Monday, February 28, 2011

In Sunshine Or In Rain ...

Solar photovoltaic panels cover a roof in some unidentified location (possibly in Europe) in a photo I found on the internets.

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So EITHER Blogger has "updated" the HTML coding when you insert pictures to make EVERYTHING instantly justified before the next centered picture -- even when you don't want that -- or the problem is I'm using Internet Explorer instead of the Firefox I always used on my home computer. It's really bad when you want a left or right aligned picture with text running along it.

The problem occurs even when you compose in HTML mode. I have found this now in updating my Regulus blog and a quick update on that other, hopefully well-hidden blog (which I still think I need to remove outright).

I'm hoping to have my home computer functional by the end of the week.

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Following a sunny, unseasonably warm morning (70F-ish), today turned out to be a rainy day (1/3" or so), which was welcome. Hopefully, it will continue to rain for a bit tonight and I can go to Larry's Lounge. The place is always best on a rainy night. I was at Larry's Lounge last night with Gary, Kristof, and J. (I'm not allowed to mention his name) and we watched the Academy Awards.

Larry's Lounge on a suddenly rainy late night, Washington, D.C., 1:04AM, Feb. 28, 2011.

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Two things about the Oscars: I want to see The King's Speech and I inherently detest Mark Wahlberg beyond description. I didn't realize he was only about 4'6" (as was obvious when he was interviewed in some pre-Oscar party). He must stand on a milk crate in all his scenes. He reminds me of one of those kangaroos in Australia that stand on their hind legs with chest puffed out.

The heavens opened up while I was at LL -- unexpectedly so -- over Dupont Circle and it must've rained a good inch, although DCA managed to get just 0.14". I had to dash home in the rain. More rain fell today.

Here I am having dashed home in the rain without an umbrella. Hmmm. It doesn't seem to have the same effect as when Mr. Sirius or Mikey Osmond pose that way.

Funny that.

No, that doesn't seem to work much better either.

It was way late in this photo (it was taken at 125AM), and I didn't get into work until nearly 10AM, which is bad, but I let my boss know I would be late. And I made up the time today.

--Regulus

P.S. And now back to our previous entry ...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Sunday Trip Through Time to the University of Maryland, College Park

**Noted 2:48AM 10/2/2014: I updated this entry on June 13, 2014 and again today (Oct. 2, 2014) to remove some content. I also continue to have no end of formatting issues owing to the browser and computer I used to compose the entry back in Feb. 2011. I have partially corrected them. Oh, and I was about 45 pounds fatter in the "selfies" of my self that I should have never posted.**


The University of Maryland Memorial Chapel as seen from the Univ. of Maryland, College Park campus on a rather mild late winter's day, 1:48PM, Feb. 27, 2011.

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'allo, all.

This entry is being posted from a computer in the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, College Park as my home computer is still not operational (more on that in a bit).

I actually trekked up to College Park on the Metrorail today to post this entry. I discovered that non-students must have a guest account to use the library computers, but these are readily and freely attainable from the circulation desk.


The exterior of the McKeldin Library (left) and Jimenez Hall (right) as the west end of the McKeldin Mall, Univ. of Md., College Park, 2:11PM, Feb. 27, 2011.

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I've not been to the University of Maryland and College Park in a quite some time. In fact, I've really not been on campus for about a year (!). But how well do I know this campus and College Park -- a place I spent the bulk of the period from Sept. 1992 - 2009 through FOUR degrees including THREE masters degress (two of which I should have never gotten).

This is why I owe a cool quarter mil in forever un-pay-off-able student loan debt. (Cue Lee Greenwood: "And I'm proud to be an American --")

It is so strange coming back here to campus ...


It's not exactly The Trip to Bountiful but I kept thinking of that 1985 movie, itself based on a television play from 1953.

As for College Park, well, the college students just get younger and younger, which of course really means I'm getting older and older. I long ago stopped looking like a college aged person.


Yours Truly (from not the most flattering angle) on the Metrorail Green Line train heading to College Park earlier this afternoon, 1:29PM, Feb. 27, 2011.

Back then I was truly a nerdy and neurotic nebbish on a sprawling campus such as this. Now I probably stick out a bit precisely becuase I am so much older and just perhaps look like a professor.

Or maybe I just look like a homeless person drifting around the campus. You see that here occasionally.


