Archive for January, 2009


and then … it’s nice and quiet

Wow, I really can’t seem to break free from 1995 Bjork!

In trying to download a picture from my e-mail, I enjoyed this delicious nugget of technology from Google:


“Detailed Technical Info.”

Numeric  Code: 67.

I don’t know about you, but I’m overwhelmed with the detailed technical info relating to GoogleFail.

But, I digress.

As I got on a Red Line to Glenmont after 7 tonight, it was next to empty. Seriously, on average, there are more people on that train on a normal weekday than were on it tonight. When I transferred at Fort Totten, I ended up waiting only two minutes before an even more empty train to Greenbelt showed up. Quite, quite different than this morning.

I stared straight ahead, my head heavy, my eyes tired and my brain going over a million different things I’ve got swimming around in my head right now. I didn’t even realize I’d reached Greenbelt until the lights flickered and it registered that the driver said the train was out of service.

When I walked toward the door, I looked at the station map they post on the inside of the car. Someone added a stop.


I’ve been to Tripset. It’s nothing to write home about. Today, though, it was.


ain’t that america?


I’d say it is.

You know what else is America? I just heard on WTOP that a 68-year-old woman got hit by a train at Gallery Place-Chinatown, and she’s alive and kickin’. She now replaces Chuck Norris and Dick Cheney as someone you should fear.

“Getting hit by a train doesn’t make her dead, it makes her angry she’s missing the Inauguration.”


good morning, sunshine


As promised, and brought to you by the power of BlackBerry, here’s a look at my morning trip into Washington, D.C., via Metro rail, Inauguration Day 2009.

“The following events take place between almost 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. … “

5:47 a.m.: WTOP reports that the Greenbelt lot is closed. Left the apartment at 5:30. Still at least two miles from the station. Apparently, this isn’t a WTOP crowd because nobody’s bailing out.



5:57 a.m.: Bailout on Greenbelt. Head to College Park.

“It’s 6 o’clock.” Yes. I know, WTOP. I know.

6:23 a.m.: On a downtown bound train after only a two minute wait at the College Park platform. A blonde girl in her black-sequined beret asks female traveling companion if “this hat is too black?” This tells me a lot about today. A lot. Middle-aged white guy tells crowd he’s with about his extensive time in Afghanistan on a peace mission and then says, “We’re going to right a lot of wrongs today.” Yes, Mr. Hip and Trendy Do-Gooder. This inauguration totally fixes both that awful, awful period of slavery before the Civil War and the 1960s. Ass. I absolutely hate this person and I don’t even know him.

6:36 a.m.: Aboard a Red delayed at Fort Totten for a “malfuntioning train” at Brookland (Read some touron got a kid or an arm stuck in the door and now they have to offload the train.). I’ve been pushed out of any way to hold on to anything so I am just going to fall on people for a “teaching moment.”

This train is totally full ... OR IS IT?!!

This train is totally full ... OR IS IT?!!

6:42 a.m.: Finally moving. I have severe, lingering dread about the next few stops, especially because of the pissed off offloaded people at Brookland.

6:47 a.m.: Dear Connecticut High School kids — wait for the next effing train. It’s painfully obvious this one is at 600 percent capacity.


6:51 a.m.: I no longer have to hold on to anything because I am sandwiched between so many idiots who thought packing 400 people onto a single Metro card was a good idea. A woman in a fuzzy hat looks at me and says, “Cheer up! We’re all here for the same reason!” I said “I’m a McCain voter and I’m just trying to get to work.”

6:59 a.m.: Train practically empties by the time I get to Metro Center for people to catch Orange/Blue. I am opting to stay Red and hit Farragut North and some breakfast on the way. Mmm. Bacon.

7:03 a.m. Farragut North: Finally off that disaster. And PETA protestors to boot!! People in furry bunny costumes. Suddenly craving sausage.


eye of the hurricane


In honor of our one true hero, Jack Bauer, I introduce this only with these words:

“The following takes place between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Events occur in real time.”

