Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Rainy, Relaxing October Night That Wasn't: An Overview and Anatomy of the Usual Multi-Pronged Dashing of D.C. World Expectations

A path in Deerlick Park, Annandale, Va., October 22, 2015. Photo by Razan Altiraifi, source here.

Note: Some of images in this entry are primarily taken from recent CWG entries or the CWG photo pool. For the ones that appear in the former, I link to the entries in question but not the original Flickr pages. For the latter, I link to the photo pool page.

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I was in a horrible mood for most of tonight (much less so now) because my planned evening totally failed to materialize -- all for reasons beyond my control. This would have been an intensely vitriolic entry but for the fact the last hour or so was much better, and now I'm just tired and need to go to sleep.

Another view of the path in Deerlick Park, Annandale, Va., October 22, 2015. Photo by Razan Altiraifi, source here.

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As background / context, I went to the gym on both Sunday and Monday precisely in order to be able to take off -- without any fretting and feeling guilty -- two consecutive days (nights), including Tuesday and Wednesday.

From last October and originally posted in this entry:

The intersection of Pennsylvania Ave. and 12th St. NW, Washington, D.C., on a rainy, gloomy fall evening, 6:19PM October 21, 2014.

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I was specifically looking forward to the cool, rainy weather that was forecasted and the ability to walk home from work and stop here or there for dinner and/or a drink. This is because I've been waiting for wet, cool autumnal weather following the prolonged dry weather we've had for much of the past three months (with only one major exception, the very indirect effects of Hurricane Joaquin). The rain we are (were supposed?) to get is the indirect remnants of Hurricane Patricia.

So I had it all planned out. But it all went awry on Tuesday ("day 1"). And the prospects for Wednesday ("day 2") are iffy at best.

Colorized satellite image (from one of the NOAA GOES floaters) showing a large portion of the eastern half of the U.S. and Gulf of Mexico on or about October 26, 2015 (the date wasn't provided). Image source here.

The cloud formation is actually the remnant circulation of Hurricane Patricia that got incorporated into a low pressure system along the Texas / Louisiana Gulf coast.

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For starters, the day indeed dawned gray and chilly with temps around 50F when I left the apartment. But it featured my usual morning agony walking the short distance from my apartment to the U Street / Cardozo Metro. I also tripped and fell on the station platform (although that was more funny to me than anything else).

The Sun visible through the trees near a stream in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, October 19, 2015. Photo by Pablo.Raw and posted here.

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Of note, yesterday, I was almost hit by a bicyclist crossing 14th St. and W St. walking to the gym around 735PM because I was so engrossed at the stunning nearly full Moon. He whizzed past me less than a foot away. Perhaps he had the situation properly assessed. I sure as hell didn't.

Perhaps also all of this is because GOD-ON-HIGH looked after me while biking back from Cathedral Heights after the Saturday night party in Ft. Totten following a ride back to Nick and Luana's place. I don't really remember the ride back, although I know I stopped briefly at Larry's Lounge. While the ride there was nearly all uphill, that ride was all downhill.

Nearly Full Hunter's Moon as seen from Dumfries, Va., Oct. 26, 2015; Photo by Barbara S. Parker and posted here.

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About that party, I had a great time, although I briefly got stuck in the bathroom when the lock jammed. However, that's a story for another time. The last time that happened was at a restaurant in Brussels (or maybe Mons) in January 1976 when I was 6 shortly after my mom and Ray had gone there at the start of Ray's SHAPE assignment. I would soon return to Long Branch, New Jersey to live with my dad and grandparents.

Yours truly and my mom outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on a rainy day, August 18, 1979.

I was visiting her that summer and about to return to New Jersey 17 days later (just in time for Hurricane David!). My mom was a number of years younger then than I am now.

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Anyway, at lunch, I left the office and headed over to Union Station to meet my mom at Thunder Grill. (Our lunch was reschedule from Monday to Tuesday). She rode the MARC train in from Anne Arundel County. We had a very nice time there.

I walked back to the office at L'Enfant Plaza (rather than deal with the Metro -- but it was a bit farther than I anticipated).

The grounds near the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon, Washington, D.C., 2:34PM October 27, 2015.

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For tonight, I was all set for a quiet and pleasant night walking in the light rain and brisk air, bundled up as appropriate. Instead, it just kept milder -- reaching nearly 60F by 7PM -- even as the frickin' rain kept holding off interminably thanks to a frickin' high pressure over Maine that refused (is refusing) to weaken its grip as shown below:

NWS high resolution surface weather map for the northeastern U.S. and adjacent regions, valid 0300Z (11PM EDT) Oct. 28 (27th), 2015.

Frig you, high pressure.

