Friday, April 9, 2010

Fun Places to Go Without Leaving Your Desk

My purpose today is twofold: First, to give out the web addresses of some fun and diverting websites that I hope you'll enjoy, and second, to balance out the number of curmudgeonly columns I've written with something that's entirely positive. This is something I intend to make a regular practice of doing, because I really don't want to be known as that cranky lady who only writes about things that go wrong, don't work, or blow up in her face. I could end up looking like Wile E. Coyote, if I don't watch myself! I'm also happy to have your suggestions for good things to write about. Have a good luck story, a bit of serendipity? Send it my way at AllLifeIsLocal @ Now on to today's fun stuff.

My very first column was about the Complaints Choir of Chicago and the complaints choirs of a few other major cities. Too bad our city doesn't have one, I complained. By the time my second column was out, I had learned that we do indeed have a Complaints Choir of Washington, and by the time the third column was out, I had the assurances of the director that the choir's video was being edited and would be available soon. Soon means right now! I'm pleased to report that it's everything you would expect in a song complaining about life in DC, from tourists standing on the wrong side of the escalator to summer interns wearing unsuitable apparel, as well as a lot of deeply weird surprises. A word of warning to parents of young children: This is not exactly family-friendly fare!


Now here's a fun web site if you're stuck inside on a beautiful day and wish you could go for a long walk, maybe visit the zoo, but you just don't have the time. Just pop on over to PandaCam and see what Tian Tian and Mei Xiang are up to:

Want to see any the flamingoes? black-footed ferrets? clouded leopards? naked mole rats? some strange species you never heard of? (Gharials, anyone?) Here's the complete lineup of available animals you can spy on:


It will soon be summertime and you may wish you were at Rehoboth Beach, especially if your friends are there while you're on this side of the Bay Bridge. Here's what you do: Call a friend at the beach on her cell and then tell her to walk to Dolle's Candy Shop on the Boardwalk at Rehoboth Avenue and look up at the nearest light pole to find the beach video camera, then stand in front of it and wave at you. After you're clicked on the Dolle's web cam link at , you should be able to see her. (Note: Don't try this just yet; you need to wait for "the season" to start before the camera is activated.) My French nieces had fun with this a few years ago, when they called friends in France -- it was close to midnight there -- and told them to wander over to the site and they'd be there. And they were


If Rehoboth Beach in the summer is too hot for you, try London. And one of the best things about London is the possibility of seeing a great sidewalk chalk artist at work. Almost as good as seeing the real thing is the online version:


Although plenty of people admire the monuments of DC, when you're here all the time, the buildings can begin to seem beige and bland and mostly alike. Want to see some architecture that could never be built here? Through the wonders of armchair travel here are some places you can visit that have buildings to make you wonder how they ever got built at all: -- keep clicking through "older posts" to get to the Swallow's Nest Castle in Crimea, Ukraine -- it's worth it! Then go to the home page, which is titled "Most Amazing and Funny Things in the World." Go on, procrastinate your whole day away looking at the various categories. It's addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you!


Posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv, , on April 9, 2010.

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