LIVE! From Washington DC….

Okay, not really LIVE from DC, I actually started writing this on the plane home to Kansas City.  The original plan was to do daily updates like I did in Maryland, but believe it or not I was having such a good time that the most I could muster was checking my email every day.  It must be shocking for most of you to hear that I had such a wonderful trip, considering the trepidation with which I concluded my last post.  Long story short, the only reason I went to DC was because of a stalker.  I thought that only aging actresses who wanted to breathe some life into their sagging careers got stalkers, but I was wrong.  I tried to ignore this stalker, but she had dug up some dirt on me that I thought was long dead AND she threatened to murder my family unless I met up with her in DC.  I caught onto the fact that she was a C.H.U.D. pretty quickly, so of course I feared for my safety once I arrived……but not as much as I feared for my family.  I am rarely without at least two firearms on my person, so I knew that barring a sneak attack I could put four or five hydrashocks in that C.H.U.D. cranium if things got out of hand. And it’s not like I’m killing a PERSON, I’m just killing a filthy goddamn C.H.U.D…..but anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  There were several hours of hell ahead of me before I met the C.H.U.D. for the first time…..I just wanted to let you know why I was even in that city.


I’m just going to put this out there……….I hate children.  To put a finer point on it…..I hate YOUR children.  As far as I’m concerned, they should be relegated to “Children Only” water fountains and more importantly……airplanes, until they are at least ten or twelve.  Now that I think of it, airports too.  And if we cannot segregate the little fuckers, then at the very least each of them should be equipped with a dilaudid drip straight into their carotid arteries, and at the other end of that drip should be one of us childless people who suffer through the little fucks on every airplane ride we take.  The kid starts getting loud….warning shot of dilaudid…..they keep it up, boom….enough to guarantee they are junkies by the age of twelve.   The little fucker keeps it up?  Well, I’ll just say this….if I had MY WAY you’d be wishing you went ahead and suffocated the little shit a la that chick from Quigley Down Under when the Dingoes were coming instead of having to listen to me yell “clickety clickety CLACK!” as I administered a lethal dose of juice.  Seriously……they shoot horses don’t they?


Call it karma, poetic justice, whatever you will…..but you child loving assholes will get a kick out of the next part of my trip.  After I landed and got to the luxurious Club Quarters on I Street to desk check my bags, I had a couple of hours to kill before I could get into my room.   I kid you not, the DC Metro is just about the greatest thing in the history of transportation, and Club Quarters is literally ten feet away from the Farragut West Station, so I headed on down to the Smithsonian area.  After all, it was a Thursday around lunchtime…how hideous could the crowds be?  Well, apparently after Memorial Day, every fucking day is like a bad Vietnam flashback in the tourist corridors of DC.  Sure, I’m a tourist, but I’m not one of those all up in your face, invading your personal space, bumping into you and blocking every lane of traffic with my mongoloid antics kind of tourist.  I blend in.  And needless to say I was a unique and precious snowflake when I got to the Smithsonian buildings.  Honestly, museums are one of my favorite things on earth.  I LOVE museums, I even took a class on museums as an undergrad so that I could appreciate and critique them.  But I’m telling you, tourist season in DC takes the piss right out of anything approaching enjoyment.  When I literally loathe the Natural History Museum to the point where I can only stomach ten minutes of it, something is wrong.  People shoulder to shoulder, three deep at every exhibit, jockeying for space to snap a photo of the goddamn Hope Diamond.  Children running and screaming like a Special Olympics version of Lord of the Flies.  I just kept wanting to scream “This ain’t Ellis Island, motherfuckers!  Go back HOME!”.  Please DO NOT think I am joking after I say what I am about to say…….I have never been more serious.  You know how at Disney there will be one day of the year that is chosen to be “Gay Day”?  Well, I wish that all of the museums in Washington DC would sponsor a “Sex Offender Day”.  That way I’d know what day is safe from the screaming throngs of waterheads.  I know.  I know exactly what I am saying.  I would LITERALLY rather be shoulder to shoulder with convicted sex offenders than your children.  I mean, they’re not going to molest ME, I’m almost forty.  In fact, the next time I buy a house I’m going on the sex offender registry and buying whatever is smack dab in the middle of the highest concentration of what we refer to as “touchers”. 


