Friday, December 18, 2015

Requiem for a Gold Dust Croton; Drugged Daze; The Sound of (Hip Hop) Music Returns; Record Christmas Warmth Possible, Buffalo Trip Nixed

"Crotey" my gold dust croton in my window sill in my wee apartment in Washington, D.C., on September 8, 2009.

This was just two days after I got him on a Sunday excursion with my friend Chris T (who now lives in Atlanta) to a nursery in Alexandria called Holly, Woods & Vines (ha ha). Crotey was just a baby then.


"Crotey" my gold dust croton of 6-1/2 years has died. He passed away perhaps not-so-peacefully around 1230AM this past Sunday, although he was in terminal decline.

Well, actually, he (OK, "it," but I'm going to keep saying "he") was on its way to death with some sort of blight that was quickly killing off all its leaves.

Crotey my gold dust croton in his younger days sitting in my window in my wee apartment in Washington, D.C., October 24, 2009. Source entry here.


Crotey and I had been through a lot. I got him on Sept. 6, 2009 while on an outing at some nursery in the exurban wilds of Northern Virginia. I had already moved into my current apt. from the other unit in this building.

I purchased Crotey because of a soft spot I have for gold dust crotons that dates back to my ill-fated single semester (or rather, term) at the University of Washington in Seattle in the fall of 1988 at the age of 18 and just having turned 19.

Crotey was still here just a youngster gold dust croton on March 31, 2012. Source entry here.


I had gone to the "U-Dub" (the start of my nearly 20 years spent in the the massive money-laundering, rent-extracting racket that is American higher education) right out of high school (in Glen Burnie, Maryland!) because my dad thought it was a good idea. (As a backstory, we had taken a lovely Alaska cruise with my grandparents three years earlier in July 1985 and spent several days in Seattle and loved it; by 1988, grandma was dead and things were much, much worse.)

A view of Crotey's leaves not to mention my Sunshine Buddies by my window air conditioner (which I've since replaced with another one) in my apartment on June 21, 2012. Source entry here.

Incidentally, this entry was the one I wrote when I rejoined the gym (the YMCA National Capital, which is set to close at the end of this month). I now go to the YMCA Anthony Bowen (see below).


Crotey in my apartment on late at night October 3, 2013. Source entry here.


Anyway, I stayed in this dinky little dorm room (296) in the Lander portion of the ginormous Terry-Lander Hall and I had a gold dust croton and a weird asparagus fern plant. I don't recall how I got them. Both were so tiny.

I nurtured and cared for them -- I even recall carrying both of them by hand on a nighttime pair of transcontinental flights from Seattle back to the East Coast (I flew into Newark Int'l Airport for some reason where I met my mom because she was visiting cousins who lived in or near Metuchen, N.J.) on or about December 19, 1988.

Crotey in my apartment, October 31, 2013. Source entry here.


I recall even carrying them through the chaos of Chicago O'Hare during a change of flight . Not sure how I did that, or if I'd even be allowed to do that today. (I also had a little shortwave radio that I was listening to and the stewardess somewhere over Montana at dusk barked at me to turn it off. I said she didn't have to be so loud about it. She stared at me and then asked me what I wanted to eat. Today, fighter jets would have escorted us to Denver.)

Eventually, they both died about the same time (probably around 1992). I think they were with my father in New Jersey (he still lived there at the time) when they died so he probably screwed them up somehow.

Crotey still in good health this past spring in my apartment, April 4, 2015. Source entry here.


Anyway, and alas, Crotey and I had our share of issues as he grew and morphed over the years into a wildly lop-sided plant owing to the position of the two windows in my efficiency. Crotey was always trying to face toward the light, and I never could bring myself to turn him around long enough to have him try to start growing the other way.

I felt that would be sadistic, but as a result, of the failure to act, he continued to grow ever-more lop-sided.

Crotey in my apartment on June 9, 2015, already lopsided. Source entry here.


But I was not always nice to Crotey, specifically, one night a few years ago when he had previously lost about half his leaves. I shook him badly and broke some branches. I felt terribly the next day, but I was surprised and relieved that he didn't die, but he recovered and looked vibrant ... until the past few months.

Then, the yellow blight hit that started killing off the leaves. One by one a healthy leaf turned yellow -- typically within a day. Newborn leaves and big, healthy ones turned yellow. They became weak and dropped incessantly -- and even though the branches seemed healthy. Occasionally, a yellow one would still be strongly connected but the number of leaves kept dwindling.

I would put the leaves sometimes in the pot as a sort of "compost," although by the end, I was just throwing them out.

By this past Friday, Crotey looked like this:

Crotey in the late stages of his life in my apartment in Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2015.


It was late Saturday night, or rather, shortly after midnight Sunday that I took him outside, dumped the top and got rid of the oversized pot.

Actually, the scene was probably a bit more like the rose garden scene in Mommie Dearest (minus the axe or hedge clippers). I had just finished a wonderful night that ended on a sudden shitty note and I was upset.)

I suspect he had some sort of blight, although I may have overwatered him as well. Perhaps that contributed to the malady.

I miss Crotey. The spot on the floor where he went looks so empty.

My wee apartment late at night without Crotey, Washington, D.C., 11:57PM December 14, 2015.


Rest in peace, Crotey, and return to the Earth whence you came. You will rise again in some new floral form.

Crotey in my kitchen in happier, healthier days shortly after I got him, September 19, 2009. Source image here.


*This sort of thing shouldn't happen anymore. Why? Because earlier this week, I went on Zoloft, or rather, the generic Sertraline.

