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From Cecile Oreste at danceDC
Artist and writer Elissa Leibowitz Poma has lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood for more than 15 years. Since moving to the area, she has had the luxury of walking to work – first to The Washington Post and now to the World Wildlife Fund. By making a small change to her daily routine, she was able to find big artistic inspiration.
Poma started leaving for work earlier and noticed how beautiful the light was at that time of day. She decided to bring her camera along and inspired by the shots she was taking, began to paint these urban landscapes. Now, each walk is an opportunity to find something new.
“Every morning becomes a mission to discover. It almost feels like I’m living in a new neighborhood, a new city,” she said.
Poma enjoys painting neighborhood scenes in a style that is both serious and whimsical. She often uses watercolor as her medium either drawing with ink on top of the painting or adding splashes of watercolor paint to ink drawings. In addition to working off of the photos she takes around the neighborhood, she sometimes paints on site if weather permits.
Like all great winning streaks in sports or otherwise, everything at one time or another must come to an end. It is with this in mind that I say goodbye to Borderstan and to those of you who have enjoyed this column over the years (still not sure who that is but it must be somebody).
DC is a city full of people and ideas coming and going, making it easy to get lost in the shuffle and never really putting your feet to the ground. Borderstan allowed me to establish roots not only with my fellow local writers, but with the community at large and for that I am eternally grateful to its founders/owners/best-guys-ever, Luis and Matty. You guys have truly been my DC uncles.
Usually at the end of any season, sportscasters love to wrap up the season with a highlight reel or a montage of top plays. For my last post, I’d just like to share some minor advice with everyone on how to enjoy this city as a true sports town, both by yourself and with your fellow residents.
Without further ado, my last bit of wisdom:
Kickball: Play at Least One Season
When I hear of people who lived in this town for years and never played, I truly think you may have been a hermit. It is one of the easiest and most social ways to meet people and drink heavily in this city, and you get to wear neon colored shirts while doing. Really not sure how much more you can ask for. Sure, it’s totally silly and sometimes competitive, but I am still good friends with the first teammates I played with, and I never enjoyed Thursdays nights more than during the season.
Jump on the Bandwagon
DC is lucky enough to have a sports team in all of the major leagues. While we all have our own deep allegiances to our hometown teams, making room for one DC team (Nats, Redskins, United, Caps, Wizards) is very doable and will add to your experience here. You will be able to flow with the highs and lows of the city and the gameday experience will be more fun. Plus I’m sure you could use one extra baseball hat anyway, so pick which design you like the most.
Don’t Ask What My job Is
When you meet someone new, don’t let the first three questions be anything about work. This isn’t sports related but one of my biggest DC pet peeves. It’s a terrible way to start a conversation.
Again, thanks for all the great times! Good luck everybody!
Last Call! Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Barack Obama singing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
- The best way to eat milk and cookies.
- If you go to a baseball game, don’t bring a book.
One of the major advantages of living in a condensed city like good ol’ Washington is the proximity from one activity to the next.
In many of our hometowns the restaurants and bars are located on two blocks next to each other and the selection is limited. However, in the Borderstan area we are spoiled to having a great selection of upscale watering holes to first-class dive bars.
This type of set up leaves DC ripe for a time honored tradition of both college students and young professionals looking to lose an entire day; bar-crawls.
For those that have done one before, you know that a bar-crawl is no ordinary weekend plan. It takes preparation, execution, and a strong desire to make it to the next bar. I have participated in a few in my day.
Here are some tried and true tips for getting the most out of any city bar-crawl
- Usually each crawl has a map and the deals available at each place. I recommend not making an exact travel plan but having a general idea in the direction you think you can do the most damage.
- The point of the crawl is to explore and walk around so go to areas with high concentrations of participating bars.
- Also if you want to pre-game, go on the lighter side, as you have a whole day to drink.
Mid-Way Fill Up
- At some point you and your crew will get quite hungry and won’t be able to concentrate. For me last week, this hit my party right near Shake Shack and man did it hit the spot.
- Be warned though that if you fill up too much, it could dampen team morale and call for an early exit. I recommend something like Amsterdam Fries for the just right feeling.
