Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Better Instinct to Live -OR- Time Marches On While Spring Tides Ebb and Flow

The Enid Haupt Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 6:05PM March 29, 2016.

I walked home from work on Tuesday stopping at my usual three places. The city -- especially the Monumental core and the downtown area -- is seasonally overloaded with annoying tourists including countless massive tour buses that severely and dangerously "block the box" and pedestrian walkways.

*******

Home at this late hour.

This entry features some pictures that I took on Tuesday and one that was sent to me, plus other images.

I had a good gym workout tonight that was actually a break from my usual routine. While I did that damn hour-long treadmill jog (plus 5 minute cool down, reaching 6.64 mile total in 65 minutes), I actually participated in an "Instinct" class that the YMCA Anthony Bowen is touting as part of a donation drive.

This particular class is usually fee-based but it was an open one tonight -- with a suggested $10 donation.

So for 30 minutes, about two dozen people did the following: 100 push ups, 100 pull ups (using low-hanging rings leaning back and forth), 100 squats, 100 heel touches, and 100 sit ups.

Different people did these exercises in different sequences. As for me, I got through all of it except the 100 heel touches, of which I probably only half.

Of the two dozen people, I was almost certainly the oldest person in the room -- and except for one other person, probably by at least 10 years and in some cases 20+ years.

The music playing was something else.

The "N-word" must have been said about 200 times and "fuck" about 500 times. There was also the usual stuff about "blow," bling, and killing rivals. In short, except for one notable instrumental piece, the songs were simply awful and vulgar.

One song that I just discovered (doing a Google search) was by "Big Sean" and called "I Don't Fuck With You."

You literally cannot have a clean or bleeped version of that song -- there would be nothing left.

It includes the following lyrics and would make Rodgers and Hammerstein roll over in their graves:

"I got a million trillion things I'd rather fuckin' do than to be fuckin' with you. Little stupid ass, I don't give a fuck. I don't give a fuck, I don't I don't I don't give a fuck ..."

I think this was played at Catholic Easter service.

Needless to say, I won't be featuring it in my Jukebox Saturday Night series.

As for a million trillion things, That's 10^6 x 10^12 = 10^18 or 1 quadrillion things Big Sean would rather do, which seems quite unlikely.

Speaking of music, not much of it is played these days on the main workout floor at this gym and, on balance, I'm relieved since I don't wear earbuds and listen to my own music and when it is on, the music is frequently too loud, hip-hop / industrial remixed, and annoying.

Another view of the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 6:05PM March 29, 2016.

Alas, Ms. Haupt missed her 100th birthday by just under 7 months.

*******

Weather Update ...

The weather tonight is cool -- temps around 52F here in D.C. proper -- and a bit breezy tonight with a southerly flow. Rain showers are forecasted tomorrow night. Friday is supposed to reach about 80F with rain showers. Thereafter, it is going to get noticeably cooler for next week with highs only in the lower 50s F on Sunday and not much warmer next week.

Good.

For some reason, the tree pollen has not yet bothered me at all -- despite the fact that we are well into the "leaf out" period here in the District proper.

Astronomy News: Large Object Crashes Into Jupiter

I'm going to segue from meteorology to astronomy in order to call attention to this story (link embedded): Jupiter Just Got Hit by a Comet or Asteroid ... Again (Video).

Image of the flash impact of an unknown object -- perhaps an asteroid -- on the limb of Jupiter from Earth's perspective (rotating away) in a photo taken by amateur astronomer John McKeon on March 17, 2016.

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Excerpt:

"Amateur astronomer John McKeon was observing the king of planets by telescope from Swords, Ireland, on March 17 when he captured this stunning time-lapse video of something hitting Jupiter. McKeon was recording the transit of Jupiter's moons Io and Ganymede with an 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and his ASI120mm camera when something struck Jupiter, and he struck cosmic pay dirt."

A close-up of the above image with the impact highlighted by the arrow.

McKeon's YouTube posting of the impact is available here.

*******

Some political commentary ...


As a bit of political commentary, it appears that Donald Trump's campaign may be flagging -- he has fallen definitively behind the loathsome reptilian Ted Cruz in polls ahead of the April 5th Wisconsin Republican primary, although nationally he remains ahead (and it isn't clear how well Cruz will do in next month's New England and Mid-Atlantic Republican primaries.


Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is polling at or better than Hillary Clinton ahead of the Wisconsin Democratic primary (also on April 5th) and he continues to have the real energy and passion of the Democratic base while winning a steady number of states outside the South, chipping into her delegate lead. However, it isn't clear how he will doing the upcoming Democratic primaries that are being held simultaneously in the same six states.


To me -- and I admit that I could be wrong -- this just increases the odds of a truly nightmare rightwing corporate theocratic - fascist dystopian scenario of a President Ted Cruz, a Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a Senate where the filibuster has been abolished, and House Speaker Paul Ryan. That would be the Koch Brothers / billionaire donor class / oligarchical overclass "agenda" on steroids.

It would be the Ebola and Zika viruses combined of political climates that would probably mark the end of the American republic as it now exists, replaced by something very ugly.

Meanwhile, at Neoliberal World Order Central -- also known as Fred Hiatt's Washington Post editorial board -- there would be nary a worry as his "stable" of editorial writers, representing the Inner High Sanctum of the Gang of 500 "Professional Centrist" courtier class, would see the "bipartisan nuance" in every GOP action ...

... no matter how class-warring, wars-of-aggression-initiating, society-destroying, ecology-devastating, runaway climate change-bringing are those actions. Cokie Roberts sees, hears, and speaks no GOP evil.


In terms of a potential Cruz - Sanders race, I simply see no way that the American general electorate would elect a septuagenarian Jewish, self-described Socialist -- not to mention a borderline open atheist in a country that regularly demands its leaders go on long and loud about how Christian they are (in that Protestant evangelical fundamentalist sense) -- over a slithery, hatemongering demagogue spouting every platitude and piety that arouses the erogenous zones of the Body Politic. And no amount of angry invective from the "Bernie Bros" and professional and amateur Hillary haters can change that reality.

If we were assured of both Houses of Congress controlled by Democrats for the duration, maybe a Cruz presidency would be survivable, but given the massive structural advantage the GOP has -- plus the fact it is a party that is bat-shit crazy -- we just can't risk this.

I'd love to be wrong. But I just don't think I will be.


Let me just say here -- if it isn't obvious -- that I do not want a President Trump, but my thinking is that he is much less electable than the vile Ted Cruz, who, in turn, is significantly less electable than the hapless Marco Rubio and JEB! Bush, the two Establishment candidates who flamed out.

Then you have the Susan Sarandons of the world who say shit like this in interviews with the ultra-self-righteous Chris Hayes on his UTTERLY AND TOTALLY unwatchable show while the PC thought police over at Salon.com have pre-written pieces that nobody actually reads defending her.

Not to harp on her, but Susan Sarandon is PRECISELY WHY Democrats lose elections.

She is the unelectable-outside-D.C.-or-San Francisco liberal Yin to the rural-and-exurban-appealing bat-shit crazy conservative GOP Yang. But like any true Democrat, she's perfectly content -- maybe even happy -- to lose "on principle."

OK, that's all I'm going to say by way of political commentary. There are other pieces to which I'd like to link -- including almost anything by Jonathan Chait, Paul Krugman, and Andrew O'Hehir, but I don't have the time or wherewithal to do so now.

*******

The back bar at Baan Thai, Washington, D.C., 7:13PM March 29, 2016.

I stopped there for some dinner. Thereafter, I went to Trade and later to Floriana.

*******

Job Update ...

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I've fallen behind -- owing to all the personal turmoil this month involving the collapse of my employer company and my sudden move to a new job with a new employer that holds the same DOE contract (as the prime rather than the subcontractor).

The job is actually fine and -- because I am with the prime now -- there are many more opportunities across the large, multi-faceted program office that we support.

Today, there was a lot of commotion in the office as folks who are to be based there rather than on client site (myself included) got settled in, but this limited my productivity. I want to try to get into work a bit earlier than usual tomorrow.

The residential building under construction at the corner of 14th St and Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 7:37PM March 29, 2016.

When I saw this building with its ruddy red brick façade, I suddenly recalled the dream I had involving a structure at that location.

I think if I ever can afford it, I will move into this building. But I don't think MV will be my personal trainer ...

Speaking of dreams, I had some really odd dreams last night, esp. in the morning hours just before getting up. In one, I was trying to help Mitt Romney not be deported -- his visa had expired, as I saw by a red message that popped up on a computer screen of some sort -- but then he got angry at me because I had caused him trouble.

Then I watched as he went backwards over Niagara Falls.

