Sunday, September 28, 2008
This will be the last post on this blog. While the blog has been a fun little experiment, it's gotten to be pretty overwhelming in the last few weeks. I have a newfound respect for people who do topic-specific blogs and actually update them regularly (like Richard Layman over at urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com).
I imagine no one will be writing blogs in ten years, but I plan on doing something similar for my 40th birthday. Until then, keep in touch!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Appetizer: baguette with HOMEMADE mozzarella cheese. Amazing. She actually made cheese from scratch.
Salad: greens with cherries, shallots, and walnuts with a red-wine vinegar dressing.
Entree: veal saltimbocca (I've never had this before, but it was incredible) and mashed potatoes made with chervil and celery root.
Dessert: seared pears with a rose wine reduction sauce, on vanilla ice cream.
This means I'll have to take it to the next level when February comes around. Home-distilled vodka for cocktails? An assortment of breads and puff pastries? Homemade sausages? I really don't know what I could do to top homemade cheese. Unbelievable. Maybe I'll just throw in the towel and cook half-smokes.
It's looking like there's a chance of rain for the party tomorrow, which would keep us inside or on the front porch. Oh, well, that just means we'll be doing more dancing!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Currently I'm a little bit like those kids in Disney World commercials who can't sleep because they're too excited. Also, I can't sleep because I'm old and have a bad neck and can't get adjusted to my pillow.
Actually, truth be told, I'm entirely ambivalent about turning 30. I think that writing a blog for two months about a relatively innocuous event has made me numb. (Maybe I wouldn't have been so upset when my cat Sam got hit by a car when I was five if I had written a blog about that?)
BUT, I am excited about all of my friends meeting each other! I'll go ahead and mention a few universally-acceptable conversation topics that should help people get to know each other:
1. How tragic and sad it is that Richard started losing his hair at 16.
2. The Super Bowl-bound Washington Redskins.
3. Ol' Dirty Bastard.
4. The fact that Warren Buffett now has a guaranteed income of $500million a year for the rest of his life, but Richard is unemployed.
5. The L'Enfant Plan.
6. Danny Pate: Great, or the Greatest?
See everyone on Saturday!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
1. Lance Armstrong. Seriously, just go away.
2. Jessica Simpson. Okay, you can come...IF YOU PUT OUT ANOTHER SONG EVER!
3. Tony Stewart. You know, there was a time when you would've been welcome, but then you got that insane affectation of a fight-starter and now it's just dumb.
4. Bill Clinton. Oh, man, don't get me started.
5. Levi Leipheimer. No offense, but I just don't think you'll add much fun to the party.
6. Anyone from that new reality show about DC. Please. This is for real. Don't come. Even Fuggles doesn't like you.
7. Bill Kristol. This is mostly for your own good, Bill. Every time I see you on TV all I can think about is how you're one of the few people who I could whip in a fight, and I just don't want to be tempted.
8. Amanda Palin. Obviously, you like to party, but I don't think having 17-year-olds at the party is a good idea.
That's the whole list. For everyone else, see you on Saturday!
Monday, September 22, 2008
First, there are two Metro stops near our house. Petworth is slightly closer than Columbia Heights, but I think the walk from Columbia Heights is a little nicer. Just exit using the escalators on the right (after the fare gates) and keep going straight up 14th at the top of the escalator. We're a 10 or 15 minute walk north on 14th.
Second, there are some buses that get you VERY close to our house. The 50-series (50, 51, 52, 53, and 54) come straight up 14th St. from McPherson Square and stop at Shepherd St, 40 meters from our house (which, if you're an NFL player, should be covered in a greatly exaggerated time, like 3.9 seconds). Sometimes, though, we use the S-series (S1, S2, and S4) on 16th Street. These tend to move a little faster, but you have to exit at Shepherd St. and then walk about a block through the Park, crossing Piney Branch Parkway. This is all very clear if you look at this overhead map:
View Larger Map
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
1. We wrote a letter to Old English, asking them to bring back the 64-ounce bottles. Jack even drew pictures of us in the letter. Unfortunately, we never got around to mailing it and hopefully someone threw it away at some point.
