The Capital Crescent Trail & Jeff on Jeopardy

A few months ago, I walked the Capital Crescent trail. One of my coworkers, Ginger, expressed interest in walking it with me, but despite our attempts to find a workable date, we stalemated for months: hot weather, expected thunderstorms, and sudden, unexpected work projects or girlfriend issues or last minute happy hours thwarted all plans.

Until this week, when we decided to give Wednesday a try, and the weather more than cooperated, it was damn near almost spring like.

Our plan was to leave work at 3:00 and catch either the RideOn 47 or the WMATA J3 to Bethesda. As fate would have it, we wound up on the J3. Which is not at all a bad route or anything, it’s just that it takes a longer time to get to Bethesda as it stops past Medical Center first. Honestly, we should’ve just waited for the 47. We bailed on the bus long before the Metro station as construction of some sort at Wisconsin and Old Georgetown was really snarling traffic.

The Capital Crescent trails runs from Silver Spring to Georgetown. Total length is marked at 11 or so miles, although the last half miles is under the Whitehurst Freeway. The Bethesda starting point is roughly 3.5 miles into the route. Ginger is a good six inches taller than me, and it’s not at all unfair to say his legs go all the way up to his ass. Seriously, he’s got long legs. I, on the other hand, have short stumpy legs. Fair to say I was a tad worried about the pace he was going to set, and he set what for me would be considered aggressive (and I’m sure for him it was “ambling”).

We averaged about an 18 minute mile. Mile markers seemed to speed past us. We took no breaks, and arrived in Georgetown a few minutes before six. Two miles from the end, the blister I’d acquired on Saturday decided to burst, causing my right foot to alternate between “OH MY GOD MY FOOT IS ON FIRE” to “Okay, this is bearable” to “OH MY GOD I STEPPED ON A LEGO BRICK WITH MY BARE FOOT” and back again. I kept pace with Ginger right until we reached Jack’s Boathouse, at which point I throttled back and he was suddenly like twenty feet ahead of me. Thing is: if not for the blister? I totally could have – and would have – kept going. Georgetown is only a couple of miles from my apartment. Mostly, though, I’m kind of sad that this blister pretty much means I’m going to have to scrap my Long Walk on Saturday. Boo.

We waited under the Whitehurst for about thirty minutes, and then Ginger’s girlfriend, who works up McArthur, arrived in her nice air-conditioned SUV and gave us a ride to my nice frigid apartment. We went up to the roof of my building to enjoy the view and our brews — Abita Purple Haze, if you’re curious — and met a new neighbor of mine, which there’s really not much to say except she’s cute, and enjoys lounging on the roof reading books, which is totally awesome.

By a little after 7:30 I was back in my apartment, soaking my foot in Epsom salt infused water watching Jeopardy. A guy I used to work with at my current day job — Ginger probably started just a week or two after he left — (who also happens to be named Jeff) was on the show last night. He was doing very poorly at the outset, but then came back strong and won the game with his answer: USS Constitution “Old Ironsides.” (I think I’d been checking my email and actually missed what the final question was). He was the only contestant to get the answer right, and he won the game.

FUCKING AWESOME DAY.

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

I’ll admit it: when Carson left The Tonight Show, I sided with Leno. I was in high school. I think I was. I’m cribbing this from memory, so I want to say this happened back in 1993. It could just be that I thought Leno was funnier than Letterman, or that since most of the network TV I liked was on NBC I was happy to like whoever they were implying I should like. I do have the firm memory of thinking that I should videotape some of Leno’s monologues since that, clearly, was the highlight of the program.

Flash forward a few years, and I would watch Conan O’Brien. I don’t always remember what I was doing up so late, or why I would regularly be watching this show. I can only think that I was primarily focused on other things – surfing the web, drinking, whatever – and O’Brien was on in the background just to have someone on in the background. I’m not sure. I remember when he first began doing his show, Letterman critiqued him after appearing as a guest. Letterman said something like, “Well, he missed some easy marks, but he’ll grow into it.” Yada-hoodle. Whatever.

