Monday, July 21, 2008

A River Runs Through It

This is the entry I had planned to post yesterday. It features some weekend pictures of me (other than standing in the Dupont Circle fountain) and my doings. I'll start with the Sunday pictures first.

Here is the view from Fort Washington Park, an old military garrison from Revolutionary War times all the way through the Civil War (as a Union defense of the Capital) and still with a military function to World War I, but now turned into a peaceful National Park Service Park about 13 miles south of downtown Washington, D.C. This is the view looking to the west at and beyond the Potomac River.

This is where the Potomac River -- as seen in this blurry map image to the left -- makes a big bend to the west on its lazy, turgid way to the Chesapeake Bay.

The river is pretty cloudy and brackish and of questionable cleanliness. There are tides here -- anything below Great Falls just upstream of D.C. is part of the Tidal Potomac -- but the water is mostly "fresh," so to speak. The salt wedge / intrusion is farther south.

George Washington's Mount Vernon estate is located on the Virginia side of the river.

I am reposting a section of my lead picture with a purple circle encompassing what I believe to be the spot where Mount Vernon is located.

One tree in particular seems to stand out: the giant (140' or so tall) pecan tree that grows within 115 feet of Washington's mansion.

It had a companion pecan tree that was cut down in March 2004 after being damaged by Hurricane Isabel in Sept. 2003.

The two trees were probably planted at some point in the 1860s. I had -- incorrectly -- thought that both dated to Washington's lifetime.

As an aside, this undated photo (taken probably in November, judging by the trees) below that I got off the internet shows what I believe to be the surviving pecan tree in question. There is actually a cluster of very tall trees relatively close to the house.

Here is a link to a picture of the second pecan tree when it was being removed. Boo.

As for finding that chalet structure I mentioned in my previous entry, see below.

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I'm home right now 930PM Monday, typically my most depressed night of the week. My extreme depressive agony is lifting slightly, but still this photo entry will be intersperse with my entry with some of my usual cheery lamenting. Sigh.

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The intersection of the 900 block of Kenilworth Ave., NE, and 4200 block of the excessively named Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave., NE, in a shuka-boom, shuka-boom, SHUKA-BOOM boxed, ghetto-wasted, Bad-Ass Crackton Heights* section of Northeast Washington, D.C. , July 20, 2008

*Actually, it's called the Deanwood area of D.C.

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Gary, Gerry, Carl, and I started on our road trip around 330PM on Sunday.

In the car on I-295, the Anacostia Freeway, Washington, D.C., July 20, 2008

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Ah, St. Barnabas Road. That's one of my favorite place names in the D.C. area, although that part of Prince George's County is pretty slummy awful. This is at Exit 4 of the Capital Beltway in / near Oxon Hill, Maryland, July 20, 2008.

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Lunch at Five Guys Burgers & Fries fast food restaurant in Clinton, Md. The cheeseburger I had was very good. This shovel-ful of greasy French Freedom French fries was just a side dish.

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Old Branch Ave. and Schultz Road, Clinton, Md., July 20, 2008. This picture was actually taken a bit before the lunch one. We turned around here to go back.

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Nu Look 1 Hour Cleaners, Clinton, Md., July 20, 2008

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A house along Brandywine Road, near Clinton, Md., July 20, 2008. Slummy ghetto inner Prince George's County begins to give way to old time rural P.G. County / Maryland.

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A house along Groveton Drive, Clinton, Md., July 20, 2008

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The Battery Decatur ruins at Fort Washington Park, July 20, 2008

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Here is the view looking north up the turgid Potomac River toward Washington, D.C., located about 13 miles away and visible -- except not resolvable in my lousy cellphone picture. As an aside, the address of Fort Washington Park is actually 13551 Fort Washington Road, and that "13551" number reflects the fact it is still on the D.C. address grid, specifically, 135 blocks "south" of the U.S. Capitol. Yay.

There were lots of poorer folks -- Hispanic and African American folks -- picnicking underneath the trees by the river. Some people were even swimming in the river.

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An old house on the grounds of Fort Washington Park, July 20, 2008. It was frickin' hot as hell (lower 90sF) with blazing sunshine.

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As for the chalet structure I wanted to find ...

... standing on the slabs of broken cement and rock jutting into the turgid Potomac by the fenced off little light house, I actually saw it about a mile or two to the south, set in the foliage of the ridge toward Piscataway Park.

We never made it to Piscataway Park, which is where I had wanted to go but we didn't bring a map and the TomTom GPS System -- we dubbed her "(Sister) Bubbles" as she kept talking and talking -- just wasn't up to the job. And Gerry was kinda lost in Maryland, as opposed to the Commonwealth of Virginia ...

As it is I believe that chalet is actually a private house. It faces due north up the Potomac River and on a decently clear day, the folks who live there can see the small, white spike of the Washington Monument, the white speck of the Jefferson Memorial, and the graceful new span of the Wilson Bridge, and the more distant (approx. 20 miles away) but much bigger Washington National Cathedral on its high spot.

