Molt Be Blog

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wig Wednesday Rules!

This evening was my first experience at wine and wig Wednesday at L'Enfant cafe and I can't say enough good things about the experience. Not only did I get to reuse my wig from the idiotarod, I got half-price wine and French cuisine to boot. I love going to restaurants and having more and more people show up to join the table as the night progresses.

After a couple of hours, nick and I headed to the Rock N Roll Hotel to catch Dirty Projectors opening for Hella. Dirty Projectors: Fantastic. Hella: Experimental Math Rock = Noise. Definitely worth the trip.

The band that opened for Dirty Projectors (whose name I never caught) was a good mix of math-rock and melody (with some sounds like viva voce when they actually played music). One of their songs had the best name ever: "Wizard Certificate". I immediately decided that all future songs should have the same name and then a number after them. The next song I write (OK. The first one.) will be called "Wizard Certificate 2,812."

On the subject of music, the time period between SXSW and Coachella leaves a huge amount of bands touring around the country and we're lucky enough to have a lot of them coming to DC:
Thursday, March 29th. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at the 930 club
Sunday April 1st. Do Make Say Think at the Black Cat
Thursday, April 5th. Iggy and the Stooges at the 930 club
Saturday, April 7th. Anti-Flag at the 930 club
Sunday, April 8th. Lily Allen at the 930 club
Tuesday, April 10th. Trans Am at the Black Cat
Friday, April 13th. Junior Boys at the Black Cat
Monday, April 16th. Le Loup at DC9
Tuesday, April 17th. The Books at the 930 club
Tuesday, April 17th late show. Ratatat at the 930 club
Wednesday, April 18th and Thursday April 19th. TV on the Radio at the 930 club
Saturday, April 21st. Hot Chip at the 930 club
Thursday, April 26th. The Frames at the 930 club
Sunday, April 29th. Deerhunter at the RNR hotel
Monday, April 30th. Peter, Bjorn and John WITH Fujiya & Miyagi at the 930 club (THIS IS A MUST)
Friday, May 11th. The Album Leaf at RNR - Soundtrack rock. Minimal vocals and great music.
Saturday, May 12th Dr Dog at RNR - Acoustic guitar rock with sappy lyrics. I'm a sucker for it. Definitely check them out.
Sunday, May 13th. Sloan at the Black Cat
Wednesday, May 16th. Frog Eyes at RNR - The guy from Wolf Parade, Spencer Krug, yells a bunch and makes some awesome semi-experimental music.
Saturday, June 9th. Califone at RNR
Saturday, June 9th. The Sea and Cake at the Black Cat
Wednesday, June 13th. Voxtrot at the Black Cat

You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son - Wolf Parade
Spider's House - Califone
Time Destroys Its Plan At The Reactionary Table - Frog Eyes


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A quick note. The picture on the left comes from my friend Mike's plog. He is awesome.

I'm too busy trying not to look like a slacker at the new gig to read the news there, so am trying to use the mornings to catch up. Today's stories that caught my eye in the Washington Post or my RSS feeds:

Eco-Friendly Era Has Arrived in Md.
Looks like MD is coming around and realizing that a water full of dish soap makes the crabs less tasty. And when crabs don't taste good, football isn't as enjoyable. And that's what Maryland does. It's unfortunate that environmental regulations have to wait for the market to think it's a good idea, but who knows: they'd probably fail in a few months if the market wasn't behind them, right?
The Maryland General Assembly has passed eco-friendly legislation on everything from climate change to dish soap to oysters. The governor has resolved to treat pollution like street crime, calling his subordinates on the carpet to quiz them about why dirty streams haven't been cleaned up. The attorney general is searching the state for ecological crimes.

Things suddenly feel different around the State House, where environmental advocates and their frequent opponents -- watermen, farmers, developers -- have battled in the past to so many stalemates. That old balance seems to be tipping, thanks to new concerns about climate change, an impending deadline for the Chesapeake Bay, and a political marriage between farmers and environmentalists.