One Hour, Tops
- The point of the crawl is to go to as many places as you possibly can in one night. Don’t get stuck in a bar longer than hour. Keep the body moving and avoid learning any bartender’s name.
- One last, small tip, always use the bathroom of the place you are in and don’t put it off for the next bar. You never know what could happen between locations.
The Bourbon Bash is this Saturday so gather your buddies, sign up, and prepare for what should be a very fun Saturday in Borderstan.
This column first ran October 31, 2012.
Hey, Borderstan! We are taking an unscheduled break from my usual sports/dude-ish banter to discuss something that is very near and dear to my heart. If you have lived in this city for more than a week, then you will be able to relate to the subject.
Sometimes it’s a lunch necessity, other times it’s a midday thing where you know it will help bring you from the depths of too much coffee. A food credited to royalty has become the standard bearer for the common man, and it’s creation is what’s been on my mind most recently. I am talking about sandwiches, more specifically the construction and ease of obtaining one.
Yes, I know I am not a food blogger. Borderstan is full of much better and more qualified people for debating taste, texture and overall awesomeness. But, when I think of a sandwich, the first words that come to mind are efficiency and ease. I don’t like to be in a new place and not know within an hour of being there where the nearest sandwich shop is located.
Growing up in New Jersey, there was a bodega or local shop on every other corner, so a “sub” was never far away and everyone knew how to order. However, it was not until I was standing in the Bethesda Bagel line watching a clueless couple of blond hair and boat shoes figure out what goes on a bagel with lox (cream cheese, tomato, onion, scallions) that I realized not everyone has the confidence and smoothness to order a sandwich, and this is a problem.
I understand that the customer is always right and no one wants to be pressured into something they don’t want. But as you may not realize, everyone around you is on the move and not ready to sink into your world of hesitation and doubts. So, the next time you want that fat sandwich to rock your lunch world, here are some helpful thoughts.
What Kind of Menu Is It?
There are three types of menus. The set menu, where you pick a style and that’s what you get (Taylors/JJ’s Cheesesteak). The free-for-all, a grocery store condensed so you always get what you want (Subway/Potbellys). Last, the hybrid has a set menu but there is wiggle room for additions (So’s Your Mom and Dupont Market at 18th and S Streets NW, some personal favorites). The more you know what you are getting into, the better prepared you will be.
Have a go-to sandwich order. I am not saying that every time you walk into a place you have to get the same thing. I am just encouraging you to be prepared for those crazy lunch hour rushes. Some people have extensive zombie apocalypse plans; I have emergency sandwich ordering details.
Make It Personal/Know Your Hour
Don’t be that guy/gal who orders four sandwiches for the group (call that in in advance and pick it up). Also, when you are getting yourself a sandwich and its the crazy lunch hour, be aware of it and everyone’s lives will be easier.
If I had full control of the world, I would make every sandwich place like Wawa with a computerized ordering system with the hoagies coming out in the order they were taken in. Until that happens, I ask that in a city as on the go as ours you stand ready to order, as well as scarf down, a footlong down with pride. Good luck!
This column first ran August 8, 2012.
The DC summer is here and the cranking of the air conditioning has begun. We begin to drink more on patios and take the sun dresses out of the back closet (so my girlfriend tells me). This means it is time to put your drink in a coozy and spend your weekends outdoors.
For me, one of the best parts of any summer are the great lawn games. While many of us don’t have a lawn, there are plenty of parks in Borderstan where you can play a wide variety of easy-going, social games.
Here are some of my favorites with the pros and cons:
- Pros: Cornhole can be played anywhere (sidewalks, roofs, etc.) with a drink in non throwing hand. You can also decorate your boards to add some personality to your game.
- Cons: Some people are just awesome at this game and can make the game not-so-fun for beginners. Beanbags can break easily.
- Pros: Bocce is easy to learn/become decent at it. Very social and fun for spectators. Game origin dates back to ancient Rome so technically “it’s a classic.”
- Cons: You need long smooth area to play. Game balls are heavy and with a few drinks can become hazards.
- Pros: TBD.