I've always loved this particular house at 4710 College Avenue (at the corner of Dartmouth Avenue) on the backstreets of College Park, Md. (This was taken at 1:38PM Feb. 27, 2011.)

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I first came to UMCP (and thus to the D.C. area) in a lightning fast transfer on Sept. 8, 1992 following a "voluntary mandatory" medical withdrawal from that horrible St. Mary's College of Maryland (in southern Maryland) as a result of the Mason episode that resulted in my being in a mental hospital -- the old Psychiatric Institute of Montgomery County (PIMC) next to the Shadey Grove Adventist Hospital -- in July 1992.

The Prince George's Plaza Metrorail station platform as seen from a Green Line train, 1:28PM, Feb. 27, 2011.

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**Updated 2:48AM 10/2/2014: Content removed.**

It had mostly occurred in the previous spring semester but it was in the summer that there was a terrible explosion. I had been living in Rockville that long ago summer but after the pysch hospitalization went back to New Jersey, where my dad was still living at the time.

I ended up at UMCP because it was quite clear I would not be able to remain at SMC with Mason on campus. Long story short, I left SMC on Sept. 5, 1992 and stayed at Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for two weeks. The most traumatic were those first three days over the Labor Day holiday weekend waiting ... hoping ... that I could get into UMCP. (I was lucky Labor Day was so late that year.)

I actually lived on campus while I finished my undergraduate degree -- a sort of wussy physical science BS with a primary focus in mathematics and a secondary focus in physics and meteorology.

My first resident on campus was in Harford Hall.

This is Harford Hall with its lower level mail and laundry room, Univ. of Md., College Park, 1:49PM, Feb. 27, 2011.

My room was directly above this door for that first academic year, Sept. 1992 - May 1993. My bed actually was actually right next to that window. I had two roommates during that period (since neither wanted to live with me).

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I lived with a few fraternity guys and that really didn't go well. They were mostly just incredible slobs. Their fraternity (Pi Kappa Alpha or "Pike" or "Pika") was actually thrown off campus for a year or so and the original house torn down before they came back -- living in the house directly on the side of my Princeton Avenue one for a period of time. By then they were much nicer looking ...

College Avenue as seen from Columbia Avenue, College Park, Md., 1:36PM, Feb. 27, 2011.

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I also lived in the old Leonardtown graduate housing section of campus during the early part of my meteorology MS before moving into wee little upstairs room in a house on Princeton Avenue in "old town" College Park between the campus (separated by awful Rt. 1) and the Metro station and MARC/CSX train line.

When I first got here, the College Park Metro station wasn't even open as what was then called the "outer Green Line" had yet to be completed (and the final connection between Fort Totten and U Street/Cardozo was 7 years in the future).

Whenever I would go into D.C. -- as I started to do in earnest by 1994 -- I had to transfer at Fort Totten from Green to Red Lines.

I was always fascinated by the University of Maryland Memorial Chapel -- pictured here on a summer day -- in particular the chapel steeple and the light that used to be on it. That top light has since been replaced by some LED type fixture. I even used to call maintenance when the old "bulb" (or whatever it was) blew out.

I used to be able to see it prominently from my Harford Hall window and would stare at it often. The ecumenical Chapel is a popular place for weddings and it has a lovely sweeping view to the east from its high spot. (There is a long-lived campus rumor that the waiting list to get married there is 4+ years but that's just a rumor.)

Well do I remember that time in fall 1994 when I actually got to climb up the steeple into the little glass window enclosed space. I went up there with the then-rector of the chapel. He was some big, burly Greek American guy.

It was near sunset on a fall day -- not unlike in this image at left I found online linked from here -- and the view was as stunning as I had hoped it would be. The setting Sun shone brilliantly while casting elongated shadows across the miles.

Of course you could easily see most of the 8-mile-distant Washington Monument, but the U.S. Capitol Building was prominently visible, as was the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (basilica dome and bell tower) and the more distant, hulking Gothic structure of the Washington National Cathedral.

And the Hughes Memorial "Eiffel Tower" transmitter tower off Georgia Avenue, NW, in a bad part of D.C. was dramatically visible, as was the NOAA complex in downtown Silver Spring.

