July 2012 Archives

Thank You to Price Benowitz

pb icon.jpg InShaw would like to thank Federal Criminal Attorneys Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

Smoke gets in your eyes

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A few nights ago, on a day I had the most wonderful nap, I went to bed late. The Help was already dead asleep. When I opened the door of the bedroom I could detect a slight smell of cigarette smoke.
Neither of us smoke. If you want to get the Help in a angry lather, get him on the topic of smoking. Both of his parents smoked like chimneys when he was growing up and last year his father died of lung cancer. I, just don't like the smell. So there would be no reason to  think there would be smoke smells in our house.
I looked out the window and about a couple of houses down there were a few people talking on the sidewalk. I could not see if they were smoking because it was dark and I could only see a bit of them. They, based on their voices, were probably visiting someone one door down from where they standing.
Our windows are old and crappy. A neighbor referred to them as "section 8" windows. Cheap low quality things that need to be replaced. They aren't that great at keeping noise out (hello white noise machine and box fan) and now I smell that they aren't good with smoke either.

50 Shades of Vincent Gray

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Shade 1- pale.

Really I got nothin'. I just liked the subject line. Maybe out there someone has written some political porn or elections erotica regarding the Mayor and the city of Washington.

Perceived wealth and neighborliness

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There was an article in the Post that got my attention. Michelle Singletary's "When Charity Takes On A Familiar Face," which touched on two separate topics I'd been thinking about. Perceived wealth or poverty of others and neighborly charity.
Let's start with neighborly charity. I'm happy to shovel snow off sidewalks in front of my neighbors' homes provided no one complains about what the shoveling looks like. Our street has a number of neighbors who will do things (watch your cat, move your car, lend tools, etc) for each other for free. Doing these things adds to the awesomeness that is our block. And I must thank Brian by name as he regularly picks up trash on our and nearby blocks on a regular basis, which I really appreciate when I walk on other blocks strewn with trash. It doesn't matter if neighbors could pay someone else to shovel or clean the street or rent a really big ladder. By needing each other and relying on each other we get to know each other better.
When I started to read Singletary's article, I wondered if it would talk about something that used to happen around here, neighbors' begging for money. Not random strangers who come up to your door, saying they live in the neighborhood begging for money (that has happened to me once), but people you know who live nearby. Yeah, I can't offer any advice, all I know is that it doesn't happen just once for some folks. Singletary's advice that you demand to see the other person's finances, seems a little, I don't know, invasive, if they are not family members. Particularly if is only a few bucks here and there.
Which brings me to the second thought, perceived wealth. In the talk of gentrification, new residents are called wealthy. We don't know that for sure. Last month I was reading about David Guggenheim, the marine biologist suspected of being involved in attacking his wife. The thing that caught my eye was information about the couple's finances. They live in Kalorama, but have a boat load of debt (taxes owed, cc debt) and together only earned $49,853. We don't know what a person's wealth is by looking at them or where they live.
The well worn narrative of gentrification is wealthy or wealthier new comers move in and displace poorer oldtimers. Unless the oldtimers are on welfare and in subsidized housing, we don't know for sure how big the wealth gap is in a neighborhood. When I first showed up there were lots of 20 & 30 somethings buying up run down places, working for peanuts at non-profits, and patching up their homes. Boundless energy, youth and knowing how to swing a hammer or wield a drill made up for the low income. But as the narrative went it seemed the wealth factor was overblown and we've forgotten that the banks back then would loan lotsa money to anything with a pulse.

1400 blk of 3rd St. Update

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1418 3rd st

I've been alerted to what has happened to that thin little strip of land on the 1400 block of 3rd St. NW. It has changed hands.... right after it got a zoning variance...

I mentioned the request back in April. It went before the BZA in June as case "18355 ANC-5C01 Application of Arthur Marques Kalil and Lolanda Tappin, pursuant to 11 DCMR ยง 3103.2, for a variance from the lot area and lot width requirements under section 401, to construct a new flat (two-family dwelling) in the R-4 District at premises 1400 block of 3rd Street, N.W. (Square 553W, Lot 804)." Tappin is the old owner, Kalil is the new.

And just this month it was sold for $110,000

Reading the transcript there seemed to be absolutely no action from neighbors, no protest or anything from the ANC. Also in the transcript the soon to be owner, when asked if he bothered to talk to the neighbors, he responded, "I'm still a full time student in graduate school and I barely have the time, but --" Anyway the variance was approved, 5-0-0.

If you want to view the case, go to the BZA website and plug in the case number.

