24 July 2004

Washington Wanderings

Actually, I like that title...might need to weave that into something for online. Hmmmm.

It's been a while since I've written. So, I'll give you a three-for-one deal: what's an average day for me...a moment from last weekend...and a trek this morning.

Several people have wondered what a typical day is like here at WUSA-9, which mirrors another question of what are my job duties. First, there's really not a typical day...not in TV and certainly not in DC.

But, I digress...

My role at WUSA-9 is Site Manager (I altered it to Website Manager to add a bit more description). Gannett properties have no standard title for this position, which is mainly that of Webmaster. However, at WUSA, this is a Department Head position, as I have a staff, budget, and projects to manage.

I'm responsible for every aspect of WUSATV9.com with my focus being on the technology and coding of the site. Since starting June 7, there's been a great deal of review and assessment of the website. It's pretty solid, functionally speaking, but needs some navigation, layout and design clean-up.

My weekdays fly by beginning at 5am, which is 4am for most of you! :) I'm out the door with my mother-in-law a few minutes after 6am. She drops me off at a Metrorail stop near her office and I take an approximately 45 minute ride to DC. After a 5 minute stroll (seems longer but I timed it) from the Tennleytown stop to WUSA's doorstep, I'm grabbing some coffee on the 4th floor and have some devotional time anywhere between 7:15 and 7:30am.

Depending on the day of the week, I could have multiple meetings (as my former manager used to say, "It's all about the meetings.") and little time to mess with coding of the site. Approving my staff's timesheets, vacation requests, meeting with them on a daily and weekly basis...getting the hang of managing four people was pretty easy. Organizing a budget, to which I've just gotten introduced, and making out a Strategic Plan...that could be a bit more challenging.

Most days I only have time (literally) to take a few coffee and bathroom breaks. Rarely do I get about of the building for a lunchbreak - although that will be important once the dust of being new settles. After all, getting out of the building if only for some fresh air is a great chance to clear the mind...and there's a bunch of places nearby to eat. It'd also be a great chance to bond with my staff - or at least the one or two members on duty at the time. I suppose another reason I don't wander out too much is due to my feeling a bit stingy with dollars. Having a baby, waiting to find a house, and moving a family to the area can do that to a guy, I suppose!

My day typically has to end by 4pm, unless I leave a earlier. By the time I get back to the College Park Metro stop near to my mother-in-law's work - she's had a rather long day. The week really flies by.

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On another subject, I finally ventured further out into the District. Last Sunday afternoon, I decided to visit Dupont Circle. There's several stops on my Metro ride and I was curious about Dupont. After getting a Starbuck's grande sugar-free vanilla latte, I wandered around the neighborhood. Very cozy community...and the mention in my Frommers was certainly proving correct - this is a mecca for the homosexual community. That actually became clear at the Starbucks -imagine that - but was even more obvious as I strolled. Let me just say that I really don't want to see a guy sitting at a bus stop checking out another guy walking by. Oy.

Rounding a corner, a noticed a gated lot with a half-dozen newspapers strewn about. Then, a sign on the red-bricked building: "Embassy of the Republic of Iraq". Although the Iraqi flag was flapping in the breeze, the building looked rather empty. I was on Embassy Row and noticed a great many other countries represented. I also saw for the first time a car similar to mine, a tan 280 Benz parked in an alley. The bulding was off Embassy Row but it was nice to finally see that model. Walking home this week, I spied my second one in mint condition with a metallic bronze finish cruising down Wisconsin Ave.

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And lastly, this morning. My first attempt at driving in the District. Well, if you're remotely familiar with the area, this should've been an easy trip for me. If you're remotely familiar with my driving someplace new, you should know I will ALWAYS make a wrong turn. Directionally challenged.

In this case, I should have stayed on I-495 and have taken the Wisconsin exit. Instead, I chose to head toward downtown DC and had no clue as to where I was on 295. My trusty map wasn't of DC -Maryland, actually - but it had enough of the District to make out where I needed to be.

By that point, it was worthless to go back to 495, so I opted to trek across the District to the station. Surprisingly, I did well with streets that I'd never seen or heard about. The sad thing would be that I began my journey at 6:40am this morning and should've made it to the station by 7:40am - 8am at the absolute latest. Instead, it wasn't too shy of being a 2-hour tour by the time I got here. But the ole Benz performed like a jewel. Now, I think I'll opt for the interstates going home!

A good weekend to all - as always let me know if you have any questions at webmonkeydc@yahoo.com