Oh, what a glorious world we live in. I just contested a ridiculous parking ticket entirely online. I'm not sure how I got the ticket - I never actually saw a ticket on the car. I just got an email telling me that the fine was about to double.
So I responded.
I never received the paper ticket - my first notification of this ticket was the email that the penalty was doubling. However, I did not commit the violation "STOP/STND IN AM RUSH". Attached please find photos of the signs on both sides of the street. The ticket was issued on 3/29/2011, which you'll note is a Tuesday. According to the signs, there are absolutely no rush hour restrictions on parking on the 1400 block of Harvard St NW on Tuesdays. So it is not possible that this ticket is valid.
At exactly 7:56AM Friday (9/24) morning, Matilda Sheehy Renaut was born at the DC Developing Families Center in Northeast.
I know I haven't done much posting to this blog recently. Or, really, any. But I've been busy with other projects, and the now two kids, and all of that. I'd like to get back to blogging at some point, so I'm keeping this alive, but I make no promises.
Anyway, Matilda. Another great experience at the birth center. The wife's labor was incredibly quick - first contraction was only about five hours before the baby was born.
I'm still getting used to the fact that I have two little girls. Matilda looks JUST like Adelina did at this age except for her chin. Adelina's was a little more like mine. We're curious if they'll end up looking the same as they get older. My little brother and I could have been twins up to age one or so, and now look very different.
It's very convenient to have another girl at the same time of year - she'll be the same size as her sister in the same year/season, so we should be set for hand-me-down clothes.
I'm taking more time off work this time. I took all of last week and all of this week. I'll go back after the Columbus Day holiday next Monday. It's been cool to spend time with the family, and now we should be a little more settled in to the change before I have to go back to work and leave the wife alone at home.
And, in case you're wondering, it's still crazy, being a dad. And both of my girls are amazing.
Originally uploaded by thetejon
Saw this on our block of Harvard today. Fancy BMW 745, polished, heavy tint on the windows, Maryland tags, parked in front of a RPP Zone 1 Only sign. The sign, if you don't click through to read, says, "POLICE - Official business". I have no idea if this is a legitimate thing, or something the guy printed on his computer, but clearly parking enforcement decided to ticket him and let the DMV sort it out.
I was out jogging with the kid in the stroller on 16th Street near Varnum NW - near the top of a pretty long, steady ascent - and I overtook a group of kids coming from school. A kid who looked 13 or 14, though I have no idea these days, looked at me.
"I wish I had your energy, sir." He said. "Pushing that baby all the way up the hill".
Fresh on the heels of my great experience with Verizon Wireless, Comcast provided a fantastic display of how bad they are at what they do. This is what happens when you have a localized monopoly. We're supposed to get Verizon FIOS in three years, which is probably four plus years after we should have gotten it. I don't know what sort of negotiations had to happen between DC and Verizon, but anything beyond, "Yes, Verizon, here's your building permit" was probably not in the best interests of the DC residents.
But that's not the point here. The point here is that Comcast is terrible. Let's look past the fact that they have to come out every 6-8 months and fix something because our signal strength has dropped to the point that our cable goes out. Never mind that they just keep inching the price up.
No, my big complaint is the huckster who called me up this afternoon. He just caught me before I left to pick up the little gremlin from daycare. He starts off by telling me that Comcast has a great deal for me, only $10 more a month or something for Comcast Blast internet, which is super fast and awesome, and they'll give me free Showtime, and boy are there some great shows coming out on Showtime, and if I sign up right now I can get some other fabulous prize, we can get you all upgraded within two business days, so can we set up an appointment right now?
He didn't take a breath or deviate from the script. By the halfway point, he could have offered me a couple of terabytes per second download speed for six cents a year and I would have turned him down.
So, what did he do wrong that Verizon did right?
He talked at me. I know, Verizon was lowering my bill, which is obviously much easier to sell, but that's not really the point. The Comcast guy talked quickly, making sure he got everything out and asked me to sign up before I really had a chance to think about what his offer was. He didn't really explain what the difference between what I have now and what he was offering.
The Verizon guy actually had a conversation with me, clearly explaining what he was doing, how it would be different from what I had now (And he was looking at my account, so he knew what I was paying for), and why it would be better.
When I told the Comcast guy I wasn't interested, he tried to convince me. He asked why not. I stumbled for a minute, wanting to say, "Because you're reading a script, and I hate being upsold", but I didn't really feel like getting into it.
The Verizon guy knew my account, and knew how he could get me a better deal. The Comcast guy knew nothing about me beyond my name, and made me an offer that wasn't terribly compelling.
I hope Comcast is terrified of the arrival of Verizon FIOS. And I hope they deal with it by improving their service rather than lame attempts at upselling their customers.
And Comcast? If you're still reading and responding to unhappy blog posts about your service, make sure you read my post this time.
I got a parking ticket the other day. Around the corner from us on 15th Street is the back of the Mexican Embassy. There is some parking there reserved from 7-4 weekdays for "Diplomatic cars". We came home after 4, couldn't find parking, and so we parked there. I meant to move the car, but I forgot.
I am, of course, contesting the ticket.
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to contest a parking ticket, citation #[unimportant], which I received on August 7th, 2009, for “DISOBYNG OFFICL SIGN”.
The sign reads, “Diplomatic cars only” between 7AM and 4PM. Princeton’s online WordNet defines diplomacy as “subtly skillful handling of a situation” (http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=diplomacy). It then follows that a diplomatic car would be one which displays or performs this skillful handling.
