Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dance of the Cherry Blossoms

A Japanese Flowering Yoshino cherry tree at floral peak on the Univ. of Maryland, College Park campus, April 3, 2009


We've had some decent rains of approx. 3/4" to 1-1/2" around the Washington - Baltimore area in the past several days, including 0.95" at DCA, 1.59" at BWI, and 0.74" at IAD.

Although we are still below normal for the year (5.95" or -3.79" at DCA, 6.65" or -4.10" at BWI, and 6.14" or -3.56" at IAD, all through April 3, 2009) this rainfall should help considerably with the spring "greening up" vegetative cycle.

Here was the Sterling LWX radar (base reflectivity, standard version) at 1009AM EDT, April 3, 2009 as a band of heavy rain was sweeping across D.C. It hadn't rained that heavily here in D.C. in literally months. We've just been in a shitty pattern with too much high pressure off the U.S. East Coast.

As I mentioned, the Yoshino cherry tree blossoms have been at floral peak for the past week, and are now beginning to fall off the trees in veritable snow storms of flower petals. I also in fact made it down to the Tidal Basin on Wednesday night in one of my annual late night walks when the Yoshino trees ringing that mucky body of water just off the Potomac River are at floral peak.

When the blossoms fall off in such a frenzy, the Tidal Basin itself can resemble a sloshing lake of Pepto-Bismol.

The weather was drizzly and foggy following heavier rain. It was quite similar to last year (or the year before -- time seems to have become hopelessly muddled and blended for me over the past 5 years).

I went down there with Gary and bartender C/H from Cobalt (that was actually a surprise as I didn't think he'd go). We went there after some drinks at Stan's downtown. Unfortunately, my cellphone pictures were not very good. They are posted below.

Here is a picture of Gary's head silhouetted on the base of the Washington Monument, 11:20PM, April 1, 2009

Here is a picture of me silhouetted on the Washington Monument, 11:22PM, April 1, 2009

C/H actually took some nice ones with his just-repaired i-Phone, none of which I have access to. There was one in particular I liked of his surname-sake bird standing on a slightly submerged walkway with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

We walked into the Jefferson Memorial, pictured above at 1208AM, April 2, 2009 as we approached.

We also ended up taking a detour through the sprawling grounds of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial with its many fountains and bronze statuary and sculptures.

Here is a picture of C/H (taken with my crummy cellphone camera) seated next to the sculpture of a man who is supposed to be listening on his radio to one of FDR's reassuring fireside chats.

Here C/H poses with the over-sized sculpture of FDR's beloved Scottish Terrier dog, Fala, April 2, 2009

A picture of yours truly, Regulus, with the sculpture of Fala, FDR Memorial, 12:36AM April 2, 2009

We actually took a cab back to Thomas Circle, where Gary was parked and near where C/H lives from Constitution Ave., NW, and 14th St., NW, rather than walking. I was suddenly very tired. Actually, we all were.

I'm not sure I'll be in D.C. to do this again next year.


Today is a gusty windy day with temps around 62F. The blossoms are really flying off the tress now as the leaves begin to unfurl, though things still look overall bare-ish.

While the Yoshinos are the signature tree of D.C. in spring, my own favorite flowering tree -- and the next ones to bloom -- are the double - flowering kwanzan trees. The blossoms are pictured to the above.

It is another Japanese cherry tree variety, despite the African sounding name.

The actual trees that predominate the world-scape here -- oak, elm, maple, and tulip-poplar -- are only just beginning to bloom. They don't produce anything that looks like a regular floral blossom but instead pretty much go straight to green leaves.

The Univ. of Maryland Memorial Chapel and grounds, UMCP, 5:45PM, April 3, 2009. The trees on the left side along the chapel in this image are sawtooth oaks ("Quercus acutissima") and their leaves are beginning to bloom.


I started an entry after I got home last night, but I wisely deleted it. The topic was about the usual stuff, although with a mild twist. However, it's best left unsaid.

Earlier yesterday, Gary, MikeG, and I took an unlikely trip to Colonel Brooks' Tavern near Catholic University here in D.C. (pictured here in an image I got off the internet -- click on it for larger version).

I met them on campus after Mike's job interview at Goddard. We were going to go to the 94th Aerosquadron in College Park, but apparently the place is STILL CLOSED after that water main break three months ago.

That seems odd and I wonder if the place is closing down anyway. If it has been closed for that long, that means that my mom, Ray, and I may have very well been the last customers.

Anyway, Mike left his car at the College Park Metro station and we rode in Gary's jeep on a VERY circuitous route back into D.C. to go to Col. Brooks' Tavern.

Col. Brooks' Tavern is named for Civil War era Col. Jehiel Brooks. Here is a picture of the old guy himself that hangs behind the bar in the tavern named for him. Col. Brooks' family name also lends itself to the Brookland section of Northeast D.C.

Col. Brooks' Tavern has its own varied history, including a very ugly incident in 2003.


I don't see Mike much anymore. I met him (like I did Gary a few years later) in my meteorology graduate school days in the 1990s.

Mike explained in some detail about the surgery his wife, Galina, had to remove a brain tumor last year. I knew it was bad but I didn't realize how difficult the whole procedure and recovery was, but she is fine now.

