The Wind Beneath My Chicken Wings

seth’s thoughts on chicken, bed desks, airlines, dc, crock pots and more…

Goodbye W July 1, 2008

Filed under: DC — Seth @ 1:51 am

On July 31st, 2006, Luke and I boarded a red-eye American Airlines 757 at LAX bound for Dulles, coming back from my friend Michele‘s wedding in Santa Barbara. We had been home in the states for about two months…back from two years in the Peace Corps…still adjusting to life here and Thailand still at the front of our minds. We had moved to DC at the beginning of July and stayed at a friend’s wonderful 1-bedroom in Capitol Hill. But that was a short term stay–and the day before we left for Los Angeles, we moved all of our possessions–and there really wasn’t much–to our new apartment on W Street in Glover Park.

Everything was moved before we left, but we hadn’t moved in. In my logistical brilliance, I planned it so we’d move everything in before LA, then head out for the trip, then return and drive right up to our new apartment. I vividly remember Luke and I getting off the plane–bleary eyed from a red eye–not accustomed to those transforming buses that take you around Dulles–getting into our then-brand-spanking-new Kia and driving to our new apartment.

It was 7am when we got there. I couldn’t get the key to work. It was very hot. Our stuff was everywhere. We didn’t have a couch or a table or a chair or cable or a phone or silverware or a shower curtain. I didn’t know where to take the trash. Luke didn’t know how to get to work. It was really hot. I passed out on the floor (the bed was delivered later that day) and thought–“My god. Where am I?”

But that was two years ago. A lot changed in two years. Glover Park didn’t seem so far away after a while. We got a shower curtain. We realized how wonderful the porch was. I discovered a bus where I always got a seat that took me right to work. I started writing this blog. Luke became a Rock Creek Parkway master. We found a gym. I found the best way to get to the beltway (the Clara Barton!). I became obsessed with edamame. Luke took a razor and sliced through years worth of paint so we could open the windows. Friends with crock pots came over. We got a new coffee table and played trivial pursuit while eating pies. A tree fell on our Memorial Day BBQ. I stopped putting sugar in my coffee. Luke and I spent Sundays watching the McLaughlin Group and we both developed a crush on Pat Buchanan (Yeah. Weird. I know. I can’t explain it either.)

We decided to get married.

And I still spent hours on a porch, but this time, instead of water buffaloes meandering by, I watched boeings land at National.

And we got to know and love the district.

And now, of the two DC W’s we’re saying goodbye to this year, the W Street apartment is one that I’ll really miss.

Goodbye W. I’ve traded a porch for a patio, so look for more dispatches from the new haunt…The Shaw.


Ten Things That Fill My Week October 19, 2007

Filed under: blah blah blah,DC — Seth @ 10:38 pm


  1. “I Love New York 2” and “America’s Most Smartest Model.” Best. Shows. Ever. I have so much love for New York that I can’t stand it.
  2. Commuting. It is all about the D1 bus. It winds through Glover Park, Georgetown, Dupont and sneaks into downtown through a back door. My favorite part about my D1 commute is that I always get a seat.
  3. The Economist & The New Yorker: enough said.
  4. The Kia & The Rock Creek Parkway: My favorite car and my favorite highway. The Kia really doesn’t need explanation. It just rocks. It is hard driving it through the district, breaking hearts and fending off jealous stares, but I must go on.
  5. Keith Olbermann: Not necessarily objective, but I like him. I like his “Worst Person in the World” and I like that he calls Fox News Fox Noise.
  6. My delicious grilled chicken salad: Chicken grilled in the Foreman, green peppers, carrots, romaine lettuce (you can tear it or cut it with a knife. Totally up to you!), vidalia onions, sliced avocados, McCormick’s Salad Supreme seasoning, a dash of love, a healthy three shakes from the bacos bottle, crutons, Ken’s Northern Italian light dressing, a glass of wine
  7. Chick fil’a: Chicken makes it’s second appearance on this list. Like sweet tea and my friend Emily, this ranks near the top of most interesting things produced in the south. The south, as I have come to learn, is more than country music and layovers in Atlanta. It is a beautiful, cultured, diverse place that has succeeded in taking chicken to a new level. This difficult feat should be respected, and chick fil’a stands as Seth’s #1 pick for best chicken sandwich hands down.
  8. Fantasy Football: The Capital Chicken Wings are 5-1-0 in my family’s league which is tied for first place. My main players are Tony Roma, T O, and other guys that I’m guessing are pretty good. My favorite parts of fantasy football are winning and talking smack about the Red Sux to my Boston cousins. Go Tribe!
  9. NPR:If Diane Rehm was alone in the forest and she fell down, would she make a sound? You betcha. Albeit a slow, oddly paced, but mesmerizing sound.
  10. My porch: I consider myself a Porchologist, and in my study of porches I can objectively say that the one here in Glover Park ranks near the top in terms of comfy chairs, views of pretty trees, and lighting.

