Monday, November 29, 2010

Lunch, Dinner, Drinks, and Work

Just a quick update this Monday night ...

I have some more pictures from my Saturday afternoon lunch at Union Station including this one of my mom and me that Ray took, Nov. 27, 2010.


It's late on Monday night and I just updated my other blog. I've been feeling less than healthy - well the past day. I've never been flabbier but I also have headaches and various tingly pains throughout my body. I may be dying.

Oh, and I got a haircut earlier this evening -- and now I look like a vapid and pasty-faced war refuge from central Europe.

My mom and I at Thunder Grill in Union Station, Washington, D.C., around 2PM, Nov. 27, 2010.


Dinner With Hippo ...

Last night, I had a very nice dinner with K., my friend and Hippo himself from the Hippograms blog. We three went to Luna Grill on Connecticut Avenue.

Here Hippo enjoys a class of white wine.

I have to have Flippo and the rest of my pod meet Hippo at some point.

Of course, have a festive dinner / Cobalt sort of night made my morning all the more difficult. Actually, I was more just stressed out about the air mattress thing by the time I got home and my sleep wasn't particularly restful.

As for my day, I was dreadfully and even scary slow at work all day (scary because I keep wondering how / why they are going to keep me on) although toward the end there were some promising signs -- including being given permission to go to the ACEEE 30th anniversary policy and analysis conferences here in D.C. next week.

I DID buy a certain someone an flashlight air pump ... in fact, a whole new air mattress ... I'm hoping that ends a certain unpleasant episode.

Here is another picture of Hippo in his glasses and a hoodie seated at the table.

However, this photo was with my cellphone camera and it was quite dim in the restaurant.

When I got home, I discovered I had a package in the side storage room. I thought it was a summons for yet another credit card small claims case, but it was (speaking of pods and other animal groupings) actually a present from Quill: James Lipton's An Exaltation of Larks.

Also today, I firmed up my Christmas plans, but I'll write more about that in a subsequent entry.


Oh, yes, I COMPLETELY forgot to mention in my previous entry that my mom, Ray, and I went to the National Portrait Gallery after lunch at Thunder Grill in Union Station. We saw the Hide/Seek (probably not Ray's first choice to see) exhibit of gay and lesbian art and the Elvis at 21 photo exhibit.

Chris T. sent me another sunset picture from his downtown D.C. office looking west. This was earlier today (Nov. 29, 2010). Note the bright spot probably -- probably part of a sun dog halo refraction pattern on distant high clouds (well behind the closer-in middle deck). These clouds heralded tomorrow's system.


Weather Update ...

DCA finally reached 32F -- the freezing mark -- this morning. IAD reached the freezing mark on Nov. 1st (and 22F this morning) and BWI reached the freezing mark on Nov. 2nd (and 25F this morning). There is often a weeks' long lag between DCA and the other two.

That system is forecasted to bring heavy rainfall to the region Tuesday night and Wednesday. I hope so.

Here is the Sterling (LWX) NWS county warning area (CWA) map advisories as of quarter to eleven tonight showing a flash flood watch in effect for most of the region including the I-95 Metro areas.

Here is the Great Lakes Sector composite radar image in enhanced mode, 0328UTC 30 Nov. 2010 (10:28PM EST Nov. 29, 2010 as the system approaches.


OK, I think that's all for now. The dinner I ate isn't sitting too well. Boo.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lunch at Union Station and Other Weekend Doings

The main vaulted hall with rounded east-facing window in Union Station, Washington, D.C., 1:08PM, Nov. 27, 2010.


Just a quick update to say that I'll try to update this blog either this evening or tomorrow night in time for Tuesday.

Updated: Actually, this entry ended up being significantly longer than I thought so I probably won't update it until at least Monday night.

The giant "Norwegian Holiday" train display that is set up each year at Union Station here in Washington, D.C. "Giant" troll dolls and troll babies lurk in the crevices and caves of these "mountains" passing through a snowy - mountainous Norwegian landscape.


Birthday Blahs ...

My birthday weekend was mostly crappy and/or the usual sad stuff -- and the usual three bars that I go to. My birthday was actually Friday, Nov. 26th.

