Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kristof and Two National Capital Weekday Walk Musings

Happy Birthday, Kristof, baby doll! We miss you here very much. I certainly do.

Here is a picture of Kristof taken at Eric and Fanny's wedding on June 23, 2007 at Cafe La Ruche in Georgetown here in D.C.

Your age is a secret safe with me ... but I can tell my (few) readers that (to quote the Are You Being Served? episode) that it's "well under the speed limit ... and not on the open road but in a built up area ..." Well, maybe on the outer edge of that built up area!

You aren't missing anything here in D.C., or the U.S. of A. Just more trillion dollar bail outs and more power for the corporate oligarchical over-class. I'll refrain from a political diatribe in this part of the entry.

You DID, however, miss the Britney Spears concert last night here in D.C. ALL the right people were there.

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The following pictures were taken on Monday, March 23, 2009 and Tuesday, March 24, 2009 on two walks that I took about parts of D.C.


The first was down to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial and back to the Dupont Circle area via downtown D.C. (round trip about 5 miles).

Above is a picture of the brilliant setting Sun (love the "purple disk" effect) seen from the National World War II Memorial fountains between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.


The second walk was another roughly 5 miles walk back from the Navy Yard area via the U.S. Capitol grounds. I took that walk for reasons I explain below.

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Approaching the Washington Monument from 15th St., NW, and Constitution Ave., NW, March 23, 2009

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As a follow-up to my previous entry, let me just say that it doesn't matter that the stock market has skyrocketed nearly 20 percent in value the past 2 weeks. Indeed, all that points out is the Geithner Plan is just another Multi-Trillion Dollar Big Lie and give away to help the criminal financial oligarchical over-class of billionaire corporate CEOs, foreign banks, credit default swap traders, hedge fund managers in Dubai and New York, and other gangsters and their media-whore enablers and apologists (can you say "Washington Whore Post Editorial Board"?) at no risk to them.

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The top half of the Washington Monument, as seen from the north side of the grassy rise when it rises, March 23, 2009

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The purpose, as I see it, is to get the casino & whorehouse Ponzi Scheme rolling again to finish the final enslavement of the working poor and middle class ... which for its part will just sit there either doped up on childlike religious fundamentalism or burbling in its corn fed-and-beef-hormone-super-sized idiocy watching (Eric Cantor style) "Brit Brit" at her next concert or the upcoming American Idol finale.

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The west side upper two-thirds of the Washington Monument lit by the low-angled early evening Sun, March 23, 2009

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Lastly on this topic of the bail out, read Paul Krugman's analysis of it and a series of analyses (pro and con).

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Touching the Washington Monument, March 23, 2009

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One (well, two) of the 50 American flags circling the the Washington Monument cast(s) an early evening shadow on the marble at the base of the 555 foot high obelisk while a security guard stands nearby; she was taking someone's picture. I guess it must get boring just walking around the windy base of Monument for hours.

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My shadow as I walked away from the Washington Monument, March 23, 2009

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I would like to note there that while I took these walks this week, I have actually spent a tremendous amount of time at home. Indeed, I cannot believe how reclusive I have become in the past several months now that I'm working only intermittently on a contractual project basis from home and don't really need to go to College Park to campus that much. I'm a total night owl and really just like to escape during the day by sleeping.

I haven't actually been to campus in 3 weeks owing to a cancelled Thursday class and being sick on a Friday (3 weeks ago); the NRC conference (RIC 2009) I attended (2 weeks ago), and spring break (last week). Needless to say, my would-be gym routine has failed miserably so far.

I will go to campus tomorrow and Friday, finally.

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The fountains of the National World War II Memorial. This fountain used to be known as the Rainbow Pool until it was incorporated into the WWII Memorial, which while nice, has a distinctly fascistic architectural design.

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Another picture of the National World War II Memorial with the Atlantic Arch shown here. This fountain, the erstwhile Rainbow Pool, is still the spot from which the July 4th fireworks are launched.

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It is true that so far I have not been really trying that hard to find a full time job, esp. since any attempt to get a good one would be an exercise in futility ending in failure anyway and instead (like the last three) it would be some stupid, agonizing one that I just cannot do anymore.

I have a cushion of money to last about 6 months. I'm hoping to get a job via the professional development program at a Federal agency. By all that's holy in the Universe, I should get it. However, me being me, I won't.

If I do move away from D.C. toward the end of 2009, it would be to Florida with my dad to Key West. He plans to be there by the end of summer. Then my 17-year Washington, D.C. area life and sojourn will have ended in TOTAL and COMPLETE failure, and that will be that.

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I would like to point out that while I have been "lazy" in not trying to find full tim work the past few months, please know that I have done some good work for the company for which I am now a project-based consultant.

