Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Multiple D.C. Big Houses, Architectural Fluff, and Financial Effluvia

The pictures in this entry were taken over the past few days.

This is the alley off the 3000 block of Porter Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:01PM, Sept. 27, 2009. I took a walk with Chris T. on Sunday that took us up to the National Cathedral and back.


I just wanted to update this blog briefly to say that I'm too tired and, yes, too busy with some contract work related reports to have a full entry with the usual blurry cellphone camera pictures I take. In the end, though, I wrote a fuller entry than I intended.

This Victorian style home -- it is a Victorian style home, is it not? -- at the corner of 36th and Macomb Streets, NW, is one of my favorite ones here in Washington, D.C. This was taken at 6:21PM, Sept. 27, 2009.

How come I never can find a room to rent in a house and neighborhood like that?


I'm also, naturally, very worried about the Wednesday morning small claims court hearing even if not much may happen on that day. It is the first part (my motion for continuance, which ironically is a motion to delay) of the first of two and what may very well be multiple (3+) cases from collection agencies from credit card debt, although I'm so broke and earning so little money that I believe "operationally" I'm "safe" from having my bank account and/or "wage" (contract) money seized until I can declare bankruptcy (7 or 13).

Actually, I don't know for sure what will happen on Wednesday, since anything is possible in America.



Here Flippo, my sweet plush hippo, vacates all judgments against me. That's a good hippo. I love my hippo.

Speaking of hippos, I discovered this wonderful blog called Hippograms where the main character is another plus hippo like my Flippo. I think whoever keeps the blog lives in Maryland.I would link to it but I don't want to do so in an entry as otherwise negative -- what with my financial problems -- as this one.


Here Chris peers into the "secret garden" like yard of the enchanted looking house at 3615 Macomb Street, NW, just off Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 6:23PM, Sept. 27, 2009.


There was one good thing today: I was in Bethesda this morning -- between 810AM and 10AM -- where I met with the co-CEO of the contracting firm (not my regular boss) at La Madeleine for a meeting with another person who didn't show up. And my regular boss said she could not make it.

Long story short, and she basically gave me $875 worth of work in October in addition to the $880 I should get from the regular climate change news compendium (although THAT project may not be long for this world, my assumption of full editorship coming late in its contractual life). If all this money pans out for October, I will be able to pay my November rent with no problems -- and not have to move until December.

Here is the National Cathedral at soft lavender - orange - dusky blue sunset, 6:45PM, Sept. 27, 2009. Going back to that "Life After People" episode about Washington, D.C., and how the Washington Monument (and it's "Laus Deo" apex capstone inscription) would be "the last thing" to survive, I rather doubt it. This structure and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception would last much longer.


Turning to the weather, we had a rainy Saturday night / Sunday morning with 1.63" at DCA and 1.31" at BWI and 1.11" at IAD. This brings the annual totals to near normal, although we're still a bit below on the monthly total.


On Saturday night, after a small party at Phil and Stephanie's place, I walked back to the gayborhood, stopping briefly at what used to be a regular hangout, (esp. with Kristof back circa 2003), Larry's Lounge, at the corner of 18th and T Streets, NW, here in D.C. This was at 12:27AM, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009.

Alas, the place ALWAYS has a terrible odor in it; the temp. is always too warm; and the music is always blaring and usually of the rap sort. I NEVER is that quiet, cozy little "loungey" place that it is billed as. I rarely go there anymore, although part of that is a function of my finances.


Yours Truly peering from behind a very large oak tree that grows completely smack-dab-square in the middle of the sidewalk along the 3400 block of Ordway Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:10PM, Sept. 27, 2009. The tree actually interrupts the sidewalk.


Golden Girls Quote:

Rose: "I haven't felt this silly since I found out William Conrad wasn't one guy in a jacket and another in a pair of pants!"

I watched the full line up of reruns of The Golden Girls on WeTV and Hallmark and now Cheers.


This is the top skeletal frame that resembles an arbor or garden trellis atop the Solo Piazza at 13th and N Streets, NW. Like many D.C. condos and office buildings, it has what amounts to a post-modernistic piece of architectural fluff on it that otherwise serves no functional purpose, which is fine, except I'm not sure what it is supposed to be quoting.

A garden trellis? A fly wheel contraption? A Mediterranean hill top village church?? Roman Polanski's 1978 arrest warrant?!


