Sunday, June 28, 2009

Book and a Highball

I'll be the first to admit it - I'm a snob. This is most especially true when it comes to nonfiction literature. I'm not snobbish in the usual way - not in the English Major way - but rather, I have certain favorites, and because they are MY favorites they are the very best and I tend to not give other bits of nonfiction a chance. It is a bit limiting, I'll admit, but on the other hand it gives me the comfort and, indeed, the delight, of revisiting the same stories over and over and finding pleasure in the familiar phrases and new insights found in the re-read.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories again. Last night I read "For Esme-with Love and Squalor" and I have to say that last sentence, "You take a really sleepy man, Esme, and he always stands a chance of again becoming a man with all his fac-with all this f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s intact." kills me every time.

Tonight it's "Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes" which I'm sure is going to drive me nuts. Fortunately I've got the company of some good libations.

I have to say, though, (and this gets back to the snobbery) one of my favorite reasons for re-reading this book in particular is that I had the good sentiment to keep a post-it note on the title page. It was written by one of my most enduring friends while I was off at my first year of art school: "I send you good literature. A diversion - from your drawing of elegant lines."

As the month of June's trickling out, it's good to remember brilliant stories and equally brilliant friends.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nature. And also, Nature

One of my favorite things about living where I do is the amount of nature that happens randomly and all around.

Some selections just from this week:

Saturday, June 20, 2009


For Sam's birthday we tried Redwood in Bethesda, MD.
I had wanted to visit this place for a while - allured by their well designed facade. Actually going IN I was pleased that the aesthetic carried on inside as well.
The schtick here is sustainability which is represented in the menu comprised of locally grown, seasonal, organic and naturally raised food. The food was very good but not awfully clever - I had salmon and Sam had pork ribs. The one exception bit - and I mean EXCEPTIONAL - was the monocacy silver ash rind goat cheese from Cherry Glen Farms, MD. It nearly melted in your mouth and looked pretty awesome to boot.

Their beverages were also some of the best I've had in a while. I judge a bar by how good they make a dirty, dry vodka martini. This one went down like water. We also had wine with our meal - Grooner! from Austria. My reasons for loving this should be obvious: Austrian! and it's name has an exclaimation point at the end! !!
The sad bit to this whole story was the service. We stopped by without reservations, and were told we'd have a 20 minute wait. No problem! We had out marinis at the bar. But an hour later.. I had to check in and look irritated (not hard, apparently this is my face's default). We were seated within 2 minutes. Our server seemed new and was a little flustered and generally dropped things, but that didn't bother me so much - people learn and she was generally attentive.
We polished the night off with desert which wasn't too remarkable and hopped off to The Barking Dog for a friend's birthday party. All in all not too shabby of a night.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday to Nooch

I bought Nooch from a pet store where he was destine to be snake food. I had taken taken some time off of work to recoup from getting my neck hacked open, and wanted a little company.

I like to describe him as a "plain brown sewer rat" when people ask me what kind he is. But the truth is, like most rats, he's very intelligent, playful and a bit of a love-bug.

For your viewing pleasure, Nooch as a baby when I first got him:

And Nooch today, on what I've estimated to be his Second Birthday, as a grown-up Super Rat:
He had vanilla ice cream and blueberries. Happy Birthday Nooch!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

06.10 - The National Zoo

An excellent time at the Zoo for my birthday.

Stuff anyone likes: The Animals

Highlights: Turtles on Monkey Island, the mommy anteater with baby hitching a ride on her back, Bald Eagle, Spectacled Bear, Tiger, Komodo Dragon and Toucan Sam (apologies to Sam).

Stuff nerds like me like: The Exhibit Design

Highlights: The Zoo clocktower - kind of creepy, a peek into the sciencey side of things in the Invertebrate House, the sign for the Asia Trail - the best designed exhibit in the WHOLE ZOO, part of the panda exhibit (part of the asia trail), an interactive sign about salamanders - you pull the tabs coming from behind the giant salamander body, another part of the panda exhibit about conservation, signage for the sloth bear including spikey fencing that looks like bamboo, construction for the new Elephant Trail (it's about time they do something for those guys) with tiny elephants in the background watching the giant metal elephants do work, and another peek into the sciencey side of things - this time with Things In Jars.

Also happened upon the Asia Trail Visitor's Center where I was able to ask the lady there (Ethel!) who designed the exhibit. She gave me two names: Quinn Evans and Portico Group. I <3 Portico Group.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

06.09 - Nine Inch Nails

The first order of the day was rescuing an awesome bug. I found it on the sidewalk looking frazzled probably because of one of the tremendous thunderstorms we've been having. I put it on the balcony in the shade so it could recover in peace.
Speaking of storms, there was one brewing as we set out for Merriweather Post Pavillion. The sky looked particularly menacing - as did the traffic.

We made it! Street Sweeper Social Club was even kind of entertaining. They at least said some hilarious self-effacing things. And had cute jackets.
The best part, of course, was the amazing show put on by Nine Inch Nails. It was fantastic. Reznor never disappoints. They even played Burn and Dead Souls. Ding!
We did NOT stick around for Jane's Addiction mostly because we were thirsty and starving. So we left and attended to that. All in all an excellent evening.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


For a long time I did not have a favorite restaurant - then along came Jaleo.
Similarly, I haven't really had a favorite bar before. Mind you, I've had bars I've been partial to - The Back Bar at the 9:30 Club, The Black Cat's Red Room, and DC9 - for instance. But no bar that I would proclaim as being MY FAVORITE.

Well, Friends. That time is over. My favorite bar is Relic, in Bethesda.

I know. Not even in a proper city. But let me tell you why it's great (NOT listed in order of relevance).

1. It's by my work. Making it convenient for after-work happy hours.
2. The aforementioned Happy Hour is brilliant - $3 rails, $5 sangria, $3 tapas (and a GOOD selection of tapas - no dregs)
3. Did you catch that they have sangria? Yes. That's number 3.
4. Did you catch that they have tapas? You got it. Number 4.
5. The prices are reasonable.
6. Red velvet couches, and little baroque patterned seats.
7. Crazy animal pattern patch work couches.
8. Horse saddles for bar stools.
9. Unparalleled decor. If you haven't guessed.
10. A full (and excellent) bar.
11. Remarkably not obnoxious electronic music.

I'm pretty sure whoever is responsible for this bar snuck into my head one night and stole my thoughts. It's some weird combination between vampire/cowboy bar (but NOT a vampire cowboy bar).

I'm probably not selling this very well, but that's fine. I hope only enough people come to keep it in business, and that it not become some trendy hotspot. So I can horde it all to myself. Obviously.