I have no idea what that means. Maybe that I've enjoyed watching the GOP Establishment fall apart?

*******

So I think that's all for now. Tomorrow night is a non-gym night, as if Friday night. I'll go again on Saturday. I'm probably not going to take the computer home tomorrow night, so my next planned entry won't be until Friday evening or, if that doesn't come to pass, on Saturday.

Andrea sent me this photo from her back deck earlier this evening. That is her new puppy in the picture.

*******

Oh, yes, I've returned to composing these entries in Explorer rather than Firefox because the latter makes it difficult to color the hypertext links -- you have to manually move the HTML code inside the code for URLs, and then it causes a weird line break that is difficult to resolve.

And with that, I shall sign off now.

--Regulus

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The (Now Calmer) Waters of (This) March -OR- Forward the Spring (and Back Up the Scale)

Union Station as seen from what is called Columbus Circle outside the main entrance, Washington, D.C., 11:38AM March 25, 2016.

I was going to meet my mom there for lunch but she had to cancel owing to the mobs of tourists coming on a delayed MARC train from near BWI Airport.

Of note, the flags were at half-mast (half-staff) because of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Belgium last week that killed 31 people (not counting the attackers) and injured 300+ people.

Also, this entry contains some topically-unrelated around-town ones of the sort I tend to post.

*******

So my recent entries have not really featured much of my usual weather/politics/commentary combo but instead basically have been placeholder ones or brief updates. This has been necessary given the dramatic changes in my life -- a sudden new job after my old company collapsed -- and the alterations (including even in the computer I am using).

This is the Memorial to Japanese-American Patriotism in World War II located along Louisiana Ave near Union Station, Washington, D.C., around 1130AM March 25, 2016.

I didn't even know we had such a memorial in D.C. The names on the wall (blurry in this image) are of the main internment camps.

I suppose it was appropriate that it was raining and the Japanese (Yoshino) blossoms were at peak.

*******

For this reason, I have had no entries noting major events such as the Brussels ISIS terrorist attack, the ongoing GOP presidential primary Donald Trump Show (and the possible reasons for it) as the Republican Party appears (in a startling outbreak of cosmic karmic justice) to collapse on itself (though there is always the chance of a nightmare dystopic Cruz presidency), the Democratic race between Hillary and Bernie, the death of Nancy Reagan, etc.

Yoshino cherry blossoms at peak in what is called Lower Senate Park (between the U.S. Capitol Building and Union Station), Washington, D.C., 11:33AM March 25, 2016.

*******

Things for me, however, have gone back to "normal" with remarkable speed, and I'm happy about that, and so I'd like to resume my "normal" content-and-commentary-heavy blogging.

Alas, it is midnight as I start this entry, and I need to get to sleep in order to be at DOE HQ no later than 930AM tomorrow. For that reason, this entry is basically just another placeholder one.

A couple stands under an umbrella in a brief, heavy rain shower amid the Yoshino cherry blossoms in Lower Senate Park, Washington, D.C., 11:33AM March 25, 2016.

*******

Re. my new job, I wish I could relate more about it -- I'm quite happy with the change, not the least of which reason is that most of my coworkers from the other job came over with me. I also really wish I could relate the story of what happened to that other company, but I cannot do that.

The two years there were steadily more difficult as the company slowly sank and every effort purportedly to "right the ship" made things worse. I'm just glad it's over.

In my new job, I can do lots of client-support technical work and I like that fact.

Yours truly on the Metro Red Line heading from Silver Spring to Dupont Circle, 7:46PM March 27, 2016.

I was returning from a very nice Easter dinner at Quill's parents' house.

*******

OK, turning to the weather ...

My previous entry notwithstanding, it actually was a mostly sunny, windy, dry day as the weather system departed and a front crossed the region with cooler air overspreading behind it by this evening.

Rainfall totals were light -- 0.34" at KDCA, 0.31" at KBWI, and 0.41" at KIAD -- starting at or just before midnight. (To be clear, these amounts refer to the rain in the past 24 hours or so, not what fell on Friday -- as suggested in some of the images in this entry. Those amounts were less than 0.1" at the three airports.)

It's actually a bit blustery tonight with northwesterly winds still gusting to about 20MPH (after earlier daytime gusts to around 40MPH) and skies mostly cloudy. Temps are around 55F but it feels colder with the wind.

