Monday, July 20, 2009

Close Encounters of the D.C. Weekend Kind ...

... an entry mostly about my Friday, Saturday, and Sunday life and doings ...

Here is a picture of Yours Truly looking / sniffing some deep burgundy and white-colored Madagascar Periwinkle flowers -- from the geographically incongruously named "Pacifica Burgundy Halo" series -- at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton Regional Park in (alternatively) Wheaton or Silver Spring, Maryland (both being part or all of an unincorporated Census Designated Place, I'm not going to debate the point), where I went this Sunday with LP (see below for more pictures).


Friday, July 17, 2009: My New Apartment ...

So my move on Friday from Apt. 414 to Apt. 504 is over and it went all in all very smoothly and quickly, with internet, cable, and window a/c all promptly set up, although I really do hate moving. I find it very stressful. That was even true of a move as minor as this -- in which I literally hand carried everything from one apartment to the other without boxing up anything.

My new apartment on Friday morning, 11:33AM, July 17, 2009 before I moved anything into it.


Gary helped me move the mattress and window a/c. It is identical to my old unit except spotless with a nice view onto New Hampshire Ave., NW, and toward the west and northwest.

There is least for now none of the inches of dust that covered everything in my old place and that I could never get rid of despite dusting, and resulting perhaps from excessive use of baby powder. I guess I should buy a regular mop, or maybe a Swiffer.


I won't even try to explain this picture ... except to say this is my computer, my Sunshine Buddies, and a happy-face inflatable ball. The music box is actually a 50+ year old powder puff that belonged to my grandmother and that even now still plays -- just barely, it gears grinding like crazy -- the ditty "To Each His Own."

As I mentioned in a previous entry, from my new apt., I can see the towers of Rosslyn and "deep" into Virginia, but I still don't have a view toward the south so I can't see the Washington Monument. It's pretty at night with all the distant lights from buildings and transmission towers. It will look nice on cold winter nights especially, the twinkling effect all the more pronounced. But I don't know if I'll be here in the winter -- I don't know how long I'll be here. If everything falls apart and I go broke, I will not move out but simply abandon it if it.

However, as of now, it appears I have resolved at least half my financial crisis for the short to perhaps medium term. I am to take over the "global warming monitor" newsletter that is produced biweekly at the company for which I do consulting work because the person who has been doing it is leaving for another job in another state. This person is a friendly acquaintance of mine -- I mentioned him my last letter. This assignment plus another one in theory would give me $900 or so per month, just about to cover my rent (but nothing else). I still need to find actual regular work.


Saturday, July 18, 2009: Wilson Bridge Walk ....

Early Saturday evening, Gary, Gerry, and I took one of our once-common but now-infrequent weekend drives into the suburban wilds of the purgatory of Northern Virginia. We drove on the Capital Beltway into Old Town Alexandria to the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge and walked half way across it.

Here we were in Gerry's car approaching Exit 177 A-B on the Capital Beltway Outer Loop in Virginia, July 19, 2009.


This is the eastward view of the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge along the northside pedestrian walkway / biker trail around 730PM July 19, 2009 from the Virginia side looking towards Maryland beyond the Potomac River. There was a flattened mixed stratocumulus / altostratus cloud deck overhead and the temp. was pleasant around 75F and dry (not the usual D.C. midsummer fare).


Moments later (and still looking east), the Sun came out low in the west-northwestern sky, and it completely changed the whole setting.


Here is the Wilson Bridge / Capital Beltway with some large signage over the highway in a melancholy sunset on the interstate sort of way. The new bridge was built between about 1998 and 2008 to replace an older, severely strained older one.

The new bridge is still a draw bridge -- specifically, a "double-leaf Bascule bridge" type. There is no metal grate for where the part of the bridge that rises as there was on the old one. This new bridge also does not open nearly as often as the old one -- only 40 to 50 times a year, I understand.


The view to the north up the Potomac toward D.C. (with downtown located about 7 miles away) through the free telescopes (located at two intervals we walked past) is quite fascinating. I refer to the way all of the objects visible just sort of pile up ("telescope") in a strange perspective. This includes buildings and transmission towers, including the Hughes Memorial "Mr. Sirius" "Eiffel" Tower was on the bridge with Gary and Gerry. Even D.C.'s less than dramatic terrain appears in such a view as being really hilly.

