Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nebraska by Air, D.C. by Foot, Philly and Newark by Train

This is the Harrowgate and Windermere buildings in the 1800 block of New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 7:37PM, Aug. 10, 2011, on a lovely summer evening.

I actually lived in the Harrowgate (in unit 403) for my first 2-1/2 years here in D.C. in 2001 and 2002 before I moved for 6 months or so to the Newport West in late 2003, followed by the nightmare of 2004, my brief return to suburban Maryland (Silver Spring), and subsequent move-back into the building where I've lived since March 2005 in two different units (the current once since July 2009).

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Nellie's D.C. - Nebraska Nexus

Last night, I went to Nellie's with Gary where I actually had a very nice time.

A group of young gay guys, upstairs at Nellie's, Washington, D.C., 12:52AM, Aug. 13, 2011.

In terms of new "nouns of assembly" or "nouns of assemblage," I think a "sorority" for a group of young, attractive gay guys is appropriate. Now for the gay, sweaty and hairy leather bear crowd, it should a "sling" or a "den" perhaps. I'm not sure what it should be for a bunch of old, heavy gay guys in a bar. (For lesbians, it could be a "flannel" or, alternatively, an "abode".)

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It was such a nice time in part because I had a really wonderful conversation with a young lady (I seem to talk to women a lot more than men in the gay bars I go to) named B. who is something of a fixture in the 17th Street gayborhood.

Downstairs at Nellie's, Washington, D.C., 1:47AM, Aug. 13, 2011.

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For that reason -- that is, for her sake, given my own low and bad standing as having run afoul of the 17th Street gay mafia -- maybe I shouldn't even mention this talk with her on my blog (since a few of them check in over here intermittently). But I never really talked to her before and realized what a nice person she is.

Indeed, she has never been judgmental nor anything but polite to me and last night we had a talk about a topic that had nothing to do with anyone or anything on 17th Street.

I started talking to her because she if from Nebraska and I am presently working on four compliance cases in the Cornhusker State related to Recovery Act-funded projects.


Above: The welcome to Nebraska sign used by the state.

Map of Nebraska counties: Why is Cherry County, like, six times bigger than some of its neighboring fellow square counties??

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Here I am seated in a small cubicle in a building near L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C., talking on the phone to folks in remote Nebraska towns including last week a guy in a pick up truck who was on his cell phone with me. It's kind of surreal, but I really enjoy these cases, esp. since they typically have happy endings (i.e. forgiveness) for entities that were trying to do something good and are on tight financial budgets, though presently I have one case where I simply cannot recommend forgiveness.

A field somewhere in Nebraska under storm skies with an early evening rainbow.

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I only touched into Nebraska in a cross-country drive with my ex-friend Dan in late May 1999 from Seattle back to D.C. We actually bisected South Dakota and then dropped briefly down into the northeastern most corner of Nebraska for, like, a half hour, before entering Iowa. Other than that, I've only flown over the state a bunch of times as it is the middle of Flyover Country.

An aerial view of Nebraska (from Google Earth map as seen, I estimate, somewhat above passenger jet cruising altitude) somewhere west of North Platte. This would probably be the view around 75,000 feet or so.

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She also told me what it is like to go home to Nebraska to visit her family -- how different it is from D.C. I would imagine it is sort of like going to a different planet. And when she is back home, she never hides who her friends or what her life is in the Nation's Capital.

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Checking In at the 17th St. Avian Sanctuary...

As for the 17th Street crew, let's check in with them ...

"CAW! CAW!"

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What say you, Mr. Sirius?

"QUACK! QUACK!"

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Saturday Non-Starter


Today so far has been an agonizing day in that (1) I didn't get enough sleep last night / this morning but can't seem to go back to sleep either; (2) can't get the hell out out of this damn apartment; and (3) have been having these (objectively comical) geyser-like eruptions of animosity against various people here by myself in this damn little dusty apartment lost in the world of Washington, D.C., in the year 2011.

Phew. Such an awful place and time.

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A Rainy Spell


Turning to the weather, it has actually been somewhat showery - rainy today with a few tropical-like squally downpours that have dropped (officially) 0.41" at DCA through 5PM, 0.47" at BWI, and 0.35" at IAD.

Furthermore, it looks as though we may be entering a wet period for the next few days as a low pressure system and associated cold front cross the Eastern U.S. followed by an upper level trough swinging through.