Looking ahead, there is no big and (for me) unwanted warm up to early season summery warmth on the horizon. It is forecasted to flirt with 70F by Thursday with another chance of rain while next week actually looks to be outright cool for early April (highs only around 55F).

A Bradford pear tree's white blossoms and a power blue sky backdrop, 1400 block W Street NW, Washington, D.C., around 315PM March 26, 2016.

A word about the 1400 block of W Street NW (which feels sketchy at night): There is section 8 housing there associated with the Capital Manner Cooperative and (surprise, surprise) the smell of pot -- which is basically legal, or at least NOT ILLEGAL is D.C. -- is almost always wafting in the air. I hate that smell.

*******

I did make it to the gym tonight and had my multi-part workout (hour jog, hour weightlifting, 15-minute core, and brief swim).

However, I'm a bit uncertain because my weight has notched back up to 149 pounds (after workout). This is up about 7 pounds from my post-June 2012 return to the gym all-time low. Now it is true that I've put on some muscle mass -- I can definitely see that in my arms -- I don't think it is a full 7 pounds.

Actually, I'm not sure. I just know that I still have what most men in their 40s and 50s have -- a midsection area of flab that is almost impossible to get rid of.

The view outside my Hampton Courts apartment in the 2000 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 6:24PM March 28, 2016.

*******

It is also true that I've sort of relaxed a bit lately my caution in ingesting too much sugar, especially needlessly sugary alcoholic drinks (instead of just vodka sodas). Oh, and I can go through a regular sized jar of Skippy peanut butter in two days. That's can't be good, either, even if there is a lot of protein in it.

I just need to be careful. My gym routine is still a sound one, I think.

Putting it all together, I don't think I'm going to zoom back up to 185+ pounds as I was in June 2012.

The 1300 block of W Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:07PM March 28, 2016.

This was looking east around sunset and is right outside the YMCA Anthony Bowen where I go.

*******

OK, I'm going to end this entry now. Tomorrow evening is a non-gym night, so assuming I go to one or more of my usual places after work (you know -- Baan Thai, Trade, and/or Floriana), I probably won't post an entry when I get home.

Peace.

--Regulus

Monday, March 28, 2016

"Rainy Days and Mondays ... "*

*With apologies to the late, much-missed Karen Carpenter.


Apologies for no entries yesterday. I had intended to write on before going to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for Easter dinner, but I got up late and had laundry to do.

As for last night, by the time I got home -- after a detour at Floriana -- I was too tired.

Tonight is a planned gym night, although I actually don't feel that well (I have an upset stomach), and if I feel as I do now, I may skip the gym and just do something I rarely do -- stay at home all evening and go to bed early. Either way, I'll try to post an entry tonight.

For today, I again have to go to DOE HQ to staff a particular spot. One group in particular did not transition over from the other company and things are still chaotic.

It is a cool, showery, gray morning although the trees are quickly starting to leaf out and the flowering trees -- including, yes, the Yoshinos -- are peaking.

OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Jukebox Saturday Night for March 26th, 2016: Blue and Green and Early Spring Edition

Let's start with a really smooth jazz piece by our friends that make up the group Spyro Gyra ...


"Harbor Nights" by Spyro Gyra from the group's Incognito album (1982)

This video contains some nice still images of various city harbors in the evening and at night (five in all, none of which I immediate recognize -- well, maybe the fourth one, which appears to be Hong Kong). 

*******


Let's continue the smooth jazz mood but pick up the energy a bit ...


"Street Beat" by Richard Elliot from his "After Dark" release (1994)

Here is Richard Elliot's website.

*******

And now for something Saturday night upbeat ...


"Easy Lover" by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins on Bailey's album Chinese Wall (1984)

The song later appeared on Collins's album Serious Hits... Live! (1990) and his ...Hits compilation album (1998).

The video to this song is a bit weird, although the helicopter flyovers of London show how radically that city has changed (primarily for the neoliberal world order worse).

*******

As the briefest of updates ...

I was going to post a Saturday Evening Post series update to proceed this entry, but I just don't feel like it. I'll try to post an update tomorrow early afternoon before heading to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for Easter Sunday dinner. It is probably the only time I'll be there this year, esp. if that Thanksgiving-time Dominican Republican trip with my dad comes to pass. For Christmas, I'll visit my mom.

