Monday, August 29, 2011

More Hurricane Irene damage in Bethesda

My last post talked about how Irene took it easy on us and Pepco did a better job than usual keeping the lights on.  I think I was a bit hasty on both counts.  I lost power this afternoon for almost an hour, yeah, during the sunny, calm part of the day.  Also, I've seen a bit more damage, I'll start with the most visually impressive.

This house on the corner of Greentree Road and Old Georgetown Road near NIH really got clobbered.  A tree fell right across the center of it, totally ripping through the attic.  The tree is now gone and there is just a gaping hole in the roof.  I see there is the red sticker saying this house isn't suitable for occupation on the front door.  Next to this house there is a large, white SUV that I always see and wonder how they get such a big vehicle in such a little parallel parking space, a tree fell on it too, partially crushing the roof (Bethesda Patch has some photos of it, and other storm damage).

Last post one of the commenters noted that a tree had fallen across the Capital Crescent Trail at the country club.  I took a walk there over lunch and it had been partially cleared.  You could walk or bike through without slowing down, but there were still some largish bits of tree on the trail.

Twitter user @kangkanglanlan posted this image of another car hit by a tree in Bethesda.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene takes it easy on Bethesda

After all the news leading up to Hurricane Irene's arrival in Bethesda, MD, it turned out not to be so bad.  There was rain, but not too much.  There was also wind, but again, not too much.  Pepco's tree trimming campaign must have had some effect because there weren't even too many power outages.

I drove around this morning and lots of streets had extra leaves and small branches on them, the picture at the top is a pretty typical example.

There was a bit of damage though, this house had a pine tree fall on it, that tree then broke off and the top also fell on the back of the house.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting used to earthquakes

I didn't think it would happen this fast, but I am actually getting used to the earthquakes. Last night at just after 1am there was another earthquake.  It was fairly large for the area at 4.5.  I woke up, felt the bed rumble, heard all the pictures rattle and thought to myself, hey, an aftershock.  I then went back to sleep.  I didn't think of getting up and checking on the house at all.  A year ago I would have been awake with adrenaline pumping for hours.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake, rattle, and roll

Today, at 1:51pm we had an earthquake. As east-coast earthquakes go, this was big, a 5.8, and it lasted a long time too, it seemed to be about 45 seconds.  Fortunately, there wasn't much damage, but over-reaction mode was in full effect, lots of office buildings closed, all the DC monuments closed, Metro ran at 15 miles an hour (until 10pm when it went up to 30 mph).

I was at home when it happened and after about 10 seconds it started getting stronger and I decided to exit the house.  But then I went back in, its hard to decide which place is safest.   Earthquakes are rare around here, but they do happen.  There was a 3.4 quake in Gaithersburg last year, and there are quite a few that are too small to feel.

Damage was very light, I hunted around the house and the worst thing I found was this:
Yeah, not much.  There was also stuff knocked of shelves but no damage.

A few hours after the quake I found another bit of damage, a water main break in the neighborhood.  Again, nothing big.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy fourth of July

Happy fourth everyone I hope you have a good one. There are lots of places to see fireworks this evening. If you don't want to go to the national mall you van go to Einstein high school or the fireworks in Rockville.

Local neighborhoods are getting into the spirit too,this morning I went to the bicycle parade at Wildwood.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Matuba Sushi Restaurant

I've been by Matuba many times, but hidden in the back of this unassuming restaurant is a all you can eat sushi bar with a sushi conveyor!
 At the sushi bar a continuously refreshed stream of sushi comes trundling by.  The sushi is made right in front of you.  Occasionally they bring out non-sushi food like chicken teriyaki, and edamame.
  It's all you can eat so take as much as you want. I piled up a couple of stacks of plates
I've never eaten at a sushi bar with a conveyor so, but I was pleased and want to go back.  Matuba is located at 4918 Cordell Avenue Bethesda, MD

Friday, June 17, 2011

Coming Soon to Bethesda!