So I bailed. Back on the Metro to the hotel, cruising the neighborhood looking for a decent wine store and places for carryout.  I will say that the eccentric street folks could use work.  Compared to NYC, they wouldn’t even register. Like the black guy on the corner of 17th and I, lying in front of the bus stop doing crunches and screaming “Oh don’t go near him! He’s black!  Stay away from him!”.  Come on fella, you can do better than that. There was a lot of decent stuff in the neighborhood, to be completely honest. Tons of delis, various ethnic eateries, nice little parks…but before I allow myself to relax and tell you about the wonderful stuff, I’m going to go off on one more tangent about…… the “DC Douchebags”.  Apparently, everyone knows about these guys. Seriously, every bartender we talked to was like “oh yeah, those guys…..welcome to DC”.  You’ll know exactly who I’m talking about as soon as I describe the 5:01pm uniform……mediocre loafers, crumpled slacks, long sleeves rolled to the elbow, top button undone with the very unflattering tie loosened “just so”. And if you have any doubts about their douchebag pedigree……as soon as they speak you will know……”OH YEAH, WELL CLARK OVER HERE, CLARK WAS JUST BRUTAL TO THAT BITCH IN COURT TODAY!  HOLY FUCK!  I WAS LIKE, CLARK, EASE UP ON THAT STUPID BITCH!  WHAT A BITCH!  BUT CLARK! CLARK IS THE MAN! HE BRUTALIZED HER ‘TIL SHE WAS LOOKING LIKE A WIFE WHO JUST WON’T LISTEN!”.  Yay, being a lawyer in Washington DC…..there’s an accomplishment.  We were staying in the middle of douchebag ground zero, not far from the White House…..which I guess stands to reason considering the current administration.  DC Douchebags do not possess “indoor” voices, which is apparently caused by the fact that they constantly try to talk over one another when discussing their superior skillsets.  And when you are unlucky enough to be seated near them in a bar, it’s quite a show.  Every-single-time I was within earshot of one of them, they ALWAYS asked for some kind of gin or rum nobody has ever heard of, but they had it on a trip or a cruise……and as whatever piece of shit Jimmy Buffett fratboy anthem comes flooding back into their memory they manage to wax poetic about this magical elixir while at the same time berating the bartender for not stocking it.  I did not realize the movie “The Boys from Brazil” was a fucking documentary.



So there is my venting for the trip…..I basically hate everyone, and I am very, very comfortable with that fact.  But now I’m done with that and will get on with the fun stuff.  I finally checked into my room around 2pm on Thursday, and soon after that……..I met the C.H.U.D.  I think she was trying a sneak-attack by getting to the hotel about 2 hours earlier than I expected, but I was prepared for the worst case scenario.  If you’ve seen the Rammstein video for “Du Hast”, I was EXACTLY like the guy who walks into the barn with his hand behind his back, clutching his pistol.  For someone with no formal military training, my reflexes are pretty sharp.  As soon as I heard the key-card in the door, my hand was at the small of my back and I had the hammer back on my .45.  Any trouble, and there would be two to the chest and one in the brain; special forces style.  After about a minute or so I discerned that I was in no immediate danger.  How can I really fault someone for being obsessed enough with ME to threaten physical violence if they can’t have some of THIS?  I’m actually shocked it doesn’t happen more often.  So for a filthy C.H.U.D. she was very sweet, and we settled in for what would end up being a wonderful weekend.  On Thursday we just spent some time getting acquainted, explored the neighborhood, and had a tasty Peruvian meal at a little place called El Chalan.  Mixed seafood ceviche, and a Peruvian version of a knish: stuffed and deep fried mashed potatoes….how can you go wrong with that?


Friday ended up being one of the greatest days ever.  We started off by grabbing breakfast around the corner at Park Place Gourmet……eating bagels and drinking coffee and Red Bull in the park across the street.  Speaking of Park Place Gourmet, I actually saw Scrapple in person for the first time in my life on their breakfast bar.  I was intrigued by it, and also by the chipped beef in gravy which I’d never seen before either.  They were both calling out to me, and I talked about them quite a bit throughout the weekend…….but I knew, I just KNEW deep down that if there were ever foods that were the poster children for Dumping Syndrome, these were the ones.  As sexy as suffering from crippling nausea while dry heaving and spraying the bowl may be……I had to pass.  But it was not easy.



The statue in Farragut Park, our main breakfast hangout next to the hotel.


After breakfast we decided to take a stroll down by the White House to see what was going on.  It was a beautiful day, and it was only about two blocks away. 


Here is a gratuitous shot of the White House, complete with non-Mexican gardener working out front. Way to be edgy, Dubya!



Me and the C.H.U.D.  And yes, my shirt IS the ugliest one on the planet.  But it’s one of the only short sleeved shirts I have that fits now, so piss off.


If this isn’t an advertisement for forced sterilization, then I don’t know what is.


Running a very close second to the uber-male DC Douchebags are the ever present Segway Douchebags.  They are everywhere, and yes, they tend to live in clusters. 



We must have spent at least an hour just sitting on a park bench checking out the different protesters camped in front of Dubya’s Mongoloid Hostel.  Entertainment at its finest, and damn fine people if you ask me.  These are the “24 Hour Protest People”. 