I will say that I had a very good gym workout this afternoon -- the usual multi-part, approx. 3-hour routine. This followed a Friday night of much too much drinking (more on that in my next entry). For tonight, my plans are just the usual (Floriana and Trade), although I think I'll get dinner at Logan Tavern.

Yours truly in the Starbucks at 325 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 11:05AM

I took the bulk of the day off yesterday (immediately going negative on my time off balance in my new job). However, while I went to the dentist, I did not meet my mom as she cancelled coming into D.C. (for good reason, as I'll explain in my next entry, but basically, too many goddamn tourists here to see the cherry blossoms).

*******

Here is a special extra (fourth) musical piece -- and I'm bringing it back to as jazzy mellow as can be ...


"Blue in Green" by Miles Davis from his album Kind of Blue (1959)

You can't go wrong with Miles Davis.

*******

OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

Friday, March 25, 2016

Getting Back to Normal, Blogging, Spreadsheets, and All -OR- A Tree Grows on 12th Street

Smithsonian castle from the Enid Haupt Garden, Washington, D.C., 6:11PM March 23, 2016.

I walked home from work on Wednesday -- stopping at Baan Thai, Trade, and Floriana along the way and not actually getting home until 1130PM. The pictures in this entry were taken on the walk to the Thomas / Logan Circles area.

*******

So good news -- my new laptop works fine at home in terms of internet connection and pretty much everything else. It is also a Dell laptop, so my old charger (which I forgot to return with my computer) works (to be clear, I left my new charger at the office this evening). Also, the (fraying) ethernet cable works between the laptop and the RCN modem. (I need a new one of those.)

I have Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox on this computer. Henceforth, I am going to use Firefox to post my blog entries (as I used to way back when), so the formatting of font types and sizes as well as spacing will be based on that rather than Internet Explorer. The colors are based on how they look on this computer.

The 1000 block of 12th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:36PM March 23, 2016.

Yes, that is our old favorite, the apparently forever-abandoned Zion Building (the name on the ancient and barely legible building directory) that I've pictorially featured and mentioned on this blog multiple times over the years. (I'm too tired now to find links. Just do a search on "Zion Building" in the search box.)

*******

I was also able to download onto this computer all my personal files from a flash drive including the 6 years' worth of Excel spreadsheets I have to track my actual versus planned expenditures that I make daily except on rare occasions (such as being away).

Actually, I had not created a spreadsheet since all the chaos erupted last Friday with not getting paid. Tonight, I was able to redo it. I assumed that I will NOT get paid the partial paycheck that the former employer owes me and I assumed a very partial paycheck for the first pay period from the new employer.

The steeple of the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes, Washington, D.C., 6:39PM March 23, 2016.

That's quite a name for this Episcopal church.

*******

Earlier, I went to the gym and had a good multi-part workout featuring the usual components (jog, weightlifting, core, and swim). I was there for a bit over 3 hours. That's so much better than my post-work bar visits, which invariably are anywhere from mediocre to awful.

I'm so tired right now that I can barely keep my eyes open. I'm not even going to try to post more than a handful of (topically unrelated) images.

For tomorrow, I'm working on a partial day (and despite the fact I have no vacation time accrued as of yet). I have a dental appointment in the morning and then I'm meeting my mom at Thunder Grill for lunch. Also, there is a happy hour at the NPC tomorrow evening for all the employees (my co-workers) who jumped to the new employer (the prime contractor).

There is a lot to talk about.

A ginormous, aging sycamore tree, 1100 block of 12th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:39PM March 23, 2016.

This tree -- which you can see from about a mile away on the National Mall at 12th Street looking "uptown" -- grows just outside Horizon House apartments run by the D.C. Housing Authority for poor senior citizens and the disabled. (That being the case, the place is about what you'd expect it to be.)

*******

I am deeply chagrined that one client support group from the old company failed to make the jump -- one of whom is a friend of mine. This group is actively resisting, probably out of a mix of fear and suspicion that is being stoked by the old employer's senior management (or what's left of the senior management plus the new shady characters brought in to keep it going). Those positions are going to be back-filled by early next week regardless.

I've explained this multiple times -- not to mention the fact that the bankruptcy case involving the shell of a parent company has devolved into a sort of tragi-comedy whereby the court-appointed trustee has filed a motion to convert the case from a Chapter 11 to a Chapter 7 because of the failure of anyone to file the appropriate paperwork.

However, I just can't through and my admonitions are probably just increasing her resolve. I don't get it.