I was delivering pizzas back in 2004. I was at someone’s house – I can even picture the house – and they were off trying to find their money, and the TV was on and a newscaster was talking about how O’Brien would take over The Tonight Show in a few years. Flash forward those few years, and I still don’t understand why people aren’t prepared with the money when their ordered out food arrives. But, whatever.

So Conan O’Brien took over The Tonight Show and a few months later, NBC said “Never mind”, gave him a ton of cash, and put Leno back. By this time, it had been years since I’d seen an episode of The Tonight Show. I was working 7-3 five days a week, and a part-time job at The Bookstore several nights as well. By 11 my body was in full “Hey, let’s go to bed!” mode, and even on weekend mornings my internal alarm was screaming “AWAKE! AWAKE!” by six.

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is a ninety-minute documentary focusing on the man (the myth, the legend!) after The Tonight Show has been taken away from, when he and his creative crew decide to do a live tour across the United States (the “Legally Prohibited From Appearing on Television” tour), following through the development of the act, and the tour itself.

While I can’t say I’m a Coco-head, I can say that my post-high school/college self is totally Conan > Jay. Sorry, Jay.

I saw the film at the Cinecave in the afternoon, before working my evening shift there. There were maybe about six other people in the audience, and I have to think it’s one of those shows you want to see with a full house. Like, Snakes on a Plane in an empty theater? God awful movie. Snakes on a Plane in a full theater? It’s kind of amazing it hasn’t caught on as a midnight-movie somewhere (hint, hint guys). I will state that the opening animated sequence on the movie is awful: the one where they briefly recap the Conan/Jay kerfluffle? The movie itself …

Conan is a very gracious guy. This comes across in the movie. When he’s with his fans he’s nothing but smiles and kind words and a willingness to sign anything and a usual willingness to pose for photos. In his trailer, van, home, whatever, he’s not a grinning ear-to-ear fellow: he’s vocally angry about the demands on his time and upset that the people filling his schedule seemingly have no time for him – at Bonnaroo, he’s informed he’ll be introducing all of the acts that day when he thought he’d only be doing one. And yet, Conan O’Brien just can’t stop. On a day off, he performs at the Talent Act for his 25th College Reunion (he went to Harvard). Dismal about having to participate in pre-show party meet and greets, he invites a bunch of NBC actors – including Ron Swanson’s mustache! – into his suite, and later signs posters for fans, all while weighing a basic dichotomy: he enjoys touring, and the reactions, but knows the time away from his family is far, far too much.

If you’re a Conan fan, it’s worth seeing with a crowd. Heck, if you’re not a Conan fan, it’s still probably worth seeing with a crowd.

Long Walk – Saturday, June 25th 2011

My long walks usually follow the same formula: my apartment, Adams Morgan, downtown, Georgetown, home. I wanted to change it up a bit, so Saturday morning I ventured down to Rock Creek Park and followed the trail to Georgetown. I only came across one homeless guy living under a bridge, and walked part of the Georgetown canals. I truly do believe Georgetown is one of the most beautiful places in the city, but only early in the morning when most of the crowds who will eventually flock there are still sleeping off the previous night’s excesses.

In any case, my walk left me with a fairly large blister on my right foot so I ended my walk at the grocery store and caught the bus home. I walked ten miles and worked up quite a nice sweat.

My Pocket Sun

When I started working at the Cinecave, I bought two things I realized I would need. The first was a watch, because working in a theater that’s two or three stories underground and has lots of cement overhead because it used to be a parking garage tends to drain a cell phone’s battery really damn quickly. Not to mention it’s just easier to look at my wrist then to fumble my phone out of my pocket every time I need to check the time to see if Auditorium 4 is about to get out or not.

The second thing I bought is what my coworkers refer to as my pocket sun. It’s been missing for a week.

I found my pocket sun the other night. The last time I remembered seeing it was while I was cleaning my closet. My closet is huge – it’s like sixty-four square feet. It’s a storage room, a dressing room, a hobby studio, and a clothes hanger all wrapped into one. My cats will also commandeer it for their own purposes if I’m not careful enough to keep the door closed.

