An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Flying Squirrels in Sunday Source

In case you missed it, the Washington Post Sunday Source featured Arlington's very own flying squirrels as the featured trip. Check out the full article online with the Washington Post.

Pretty cool!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cross-Cultural Cinema Thursday Night (1/25)

One of my favorite Arlington monthly events, cross-cultural cinema, is tomorrow night (Thursday, 1/25). This month's film is A Peck on the Check.

From the library website,

A Peck on the Cheek tells the poignant story of a little girl's search for
the biological mother who abandoned her as an infant. Adopted by another
couple and raised with their two sons, Amudha remains blissfully unaware
that Thiru and Indira are not her birth parents. When they tell her the
truth on her ninth birthday, Amudha expresses her determination to find her
biological mother. The search takes the family to strife-torn Sri Lanka,
where Amudha bravely confronts reality and reconciles herself to it.

The movie starts at 6:30 PM, although my experience has been that they tend to start a few minutes late. The auditorium at Central Library is really nice and they usually have some basic snacks.

I can't make it tomorrow night. I have another (boring!) meeting to go today. But if you make it out and want to write about it here, please let me know. I would love to have your post.

Labels: , ,

Beers with CRM Board Chair

This week, I welcome Dan, from Community Role Models. I couldn't make it out to the recent event that CRM hosted, so Dan provides the 411 below.

Last week we had Beers with the Board chair at Jay's
Saloon. Couldn't have been a better place to experience what Arlington has to offer - a vibrant history and exciting plans for the
future. A bunch of newcomers came to throw back a few with some existing steering committee members - we chatted about how they could get involved in CRM and the community involvement and volunteer participation it facilitates. I'll look forward to getting out to these events more often, and welcome new folks to the team.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Flying Squirrels!!!!

Yes, Arlington, there are flying squirrels.

This Saturday, I took my skeptical self to Long Branch Nature Center for the Flying Squirrels program. Several people told me that you really would see the squirrels and they really are quite common; my eyes still needed to see for themselves.

The evening consisted of some brief information from a naturalist, Anastazia, about the squirrels - nothing too geeky, but enough information to peak your interest. And then, of course, the highlight of the evening going outside and actually seeing the squirrels coming in to the feeder to eat their peanut butter.

And, lo and behold, lots of flying squirrels showed up. They were pretty cool just watching them scurry around the tree, but quite honestly, if I didn't know better, I would have confused them with chipmunks.

But then, I caught a view of one taking off from one tree and "flying" (gliding is probably a more accurate term) in to another one. Now, that was cool. That was the highlight of my evening. Admittedly, I still think seeing a deer is really cool, but flying squirrels - that's extra cool.

People (about 30 I would say,) hung out outside and watched for a bit and then would head back inside to get warm, have some hot chocolate and snacks and watch some previously filmed high-speed video of the squirrels flying around, before heading back out to observe some more.

So yes, Arlington, there are flying squirrels and you can check them out at Long Branch Nature Center. There are still some programs left this winter for you to check them out (the squirrels are apparently hard to find in the summer). For more information, visit Long Branch Nature Center of call 703-228-6535.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Into the Woods

This post was going to be my review of the new production of Into the Woods at the new Signature Theatre. But I'm not going to do that. It has always been the goal of this blog to give honest opinions of the things I do in Arlington, and I just can't do that with this show - not that the show was bad; it wasn't - I really enjoyed it. I think it was a very good show. But because I simply can not be objective.

You see, a good friend of mine from high school is one of the main characters in this show. He's been in New York off and on Broadway and now he is down here for a few months doing this show and then a show at Ford's Theatre. And I just think that is really cool. A guy I played basketball with in high school is making a living doing professional theatre. It's just kind of fun to go see him. So, that's why I can't give an objective review.

Here are some things, I think I can objectively say:

  • The set is super cool. You really feel like you are in the woods, even as an audience member.
  • The new theatre space is fantastic - very modern, very nice
  • Tickets are expensive ($45-$63)- not necessarily unfairly expensive. You pay for high level professional theatre and you get high level professional theatre. Plus, you are much closer than you would be at say, National or Warner, for the same price.
  • Tickets are selling super fast.
  • Signature has it's very own blog -- and while it doesn't appear to be updated super often, I like the behind the scenes idea

Update: I may not feel like a can give a fair review, but I think DCIst does a nice review. And as for my buddy from high school, here's what they have to say:

And we cannot forget the two princes, one after Cinderella (James Moye, also
engaging as the feral, oversexed wolf), the other pursuing Rapunzel (Sean
MacLaughlin); together, they steal the show with their dramatic tale of

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

National Volunteer Blood Donor Month

This is a slightly unusual post for this blog, but I wanted to talk for a little bit about giving blood.

I was in college the first time I was exposed to the idea of giving blood - for those of you who grew up in more urban areas, you probably find that a surprise, but it's true. Anyway, the first time I was exposed to this concept a friend went and donated blood. Unfortunately, later that night she passed out cold and busted her face up a bit.

Needless to say, that was not the best introduction to being a blood donor. For several years thereafter, I always had some lame excuse as to why I couldn't donate - I was too busy, too active, etc. No good excuses, but just something to ease my conscious. I'm not afraid of needles, but was terrified of the thought of being weakened for that day and worse case, potentially passing out.

About a year ago, I decided it was time to "face my fear" and get over it. I was nervous, but I did it, and with absolutely no ill effects. I felt completely fine. Recently, I donated again and I was once again reminded what a simple, but so helpful thing this is that we can do.