As Washington, D.C., itself doesn't really have a central skyline, there isn't much of "downtown" to see. But Rosslyn's towers were easily visible, as was the Skyline Towers complex along Leesburg Pike about 14 miles away at the boundary of Arlington and Fairfax Counties, Virginia.


Here is an aerial view of the UMCP campus looking southwest with nearby Washington, D.C., easily visible. This view is somewhat higher than what you see from the Chapel steeple but it is the same idea. Obviously, I didn't take this image but found in the same link as above.

This is actually an old image because the twin light blue flattened cylindrical tanks in the distance near the West Hyattsville Metro were taken down about 10 years ago.

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I mention all this because it has always been a fixation of mine has been whether and where from campus you can see the Washington Monument, which is just about 8 miles away but mostly blocked from view by the relatively hilly terrain in University Park, Hyattsville, and the Brookland / Fort Totten sections of D.C.

The top of the Washington Monument. I live about 1.5 miles from the Washington Monument but cannot see it from my apartment because my view is to the west northwest.

Yes, this is the actual aluminum capstone of the Washington Monument with its copper points that serve as lightning rods (pictured in 1934).

You can see the Monument poking up from the top of Morrill Hall -- the oldest building on UMCP campus in continuous use and the only one that survived a great conflagration in 1912 -- and from the top stairwell landing looking west / southwest in adjacent Millard Tydings Hall.


The top cupola on Morrill Hall, UMPC, 2:04PM, Feb. 27, 2011. The Washington Monument is clearly visible from this top cupola.

Constructed in 1898 in the "Second Empire" style, Morrill Hall has a storied history and is sometimes said to be haunted.

Here is a nicer picture of Morrill Hall cloaked in summertime leafy greenery.

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Here is the southside facade of Millard Tydings Hall, Univ. of Md., College Park, 2:04PM, Feb. 27, 2011. Like so many buildings on campus, this one is named for long ago Maryland political figures.

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I believe you would be able to see the Washington Monument from the ground here except the tall trees in the upscale enclave of College Heights Estates and University Park block the view. A century ago when that area was just farmland, you probably could see it from the ground.


This is a picture I took on May 7, 2009 showing the nearby tree-cloaked rise of College Heights Estates and University Park as seen from the southwestern edge of the UMCP campus. That's also a thunderstorm poking up in the distance about 30 miles away.

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Conversely, you can also see the campus from Fort Totten, in particular the Fort Totten Red Line platform about 4 miles away (half way toward downtown D.C.)

During the period 1995 - 2000, I would regularly trek into D.C. on the Metro, usually to go out in Friday and Saturday nights ...and then Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays ... well, pretty much every night. And well do I remember all those nights looking at the erratic "half wink" of the UMCP Memorial Chapel top light. For a time there must have been a hole in the red glass casing because it was half white and half red.


This was pre-Mr. Sirius, so I used to go to JR's almost all the time on those nights.

If I could redo the entire 1992 - 2001 period, I would simply have gotten an undergraduate degree in physics (not physical science) and then gone straight into public policy graduate school. The meteorology MS degree was a mistake and the journalism MA was a gigantic error in judgment.

NEVER GET A GRADUATE DEGREE IN JOURNALISM UNLESS YOU WANT TO TEACH IT!

I finally moved into D.C. in February 2001 and I've lived there almost continuously since then except for a 9 month period from June 2004 - Feb. 2005 when I lived with Phil in Silver Spring (quite close to Quill's parents' house). While that started out so horribly -- coming right after the original and deeply traumatizing Mr. Sirius incident -- it actually ended up being mostly a serene and gentle time for me. And no matter what has since happened to our friendship, I'll always be deeply grateful to Phil for letting me live there -- rent free during that period.


The view of the 800 block of 7th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 8:46PM, Feb. 25, 2011. This was taken Friday night as I was leaving the office happy hour held at RFD in the Chinatown section of D.C.

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Anyway, I think that's about all for now. I should mention that when I arrived here, I walked from the Metro station. This takes you past the bulk of the fraternity and sorority houses. The fraternity boys were all up -- finally roused from their hangovers following the usual beer-fueled Saturday nights. Some of those guys are so damn hot. And because the weather is unseasonably warm (again) this end of February, there was group of them outside shirtless.

I didn't take a picture of that scene. I didn't think that was a good idea.