As such, it is difficult to argue that my car, a 2006 Mazda 3, is not diplomatic. There are only two situations in which the car ever finds itself – parked or being driven. It takes no skill to remain parked, and therefore the definition easily applies to any car. And anyone who has ever driven a 2006 Mazda 3, especially the manual transmission, can attest that the car is very skillful. It handles very well, accelerates quickly, and gets good gas mileage.
At no time does the parking sign mention the need for any sort of credentials identifying the car as diplomatic, nor does it require the owner of the car to possess credentials.
Therefore, by the definition above, my car is in fact diplomatic, and not in violation of the parking restrictions.
Thank you very much for your time.
The sign is vague. Who's to say what "diplomatic" means? Unfortunately, in this case, it's the soul-less, humor-less parking adjudicator who will decide. I can't say I like my chances . . .
It was unofficial baby night at Room 11 last night. We took the kid and met up with some friends who have a son in her daycare class. We went at 5, right when they opened, and sat outside on the porch. By the time we left around 7pm (The kid was well on her way to turning into a pumpkin), there were no less than a half dozen children under 2 on the porch. Most of the patrons, save one couple in the corner, found the children delightful. Our little monkey, for example, was making friends by pushing her chair around the porch after she finished eating. and flirting with the guys at the next table.
I like Room 11. I should have written down what I drank. I had a Chilean carmenere that was really good. I had never heard of that grape before I tried the Montes Cab/Carmenere blend (A fantastic bottle, btw), then my mom bought me a bottle of Root: 1 (Another great bottle). And now it's one of my favorite grapes.
I also had a malbec that was good. They sell wine by the glass, starting at $6. Most of the glasses are $8-9. They have a very Belgian beer selection, which is not really my thing, but I think the beers are good for the many of you who do like Belgians. They had two beers on tap, also. I forget what they were, but I remember approving.
We ate a meat plate and a cheese plate, both good, and the wife and I split a cheese panini which was pleasant.
The service was good. Our waiter was friendly and easy-going and pretty attentive. He made some good suggestions on the meats and cheeses, since I'd never heard of most of it, and couldn't pronounce any of it.
The porch had a very "neighborhood" feel to it. A self-selected, limited slice of the neighborhood, but still a neighborhood. The couple we were with brought their dog, and he waited outside the fence until we finished. At least three or four people stopped to pet him as they walked down Lamont Street. It's a pleasantly busy intersection - enough traffic to be interesting to watch, but not enough to disturb the atmosphere.
So, go check it out. We'll definitely be back.
I'm always a little uncomfortable calling a place without any tables to speak of a "restaurant", but that's not the point, here. I got lunch from the Uptowner, the new sandwich place just north of Columbia Heights Metro. I got a club wrap and a bag of BBQ soy chips. It was kind of expensive - about $9 - but the food was good. They have some vegetarian options, which is rare, and the guy behind the counter was quite pleasant.
The layout is a little funny - you order in one room, and go next door to pick it up. I didn't immediately see next door, and was worried that the sandwiches were going to be pre-wrapped and shipped from somewhere, but they're made fresh next door.
Anyway, I'll go back at some point. I apologize to Julia's Empanadas, where I planned to go, but the construction makes it very difficult to actually get to Julia's. Maybe next time.
This Washington Post article has been pissing off tons of locals. It basically says that everyone in Columbia Heights sucks, we spend all our time at Target, and we're smug because we don't live in Mount Pleasant. I've been wanting to post something about it, but no matter how many times I read the article, I just can't seem to get that worked up over it.
I mean, I do go to Target a lot. I like Target. It's a great place to buy cheap clothes for the kid, kitty litter, veggie burgers, box wine . . . But I guess the article doesn't quite hit that close to home. I have been accused of being smug about where I live, but that was in relation to Ballston. I'm glad I don't live in Ballston - not that it's a bad place to live, it's just not what we were looking for. And Mount Pleasant? I like Mount Pleasant. When we outgrow our place, that's probably the first place we're going to look. And Wonderland references are lost on me - I've been maybe a half dozen times, it's a cool bar, but it's not my hangout. We're much more likely to sit out on the porch at Commonwealth and drink Twisted Thistles and order a cheese plate.
The article was a little annoying, I admit. It took a small group of Columbia Heights residents and made sweeping generalizations about everyone here. It didn't really offer any insight, and I don't think it got the generalizations right. But I just don't care. If the article had been about the roads around Target, that would have been a different story - whoever thought the traffic patterns around DCUSA could hold up to the volume of cars and pedestrians there are now was totally insane.
The ridiculous practice of "booting" cars with too many tickets has to stop. Either tow them or let them be. Today is street cleaning day on the main parking side of our block of Harvard. That means that there is no parking at all from 7am to 630pm. This is because Harvard is a pretty busy commuting cut-through, and it's really helpful to have two lanes.
But there aren't two lanes today, because someone decided to boot a van on the open side of the street. I truly don't understand the logic behind this. You are now making traffic worse. Other times people get courtesy tows, an absurd waste of time and money, but we can't tow the van to the impound lot?
I've said before that booting is an explicit admission that parking restrictions in DC are purely for the city's financial gain, not an attempt to keep traffic flowing. This is absolutely infuriating. And, to make matters worse, another car, as I walked by this morning, had decided that if the van was parked there, it must be okay. And the really funny thing is that this car is likely to get towed. Ahh, DC. How I love you.