DC’s gettin’ crafty: Temporium pop-up craft fair opens this Friday

What is the Temporium pop-up craft fair you ask? Good question. Pop-up retailers are basically temporary stores. They rent out a space for a finite amount of time to sell food, clothes… basically anything really. Temporium is starting this Friday, February 18, 2011 at 3068 Mt. Pleasant St. NW and will be open for 24 consecutive days (until March 13, 2011). After that time, they will give the storefront space back to its owner.

Temporium will sell handmade goods from thirty local DC artisans. It will also have different other events such as trunk shows, live performances, storytelling and of course, crafting. As I am terrible at arts and crafts, I will be going to Temporium purely to buy things. Here is a little snapshot of wares I pulled from the website:

Cool Non? You should go and check out Mt. Pleasant while you are there. Always liked that little neighborhood

Here are the vendors I featured:
Row 1: BLuGrn Design, Kristina Bilonick
Row 2: Fire StudioDC, TigerFlight
Row 3: GoshDarnKnit, Cosmic Girl
Row 4: Craftgasm (“MidCity”)

DC hates nature but you don’t have to!

Not the best week for DC and nature. Actually, not really a good time for nature in general. As you know, things have been dying in great quantities basically everywhere:

This is never a good sign in movies. Some of these phenomena have been explained, while others remain a mystery. However, our nature ravaging in DC is never a mystery, it’s always idiots doing stupid things like flushing birth control down the toilet. Earlier this month, Police found 6000 pounds of illegally caught rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay, the largest single haul seized in 25 years. The rockfish is Maryland’s state fish and its population is closely monitored, so poaching like this hurts both small fisherman and sustainability. The reward for finding the poachers is $7000, so look for a guy with a fish in his pocket.

DC Hunters are also encroaching on the C&O Canal suburban areas, worrying neighbors who put put their lives in hands of the “duck police” to ensure they don’t get shot enjoying their morning nature walk.

But fear not dear readers, you can give back to our little polluted and scorched environs because this week is….THE ANNUAL AUDUBON GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT!!!! I mean, come on, look how fun birds are!!!!

The third picture is my idiot brother. He actually studies bird behavior and if he wasn’t currently in Hawaii being helicoptered into the rainforest to study some endangered species HE WOULD BE PARTICIPATING. So help our feathered friends. I even have an extra pair of binoculars if anyone wants one.

You think I'm boring?

The count starts this Friday, February 18, and goes through the weekend until February 21. Here is what you do: tally birds in your yard, neighborhood or wherever for at least fifteen minutes . Then you enter the highest number of each species seen at any one time and submit the info here: http://www.birdsource.org. Audubon society then compiles the information from everyone all over the U.S. so we can see what birds we have! They give you checklists to help you identify things. You could do a count every day if you want.

Look. Last year they got 97,200 checklists, with every state represented. They found out the most common birds, as well as some birds (like gulls!) that have gone missing! For all the earth gives us, it’s the least you could do. Details here.

George Mason goes viral

My humble alma mater, George Mason University, has been riding some pretty good publicity lately. They were officially ruled no longer a commuter school(thank God for that), have Virginia’s first LEED Gold hotel (yay?), can count on Bill Murray’s fandom and have a basketball team that very likely will be ranked in the top 25 this week (assuming we don’t blow it against some crappy competition). To take advantage of this last point, GMU released a really awesomely bad viral video below. Now it’s not the greatest thing ever created, but I certainly give an A for effort. I especially like it at the 1:46 mark:

Not bad right?

I think what makes me so happy is Mason realizes it’s position and doesn’t attempt to sugar-coat it. It’s the little brother of the local schools (alright, let’s face it, the severly retarded little brother that the rest of the family doesn’t really like to talk about — or feed). They aren’t going to get anywhere pretending they have the athletic clout of a Georgetown or Maryland, and thankfully they seem to realize this. But just like the academics and campus itself, the program has grown tremendously in just the 8 or so years I’ve been aware of it.

The final four was a really neat way to end my senior year, and something I’ll always cherish. But to me, the more substantial take away is the steady growth I’ve seen this program make. Any team can make a shock run in the college tournament — but a great program should contend for the postseason every year. I am proud to say all evidence seems to be pointing up — now please God don’t let us lose to James Madison.

-IronCityspy

Yikes: DC baggage handler rescued from cargo hold only when screams heard

So, I am sort of obsessed with how little airline employees are paid. Mostly because they control my life in 5 hour installments at least 4 times a year, and I would prefer they were paid more than, I don’t know, this person:

Perez Hilton - for those fortunate not to know

In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. Airways pilot starts at like $25,000, and the average starting major airline salary is $35,000. (1) that’s low, (2) its especially low when you consider mid-career regional pilots have to start at major airlines entry level (3) COME ON U.S. Airways. Though surprisingly, Southwest pays its starting pilots the most – close to 50K. Who knew?  You can read more about it here if so inclined.