There are two small vacant lots up for sale in the TC, one on 1st St and the other on Richardson. At least with Richardson, there is a history of neighbors being active and influencing the shape of the neighborhood. 

Movie Tonight @ the Park- Finding Nemo

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Squirrel image in fence

What: The movie Finding Nemo in the park. Bring blanket or camp chair

 

Where: Florida Avenue Park- Green Circle

 

When: TONIGHT (7/27/12) at 8PM

 

More info on the BACA blog.

 

Neighborhood Wi-Fi

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This is just an observation. Some of my neighbors have interesting names for their wi-fi network. Some I can identify whose it is by the name. One is the owner's name in a foreign phrase. But right now, a new one I haven't seen before (I turn mine off occasionally and have to re-find it, and there was that other time my internet was down and a neighbor let me use his wi-fi..), the one taking the cake is, "Steal someone else's internet".
Of course I'm amazed I can get a signal from a house 5 doors down.
It was last seen going west on R St NW.
I called the cops.
I was walking home when I saw a guy riding a bike on the sidewalk, while carrying the front of a one wheeled green bike. This green bike, from where I stood, looked an awful lot like my bike, which also only has the back tire on it.
There is construction going on in the house and in the past, some of the crew was a little careless with the security of the house. But that was in the past and there has been a conversation since then. But there was still the remote possibility that thieves could have stolen my bike.
So I stopped the guy. It went a little like this:
Me: Hold up there. [grabbing handlebars of green bike]
Guy: You okay? [you know I think it helps to look mentally unstable, 'cause my hair is a mess]
Me: This looks alot like my bike.,,,,,
Guy: (honestly I forgot)
Me: (forgot)
Guy: Well it's not your bike then.
Me: Okay.
end scene
About ten steps later, I have a three minute conversation with 911 dispatch to report the guy. I hate calling dispatch.
So if your bike was stolen. I am sorry. It looked like you didn't lock it properly either. He was carrying a big ulock. He was a black male, probably early-mid 30s, not fat but muscle with a layer of fat, darkish brown, wearing a white tee shirt, black hair brushed forward, heading west on R St. He was riding a shiny black bike. I don't remember what model, I was focused on the green bike. He had a buddy in the bike lane on R. All I remember is, that he was another black guy past his 20s.

City Wildlife

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Buzzards or vultures

I put up a big photo because I don't know if you can make out the two big birds on a roof deck scoping out the landscape.

 They are big and the feathers look all black and from a distance, kinda ugly. So what could they be? Vultures? Buzzards?

Thank You to Price Benowitz

PB-ICON-CRIMINAL-ATTORNEY.jpgInShaw would like to thank Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

Tuesday Misc.

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Hole in Wall Reflection 

Facelifts for some ugly places- North Capitol Main Streets, Inc. will be helping three businesses in the Truxton/Bloomingdale area with improved facades. City Cleaners at 84 Rhode Island Ave NW, already has cuteness going for it with the bicycle display in front. Sunset Liquors at 1st and Florida and Capitol Food Market (1634 N Cap St) could really, really, really, really, seriously really, use some sort of make over. Really.

Give up your parking for AIDS- The (Blagden) Alley Denizen and the people of the MVSNA Yahoo Group have noticed that Convention Center activites (now it is the International AIDS Conference) are pushing into the residential area and taking away parking. The Denizen recognizes that this is setting a bad precident for those with residential parking. Well now that Back Alley Waffles has closed, maybe there is one more parking spot.

Dig the knife in deeper- I didn't go into work Friday because we were up most of Thursday night dealing with the wet basement. Because I missed work, I apparently missed the world's best blackberry peach crumb. I have a co-worker who brings baked goods into the office. Cookies, muffins, brownies and they are thankfully received. But Friday's creation was apparently so darned good that the other people in the office and people from nearby offices were raving about it on Monday. They've never raved about her baking like this before... stupid basement.

Utilities

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I don't have a lot but I'm thinking of selling off half of my Pepco stock. It will help pay off the water related repairs in the basement. Also Pepco is making every other regional power company look good and competent.

DC Water is not a company, but an agency. For the folks in Bloomingdale and Le Droit area there is a survey (I gather created by or at least endorsed by DC Water) to help describe the damage you may have had.

DC Water's plan (PDF) for Bloomingdale has something in it that is concerning to me. Under "What DC Water is Exploring", 1.a, is the call for regulation to "Require backflow preventers to be installed in new properties or at turnover." Not too many new properties where there is a lot of 100 year old housing stock. Also 'turnover', what does that mean? Does that mean when an owner wants to sell their house they'll have to install a backflow preventer? Who will the burden fall to?