The house at 3501 Ordway Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:13PM, Sept. 27, 2009 with an interesting looking tree in front of it.

D.C. has no end of interesting looking houses in so many of its neighborhoods, yet I know absolutely no one who lives in these neighborhoods.


OK, I think that's about all for now.

My next planned update is for Wednesday night. We'll see what happens. I know my three readers will be keenly waiting for that.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Rainy Gray Day on the Pale Blue Dot

A rainy day on some unidentified American suburban side street as pictured in a "FreeFoto" image I got off the internet (and that I didn't bother to try to conceal.)


Today is a showery, cool late September day here in Washington, D.C., and environs, with the promise of an genuine rainy night forthcoming based on the composite radar mosaic image taken 40 minutes ago.

Here is the 2008 UTC (4:08PM EDT) 26 Sept. 2009 radar mosaic (composite mode) from parts of the Eastern and Midwest United States.


In lieu of dwelling on my finances, career, and life situation, I am going to post an excerpt of something I came across written by the late Carl Sagan in his 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

I was looking up -- as part of the Sept. 30, 2009 global climate change news compendium that I write and that is my only major source of income these days -- the speeches by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao given at the U.N. Climate Change Summit conveyed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last Tuesday (Sept. 22) and that both leaders attended.

Beninese-born American actor Djimon Hounsou gave the opening remarks (see here) that included most of the following excerpt (which I got from this site).

The image in question was taken by Voyager I on Feb. 14, 1990 as it was already approx. 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from Earth. It shows our planet appearing to be suspended in a shaft of sunlight tens of millions of miles long (created by the fact that from the distance of lonely Voyager I the Earth was almost lost in the Sun's glare). Earth occupies less than 1 pixel in the image, a fact Sagan weaves beautifully into the follow thoughts:

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines,every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

"The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


I'm going to Phil and Stephanie's for dinner tonight, and Gary and Chris T. should be there, along with Gary's Boston friends who are in town for the weekend.

My next planned update may be on Monday, but it also may not be until Wednesday after the court date and I can write about what happened.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost in a Red Sea, Looking for a Blue Ocean

I've been wanting to post a few pictures of Sydney, Australia in the freak dust storm that engulfed the city on Sept. 23, 2009 and that my "Sydneysider" blogger friend Fifi blogged about firsthand here. The above picture is one I got online and it shows the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the otherworldly red-orange gloom.

I plan to have a full entry posted tomorrow. This Thursday has been a down-and-up-and-back-down-a-bit day, particularly as involves my dreadful finances and impending lawsuits and judgments against me in D.C. small claims court, even as my larger career and life crisis remain dire and unchanged.

The Sydney Opera House in the eerie orange dusty gloom from the dust storm that shrouded the city on Sept. 23, 2009.


However, on the positive side, I have found a cheaper, nice place to live here in D.C. It is in the same house where Gary lives. Of course, I still need to find a real job, and I continue to look, albeit at a pace slower than I should. Nor am I thrilled to have to give up my apt. with its location near Dupont Circle and move about 2 miles north on 16th Street, NW.

Ah, that's better: Sydney and its harbor / harbour on a sparkling blue day.


Additionally on the positive side, last Thursday night's awful tutoring session with two Maryland b'ball students in the athletic dept. academic center was replaced by a perfect night tonight thanks in large part to the great support I received from the center people after my session evaluation complaint.

An underwater kelp forest off New Zealand's South Island as seen in the BBC produced series "South Pacific", episode "Endless Blue," and shown in the U.S. on the Discovery Channel as "Wild Pacific," episode "Eat or Be Eaten."


Tomorrow I plan to write about my trip to the small claims and reconciliation branch of D.C. Superior Court today ... the crappy and confusing advice I got from the "free clinic" and my persistence in the clerk's office that ended up me filing a motion for continuance to delay the case until I can get some more (free) legal advice... and the excellent phone call and email advice I got from a law professor involved in the American University law clinic whom I contacted, even though the clinic is not taking new cases.

Long story short, I learned the following today -- aside from keeping my mouth shut more than open, esp. in front of the judge, which I will be without an attorney as it is small claims court: there will very likely be two and probably three (and possibly eventually up to five) judgments for the $13,444 I owe.

