An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Expect a Plague of Locusts Any Minute Now

I'm telecommuting today. The weather outside my window so far:
10am: Tropical storm-force winds

10:15am: Near-whiteout snow

10:30am: Thunder and lightning

10:45am: Back to just wind
Got a text from Arlington Alert warning that traffic lights are out in all directions at Seven Corners due to the wind. (Arlington Alert update 11:52am - "Traffic lights at 7 Corners are working again. Numerous traffic lights out across Fairfax due to high winds.")

The forecast for the rest of the day, and I am not making this up, is "rain and snow and windy." Translation: "We don't know either."

UPDATE: Check out this amazing video shot by my friend Jeremy ...

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arlington County Board's Annual New Year's Day Meeting

The Arlington County Board has a tradition unlike any other in the entire country, holding its first meeting of the year on the first day of the year. Yes, you can tell what a bunch of political nerds we are in Arlington that we can't even wait one day to listen to our elected officials make speeches.

It's actually the most entertaining, concise board meeting of the year. They swear in the chair and vice chair, then each member lays out their priorities for the year ahead.
Here are the details:
What: Arlington County Board's Annual New Year's Day Meeting
Date: Thursday, January 1, 2009
Time: 11:00am - 12:15pm
Location: County Board Meeting Room (3rd floor), 2100 Clarendon Blvd
In addition to receiving a greater sense of civic pride, they usually also put out free coffee and donuts. Hope to see you there!

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Columbia Pike Trolley?

Yes, Arlington there is a Santa Clause ... maybe.

As reported by the Sun Gazette ...

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has included a request for $50 million to construct the streetcar as part of a larger wish list that will be forwarded to the incoming Obama administration. The new administration is considering a national public-works stimulus package that is closing in on $1 trillion in scope.

Ignoring the politics for a second, personally I think a trolley on Columbia Pike would be a fantastic addition to an up and coming neighborhood. What do you think?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Arlington Will Be Just Fine?

In Tuesday's Arlington Connection, the article "Recession? What Recession?" highlighted one GMU professor's opinion that the economic crisis might not cause Arlington to go into a recession. John McClain, a GMU professor living in Arlington, said "Areas that are close to the Metro and have access to jobs will be fine". (Read the article for all of his facts and reasoning..)

What about you? How is the economic situation affecting your job, lifestyle, house, etc?

Being an Arlington County employee I am facing a loss of some benefits, no increase in pay of any kind, an expectation that we can do more with less in every aspect of our work, and an uncertain outlook for 2010. But I am confident that I will keep my job. So I am very grateful. Anxious ... but grateful.

And as a public servant I feel a responsibility to do more with less. We have less public money to spend and much greater need for services. This is a time when we will come together and truly earn our good will.

As I gather with my family for the holidays the number one question is going to be "how is the economic crisis affecting you?" Everyone has a story. Everyone is being affected.
How are you?

(Image found here)

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free Movie

Are you a fan of the cinema and interested in free events? Then head over to Central Library tonight for "The Trap". Looks like an interesting and suspenseful film!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tonight: State of the County

Just a quick heads up that Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada will be delivering the State of the County address tonight at 6:30pm at the Arlington County Board Room, Room 307, 2100 Clarendon Blvd (Courthouse Metro).

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Sunday: "The World in 70 Acres" at Potomac Overlook

Here's a cool event coming up Sunday:
Potomac Overlook Regional Park will celebrate the winter solstice with a screening of “The World in 70 Acres,” a documentary about the park, on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.

The video explores various aspects of the park - its human history, natural setting, programs and activities and also covers educational themes and topics such as energy and earth science. The video's script was written by the park's chief naturalist, Martin Ogle, and is narrated by Keith Tomlinson, manager at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. The documentary was produced and edited, largely as a volunteer effort, by local videographer David Schneider.

The video is short enough (25 minutes) to be accessible and enjoyable for children 6 and older. Refreshments will be served. Also featured will be live music by Jody Marshall, whose hammered dulcimer music can be heard in the documentary.

For reservations and more information, call (703) 528-5406.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Music

Looking for a little holiday caroling sing-a-long? Check out the below ...