This has been a bad month for utilities, with the storm and the rain. Please, please, please Washington Gas don't let anything go wrong with you.

Sometimes Homeownership Sucks

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We were pulling out of a Maryland Home Depot (not the world's worst HD on RI Ave) when I pointed to the apartments across the street and said, that if we lived there we'd be spending our money on fabulous vacations instead of fixing the house, again.
Maybe it how we're doing home ownership. We keep losing money because the damned house keeps eating it. If we didn't have a cellar/basement, we wouldn't have our little expensive problem, But then again, I do like having the storage space. And provided everything is in a plastic bin or a foot off the floor, it's all good.
As much as I love being a homeowner, it has it's challenges. The past couple of weeks have been challenging, and to address the problem it's gonna get expensive. It's times like this when I think that putting economically strapped people in homes is foolish. Homeownership is a great way to build wealth, provided you have enough "wealth" to deal with crap that happens to a home. Or not have the wealth and do like my parents and slap a band-aid on it, slowly creating a home unfit for human habitation.
Yeah, it's how we're doing home ownership. Addressing problems several thousand borrowed dollars at a time.

Addition- My problem is only slightly related to those experiencing flooding in Bloomingdale. A rising water table and I have problems. 11 years ago, I and my basement owning neighbors experienced the flood of August (I think) 2001. Then, like now, I got a damaged carpet. Unlike then, I think I'm the only one suffering on my street. Also unlike then, I'm not bothering with DC Water. 11 years ago my neighbors and I went over to Blue Plains to get our grievances addressed. What we got was time wasted and insults from some jerk with an African accent. We filled out forms and got jack shyte in return. The Red Cross was helpful and my insurance company was really proactive. They sent out an inspector and cut me a check with little muss or fuss.
My advice to Bloomingdale people is not to expect DC Water or DC government to address this anytime soon, since they were yapping about fixing the dual runoff issue back in 2001. But do try to hold the parties responsible, responsible. Ask how the McMillian project impact this issue, if at all. Also with that plan to address runoff, where are they with that? Still in the study phase?

Miscel.

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Walker Hours

Eckington lost power yesterday. Will we have to fear each little rain drop this Summer? Pepco is so dissappointing.

And Bloomingdale got flooded, again.

We got some water in the basement. Not a lot. Just enought to make me check the sump pump. The sump pump is a little slow so we're going to replace it. A neighbor in the construction biz who knows about drainage, suggested a pump that is more aggressive at pumping out the water to relieve the pressure from the walls and draw the water to the pump, rather than the carpet. So I engaged in some manual manipulation and everything was right as rain.

Lastly, and this is more a note to myself, I need to report the tree at Rhode Island and New Jersey at the G8 stop. It's big and green uptop but rotten at the base. I could imagine it deciding to fall down and clobber rush hour cars one day.

The destructive power of DPW

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Maybe it is age. But I have had my recycle bin since 2005 and for the past seven years it has held up pretty well and remained fairly clean. But this year.... I don't know if it is the age of the can or the rough handling of the sanitation men or a combo of both, but our can lids are getting destroyed.

The first crack in the lid occured earlier this year. We fixed it up with some duct tape and the Gorilla Glue tape. Then yesterday I noticed my neighbor's, well several of my neighbors' recycle can lids sporting small and not so small cracks. And I had a new crack with a hole in my lid. I can see where this can lead, a lid made of nothing but tape and epoxy.

Of course the larger trash bins had trouble long before. There are many a trash can in DC with missing lids, torn lids, mangled lids and what not. Then there is (or was) the habit of the wheeled trash bins to go missing. I once returned, because it was marked with a full address, a trash can that was 2 or three blocks away from it's home. Anyway, some people just replaced their DPW provided trash cans with Rubbermaid ones.

I could pay $45 bucks for a new can, but I don't like the idea of just paying and waiting for an unmarked can to show up on any given day. Too many of my neighbors have unmarked cans, I can see how even if the can is placed in front of my house, it can get swiped, by mistake.

Also those guys with the trash trucks (really what's the difference btwn the trash and recycle pickup?) seem to like to whack the top of the cap on the truck. I understand the why. It is to get the stuff, stuck on the bottom to come out. But by doing so they also mess up the lids. Okay, really all I need is a new lid.

Thank You to Price Benowitz

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with a special thank you to Maryland accident lawyer John Yannone.

