Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heading to Key West / South Florida for the Next Week ...

I'm heading to Key West tomorrow via a morning flight to Fort Lauderdale. I just wanted to note that I am going in this entry. My next planned update is for Wednesday or Thursday next week.

*Sigh*

--Regulus

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scattered Summer Storms

Stormy skies on Saturday evening around 715PM, July 25, 2009 as seen from Connecticut Ave., across the street from the Chevy Chase Branch Library in Washington, D.C., near the Maryland line.

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I'm a bit irritated as I write this at 130AM while watching a TV Land rerun of Roseanne. I plan to have a new entry posted before I depart on Wednesday for my 6-day trip to South Florida to help my dad pick out a new single-wide trailer in which to live in Key West.

Hydrangea bushes in the yard of 3348 Tennyson St., NW, Washington, D.C., 6:40PM EDT, July 25, 2009

I had a good and a bad weekend that I will explain in more detail later. The good part was with my long-time very dear friend "Quill." This included lunch at the Parkway Deli in Silver Spring and then a two-hour complicated walk on the forested trails of the upper reaches of Rock Creek Park and eventually to Oregon Ave., NW, on its western edge, and into the Pinehurst Circle section of upper Northwest Washington, D.C., and west on Tennyson Ave., NW, over to Western Avenue on the DC-Maryland line and thence to Chevy Chase Circle. That was probably about a 4 mile walk.

Here is a picture of Quill in Rock Creek Park in upper Northwest, Washington, D.C., on a bridge over the, yes, Rock Creek, 5:11PM EDT, July 25, 2009.

The rest of the weekend was kind of crappy.

The most annoying thing the past five days -- and this will sound ridiculous because it really is meaningless to the big issues and worries in my life -- BUT here it is: while downtown and other parts of D.C. have had 3 to 5 inches of rain since Thursday, that stupid "official" rain gauge at National Airport has had only 0.63" of precip, bringing the monthly total to 0.89". I hate that shitty rain gauge. It's the most unrepresentative thing of ANYTHING God ever made.

Here is the 7-day precipitation analysis -- with a resolution that doesn't really show up how dramatic the changes were -- ended 12UTC (5AM) July 26, 2009. The lavender - pink dot shows where DCA is located versus downtown D.C. My own sense is that the yellow zigzag through downtown D.C. should actually be a shade of off yellow and orange.

The NWS weather folks Sterling LWX are probably yowling and foaming at the mouth in glee because these misses at DCA "proves" this or that. As for the local TV weather-casters in D.C., they are all pretty much unwatchable and only want endless drought and excessive warmth. As for the Weather Channel, it has been two years since I watched that in any meaningful way.

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Anyway, what follows are series of pictures from the walk this Saturday ...

Here I was standing on the DC-Maryland line along 16th Street after I got off the S4 bus heading over to the Parkway Deli to meet Quill for lunch, July 25, 2009.

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Here is me touching the North Cornerstone of the District of Columbia (the "Federal Territory"), with some bird poop on part of it, as seen at 3:26PM EDT, July 25, 2009. I have talked about what is the North Cornerstone and even taken pictures of it before on this and my old Arcturus blog.

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The interior side room at the Parkway Deli, Silver Spring, Md., 4:37PM EDT, July 25, 2009. This interior is probably little changed since the early 1980s. The deli itself -- as my friend LP can attest -- stretches back to the 1950s.

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What follows is a vestige of what had been a much more initial version of this entry ...

In the meantime, this upcoming week in the larger world over which I have no control promises (as usual) to be all pure crap.

It will be all loser House and Senate Democrats eagerly ruining any chance for an actual shift to a health care system that isn't $2.6 trillion or 17 percent of GDP criminal swindle that fails ON ITS OWN stupid "free market" terms ... more endless GOP religio - insanity ... skyrocketing Wall Street "cheers" (DOW ROCKETS TO 10,000!!) for all the wrong reasons ... more taxpayer trillions given, no questions asked, to the amoral scum and human jackals at Goldman Sachs even as these beasts figure out new ways to scam the system ... Pres. Obama will give a good but useless speech ... and more ENDLESS mainstream whoremedia obsession on the whack job "birther" horseshit (picture David Gregory: "Have Republicans found their resonating issue??") ...all while Americans fixate on the latest stupid whatever.