Well, I guess that's about all for now. My next planned update will be Wednesday or Thursday, unless something important (good or bad) happens that I should report. Hopefully, my computer will be functional by then. I'm waiting on the disk from HP to reinstall the operating system. The hard drive was repaired.

I'm really hoping we don't have a Federal shutdown but I'll refrain from any political discussions right now.

Peace Out.

BTW, This has proven to be a very difficult entry to write because I'm using IE rather than Firefox and it inserts all manner of crazy HTML symbols including trying to justify the paragraphs. I'm going to have to fix this tomorrow morning and perhaps add a few more pictures.

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**Updated 11:10PM 6/13/2014: Content removed.**

--Regulus

Friday, February 25, 2011

Interstellar Dust Cloud -OR- Arcturus Doesn't Live There Anymore

Mammatus clouds at dusk over Squaw (or Olympic) Valley, California, Aug. 2010. Mammatus clouds -- which are associated with violent thunderstorms, though more typically over the Great Plains -- are formed by what amounts to an inverted or "upside down" convection. Source: Feb. 20, 2011 APOD.

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Out of necessity and strong advice from some, I have removed and hidden / taken offline my Arcturus blog for the time being, and I may very well delete in a few days. It is attracting too much attention, and besides, I've said everything over there I wanted to say, and I did what I said I would (going to the two agencies). It's now for those others to handle.

Also, my good friends (and others) are getting very sick and tired of hearing me talk about this topic that has so devoured me. It is starting to create problems there and I don't want that.

I'm not sure what the other side is up to but they are doing something, so to that extent, I may very well mention the overall topic from time to time.

Anyway, I'm hoping to have my regular computer back tomorrow -- it just needed a new hard drive -- and then I can post from home with pictures.

That's all for now. Again, my apologies to my readers. Trust me, this is not how I wanted things to turn out.

--Regulus

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Quick Arcturus Blog Update

I was able to update my Arcturus blog from K's apartment, so please see that entry if you are so inclined. I probably won't be able to update this blog until at least the weekend.

--Regulus

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Computer Bites the Dust ...?

The house with turret at the corner of Florida Avenue and 17th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:13PM, Feb. 19, 2011.

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My computer may have died and I brought it to the Geek Squad in the Tenleytown D.C. Best Buy. There is something wrong with the display / video drive and it may be a big enough of a hardware issue that I can't save the computer.

Gerry actually very kindly paid the upfront $100 to have them look at it and clean it as I'm low on money until I get paid Friday.

The computer was severely dusty and the 21-year old self-righteous "geek" punk so noted it on the contract form that might as well have said "Customer is a filthy slob."

So that's the second computer to go in 15 months. Very annoying. I can probably buy a new one this coming weekend, but I am limiting my expenditure to no more than $450.

The end result of this is that I may not update this blog until the coming weekend, since I certainly don't want to blog at work.

It also means I can't vent all my angry and vitriol at that evil son-of-a-bitch and his mafia on my Arcturus blog. The computer problem is probably due to something associated with him anyway.

I need help with that issue. I don't know what to do, and it's draining the life out of me and making me a very hateful person filled with the desire for revenge.

I don't want to be that person.

What I really need to do is move away from D.C. to another place but that's not an option right now.

Anyway, it's supposed to snow tonight -- rain to snow accumulating 3 to 6 inches. I'll believe that when I see it.

--Regulus

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Breaking Big Blog Wind

The gracefully curving exterior of the Neoclassical-styled Ariel Rios Federal Building that today houses EPA headquarters as seen at night in a typically slightly blurry cellphone camera image I took, Washington D.C., 6;15PM, Feb. 18, 2011.

It is a graceful and ornate building built in the early 1930s. The Wikipedia article on it explains its history and why it was rechristened Ariel Rios in 1985.

I took an applied statistics class in this building one semester (in spring 2006, I believe) as part of my pubic policy masters program.

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OK, this is my planned and promised / threatened weekend update ...

It is another totally dry day with nary a cloud in the sky as the wintertime drought continues.

But the big story today are the tremendous winds -- blowing 30 to 40MPH with gusts of 60+ MPH even here in D.C., rather than just in the Blue Ridge / Shenandoah and Allegheny Front.

The wind is really surging outside in fits and starts. There will certainly be power outages in the suburbs where the power lines are above ground.

