Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Recent Photos

Here are a few recent pictures. Their quality is not very high, since I took them with my cell phone. I either couldn't take my digital camera to these places, or I just plain forgot. Enjoy the low-resolution splendor!

The fountain in the atrium of the National Building Museum

The inner face of the clock on the Old Post Office Tower

The view to the SW from my temporary office on-site in DC. You can just see to the left the cranes at the new baseball stadium construction site

The corresponding view to the NW, including the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral. Not a bad office.

The current state of affairs on the new Wilson Bridge

I split from work early today, since I "banked" some hours on Friday working unbilled overtime. It allowed me enough sunlight to enjoy the beautiful weather and get a full bike ride in - might be the last for the season. I'm not very partial to cold-weather biking.

Once I got home, I rigged for trick-or-treaters. Some nice kids in cute costumes, but some people suck. Teenagers who just walk on to the porch and yell "trick-or-treat," don't even knock, and aren't even dressed up. Then the little bastards take handfuls of candy. Hell, even the small kids take all that their little hands can grab. Greedy little monsters. I hate to break this out, but in my day you got lots of candy by pounding the pavement all night long, working every last house. Not by sucking one place dry. Though, I've learned that Bristol did holidays better than most places. Per capita, I've never found a town that does a superior Halloween or Independence Day. There, you knew there were a lot of houses with a lot of candy - it was an endurance trial, and you sure as hell had better map out your evening in advance to hit all the streets in the most efficient pattern possible. These people here are amateurs.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I had my first big visit at my new (ish) place. My parents, my godparents, and some friends of the family all came down a little over a week ago for a long weekend. Our friends had never been to visit DC before, so we did a lot of the more tourist-y stuff. It was fun, though: I was looking forward to the company more than any particular activity.

We did the Air&Space, the Post Office Tower (still my pick for anyone visiting DC for the first time), the Museum of American Art/ National Portrait Gallery (featuring the excellent Sam and the Perfect World and the freaky Giant Baby Head), and the National Building Museum. We drove the monuments at night, stopping to have a closer look at the Lincoln and the Korean War Memorials. We covered a lot, in not much time.

We also went out for some very good meals. We went to Poblano, Mai Thai, and a fairly new place in Del Ray called the Del Merei Grill. A little pricey, but I liked it a lot; excellent garlic mashed potatoes.

This past week, I've started working at a different office, a "collaboration site" in DC where engineers and managers from a number of different companies and federal entities gather to work on one big project. And it is big. They've spent $4.6 billion on it so far; time to get my cut, I guess. Actually, the office site is pretty slick, and we get some toys for the job (new Core Duo laptops, company cell phones, etc). But the site is so crowded, we don't even have our own desks; we have to "hot-desk" in empty cubicles, visitor offices, or conference rooms. At least the work is pretty easy - no complaints there. It will be a lot like my previous work at the 80 M street office, for a different program. I'm experienced; I guess that makes me an expert.

This weekend has been a busy one; Steph was back in town, since her Dad ran in the Marine Corps Marathon. And Kirk's wife Melissa was running in the associated 10K as well. So Kirk, Melissa, and her son Kolton came over to stay at my house Saturday night, which was a lot of fun. We all went to Steph's and had a big pasta dinner with Steph, her older sister Heather, her parent's, and Aaron. I made an apple pie, and Kirk bought vanilla frozen custard so we could have it a la mode. It was an excellent meal, and a nice chance to catch up with Steph since she's been on travel for the past month (and for the next two).

Lastly, I got my two pumpkins carved and waiting for trick-or-treaters. This is my fifth Halloween in Alexandria, and I've gotten a grand total of 3 trick-or-treaters. That's just not right. I'm hoping that here in the heart of Del Ray, with it's many families and children, I can finally give away some of all the candy I bought, instead of eating it for lunch for the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Make with the Art

Today is Art on the Avenue in Del Ray. From Bellefonte to Hume, Mount Vernon Avenue is closed to traffic and filled with food, paintings, sculpture, and jewelry. It's a big event of the neighborhood, with thousands of people from all over the area coming to visit.

I took a walk through the whole of the festival, taking the time to get myself an outstanding chopped barbecue pork sandwich from the Rockland's booth. I also stopped by the Dairy Godmother for a brownie sundae. The weather was not ideal for eating frozen custard, with breeze, overcast skies, and temperatures in the 50's. But it's been a while, and the brownie sundae is totally worth getting a little chilly.

I was tempted to buy one of the really neat photo collages at one of the booths, but art is expensive. I'd much rather try to make something myself, though I'm not so sure I'd hang anything of my own up in my house. Chris and Ryan have a knack for creative pursuits that I lack. I did recently make a self-portrait made to look like something by Lichtenstein, but it's kind of amateurish. I included it with a few pictures from the festival here.

The festival is more than just art and food. There are a lot of community organizations trying to recruit or raise awareness, two or three massage/yoga businesses with booths, and lots of music. I listened to a little bit of the Irish Breakfast Band, which included a class of girls who were learning Irish step dancing. It was nice, and went well with the grey, damp weather.

The one purchase I did make was from a silk-screen artist. She had a number of t-shirts; the famous picture of Che Guevara, some other kind of kitschy stuff. But I got the one shown above. Hail to the King! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Party Like It's 1999

Almost 1999, anyway. I had tried to make some CDs to listen to some music in my car, but the old CD player in my trunk doesn't like to read homemade CDs. It has given me trouble in the past. I finally decided to give up and get a portable mp3 player. I know - I must be some kind of Luddite, right? Totally - machines are the work of Lucifer. Now I have to go home and churn butter for 10 hours.

So I found that Apple offers refurbished items at reduced prices at their online store. So I got a 2GB player for almost half-price. I'm also going to get a super-cheesy cassette adapter so I can output to my car stereo easily. I'll be Rockin' like Dokken. Except more so, because Dokken never rocked. So now I've caught up with the latest thing from 4 years ago.

On the home front, I came home the other day to a bit of a surprise. Someone went to town on the bushes and hedges around the house. There was a lilac bush that was quite nice. Now... not so much. It's pretty much gone. I hope it was the property management company, or the landlord. Otherwise, I've got to worry about roving bands of topiary vandals. Chilling.