God, this country is dumb sometimes. I apologize for the ultra-negative tone of this entry.

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OK, enuf of that. I think I need to go to bed.

Oh, Flippo, what a good and plush hippo -- not to mention a Transdimensional Being who folds, bends, and rearranges Space and Time at Will -- Always and Always for the Good.

--Regulus

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Regulus Blog Entry No. 200: Still Full of Stars ...


A tranquil dock at sunrise (or maybe sunset but it seems more like sunrise) that I got off the internet and posted once on my old Arcturus blog.

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Entry #200


This is my 200th entry on this blog. I originally wrote most of yesterday but as I didn't finish it, and I had some more pictures I wanted to post taken during my walk in a summer downpour back from the House Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill where I had gone for a job assignment (as explained below). Thus, I am partially rewriting it.

Also, I wanted to mention what a crummy time I had at Cobalt last night, spending lots of money I can ill afford to spend. Why I do there so much, I don't know. I think it was just my way of forever trying to exorcise my JRs - Mr. Sirius demons, but I don't think I ever will.

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Continued from first version of this entry ...

My old Arcturus blog -- which I should not have deleted -- had approximately 440 entries, although I deleted a few during a weird contretemps in the summer of 2006 at a Federal internship job.

I have 438 of those entries in six large notebooks that I almost -- but could not bring myself to -- throw out in my move last week.

My old Arcturus blog was the one on which I began my blogging activities, which itself was the result of my Mr. Sirius fixation.

My blogging activities evolved on that original blog, and reached their peak before collapsing. It is also the blog on which I met so many folks -- including the late Bryan Haberstick, and my friend Rita in coastal Oregon, whose blog I do not read enough, as well as my Australian former blogger friend Fifi. There was also Big Pissy and Motor City Monk, and the intriguing Rackorf, also from (a very different part of) Australia (the far southwestern bush country).

Here is a picture of all my blog folders as well as 10 other folders that were from my once - gigantic handwritten journal that I stopped keeping about a year and a half ago and that I have severely culled down. Additionally, one folder are print outs of some of Mr. Sirius's current blog entries and another, larger folder are from his previous Blogger blog that he ended in a most unusual way.

Of all of these bloggers, I was most chagrined to lose Fifi as a regular reader She basically said by email, "I've outgrown you and I wish you well." I guess I have to say of my blogging relationship with Ms. La Stupenda, it had a Stupid Ending-A.

Apparently, her departure was prompted by her shocking discovery that I am a negative person, as if that wasn't instantly clear the second she first came by.

While Hotlips -- whom I finally met last month in person -- and Motor City Monk (under a new name of Tattooless Freak) stopped blogging, I drifted away from Big Pissy and her whirlwind of moonlight and magnolia Southern weddings and baby showers.

I likewise drifted away from Little Things / Lake Travistee, who later stopped blogging. Other blogger buddies who came and went from my personal blogossphere include Little Things, who later became Lake Travistee before she deleted her blog, and Eddie - Jesterrap.

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Point Reyes National Seashore in an undated image I from the internet. I posted this image on my old Arcturus blog and I've posted it at least once on this blog. It was always one of my favorites.

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My old Arcturus blog had two URLs and it spanned from March 22, 2006 through on or about Dec. 16, 2008. The original name was "Note from Arcturus" and then "Arcana from Arcturus," with the name change occurring when I changed the URL in Dec. 2007. I noted the old Arcturus passing in an entry on Dec. 16, 2008.

Speaking of Fifi, I hear that she and the rest of Australia are suddenly one foot (12 inches or 30 cm) closer to New Zealand, or at least nearer to the western half of the South Island following a big earthquake there last week that moved it closer to Australia with the Tasman Sea shrinking by that amount.

