random stuff

Where Asians Like to Sleep

Grabbed the photos from and compiled them into a video.  Silly asians sleeping in silly places:

random stuff travel stuff

DC Events on Oct 30th

A few people on the Daily Show forums has expressed interest in finding out which special events are going on that day after the rally.  Being the helpful guy that I am, here’s a compiled list of noteworthy links and events for October 30, 2010.  I tried to list only events that are after 5pm.

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  In fact, I bet it’s less than 10% of all the actual events that are occurring that day.   I made this list just to give you a glimpse of the varieties of things going on.  Please do a search yourself to find an event that interest you.

Some good links:,dates_20101030,sortSpecifier_Date,group_Events.html,2010-10-30

Events of interest:

5 p.m. – 1 a.m. Nightmare on M Street 2010
The season’s most spooktacular bar crawl!

5 pm Fright Fest 2010
Once again Six Flags brings back Fright Fest. Spooky characters, thrilling rides, and trick or treating for the kids.. Six Flags America Largo, Maryland. (Festival – Holiday Event / Party). 301-249-1500

6:30 pm Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3
Presented live. 1st Mariner Arena. (Performance – Ice Skating Show). 410-347-2020

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Capitol Steps
Former Congressional employees perform satirical skits and songs every Friday and Saturday in the Amphitheater. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. (Performance – Show Comedy). 202-312-1300

6:30 pm Fright at the Museum
National Museum of Crime and Punishment
This isn’t just a museum for artifacts, it’s a haunting ground now. From 1916-1960 one hundred and twenty five men were executed in the Tennessee electric chair. This Halloween that same eletric chair makes it’s way into the National Museum of Crime and Punishment and there’s something freaky going on.

7:00pm – 10:30 pm  Spooky Hollow and Haunted Trail
Family Halloween Festival. Valley Mill Camp. (Festival – Holiday Event / Party). 301-948-0220

8 p.m. – 2 a.m. Fright Night Monster Bash
The State Theatre – 220 N. Washington St. – Falls Church
For the first time, two of the area’s biggest Halloween bashes unite.

8:00 pm- 10:00 pm Laugh Riot at the Hyatt
Live standup comedy show with 5 local comics, $25 cash prize joke contest for non-com audience members after the show. Rated R,… Hyatt Regency Bethesda. (Performance – Comedic). 301-657-1234

8:00 pm King Arthur
Synetic’s inaugural season in Crystal City will kick off with a new, wordless epic, drawing from a rich pool of centuries-old my… Crystal City Theater. (Performance – Theater). 800-494-8497

5:00 pm-2:00 am Karaoke @ Peyote Cafe
Happy Hour every night except Saturday. Peyote Cafe. (Dining – Happy Hour). 202-462-8330

11:00 pm Halloween Party at La Tosca
Drink specials, DJ and dancing, and a costume contest with cash prize will be featured on All Hallow’s Eve. La Tasca – Arlington. (Dining – Dining Specials). 703-812-9120

Kennedy Center Events for Oct 30


6:00 PM Hard-Hearted Hannah and Other Stories – Free
Brighton-based Cartoon de Salvo cleverly mixes storytelling, improvisation, and live music, captivating audiences with its highly accessible and irreverently honest brand of theater.

6:00 pm /  9:00pm Shear Madness – $42
Set in present-day Georgetown, Shear Madness engages locals and visitors alike as armchair detectives to help solve the scissor-stabbing murder of a famed concert pianist who lives above the Shear Madness unisex hairstyling salon.  The show combines up-to-the-minute improvisational humor and a mixture of audience sleuthing to deliver a unique performance each night.

7:30 PM HAIR – $25.00 – $115.00
The tribe of the Age of Aquarius is still protesting the war, freeing their love, letting their hair down, and baring it all in HAIR. “The kids are all right,” says the New York Times. “Quite a bit more than all right.”

8:00 PM – Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker – $22.00 – $60.00
Known for visually striking designs, Brazilian dance ensemble Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker presents Mix, a full-length program showcasing daring feats of athleticism and acrobatics deemed “impossible” (The Sunday Times).

