An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Team WUA in the House (and at Bailey's)

As promised, the What's Up Arlington! blog is expanding to include more voices, more people spilling the dirt on fun -- at least we hope! -- things to do in Arlington.

So now when you visit this blog, you'll hear not just from me(even though I know how much you love, honor, and cherish my voice :-), but also from Christie, Miles, Casey, and Dan. They'll be writing about their experiences with CRM in Arlington, but also about other adventures they have in our fair County, which is not to be confused with fair Verona.

We're calling ourselves, "Team WUA" -- that's "woo-ah" in case you were wondering about the pronunciation.

If you're interested, you can join Team WUA and some other friends at Bailey's tonight for FREE pool and appetizers in connection with the CRM Wake Up from Winter Social! 7 - 8 PM, Bailey's in the Ballston Mall. Come over and join us.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm Feeling the Heritage

Last weekend, I braved the cold yucky weather to spend much of the day at the annual Feel the Heritage Festival, a celebration of African-American history and culture.

If you believe in past lives, I think I might make a good case study. Not to give any validity to stereotypes, but I fit a lot of "white" stereotypes - I have no rhythm, I can't dance .. OK, I can jump, I guess that doesn't match. Anyway, for whatever reason I've also had this fascination with African and African-American history. I took all these classes in college in both African and African-American history, my master's thesis on a related subject, and I listen to 2Pac. But I digress, ...

So the festival is this kind of cool, low-key festival. There's a combination of local school group acts and bigger, but relatively local groups.

My favorite act was Nu Era, a group of 5 teenage brothers who sound like the next Jackson 5. The boys could sing and they danced like N Sync or some other boy band. The African Heritage Dancers were pretty good, but I would have liked to have seen more dancing, less talking.

There were also vendors, food , and arts and crafts, but for me the entertainment was definitely the highlight.

All in all it's a pretty good way to spend a Saturday afternoon on a cold February day. I look forward to checking it out again next year.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Cross Cultural Cinema Tops Netflix

You may know from previous posts what a big fan I am of the cross-cultural cinema series (CCC) at Arlington Central Library. Recently, I found out not only what a great program this is, but that is isn't easily reproducible.

The Beginning

So, this past Thursday I was all set to go check out A Place of Our Own - this month's featured film. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying much attention to my calendar, and I promised the girlfriend that I would help her with stats for the PhD program she is in. Well, I know I preach that you should get out and do stuff as much as you can even when you may not totally feel like it, but there are certain priorities that trump that and this is one of them.

The Solution

But with all the Oscar buzz this weekend, I was feeling really bad about missing the movie. Then I had a great idea ... I may have missed the big screen, snacks, and discussion of CCC, but I could still watch the movie. After all, CCC always has great, thought-provoking movies. Netflix to the rescue!

The Solution Fails

Netflix has everything ... or so I thought. But not this movie - Netflix states "Release date not known; availability is not guaranteed." What! What? Netflix doesn't have it; Netflix has everything!!

Lesson Learned

Pay attention to your calendar. Schedule around CCC. Next CCC, Tuesday, March 13, 6:30 PM - Through Deaf Eyes. See you there!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Winter (Ice) Biking

A few weeks ago, I wrote in the What's Up! newsletter about winter, or ice biking. The following post is from Paul DeMaio, avid biker,braver to the cold weather than I, and a regular contributor to the Commuter Page Blog:

Get Ready for Spring
The winter doldrums are beginning to melt away with each day, longer than the previous. The month-long pounding of below-freezing temperatures are hopefully over. It's not spring yet, but these last few weeks of winter and early spring can still be cold until the flowers start a'popping. Don't let this prevent you from riding your bike early. With a few strategic pieces of warm clothing, start bike commuting or riding for fun NOW.

First, I highly recommend getting a bike cap, skullcap, or even bike yarmulke, as I like to call it. As we lose much of our body heat from our head, keeping it in will keep you toasty. You wear it under your helmet as it's thin and well worth the $15 it'll cost you. In fact, Performance Bike has one on sale for $10.

Second, long johns are heaven-sent. I didn't start wearing them until this winter and they're so warm that I could stand another month of these temperatures. What? Winter's still one month to go? I'm all set. Long johns are not as tight as spandex and meant to be worn under your pants as a baselayer. For about $35 from Patagonia, it's well worth the investment and you can wear them when you're not biking too.