Turns out, I’d left the pocket sun on a bookshelf. And then for some reason, I’d put a stack of books in front of it. Whoops.

Point of fact: I do not, in fact, carry a star in my pocket. It’s actually a compact LED flashlight. And it’s super bright. I can be standing at one end of the auditorium hall at the Cinecave and illuminate the far wall of the hall. That’s literally a city block. With a flashlight that’s about as long as my thumb.

It’s awesome. It’s also really bright.

A couple of weeks ago I was down on U Street for a happy hour at Tabaq Bistro. I met a whole lot of Twitterers and bloggers, including A Single Girl, Cupcakes & Shoes, and Sassy Marmalade, and it was a really fun time. Buuut I’d just worked the previous night at the Cinecave which, when you factor in the early hour I arise for my day job, basically meant I was running on about four and a half or five hours of sleep and was pretty tired. So I went, had a couple of beers, made my excuses, and caught the bus home.

Before I caught the bus, though, I wanted to relieve my bladder. So I ventured down to the basement, which was the only place where I could find a restroom (maybe I’m blind?). I entered the men’s room and was greeted by absolute pitch darkness. Like, seriously, even with the door open I could barely make out a sink and a urinal. I groped along the wall for a light switch and found nothing, which completely confused me. Where was the light switch? Maybe it was on the outside wall? I looked, and no light switch.

I pulled out the pocket sun and flashed it about almost blinding myself with the reflection of the light off the mirror. The restroom was small. There was a urinal and a sink, and then a stall to my left. I decided that, screw it, I’d just keep the pocket sun on and hold it on while I did my business. Here’s the problem: among the pocket sun’s flaws, and it has them, perhaps the biggest flaw is that the switch must be depressed for the light to work. Release it, and the light turns off. (The other flaw is that it’s far too easy to activate one of the light’s features like, say, strobe, and far too difficult to figure out how to turn said features off.)

I decided to try this delicate maneuver in the stall, where at least I wouldn’t blind some other patron trying to relieve his bladder. Opening the door of the stall I saw the light switch.

On the wall. Of the stall. Access blocked by the stall door.

Are you kidding me?

Who the fuck puts a light switch on the other side of the stall door?

Whoever wired Tabaq Bistro, apparently.

“That’s right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I’m gonna read it to you.”

I don’t remember how old I was when The Princess Bride came to theaters, but thanks to Wikipedia, I can figure it out: I was nine, and about six weeks into my tenth year. I remember being in the gym at the Catholic school I attended, at a fair, I think. Every year they’d have a fund raising carnival there: bobbing for apples is the only feature I actually remember, and obviously, you’re not going to fit a Ferris wheel into a 2nd story gym with a height restriction.

So my Dad, carrying my little sister, comes over and asks if I want to go see a movie called The Princess Bride.

Let me walk you through my decision process (don’t worry, it’s quick): Princesses = Yuck. Brides = Yuck.

If it had been The Pirate, The Swordsman, The Giant, and the Five Fingered Man, I might’ve gone to see it. Alas.

So that’s how I missed out on the opportunity to see The Princess Bride in theaters. I don’t recall when I actually did finally see The Princess Bride, but I was still a kid. It is still one of my favorite movies. At one point, I even had the laserdisc. (And I’m kicking myself for not going to see it when it was a midnight movie at E Street a few months ago).

Peter Falk passed away yesterday. In the movie, he played the grandfather of Fred Savage, who was sick in bed and hated kissing scenes. Sadly, none of my dreams of Peter Falk coming and reading The Princess Bride to me (the movie was based based on a book written by William Goldman, who also wrote the film’s script) while I’m sick in bed will ever come true*.

*(That was actually never a dream or remote hope of mine, thanks).

Fun fact: I have a Princess Bride poster hanging on my apartment wall. Also: Star Trek II, Meek’s Cutoff, The Man With The Golden Gun, Snatch, and Big Trouble in Little China.

