Washington Trip – Day 2 – 1789

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The Diamond Club, a gentleman's club advertising "BYOB!"

Do you think the 2nd B stands for bacon? If so, I'm no longer interested.

Before we begin today, we have one tidbit of information to include from yesterday that somehow Jeff forgot to mention. So as dusk was setting in and energy was running slim, we realized we were quickly running out of gas and needed some American cash to pay for an upcoming toll road — they don’t take kindly to our funny-money down here. As we pulled off the highway in search of a gas station, we discovered this Gentleman’s Club, advertising “BYOB!!!” Now we’re not sure if this is the standard “bring your own beer” or if perhaps in strip club lingo this means “bring your own babe” which, frankly, kind of defeats the purpose…we think…we’ve never set foot in that type of establishment. Anyway, we found it totally perplexing and in some ways wish we would have ventured inside to figure out what it meant. In other ways (most ways, honestly) we’re glad we resisted.

This morning began a bit late, opting for a good sleep after a long drive. After shaking out the cobwebs of an extremely deep sleep we headed down the road to a local pub to wrestle up some good ol’ American greasy breakfast. For Jeff, this was the moment when memories of past trips to America began really flooding back as he noticed just how many American flags are out and about in these parts.

Tons of American flags in a garden

We'll give a signed print from Cripz to the first person to tell us how many stars are in this photo. Spoiler alert: there's too many to count.

Granted, it’s the 3rd of July and people are feeling especially patriotic, but it was pretty red, white and blue out there. Also eagles. Tons of eagles. The breakfast was great, although the portions were a bit…extreme…as in enough to feed an army. In fact, Clara could have taken a bath inside her coffee cup. That is not an exaggeration.

Heading off from Ali’s uncle and aunt’s mansion-where-they-filmed-The Village was extremely tough, because it was beautiful and cozy, but soon we were on the road on the final stretch to Washington DC. Driving past Baltimore was cool, given that Jeff has been there before for a conference and could see the hotel he stayed at from the high way (yes, it was that tall). The drive was uneventful, aside from an impromptu group sing-a-long of the theme from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which will likely go down as a favourite moment from the trip.

Arriving in Washington was breathtaking. Driving past the Washington Monument was definitely a “we’re really here” moment–that is not a small obelisk, we’ll say that much. The roads are pretty confusing, especially down in the core where they’ve decided to move away from the grid pattern of most major cities and go with something closer to the Boston “roads just going wherever the hell they choose” philosophy, which wreaked havoc on our GPS. We made it to the hotel in one piece though and were anxious to have at the city.

Given the driving and lack of energy, we opted for a quiet night including a nice team dinner in Georgetown. After deciding on the restaurant called 1789, we set out on foot but not before asking directions. Asking the woman at the front, she was shocked to hear we were considering walking, exclaiming “But that’s like a 50 minute walk! The bridge alone is like 30 minutes!” We’re not sure if she was perhaps being paid by the Metro to really push the service or perhaps was just trying to save Clara and Ali from heat exhaustion, but we decided to go against her advice and hoof it. In the end, we’re kinda glad we did because it wasn’t a long walk at all (maybe 20 minutes, tops) and we got to see a slice of the city in the process.

A picture of houses slanted to the left.

They build some weeeeird houses here in the USA. The recession hit the leveler industry the hardest apparently.

The end result? Georgetown is BEAUTIFUL and we can’t wait to move hotels. Right now we’re in a Marriott in Arlington but tomorrow we move to our main hotel, the Georgetown Suites. Clara and Jeff even took a second to visit Georgetown University, right around the corner from the restaurant, and both had moments of “Man…why did we go to Western?”

But the real point of reading this blog is to hear about 1789. Wow. What a meal. This place is absolutely top notch fine dining with a wonderfully friendly staff (including Paul who has his own YouTube channel under the username “MrPMorton”). As we discovered from talking to our waiter, apparently 1789 is actually a bit of an up-and-comer right now on the DC restaurant scene ever since Barack Obama ate there a few weeks ago. Yep, THE Barack Obama. Clara has convinced herself that she used the same fork as Obama. Ali has convinced herself she used the same toilet paper as him. Jeff is confused why Barack was using the women’s bathroom. Anyway, apparently one of the Supreme Court Judges was a floor above us, likely also being fed some of the best food he’s ever eaten in his life. Pretty cool, all in all. If you are ever in DC, do not miss out on this place–the food and wine is matched only by it’s ambiance, which is very chill and exclusive-feeling. Beyond 5 out of 5 stars for this little gem. But don’t take our word for it, listen to Barack Obama. He is your overlord. Clara would like to disagree with most of the above; the food was too salty. Fuck salt. Also they wouldn’t serve her wine because she looked too prepubescent or something.

