Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Recap of a Crummy Extended Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend Juxtaposed with Friday Bike Ride Pics -OR- Is There an App for That, Too??

The house at the corner of Montague and 16th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 1:24PM November 28, 2014. As an aside, there are three 3-syllable "M" streets in this part of D.C. -- Madison Street, Montague Street, and Manchester Lane -- but it is Madison Street is really the one part of the alphabet grid.

This entry features some of the pictures I took on Friday on an 18 to 20 mile roundtrip bike ride from my apt. up to Friendship Heights via Silver Spring and then back via Spring Valley, Palisades, and Georgetown, stopping at the Hair Cuttery on Connecticut Avenue to get my monthly shearing. Obviously, I took the day off entirely from work.

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So this past Thanksgiving holiday and its extended weekend as well as the first regular workweek day this just-concluded Monday all pretty much sucked.

Sun and clouds in the sky looking south along 16th Street NW in the Columbia Heights section of Washington, D.C., 1:01PM November 28, 2014.

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It's a little complicated to explain but it's basically just the usual vapid, pointless, and deeply unfulfilling doings this time of year -- I'm really not a fan of Thanksgiving, if only because my birthday is always lost in the extreme family focus that undergirds it, which means the regular world reality is on hiatus.

Stratocumulus clouds in the sky on a blustery fall day along 16th Street NW in the Columbia Heights section of Washington, D.C., 1:04PM November 2014. The nearby street is "Oak Street NW" -- which is one a veritable street maze of exceptions in this neighborhood to the alphanumeric grid system, which at this "latitude" of D.C. features 2-syllable names.

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Family time for me is rather problematic -- although by that I don't mean my mom. I was actually quite happy to see her. And I even had a good conversation with my dad on the phone on my birthday (Wednesday).

Rather, there just isn't much that is typical about my family situation -- indeed, except for my divorced parents, I don't really have any family. As for my stepfather, he and I just occupy different realities. We don't even speak the same language, so to speak, so there is nothing to say to each other.

The 3600 block of 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:05PM November 28, 2014.

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And, no, you can't parachute into others' families -- it never works.

(The good news is that for Christmas, Gary and I are going to Buffalo, so no family stuff. And we SHOULD -- as in "have a high probability" -- see snow, unlike here in the D.C./Baltimore area, where it will be the shit brown Christmas.)

Pershing House along 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:07PM November 28, 2014.

Kristof used to live here for a number of years. In that very top corner apartment in fact.

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The other issue is that at this point, I probably have developed hypertension. I know I mentioned this on occasion in entries over the past several years -- most recently in Sept. 2013 during my last bout of serious dental issues -- but now it looks like it has come in earnest. I discovered this while at the dentist today as my blood pressure was measured. And I have a device at home to measure it and the numbers are roughly the same.

Now let not the unctuous amongst us chuckle all warmly in the happiness of the "moral calculus" of the Universe this allegedly satisfies.

The intersection of Upshur and 16th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 1:10PM November 28, 2014.

Didn't I live here with my boyfriend once until I left him for a little person? Oh, wait ...

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Anyway, after some additional monitoring this week and assuming there is no improvement, I'm likely going to have to go to the doctor and look into medication. This site made me feel better about it, though. It also means that the one procedure I was going to have done on a subsequent trip -- yet another frickin' cavity in yet another hard-to-reach back tooth will have to wait.

The intersection of Decatur St. and Piney Branch Rd. NW, Washington, D.C., 1:15PM November 28, 2014.

I think this corner house is actually 1507 Decatur Street NW. As for Piney Branch Road NW, in this part of D.C., it is a residential side street off 16th Street NW.

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Actually, my trip to the D Street office of my Dental Bug dentist today was for a cavity in #15. I had the same adroit dentist who treated me a couple weeks ago. I like her style and approach. However, she discovered another one even while I the assistant performed my annual blood pressure measurement.

The yards and houses between Hamilton Street and Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 1:19PM November 28, 2014.

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That measurement was supposed to be a formality but it came in way high. As a result, the dentist declined to take care of this other cavity on visit because the tooth in question is way in the back and requires a stronger numbing. She said she would treat it on my next visit -- which I scheduled for later this month -- if my BP was below 140/90. Right now it's borderline.

Again, I'll make a doctor's appointment instead.

In any event, hypertension or not, I still had a good gym workout tonight that made me feel better. This included the 6+ mile treadmill jog, weightlifting, and a swim.

A large tree (still holding onto many of its fall color-peaking leaves) that grows off 16th Street near Luzon Avenue NW alongside a low-income apartment building by Somerset Place NW.

