Sunday, June 14, 2009

Capital Pride 2009; Masters Degree No. 3; and South Florida Vacation Photo-Finale

**I posted this around 4AM EDT, Monday, June 15, 2009**

Here is a picture of my friend Chris T., taken at 4:49PM EDT, June 14, 2009 at Dupont Circle here in Washington, D.C.. I have not actually posted a picture of him in a few months. Gary and I went to South Florida with Chris last week.


Unless something noteworthy happens, this entry will probably be my last one until next Monday (June 22nd) or so because I have FOUR assignments -- with a value of $1050 -- due for my contracting job that are between this coming Tuesday and the morning of June 22nd, including a report of nearly 20 pages (for which I am to receive $600).

The trees in the 2000 block of Belmont Rd., NW, Washington, D.C., 6:39PM EDT, June 14, 2009

I know I'm underpaid, but these assignments should carry me financially into September, including August rent. I still need to find regular work.


Dupont Circle fountain, Washington, D.C., 6:13PM EDT, June 14, 2009


This entry will also discuss some other stuff, such as the fact that I have now received my actual degree for my Master of Public Policy. This would be my third masters degree I have completed, along with my undergraduate degree -- all from the Univ. of Maryland, College Park in what was a nearly 17-year, on-again, off-again sojourn. It also includes a tad of political commentary (from Bill Maher) and an old TV commercial jingle I've never forgotten.

This entry will also feature the bulk of my South Florida vacation pictures such as these coconut palms along the beach in Deerfield Beach, Fla., June 8, 2009.


Capital Pride 2009 ...

First, though, I will talk a little bit about the Capital Pride 2009 event, which following the annual parade yesterday, culminated earlier today with the big street festival down on Pennsylvania Ave. The headliner performer is drag queen singer, actor, and all around impresario RuPaul. I never did make it down there.

Here is the view outside Cobalt yesterday evening (June 13, 2009) shortly before the parade began.

I have decided to refrain from any political commentary on the gay pride event or D.C.'s gay community.

A cute 20-something year old guy at Cobalt (no, he didn't know I was taking his picture, so I guess that makes me nearly 40 years old and creepy, not to mention fat).

Ironically, the other bar I go to -- Cobalt -- is the sister bar to his establishment with the same owner and management company. Yesterday, I drifted over to Cobalt around 630PM -- not planning to stay but before a $10 cover charge kicked in -- and ended up there for quite a number of hours. By late night, the place was in a sweaty, drunken frenzy with quite a diverse crowd of gay men, lesbians, straight girls, and who (and what) ever else was out at the 130AM hour.

As it was, I saw from an inside window -- see above picture -- part of what turned out to be a ridiculously long 2 hour parade that actually lasted into nightfall. Cobalt is at 17th and R Streets, NW, where the parade route made a sharp right turn south onto 17th St., NW.

I was there first with Gerry and Vincent, and then Chris T. I went home for about an hour to eat something and rest up and then went back out to Cobalt and later to Omega for a little while. I never did see LP this weekend. Boo.

As for going to the street fair event, I did not make it down there, partly because -- as weird as this sounds -- the weather was just too sunny, too bright, and way too warm to walk around there on the pavement of Pennsylvania Ave., NW, in full sunlight.

It has never been showery cloudy and cool, nor even thunder-stormy on the day of the event.


Graduation Completion: Master's No. 3

So I have finished skool school with the completion of my Master of Public Policy and -- symbolically -- receiving the actual degree itself.

Here is a picture of the degree itself -- my THIRD and most very likely FINAL masters degree -- as I picked it up in the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) Diploma Office in the Mitchell Building on Friday, June 12, 2009.

I went to College Park on Friday, not thinking it would actually be ready but rather just wanting to check with the Registrar's Office that my graduation was in fact cleared. My degree was in a big pile of them that the lady working there retrieved. The two ladies and the assistant registrar in the office chatting -- things are slow on campus in the summertime -- thought this funny.

"Why not get a Ph.D.??", one asked while the other said as I left, "SEE YOU IN TWO YEARS OR SO!"

Here is a picture of the degree placed on the pedestal on which sits the 2000 pound bronze sculpture of the UMCP mascot "Testudo," a diamondback terrapin. This is one of several such Testudo sculptures located at various "important" points around campus. This is arguably the most prominent one, located outside the McKeldin Library.

