An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Read a Banned Book

Arlington Public Libraries are observing Banned Books Week:
"Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read" is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
You can also check out the most challenged books of the 21st century (PDF). My favorite: Captain Underpants. I can just imagine the outraged parent now. "There is no bigger threat to our children than Captain Underpants!"

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Walk the Crop

Looking for a good cause? Check this out"

  • CROP Walk
    “Neighbors walking together to take a stand
    against hunger in our world.”

    Saturday, October 18, 2008
    Walk starts at 8 a.m.

    Come support hunger relief internationally and here in Arlington!

    25% of funds raised go directly to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC)

    Last year AFAC received over $10,000 from the proceeds

    Register online at

E-walking is encouraged this year. Thanks to the wonders of the worldwide web, every Walker can create a personalized web page seeking donations or sign up with others as a team, e-mail requests for sponsorships to friends and family anywhere, as well as receive credit card contributions for their CROP Walk at the secure website,

Want to get involved more? Check out the facebook group at

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Mildred Muhammad Speaks Out

Last night, a few members of Community Role Models (CRM), including myself went to the Kick Off Event for Project Peace.

Mildred Muhammad, the former wife of the DC Sniper was the featured speaker and had a chilling and fascinating story to tell. Before we knew her former husband, John as the DC Sniper she knew him as a controlling and manipulative man who stole her children from her and threatened to kill her after she filed for divorce. Not the stereotype of a victim, Mrs. Muhammad did not have any physical scars and remained very in control and confident on the outside. Service providers often didn't believe her and no one was able to help her as she ran for her life.

Muhammad was an impressive speaker and inspiring in the way that she fought for her survival, persisted in the pursuit of justice, and is now using her experience to help victims of domestic violence.

For an article and video coverage on last night's event from Fox 5 click here.
For a better article about Mildred Muhammad from the Washington post click here.

What Fox 5 fails to mention is that the whole point of her appearance was to kick off Arlington's, Project Peace. A new Hotline: 703-24PEACE has been launched and there are several events coming up to raise awareness including:

Clothesline Project at Thomas Jefferson Community Center, Central Library, and Fairlington Community Center

October 16th Candlelight Vigil at Ft Myer (703)696-3512

CRM's next Meetup will be October 7th from 7-9 pm at King St Blues in Courthouse Plaza and we will have a guest from the Red Flag Campaign to speak about domestic violence awareness. Hope you can join us.

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A Happy Hour Debate

I have cut and pasted the Arlington relevant information from Washington Post City Guide's Going Out Gurus Blog. See entire post here.

Here is a guide to Debate watching events in Arlington

"Parties That Lean Right
Bailey's Pub and Grille (Crystal City)
Bailey's Pub and Grille seems to be the fault line of Arlington politics. The local branch of the Young Republicans will be gathered in the back room of the Crystal City sports bar, while the Democrats will be at its sister bar in Ballston. (More on that below.) An RSVP is requested to join the Republican event; admission is free and doors open at 7:30.

Parties That Lean Left
Bailey's Pub and Grille (Ballston)

The official gathering place for Arlington Democrats will play the debate on multiple TVs and feature games like buzzword bingo. Admission is free for members and $10 for everyone else, and that price includes one drink.

Busboys and Poets
All three locations of Busboys and Poets (14th Street, Shirlington and the new City Vista at 5th and K) are hosting watch parties with full sound. Ask about the special drinks created specifically for the occasion, like the "Obama" and the "Biden." U Street and Shirlington will have the debate on 10-foot projection screens, while City Vista will have it on all five TVs.

Nonpartisan Events
Cap City Brewing Company
All three Capitol City Brewing Company locations will be showing the debates, and it's no coincidence that the brewery just unveiled its new Election Ale, a light, crisp beer with a touch of hops. (On Nov. 5, Election Ale will be reformulated as InaugurAle with one additional ingredient: honey from the winning candidate's home state.) Expect the Cap City at Postal Square to be the most popular, as it's within spitting distance of the Capitol."

Let us know if you hear of any others!

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Dialogue Was Had By All

Last night, I attended the Diversity Dialogue at Central Library. There was a huge turnout, resulting in extra tables and chairs being brought in and some difficulty in hearing the other people at your table. Great to see so many people care about connecting on this issue.