We named this fellow “Box Head”.  Box Head is probably one of the coolest people ever, unless it’s really just Dick Cheney in disguise, out having some fun.  I think you will agree that the subtlety and simplicity of Box Head’s ensemble is what really drives his point home.  He left after a while, and I’m pretty sure it was because he was being upstaged by this NEXT guy…..



I don’t think anyone can come up with an argument to convince me that this is NOT one of the greatest people to have ever lived.  We were so impressed we couldn’t even come up with a name for him….so he’s just the God of Death.  The God of Death not only has an incredibly well thought-out apocalyptic diatribe that serves as the basis for his beliefs, he puts his heart and soul into his display. It is a multimedia experience, complete with smoke effects, tons of music (Devil Went Down to Georgia, for instance), literature, an interactive wheel of apocalyptic scenarios…….the dude has got it going on. He knows how to draw a crowd and keep them fixated on his genius.


When the crowds and school groups got to be too much, we strolled down the street and happened upon what would end up being our only “real” museum experience of the trip.  The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery of American Art is right across the street from the White House, and for whatever reason we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves.  When I say “real” museum experience, I just mean that you are able to peruse the displays in relative peace, whispering back and forth to one another….instead of being jostled by throngs of tourists.  The Renwick is a beautiful building, and I took a few pictures of pieces of art that I wish I could have in my house. 



Creepiest kid ever, with an amazing 3D effect.  Way scarier than the movie “The Ring”.



This is a “Shaker Television”.  Get it?




The sheer size of this piece is what makes it so incredible.  Sixteen artists worked to create every individual piece of glass on the tablescape, which is inspired by those ornate 18th century paintings featuring huge feasts.  It’s hard to see, but all of the major food groups are represented in glass. 




This ceramic bunny from hell is simply titled “i am no one”.  I’m just assuming I’m not the only person who would love to have this in a corner of their dining room. 



So after the Renwick we strolled around for a while before heading back to the hotel to shower and get dressed for the rest of Friday’s adventure.  For whatever reason, I got it into my head that we should visit the Holocaust Museum right before it was time to head over to minibar.  I guess it just had something to do with the extreme contrast between what was arguably the most hideous event in all of human history juxtaposed against a dining experience that is arguably one of the greatest in the world.


Uh-huh. You know what I’LL never forget that I saw?  The sheer number of human bodies packed into the museum…to the point where it was literally impossible to take in any portion of the exhibit.  Tickets to the main exhibition are free, but they pass them out and time entries to avoid too many people being in there at once.  If the number of people they let in at one time is intentional, then I’d hate to see what a free-for-all would look like.  Honestly, even with my museum-critic glasses on, it was hard to find fault with the layout and design of the Holocaust Museum.  It may very well be the best executed exhibit I have ever seen.  Being assigned an “identity” of a holocaust victim upon entry is effective….basically you get an ID card and read more and more about the person as you walk through.  Then at the end you find out if you lived or died.  I died.  The C.H.U.D. lived.  Such irony.  Sadly, there were just too many people crammed in there to do it justice and give it the proper respect it deserved.  Constantly having to fight your way past strollers precludes you from immersing yourself in the experience.



And then it was on to minibar.  I won’t go into great detail here because I’ll do a whole separate post on the experience, but it truly was one of the top two dining experiences of my life (the other being at Manresa in Los Gatos, CA).  Two hours, 31 courses… will be etched in my memory forever.


Me and the C.H.U.D. enjoying a pre-dinner drink……they do mix a fine cocktail down at the bar at Cafe Atlantico.  And I have to say the bartenders earn their money….I’ve never seen an entire bus tub full of limes in the prep area of a bar before, but when you see them muddle every mojito by hand you understand the sheer scope of their lime usage. 



On Saturday we kind of took it easy, heading down to Chinatown for lunch at New Big Wong.  Not just a great name, but it was one of the only places in Chinatown that was recommended by DC food folks.  I have to say that the Mongolian Beef we shared was by far the best I’ve ever had.  I don’t put a lot of stock in “American” Chinese food, and never have high hopes, but this stuff was incredible.  Melt in your mouth tender.  After lunch we ran through a torrential downpour to the theatre right down the street. The original plan was to see Sex and the City, but all shows were sold out, so we went with The Strangers.  Not a bad movie, it’s a very good concept, there’s just no way to get past how stupid white people in horror movies can be.  “Okay, I know we should stay in this closet with this loaded shotgun…..but I’m going to run out the barn for a bit”. 


