Archive for October, 2007

Good news for Arlington commuters
October 23, 2007

Arlington transit vehicle “ART” is now carrying Smartcard. I’m trying to make a list of vehicles that do not carry smartcard. I know the Prince George’s County busline and CUE in Fairfax City don’t carry it. If anyone has any others, please send them to me.

Some tips for when you go to the movie theater
October 22, 2007

As usual, I’m trying to keep postings on film brief and focus on other Washington-oriented stories, while I write more about film and entertainment issues on my blog.

This will be movie-oriented:
I work at a movie theater and it does lately annoy me how much people are spending and because I love movie theaters and want them to still be an important place in the community, I want to give you some advice on how to not spend so much.

First, join AMC Moviewatchers club online: http://www.moviewatcher.com/non_member_mw.html
That will save you a little on concessions.

Second, ask cashiers if there are any special discounts or prices on products, they do and they usually try to publicise them but you might not have seen the sign

Third, if you don’t see any such special discounts or prices, consider bringing your own food in. It’s actually allowed at some movie theaters (AMC: yes, Regal: no).

If the line for concessions is real long, just consider it might not be worth it considering the prices.

Also, in case you were curious, movie showtimes listed on the ticket (at AMC, at least) are appoximately 12-15 minutes of previews so if you’re running late and thinking of turning back, keep that in mind. You can probably still make it.

Also, there’s discounted tickets for students if you bring a student ID and discounts earlier in the day. Aside from the matinee discount, there’s an even cheaper discount if you see the film before noon.

AMC Movie Theaters are located in Courthouse (Arlington), Alexandria, Tyson’s Corner, Largo Town Center, Georgetown, Cleveland Park (the famed Uptown Theater), Shirlington, and Dupont Circle, Woodbridge, Potomac Mills, Mazza Gallery, Beltsville and Lexington Park.

The other big theater chain in the area is Regal which is located in Ballston, Rockville, Gallery Place (Next to the Verizon Center), Potomac Yards, Bethesda and Fairfax Town Center.

10 "Hidden" Power Players in Washington
October 17, 2007

If you really want to familiarize yourself with the Washington vibe, you should pick up a copy of The Washingtonian. It incorporates the mindset of this city really well, I think.

Anyway, this month’s issue is a great one. It lists 150 power players in Washington and dissects influential people in the District ranging from talk show hosts to school principals to non-profit directors.

One interesting section I found was “Hidden Power”:

This part profiled ten people you may not know about who can change your life.

These include:

1. Mike Lunsford-Head of transportation for Loudoun County schools and most importantly, determines whether to call of school when it snows or not

2. Ann Armao-An editorial writer for the Washington Post, she focuses on District affairs and her endorsement in a local election is crucial

3. Charlotte Nelsen-Admissions director of Potomac School in McLean: One of the metropolitan area’s premiere boarding schools

4. Julie Rogers-President of the Agnes E Meyer Foundation which gave away $8.6 million dollars in grants last year

5. Norma Kaplan-Head of Arlington County’s Cultural Affairs Division whose part of a movement to help bring the arts scene to the suburbs

6. James Bennett-Runs the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority which operates the two major airports in the area

7. Seth Hurwitz-Owner of the very popular music venue the 9:30 Club

8. Bernie Prince and Ann Yonkers-Originally started a farmers market in Dupont Circle 10 years ago. Now they operate several in the area through a nonprofit group: Freshfarm markets.

9. Allen Lew-He oversaw the construction of the New Washington Convention Center and future projects include the baseball stadium rising along Anacostia River as well as several rundown school buildings in D.C.

10. Nels Olson-Managing director for a job placement agency for executives. His firm is much like a temping agency but only for higher-ups.

Is there any benefit to watching a TV show on the night it airs?
October 11, 2007

These past couple of TV seasons, TV networks have started airing their shows for free over the internet, and in addition they’ve also run encores of their shows, put shows on itunes, and made TV shows available on DVD far more quickly.

I have traditionally tried to give myself a sense of routine throughout my week by reserving Thursday nights on NBC (when shows such as My Name is Earl, The Office, 30 Rock, etc. air) as the night I stay home and watch TV, but there’s really no reason to watch a primetime show on TV anymore. The only two advantages I can think of is that you don’t want to miss the water cooler talk the next day when they’re giving spoilers to a show you haven’t yet watched. Just like how a film with a high cultural impact can be felt like Borat, Brokeback Mountain, Casino Royale, Harry Potter, or any other water cooler film, there’s an anxiousness to see it when it first comes out so you can be up to date. The second advantage, of course, is that it’s nice to watch TV on a bigger screen.