San Maarten: One of the hardest landings in the world. Wonder why?

SO how does this relate to news in DC this year, you ask? WELL, I was checking google news for DC based happenings today, when I found out via the Daily Mail that a baggage handler at Reagan-National got TRAPPED in the cargo hold crawl space (about 37 inches high) while loading passenger bags. The grounds crew didn’t know he was in there, shut the door and started tugging the plane out to the runway for take off.

nice digs

He was  only rescued when passengers and crew heard his “yelling and pounding” from inside the aircraft, and grounds crew noticed he was missing. The plane was on route to Connecticut. Nightmare. So, I just wanted to point that out, you know, next time you complain about your job or how airline internet is “too slow.” Basically, watch this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk]

Amazing. Be happy. And make airline employees happier by advocating for better wages. They deserve it.

DC Packers bars: Where Steelers fans beg for pity drinks

tears for the children

As we all know, my Steelers lost last night. It was a night of drinking, turnovers, drives, injuries, hopes, terrible halftime shows, turnovers, and incompletions that ultimately left SPY alone, snacking on Doritos crumbs with a terrible towel as a napkin. For Steelers fans in the district, there is not much to do today but lament the Steelers loss, the end of NFL, and beg for free drinks out of pity. Your target: jubilant Packers bars. They are (via PackerBars.com) as follows:

  • Hawk’n'Dove – 329 Pennsylvania Ave SW (202) 543-3300
  • Duffy’s –  2106 Vermont Ave NW  (202) 265-3413
  • Trusty’s – 1420 Pennsylvania Avenue SE  (202)-547-101
  • The Exchange – 1719 G St. NW (202) 393-4690
  • Capitol Lounge – 229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE  (202) 547-2098

The Examiner even had an article about the Hawk n’ Dove allegiance. Look. You walk in wearing your bedraggled Steelers shirt, look dejected (not a tough sell) and sigh. The bartender will then look at you and know immediately, it’s the least he can do. If that doesn’t work, go into how difficult it was to go against Rodgers, the lovable underdog, while your quarterback is at worst a rapist, and at best, a goddamn idiot.

They are kind, Midwestern folk, high on the happiness of victory. You can’t lose. Well actually, you can, and you did, but at least you can get a free shot out of it.

The Great Washington Auto Show Advertising Debate of 2011

So as you all know, I SPY did not have a post yesterday. Normally the culprit of such omissions is either my laziness or complete lack of time management skills (i.e. this 5pm post), but not yesterday. Oh no, yesterday was the result of a great DEBATE between Ironcityspy and DCspy over the merits of this Washington Auto Show (it’s going on now!) commercial:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4My5-bDa9ac&feature=player_embedded]

Actually THIS is the main commercial but you can’t embed it. It’s worse. Anyways, I entrusted the post to Ironcityspy, assuming he would talk about how absolutely awful this commercial is. In my mind, only DC could make fast, expensive concept cars seem budget and lame. It is also just not funny. At all. God, I got through like 10 seconds. SO, picture my dismay when Ironcityspy presented me a post in which he endorsed that abomination of an ad! He contends it is a bit different, more ironic, less machismo, and submitted the following evidence in his defense:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpw-dJinzK0]

Granted, that’s dismal. But it’s also kind of AWESOME awful. At least it wasn’t trying to be that “I love the 90s” guy vibe, unlike the current commercial. He also analogized it to the stupidity of Coors Light commercials. You know, the ad abortions where it is a coach “talking” to guys about Coors Light by inserting sound bytes from press conferences, but the only sound bytes they ever find are “yes,” “maybe,” “hard to tell,” or other stupid innocuous things so that it is not clever at all??? Fine, I can admit that those are stupid and broseph-oriented as well. However, somehow, in trying to be irreverent, the Washington Auto Show ended up being just as intolerable.

So I throw it to you readers. Thoughts? Do you endorse the ad???

Beer me an invention

So I had a job interview today in addition to about 987562 other things, which is why I SPY was sidelined. My apologies. Blogging just doesn’t pay the bills. Anyways,  I had to talk about my passion for innovation and technology or some other stupid interview topic, which got me thinking of inventions, which led me to THIS:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiu_IX14wLI]

It’s your invention of the day: a beer cup that fills from the bottom up! So cool! How doesn’t it leak???? It debuted at a Flyers game last week and is supposed to save time at concession stands. I mean, intuitively it doesn’t seem like it would save THAT much time, especially since the quickest way would be to hand someone a can, but Bottom’s Up claims a cup a second. I am mesmerized. You can find actual information about the invention here. This video shows the process:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-sOgG3h6l0&feature=player_embedded]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQsXW5kLtTk]

Sweet, right? I guess the upside to having to repeatedly justify why EVOLUTION exists is that scientists are inventing ways to get drunk as quickly as possible. Cheers for science!

