Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘dc’

Question for Those in DC

September 16, 2008 · 7 Comments

We all know somebody who works in government who is probably vastly under-qualified for what they do.  Or we’ve at least met someone who works in government for some obscure program, in which you respond “wait… that’s tax-payer funded???

My question is:  does that make you less inclined to support government in theory and/or in practice?  Or does it come with the territory, as in you have a “can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” mentality about it (i.e. you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have… the facts of life)?

I had always assumed that people became Republican as they got older because their wealth increased, but now I’m starting to question that premise.  I mean, if I knew a schmuck who got hired at a relatively high level for a publicly traded company, I could short the stock or at least avoid buying it.  But what can you do when that happens in government?

Categories: work
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A New Development

June 19, 2008 · 1 Comment

Of all of the professions that would make me full of skin crawling self-loathing, I think real estate development would be tops.

I recently received a share from a friend’s google reader for Free Film Screenings in Washington.

“Great!” I thought, “News I can use!” But I was confused:

James Bond Film Festival:
Thursdays through August 28, catch a free Bond flick in DC’s NoMA
at the future site of the upcoming mixed-use development
Washington Gateway

“What the hell is NoMA?” I asked aloud. So I asked my friend Google what he knew about that. He referred me to his friend Wikipedia, who told me the following:

NoMa lies to the northeast of downtown Washington, whose northern
boundary has traditionally been defined as Massachusetts Avenue. As of
2006, downtown is largely built out; therefore, city planners expect
office development to spill over from downtown into NoMa. The area has
a potential for up to 17,000,000 square feet (1,600,000 m²) of
development, which would make NoMa larger than many other submarkets in
the Washington area, including Georgetown.

“Wow!” I thought. “That seems so organically conceived!” And sure enough, Wikipedia assured me that “The name NoMa was conceived by Columbia University professor Marc A. Weiss, a former advisor to Bill Clinton during the 1990s.”

Oh wait. [citation needed]

Not that it’s a particularly impressive or original concept name for a neighborhood (especially one that historically been called “Swampoodle”), and I’m all for mixed-use redevelopment (the institutional concentration of poverty and race in DC is well documented) but…


The use of SoHo-derived
nicknames to reclaim decaying urban neighborhoods and promote them as
edgy and artsy…I mean… yuck. It just rubs me the wrong way. It’s the kind of rebranding/redevelopment that is so phony and artificial, like a new neighborhood of used car salesman and born again Christians and K Street lobbyists all lumped together in one big community association.

Look, SoHo has character, and is a savior for those who forget how to pronounce Houston street. SoBe is totally Miami and fits like a glove.

To me, “NoMa” is married to Mia Hamm.

Categories: Opinion
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Don’t Forget to Register to Vote!

January 12, 2008 · Leave a Comment


From DCist: 

Now that the 2008 presidential primary season has officially begun, it’s time to make sure you’re registered to vote. The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia will all hold their presidential primaries on Feb. 12, which means voter registration deadlines are looming.

  • In D.C., you must register to vote 30 days before election day, so your registration form will need to be postmarked by Jan. 13 (which is a Sunday, so make that Jan. 12 for good measure). You can download a printable mail-in registration form here.
  • In Maryland, where they recently cleared up that 17 year-olds who will be 18 before the general election in November can in fact register and vote in the primary, your voter registration application must be postmarked by Jan. 22 to vote in the primary. Go here to register in Maryland.
  • In Virginia, you must register by Jan. 12, or 29 days before the primary election. Head over here for a printable application to register to vote in Virginia.

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How to Scare the Shit Out of Someone

December 18, 2007 · 2 Comments

Yesterday when I was walking home from the library, I noticed that there was a small red laser sight following me.  I turned around but there was nobody there.

Then I noticed that the sight was on my chest.

I looked up and saw that the light was coming from the top of maybe a 10 story building on top of the corner of 120th and Broadway.

And I nearly shit myself.

I remembered my former co-worker Melissa telling me how scary it was living in DC back in 2003 when there was a sniper on the loose.  She had told me that the news gave advice on how to avoid being sniped… by crouching low to the ground, covering your head, and running in a zig-zag formation.

So yesterday I skipped and straffed my way home while some fucker tracked me with a laser sight, and undoubtedly laughed hilariously.