Finally, get your bike tuned-up. The bike shops are only going to get busier when the weather gets nice, so visit your local bike shop soon before their bike mechanics get backed-up with requests. Arlington and the region have great bike shops and I'm sure they'd be happy to get you and your bike ready.

-- Paul DeMaio

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Green Science Drafting from DVDs after Mardis Gras

No, that title doesn't make sense, but here's what it's about:

*Green - not for Kermit the Frog, but for the Arlington Green Living Challenge -- win prizes (hey who says we're only motivated by the cause!) and be certified as a "green household" by earning points through any combination of 16 simple actions.

* Science - Sticking with the green theme, the next Cafe Scientifique sounds very interesting - the subject, "The 'Shocking' Science Behind Electric Cars" -- with actual cars to touch! Now, how are they getting those in the Front Page - Tuesday, March 6, 6- 8 PM (presentation starts at 6:30). FREE! No science background required.

* Drafting - as in Arlington Cinema Drafthouse and as in the "We Like the Pike" Event on Tuesday, February 27, 5- 7 PM. FREE admission includes live music, complimentary buffet, cash bar, plus get 2 FREE passes for movies or entertainment at any 2007 DraftHouse event - that alone makes the trip worth it.

* DVDs- I've bragged before about how great Arlington libraries are. I just got my e-mail about new DVDs at the library and I thought I would share some (but not the ones I really want ;-) ) -- Babel, The Departed, Fast Food Nation, Man of the Year, Rocky Balboa ... and more. - You too can stay in the loop by signing up to receive this e-newsletter on the libraries website (I can't find exactly where right now, but I did it, so I'm sure you can find it too).

*After Mardis Gras -I couldn't go to the Clarenendon parade this year. I had a board meeting for an organization I'm involved with. Grrr! Did anyone make it? It was great last year.

Note: Photo credit to "The Eggplant"

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Busboys and Poets Coming to Arlington

The Green Miles beat me to the punch on announcing the coming of Cakelove, but what he didn't mention was that Busboys and Poets is also coming to Shirlington!

If you've ever been to the one in D.C. you know it's a very cool mesh of bookstore, restaurant, bar, and of course, poetry readings, and special events... and very packed on a weekend night.

The fact that one is coming to Shirlington makes me want to celebrate like, I don't know, I just won the World Cup or something.

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Year Up with Dan

My buddy Dan passed this information along to me and I thought it sounded pretty interesting and worthwhile. Dan is going through the training, so we'll see if we can get him to post after it to tell us about his experience. In the meantime, though, here's what Dan has to say:

I recently came across Year Up, a training program for urban young adults seeking employment. The admissions process for the student applicants is pretty selective. While these students go through a year of both in class training, and corporate internships to earn college credits, each is also matched with a mentor. I signed up to be a mentor, and they are always looking for others to offer similar support for these motivated young adults. Sounds like a very unique and exciting program to be a part of – I thought I’d share. You can learn more by contacting Alice Drew, Year Up’s Director @ or visiting --- Dan


A CRM Perspective

My name is Jonathan Solis and I am a volunteer with the Arlington Community Role Models (CRM). I’ve been involved with CRM since its inception two years ago, when it was still one of Walter Tejada’s new and exciting initiatives. Since then, CRM has grown to almost 1,000 registered volunteers and has participated in a long list of volunteer events for various county and non-profit groups.

Eric asked me to be his guest blogger this week to discuss CRM and the Kindergarten Night event the group participated in last month. Kindergarten Night is an event organized by the county schools as an introduction/orientation/elementary school extravaganza for parents new to the school system. This event brings together under one roof hundreds of parents eager to learn about all of the wonderful educational opportunities for their little ones. Our task was to guide them around Kenmore Middle School, organize and distribute registration materials, and assist with any special needs they may have (child care, translation, etc.). I met the rest of the CRM gang about an hour before the event. The crowd showed up soon after I arrived. We greeted them, distributed the school information and sent them into the auditorium. Both levels of the auditorium quickly filled up and by the scheduled time of the schools’ presentation it was standing room only. Just as last year, when CRM was also present, there were many complaints about the parking situation at the school. The parking lot at Kenmore simply does not accommodate the amount of cars this event brings, so traffic backed up on Carlin Springs Road and even on Route 50. Cars parked on the neighborhood roads around the school and disturbed the neighbors, so much that the neighborhood watch captain came over to warn us that he would call a tow truck if the cars were not out of there soon. The principal made an announcement to that regard, and as far as I know no cars were towed. We finally got a breather and a chance to have some pizza after the presentation started. After it ended we led the crowd into the gym, where the each of the elementary schools had a stand setup. Looking around at the crowd, it struck me how diverse it was, particularly in age, though unfortunately not as diverse as Arlington was when I was a student at Kenmore. As the event closed and people were leaving, we collected all of the surveys given to the parents to evaluate the event. At this point, our work was done.

