America’s Next Top… Potty?

On Monday, I came across a massive piece of news regarding the upcoming election. No, not the upcoming November presidential election, something far more important. I learned that in the monumental election of America’s Best Bathroom, Georgetown’s very own Mie N Yu is a contender for the top spot.

This is serious, people. And as a professional, groundbreaking journalist, I did what any professional, groundbreaking journalist would do when he heard about this scoop: I experienced the Mie N Yu bathrooms for myself.

And let me say this: the Mie N Yu bathrooms are the greatest gift to planet Earth since Oprah.

Mie N Yu, as a restaurant, is a delightfully tacky and modern, Silk Road-inspired Asian hot mess. Lining the walls are flowing linens, Buddhas, and trendy seashell paper lanterns. Mahjong tiles cover the bar, and in the background, one can hear the cool sounds of Oriental lounge music (think Club Lau meets Panda Express).

The food isn’t bad either – if you’re looking for a good deal on M Street, try Mie N Yu’s $5 Happy Hour Bar Menu, served Monday-Friday from 5-7 (the Angry Spice Truffle Fries are delicious).

But the gems of Mie N Yu — the reasons why I will return — are their glorious bathrooms. From the moment I walked downstairs and stepped into the lavatories, I realized I was no longer in a strange, Epcot-meets-Asia restaurant. I was in a soothing Asian cove — No, I was in heaven.

The bathrooms are unisex and communal with intricately woven in patterns on the walls and dark, aged wood surrounding the doors. Green tiles border the toilets. Large metal trunks sit on the floor, adjacent to wooden water barrels and rusted copper sinks filled with massive, black pebbles. The atmosphere is breathtaking! I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of calm, followed by an intense urge to take a mirror shot. This was one place I’d never want to forget.

Voting for America’s Best Restroom continues here until October 26. I highly encourage everyone to vote for Mie N Yu, especially since it faces some stiff competition from some big names, including New York’s Da Marino and Arizona’s Liberty Market. Only time will tell to see if Mie N Yu’s loo will earn the prestigious title of America’s Best Bathroom, but in the meantime, take a pit stop on M Street and enjoy these bathrooms for yourselves.

In my opinion, Mie N Yu takes the cake for America’s Best Bathroom. Or the fortune cookie. Either one.

Photo credit: Lindsay Horikoshi

Freshman Fails: What’s a DFMO?

So I’m a freshman – you were all in my shoes at some point, but it doesn’t make those shoes any less awkward. And nothing is funnier than the misfortune of others, so here is a list of 10 of my more embarrassing Georgetown moments that only a freshman could have:

1. I walked into the library, located the stairs, and proceeded to walk UP to find Lau 2.

2. I didn’t know that Wisey’s was a nickname for Wisemiller’s and tried to figure out where it was by Googling “Wisey’s”.

3. I’ve still never had an Oreo cookie from the aforementioned Wisey’s.

4. I thought you could use flex dollars at Sweetgreen and was accordingly confused when my card said insufficient funds.

5. I left my laundry unattended… bad choice.

6. I had to look up “dfmo” on urban dictionary.

7. I still don’t know where Brown House is, or why it’s called Brown House. I’m assuming it’s because it’s brown. But I wouldn’t know.

8. I wore uncomfortable shoes to D.C.’s Fashion’s Night Out and have the blisters to prove it.

9. I tried to take a sandwich and a fruit cup from Grab-and-Go and got yelled at by the attendant. Apparently EVERYONE knows that a fruit cup is considered an ENTRÉE. DUH.

10. I walked all the way through the University Hotel to get to Starbucks, unaware that there was a much faster and direct route through Hoya Court.

I do genuinely hope this will be my last ‘Freshman Fails’ post, but let’s be realistic, I still have a lot to learn about Georgetown. So stay tuned for more humor at my expense.

Photo credit: warningsignshirts.com

Where to Run in D.C.

Last week, The Hoya went for a run. We profiled the unique, almost obsessive, running culture in this city. Everywhere you go, people are running around, enjoying the great natural and architectural beauty this city has to offer. But, running doesn’t come so naturally for everyone. If you want to join in with the trend, we’ve got the tips and routes you need to look like a native when you run around town.

Where to start?

The best place for any new runner to start off is probably The Running Company at 3401 M Street. Inside, you’ll find everything from shoes to clothes and fancy GPS watches and pedometers to track your runs. The Running Company also hosts running events for those who need a group to motivate them to tie up their laces and hit the streets. Once you’ve got the attire, download the Map My Run app for your iPhone or Android. Start an account online and track your workouts. Map My Run has the added bonus of using GPS information to track you around on your cell phone. If you want to make running a social activity, consider joining the Georgetown Running Club or Georgetown Triathlon Team.

Where to go?