Potomac Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines International presents:
Here We Go A Caroling!
Holiday Sing-Along!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thomas Jefferson Theater
125 South Old Glebe Road
Arlington, VA
Admission: FREE
For more information call 703-764-3896 or email:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Arena Stage on the Cheap

Looking for some great theatre on a budget? Arena Stage offers a limited number of $10 tickets for patrons under 30 on Monday nights.

Sounds like a great deal, and I've heard great reviews about the current show ... Next to Normal

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Write-a-Thon

Put this in the better late than never category ...sounds interesting if you're free this evening.

Event: 2008 Global Write-a-Thon!
December 10--International Human Rights Day--marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can honor this important day by participating in Amnesty International's Global Write-a-thon--the world's largest letter writing event.

Write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders at risk of severe human rights violations. Join Group 159 for an evening of letter writing, food and fun!

When: Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 5-9 p.m.

Where: Liberty Tavern 3195 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, Virginia 22201:

Stop by Liberty Tavern between 5 and 9 p.m. on Dec. 10 and meet Group 159 members and write letters demanding an end to human rights abuses around the world!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Breath of Fresh Air in Ballston

The list of nightspots in Clarendon that are smoke-free (or have a dedicated smoke-free bar) keeps growing: Clarendon Grill, Eleventh, Liberty Tavern, Tallula's EatBar.

By contrast, until recently, the list in Ballston has been short. In fact ... nonexistent.

While Ballston has some smoke-free restaurants like Pinzimini, Sangam, Ted's Montana Grill and Willow, there's been nowhere I'd go for a drink on a Saturday night. (As always, if I'm missing a place, feel free to correct me in comments.)

As someone who lives near Ballston, it's especially frustrating for two reasons:
  • Bailey's, Front Page and Rock Bottom are all already set up with two separate bars. Why not make one smoke-free? Front Page and Rock Bottom even have outdoor patios they could reserve for smokers. Pretty ridiculous that they refuse to make any accomodation whatsoever for the 75 percent of us who are non-smokers.

  • An unusually cold autumn. Do I bundle up and walk an extra 20 minutes in the bitter cold to Clarendon? Or put up with the smoke in Ballston?
Fortunately, I have a new option with the opening of Union Jack's in the Ballston Common Mall in the space formerly occupied by Romano's Macaroni Grill. I stopped by for the first time this week not knowing it was smoke-free and noticed it still had that new restaurant smell.

Sure enough, I got an email the very next morning from Union Jack's responding to an email I'd sent a few weeks back saying that yes, they are totally smoke-free!

To find more smoke-free establishments near you, check out FitArlington's Smoke-Free Restaurants Guide. (One warning -- some restaurants are listed in the guide even if they allow smoking at the bar.)

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Fellow Dukes Unite in Rossyln Tonight

It's time for Madison Monday again - and this time the JMU Alumni happy hour will be held at Continental Pool Lounge in Rosslyn. There will be drink specials, games, door prizes, and the latest news on our winning Football Team and MetroDukes activities.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Putt Putt on a Budget

I've written about the proposed putt putt course in Ballston several times on this blog. I don't know why, but the subject just interests me.

So, times are tight now, and the subject is coming up again. Seems like there is still some interest, but it's getting a little more oposition.

What do you think about a putt-putt course in Ballston?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Get Involved! - Greenbrier Learning Center

My friends at the Greenbrier Leaerning Center passed some info along that I'd like to share with you. Greenbrier is a really great place to get involved if you're looking for a way to give back to your community. So, without further ado ...

How can you get involved?
Check out Greenbrier Learning Center (GBLC) of South Arlington, serving low-income, refugee and immigrant children and families. This small nonprofit possesses the perfect amount of idealism to satisfy any of Arlington’s post grad idealists, newcomer novices, or world changers.

Greenbrier works with a small, but dedicated and dynamic staff, most of whom are bilingual with experiences in global volunteer initiatives. this small organization brings about quality programs offering kids afterschool homework and reading help, which, for most of the students who are non-native English speakers, is vital. There are also lessons on computer skills, how to study, and living healthy lifestyles.

Partnering with other established non profits in the area through the afterschool network also lends to the community vibe emanating from the walls of Greenbrier and its staff. Greenbrier Parters include Reading Connection, Phoenix Bikes, and more.