8:00 pm – NSO Pops: A Date with Idina Menzel / Marvin Hamlisch, conductor – $20.00 – $85.00
Glee favorite and Tony-winning star of Wicked Idina Menzel opens the NSO Pops season with a diverse program of classic pop, musical theater favorites, and her own original songs.

8:30 PM – A Life in Three Acts – $25
The story of celebrated performer and key figure in Britain’s post-war gay liberation struggle, Bette Bourne, A Life in Three Acts is more than a memoir. This solo performance by Bourne is a moving celebration of liberation.

9:00 PM – KC Jazz Club: Kevin Mahogany in Old, New, Borrowed, and the Blues – $26
With his gift for bebop, ballads, blues, and swinging jazz, Kevin Mahogany has been called “the standout jazz vocalist of his generation” by Newsweek.

random stuff

Rally Location

Jon Stewart announced the official location of the rally a few days ago, and it’s not at the Washington Monument as we previously assumed. It’s going to be on the east end of the Mall, with the Capitol Building as the backdrop. Here’s the video, Jon always cracks me up.

The Daily Show – Rally Location

Here is another map I whipped up using GoogleMaps. I circled the stations with the colors of the metro lines that can get you there.

Also, to give you a brief idea of how much it’ll cost and the time it’ll take to ride the metro, I looked up the fare and time it takes from the furthest stations of each line. The estimation is to the Smithsonian station, but other destinations near the mall will cost you about the same fare and time to get there.

Estimates are calculated from  Note, times listed are travelling time and does not include time waiting for trains.

Vienna/Fairfax-GMU:  $2.75 – 32 minutes
Franconia/Springfield: $2.75 – 38 minutes
Hungtington: $2.15 – 37 minutes
Branch Ave: $2.15 – 19 minutes
Morgan Blvd: $2.15 – 23 minutes
New Carollton: $2.75 – 25 minutes
College Park: $2.15 – 33 minutes
Wheaton: $2.75 – 35 minutes
Rockville: $2.75 – 41 minutes

Below are a few images of the area to give you a rough idea of what it’s going to be like at that location.

The last image was of the Million Mom march (borrowed from member PATyler from the Daily Show forums:

random stuff travel stuff

So you're coming to the 10/30 Rally to Restore Sanity?

We are all intelligent adults who can whip out our iPhones and find a good restaurant on Yelp in a moment’s notice.  That said, there are some of you who are too busy, or lazy, and just need a little help planning your trip.  If that’s the case, you may find this guide helpful.  You can also find plenty of help at other venues, such as the Daily Show Forums or the Facebook Event page.

Edit: The official site now has a useful FAQ page, check it out.

More Edit: Here’s a useful blog  that keeps continual updates with info about the rally:

Getting there:

There are plenty of ways of getting to Washington D.C., and if you’re a reasonably intelligent member of society, you shouldn’t have any problems finding one.

I’m coming from Austin, Texas (I recently moved here from Virginia) and did some research on how much the prices are going for around that date (10/29 – 10/31).  Airfare from AUS to IAD (Dulles, where my family lives) is only around $300.  I also looked up the prices for Greyhound and found it to be more expensive at $350.  Amtrak is slightly cheaper, only $197, but the trip would take 50 hours!  Flying is still the best way to go if you’re more than a state away.  Remember, rates fluctuate daily, so check rates from your city and book early.  After two weeks before the event, prices climb.

Links to other travel options:



From Europe:

From Charlottesville, VA:

From Winston Salem, NC:

From Bloomington-Normal, IL:

From Chicago:!/event.php?eid=109553292439557&ref=ts,

From Oklahoma:

From Louisiana:

From Cincinnati :  $75 a person.  Leave Friday at Midnight and Return to Cincinnati (Blue Ash Area) on Sunday morning at 8am, We will be in DC from 10am till 9pm Saturday.Our goal is to get 45 people and so far we have around 20.  Please email if you are interested!