Being new to Arlington, I found it a good chance to meet a lot of different Arlington leaders and residents. There were 4 County Board members there (Chairman Tejada, Barbara Favola, Chris Zimmerman, and Mary Hynes) as well as 1-2 School Board members.

As far as the conversations that I participated in (you sat at 3 different tables during the evening and answered 3 different questions), I felt that they lacked depth. Most of the people in attendance were there because they were passionate about diversity and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. In other words, there was some preaching to the choir going on. I really enjoyed the chance to meet all of these different people, but I don't know how much was accomplished as far as generating ideas for how to improve Arlington's diversity and inclusion of all persons. Other tables seemed to generate some concrete examples of what the County could do and all of our ideas were recorded on a big mural that will be added to as the project continues.

Good News - there are 2 more chances for YOU to participate and add a different perspective, spark some debate and make this effort as productive as possible.

The next one is Thursday, October 16th at Barrett Elementary School.
Sign up today!! (you need to register ahead of time so they can plan how many tables and facilitators they need)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'll Miss You, Giant Hole

Ever since I moved to Arlington, there's been a giant hole in Courthouse at the corner of Clarendon and N. Adams. It's the site of a project waiting to be built since ... are you ready for this? 1984.

But at long last, a structure is rising from the hole:

The Washington Business Journal has the details:
The Donohoe Cos. started construction Sept. 19 on a 140,000-square-foot, 176-room Marriott Residence Inn on Clarendon Boulevard near the Court House Metro station. The $40 million hotel will open in spring 2009, some 23 years after it was originally envisioned and one year later than the current developers were hoping for.

"It has maybe taken longer than it typically does," said Bob Donohoe, development director for The Donohoe Cos. "But we feel like we've got the best project we could have."
"Maybe taken longer than it typically does"? Talk about the understatement of the year.

Anyway, the project should be a big boost for a block that's been pretty unremarkable until the recent addition of King Street Blues.

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Car Free?

So, did you go car free or car lite yesterday?
Looks like theGreenMiles did: "I'll be Metroing from Ballston to West Falls Church, then taking the 952 bus out to the office in Reston. Takes a bit longer, but saves on gas, lets me catch up on reading, and keeps me from having to battle traffic on I66!"

And our fellow blogger Eric did: "I took the Metro to Pentagon, then the 22A bus to Shirlington - takes a little bit longer than driving, but is so much more relaxing (and cheaper!)"
As for myself, I chickened out on biking to the metro. Confession: although I work in Arlington I've been living way out in Fairfax. It is way too easy to make excuses and drive in Fairfax.

So what am I doing to reduce my carbon footprint? I'm moving closer to work! In a few weeks I will be living in Falls Church near the East Falls Church metro (and near bus lines and bike trails). No more excuses. I can't wait to bike, walk, and metro all around Arlington and Falls Church.

And now I've found out that I can keep up the biking at work with our new fleet of trikes!

Share your reasons or plans for going car free or car lite...

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Friday, September 19, 2008

World Car-Free Day on Monday

In my last town I got most places by bike. It was a small town so nothing was very far away and there were bike lanes and general acceptance of the biking and walking public.

Moving to the city I've discovered that getting from Point A to Point B is much more frustrating but my options are far more expansive: biking, driving, metro, multiple types of buses, slugging, carpooling, zip car, Envirocab, etc.

I challenge you to use World Car-Free Day as an opportunity to try a new way of getting around that does not involve a car.

WalkArlington is promoting Car-Free Day with a walk in Clarendon from on Monday September 22nd.

The walk will be made more interesting with speakers sharing anecdotes about Clarendon's history, cultural resources, gathering places, and car-free lifestyle.
6:30-7:30 p.m

Not only that, but "in conjunction with Arlington County Commuter Services' Car-Free Diet campaign and the Clarendon Alliance, Clarendon's many restaurants and shops will be offering World Car-Free Day discounts and promotions."

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A New Production from The Arlington Players

Just got a heads up from The Arlington Players that this show is opening on Friday (Sept. 19):
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

The Arlington Players
Thomas Jefferson Community Center
3501 2nd Street S.
Arlington, VA, 22204

"Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone: a comedy tonight!" This uproarious farce tells the story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master, Hero, earn the love of a courtesan, Philia. All Pseudolus needs to do is outsmart Hero’s parents, Marcus Lycus, the dealer who owns Philia, and the swaggering soldier Miles Gloriosus, to whom Philia has been promised. Inspired by the works of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, this broad, bawdy, and fast-paced comedy has won multiple Tony awards over the years and is considered one of the all-time great classic musical comedies!