I also have $127,000 in student loan debt that is still accruing interest, and which will not be reduced since my next bankruptcy will have to be chapter 7 rather than chapter 13.

However, I also learned that getting money from me via writs of attachment on my bank account and wages -- much like getting water from the proverbial rock -- will be difficult because I am basically below the poverty line with no assets in 2009.

Yay. I win.


Now HERE are some very special ones that no creditor or court will ever get a hold of not just in this life time, in the next one, in an INFINITY of lives, and in an INFINITY OF INFINITIES ...

... my plush babies and Sunshine Buddies o' love, including Flippo my plush hippo.


Turning to the weather, it has been too warm and blah -- in other words, the way it always is here in D.C., but this isn't a weather-themed entry.

That's all for now. I'm home watching The Golden Girls reruns on Hallmark Channel. Next up is Cheers. I may go to Cobalt for a drink.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trying to Survive and Not Be Evicted AND A Reposted Michael Lind Column

The "Sears Trophy" (by whom and for what I cannot recall) on display in the Comcast Center at the Univ. of Maryland, College Park, 7:57PM, Sept. 22, 2009.


I need to update this blog, including why I may have to worry about eviction in late October or November, although at this point, I think I can avoid it. Nevertheless, I may very well need to move from here, although where I will go (ideally, I will find a room to rent in a house), I've no idea.

The National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., 1:43PM, Sept. 21, 2009, located right across the street from the Federal agency where I had a botched internship in the summer of 2006.


I have been in a frightful mood the past few days, and so upset by how my life has turned out and inability to find an actual job and career in this damn country and city and place and time.

The area around Gallery Place - Chinatown in downtown D.C. -- our fair city's attempt at at NYC Times Square -- at 1:50PM, Sept. 21, 2009


Nevertheless, I managed to finish another one of the climate change news compendiums for my contracting job for $440. I was up all last night and then slept from 7AM to 1230PM before going to College Park to that weird tutoring job.

The weird "Technology Center" building "flyover" at 800 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 1:55PM, Sept. 21, 2009; it was built like this so the old District of Columbia public library -- that predates the architectural and socio-cultural abomination of D.C.'s MLK, Jr. Public Library -- could be seen looking up 8th Street with an unimpeded view.


The weather was warm, humid, and mostly cloudy today but again we missed any rain. The weather is so fucking dull, listless, uneventful and enervating in the D.C. area that it is really depressing.

A threatening looking overcast that amounted to zilch, as seen from the south edge of the Univ. of Maryland, College Park campus looking southwest toward the forested rise of College Heights Estates / University Park (in the direction of Washington, D.C.), 4:14PM, Sept. 22, 2009.


Oh, Kristof, Baby Doll, I meant to post this earlier ...

... I think you know who this is. I was at Chris T's apt. Saturday night, Sept. 19, 2009, watching a show about the evolution of life on this planet, and the discussion at this point had to do about why modern man survived because of his ability to speak fully, unlike Neanderthal man, and -- voila! -- Noam Chomsky appeared on the screen (and, naturally, I thought of you).


Yours Truly with the "scarab beetle" Tiffany lamp that Chris T. owns on Saturday night (or Sunday morning).


The remainder of this entry features an article by Michael Lind -- whose 1995 book Up From Conservatism strongly influenced how I see things politically in America, and whom I actually met once at the 17th Street Safeway here in D.C. -- that appeared in Salon.com on Sept. 22, 2009.



Intellectual conservatism, RIP

I was once a young neoconservative. The word meant something different then, before it was hijacked by extremists

By Michael Lind

Sep. 22, 2009 |

Link to Salon column here.

"On Sept. 18, Irving Kristol died. On Feb. 27, 2008, William F. Buckley Jr. passed away. Kristol was known as 'the godfather of neoconservatism,' while Buckley was the founder of the 'movement conservatism' of Goldwater and Reagan. The intellectual conservatism that they, in different ways, sought to foster had passed from the scene before they did.

I was a friend of Bill Buckley and an employee of Irving Kristol for several years in the early 1990s, as executive editor of the National Interest, the foreign policy journal published by Kristol and brilliantly edited by Owen Harries. A neoconservative of the older, Democratic school, I broke with the right in the early 1990s and warned about where right-wing radicals were taking the country in my book Up From Conservatism. The train wreck I predicted occurred during the Bush years, and the postmortems have begun. One is Sam Tanenhaus' indispensable and just-published study The Death of Conservatism. Another is found in a May 10 blog post by Richard Posner:

'My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising ... By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party.'

