Category Archives: Personal

Food trucks go inside – UncurbedDC

Baseball On The Barn goers may remember the scrumptious food provided by BBQBusDC barn-side earlier this summer. Not only is their food the most mouth-watering BBQ around, the guys behind the “Bus” are two of the nicest you’ll ever meet. They’re bold, witty and always so kind-hearted! I loved their enthusiastic YouTube videos of initial attempts to pick up the Bus, believing it ready to hit the curbs of DC. What could have been disappointment was instead met with humor. Did I mention their food? Yum! A friendship was born. So I was thrilled when they invited me to the opening night of “UnCurbedDC featuring BBQBusDC” in Georgetown tonight.

Uncurbed is a traveling restaurant that brings the enjoyment of the food truck experience off the curb and into various vacant spaces.

No more sidewalk lines. No more looking for places to sit.

Always different. Always delicious.

Yep, that about sums it up perfectly! For this week (Dec. 13-17), BBQBusDC will be inhabiting a second floor apartment above Furins on M St NW in Georgetown at 28th St. serving those hungry who want to try something a little more interesting and adventurous than your usual restaurant night out. The steps are a little crooked and the building is a little old (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), giving the dining experience a whole new flavor of unique ambience. I highly suggest grabbing some friends and checking it out this week.

The apartment/restaurant is sparsely furnished to give a feel of home with some of the Bus owners’ furniture, including books and photographs. There are three dining areas – the front living room area decked out with a local artist’s works, a small intimate den area dining room and then a holiday-filled room in the back complete with stockings with Tadd and Che’s names on them.

But this was by far my favorite feature:

Once you arrive, go upstairs. A friendly person will be waiting to take your order and they even have beer and wine! Try to get that curbside! You’re given a number to stick in the stand on a table of your choice in any of the 3 dining areas, just like a diner. Your order is run out to the truck curbside (yep, it’s still prepared and served from there) and a friendly person will run it up to you. BBQ sauces are provided on the tables as well as plasticware and plenty of napkins. You don’t even have to clear your own place when you’re done!

So please please go check it out if you can this week! And like I said, bring friends. Due to family schedules, I sat by myself and felt like a dork (but I still enjoyed my food!). I think a local journalist even took a picture of it. I’ll be looking for that next since I was so busy devouring, I didn’t stop to take a photo of the food…. If you go, say ‘hi’! Oh, did I mention the food? Yum!

Stealing my 1st base in MLB

Tomorrow night, I guarantee I will steal second base in the top of the 4th inning of the Mets at Nats game. No joke! And it’s going to be one of the coolest yet embarrassing experiences ever!

During the Dream Gala live auction, I was busy chit chatting while my husband actually bid on something. I wasn’t even paying attention. Normally, live auction items get so expensive that we end up priced out of the cool stuff. Although, I’m a shark when it comes to the silent auction tables.

Anyway, surprisingly, he won a “Stealing Second Base” experience and it will come to fruition tomorrow night. We get to wine and dine in the Presidents Club. Then before the top of the 4th inning, we will go out on the field with the grounds crew and walk away with the removed 2nd base, which will later by autographed by (upcoming rookie of the year!) second baseman Danny Espinosa. Suh-weet!

Ok, so maybe the base won’t be stolen as in a theft. And maybe we won’t be running from first to second during game action. But still… it’s fun and I’m super excited.

However, as Mr. Chatter has been arranging this, during the last phone call he was informed they’re going to make a *big deal* about it on the field and now I’m a little embarrassed/terrified. So uh, I guess if you’re at the game tomorrow, watch for us on the scoreboard or something? I’ll give my best Miss Iowa wave to the crowd. But now I think I have to dress especially cool for this. Beast mode shirt? Generic jersey? Evening gown? (Ha, kidding on that one!). Help?

I’ve always been a promoter and advocate of the Nationals charitable and community involvement efforts. I guess I’ll just try to view this as another step in that direction.