Merry Christmas, asshole.

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The Jaywalking Saga, Continued

September 13, 2007 · Leave a Comment

This post in the Washington City Paper hit particularly close to home:

This morning, little did I know, a cop was stationed at the corner of 18th
Street and Columbia Road NW searching for jaywalkers. A man was standing beside
me as I waited to cross the street. He jumped the light by one, maybe two
seconds. Luckily, I was in a pre-coffee haze and didn’t do this myself. The cop
called him back, and as I was getting my coffee at Starbucks and looking through
the window at the scene, it appeared that the cop wrote him a ticket. The man
took his ticket, started to cross the street again, and was called back again. I
left the Starbucks with my coffee, re-crossed the street, and overheard some of
the conversation, which was basically this: “If I enter the crosswalk when it’s
white, I don’t have a right to cross the street? I’m supposed to stop halfway
and turn back?” The man’s questions were answered with silence. It seemed that
there wasn’t enough time on the clock for the man to cross the street, so he was
getting another ticket. Aside from the obvious question—is this really time well
spent by a cop?—there is a lesson to be learned: When crossing a street, look
for cops as well as cars.

If you click through and read the comments, you’ll get a rehashing of my DC Hotcops story, and the follow-up. Bastards.

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Trapped in a Liminal Space

August 26, 2007 · 1 Comment

While filling out a security clearance for my previous job, I was required to complete a comprehensive list of all of my addresses of residence over the previous seven years of my life, for any stint over 4 weeks (note: this is something you should try for yourself sometime… it’s quite an interesting exercise).

By the time I had finished the form, I was shocked. During the seven year span, I had moved 15(!) times, living in 12 different residences, in 6 different cities — Irvine, Santa Ana (x4), LA (x5), DC (x2), Havana, and now, once again, NYC (x2). I had lived in a dirty tenement; an even dirtier co-op; on the floor of my friends’ apartment; a hotel; two dorms; four different apartments; and, during five excruciatingly painful episodes, at my parent’s house(s).

Looking back at all of those moving experiences– all of the boxes and bags I carried around; the sentimental trinkets I had unpacked onto my desks (only to repack months later); the layers of tape on the backs of the photos I stuck on the walls above my various beds (air mattresses included)– I recognized that, there were some goodbyes that were substantially more difficult for me to make than others, including my most recent goodbye to DC.

Now: as a child of divorce, I of course have my requisite attachment issues, and am no fan of goodbyes, in general. But the emotions I experienced when leaving DC were only comparable to three other experiences in my life:

1) Coming back from summer camp in Catalina (very first kiss!) to find out that my dad had got a new job in Orange County and that we were moving away from San Diego (my parents broke the news over dinner at Carl’s Jr. and I bawled like an abandoned bride on her wedding day);

2.) Saying goodbye, flight by flight, to all of the friends I had made in Cuba, as our planes departed from Cancun back to our respective corners of the US, (I was such an inconsolable wreck that I almost got detained in customs for getting smart with a border agent);

3.) Moving out of my apartment after senior year of college (playing foosball by myself in an empty apartment and weeping softly).

In between the frantic process of packing up all of my worldly belongings in DC and dumping them in some sketchy closet in Harlem, I had a serene 4-hour drive up the eastern sea-board in which to reflect on what made these particular goodbyes so much more painful than the others. (Note: This is where the post starts becoming relevant to YOU.)

The painful goodbyes are the goodbyes of liminality… the transitional state between two phases in our lives, the “in-betwixt and in-between” periods when we make our rites of passage metaphysically that are tangled and coupled with the actual physical moves themselves, compounding the associated emotions.

The liminal state is “characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One’s sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed – a situation which can lead to new perspectives.”

During my housing search I liked to joke that I was homeless and unemployed, because I felt trapped in this liminal space between young professional and student, between DCist and New Yorker, between post-college and mid-twenties, between the things that could’ve been in my future had I not shifted my life’s rudder hard to the right, and the actual path that now lies ahead because I did.

The actual physical process of MOVING… of seeing my room completely empty, of saying goodbye to the people who had become my world over the last two years… is jarring enough in and of itself. But the self-realization of maturation that accompanies this move, of the opportunity costs of heading in a new and different (and presumably upward) direction, is pretty hard to swallow… especially when you’re driving in Delaware and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” comes on the radio.