Britain releases evidence in Iran dispute
This isn't good. Evidence that Iran went into Iraq to capture British soldiers is not going to help stop the upcoming US vs. Iran war that Bush and the hawks seem so set upon. Just when I thought the administration would go down in a ball of ethics violations and lies, Britain goes and takes over the hawking. In addition, the US is also performing massive exercise maneuvers off the coast of Iran to show off its (our?) force. This is also not a good sign. Since when does Iran seem to care how powerful the US is? They've always gone ahead and done whatever they want anyway. I hardly think that launching a few dozen planes off an aircraft carrier is going to get them to start behaving.
Britain today released maps and evidence that officials said showed the 15 UK service personnel captured by Iran last week had been 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi territorial waters.
Vice Admiral Charles Style, presenting the information at the Ministry of Defence in London, said the Royal Navy personnel were "ambushed" by the Iranian navy while "well inside" Iraqi waters.
Speaking soon afterwards, Tony Blair said it was time to "ratchet up the international and diplomatic pressure" on Iran and demonstrate Tehran's "total isolation" on the issue.

Other quick items:
Germany introduces Merck's HPV vaccine, which was rushed through the FDA process and attempted to be required in Texas, but then rejected by their state legislature.

And Iraq is still a mess.

Off to work!


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh man, these a$!holes are all going down

Gonzalez and Co. are sitting right near the fan as it's being hit by the sh*t and I couldn't be happier to see them get their comeuppance for years of back-room politics and misuse of public funds (honestly, I don't want my taxes being spent so that these pricks can place their friends in high places). What a bunch of clowns. And now this:

Aide to Gonzales Won't Testify
Counselor Cites Fifth Amendment Right in Refusal
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's senior counselor yesterday refused to testify in the Senate about her involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Monica M. Goodling, who has taken an indefinite leave of absence, said in a sworn affidavit to the Senate Judiciary Committee that she will "decline to answer any and all questions" about the firings because she faces "a perilous environment in which to testify."

The trouble with the fifth amendment is that it makes you sound guilty right off the bat because most people think of the part that says no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". But there's more to the fifth than this: it also covers the idea that "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury..." (wiki entry). The American people, if they listen, aren't going to take well to their elected officials using the fifth amendment. Goodling is trying to pass the Judiciary committee off as a politically charged forum, which it is. But then, is there something that she feels she would say in a politically charged forum that she wouldn't say in one that was less so?

Either way, things don't look good for Goodling. I don't doubt that a Grand Jury would easily indict her and then she'd have to either testify or go to prison. Talk about making sacrifices for your boss. I wonder if she'll be the scapegoat for Rove on this one like Scooter was for the whole Plame-gate. Rove must owe a lot of people for all the ass-saving he gets.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Hey All You Music Fans

Last week I started using one of the greatest firefox plug-ins and I've finally decided that it's blog-worthy. This is actually a greasemonkey script that puts a little playicon next to the links for any mp3s on a page. You click the icon and the mp3 starts playing. The play icon turns into a stop and you can stop whenever. Starting to play another mp3 with its icon will also stop play. This is freaking fantastic for sampling free mp3s from sites before downloading them.
Semi-excited? Here's how to get started:
[0] Use Firefox. If you're not already, stop reading my blog and go get it, then come back.
[1] Download Greasemonkey. Let it install and click the Restart Firefox link that should pop up. It should lead you back here. If it doesn't, my page is probably already your home page, so just click the thing that looks like a house.
[2] Download the Google mp3 Greasemonkey script and install it.
[3] Go to your favorite site that tends to have free mp3s. If you don't have a favorite site, check out the music blog aggregator, which links to a bagillion different music blogs and lets you know which ones have mp3s.
[4] Look for mp3s that are linked to and press your new little green arrow.

Sometimes the icons don't show up, but when they do, it makes for easy previewing.

To see more Greasemonkey scripts, check out this list of 20 must see greasemonkey add-ons.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another picture of a building in my neighborhood. Sorry.