The 96 bus

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I dislike the 90, but I'll take it if it is coming. The 90 (and the 92 & 93) buses I encounter tend to be old or crowded or dirty or a combination of the three. The 96, is a bit better, it also has a different route and where it turns off on to New Jersey, as the other 90s continue along Florida. The 96 then goes by Union Station, and then the Library of Congress, where it goes after that, I don't think about.

It also goes by the Supreme Court. That's what I thought of when I read that Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor bought a condo in the U Street area. If the condo is really close to U St NW she could, if she so desired, take the 96 bus that would dump her off right at work. I've stood many a time outside the Supreme Court, after leaving the Library of Congress, waiting for the 96 to get back home.

If she uses a smartphone app like NextBus DC, she can figure out how long it takes her to get to the bus stop from her condo (giving a 3-5 minute buffer in case the driver is a yellow-now red light running speed demon) to the bus stop and get to work in about 27 minutes. The metro may be a bit faster but there is that whole having to transfer at L'Enfant, thing.

It is going to be hot today so here is a picture of the 96 coming down New Jersey Avenue NW when it was snowing.2-12-06NJBus 

Would starting a pool about Gray be legal?

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I'm just wondering.
'Cause I'm thinking he might just make it to November, maybe Thanksgiving. I'm willing to put down a veggie burrito bowl's worth to cover that bet.
I know you can't bet on elections. But what about indictments and resignations?
Also this is not about Gray as a person. His apologists say he's a great guy, too loyal to his friends and supporters, blah, de blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I smell blood. I've already lost a councilman to corruption, I never really like Brown that much, so if we lose Gray, no biggie.
Note the word, 'if'. Who knows Marion Barry may lend some of his magic legal teflon to the mayor. Also, the feds might not have enough, as I thought what they got Kwame Brown on was kinda weak on its own. Maybe the speeding corruption train may derail and flip over in a fireball of destruction, just stopping short of Gray.

Dammit, Jim

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1966 ... Star Trek   'The Man Trap'
Well one of my favorite bloggers and human beings is moving away, Jimbo. Jim and I met on-line and then got together in person sometime in the early '00s and I'm going to miss his being and enlightening me about parts and people of the city that I don't encounter.

Jim has been hankering to move to a place where the men wear beards and the culture is different. And so, he's taking a leap, and I wish him the best.

Anyway, y'all should check out his 11 part series (starting in VA and ending in LeDroit Park) on all the places he has lived in and around DC for the past 16 years. I showed up in the DC Metro area a year before, but have lived in a fewer number of places. Mainly because I have books, lots of books, which are a bitch to move.

1622 4th ST NW DC- Schadenfreude II

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Stop work order

OK. Now I'm happy.
Of course, it took two weeks of other neighbors complaining before this lovely sticker showed up. Too bad a lot of damage was done within that 2 weeks.
I'm going to write out the whole address, 1622 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 because I know from looking at my web stats that people do searches on addresses. So if the goal is to flip this house, I'd like potential buyers (should they bother to search on line) to be aware of this chapter in the property's history.
Who knows maybe the current owner will not cut corners after he finishes paying the fine and submitting new plans. And maybe the people to occupy the house next will get something decently made, and not something cheaply thrown together without care. My future neighbors deserve better.
I want to thank Tim Clark in Kenyon McDuffie's office and the people at DCRA for making the start of my weekend a pleasant one.

The Art of Time Travel

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Time travel is dangerous and should never be taken on lightly. This is what I've learned from hours of watching Dr. Who, Quantum Leap and other shows that keep fiddling with the space time thingamajib (I'm looking at you Star Trek). With banished?production's The Circle, participants, and with almost all b?p theater/art you don't observe, you participate, travel through space and time.

The space is Dupont Circle and Mount Vernon Square. Physically, you are in and around the square where the old Carnegie library sits, mentally you are in Dupont Circle. The time is the future and past Dupont and the present day, present time, intersections of 7th , New York and K Streets and the square and that little park across from the square.

The danger is that you can get lost in the future and past of another space that you may stop paying attention to the present day and very present traffic and sidewalk hazards. B?p fools around with your senses, and for me it was my 'aware of my surroundings' sense, the sense where I am aware of the cars and bikes on the street and the people on the sidewalk, and the people hanging out. For me, it was my surroundings that would fade in the background and then fight to come back to the front, like your awake self fights sleep.

