by March 5, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

From Josh Kramer email him at joshk[AT] and follow him on Twitter at @jessohackberry.

Be ready for Wednesday snow. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Be ready for Wednesday snow. (Luis Gomez Photos, Snowpocalypse, February 2010)

Whether it will be one inch or one foot, it looks like the DMV will be seeing some snow in the next week. Call it the “Snowquester” or call it “Snowpocalypse” or even “Snowmageddon.” Should a thick blanket of white fall upon Greater Washington and predictably disable all activity, you’re going to want to be ready… to relax.

Here are some pro tips in typical DC fashion: a guide for maximizing the potential of your fun and relaxation while stuck at home.

7 Wonders

So, you’ve played Settlers of Catan? Maybe you saw it on Parks and Recreation or you even traded lumber for ore in public at Borderstan’s Board Room. Take your civilization-building to the next level with 7 Wonders.

In this 2010 Greek game for two or more, each player uses different categories of cards to amass resources, wage warfare, and build wonders. Just like in Catan, there are complicated-to-explain rules and the player with the most victory points wins. What makes 7 Wonders different is that no one can tell who’s winning until the end, and that a full, three-age game can be completed in less than an hour.

DC Public Library

The DC Public Library isn’t what it used to be. It’s much more! Take a popular novel, say… Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. A quick search on the library site reveals not only that the book is available in multiple locations, but that you can also get the audiobook on CD, a free download of the epub or kindle version of the book and a DVD of the 2006 movie based on the book.

Snow keeping you at home longer than you thought? No problem, renew online. When I actually wanted to listen to the JSF audiobook, I slipped into old routines and looked for a torrent online. It was actually a pain to try and find one and instead I went to the MLK Library downtown. Welcome to 2013, when it’s more convenient to go to the library than to download media illegally.

Advanced Netlfix

Okay, Ms. “I don’t watch TV,” let’s talk about Netflix. Ever since the company changed their price structure, separating the instant, streaming content from the DVD-by-mail service, the quality of what’s available online has been going up. But when you’re home for multiple days, it’s time to get serious about your queue and how you watch it.

If you have a TV, but not a Wii or Xbox Live, then it’s time to think about Roku. For $50, you get a little box that uses wifi to connect your tv and any online video account you already have. Parents have HBO? HBO GO works on there, too. Then it’s time to move past the basics. If it’s a really long break consider starting the entire run of Cheers or Star Trek: The Next Generation. Or maybe movies that have slipped out of notice like Mike Judge’s Extract from 2009. Dig Deep.

Urban Snowshoeing

If the clouds really deliver, then why not have some fun outside of your home fortress/prison with urban snowshowing? Snowshoes, even cheap ones on Amazon, allow you to distribute your weight and walk on top of the snow instead of slogging through it. I watched this video so you don’t have to, and it seems that snowshoeing technique can be boiled down to this piece of advice: walk.

Rock Creek Park, Fort Reno and even Malcolm X (Meridian Hill Park) all provide plenty of stomping ground to explore, and are possible to be reached by foot from Borderstan.

Thanks for reading, and remember to get ready for snow and to be prepared… for fun!

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by November 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm 2,629 0

Josh Kramer.  (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

There are so many creative people who live in Borderstan. This week we spoke to Josh Kramer who gave us an insight on his work, and passion as a cartoonist and journalist living in the city.

Josh will begin contributing to in the next couple of weeks.

Borderstan: Tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Kramer: I’m a cartoonist and I’m a journalist. I go out and report on people doing interesting things and then I make that into a comic in what you might think of as a graphic novel style. I publish these stories along with others by similar artists in a mini-comic anthology called The Cartoon Picayune. I live in Kalorama near Adams Morgan and also have a non-art full time day job.

Borderstan: What led you to start drawing. What kind of education do you have? 

Kramer: I’ve always been interested in drawing, but I was never the compulsive doodler in class. I only got serious about learning to draw when I was a journalism student at American here in town and realized I wanted to be a cartoonist. After graduating I headed to Vermont for two years and got my M.F.A. in cartooning at The Center for Cartoon Studies.

Borderstan:What inspires you to draw? Fill us in on that!

Kramer: I’m lucky to work in nonfiction and be able to take real people and things out in the world and try to put them right onto the page. Every speech bubble I draw is a direct quote and every character is a real person. I have so many inspirations in the worlds of comics and journalism, including Joe Sacco, Kate Beaton, John McPhee and Ann Friedman. All worth Googling.

Borderstan: Why are comics and illustrations important? How do they convey information?

Kramer: I think comics can make powerful journalism because they can really create a powerfully empathetic experience with the reader. Comics can be fun to read and visually engaging, all while pulling you into a journalistic narrative and maybe telling you something new about the world or yourself.

Borderstan: What have we missed… what would you like to add?

Kramer: The last decade or so has yielded an exciting new world of graphic novels and comic books, both nonfiction and fiction. Please, don’t be intimidated, there’s great stuff everywhere, including your local library and your favorite bookstore. If you want a good recommendation, I’d love to help you find something.

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