Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Clouds over Bethesda (potd)

I was walking around Bethesda, MD today at lunch time and a huge bank of dark clouds started rolling in. Farther away you could still see blue sky. The clouds were threatening but didn't produce any rain.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Chicken on the Run

I have been meaning to go to Chicken on the Run for about 6 months but somehow never got around to it. Earlier this week I finally made it. They serve charcoal roasted peruvian chicken and a number of different sides. Service is very quick, it takes too long to cook this to order so they have it pretty much ready to go. For sides I had the salad and the fried plantain. They also have french fries, yucca, rice and beans, coleslaw, potato salad and mashed potatoes.

The chicken was delicious, the charcoal and spice flavor had soaked through the whole chicken and it was tender and juicy. the fried plantains were incredible, hot and a bit gooey on the inside and lightly carmelized on the outside. The salad was a bit of a let down though, it was iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes with a few shreds of carrots, it didn't have very much flavor.

Overall, it was really good food and very reasonably priced. I wish I hadn't waited this long to go to it. Chicken on the Run is at 4933 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Partial closure of the parking garages 11 and 11a in Bethesda

The parking garage with entrances on Woodmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road (behind the Lionsgate condos) in Bethesda, MD will be partially closed from Friday June 26th through Tuesday June 30 for washdown and beam cleaning.

Paving on Bethesda's Woodmont Avenue

They have been doing on-again off-again road work on Woodmont Ave next to Veteran's Park in Bethesda, MD for a while, a couple of months ago they were digging it up to install an underground pipe across it. It looks like they are finished for good because today they were re-paving that area. They had closed one side of the street and had some cones set up so there was one lane in each direction available. Traffic is light enough at this time of day that it wasn't causing much of a backup, though not quite everyone got through the light cycle every time. Around 1:15 they had finished the verterans park side and were taking a break. Since the other side of the road was already ground down, I bet the tackle that this afternoon.

Update 9:30pm: I checked this evening and they did finish paving both sides of the road.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Unattended Playground Children

There is an inherent problem with putting everything in all caps and not having punctuation. I had to read this sign more than once to figure out what it really meant. I mean, if the "UNATTENDED PLAYGROUND CHILDREN" are "ACCOMPANIED BY PARENT" then they aren't really unattended are they? If, on the other hand, they had put a period after the word playground and done some decent capitalization, and maybe a bit better grammar then I would have read "Unattended Playground. Children must be accompanied by a parent." Much better isn't it.

Now, moving on to the second sign, according to it, children only have to be accompanied by an adult, it doesn't have to be a parent. Of course anyone over 18 is free to play on it without a child (which is refreshing, I've seen more and more places requiring you bring a child to kid-focused activities.) Still ALL CAPS but at least it has punctuation.

But still, something isn't quite right. Hmm, let me think. Oh yes. There isn't a playground anywhere around this sign. I assume at some point in the past there was, but now it is the patio seating for the Daily Grill at the Bethesda Hyatt. At least they did a good job attaching the sign.

In case it is hard to read the second sign, it says "Attention. This play area and equipment are unattended and are for the sole use of registered guests of the hotel. No person under the age of 18 is permitted access without being accompanied by an adult. All persons using this equipment do so at their own risk. Thank you, The management."

[where: Bethesda, MD]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Line train wreck, morning update

Photo by twitpic user davidcorndc.

There is still a significant impact from yesterday's accident on metro's Red Line. The red line between Brookland-CUA and Silver Spring is still closed and will remain so for at least the morning rush hour but probably for the whole day. There will be no service at the Takoma or Ft. Totten stations. (The metro website says that Brookand will not have service, but a more recent message on twitter says that it will be open.) release There will be no MARC Brunswick line service today. Shuttle buses will operate between Silver Spring and Rhode Island Avenue stations, but that will not be able to handle a normal rush hour volume.