Those of us that volunteered last year were surprised that parking was a problem again this year. We thought of ways in which to hold this event in a more efficient manner. Some of the parents suggested holding the event over two nights; the school staff we talked to thought the logistics of the event are hard enough for one night, let alone two. I thought Miles had the best idea: have shuttles (school buses for a better experience) run from the Ballston station (plenty of parking there) to Kenmore to bring parents in. But most likely the problem will arise again next year, and fortunately for Arlington, the CRM volunteers will be there to handle it.


Friday, February 09, 2007

March 21st: CRM's Beers with Bloggers

I don't usually post things this far in advance, but Arlington's Community Role Models (CRM) is inviting local bloggers to gather for this "Beers with Bloggers" event to discuss your blogs, exchange ideas, promote your blogs to CRM members, and talk about life in Arlington.

So far, attendees include The Green Miles, What's Up Arlington!, The Buckingham Herald Triblog, and I expect there will be more.

The event will be March 21st, 7-9 PM at Carpool in Ballston.

A few posts ago, I asked where are the Arlington bloggers? So, here's your chance, come on out and be seen.

To help with the planning, CRM asks that you please register.

Girasol? XCurmudgeon? Lucky Spinster? DCSportsChick? , Others? We want to see you. Come on out.
Update: DCSports Chick will hopefully be joining us following her radio show.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cafe Scientique at Front Page

I just found out about this regular event and thought it sounded potentially interesting for the science geek in all of us.

Cafe Scientifque flourished first in the U.K. (see as a way for the public and scientists to mingle and discuss science issues in an informal setting. At least 35 cafés now exist in the U.S. The National Science Foundation initiated Café Scientifique (Arlington) and its occasional cousin in Washington D.C. in April 2006 to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences - and who can talk in plain English. Generally held on first Tuesdays at the Front Page.

Previous topics include A Brief History of the Earth and Moon, Are We All Martians?, Before the Big Bang, and the Science Behind Climate Change.

Cafe's seem to generally begin at 6:00 with light hors d'oeuvres and then a short presentation and dicussion at 6:30. Free and open to the public. No science background required.

Unfortunately, I just missed this month's presentation, but you can sign-up to be on their listserve at the National Science Foundation website, and get information about future events.

I'm interested to see what future topics are and to try to check one out. I'm not a huge science geek, but I like learning new things.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Dot Com Bubble Returns

Apparently there is a fantasy stock market of blogs ... and What's Up Arlington! is listed. Where are my backdated stock options? Can I get rich from this?

Thanks to The Green Miles for discovering this strangeness.

Anybody know anything else about this?

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Arlington Media Roundup

There is an Arlington e-newsletter, the Insider, that highlights recent media stories about Arlington. I always find it interesting, so I thought you might to, so here's my distilled version

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Miscellaneous Roundup

So much to do, so much to read, some highlights:

*Have you been following the new Fresh Aire initiative rolled out by Arlington's new board chair? Pretty cool I have to say. And more props to the County for rolling out a Fresh Aire blog to provide information. There is even a guest post by my blogger buddy The Green Miles.

*I just realized I missed a recent event by one of my favorite organizations, Art Outlet. Turns out they just hosted an event called Flux - An Art Sensory Overload. Sounds very cool - I hope they do a repeat performance in warmer weather. I added myself as a friend to their MySpace page, so hopefully I'll get updates in the future -- and I'll let you know about them here.

*In case you didn't catch this in the comments of my last post, I highly recommend the musings of Girasol - our very own bi-lingual Arlington dog.

*I hate the Sabres, but at least this Buffalo blogger gives props to the CAPS and their new practice facility here in Arlington.

*Has anybody else heard this rumor about Iwa Jima? I don't believe it, but it's kind of amusing to read about.

*I recently put out a call for bloggers writing about Arlington. In addition the ones on my blog roll on the right, and the ones mentioned above, here's a few others worth checking out:
--The Buckingham Herald Triblog -- all about Buckingham
-- Chez Robert Giron - an Arlington arts/literature blog
-- Plant Whacker - very interesting blog from an invasives volunteer in Arlington

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