Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We're number 48!

Forbes released their list of The Best Places For Business And Careers and Bethesda ranked number 48. And this wasn't on the "Best Small Metros" list, it was on the overall best metros. This was better than any other place in Maryland (Baltimore was next at 51), Northern VA came in at 45, so there is still some work to do. I'm a little surprised that places like Knoxville, TN and Omaha, NE beat us but it looks like the high cost of doing business and cost of living really hurt our ranking.

Maryland actually seems pretty poorly represented with just Bethesda, Baltimore, and Hagerstown on the list. The "Small metro's" list adds Salsbury and Cumberland but that's it, no mention of Silver Spring, Frederick, or Anapolis.

Putting the finishing touches on the Apple Store

The Bethesda Row Apple store move in in progress. They are putting the finishing touches on the new store. I saw a bunch of people in the old store yesterday, I think getting training for the new store. Both stores are closed March 31 to April 3rd then the new one at 4860 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD opens.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Silver Spring Transit center

I do occasionally make it out of Bethesda and last week went to Silver Spring to see what was going on over there. The new transit center is slowly moving along and doesn't actually look very different from a month ago. It is still all bare dirt but it looks like they have excavated a lot towards the back of the site. They were actively digging while I was there.

[where: Silver Spring, MD]

Friday, March 27, 2009

Train derails at Bethesda Metro station (aboveground photos)

Following up my last post about the incident at Bethesda, MD Metro station...

According to metro officials, around 4:30 a train traveling towards Glenmont with 84 people on it had mechanical problems and another train was sent to help. The last car of the original train and the first car of the helper train derailed (I guess that means the second train was pushing the first).

As you might imagine, this caused major problems. Although no-one was injured, they had to single-track around it and closed Bethesda's subway station. The fire/rescue response also caused backups on the surrounding roads.

The only mention I see of this on the wmata site right now (11:15pm) is:
Disruption at Bethesda. Trains are sharing the same track between Medical Center and Friendship Heights due to track maintenance. Expect delays in both directions.
No mention of the problem that caused them to do the track maintenance, though most of the local news places have a story about it.

Here are some more pictures I took earlier today.

update 3/28 7:50am
It looks like track repair will take a while so if you are using the red line today or tomorrow be prepared for delays. I find it interesting that metro's alert now says they are single tracking for "scheduled track maintenance", Yeah, scheduled around 5pm yesterday when the train derailed. Their alerts go to great lengths to minimize what happened.

Incident at Bethesda Metro

Twitter tells me that a metro train derailed near Bethesda Metro station (Bethesda, MD) Lots of emergency equiptment on the scene.

It closed the metro station as well as the bus bays (fire/rescue parking there), two southbound lanes of MD-355 (Wisconsin Ave) and one lane of Old Georgetown Road northbound.

WTOP reports that the last car of one train and one car of another train derailed coming into Bethesda station.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Freeze dried Strawberries

This is what two pounds of freeze-dried strawberries look like when they are sitting in a chair. Just in case you are interested.

Social Sports of Bethesda

Now and then I have worked at a place that had a sports team, mostly casual softball. I never gave much thought to who organizes those. In Bethesda, MD there is an organization called Social Sports of Bethesda that handles Football, Dogeball, Softball, and Volleyball (but not Kickball, that is done by WAKA). It looks like Social (ie drinking) is just as important as sports.

They are also one of the sponsors of the Bethesda Spring Bar Tour on Saturday March 28th from 1 to 9 pm.

[where: Bethesda, MD]

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's up with Elm Street Park

I went by Elm Street Park in Bethesda, MD (on the border of Chevy Chase, MD). And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but loads of fences criss-crossing the park. According to the sign, it is a "Tree Protection Area", but most of the grassy/tree area is still accessible, just not from all directions. You can see one of the fences in the picture and from the side I was on you could walk right up to it, you could also walk up to the other side if you went along the path. The park's signs were down too. Odd. The playground area was unaffected.

[where: 4600 Elm St, Bethesda, MD]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Save the Trail (by littering)

On March 7th, the Save The Trail petition sponsored a 10k run and Guided Walk. As part of the walk, they put purple ribbons on trees along the Georgetown Branch Trail that will/would be cut down when/if the purple line gets built. I'm all for people protesting both for and against the purple line (save the trail is against it) and the ribbons can make the impact more apparent, but, they really should have taken down the ribbons when they were done. I went for a walk on the trail today and many of them are still up. It has been over a week, at this point, it is littering, no different than the various bits of trash and fast food containers you see on the trail. So you people, show your appreciation for the trail and clean up after yourselves.

[where: Bethesda, MD]
[where: Chevy Chase, MD]

Review: Dogfish head 90 minute imperial IPA

According to the label it is :
an imperial India Pale Ale featuring a single, constant 90 minute hop addition. It's balanced by a ridiculous amount of English Two-row Barley. Then we dry-hop it in every tank.
The result is a beer that is bitter right from the start, with a very bitter after taste that lingers for a good 20 seconds. This beer is perhaps the worst beer I have tasted. It takes alot to rank below the bland cheap american beers you drink in college (natty bo, milwalkie's best), and maybe it is better than a warm one of those (but not a cold one). I like a lot of Dogfish Head's beer, but this one is downright awful, I won't be getting it again.

To be fair, I don't care for IPA's in the first place, so me not liking this one is hardly surprising. If you like IPA's and and so drunk that anything tastes good, and have destroyed your taste buds through years of eating all-to-spicy foods, then you may be able to tolorate one of these.