Some morning shadows on the second day of spring
Snapped this on on the way to work last week. I saw a really nerdy looking guy walking ahead of me and was dead sure that he would probably end up walking into my office. He did.
I'm trying to be good about not reading personal email, news and blogs at the new job, so haven't had much time to see new things and comment on them. CFab is in Egypt right now and has been giving some really good blog while she's there. My dad actually just got back from Cairo on Sunday after he was there for a week looking at a new university they're building. His description of the air quality there started to remind me a lot of India (speaking of which, I've really been meaning to finish that third blog entry that I never got around to... maybe tomorrow).
I'm still debating leaving the house tonight. We shall see. Enjoy the picture.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Second Week = Easy; Condo = Pain in the A!#

Sky on the First Day of Spring (adjusted)

Halfway into my second week at the new job and things are going well. I had a client meeting this morning to explain the company CMS and then spent the rest of the day working on a huge web form for another project (the majority of the time spent writing a nifty module to create a series of radio buttons from a database. Enough nerd talk.
FOV Experiment #2

My efforts to take a picture every day on my way to/from work have proved futile, but on the way home I played around with the camera a bit and think that I'm finally getting the hang of some of its manual settings. For a point and shoot, it has a lot of capabilities (like manual focus, flash, aperture, etc.). I don't fancy myself any kind of good photographer, but it's still fun to play with. One has to consider that almost 70% of the country lists photography amongst its hobbies... so there are probably 1,000 pictures of every picture that I take already out there. Just check flickr.

The only other thing happening around here besides work is some standard condo association turmoil. I'll see if I can summarize it all in ninety-nine words or less:
ON October 17th 2006, washer of current stackable starts making horrible noise. Repair man says that bearing are shot, $700 to fix. Condo has meeting and, after much communication on the message board and answering of questions about fitting new stackable, connecting, cost, delivery, removal, etc. fifth unit finally votes and puts us above 66% for the 6 units in the building on November 23rd. One unite votes to repair instead of replace and is a total dick about the whole thing (which is their MO anyway). Unfortunately, the last unit caveats her vote with the fact that she only wants to replace the washer when it is "really" broken. This seems to make sense and the vote passes.
"Gang Spray"

Fast forward to March 12th when another unit finally complains that the noise has gotten too loud. Three other units (including me) agree that the unit is finally "broken" and I start to move towards replacing. Sudden emails regarding questions about the same matters "will it fit?", "who will install it?", "what if it doesn't fit?" start flooding in from the remaining two units that were hesitant. The unit that originally voted to repair and raised such a stink starts insisting that any replacement stackable washer "must separate into two pieces, otherwise it won't fit through the doorway." I measure doorways, call to confirm that we can return it the same day if it doesn't fit, etc. It doesn't help. The last unit still keeps insisting that if it can't separate into two pieces, it won't fit. I call. It can't separate. We have the 66% to go ahead and get it anyway and we already voted on the model... so I think I'm just going to order this week. This will cause a HUGE problem with the asshole unit. Oh well. I think it's time to man up.

Enough about me. In the news:

Gore goes to testify 20 years after he first brought up global warming

Bush draws the line on the Attorney Scandal, but there's a huge email gap that's being looked into. Bush sounded like a total idiot last night during his little speech. I was just glad that the new job has me home at 5:25pm to be able to watch that kind of stuff. And is it just me or does Kyle Sampson (right), former chief of staff to the U.S. attorney general, look a lot like a young Karl Rove. Have they figured out how to clone people or what?!?

DC is probably not going to get voting rights no matter how hard the mayor tries because Bush is just going to veto it anyway
The D.C. vote measure easily cleared two House committees last week, with strong Democratic support and votes from several Republicans. Democrats have pledged to use their 32-seat House majority to pass it. Friday will mark the first time the full House has considered granting the District a full seat in Congress since 1993, when a statehood measure was defeated.

But the threat of a presidential veto could harm the bill's chances in the Senate, where Republican support is needed to avoid a filibuster.

What ticks me off is that something would have a tough time in the Senate because of a veto. Who cares about a veto? Who wants to align themselves with this idiot who's only pulling off a 41% approval rating? I see their point, of course. DC isn't a state and these guys are "strict constructionists". DC could always merge with Maryland or VA (never) and give them an extra rep, right? Wouldn't they be happy to inherit the lowest literacy rate in the country.

The Kurds and their western ways are prospering in Iraq

and Obama is in trouble for an ex-employee of one of the companies that contracts for his website having made a YouTube video. I interviewed with the Tech at Obama and I know that they only hired Blue State Digital a week before Barack made his announcement, because they only needed three days to build the site.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

First Week Done

Happy St. Patrick's day... whatever that's about. (Apparently St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and died in 460 A.D. Thanks, CNN headline news for that nugget of information.)