There are a few new stores coming to Bethesda, MD in the coming weeks and months.  Here are some that I have noticed.
 Irons Fitness is coming directly above the Safeway.  This will be super convenient for people living in the apartment building there or across the skywalk.  They claim to be "Bethesda's Premier Personal Training Studio" but since there not open yet I don't see how that can be true.  Sounds like a typical marketing lie to me.

 Jettie's is opening a location in Bethesda right at Veteran's park next to BGR.  Some of those sandwiches look really good, I'll have to try it.

Parva Latin Fusion Restaurant & Lounge is coming to the spot where Anseethi was on Woodmont Avenue, right around the corner from Jettie's.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recent additions to Bethesda, MD

In the past month or two there have been a number of new stores that have opened  in Bethesda, MD.  Here are a sampling of some of them.

 First, we have Pizzaria Da Marco on Woodmont Avenue.  It's claim to fame is wood-fired pizzas and the oven is so hot that it only takes 90 seconds to cook them. (I timed one, it actually took less than 90 seconds.)

 In the same building but facing Cordell Avenue is LA Boxing.

 Cordell Avenue is also home to Freddy's Lobster + Clams.

I'm not sure if this is a new restaurant or just a name change (I suspect the latter).  What was Brooklyn's Pizzaria is now Red Tomato Pizzaria.  It is on Old Georgetown Road near the big 5 way intersection.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fountain at Veteran's park shoots it high

I was walking to lunch today and noticed that the fountain at Veteran's Park in Bethesda (corner of Woodmont Ave and Norfolk Ave) was shooting water 20+ feet high instead of the more usual 4 feet.  It was thoroughly soaking the plaza surrounding it.  By the time I got back from lunch the fountain had been turned off.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Emergency Responce at Fitness First

 The fire department was out in force at the Fitness First in Bethesda, MD today shortly before noon. A large number of fire trucks, as well as several ambulances were called and the two right lanes of southbound Wisconsin Ave (MD-355) were closed.  When I went by they had the building evacuated and were ventilating it.  According to a Fitness First employee there had been a freon leak.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Bethesda Mattress District

Did you know that Bethesda has a Mattress District? Yup, it's true, lots of places to buy mattresses all conveniently close to each other.  We have a Mattress Discounters, then 3 or 4 stores down is a Mattress Warehouse, then, 2 stores after that, they are putting in a Sleepy's.  Directly across the street is a Healthy Back Store.  Wow, the selection.

I think a Mattress district is more useful than a Hammock district.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Construction starting on Old Georgetown Rd

Over the past couple of days they have been preparing to start the road resurfacing project on Old Georgetown Road near the downtown area of Bethesda, MD.

You may recall that last year they resurfaced a stretch of the road but stopped short of the downtown area.  Now they are going to resurface it from where they left off through the end of the road.  If the last project is any indication, there is a lot to do, replace the storm drains, replace the curbs, put in concrete pads where the bus stops are then, finally, grind down and resurface the road itself.

In the mornings they have been closing one lane southbound (toward Bethesda) starting a bit before 9:00 am.  I'd wish they would wait until after 9 because this does cause traffic to back up quickly.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Taking a trip to the National Museum of Natural History

Every once in a while I venture out of Bethesda, MD and into the wilds of Washington DC.  Last week I went to the National Museum of Natural History (aka, the Dead Animal Museum).  I took the red line to Metro Center and walked south for a few blocks (Federal triangle is closer but it isn't worth switching lines).  Admission to the museum is free.

There are a few non-american, non-natural artifacts in the museum, such as this Maoi from Easter Island.  It wasn't actually as tall as I thought it would be, probably about 15 feet.  I always imagined they would tower over you.

The main attraction, however, is the dead animals.  There's a giant elephant in the main rotunda and lions, tigers, giraffes, squid, whale bones, etc.  You might how this is different than going to the zoo,  there are a couple of ways it is.  At the zoo, the animals are a ways a way, they may not be out, or they may be lying down in the shade (and obviously, they move).  At this museum, the animals are right there, just a couple of feet in front of you, posed so you can get a good look at them.  You get a much better idea of the size of the animals when you are standing right next to them.