Here someone I know from Windows (can't think of his name) holds a rose.

This was at quarter after two AM.

As I said, just a typical weekend for me.


The BIG HAPPY EXCEPTION was the nice afternoon lunch / visit with my mom and Ray at Thunder Grill at Union Station. (The name is appropriate if only because the trains passing literally underneath it actually shake the place.) We had intended to go to the Washington Harbour area but it was kind of blustery and cold outside. I had an excellent New York strip steak, spinach and potatoes.

My mom and Ray came into D.C. from near Glen Burnie. My mom also gave me a gift card with $100 on it that I really could use (to buy new clothes).

"Now use it for yourself. Don't buy anything for your rich friends," she said. I had just told her the approximate incomes of some of my current and former friends.

Here are my mom and stepfather, Ray. This was taken outside Thunder Cafe in Union Station, Washington, D.C., 2:39PM, Nov. 27, 2010.

I don't think I've ever actually posted a picture of Ray before on this blog. Ray, who is a Vietnam veteran, and my mom married since Dec. 1974 -- so it is coming up on 36 years. I had just turned 5 years old. I actually remember meeting him some months earlier back in New Jersey (it must have been the spring of 1974). He was stationed at Fort Monmouth at the time.

And, yes, my mom and dad do get along well.


A fall afternoon view looking down the 1700 block of New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 12:44PM, Nov. 28, 2010. I was standing in front of the Embassy of Rwanda. The next one down is the Embassy of Swaziland and thereafter -- with the light blue, red, and green flag in front of it visible in the picture - is the Embassy of Eritrea. Rounding out the African Embassy row of New Hampshire Avenue are Botswana and Namibia a bit closer to Dupont Circle.


The Weather ...

So it still hasn't gone down to 32F at frickin' National Airport. Dulles reached the freezing mark on Nov. 1st (32F low) and BWI on Nov. 2nd (30F low). DCA got down to 33F this morning. This often happens -- IAD and BWI will reach freezing 4 to 6 weeks before DCA.

Rain -- as in a 100% chance -- is still in the forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday. I hope so.

Looking north up the 1800 block of T Street, NW, toward Florida Avenue, Washington, D.C., 4:20PM, Nov. 27, 2010


A few items ... The scathing New Yorker critique of George W. Bush's new "memoir" is here. And anything by Paul Krugman is worth reading. His New York Times blog is here. This is in addition to his Monday / Friday columns.

Lastly, read Alex Pareene's hysterically funny This Week in Crazy: Joe Rehyansky.

Favorite line: "I think when you start up a conservative opinion outlet, the vast right-wing conspiracy just assigns you a couple of clueless old people who've been faxing pages about the honor of Oliver North into Regnery publications for 30 years, and you have to publish them."

Pareene's brilliant full pundit Hack Thirty series is here.


My apartment, somewhere in Washington, D.C., 4:28PM, Nov 27, 2010. Flippo had landed atop my box fan. What a good little plush hippo.


At work this week, I need to come up with assignments to keep me busy -- that will be my assignment this week. I don't like just being supported on overhead as I am now.

I probably should wrap up this entry. Oh, yes, I meant to post this picture, too ...

My first ever compact fluorescent light bulb (see below) next to my table lamp -- lit by an old incandescent bulb -- and my Sunshine Buddies and computer (logged onto, yes, my Arcturus's World blog).

On Friday, I purchased my first ever compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). I guessed at the appropriate lumen to watts ratio between the old incandescent and CFL brand. They are pricey ($6) and you have to know the Watts / lumen equivalencies.

In a few years, the LED will be replacing the CFL. Regardless, the old tungsten filament incandescent bulb is not long for this world.


OK, that's it for now. My next planned update probably now will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 -OR- 41 Ways to Give Thanks ...

Residential side street of the Four Corners area of Silver Spring, Md., where Quill's parents live, 4:44PM, Nov. 25, 2010.


Thanksgiving 2010 ...

I started an earlier version of this entry around 130PM, and while I was heavy on vitriolic political commentary, I was short on time and had to get ready to go to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for Thanksgiving dinner.

