Posts from July, 2008

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

We Love D.C.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

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Well, it’s been exactly one year since we moved to D.C. proper, after a combined 20 years of living around the periphery (well, I did 2 years in Glover Park, but that hardly counts). so, in the spirit of the new(ish) local blog We Love DC, the lady sparkler and I spent a walk through the neighborhood recounting why we love this place.

National Zoo
Denizens of Mount Pleasant refer to the Zoo as their “backyard” and in a lot of ways it is. I know more about the Prairie Dogs than I do some of my friends. Free summer concerts on lion hill, winter solace because the tourists stay away, spring babies, and the best fall foliage in the city.

Free Stuff
It’s easy to take this for granted, but we are reminded everytime we leave the city … everything in D.C. is free. From concerts, to movies on the mall, to museums, to monuments. The first time the lady sparkler and I went to NYC together, we just couldn’t shut up about the $18, $25, $30 tickets to see anything of culture. No wonder they are so grumpy up there.

Kennedy Center
Truely the greatest “monument” in D.C., the Kennedy Center presents an amazing array of theatre, music and culture to the city. Sure, we should give a shout out to the Woolly Mammoth, Arena, Signature and Shakespeare Theatres too, but the top class productions in D.C. are good enough to rival those of other major cities around the world.

A decade ago, “food” would certainly not make an area top list, but D.C. is now home to quite a few decent restaurants. Maybe they aren’t the most daring menus on the planet, but the food is top-shelf and the service is legitimately okay. Going out, we have had as many great meals as we do mediocre, and that’s a step in the right direction.

Urban Parks
It’s hard to believe in a city, but we really have trees and parks all over the place. Rock Creek is enormous, and just about every intersection of the big avenues has a park of some kind. Large and small, these parks are one of the reasons DC-ites are out and about so much.

RFK Stadium
While a source of scorn for a lot of people who just don’t get it (D.C. United’s owners to name a few), RFK Stadium is the last great municipal stadium in use in the country, and one of the truest places to watch a ballgame in the country. No doubt: we will cry if it ever gets torn down.

Meridian Hill / Malcolm X Park
Parisian fountains in the middle of the District … who can argue with that? Almost by definition, spring starts in the city when the park’s fountains are turned on, and it plays host to everything from picnics to drum circles. The best news, is that ten years ago it wasn’t save to think about entering the park. Now? Oasis in the city.

Mount Pleasant
I loved Mount Pleasant before I even knew what it was. I got lost here in the late 90s and again in 2005, both times thinking it was the most beautiful neighborhood in the world. I’m here for the amazing. She is here for the farmer’s market. It’s a win, win.

Now, the one reason we hate this place: no one stays here … in the last 4 months, we’ve lost a handful of our closest friends to Seattle, Boston and now Mississippi. Mississippi?!? When you start losing people to the deep south, you have to wonder how great your city actually is … but why we hate D.C. (politics, interns) is a posting for another day.

the cat and the coffee maker

Monday, 21 July 2008

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Emily the Catthe lady sparkler wanted a french press for as long as anyone could remember, and only the possession of an existing coffee pot stood in between her and her dreams.

in the wee hours of monday morning, however, this caffeine-driven lust percolated into a plan … with shattering consequences.

according to initial reports, late sunday night ms. sparkler slipped treats to one “Emily the Cat,” who then proceeded to destroy said coffee pot as part of her 3:30 am caterwauling. the victim, a solid yet uninspired resident of the kitchen, was apparently pushed off the silestone cliffs near the sink district onto the cold, slate flooring below.

when apprehended, ms. the cat declined to comment. old crate and barrel gift cards, left over from ms. sparkler’s recent wedding, have already been mobilized as part of the relief effort.

in other coffee related news, sparkler fan-favourite burkina boy has recently published a sustainable coffee guide on the web site of some leading conservation organization working to protect life, preserve nature, etc., etc., etc.

in mt. pleasant, dc:

1y, 0m, 2d

nso @ carter barron ampitheatre

Friday, 18 July 2008


after ten years of trying, i’ve finally seem something at carter barron, d.c.’s outdoor ampitheatre that’s nary 15 blocks up rock creek. the program was superb, the conductor hilarious (in a David Schwimmer sorta way), and the accoustics were better than the kennedy center. well worth the wait.