To make all of these great programs a reality, though, GBLC relies on the people of Arlington and their commitment to volunteering. We have a great group of high-school students, college students, young professionals, and seniors who help us to get things done.

Come join us in tutoring a 3rd-5th grader, leading a game of soccer or starting a running club, teaching arts and crafts, or working with families. Some other volunteer opportunities include helping out in the office, pro bono services, internships, or working on a committee for one of our fundraisers.

Volunteering makes such a huge difference in this small but growing organization. To volunteer please contact: Sarah Bordeaux at e. p. 703 379 6488 ex 104

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Is There a Stereotypical "Arlington Girl"?

Want to get a conversation going at happy hour tonight? Ask your friends if they think there's such a thing as an Arlington Girl.

My thoughts? While it's a clever try, unfortunately this definition is just too generic - it could be describing a yuppie woman just about anywhere. The Rock Bottom reference feels like a Mad Lib where the blank was "popular happy hour spot."

And why is it limited to females? Couldn't you just as easily poke fun at the "Arlington Dude" with the half-zip pullover, jeans, and flip-flops who goes to Crystal City Sports Pub to watch Hokies games?

What do you think?

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SOLD OUT - "Signature Scene" for Young Professionals

Sorry to say this event is sold out. The show is running for several weeks and has tickets available but tomorrow's event is sold out. I'll let you know if I find out about any other opportunities for reduced prices tickets or special events.

In my humble opinion, Les Miserables is the best musical ever. So you better believe I'm headed to Signature Theatre tomorrow night for the "Signature Scene" event.

Signature's offering a package with 1/2 tickets for young professionals (under 40) and a special wine and cheese reception before the show. The package is $32.50, which is quite reasonable when you consider the costs of going out and the quality of the show.

The venue is in Shirlington which is packed with great options for dining beforehand or going out after.

Not available this Thursday? It appears that Signature Theatre hosts a Signature Scene event on the first Thursday of a run each time a new show opens. The next one is a satiric comedy, "The Little Dog Laughed" on February 12th.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

CRM's Monthly Meetup Tonight

Come join CRM for the December meetup tonight at 7 pm at The Clarendon Grill, which recently went smoke free! Look for CRM-ers in green shirts and wear yours if you have one.

Lisa Acker Dorsey will be speaking about the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and she will be giving more details about a benefit that she will be holding on Thursday, December 4th.

Happy Hour specials go until 8 p.m. and include:
$1 off appetizers
$1.75 Budweiser/Bud Light, Coors Light & Miller Light bottles
$2.50 Yuengling
$3.50 Corono/Corona Light

We will also be highlighting the upcoming activities which still have sign ups open:

Committee of 100 Meeting - December 10th

Holiday Decorating at Cherrydale Health and Rehab - December 13th

OAR Project Xmas Angel Wrapping Party - December 18th

Holiday Elves at Ballston Mall - December 20th

Sign Up Online!

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Happy Hours Are Always For A Good Cause

... but this one could have a big impact in the struggle to find a cure for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Come out this Thursday night to Front Page in Ballston to have a good time and support the cause. This fundraiser was organized by Lisa Dorsey, an active CRM member who is living with Crohn's Disease and training for a half marathon through the Team Challenge. To learn more about Team Challenge please go to Lisa's Blog.

How you can help you ask?
Attend the Happy Hour and do either or all of the following:

* Purchase a wrist band: $10 for the wrist band gets you 2 free raffle tickets and drink specials from 5pm to 9pm. All of the $10 will go straight to CCFA!

- $2 Miller Lite Bottles
- $3 Corona Bottles
- $3 SoCo and Lime Shots
- Half price bottles of wine
- Half price appetizers

* Purchase raffle tickets: $2 per ticket
I will be raffling off various prizes throughout the evening so the sooner you get there the greater your chances are of winning something. Some Prizes include:

- $100 GC to Sette Bello in Clarendon
- $ 75 GC to Harry's Tap Room in Arlington
- $50 GC to Hard Times Cafe
- $35 GC to Crystal City Sports Pub
- Several Free Manicures to Mystique Nails in Falls Church

All entry fee and ticket raffle proceeds go directly to CCFA.

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