B?p 2012 fringe

What my spatial awareness competed against my senses of memory and space. Mentally the audio tour and tour guide (you can do it without the guide, but you'd lose a lot in the experience) takes you to Dupont Circle. The very Dupont Circle that's about a mile or two north and west of where we were. The characters in the audio talk about places like the Childe Harold and R St that exist in recent memory and places that existed 20 or 30 years ago, when Dupont was a sketchy neighborhood. Since a lot of participants are sure to have more than a passing acquaintance with Dupont, they and I, fed upon what we know about Dupont and brought it to the experience. Our guide interacted with actors and subtle props positioned along the tour. This is why you need the guide, the actors aren't obvious. They are as much a part of the real world space as the homeless guys.

Look a book
The Help, wouldn't have liked this production as much as the previous productions. The Help likes focus, and is not a fan of multitasking. This production is not in the protective confines of an art gallery or studio space where one can concentrate on the actors or dancers. He also wouldn't have been a fan of the smoking and drug references, either, but that's minor. If you bring your own mp3 player you get to keep the experience. I may play this for him, where his mind can travel to the Dupont where he used to live and work, eyes closed, safely on the space that is our couch.

Of course Shaw was considered obsolete

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shawborders
Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan
Credit:: National Capital Planning Commission
..and a slum, and the wickedest precinct and blighted. Not just in the 50s but in the 60s as well. The '68 riots did not help, unless you mean help as in burning down buildings and chasing out commercial interests.
Plans are always interesting. But my own experience with the records of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (NCPPC) is that some plans don't end up as they start for one reason or another. Georgetown Metropolitan notes that at the same time the NCPPC decided part of Georgetown was obsolete, Congress passed the Old Georgetown Act, which threw a wet blanket on any burning desires or plans to level large tracts in that neighborhood.
I really wished I had written down for reference or copied the bit of NCPC transcript about planners plans for the Southwest Urban Renewal project. The idea was it wasn't going to be just a place where people lived but a destination. Some of those ideas were a little out there on the very optimistic side and those plans of water taxi's and such never came to be. There were previous big plans for Marshall Heights around that time, as their problem was lack of indoor plumbing, but then again that area was a bit rural then, lacking city services like water.
Regarding Shaw there are reams of paper from the time it was part of the Northwest Urban Renewal project (that was scrapped) to the smaller Shaw School Urban Renewal Area, about how screwed up the housing was. There are block by block housing condition studies, a church census, commercial studies, more studies, a boat load of Washington Post articles and at least one graduate level dissertation.
Whatever zeitgeist that allowed for and funding the taking of a whole section of town by eminent domain, leveling it to the ground and rebuilding it in whatever utopian vision the planners had, was gone by the time the NCPC and other agencies were ready to take on other parts of the city. Mistakes had been made and lessons learned.
Lastly, I want to thank Ray 'o sunshine Milefsky for scanning the images that have prompted all this discussion on Greater Greater Washington and the Shaw Neighborhood Yahoo Group. And yes,  to quote you:
"The lessons of this story are many, but paramount is to never go along with the central planners who think they have your interests at heart.  They don't."

Fringe Festival Begins, get your button TODAY!

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I'm excited to check out banished?production's The Circle, one of the Fringe shows starting today.

Another thing about Fringe and Today is if you want a button, that allows you to buy tickets to the various shows, the price goes up tomorrow. Today they are $5, tomorrow they will be $7. I've been to just enough Fringe Festival shows to know the whole button thing confuses people and they get kinda mad and huffy when they want to get tickets to a show, at the show, and they don't have a button.

If you wanna see a Fringe Festival thing and buy tickets, you need the button thingy.

Schadenfreude

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Sometimes schadenfreude is the only consolation.

Today my goal will be trying to figure out why there hasn't been a stop work order issued for 1622 4th St NW.

Why?

We spent all of last night and the wee hours of today bailing out our basement with wet vacs. I am sore, sleepy, and pissed off.

1622 4th Street NW is a few houses away from mine, which is why I haven't been proactive with the stupid crap that demolition and make work like project that had been going on there. If I lived next to it, I would have blown a gasket over the dust, dirt, and endangerment to adjoining structures a few weeks ago. But I don't live next to it, I live down hill from it.

Water flows downhill. Ours is the first with an underground structure on our row. So when the idiots working on 1622 dug a trench for a foundation for an addition and left it uncovered, last night's rain poured into our house. Not just a little bit, but gallons upon gallons. Sump pump took care of some, wet vacs did the rest. I now have a better understanding how irrigation trenches work.