What was funny-poignant was to get an invite (on my DOE email!) to an in-office happy hour at the old company where wine and chocolates are being provided -- even as the Titanic (or maybe the Lusitania) sinks.

Dusk as seen from the 1300 block of N Street at Vermont Avenue near Thomas Circle, Washington, D.C., 6:45PM March 23, 2016.

The silhouetted church is Luther Place Memorial Church. The small grounds of it once were basically prostitute central back in the 1980s and 1990s, less so in this gentrified age.

*******

Anyway, I'm not taking the computer into work tomorrow but will use the loaner one there.

OK, that's all for now. My next entry likely won't be until Saturday evening in the form of a jukebox Saturday night entry (and perhaps an antecedent Saturday evening post update). 

--Regulus

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Handful of Cherry Blossoms -OR- (My) Life in the Imperial Capital (Springtime Edition)

This picture must have been taken in spring 2013 when the scaffolding was going up (or coming down, I can't recall) on the Washington Monument to repair the Aug. 2012 earthquake damage.

*******

So I have my new laptop and it is (mostly) set up. I am posting this entry right now since I'm unsure if I will be able to get an internet connection established at home.

Things have been somewhat chaotic around me since my previous company effectively collapsed last week and the bulk of the billable staff came over to the new and far better company (it is the prime contractor, the old one was a subcontractor). However, not everyone came and because of staffing issues, I had to be onsite at Forrestal for the past two days.

I've also skipped the gym the past two days, instead going out after work stopping at my usual places (Baan Thai, Trade, and Floriana). I also went with a coworker (who came over with me) to the NPC two nights ago.

Tonight is a gym night.

As for tomorrow, I have a dental appointment in the morning and then I'm meting my mom at Union Station at our usual Thunder Grill spot. Originally, the purpose was to lend me money because of the job situation, but that is (mostly) unnecessary now.

The weather is sunny and very warm today with temps. having reached 77F at the three main airport stations (KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD). There is a red flag warning in effect as well. However, it is supposed to rain tomorrow and cool down.

The cherry blossoms -- the Yoshinos, that is -- are rapidly blooming and the city (that is, the Monumental core and Tidal Basin) are overwhelmed and overloaded with tourists. The kwanzan don't open for another two weeks or so.

Anyway, I'm going to sign off now. I'll try to update the blog tonight, provided I can get an internet connection at home.

That aside, I just want to say I'm very happy with my new "old" job and how things have (so far) turned out.

--Regulus

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Lightning Fast Update - Things Are Fine, Will Be Back to Regular Blogging In a Few Days


Just a lightning fast update ...

Things are fine with my new job, and I should have my own fully portable computer in a couple days -- and I have the option of teleworking. My planned next entry is either for Thursday night or Friday.

Things are fine and I'm well.

Peace Out.

--Regulus

Monday, March 21, 2016

Reluctantly, But Necessarily, Springing Forward To New Job; Uncertain Blogging Schedule Ahead

Framed by the still-winter bare oak tree branches, a dazzling morning Sun shines in an early spring blue sky, 1900 block 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:25AM March 21, 2016.

*******

So this is my last day at my current job and I'm soon to head over to my new one. A sizable contingent of my coworkers have already jumped ship and this company is likely not long for this world. Per her instructions, I have to send my supervisor my resignation email in a few minutes.

Very odd. The whole episode has been very odd and intense.

Let me say that she and my other coworkers and friends have been really wonderful through this whole process, as have my mom and dad with financial help and emotional support.

I'll be back working at L'Enfant Plaza, my brief Rosslyn stint over.

OK, that's all for now.

Oh, yes, one last important item: I have used my work computer as a personal home computer for almost 4 years. During that time, I've not had my own computer. Unless and until I can get a new computer -- either my own or bring one home from my new job -- my blogging will be very limited an on an erratic schedule. Thus, I am unsure when I will have a new entry posted, but I fully intend to keep this blog going.

--Regulus

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Jukebox Saturday Night for March 19th, 2016: The Waters of March and Love is King Edition

Well, since I've referenced it so many times in the past week, let's just start with this wonderful song ...



"Waters of March" ("Águas de Março") as sung by Susannah McCorkle on her release From Bessie to Brazil (1993)

This ultimate Brazilian basso nova song is by the great Antônio Carlos Jobim written in 1972. McCorkle sings the Jobim's lyrics in both Portuguese and English.