To be honest, I give blood for totally selfish reasons. I feel good about it. I feel like I gave back to my community, and I get those "warm fuzzies" for doing it. People there are also always so nice - both the staff and the community of people who come to donate blood. You are guaranteed to get a least one joke about being there for the snacks.

January just happens to be National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and you have a great opportunity to give here in Arlington. There will be a community blood drive at Central Library on Saturday, January 27, from 10 AM to 3 PM. You can call 866-256-6372 to make an appointment.

So if you're not giving blood, here's a great chance. I can almost guarantee you, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Signature Theatre Open House

I had the privilege of checking out the new space for Signature Theatre recently. Let me just say - it is very very cool. It's very open, colorful, inviting, and just generally cool.

This weekend you can check out the space as well and enjoy some open house activities.

Free events include concerts by Tony® nominees Emily Skinner and Euan Morton, and a preview performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods. Signature is located in Shirlington Village at 2800 S. Stafford St (Google doesn't seem to like that address, but if you can get to Shirlington, you'll find it. . Events are free, but some are ticketed.

You can check out the full open house schedule on the Signature Theatre website.

Check back next week for my thoughts on the new show - Into the Woods.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Washington Post Blogger's Summitt

There seems to be a lot of buzz around the blogosphere about the recent Washington Post Blogger's Summit. You can read the details and some first hand accounts at Marc Fisher's blog on, DC Met Blogs, and Yeah I Said It (Side Note: See what a good blogger, I am, linking to other people's blogs in hopes of shamelessly generating traffic back to mine).

So, let me start by getting my cool points in and saying, "Yes, I was there too.". Although I just sat there like a lump on a log and didn't ask questions or make any interesting comments - which is probably why Marc Fisher didn't link to me in his litany of blogs links, but maybe if I just keep linking to his story, then karma will catch up to me down the road.

Anyway, my point to this post is this, WHERE ARE ALL THE ARLINGTON BLOGS? There was a lot of participation from DC oriented blogs focused on certain neighborhoods, cycling, the creative side of DC, and more. I know D.C. is bigger, but come on Arlington, where are you? I know about The Green Miles, and the Buckingham blog - whose name alludes me and I can't seem to find at the moment.

But there has got to me more people out there writing, not just in Arlington, but about Arlington.

So, Arlington bloggers, where are you? Post your link in the comments. I want to hear more from the Arlington side of the river.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Air Force Memorial - up close and personal

Last post about the Air Force Memorial, for a while, I promise.

I finally got off 395 and got up close and personal to the Memorial, and I have to say it was pretty cool.

First issue - how to get there. I know it looks a bit unwelcoming from 395 with those barracks (is that what they are?) right there and no signage from the 395. But it's actually quite easy. From 395 -- Merge onto Washington Blvd / VA-27 W via Exit 8A toward VA-244 / Columbia Pike. Turn slight right onto VA-244 / Columbia Pike. The Memorial will be visible on Columbia Pike on your left at One Air Force Memorial Drive, Arlington, VA, 22211. Once you get up to it, there are signs for parking - not an over abundance of parking, but, at least when I was there, it was plenty. The parking is directly across the street from the Memorial.

So, you may not think there is much else you can see that you can't see from the road, and while that technically may be true, it's pretty cool to get right up on it (and underneath it). There's some other stuff there as well - basic memorial stuff - a statue, some quotes, some information. But really the best thing is just getting that close - it makes you want to take all kinds of pictures (which I obligingly did)

So, actually going up to the Memorial gets a thumbs up from me. It's very easy and only takes a few minutes to get off 395 and head over there. I highly recommend it.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Eagle Hike This Saturday

This is a head's up for an event that I really wanted to put in the newsletter, but just didn't have space for.

Eagle Adventure

Saturday, January 6

9:00 AM - 1:oo PM

"Join naturalist staff on this excursion to Mason Neck State Park to visit
the Bald Eagle breeding grounds! A short hike will allow us to view these
majestic birds at other wildlife. Vans leave from Long Branch Nature Center
or will pick up from Ballston Metro with advanced notice. $15 fee.
Registration required. Call 703-228-4747 to register."

Sounds like fun and it looks like Saturday is going to be a nice day fora hike - the forecast is for 68 degrees!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Wow! 2007 already. I don't know why, but 2007 just sounds so much more "futuristic" to me than 2006. So, in the spirit of New Year's, I thought I would give some 2006 highlights and 2007 resolutions.

2006 Blog Highlights

So, all in all, 2006 was a good year of discovering and enjoying Arlington. I learned a lot, discovered a lot, and generally enjoyed myself. But, as with all things, there is room for improvement, which brings us to ...

2007 Resolutions

I really didn't do enough in 2006. Despite my best intentions and despite the fact that I almost always enjoyed the things I did, I didn't get out enough and try new things in 2006. I definitely fell in to times of excuses and other commitments. So in 2007, I will

  • Get out more and try new and different things

  • Engage more guest bloggers - there is so many cool things out there to do. And as much as I would like to go to all of them, it's just not practical. I've always hoped that just magically other people would want to contribute to this blog and talk about the things they do in Arlington, but, with a few exceptions, it just hasn't happened. This year I'm going to actively seek out more voices. I want your voice here too!

  • Get XY Arlington off the ground - for those of you who know me, or are die hard readers of this blog (or the Washington Post), you'll know that I've been trying to get this initiative I'm calling XY Arlington off the ground. I'll spare you the gory details, but the bottom line is, it's not happening as quickly or smoothly as I think it should. I'm going to fix that.

So, those are a couple of things, I resolve to do in 2007. Along the way, I hope to make this blog and the accompanying What's Up newsletter a useful, informative and fun source for you.

Happy 2007!

Labels: , ,