Part of the reason for D.C.’s obsessive running culture is the enormous network of running trails around town — many of which are within a couple-minutes run from the Hilltop. Here, we’ll highlight some great routes for anyone. Also, remember that the best part of running in D.C. is the ability to explore the city as much as you want to, without having to spend money. So strap on those running shoes, load Google Maps onto your phone, and explore beyond these options if you’re comfortable with it.

Teddy Roosevelt Island (3.5 miles): This is a great run for anyone just beginning in D.C. It’s quick, relatively flat (which is hard to get when you live at the top of a hill), and simple to navigate. In the map at left, I left from Leo’s through the canal road entrance, then crossed the street and headed across the Key Bridge. Take a left at the sidewalk just before the second stoplight (Lee Highway) and follow the running trail down to the parking lot. From there, take the footbridge across to the island and loop back the same way you came. You can lengthen or shorten the run by taking a longer or shorter loop on the island. There are also plenty of great rocks to rest on while taking in the view of a normally tranquil Potomac.

The Waterfront (4 miles): This is the prototypical D.C. run, and it’s again perfect for people who prefer flat runs. The other best part of running along the waterfront is the near-constant breeze coming up off of the Potomac to cool you off or wipe off your sweat. From the Front Gates, follow O Street to 34th or 33rd (either works) and follow the streets across M and then across the footbridges over the Canal until you hit Water Street or the Georgetown Waterfront Park. From there, it’s fairly simple: Just follow the Potomac until you reach the back of the Lincoln Memorial! To extend the run, keep following the river until you reach the Jefferson (which will make the round trip almost a 10k) or keep following Constitution Avenue to the White House. But don’t forget, the National Mall is a long stretch of green, so pace yourself and don’t get carried away.

Glover Park to Cleveland Park to Rock Creek Park (5.3 miles): This is hands-down my favorite D.C. run. But it’s only for those who like hills (you run up Wisconsin from Georgetown and then up and down a bit more in Cleveland Park). Also, this run illustrates my favorite thing about running in D.C. — you get to see so much within a short amount of time. In this short run, you pass embassies, the Naval Observatory, the National Cathedral and Dupont Circle, but then you escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a 1.3 mile stretch running through the amazingly beautiful Rock Creek Park. To run this route, start from the Front Gates and head to 35th Street. From there, hang a left and follow until you reach Wisconsin, which you follow uphill until Garfield Street. Take a right on Garfield and follow to Cleveland Avenue. Cleveland dead ends at Calvert Street, where you take a left. Then, take a right onto the footpath before you  reach Connecticut Avenue to enter Rock Creek Park. Follow the running path until the P Street bridge, and take P, Dumbarton, O or N back to Georgetown.

Photo credit: Sari Frankel/The Hoya

Best Bets: Loud Noises

Exhausted after only the first full week of school? Time to rally because there are some awesome events to take advantage of this weekend! While the seniors are busy with Dis-Orientation, there’s plenty going on for the rest of campus. Whether you’re a basketball fanatic, a movie aficionado, or a lover of the arts, there’s something for everyone.

Friday:
Are you super eager for basketball season to start? Get your fix and go see the Washington Mystics, D.C.’s WNBA team, face off against the Atlanta Dream. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Verizon Center so make sure to go out and support our home team! You’ll need to start warming up your voice for Hoyas basketball.

Saturday:
Want a chill Saturday night after a stressful week of school? Enjoy a movie under the moonlight at Lincoln Park this Saturday at 8:45pm. At this, “Movie by Moonlight,” the selected movie is Madagascar. Everyone is encouraged to bring snacks, lawn chairs and blankets. Sadly, adult beverages and grills are prohibited.

Sunday:
You miss the Olympics. It’s okay, we all do. If you need to fill the void left by the end of Olympic gymnastics, check out Cirque du Soleil TOTEM at The Plateau at the National Harbor. This unique show features incredible acrobatics and feats of strength. While Gabby Douglass won’t be there, it’s still sure to be an awesome show. There are shows at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The best way to get there is to take the Metro to the Branch Avenue station, and then to take the bus directly to the National Harbor.

Photo: Cirque de Soleil

I Want to Go to There (in a Zipcar)

The arrival of a small fleet of Zipcars to campus will make it easier for students (well, students over 21) to explore more of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. While we talk about breaking the Georgetown Bubble a lot, getting around via public transportation isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and it can only take you so far.

While Zipcars can be useful for picking up groceries and running other errands, they can also carry you to great hiking, music, shopping and more. So grab a friend, buckle up, and see what the greater DMV area has to offer!

Hiking and Camping
Now that it’s finally cooling down and safe to go outside without immediately sweating through your shirt, the thought of spending long periods of time outside is less terrifying. Great Falls Park in McLean is where the Potomac leaves the Appalachians and descends a series of rapids onto the coastal plain. It’s great for a picnic or short hike to see the majestic rapids along the Potomac. If you’re in for something a little more removed, the

If camping and hiking aren’t your thing but you want to get outside, the time is ripe for apple picking. Places like Homestead Farm in Maryland and Stribling Orchard in Virginia offer pick-your-own specials on apples, pumpkins and other fall staples.