It's scheduled to run through Oct. 4th. If you go, let us know how it was!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Has Arlington Reached a Smoke-Free Tipping Point?

When Clarendon Grill decided to go smoke-free, they didn't mess around. Not only is there a ginormous "NO SMOKING" sign right on the front door, there are those white fliers plastered all over the windows:

Just this year, we've seen three types of places go smoke-free that cynics claimed never would never flip voluntarily:
  • A sports bar (Thirsty Bernie's)
  • A brew pub (Cap City)
  • And a music venue (Clarendon Grill)
Now that in Clarendon alone, Clarendon Grill, Eleventh, Clarendon Ballroom, Liberty Tavern and others are all smoke-free, do you think we'll see more of a chain reaction in that area? Who would you like to see go smoke-free next? (My vote: Whitlow's.)

For more smoke-free establishments, check out Arlington County's Smoke Free Restaurants guide.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter JohnAlex, I called Whitlow's, who informed me that they're now mostly smoke-free. There's a small smoking section in the back (if you've been there, it's near the beach mural). OK, so I have to change my vote, I guess ... I know it's a stretch, but I'll go with Jay's. How great would it be to have a smoke-free dive bar? Close second would be for Tallula's EatBar to go 100% smoke-free, it'd be nice to hang out in that back lounge without smelling like an ashtray afterwards.

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Diversity Dialogues

Want to join a cool conversation about diversity in Arlington? Here are some great chances to join a dialog ...

Diversity Dialogue Dates:

Wednesday, September 24th 6:30-9:30 pm Arlington Central Library (1015 North Quincy Street, Arlington 22201)

Thursday, October 16th 6:30-9:30 pm Barrett Elementary School (4401 N. Henderson Road, Arlington 22203)

Sunday, October 26th 1:30-4:30 pm Drew Model School (3500 S. 23rd Street, Arlington 22206)

Please RSVP for the Diversity Dialogues (as space is limited). To learn more, go to the Diversity Dialogues Webpage.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Odd Coincidence or Brilliant Placement?

Ever notice that the Cheesecake Factory is directly across from the Gold's Gym in Clarendon? Are they hoping people will leave Cheesecake Factory, feel guilty for having just consumed enough calories to make The Michael Phelps Diet seem sensible, and cross the street to join Gold's?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Duke Dog Hits Happy Hour in Ballston

Do you bleed purple? Is Duke Dog your favorite mascot? Do you miss Dhall cookies?

Then you are probably a fabulous JMU Alum like myself and should show up next Monday for Happy Hour hosted by the MetroDukes at Caribbean Breeze in Ballston.

There will be drink specials and 1/2 price appetizers. You want games? They're going to break out cornhole/baggo boards and water pong (no beer in the cups per ABC laws). You want door prizes? $50 gift card and some other JMU treats will be given away as well! Hope to see you there!

Contact Matt Tremonte with questions.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today We Remember

I was a senior at a northern Virginia highschool on 9/11 and feel as if my life and my generation was shaped that day. Having been in the Southwest for the last 2 years I have not felt this day as acutely. Today is a good day for remembrance and reflection.

Today in Arlington there are many ways to remember. Click here for information from Arlington County about what is going on.

Best wishes, my thoughts are with you.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sept. 24: The Real Charlie Wilson

Just got a postcard from Rep. Jim Moran's office announcing this event:
An Evening with Charlie Wilson:
A Conversation on U.S. Foreign Policy in Iraq,
Afghanistan and the Middle East

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Schlesinger Center
Northern Virginia Community College
3001 N. Beauregard Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22311

Featuring: Charlie Wilson, former Member of Congress whose real life story is
depicted in the hit movie Charlie Wilson’s War

I thought Charlie Wilson's War was kind of an odd movie, glamorizing Wilson's partying ways while only making vague references to one of the war's unintended consequences -- the rise of the Taliban and ultimately 9/11. Wilson's story is certainly more complicated than Hollywood can handle in a couple of hours.

If you go to the event, let us know how it was!