The whole region is under both a high wind warning and a red flag warning (for enhanced fire threat).

Here is a screen shot of the Sterling LWX main Web page showing its regional county warning area (CWA) map updated at 1142AM, Feb. 19, 2011. The map only shows the most significant warning but D.C. is under both a high wind warning and a red flag warning.

It's about 55F right now.

Yesterday it reached a daily record high of 77F at DCA (old record was 76F set in 1981), and a daily record high of 75F at IAD (old record was 73F set in 1981), while BWI reached 74 (just shy of its daily record of 75F set in 1976).


All three airports surpassed their previous record high low temps at 51F, 53F, and 52F, respectively. The previous record high lows for Feb. 18th were, I believe, 50F at all three airports.

It MIGHT finally rain on Monday into Tuesday as it gets colder (more seasonal).

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Financial Update ...

I'm spending money way too fast.

I spend on average nearly $60 per day -- and I'm yet again running out of cash ahead of my next paycheck (scheduled for Friday, March 25th).

Of the $1767 amount, I need to pay off two months' worth of both cable/internet and cellphone bills totaling, respectively, a ridiculous $283.17 and $177.14, or in all $460.31.


The reason I need to make two months' worth of payments is I paid $800 late last month in a payoff on one of my remaining four defaulted credit card debts (see below).

Then I need to make at least a $100 payment on my remaining $190 IRS bill -- this is from my 2009 tax bill that started out at $1250 or so.

I owed so much although my income was only $12,430 (see below), because it was virtually all earned as a 1099 independent contractor for that nightmare intellectual sweatshop place. I would have owed closer to $1650 but I qualified for a $400 "Making Work Pay" income tax credit that I didn't even know about (the IRS figured that out for me). Anyway, I skipped my IRS monthly payment last month (again for the same reason involving the other $800 payment).


As for 2010, while my income was up, reaching a whopping $44,497.80 -- compared to $12,430 in 2009; $28,874 in 2008; and, yes, $49 in 2007 when I was in grad school -- I'm still going to owe approx. $600 in Federal taxes because $8,875 of that was as a 1099 independent contractor for that nightmare place in Bethesda, Md., before I got my current job. One of these days I will relate all about that place, and I'll name names.

My 2011 income, assuming I don't get fired or otherwise lose this job, should actually be around $60,000 -- by far the highest I've ever earned, and NO 1099 bullshit.

As for taxes, unlike a certain vulgar and narcissistic one, and the gay bar/club mafia racket to which he it belongs, I actually pay mine in the correct amount.

Neither do I launder it through the D.C. gay community in a late-stage imperial decadent lifestyle.


I also have a recurring $27.72 student loan payment -- an amount that is at once so low it isn't keeping up with the interest accrual and that will rise substantially once I report my new income. Then there is the $25 per month to Weinstock Friedman and Friedman (W.F.F.) (see below).

I also need to pay off $80 I owe Gary and Kristof combined. Then I need to get a haircut and I budgeted approximately $150 for some desperately needed new clothing.

The view of the Smithsonian Castle with the Enid Haupt Garden in the foreground as I was walking home from work last night, 6:04PM, Feb. 18, 2011. It was such a mild night I decided to walk the 2+ miles home across the National Mall and downtown.

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While all of the numbers I cited above will still leave me with about $69 per day for the Feb. 25th - March 9th period (which is shortened owing to the shortness of February), for the one after that (March 10th - 24th), after I pay my rent (which rises $20 per month to $1014 starting in March), I will only have $48/day and I'll almost certainly overshoot that amount.

Long story short, 9 months into my job and I'm still not actually saving any money and I've not yet been able to set up any 401-k plan. In America one is required to put a portion of one's income into a brutal and rigged sky-trillion dollar casino that is Wall Street / Ponzi Scheme that is the deleveraging shocked yet still debt bubbled present day American economy.

In the end, all that money it'll be stolen by Goldman Sachs in a conveniently timed "surprise crash" -- and the stunningly ignorant Teabaggers and screwball libertarians still celebrate such corporate theft as "freedom" -- EVEN WHEN IT'S THEIR MONEY! -- since it's not "da Gub'mint".