Historians of intellectual conservatism often claim that it consisted of three intellectual movements: the movement conservatism centered on Buckley's National Review, libertarianism and neoconservatism. I am not so sure that the first two qualify as intellectual movements. In the 1950s and 1960s National Review featured some brilliant mavericks like James Burnham, Willmoore Kendall and Russell Kirk, but for most of its subsequent history it was simply a partisan opinion journal. As for the libertarian intellectual movement, isn't that a contradiction in terms? How intellectual can a movement be, if it reflexively answers 'the market!' to every question of domestic and foreign policy, before the question is even asked?

That leaves neoconservatism. But in its origins neoconservatism was a movement of the center-left, not of the right. Here is Nathan Glazer, co-editor with Irving Kristol of the Public Interest, in that magazine's final issue in spring 2005, recalling the origins of the journal in the 1960s: 'All of us had voted for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, for Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and I would wager (?) that most of the original stalwarts of the Public Interest, editors and regular contributors, continued to vote for Democratic presidential candidates all the way to the present. Recall that the original definition of the neoconservatives was that they fully embraced the reforms of the New Deal and indeed the major programs of Johnson's Great Society ... Had we not defended the major social programs, from Social Security to Medicare, there would have been no need for the "neo" before "conservative."'

The 'neoconservatism' of the 1990s, defined by support for the invasion of Iraq and centered on Rupert Murdoch's magazine the Weekly Standard, edited by Irving's son William Kristol, had little to do with the original impulse, as Glazer points out: 'There is very little overlap between those who promoted the neoconservatism of the 1970s and those committed to its latter day manifestation.' While Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz set aside any differences with the Republican right by the 1990s, other first-generation neocons like Glazer and the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan remained true to their New Deal/Great Society principles. Several of them told me over the years that they thought of themselves as 'paleoliberals,' not 'neoconservatives,' a term that was coined as an insult by the socialist Michael Harrington and embraced as a badge of honor by Irving Kristol.

In its origins, neoconservatism was a defense of New Deal/Great Society liberalism at home and abroad, both from the radical, countercultural left of the era and from its own design defects. The early neocons were Kennedy-Johnson liberals who believed that liberal reform should avoid naive utopianism and should be guided by pragmatism and empirical social science. The '70s neoconservatives were so focused on the utopianism of the '60s campus left, however, that most paid too little attention to a far greater threat to their beloved New Deal tradition, the utopianism of the libertarian right. Ultimately Milton Friedman and other free-market ideologues did far more damage to America than the carnival freaks of the counterculture.

But the early neoconservatives were right to defend mainstream liberalism against countercultural radicalism. Like today's right, the '60s and '70s left was emotional, expressivist and anti-intellectual. (One of its bibles was Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book!) Like today's right, the '70s left favored theatrical protest over discussion and debate. The prophets of the Age of Aquarius and the 'population explosion' were every bit as apocalyptic as Glenn Beck. And just as today's right-wing radicals play at Boston Tea Parties, so Abbie Hoffman dressed up as Uncle Sam. The teabaggers are the Yippies of the right.

Boomer nostalgia to the contrary, in the case of practically every domestic issue disputed by the counterculture and the original neoconservatives the mainstream progressive position today is that of the neoconservatives of the '70s. While the neoconservatives of the Committee on the Present Danger in the 1970s exaggerated Soviet power, the kind of muscular liberal internationalism that Pat Moynihan defended against the left in the 1970s and against Reaganite unilateralism in the 1980s is today's progressive grand strategy. Neoconservatives like Moynihan were denounced as racists in the 1970s for saying the same things about the importance of law and order and functioning families that Clinton and Obama have been able to say without controversy. The original neoconservatives like Moynihan and Glazer sought to help the black and Latino poor by means of universal, race-neutral programs instead of race-based affirmative action, which, they warned, would spark a white backlash to the benefit of conservatives. They were right about the political potency and longevity of that backlash, too, even though today's progressives still refuse to admit it.