From Milwaukee: … need to fill a 55 passenger Greyhound bus — bathroom on board, wi-fi.  $125 round trip.  Leaving Milwaukee Friday 10/29 at 6 p.m. arriving in DC Saturday morning.  Leaving Saturday night at 6 pm. home on Sunday morning.  No hotel costs.  Need to know and have moolah by 10/4.  contact

From New Jersey:  Donna from Jersey posted: “there’s a super cool bus in central New Jersey, there were about 10 of us to begin with so we chartered a bus but still have a few seats to fill.  a mere $47 round trip, which includes coffee and donuts as we gather in the morning, and water bottles for the ride home  join us!!  (leaves from Jackson, NJ, the departure location is right off Exit 21 of I-195)

Getting around using the Metro Rail

Even without a rally, the Greater Washington area tends to be a bumper to bumper fusterCluck. If you’re not staying in D.C., I don’t recommend driving into the city or even taking a taxi unless you plan to sit in traffic. Fortunately, there is a decent Metro Rail system to help you get around.

Here’s a handy map for the metro stations, when booking your hotel you should ask them for the nearest one.

There are reduced fares on the weekends, so it’ll cost you about $2 – $6 both ways depending on where you’re coming from.  But if you plan to do other things in D.C. besides going to the rally, you can get a day pass for $9.  You can buy tickets at the stations, and they accept credit cards so you’re fine if you’re like me and don’t like to carry cash around.

The rally is going to be near the Washington Monument (edit: this statement is now false.  See paragraph below).  Someone mentioned that it is going to be on the North side of the monument but I’m still unsure since nothing official has been issued.  Nevertheless, it really doesn’t matter.  You should be able to just start heading into D.C. and ask random people that seem to be going to the rally where they’re headed.  The closest stations to the Washington Monument is the Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange lines, or the  L’Enfant Plaza station on the Green and Yellow lines.

Edit: The Daily Show has announced the official location of the rally, it is going to be on the east end of the Mall near the Capitol Building.  Check out the map in this new post:

Hotels and Lodging

Your best bet is to find a hotel outside of D.C. and take the metro in on the day of the rally.  Use a hotel search site (such as or and look for a hotel in one of the cities on the metro map listed in the above section.  e.g.:

Virginia: Annandale, Arlington, Ballston, Clarendon, Fairfax, Falls Church, Springfield, Vienna.

Maryland: Bethesda, Glenmont, Rockville, Shady Grove, Silver Spring, White Flint

I did some searches to see what hotel prices are like for that weekend, and I think you’re looking at spending about $150 a night at a decent hotel.  Here are some price ranges of hotels in Virginia I got from

Arlington: $100 (Best Western) – $570 (Ritz-Carlton)
Vienna: $80 (Hilton Garden) – $260 (Residence Inn)
Falls Church: $80 (Budget Inn) – $170 (Westin)
Bethesda: $100 (American Inn) – $240 (Residence Inn)

Edit: Ellen from the comments below posted that hotels further away from D.C. are a lot cheaper, she was able to find a 3.5 star hotel in the Herndon/Dulles area for $45 a night.  If you’re looking to save money that’s another option.  If you don’t have a rental car you’ll just have to take the bus or a cab ride to the closest Metro station to take you into D.C.  I don’t recommend taking a cab all the way in, the cab driver won’t be able to get that close anyways, and it’ll cost at least $60 if you’re coming from somewhere like Herndon.

Here are some area further west in Virginia you should consider if you can’t find ones closer:

Chantilly, Centreville, Manassas, Burke, Herndon, Reston

Other options:
Couch Surfing:
Reddit Ads:

Preparing for the Rally

Before heading to the rally, you should consider bringing the following items.
  • Water or non-alcoholic beverage of choice (no glass)
  • Some snacks to munch on
  • a trash bag
  • Something to sit on, like a beach blanket or portable chair
  • Suntan lotion if you burn easy
  • poncho or umbrella if it looks like it may rain (it usually does on Halloween)

Remember, you can not bring alcohol or weapons of any kind to the Mall.

