Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Washington, DC, America 2010: Under the Blue Summer Sky

An unusually clear and blue summer sky fleeced with cumlus and altostratus clouds as seen near the New Carrollton Metro at the intersection of Corporate Dr. and Pennsy Dr., (unincorporated) Landover, Md., 1:35PM, June 29, 2010

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This entry features pictures I took the past few days. The Sunday ones were taken while I was with LP out at Great Falls National Park in Montgomery County. The ones today were taken as I was heading back from a trek out to Landover, Md., near the New Carrollton Metro.

The sky earlier today as seen from New York Ave., NE, on the bridge over the train / Metrorail tracks in a crappy part of Washington, D.C., 11:41AM, June 29, 2010

I was heading to Landover with two coworkers -- in a car that one of them had just driven to D.C. from Colorado to move here.

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I went to my company's Landover office in the Metroplex Building on Corporate Drive in Landover to see a very interesting presentation by the company CEO. (I work in the D.C. Office near L'Enfant Plaza.)

The Metroplex Building, Landover, Md., 11:59AM, June 29, 2010.

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I think I've made a positive impression on him, and I think my boss (one of the VPs of the company) and at least one of the program managers views me positively. My boss is actually away now until next Tuesday (after the July 4th Federal holiday that falls on Monday, July 5th this year).

I'm putting together consumer fact sheets that are intended for use by the Dept. of Energy.

Another view of the black glassy Metroplex Building as seen under a fair blue summer sky from the parking lot at the edge of Corporate Drive, Landover, Md., 1:33PM, June 29, 2010.

I was walking to the Metro station at this time. I had seen this building many times from Rt. 50 over the years but never been in it. The building was nicer than I thought it would be.

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Department of Weather Complaints

As for the weather, and maybe as you can tell in the above pictures, the frickin' 100F heat and humidity has broken for now. Temps. are expected to be in the 70s and lower 80s Fahrenheit for highs the next few days and lows in the lower 60s and even upper 50s Fahrenheit for the next two nights.

There were some t-storms that blew through the area yesterday with the cold front -- and a VERY needed 0.79" of rain fell at Reagan National Airport (DCA), 0.70" at Washington Dulles (IAD), and 0.51" at Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport (BWI).

Here was the view from the 9th floor landing in my building looking at L'Enfant Plaza during the thunderstorm yesterday, 3:05PM, June 28, 2010.

I'm on the south side of the building and don't really have access to the building's north or west side whence weather approaches.

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We are still way below on precip. so far this year, esp. at DCA. The actual colder air is only now just beginning to arrive -- by "colder" I mean temps falling through the 80s and toward the 70s Fahrenheit.

The steps at L'Enfant Plaza heading to the Metro (you have to go up to go down into the station) with the sky about 2 hours after the storm. That is a remnant of a t-storm anvil head. It was actually very hot at this point, around 94F, after a high of 97F at DCA and 99F at BWI.

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As it is, June 2010 will almost guaranteed go down as the warmest June on record at DCA and probably at least one of the other two regional airports (BWI or IAD).

Though it will be cooler, there isn't any frickin' rain in the forecast for at least the next five days and it will start to warm up by the weekend -- and within a week we will probably be back into the horrendously hot and humid.

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The scuzzy-stagnant and mosquito-filled waters (HOORAY! HISTORY!) of the C&O Canal at one of the ancient locks, Great Falls National Park, Md., 5:24PM, June 27, 2010.

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Unwatchable News In a Profoundly Shitty Time


I am completely tuning out the news tonight, including Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. I just handle the fucking news and world tonight, esp. as delivered for two hours in endless tons of righteous but ultimately helpless indignation. Everything is wrong.

And for Kristof and Joe who are both in England right now (and both are to return within 3 months), you're lucky to be there.

We are in an extra shitty and tea-baggy time right now and it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Oh, and I'll literally die of a brain aneurysm if I have to follow the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Those affairs are beyond unwatchable.

A sort of sill - water falls around one of the locks at Great Falls National Park, Md., 5:28PM, June 27, 2010. There was actually a big (blue?) heron waiting on the rock by the waterfall on the right, but he sort of blended into the rock. Eventually, he flew off -- and had at least a 4 foot wing span. He was waiting for a fish to go by in that soupy, nasty water.

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Taibbi & Krugman


Two quick commentary items ...

I recommend this Matt Taibbi blog piece slamming CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan for her sharp criticism of his Rolling Stone fellow reporter Michael Hastings for the latter's piece that ended up getting Gen. Stanley McChrystal sacked by Pres. Obama. The piece includes links to the Huffington Post article with embedded videos.

It's basically a profound clash of two very different views of the role of the journalist when covering the Government, including the military.

Another one of the locks with waterfall -- this one more impressive than the others -- at Great Falls National Park, Md., 5:30PM, June 27, 2010

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I also agree quite strongly with Paul Krugman's assessment of where and why Western leaders are going in a macroeconomic and financial policy. He has been making this point a lot lately.

Maybe like some speculate will happen with the BP / Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil disaster, and things will never get better.

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SAVING UP TO 50,000 BABY TURTLES!

I would like to detour here and post the following bit of frickin' GOOD NEWS. I'm sure GOD will screw with this, too, lest anything too good happen for too long.