I've done Google map / terrain searches over and over, but I can't locate a candidate house. I originally saw it once on a Potomac boat ride with my mom some years ago.

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Later, we went to the Double Tree Skydome revolving restaurant in Crystal City (Arlington), Va., July 20, 2008

We ran up a $94 bill on Long Island ice teas and margaritas. I had two L.I.'s. Oh, I forgot, I owe Gerry $10 still.

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This image actually shows a distant thunderstorm that the setting Sun was sinking behind. This particular storm -- which I saw on the radar on Carl's new iPhone -- was located about 80 miles to the west over Winchester, Va. That there was any t-storm activity was unexpected.

I don't know what that smudge in the picture is. There were all these spiders on the outside of the Skydome's windows, and webs galore, and in a few cases, mortal combat as captured insects struggled vainly to break free.

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Another image of aforementioned distant thunderstorm, its small, neatly formed anvil head fringed by the Sun behind it. The revolving part of the restaurant had revolved a bit (clockwise), so the windows and storm appear farther behind.

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Here is a picture of Carl as the main view of downtown D.C. slowly swept by. It looks like the Washington Monument is about to go up his nose.

We also had quite the view of National Airport (barely a mile away) with the jets landing and taking off.

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The main line of t-storms really didn't hold together, but a smaller line formed in front of it, and here are the approaching clouds. Actually, in the end, it didn't rain at all at National Airport (DCA) while Dulles some 25 miles to the west had 0.03" and BWI some 30 miles to the northeast up toward Baltimore had a short thunderstorm (0.24").

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Here was a "shelf cloud" -- not to be confused with a (detached) roll cloud -- although both are "arcus clouds" associated with the outflow from a thunderstorm, as opposed to the rear side "wall cloud" associated with a tornado. This was taken as we left the hotel in Crystal City (Arlington, Va.)

We went to Cobalt thereafter. There were a few drops of rain and some lightning to the northeast, but that was about it.

This concludes my Sunday pictures.

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As an aside, I am SO FRICKIN' sick of seeing that grotesque "Joker" image played by the late Heath Ledger in this stupid Batman movie which I haven't the SLIGHTEST intention of seeing. That fucking image is EVERYWHERE in the media and I've had it. Who the fuck would go around looking like that in real life? That's a question seeking no answer. I don't care.

OK, got that out of the way.

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The following are just a couple Saturday pictures.

A jet on final approach into Reagan Washington National Airport on Saturday evening (July 19, 2008) passing over Gravelly Point and my friend Gary.

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Looking from Gravelly Point down the axis of the main runway of National Airport earlier today. There is a distant cumulonimbus cloud that was a thunderstorm located about 70 miles to the south over Westmoreland County, Virginia along the Rappahannock River. Oh, yes, this blurry cellphone picture includes an exceptionally large black man standing as the leftmost person in the cluster of people on the right. He was a BIG man, maybe 500 pounds.

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Actually, that's all I had to post from Saturday.

I've been unhappy with this blog and keeping it up. Ditto my Arcturus one, which I need to update because I want to write about the death of Joseph Dwyer. I think that's worth an entry. I will try to have that posted tomorrow.

My blog readership is negligible except for a few faithful readers for which I am very grateful, and I have been unable to visit some of their blogs, for which I am sorry.

As some of you may know, I started the whole blogging thing as a weird sideshow that was based on an unhealthy obsession with what turned out to be a figment of my imagination, itself based on a person who never actually existed and never could have in the way that I thought.

The expanding gaseous shock front from a Type IA supernova that detonated 8,000+ years ago in the direction of the Southern constellation Lupus and that was visible in AD 1006 from the skies of Earth. Source here

It was all in my imagination.

Oh, that's not to say there isn't an actual person to whom I have applied the name "Mr. Sirius" but in real life that person -- much like the historical Shakespeare? -- had nothing to do with the person I've written about over these past 28 months.

The truth is, the Mr. Sirius I was so stuck on, and wrote about so much, was really just a ghost. Or maybe I'm the ghost.


Speaking of ghosts, here is my new avatar -- "ghost writer." Any thoughts on it? Or was the Kermit - Cookie Monster one better? I think the ghost is kind of cute.

I've been rather tired of my D.C. life and part of me really wants to move away, although money precludes that ...and all my friends are here. I don't know what to do. My biggest issue will be how to handle my job status. My boss is away for three weeks beginning next week. My plan is wait until she turns to raise the subject of going back to four days a week as I go back to school in early September.


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Another random picture ...

Two wine glasses on the sidewalk at the corner of R and 18th St., NW, Washington, D.C., July 19, 2008 around 1210AM.

There are a few more pictures from Saturday around 1130PM when my wee efficiency hosted a party of four others, two gay guys and two straight guys -- Gary, Kristof, Phil, and his good friend J.

I'll post just this one image of J., a totally straight guy / father of four who lives in suburban Maryland, passed out on my bed with Flippo watching him.

He had been drinking with Phil at Buffalo Billiards all afternoon and promptly crashed into my bed upon arrival at my place.