This morning our contractor came out and took a look at our damage. Then he looked over at 1622 too. He saw the trench which was still filled with water, and mentioned the portion running one way did divert water our way. He also noticed the huge pallet of concrete bags, which are now set concrete. That is my only consolation.

Weekly Thank You to InShaw Sponsor- Price Benowitz

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InShaw would like to thank Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

Truxton Stuff

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100_0505
Alley separating 100 and 200 of Q St NW
Credit: Mari Inshaw-M Maxwell

 There was a BACA meeting last night. I don't have my notes. But check the BACA (Bates Area Civic Association) blog, because Geovani said he'd put all sorts of things on it, like the voluntary argreement deal with Sunset Liquors and nomination committee info and such. Flower Power winners were announced. Some of those winners got gift certificates to DC buisnesses. Some of the winners were there.

I was at the BACA meeting to announce some progress of Truxton Circle.org after nearing the 30 day mark of the grant period. I realize I might have been too wordy and mubbly and not clear. Below I will try to be clear:

  • Do you live in Truxton Circle/ Bates/ Hanover (btwn N. Cap, NJ, NY, RI, and Fl Aves)?
  • Are you curious about who lived on your block or at your address before you?
  • Can you open an Excel file?

If you answered yes to the above go to www.truxtoncircle.org/find-your-square.html 

  • Find your block or square, click the highlighted text for your square 
  • On the page for your square click the highlighted text for an Excel file
  • Download the file
  • Open the file in MS Excel

Each year has a tab or sheet. Some blocks have tabs for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. Use the filter or use a search function to find your street. The files will let you know the name, age, race, occupation and homeownership status of the people who lived on the block before you.

If you cannot find your street or your street is completely missing after 1900, contact me. 

Lazy Garden Report

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Purslane avocado & sardine salad
This is stinky salad. I call it that because of the sardines and the extra helping of garlic in the dressing. The salad greens for it are purslane leaves from the garden. The sad garden that is sorta on it's own. I do try to remember to water it. But then I remember it is very hot outside and stay in.

The turnips, the arugula, the purslane, the parsley and some tomatoes reseeded themselves without much help from me. I let the arugula and turnip plants go to seed, or ignored them, whichever point of view you want to take, and chopped them down when they got tall and the yard started looking too weedy for my tastes. When I knocked them down, I did try to make sure their seed fell in particular spots. Purslane is a weed, I did nothing and it popped up on it's own.

This week I made the purslane salad you see there. I loved it, with the crunch the leaves give. I also thinned out the turnips by picking the greens and giving a nice big grocery bag of them to my aunt who is crazy about turnip greens. I also thinned out the arugula by wilting them in a pan for dinner. The arugula is no longer 'baby', at this point they are teenagers or young adult, sort of mature arugula. When I first sauted some I left the plant (oh yes, I pull out the whole plant by the root) together. But the older the plant the tougher the stems. Also I think I've thinned out the arugula enough by now.

Tomatoes right now, have flowers, but no fruit. My cucumber plant looks like it wants to die. The beans are doing nothing. The eggplant is not dying. The herbs are doing fine. That's the garden report.

Labor saving dryer

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Because of last week's regionwide experiment with not having electricity on of my co-workers dragged out the Lehman's catalog for non-electric devices after having to make coffee with a hammer. Her coffee grinder is electrical. And someone in Bloomingdale had suggestions of reducing the block's electrical load, all which got me thinking, particularly with the not using the dryer thing.

The dryer, the washer, and the dishwasher are wonderful labor saving devices, but they also use a good amount of juice, particularly the dryer. When I was growing up in Florida we had a clothes line and once a week or more my mother would drag heavy wet clothes out of the house and hang and secure them on the line. This is more work than I do, of throwing the clothes about a foot from the washer to the dryer. This takes about 5 minutes, with less bending that my mother did. Now most of the work is dragging the clothes from the upper floor downstairs, folding and sorting, and dragging them back up.

Another day, another power outage

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The dehumidifier clued us in first. It began beeping due to low power. When we turned on the cellar lights, they were very dim. Ah, a brownout. Then eventually, the whole below ground floor was without power while the 1st floor and the second floor lights were fine. It wasn't until later that I noticed somethings that the outlets for the second floor were on exceedingly low juice.
We ran an orange extension cord to the basement for essentials and were happy that we had ceiling fans. Oh yeah, the A/C also low juice. There was a low breeze coming from the vents. I figured it was best to turn that off and use the box, vent and ceiling fans to keep  cool.
Without A/C it got to about 83F. We normally keep it at 80F.
Then sometime in the night it went to black. No fans, no nothin'. I woke up because I was sweating like a pig. We were about to retreat to the cooler basement when the power came back on.
When it started that day, we did what we normally did, go outside where other neighbors were to compare notes. Like us, others had lost power in one part of the house and not others. Another thing, the meters were acting weird.
I understand the recent big power outage was hard for Pepco, but this is stupid. And disappointing.

