October 2010 Archives

Trick or Treaters

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Yes, they do come but the numbers vary. I look forward to it and plan to don my chef costume, (toque, apron and a spoon). Instead of rewriting the usual I'm going to bring out the old posts of Halloween in Shaw past posts

2007- Halloween recap

2008- Halloween in the Hood

2009- Miscellany- a very brief mention

If you want kids to come to your house, have the 1st floor lights on and your drapes back a bit, your front porch light on and your door or security gate open. If you DON'T want want trick or treaters, between 6 and 9pm turn off all the lights and hide in the rear of your house.

Some neighbors on my street sold their house in about a week. It sold a bit over the asking price, so the rest of us remaining did a little math in our head, comparing their home to our own getting a sense of what the value. Our houses have roughly the same footprint, but with a little less lot footage here a little more interior space there, minus the stainless granite kitchen... yeah.
Not too long after that house closed and the new owner moved in, a bank owned place down the street, that couldn't have sat longer than 2 months, went off the market. For an investment property, with the asking price, it could bring in a pretty profit for someone who knows what they're doing. Unfortunately there are plenty of people out there with more money (or credit) than sense who will try to stuff a 3,000 sq ft suburban home into a 1,500 DC rowhouse.
Also off the market, and I'm curious as to what's going to happen, the ugly pop up  of 3rd St. It hasn't been occupied by owners or rent paying people for what seems to be a decade, going from one investor to another, then it got a ugly pop up somewhere in there as the sold price bumped around from the $80K range to the $600K range. There must have been some loan fraud in there somewhere. Anyway, it's off the market, again, for now, after a change in real estate companies and an increase in asking price. It is possible it is one of many foreclosures taken off the market while the bank fixes the paperwork.
There was another awful pop up on the 400 block of P. I know it got renovated after the people who threw on the pop up ran out of money and tried selling the screwed up shell for 1/2 million. It sold for $290K in 2009.

1629 NJ Av NW- For Sale and high

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UPDATE 11/5/10- Amazingly, a gate went up on this property sometime after I posted this. The power of the blog or something else. I'll go with something else.  Teens will have to find some other place to smoke.


Good sense tells me not to post this, and I may take it down later.... maybe.

I've been told by at least a few people, so you can't pin it on one or two or (ok less than 5 but more than 3) people that teenagers or young people have been smoking in the rear of 1629 NJ Ave, NW. And not just tobacco but weed as rumor has it. I don't know, and doubt that the police get called on this, because by the time the cops bother showing up the kids are gone.

The problem with 1629 New Jersey Avenue NW is that it is for sale, unsold, vacant, it's rear yard is open and the house has a nook perfect for hanging out and smoking weed. According to Redfin, you can buy this property for $580K, down from $624K. The sellers will remove the concrete and sod it if you want to buy it. I think what would really help, is a gate on the carport. Not only would it keep the kids out now, but maybe later when they want to mess with your car or your rear door.

Hodge podge post including the kitchen sink


First the kitchen sink and maybe a bathtub. The N Street location of the Brass Knob is closing. See CCCA's blog on it . The Brass Knob was good for some things but pricy, which was why I wound up getting a lot of stuff for my renovation from Community Forklift. The advantage of Brass Knob was it had/has old architectural details and things for older homes when you're trying to go for a certain era.

Second, since I'm getting married to a person with one of those gas powered 4 wheeled polluting things called cars, I've actually started paying more attention to parking. I'm going to miss not caring. Anyway the street sweeping will be suspended October 29th, so you can leave your car parked in the same spot until spring.