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What's the next hot neighborhood?

Washington Business Journal recently published an article titled "The hunt for the next hot spots" in which Richard Florida identifies trends in DC area development. He highlights Arlington as a place that 20 years ago no one would have predicted as a popular place for young professionals to want to live.

Ballston and Clarendon are highlighted as trendy urban neighborhoods that came as a surprise to demographers.

According to the article, 77% of Gen Y-ers (or Millennials) plan to live in an urban core. This is a dramatic departure from the suburban ideal that was embraced by our parents. Another interesting trend is the end of "White Flight" which had a major effect on housing trends of our parents generation. DC has seen an increase in the white population since 2000.

So what is the future hot spot? In Arlington, this article points to Shirlington and Columbia Pike as examples of areas that are benefiting from an increase in transit options and development.

What do you think?

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Recycling Junkie?

Do you work at a place that is big on recycling and reducing waste or know one that is?

The County just announced that they are giving awards to places that are committed to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

The fine print says that they have to be a FreshAire partner to apply for the award and so far there are only 13 FreshAire partners. Becoming a FreshAire partner isn't hard if you've already Gone Green so with a month left till applications are due October 6th, you still have time!

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Hanna Leaves Arlington

Walked through the back streets of Ashton Heights last night on my way to Clarendon looking for damage from Tropical Storm Hanna and couldn't find any. Just scattered twigs and leaves. I've seen worse from your standard summer thunderstorm.

But I did get some cool pictures of the last storm clouds exiting Arlington:

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hanna Hits Arlington

The Green Miles spent Tropical Storm Hanna helping a friend move. We managed to keep everything pretty dry thanks to liberal use of blankets and towels. Well, except ourselves -- we were all soaked to the bone by the time the move was done. Note the giant puddle at the foot of the stairs we had to step in every time we brought in a load.

Before the storm, we'd been told damage would be worst east of DC. But as the Washington Post reports, it looks like the heaviest damage is west of DC in places like Prince William County. Dominion reports nearly 8,000 customers in Northern Virginia without power as of 7:30pm on Saturday night. You can get the latest information on weather-related cancellations at the Arlington County website.

Any interesting storm stories?

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Gelato has come to Clarendon!

My day was just totally made by the discovery of a new Gelato and Coffee shop called "Boccato". Haven't heard of it? That's because it's only been around 3 months and its crowded on Wilson Blvd across from Whole Foods and between the Latino Mercado and the Halal Deli.

As a chocolate addict I have been searching for great places to get my chocolate fix near work.

The Chocolate Gelato at Boccato's is my new favorite vice. At $3 a scoop I will need to keep things in moderation, but the price is justified by the quality of the product as well as fabulous service.

If coffee's more your thing you'll want to check out the "caffeinato" side of Boccato. Rob, one of the owners, made me a taste of the Decaf coffee. He grinds the beans right there and brews it right in front of you for a truely fresh cup (at $2.50). I do not drink black coffee ... until now.

By now I'm sure you're going to try this place yourself so a couple of things to know:
*You need cash. They do not take plastic.
*Be careful on the way in, there's a large step down.


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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bad weather on the horizon

Summer may be ending but hurricane season is in full force. September 10th is apparently the statistical peak of the season and we have Hurricane Hanna stirring in the Atlantic.

Now's a good time to be reminded about emergency preparedness. Check out the Office of Emergency Management's site for tips.

Sign up for Arlington Alert to get text messages or emails about the latest emergency alerts as well as information on road closures or public health announcements.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Watering the Pavement

Seen at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and Randolph St. last Wednesday morning while walking to the Ballston Metro:That's not a power-washing -- the water's dribbling out of the hose. As you can see with the two bits of junk to the right of the planter in the foreground, it didn't clear stuff off the sidewalk. The worker watered the sidewalk all the way around the building -- with some quick-and-dirty math, roughly 6,000 square feet of sidewalk.

It's a waste of water, sure. But really, my critique here is an economic one, not an environmental one. Is it really worth paying someone to spend an hour doing this every morning? Or any morning?

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

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Vote For Your Favorite Arlington Restaurant

Apparently this is the first year that everyone gets to vote for their favorite Arlington businesses in hopes that they'll win an Abbie.

To vote go to

Maybe we'll sample some of the winners and let you know our opinion of the People's Choices.

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