Here is one of my crummy cellphone camera images looking north toward D.C. from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. You can just barely make out the "splinter" of the Washington Monument just to the left of the Potomac and the Capitol Building as a speck above the rail over the river on the horizon. As I mentioned, the weather and sky were very not-summer-like, which was fine with me. It may finally turn wet next week.

Through the telescopes (but not with the naked eye), you could actually see the top spire of the Mormon Temple shining a bright golden-orange in the setting sunlight. This is located about 16 miles due north of the bridge -- literally traversing the distance of the South Cornerstone at Jones Point lighthouse to the North Cornerstone of the original 10 mile by 10 mile Federal Territory and then a couple of miles beyond that. Theoretically, it is 10 miles times the square root of two plus another 1.5 miles, so about 15.6 miles.


Yours Truly on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge pedestrian walkway/bike trail at sunset, July 18, 2009, looking north up the Potomac River toward Washington, D.C.


Here I am peering through one of the telescopes from the Wilson Bridge, July 18, 2009. Gerry took this photograph of me with his cellphone camera.


Here is Gerry and Gary front-lit in the golden yellow-orange light of the setting Sun on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, July 18, 2009


Above is a blurry image of me looking at one of the lights on the walkway. They did not all come on but rather only every 4th light, at least initially.

These small but intensely bright lights are visible from parts 16th Street as you head south (between about Emerson Street and Euclid Street, including Upshur Street), as a row of twinkling blue-white stars. I thought they were LEDs, but they do not appear to be, since they did not come on instantaneously.


Here is another view of the walkway lights -- at this point and section of the bridge it was every other light that was on. This is the west view back on the Virginia side of the Wilson Bridge, dusk, July 18, 2009.


This is the welcome to Virginia sign (is it still "Virginia is For Lovers"??) on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at dusk, July 18, 2009.

I have this long ago memory of my first ever visit to Washington, D.C., in December 1977 during a bitterly cold outbreak (back when we still had actual winter weather).

It was shortly after I turned 8 years old. I was living in New Jersey with my dad and grandparents and my dad and I drove down to visit D.C. We also thereafter went all the way out to Luray Caverns. I recall the drive back from Luray all the way to New Jersey at night and I have this vague memory of falling asleep in the car while in Virginia near D.C. and waking up in New Jersey and arriving home in Long Branch at 2AM.

This concludes my Wilson bridge pictures.

Earlier on Saturday, we had gone to this place called Kilroy's in Springfield for an early dinner. I like that Irish bar/restaurant's food and its World War II poster imagery them, not to mention the randomly placed moose heads, but the pictures outside the bathroom -- which actually used to be at the entrance by the host/hostess stand -- of the World Trade Center exploding and one of the jets about to fly into one of the towers is a little jarring.


Saturday night / wee hours Sunday morning out in Adams Morgan ...

Later that night, the three of us joined up with Phil, Stephanie, Chris T., Eric M., and John and Tina for an Adams Morgan night out. The occasion was Tina's birthday. Tina is John's wife.

Here is a picture of John and me at Angle's on 18th Street, NW, above the Little Fountain Cafe where the others played pool.

I haven't mentioned John much on this blog. A native Marylander from Prince George's County, and long time close friend of Phil, he is a married father of four young children and a terrific, hardworking, very nice guy. He is as totally straight as I am completely gay. More generally, the "Venn Diagram" of the kind of life he leads and the kind of life that I lead, including the stuff that we do in so many areas, is mathematically speaking, the NULL SET.

He DID actually fall asleep in my bed once ... but that was only because he and Phil had gone out drinking and then they came over to my place. He fell asleep while a group of us went out -- after Phil had tried to put a pen in his ear to wake him up. I thought he was going to come up swinging.

Adams Morgan was, as usual, mobbed chaos in the wee hours of a weekend night. It can and regularly does -- and in fact did as we left -- turn ugly (with a mob of black teenagers, including a girl, attacking a burly MPD police officer who had pinned another against a parked car in a melee with other officers rushing over -- it sort of happened in a riotous fast yet weirdly slow motion as I watched it explode in front of me as we were leaving Angle's. WHO THE FUCK ATTACKS AN ARMED POLICE OFFICER??