5:17 p.m. McPherson Square: Orange car crushing under its own weight. Fortunately, a blue comes along two minutes later, much less full. I board the third of eight cars and am relatively sure I’m the only local. I am one of two or three not wearing an Obama hat. Weird looking guy across from me asks, “Do you liiiiiiive here?” I said yes, which will be my downfall the next 24 hours. He asks me where he should eat dinner. I recommend Gordon Biersch across from the Spy Museum because I liked it. Gut feeling says I should have suggested Fuddruckers.

5:20 p.m. Metro Center: About 10 people get on the train wearing the same shirts. Someone is stuck in my door. We offload, I get arrested. Very helpful girl beside me directs weird guy to monuments. She’s a much better person than I am.

5:22 p.m. Federal Triangle: The first time on the trip the Metro driver says, “Attention customers, Metro doors are not like elevator doors …” This does not bode well.0_funny_oh_no_you_didnt

5:23 p.m. Smithsonian: Platform waiting is five deep. I found the tourists!! The lady in the fur coat across from me asks me where I’m from. I said I’m local. She says I don’t look local. Ouch. Not sure if this is a compliment or an “Oh, snap.”

5:25 p.m. L’enfant Plaza: My transfer to the green. Place as packed as on Nationals game days. I sprint for a waiting Greenbelt train nearly taking out a National Guardsman in the process. I think he asked me for my number.

5:27 p.m. underground between L’enfant and Archives: “We will be moving momentarily.” For once, it was honest.

5:28 p.m. Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter: Good sports bar off this stop. Contemplate going in to wash today’s anxiety away in wings, but opt to just go home and go to Ikea for hot dogs. Also, should I worry that there are five people in fatigues from the U.S. Public Health Service? Woof.

5:30 p.m. Gallery Place-Chinatown: Solo seat opens up! Score! Ah, that bit of joy lasted all of 11 seconds. I’ve noticed the farther away from the Mall, the more sparse the crowd.

5:31 p.m. underground between Gallery Place-Chinatown and Mt. Vernon Square-7th Street-Convention Center: “We will be moving momentarily.”

5: 33 p.m. Mt. Vernon Square-7th Street-Convention Center: Woman observes that “everybody in this town has one of those little BlackBerry things.” Yes. Yes we do. And I’m using it against you.

dwaynewayne5:35 p.m. Shaw-Howard University: I am not kidding: “Is Howard where they filmed ‘A Different World’ back in the 90s? Didn’t one of the Cosby kids go there?” Thank you, White America.

5:36 p.m. U Street-African American Civil War Memorial-Cardozo: For a minute, I thought Spencer Pratt got on the train. Then I realized I didn’t smell vinegar and water and he wasn’t accompanied by his witless partner Heidi. They wouldn’t roll public transportation anyway. Douchemobile away!!

5:39 p.m. Columbia Heights: I feel bad for the woman trying to wrangle six kids off the train. I will feel worse for her tomorrow at the first signs of “Mooooooooom!! I have to peeeeeeeeeeee!!!!”

5:41 p.m. Georgia Avenue-Petworth: The people across from me are looking for IHOP. College Park baby!! Welcome to MY town!

5:45 Fort Totten: It would figure that when I need a signal at Fort Totten, I’m hosed. I also just noticed a poster for Crystal Couture at Crystal City in Arlington. It reads that Feb 17 is “Tat-Tuesday.” COUNT ME IN!! Let’s celebrate six days past your 30th right!!

5:48 p.m. West Hyattsville: No signal again, which means with certainty I will stand and wait at Greenbelt freezing my ass off. Thank you AT&T for raising that bar. I salute you.

5:49 p.m. Prince George’s Plaza: My two second call home is probably not going to get me picked up on time. Boo. I’m also envious of the body this hippie’s hair has. Dudes should not have better hair than I do. It’s not fair.

5:54 College Park-University of Maryland: Locks of Envy has disembarked. I have nothing to admire on the train anymore. I am perplexed, however, at the guy with the Phillies hat OVER his red dew rag. An interesting, yet risky, choice. Not sure what’s to be gained by a layer of thin cotton. Sitting to my front is a woman wearing — I counted — 11 Obama buttons. I’m impressed at the range of Obama button options. Clearly, another wasted opportunity of my graphic design/Photoshop skills.

5:58 Greenbelt, your last and final station on the Green Line: Doesn’t the fact that it’s last, by default, make it the final and, … HOLY HELL!!