While dinner was nice, I don't have a lot of good photos to post -- and I am happy that my life situation is so much better than it was a year ago or, for that matter, the past several Thanksgivings.

Looking north at the 2000 block of 15th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:00PM, Nov. 25, 2010. I was walking to the Metro to go to Silver Spring.


Instead, I'll talk / complain about the weather ... It is overcast and mild (around 54F here in the city) tonight.

The weather has been -- from my perspective (which, admittedly, is not that of most people) -- unusually boring / blah / lousy / too warm this fall and this year.

This past week alone, we've had rain in the forecast for days it seems but in the end, everything "sheared out", "dried up", "lifted north of the Mason Dixon line" and the D.C. area mostly dry.

ChrisT took this picture from his office overlooking Freedom Plaza (with its infernal skateboarders) and Pennsylvania Avenue at dusk on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2010. The wussy weather system had past through -- dropping virtually no rain -- and it was already clearing in the west behind the towers of Rosslyn / Arlington.


However, a strong cold front is approaching from the Ohio River valley and there APPEARS to be a lot of precipitation along it.

Here is the Great Lakes sector NWS radar mosaic (always in composite mode instead of base reflectivity), 0358UTC 26 Nov 2010 (10:58PM EST Nov. 25, 2010).

I'm sure all this precipitation will find a way to miss us.

We've had two weather systems miss us in the past three days including this morning with just a few spits of precipitation (0.04" at BWI, 0.03" at DCA and IAD). The system today was actually a warm front preceding the approaching cold front.

Below are the updated precip stats for the three regional airports through today (Nov. 25, 2010). (Sept. 1st is included since that marks the start of "climatological fall".)

November (thru 25th): 2.19" (-0.34")
Since September 1st: 11.61" (+2.07")
Year-to-date: 32.97" (-2.83")

November (thru 25th): 1.84" (-0.73")
Since September 1st: 13.05" (+3.34")
Year-to-date: 41.31" (+3.27")

November (thru 25th): 2.39" (-0.37")
Since September 1st: 10.93" (+0.98")
Year-to-date: 37.52" (-0.66")

Note the huge -- 8.34" or nearly two months' worth -- difference between DCA and BWI.

Although the monthly, seasonal and annual stats don't really show a drought -- only DCA is below for the year by about 8% -- it still feels as though it has been a particularly unpleasant weather year for me as a record snowy winter abruptly -- almost violently -- shifted into a disgustingly hot spring and summer. This included what certainly felt like prolonged dry periods broke by a couple very heavy rainfall episodes that masked the dryness.

At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), from June 1, 2010 through today (Nov. 25, 2010) there have been 49 days of measurable rain -- in a period spanning 178 days or only 27.5%.

Most of those rainfall episodes were quite small -- under 0.10".

Of the 16.07" of precip that has fallen in that time, over one quarter fell in a single calendar day event (4.66" on Sept. 30th).

Overall, 30 of those 49 events involved rainfall of at least 0.10" and just 22 of those 49 events involved rainfall of at least 0.25". Furthermore, there were just 6 calendar day events involving at least 1.00" of rainfall that collectively accounted for a full 11.53" or 71% of the total (including the Sept. 30th deluge).

This means that on average only 17% of the days in that 178 day span had any rain of "note" -- taken to be at least 0.10", or about once every 6 days.


I suppose WOODY! and the LWX crew are happy, as are all those local weather-casters I've looooong since stopped watching, but I don't want to go off on that topic right now.


I want to return to the whole topic of TSA "live nude image screening" versus groping (like a drunken late night at a gay bar) pat down thing -- esp. given what a difference of opinion at least three of my own friends have expressed.

However, as it is Thanksgiving and I had a nice evening and want to keep the tone of this entry upbeat, I shall refrain.

I'll talk about that in a subsequent entry.

East-West Highway at Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md., 4:33PM, Nov. 25, 2010.


It is 11:32PM now and NONE of my late night comfort TV shows are on, including The Golden Girls.

The Hallmark Channel has been in its "Countdown to Christmas" all - Christmas - movie frenzy for the past two weeks now and it probably won't end until early January. As for We TV, it's showing some show called "Downsized" -- no, it's not about losing weight.