The northern / eastern part of the South Island actually moved an inch or so farther away from Australia.


Above: unlabeled Google Earth image of eastern Australia, New Zealand, and the Tasman Sea.

Speaking of New Zealand, I think I'd like to move there. I'm quite intrigued by Christchurch, although not having been to either, I am guessing Auckland would be more my city speed.

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Image of Christchurch, New Zealand skyline from the internet.

I started this Regulus blog on April 15, 2008. That would be Entry #1. Of note, I changed the URL to this Regulus blog to its current address on Dec. 16, 2008 when I deleted my old Arcturus blog. I chose the name Regulus because I liked it, although I think I like Arcturus even more.

An image of Regulus and the Leo I Dwarf Galaxy. This was my first image in that first entry.

The names Arcturus and Regulus have nothing to do with the fact that both stars are located high in the summertime night sky over D.C., the former at dusk and the latter around 2AM. Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that both Arcturus and Regulus the subject of weird speculations concerning the architectural and geographical "triangulated" layout of the monumental core of Washington, D.C. and the role of the Freemasons.

The name selections and that linkage was actually just a weird coincidence.

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Finally, I began "new" Arcturus blog called Arcturus's World to Mr. Sirius on Jan. 16, 2009. As of now, there are 84 entries, but I plan to post another entry. I have not changed the URL to that blog, and I do not plan to do so.

Oh, yes, I also had a previous blog to Mr. Sirius that ran from Jan. 30, 2007 through Sept. 17, 2007 and there were a total of 55 entries. I called myself Procyon (another star name) in that blog. I deleted it shortly after that entry.

Anyway, this means that I have posted since March 22, 2006 the following number of entries on all 4 my blogs, two of which no longer exist and two of which remain:

440 (old Arcturus) + 55 (old Mr. Sirius) + 200 (current Regulus) + 84 (current Arcturus) = 779 entries.

However, I only have 438 of the old Arcturus blog entries, so adjusting this down by two (2), I have 777 entries in all my blogs.

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Updated: This was written yesterday (Wednesday, July 22) before the drenching thunderstorm we had earlier today that dropped 2 to 3 inches of rain, although DCA officially got zilch -- just a frickin' "Trace" and for the month (as of this writing at 6PM) has only had 0.26", which is putting us well on target for the driest July ever at DCA.

Actually, there are t-storms around the area this evening and it is actually raining heavily as I write this -- but DCA will probably manage to miss everything. Actually, the Sun is shining through the curtains of rain so that makes this a sun-shower, or "the Devil is beating his wife," as my grandmother used to say.

UPDATED for final 7/23/2009 rainfall totals:

While parts of downtown D.C. and Dupont Circle had 3 to 5+ inches of rainfall today in a veritable monsoon, frickin' National Airport (DCA) only "officially" had 0.56", bringing the monthly total to 0.82."

If it were not to rain measurably anymore this month at DCA, it would tie for the driest July in Washington, D.C., which was 0.82" set in 1872 (and is thus a pre-DCA record).

The July precip. minimum is the 2nd highest of any month. June is first at 0.86" set in 1940 (and is thus also a pre-DCA record, since record - keeping didn't begin at the airport until 1941).

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From yesterday when I was in a very bad mood ...

I wish it would frickin' rain, but it refuses to rain on Washington, D.C. I hate, loathe, and despise summer here, at least as it is configured in its humid and unbreathable, never any thunderstorms, endless nothing ways. Winter sucks too, but let's just stick to one bitch session at a time.

You've heard of Saint Augustine's City of God (De Civitate Dei)?

That would be Augustine, or Aurelius Augustinus, Bishop of Hippo Regius.

Well, D.C. is the City of Office Cubicle and Shuka - Boom Soul Draining Death.