And woo! Think of the photos I’ll get from the prez club!

Hope I’m not in some Sixth Sense world

PSA: Please look over your shoulder before changing lanes, particularly in congested fast-moving traffic! Also (and this applies to me as well), take the 2-second following rule seriously.

I still honestly have no idea how this wasn’t worse yesterday and am thankful to be alive. Let’s just say Jeep Wranglers may be built for ruggedness and toughness, but they were definitely not built for evasive maneuvers. Driving up to NY and Citi Field yesterday, I hadn’t even made it out of the DC area before disaster nearly struck.

Traffic on the beltway from NoVa was congested, but moving along at a good 65-70mph clip. I was about six miles from the exit to 95 north on the inner loop of the north side of the beltway. Traveling along in the 2nd to leftmost lane, a car in the lane to the right of me started changing lanes into me. Everyone was rather bunched up, so I couldn’t slam on the brakes for fear of being rear-ended, plus he was coming over fast and about to sideswipe me. I jerked the wheel to the left, having noted the leftmost lane was open next to me. I think I jerked too hard as the Jeep immediately started a kind of fishtail thing. I tried to counter back to the right, but I couldn’t recover. It just kept fish tailing. I think then I made the mistake of hitting the brakes, but that actually may have saved my life because rather than the tires sticking to the dry asphalt causing me to flip over as the Jeep tottered side to side, the wheels locked and I slid. Across all 4 lanes of the beltway while spinning 180 degrees. In congested traffic.

Final resting spot after spinout
Final resting spot after spinout

Skid marks across all lanes
Skid marks across all lanes

.

I honestly thought I was going to die. How could I veer across all lanes in that much traffic and not get plowed into by another car going 65 mph?! All I could think of was the fact that I didn’t say goodbye to my son before I left that afternoon because he was upstairs on his video game. I don’t know what the cars behind me saw, but apparently my wrestling with the fishtail gave everyone enough time to slow down and allow me clear passage to the inner shoulder, where thank goodness there was no barrier or guard rail. The Jeep came to a jarring halt facing oncoming traffic from the safety of the shoulder. I blinked and stared unbelievingly. A very nice lady pulled over to make sure I was ok (thank you!).

This is the 2nd time I’ve spun out on an interstate in the Jeep. I think it’s time to part ways with it. *sigh* Ever since, I’ve been pinching myself and terrified I’m living some Sixth Sense world where I’m really dead and just don’t know it yet!

Anyway, I did a tiny 3 point turn on the shoulder and continued on. Photos of last night’s game up shortly….

My season of thanks and looking to this season

I did it. Last year for the 2010 season I had the opportunity to freelance for Comcast SportsNet (CSN Washington) as a credentialed media (blogger) member in an MLB press box. Not any MLB press box, but the shiny newish one atop Nationals Park covering the team I’d embraced since they arrived in DC. The reality of that mere fantastic accomplishment never really settled in during the season as the terror of wondering what the rules of etiquette are in a major league clubhouse, among ‘veteran’ writers and in press conferences hit next. I was there for Stephen Strasburg’s debut, sneaking around with my camera because I fancied myself a photographer first and a writer second, even though I never set foot in the photo pits all season. I was there for the real Miss Iowa’s first pitch, and that was really awesome!

I would like to thank CSN Washington for taking the chance on me, first and foremost, and making a dream come true! Second, I’d like to thank Mark Zuckerman for graciously showing this rookie the ropes and giving me the daily time table for how things go. I’d also like to express my deepest appreciation to Ben Goessling and Bill Ladson for accepting me and encouraging me to sit front and center in the press box on “beat writer row” with them. Debbi Taylor, MASN’s sideline reporter, gets some giggles and gratuity for giving me tricks for averting my eyes in the clubhouse and showing me what direction to avoid (eg. the showers are over there —-> try not to be facing in that direction and keep a clipboard in your hands that you can look down studiously at if needed). Kristen Hudak was my great female compatriot and confidante. Everyone always made me feel accepted and not like an outsider (even if I felt that way myself), and for that I will always be thankful.