The black and white photographs featured in this video are wonderful.

So sad about Susannah McCorkle (and also Todd Armstrong whom I mentioned in my previous entry).

*******

"Waters of March" has been redone countless times and featured in all kinds of popular culture references including as the tune for the Coca-Cola "Coke Is It!" campaign series of the 1980s, the best one of which (in my view) is the following ...



Actually, this one contains both the U.S. "power ballad" one and a Brazilian one featuring none other than Antônio Carlos Jobim himself. I featured it in this entry that I wrote semi-drunk and happy in the wee hours of Nov. 10th, 2013.

(The video is a bit grainy and takes a few seconds to start.)

*******

I'm going to end on a really smooth jazz note (rather than an energetic song) ...


"Your Love is King" by Sade from the group's Diamond Life album (1984 - UK, 1985 - US)

"Sade" here refers to the group, the lead singer to which was (and still is) Sade Adu.

*******

OK, that's all for now. I'll try to update the blog tomorrow.

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for March 19th, 2016: Hope Springs Eternal -OR- Forever Onward Flow the Waters of March

**This entry was posted March 19th, 2016.**

Photo credit: Randy Wang.

So it looks as though I tentatively have a new job starting THIS COMING Monday morning -- at the prime contractor, as I referenced in my previous entry. If this comes to pass (I'm waiting for the offer letter), I will be back at L'Enfant Plaza, although I'm unsure if I'll be onsite with the client or not.

It has been a wild ride the past week and especially the past 30 hours or so. The company for which I worked for nearly six years has effectively collapsed and is insolvent along with the corporate structure in which it was tragically embedded. That call made yesterday by the head of the Board of Directors was a disaster that had the exact opposite effect of what he ostensibly intended.

Also, all of this could have been avoided in that interim CEO who lasted all of 4 days hadn't decided to make up the lost 401k employee contributions (recall that those had been "repurposed" for other purposes, including meeting payroll) ather than meeting yesterday's payroll. We could have made it until Tuesday's scheduled bankruptcy case and been sold in an asset sale and survived.

To be clear, this man did it not out of mistaken well intentions but because he was somehow personally libel for those contributions. Thus, he came in, arranged the books to put himself in the legal clear, and jumped ship -- knowing full well the company could not meet payroll yesterday.

And down came the whole house of cards ... 


There has been an exodus of people -- people I've worked with for years and like and respect -- to the other company. This is a very strange, even surreal event. I was part of it as I applied and had a lightning fast response, and I've now submitted everything I had to and I'm just waiting for the offer letter. (Folks at the other company are working all weekend on this.)

I'm a bit flummoxed and at a loss what to say. I'm stressed yet hopeful.

The Waters of March flow on ...

River Biya, Russia, photo by Dmitri Melnikov via Wikipedia.

*******

I had a good multi-part gym workout this afternoon. I'll go out tonight to one of my usual spots, although I might get a late dinner at Old Ebbitt or Logan Tavern).

I had fun at Floriana downstairs bar last night (talking to Fred and watching the 1963 movie "Jason and the Argonauts" movie starring the late Todd Armstrong that Dito put on) and later at Fox & Hounds with Jamie.

It's a chilly, showery evening with rain mixed with some snow across the D.C. area.

Spring arrives tomorrow, March 20, 2016 at 430UTC or 1230AM EDT. This means it arrives on March 19th in the Central Time Zone and points west to the International Dateline, which is quite early.

OK, that's all for now. I'll try to post a jukebox Saturday night entry but, honestly, I'm not even sure what to post.

--Regulus

Friday, March 18, 2016

Approaching Employment End Game -OR- The Steadily Falling Waters of This March

UPDATED 9:34PM 3/18/2016: See bottom of entry.


So we did NOT get paid today and, what's more, the situation is extremely dire for the company. We will not be getting paid until at least Wednesday or Thursday and -- if enough people jump ship and the asset sale at the Tuesday bankruptcy hearing goes poorly -- we may never get paid again.

If there is any good news, there is an asset sale of the subsidiary companies including the one for which I work and there are at least two "good buyers" lined up.

To be clear, the "assets" refer to the billable staff and a small support staff. If this works as I understand it, on Tuesday, these companies will be bought up by one of those other, larger and financially stable companies. In return, that company gets all our federal and state contracts.