With full bellies and bright spirits, we decided to head back to the hotel for some quick schedule making and an early bedtime. Overall, we’re feeling pretty good about this trip–there are tons of accessible signs and entrances to stores and restaurants that we’ve seen and wheelchair taxis appear to be pretty common. With the little bit that we’ve seen, so far, this may be one of the more accessible tourist places we’ve ever seen.

God bless America.

Well that’s about it for today. It was a long day, despite doing little more than eating. Perhaps we’re better at being American than we thought. Hiyoooooo. Tomorrow the real deal gets going though…Washington DC on the 4th of July? Hells yeah. We fully intend on bringing a boombox with us tomorrow and playing the Arrogant Worms song “War of 1812” on repeat…just to remind those Yankee Doodle Dandies who’s the boss.

From Americaland with love,

– Jeff and Clara

Travel Log - Washington

Before we begin today, we have one tidbit of information to include from yesterday that somehow Jeff forgot to mention. So as dusk was setting in and energy was running slim, we realized we were quickly running out of gas and needed some American cash to pay for an upcoming toll road — they don’t […]

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Washington Trip — Day 1 — Ever get that feeling you’re about to drive to Washington?

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That’s right gals and guys, it’s time again for another thrilling two weeks of travel blogging courtesy of Jeff and Clara. As you might remember, we blogged about our trip to Barcelona last summer, when Jeff went to meet Clara’s relatives and become a professional bull fighter. This time around, Clara is getting a taste of Americana and it’s gonna be like biting into a big warm slice of apple pie. Because of some scheduling stupidity on Jeff’s part, our trip is going to consist of several days sight-seeing in Washington DC, followed by a few days of family reunioning in Anderson, South Carolina, finalized with a few more days of sight-seeing in Washington DC.

But enough babbling, let’s get right into it. We left London this morning around 9:30 and, after discovering Jeff had forgotten our passports, we were officially on the road around 10. The border was slow, as expected, but we managed to get across in a little under two hours. Also note that Ali, Jeff’s PSW who is driving us, attempted to pick up a tattooed man in the car next to us and would later nearly get Jeff repossessed by the border guard when he asked “Are you importing anything to the USA?” and she replied “Only Jeff.” We’re pretty sure there are rules against importing cripple revolutionaries.

Shortly after getting into Americaland, we decided to grab a bite to eat at a “Pizza Plant” and Clara got her first glimpse at all-American obesity. At this pizza joint, they have created a “double-decker stuffed pizza” which essentially is like a birthday cake made with pizza. We’re guessing eating one of these monstrosities is probably like 4 medium pizzas. Of course, we were sitting beside two large men (one of whom was popping his diabetic pills washed down with a Pepsi–NOT diet) who would go on to eat said enormous pie in the time it took the 3 of us to eat a normal thin crust medium pizza.

Map of the USA with pins in it

Lotta Canucks passing through this rest stop...

God bless America.

The real joy of the day happened later, right before leaving New York state. As energy levels were beginning to run low and Jeff and Clara had both decided to take a nap, Ali noticed an interesting sign which announced the local Boy Scouts would be giving out free hot dogs and lemonade at the next rest stop. Of course, we stopped and were given some delicious free eats.

A list of places with pins beside them

Sure, I've never had a problem finding my hometown on a map, but this is AMERICA--the map should put the pin in for YOU.

Two interesting points. Number one is that the boy scouts had set up a map in front of their hot dog tent where they asked visitors to place a pin of where they’re from. Amazingly, there was already a pin from London, Ontario. Jerks. Of course the map was only of the USA and southern Ontario, so many travelers had begun writing non-mapped locations along the side. While most of them were from Asia, we noticed that someone had hilariously written “Chicago” and placed a pin. If this didn’t round out the “Silly Americans” experience enough, we then discovered the rest stop had decided they would just hang urinal cakes from the ceiling fan in an effort to keep the air nice and fresh. It was largely a failed effort.

Once again, God bless America.

Bathroom ceiling fan with urinal cake attached by string

They probably figured "Why buy TWO air fresheners when these urinal cakes ARE air fresheners?" It's American industriousness at it's best.

In the end we stopped at Ali’s aunt and uncle’s place in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania for the night. Apparently that M Night Shyamalan movie, The Village, was filmed on this street. Tomorrow we’re going to re-enact the scene when the townsfolk see the airplane for the first time.