Third, the Washington Post channels Jay-Z. I've got the print edition and since it is in the Style section I guess its excusable, but C-1, lower right a sub heading, "99 Problems" describing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Lastly, research ain't cheap. I'm finishing up the gathering part of the 1880-1930 census project looking at individual residents who lived in the Truxton Circle part of Shaw. I hired my cousin to do most of the work. Also in the past I hired some strangers off of Craigslist to do some data gathering as well. So add them plus an Ancestry.com subscription, I've probably paid over $1,000 just to gather data. It's raw still and I'll have to check it and look for glaring errors. The other problem is trying to stuff all of it into one big MS Access file. Hopefully I can get this thing done before the 1940 US Census is released on April 2, 2012. Why would you care? Well you don't have to but enough of y'all are curious about what the neighborhood was like 'back then' particularly with me looking at individual houses and individual residents. The 1900 data told an interesting tale of women's work, black married women were laundresses and single white daughters living at home and working as clerks or tailors or a variety of occupations. Skimming the 1910 data the neighborhood is still racially diverse and I'm starting to see Russians, I'm guessing Russian Jews.

Kevin Chapple sign free to good home

On my way back home on the bike I found two Kevin Chapple signs in the road. One was under a tire and the other was between two parked cars. The one not under the tire looked like it was ripped off whatever post it was on.
The one I recovered is safely in Ward 5, where it isn't doing a lick of good. It needs a home in Ward 2, preferably 2C.

The garden continues

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I know I haven't written much about the garden.

It pretty much went on without me and I was too busy with DIYing wedding invites to bother with the garden. Except, however, to take stuff out to eat it.

Arugula- I discovered this makes a pretty decent (probably not the best) subsitute for spinach in cooking. I made an arugula palak paneer, minus the paneer, and it was pretty good. And right now I'm eating a minestrone soup where arugula was used in place of spinach. Now my planting method for arugula was broadcasting, take handful of seed, throw against the house, wait. The only problem, and it was a big problem, were insects. There were these weird lady-bug like things and fat catapillar just eating them down to the stem or putting a lot of holes in them. So it was in some cases more work because there was more stem than leaf. There are little baby arugula plants coming up and if the past is any indicator, they will survive the winter.

Tomatoes- a complete bust.

Sage- It died in the back, it is one big bush in the front. I haven't really used it for anything.

Basil- I did make some pesto this year and froze it. The plants I have now are either gone to seed or I took so much off for pesto or preservation that they are looking pretty sad.

Thyme, rosemary & oregano- fine.

Potatoes- I had some stored potatoes that started sprouting so I threw them in some soil. I got penny sized potatoes and fingernails of dirt. I'm trying another experiement with milk crates where I plan to get at least three of them and then harvest the bottom crate. That's to avoid the dirty fingernails. We'll see how well that goes.

Beans- Earlier in the growing season they were not doing so hot. Then I heard a podcast that encouraged later plantings to avoid certain pests and problems that occur during different parts of the season. Now the new plantings are doing quite well. I think I will do beans again next year, but more beans.

Onions & beets- meh. I still have trouble with root veggies. Some are ok only because they got lost among the tomato vines.

Corn Mache- The small things are popping up. But way too small to harvest.

PS- After hitting publish I realized I made the aruglua sound too easy. It is easy, only because in previous years I prepared the soil. Typically the soil around here is clay filled. The first couple of years of my ownership, I put in a boatload of peat moss, sand, topsoil, compost, and lime. I also dug up roots and aerated the soil. With rich soil the lazy gardener method works.

LT removing anti-LT lit

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View imageThe picture is fuzzy so it could be him. But out on the Shaw Neighborhood listserv is a posting with this photo (see view image link) about Mr. Thorpe "apparently" removing anti-Thorpe leaflets that someone (not me, leafleting is way too time consuming) put up. This took place around 7:10 this morning.

You'll either pay in time or in money or both

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It took 9 years and maybe it may take a few more years to get exactly what I want, or I may never get it. Who knows? The 'it' is the neighborhood I want. I moved to Shaw in 2000 at a basement apartment for $525 at the corner of 12th and Rhode Island NW. Then bought my house over in the Truxton part of Shaw in 2001, back when the houses were going for 5 figures or in the low $100k's. I started blogging around 2003 about the neighborhood as a place to live, as opposed to a place to bar hop around U Street. Seven years of blogging, that's a long time. If my blog were a kid, it would be in a charter school and obsessed with dinosaurs.