- Cons: Have you seen this game? Do you know anything about croquet? When my name is Lord Grantham, maybe I’ll play…
- Pros: Everyone can do it. Football/frisbee/baseball… so many options
- Cons: If you can’t throw, it isn’t much fun.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
Every few years or so a discussion about the name “Washington Redskins” makes it into the public sphere, and every time the issue goes away with little or no progress toward changing. The issue is pretty clear and yet, it never moves forward.
The team name and logo is all based on the history of the area and the original intention was to honor the proud native american heritage. However, today (and even back then), the term “redskin” is generally considered offensive. Now it is only a stark reminder of the diminished Native American presence thanks to our European ancestors, aka founders. The controversy has lasted so long it even has its own Wikipedia page. Here is a pretty good wrap up of the issue.
Recently a DC Council member tried to get a resolution passed that would change the name to “Redtails” to honor the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II. The logic being it sounds like “Redskins” and could be easily replaced in the Redskins fight song and color scheme. The issue has a lot of opinions from a lot of sides. The public tends not to care, and with the current owner Dan Snyder change is most likely not going to come from the team.
I understand there is a lot of history with locals with this name, but frankly there is a longer history of it being uglier and, thus, worth the change. The NCAA banned offensive teams mascots from postseason play and it didn’t shake the foundation of college sports. Maybe one day the team will make the right decision, but I have serious doubts.
Some Good News
Finally, Good News: DC cabs are gonna take credit cards. BOOM!
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New Spock meets Old Spock in this awesome Audi commercial. Yes I am that nerd.
“Whose Line Is It Anyway” is back. Finally, a good show gets revived.
Whether you think the city made a good or bad decision giving Living Social massive tax incentives to put their headquarters in our fair city is irrelevant. What is important is that this company keeps giving back to the city by bringing wonderful weekend beer tastings to the Bullpen next to Nationals Park.
Fellow writer, Lauren, and I had the pleasure of covering this event last year, and I can say hands down Living Social has figured this thing out and this year’s execution was spot on.
Thanks to gorgeous weather all weekend, the city’s underpaid 20 to 35-year-old’s enjoyed a wide range of ales, brews, and ciders from all over the world in the form of a small plastic cup. I myself was able to enjoy Smuttynose IPA, Lost Rhino pilsner, Duvel, Ommegang Hennepin, Angry Orchard, and Shocktop Summer. From that list, my top choices would have to be the Ommegang and the Lost Rhino as both had a great taste and weren’t too heavy.
Another great feature of this unlimited beer tasting is that some of the city’s finest food trucks are there (I wonder if heavy drinking leads to hunger?). Those steak tacos I had from Surfside hit the spot while listening to the fantastic cover band Kristen and the Noise sing classics like “What’s my age again” and “Forget You.”
Overall, this is just a great event. Only thing I’d say for next year is, if you want to go, go the second day as most of the crowd goes Saturday. It’s just easier to move around and drink on Sunday. Most Living Social emails are probably worth deleting, but next time you get that one that says beerfest, forward to your friends and get a game plan going. You won’t regret it.
At the start of this year I changed jobs/offices from a small building in Silver Spring to a very new building downtown on L Street NW. As my old building was only three flights, my elevator experience was minimal including with my undergrad days of high-rise dorms and apartment buildings where anything went.
As with any transition to a new job, I’ve had to learn some new tricks and behaviors in how to “be normal” in a company with around 1,000 employees and five elevators.
Elevators Have Rules, Too
One of the best things I have noticed is the standard elevator behavior people exhibit. While I thought that it might be unique, after some chats with fellow yuppies, we narrowed it down to few golden rules on how to make the most of your elevator rides. Hopefully these make the 30-second rides just a bit more enjoyable
- Available Seats/Spots to Stand: The immediate thought everyone has: Where do I stand? Empty is optimal, but usually you are sharing and have to play into that face forward and stare at the doors/oncoming passengers. I never understood that and generally go right to the walls for something to lean on. It works for me. Otherwise in packed “lifts,” I’d say file in as best you can without physical contact
- Friendly or Quiet: In a building where it’s just your neighbors/coworkers, being friendly can go a long way down the line when you need that favor. Otherwise, in multiple-tenant buildings I’d stay quiet because you have zero clue how much worse their day is than yours. I’d say most people see the elevator as a cone of silence. Unless its obvious (like someone holding an awesome-smelling lunch), it’s best to keep your comments for Twitter.
