Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blossoms,T- Storms, and Federal Gov't Shutdowns -OR- April in Washington, D.C., 2011

An unidentified lady walking under the saucer magnolia trees in full floral peak in the Enid Haupt Garden of the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 5:29PM, April 4, 2011. I think she was one of the many tourists who have descended upon D.C. this April.

I was walking to the Smithsonian Metro -- rather than the L'Enfant Plaza Metro -- in the record warmth of that day. Most of the blossom petals, though, were blown off in a drenching t-storm around 430AM. See bottom part of this entry for weather update.

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The flowering trees growing alongside the CSX/VRE/Amtrak train line that runs past my office building with the U.S. Capitol about a mile away, Washington, D.C., 5:24PM, April 4, 2011.

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I had planned a much longer entry but tonight I went with a co-worker friend to the National Press Club top-floor bar (so lovely and so steeped in journalistic history) where we had a few glasses of wine and talked about what happens if/when there is a Federal Government shutdown and we at our company are furloughed.

A really hot guy (this picture doesn't do him justice) near the Foggy Bottom Metro, Washington, D.C., 5:49PM, April 4, 2011. (I took the Metro to Foggy Bottom and walked to the Watergate Safeway.)

He was clearly a GWU student. Yes, I realize it is tacky at best and creepy at worst taking stealth photos of people like this.

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Long story short, in a worst case scenario, if DOE decides that NO money can be used by contractors (even if approved in a multi-year way), then we will be carried on overhead for a week or two followed by furloughs. Now I've been at this company for nearly a year and only have about 1 work week of vacation time saved up ... and NO money.

Walking northeast along New Hampshire Avenue, NW, toward Washington Circle, Washington, D.C., 6:15PM, April 4, 2011. I had gone grocery shopping and was walking back home.

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Exacerbating this is that I'm only half way through the $540 I have to pay (after dental insurance reimbursement) for the replacement crown on tooth #14. Right now I have the temporary crown in place and my African American dentist's office is going to hold the permanent crown (which arrived today) hostage until I pay the second part.

My shadow on the wall of my apartment, Washington, D.C., 7:09PM, April 5, 2011.

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I would pay the remaining balance with my Flexible Spending Account (I have $360 on it) but I don't have the debit card I need and I'm skeptical it will arrive in time (I found out I had the wrong card on the day I had the temp inserted).

I was going to write a vitriolic entry about the Teabagger nihilistic crazies and the forces of brutal corporate-fascistic reactionary intrigue behind them (Koch party anyone??), but I think I'll skip that ...

... if only because my mom reads this blog occasionally.

I was also going to talk about "Rising GOP Star" Rep. Paul Ryan's Modest Medicare Proposal that would kill millions of old people over time, but never mind about that.

Paul Krugman has done an excellent job demolishing the megalomaniac know-nothingism built into this Heritage Foundation-based concoction of crap that the WaHoPo and the mainstream D.C. pundit class nonetheless will treat as a Serious Idea.

Will wussy Dems cave in? OF COURSE.

Rather, let me just say that I have figured out (I think) how to pay my May rent earlier than I would ... I'll be flat broke thereafter, of course, but paying the rent is the most important thing.

I'm home now watching a wonderful episode of Frasier on Hallmark Channel ("Miracle on Third or Fourth Street") and The Golden Girls is on next.

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100,000 and Counting ...

On Monday, April 4, 2011 at 2:30PM, I reached my 100,000th visitor as recorded by StatCounter (and excluding my own visits, which I block from being counted).

A truncated / adapted screen capture of the 99,999th visitor just before 2:30PM ... Click on image for much larger version.

I've been getting upwards of 500 hits per day on my Regulus blog in recent weeks, nearly all Google image searches, but as you can see, my Arcturus blog isn't getting too many hits these days.

A truncated / adapted screen capture of the 100,000th visitor ... Click on image for much larger version.

As with about 95% of my blog visits, it was a Google-based image search ...

In this case, someone in Littleton, Colorado (or at least that's where the router was located) was searching for the Hungry Hungry Hippos board game -- see image above and click on it for larger version.

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Here is that image of the Hungry, Hungry Hippos board game. I think the name has been changed and one of the "hungry's" has been dropped.

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And as some of my regular readers may know, these are MY hippos -- Flippo, Harvey, and Little Aurora -- in all their plushness along with the others.

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And here is Mr. Sirius, or maybe his boyfriend "M.V." ... They sort of look alike anyway.

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Weather Update ...

On Monday, April 4, 2011 it tied the daily record of 85F at DCA and reached daily records of 86F at BWI (old record 83F) and 85F at Dulles (old record 81F). About 11 hours later there were big, drenching but very short-lived thunderstorms and the next day was chilly and rainy in the morning and overcast during the bulk of the day with temps only around 48F. About 1/4" to 1/2" of rain fell.

The storm that blew through at 430AM on Tuesday actually woke me up over my fan and window a/c ...

Here was the Sterling (LWX) radar in base mode, 4:26AM, April 5, 2011. We were actually under a tornado watch for a bit.

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This is the same LWX radar but at 4:30AM, April 5, 2011 and in composite mode (which shows activity in the clouds as well as what is falling out of them).

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These storms were part of a long frontal system with an extended line of powerful / tornadic storms across the Southeastern U.S. into the Ohio river valley and Appalachians that blew into the mid-Atlantic in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Here was the Northeastern U.S. radar mosaic, 4:38AM EDT, April 5, 2011.

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Earlier, an extended squall line swept across Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Here was the Mobile, Ala., NWS radar (composite mode) at 8:21PM CDT (9:21PM EDT), April 4, 2011.

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And here was the Southeastern U.S. radar mosaic around the same time as the Mobile, Ala., radar image. However, I'm not sure the exact time.

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And one last weather image ...

The weather advisories in effect for the Hawaiian islands as of 4:29HST, April 4, 2011.

I love how there is a flash flood watch for the ENTIRE Hawaiian island chain INCLUDING the 13,796 foot top of Mauna Kea and the 13,679 foot top of Mauna Loa. Interesting.

The NWS will continue to operate during a Federal shutdown since it is considered essential.

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OK, that's all for now. I really must go to bed.

--Regulus

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