Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral

In the vicinity of the National Cathedral, Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral is gorgeous and exotic. Here's a photo of its gilded dome.

Bush's Disapproval Rating

Bush's approval rating -- low? No way. I've heard plenty of people talking about it in DC, but nobody seems surprised. Here are some anti-Bush signs that have been posted on K Street for months.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Juice Joint in Downtown DC

Want to keep eating junk food for breakfast and lunch downtown? You'd better stop reading now. At Juice Joint you can actually find something healthy to eat anytime between 7:30AM and 4PM (Mon-Fri). In the morning, you can find bagels, eggs, and pancakes here, and for lunch there are salads, wraps, and sandwiches hot and cold. All are made with fresh, natural ingredients.

Oh yes, and juice! It's not unusual to see fresh vegetables popping into the blender at Juice Joint for delicious fresh juice and smoothies. But it is a credit to Juice Joint that much of its clientele comes for the food.

What's the catch? Well, the menu could use a chef's touch. If you're a decent cook, you may find yourself thinking, it's good ... but I could make this at home. But therein lies the beauty of the downtown location. We office drones barely manage to make our own coffee in the morning, let alone a delicious avocado and cucumber wrap on a weekday.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Raku in Dupont Circle

Preparing to go to Raku for the first time, I looked up the address online and couldn't help noticing the "Asian Diner" had gotten some very negative reviews. We arrived there with low expectations.

But it turns out that Raku is a victim of its own success -- it's really crowded most of the time, and for that, the service suffers. But if you can patiently wait for your table, you'll enjoy some pretty decent food. The restaurant serves Pan-Asian food, including Pad Thai and sushi.

No Photography at the Pentagon Metro Station

There's a big sign that says No Photography now posted at the Pentagon metro station. I wonder if there are any teeth to this policy? In New York everybody gets in a tizzy about proposed subway photography bans that come and go, but in DC we're just posting mandates with no explanation.

In this case, I suspect they were posted by the long arm of the Pentagon. The same signs can also be found in the parking lot of the massive Pentagon complex.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Old Stone House in Rock Creek Park

Righteously creepy at night, the Old Stone House in Georgetown is actually the oldest building in the District. It's still on the lot where it was originally built in the 1760s, before the War for Independence. Also on the property, which is now a part of Rock Creek Park, is a beautiful and peaceful garden, which you can wander into at night and enjoy with all the other tourists who are "doing Georgetown".

Rhino Bar and Pumphouse in Georgetown

If you like sports, beer, and sofas that are more comfortable than the furniture in your own home, try Rhino in Georgetown. This photo is of the second level, which has its own bar and is quiet several nights of the week, leaving you in peace to nurse your beer and enjoy six or seven games at once (especially major league baseball).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Continental Pool Lounge in Rosslyn

Continental in Rosslyn has delicious signature martinis and cocktails -- a must for any place claiming to be a lounge. Plus there's groovy decorating, including a sparkly, amber-colored bar and vintage lamps and pool tables. Late at night you can get a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich here cheap, and with more class than hitting a diner.

Suggestive(?) Corporate Art in Georgetown

Wow, something I'd never seen in Georgetown before. The entrance to this little courtyard is near Big Wheel Bikes at 33rd and M Street.

Biking at the National Arboretum

It's on a giant hill -- what could be more fun than biking up it on a hot summer day? No really, the National Arboretum is a beautiful, quiet place for a bike ride.

Here's a photo I took at the bottom of the hill (before the hill conquered me ... er, I conquered it). It's not Athens, it's a photo of historic pillars that were part of the U.S. Capitol Building until it was expanded decades ago.

(By the way, I just noticed a similarity between this photo and the last two I posted. Do you?)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth, Delaware

A Mecca for beer aficionados on the east coast is the Dogfish Head brewery and brewpub at Rehoboth Beach. It is home to such esteemed brews as 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, two of the most extreme beers crafted.

Cape Henlopen Beach on the Delaware Shore

Cape Henlopen, a Delaware state park, is just a two and a half hour drive from DC ... well, if you don't hit heavy traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which you can easily avoid by oversleeping, then taking forever to leave your apartment.

It's a natural beach with plenty of wildlife. We saw a superpod of dolphins (dozens of them) swimming along the shore and lots of other marine life. Getting into Cape Henlopen State Park costs eight dollars if you don't life in Delaware. If you want to camp there, you need a reservation weeks in advance.

The park also features some hiking trails. I don't know how good they are, because we only got fifty yards -- if that -- down the trail before being ambushed by swarms of biting flies, unidentified giant insects, and chiggers (don't ask).

This photo is of a disused jetty on the beach, leftover from the military base that was at Cape Henlopen until the 1950s.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Pho in Fairfax County

Local Vietnamese Pho restaurants always have this French style, espresso-like coffee. Here's mine, brewing over a bunch of deliciously fattening condensed milk.

I always go to Fairfax County for Pho. Today we went to Pho Vinh Lo in Bailey's Crossroads (in the strip mall with Trader Joe's), where each bowl of Pho costs $6.25 and vegetarian Pho with tofu is available -- well, if you can ignore the fact that the broth probably contains some tasty mystery meat.

If anyone knows where I can get good Pho in Arlington or DC, let me know!

Revenge of the Sith at the Cinema N Drafthouse

Tonight, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith opened at the Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse, a favorite local theater for boozing it up and while enjoying second-run films for a five dollar admission.