Afterward, Gary dropped off Mike at Fort Totten so he could take the Metro back to College Park directly.


The backside of the old wing of the Computer Space Science (CSS) Building on the UMCP campus, 5:36PM, April 2, 2009. This building used to house the Meteorology Department whence I earned my first masters degree. The adjoining new wing of the CSS now houses the reconstituted "Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science."

I go occasionally to the old wing because there are two private, lockable bathrooms, (2nd and 4th floors). That's a good thing.

Here is a (blurry) picture of the new wing of the CSS Building with the west side of the old wing visible, too, UMCP campus, April 2, 2009, 7:39PM


I really need to start looking for a job as I only have about 4 more months before I'm outta money and, probably thereafter, outta D.C., my 17 year sojourn in the Washington area finally and failing-ly over.

As I've mentioned before, the idea would be to move to Key West with my dad assuming he is in fact down there by late August. However, I'm not sure that would be a good idea. I graduate from UMCP in May with my THIRD masters degree, this one in public policy.

I don't know what to do.

The view from near the Tawes Building (under massive renovation for over a year now) looking to the west toward Lot 1, Univ. of Md., College Park, 2:15PM, April 3, 2009. The clouds and gusty but mild breeze was lovely.


What I DO KNOW is that I am so tired of failing, and it's getting annoying the fact that almost all my friends and acquaintances, as well as other people I know of, are earning $100,000 or more a year, in some cases for really doing nothing.

But I understand that this career failure ultimately is mine alone, except I don't know how to fix it. It's just that three times now instead of meaningful employment where I do things that matter, all I have ever found are ghastly fluorescent-lit office cubicle, severely underpaying nightmare jobs where I sit in 9AM agony doing nothing or menial and ridiculous tasks, all while the $40,000 a year theoretical salary turns out to be more like $29,000 year. And being alone as I am, suffering from depression, well, I just can't quite motivate myself to do it.

The view from the south edge of the UMCP campus looking toward southwest toward the forested rise of very upscale, secluded College Heights Estates and University Park, 5:31PM, April 3, 2009


Perhaps I really do just need a radical change of scenery and pace, which is what Key West would offer, I suppose.

I don't know what to do.


Changing subjects ...

I came across this funny Dudley Do-Right cartoon on YouTube that speaks unintentionally in its long ago way to the current mortgage crisis in the U.S.

Yes, I realize, now that the stock market is skyrocketing again and trillions have been committed to Wall Street and banker and credit default swap trader - friendly bailouts and buttressing up toxic "legacy" assets, these problems are supposedly all over, and its back to Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Lastly, since I won't otherwise do it if I don't in this entry, I just wanted to post -- and not because it has the SLIGHTEST thing to do with my life, because it doesn't -- some of the pictures of President Obama's trip to the G-20 summit in London earlier this week.

The Obamas meet Her Majestic Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The Queen and Michelle apparently got along quite well, including that putting arms around each other that caused a stir but NOT in a bad way (not like when that Aussie Prime Minister did it years ago). I've always really liked "ER" but I never could stand Philip.


Now this is a great picture ...

U.S. President Barack Obama, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (who looks like he'd be fun to dine and drink with), Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (not pictured was "Prime Minister" Vladimir Putin controlling his puppet), and (poking his head into the picture) Chinese President / "Paramount Leader" Hu Jintao, wondering why his country's exports were down another 26 percent in February and how his country's reserves of trillions of dollars have suddenly turned into a problematic thing and why won't these ignorant Americans start consuming all the toxic products and poisoned food that China has to offer??

More generally, though, it's SOOOO nice not having to cringe watching a U.S. President at one of these major international meetings. That because Geo. W. Bush and his character defective appalling and embarrassing combination of bluster, arrogance, and stupidity are gone.


Russian Pres. Medvedev and Pres. Obama at the G-20 summit.

Considering the two countries still possess enough nuclear weapons on accident-prone "launch on warning" alert to end our civilization and to potentially jeopardize human existence, not to mention to render the planet uninhabitable for most land life forms for hundreds of thousands of years (this is a fact that is forgotten too much these days by the public), I suppose it's appropriate to post this picture of them chatting in a friendly way.

KA-BOOM! Above: "Castle Romeo" H-bomb test, March 27, 1954, Bikini Atoll.


On a lighter note, I have to go as I'm having dinner with LP tonight. I may go with Gary to Town for its umpteenth Madonna-rama event, but maybe not. I don't know yet.



rita said...

I'm Loving the Cherry blossom pictures.

I predict when you get down to Florida, & away from D.C. you'll gain a new perspective on your life. Change is good when a person is stagnating, floundering, trapped or whatever is going on that is making you unhappy.

Hang in there! *hug*

к.нео.физ.де.му said...


i had a great time on friday with you and gary!


we should do this more often that twice a year!


Regulus said...

Thank you, Rita. That is very kind of you to say.

Hi Mike. Yes, I too enjoyed seeing you very much. I hope you didn't have any trouble getting home.

Also, we most definitely should do that more than twice a year.

By the way, what is your Russian screen name in English? I can't even pronounce it out!