The enduring legacy of the original neoconservatives is less a matter of policy positions than a particular intellectual style. David Hume defined the essayist as a messenger from the realm of learning to the realm of conversation. Between the late '60s and the mid-'80s, the public intellectuals of the neoconservative movement shuttled between the two realms, writing essays with academic rigor and journalistic clarity for the general educated public in Commentary, edited by Norman Podhoretz, and the two quarterlies that Irving Kristol founded, the Public Interest and the National Interest. Here are a few of the essays in the inaugural issue of the Public Interest in fall 1965: Daniel Patrick Moynihan on 'The Professionalization of Reform'; Robert M. Solow, 'Technology and Unemployment'; Jacques Barzun, 'Art -- by act-of-Congress'; Nathan Glazer, 'Paradoxes of American Poverty'; Daniel Bell, 'The Study of the Future.' The journal in its ecumenical first issue included Robert L. Heilbroner from the left and Robert A. Nisbet from the right. If you were interested in the scintillant collision of philosophy, politics and policy, bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. In an era as inhospitable as our own to the essay as a form, it is encouraging to see an attempt by conservatives to revive the Public Interest under the name of National Affairs. The influence of the neoconservative style of informed debate is evident as well in the flourishing new liberal quarterly Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

In the 1950s, Irving Kristol, with the British poet Stephen Spender, had co-edited Encounter. In my view Encounter was the best magazine in the English language ever (sorry, Addison and Steele). Here is an anthology of the best of Encounter, including essays and poems by W.H.. Auden and Daniel Bell and Isaiah Berlin and short stories by Nadine Gordimer and Edmund Wilson. There was a scandal in 1965 when it was revealed that this transatlantic journal of ideas was secretly funded as part of the cold war of ideas by the CIA (both Spender and Kristol claimed to have been deceived). Never was CIA money better spent.

Irving Kristol; his wife, the distinguished historian Gertrude Himmelfarb; and many of their friends and allies had begun on the anti-communist left, battling Stalinists in the U.S. and Europe on the intellectual front of the Cold War. Because Soviet-controlled communists in Western democracies set up cultural and intellectual front groups to battle for public opinion, the anti-Stalinist left decided to fight fire with fire by setting up its own network of front groups and publications, often funded, as in the case of Encounter, by the CIA. This kind of Leninist popular-front strategy, using little magazines, committees and manifestos like the Committee on the Present Danger and the Project for a New American Century, was the organizational contribution of the neoconservatives in the 1990s to their creationist and libertarian allies in the Republican right. But by the time Kristol fils had succeeded Kristol pere as the new godfather of neoconservatism, most of the public intellectuals of the first generation like Moynihan, Bell and Glazer had distanced themselves from Neoconservatism 2.0.

The sins of the sons should not be visited upon the fathers. I hope that, in the judgment of history, the 'paleoliberal' neoconservatism of the 1970s will overshadow the crude, militaristic neoconservatism of the 1990s and 2000s. For two decades, between the Johnson years and the Reagan years, neoconservatism really was the vital center that Arthur Schlesinger had called for in the late 1940s. A robust new liberalism, if there is to be one in the aftermath of the opportunistic triangulations of Clinton and Obama, cannot leapfrog back to the Progressives or New Dealers, but must begin closer to home, with the early neoconservatives, who had learned from the failures and mistakes as well as the successes of the Progressive Era, the New Deal and the Great Society."

-- By Michael Lind

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Legal Tender -OR- "There's No Way Like the American Way"

Saint Germain hair salon with a ridiculously pretentious chandelier, the Penn Quarter section of downtown Washington, D.C., 12:12AM, Sept. 19, 2009


Some of the photos in this entry were taken in the Penn Quarter section of downtown D.C. late Friday night. I was there for a group dinner celebrating my friend Aaron's completion of his MBA (see below). Two of the pictures were taken by Gary on his trip to South Florida this weekend.

Crotey, my Gold Dust Croton, Sept. 19, 2009


I had intended a more thorough write up but this weekend has sort of flown by, compounded by my own excesses of drinking, and now I need to complete the second "Global Warming Monitor" by tomorrow morning for that contracting job I have. The boss I have has created a ridiculous 10th and 20th of the month schedule for what is supposed to be a twice a month approx. 15 page news compendium with feature story. As it is, I won't actually have it done until Tuesday and that's just too bad. Furthermore, she won't actually look at it until, like, next Monday.

Anyway, I am very sick today with a bad headache because I really overdid it last night. In fact, I'm so ill that I may not be able to stay up all night to do the report.

