Pleasant through the zoo, past Woodley Park Metro, back through Adam’s Morgan, and home.

Now it’s starting to rain, and of course I have to move my car. It’s a few blocks away, furthest away I’ve had to park since we moved here.

I’ll wait until 6:30 when both sides of the street are open for parking. Meanwhile, I’m going to get out a pen and paper and try and figure out how I managed to run for 40 minutes, return to my original destination, and never go downhill. By my calculations, I should be about thirty feet above the roof of the house.

Full weekend

This was the first weekend where I really feel like I took advantage of living in the city. Friday night, we went to Georgetown to see Hexagon. Saturday, we went to Luna Grill in Dupont Circle for lunch, back to Georgetown, then to Woodley Park. We ended up at The Raven in Mount Pleasant, which many consider to be the best dive bar in DC. I’m not inclined to argue. Sunday, we took my brother-in-law and his girlfriend on a monument tour, which gives me an excuse to be a bit of a tourist.

Hexagon was pretty interesting. I didn’t know what to expect. The brother-in-law had said that he was going with some friends, and we should get tickets. Except then they didn’t get tickets. So the wife and I went alone. It was a great opportunity to learn a bit about the buses. We found that the 42 bus takes us right down to Dupont Circle, which is convenient. It was very cold waiting for the bus to Georgetown, and the sleet in our faces didn’t really help matters. But at least we were inside during all of the snow.

So, we got to the school where they were performing. We walked in, and it took me a minute to find someone less than twice as old as me in the crowd waiting to take their seats. There were young people, but I imagine the bulk of the crowd was 50+. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just that I felt very young, and under dressed. So, the show started. They dance and sing songs about politics. Some of it was pretty funny. One of the funniest things for me, that probably doesn’t amuse anyone else, was that the woman they had playing Nancy Pelosi a few times could have been Laura Bush’s sister. Or maybe it was actually Laura Bush. Apparently some politicians have had cameos on stage with Hexagon, including Janet Reno. I wonder if her appearance was as funny as her SNL skit. Did you see the one where Will Ferrell was doing “Janet Reno’s Basement Dance Party” or something like that, and she smashed through the “brick” wall wearing the same outfit? I almost wet myself.

Anyway, Hexagon was good. Some of their stuff missed. They did a little Borat skit that I think most of the audience didn’t get. But they did a song called “Turning the Elephant Pink” about how the entire Republican party is closeted gays. A little juvenile, perhaps, but the dancing pink elephants and the guys dressed like the Village People were pretty funny. All in all, I’d say go see it, but don’t cancel cooler plans to do it.

I had been to Luna before, so it wasn’t terribly exciting, but the food was good, as usual.

We wandered around Georgetown, then met a friend of the brother-in-law, then went to Dean and Delucca for coffee. I wasn’t impressed. The BIL got bad service, and my coffee was mediocre. But the company was good, so I can’t complain.

That evening, we went to the Afghan Grill for dinner. Service was a little slow, and they were out of coffee, but the food was great, and they brought us free dessert to make up for the coffee.

The Raven is exactly what a neighborhood bar should be. It’s smallish, but it never got too crowded, even though it was St. Patrick’s Day. I guess everyone nearby was down the street in Adam’s Morgan getting belligerent and puking in alleys. We overheard one of the bartenders mention that she didn’t know anyone in the bar, implying that she usually does. The wife and I will definitely go back. If you’re going to go, remember that they don’t do tabs, and it’s cash only. They have Magic Hat #9 and PBR in bottles, so there’s not really anything else you need. It’s cheap, too.

Sunday morning, we went to the Mall. I had actually never taken a photo of the White House, which seems kind of strange. It’s nice to have people visiting from out of town because then I don’t feel so bad about taking pictures of the Washington Monument and stuff like that. We saw the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool, the Korean War memorial, WW2, Vietnam, and most of the stuff in between. The Vietnam Memorial is funny – it’s much more solemn than the WW2 Memorial, even though a lot fewer people died. I think because it’s so personal – you can actually read the names of real people who died. It’s pretty powerful. People are even quieter there than a lot of other places.

We closed out the weekend with lunch at Potbelly, which was delicious, as expected.

So, it was a full weekend. Got to see a lot of the city, and learned a few helpful bus routes. And now I’m back at work.

California – A presidential candidates bad analogy

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that people are complaining that California is just a big ATM for presidential candidates.  They come in, they have a few fundraisers, they take a bunch of money, but by the time California’s primaries roll around, the candidate is already chosen.  The Californians are feeling a bit impotent, it seems.

It makes a good sound bite, I suppose.  But it’s a terrible analogy.  A better one would be paying the homeless guy to wash your windshield with a dirty rag.  You give him money, he’s theoretically doing something to help you out, but what he’s really doing is smearing the dirt around and pocketing your cash.

More importantly, it totally misses the point.  First, does it really matter if the actual vote you cast is of vital importance if your candidate wins?  I mean, let’s say Bob and Joe are fighting for the Democratic nomination.  Californian’s LOVE Bob because he’s a wind-kissing hippie, while Joe is a moderate ex-military pro-lifer.  Bob and Joe come to California, where Bob raises $30 million and Joe gets $5 million.  Bob uses that money, along with a bunch from the Sierra Club and PETA, to run a brilliant ad campaign in Iowa and a couple of other key states.  Joe blows his cash on flying from state to state, trying to get his message out there.

By the time the California primary happens, Bob has already sealed up the nomination.  Oh, no!  Californians’ votes don’t matter!  But their candidate won.  So what’s the problem?

The problem is that the Governator’s TV time has been reduced.  This seems like a big ploy for attention more than a real desire for change.  California plays a huge role in driving policy, especially about the environment.  Californians have a loud voice in politics.  They just don’t get to use it much during the presidential primaries.