- Hold the Door: I’m talking to you, dude, who saw me coming around the hall and didn’t hold the elevator for me. It’s just the nice thing to do. It’s the least you can do after eating that last munchkin at the morning meeting.
I think these few guidelines will be a big help to those of you who look like a deer in headlights upon entering. Also, and maybe most importantly, don’t fart in an enclosed space. It’s just the right thing to do.
Whats Grinding My Gears
Washington Capitals playoffs are here! First round against my New York Rangers. Playoff hockey is awesome, if you can afford it, go!
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Remember 1999. It was pretty sweet.
- Best hockey save of the year. Watch it!
- We almost had a New Jersey-themed restaurant. Damn.
Wow. I won’t lie. Just writing that headline made me a bit emotional. However, I think the writing was on the wall for an event like this. The fact that it happened is an immense step toward equality and progress in our great land.
While in women’s professional sports this is technically not as big of a deal, in the men’s sporting world, it is a different story. The four major leagues all are generally known for rampant homophobia, masculinity, and a fairly hostile environment for men who don’t fit the norm.
Retired male professional athletes have come and told the world they are gay — but this is the first time an active player has done so.
When you live in a place like Borderstan where gay and straight people live openly and easily together, it is easy to forget that we live in a bubble. A very nice bubble, of course, but a bubble. Collins made more than sports history yesterday. He made history for all of us.
Jason Collins is no All Star, but he is considered a “pros’ pro,” which means a team player, the guy who works hard and someone who everyone respects. Many great players have battled along side Jason. With his story out there, I am hoping a lot of his old teammates rethink their own views and perhaps take a stand for LGBT rights — especially in men’s professional sports.
There has been no immediate fallout except praise and understanding. Fellow athletes (including Kobe Bryant) have come out in support. Others have not. I know that in my younger days a team locker room would have been a rough place for Jason’s courage. It is my wish that my children won’t grow up in the same world, thanks to heroes like Collins.
This is a story of immense courage and risk, and hopefully it inspires others to not make a leap of faith, but to feel comfortable in knowing the world will love you equally for scoring a touchdown or loving who you choose to love.
In the very near future, DC is going to meet some visitors who only come around about every 17 years. I remember the last time I saw them. I was in in elementary school and my science teacher, Mrs. Semel, made it seem like the second coming of Albert Einstein.
They were loud, all over the place, and made it seem like I was in a poorly made 1950s science fiction film. I am, of course, talking about the emergence of the cicada, an insect that emerges from hibernation about every 17 years.
For readers who didn’t grow up on the Acela corridor (i.e., Northeast), you are in for some funny weeks. Once the ground turns a certain temperature, cicadas will begin to emerge from below. They will start making their presence known by their incredibly loud noise (think crickets on crack) and the shells they leave behind.
There will be no way to avoid this bother, so here are some helpful hints on how to make the cicada period a bit more enjoyable
- Ignore their noise, create your own. When I say these guys are gonna be loud, I mean you light sleepers are going to have some restless nights. I feel the best way to fight this fire is with more fire. Throw a cicada theme party and just roll with it. Hopefully a few beverages will help with the sleeping.
- Crunch crunch, avoid. Cicadas, after some time, shed their outer shell (or something like it, I’m not a scientist) and the ground gets littered with them. My best piece of advice is to avoid them. Yes, that crunch will be fun/weird the first time, but it will get old when your new kicks are covered in cicada goop.
- Don’t be a hater. They are only here less than every two decades. If only other loud and annoying things came to DC this infrequently (cough Rolling Thunder cough).
If the sight of giant bugs creeps you out like this, then HEAD FOR THE HILLS! Otherwise, get ready and enjoy.
My thoughts and prayers are with the city of Boston this week. Unimaginable, but if any city will remain strong and set an example, it is Boston.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
I’d like to take this column to talk about something a bit gender specific. When it comes to workplace attire, I already know that we gentleman have it much easier than women. Choosing which pair of khakis and which button down shirt to wear is quite easy compared to the array of choices that could be considered “business casual” for women.