In this past year, we've gotten two new sit down restaurants with decent food within a 5 minute walk. Over the past oh, say 5 years the Big Bear, Timor, and the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market popped up and have become part of the fabric (that I bother to visit as I know I'm leaving out other places) of nearby Bloomingdale. It will be interesting if Rustik becomes part of that fabric that Realtors point to. Nine years ago when I moved here, we had nothing, unless crackheads and an array of choices of where you can grab some MD 20/20 are considered amenities. So besides the usual urban crime, sticky problem areas, other things that come with living east of the park or in DC in general, I think I got the neighborhood I wanted.

Now if I was just showing up right now, I would have to pay something in the high $300K to low-mid $400K range for my house in my neighborhood. I don't have that kind of money. Never did. I stopped being able to afford my house sometime around 2005. What I apparently had was good housing mojo and time.


Support or Bullying? LT sigs in people's yards

Though I live in Ward 5, I do a lot of walking around in Ward 2. I work in Ward 2, I pick up the bus or metro into work in Ward 2, get food in Ward 2, and go to church in Ward 2. So the past few weeks I've been noticing something. Little red and white signs for Leroy Thorpe for his old ANC 2C02 seat, currently held by Kevin Chapple. Quick history, LT was ANC for 2C02 for like 18 years, lost to KC by 4 or so votes in 2006, then by about 16 votes in 2008 when he ran again. During his ouster he's caused all sorts of drama that I won't bother getting into, and so I see once again, he's trying to get his old seat back.
Like the last time he ran I'm seeing signs in yards I find surprising. There are LT signs in yards of his usual base, the guys hanging out on Q Street and people who've lived here since the 80s. Those most likely reflect genuine support. Others, a house being worked on and some fairly newish residents.... those do make me wonder, wonder if they were bullied or threatened to have an LT sign in the yard. Because LT is a bully and will sue an individual (MM) resident for $20 million, I'm going to allow for anonymous comments on this post. So I ask do you really want LT back as ANC or are you buying insurance?
If you want to learn about LT drama there is a whole website devoted to him www.leroythorpe.com going from his rape charge back in the 80s up to the lawsuit and false report charge.

Traffic east of 7th blocked

RI and 6th blocked6 th st blockedWell the rumor I heard was the street was blocked because the President was coming through. It would have been nice if he chose some other time than rush hour to wander around in the city. Rhode Island was blocked off from 7th all the way east to what looked like Florida Ave. Lets just say the result was crazy traffic. Cars going on to residential streets, and into alleyways. Buses were blocked, the 79 Express wound up on New Jersey Ave.
You what would have helped?
Some direction of where could traffic go. If RI Ave is blocked, point people in the direction of other options.
Well at least it wasn't a shooting.

Ignore mari @ inshaw spam

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I just changed the password on my email but since I'm listed as my own contact I just got mail I did not send with some of my other contacts cc'd.

Well it was time to change that password anyways.

On Sick Leave

I  know I haven't blogged for a week mainly because I've got a cold plus a bad reaction to the flu shot I got several days ago. Note, if you have even the tiniest trace of the sniffles, no flu shot.

I'll probably get back to my pre-wedding erratic schedule next Monday.

Twofer- V. Gray in the TC and Affordable Housing


I'm going to do two separate matters in one post.

Thingy number one- Presumed to be the next mayor of DC Vincent Gray will be in the TC tonight. From 6:30 to 8:30 at the CAPS School (formerly the Armstrong School) at 1st and P. Gray will be joined by Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr.; and Councilmembers David Catania, Phil Mendelson, Michael A.Brown, and Kwame Brown. I'm going to guess the entrance will be on the 1st Street side.

Thingy number two- affordable housing. There is the protest/homeless camp at R and 7th, then there were the ongoing emails on the Eckington listserv about St. Martin's Summit Apartments only took a break regarding assults on the Metropolitian Bike Trail, and it looks like the "affordable vs affordable" is slightly related. At last night's BACA (Bates Area Civic Association) Meeting there was a represntative from the Open Arms building on the unit block of O St, which provides permanent housing and support services for chronically homeless women. It's not a shelter, but permanant housing. I just want to say it's on my mind but so far with typing and deleting I haven't been able to write the coherent piece I wanted to on the subject.

Maybe later on today.