Consider that I put together a 54 page report (for which I am being woefully underpaid) on that NRC conference, complete with figures and technical discussions -- and nuclear engineering and regulatory oversight are not things I ever studied in school.

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One of the main fountains of the Nat'l World War II Memorial sends a geyser of water about 20 feet skyward, blocking the Sun from this angle, March 23, 2009.

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That report followed a 34 page paper on nuclear industry safety culture and another shorter one that nonetheless included interviews with mid-to-high level NRC staff that I was ONLY able to do as I attended the RIC. People like that don't answer email or phone queries from people like me representing some for-profit, tiny, unknown consulting company.

Bottom line, I believe I have provided that company with real value rather than the usual medium quality stuff it turns out.

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Walking toward the Lincoln Memorial along the north side of the Reflecting Pool, March 23, 2009

Approaching the Lincoln Memorial along the north side edge of the Reflecting Pool, March 23, 2009. The water was about as clean as I ever had seen it. Usually, it is a slimy witch's brew of algae, litter, and goose shit. The soil is severely compacted along here. The bulk of the original elms have been replaced over the years.

As an aside, I tried to determine what fraction of the original century-old English elms planted along the Reflecting Pool between 17th St., NW, and the Lincoln Memorial remain, esp. given the ravages of Dutch elm disease (DED) that wiped out tens of millions of English and American elms around the country between its arrival in the U.S. circa 1928 and the early 1970s. However, I was not really able to do so. My guess is maybe a third of them are originals.

Here is a picture I found off the internet(s) -- ha ha -- that shows the view from the northeast side on the day it was dedicated on May 30, 1922. The elms would have been 10 to 15 years old at that point.

However, many were replaced over the decades.

The original elms were from the Dickens nursery in Chester, England (as per the insistence of Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the key members of the McMillan Commission whose 1902 plan was the basis for the National Mall as it exists today) already probably 5 to 10 years or old or so when they were planted in 1915 and 1916. Sources: here (pp. 21 - 22) and here (pp. 88 - 89).

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Among the columns of the Lincoln Memorial with gaggles of Middle America tourists, March 23, 2009

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Yours truly among the back side columns of the Lincoln Memorial, March 23, 2009. So few tourists (maybe one in 50) ever actually walk around to the back side of it. I am very glad this reopened -- it was "closed" (fenced off) during the 2001 - 2003 height of Bush's police state reign of post-9/11 terror-mongering. Now if only the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol would reopen.

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Looking out from the Lincoln Memorial (south edge) toward the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol, March 23, 2009

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President Abraham Lincoln in his namesake memorial, March 23, 2009

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I actually got this picture of Pres. Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial without any tourists in the way, March 23, 2009

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Speaking of health, here is a larger banner for an upcoming World Health Day on April 7, 2009 placed on the Pan American Health Organization building -- which I've always thought is a remarkably strange looking structure that bears more than a passing resemblance to a car engine's air filter -- near the State Department, March 23, 2009.

It shows a bedraggled little girl in torn clothing, presumably in the aftermath of some natural or human disaster, looking upward, presumably at the arrival of rescue/help. I don't know why it moved me to teary eyed-ness.

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The next part of this entry features pictures I took on my walk back from Navy Yard Metro from my rental property management company (i.e. my apartment building landlord). Why I went there is explained below.

Navy Yard is a strange and strangely different part of the city that is, an erstwhile blown out ghetto area I knew chiefly because of the gay male dancer bars that were where the Nationals baseball stadium is located. Navy Yard has radically changed from what it was from as late as 1999, though it's still not exactly a paradise.

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This picture was taken while I was walking along New Jersey Ave., SE, underneath I-395 into Capitol Hill from Navy Yard. In my early days in D.C. (when I was living in College Park) and would go to some of those aforementioned gay dancer bars, and on a few occasions, I WALKED back via this street at night. How screwed up was that.

There is a train line under below New Jersey Ave., SE, and a vestige of a farm with two horses stabled there. I recall once there was a white horse I saw one night. That horse was not there yesterday but a brown one.

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An interesting looking large structure at the weird intersection of North Carolina Ave., SE, and 1st St., SE, as seen from New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2009

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I went to the property manager -- where tenants are not allowed but I was able to get someone come downstairs to pick up the letter -- in order to hand deliver a check for $3800. This represents 4 months of rent I am paying in advance (through the end of July).

I would have mailed the check -- and, indeed, I had it in a stamped envelope -- BUT I did not want to put in the postal mail. It was a big check (for me) and I actually had a single month's rent check get lost in the mail last September -- AND after I mailed it FROM the Bethesda, Md., post office itself.