Rasika restaurant, 633 D Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 12:17AM, Sept. 19, 2009


Last night, I first went to Chris T's place for a nice dinner and unplanned TV viewing, specifically, three episodes of "Miracle Planet." I didn't even know there was such a thing as the Science Channel -- I don't think I get it, although true to tell, I'm not even sure of all the channels I get since the numbering system is so random and sprawling, running from 001 to 999. (No, I don't actually get 998 channels -- more like 150, about 8 of which constitute nearly all of my TV viewing.) I had a whole bottle of red wine in addition to the fish and broccoli that Chris cooked.

Chris T's living room, Saturday night, Sept. 19, 2009


Later, I went to Cobalt and then to this weird once-a-month gay event with LP somewhere near Howard University Hospital.

This morning, I was ill (threw up -- sorry) and it was blood or last night's red wine came up. I'm not inclined to think it was the latter. If it is the former, then I don't know if that means something is really wrong with me.

And if it happens again, I will go to the emergency room and I will tell those monsters I have no money and no insurance and if they refuse to see me, I'll sue EVERY fucking body in sight -- while waving the flag and singing "Yankee Fucking Doodle Dandy" while I do it -- in sight.

Perhaps I have an ulcer. I don't think it's cancer.


The candle and wax array at Oyamel Restaurant, Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2009.


Today (Sunday) I was served with a legal judgment. I am being sued by Arrow Financial Services, L.L.C., and Mann Bracken for $1618.18 -- the smallest of the credit debts I owe, which total about $13,000 on four credit cards and a Macy's charge card. It is a bit unexpected that this company is suing me (I thought it would be Weinstock, Friedman & Friedman) as I had made arrangements to pay them $45 a month and had actually sent in a payment last month.

In fact, I am going to try to motion to have the amount reduced to reflect that. I need to contact the D.C. Bar about possibly getting free or reduced cost help. As I have said before, I cannot do a bankruptcy at this time. I cannot do a chapter 7 until Aug. 2010 (there being a requirement to wait 8 years between filings) and I cannot do a chapter 13 because I do not earn enough.

Intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and R Street, NW, 7:27PM, Sept. 19, 2009


I have to show up in small claims branch of the D.C. Superior Court. on Sept. 30, 2009 at 9AM and I will do so. My main worry is if my bank account and/or contracting job income seized.

Just for record keeping purposes, the notaries public names are Lakisha Esco of Niles, Illinois and Wendee L. Hill of Montgomery County, Md. One sounds "south side" ghetto and the other sounds like she puts hearts over the "i's" when she signs her name.

The pier at Deerfield Beach, Fla., Sept. 18, 2009. Gary took this picture while on his extended weekend visit to Boynton Beach / Boca Raton / Deerfield Beach, where I have gone three times this year (and hope to go one more time in November assuming Spirit Airlines has one of its $9 each way super duper reduced fares and I can stay at Marvin's condo).


I am also currently not paying the nearly $33,000 I owe Citibank for student loans. I am supposed to file for either an economic hardship or a general forbearance, but I have decided not to do so and let it go into default. It will help if/when I do my chapter 13 (student loan debt is not fully dischargeable under a chapter 7). As for the other $93,000 I owe in a consolidated Direct Loan with the Dept. of Education, that one is currently in an in-school deferment, although it should not be. I suppose I should tell them at some point. As it is, they already have my new address though I never told them, so if they want to contact me, they can do so.

Citibank can go to hell because you're supposed to have a six month grace period, and they gave me a shit period instead. As it is, I'm so broke, I can't pay anything. The Citibank monthly payment is over $650. Yeah, right.

The house at the intersection of S and 17th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2009.


By the way, the "delivery" man showed up dressed as a UPS fellow but I rather doubt he. He rapped on my door around 2PM today, scaring the hell out of me. I opened the door (looking bedraggled and like hell). He said something in a chipper voice about a "delivery" for me.

"Is it a lawsuit?", I asked, and he replied it was.

I noticed he had a rectangular shaped object wrapped in white with a small bow on it that was on his clipboard. I am, like, 90 percent sure it was actually a brick that he carries around for protection in case the person he is serving attacks him. Why not just carry a gun and be done with it? That's the American Way.