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Goodbye DC

August 16, 2007 · 2 Comments

Hey guys, I’m Jon, the 24 year old boy who wished you all into existence! I’m moving to New York for grad school. I’ll miss you all… Good-byeeeeeeeeeee!

No really, I’m leaving either tomorrow or Saturday to find a place to live. If billions of Italian immigrants can make it in New York, I certainly can.

Drinks tonight at Stetsons for goodbye waterworks.

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It’s Hot. Milk was a Bad Choice…

August 8, 2007 · Leave a Comment

Here in Washington, the temperature is expected to reach a steamy high of 103 degrees. Which is nice… I don’t have to iron my shirts before I walk to work.

No wait, it’s not nice. It’s hell on earth.

Actually, a retraction: hell on earth is Baghdad. 117 degrees, 6 million people, no running water.

To recap: the US strategy in Iraq is now to “buy time” for the Iraqi government to stabilize itself. 90% of its population feels that their situation was better before US occupation. 60% see US troops as legitimate targets. Over half would prefer to see an immediate withdrawal of United States forces. And now they have no electricity or running water in 117 degree heat.

Whatever you think about a US withdrawal from Iraq, and what the consequences of that might entail, it’s amazing to me that the justification to invade a country– which were Wilsonian ideals of self-determination, liberty, democracy– carry so little weight in a transitional period of occupation.

Security is the foundation of any government. And if we’ve already demonstrated that we can’t successfully play the paternal role of “provider,” then we certainly have no grounds to play the paternal role of “father knows best.” To quote Chomsky:

As for the consequences of a withdrawal, we are entitled to our personal judgments, all of them as uninformed and dubious as those of U.S. intelligence. But these judgments do not matter. What matters is what Iraqis think. Or rather, that is what should matter.

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The Washington Post Either Doesn’t Know What News Is Anymore, or Doesn’t Care

July 31, 2007 · 3 Comments

Yesterday my boss directed me to an article she read online at WaPo titled “For the ‘I Like Turtles’ Boy, 17 Seconds of Fame.”

I didn’t get it.

Although the kid did remind me of an child I saw recently at Cracker Barrell who stared at me throughout my meal, making pterodactyl noises.

My boss admitted to me that she couldn’t identify just what exactly compelled her to send me the link, other than (maybe) to confirm that this actually constituted “news” worthy of being covered by the Washington Post. In the ensuing conversation, we decided the following:

  1. 1.) It’s not, in any stretch of the imagination, news.
  1. 2.) The fact that WaPo reported it as news is an indication of how muddled and directionless print media’s response has been to the Age of Information. Instead of leveraging the brand to harness the public’s wanderlust in an internet over-abundant with breaking news and information, the old-guard media is entering the fray of the unwashed. Hey WaPo! I don’t want a snarky blogger on staff, ironically dismissing important issues! I can already get that, (much better in fact), from The Onion, or The Daily Show. You know what I want from you? News and analysis! It’s not that f-ing hard!
  1. 3.) Online news-reporters, as a profession, are the worst kind of hacks. They are consumed by information overload because, unlike 95% of the rest of the population (myself excluded), their job entails endless surfing of the internet. This reality wouldn’t be so dangerous if the writers didn’t assume that their readership base engaged in the same idle web exploratory habits. [See my previous post on news "bloggers." Or don't. See if I care.] Online news-reporters may be “linked” in to the early-adopters, but they’re still neglecting the lemmings and luddites.
  1. 4.) It’s also painfully obvious that online news-reporters are held to a lower standard of editorial review. This is partially a result of information overload, but mainly seems due to the fact that online writers don’t need to “fill inches” for a layout editor. They run with “all the news that’s fit to print… and then some.”

Frankly, this kind of online reporting is like adding a buffet table to a five star restaurant. Sure, it might get more people in the door. But, do you really want them there?

Before you know it, your classy establishment is Reno, Nevada. And your WSJ is being bought out by Fox News Corp.

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Snarky Heuristics: Throwing a House Party

July 29, 2007 · 5 Comments

Snarky Heuristics: Where I snarkily define rules of thumb for social situations and occassions.


