The boot doesn’t work

The ridiculous practice of “booting” cars with too many tickets has to stop. Either tow them or let them be. Today is street cleaning day on the main parking side of our block of Harvard. That means that there is no parking at all from 7am to 630pm. This is because Harvard is a pretty busy commuting cut-through, and it’s really helpful to have two lanes. But there aren’t two lanes today, because someone decided to boot a van on the open side of the street. I truly don’t understand the logic behind this. You are now making traffic worse. Other times people get courtesy tows, an absurd waste of time and money, but we can’t tow the van to the impound lot? I’ve said before that booting is an explicit admission that parking restrictions in DC are purely for the city’s financial gain, not an attempt to keep traffic flowing. This is absolutely infuriating. And, to make matters worse, another car, as I walked by this morning, had decided that if the van was parked there, it must be okay. And the really funny thing is that this car is likely to get towed. Ahh, DC. How I love you.

What is going on with public transportation in this city?

What in the world is wrong with the buses these days? Are people afraid of the Metro after the crash? It’s been one awful commute after another for the last week and a half. This morning, two buses passed without picking up passengers. The one we finally got on didn’t pick anyone up until U Street, passing crowded stop after crowded stop. And on the way home, I don’t even know what happened. I Street was a parking lot, so the bus actually turned right on 15th instead of 16th. I saw this, started walking, and actually beat the bus to 16th and L. It turned left on K, right on 16th, and I was at 16th and L when it arrived, and while I walk briskly, I never ran. It looked like something was blocking traffic on 17th – I imagine I could figure out what with a little Googling, but it’s not that important to me. On most weeks, I would just give up and work from home all week. But I actually have to be in the office at least tomorrow, and probably Wednesday, as well. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

The Mayor’s Conservation Corps and the DDOE are very responsive

Below is a copy of the email I sent to the Mayor’s Conservation Corps. You may have seen their flyers – they put them up on railings and doorknobs on our street today.

While I applaud the mayor and the DDOE for their efforts towards conservation and a more sustainable city, littering our streets with paper advertisements hardly seems like the way to start. I live on the 1400 block of Harvard St NW, and I just picked up two of your flyers off the sidewalk during a three block walk. Perhaps your first project could be to collect and recycle all of the trash you left on our streets.

If you have suggestions for projects or questions about the program, they’d like you to email them at or call 202-535-2325. And, before I could even finish this post, I received a reply from DDOE.

Good evening. Thanks for your note. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. We will make certain the responsible youth go back to that area tomorrow and clean-up door hangers from the street. My apologies for the inconvenience. Should the problem not be resolved or if you have any questions, please contact me at [Phone number removed]. Thank you. Melissa McKnight Program Director, Mayor’s Conservation Corps DC Department of the Environment

Who says city bureaucracy doesn’t work? My faith in government temporarily restored, I urge everyone to think about projects that could help the city. You can look at the Green DC Agenda website for more information.

A former coworker

Quite some time ago, in trying to explain why I complain so much, I paraphrased a quote from a former coworker into this comma-laden mess.

A friend at work a few years ago, defending me to someone else, said that, while I complain a lot, it isn’t quite complaining. It’s really just making conversation.

I lost touch with her not long after we stopped working together. Last I saw her was a chance encounter at CVS in Arlington before I moved into DC. I got an email today from a former coworker of ours telling me that she died a few weeks ago from a brain tumor. I’m not sure exactly how old she was, but it wasn’t more than mid-thirties. We weren’t close at work, but friendly. I have her phone number stored in my cell phone, although I don’t think I ever called her. And I maybe had a bit of a crush on her for a while. It’s strange – I probably never would have seen her again anyway, save another chance meeting. So I won’t miss her, exactly, but I think I will miss knowing that there was that chance.

Now I can die happy

Originally uploaded by thetejon

The concert was, and I don’t hesitate to use this word, amazing. The openers, Street Sweeper Social Club, featuring Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, were cool. They put on a good show. If I still ever listened to music, I would think about buying their new album next week. We did not stay for Jane’s Addiction, so I can’t say anything about them. When we arrived, having bought presale tickets through, we found that not only were we not on the grass, but we were actually on the floor, right in front of the stage. Now, my friend and I are not really the type (Or the age, I guess) to crowd up front, but I could have held a conversation with Trent at a more or less normal volume from the distance we were away. Not with the crowd there, sure, but that’s an idea of the how close we were. By the way, note to other bands – this is how to treat your fans. Presale tickets just required that you sign up at the website. When we arrived, there was a longish line to get in, and a short line to get presale tickets at will-call. I handed them my id, they gave me my tickets. They had my name printed on them. We went straight over to the presale entrance line, where they checked id again. So we couldn’t possibly have scalped them, even if we had wanted to, and we barely had to stand in line. Plus we got awesome seats. Do you notice how this makes you money, makes your fans happy, and works perfectly with or without the horrors of music piracy? And then Nine Inch Nails came on. This is a text I sent the wife:

This is [expletive deleted] awesome. I’m getting goosebumps every time they start a new song

They played a great variety of stuff. They played the song from The Crow soundtrack, which was surprising. They played “Gave Up”, one of my favorite not-as-well-known songs off 1992’s Broken. They closed with “Head Like A Hole” and encored with “Hurt”, much to the delight of the crowd. For most of the concert, I was just standing there, thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here listening to Nine Inch Nails live”. I’m looking forward to telling the kid someday how I left her with the wife to go see them. “Dad, you’re old”, she’ll probably say. But that’s okay.

Nine Inch Nails Setlist Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD, NIN|JA 2009

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Our first sale, sort of

Our honeymoon registry website recorded its first transaction today for a person we don’t know. The registry for our first customers has done well, but we know them. Well, I don’t, but the other guy who built most of the website knows them. Today was the first time someone we don’t know had something purchased from their registry. For the record, it was $100 towards “A visit to Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple, located on a hill overlooking the city”. Chiang Mai, for those that don’t know (I had to Google it) is a city in northern Thailand. It’s pretty exciting. The website we built because it seemed like a cool idea is actually getting some use. Not a lot, yet, but some. So, remember, if you need a free custom honeymoon registry, you know where to go.

The new buses suck

You’ve probably seen the fancy new buses the city is using for some of the cooler routes – the new S9 express bus on 16th Street, for example. I was all excited to ride one. They look fancy and clean and new and quiet. I got my chance today. The regular S2 was a new bus this morning, so I gleefully hopped on. Wow, do the new buses suck. Not only is it clear that the person who designed the bus has never ridden a bus before, but I’m pretty sure they actually defy various laws of physics. I don’t think these buses are very different in length, width, or height from the older buses, but they’ve somehow managed to drastically reduce the amount of usable space. Both styles of bus are basically rectangular prisms – volume equals length times width times height. So if the length, width, and height are approximately the same, the volume is approximately the same. I’m not sure where the volume went on the new buses. Perhaps they’ve somehow raised it up – there seems to be enough head room for an entire basketball team, but they better be built like Kevin Garnett, not Lebron. And don’t get me started on the painted yellow floor by the back door. It actually tells you not to stand on it. Are they insane? I mean, sure, it would be nice if no one stood there – most bus crowding problems are due to inconsiderate and clueless people who stand by the door and block everyone else from moving to the back of the bus. But who is going to obey the painted floor? The bus driver will yell at you if you leave that much space open during crowded commuting time. The other people on the bus will yell at you because they’re packed in like sardines while you leave that space open. You do have to leave some space, though, because the idiotic back doors open in. I’m going to go email WMATA right now and complain. I suggest you do the same.

What a kick in the teeth

Just as he pronounced himself, “ready to pitch in the majors again”, the Braves released Tom Glavine. Now, I understand that this is their right, and the guy is 43 years old. But he won 20 games for the Braves five times. For the vast majority of baseball fans today, it doesn’t get much more “Braves” than Tom Glavine. I don’t know if there was a good reason for doing it this way – waiting until he worked his way back into shape doing rehab in the minors – but it sure comes across to the fans as a terrible way to treat a guy who has been really important to your franchise since 1987, save the few years he spent as a Met. I’d love to see him come to Baltimore. Or Washington – I’d definitely find a babysitter for an evening if I could go see Glavine pitch. As an aside, some awesomeness from the article:

Glavine described himself as “very surprised” in a text message to The Associated Press.

The idea of a 43 year old man texting the AP is almost surreal. I hope he used an emoticon or two.

Thanks, Trent

I think I posted a while back that I’m going to see Nine Inch Nails next week. I’ve been a fan ever since I saw the video for Head Like a Hole on MTV a million years ago, but I’ve never been to a show. This is their last tour “for a while”, which maybe means forever, so I just bought tickets. I just found out today that Jane’s Addiction, the worst band in the history of the Universe, is actually going on after Nine Inch Nails. This is the best news ever. Now, I don’t know if there are Jane’s Addiction songs that don’t suck – the only ones I know are the few that got on the radio back when I was actually listening to the radio. But the ones I know are truly and amazingly awful. Sorry if you’re a fan, but that just means you have bad taste in music. It’s really your fault. In any event, I’m pretty excited.