After the movie the weather was still kind of spotty, so we decided to find a nice bar and hole up for a while.  The area around Chinatown and the Verizon Center is not exactly the place to find a nice hole in the wall….it’s more of a place to get awesome blossoms and riblets at any one of the megachain Applebee’s/Ruby Tuesday establishments on that street.  As luck would have it, we found “Rocket Bar”.  Now, I have no idea what this place is like when it’s hopping….it could be wall to wall peckerheads for all I know. However, at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon you pretty much have the place to yourself.  Greatest jukebox ever…..all digital/touch screen and I think it’s loaded via satellite so you can literally find any song by any band that has ever put out an album.  Not only the greatest jukebox, but also the greatest bartender……..our new best friend forever Rodney.  Rodney has great stories, he pours a very, VERY healthy bourbon and coke, knows what you’re talking about when you mention DC Douchebags (but he calls them DoucheNozzles, which is even worse), and he isn’t shy about skipping through the song selections of the emo-freaks at the pool table as soon as you give him the nod.  If you are dumb enough to think a song like “Lightning Crashes” is appropriate listening in a bar where I’m drinking bourbon, then you deserve to lose that dollar so I can hear whatever Social D we’ve got queued up behind it.  The C.H.U.D. and I really saw eye to eye with all of this.  All Emo fuckers should die.  It was also at Rocket Bar that I came up with one of the best ideas I’ve ever had……you remember the movie Memento, where the guy had no short term memory and had to either write stuff down or tattoo it on his arm?  Well, if I lived in DC that’s what I’d do for when I was too drunk and needed to remember what Metro Lines went where.  All down the inside of my forearm I’d have things like “Red Line Originates in Shady Grove, transfer to the Yellow Line at Metro Center”.  Rodney really put a hurtin’ on me with their rail bourbon, and at one point I told the C.H.U.D. she needed to stop drinking so that one of us could get us around safely.  Honestly, she couldn’t have been a better travel companion, I really lucked out as far as stalkers go.  Funny, great conversationalist, puts up with the kind of humor I can’t even post on HERE, very sweet……..but when it came down to it I had to know….when the shit hits the fan, can this C.H.U.D. get us home alive?  And by shit hitting the fan, I just mean me getting pretty drunk.  Well, somehow she got us all the way back from Rocket Bar to the hotel where we showered and put on some party clothes so that we could keep things rolling.  So we went on down to the local watering hole….The Bottom Line, on the next block across from our hotel.  Since it was the weekend there weren’t any DC Douchebags in there, but you know what?  The bartender finished my thought for me as soon as I even started a conversation about them.  She was pretty cool, and after a couple of Knob Creek Manhattans I decided it was time to leave and give the C.H.U.D. the final shit-hitting-the-fan test.  Some people will view this as a symptom of excess, especially since I said I was saying goodbye to bourbon (like THAT shit was going to happen), but I view it as progress.  Yes, progress.  When I am comfortable enough with my new body to pull some antics in the park, it is a very positive thing.  Basically, it just consisted of me unbuttoning my shirt and threatening to ask passersby if they “wanted some of THIS”.  Then there was the unbuckling of my pants because I wanted to “feel the wind whistle across my ‘taint”.  Good stuff.  And the C.H.U.D. was very calm and caring with her response.  There were the initial embarassed pleas, the reverse psychology……a battery of things that made her the perfect babysitter and travel companion.  Even when we were back in the room and I kept threatening to go back out to the park and get naked, she hung in there.  A real champ. 




This is probably about ten minutes from the windy ‘taint related antics in the park……



Well, I could go on for a while about what a great time I had in DC with the C.H.U.D., but this is already about twice as long as my longest post……and I still have to write about minibar.  On Sunday we happened to run into one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met, as we sat in the park. He was 90 years old, served at D-Day, had two uncles in WWI, and was a very well spoken and sharply dressed Dubya-hater.  We enjoyed a long conversation with him, and pretty much just took it easy all day after the marathon bourbon bash the night before.  Since it was our last night in town, we did walk all the way down to the monuments in the evening……so here are some gratuitous shots of THAT….



A giant Masonic penis….




The WWII memorial……the waters were so inviting, but there signs about every five feet warning you against any monkey business. 


Night falls on the giant Masonic penis and its Capitol building gonad…..


I know I don’t feature it in any of these nighttime shots, but even at 9 or 10pm you are not safe from the throngs of people getting off of tour buses. In fact, the tour guides each have their own uniquely lit baton or crazy lighted glasses frames so that their people can find them.  I know that I’m unrealistic in my expectation to have all of these places to myself, it’s just weird to have SO MANY goddamn people around you at all times. Great monuments though, despite the hordes. 



No, I didn’t start quoting any Big Lebowski.  But I did think about it.  Out of all of the monuments, the Vietnam Memorial may have been my favorite.  There is something ominous about seeing all of those names.



So anyway, there you have it.  The DC trip where I met up with the C.H.U.D. stalker.  It went so well that I actually think she’s going to come up to Kansas City next month.  I managed to let my guard down a little bit since she was so nice to me, but you better believe I’ll be packing when she’s here on my home turf this close to my family and friends. 


minbar writeup in the next couple of days……..

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Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

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