It took me until the end of the season to feel mostly comfortable walking up to a player to ask questions on my own away from the pack. I don’t think I ever opened my mouth in a Riggleman press conference. I felt like an intern without a regular mentor. I went in wanting to change the world and blaze my own trail in how team coverage is provided. Unfortunately, breaking that mold is not as easy as one would think. Traditions are well-steeped. With Zuckerman already providing the daily game coverage, I was never quite sure where I fit in or what I was supposed to write, even though CSN encouraged me to just write like normal. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself and of course, I’m not a journalist with any formal training. So that weird state of straddled identity between fan and credentialed media left my head spinning and writer’s block spending a lot of time under my motionless fingers. That’s on me.

As you all know by now, I’m sure, CSN has hired Zuckerman full time and also bought his Nats Insider blog (congrats to him!). They want to focus all their Nats coverage there, so we have amicably and mutually parted ways for this season. I will likely still be contributing a couple things on CSNWashington this season, but I will not be credentialed like last season and my submissions will be infrequent (probably covering the odd one-off events like Baseball 101, etc.).

So what does all this mean moving forward? Well, beginning tomorrow with NatsFest, I’m going back to the way things were around here — just being some schlub with a website. I’m still a season ticket holder, although I guess I’ll get to a handful less games now than last year. I’ll continue doing photosets of games I attend again and writing up whatever strikes my fancy. I may even go back to doing videos (yay or nay on that one?). Basically, MissChatter is back in her former capacity. I’m no longer part of the media elite 😉

I’m going to miss the people I saw in the press box the most. I’ll definitely miss bumping into Bob Carpenter and Dave Jageler in the dining area and saying hello. Again, many thanks to everyone for a fantastic whirlwind dream-fulfilling season last year! Also, thanks to the Nats PR people for putting up with me when they probably weren’t sure what to expect. Lastly, thanks to the players who talked to me and answered my sometimes odd and awkwardly phrased questions (namely Drew Storen, John Lannan and Collin Balester). I’m sure I’ve forgotten some people, but know it was not intentional!

To Break A Camera

You know that joking phrase, “XX is so ugly, they’ll break your camera if you take a picture of them”? Well, I couldn’t wait to get through my photo card to find out who the last person I took a photo of was before my camera began flashing an ugly error on the display and refusing to take any more pictures.

I had great seats at Roger Dean Stadium as the Nationals took on (and beat) the Marlins. Happily shutterbugging away, I caught Jordan Zimmermann’s first few pitches, both Nyjer Morgan and Danny Espinosa getting hit by pitches and fielding in the bottom of the first. Then suddenly, the camera wouldn’t take any photos. I’d hear the shutter half flip, then an error would fill the display. “Error 99. Shut off camera and turn back on”. Ok, did that. Nope, same error.

Frantically, I googled the error on my phone and tried the things suggested (remove the battery, lens, media cards and wait 20 minutes, then replace one by one..), scoring the game all the while and trying to write notes on things that would normally appear in the pictures. After a half hour passed, I tried again. Still nothing. Somberly, I packed the camera away.

How do I write about a game without replaying it via photos and captioning them? I’m not sure I know how! Somehow, tomorrow, I’ll have to find a way. That beer mission is sounding even better now!

So who was in the last photo I took? Jayson Werth wins that one – he was about to catch a fly ball for the 2nd out in the bottom of the 1st inning. Heck, he’s making enough to replace my camera body, right? 😉 (just kidding!)

1ST : It appears Werth is who broke my camera - last photo I took. :(

I’ve been using this camera for years, so I’m sure it’s out of warranty. Guess I’ll take it to the camera shop when I get back home Tuesday and hope they can save it. In the meantime, off to sob! RIP