The serious problem is that we have a serious collective action problem whereby no one feels any confidence to wait around until Tuesday, so that if enough of the highly billable staff (those embedded onsite with the client) leave, then the company collapses because it has no real assets to offer at the asset sale. So it is in everyone's collective interest to stay but not in any individual's interest to stay.

The drop-dead backup is to have the prime contractor of our largest contract pick up the billable staff -- at some point in a few weeks.

The funny thing is that the company would have had enough money to meet payroll if it hadn't decided to make up all the 401k contributions it missed (to be clear, I'm talking about the employee ones, not the employer match).


I've very little money although my mom has agreed to help me out. I'll call my crazy dad. I also have a credit card (at least for the time being). I can't collect unemployment now since I've not been let go and if I quit, then I can't get unemployment.

So that's where things stand.

Everyone in the office was shell-shocked (as was everyone on the call) because it drove home the point that we might never get paid and approaching end game, but now the office is in an uproar and an old bottle of cheap red wine is being opened.

The Waters of March indeed.

UPDATED 9:34PM 3/18/2016


This has been one of the most emotionally topsy-turvy days -- and by that, I mean late afternoon into evening and nighttime -- in years.

Long story short, after many phone calls and text messages, it sounds as though the prime contractor might be picking us up, but I need to apply online this weekend.

I just walked back from Rosslyn -- where I went with my coworker Jonathan to Continental Pool lounge -- via the Key Bridge and the back streets of Georgetown to Dupont Circle on this tranquil, moonlit night.

My parents are going to help me financially, and my coworkers (and friends) have been wonderfully supportive including those in a position to make a difference. And I called Jonathan to let him know what to do.

End of Update and of Entry.

--Regulus

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Looking for Luck on St. Patrick's Day While Still Riding the Very Turbulent Waters of This March


Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Just a quick early afternoon update primarily just to change the lead entry / lead entry picture ...

It is a sunny, warm early afternoon with temps approaching 70F although. It is forecasted to get significantly colder over the weekend with a chance of rain, possibly mixed with snow early Sunday even in D.C. proper but with little or no accumulation. Thereafter, it will warm back up next week.

I would like to call attention to this CWG entry by Jason Samenow (link embedded): NOAA: Earth had its tenth straight record warm month in February.

Global land-ocean temperature departures versus 1981 - 2010 base period, NOAA.

Excerpt:

The average planetary temperature in February was record-crushing, and, remarkably, achieved a new high for the 10th straight month, NOAA said in its temperature report, released today.

The temperature in February breezed by the previous record high set in February 2015 by 0.33 degrees Celsius.

After NASA's report that February's temperature deviated from normal more than any month on record, it comes as no surprise that NOAA independently reached the same conclusion.


The global temperature was 1.21 degrees Celsius (2.18 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average, 0.09 degrees C above the previous highest departure in December 2015, NOAA said.

"The departures are what we would consider astronomical," NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden told the Associated Press.

Global land-ocean temperature anomalies for all Februarys 1880 - 2016 versus the 20th Century average.

*******

Excerpt continued:
 
Averaged over the globe, recent months mark an unprecedented warm period in modern history...

The December-February period was, by far, warmest on record:

Global land-ocean temperature anomalies for all December-January-February (climatological winter) periods 1880 - 2016 versus the 20th Century average.

*******

Changing subjects ...

The situation with the company remains perilous with a high risk of outright insolvency / dissolution. However, I *think* we are getting paid tomorrow on time.

The company really needs some luck, if not (n actual) pot of gold at the end of some rainbow.

Yesterday, I worked from home because of the unprecedented system-wide Metro closure, although I took the bulk of the afternoon off and had a good multi-part gym workout at the YMCA (i.e., jog, weightlifting, core exercises, and swim).

Metro resumed normal operations today -- or as normal as it functions nowadays.

I'd like to post some links to some political-themed articles but now is not really the time for that. It remains an extraordinary political year.

Daffodils growing in the small triangular plot of land between 16th St and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 10:34AM March 17, 2016.

*******

I received another batch of Crazy Chris text messages in the wee hours (which I did not see until morning). This brings the total to 23 since this started just after midnight Wednesday. I'm keeping a file with all of them.

After work this evening (it being a non-gym night), I am meeting Andrea either at Old Ebbitt or Post Pub and then I'll go to Trade for an hour or so.

That's all for now. My next planned update will be Friday evening.

--Regulus