I also need to move some money around, including into a new account, and cash some of it out into actual currency that I store in a safe place or safe box.

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The Library of Congress (old and new wings), Washington, D.C., March 24, 2009

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The reason for all of this is to reduce the money I have right now to avoid the disaster that would result if any potential collection agency puts a lien on my checking account for the approximately $5,400 in unpaid credit card bills (half of that was just interest) that I ran up in 2007 that is now about $9,000 in assorted late fees and other money grabs. Coincidentally, this is just about the size of my money cushion.

Whatever your view on my own responsibility in this, the bottom line is that America's system is a brutal and yet farcical caricature of itself, a trillion dollar crime wave continuously in action.
Credit card companies are like the ebola virus -- so deadly to their host that they basically kill themselves, too, in the aggregate. I borrowed that money to pay my rent and for groceries back in 2007 when I was even more destitute than I am now.

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Approaching the U.S. Capitol Building from the southeast side, March 24 2009.

Yes, all that frickin' construction of the damn subterranean visitor center there is FINALLY finished. Alas, a significant number of 100 to 200+ year old trees were removed for the purpose of that facility.


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Looking across the weird fountain "above" the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center / east grounds of the U.S. Capitol toward the U.S. Supreme Court with an appropriately placed port-o-john, March 24, 2009. I wonder if Tony "Three Fingers" Scalia has used it.

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Anyway, more immediately, I made what will be a 6 - 12 month temporary arrangement to pay the largest of the bills ($4700), but this is just to fend off any immediate judgments or such big trouble.

The trouble is, I cannot declare chapter 7 bankruptcy until spring 2010 because I need to wait 8 years from the last time I did it (spring 2002). The 2005 revised and punitive bankruptcy law won't apply to me because my $29,000 income even for 2008, a year I worked full time, was well below the median income for the District of Columbia.

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The U.S. Capitol dome, March 24, 2009. I once lost a chance to take a "dome tour" back in 1998 on a very bad day (when I also lost the chance at a weather assistant job at D.C.'s shitty Fox 5 affiliate working for Sue Palka). In the post-9/11 era, there isn't the slightest chance in the frickin' Universe I'll EVER be able to take a dome tour.

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Such a sense of failure pervades my 40 year old self, although part of it is that I was making my way through life without any guidance. I never had any older siblings (I'm an only child) or even adult "mentors" to provide me any guidance. I suppose if I had been a pretty female or someone with a better personality or some other special characteristics, that would have helped.

Trouble is, I was rather emotionally damaged by the time I was a teenager and so the journey (so far) has been made much worse by my terribly self - defeating and very nearly self-destructive sense of self.


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The U.S. Capitol as seen from the northwest side as I headed toward downtown and thence home, though I stopped for lunch at the Whole Foods on P St., NW, since I (sometimes) like its hot bar.

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All that aside, when you live in this country at its cultural, conceptual, and professional margins, and are acutely aware of what it is like to have no influence/power, or ability to control things, and when all things you have done (such as all my schooling) have instead produces the opposite outcome of what you had hoped ... and all in the context of a shrieking, deranged economic and financial system and American culture, you get a sense of how warped the American Experience and how Big the Lie of it promise both in fact can be.


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I think that's all for now.

The good news is that RAIN is FINALLY in the forecast. We have suddenly entered into our driest first three months of a calendar year on record at Dulles AND BWI, and 4th driest on record at DCA. Above is the forecast panel from earlier tonight from Sterling LWX NWS.

My next update will probably be in the late Saturday to Monday time frame.

-- Regulus

6 comments:

krzysztof said...

Thank you, Regulus!
Yes, I'm 26 today.
Again!

You have some very nice images in this entry. I'm understandably intoxicated at the moment but I'm going to read this post right now anyway and reread it tomorrow when I can actually comprehend it

krzysztof said...

One of the images of the Washington Monument looks like that thing from 'Space Oddyssey 2001'. I like it

Bryan said...

Well, I guuess I got my DC tour after all. I would have liked to have seen some of it with you though.

Regulus said...

I knew you were 26. Again. In the approx. 6-1/2 years I've known you, your age has actually only gone from N to N+3 years.

Thank you for the compliments on my entry. I wish the contents of my mind were as nice as the contents of my blog images!

Re. the Monument and the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, I hadn't actually thought of that -- but now that you mention it, I see it. Maybe I made the association subconsciously.

Glad to give you a viritual tour, Bry-Bry. I'll call you that from now on ... like Brit-Brit for Britney Spears.

Bryan said...

Don't you even!!! **tosses soft pillows @ you**

Mandatory unpaid furlough days coming. I got stuck with with wednesday. Whatever.

Sends ((hug))

concerned citizen said...

Two many phallic symbols on this post for me!