Here they are: my FOUR degrees from UMCP, as placed on my little table with Flippo and my Sunshine Buddies holding down the undergraduate one because it had been curled up in a cardboard cylindrical tube since I got it in 1994. The four degrees starting upper left and running clockwise: my B.S. in physical science (awarded June 1994); my M.S. in meteorology (awarded Aug. 1997); my M.A. in journalism (awarded Aug. 2001); and my M.P.P. in public policy (awarded in May 2009). The shield or logo changed between the M.S. and the M.A. to the one presently used.

Yes, my cellphone camera sucks. I know that.

It is too bad my that blogger friend Fifi has disappeared from my blog -- she would certainly have had something insightful and poetic to say about all those degrees.

Alas, I think I wrote one too many negative entries (when did I ever pretend NOT to be that kind of person??) and she has disappeared.

Maybe it had something to do with our blogger buddy Bryan's death and what seems like my trivial and self-indulgent complaining.


Anyway, thus ends -- probably for good -- what ended up a nearly 17-year long sojourn at the University of Maryland, College Park through an undergraduate and THREE masters programs resulting in four degrees, an unpayable amount of student loan debt (in excess of $240,000 and rising on interest), and still totally lost in this world.


Political commentary ...

Here is Bill Maher's wonderfully insightful and funny criticism of Pres. Obama's political timidity and excessive concern with "being loved" and celebrity status. This is from his Friday, June 12, 2009 HBO show.


Old, Silly 1980s TV Commercial Jingles ...

Before moving on to my South Florida pictures, I wanted to mention that the other day I had this silly TV commercial jingle for Coco Goya Piña Colada drink mix stuck in my head. It is a jingle I heard maaaaany years ago ... back in the early to mid-1980s in New Jersey in my teenage Jersey shore summer years.

The commercial for this Goya product that I am thinking of featured an old, sort of frumpy woman in a flowery dress who (if I'm remembering correctly) looked like (but probably was not) the late actress Hermione Baddeley, pictured to the left, who died in1 1986 and who in the 1970s played one of Maude Findlay's housekeepers on Maude.

She sings the jingle with a group of Muppet-like puppet characters in front of her joining in:

"Coco Goya (Piña) Colada is a lotta colada! / It's the cream of the cream of coconut/ Nothing but the cream of the cream of coconut!"

The lady then embraces the puppets and says to the camera, "THEY'RE ADOPTED!"

I couldn't find it on YouTube or elsewhere on the internets.


South Florida vacation photo-finale!

The remainder of these pictures are from my South Florida trip to the Ft. Lauderdale area with Gary and Chris T., mostly, to Deerfield Beach, though there was a side trip (as in February when Gary and I did this same trip with LP).

June 6, 2009

Heading to the Spirit Airlines gate in faraway terminal A of Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to catch my flight to Ft. Lauderdale ...

... 3:44PM, EDT, June 6, 2009. This corridor is just part of the half mile long walkway between terminals A and B.

More inter-terminal passage ways at National Airport, 3:46PM EDT, June 6, 2009. This is a little used part of the airport. Along the walls on the right side are aerial pictures showing the history of National Airport back to its construction in the early 1940s.

Entering terminal A at DCA after having passed through security, June 6, 2009.

Take off from DCA: I had a right side window seat (an "F" seat) and we did an upriver takeoff, 5:46PM EDT, June 6, 2009. That's the Capitol building in the middle about 2 miles away. (Returning, we did a downriver landing, and I was seated on the left side in an "A" window seat, so I got a beautiful nighttime view of downtown D.C. Thus, I lucked out all four times since it is possible depending on the wind to do a downriver takeoff and upriver landing, in which case you don't get a view of downtown Washington.)

Seconds later, the view of the Washington Monument, Tidal Basin, the Jefferson Memorial, and one of the spans of the 14th Street Bridge, while ascending out of DCA. I live about 1.3 miles due north of the Washington Monument, which from the perspective of this picture would be in the middle far left.

Tropopause pause ...

Another stealth cellphone picture ... This one was taken 50 to 100 miles off the South Carolina coast heading south, 6:55PM EDT, June 6, 2009, at an altitude of about 36,000 feet (at this latitude and time of year near the tropopause -- that would mark the transition between where Earth's atmosphere goes from convective-radiative equilibrium (the troposphere) to radiative equilibrium (the stratosphere) ).