So instead I just have tuned into my easy-instrumental-listening RCN channel 891. I'm rather tired and need to go to bed.

My good friend Quill and "Evelyn", who has lived quietly in the house for decades, Silver Spring, Md., 9:54PM, Nov. 25, 2010.


I'm going into the office tomorrow, although I said I would be in around 1030AM. As it is, only about four of the 20 or so people who work in the main HQ office where I work will be there.

The D and 9th Street SW access point from / to the Elephant L'Enfant Plaza station is to be closed for "removal of hazardous substances" as part of some renovation. It is "just" supposed to last until Dec. 8th -- but in reality, this being Metro, this probably means Dec. 8, 2011.

It also means an extra 8 to 10 minutes of commuting time around / over / under (depending on how I go) the Amtrak / VRE / CSX train tracks that runs near by building and (along with I-395) severs off Southwest D.C. from the rest of Washington.

This is also where that out-of-control escalator inexplicably sped up several weeks ago, injuring some people.

Cobalt blue dusk outside my apartment building looking toward 16th Street across New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:23PM, Nov. 24, 2010.


My mom and Ray are supposed to come into D.C. on Saturday and take me to lunch -- probably at the Washington Harbour area -- for my birthday. My actual birthday is tomorrow (Nov. 26th -- now just 20 minutes away). I turn the glorious age of 41.

What a dumb and pointless age to be.

The Thanksgiving dinner table earlier tonight as it was being set including with more chairs (there were actually 7 of us).


OK, on that note, I think I'll end this entry. I need to go to bed with my box fan whirling, my window a/c on (I often have it on since it gets stuffy and warm in this old building even on cool nights), and under a pile of plush hippos and other plush stuffed animals.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Buttery Fingers and Other Strange Non-Delights

OK, this entry was started at 630PM-ish but is being finished at 11PM-ish and, YES, it is partly a reposting of my most recent Arcturus blog.

The clock tower on the imposing Romanesque structure of Healy Hall at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., at cobalt blue dusk, 5:13PM, Nov. 21, 2010.

I was there with Chris T. He went to Georgetown as an undergraduate.

The apocryphal "tradition" was to steal the clock tower hands and mail them to the Vatican, which would stamp "RETURN TO SENDER" on the unopened package.

I doubt that second part ever happened but (my understanding is) theft of the clock hands was a common occurrence in the 1960s. Today, it is much rarer, and the university authorities do not like this one bit and act accordingly.

The Georgetown Univ. college boys we passed by were so attractive -- and so young. Sigh.

I think I'll get drunk one night at the Tombs. Am I too old to do that?


A stoop in the 2900 block of Olive Street, NW, Washington, D.C., in the Georgetown section of the city -- not to be confused with Olive Street, NE, in a really shitty part of the city -- at 4:33PM, Nov. 21, 2010.


I know I need to update this blog. Trouble is, I can usually only do one thing per evening -- and yesterday it was all about updating my other blog after GT came over and helped me with my computer (again). It seems to be OK now ...

I was going to post an entry right now but it would be so damn vitriolic -- I've been in a foul mood all day -- with the focus on our ugly political climate, our worthless D.C. weather, and just everything bad right now.

Another Ginkgo tree at (smelly) fall splendor (actually, this tree may be a male, and so no nasty "fruit") next to the Heurich House near Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 4:08PM, Nov. 21, 2010.


Instead, I am going to meet Kristof for a drink at Cobalt. I'll try to update this blog when I get home but no promises (as if anyone noticed).

My work day was OK. Oh, yes, I've been enjoying immensely the Salon "Hack 30" series featuring the worst big name pundits out there.

Also confirmed is how loathsome The Washington Post -- I'm thinking of current and former Posties such as Fred Hiatt, Howie Kurtz, & Len Downie, Jr.


The shrubs growing on the steep steps to the house at 3123 N Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:40PM, Nov. 21, 2010.


OK, the following was written after my Cobalt jaunt ...

As for airline "security," here we have a bunch of deranged people who just want to insert their fingers and cameras up everyone's posterior in the name of "security theatre" ...