Your alternatives are fairly limited. They do have bus service but a bus holds about 50 people and a single metro car holds 100+ so it will be a slow trip. You may be able to find a regularly scheduled metro bus line that goes near you want to go, check out the metro link at the bottom of this post. Some roads near the accident are closed.

It appears that one train was stopped waiting for permission to pull into a station when another train ran into the back of it just after 5 pm yesterday. Computers are supposed to act as a fail-safe and prevent trains from getting too close to each other but that didn't work.

Seven people are confirmed dead and more than 70 people were transported to area hospitals. This is only the second crash in Metro's history where passengers were killed. The other one was January 13, 1982 when three people died, the same time as the Air Florida flight 90 disaster

Update 8:35 AM: The death toll was revised down from Nine to Seven.


Another Red Line derailment, 2 dead

At least two people has died and several people are trapped and injured after a Metro Red Line train derailed and collided with another Metro train, officials say.

The six-car train derailed and then collided with another train between the Takoma Park and Fort Totten stations around 5 p.m. Monday.

Naturally, the metrorail red line alerts e-mail are euphemistic to the point of being a lie. "Trains are turning back at Rhode Island Ave and Silver Spring stations due to a train experiencing mechanical difficulties outside of Fort Totten station." A train derailing then another train hitting it is a bit more than "Mechanical difficulties".


Update 6:40pm, added a couple of screen grabs from channel seven. Channel 7 also reports that there are 3 people still on the train, no word on if they are dead, injured, or just trapped.

A "New" blog about Bethesda

For the past couple of months I've been reading The-Thes, which bills itself as "A New Blog about Bethesda" They've been posting for about 3 months now so I don't know how much longer they can justify that tagline. Anyway, usually they have a post or two a day, lots of them are about upcoming events and there is surprisingly little overlap between it and my blog. I sometimes check their blog more than I check my own. (I have to check my own blog to see if I have done any somnambul writing, which I was disappointed to learn that I don't).

It is great to have another Bethesda focused blog around. I admit I am a little jealous of Silver Spring.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Free mulch

For all you Montgomery County, MD residents you can get some free mulch at the Solid Waste Transfer Station in Shady Grove, or the location in Poolesville and Silver Spring, MD.

All the brush and tree branches that you put out for pickup gets ground up and you can take it free. I've gotten some a couple of times and it is pretty good for some uses. Generally the quality is pretty good but sometimes you see bits of the brown paper bags people use in it and the size of the chips is varied. I wouldn't use it for places where lots of people will see it but if you need a lot of mulch it can be good. Take as much as you want (there are huge piles of it) but you have to bring your own tools and bags to put it in.

According to the county, it is best for:
  • use on woody plants such as bushes, shrubs, and trees
  • use as a cover material on walkways or other areas where you want to control vegetation.
  • a carbon-rich addition to home compost piles
They also have some warnings: Free mulch is "green" mulch and must be aged for at least 6-8 months before it can be used for your flowers, vegetables, or other plants with tender or shallow root systems. It can contain allergens, termites, carpenter ants, etc.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bethesda Community Store to expand

This tiny gray store at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Greentree Road in Bethesda, MD has been around forever (Actually "only" since 1924). For some reason, when I was a kid it was called "Browns" although I never knew why (was the owner named Brown?) Even back then it was called Bethesda Community Store and was painted gray.

For some time, the current owner, Arnie Fainman, has been trying to expand. Earlier this year the Montgomery County Circuit Court ruled that the store should "be preserved and that its economic viability be protected to enable to continue in operation as a ‘store.'" This opens the path for him to expand. Any plans still have to be approved by Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission and in the past expansion has been opposed by the Huntington Terrace Citizens Association saying it represents an unwanted commercialization of the area. They haven't decided if they will continue to oppose the expansion.

Fainman wants to allow the Salt River Lobster company to continue to sell seafood on the store's property, and to be able to turn the storage shed into a permanent building expansion.