However, one issue most men face that I’d like to discuss here is whether to shave or, more simply, “Can a beard be taken seriously in the workplace?”
I have heard and seen many opinions on beards. For one thing, part of today’s modern workplace is being presentable. Sadly, our culture generally frowns on big bushy beards and does not associate them with hardworking or authoritative personalities.
The idea of a clean-shaven man says, “I make money and can afford razor blades.” I mean, would you trust a high-powered lawyer if he looked like Zach Galifianakis?
So to help the men of Borderstan decide whether a beard is the right decision at work (in life, beards are always awesome… just ask the ladies and gay guys), here is a small guide.
Is a Beard Right for You at Work?
- Do your clients see you daily? If interaction with your clients is an everyday occurrence and your price tag for services has lots of zeros in it, a beard may not be the right choice. I mean how often would you hand a $30,000 check to someone who could double as a lumberjack?
- Can you grow it well? Just because you don’t want to shave, does nott mean you should be lazy. A complete beard is ESSENTIAL to be taken seriously. If you cant grow bridges (the hair between mustache and chin) then a beard is not for you. Sorry.
- Are you friendly? Beards say friendly and fuzzy. If you think you are a serious, no jokes, down to business kinda guy, then a beard will just be seen as being lazy or you getting dumped recently. Frankly, I think every man should grow his beard out. It gives your face more personality, and you can think of it as a permanent facial accessory. So if HR doesn’t care, throw away the razor and let it out!
What’s Grinding My Gears
- Final Four this weekend. Louisville vs. Wichita St, Michigan vs Syracuse. CANT WAIT
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.
Last week in the Lebodome (a.k.a. Scott Leibowitz) you learned all about how to fill out your 2013 NCAA March Madness tournament bracket. In his admirable quest to finish ahead of President Obama, he provided you with five things to remember when making your predictions for the NCAA Tournament. Well I took those five things into account, and with all due respect to Scott, it didn’t get me anywhere!
What Scott Told Me
First he told me not to over think my picks by choosing the big upset. My first rational thought was to pick Georgetown (more on this later), and in doing so I missed out on the joy ride that is Florida Gulf Coast! Not only did they become the first number 15 seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16, but they’ve also become the darlings of the tournament with their awe-inspiring alley oops and their frequent dance parties.
Scott also mentioned the importance of seeding. The higher seeds have done relatively well to this point, except in the West region of the bracket where the 9th-seeded Wichita State Shockers knocked out top ranked Gonzaga and will face off against the 12th seeded Explorers of La Salle. Nothing but red lines through my incorrect picks on that side of the bracket.
Moving on, I agreed with the idea that history isn’t important, and picked Georgetown (DC pride!) to win the championship this year. Doing so meant ignoring the fact that Georgetown was knocked out of the tournament by a double-digit seed four out of the last five years. Make it five out of six. That’s right, my bracket was eliminated from contention before the first round was over. Thanks, again, Florida Gulf Coast University.
Scott hit the nail on the head when he said “It really doesn’t matter.” He’s right. Just because my bracket would have been better if I had simply flipped a coin for each pick doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the rest of the tournament. Scott concluded his advice by saying, “Worst case you finish last and no one remembers it in a week.”
Wash Down Your Sorrows
Well I did finish last, and to help ensure I don’t remember it I’m going to spend the Sweet 16 enjoying food and drink specials at some of these Borderstan bars.
- Public Bar: 1214-B 18th Street NW, $3 Miller Lites and Yuenglings, $5 Stoli/Redbull.
- Lucky Bar: 1221 Connecticut Avenue NW, $3.50 Bud Light pints, $14 Bud Light pitchers, $4 Yuengling pints, $15 Yuengling pitchers.
- Buffalo Billiards: 1330 19th Street NW, $3.50 Miller Lites, $3.50 Coors Lites, $15 Buckets, $4 Redd’s Apple Ale
- The Gryphon: 1337 Connecticut Avenue NW, $5 Captain Morgan Cocktails & The Black and Stormy, among other specials.
