Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday News 'N Notes

The Silver Spring news cycle is still revolving at a snail's pace, but here's a few tidbits:

- More than a year and a half after first lamenting the absence of FiOS in my neighborhood, it looks like the wait is nearly over. According to a Verizon worker digging holes near my house, they're running the necessary fiber optics now. w00t! For those living downtown, they're making their way to you, too. Unfortunately, like my current service provider, they don't presently carry SciFi HD. Dammit, I need my HD BSG but I'm sure as hell not getting Comcast.

- Now that The Turf is gone, a Washington Business Journal editor suggests Astroturfing the Lee's precious parking lot. I will never comprehend how a surface lot surrounded by half a dozen parking garages can possible be as profitable as the Lees maintain it is. How can it be financially more viable than any number of things that could be built just off Silver Spring's main intersection?

- The Georgetown University newspaper calls Silver Spring one of D.C.'s "Best 'Hoods". We're a bitch to get to from Georgetown, tho.

- The redevelopment of the so-called "Ripley District" is underway. No matter how much I try, I can not think of the word "Ripley" without hearing it screamed in the shrill voice of little urchin girl named Newt. Hopefully the first thing they do is create the mythical "Ripifant Street".

- If for some reason (family emergency, impeding hurricane, etc.) you haven't joined the Silver Spring Zombie Walk Facebook group yet, do so STAT! The details of the walk are still in the works, but expect an update in the next week or so.

- Imagine if MoCo tried to use this method for fighting the jaywalking epidemic in Silver Spring. You'd probably see a tenfold increase jaywalking from all the muppets trying to get on TV.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Silver Sprung (From the Grave)

Let me preface this post by assuring you that that this is not turning into a zombie-focused blog, but my recent zombie apocalypse post led to the idea by Eric of of a zombie walk in downtown Silver Spring. What a fantastic idea!

Right about now you are probably asking yourself, "What, pray tell, is a zombie walk?" Here's a description from Wikipedia:

A zombie walk (also known as a zombie mob, zombie march, zombie horde, zombie lurch, zombie shuffle or zombie pub crawl) is an organized public gathering of people who dress up in zombie costumes. Usually taking place in an urban center, the participants make their way around the city streets and through shopping malls in a somewhat orderly fashion and often limping their way towards a local cemetery or other public space (a series of taverns in the case of a zombie pub crawl).
Here's a zombie walk in action:

So how would the Silver Spring zombie walk work? Conveniently, Halloween is on a Friday this year, so that would most definitely be the date. On that evening, at a time and place to be determined, zombie-costumed participants would assemble at the starting point for the beginning of the walk. Once it's time to begin, the group would begin walking through downtown Silver Spring along a planned route, taking some time to wander through some of Silver Spring's larger indoor spaces, such as DSW, Borders and (most definitely) City Place. The walk may end up turning out to be a bar crawl, with pit stops at Silver Spring's various watering holes. (Um, if any bars out there want to be sponsors or offer drink specials, let me know.)

Mind you nothing is set yet, but at least make a note (in blood) on your calendars for the 31st of October. If the plan goes ahead, expect a lot more details between now and then. In the meantime, here's some Zombie Mob resources for you:

- Zombie Mob photo pool on Flickr.
- Zombie Walk on Wikipedia.

UPDATE: Eric has already set up a Facebook Group for the walk.

So, who's in???

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Turf (2005-2008)

The Turf is now officially dead:

Photo by Flickr user wombatarama.

I'm hitting that dumpster tonight and getting a piece.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Zombie Apocalypse: Silver Spring

Since there's nothing "real" that is interesting enough to write about these days, let's delve into the hypothetical. In the comments from my last post, the subject of zombies in Silver Spring somehow came up. Ever since then, I've had zombies on the brain ("Braaaaaiiiiiiinnnnssss...") and was thinking about what I'd do if the zombie apocalypse came to pass.

Here's what I came up with:

First, I'd make a beeline for Atlantic Guns. God knows you can't take on crowds of zombies without an arsenal of firearms worthy of Chuck Heston - most particularly shotguns. If the Zombies haven't already overrun the downtown area, or if the hordes are still thin enough that I can blast my way through them, my next stop would be Strosnider's to grab chainsaws, machetes and axes plus any tools that can serve as blunt edged weapons. If they've got a generator and there's time, I'd requisition a truck and bring that along as well.

Then I’d haul ass down Fenton Street over to the Safeway and load shopping carts up with bottled water and canned goods. Some might consider this a good place to hole up, but I don’t agree. More on that later. Once I’ve loaded up my vehicle, I’d drive a few blocks to my home for the foreseeable future – the Silver Spring fire station.

Why the fire station?

  • The station is in a strategic position that offers an excellent visibility in most directions of any approaching zombies (Allowing me to pick them off with my rifle.)
  • I assume it has proper living quarters as well as exercise equipment I can use to stay in zombie-slaughtering shape.
  • The building will likely have a supply of firefighting equipment, some of which (axes) could effectively be used to decapitate the enemy.
  • Its location adjacent to the train tracks offers easy access to a relatively secure route out of town if it came to that. The tracks would probably be a lot more open and safer than the the city streets.
  • Fire trucks could be used to plow through crowds of zombies. Fun.
Some of the windows in the lower level might need to be boarded up, but the garage doors should offer sufficient protection.