Anyway, concerning the $800 I mentioned above, that was one of the 3 settlements I've made on the original defaulted credit card debts I had that totaled at one point approximately $13,000 (although in truth I only ran up about half that amount with the rest just being added on as part of the underbelly of said financialized American economy since that is the only way "growth" happens).

In any event, it is highly unlikely I will ever live long enough to have to worry about retirements and how to "pay for it." By that point (circa 2036), Social Security will in all likelihood have LONG since been stolen by Wall Street crooks, the cult-like GOP, and Robert Rubin-like corporate pussy Democrats.

The Washington Monument at dusk as I was crossing the National Mall on my walk home from work, 6:08PM, Feb. 18, 2011.

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This image of the roughly one mile distant U.S. Capitol Building was taken at the exact same spot and same time (6:08PM Feb. 18, 2011) as the one above of the Washington Monument, but looking due east instead of due west. I would have made this the lead image but it is blurry (as I only have my crummy cell phone camera).

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Back to my debts ...


In addition to the $800 payoff, I also paid $636 and I'm paying off at $25/month a $2500 debt that is now down to about $2100. This is also owned by W.F.F. (mentioned above). They ended up holding BOTH the debts from the small claims cases back in 2009.

In addition, I've nearly paid off my IRS bill (all but $190), or about $1060 of the original bill.

**Thus, in the past year I have paid off nearly $2900 in debts, with most of that coming in the past 7 months.**

**I know a lot of you deep down think I'm some worthless deadbeat, but there you have it.**

Now two defaulted credit card debts remain "out there" in the vast and shadowy debt collection economy including a $4100 and a $3000 debt. The mother lode of debt that I have, though, is my $225,000 in student loans held by the Dept. of Education's Direct Loan program.

Sigh.

The sidewalk on the 12th Street side of the Herbert Hoover Interstate Commerce Building, early night, Washington, D.C., 6:14PM, Feb. 18, 2011.

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I'm home right now composing this entry. I got up surprisingly early (10AM) this Saturday considering how tired and headache-plagued, not to mention drunk last night. I went to Larry's Lounge with Gary, Jamie, and Wendy.

Yours truly in the take-out only pizza place on U Street next to my building, Washington, D.C., 2:21AM, Feb. 19, 2011. I got the smallest pizza they had for $6.50.

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My apartment is a dusty little dump with blanket, pillows, and stuffed animals heaped high on the mattress on the floor that is my bed. Laundry I've yet to fold is also piled high. I'm barely holding back the massive dust bunnies that have long since taken over my apartment, wiping them up (often with a damp paper towel to wipe the hardwood floor).

Here is what my apartment looks like right now. This really is unacceptable but I've had zero motivation the past 3-1/2 weeks (since the Cobalt incident with Jackass and Lady Jackass) to do anything (except write that letter and post angry Arcturus blog entries).

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I have the windows cracked and the surging wind is crashing into the old building in fits and starts.On the easy listening music channel I often keep on (RCN Channel 891) is Mantovani's version of "Theme from a Summer Place" right now.

As usual, I have no food in the apartment. I need to go grocery shopping. But I can't go over to 17th Street Safeway into the gay mafia's zone, so I'm forced to go to the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan, which is slightly farther away to walk (no biggie) but a bit more money.

Then there is the Whole Foods on P Street, but I really can't stand that place with its funky and bogus organic this and eco-brand that, not to mention utterly mobbed with the goddamn office-building phony-liberal yuppies who are rapidly transforming D.C. into a weird, much whiter wealthy-only enclave.

One a week or so I go to the Watergate Safeway, but that's a 45min walk down New Hampshire Avenue from U Street to the edge of the Potomac River.

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OK, I need to end this entry. My computer has crashed three times (it's some problem with its display mode) and Firefox -- which is so excellent at restoring lost sessions -- by its very act of restoring those sessions is making it worst. I had to start a new session outright.

My next planned update will early to middle of next week. I have off Monday as the "Washington's Birthday" Federal holiday (previously referred to as "President's Day").

The furious winds outside today are actually causing cable issues, too. And whenever the cable winks off, the digital box as to "reinitialize" itself in what takes about 10 minutes plus another 15 minutes to recover the channel guide, all while sucking huge amounts of power whether on or off. (My utilities are included in my rent so I don't "feel" that cost.)

The wind is also likely to blow out the pilot light of my stove, and that's a pain in the ass to relight.