Until tomorrow,

– Jeff and Clara

Travel Log - Washington

That’s right gals and guys, it’s time again for another thrilling two weeks of travel blogging courtesy of Jeff and Clara. As you might remember, we blogged about our trip to Barcelona last summer, when Jeff went to meet Clara’s relatives and become a professional bull fighter. This time around, Clara is getting a taste […]

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To The Lovely Business Owners of London

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So, we love local businesses. Because we live downtown we frequent them almost exclusively. But we admit we kind of screwed around with them at last weekend’s Stairbomb (pictures of which can be seen here). Most people we talked to were unfazed, bemused or guiltily–but inactively–peeved by our little prank. But we realize some people may have been pretty angry at the whole petty-vandalism thing. In fact, Clara got an email yesterday from someone we won’t name who was pretty seriously annoyed that the yellow tape may have cost him some dineros. Because we think other business owners might feel similarly, here is the response we sent to our sole complainant, reproduced here for any angry victims stumbling across our website in fitful Stairbomb-induced rages. (Words in quotations were lifted directly from his very emotional email.) Read More

Stairbombing

So, we love local businesses. Because we live downtown we frequent them almost exclusively. But we admit we kind of screwed around with them at last weekend’s Stairbomb (pictures of which can be seen here). Most people we talked to were unfazed, bemused or guiltily–but inactively–peeved by our little prank. But we realize some people […]

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This Saturday: Stairbomb With Us!

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Caution tape surrouding a construction site

Image via Wikipedia

Uh, what up criggaz.

So, to celebrate the one-year-anniversary of this little comic we do, we’re trying to rile up Londoners with a bit of accessibility-focused direct action: we’re caution-taping stairways around this city on Saturday night after the Vote Mob in Victoria Park. We’re meeting by the bandshell at 7, with all the caution tape and awareness-signs being provided by Jeff & Clara.

Bring your friends, go to the Vote Mob, grab dinner at an accessible downtown eatery of your choice, and return to Vic Park at 7 to continue being an engaged citizen! Don’t forget to bring a camera so we can later spam the internet with confusing pictures of out-of-order stairways.

Your call whether you stairbomb half a staircase of forty of them. It’s a drop-in kinda thing so you don’t have to stick around long if you don’t want to, because we know you have, you know, lives.

Other than that, thanks a million for your support this past year :).

Stairbombing

  Uh, what up criggaz. So, to celebrate the one-year-anniversary of this little comic we do, we’re trying to rile up Londoners with a bit of accessibility-focused direct action: we’re caution-taping stairways around this city on Saturday night after the Vote Mob in Victoria Park. We’re meeting by the bandshell at 7, with all the […]

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Friday Shout-Outs

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For anyone on twitter, the idea of #FollowFriday is probably familiar, but for those of you who aren’t twits like me, every Friday on twitter people throw out recommendations of their favourite tweeters to educate people about good content that they may not have seen before. I’ve decided to do something similar here on Cripz, so check back every Friday to see some people I think are doing some great work:

Help get Natalie McDonald on TV!
The first Friday Shout-out goes to Natalie McDonald, a young girl whose an awesome advocate. I met Natalie a few years ago and think she’s going to have a big future. Recently she uploaded a rap about Easter Seals on YouTube and if she gets enough votes and enough views she’ll get her video on the Easter Seals telethon on CBC! How cool would that be? So take a few seconds and vote for her video on YouTube and check her out on Facebook here.

Tiger Blood Phil
An old friend from University is right in the thick of becoming Charlie Sheen’s new intern. Check Phil out on Facebook and help him land a pretty sweet gig.

Oh right, an election…..
With the government toppling moments earlier, check out three of my favourite federal politicos in London. Take your time over the next month to learn about all of the candidates, learn the issues, and vote for the person you think best represents you–that’s what democracy is all about!
Glen Pearson — Fire Fighter Super Hero
Doug Ferguson — Proof that not all lawyers are terrible people
Irene Mathysson — One of the people who made me realize politics don’t suck

For anyone on twitter, the idea of #FollowFriday is probably familiar, but for those of you who aren’t twits like me, every Friday on twitter people throw out recommendations of their favourite tweeters to educate people about good content that they may not have seen before. I’ve decided to do something similar here on Cripz, […]

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Sitting down for a chat

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Front cover of The Londoner newspaper

It's nice having two newspapers in London...even if they're owned by the same company.

