Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weekend Worries and Wednesday Washington Monumental Core Night Walk

The view from among the back (south) side columns of the Lincoln Memorial in early winter nighttime darkness, 6:56PM, Jan. 5, 2012. I was walking there after work on Thursday (see explanation below).

It is remarkable but probably only 1 out of 50 or fewer tourists ever thinks to walk on the backside, which was closed for a long time post-9/11. The West Steps of the U.S. Capitol remain closed for no good reason.

I used to walk (and bike) down to the National Mall so much more than I now do.

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This is my planned weekend update.

The view of the Washington Monument at early winter night, 6:16PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

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The pictures in this entry were taken primarily on Thursday night when I left work by L'Enfant Plaza around 6PM and walked ... and walked ... down the Mall past the still earthquake-damaged and closed Washington Monument ... along the still-under-massive-reconstruction Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial, which is always sublimely wonderful at night ... to the Watergate and the bar inside the Rivers at the Watergate restaurant I like ... and thence to Larry's Lounge where I met Kristof, and home (finally) by 1230AM. The total walk was probably about 4 miles, give or take.


I also saw some lovely, ever-shifting perspectives of the nighttime-illuminated Rosslyn skyline, but I couldn't get any good images with my cellphone, but I'm posting this one I found online, though I'm not sure if I'm supposed to or not.

The result is the entry content does not always "go" with the entry pictures.

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Approaching the Washington Monument, the east side seen full close-up and illuminated, 6:20PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

The twin red navigation (non-LED) lights on each of the four sides collectively blink in unison. Prior to Feb. 1995, they each had a much more sublime, out-of-phase partial "wink" but at that time they were "synchronized." I don't know when the lights were originally installed in their current form.

It would / will look weird if the lights are ever changed to LEDs.

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This past week was a very stressful one. It got off on a bad start in that I was not at all relaxed after the holidays because I still had two of the three compliance reports to finish. By work week's end, I was still only about a third complete one of the two, and again I have the same intention of finishing them "at home over the weekend."

The base of the Washington Monument in the early winter darkness, 6:22PM, Jan. 5, 2012. 

This view is of the south facing side of the Monument -- ever-so-briefly the world's tallest man-made structure in 1888 - 1889  (until surpassed by the Eiffel Tower), and it is still the world's tallest all-stone obelisk (although third tallest monumental column).

The Monument was damaged in the jarring 5.8 earthquake that struck D.C. (and the Mid-Atlantic region in general) on Aug. 23, 2011. (I was about 1,800 feet away from it in my office when it struck, and I sure as hell felt it.) This is not surprising, given its all-stone composition. 

Here is as good of a close-up with my crummy cellphone camera as I could get -- and I've circled in yellow the three places where pieces of marble fell off.

Here was the seismograph from the  Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Ga., about 500 miles away from the epicenter in Georgia showing the quake S and P waves.

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It has been closed ever since for unspecified repairs. The quake was centered 90 miles to the southwest of D.C. in Louisa County, Virginia. See my blog entry from that day here and read the (comprehensive) Wikipedia article about "2011 Virginia Earthquake". It includes security camera footage from inside the Washington Monument.

If that quake had been, say, 6.1, it would have really caused damage to the Monument, and anything over 6.3 would have likely toppled it.

FIRST DIBS ON THE ALUMINUM CAPSTONE, the one that reads, "LAUS DEO" ("GOD BE PRAISED")!

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My supervisor on this particular task is getting irked with me, and the only reason she has not said anything is that she likes the quality of the reports when they are finished (such as the 19 page one with 8 attachments and colorful tables in the first one). She also is a friend of mine, so that probably makes it awkward.

I kept getting interrupted with the other, high-priority task -- technical edits for audit reports -- that I have to do as soon as they arrive. This task has be interfacing (God, did I just use that term??) with the client, who seems quite pleased / happy with me.

Then I did not get adequate sleep but kept getting to bed at 130AM each night -- and not into work until 10AM, although I stay until 6PM and don't really take a lunch break per se. I have been exhausted and suffering from bad headaches.

I also had some potentially major computer issues with (as ever) my anti-viral software. The trouble is that the computer I use is my work laptop that I take home almost daily (my monitor on my home computer is broken and I never got around to setting up the new monitor and restarting that computer).

At present I do not have the regular work-approved anti-viral software because the newer version simply would not load ("I've never seen anything like that..." said the IT guy, who is the assistant to the head of our IT).

Of course he hasn't -- this is me and all my computer issues.

Any computer malfeasance, such as bringing something bad into the work system and the punishment is being fired.

More generally, I just hate computers so much, I hate the internet, and everything both of them represent in our unhappy civilization.

Ah, the nighttime sublime and majestic interior of the Lincoln Memorial, 6:55PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

I nearly sprained my left ankle walking along the south side (the north side being closed) of the Reflecting Pool (under massive renovation and at present not even in recognizable existence) as I neared the Lincoln Memorial because I tripped on the 3" rise from the compacted ground to the asphalted pathway.

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Speaking of computers and the crap that can jump onto them, the site meter site that I use (look on the right side to see it) is a bit funny that way -- on more than one occasion one of the ubiquitous banner ads has proven itself to be less than passive-benign and things have attempted to jump onto my computer based on the reaction of my anti-viral software.

This blog itself and the way I keep it up is also stressful, sucking up so much of my time. It has taken the place of the obsessive written journal-keeping I used to do for about 12 years in a journal that ran to tens of thousands of pages, but virtually none of which remains. I just didn't have any place to store it and it was just filling my closet collecting dust in folders. Besides, the content was not that great -- mostly just repetitive, boring, and/or obsessive.