As it is, this credit card debt, lawsuit, and a Sunday delivery by a fake UPS guy carrying what was probably a brick sums up the f/cking American Dream -- long ago hijacked by degenerate corporate fascists -- and what it means to be an American.

Of course, most Americans (and this is not new) are so hopped up on fundamentalism and duped by hate radio and Fox Noise into thinking their problems are caused by imaginary welfare queens in Cadillacs, gay marriage in Taxachusetts, Nancy Pelosi, and Jane Fonda trip to Hanoi 40 years ago that they have no idea the real source of their problems.

Cue Lee Greenwood: "And I'm proud to be an American ..."


Group dinner at Oyamel restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2009 (as described below).


All that aside, part of my weekend was good, specifically, the nice group dinner (with my tab covered 'cuz I'm broke) at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana restaurant in Penn Quarter in downtown D.C. in celebration of my friend Aaron having earned his MBA from the Robert H. Smith Business School at the University of Maryland, College Park. That school is housed in the same building -- Van Munching Hall -- as the public policy school whence I earned my (third) masters degree last May. (It was Aaron who paid for me.)

Amy and Eric at Oyamel restaurant, downtown Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2009


So at this rate, I probably only have about 2 months left that I can live in this apt. I'm not sure where I would go although part of me really wants to leave D.C.

I really want to move to New Zealand but it is a process. That process is shown here (left) in a diagram I got off the NZIS Web page. I would apply under the "skilled migrant" category that NZIS has

I would like to initiate an "Expression of Interest" (EOI) application, except it costs NZ$400 (about US$284). That would be the first "pay a fee" denoted by the top yellow circle.

They probably run a credit check, too, so I'd doubly flunk the application process. I think Captain James Cook had to pass a credit check before he started out on his South Pacific voyage.


Clouds over Boynton Beach, Fla., Sept. 18, 2009. This is another picture that Gary took while on his weekend trip to South Florida.


That's all for now. My next planned update will be on Wednesday.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Musical Interlude and Many Optical Illusions

The intersection of New Hampshire Ave., NW, and Q Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 7:01PM, Sept. 16, 2009.


Musical interlude ...

This is apparently a remix of Right Said Fred's hit 1991 song I'm too sexy. I actually had never seen the video before this. These days, I'm the UTTER and TOTAL opposite of sexy, just a nebbishy bit of doughy, desperately flailing, quiet (or not so quiet) bit of lost person. Just sayin'...

Furthermore, prior to seeing this image of them when I read their Wikipedia article, -- taken at the Vienna gay pride event in 2008 -- I didn't realize the duo were brothers and that one of them (Richard Fairbrass is rather gay, or bisexual), and rather studly at that. He was attacked in Moscow at a gay pride event in 2007 by anti-gay thugs, where I guess things like that still happen.

In America, we instead have teabaggers, birthers, deathers, fundies, and clueless town hall screamers. While I agree that there is an undercurrent of ugly racism in the hatred being directed toward Pres. Obama, I think his supporters (the same ones who demonized Hillary during the primaries) are forgetting the long history of rightwing craziness in America, most recently during the 1990s when it was directed at the Clintons.

To understand American politics is to take a trip to the Fun House with its scary sights and optical illusions that distort reality by recognition.


Speaking of actual optical illusions, the following are taken from an article in the online version of Woman's Day magazine here.

... rotating cylinders (it was called "rotating waves" in the online article I saw, but this looks more a set of rotating cylinders to me).


Here are "flowing leaves"


An old fashioned kaleidoscopic array


A black and white "wormhole"


I'm going to keep this entry short. However, I want to redirect my readers to Fifi's blog and her current entry. I hope wish her dad a speedy recovery.


A few personal items ...

I hope that $440 check from my contracting job doesn't bounce. It was written to me with grammatical mistakes (written as "for hundred fourty"). If it does, I can't fix the problem for a week and I need to pay my Sept. and Oct. phone, cable, and internet bills. After a discussion at the Bank of America that ended up involving three people (and after the teller told me I should NOT deposit it), the consensus was that it was probably alright to do so.

Also, I applied online tonight for another job at the Federal agency (EPA) where I would LOVE to work. Odds of hearing back: 0.000000000000000000000000014%


I'll end with one more picture ...

A real world Tiffany lamp. This one belongs to a friend of mine. He has a number of such lamps. This one is my favorite.


My next planned update will be for Friday or Saturday.