In celebration of the Episode III, the Drafthouse has two three dollar shots: The Jedi Juice Shooter (it's green), and the red Sith Shooter. Let your feelings guide you.

Put some Zazz in your life. Zazz it up, baby.

Zazz seltzer water from Giant foods is the best generic brand ever. Why? Purely because of its killer name, which is easily used interchangeably as a noun and a verb. I like to add it to my juice throughout the day and cocktails at night. Sure, I like to cut my calories and drink fizzy beverages. But the real reason I use Zazz is because I like to ZAZZ MY JUICE, baby.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The new DC Circulator bus is a functional advertisement for hipster mass transit. (Just in case you didn't get the message, the destination signs always flash Try Transit.) The interior of the bus is cushy and spacious compared to a regular Metro bus, plus these rides have spiffy paint jobs and shiny rims.

This bus route is designed for people who want to go out and about, not just to work. When I first saw it, I thought Wow, here comes the party bus, but unfortunately, it only operates until 9PM. On the bright side, it's scheduled to arrive at each stop every 5-10 minutes, and it only costs one dollar per ride (compared to $1.25 for a Metro bus ride).

And another message that the Circulator (which is sponsored by both the DDOT and WMATA) promotes is getting out and about in DC. Picture this: You're leaving your downtown office on a beautiful Friday afternoon and about to go underground for an upleasantly damp, shoulder-to-shoulder, and awkwardly silent ride on Metro rail. (And don't forget that message about unattended bags. You can still hear it in your head as you nod off to sleep at night.) Suddenly a big, shiny red bus rolls by -- destination: Georgetown.

Maybe you'll pop on in?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tonight I saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Screen on Stead, a summertime GLBT outdoor cinema event in the Dupont Circle area. We ate and drank at Peppers, which has pretty average mexican food, but a great location on 17th Street and margarita specials.

While we were catching a ride home, our cabbie told us about a man who begged God for shoes because he had none on his feet. Then he met a man without legs, and felt foolish for asking for shoes. He was blessed to have even legs.

Quite a way to end an evening of good times and friends.

UPDATE: We got our photo in the Metro Weekly, too. Second page, center. Nice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More underwater life. Maybe I need a larger Eco-Sphere at home? This large saltwater prawn lives at the Reef, a pretty hip bar and restaurant in Adams Morgan. They have good food and lots of Belgian ales on tap, plus the bartenders seem to know their brew and will answer questions and pour samples. (Ex: "How much alcohol is in this stuff?") For anyone who'd rather be scuba diving -- or at home feeding the fish -- the upper-level restaurant has lots of natural light (when available) to show off its own coral reef habitat.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Mojitos, anyone? I make mine with Bacardi (two shots or so), soda water, fresh mint crushed in a mortar and pestel, half a lime, and just a wee bit of sugar. You can get the mint and limes much cheaper at an Asian supermarket.

Other great things to buy at Asian supermarkets: tofu, noodles, pre-packaged lunches, dishes, and most kinds of fresh produce.

Best place in Georgetown for mojitos: Cilantro's. They have five different kinds of mojitos on the menu, plus awesome happy hour specials on weeknights that run late.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ah, the rat race. (I know this isn't a great photo, but it's pretty decent for a camera phone.)

I forgot to write down what this cute little freshwater shark (on the right) was called. I saw him at the pet store today.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I found out tonight that the first transatlantic voice transmission was made between Arlington, Virginia (near the Pentagon) to the Eiffel Tower in 1915. Three radio towers stood there, and one was 600 feet tall. (The Eiffel Tower is over a thousand feet tall.) We tore our towers down in 1941 because they got in the way of our airplanes. This historical marker stands on South Courthouse Road (outside of a high security Department of Defense facility).

Friday, August 12, 2005

A metro subway train with a gigantic ad. Doesn't seem very spectacular, but this is a totally new development.

Washington DC is partially federally funded, and the rich politicians who call the shots -- who come from everywhere in the country but here -- don't see why us commoners need public transit. They're doing their best to zero out the funding. This is why our Metro is literally selling out -- they badly need the cash.

Clay Aiken (of America Idol fame) performs at Wolf Trap on Monday, August 8th. As seen from the rainy lawn seats. My mom -- a serious Clay Aiken fan -- bought us tickets (thanks mom!), and Clay did a lot of covers of classic contemporary music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s ... and so on.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

acid waste
This reminded me of a video game set. The photo was taken beneath a bio-tech lab in Baltimore.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

FloydFest 2005 in the beautiful Blue Ridge county of Floyd, Virginia was a blast from another world. The tagline for the festival is "Rock of Ages" -- there was great music, but also a really positive scene, great artwork, and more. Here's one camper that was next to the campsite where we pitched our tent.

Snake Oil Medicine Show was one of my favorite acts. Besides great music, there's an artist on stage painting fun and interesting stuff.

Among all the wild activities, there was plenty of zen to go around at the festival. Beside a campfire, someone balanced these large rocks in the night. The stack came to above my waist.

One vendor called Oasis had a sign that said, "We are anti-capitalist but accept CREDIT CARDS nonetheless." Now that's pragmatic. (Interested parties: These are all the FloydFest photos I'll post, but I have many more. Get in touch with me if you want them I'll send you hi-res versions.)
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