My only concern is that I wonder how this is hurting the networks with advertisers. If TV ratings are down, then the advertisers might not be willing to pay anymore, and I currently like the current state of TV where it’s free and advertising-paid. I just hope networks aren’t declaring some state of crisis when they look at the numbers and think “oh, these shows are not performing well, let’s can them” because obviously Nielsen numbers are skewed at this point and don’t account for everyone watching the show. It’s a relatively simple point and I’d imagine that the heavily-paid people who negotiate on both sides of the advertising-tv production arrangements would be smart enough to realize that, but in general the people who run TV make very unintelligent decisions so I’m not so sure.

The current arrangement with the network video sites like Comedy Central’s “The Motherload” or the counterparts at ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. is that they have mandatory advertising at the start of each clip, so that does mean that advertising is paying for the shows, to some small degree. If the shows are on youtube, however, advertising is not, and I hope those copyright violators get pulled off ASAP.

a chance meeting between two metro passengers
October 10, 2007

Here was a really interesting story I read in the Washington Post recently.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/30/AR2007093001537.html

Guess who’s back Okonheim !
October 9, 2007

Hey how are you doing ? It’s been a while since we talked.

I’m back on this blog again.

I have to say that while you did offer some good advice on the weather for this year you may want to look into getting some more credible information on the weather next time.

All I will say about what my favorite movies of the summer are that I enjoyed these following films, which are listed in no particular order.

1. Transformers
2. Knocked Up
3. Live Free or Die Hard
4. The Bourne Ultimatium
5. The Simpsons Movie
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
7. Superbad

By the way, Transformers has been re-released in IMAX Theatres. There is an IMAX Theatre showing the movie for most of this month. The theatre is located in the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA. If you want more info start by Googling “IMAX Theatres”, then click on Transformers and follow the appropriate links to find more information.

I saw the movie there on the last weekend of September and it is definitely worth the trip to see it again.

Dating Advice
October 9, 2007

I think it’s time for me to start a dating advice column, where I can share everything I’ve learned from my dating experiences so that other people can learn from them. Come to think of it, there’s only one thing I’ve learned over the years because I haven’t ever gotten terribly far with dating, romance, or anything else involving the opposite sex (I mean, I’m not the worst person when it comes to the opposite sex, but I’m easily in the bottom 25%). Here’s the reason I’ve never gotten particularly far AND my biggest bit of wisdom I can offer: DON’T MISS THE FIRST DATE.

Bascially, a good percentage of the time I ask someone out and they accept, we miss the first date and have to reschedule. A scheduling conflict might come up, or one of us arrives late or something of this sort When this happens, you and the person will remain longer in that akward stage of two people who’ve agreed to go on a date but have not yet been on that date. You kind of have the status of two people going out in a middle schoolish sort of way, and with all the tension, you end up being in a hurry to reschedule that first date so you can move onto that “we’ve had one date together” stage, to the point where more and more of your conversations start shifting to “so can you make it this day? how about this day?” etc, etc. Things gradually devolve from there, because you’re acting as if you’re a couple and trying to schedule things together but you haven’t actually had any fun with each other yet.

So the solution? First, don’t miss the first date yourself. Be sure you schedule it when you can make it and leave enough time to get there. I used to think that I might have been sabatoging myself by being late to a date, but it’s more of a matter of me not being on time to anything, ever, so in retrospect, I think I’ve probably more punctual to dates than anything else.
But here’s the kicker: What happens if the other person calls and says they can’t make it and asks to reschedule? Don’t let them! Then you’ll be in this situation all over again. If it’s in the form of a question and they’re not entirely sure they’re going to reschedule than try to tell them there’s no other night this week and you’re booked busy. Try to highlight why that particular night and no other night for the date is important like “oh, but that resturaunt’s going out of business tomorrow.” If that doesn’t work, spend about 30 seconds trying to reschedule it and if you can’t agree on a time and date, just state that you don’t want to spend too much time playing phone tag over this, tell them when you’re available and say that it’s up to them to reschedule.

Global Warming is taking its toll
October 7, 2007

In case anyone has moved to the DC area in the last couple of years, I thought you should know that this is not normal in terms of the weather we’re having.

October is not supposed to be summer-like and during the winter we usually have a few snowdays. It’s also ordinarily impossible to live in DC area year around and not own a jacket as it gets relatively windy and cold in the winter, but this past winter you could get by and just a sweater.

It is mildly disturbing to still be in t-shirt and shorts weather throughout October simply because we need and rely heavily on the seasons.

I think we all rely heavily on seasonal guidelines.