Try finding actual meaningful work when you are an adrift failure like me in this City of God and you'll end up in a pile of D.C. crap with a copy of the frickin' WaHoPo and a collection agency notice on top of you.

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Speaking of hippo ...

Here I am holding Flippo my plush hippo.

Another image of Flippo and me. Good hippo.

I'm from New Jersey, not D.C., not even Maryland, and D.C. is not now, nor will it probably ever be my true home. Even after 17 years of being here, if I left tomorrow, I would have left zero mark on this the City of God.

By the way, that stupid, never-ending MTV reality series Real World is here in D.C. for this summer. In fact, directly below is a picture of the house where the cast and crew are squatting.

There "home" is at 2000 S Street, NW, pictured above, located at the corner of S and 20th Streets, NW, right off Connecticut Ave., NW, several blocks above Dupont Circle.

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Here is yours truly, 2:06AM EDT, July 22, 2009 as I was walking the short way home from Cobalt.

I went there again last night and was just treated badly, as usual.

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Today (Thursday) I actually went to Capitol Hill to the House Rayburn Office Building for a luncheon meeting of the House Robotics caucus.

Here is a picture of one of the presenters, Dr. Maja J. Matarić and a robot.

The topic involved health care challenges and how advanced robotic technology could be used to help in a myriad of ways from less invasive surgery to helping those suffering from autism and Alzheimer's Disease, or trying to recover from stroke or spinal cord injuries. Quite fascinating and even, dare I say it, inspirational. It actually greatly improved my previously severely foul mood.

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Speaking of the intersection of medicine, health care reform, and political images...

Ha ha

This refers to Henry Allingham, a World War I vet who died last week at age 113 in his native England. He was the world's oldest man -- having been born in 1896 and living in THREE centuries.

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The following set of images were taken as I walked home from the Rayburn building back to my place at 16th and U Streets, NW, transiting the Capitol grounds and walking up Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

I was standing underneath a tent shelter with a bunch of tourists on the south side of the Capitol That tree in the distance is actually a stunted giant sequoia (they don't flourish in our climate). Taken 2:13PM EDT, July 23, 2009

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Next week I am supposed to fly to Ft. Lauderdale to meet my dad enroute to Key West, where he is planning to move in about one to two months. I'm staying there for 5 days. I'm almost tempted to change my flight plans and rather than returning back through Ft. Lauderdale instead ride with him back to Flagler Beach and spend a few days on the Atlantic seashore, departing instead from Daytona Beach (or maybe even taking an Amtrak back from DeLand).

Before I depart, I need to go to the office in Bethesda and pick up a check for $1152.50. This week's work adds another $320 that will come next month. The global warming monitor task starts in the second half of August.

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Another U.S. Capitol grounds downpour picture, 2:14PM EDT, July 23, 2009

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A picture of me in the rain, 2:22PM EDT, July 23, 2009, by the U.S. Capitol Building. It was pouring like crazy -- and it probably wasn't good that I was using my cellphone to take this picture. If the cellphone goes, I can't afford right now to get a new one.

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Yours truly and the U.S. Capitol Building in the rain, 2:23PM, July 23, 2009. I got so wet that the color in my cheap dark slacks and my cheap dress shoes actually came off a bit and I was kind of a nasty underneath my clothes when I got home.

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Lastly, here is a funny YouTube clip that was linked from an article on The Huffington Post. It features an actor from the Australian political comedy show The Chaser's War on Everything "confronting" Bush's Torture Memo Writer Extraordinaire John Yoo in a classroom at UC-Berkeley.

The clip is only 1 minute and 36 seconds and is worth watching. I love the ending when the guy -- dressed as the the hooded, standing Abu Ghraib prisoner known as "the Hooded Man" or "the Claw Man" -- says to Yoo as he is being kicked out of the classroom that he'll go to the human rights class because "I think you probably won't be teaching there."


Ha ha

Note: the last five seconds or so after the encounter are muted.