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service.

world team tennis comes to d.c. (who knew?!?)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Washington Kastles vs. Delaware Smash, Kastles Stadium, Washington D.C.
really, who knew such a thing existed … but apparently Washington now has a franchise (the “Kastles” annoyingly enough) in the three decade old “world team tennis” league.

we only tripped on this because the D.C.’s home “stadium” (air quotes, the court is temporary and was constructed in the middle of a parking lot downtown) was used in the trials for the homeless world cup.

the format is a stripped down version of tennis (first to five wins the set, first to four wins the game, no deuces/advantages) where each set is a different competition (men’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles, women’s singles). the team with the most sets/games wins.

tragically, washington got whupped (by the 2 win, 10 loss delaware smash) so the two best parts of the evening had nothing to do with the matches:

  • first, in between sets there was a wii tennis match between an 8-year old and a member of the d.c. team where the kid got crushed.
  • second, half way through the final set of the match, the public address mis-announced washington player Sacha Jones (17-year old new zealander tennis prodigy) as Sasha Cohen (23-year old american gymnast or 36-year old british “borat” actor).

all joking aside, it was a good time, and the organizers were obviously trying really, really hard to make sure everyone had a good time.

signs my wife could very well be a boy …

Monday, 14 July 2008

with apologies to letterman, here are the top five signs the person you married might be a boy … (all said by the lady sparkler this week):

5. "Awesome! You didn’t tell me the Tour de France was on — move over."
4. "Of course you should get an iPhone!"
3. "Dychenko is starting in midfield for D.C.? Oh, well … he can’t be worse than Gallardo."
2. "I think Evan would make a great house-husband."
1. "Hi, honey … I’m home. Can we play video games tonight?"

as for the latter, after more than a little effort, the lady sparkler and i have beaten super mario galaxy through the first time in two-player mode. i completely sold her short, thinking she’d bail after the first couple of challenges.

turns out she was totally addicted, and was literally bouncing up and down as we polished off the 100th challenge last night.

so, i know i’m the only one who cares …

Monday, 14 July 2008

… but i had to share that I am in first place in my fantasy baseball league. i’m only two points up (out of 2908 points scored) and there is no way i will still be in first by tomorrow, so i’m going to tell anyone who will listen today before i begin the long slide back towards mediocrity.

lion king @ the kennedy center

Sunday, 13 July 2008

amazing considering, but i somehow avoided seeing The Lion King until today. A friend scored us tickets in 8th row center, and the experience matched the seats. The production values (lighting, costumes, choreography) were amazing. it’s nice to see creative stuff coming out of the great white way again.

Photo courtesy of Disney’s Lion King.

when the lights go down in the city

Saturday, 12 July 2008


half of d.c. united’s stadium (rfk) lost power tonight, during a match against CD Guadalajara. the outage stopped play for 19 minutes, and freaked us out imagining the chaos if *all* the lights had gone out. united, who is trying to move to a new home that isn’t 47-years old, announced over the p.a. that this was “yet another reason we need a new stadium” … hmmm.

a perfect holiday weekend

Monday, 7 July 2008


ECPA20080706_1540, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
i’m almost embarrassed about how perfect a holiday weekend this was. little bit of everything … getting out, staying in, sports, animated movies, fireworks. granted, this will solidify my reputation as a 11 year-old boy, but i have no complaints.


on the fourth itself, we snuck out of town to frederick, maryland for a party with a couple of friends, which featured their new best buddy … a frozen margarita machine. on the trip back into town, we saw three different fireworks displays from the interstate and still made it back in time to watch a re-run of the d.c. fireworks in high-def.


once the right-wing blogs starting attacking pixar’s new animated feature — “leftist propaganda about the evils of mankind”, “90-minute lecture”, “liberal nonsense”, “Malthusian fear mongering” — i figured it had to be good, at it was … like “clear your calendars” good. or, “rent somebody’s children so you have a justification” good.


good friend lighting chick knits scored some 15th-row tickets to the orioles, so we made the pilgrimage up to camden yards. had a super, super great time … and could just about squeeze Texas hottie Josh Hamilton’s Charmin as he slid into third. now, the orioles are still on my blacklist ’cause peter angelos did everything short of sprouting horns and dancing with a pitchfork to prevent d.c. from getting a baseball team, but the orioles lost (shocking!) and every dime from my wallet went straight to the beer/sausage vendors.

harry potter

the last part of the weekend was also the most embarrassing: spindler and i tivo’d the first four harry potter movies — abc family was doing a marathon — and watched them over 12 hours on sunday afternoon. nary a single brain cell was exercised in the process of this remarkable achievement.

if only every weekend was so good …