I have a lady friend whose name I do not know …

I have a friend.

I mean, wait, hold on, back it up – I do have multiple friends. Honest. Cross my heart & hope to die and all that silly goose.

This is a post about one friend in particular. I do not know her name. And no, it’s not like that.

Honest.

I met her shortly after I first moved to DC. I’d gone to a work happy hour in Bethesda, had a few beers, and was fairly pleasantly buzzed slumped on a bench at the Bethesda Metro station, waiting for a train, when I was approached by a reed thin Asian woman with a bike. She noticed my face was kind of red (which happens when I’ve had too much to drink, am warm, or – aw, hell, I’m always bright red: I flush pretty damn easily, folks) and asked me if I was drunk and okay. I think I told her I wasn’t as intoxicated as I wanted to be, but, yes, I was fine. We struck up a conversation that carried onto the train and ended when I reached my stop.

I’m not quite sure what we talked about. As I mentioned, this was several years ago, and I’d been drinking. She told me she’d previously worked for Radio Free Asia, and was originally from Asia. I mentioned that I worked part-time at The Bookstore, and she told me she would see me there, as it was one of her favorite places to browse and read.

It was about a year later before I saw her again, this time at, as she’d predicted, The Bookstore. We struck up conversation and ran into each other quite frequently after that. She has a way of speaking that, when broken down, is very understandable statement by statement, but when thought back upon, seems completely and utterly abstract and almost incomprehensible.

And then The Bookstore closed. And it was sad — and I was very sad — but life goes on, and I still saw her on occasion. She’d recently moved and was living a few miles north of me, so every now and then I would see her furiously biking downtown or uptown, once I saw her walking with a guy in Woodley Park, but we were on opposite sides of the street.

Last week, for reasons unclear to me, I was walking home from the Cleveland Park Metro station. When I mean unclear I don’t mean that I’d been drinking – I mean that I’m not quite sure why I’d chosen that stop. I think that was the night I’d gone to see Midnight in Paris with my Office Boo, which means I probably rode the train all the way back to Grosvenor where she’d parked. I guess I just didn’t want to deal with that long line of people trying to get off the platform at Woodley Park.

In any case, so I’m walking home from Cleveland Park. And who do I see approaching me as I step onto the bridge over Klingle Valley? My biking Asian friend!

So I waved, and she stopped, and we talked, and we caught up. As our conversation reached its end – she wanted to get home and had a few more miles to bike, I wanted to get home and go to sleep – she reached out and patted my belly. “Don’t get any bigger,” she told me. “You’re cute now, soon …” and she sort of made an “ehhhh” noise and shook her head.

Message taken: I do need to stop eating the crap that I eat. More fruits and veggies, less sodas and pizza. On nights I don’t have to work at the Cinecave, I’m going to make more of an effort to either get off a few stops before or after my destination and hike home, or get to the gym for some quality cardio time. I don’t know her name, I doubt she knows mine, but she’s looking out for me. That’s pretty awesome.

Good Bones

My building between the 2009 double blizzards.

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Before I moved to DC, I lived for seven years on the Cranbrook Road strip in Cockeysville. I remember an episode of that TV show where neighbors decorate a room in their neighbors’ house while they neighbors do the same to one of theirs? I can’t recall the title of it, but it was hosted by a woman named McLeod for a year which was awesome because I’m a huge Highlander fan (even if Connor and Duncan are MacLeods). Anyway, so one episode was actually filmed in Timonium, and one of the show’s regular artisans commented to the women he was working with, “I knew this was going to be trouble when I saw ‘Cockeysville’ on the road sign.”

Also fun: when I’d enter my address into online forms and it would come out ****eysville. Yeah, that’s hilarious. I guess the residents of Fuck, Australia are rightly and truly fraked.

In any case, I moved to that area after living for two years in Towson. I spent two years in a small studio apartment, then moved to a larger two bedroom apartment in Timonium, just past the end of Cranbrook Road. Both the studio and the two bedroom (which ran me something like $850 a month when I moved out) were managed by the same company.

