First, the popular and obligatory picture from the hotel window:

I can see the Washington Monument from my window, but right now the sun’s glare is keeping me from getting a good shot of it, so you’re all out of luck in terms of symbolic phallic symbols. Try to make it through the day anyway.

For those of you e-mailing me about whether I’m in town for a public appearance, the answer is no; friends of mine are getting married and I’m here for that. Also, I don’t know when I will next have a public appearance in DC; I suspect possibly the next time I publish a novel, but that won’t be this year in any event. Or I might finally get down to CapClave, which I keep intending to and keep not managing, because I suck. We’ll see. But in any event, no, nothing public scheduled at the moment. Sorry.

But it’s nice to back in DC; we lived in the area for a number of years and still have a house here, so I definitely feel a connection. Maybe I’ll just pop in on my renters and confuse the hell of out of them. That’s a day’s worth of entertainment right there!

35 Comments on “In DC”

  1. Jim C. Hines – Fantasy author of 50+ published short stories as well as the Magic ex Libris series, the Princess series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous Goblin Quest trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. Active blogger. Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Lives in mid-Michigan with his family. More at
    Jim C. Hines

    Pah. DC has nothing on Michigan’s historic phallic symbols:

    Have a fun trip!

  2. Yeah, but you’re phallic symbols only 147 feet tall, even if it has that cool shape! Ours “stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles”. And it even has those different colors of marble, because the civil war delayed the second half of its erection. (DC’s version of coitus interruptus).

  3. Rats (that you’re not here for a public appearance). The reading at Olsson’s a couple of years ago was fun. Have a nice time at the wedding, even if *we* (your adoring public…) don’t get to share in the fun.

  4. Hey when I think D.C. (well Arlington anyway) I think Mario’s Pizza….mmmmmmmmm

    It is always worth surprising the renters just to make sure they haven’t added a tar-paper rumpus room onto the back of the house….

  5. enjoy your stay in my home-away-from-home this weekend, phallic symbols and all.

    I’ll actually be nearby for the Jonathan Coulton show in Alexandria tonight; clearly the hot ticket in Our Nations’s Capital.

  6. You got a hotel room, when you have renters you could impose on? Next time, just show up and tell them you’ll be “inspecting” the back bedroom for three days.

  7. I know that hotel! (Used to work right next door. Small world, ain’t it!)

    Anyway, if you get a hankering for Turkish food there’s a wonderful little restaurant in that triangular building down the street. There’s also good Thai, Indian, and Italian up the street. E-mail me if you want other suggestions in the area.

  8. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Highly Awesome Yogic Chang

    I still say if you were a real man like me, you’d go to Down Dog and do some yoga.

    But if you like tea cozies and dressing up cats, then you don’t need to.

  9. If you do pop in on your renters, take a chalk line and one of those measuring wheels and walk around the house with them a couple times. Then stand in the front yard and act like you’re taking notes. Periodically squat to look at the foundation and cock your head to one side. Then leave.

  10. Dana King – Laurel MD – Dana King has two Shamus Award nominations, for A Small Sacrifice and The Man in the Window. His Penns River series of police procedurals includes Worst Enemies and Grind Joint, which Woody Haut, writing for the L.A. Review of Books, cited as one of the fifteen best noir reads of 2013. Down and Out Books will release the next book in the Penns River series, Resurrection Mall, in May 2017. A short story, "Green Gables," appeared in the anthology Blood, Guts, and Whiskey, edited by Todd Robinson. Other short fiction has appeared in Spinetingler, New Mystery Reader, A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, and Powder Burn Flash. His newest book is A Dangerous Lesson. Dana’s blog, One Bite at a Time, resides at He lives in quiet near seclusion with The Beloved Spouse.
    Dana King

    I’ve been reading your blog for over a year and just now found out you’re a DC slumlord?

    It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.

    (PG County resident.)

  11. Recall the explicit use of Phallic spaceships in Adolf Hitler’s Hugo-winning novel of 1954, Lord of the Swastika, presented by Norman Spinrad as The Iron Dream (Avon 1972).

  12. You SAY you’re in DC, but it sure looks like Wisconsin to me. Hmmmm.

  13. ytimynona – FLORIDA – I'm a big wannabe. Wannabe a truck driver, PotUS, scientist, writer, and teacher. Well, I already am a teacher. :-)

    Does the surprise involve music?

  14. marriage, schmarriage. We know you’re really in DC to chat with the White House about being Obama’s CTO.

  15. The best pizza in the area is up Wisconsin Avenue at 2 Amys, but the two Pizzeria Paradiso locations (one on P Street, one on M in Georgetown) are nearly as good, and the M Street one has 12 different draft beers and at least 80 bottled ones.

  16. @Scalzi: If you get tired of the DC ratrace, pop up to Fredneck and I’ll buy the beer (in fact, I’ve got 5 gal. of a sort of dark pislner fermenting right now).

    @MasterThief: Tell me more about the Turkish place. Fell in love with Turkish food whilst living in Germany and haven’t found a decent bite of it around here.

  17. I am Scalzi, your landlord, who brought you out of the streets, out of homelessness; you shall have no other landlords before me.

  18. If I was renting from you, I’d be sure to pay attention to your whereabouts here. You should pay them a visit just to see if they’re paying attention.

    And if you really want to scare them, tell them the bank just told you they’re foreclosing.

  19. On second thought, that would probably be too cruel in the current conditions. There’s a small possibility you could drive your tenants to do something irrevocable.

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