Shopping
While Georgetown is home to many shops and boutiques, we lean towards the high-end – not always compatible with a college student’s budget. Luckily for us, there’s some great shopping to be found just outside the District.

A 20-minute drive from campus, Tyson’s Corner Center in Northern Virginia is one of the largest malls in America. It’s home to department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s that don’t quite fit in our cramped quarters in Georgetown. You can also find stores like L.L. Bean, Forever 21 and Old Navy in addition to restaurants and an enormous movie theater. It’s also great for people-watching (especially if you’re amused by tweens) while munching on an Auntie Anne’s pretzel.

If you’re looking for deeply discounted designer clothes though, you might want to head a little further into Virginia to check out the Leesburg Outlets. It’ll be about a 45-minute drive to reach the outlets of Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Vineyard Vines, J. Crew and more, but it’s not hard to find great deals. Bonus points if you’re a member of AAA – you can stop at the front desk and pick up a huge book of coupons to use around the outlets.

The ultimate deal though, can be found in thrift stores. While Georgetown is home to vintage stores like Annie Creamcheese and Secondhand Rose, we’re lacking in the type of thrift stores where you can stumble upon the leather jacket of your dreams wedged between wool blazers on the 50-cent rack. There are Goodwill and Salvation Army stores scattered throughout the greater D.C. area, plus independent thrift stores like American Rescue Workers Thrift and Finders Keepers.

Concerts
D.C. has a diverse music scene, with clubs like 9:30, the Black Cat, the Rock n Roll Hotel and more catering to all sorts of genres. But beyond Verizon Center, there aren’t many large venues that are easily accessible within the city. But Maryland and Virginia are different stories.

Merriweather Post Pavilion has played host to the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Jones. It was originally planned as the home of the National Symphony Orchestra, but now features a mosh pit (care of Green Day) and solar panels (inspired by Jack Johnson). Located about half an hour away in Columbia, MD, hosts acts from Bon Iver to Gotye to music festivals like Virgin Mobile Freefest in the fall and Sweet Life in the spring. The lawn seats usually aren’t too expensive and offer a great view – as long as it’s not raining.

If you’re looking for something a little more classical, Wolf Trap, the National Park for the Performing Arts, is about 30 minutes in the other direction in Vienna, VA. Wolf Trap features musical theater and a lot of classic rock acts.

So those are our ideas. Where will the new Zipcars take you?

Martin Hussey and Shakti Nochur contributed to this article.
Photo: Rebecca Goldberg for The Hoya

The Humane Side of Comedy

Sometimes, life gets so weird all we can do is laugh along with it.

“Sleepwalk With Me” is a 90-minute film co-directed by Mike Birbiglia (COL ’00) and Seth Barrish that tells Birbiglia’s unique coming-of-age story as a 20-something getting his feet wet in the waters of adult life. The film was first released Jan. 23, 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival and hit major theaters August 24.

Matt Pandamiglio (Birbiglia) future-narrates a tale of how a rare sleep disorder leads to the end of a relationship and the beginning of a comic career. Pandamiglio has been dating his girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose) for eight years. His sister, Janet (Cristin Milioti) has just gotten engaged, and her marriage places pressure on Matt to “zig or zag” as his father puts it. While the stress of finding fame as a comedian and pleasing Abby’s own marital aspirations increase, Matt finds himself having more and more sleep episodes in which he physically acts out his dreams. As his relationship and sleeping habits deteriorate, the only thing Matt can do is take his stories on the road where the win over larger and larger audiences.

Normally, I’m not a fan of self-deprecating humor found through future narration, but somehow “Sleepwalk With Me” comes across as intimate enough to be comfortable. Birbiglia’s humor can only be described as that kind of awkward funny that initially made me a little nervous during the film. It’s witty, but I couldn’t quite shake the fact that it could just as easily be me hallucinating a jackal in my bedroom or staying in a dead-end relationship for the simple fact of wanting to please the other person.

However, as the movie progressed I felt more at ease: Nowhere does Birbiglia pass judgment on anyone in the story aside from himself. By objectively depicting the facts, he makes a statement about how life can be a funny thing in which it takes a rare sleep disorder to diagnose a troubled relationship and find a career. The movie suggests that even though this situation is less than ideal, it’s okay to laugh. In addition to an honest story line, Birbiglia peppers his narration with some truly hilarious gems like, “I know…I’m in the future also,” as well as some witty dialogue between seemingly exaggerated characters.