One day – I don’t know I could remember even the year – I was getting ready to step into the shower when I heard noises from the living room. I stepped into the hall and there was a guy standing there. He said he was with the complex, and he needed to inspect my apartment. Um, excuse me, what the frick? He handed me a letter, glanced around, and told me to clean the place up because their loan company was doing annual inspections of the apartments and mine had been randomly selected.

My thought was: what person will actually walk into an apartment (after presumably knocking), hear a shower running, and not leave immediately?

Flash forward many years. I’ve been in DC for three years. The building I reside in is night and day different from that crummy mass built structure I lived in for five years. There’s a lobby with gold detail and ornate carvings and I think some marble. There’s a management staff that is very approachable and delivers dry cleaning and packages. Every day, the housekeeping staff is mopping and cleaning, and the longest I’ve ever had to wait for a maintenance request was two days: and that was for a new dishwasher.

A note was slid under my door over the weekend, I received another one yesterday evening. Tomorrow morning, the water to the building will be turned off at 6am and will be left off for almost twelve hours as the boiler system is entirely replaced. The note describes the replacement as a “once every ten year” project, and I have no reason to disbelieve them. In fact, the inconvenience to me will be largely non-existent – I will shower when I get home tonight from my part time job at The Cinecave, and the overwhelming desire to brush my teeth in the morning will make me leap out from under the covers and rush for the bathroom as I have no desire to use a water bottle (hooray tap water).

But the note got me thinking. I recall, I think during my tour of the apartment, a month before I moved in, asking how old the building was. I think the answer was that it was built in the 1920s, and sometimes I wonder how the building looked to those first residents. I mean, I’m sure it looked very similar, but were the apartments divided the same way there are now, or were they cut into smaller units after the war? Clearly the elevators are new-ish: were there always two? Was there just one, maybe with a grill door and an attendant?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I think I’m going to contact the District’s historical society and see if they have any information, or if they can give me pointers to finding these out.

we still build in this country bars with parking lots, which is one hell of a mixed message to send to people.

Ryan Dunn should not be dead.

His death – and that of Zachary Hartwell – was an entirely preventable death. Last Sunday evening, Dunn went out drinking. He drank, posted a photo to his Twitter of himself drinking, and then drove his Porsche 911 GT3 into a tree at an apparently high speed. By the time emergency responders arrived, the car was on fire and he and Hartwell were both dead.

Roger Ebert, movie reviewer turned cancer survivor, and lately social media firebrand, tweeted “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Dunn had been a member of MTV’s Jackass cast. As far as I can tell, Jackass was a show with no redeeming qualities what-so-ever where the whole point was self destruction and humiliation, but three movies got made based on it, so clearly these are qualities we value here in America. Ebert’s tweet caused some anger, and you can read the full account of the situation on Ebert’s blog.

I quite honestly do not understand why Roger Ebert is taking so much flak for the suggestion that Dunn drank and drove.

Roger Ebert did not cause Ryan Dunn to drink alcohol. Roger Ebert did not allow Ryan Dunn to drive away from the bar. Roger Ebert did not accelerate Ryan Dunn’s car into a tree.

I don’t think the people flaming rage at Ebert are actually angry with Ebert, although they might think they are. I think they’re really very upset with Ryan Dunn, and Ebert has quite conveniently given them a target that is not their dead friend or hero or whatever he was to them. It doesn’t change the fact that maybe if Dunn had a little more of his senses with him, or if someone had stopped him from getting into his car, or if he’d chosen to drink at home, that he would most likely still be alive.

Ryan Dunn and Zachary Hartwell should both be alive today. Don’t let your friends drive drunk, or for that matter, buzzed.

The Submarine Trip

One of the myriad reasons I wanted to work at the Cinecave once I realized The Bookstore was going down down down (in a burning pit of fire) was that there are far fewer places to use an employee discount at the Cinecave. One look at my apartment will tell anyone that I might have a hoarding problem (a book hoarding problem, to be specific, and yes, I do in fact quite openly laugh at people who suggest I use Bookswap or a Kindle), and it’s kind of hard to hoard at a place that doesn’t actually sell anything you could take home.