Runner Up:

Safeway. While one could last for some time on Safeway's stock of food, I don't love the idea of large, difficult-to-defend windows that could collapse under the pressing weight of hundreds of zombies. This was my original choice, but I changed my mind.

Besides, the Safeway parking lot is scary enough without zombies:

Photo by Flickr user tanekaberi.

Whole Foods has the same drawbacks as Safeway, plus it's smaller. It does have the secret upper level in it's favor, though. At least you could fall back to there if things got ugly.

Let's have a survey - what would your strategy be for surviving the onslaught of the undead in Silver Spring? Here's a few rules & guidelines for this exercise:
  • The Zombies you’d be running from are the archetypical slow, plodding undead made famous in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. You wouldn’t have to worry about any of these newfangled sprinting zombies à la 28 Days Later. Sure, it’s easier to avoid the slow ones, but what they lack in speed they make up for in numbers and persistence.
  • You would have a brief window of time – let’s say thirty minutes - to gather supplies and reinforce your preferred hideout before downtown is completely overrun by the living dead.
  • Your hideout must be located in an area of Silver Spring inside the Beltway, preferably in downtown. In this scenario, the roads are already jammed and you won’t have the ability to reach any SSINO areas.
  • The National Guard won’t be coming to the rescue anytime soon, if ever. Be sure you are prepared for the long haul.
I’m pretty confident in my zombie-killing ability after countless hours wasted playing Resident Evil and Dead Rising. If you feel you need additional preparation prior to the Zombiepocalypse, I would suggest reading The Zombie Survival Guide or browsing through the Zombie Survival and Defense Wiki website.

You may also find this instructional video helpful:

If you wish to assess your chance of survival, take the Real Zombie Survival Quiz.

Before you make any decisions, here's a few places that might initially appear to be good anti-zombie redoubts, but would actually really suck:

The Quarry House Tavern. Sure, being trapped in an underground lair stocked with plenty of beer may sound fun, and the location is easily defendable, but think about it: you are in a basement with no electricity, perishable food and just a single (?) exit through a small stairwell. You have to assume that the stairs with be jam packed with zombies once they figure out where you are. Good luck getting out of there when your supplies run out.

City Place. Unlike the characters in Dawn of the Dead, who were able to indulge in an orgy of wanton consumerism in their mall, anyone trapped in City Place would probably be bored out of their minds in under fifteen minutes. You’d probably turn your shotgun around on yourself after a day or two. One thing City Place might have going for it is that even zombies probably wouldn’t want to venture into that mall, fresh brains notwithstanding.

Silver Spring Police Station. You would think it would be secure and well-stocked with weapons, and it is near a 7-11, but in all zombie stories they always seem to get into the police station, so I'm not taking the risk.

Ok, now - discuss.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hump Day News 'N Notes

We're in the midst of the summer doldrums and there's not a lot to write about, so here are a few bits I had lying around...

- Chevy Chase's speed cameras on Connecticut avenue are taking in $250K a month. Because, you know, they really need the money. Are they going to re-pave the streets in gold? I wonder how much MoCo is pulling in from the speed cameras they installed in Silver Spring last year. They can lower my taxes now.

- Here's an interesting article about re-purposing "dead" malls I recently read with City Place in mind. Of course, City Place isn't quite at that point. Yet.

- Silver Spring as a fashion destination? Hrrrm...

- Anyone need a vault? I'm guessing this is in the buidling at the corner of Bonifant & Georgia that is part of the Bethel World Outreach Center and was formerly a bank. How do you even move something like that?

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm doughnuts.

While there has been zero activity inside their future location between Whole Foods and Strosnider's, Fractured Prune is still planning on opening up for business in the near future. According to the company, they hope to be up and running by December or January.

The Prune could also face some unexpected competition in the doughnut arena, as Dunkin' Donuts just signed a deal to bring ten new locations to the D.C. area, one of which will be in Silver Spring. Whether the store will be in downtown Silver Spring or some SSINO Siberia remains to be seen.

Personally, I won't be satisfied until someone builds a store with a giant doughnut-shaped sign.

Of course all of these are poor substitutes for the old Montgomery Donuts on Wayne (RIP).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Steve & Barry Receive Stay of Execution

It appears that the speculation about Steve & Barry's demise may have been somewhat premature. The retailer was purchased yesterday by investment firm Bay Harbour Management, which plans to keep existing stores in operation.

Yeah, it's not the greatest store ever, but at least it's moderately interesting to browse there for t-shirts once in awhile and is the only reason I've ventured into Shitty Place in the last year. I must admit that I was rocking my $6 Autobot t-shirt from S&B's this past weekend.

For those of you that think that S&B's is another crappy discount store in City Place, you're not wrong, but the fact is that it probably wouldn't have been replaced with anything better... if anything at all.