Introduction – “If you want to know a man’s character,” goes the proverb, “show me his friends.” I’ll add to that: “If you want to get to know a man’s friends, go to his next house party.” The following list represents some rules of thumb for throwing a good one (and avoiding a bad one).

“Keep it simple, stupid” – A memorable party offers its guests three things: get drunk, get high, and get laid.

I personally don’t partake in the second two activities… the former, voluntarily and the latter, involuntarily. (Seriously. It’s getting to the point where I might have to claim to have “found God” just to save face.) But for most people, these three will suffice. This rule of thumb is like a doctor telling a patient “drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest.” Or like gold, myhrre and frankincense… just absolute staples.

“Gay DJ will ruin the day” – If you have a large contingency of gays at your party, it’s very important that you KEEP THEM AWAY FROM THE PLAYLIST. What seems like a harmless creep from “All Night Long” to “Bootylicious” will always result in a RENT sing-a-long, if left unchecked. The straights will uncomfortably self-segregate away from the mos, and you’ll be left with some strange sexual orientation version of an arranged Indian marriage reception.

It’s best to stick with staple cross-overs like Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Madonna, the Venga Boys, etc. Only half-kidding about that last one. (I call these “cross-overs” because I personally like them and I’m straight. Hetero men have to take such risks, like wearing pink shirts, to avoid getting pigeon-holed into pleated pants and Bruce Springstein. These are important social statements I’m telling you.)

“Don’t Invite Your Newly Discovered Long-Lost Illegitimate Family Relations” – If your uncle is trying to outreach to his estranged illegitimate son, and asks you to help him in this venture, it might seem like a good idea to invite the bastard cousin to your party. But before you do, make sure he’s not some sketchy damaged goods foster kid who’s going to puke in your kitchen, throw bottles of SoCo into your back alley, and piss off your balcony. I’M JUST SAYING.

“Take two of these, and walk it out” – Thank the lord for DJ Unk and Andre 3000. I walk it out [repeated 7 times].

“Axe body spray just makes it worse” – If you’re trying to mask a particular odor for the benefit of your guests (say, hypothetically, musky body odor or wafting puke), Axe body spray will make your apartment distinctly smell like puke masked with Axe body spray.

Turns out, those commercials of girls attacking guys wearing cheap colone sprayed out of a pressurized can are exaggerating(?). To be more accurate, the commercials should just show girls at a party, standing in a circle, flaring their nostrils and wildly darting their eyes, trying to locate the man stank in the room full of people.

Now, if you’re wearing Axe body spray, it might “throw them off your scent,” in the most literally sense of that phrase. It’ll buy you a minute, maybe two tops, before they figure out that you’re the source of BOTH stenches. If in that minute’s time you get a girl to roll down a mountain with you, God bless you for it.

“Late arriving house guests are not to be trusted… in general” - The following chart is a graphical representation of “magnitude of sketchiness” as measured by the time of arrival of your house “guest” to your party.

The graph demonstrates that while it is perfectly acceptable to arrive at 12 am or earlier, a 1 am arrival indicates a small degree of sketchiness (i.e. you were clearly out some place before and are party hopping); a 2 am arrival is very sketchy (i.e. party-crasher after bars close); a 3 am arrival is extremely sketch (bars closed + late night eats); and a 4 am arrival is the by far the god damned sketchiest thing ever (i.e. ????).

Now, the key to screening random shadesters from your party is to call them out by asking them who they know at the party. (Note: don’t give shadesters an either/or option… they will clearly lie, as demonstrated by the following scenario):

[My roommate, to 3 am arrival]: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met. Who do you know here? Ross or Jon?

[3 am arrival]: Uh, Jon.

[Jon, standing behind the 3 am arrival, wildly shakes his head and mouths "I DON'T KNOW THIS GUY."]

Screening randoms is especially important if you already live on top of or next to a locale that already tends to attract sketch-balls, such as, for instance, a tattoo parlor. Also important: as the party host, you have to stay up late to monitor the party until all of the gypsy rift-raft have departed, lest you wake up the next morning sans i-Pod and laptop (sorry, Adosh).

And those, my friends, are just a few of the many helpful hints we’ve learned from experience and imbued to you, to help refine this Vie Bohemme existence we find ourselves in.


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