There is a whole lot more information at the Gazette.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Woman killed by a train at Bethesda metro station

Yesterday a woman was killed by a metro train at the Bethesda Metro station around 1pm. The station was closed for about 20 minutes and there were single tracked for some time after that. Everything is now cleared up. It appears that the woman intentionally got on the tracks.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Accident, Northbound Wisconsin Ave at Montgomery Ave, Bethesda, MD

There was an accident today at the corner of Wisconsin Ave (MD-355) and Montgomery Avenue, a cab and a car collided, the cab ran up on the sidewalk and hit a building. It also knocked over a fire hydrant. fire hydrants don't shoot up geysers of water when you knock them over like they do in the movies. For a short time two right lanes of northbound MD-355 were blocked and two lanes of Montgomery Avenue were blocked. Everything is pretty much cleaned up now, I just saw the towtruck that came to get the cab.

[where: Bethesda, MD]

Elm Street Park Update

It looks like the construction at the Elm Street Park on the edge of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, MD is nearing completion. I first posted about this almost three months ago, at the time, I didn't know what they were doing, but I found a gazette article with more information.

Improvements include re-paving the walkways, adding a new southeast to northwest walkway, new benches and picnic tables, new trashcans and recycling bins and some new lighting. They are planning to be finished in July. The upgrades are being paid for by the Donohoe Development Company as part of the construction of the hotel in the Air Rights complex.

All but one of the walkways is paved, the last one looks like they need a bit more work before they are ready to pave.

They have started the landscaping, some of the trees and shrubs are already in the ground and they were actively planting when I was there. The new benches and tables still need to be installed, but sometime in July seems like a reasonable completion estimate.

[where: 4600 Elm St, Bethesda, MD]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Capital Crescent Trail rest area in Bethesda, MD now open

For the past few months they have been totally re-doing the rest area on the Capital Crescent Trail near Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda, MD. It took longer than expected but it is now open and it looks really nice. The area has granite pavers, 5 benches and a raised circular area for landscape plantings. The map case and water fountain (including the dog water fountain) are still there but are in new spots.

The rest area is dedicated to Linda Weiner who died of leukemia in 2004. Most of the cost was covered by private donations. The dedication ceremony was Saturday, June 6th (it would have been Linda's 51st birthday). I'm not sure where the post notices about ceremonies such as these but I didn't hear about it until I read it in the gazette.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Seeking out places to eat

I sometimes go to a restaurant just because I have never been there and want to see what it is like. I especially like it when it is a one-of-a-kind, hole-in-the-wall place that is unique to an area (or only has a few locations) Restaurants like these give an area a real local flavor and make it unique. Face it, there are a lot of places with an Austin Grill and a Baja Fresh, you can go to one of them anywhere and get exactly the same food served exactly the same way.

Sometimes I will see a place and decide to go there, or hear about it and search it out, but other times I will just wander around until I see something that strikes my fancy. I head about Delicas Carryout and sought it out. Several of my co-workers decided to go along, but one got accidentaly left behind. We called him up to tell him where to go but I couldn't remember the name of the place. Then, I didn't know what street it was on. The instructions to him ended up being "Walk North on Wisconsin Ave, we'll call you when we get there with more detailed directions"

When I go on one of these adventures, it is helpful to have the proper set of expectations. Generally, the restaurants I go to are pretty quick and fairly cheap so 5 star food isn't really an option, but, it is great to try different food and go different places, not be stuck in the rut of the same 5 restuarants (It's Wednesday, that means Chipotle).

Downtown Bethesda, MD is the perfect place to have these expeditions, generally, the Woodmont Triangle area is better then Bethesda Row since Bethesda Row has more chains and pricier places. (Silver Spring is pretty good too).

If you have a restaurant that fits this description, post a comment about it.

Enough rain for ya?

It seems like it has been raining at least half the days for a month now. January through March 2009 were below average, but in April we got 4.22 inches instead of the normal 2.77 inches (all rainfall totals are for Regan National Airport in DC, not Bethesda). May was more than double the average rainfall, 8.05 inches and 3.82 for the average. June is shaping up to be more of the same. The average monthly rainfall for June is 3.13 inches So far we have gotten 4.65 inches.