It’s also hard to use an employee discount that doesn’t exist. Things at the Cinecave are either free for employees, or the same price as guests pay. In the free category are movie admissions, and as much soda and popcorn as an employee can eat. In the no discount at all category is everything else.

And so I thought this a welcome trade-off. I would stop buying so many books, and more money would reach my meager savings account. This has a.) not been quite the success I’d hoped it would be (there is a Barnes & Noble just down the street, after all) and b.) I rarely go see the movies we’re playing.

Yes, I realize a. has little to do with b.

It’s not that I don’t like seeing movies at the Cinecave, because I do. Cell phones rarely ring because virtually everyone receives no signal. Teenagers are an exception to the rule, rather than the reverse. Most people come to see movies and not gibber-gabber during the film so the auditoriums are lacking in audience participation (unless you come to the midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room screenings).

Mostly it’s that going to the Cinecave is a huge time commitment. On nights I don’t work, I’d kind of rather be somewhere else. I see bits and pieces of films as I do auditorium checks when I’m working as an usher, and I say quite frequently “I want to see that!” but I rarely actually make the effort to go. Yesterday, because it was doom and gloom during the morning, I decided I would make the trek downtown after leaving my day job and catch a double show: The Trip at 5:00, and Submarine at 7:15.

The Trip was originally a six-episode series on BBC (which I did not know until I cheated and read the Wikipedia entry about two minutes ago). It was edited into the film I saw, which was quite hilarious but suffered from that problem where they put all of the really funny stuff into the trailers. “We leave at 9:30!” “-ish!” The Trip is a quasi-sequel to A Cock & Bull Story (which I saw back in 2006), with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing fictionalized versions of themselves. Although the trailer leaves people thinking it’s a comedy, it’s actually about Coogan’s character (um, himself) trying to come to grips with his professional future while contemplating Brydon’s — married, a new dad — professional and personal contentment.

Submarine is a British film directed by Richard Ayoade, who if you’re a fan of British programming, you might know as Maurice Moss from The IT Crowd. About a young boy named Oliver who is trying to lose his virginity and reconcile his parents as their marriage crumbles, this could’ve been a stupid American Pie rip-off, but fortunately, it’s British and a tad off-ball and really kind of charming. It actually reminded me a lot of The Royal Tenenbaums for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on. Oddly, I’m pretty sure the opening “letter from the director” indicates that the story was based on Ayoade’s childhood, when in fact, it’s based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne. Or maybe I just read it too fast while drinking my Dogfish Head beer (which I paid full price for).

Draft & Model: Hotspur

When I was a kid, me and my friend Miguel, and later my friend Russell, would build imaginary starships out of Lego. We were all fans of Star Trek The Next Generation so our ships followed the Star Trek model: they had bridges, and transporter rooms, and a sickbay, and engineering. If one episode featured a cool new feature of the ship, it would find itself incorporated into our designs before too long. They were populated by minifigures dressed in castle, town, and random space decals.

I say “starship” but these would barely be recognized as such outside of a child’s imagination: there were no roofs, the engines themselves existed only in our imagination.

As the internet developed and as I got older and found A.F.O.L. (Adult Fan of Lego) sites, I found people who built large, enclosed Lego starships. I admired their work, but I also found them lacking. Wouldn’t a space bound crew need water? What about waste reclamation? Would one engine be enough, or would a second be required? How is the engine powered – a liquid fuel of some sort? A nuclear reactor? What facilities would the crew need: barracks, yes, but also a mess, a galley, short and long term storage, an infirmary with a surgical suite and morgue.

Years passed and I never actually built it. I did build a gigantic model of Hogwarts a few years back. It no longer exists – I had to demolish it when I moved. And then a thought occurred to me: why not model this starship in my mind out of the tan bricks I used for the castle?