Yours truly among the columns on the north side of the Lincoln Memorial, 6:56PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

There is quite a drop off just beyond the column, although it is in a series of smaller but still significant step-downs.

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Anyway, I have been very stressed and had some migraine headaches, plus that floater in my right eye seems to get more pronounced at night when I am tired. I'm not sure if that's possible.

I don't know what next week holds but I am apprehensive. If I lose this job (and, of course, it would be for some absurd set of events), that would be pretty much it for me here in D.C. -- and I honestly would have no idea what to do. I'm not even sure I would try to get a new job anymore.

Once Wall-P found this out -- which he would, because most of my friends are all gossipy yentas who secretly thrive on others' misfortunes -- would say in rapid-fire monotonic binary-speak:

"Eh. Eh. Eheheheh. Eh. Eh. Eheh. Eheheheh."

This loosely and nonsensically translates as:

"Is what it is. Proves I'm right. Rahhther asset flow synergize. Consumer Reports rated favorably. Client satisfactuated from strict constructionist perspective."

You can always tell when Wall-P is trying to make a key point by saying, "Rahhther ..." ("rather"), although this sudden British English inflection doesn't jibe with his regular speech patterns.

The Lincoln Memorial among the columns on the south side looking to the east with the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol visible, 6:58PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

The reason the color / lighting looks different than in my lead picture has to do with how long I "exposed" the image with my cellphone camera. The actual color was sort of somewhere in between the two.

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The illuminated Lincoln Memorial seen from the north side, 7:01PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

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That aside, I still have the Wednesday morning small claims case here in D.C. -- even though I already settled with the creditor for about 60% of the total (reflecting more accurately what I actually incurred as charges) and I've made two of the scheduled 5 payments. I'm not even sure if I need to show up since, in theory, the law firm is only filing the settlement papers I signed in early November, but I don't like the idea of a court date involving me at which I am not present.

The bar at the Rivers at the Watergate (old 600 Watergate) restaurant, Washington, D.C., 7:41PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

One of the people in this image had been playing the piano in the bar and it was very pleasant. Oh, yes, Karl Rove -- yes, Bush's Brain / Turd Blossom himself -- came in to pick up a take-out order. He was wearing a lengthy rain coat (though it wasn't raining) and a yellow baseball cap. The bartender and I determined it was he by looking at the bill he signed: "Karl Rove." 

It has been my experience in D.C. that you will see high-ranking Democratic political and media types out and about but not usually Republican ones -- they tend to travel in limousines and do not mix with the general public as much. 

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Outside the Watergate Office Building at 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 8:55PM, Jan. 5, 2012.

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Last night, I went to Nellie's, where the bartender E. is very friendly to and seemingly genuinely interested in me as a person. We may even meet up for a drink in a couple of weeks. Or not.

Corner of the downstairs bar at Nellie's, Washington, D.C., 1:35AM, Jan. 7, 2012.

This flat screen TV was tuned to a strange D.C. church channel and the guy on it was a very young, gay-ish looking, fundie-tele-evangelist preacher (whose name I did not get), which made for an odd juxtaposition to the gay sports bar setting. The volume was muted but the close-captioning was on.

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The Subway at 14th and U Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 3:09AM, Jan. 7, 2012.

This Subway shop just recently opened (within 6 months).

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U Street was the usual weekend wee hours shit-show walking home at 3AM, a sort of D.C. strip-version of the French Quarter, although I think maybe that analogy is better applied to nearby Adams-Morgan, which is even more so.

The waxing gibbous sinking in the west appearing to be pierced by the top of the turret of the corner row house at 15th and U Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 3:14AM, Jan. 7, 2012.

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Weather Detour

After a brief cold spell in which it actually felt like, well, January, during which time DCA actually fell to 17F (13F at BWI and 14F at IAD) on the morning of the 4th ...

... it quickly warmed back up and the dull-shitty pattern this winter remains with partly cloudy conditions and well above normal temps. Yesterday it reached 63F and today 68F at DCA, which is only +25F above the daily normal high (although no where near the 76F daily record high set in 1907 in a pre-DCA Washington, D.C. record).

There has been an astonishing dearth of snow this winter -- not just here in D.C. proper, where (if you pay attention at all) you expect that but over most of the United States. And there is no sign of any "winter regime" coming this year.

Here is a map of snow (white) and sea ice (yellow) cover over North America as of today, Jan. 7, 2012. As you can see, there ain't much.

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By contrast, here is a map of snow and sea ice cover over Eurasia including the endless taiga and tundra of Siberia and the wastes of the Gobi desert and western China as of today, Jan. 7, 2012 (although I guess it is already tomorrow over part of this region).

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The best that I can hope for is that he hold normal on precipitation (rainfall). A storm with about 1" of rainfall may impact the region Wednesday into Wednesday night.

There is a lot more I want to write and grouse about, including more on Wall-P and a new song I've tentatively written for Mr. Sirius that is a parody version of "Frosty the Snowman" called "Matthew the Barkeep" (I think it's kinda funny).

Instead of this, however, I think I will just end this entry here.

My next planned update (barring anything noteworthy, esp. on the bad side) will be either Monday or possibly Tuesday night.

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Another one of those wintertime sunset views from my 5th floor apartment overlooking the intersection of New Hampshire Ave. and 16th and U Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:43PM, Jan. 7, 2012.

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OK, that really is all for now. Again, my next planned update will be Monday night.

--Regulus

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