It's about the efforts to save this year's cohort of sea turtles along the northern Gulf of Mexico, including the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama, from the ecological catastrophe of the oil fouled Gulf of Mexico waters that those hatchlings who survive the gauntlet of their post-hatching beach run will enter.

A Hawaiian green sea turtle (honu), part of the larger green sea turtle population.

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The U.S. Government, in one of the few good things its done lately, and State of Florida are working collaboratively on a plan to move approximately 50,000 turtle eggs including loggerheads, Kemp’s ridley, green, and leatherback to the Atlantic side of Florida in order to save them from the Gulf's oil-poisoned waters .

The report released on June 16, 2010 is entitled Sea Turtle Late-Term Nest Collection and Hatchling Release Protocols for the Florida Panhandle and Alabama in Response to the Deepwater Horizon (MC-252) Incident.

The link is here, but it may be behind E&E's password barrier.

Some of the language is worth quoting:

"The activities identified in these protocols are extraordinary measures being taken in direct response to an unprecedented human-caused disaster ...They involve significant manipulation of eggs and hatchlings and are accompanied by definite but unquantifiable risks."

"These extraordinary measures and associated risks are not supportable under normal conditions. However, the continuing environmental disaster occurring in the Gulf of Mexico requires that we take extraordinary measures to prevent the loss of the entire 2010 cohort of hatchlings produced on Northern Gulf beaches..."

That is, if this isn't done, the entire Northern Gulf cohort is likely to die in the oil fouled waters.

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Anyway, instead of the news / commentary, I'm tuned to the easy listening channel on my RCN (channel 891). Right now it's the Mantovani Orchestra playing "Tara's Theme."

My friend Quill's brother is actually in the Mantovani Orchestra, or rather the posthumous descendant of it that only comes together episodically for special events.

Speaking of Quill, here she is holding the entire plush family -- hippos, monkeys, and all. This was taken Saturday at my apartment after we went to Bertucci's.

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I just finished my laundry -- it's so frickin' stressful when it shouldn't be, what with all that running up and down to the basement and needing to have $5 bill (or higher) increments (since the damn laundry card doesn't take $1 bills any longer) and hoping there are machines available. Now the laundry is just in a big pile on the floor. Sometimes I wait so long (over a week) to fold the white under-clothing that I ended just doing another load.

Yours truly looking out at the rapids of the "main stem" Potomac River and that give Great Falls its name -- and its class 5 whitewater rapids designation -- at 5:50PM, June 27, 2010.

Despite being so out of shape, I wanted to climb out there to near the biggest rapids, but it would take forever, and it is a bit risky and the park doesn't make that kind of thing easy with so much off limits. This was at the end of the boardwalk overlook on the Maryland side looking toward the Virginia side. It's actually a bit easier, I think, to get down to the river on the Virginia side.

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A typical danger sign you see in Great Falls National Park. The Potomac River is mighty dangerous indeed.

This being D.C. and everything hyper-political and reflective of the STUPIDEST political debates to which this country is prone, there was a big controversy years ago when the National Park Service first put the warning signs in Spanish ... on the policy grounds that it's better to let Hispanic immigrants drown while fishing in a river than post a stupid sign warning them because "that way, they'll learn to speak English, and, anyway, they're here illegally."

Stupid. And inhuman.

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Another view of Great Falls itself on the Potomac River, 5:48PM, June 27, 2010. The Potomac when it really floods every 25 to 100 years can literally cover this entire view.

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I will probably go to Cobalt for a drink tonight. I won't stay there too late.

The tuna fish I had for dinner earlier is stinking up my apt. The tuna fish was mixed with mayonnaise and I also had a handful of Keebler Townhouse Toppers crackers and some Coca-Cola.

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Here LP looks at a cedar tree that he thinks he remembers from nearly 50 years ago when he went there as a young boy. This is along the boardwalk / walkway leading out to the Great Falls overlook, 5:37PM, June 27, 2010.

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Last night, I spoke to my dad for an hour on the phone tonight. He is thinking of next year -- in March 2011 -- of moving back up this way from Florida, specifically, to the Delaware coast. And if my mom moves to the South Jersey shore area (Cape May County) in 5 years, that will bring them both back to the ocean -- and not far from where we all started many years ago in New Jersey.

I was fascinated by this Google satellite image showing the ocean floor topography of the continental slope / drop off to the deep abyssal plain. If you could "drain" the ocean, you'd see some incredible terrain as the continental slope falls from about 1,000 feet to 10,000+ feet down.

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Speaking the Jersey shore, my more immediate plan is to go there -- to Wildwood -- with Gary and LP in August for three days if possible. I will take off two days from work (remember I'm just hourly at this point, so I just don't get paid), probably a Friday and Monday.

This assumes LP's mom's health doesn't require him to stay in the area.

In September, I want to go down to Florida to visit my dad in Flagler Beach, which is where he is going to be at least until next spring. I will also take two days off, probably coinciding with the Labor Day weekend.

I guess by September, I should have a much better idea if this job is going to be made permanent or not.

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A most likeliy homeless / mentally ill man walking along the mainline Amtrak train tracks as seen from the Metrorail Orange Line, which parallels and then crosses above it, between the Cheverly and Deanwood Stations in inner slummy Prince George's County, 1:59PM, June 29, 2010.

I debated whether to make this image my lead one but my cellphone camera just couldn't get a better image of him.

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OK, I think that's about all for now. My next planned update probably won't be until Friday or Saturday.

--Regulus

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