I started the new job last Monday and it's going great. Of course, the first two day were spent doing HR crap and IT training, but I was meeting with a client and starting on two projects by Wednesday and have a good feeling about the place... especially when I get to wear jeans and sneakers and it's only 5 blocks from home.

Other than that, nothing much new is going on. Went out last night for JC's job-switch party over on Capitol Hill and then ended up doing some car bombs at Buffalo Billiards. Mistake. Spent the day today up in Bethesda hanging around with R's dad while she and her mom shopped for wedding dresses. I have zero plans for tomorrow, but am supposed to play around a bit with drupal to see if I can get a site up and running for le loup, a fantastic new band that a friend of mine plays bass in.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bust at the FCH, among other things

I got out of class a little early today and, after going through my file box to throw out old pay stubs and get all my tax forms in order, I managed to get out of the house to take some pictures and wander around a bit.

The other day, I mentioned a local rumor. Well, D over at Bad Apologies knows what I'm talking about, clearly, and today I got to walk by and see a genuine plain clothes police bust right in front of yonder FCH. Not only did I get to see it, so did my camera (and, of course, the various pedestrians walking by). At my first glance, the bustee was already up against a wall and putting up a little bit of a struggle. Within moments of one of the officers (all clearly officers from their POLICE bullet proof vests) talking into a walkie-talkie on his arm, three unmarked cars pulled in off of a side-street and four more officers hopped out to assist the four already present. Now, I doubt that this bust had anything to do with the F or the H or even the C in FCH, but I thought it appropriate for one of the few police actions I've ever witnessed in the neighborhood to have taken place in front of this building. All in all, it looked like some pretty good police work. On with the photos.

Plain Clothes Police Making a Bust 1

Plain Clothes Police Making a Bust 2

Plain Clothes Police Making a Bust 3

I finished ColdFusion training today and should now be able to <cfquery>, <cfselect> and Application.cfc my way around all sorts of nifty stuff at the new job starting Monday.

As far as the rest of the week is concerned, I've definitely got some things that didn't get done around the house during my month "off" that I need to take care of. And there's always that Wii to play with...


Looks like that US Attorney story might pick up some steam...

Not that it made the front page or anything, but it looks like the US Attorney hearings might start to pick up a bit.
Ousted U.S. attorneys blast Bush administration

Six former U.S. attorneys told two congressional committees Tuesday that Republican lawmakers and a congressional aide inquired about politically sensitive investigations, and their testimony raised new questions about whether the Bush administration removed the attorneys for political rather than professional reasons.

The U.S. attorneys, all of whom were appointed by President Bush, contradicted the administration's version of their sudden firings.

Reasons Given for Prosecutors Firings
The AP (here in the Guardian) gives a listing of the various reasons for which the Attnys were let go (accompanied by recent performance review snippets). My personal favorite:
BUD CUMMINS, U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TESTIMONY: ``His was not for performance-based reasons. ... The administration asked Mr. Cummins to move on only after we knew that he had indicated he was not going to serve out the remainder of his term.''

2006 PERFORMANCE REVIEW: ``Very competent and highly regarded by the federal judiciary, law enforcement and civil client agencies. ... Established strategic goals that were appropriate to meet the priorities of the department.''

Also coverage in the Washington Post, CNN and elsewhere.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Toy

I finally got the new toy that I've been longing after: my 15" 2.33Ghz Macbook Pro. It arrived yesterday while I was in ColdFusion class and someone was nice enough to sign for it (bless his/her soul). I got to spend a few hours with it last night and a few more this evening to start getting everything set up. I couldn't believe how easy it was to get the old mini set up as a file server so that now I can either log into it and have full access to all its drives and files while I'm on the home network or remotely (once I get a static IP).

My New MacBook Pro

I'm already looking into the barrage of hacks and nifty stuff for the new device, including the Smackbook and Shadowbook. (It turns out that just downloading Virtue Desktop will add this functionality as its been incorporated.) It took a minute to get it working, but I really just needed to crank the sensitivity way up.