NOT RELATED- Field to City will be closed today Sat. July 7th due to staff shortage. They'll be open Sunday 10AM-7PM

Post 4th Missy Laney Us

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1880-1930 Census is up- Go find your TC block, unless you're on square 501E or 521. It seems 1930 and 1910 are the years for blocks to go missing. Data exists. For some blocks where there were years missing because no one lived there (as far as the US government and whoever was wandering the streets enumerating were concerned), I put what I had up. Also as soon as I put something up I notice something wrong. On square 507, which is bounded by Florida, Rhode Island, 4th, R and New Jersey, all the roads except Florida are missing. Also another thing I noticed, and why it took so long, MS Excel hates macs, if you want to copy and paste. I switched over to the Help's clunker of a PC and doing it on one of the world's slowest computers is way faster. Anyway, if you, my fellow Truxton Circle resident find large swathes of streets missing (seriously after 1900 almost every block- every street, that is populated now, was populated then) contact me @ mari at inshaw dot com.

Something about Shaw banners- At the SMD ANC 2C meeting, July 11th, at the Shaw Library, there is a proposal, or at least a request for support to get some banners up and down 7th and 9th St. I wonder if, for 9th St, this may lead to sign overload with the historic Shaw signs and what not.

Free Fringe Festival Preview, Friday- It's Friday, Friday, Friday. And still scheduled to be hot (sorry memories of last year of the sweat trailing down my back remain). Location is 607 New York Ave NW, Fort Fringe, Tent. Time- Friday July 6th at 8pm.

banished?productions- Friends of the blog banished?, have a new production/experience called The Circle , as part of the Fringe Festival. No food, this is about sound.

DC Bocce Ball- I don't know nothin' about no bocce. But I got a flier and I'm in a charitable mood. Scanning, I see something about registration closing on Friday 9th and $65 registration fee. If interested visit www.dcbocce.com .

Kitchen Sink-Georgetown in the 1950s, by the Alter Ego.

A Thank You to My Sponsor- Price Benowitz

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InShaw would like to thank Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

Post blackout and storm trash

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Before I get to the DPW press release about spoiled food, I want to share a thought that had been bugging me. There are billions of people in the world who do not have refrigeration and manage to eat yogurt, eggs, and cheese, things that the rules say you toss after your fridge has been down for so many hours. Also living, though very briefly, abroad in Western Europe, I remember things like eggs not being refrigerated and many homes having under the counter refrigerators, because so few things were kept cold.

 

Anyway, if you've got spoiled food, or tree branches from the storm here's the heads up from DPW:

DPW Collecting Spoiled Food At Selected Schools, Mon/Tues; Continues To Remove Storm Debris, Through July 7

The DC Department of Public Works announced today that in addition to conducting its regular trash and recycling collections from residences with Monday or Tuesday collections, employees will be located at the following schools today and tomorrow (Mon/Tues), 3 pm to 7 pm, to collect spoiled food from residents who do not want to wait until their normal collection later in the week.

* LaSalle - Backus Elementary -501 Riggs Road, NE
* McKinley Tech - 151 T Street, NE
* Key Elementary - 5001 Dana Place, NW
* Wilson High School - 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW
* Ferebee-Hope Elementary - 3999 8th Street, SE
* Garfield Elementary - 2435 Alabama Avenue, SE

Trucks will be positioned at each site to receive spoiled food only. Another option available to residents is bringing their spoiled food to the Ft. Totten Transfer Station, 4900 John F. McCormack, Road, NE, 1 pm-7 pm* Monday and Tuesday. Ft. Totten will be closed Wednesday, July 4 for the holiday and reopens Thursday.

DPW will continue to remove storm debris from residential areas through Saturday, July 7. Residents are asked to do the following:

1. If hiring a tree specialist or landscaping company to cut up fallen trees and limbs, please have your contractor remove all the debris, limbs and branches.