Earlier this morning, I sat down for a chat with a reporter from The Londoner who was interested in learning more about what Clara and I are up to and how Cripz is doing. It was a fun interview that focused heavily on the characters and story of Cripz rather than the development (which is how most of our interviews go). I’m excited to see how the article comes out and I’ll be sure to post the link as soon as I have it.

 

Thanks again for coming by Mr. Reporter Man–hopefully I didn’t blab on too much.

Earlier this morning, I sat down for a chat with a reporter from The Londoner who was interested in learning more about what Clara and I are up to and how Cripz is doing. It was a fun interview that focused heavily on the characters and story of Cripz rather than the development (which is […]

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The system is down

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A picture of Strongbad breaking up The Cheat's light switch rave party.

To help pass the time, you can just play this video over and over again.

First up, Clara and I wanted to apologize for our website being on the fritz these past few days. We have contacted the service provider and were told they are aware the problem and are working to fix it. Hopefully everything is right as rain come Wednesday for our new comic.

Until then, thanks for your patience. Read More

First up, Clara and I wanted to apologize for our website being on the fritz these past few days. We have contacted the service provider and were told they are aware the problem and are working to fix it. Hopefully everything is right as rain come Wednesday for our new comic. Until then, thanks for […]

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Time to Refocus

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Luke Skywalker riding a Taun-Taun

Comprehensives: Kind of like being stuck on Hoth, but instead of having a Tauntaun to crawl inside and stay warm you get followed around by Baudrillard who will constantly kill your buzz with postmodernism.

As you may or may not have heard, I recently decided to step back from my work with United Way to refocus my energies on finishing my Doctorate in Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. I just want to note what a fantastic experience it was working with United Way–these people are the real deal and are making London a better place, one step at a time. Also, shout outs to the staff of United Way for their recent announcement of raising over $8 Million to fund agencies working to make London a city we can be proud of. Read More

As you may or may not have heard, I recently decided to step back from my work with United Way to refocus my energies on finishing my Doctorate in Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. I just want to note what a fantastic experience it was working with United Way–these people are the […]

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Cripz Meets the Press

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Well, the Freeps has answered the bell…kind of. After calling out the LFPress in last week’s comic, a reporter from the paper called this weekend to get the scoop from Clara and I on what was so wrong with their poll. Jane Sims spoke with us on Saturday and it’s safe to say this interview will go down as one of the funnest (and funniest) interviews in recent memory. After having a great chat, Jane wrote a fantastic article explaining why building accessible is so important. You can see the article here.

Earlier today, we also received an email from Ken Wightman, a retired photojournalist, who also had a thing or two to say about the whole fiasco. Jeff and Ken had a great chat at lunch, which resulted in Ken writing a really interesting blog post which can be read here.

Thanks Jane and Ken for getting in touch and keep up the great work!

Well, the Freeps has answered the bell…kind of. After calling out the LFPress in last week’s comic, a reporter from the paper called this weekend to get the scoop from Clara and I on what was so wrong with their poll. Jane Sims spoke with us on Saturday and it’s safe to say this interview […]

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Movin’ home to London, Ontario

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For the last few years, Jeff has hosted all of his websites with a company based out of California with limited success. While the space was adequate and the prices right, the tech support was awful and he was tired of all the long distance bills from waiting on hold for hours on end. Ultimately, we really wanted to support a local webhost with our business, especially if it meant better customer service. Over the past week or so, Jeff has been working with the unbelievable staff of Orpheum Hosting Solutions (a local London hosting company) and we’re proud to announce Cripz is now and forevermore will be hosted by Orpheum.

We just wanted to take a second to thank Derek and Mike from Orpheum for going ABOVE and BEYOND the call to get everything set up. They say on their website that Orpheum has “unrivaled support,” and our experience absolutely speaks to this statement. Jeff has never had a hosting company take such a personal interest in getting everything up and running, including LOTS of handholding when transferring over databases and setting permissions. Derek and Mike genuinely care about the customer and we fully endorse them as our webhost of choice.

If you need hosting and you want to shop locally, look no further than Orpheum Hosting Solutions–they’re competitively priced and will take care of you like no other. That’s a Cripz Guarantee.

And no, we didn’t get paid to say this–we legitimately love those crazy guys over at Orpheum and if you get some hosting from them, you’ll understand why!

For the last few years, Jeff has hosted all of his websites with a company based out of California with limited success. While the space was adequate and the prices right, the tech support was awful and he was tired of all the long distance bills from waiting on hold for hours on end. Ultimately, […]

Read More