2. Sunday, Bloody Mary Sunday! The whole house went to the Marx Cafe for brunch and Bloody Mary's.
3. Daytona 500! No telling who won (I guess this was 2002, so we could probably figure that out), but we had a great time cheering on Jeremy Mayfield. At some point, Nora's parents came by, which was a little weird.
4. Nap time!
5. Happy birthday, Greg! Housemate Greg had a birthday party that night, so of course we invited lots of folks over.
7. Dancing! Greg DJ'ed his own party, leading to much dancing and good times.
Luckily, we didn't have to go to work the next day because of some sort of holiday, so we stayed up 'til all sorts of hours. Every now and then I get a text from Jack wishing me a happy anniversary of Best Day Ever! (Jack also has a blog, although I'm not really sure what it's about. There are some pictures of him getting ready for a job interview, if you follow the link on the right.)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
First, take the Metro to Columbia Heights. (Note for out-of-towners: DC's Metro is just like New York's subway, only it rarely takes you exactly where you want to go in an efficient manner, and you're less likely to get mugged on DC's system.) Exit the escalator on the left after the faregates and walk a few feet forward to Commonwealth Gastropub. Great cask-conditioned ales AND there are some jauntily-placed engineering supports that interrupt the space in a really delightful way.
Second, leave Commonwealth, turn right out of the door, go down Irving to 13th, turn left, turn right on Kenyon, and a block later you'll be at Wonderland Ballroom. Wonderland's pretty cool, but I have to imagine your visit would've been a lot more epic back when it was Knob Hill, the oldest African-American gay cabaret in the country. These days you'll just have a Bell's Two-Hearted IPA and sit next to a bike messenger.
Third, leave Wonderland, turn left on 11th, and a block later cross the street to Red Rocks pizza. This is in an old rowhouse and they've used the space very nicely. Solid selection of bottled beers, although we tend to prefer the wine list here. Order a pizza. Leave out the front door. Continue up 11th.
Fourth, somewhere up north of Red Rocks you're going to hit New Hampshire (I think). Turn right, then another right, then you'll hit Georgia Ave. Turn left and after you pass The House (which advertises two things on their billboard: girls and Redskins games on TV), start looking for the Looking Glass Lounge on your left. When you find it, order a Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky!
Fifth, turn left out of the door, turn left on New Hampshire, turn right on Spring, turn right on 14th, and then stop at the Red Derby on your left. This place ONLY has beer in cans, so you can either go with the awesome Dale's Pale Ale, or something that costs a very fair $2. Say Hi to the owners and invite everyone over to 1416 Shepherd St. for the party!
Turn left out of the front door, go two blocks to Shepherd St., turn left, and we're the first house with a red door on the left!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This reminds me of when Katherine and I got married. The first thing Monsignor Jameson said at the rehearsal was, "Okay, when are we all going to get here? 2pm, 30 minutes before the ceremony." It was good to know that we were dealing with someone who ran a tight ship. (Related note: I took the bus to the wedding, in my tuxedo, and weirdly got there extremely fast, so I was early.)
I like things to start at the appointed time, which is why we'll be tapping the keg, starting the iPod, and making delightful conversation starting at 8pm on September 27th, not 9:30 or 10. Of course, you can show up whenever you want, but we'll be ready to go at 8.
Why 8? Well, it's really a compromise. I, like all senior citizens, like to start stuff at 4 in the afternoon, but Katherine suggested waiting a little bit, so that I don't eat all the chips before anyone else shows up. It's a good point, so we settled on 8.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The list is as follows:
1. A blunderbuss.
Note that if your gun is not on this list, Fuggles will probably get all weirded out that you're actually bringing a GUN to a KEG PARTY and Katherine will make me ask you to leave. To clear up any confusion, unless your gun looks like this one, don't bring it.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I placed an order last week for a full keg (that's a 1/2 barrel, or 15.5 gallons, or roughly 162 pounds of beer) of delicious Hopback Amber Ale from Troeg's Brewing Company. As I'll surely tell people a gazillion times at the party, this was my introduction to Troeg's, which has since become one of my favorite breweries. At 6% ABV and a slightly sweet maltiness balanced with EXTREMELY grassy hops, this is just about the perfect session beer. It's not really great for keg stands, but I certainly won't discourage any girls from doing one.