As it is, Attorney General Holder's plan to investigate Bush era war crimes, torture, and violations of the Geneva Conventions -- if it happens at all -- is only going to go after small fish. Glenn Greenwood gets it right again. However, I'm going to refrain from a politically themed entry right now.

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One last rain / sun shower image ...

This was taken at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave., NW, and 12th St., NW, 2:52PM EDT, July 23, 2009

I think that's all for now. I will update this blog at least one more time before I go to Florida next week.

--Regulus

Monday, July 20, 2009

Close Encounters of the D.C. Weekend Kind ...

... an entry mostly about my Friday, Saturday, and Sunday life and doings ...

Here is a picture of Yours Truly looking / sniffing some deep burgundy and white-colored Madagascar Periwinkle flowers -- from the geographically incongruously named "Pacifica Burgundy Halo" series -- at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton Regional Park in (alternatively) Wheaton or Silver Spring, Maryland (both being part or all of an unincorporated Census Designated Place, I'm not going to debate the point), where I went this Sunday with LP (see below for more pictures).

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Friday, July 17, 2009: My New Apartment ...

So my move on Friday from Apt. 414 to Apt. 504 is over and it went all in all very smoothly and quickly, with internet, cable, and window a/c all promptly set up, although I really do hate moving. I find it very stressful. That was even true of a move as minor as this -- in which I literally hand carried everything from one apartment to the other without boxing up anything.

My new apartment on Friday morning, 11:33AM, July 17, 2009 before I moved anything into it.

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Gary helped me move the mattress and window a/c. It is identical to my old unit except spotless with a nice view onto New Hampshire Ave., NW, and toward the west and northwest.

There is least for now none of the inches of dust that covered everything in my old place and that I could never get rid of despite dusting, and resulting perhaps from excessive use of baby powder. I guess I should buy a regular mop, or maybe a Swiffer.

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I won't even try to explain this picture ... except to say this is my computer, my Sunshine Buddies, and a happy-face inflatable ball. The music box is actually a 50+ year old powder puff that belonged to my grandmother and that even now still plays -- just barely, it gears grinding like crazy -- the ditty "To Each His Own."

As I mentioned in a previous entry, from my new apt., I can see the towers of Rosslyn and "deep" into Virginia, but I still don't have a view toward the south so I can't see the Washington Monument. It's pretty at night with all the distant lights from buildings and transmission towers. It will look nice on cold winter nights especially, the twinkling effect all the more pronounced. But I don't know if I'll be here in the winter -- I don't know how long I'll be here. If everything falls apart and I go broke, I will not move out but simply abandon it if it.

However, as of now, it appears I have resolved at least half my financial crisis for the short to perhaps medium term. I am to take over the "global warming monitor" newsletter that is produced biweekly at the company for which I do consulting work because the person who has been doing it is leaving for another job in another state. This person is a friendly acquaintance of mine -- I mentioned him my last letter. This assignment plus another one in theory would give me $900 or so per month, just about to cover my rent (but nothing else). I still need to find actual regular work.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009: Wilson Bridge Walk ....

Early Saturday evening, Gary, Gerry, and I took one of our once-common but now-infrequent weekend drives into the suburban wilds of the purgatory of Northern Virginia. We drove on the Capital Beltway into Old Town Alexandria to the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge and walked half way across it.

Here we were in Gerry's car approaching Exit 177 A-B on the Capital Beltway Outer Loop in Virginia, July 19, 2009.

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This is the eastward view of the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge along the northside pedestrian walkway / biker trail around 730PM July 19, 2009 from the Virginia side looking towards Maryland beyond the Potomac River. There was a flattened mixed stratocumulus / altostratus cloud deck overhead and the temp. was pleasant around 75F and dry (not the usual D.C. midsummer fare).

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Moments later (and still looking east), the Sun came out low in the west-northwestern sky, and it completely changed the whole setting.

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Here is the Wilson Bridge / Capital Beltway with some large signage over the highway in a melancholy sunset on the interstate sort of way. The new bridge was built between about 1998 and 2008 to replace an older, severely strained older one.