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Anyway, as for Thanksgiving, I actually returned that night from my mom and Ray's place in Millersville. It was a bit unexpected and a good idea since it made for a VERY easy Thanksgiving night return commute including on an Amtrak (the MARC Penn Line wasn't running) from BWI Rail Station to Union Station. To be clear, the world was very nearly abandoned last night.

Lost in the Maryland suburbs: Actually, this is the 3100 block of Cummings Lane in Chevy Chase, Md., located just a block off Western Avenue (which is the DC-Maryland line). 2:05PM November 28, 2014.

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As for why I returned early, well, it's complicated. I'll try to recap the issues briefly ...

For starters, I don't do very well outside the D.C. Bubble very long. I'm not proud of that fact but it's the truth, especially when I am wholly reliant on others.

Returning into the D.C. Bubble is always like coming home to Oz.

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Secondly, there is such a fundamental disconnect between me and my stepfather. Metaphorically speaking, we speak totally different languages. He is also ill owing to what thing(s) he was exposed in Vietnam a lifetime ago but that have caused him maladies as a senior citizen. This makes it difficult for my mom. And adding me into the picture -- especially given how different I am -- makes it even harder given how I parachute into their world in with my totally different worldview, language, reality, whatever you want to call it.

The bar at Chads in the Friendship Heights section of Washington, D.C., 2:31PM November 28, 2014.

Chads was once Chadwicks - one of three that existed in the D.C. area. Only one remains, the one in Old Town Alexandria. I used to like the one in Georgetown.

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All of this caused a bit of an overload and it was best that I leave. I actually suggested it and she quickly agreed.

A bit earlier on the drive back from the American Legion Post 175 in Severna Park where we had a ready-made Thanksgiving dinner, I was seated in the backseat and the radio was tuned to some mind-numbing football game with the volume cranked up too loud and two or three of those fat, aging male sportscasters bleating in machine-gun rapid-fire fashion, ever other thought tied into a commercial plug.

A telephone / utility / light pole (take your pick of what to call it) with signage marking the intersection of 50th Street and Fordham Rd NW, Washington, D.C., 3:40PM November 28, 2014.

This is the edge of the Spring Valley section of D.C. where the streets wind and wend about. Remember the rule that except in Manhattan / New York City, really rich people don't live on rectilinear street grids.

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It went something like this:

[LOUD SCREAMING BY A BAJILLION FANS]

[First old, fat sportscaster:] "AND THE TIGHTEND TAKES THE BALL IN THE END ZONE! HE'S GONNA DO IT! HE'S REALLY SHOWIN' HIS STUFF AND PROVIN' THAT THE COACH WAS RIGHT TO TAKE THAT CHANCE! THIS TEAM HAS GOTTEN IT'S MOJO BACK! THE $50 MILLION SIGNING CONTRACT WAS WELLLL WORTH IT!"

[Second old fat sportscaster:] "I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! HE'S ON TOP OF HIS MASTERCARD-SPONSORED GAME! HE SHOWS WHY THIS PERDUE CHICKEN REALLY DOES COME HOME TO ROOST BEFORE THAT HUMPTY-DUMPTY EGG IS HATCHED!"

[First old, fat sportscaster:] "YOU GOT SOME GREAT MIXED METAPHORS THERE!! A HAHAHAHAHAH!"

[Both old, fat sportscasters bleating and laughing.]

[First old fat sportscaster:] "AND NOW LET'S DO A WRANGLER JEANS TIME CHECK! THEY REALLY FIT YOUR END ZONE! IT'S FOUR FORTY SEVEN HERE AT AT&T STADIUM WHERE THE WEATHER CHANNEL GAME TIME TEMPERATURE IS THIRTY SIX MILLER LIGHT DEGREES! UP NEXT, OUR TOYOTA TUNDRA TROOP SALUTE! AND WEEEE'RE BACK!!" [SCREECHING WHISTLE...]

It was a sensory-assaulting experience, a sort of machine gun fire to my head. Yes, it was literally painful. All the more so because I DESPISE American professional football. (Yes, I know, Americans by the millions mop that up 24/7 with nary a thought, and for them, it is the highest form of existence. Well, that and Fox & Friends.).

Oh, and no, I didn't have ear buds and my own music to drown it all out. Rather, while saying nothing (there were no big verbal blowups) I had my fingers in my ears for half the drive home, which one or both of them may have seen.

The house at 3949 52nd Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:46PM November 28, 2014.