Also of note, We Are Scientists (or, as I call them, We Are Pussies) have a new single out today or tomorrow or something, depending on the international date line and daylight savings time. Unfortunately, I think it's priced in pounds or euros, which means that it'll probably cost as much in dollars as the rest of my record collection combined. Perhaps I should just sell all my Demon System 13 records to pay for it. Does anyone know how much the first Life's Halt 7" goes for on eBay these days? More than I paid for it? What about the Charles Bronson discography DC WITH THE ORIGINAL ARTWORK?!?!?!?!!!
Or, maybe, just maybe, Katherine will cough up the money to buy the We Are Scientists single and we can turn the birthday party into a listening party, complete with a trophy for the best heckle.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
There was a serious threat that the 'Skins wouldn't win a game before my 30th birthday. At this point, they'll probably be 1-3 on September 27th, then lose another game on the 28th to drop to 1-4. Thankfully, future hall-of-famer Jason Campbell saved the day and we can all be happy that they're not off to another 0-5 start...
Addendum: solid game from Laron Landry, number 48 (some rookie, whoever that is), and Santana Moss.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Turning 30 is mostly a pleasant experience, especially since 30 doesn't seem especially old to a 29 year old. But, there is something jarring to the fact that I've been around for just short of 30 years and really don't remember very much of it. For instance, what did I do on my 14th birthday? Anything? Is there any way to know? I'm sure I went out to eat with my dad (a family tradition), but I certainly can't remember where we went, much less what we talked about.
Then, I think about all those people who must've been at my 7th birthday party. Who were they? And, what happened to them? It's amazing that I've met so many hundreds, even thousands, of people who I've enjoyed, people who have touched my life in some not-insignificant way, and I have no idea who they are.
Of the people I do remember, I'm shocked that so many of them have disappeared. Brett? Blair? Of course, in the age of Facebook, I suppose I could try to look these folks up, but I don't have a Facebook account (and I'm a student, so it's even more likely that I would have one than them). Even then, there must be several hundred people named "John Owens" out there, so I'm sure I'd never find the right guy.
And it's not just people from long ago! Friends from college have fallen off the face of the earth, which can only mean that people say the same thing about me: "Where did Richard go?"
Hopefully someone will find these people and tell them about my birthday party. Perhaps that dog from the end of Pynchon's Mason and Dixon is on his way to my house right now, sending me word from someone, so that I won't have to wonder anymore...
Friday, September 12, 2008
For those of you who haven't followed my brief, and unremarkable, cycling career, you'll also be interested to learn that Poolesville is the scene of my greatest cycling exploits, including 3rd in the Poolesville High School Road Race (after a race-long breakaway), a disappointing 8th at the Michael P. Murad Memorial Road Race (due to some weird miscommunication, after a race-long breakaway), leading Brucetravis to second in the PHSRR another year, and leading Brucetravis to victory in the MABRA Road Race Championships. Great roads in that area, if you ever get a chance to ride out there.
Also, here's a picture of me in a breakaway in the PHSRR. Note that this is from my younger, softer years when I wore gloves. Weak. Somewhere there's a good picture of me with bare hands that looks much more awesome.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
10 hours ago
WELLINGTON , New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand 's national airline is offering to pay bald travelers to use their heads — literally — in a new advertising campaign.
Air New Zealand said it wants 70 recruits to stand in lines in three airports — while wearing temporary tattoos on the back of their heads so the displays can be seen by people lining up behind them.
The airline would pay 1,000 New Zealand dollars ($660) for each walking billboard, a company official said.
The tattoos will promote a new system that is meant to reduce check-in waiting times.
Air New Zealand marketing manager Steve Bayliss described the campaign as "a bit of fun."
"It's a ... tattoo on the back of someone's head, so they have to have their head shaved or be bald already," he told National Radio on Wednesday. "It will be an advantage for them to be bald already."
The tattoos would fade or wash off after about two weeks, he said.
Bayliss added that he won't be part of the program since he was "doing OK" in the hair department.