In the basement are cabinets of birds, all birds that either live in or migrate through the D.C. area.  I had no idea that there were so many (over 500 species).

If dead animals aren't your bag, they do have a small selection of living ones, mostly small.  There is a colony of bees, some four inch long cockroaches, various shrimp, and of course, the butterfly exhibit. Unlike most museums and exhibits in DC, the butterfly exhibit costs money, $6 for adults and $5 for children (it is free for everyone on Tuesdays).  There are over 20 species of butterflies at any given time, fluttering around, sipping nectar and occasionally landing on people.  It is neat to see them and worth the price of admission.

There is really too much to see in one visit, you can see their website for a full list of exhibits.  I also saw the Ocean exhibit, the insect zoo, and the hall of human origins.  Some that I didn't get a chance to see included Gems and minerals (including the Hope diamond), the dinosaur exhibit, and the discovery room (hands on exhibits).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New traffic lights at Woodmont Ave and Edgemoor Ln in Bethesda

They are in the early stages of putting new traffic lights in on the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Edgemoor Lane near Bethesda Metro station.  Yesterday the right and left lanes were blocked with work trucks.
The existing poles for the lights and walk signals are very rusty, new ones are needed.
The foundations for the new posts have been poured, This big one and smaller ones at the other corners.  Presumably, this large one will be fore the pole that holds the lights and the smaller ones will be for walk signals.
Here's the same intersection from a different angle.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Signs of Spring in Bethesda

Yesterday was a pretty nice day, lots of sun and a little warm (but too windy).  As I was walking around Bethesda I noticed they were putting in some spring flowers (pansies) at Bethesda Metro Plaza.  It's nice to see some signs that spring is finally on its way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lunching at Geste in Bethesda

Not quite two weeks ago, Geste Wine & Food opened on 4801 Edgemoor Ln in Bethesda, MD right next to the Chipotle.  I'd been looking forward to it since their menu seems perfect for lunch.  Just enough variety that they aren't a one trick pony but not so much that they can't do anything well.
I've been there twice so far.  The first time I got the Chicken Pummaro Panini, it was very good and filling.  Sliced chicken, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and pesto sauce.  I think it could have stood another minute on the panini grill, but I had to get it to go so it could have cooled off a bit before I ate it.

The next time I got the 10 inch Caprese pizza.  It is a white pizza with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, tomatoes, and basil.  The mozzarella and basil are added after it comes out of the oven and the coldness of that goes with the warmth of the pizza.  This pizza was really, really good I'm looking forward to getting it again.  10 inches of pizza is a lot and I had a bit of trouble finishing it all, I could easily have saved the last quarter of it for another meal.

They also have a limited selection of wine by the glass and have bottles of wine and beer.  It looks like they are still filling out their wine selection.

There isn't alot of seating there, I counted 7 tables but some of them were pushed next to each other.  When the weather gets warmer the outside tables that are shared with Chipotle will be a welcome option.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Purple Line functional plan

I see today that the approved and adopted Purple Line Functional Plan is available.  A 61 page pdf file with lots of aerial views with the exact route of the purple line overlaid.  If you are curious about what the current plan is and how close the purple line is going to be to places you like to go, you can pretty quickly scroll through it and see.

The purple line has been in the planning stage for a long time and it will affect Bethesda, MD pretty significantly since the final station is here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mid-day in Bethesda, After the snow

Last night I went to bed to the sound of snapping limbs and flashes from transformers arcing. Surprisingly, I woke up with power, but with no internet/cable TV. I think I got off pretty lucky. I headed out around lunch time and saw someone else who was lucky, a very large branch had snapped part way off and was hanging about two feet above their car. That's close.

The roads now are good, the sun, warmer temperatures, and plowing have really cleaned up the major roads, if you can get out of your neighborhood you can probably get to where you are going.