I prefer my 17th Street gayborhood, but Angle's inside is pleasant enough and never crazy mobbed.


Sunday, July 19, 2009: Tranquil Suburban Montgomery County ...

On Sunday, I went to meet my friend LP at his Grosvenor Park place in Rockville, and we then went (as I noted above) to Brookside Gardens.

This is actually the Lux Manor Branch that runs through the sprawling, three building Grosvenor Park high rise complex where at least 3,000 people must live. The buildings are the essence of 1960s thinking, planning, and design.

A LEED building none of them are. As LP said, "You can't walk through the lobby without using energy." But LP's condo is very tranquil. You just want to sleep when there.


Here he is: my friend LP in the parking lot, July 19, 2009.


Thereafter, we went to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton / Silver Spring, Maryland (see top of this entry). There was a special "open house" in that the enclosed butterfly garden had earlier been open for free so the place was mobbed.

I realize when I got to Brookside Gardens that I had been there for my friend Quill's brother's wedding in fall 2002. I showed up horribly late (on my bicycle like a retard) and in my own world but Quill was still so happy to see me.

Mr. Sirius's new house. Just kidding. This is some hollowed out tree trunk with a wooden conical "roof" made to look like something out of a fairy tale. This was in an herb garden and the place was mobbed with parents and their young children. There are also lots of Canada geese everywhere with a commensurate amount of goose poop.


The early evening Sun peeked out from a deck of cumulus clouds and illuminated this (I think) bald cypress tree in a soft, vibrant green way. Actually, it has been dry the past few weeks and we could use some rain.


Yours Truly pondering how heavy I am -- or rather, looking at the tree.


Now HERE is an image from Brookside Gardens earlier this Sunday, July 19, 2009 (maybe I should have made this my lead picture):

This is a red fire hydrant in front of wild hydrangea (the off-white / dull green sort) with a cabbage butterfly caught in wing mid-flap (the little white "V" toward the top of the picture).


More herbs, flowers, and shrubbery in endless colors and varieties with all kinds of names. This is Limerock Ruby tickseed and a type of Dahlberg daisies. I even learned what hen-and-chicks succulents are.


A dizzyingly bright lavender-scarlet zinnia flower, Brookside Gardens, July 19, 2009.


That concludes this entry, although on this July 20, 1969, how could I not note the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 First Moon Landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

This picture was actually taken the next day, July 21, 1969, as the Lunar Module was approaching the Commander and Service Module that remained in orbit, piloted by Michael Collins. (On a personal note, I would not be born for another four months.)


My next planned update will be Thursday.

I'm supposed to go to the Screen on the Green movie on the National Mall tomorrow night with friends.

The movie is Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The above image is from the 1902 silent movie Le Voyage Dans La Lune.

As for my contracting job, I have three short assignments totaling $320 and I should be getting next week (on July 28, the day before I go to Florida for a week) a payment for $1152.50.



к.нео.физ.де.му said...

sounds like you had quite a busy weekend!

the one time i met john hi did seem like a very nice guy - although i had no sense of him being a dad of four!


we had guests from russia over last week... and then we went to ocean city for the weekend. they have a 5-year-old and we have a 2-year-old - you do the math...

actually, at times it was nice... :)

Regulus said...

I forgot you met John. I keep forgetting that you have met most of my friends at one point or another.

From Russia to Ocean City, Maryland ("Aoh-shun Citee, Merlin, hon"), wif love.

krzysztof said...

I have always felt bad for poor Michael Collins. He was so close and yet so far. I can picure him idly circling the Moon, chain-smoking in a small cabin waiting for the other two to return.

Regulus said...

Sounds like you. Ha ha

The Screen on the Green movie experience last night was much fun -- although David actually left midway through the movie -- but it wasn't nearly as fun without you there. Also, the weather was actually cloudy and cool, around 68F, with a pleasant easterly breeze, rather than the usual unbreathable, oppressive middle July crap.