After it took me 10 minutes to actually EXIT the station, I am faced with the sinking, sinking feeling that I have no choice but to be here when these doors open at 3:30 a.m.


The line for Farecards is snaking down the bus area. There are 6 cops inside and as many outside but I figure they’re as about as effective as the Detroit Lions defensive line.

A bacon sandwich and some diet Mountain Dew later, I’m going to stick with the original plan, like my co-workers on the desk, of getting to my train between 5:30 and 6 a.m. I’ll definitely have my camera ready and I’ll document my adventure into town.

Good night. And could someone wish me some good luck?


plain awesome


I love this. I love this so very, very much.


it’s oh so quiet


That’s a shot out the window of my fifth-floor office in downtown D.C. For the middle of the day, albeit a holiday, it’s pretty tame.

This morning, I got to the train about 30 minutes early and was one of three people on my car. That didn’t change until four stops in, when I got crowded into my seat by the largest person with the puffiest coat in Prince George’s County. (Note to any random Metro riders who read this: I’m not a small person. You’re dealing with nearly six feet of height and birthing hips. I’m far from your best option when it comes to seating companions.) I didn’t even deal with much of a crowd when I switched at L’Enfant, which is on the “avoid at all costs” list for tomorrow.

When I came out at McPherson Square, it was silent. I walked across I Street without waiting for the crossing signal (sorry, Mom!). There were only two¬† other people in CVS when I bought my diet Mountain Dew. I did notice, however, from a sign on the door that for $5, you can get your picture taken with a Barack Obama cutout. Why my brain lacks the ability to come up with simple, capitalistic ways to make cash, I’ll never understand. I again crossed K Street without a signal and didn’t see a car. Nobody was in the store where I go to buy ice.

I’ve told a couple of friends today that I feel like that guy who walks down the street before a hurricane and says, “Oh, come on. This is nothing. This is just a little thunderstorm.” That sense that this isn’t as bad as everybody said it was going to be and that I’m really going to regret getting on the train hours before I needed. Then there’s the “glass is half-full, but I’ll probably knock it over” sensibilities in me that reassure me it’s better to get to the train at 4 a.m. and get here in plenty of time than wait until 7 a.m. and get to work sometime around noon.

I’ve promised pictures of fun things as I find them and updates through the day, so I hope to not be a giant disappointment (like the Baltimore Ravens to the Charm City. OH! ZING!!). But for now, from the front lines, it’s business as usual. Nothing seems out of place. Nothing seems vastly different. Maybe I’m actually too far from the action to notice. I remain on Fanny Pack Watch.


the pile is eating me


This is my desk in the days leading up to a presidential inauguration. As you can see, the pile is in danger of spilling a little bit forward and fully enveloping me. In case I don’t return your call or e-mail, it’s possible my desk ate me. Make sure the cats are fed. My TV has been spoken for.

I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to this event in Washington on Tuesday. Just this morning, a good five days out, I was on a train that got delayed twice, both for other trains that had malfunctioned. The train that takes me closest to my office had to hold a few minutes at every platform to try to correct the backup from an earlier train malfunction.

I’m happy that I’ll actually get to live here during a presidential inauguration. That’s kind of cool. I do have a feeling that it’s one of those things that once you experience it, that’s it. It’s not any cooler the second time around. I won’t be able to really go see the parade and I’ll be watching the swearing-in from the heated comfort of my office (note: ‘heated’ is a relative term as I sit here freezing to death with a cold nose and a blanket on my lap).

There are already people outside of Metro stations selling Obama-themed items. Yesterday, someone called me and asked me if I’d received the sample package of Obama-themed orange soda. Yes. That’s right. Obama-themed orange soda. In my frazzle, I said, “Wow. You all are putting his face on everything these days, aren’t you?” She wasn’t as concerned about this phenomenon as I was. “Appalled that I mentioned this observation” would be more accurate.

Orange soda to me is just the beginning. Then it’s like “Spaceballs.” Obama: The placemat. Obama: The flame thrower. Obama: The coffee mug. Obama: The breakfast cereal.

I’m going to bring my camera to work Tuesday and try to get some shots. Maybe not of the real action, but the side shows. The side shows tend to be far more interesting anyway.

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January 2009
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