I don't know the average number of days it rains but so far in June it has rained 6 of 9 days with a chance of showers today too. In May it rained 15 of 31 days. Thats a lot of rain on a lot of days.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Delicas Carryout: Super Beef Burrito

Delicas is a stand-alone carry out at 4708 Highland Ave, half a block off Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, MD. It is smaller than it looks from the outside, I was the third person there and it was cramped. There is no seating inside, but two rustic picnic tables on the outside.

I got the Super beef burrito, seasoned ground beef with lettuce and tomatoes. It was tasty and exactly what I expected. The only negative was that by the time I got to the end, some grease was dripping out of the burrito. They have a selection of sodas in cans and bottles too.

I enjoy going to out-of-the-way places that really give you a flavor for the town. This is certainly one of those spots I can't believe I have never found it before and plan on going back to try the pupusas soon.

I read that this restaurant was robbed last December, too bad.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today's Imagination Bethesda

I went to the Imagination Bethesda festival today to see how it was. They had closed off part of Woodmont Ave and Elm St in Bethesda, MD. There were lots of booths for kid-oriented stores and services like Tea with Mrs. B, and Imagination Stage, pretty much every booth had some sort of activity for the kids, lots of coloring and gluing going on there. There was also a stage and I watched "The Funny Guy" (Paul Hadfield) do his comedy/juggling/unicycle bit. He did a great job involving the kids, everyone seemed to be having fun.

If you have a young kid and you missed it this year, look out for it next year, it is well worth going to.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ride On's "Give and Ride" Food Drive results

At the beginning of May, Ride-on had their "Give and Ride" food donation drive, you gave food, diapers and stuff instead of paying to ride the bus. The results are in. Over 5,700 pounds of food were sent to the Manna Food Center, a Rockville-based non-profit organization that distributes food to the County’s neediest residents.

[where: Montgomery County, MD]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Davis Library Community Day this Saturday

Another thing to add to the list of things to do this weekend. Davis Library (on Democracy Blvd, across from Walter Johnson High School) is having their Sixth Annual Community Day. There will be fire trucks, magic, stories, a book sale, Oh Susannah! (children's entertainment) and more. For more information call Davis Library at 240-777-0922. Find the schedule here. You can also see the official event information, but it is basically useless.

[where: Bethesda, MD]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free Electronics Recycling Saturday at B-CC HS

You can recycle your old electronics and computers this weekend for free, more info at the county's website.

What: Electronics Recycling - Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School
When: Sun Jun 7 12pm – Sun Jun 7 4pm
Where: 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda 20814 (map)

Accepted items include:

  • small electronic appliances
  • calculators
  • camcorders
  • CDs and floppy disks
  • CD players
  • cell phones
  • computers and computer-related products
  • consumer electronics
  • copiers
  • cords and cables (including chargers)
  • digital cameras
  • electronic typewriters
  • fax machines
  • microwave ovens
  • personal digital assistant equipment
  • printers
  • projection equipment
  • scanners
  • telephones
  • small electronic toys
  • televisions
  • VCRs

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This Saturday: Imagination Bethesda

On Saturday from 11am to 4pm is Imagination Bethesda, a children's street festival. It will be on Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street. There will be live entertainment, hands-on activities, face painting, balloons, and more.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Odd and out of place

Every once in a while you see something that is so out of place that it defies explanation. I was walking along the Capital Crescent Trail near Little Falls Parkway and saw a side trail. I followed it a bit and came to this Pack and Play sitting there. Aside from a bit of water and mildew, it was in good condition so it isn't like someone just tossed a broken one out. If you aren't familiar with them, the are like the playpens of old but they fold up, the bent side in the one in the picture isn't broken, it is supposed to fold there. Another odd thing was that the trail was well defined but it didn't seem to go anywhere, it just petered out after a while. On an unrelated trail, Cycle Jerk, ran across A toaster and percolator from the 50's.

[where: Bethesda, MD]