30 days of DC: #1 Your local library is the Library of effing Congress

Look. I know starting out with libraries may not seem like the coolest way to begin this 30 days of DC , but in the spirit of this series, we all need to EMBRACE our inherent DC nerdiness. We were voted the most literate city in America. We work in politics, literature, and issue-based advocacy. We love the written word. EMBRACE.

And honestly, can you think of a cooler library card to have than the Library of Congress??? True, you cannot check out books  and take them home (only Congress members can do that), BUT you can take out books within the Library and do your research in a reading room that looks like THIS:

The best reading room in the world

I mean, come on. You walk in working on some policy memo that has an 80% chance of never going anywhere, you walk out as President Palmer from 24.

You leaving the Library of Congress

Not to mention there are volumes and volumes of rare political books. Rare political books that contain SECRETS.

So, maybe while you are researching the Alien and Sedition Acts,  you run across a photocopy of an old letter that references a sunken ship in the Arctic that has never been mentioned before, and maybe you go to the Arctic and find said ship and the ship contains a riddle, and maybe that riddle is a piece of a fabled treasure map hidden in the Declaration of Independence, and maybe you steal the Declaration of Independence and begin a wild chase with you, other treasure hunters and the FBI, but you trick the others into following a false clue of a lantern that is supposed to represent Paul Revere, while you and your beautiful companion find the treasure, unprotected in Philadelphia?!?!?!?!?

The end of an average day at the Library of Congress

Maybe that would happen. One thing that’s certain, the Library of Congress is the only foreseeable starting point of such a quest. So go forth, get the coolest library card in the United States, and make your research so much more.

For a recap of what 30 days of DC is, click HERE. New post every Friday.

Tip of the Hat to Giffords’s Badass Arizona Heroes

The Giffords tragedy has hit our little capital town hard. Honestly, it has hit me hard. She was one of our own, a congresswoman fighting for the issues she believes in, shot by an effing paranoid crazy with a penchant for the gold standard and making myspace videos about how the government brainwashed people through grammar. He shot 5 people including a 9 year old child in the name of this goddamn nonsense. In the name of effing NOTHING. Jesus, humanity.

Loughner's disgusting, smiling mugshot

However, I did want to highlight one small, shining light in the midst of all this tragedy: the absolute AWESOMENESS of the Arizona Giffords supporters who subdued Loughner. Honestly, the level of badassness these people displayed in dealing with an absolutely out-of-his-mind, gun wielding CRAZY deserves its own post. It deserves a million posts.

First, Bill Badger. God, what a perfect name.

Bill Badger courtesy of WNEP

A 74-year old, retired army colonel who was waiting to meet Giffords when Loughner started shooting. After GETTING EFFING SHOT in the back of the neck, he noticed another Arizonian (also badass) pick up a folding chair, come up behind Loughner and smash it over the gunman’s head. Badger then, BLEEDING, grabbed Loughner’s arm, pinned it behind his back and, with another guy’s help, forced Loughner on the ground, holding him there.  A quote from Badger:

“Anytime he would even start to move, I would tighten my grip on his throat, and the other guy would put more pressure on his neck to hold him down,” Badger said. “And he’d holler, ‘Oh, oh, you’re hurting me! Oh, oh,’ – like that. And that guy said, ‘I don’t give a [expletive].” - CBS

Amazing. It’s like a goddamn movie. THEN if that wasn’t badass enough, Patricia Maisch, a 61-year old lady with flowers on her collared shirt, wrestled the magazine of bullets away from Loughner while he was on the ground, preventing him from reloading. She looks like this:

Patricia Maisch via Sydney Morning Herald

I mean, RIDICULOUS. A 61-year old woman at a grocery store stopped a gunman. If SPY was in that situation she would probably be on the ground, eyes closed, paralyzed in fear, like the smallest and weakest of gazelles on the Savannah.

SPY via Paul Souders at World Foto

A lion buffet. Finally, Joe Zamudio, another guy who helped bring Loughner down, was not waiting for Gifford but heard the bullets and RAN OVER. Literally running to danger to then help subdue the gunman.

Look. The level of bravery and determination by these ordinary people is amazing. Such displays seems to come out in the most tragic of situations. Arizona heroes, I salute you. You goddamn deserve it.

Merry Orthodox Christmas DC!

God I wish Orthodox Christmas had these

Hristos se rodi everyone! Spy and I are taking the day off to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, and will be back in full next week. Orthodox Christmas is a lot like regular Christmas, only instead of presents, great food and general merriment we are stuck with Church services presided over by black-hooded figures that look like Death Eaters. Have a great weekend!
-IronCityspy