I've been on SSRIs during various periods in the past 22 years -- including Prozac way back in 1993 -- but I never stick with them because they never really work and are mostly a Big Pharma racket. In this case, I opted to try it after "partnering" with my doctor on my visit to see him on Friday. (Actually, I go to the MedStar facility in Chevy Chase and see whichever doctor is most readily available.)

Suspecting / fearing high blood pressure, I went there, and it was checked twice and came in about normal:

120/78 and 120/84 (the latter when he took it; that 6 point increase in the diastolic pressure is no biggie, he said). He also told me that my home blood pressure monitor -- the one that always shows me with borderline serious hypertension -- is too distracting and I should literally throw it out. The nurse suggested initially I have it recalibrated.

But we chatted about my general anxiety and bouts of apoplexy and he suggested Zoloft.

So far, it's sort of working, except I feel as though I've taken a powerful anti-histamine in terms of my drowsiness. It even interrupted a bit my gym workout tonight, although I mostly got through that including the hour-long jog part. I have been yawning constantly (and did so as I typed that sentence).

Speaking of the gym and the music issue that I discussed here ...

Tonight, the music was back on, and in fact, there is now a dedicated music streaming channel for which the YMCA Anthony Bowen is shelling out money for a monthly subscription. The station appears to be a sort of weird house version of hip hop, but the lyrics cleaned up a bit.

Honestly, at this point, I just don't care anymore. For starters, it genuinely bothered me that there was no music for about 10 days -- and that I might have been the indirect cause of it. That was never my goal or intention.

Earlier today, I called up a person I know who works there (she is the membership director) and spoke to her about it. She already knew the whole story. She explained that the YMCA was about to get this subscription-based service but that it might not be ready until January. However, it was playing tonight.

Do I like the music? Of course not. But I'm done with complaining -- except and unless it is way too loud. I've resigned myself to the fact that the culture of that gym is a millennial generation with a strong urban overlay and hip hop is just the default music I will hear while on the workout floor.

Enough of that.


Yours truly in a fitting room at Macy's, Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Arlington, Va., 6:58PM December 15, 2015.

I made a post-work trip to Pentagon City to buy my mom some presents -- birthday and Christmas -- but I also bought something.

Imagine frickin' two of me ...


The Weather: Buffalo Chips

Turning to the weather, there was one brief moment yesterday (or rather, Wednesday) when the operational GFS model was hinting at promising snow things for Buffalo -- which, by the way, is about to get its first lake effect snow event of the season tomorrow -- but this turned to shit in the subsequent model runs.

The EPS ensemble mean of 850 hPa (mb) temperature anomalies for days 10 - 15, Dec. 27, 2015 - Jan. 1, 2016, initialized at 0Z 12/17. 2015.


Speaking of which, Wes "Winter Weather Expert" Junker of the CWG peed and power pooped in this entry all over the chance of snow pretty much anywhere within one Rossby wave length of Washington, D.C., for Christmas.

Max and min temps for KDCA through day 16 forecasted by the GFS ensembles, Dec. 17, 2015 - Jan. 1, 2016.

It might reach 70F on Christmas Eve. The self-satisfied suburban D.C. bourgeoisie are so thrilled and convinced that THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS is the reason for this.


In short, after a brief cool down this weekend with some blustery weather, it will be back to big, huge, way above normal to record warmth with some rain chances for the week of Christmas and stretching toward New Years. This month could end up a record warm December in Washington, D.C., at this rate.

CPC/NWS temp probability outlook for the United States valid Dec. 25 - 31, 2015.


As an aside, I posted a few comments in that entry -- and was criticized and told to go away for basically not falling in line with the spirit of ISN'T THIS WONDERFUL NEWS?? -- but one that takes the cake is by "playahatah" who wrote the following:

This is great news. Snow brings out bad drivers, electrical outages, underfunded public services to clear snow, etc.

Also, the term "white Christmas" is highly racist and completely minimizes the Anglo European genocide of the Native Americans.


Even in my snarkiest, I wouldn't post anything like that.

I will say that with this entry and (to paraphrase Bob Ryan) looking at the VERY LATEST models -- namely, the 0Z 12/18/2015 GFS -- Wes Junker has junked my would-be Buffalo Christmas snow junket.

It's over, Gary. We tried ...And, yes, I know that I still owe the money for my part


The bar at Circa in Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C., 8:35PM December 15, 2015.

I stopped here for some dinner as I was walking from the Foggy Bottom Metro back home (and subsequently went to Floriana to meet Dave at the end of the GOP debate). The atmosphere and food were pretty good.


I had planned a longer update but I really need to get bed because I want to get into work extra early tomorrow in order to work on the news update task that I am doing on Friday and Monday for a co-worker (who usually does it). I want to have it done by noon as my mom is arriving at Union Station around 1230PM and I'm taking off the rest of the day.

She is staying at a little hotel on 16th Street near where I live for one night. My intention is to show her several places and have dinner at Floriana in the evening. I also want to take her to the downstairs bar. Later, I might try to get her to go to Larry's Lounge. She was there once before last December.

A picture of my mom and me taken in Efteling amusement park in The Netherlands on August 30, 1979.

The amusement park is still there. My mom was substantially younger than I am right now.


On Saturday, I will try to go to the gym in the afternoon. I am then supposed to go to Jake and Matt's holiday party in Arlington (near Pentagon City) on Saturday night. However, I'm supposed to meet my friend Chester on Sunday by noon, so I can't be too drunk that night. (I'm hoping to catch a ride back into D.C. in lieu of the Metro.)

As a result, blogging will be scarce this weekend. I'll try to do the jukebox Saturday night feature if I can.

Peace Out.


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