We arrived at what was a stormy South Florida dusk that required the pilot to navigate the jet well to the east over the Bahamas and then head due west to the airport (since there were t-storms up and down the immediate coastline and just offshore). Gary, Chris, and I were treated to a spectacular lightning display to the east as we drove the rental car, first to Deerfield Beach to Chris's hotel and then to Boca Raton to Marvin's cono, where Gary and I stayed at night.

After a prolonged drought, much of the Florida peninsula has been in a wet period lately.


June 7, 2009

The following three images show the view from Chris's hotel room (#615) in the Deerfield Beach Howard Johnson Plaza Resort the next day, June 7, 2009, at 12:05PM EDT.

Looking east over the open Atlantic Ocean

Looking southeast beyond the coconut palm-lined road along the beach, which is actually awkwardly named NE 21st Ave., though farther south it becomes South Ocean Way. (I already posted this image in my previous entry.)

The view looking to the northeast over NE 21st Ave., Deerfield Beach, Fla., and out over the open ocean.

Lifeguard stand #2, Deerfield Beach, Fla., 12:45PM EDT, June 7, 2009

The hotel's pool deck with some more coconut palm trees in the background. It was Sunday and there was a Caribbean guy playing the steel drums and singing assorted tunes.

A thatched tiki bar under the coconut palms at the place next door.

Me in the hotel room, June 7, 2009.


June 8, 2009

Same lifeguard stand #2, except the next day...

The same east view from Rm. 615 of the Deerfield Beach Howard Johnson Plaza Resort, except 4:31PM EDT, June 8, 2009

The view to the west from the hotel's pool deck as a thunderstorm approached, 5:41PM EDT, June 8, 2009

Stormy skies ... the gust front had already moved east over the ocean as the thunderstorm moved in from the west, 5:54PM EDT, June 8, 2009. Yes, that is a nearby bird caught in wing mid-flap in the sky just "above" the horizon.


June 9, 2009

The ocean off Deerfield Beach, Fla., was very calm for all of our stay there ...

... here is the view looking out to sea at 12:51PM EDT June 9, 2009. Those clouds on the horizon were the anvil head tops of distant thunderstorms over the Bahamas about 80 miles to the east.

Meanwhile, looking inland to the west ...

... the sky was filled with cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus clouds. This was the view as seen from about 10 feet into the very calm surf in a warm ocean (temp. near the shore 75F to 80F), 12:52PM EDT, June 9, 2009.

Same as above, except looking at the Deerfield Beach Howard Johnson hotel where Chris stayed.

Yours Truly, Regulus, under a towel on the beach in Deerfield Beach, Fla., 1:04PM EDT, June 9, 2009. The Sun was so intense that I needed to use suntan lotion with a high SPF (that Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, SPF #55, which, interestingly, was the same stuff I bought on my last trip there in late February from the same store and which remained in the bathroom in Gary's landlord Marvin's condo in Boca Raton).

Here is a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter whizzes by a few hundred feet offshore and no more than 100 feet above the ocean, 1:08PM EDT, June 9, 2009. The same distant thunderstorms are visible -- I estimated they were over Grand Bahama Island, or maybe even Abaco Island. I wasn't near a radar so I couldn't tell for sure.

Thereafter, Gary, Chris and I took a drive to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla. Gary and I did this with LP back in February, so I am not going to repeat those images, esp. since I find the "reality" of Worth Avenue with its jewelry, sculpture, and other art shops selling $25,000 this, $50,000 that, and $75,000 the other thing to be something so beyond my own perception of what is real that it's rather tiresome and pointless to do so.

However, here is a picture of Gary and Chris T. along Worth Avenue, Palm Beach, Fla., 4:19PM EDT, June 9, 2009. It turns out that June (and the summer in general) is the off season for Palm Beach, and many of these shops were closed with "by appointment only" signs in the window.

We drove in our PT Cruiser rental car back south along A1A, which changes names several times. Here is a house with the address 1800 South Ocean Blvd., in what I believe is still Palm Beach, Fla., June 9, 2009.

I'm sure Mr. Sirius will have a home such as this as one of his summer cottages at some point in the next ten years or so.

Meanwhile ...