The sidewalks in downtown Bethesda, MD are spotty, there are lots of them that haven't been shoveled yet, but many have been.

There is lots of snow still stuck to the branches of trees but it is steadily falling off, so look up before going under a tree to make sure you aren't going to be hit by a chunk of snow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The snow is coming down hard in Bethesda

After a day of rain (and jokes about schools closing on account of light drizzle) the snow finally arrived. Wet snow coming down at a rapid rate, just like the weather people promised. Traffic, which was moving steadily at 4pm was barely crawling by 5pm It took me 45 minutes to go about 3 miles leaving downtown Bethesda, MD. The plows that I had seen earlier in the day were strangely absent. I'm not sure if they were on higher priority roads or just stuck in traffic like the rest of us.
There has also been some thunder and lightning, the first flash I saw I thought was a transformer blowing up, but the streetlights remained on. Hopefully the power will remain on, this heavy, wet snow is perfect for bringing down trees so we will get to see if all the tree trimming Pepco has been doing has the desired effect. (Minutes after posting this I saw reports on twitter of people in Bethesda loosing power.)

We should get around 5 inches and most of it will be done by midnight. Hopefully the road crews will have enough time to clear out the roads for the morning but I wouldn't be surprised to see Montgomery county schools closed for a second day.

What "Track Problems" look like

Metro is famous for using vague wording. Currently the are reporting "Track Problems" at Bethesda Metro Station. There are probably a dozen emergency vehicles around the station and they aren't letting people down the escalator. A co-worker of mine reported being smelling smoke in the station. The fire department tends to overreact when things involve metro so it could be minor.

Snow, Ice, Rain, Snow

I woke up early this morning to the sounds of ice pellets hitting my window. That always gets my attention. Overnight we got a little snow, followed by some ice pellets, then it warmed up a bit and it changed to rain. As I write this we are back to ice. Montgomery County Schools are closed today but that seems to be more fear about what could happen later today than current conditions.

The forecast is for rain/ice this morning then this afternoon getting some snow. It looks like Bethesda, MD will get 4-6 inches with more to the north. It could get messy this evening with the rain/slush turning to ice. For those of you new to the area that means everyone should go to the food store over lunch and buy all the milk, toilet paper, bread, and chips. Then, leave work 15 minutes early to "beat the rush" and get stuck in traffic until around 8pm.
Montgomery County plow trucks are out, there isn't a whole lot for them to do at the moment but I did see one waiting on a side street and the one pictured was pushing the slush off the road on Cordell Avenue.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coming Soon: Geste Food and Wine

Another Food and Wine place is about to open in Bethesda, MD. Geste' Food and Wine will be offering Beer & Wine to go, with a Cafe offering Pizza, Salads and Sandwiches. This looks like it will be a neat little place to have lunch, the menu includes Pizzas (white, Chicken Al Pesto, Margherita, Caprese and others), Salads (Calamaportebello, Arugola, Greek, etc) and Paninis (Chicken Pummaro, Prosciutto & Mozzarella, Calabria Turkey, etc). This looks interesting and I can't wait till it opens so I can try it.

4801 Edgemoor Ln
Bethesda, MD 20814
telephone: 301-718-1675
(Next to Chipotle, where the Crossfire Grill used to be.)

They do have to decide on how they will present their name. The sign says "Geste Food and Wine", their Craigslist posting (for manager/cashier) says "Geste, Foods & Wines" and their website says "Geste Wine & Food".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alert Montgomery

Montgomery County, MD has a great service that notifies you about school closings, severe weather, and other emergencies. It is called Alert Montgomery and it can send the alert to you through email, text message, or pager (I can't recall the last time I saw someone with a pager). It is very customizable too, there are around a dozen categories of alerts with many options within them. For instance, I have signed up to receive alerts for severe weather, rush hour traffic, police alerts for my district and school closings. If you have kids in a public school you can sign up for alerts for that specific school as well.

If you are not into email they are active on twitter and facebook too.