Wine October 13, 2007

Filed under: blah blah blah,DC — Seth @ 7:03 pm


I can’t think of a better Saturday activity than wine tasting. You get some close friends together, you pile into the car, you drive out into beautiful country, and you park yourself at a table with an insane view and drink wine and eat cheese and salami. Then, when you’re all done with that, you do it again at another vineyard.

This is what Luke, Julia, Jason and I did last Saturday. Did you know that The Virginia is the fifth largest wine producing state in the nation? I sure didn’t. I always thought The Virginia existed solely to house airports, Targets, and shopping malls. But I stand corrected. Actually, I sit corrected. I sit, slightly tipsy and full from too much salami, corrected. The Virginia is stunning. The wine was pretty darn tasty (though I might not be the best judge. For two years in the Peace Corps, I pretty much drank whiskey that was made from battery acid and I thought it was great too).

So if you ever need an excuse to drink before 5, here’s your answer.


Spots September 9, 2007

Filed under: DC,visits — Seth @ 4:38 pm

I have spots in cities. These are more than favorite nightspots or tourist spots or spots in your house or on your porch. They are places I could direct you to if you were going on holiday. These are places you would stand for a bit or sit for a spell and say, “gee. this is a nice spot.” These are spots that have special resonance for me, so I’ve decided to chronicle my spots.

Framingham, MA: High school is where most of us get our first spots. Mine was about two miles from my parent’s house. At the time, it was this short, circular road off one of those windy, wooded and rarely traveled New England roads. It wasn’t near houses and it wasn’t on the way to anyplace, so my cohorts and I could park and spend hours just up to no good, though thinking back it was probably a little bit of good. We sat in cars that were like bubbles and passionately carried on about things that seemed very important at the time. The spot is now surrounded by houses and from the looks of it on google, they’ve built a few new roads, so I’m sure it isn’t as secluded as it once was.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: My spot is on Staalkade just next to the Waterlooplein. In 1997, the day Princess Dianna died, I landed in Amsterdam for what can easily be described as the best semester of my life. I lived on one of those impossibly picturesque canals and I had classes Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Quite a rigorous European existence. Plenty of free time for — as I like to write on guidebook maps of friends who are Holland-bound — “to sit here and watch the city.” This spot is actually on a river, though it just looks like a bigger canal, but from the benches you really get a sense of the city. It was close to my route from one University of Amsterdam campus to the other, and I used to smoke pack after pack of cigarettes there writing nonsensical poetry and witty postcards.