Pencil to paper, I sketched the designs that began solidifying in my mind. As I did, I continued to develop the ship in my head, a space bound translation of a British Man-of-War from the 18th and 19th centuries. A top mounted EMP cannon, forward torpedoes, and projectile cannons along the port and starboard side. Weapons mean ammunition, ammunition means a magazine. A magazine means a way for the ammo to be loaded into that magazine and then distributed through the ship. So on and so forth. But as I still work out the deck plans, I put together this little model.

Proof of concept, I guess you guess you could call it. The next one will be a bit larger. (Assuming I build it).

My Hipster Beer Cred

I had a panic attack on Saturday.

I was riding back to Woodley Park on the Circulator. I was coming from Target, after meeting my folks downtown for lunch to celebrate Father’s Day a day early. They were now watching Midnight in Paris (my thoughts on the film can be found here), and I was looking out the window at where the liquor store on Calvert now appeared to no longer be. And I needed some Bass Ale.

I was having some friends over in a few hours to watch DC CAB, a wonderfully horrid movie about a kid named Albert (Adam Baldwin) who moves to DC to work for his dad’s Vietnam war buddy Harold (Max Gail) who runs a pretty decrepit cab company staffed by misfits, misogynists, morons, assholes, idealists, and crazy people: Mr. T, Gary Busey, Bill Maher, Charlie Barnett, Marsha Warfield, Otis Day, Paul Rodriguez, and – wait for it – The Barbarian Brothers. No, really, that’s their name. I guess they were big in the 80s. The movie’s got just about everything you can imagine, and is probably more offensive than you could probably conceive of any film being. It was directed (and at least co-written) by Joel Schumacher and features nudity, hilarious scenes involving Mr. T and his neon pants and odd belt choice, a kidnapping featuring the Harry Potter & Hermoine look-alike children of a diplomat, and a ticker tape parade down the National Mall. Also, Bruce Lee, a car chase, the Mission: Impossible theme, and an opening which fondly pays tribute to that first Star Destroyer shot in Star Wars.

Fortunately, the liquor shop didn’t really close. It moved to a different space on the same block, and I knew I would be able to score some Bass Ale!

Except, alas, they sold out. Sold out? Of Bass? “I know, I know,” the clerk said. “We never sell out of Bass.” Beat. “I mean, y’know. Until we do.”

Truer words probably never spoken. Seeing, however, as I don’t actually track the frequency of Bass Ale sales in the Washington, DC area, I just decided that I had rotten luck, and the few Bass bottles in my fridge, plus all the Yuengling – I have a hard time resisting when Giant Food has 12-packs on sale for $8.99 so I buy a couple – would have to tide me over.

But on a whim I asked, “Hey, you guys wouldn’t start carrying Natty Boh by chance, would you?”

The guy brightened. “Actually, we do currently!” and he led me back to the walk-in behind the beer cases, where he showed me several 12 packs of Natty Boh. “We just don’t display them,” he elaborated. “But you can usually find them here.”

Natty Boh is my favorite guilty beer. I’m not saying it’s a high quality drink because it isn’t, but it reminds me of Baltimore and I like that. Also, I like the logo. Also, sometimes I just like drinking beer out of a can. Also, I really enjoy being able to say I don’t drink Budweiser or Miller. My crap domestic brew has hipster creds, thankyouverymuch! (It’s like the Pabst Blue Ribbon for the guys who don’t actually like taking their cues from, y’know, hipsters).

And then I went to the register. Want to know how much I paid for twelve cans of National Bohemian?

$9.80.

When I moved to DC you could go to any liquor store in the Baltimore region and buy a 12-pack of Natty Boh for under $5. A few weeks ago, with access to a car, the cheapest I could find it in the Route 40 corridor was $7.50. A coworker of mine sometimes does Boh runs for me near his apartment in Laurel and can find them for $6 a 12-pack. DC wants $9.80.

Jesus Christ, DC.

But, it was Boh, and I wanted to be home, so I paid and went home and put my way overpriced Boh in the fridge. There’s a price to pay for my hipster beer cred (and that price is approximately .82 cents a can).