[update 3/23/2009]
Want a totally different second opinion? The folks at RateBeer rank it in the 99 percentile! I think I just failed as a beer connoisseur .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gas Station Renovation

I noticed that the Exxon station on Wisconsin Avenue at Montgomery Lane in Bethesda, MD is closed and undergoing renovation. I saw them painting the canopy last Friday so it looks like they are just renovating/updating it, not tearing it down. I don't know if it will come back as an Exxon or if it will change brands.

[where: 7340 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD]

Update March 30: I really did see them painting the canopy, which now seems odd since they totally removed it. It looks to me like they are putting a new one up though, so I'll stick with my original conclusion. (for now at least)

Update April 13: I have another post about the former Exxon gas station.

Friday, March 13, 2009

10 kids drink windshield wiper fluid at day care

Ten children drank windshield washer fluid after a staffer at an Arkansas day care mistakenly put the liquid in a refrigerator and served it. Only one child remained hospitalized Friday morning, after blood samples showed "measurable levels" of methanol, a highly toxic alcohol that can induce comas and cause blindness

From the AP via Yahoo News.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review: Wing Hub Buffalo Speedway chicken sandwich

Wing Hub, located at 2914 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD. Their specialty is chicken wings but the also have a lot of chicken sandwiches and burgers. I went there for lunch and got the Buffalo Speedway chicken sandwich which is a crispy fried chicken fillet with lettuc tomato, mayo, bleu cheese and buffalo sauce. I also got a side of fries (or 'spuds' as they call them).

The chicken sandwich was was wrapped in paper but was still a drippy mess of wing sauce and bleu cheese dressing. Not that it is bad though, in fact, it was excellent. Very tasty, a bit crispy (the wing sauce didn't make it soggy). The sauce was a little spicy but not too spicy and the blu cheese dressing offset that nicely. In fact, it was so good I almost went back the next day for another one. I don't want to think about the calorie and fat content of the sandwich, I am sure it is loaded.

The fries were uninspired, they were thick cut, which isn't my favorite, so if you like thick cut fries, you might have a different opinion. Dipping them in the wing sauce that dripped off my sandwich did make them pretty good though.

I just looked at their website and they have a coupon for $1 off a sandwich, I don't know how long the offer is good for, but I will try it next time I go.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Low Fee ATM in Bethesda

I don't have to worry about ATM fees, my bank refunds whatever fee is imposed. Because of this, I can go to whatever ATM is convenient. I still look at the fees though (why give some bank that I have no connection to extra money?). Fees have been going up and it seems most are between $2.50 and $3.50. I went to the HSBC bank in Lionsgate Condos on the corner of Old Georgetown Rd and Woodmont Ave and was pleasantly surprised to see the fee was only $1.75. That is still too much to charge for accessing the machine (50 cents seems more reasonable), but, it is the cheapest one I have found in Bethesda. If you find a cheaper one, let us know.

UPDATE: They have since raised the price significantly, no more pleasant suprises.

[where: Bethesda, MD]

Review: Mayflower Chinese Restaurant Szechuan Beef

I have been avoiding chinese takeout restaurants for the past couple of years, the concept of vats of food simmering for hours (or days?) until you order it doesn't seem like a recipe for good food. However, I have been getting chineese food urges for a week and yesterday decided to give in.

I went to Mayflower Chinese Restaurant and Carryout, 7925 Norfolk Ave, Bethesda, MD (Near Cordell Ave). First, no warming dishes of pre-made food. Second, I could look into the kitchen area and the first thing I noticed was fresh vegetables (brocoli and celery if you're interested) Somewhat relieved, I ordered the Szechuan Beef from the lunch menu, it came to around 6 dollars. While it was being made I idly looked around the very small restaurant, very basic with half a dozen tables and a couple of coolers of soda. less than 5 minutes later I took it and walked half a block to Veteran's Park to eat.

Now for the food. It was decent, not as good as what you get from a decent chinese resturant, but better than I expected. The vegetables had been cooked fresh and the bell peppers and onions still had a crunch to them. There was also plenty of food, it rates high on the value for the money scale. It is hard to get decent food cooked fresh in only a few minutes, but I'll probably head back there another nice day to try something else.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where did all the trees go?

A couple of weeks ago, when the missing Bethesda Circulator bench was found, the Gazette reported that they wouldn't be putting the bench back anytime soon because of upcoming construction. It looks like that construction has started. They took a chainsaw to the trees on Woodmont Ave between Hampden Lane and Elm St in Bethesda, MD. Also a spiffy new "Construction Area Do Not Enter" sign. This is the building where the Ritz Camera and the auto repair shop were.

[where: Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD]

Update March 26: JH left a comment pointing to this article that says Equinox Fitness Club will put a four-story 31,000 square foot location here. (It also says that it will be at the intersection of Elm Street and Hampden Lane, even though those streets don't intersect). Thanks for the link.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Another bank robbery in Bethesda, MD

Yesterday I heard a bunch of sirens and a bit later saw the channel 7 news helicopter, but I couldn't figure out why. This morning I found the explanation.

Around 4pm on Friday the Bank of America at 7316 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD was robbed by someone with pepper spray. This robbery has a happy ending though, customers and bank employees chased the robber down the street and apprehended him. More info from WJLA.

This is the third (and hopefully last) bank robbery I have heard of in Bethesda in the past couple of months.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Glorious Snow

I think this counts as a just about perfect snow. 4-6 inches, mostly overnight so we weren't stuck at work then having to drive home in it, and cleared off the roads quickly. If only it weren't so windy and it would pack a bit better.

Currently, all but the neighborhood streets are clear and wet, no snow or slush on them. It is below freezing but that doesn't seem to be causing problems.

Tomorrow should be sunny and 29, so the roads should remain good (except in the early morning, before the sun comes up). Wednesday is supposed to be 40 so this snow won't last long, enjoy it while you can.

[where: I-495, Bethesda, MD]