Wang Thong, Thailand: Anyone who visited me in the Peace Corps knows my spot was on the porch in front of my house, but house spots don’t count for this list. My village had two sweet spots. The first was on a mountain just outside the village where you had a panoramic view of the entire valley and the mountains that begin and lead to Laos are clearly visible. This was the first, dare I say only, stop on the Wang Thong tourist circuit. My other spot was sitting on the sidewalk in front of 7-11 right in the middle of the town. I wrote this at the time:

Found the best hang out spot in Wang Thong. It is called The Sidewalk in Front of 7-11, where Lalo, Jessica (two fellow PC Volunteers) and I parked ourselves between the hours of 11pm and 3 in the morning last Thursday. We drank beer and talked to the various people coming and going at that late hour (about 10 people in 4 hours). I may have made some actual friends who do not teach with me or sell me chicken. Of course, one of my 9th grade students came by and says “Ajan (Mr.) Seth, why you sit in front of 7-11 and drink beer?” This kid never says a word in class, looks at me like I am from Mars when I say “How are you?”, but all of a sudden he is Mr. English!! I told him this was a custom in America to sit in front of convenient stores and as a Peace Corps Volunteer I felt it was my duty to share American culture.

Brooklyn, NY: If there is a better spot in New York City than one of the 3 or 4 sets of benches between the spans on the pedestrian crossing of the Brooklyn Bridge, I’ve not found it in over 15 years of living in New York. Sure, there’s the promenade. Battery Park can be lovely. Someone once told me I should go to the top of the Empire State Building. But the Brooklyn Bridge is the most stunning structure in the city, and the view from it trumps all others.

Washington DC: I have to admit, in a year of living here, I’ve not found my spot. The kickball field where my fellow Chicken Kickers triumphed repeatedly was at the base of the monument and had great views of the Jefferson, the White House and the Lincoln (not to mention planes landing on runway 19 at DCA), but for goodness sakes, I can’t live in Washington DC and tell people my favorite spot is right in the middle of the mall. It reeks of a cop-out and I can do better. Finding my DC spot is my top priority my friends, and I will surely keep you posted.

I have more but this is getting long. There’s the hill in San Francisco’s Dolores Park (the 20th Street side). Bangkok’s ta pra atit in the Bunglumpoo section is the Asian Washington Sq. Park and a welcome part from the circus that is Bangkok(with a great view of that cool Rama bridge).

Feel free to comment, and show me your spots.


Kickball August 6, 2007

Filed under: DC — Seth @ 1:29 am

Kickball is a serious sport here in the district.

My team was called the Chicken Kickers (I had nothing to do with the name. All things Chicken related seem to find me). Last Wednesday, during the second round of the playoffs, we were knocked out of the season in a spirited nail-biter in the shadows of the Washington monument. An era has ended.

But there was something different about this last foray. Maybe there was something in the air. Maybe it was the added thrill of being in the playoffs. Maybe the spirit of the great sport of kickball was with us. One cannot say with certainty what it was, but for the first time this season, I, Seth, writer of this blog and kicker of many a pop-up and foul ball, made it to base. And not just one base, mind you. With my partner in crime Emily right behind me, I made it to two bases, also known as Second Base.

“Ha” you think. “Kickball?? The game of grade schoolers?? Anyone can make it to base!” you snicker. Indeed. As Billy Joel said, “you may be right. I may be crazy.” But the point is, and I don’t want to exaggerate here, kicking that single was a monumental achievement the likes of which may never be seen again here in DC or anywhere else for that matter.

DC Kickball is no playground recess activity people. There are rule books and refs and leagues and hierarchies and bars that sponsor teams and there is this whole shadow sport of flip cup that so many ballers find themselves engulfed in come 11pm on game nights. I’ve been down that dark staircase into the flip cup world, my friends, and it is a rough trip. But that is an entirely different subject and to be honest, I might not be comfortable telling that sordid tale here. Plus I don’t remember much except that “Don’t Stop Believin” was playing and basically I’m a flip cup champion.

I digress. I want to salute my fellow Chicken Kickers. Thank you to all of you for enlightening my life this season. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the wings and the miller draft. Thanks for running over to my side of the outfield when the ball was hit my direction so I wouldn’t even have to attempt to catch it (which would never happen anyway). Thanks for supporting me through my long dry spell. Thanks for making me a better player. Thanks for sharing memories and taxis.

Go Chicken Kickers!

chicken kickers

jay & emilyqtip & candaceseth & wendy