The new Macbook gets a little hot, which explains why there was a cat on top of it almost immediately after I got it.
My New MacBook Pro with a Cat

In other news, I start my new job this coming Monday working as a Web Developer. This week, it's nothing but ColdFusion training all day long... well, Monday through Wednesday, at least.

This past weekend I participated in the one and only DC Idiotarod and was pleased to find out from the results that us Astronuts weren't last and also beat Jorge's Irish Cart Bombs. It makes all the wig wearing and running really worth it... wait. It would have been worth it even if we'd stopped at the first bar and never finished. There should be plenty of pictures floating around the web, but a bunch at should be up on flickr tagged with dcidiotarod and the folks at smashed have linked to a bunch as well.

I haven't had too much time to look at the news lately, but judging by its first paragraph coverage in The Note (learn it, love it) this and other US Attorney stories are going to be a pretty big deal. There's also the Libby verdict, which has the White House reeling a little bit more (back up to that cliff, bitches!)
Here are some of the other most blogged about stories that I found interesting (as found through technorati:
Evolution and Religion - Darwin's God
Oprah's Ugly Secret
The GOP takes issue with Coulter's "anitgay epithet
The Arcade fire gets some more (deserved) attention, this time from the NYT.


Thursday, March 01, 2007


Powell Auto Parts
After living in my neighborhood for almost four years now, I'm inclined to start complaining about gentrification, which, as you'll see from the link, has a lot of varying definitions. All of them are negative, so I guess that means I'm allowed to complain.
What really sparks the rant is the fact that two of the stores I tried to visit this week have closed shop in the last few months. It appears that we're not only pushing out the former residents of Logan Circle, but also pushing out the previous businesses.

Powell Auto Parts is now shuttered and only the service center next door is open. I went in to get some 10W-40 for the scooter and was told that the store had closed and that they didn't sell oil at the service center. After asking if they had any suggestions, I ended up going to 7-eleven to get it. I had never noticed that the 7-eleven carried oil, but there it was as soon as I walked in the door, right next to the newspapers and road maps. Stores like 7-eleven and CVS kind of freak me out in that they have everything under one roof. I know I'll never need to buy motor oil, cheetos, milk and paperclips all at once. But I've definitely purchased all of those things at a 7-eleven separately. How do they know?!?

I'd never been to Powell Auto Parts, so can't say that I didn't aid in their downfall. In fact, the only person I know who's every been there is CFab when I ran into her buying "The Club" one weekend afternoon as I was wandering around taking pictures. I'm sure if I dig through flickr, I could figure out which pictures I took that afternoon and bring things full circle, but I just don't feel like taking the 30 seconds out of my not-so-busy schedule.
Companions Pets

I also found Companion Pets closed earlier this week when I went there to pick up Frontline. I'd been there once before and found the place to be poorly kept, smelly and expensive. But it was family owned and not a chain, so I was following the progressive/adbusters code of supporting small individual businesses. Thinking back, though, I'm reminded of a South Park episode where a Starbucks moves in next to Tweek's Dad's coffee shop and the town rallies around the small business only to discover that Tweak's coffee tastes like sewage and that Starbucks' tastes pretty good. The libertarian moral of the story being that sometimes there's a good reason that businesses become huge successful chains. In the case of Starbucks, it's not just that they move in next to existing independent coffee shops and offer up a familiar menu so that you always know whatever you're getting will taste the same in any location, it's also that their coffee doesn't taste like crap. Except that Sumatra blend. Ick.

It's a shame to see shuttered businesses in the neighborhood. And it's a shame to think that the reason they're closed is the same reason that one bedroom condos in the neighborhood cost more than buying a mansion in VA. Of course, the businesses could also be closing because they're terrible. Maybe their pet food tasted like sewage. Maybe The Club that Powell sold CFab was defective and ended up making her car explode in a ball of fire (though, I think I would have heard about this). Maybe there's a low demand now for businesses that haven't washed their windows or stocked their inventory in 6 months and treat customers like impostors.

In any case, the neighborhood was changing when we moved in and continues to change while we're here. We're definitely not leaving any time soon... unless, of course, we get gentrified right out of it.