The new bridge is still a draw bridge -- specifically, a "double-leaf Bascule bridge" type. There is no metal grate for where the part of the bridge that rises as there was on the old one. This new bridge also does not open nearly as often as the old one -- only 40 to 50 times a year, I understand.

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The view to the north up the Potomac toward D.C. (with downtown located about 7 miles away) through the free telescopes (located at two intervals we walked past) is quite fascinating. I refer to the way all of the objects visible just sort of pile up ("telescope") in a strange perspective. This includes buildings and transmission towers, including the Hughes Memorial "Mr. Sirius" "Eiffel" Tower was on the bridge with Gary and Gerry. Even D.C.'s less than dramatic terrain appears in such a view as being really hilly.

Here is one of my crummy cellphone camera images looking north toward D.C. from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. You can just barely make out the "splinter" of the Washington Monument just to the left of the Potomac and the Capitol Building as a speck above the rail over the river on the horizon. As I mentioned, the weather and sky were very not-summer-like, which was fine with me. It may finally turn wet next week.

Through the telescopes (but not with the naked eye), you could actually see the top spire of the Mormon Temple shining a bright golden-orange in the setting sunlight. This is located about 16 miles due north of the bridge -- literally traversing the distance of the South Cornerstone at Jones Point lighthouse to the North Cornerstone of the original 10 mile by 10 mile Federal Territory and then a couple of miles beyond that. Theoretically, it is 10 miles times the square root of two plus another 1.5 miles, so about 15.6 miles.

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Yours Truly on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge pedestrian walkway/bike trail at sunset, July 18, 2009, looking north up the Potomac River toward Washington, D.C.

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Here I am peering through one of the telescopes from the Wilson Bridge, July 18, 2009. Gerry took this photograph of me with his cellphone camera.

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Here is Gerry and Gary front-lit in the golden yellow-orange light of the setting Sun on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, July 18, 2009

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Above is a blurry image of me looking at one of the lights on the walkway. They did not all come on but rather only every 4th light, at least initially.

These small but intensely bright lights are visible from parts 16th Street as you head south (between about Emerson Street and Euclid Street, including Upshur Street), as a row of twinkling blue-white stars. I thought they were LEDs, but they do not appear to be, since they did not come on instantaneously.

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Here is another view of the walkway lights -- at this point and section of the bridge it was every other light that was on. This is the west view back on the Virginia side of the Wilson Bridge, dusk, July 18, 2009.

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This is the welcome to Virginia sign (is it still "Virginia is For Lovers"??) on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at dusk, July 18, 2009.

I have this long ago memory of my first ever visit to Washington, D.C., in December 1977 during a bitterly cold outbreak (back when we still had actual winter weather).

It was shortly after I turned 8 years old. I was living in New Jersey with my dad and grandparents and my dad and I drove down to visit D.C. We also thereafter went all the way out to Luray Caverns. I recall the drive back from Luray all the way to New Jersey at night and I have this vague memory of falling asleep in the car while in Virginia near D.C. and waking up in New Jersey and arriving home in Long Branch at 2AM.

This concludes my Wilson bridge pictures.

Earlier on Saturday, we had gone to this place called Kilroy's in Springfield for an early dinner. I like that Irish bar/restaurant's food and its World War II poster imagery them, not to mention the randomly placed moose heads, but the pictures outside the bathroom -- which actually used to be at the entrance by the host/hostess stand -- of the World Trade Center exploding and one of the jets about to fly into one of the towers is a little jarring.

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Saturday night / wee hours Sunday morning out in Adams Morgan ...

Later that night, the three of us joined up with Phil, Stephanie, Chris T., Eric M., and John and Tina for an Adams Morgan night out. The occasion was Tina's birthday. Tina is John's wife.

Here is a picture of John and me at Angle's on 18th Street, NW, above the Little Fountain Cafe where the others played pool.

