Get Adobe Flash player

Wi-Fi Feels Right … Scientology and Tunnel Vision In DC, Baltimore

September 3rd, 2012 · Tags:Cities · Restaurant · Wi-Fi


They say that to be a successful blogger you should continue to write and post even if you have nothing to say.

Sorry, I have not even had nothing to say.

… Been pretty busy at the Dirty Gig, seven days a week, long hours … blah, blah, blah … and I have added to my resume the skills required to coordinate shipping/logistics and freight trucking. … Which is pretty funny since I am the world’s worst at numbers and details — the majority of what I am doing at the job. Guess I won’t be giving up my “day job.”

Anywho … today, Labor Day (one of those holidays I always forget until someone wishes me a happy one …) I am off and exploring Wi-Fi. I headed north toward Baltimore today in my Jeep rental, turned the GPS to map overview only, and just went exploring in the general direction of Chesapeake Bay. I think you hit it if you head east from most places in Maryland. Probably … I did.


My first decision … hmm … should I take the toll tunnel (I-895) under the water? Sure … Surprisingly, the cool little bluegrass radio station I was enjoying survived the plunge and keep the mandolins twanging as I drove underwater.


I won’t lie. Any time I hear the name Chesapeake Bay I think back to a timeless song that mentions it. Can anyone guess it?


Maybe you will remember this:




If for no other reason, watch the video to see the name of the band. It was not as common a word back when they scored their one hit. Also … if you care, take note of the font used at the first of the video … the same as our PingWi-Fi logo … I digress …


OH … interesting. Being a roadtrip kind of guy, I tend to take note of interesting traffic signs in addition to music on the radio. (Ha … in younger days I was probably contemplating ripping off the sign for my dorm room … but now … just take notes.) Have you ever seen this traffic sign?:


“Remove Sunglasses.”


Ha … That is the last thing you see before you enter the tunnel. I expected another to say, “Check the attitude” or “Your hair is perfect.” I had to wonder if anyone has ever tried to beat a traffic ticket by saying they “forgot to remove their sunglasses and were tunnel vision impaired.” Yet, wouldn’t it be another infraction, rather than a valid excuse to still have the sunglasses on? What if you are wearing Transition lenses in your glasses. Can you just stop in the tunnel while your high-tech glasses catch up?


I digress …


Baltimore made the list today because I have never given it a fair shake. My past visits were pretty much ghetto war zones that happened to fall within the boundaries of Baltimore proper, but did little to represent the city’s true flavor. Today, after braving night blindness through the tunnel, I hit the loop and circled the metropolitan area on the loop, then reproached from the north. First stop — an institution.


You know a restaurant or cafe is an institution when it has its own traffic sign on the side of the Interstate. Miss Shirley’s does. I whipped the Jeep over and headed down W. Cold Spring Lane. Someone on at The Dirty Gig, on the client side, had recommended Miss ShirShir’s, so I hit it. Good call! Trouble is, the place has a line out on the sidewalk. Ha … I had breakfast next door at The Evergreen while I waited for lunch.




The Evergreen not only has seats available NOW, a killer spinach omelet on rye toast and great people watching … The Wi-Fi is free and easy.



The Evergreen gets 7 pings on the pinging scale — first of all for their business plan, which I assume unofficially is to cannibalize all the overflow traffic waiting to get into Miss Shirley’s … and great Wi-Fi network. We like.


On our own and on another excursion away from The Dirty Gig, the Ping train made tracks for DuPont Circle over in DC. Yes … if you were a reader back in the Wi-Fi Guy Blog days, we spent a lot of time there. How cool. The Starbucks that overlooks the circle is awesome and has people representing just about every people group on the planet.



Starbucks feels right on DuPont Circle and scored high. If they had learned the trick of learning my name and saying it, like they do back in Fort Worth on University … well it may have been a different story.


But most memorable about DuPont revisited was a reunion with an old friend from journalism school. My friend Gilbert just returned from a three-year stint on the Business desk at The National in Abu Dhabi … that after a successful career at The Washington Post. Some of you know Gilbert and I “battled it out” for the editorship of the Texas Tech University newspaper many years ago. Gilbert won and I was offered the summer editorship. Ha … I declined and opted to remain entertainment editor … always was kind of an “all or nothing kind of guy.”


I digress …


Gilbert and I marveled at how much older the other man looked. Ha … not really. He looked about the same as he did in college. I explained to him that I do too, if you cut off my 15 inches of hair and donated it to Locks of Love and shave the mutton chops from my cheeks. Anywho …


Gilbert, busy guy that he is, also did a gig with the British Navy, in conjunction with the Jamaican Navy (his homeland). And I thought I was well traveled.


It was great to catch up, after almost 30 years. To my surprise, despite our many differences, we agreed strongly on one of the most heated moral/political topics. I’ll leave it at that.


Oh … and Gilbert turned me on to a great little venue — supposedly a best-kept secret that everyone knows about. It is a homegrown bookstore that opens into a cool little sidewalk restaurant – great name … Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe & Grill.


Kramers Afterwords


Kramer’s touts you can e-mail from the bar … but for a change, the conversation was so interesting I didn’t even check for Wi-Fi. Can you believe?


Previously, on my own, I found another new favorite — Marvelous Market over in Georgetown. And for the record, I rode it’s Wi-Fi network like a rented mule, as they say in some parts. The coffee and pastries were great, and the Wi-Fi sustained me through a long Wilco blog and lots of photo editing.



Marvelous … enough said … 6 pings.




Lastly, and most curious, as I was jotting down the location of my rental vehicle in a DuPont Circle neighborhood and walking to find Kramer’s, I spotted a formidable building that was labeled Church of Scientology. Ha … never seen one of those before, but then I don’t hang out much in Hollywood with really short over-rated actors. This Scientologysite — smack dab in Northwest DC because it is the National Affairs office for the whacks. Pity … the building – Fraser Mansion – has a pretty impressive pedigree:


Fraser Mansion


Final thought … I sort of glanced behind me and peered up into the third floor windows of the building as I passes to see if any one was watching me or monitoring my biorhythms or anything weird like that … when I looked up and saw the huge, huge street address affixed to the building caddy-corner to the Scientologists. It was like a Twilight Zone moment … TZ theme song music in my head and everything. The sign, across the street … rather the numbers marking the address of another facing build — one 6-6-6.




Know what I sayin?