Plot and screenplay aside, I loved the sneaky cameo appearance of producer Ira Glass (regularly producer of WBEZ Chicago’s “This American Life,” where Birbiglia’s story aired two years ago). Wyatt Cenec (“The Daily Show”) and John Lutz (“30 Rock”) also popped up in minor cast positions. These little surprises put a smile on my face even in moments intended to be serious.

While at Georgetown, Birbiglia was known as a funny guy: He won the “Funniest Person on Campus” contest and performed regularly with Georgetown Players Improv Troupe. It’s no wonder that his first movie combined a mix of awkward, easy-going humor and sincere coming-of-age tale to produce an enjoyable quirky and thought-provoking product.

Photo: IFC Films

Casual Thursday: I Am Batman

Tonight’s a special night that we’ve been waiting all summer for—the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. So, in honor of everyone’s favorite caped crusader, today’s Casual Thursday is going to get a little batty.

The internet is full of batman-themed cocktails. Unfortunately, most of them are on a Bruce Wayne level of fanciness, and require ingredients like Crème de Violette (although those recipes are paired with a few college staples, Andre and Burnett’s, in their tutorials). If you’re feeling up the challenge, go ahead and attempt those drinks, and let us know how it goes! But we have something a little easier (but just as delicious) in mind.

Continue reading “Casual Thursday: I Am Batman”

Drink the District: Beer Edition

If there’s one thing that we truly love here at 4E, it’s the phrase “unlimited beer tasting.” Lucky for us, Drink the District is hosting an event that is just that.

On July 28, Drink the District: Beer Edition will take place in Mount Vernon Triangle. Now usually when we hear about events like this, we end up bummed because it costs so much. Not this time! Tickets only cost $30, and they grant you access to unlimited tastings of over 40 craft beers from breweries like Flying Dog, Magic Hat, New Belgium and more. Check out who else will be in attendance here.

You can either day drink and head to the noon-4 session or make it your pregame at the 5-9 session. There will also be plenty of food trucks in attendance (though, sadly, not included in the ticket price). Everyone’s favorite grilled cheese truck, Big Cheese, as well as a pizza truck, tapas truck, Vietnamese truck, and a few different dessert trucks.

Mount Vernon Triangle is a pretty cool area, a short walk from either the Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center or Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stops. After the event is over, there are plenty of bars and restaurants in Mount Vernon Square and Chinatown if you’re not ready to head back to Georgetown.

Drink the District is a great way to break out of the Georgetown Bubble for a day while learning about beers that aren’t Natty. Because drinking Natty is frowned upon in the real world (I know, it’s sad).

Bonus points: one of the producers and co-creators of Drink the District, John Leader,  is a recent Georgetown grad! Supporting a fellow Hoya while getting drunk on fancy beer — what could be better?

Photo: Drink the District

Hot Spots to Cool Off: Fountains

On a day like today, where the thermometer will top out at 101 degrees, one starts to understand why D.C. has so many interactive fountains.

Rather than trek up to Volta Pool, why not take a short dip in one of D.C.’s many interactive fountains to cool off today? The best part of these fountains is that you can splash around in them for a couple of minutes without taking off your clothes, then put your shoes back on and return to your day.

Spray fountains have the added bonus of having constantly moving water, so the water isn’t stagnant and never gets uncomfortably soupy on hot days like today. Our friends over at DCist have compiled a list of the best splash fountains in the District, so whether you’re stuck in Georgetown or wandering up to Columbia Heights, you have the opportunity to quickly cool off.

Beware though: not all fountains are for fun. Most fountains in D.C. (including the one in Dupont Circle) aren’t for swimming, so don’t go splashing around in them.

If you’re not near one of the splash fountains (Georgetown, Columbia Heights or Navy Yard), be sure to check out our other Hot Spots today.

Catch a Movie on the Mall

In the mood for a movie? Don’t want to shell out 12 bucks for the movie theater? No worries, because Screen on the Green starts tonight!

The annual outdoor film festival runs for the next four weeks, showing classic movies on a 20’ x 40’ screen on the National Mall (between 7th and 12th streets). Tonight’s show will be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and later in the summer you can catch It Happened One Night, From Here to Eternity and Psycho. The schedule can be found here.

Screen on the Green started back in 1999, and “is dedicated to promoting outdoor movie festivals in the Washington, DC Metropolitan region.” It almost lost its funding in 2009, but Friends of Screen on the Green made sure that the festival stuck around.

If the classic movies at Screen on the Green aren’t up your alley, there are plenty of other outdoor movie festivals around the D.C. area. NoMa Summer Screen has screenings on Wednesday evenings (their theme is End of the World!) and the Capitol Riverfront shows movies on Thursdays. Gateway Park, just over the bridge in Rosslyn, is showing political comedies on Friday nights. All are free and most are just a short walk or metro ride away.

So pack some snacks and a blanket and check out some of D.C.’s outdoor movie festivals!

Photo: Flickr via user riacale