More importantly, though, the fact the public ALMOST seemed to gag (so to speak) on this latest violation caused a major FREAK OUT in the military - industrial - police - surveillance complex we have.

This, in turn, caused panic among the courtiers and court scribes at The WaHoPo, whose frickin' job (in between acting as war criminal-mongers) is to tout whatever poll they commission and/or dig up to justify their obsequiousness in order to please the powers that be -- since basic Constitutional rights should ALWAYS be put up to goddamn lumpen-proletariat plebiscite.

How about we see Fred Hiatt naked on camera? Or that nutjob publisher -- the one who looks like she belongs in a trashy bar in Daytona Beach?

"I look GREAT naked on a live full body scan."


Quotable Quotes:

“... you have the choice of either being fondled by a complete stranger, go to your left . . . or if you want to appear nude on live video go to your right."

-- Ann Coulter (!) on The O'Reilly Factor last week.


As for me, in the end, I'd PREFER risking the 1:1,000,000,000 chance of the air craft being ... rather than have a camera insertion up my a--. Besides, that's a false choice.

See, I told you I was in a bad mood.



I'm going to end on a GOOD NOTE:

Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass playing one of the most sublime songs of all times, the one called Ladyfingers.

Yes, the lady on the "Whipped Cream & Other Delights" 1965 album cover is covered in what appears to be actual whipped cream and holding a rose, but is otherwise naked. That's neither here nor there...

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be over the weekend.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Night Not Very Alive or The Homoeiades

**Updated 1:57PM 11/21/2010: See below**

The Nov. 18, 2010 APOD showing the 400 light year distant Pleiades ("Seven Sisters") and the very dusty (molecular cloud) stretch of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy through which it is moving. There are other celestial objects visible including the weird "vulture's head" nebula LBN 777 and VdB 27 with the variable star RY Tau. This view at the distance of the Pleiades spans about 70 light years.


I was trying to update this blog but I'm not feeling well. It is now 930PM and Gary and Chris T. are supposed to come over to my place. The Britcoms are on MPT tonight (instead of the usual Saturday night pledge drive stuff.)

Image from the internet of a Douglas fir tree growing near Cabresto Lake, N. Mex., Sept. 2005.

Thereafter, we are meeting Kristof and maybe Jamie either at Larry's Lounge or Windows. But, again, I'm so tired and headachy.

I will try to update this blog tomorrow. However, my computer is beginning to act up badly with increasingly frequent crashes. It may be a hardware problem. The damn thing isn't even a year old.

OK, that's all for now. In all, just another Saturday night here in the D.C. gayborhood.


Updated 1:57PM 11/21/2010:

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm just really getting up now. It's another blah sunny day in an endless parade of them. The weather in Washington, D.C., for the past 9 months has been more akin to Los Angeles in terms of sunny sameness. Of course, the LWX - Sterling crew and WOODY! in particular can't get enough of this kind of weather.

Here is the view from my 5th floor view in the Hampton Court looking at the Brittany across the street and off into the vapid Washington, D.C. distance on a vapid day a few minutes ago, 1:46Pm, Nov. 21, 2010.

That oak tree next to the building has held onto its leaves for an exceptionally long time this fall -- as have other trees.

The climate is getting all screwed up, no matter what the GOP corporate fascists, kooks, and Teabaggers say. Quick, Howie "MistahWhore" Kurtz, you better call up both sides and get the equal and opposing views. Jackass.


Anyway, last night was a characteristically strange sort of night with the group.

Happiness is a plush hippo: Kristof hugs Flippo

This was taken at 3:08AM when Kristof and Gary had came back to my apt. for a little while after meeting at Windows. My apt. is usually not nearly so bright -- I put the overhead light on to take that picture.

OK, that's all for now. I think I'm going to take at least a short walk today with Chris T. I'm not going to sit in front of this computer all day while it crashes. My next planned update will either be Monday or Tuesday evening.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ginkgo Obama -OR- A Stinky Political Climate

A rainy late night near Town House Tavern and Cobalt along R St. near 17th St., NW, Washington, D.C., 11:36PM, Nov. 16, 2010.