Best of all, since I'll be 30, this isn't a decision I'll regret when I get old, since I'm already old.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Let's see, some keys to a good September backyard party:
keg of Pilsner Urquell - check
spicy all-beef half-smokes on the grill - check
sitting at the picnic table talking about the Redskins - check
We Are Scientists on the iPod - check
our neighbor Ian drinking a whole bottle of lemonade - check
out-of-town guests - check
MBA students - missed that one
I can't really think of anything that would've improved last year's party, except for having more people there. So, this year we'll be making a special effort to get a huge amount of MBA classmates to the party. (Note to MBA students: the NPV of this party is infinite!)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Actually, I was just talking with classmate Tom who asked if I had been riding. I told him that I was hoping my residual fitness would last for a few more years, so I could still hang on to a ride if I ever got talked into going out. His response, "Yeah, right, and the skin on my face keeps getting tighter and I keep getting more hair." Shoot. Maybe I could dress up like an old guy if I ever go out with the Georgetown team: steel frame, ill-fitting Discovery jersey, black shorts, and talking about cycling back before there was a Category 5. Then they'll feel sorry for the old man.
Monday, September 8, 2008
As anyone who was at the Wasmund's tasting at our house last spring can tell you, this is going to be fun. Best of all, it's impossible to not know where the party is when the Magical Mystery Whisky Wagon is parked out front!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
It sounds like he had a pretty standard time, what with having lots of friends and his parents at a bar. Yep, his parents. Is this a good idea? Should I even tell my parents I'm having a party? I doubt it. This sounds like an awful idea.
Also, at the risk of "live-blogging" the VMA's, can I mention that this is the absolute worst show I've ever seen on TV? This is worse than the Winter Olympics, worse than any Brian Dennehy movie on Lifetime, possibly even worse than "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee." Oh, wow, this is awful.
This is very awkward. I always wondered when people like Fabolous would cede the stage to people like T-Pain. Actually, no, I never wondered that, but it's apparently happened.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Katherine and I are focusing on some other entertainment ideas right now. We talked to Fuggles about learning some tricks, but she stuck out her claws and jumped out of my arms, so I don't think she's interested. But, we ARE going to have an all go-go dance hour at some point! Look for this on the official party agenda (due out sometime around 9pm on September 27th, realistically) and get ready to dance to some Chuck Brown, TCB, Backyard Band, Junkyard Band, EU (added for Rouzbeh), and more! Also, we're going to have a good representation of DC music for the rest of the night. Of course, there will be some standards (Fugazi, Teen Idles, whatever), but we'll also have some non-pop stuff (John Philip Sousa, Duke Ellington, that female opera singer who's famous). Should be a good time! Put your requests in the comments section.
Oh, since this isn't a Redskins blog, I'll keep the game commentary to this: this might be the worst 'Skins team of the Dan Snyder era.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Highlights of Banks' career in Washington:
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Violets are blue,
I may be old as dirt now,
But someday you will be, too.
There once was a man turning thirty,
Who told his wife not to worry,
Although he was bald,
He was still skinny and tall,
But she still just thought he was nerdy.
All people get old
Some people age gracefully
Richard was born old
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Actually, I think he recently attended the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Lowe's Motor Speedway. That's weird, because I went to the track with him a few years ago for an event where we got to drive his car around the track. Afterwards, his wife chided him and told him he was "too old" for that. It's good to at least see that you never get too old to not listen to your wife!
Also, Katherine's playing with the cat as I write this and just called her "Richard." It's all downhill from here, I imagine.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Also, they were surprised to hear that I have yet to earn a single dollar for writing this blog.
Back to the invitation thing: I'm going to be posting an elaborate map pretty soon with directions to my house from various non-DC locations. This is just to make it more difficult for folks from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and what have you to make any excuses. If you ask nicely, I could probably also get someone to write a medical excuse so you could miss a day of work or get a cheap "family emergence" airfare.
For lodging, there's a very quaint looking hourly-rate "guest house" down the street. If you're looking for something a little fancier, you could probably pitch a tent in our neighbor's front yard. Or, you could try to fight Fuggles for the guest bed, although we haven't trimmed her claws in a while and she might fight back.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sadly, lots of other successful bloggers have taken the easy route and done a general interest, personal diary, type of blog with one lousy post about turning 3o. Weak. As far as I can tell, no one else has taken the initiative to write a daily blog for two whole months about their 30th birthday party! I can't imagine why.