The temperature will probably be in the 60s, I recommend having a sweater with you just in case.

The Metro usually runs from 7 AM Saturday to 3 AM Sunday,  but this is subject to change for special occasions.  For example, on July 4th they don’t start running until 10 AM.  Check with your hotel or look it up the day before and prepare accordingly.

Restaurants and dining

You can find every style of cuisine in the Greater Washington area.  Doing a search on Yelp or Washington Post’s Going Out Guide will yield more than enough results.  Here are some suggestions just to give you an idea of the variety to choose from:

Vegetarian – Sun Flower ($11 – $30)
Italian – Tosca ($31 – $60)
French – Montmartre ($31 – $60)
Dim Sum – Mark’s Duck House ($11 – $30)
Pho – Pho 75 (Under $10)
Vietnamese – Viet Bistro ($11 – $30)
Korean BBQ – Honey Pig ($11 – $30)
Indian – Tandoori Time (Under $10)
Seafood – Hank’s Oyster Bar ($11 – $30)
Sushi – Kotobuki ($11 – $30)
Thai – Thai Noy ($11 – $30)

Things to do in D.C.

If possible, you should spend a day before or after the rally to tour our nation’s capitol, especially if you have never done so.  There are plenty of museums and memorials that are free.  Even if you’re not into museums, you should still take the opportunity to visit some of these places just to say you did it.  Here are some recommendations:

  • National Gallery of Art ( – Free
    If you’re into art and have never been here, this is a must see.  It has everything from classical paintings to sculptures to contemporary art.
  • Museum of Natural History ( – Free
    Dinosaurs, anthropology, and more!
  • Air and Space museum ( – Free
    Go here if you’re an airplane or astronomy nut.  Check out “Space Station 3D” or “Hubble 3D” at the IMAX ($9 adult $7.50 kids) if you’re into space stuff like me.
  • Nation Museum of American History ( – Free
    Visit here if you’re a history buff.
  • National Zoo ( – Free
    This zoo is huge, and it’s free!  Probably a good idea if you are bringing kids with you.

Those are just some of my recommendations for places to go that are free in D.C.  Just do a search for “museums in washington D.C.” on your preferred search engine and you’ll get several dozen suggestions.


As for bars and nightlife, there are also many areas to choose from.  Sites like or should give you a rundown of all that’s available.   Here are some good neighborhoods that are popular with locals and visitors alike:

Adam’s Morgan – D.C.
Georgetown – D.C.
Clarendon – VA
Arlington – VA

Edit:  Added a random list of events also occurring that day after the rally:

Safety and More

D.C. and the Greater Washington area, which includes Northern Virginia and Maryland, is a shining example of the melting pot culture that we should all be proud of.  Contrary to what some believe, the population is not comprise mostly of refugees and embassy staff of third world countries hiding from a revolution in their homeland. There are a lot of different ethnicity and culture that make up our population, and that is a beautiful thing. We’re now living in a society where we’re not judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. Whenever you make a decision based on the race of another individual, you’re stepping on the graves of these civil right heroes who have given their lives to advance our society to where we are today. Freedom rang, from all corners of our country, and is still ringing regardless of the minority few who are still too narrow-minded to see otherwise. Let’s try to keep it that way.

So back to the topic at hand.  D.C. is like any other major city in the world, there is crime and traffic and bad neighborhoods.  Just use common sense and don’t go wandering through shady streets alone at night, or get too drunk you’re stumbling in traffic on I495.

Why you should go to this rally

I’ve asked myself this question.  What exactly are we marching on Washington for?  We didn’t really lose our sanity, that’s just an exaggerated gimmick satirizing the previous rally to Restore Honor.  We are not marching to stop segregation, or an unjust war, or even an exaggerated notion of “losing our freedom.”  What we are doing, however, is making a statement that the majority of Americans are intelligent, reasonable people.  Just because we haven’t been in the spot light hogging the headlines doesn’t mean that we don’t exist.