As for my bed, I am tired of hearing it referred to as a "nest" just because it is on the floor and is really just a pile of quilts and blankets and pillows with my stuffed animals underneath the covers.

We left him while we went to Cobalt and Omega, although I made him up a better bed on the floor next to it. Phil took him back to his place after we got back from Cobalt and Omega (after my Dupont Circle fountain dip).

That's all for now. My next entry probably won't be until Friday.

--Regulus

12 comments:

Slappy said...

"Crackton Heights". (falls out of chair)

Yeah, Sister Bubbles was this close to being chucked out the window, especially when she insisted we turn on to a road that did not exist. I had a blast!

Regulus said...

Actually, I got the "Crackton" from The Simpsons

I just think you were lost in a place that wasn't your native VIRGINia.

Anonymous said...

hey regulus,

enjoyed reading the account of the trip.

just got back from our little vacation in west virginia where we rented a cottage from a goat farming gay couple.

i know it sounds a bit off the wall but it is true :) and we had a pretty good time - goats and all. the dudes were very hospitable.

--
mikeG

Slappy said...

Of course I was lost. That's why we brought Sister Bubbles along. She kept yammering away but wasn't especially helpful ("In one half mile, keep going straight.". Yeah, thanks a lot, honey). It got to the point where we were all openly berating her, and she's an inanimate object. But it still all added up to a fantastic time. I treasure our random outings. It's one of the few reasons I keep that car. Well, that and the shotgun marriage car note.

krzysztof said...

I started the whole blogging thing as a weird sideshow that was based on an unhealthy obsession with what turned out to be a figment of my imagination

Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Joyce, Sabato, Borges, they all started like that.

Regulus said...

Hi everybody. I'll answer tomorrow. I'm a wee bit too drunk now to answer. Boo. Thank you for your sweet comments. I do appreciate it.

MikeG: Too weird to even begin to answer. I mean, how the heck do you end up in West Virginia on a goat farm, much less one run by gay guys?? Was one of the goat herders named "Mr. ..." Oh, never mind. Kristof has a question to ask you about this.

SLAPPY: Estelle Getty is dead! Long live Sophia Petrillo!

Kristof: I had really good time tonight, baby doll.

krzysztof said...

MikeG, yes, it's just a thought... I have this pro McCain Benedict 16th loving, sexually inhibited but lovely in her own very special way cousin. I think your new family friendly vacation spot may be just what she needs to relax. I'm thinking of recommending it to her. Of course, I probably won't mention the gay couple up front. Or the goats for that matter.

Anonymous said...

sure krzysztof,

there is really not that much to do there - the nearby lake is the only decent attraction.

but yes this is where we went: http://www.lostcitygoats.com/

the dudes (mark and phil) rent out a cottage and the farm house - they are withing 100 yards of one another. we stayed at the cottage.

from where i work at andrews afb to there is about 130 miles, which is about 2 hours.

:)

--
mikeG

handmaiden said...

Hi regulus,

I just had a nice jaunt through your post. A few random thoughts:

The turgid Potomac,from viewing your picture & the description does not seem like a nice river.

Your new avatar is OK...but it just doesn't have the substance of a Muppets character.

I wish I had my own meteorologist to describe all the clouds I see to me. Trying to figure that stuff out on my own is too darn complicated.

I know someone else that has their bed on the floor. It's really not a bad concept. You never have to worry about falling off & heck, it's so easy to just fall down when you want to go to sleep.

Anonymous said...

You've mentioned the turgid water 3 times in this entry...! Should I look for the Freudian meaning?! I prefer the word turbid when describing the dark, rough Potomac.
My step-grandmother's people had a plantation on St. Barnabas Road. She sold the land back in the '60s, and beautiful ghetto apartments went up on the land... This is near the high-class, not-dangerous-at-all Iverson Mall, which has a neat section built over Silver Hill Road.
When I was a wee lil JohnnyReb-let, I lived next to Clinton in an area called Rosaryville. There is an old plantion there called Mount Airy, which started life as a hunting lodge in the 1660s for Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord Balmer, hon.
I ramble... See you for lunch soon in ol' Bethesda?

JohnnyReb

krzysztof said...

OK I checked out the link Mike sent and realized that goats are actually adorable

fifi said...

Oh, bloody hell, how in heck do you manage these vast entries?
No wonder Krystof is in mind of Dostoyevski. Though I was not aware he a ablogger.

That river is so wide, turgid or no, it is impressive. Why would not folks swim there? especially if it is as hot as you say. I am thouroughly envious of your lovely day, I would love to jaunt around the place like that with friends. I never do. And as usual the image provide such an interesting commentary, particularly when places seem to collide together such as the distant house and the street with the drycleaners....ah, If I had a few hours I would knock them up as paintings.


I hope these things make you happy, because some people would love to spend their sunday poking around with friends in a car and drinking margaritas, taking photos, talking,. looking.
Sounds like bliss really.
I am frightfully energy-free at the moment. I must get a new post up (and write a proposal, which is actually important.) i haven't forgotten all these tings I promised you like Henson comments and pool posts. Life just barges its way on on on....

and I LOVE goats. btw.