Even worse, everyone else is completely humorless about aging. It seems that most people stay at home and cry, instead of embracing their new oldness in public with a fun party. Keg? Nope. Standup comic? Nope. Stories about other birthdays? Nope. Melancholy recollections? Some. Self-deprecating anecdotes? Nope. In short, this is the only blog where you can read about every single thing related to turning 30! Unfortunately, it turns out that there's not really 60 posts of solid material out there for me to write about, so you get bad ones like this.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It's not unlike my 26th birthday, when Katherine and I made a similar trip. We drove out to Sperryville and checked out the now-closed Cooter's Garage, a wild tourist trap of Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia. In the age of Urban Outfitters and ironic t-shirts and kidults, I was glad to see some shirts with honest-to-goshness Confederate flags on the roof of the General Lee. Then we drove up the mountains and headed along Skyline Drive for a few miles, checking out the Shenandoah Valley scenery. Dropping down into Front Royal at the end of the Shenandoah National Park, it was off to Markham (I think) to pick some apples. Very nice, although September 27th tends to be a little late in the season around here.
Why doesn't everyone go to the country for their birthday?!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
For some reason, The Wasmund told our new friend (whose name is Neil) how old he is and Neil asked if I was the same age. Now, I won't tell you how old RW is (hint: between 48 and 50, but not 48.5 or 49.5), but it's jarringly older than me. RW told him I was just a spring chicken, which isn't entirely true, but is relatively accurate considering the circumstances.
Finally, I told Neil I was 29 (after he initially guessed 40, then 35 after my visible dismay). He said, "Oh, you look older because you've lost your hair. But, you've still got a young bod!" It's true, he told me I had a "young bod" and that I'm "in great shape." I guess it's too bad that people don't judge age by body-type more often, so that those flabby dudes in college would be mistaken for 40-year-olds, instead of us bald dudes.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Katherine and I spent last night reviewing people at http://www.dcstandup.com/. The criteria for asking someone to perform at the party are:
1. A good headshot. These two folks were in the lead.
I think that's Paula Dellert on top and Christ White below. Very good headshots.
2. The person has to have a website that actually works and doesn't take forever to use.
3. They can't be already booked on September 27th.
Unfortunately, no one really met all the criteria, but I think we're on the right track. Does anyone know someone who's killed at a few open mics and wants to get some more experience?
Oh, everyone should also google Larry Poon. He's pretty funny, if your tastes are more in the Neil Hamburger line of things. Apparently he's on a "Poonified" tour of Europe during my birthday, although that might be a joke on his website.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Yeah, people assume I have kids.
I had one class today and have three tomorrow. Today was mostly about making small talk to find out what people did for the summer. So far I think I've talked to one person whose job was anywhere near as interesting as mine, but I can't tell you what he did because it's top secret information at the company. Zing! My job's not top secret, though: I learned everything I could about Copper Fox Distillery and tried to sell more Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky than I drank. An amazing experience and I wish everyone could spend a summer doing exactly what they wanted.
In other news, today is Brucetravis's birthday (speaking of other people who are Built to Slaughter). He's 33 and celebrated by sending me a list of hundreds of words that start with "th". No, "thenerd" and "theloser" and "thefattestcyclistinthemidatlantic" didn't make the list, even though they're appropriate to for the birthday boy. Happy birthday!
(In case you've never met Brucetravis, here's a picture of him with his twin brother.)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
1. Mary noted that she and Katherine could easily pass for being younger than they are. In fact, she said, "We could all pass for younger than our age!" This was news to me, as no one has ever believed me to be anything less than five years older than my real age. Mary apologized for her mistake.
2. Everyone agreed that at some point you have to start cutting your hair short to be an adult, but no one really knows what that age is. I suggested 16, since that's when I started losing mine, which garnered much sympathy.
Not much else to report on the birthday party front. We're bottling the IPA tonight and moving the Oktoberfest to secondary. Will hopefully report on initial tastings later on!