- The Front Page: 1333 New Hampshire Avenue NW, $3 Miller Drafts, $5 Rails, $8 RBVs.
It’s that time of the year again. March tends to be a pretty wild month when you think about it and everyone seems just impatient waiting for the winter to end. From the killing of Julius Caesar to the day everyone becomes Irish, this month is all over the place.
However my favorite maddening tradition this month is, of course, basketball — my NCAA Final Four bracket (aka March Madness).
Every year I go into thinking this is the year I nail all my predictions, and every year I finish very middle of the pack. The odds on a perfect bracket are rough but, frankly, I am just looking to finish better than Obama this year. So to help ya out, Borderstan, here are five easy and simple thoughts to keep in mind when filling out your bracket this week.
Bracketology: Five Things to Remember
- DON’T OVERTHINK: So many errors happen because we all want to predict the big upset. That’s what makes them the big upset, the fact that you didn’t see it coming. Your bracket will do better if you stick with your first rational thought.
- Seeds are there for a reason: The seeding system isn’t just random. Yes some teams get more love than others but when thinking about who will win, read the seed before making a rash decision.
- Where is the game played?: Regions can make a big difference in the middle rounds. I love picking against smaller schools who have to travel long distances or a contender having to play in their nemesis backyard.
- History Isn’t Important: Yes we all know teams like Duke, Kansas, and Indiana. But that doesn’t mean a less-on-the-radar team, like Florida, Louisville, or Gonzaga, can’t make a deep run to the finals.
- It really doesn’t matter: No matter how hard you try, you can’t control anything. Finish your bracket on time and hope for the best. Best case scenario you win of your office/family/friends pool. Worst case you finish last and no one remembers it in a week.
The first game is this Thursday so fill out your brackets soon! Enjoy the Madness, Borderstan!
What Really Grinds My Gears
Did we even just have a real winter? Maybe we need a word for a cold fall that has no snow
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- 50 common misconceptions. Worth watching whole video.
- Carlesberg friend test. I hope mine would pass.
- March Madness, explained through Star Wars.
From Lauren Levine and Scott Leibowitz.
On Saturday March 9, we set out on a lovely sunny winter’s day to taste the finest Irish whiskey DC has to offer. Thankfully, the first ever DC Whiskey Walk was very well organized, with registration including a map and punch card system that made tasting and moving bar-to-bar easy and efficient. The friendly registration table prepared us for an afternoon of drinking with a live bagpiper and plenty of green beaded necklaces to go around.
While the many bar crawls in DC attract a crowd of 21- to 25-year-olds, this walk brought in residents of all ages. Each of the eight bars offered one unique whiskey as well as other drink and food specials. The mood was festive, as it was a gorgeous sunny day, making it pleasant to stroll from bar to bar throughout the Dupont area. We were especially thankful for the few bars, likes James Hoban’s and Irish Whiskey Public House, which offered outdoor seating.
Meet the Pickleback
For us, the highlight of the day was learning about the “pickleback” — a shot of whiskey followed by pickle juice. A fellow whiskey walker tipped us off to it at Madhatter and with an enthusiastic endorsement from the Madhatter bartender, we gave it a shot (pun intended). Though the taste was unique, it had some of us wanting actual pickles.
Is there a future for whiskey walks? Time will tell. The level of attendance was hard to guess because participants were spread across eight bars. It was not as social as other District drinking events are, and we found it difficult to meet new people. Maybe we needed more whiskey.
Eight popular District bars are teaming up for a tasting tour of fine Irish whiskeys during the first annual DC Whiskey Walk on Saturday, March 9.
Participants will enjoy a different 1-ounce pour of a leading Irish whiskey included in their ticket price as they go from venue to venue. All the bars are in the Borderstan neighborhood including favorites like Buffalo Billiards and BoardRoom.
Impressively, the proceeds of this fun afternoon will go to Becky’s Fund and the Washington Literary Center so come out for a whiskey filled afternoon. Borderstan will be there and have a great recap for you after the fact.
Eight bars. 12 whiskeys. What more could you want on a Saturday afternoon. See ya there!