UPDATE:

My post made it into today’s (June 21st) Washington Post Express! Much thanks to @vtHokies98 for taking the pic & letting me know!

Rock on, Maggie Smith!

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this film — did you know I once built a huge model of Hogwarts out of Lego? — but there’s one scene in particular I really hope made it from the printed page to the silver screen:

“Get back!” shouted Ron, and he, Harry, and Hermoine flattened themselves against a door as a herd of galloping desks thundered past, shepherded by a sprinting Professor McGonagall. She appeared not to notice them: Her hair had come down and there was a gash on her cheek. As she turned the corner, they heard her scream “CHARGE!”

-Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows pg. 644

a visual illustration of how working in a bookstore has manifested itself in my living space

I moved into my apartment just a little over three years ago. For much of those three years, I worked part-time at the Borders on 18th & L Streets. The following is a visual illustration of how working in a bookstore on a part-time basis has manifested itself in my living space.

June 2008:

June 2011:

And of course, you can’t see the six bookshelves out of the camera’s view, either.

Woody Allen > Roman Polanski: Thoughts on Midnight In Paris (2010)

Here’s the thing about my part-time job at the Cinecave: when I first started working there I thought “Oh, cool, I’ll go see movies all the time.” And we have a lot of cool movies: movies about violent insurance adjusters, and choppy-happy samurai, and not-so-ethical wrestling coaches. Films about a search for a mother’s past, New York fashion photographers, and beautiful French princesses and the men who love her.

And then there comes the reality of the part-time job: the part where on nights when I don’t have to come in to work, I really don’t like coming in to watch movies. I keep telling myself that I should take one free night and stop in and watch like three in a row but, honestly, I don’t think my ass could take that much sitting (especially after a full day at work).

Tonight I went out to the Cinecave with my Office Boo to see the new Woody Allen film, Midnight In Paris. Here are two other things about working in the Cinecave: one, when working as an usher, I have to walk into ongoing films on a regular basis to make sure everything’s okay in the audience and with the projection. Paris has been open for three or more weeks, and in that time, I probably saw about fifteen minutes of the film here and there. The second thing is that I hear guests telling me all the time if they liked the film or not. I don’t think I spoke to a single person who didn’t like Midnight in Paris.

I mean, it’s about a guy (Owen Wilson) who travels back in time from modern day Paris to 1920s Paris where he rubs shoulders with Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds and yada-yada-yada. Total appeal to the English major I was, writer I consider myself, and avid reader my apartment’s shelves are a testament to.

Then again: Woody Allen. Here’s what I know about Woody Allen: he divorced his wife and married their step-daughter, which makes him a pretty fucking creepy guy in my book, but since there’s no evidence he was screwing her while she was underage (as far as I’m aware) he’s still well above Roman Polanski who raped a fifteen year old and is celebrated by Hollywood.

You know what? Fuck Roman Polanski.

Anyway, so back to Woody Allen. I am not what you would call a fan of Woody Allen films. I think I’ve seen two. Annie Hall, which I first saw as a kid on a family vacation in Vermont. I asked my Mom, “Is the whole movie him standing here talking?” I saw it later as an adult and liked it far more. And the second was Miranda Miranda which was just a total waste of my not particularly valuable time but I suppose I could’ve been on my knees in the bathroom bleach scrubbing the floor or something.

Time to get back to the movie. Owen Wilson is in Paris with his fiancee Rachel McAdams and her parents played by Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy. I never really bought Owen and Rachel as a couple — and no, I’ve never seen Wedding Crashers. Owen’s a writer who’s been stuck writing Hollywood blockbusters for years but is working on a literary novel. Walking around the city at midnight, he finds he can transport himself back to the city’s 1920s, what he considers the Golden Age of Paris, and rubs shoulders with the cultural elite of the day.

Pretty decent flick, actually. In my opinion, Corey Stoll stole the show as Earnest Hemingway. Although, truthfully, the first five minutes or so of the film, which is nothing but beauty shots of the City of Light over the course of a day, was probably my favorite overall sequence.