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I got off the Metro at McPherson Square and walked to No. 9, where it was very crowded and noisy, unusually so for a Tuesday night, and I soon found out it was the goddamn annual 17th Street high heel race, my LEAST favorite of all the gay-themed events here in D.C. during the course of the year.

I cannot stand that event, but every year, like clockwork, it arrives in all its one-night awfulness.

It is a gay safari for the thousands of annoying straight millennials who fill the city...

... while the gays who participate either directly or indirectly all decide to dress up as though this were Mardi Gras in the French Quarter.

Oh, and as ever, the gay service industry mafia that runs 17th Street cleans up.

KA-CHING!! -OR- Pimp My Pride.

More generally, D.C. is always like this: Too crowded, too noisy (whether from traffic, sirens, rap music, endless and stupid Metro system announcements, any television set tuned to anything, you name it), too warm, and too often a smell that is some combo of sewage and pot (which seemingly everyone smokes now that it is not only legal, but encouraged).


On a personal note, I HATE that smell of pot, in particular, when I have to smell it in the hallway outside my apartment. It's offensive to me.

As for D.C., in many ways it has transformed from a bad-ass urban ghetto (though sizable pockets of that most definitely still exist) into an upper middle class millennial generation ghetto with a variety of commodified cultural "flavors" from hip hop to hipster but all very self-important, bourgeois, and annoying.

This random image I found on the internets of four young millennials -- likely from some unspecified ad campaign -- sort of captures the feel.

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Anyway, deeply annoyed and upset that my night was ruined, I walked on a circuitous route home (avoiding 17th Street), had some lousy soup, got more upset as I watched the radar crap out, and almost went to bed. (The radar was showing the precipitation getting closer ... closer ... closer ... but never frickin' arriving. I really hate when that happens.)

A squirrel eating acorns in an oak tree in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2015. Photo by Nienke Beintema and posted here.

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However, I still owed Gary some money from the Jersey shore trip, and he was at Larry's Lounge, so I walked over there. It was breezy and mostly cloudy with lots of autumn leaf fall. (The autumnal leaf display this year is beginning to peak, but it will be less-than-stunning owing to the dry weather the past few months.)

I got to Larry's Lounge, which was mobbed with a overflow crowd from 17th Street. Gary was there and it was pleasant enough. There was this couple there who had gone recently to New Zealand and Australia.

Among their New Zealand stays was Queenstown, and I saw pictures of it and Lake Watapiku, whose name was at the tip of my tongue precisely because I see it all the time on the Queenstown stage of the 6-stage New Zealand South Island course that I often do on the treadmill at the YMCA Anthony Bowen.

Sweeping aerial view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, South Island, New Zealand.

The image was taken either from a mountain above the city or on one of the cable cars on the edge of it.

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Their pictures looked just like in that treadmill course stage -- including of the lake-hugging town, the willow trees along the mini-beach in the center of the town, and the Remarkables in the distance.

Nearly Full Hunter's Moon as seen through fall leaves in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., October 26, 2015. Photo by Jim Havard and posted here.

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Anyway, I walked home. It had started to rain very lightly off-and-on even as it was breezy -- now the wind from the northeast. The full Hunter Moon was (is) occasionally visible among the clouds (or, to paraphrase Alfred Noyes, "a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas").

The Sterling (LWX) NWS frickin' radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 11:54PM EDT Oct. 27, 2015.

Note EVERYTHING missing the District of Drive-By-Umbia. The looped image really shows this, but it is too annoying to me to feature.

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At this point (about midnight), the frickin' radar has cleared up again over the D.C. area -- but it's still supposed to rain later this Wednesday.

NWS/WPC QPF forecast map for days 1 and 2 valid 0Z 10/28/2015 - 0Z 10/30/2015 with legend.

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Honestly, I won't be shocked at all if we get, like, 0.02" at the completely-useless-as-a-weather-station KDCA (and that's supposed to be some big, huge deal.)

I guess the Palka-Cabra She-Dragon is working her anti-weather black magic.

"And you know what, Morris?? I now think all the rain will miss us and it's just going to keep getting better and better! Aren't we lucky?! Where's my mascara??"

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Now I do "get" the fact that virtually NO ONE else even notices what the weather is doing -- less it is actively precipitating or otherwise extreme --  much less gets upset about it, esp. in my inverted way (i.e., wanting it to rain or snow, or at least be NOT sunny and hot).

This makes me the odd one.

Also from last October and originally posted in that same entry:

Also from last October: A rainy evening outside Elephant & Castle along Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., 6:28PM October 21, 2014.

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OK, that's all for now, except to note that I'm also taking tomorrow (i.e., this Wednesday evening) off from the gym again, and I might be meeting Nick after work at Baan Thai or some such place.

I'm signing off now. I'm probably not going to take the computer home tomorrow night, so my next planned update won't be until late Thursday night / early Friday.

--Regulus

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