... this trailer park along the beach in a place called Briny Breezes, Fla., June 9, 2009, is more my dad's (and mom's) speed.

Here we were (Gary driving and Chris in the front seat while I sat in the back) driving along A1A in Delray Beach, Fla., 5:21PM EDT, June 9, 2009.

The Meridia, Deerfield Beach, Fla., 5:40PM EDT, June 9, 2009. I think I haven't posted enough pictures of pastel-colored South Florida condominium high rises in this entry.


June 10, 2009

We left the night of June 10th (Wednesday), so we had some time to go to the beach in the early afternoon.

Here is another picture of me, this one taken at the Patio Bar and Grille in the Patio Bar & Grille, Howard Johnson Resort Plaza, Deerfield Beach, Fla., 1:33PM EDT, June 10, 2009

We then went to Marvin's condo, where we did laundry and got ready to leave in time for our evening flight.

Here is a picture of an old couple seated and having lunch in the same Patio Bar & Grille restaurant, 1:57PM EDT, June 10, 2009. Such retirement must be good.

Minutes after take-off from Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport (FLL), 8:25PM EDT, June 10, 2009, at about 15,000 feet altitude, approximately 10 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, looking west. There were some big thunderstorms over extreme southwest Florida while the cumulonimbus clouds in this picture were over the Everglades. The lightning from the t-storm cells was quite impressive -- and I could see it from as far as 150+ miles away.

National Airport, Terminal B, 11:24PM EDT, June 10, 2009, as Gary and I -- arriving late after storms over the Washington, D.C., area delayed our flight by a half hour, but at least we didn't divert to Philadelphia, as was threatened -- were hurrying to the Metro to catch the second-to-last Yellow Line train. The flight through those storms -- after we circled over a cloud-shrouded Richmond for 35 minutes -- was briefly very jarring.

Chris took a cab home from the airport.


Goodbye, South Florida ...

... still more coconut palms in Deerfield Beach, June 10, 2009


That's about all for now.

Again, my next entry will probably not be for about a week or so.

I am not going to write about one particularly bad thing that happened earlier this Sunday and why I called 911 because of it. I'll leave that for some other time. Suffice it to say, I'm home safe and at least semi-sound now.



krzysztof said...

Oh I missed this year's pride in DC and it's the 40th anniversary. Oh well. There will be one in London, I think it's in July here for some reason.
Am I the only reader here?

Regulus said...

No, it was the 34th pride in D.C. It is the 40th anniversary of the Stonehenge, I mean, Stonewall riots in NYC ... on those hot, enraged nights in July 1969 ... the same month man first walked on the Moon and Judy Garland died.

Yes, you are pretty much my only reader now. Actually, I have in the course of a month perhaps 10 regular readers.

krzysztof said...

My next door neighbor doesn't believe that man ever walked on the Moon. He has doubts about the global warming too. I'm afraid to ask about his views on evolution:-)

But he's pretty cool otherwise

rita said...

Hi There!

I've just finished moving into my much larger apt. & my phone & internet are finally up & running again. YAY!

Your pictures of your trip to Florida are interesting, as I've never been there. I do think the landscape is a bit plain though? It seems a bit redundant...water, sand, palm trees,... water, sand, palm trees,...I'm sure it's really much more interesting then it looks?

Unlike Fifi I can't think of anything poetic to say about your Masters Degrees & I think I've congratulated you about three times, already.

As a compliment, you are probably the most educated person I've ever met. What I like about you is you aren't a jerk about it. that means a lot to us hillbillys. :)

Regulus said...

Kristof -- So you are going to the Sophie Ellis-Bextor concert? That sounds great. She reminds me of Stephanie. (By the way, everything is resolved and OK.)

Rita -- That's pretty much South Florida, but some people love that. Of course, I did not put in pictures of the endless rows of bright condos and pastel-hued structures. I tend to focus on the ocean, beach, and palm trees, so my sample is a bit skewed. However, there is no terrain whatsoever in South Florida, so you never actually see "land" except what your standing on.

I feel as though I lost Fifi from this blog entirely.

Thank you for your compliments about my education and lack of jerk-ness about it! Being chronically un/under-employed, having creditors always chasing you, and earning so little money tends -- esp. compared to one's friends -- tends to put things in perspective.

Tim Hubbard said...

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