The message is that we are tired of extremist media skewing the image of who we are.  That we’re not a nation of small-minded religious fanatics filled with fear and hatred.  And we are not going to allow fear mongering radio hosts to represent our ideals and values.   So you should come, if only to swell the ranks and show this nation, and the world, that what’s usually in the news is not the majority of America.

Plus, how often do you get to come party with this many people at our nation’s capitol?  Bring a blanket and a bottle of water, and an umbrella in case it rains, and join your fellow Americans in the biggest picnic of our lifetime.  I have a feeling it’s going to be an easy going day of love, of brotherhood, and of mild justification that there are still many of us who are decent human beings with decent thoughts in our reasonable heads.

random stuff

Car2go Austin

Stu and I took a little time out of this hazy Sunday to test out the new car2go program that recently launched here in Austin.  Created by the German automobile manufacturer, Daimler, this car-sharing service has just recently completed its beta phase and is now available to the public.  Being the hip and trendy nerd-geeks that we are, Stu and I are all about innovation of any kind.  Plus, we were bored and I needed to go spend money frivolously.

We signed up for membership through their website last Wednesday and had received our membership cards by Saturday.  There are no membership fees and no startup fees, you’ll just get charged at the rate of 35 cents a minute, or $12.99 maximum for the hour.  There is also a day’s maximum of $65.99, meaning if you rent the car for the whole day, that’s all you’ll get charged for.

It is a bit high, I thought, until Stu pointed out that it is cheaper than a cab ride (including tips), if you’re just moving around downtown.  Plus you don’t have to worry about gas or pay for parking.

So, you first locate an available car using their website or a smartphone app.  The above iPhone screenshot shows that there is a car 3 minutes from me (on foot) with a 42% fuel level.  There are about 200 cars scattered around the city and I was surprised to see a bunch close to where I live, which is further away from the main downtown area.  Stu found one just a block away from his apartment on 4th and drove to my place on 11th to pick me up.

Checking in was relatively simple.  To unlock the car, you’d hold your membership card up to a scanner shown thru the windshield.

When you’re in the car, you’d enter your secret pin that you picked during the registration process.   Once the pin has been accepted, it’ll instruct you to grab the key from the glove compartment to start the car.

So we took the car and cruised around downtown, and it was pretty speedy and easy to handle.  I was disappointed that these cars aren’t electric or even hybrids, but I hear they’re coming soon.  Even so, these cars get pretty good milage, from 33 to 40 miles per gallon.

I drove first and we stopped near the State Capitol.

Stu is behind the wheel, we switched off taking turns test-driving the car.

At a stoplight I jumped out and took off running further down the road so I can get shot of the car in traffic.

We even took the car on to a highway to test it at a higher speed.  It went up to 75mph without a problem.

If you are running low on gas, there is a prepaid gas card in the glove compartment.  According to the website, you can pull up to any gas station in the service area, enter the milage and number on the card, and fill up the tank.  They’ll even give you a small credit as a “thank you” for the time you spent refueling the car.

You can park in any of the legal parking spots, including metered spots (for free), and they also have designated car2go parking spots scattered all throughout the city.

There is a little cargo space in the back, enough for you to put laptop backpacks or small luggages.

It is illegal to park the car vertically against a curb, but we tested it out anyways.  It looked so cute next to that bike!

So we rented the car for about an hour, and I spent $12.99 for the sake of research.  Stu is pretty psyched about it, since he doesn’t own a car, and this program will make his life a bit easier.  I am psyched also, for a different reason.  This program has a hint of “futurism” in it that may change our way of thinking about transportation in general.  No, it probably won’t lead to the days where we can zip around in transparent tubes like in Futurama, but at least it is different and kinda cool.  I hope this gets adopted throughout all the major cities in the world.

I also hope they’d lower the price.

random stuff work stuff

Birthday Pranks at the Blacksburg Office

This is both a testament to the creativity of my fellow Rackspace co-workers, and the amount of free time they have at work.  In either case, these are exercises in love and compassion for each other …in the let-me-pull-your-hair-because-I-like-you kind of way.