I haven't mentioned John much on this blog. A native Marylander from Prince George's County, and long time close friend of Phil, he is a married father of four young children and a terrific, hardworking, very nice guy. He is as totally straight as I am completely gay. More generally, the "Venn Diagram" of the kind of life he leads and the kind of life that I lead, including the stuff that we do in so many areas, is mathematically speaking, the NULL SET.

He DID actually fall asleep in my bed once ... but that was only because he and Phil had gone out drinking and then they came over to my place. He fell asleep while a group of us went out -- after Phil had tried to put a pen in his ear to wake him up. I thought he was going to come up swinging.

Adams Morgan was, as usual, mobbed chaos in the wee hours of a weekend night. It can and regularly does -- and in fact did as we left -- turn ugly (with a mob of black teenagers, including a girl, attacking a burly MPD police officer who had pinned another against a parked car in a melee with other officers rushing over -- it sort of happened in a riotous fast yet weirdly slow motion as I watched it explode in front of me as we were leaving Angle's. WHO THE FUCK ATTACKS AN ARMED POLICE OFFICER??

I prefer my 17th Street gayborhood, but Angle's inside is pleasant enough and never crazy mobbed.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009: Tranquil Suburban Montgomery County ...

On Sunday, I went to meet my friend LP at his Grosvenor Park place in Rockville, and we then went (as I noted above) to Brookside Gardens.

This is actually the Lux Manor Branch that runs through the sprawling, three building Grosvenor Park high rise complex where at least 3,000 people must live. The buildings are the essence of 1960s thinking, planning, and design.

A LEED building none of them are. As LP said, "You can't walk through the lobby without using energy." But LP's condo is very tranquil. You just want to sleep when there.

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Here he is: my friend LP in the parking lot, July 19, 2009.

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Thereafter, we went to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton / Silver Spring, Maryland (see top of this entry). There was a special "open house" in that the enclosed butterfly garden had earlier been open for free so the place was mobbed.

I realize when I got to Brookside Gardens that I had been there for my friend Quill's brother's wedding in fall 2002. I showed up horribly late (on my bicycle like a retard) and in my own world but Quill was still so happy to see me.

Mr. Sirius's new house. Just kidding. This is some hollowed out tree trunk with a wooden conical "roof" made to look like something out of a fairy tale. This was in an herb garden and the place was mobbed with parents and their young children. There are also lots of Canada geese everywhere with a commensurate amount of goose poop.

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The early evening Sun peeked out from a deck of cumulus clouds and illuminated this (I think) bald cypress tree in a soft, vibrant green way. Actually, it has been dry the past few weeks and we could use some rain.

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Yours Truly pondering how heavy I am -- or rather, looking at the tree.

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Now HERE is an image from Brookside Gardens earlier this Sunday, July 19, 2009 (maybe I should have made this my lead picture):

This is a red fire hydrant in front of wild hydrangea (the off-white / dull green sort) with a cabbage butterfly caught in wing mid-flap (the little white "V" toward the top of the picture).

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More herbs, flowers, and shrubbery in endless colors and varieties with all kinds of names. This is Limerock Ruby tickseed and a type of Dahlberg daisies. I even learned what hen-and-chicks succulents are.

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A dizzyingly bright lavender-scarlet zinnia flower, Brookside Gardens, July 19, 2009.

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That concludes this entry, although on this July 20, 1969, how could I not note the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 First Moon Landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

This picture was actually taken the next day, July 21, 1969, as the Lunar Module was approaching the Commander and Service Module that remained in orbit, piloted by Michael Collins. (On a personal note, I would not be born for another four months.)

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My next planned update will be Thursday.

I'm supposed to go to the Screen on the Green movie on the National Mall tomorrow night with friends.

The movie is Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The above image is from the 1902 silent movie Le Voyage Dans La Lune.

As for my contracting job, I have three short assignments totaling $320 and I should be getting next week (on July 28, the day before I go to Florida for a week) a payment for $1152.50.

--Regulus