Bottom line, I'll be lucky to get this effing entry posted or to cook a crappy lunch (the only thing I have in the apartment to eat is a Lean Cuisine roasted turkey dinner).

As for the rest of today, in addition to grocery shopping, I need to finish two work assignments -- but unlike that nightmare place I worked, these are short (not 40+ pages each) and interesting and are supposedly read by Congressional office staff.

I'll probably go to Nellie's tonight.

--Regulus

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter D.C. Area Drought and Summer Deep Sea Sailing

Dusk on a windy but not terribly cold mid-winter's evening along Independence Avenue, SW, with the Washington Monument visible nearby, 5:54PM, Feb. 14, 2011.

And high overhead was a waxing gibbous Moon in the deepening dusky blue sky.

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Not really sure what to write ...

We remain locked in a goddamn winter drought -- we're already 50% below normal precip year-to-date at DCA (see below). Granted we are only in mid-February, but it's a bad sign if you want and realize the need for rain.

The Weather Chupacabra herself, Sue Palka, and the Sterling crew (think WOODY!) are happy while the hapless looking Bob Ryan -- who inexplicably is playing second fiddle to the slurping, drooling jackass Doug Hill on channel 7 after about 4.5 billion years at channel 4 WRC as top dog -- just looked pathetic and sad as he gave the weather forecast last night

Sue Palka, a.k.a. Miss Snake Eyes, embodies so much that's wrong with (1) broadcast meteorology as a "profession"; (2) the unwatchable, shrieking hysterical side show that IS American local TV news in general; and (3) generalized stupidity, banality, and petty meanness

Ms. Chupacabra / Snake Eyes herself poses for the cover of some idiotic and unreadable local magazine a few years ago.

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Here are the stats through the end of Feb. 16th (since it isn't going to rain today) for the three regional airport climate stations. The third figure is since Dec. 1, 2010, the start of the 2010 - 2011 climatological winter. Figures in parentheses are for comparison to last climatological winter at this point:

DCA
Feb. (so far): 0.92" or -0.53"
2011 (so far): 3.17" or -1.49"
Since Dec. 1, 2010: 4.95" or -2.76" (last year: 10.78")

BWI
Feb. (so far): 1.04" or -0.51"
2011 (so far): 3.70" or -1.32"
Since Dec. 1, 2010: 5.66" or -2.71" (last year 14.15")

IAD
Feb. (so far): 0.86" or -0.59"
2011 (so far): 2.73" or -1.77"
Since Dec. 1, 2010: 4.20" or -3.37" (last year 12.52")

Keep in mind that last year's 3 snowstorms, the liquid equivalents at BWI and IAD were much higher than DCA, so DCA already was a disadvantage.

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Here is a link to Michael Lind's Feb. 15, 2011 Salon column "Hey, liberals: Time to give the Beck bashing a rest". As usual, brilliant.

Excerpt:

"The education of most Americans ends with high school. That does not mean they are stupid or ignorant. Many have a life-long interest in world affairs and the American economy and American history. It speaks well of their civic engagement and intellectual curiosity that many Americans, in the absence of alternatives, are drawn to 'village explainers' like Ross Perot with his charts, which liberals mocked two decades ago, and Glenn Beck with his blackboard diagrams, which liberals mock today."

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Here is a link to my Arcturus blog, except it's just a lot of vitriol and insults directed at that vulgar and narcissistic gay pig.

Yes, he's a pig ...

To paraphrase the late Ann Richards, you can keep hanging earrings and putting lipstick on him -- or in his case, $500 jeans, ridiculous $120 plunging "V-neckline" shirts, and a pretty face, and drive all that around in a $50,000 BMW -- but underneath all of that he's still a pig.

Oooh, I hope my IRS letter works. I may need to resend it if I hear nothing in 2 months.

Anyway, I don't feel like gushing all hatred and vitriol tonight and instead will just end on a peaceful note ...

A young man digs a hole in the sand of the beach in Point Reyes National Seashore along the vast expanse of the sunlit Pacific Ocean at the edge of North America.

This image is one that I found online years ago -- and is taken by someone identified as Polvi. It is also one of my two blog images I've ever posted.

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Deep sea sailing on a bright, windy day on the open ocean ... This image I found online years ago is the second of my two favorite images.

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OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be over the weekend.

--Regulus