52nd Street is about the highest numbered street going west in the Northwest quadrant of D.C. To be clear, there are higher numbered houses, just not higher numbered streets. Going east, it gets up to 63rd Place (right by the East Cornerstone). Oh, and the highest numbered house in the entire District of Columbia is 8500 East Beach Drive NW. It's located next to 1799 Verbena Street, the highest number on the highest alphabetized street ("V" of the fourth / floral alphabet). These two houses are right next to the North Cornerstone of the District of Columbia (which is situated just off East-West Highway).

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Look, I can't help it. It's just how I am mentally configured -- I find many aspects of American pop culture to be just morally offensive to me and in some instances, just physically painful to have to endure such as in a trapped space (hence the rarity with which I go to movies). Plus, to reiterate, I just hate American professional football.

Nobody did anything wrong. It's just how it is. And I get this would be an alien concept to many folks including my stepfather -- and probably of my Socialism and general anti-American seditiousness.

The 5100 block of Tilden Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:49PM November 28, 2014.

This is the Spring Valley section of D.C., which I've written about many times including to note that it is simultaneously both the wealthiest section of the District and manages to have to include an EPA Superfund site (an old WWI-era munitions storage site).

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Now for someone like Wall-P, that ostensible legal genius who is so "in the know" of everything, this level of hyper-advertisement and all-around crap is celebrated and worshiped and the highest of capitalist ideals.

How was your Thanksgiving, Wall-P??

"Eh. Eh. Eheheheh. Turkey. Eh. Eh. Eh. Trimmings. Family. Eheheh. Gifts. Eheheh. Staff went shopping. The app helped us optimize the driving route and also allowed us to buy half our goods online. This represented a positive cash flow with which I refinanced -- "

Oh, shut-up, Wall-P. We know. You "SAVED MONEY" on the moral obscenity that is Black Friday. Saving money even while spending it on crap is an axiom in Wall-P's money-and-power-obsessed binary worldview.

I was going to post the opposite extreme -- going with the Hysterical One. After driving around manically in traffic-snarled circles for hours to get 10 feet closer just to save 15% on some ridiculous item, that trip ends as it usually does:

AAAAAIIIIGGGHGHHHHHH!!!! KA-BOOM!

Returning to my Thanksgiving, I got back home by quarter after seven and actually went out to No. 9, where I stayed an hour or so even as a surprisingly large crowd developed. Actually, it shouldn't have been a surprise: Many urban gay men either don't go home for Thanksgiving or, if they do, return quickly. It's the same D.C. Bubble thing and the difficulty of being outside of it very long.

Later, I went to Larry's Lounge where I encountered some of the regulars.

A stream in Battery Kemble Park between Chain Bridge Road and 49th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:11PM November 28, 2014.

The park has been cleared of the dense underbrush (which renders peeing in the woods no longer advisable, esp. with the trees now winter bare) and the trails made fresh and less worn looking. This included an area of straw / hay that had been lain and through which I rode my bike -- coming down the big grassy hill from Chain Bridge Road.

The straw was fresh but not as fresh as that ENORMOUS and RIGHTEOUS piece of dog shit I saw too late and through which I rode one wheel of my bicycle. It was FRESH dog shit, that once squashed, opened up to reveal a vibrant golden yellow interior. Not sure what that dog has been eating, but it must be a healthy dog. Purina "High-Pro-Glow" and all that. (To be clear, I am assuming a dog deposited that.)

Immediately, it began to amass that fresh straw on it, wheeling around and around. It was very noticeable and I had to stop the bike lest a guy walking past me see it. Actually, I was also worried that part of it would fly off and hit me in the face (causing big laughs for the gods). I grabbed the nearest stick on the ground and was able to remove the biggest globs of it. But still part of it got pushed into the tread grooves of the tire. I removed a bit more with another stick along Reservoir Road and removed a bit more, only to have small bits land on one of my shoes. Yay me! Only later at home with some laundry detergent, a touch of bleach, and water could I get rid of it all.

Ain't that great?? Surely some enterprising entrepreneur would know some way to make money off of that dog shit and/or its removal. Call my 1-888 number or visit my website and buy my dog shit removal SYSTEM. Comes with a free app! Call or go online TODAY!

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As for Saturday, I went to the gym and posted the two previous entries. And Sunday was just a waste of a day that ended with the usual Sunday Night Speakeasy Show at Larry's Lounge. It certainly contributed to my Monday late morning issue.

Finally, at work, I am trying to finish three CC write ups that are maddening and for which I have limited billable time. Very frustrating.

So, all in all, it was a crappy past five days.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be on late Wednesday / early Thursday.

--Regulus

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