Here is the graphical forecast from the Sterling (LWX) NWS forecast website for (downtown) Washington, D.C. using the point-and-click system, valid Aug. 13 - 20, 2011.

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Here is the 36-hour forecasted lower 48 surface map valid at 0000 UTC 15 Aug. 2011 (8PM EDT, Aug. 14, 2011).

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There is a decent fetch of tropical moisture -- a tropical plume, really -- associated with it and it also has very good forcing, which can squeeze the high PWAT (precipitable water) values out of the air.

Numerical guidance suggests 1 to 2 inches of rain region-wide tomorrow into Monday.

This is welcome rain, no matter what the Sue Palka-cabra creature says.

There she is at home, once again entertaining guests.

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U You -or- D.C.'s Finest ...


One last picture from last night ...

This was a young guy seated likely very drunk and practically asleep on the dirty curb outside the bar / club at 1115 U Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 2:10AM, Aug. 13, 2011. I was walking from Nellie's at 9th Street back to my place near 16th Street.

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U Street -- much like Adams Morgan -- is packed on weekend nights with young people and features a vibrant, highly racially mixed, often edgy and even outright scary nightlife. It is mostly straight.

Walking home, I saw some D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers arresting a thuggish looking young guy at the entrance to a small, dirty alley off U Street.

They had him up against a wall and two cop cars with their blindingly bright blue and red LED flashers turned on blocked the alley way. (I hate those things.)

This young, heavy-set black female cop with dreadlocks was excitedly bouncing around, yelling at him:

"I gave yew a chance! But yew too stooopid and now you gittin' locked up tonight!"

On the fly wisely, he wasn't resisting or saying much.

It's amazing how a city's local police force basically starts to resemble the people who cause it the most trouble.

Did I ever mention about the time last year when MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier was in Windows and I was seated on a bar stool next to her and inadvertently -- after having a nice chat with her -- kicked her shin as I tried to stand up. I was very apologetic. She was there with a bunch of then-outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty's cabinet staff for some dinner and to watch / participate in karaoke.

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Vicariously Ghetto-Spotting from the Train

For the remainder of this entry, I would like to post some images that Chris T. took on Thursday on a train ride up to New York City in order to go on a job interview (in New Jersey, I believe). He rode the Amtrak Acela from Union Station in D.C. to Penn Station in NYC.

Passing near Center City Philadelphia -- as the downtown area is known -- with its Wizard of Oz-like towering skyline rising above the not-so-emerald rest of the city.

I took this Amtrak train ride between BWI Airport station and Trenton so many times in the latter half of the 1980s.

This was when my dad was still living in New Jersey and I was living in Glen Burnie and I'd go up to visit him.


Here the train line passes over the Schuylkill River with the Center City Philadelphia skyline in the distance. There are places where this skyline rises up in the distance above miles of slummy low row houses.

As for North Philadelphia, it basically looks like as though it were bombed -- a ghetto version of London after the Blitz. I remember seeing this one house in the late 1980s that had a giant satellite dish, looking so incongruously to the rest of the 'hood. And there was this burnt out grocery store building with a sign that said something like "Pop's More Val-U Mart." I can't actually exactly.

The Union County Courthouse building that dominates the skyline of Elizabeth, N.J., Aug. 11, 2011.

Alas, Chris didn't send me any pics of suburban New Jersey.

The Northeast Corridor Amtrak train line runs currently with certain regional commuter train lines such as MARC, SEPTA, and NJ Transit. Needless to say, the train line runs through some really ghetto-blasted areas.

An abandoned building in some ghetto zone of Newark, N.J., in the morning sunlight as seen in the late morning sunlight of a warm summer day, Aug. 11, 2011.

Yes, I know Newark is having something of a real revitalization, but it is starting from so far "underwater" that even now it still looks awful.

The picture below was actually taken on the return trip back to D.C. in the evening of Aug. 11, 2011.

The train was passing over, I believe, the Susquehanna River in northeastern Maryland. This is near the wide mouth of the river where it lazily empties into the upper Chesapeake Bay.

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OK, that's all for now.

Tonight, I am going to my favorite Pines of Florence place on Connecticut Avenue with Gary. I looks as though Chris T. and K. are not coming. We are then going to Larry's Lounge to meet Jamie and his visiting friend, whom I did not meet last night.

My next planned update will be early next week (Monday or Tuesday).

--Regulus

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