This was shortly before a line of t-storms ahead of a cold front swept through the area.


LWX (Sterling) NWS radar in composite / standard mode, 11:52PM, Nov. 16, 2010, as thunderstorms were approaching.

I don't have final stats for the system -- toting up the 3-day totals, you get 0.71" at DCA, 0.58"at BWI, and 1.16" at IAD, but the daily summaries give a different number. For the year, DCA is still below normal, IAD is about average, and BWI is significantly above normal.

The figures I have for year-to-date are 32.82" at DCA or -2.18"; IAD 37.47" or +0.17"; and BWI 41.27" or +4.10"


A side street in the Kalorama / Adams Morgan section of Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 2010. I think it's actually 20th St. and Kalorama Rd.

Yes, those are ginkgo (biloba) trees, some of which are female (ginkgos are dioecious, which is to say there are male and female trees) that contain a "fruit" that is truly STANK-ASS disgusting. I say "fruit" because it really isn't a fruit. These walnut sized things drop from the females in the fall -- and get smeared open under cars and by pedestrians. The smell they give off is truly vile.

Chris T. took the above picture.


Hey, lookie thar! Our hero President Obama speaks!

"I neglected some things that matter a lot to people, and rightly so: maintaining a bipartisan tone in Washington ... I'm going to redouble my efforts to go back to some of those first principles."

-- President Clueless Cave-In to reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned from his failed 10-day trip to Asia (can anyone say "brutal Chinese mercantilism" or "stupid American free trade dogma"??), source

This is like a Jimmy Carter kind of thing, only a lot worse in every way.

True, it's the kind of comments that get the WaHoPo editorial board and the power-and-money-mad anti-life Washington corporate types excited, but no one else.


I'm very concerned that I don't have enough billable work to do at work and I'm going to be let go. In that case, I will IMMEDIATELY leave D.C. and head to my dad's place -- and NO ONE I know will have to ever see me again.

Gusty, cool fall day along L'Enfant Promenade near where I work, looking to the WNW at the nearby Washington Monument, 12:53PM, Nov. 17, 2010.


I had a nice night with Chris T. and Kristof, but now I need to go to bed. I'll update this blog tomorrow or Friday.


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Human Race ...

Here NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson peers down on Planet Earth from about 220 miles above from the cupola of the International Space Station in September 2010. Source: Nov. 15, 2010 APOD.


Speaking of looking down upon the Earth ...

There was this amazing YouTube clip embedded in this Huffington Post article showing 1,000 years of European history compressed into just under 5-1/2 minutes of changes to national boundaries. The YouTube clip itself is embedded here:

It's quite remarkable. Humans and their political boundaries feel like so many ants in a frenzied jumble on the background of the essentially eternal Earth. It gives a new twist on the term "the human race."

Consider the millions who died in the period encapsulated by the 8 seconds from 4:49 to 4:58.


The LWX (Sterling) NWS radar in enhanced reflectivity mode, 11:28PM EST, Nov. 15, 2010.

Tonight has turned into an actual bona fide rainy night. Unfortunately, I could not make it to Larry's Lounge for a rainy night drink there. As it is, I had a crappy, short time there last night after earlier going to Cobalt with Gary.

As it is, lately I've been feeling quite profoundly alone -- and my friends are getting more distant and, in at least one case, really is no longer particularly close to me nor wants to be.


More on Queen Noble ...

A follow up to the posting of Queen Noble's campaign video in my previous entry ...

My favorite line has to be "This is captivity" -- and then how she looks away at the passing loud Metro bus. I also find it intriguing her parts about how Norton has been in power "over sixty, seventy years" (in fact, it will be 20 years as of Jan. 3, 2011) and how the U.S. is "a stolen country" that must be held accountable for "crimes against humanity."Then there's the "IS WHAT IT IS!"


Here is an interesting piece due to appear in the Nov. 29, 2010 edition of The Nation about whether or not Pres. Obama "even really wants to be president in the fullest sense" of what that means today.

"I feel another political cave in coming."


OK, that's all for now. I think it's supposed to be rainy through tomorrow night.

My next planned update won't be until mid to late week.