2. From July 1-July 7 only, the Department of Public Works will remove from the treebox space(s) in front of residents' homes, branches that are cut into 4' lengths and tied into bundles no more than 2' in diameter. These items can be placed where the residents' trash is collected or they may bring them to the Ft. Totten Transfer Station, 4900 John F. McCormack Road, NE, weekdays (except July 4th, Independence Day) between 1 pm and 5 pm, or Saturday, July 7, between 8 am and 3 pm. Directions to Ft. Totten: Travel east on Irving Street, NW, turn left on Michigan Avenue, turn left on John F. McCormack Road, NE and continue to the end of the street.

3. Please place debris, bagged or loose, in the treebox space, not the gutter or street so the gutters can remain clear and crews can run mechanical sweepers along the curb lanes and gutters. Also, DPW asks residents to resist putting the debris in the street to help prevent flooding in case of rain before the debris is collected. Do not include rocks, stones or concrete.

*Ft. Totten's normal hours are 1 pm - 5 pm; however, they are being extended until 7pm on Monday and Tuesday this week. 

Hot Monday Misc

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Musicians in the house

Powerful Art- Because we got power back on our block, our neighborly art show went on as scheduled. We have three artists (with nonarty day jobs) and a pair of musicians (pictured) all on one block. That's enough for an art show. Another neighbor submitted photographs and showed an artsy film on a blank wall. The music was transmitted from a back room to several little transitor radios throughout the house. If we had a little battery operated radio we could take it with us as we looked at the art that was in every room (incl bathrooms) of the house.

A little battery operated radio would have been nice for the blackout too. I kept up with what was going on by going on the web with the smartphone. But I would have preferred something that would have kept me informed without using my phone's battery power.

Please think of the dogs- For the love of whatever you hold dear, please, please, please don't leave your pets in your car even with the windows half down. The Help went to church Sunday in Maryland and afterwards went to the nearby Best Buy. There in the parking lot he observed a dog in a car. He stayed by the car and gave the dog some water from his own water bottle, placing the wide cap upside down and letting the animal drink. When the female owner returned she was apologetic and explained she had no power and was staying with a relative. Still a car gets horribly hot even with all the windows way down. The Help learned this when he was cleaning the inside of our car with a door open and all the windows down, he was sweating like a pig.

Be cool- It's gonna be hot. So stay cool. Go to work (the Dept of Fight Club is downright frigid), or crash at a friend or relative's place. If you belong to a faith based institution, check and see if they a) have power and b) are letting members cool off there. The Help's church has a building that is a large flexible space (no fixed pews) and have opened it to members to sleep or recharge. There are some DC churches that have volunteered to be cooling stations for nonmembers. They are New Bethel Baptist Church at 1739 Ninth Street NW; Trinity Lutheran Church 501 4th Street NW; and Capitol Hill United Methodist Church 421 Seward Square SE. Many libraries that have power are also decent cooling stations, anyway, DC.Gov has a map of cooling stations here.

Tree down

If you have power, check in on friends and if they don't, offer up your place to crash or just to cool off or power up cellphones. Or if you have space in your fridge or freezer, offer to keep some perishables. Our plan if the power did not come on after a certain amount of time, was to cart our little freezer over to someone else's house and plug it in there. Good thing our power did come on, because all the someone elses lost power.

Report downed trees.

Post-Blackout Review

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Well, I've got back my Internet. Which we didn't have because when the power got knocked out it seemed to take some land line phones with it. No land line, apparently, no internet for us. We lost power before the storm and the blackout lasted 12 hours at most. So after we got our power back and took nice warm showers we did a little review. The Help thought it would be good to share:
What went right
First we wanted to see what went well under the circumstances.
  • We had flashlights, enough to even lend to a neighbor
  • We knew where the flashlights were
  • Our cell phones were charged
  • Not too many things in the fridge to go bad (uncooked veggies, no leftovers)
  • Full freezers (full freezer ok for 24 hours)
  • Gas cook top
  • Cool and sorta clean cellar to sleep in. Temp in basement was 73F.
  • Mattress top to take down to cellar and sleep on
  • Stupid Tree of Heaven in alley did not fall on anyone's house
  • Car gas tank 1/2 full
  • It didn't rain that much
  • Wet/dry vac (when electricity came back on) to suck up water that seeped in to cellar
What could have been better?
  • Portable battery pack for a fan and sump pump
  • Portable wind-up radio
What do we need to do/get for the next outage (these things happen 1x a year)?
  • Get a portable battery pack and radio
  • Battery back up for sump pump
  • Better wet dry vac (or get some attachments for the one we have)
  • Get an air mattress. Mattress top left me achy in the morning.
  • More matches
  • Improve our list for emergency contacts with cell and land lines