Saturday, August 16, 2008


They saw me rolling; they hatin'. Patrolling, they caught me ridin' dirty.

The weather was great this morning, so I got up early (for a Saturday) and rode the Mount Vernon Trail. It was a great ride - nice weather, and a fantastic way to start my day. I did have to stay on my toes coming back, because there were a number of larger packs of runners on the trail. I guess the Potomac Runners have a regular training run on the MVT on Saturday mornings. They were the best kind of runners, from a cyclist's perspective - pretty quick, stayed to the right of the trail, formed small easy-to-pass packs, and paid attention to bike ahead and behind.

The good mood was partially spoilt when I got a little careless. The MVT runs on the streets through Old Town. One section runs right along the waterfront, along the old Torpedo Factory. There are T-intersections, where the trail runs on the crossing leg of the T. Despite the stop sign, I rolled through one of these a little too quickly since no traffic can cross my path without hopping the curb; and of course I got pulled over by the APD. I got lot of looks from pedestrians, standing there while the officer ran my license. I should have told them I was speeding.

In the end, I got a warning, which I had coming. It is a good reminder not to get complacent when I leave the trails and get on the streets.

Really, it didn't do much to ruin my mood - I still had a great ride, and stopped at the Del Ray Farmer's Market for peaches. The yellow peaches are so juicy I have to eat them over the sink; worth the mess, they are delicious. And all of this is on top of going to the Nationals game last night with Sarah & Paul, Phillip, Matthew, and Sarah's dad. Neither team is having a very strong season, but they were pretty evenly matched, with the Rockies just edging out the Nationals. There were homeruns, quick double plays, critical errors, even the rare passed ball on a third strike - and the batter safely made it to first. I've never actually seen that happen live in a major league game. And since it was National Guard Night, I got a slick t-shirt. It was an excellent night, I'm glad I got invited along.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Isaiah Michael

This morning at 0019 little brother and his wife had a baby boy.  Everyone is doing great - healthy baby, relatively easy delivery, everything as you would wish.  Mom took many photos, and is convinced young Isaiah will have red hair.

I'm very excited and proud of Ryan and Bethany.  I'm so happy for them, and the family they've started.  Now I'm going to start buying loud toys and fireworks.  I will be Cool Uncle Dan.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Another beautiful day today - uncharacteristically mild for August in DC.  I thought about kncocking off for the afternoon anyway - I had a headache brewing all day.  And the Reds traded my favorite player, Adam Dunn, to the Diamondbacks for, as Chris put it, "a bag of beans, and they aren't even magic beans."
But days like this are all too rare, so I rode to over to Hains Point in DC.  I'm glad I did, too - it was fantastic.  I usually don't stop during my rides, but today I did.  I took a long break near where the old Awakening sculpture used to be.  And I just relaxed in the shade and the breeze, watching the boats on the river and the planes at National.
The wind was very strong out of the North, and the route to Hains Point from my house essentially goes North, short run East, South, North, short run West, South.  So each of the legs heading North was a bit laborious.  The first leg South is sheltered by the larger buildings of the district near the Washington Channel.
The last leg South, though, is along Potomac, with nothing to the north but the river until Georgetown.  Watching the river, I could help but remember downwind runs in my offshore racing days - we called it a sleighride.  You just catch the wind and let the boat ride it down.  Once I turned off the 14th Street bridge, it felt like I could coast all the way home.  Very fast, and lots of fun.  Too bad I didn't go home earlier; I might have considered taking Betty out onto the river for some sailing.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

War Machine

Lots of coverage in the papers about the nasty little war in the Caucasus. It sounds like Russia is absolutely steamrolling Georgia. Reports have them conducting bombing and heavy armor operations in South Ossetia and landing troops at ports in Abkhazia. It's actually a pretty good demonstration of the first part of what was known in the U.S. as the Powell Doctrine: if you're going to fight, go in fast and with overwhelming force.

This region has been officially "troubled" for some time now - Chechnya is right around the corner, after all. And it has been slowly heating up for months - there was this fascinating footage from about 6 months ago of a Russian jet shooting down a Georgian UAV:

I'm pretty ignorant of the details of the situation - Georgia was trying to put down separatist rebels, Russia came in as a peacekeeper, now it looks like Russia may try to annex both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. I was wondering what the appeal was for these regions - they're only about 50 miles square each. Then I took at at this map they had up at the Information Dissemination blog. Notice the many, many oil and gas symbols south of the mountains. Mostly in Azerbaijan. But the pipeline that carries that crude out to the West is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, running right through Georgia. This is an awful little war, and I don't see it ending well.


Building Museum 8-9-08

There's been an exhibit at the National Building Museum for the past few months that I've been meaning to see: Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future.  I finally went yesterday, ready to take a number of pictures - Chris has said he is a fan of Saarinen's work, and urged me to go to see this.

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed.  I did take some pictures of the NBM, which is one of my favorite buildings in DC.  It was originally built as the Pension Office after the Civil War, so the stairs have long, easy grades for injured veterans.  The atrium is pretty amazing - they use if for kids paper airplane contests.

The Saarinen exhibit was extremely interesting.  They had a number of detail design drawings for some of his buildings, like the Yale Whale, Gateway Arch, and TWA Terminal.  Saarinen was also did a lot of furniture design, and they had examples of some of his more successful works.  Too bad they were displays, and you couldn't sit in them; the Womb Chair looked very comfortable.  I was intrigued by the "criticism" leveled at Saarinen by his contemporaries, that he "invented a new style for each project."  I think that is an obvious virtue - not letting any kind of dogma or standard practice inform a design, but creating the right solution for the problem.  If that's the way Saarinen worked, then I'm a fan of Saarinen.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

At Speed

Some fantastic footage of the new LCS out on speed trials with a bone in her teeth. This is exciting for a number of reasons. First, it is the Navy's first new surface combatant class in almost 17 years, since Arleigh Burke was commissioned. More importantly, Jane is up in Wisconsin playing a big part in the sea trials, and she did some important design work on the project. It is a great achievement for her, and I could not be more pleased.

Since our company is working on the competing design for LCS 2 Independence, I'm looking forward to when she gets in the water sometime in the next year. She will be a much more futuristic looking boat, if nothing else:

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

Friday, August 01, 2008

Reds at Nationals

CIN @ WAS 8-1-08
With the current unbalanced schedule in place, most teams only play other teams in the league outside their own division about 6 times a year.  One series at home, one away.  So I get three chances each season to catch the Reds when they visit Washington to play the Nationals.

I enjoy games the most when I can see them with someone.  Since most of my friends aren't as big baseball fans as I am, and none are Reds fans, I can introduce them to the game and the team.  I do love to talk about both.  So invitations were made, and Sarah & Paul were able to join me Friday night.

Homer Bailey started for Cincinnati. The former phenom, this past-tense prospect, did not have a good night.  He lasted two innings, giving up five runs.  Rather than attempt to build suspense, I'll tell you now, that was all the offense Washington needed.  There were some good plays on both sides, including a diving catch by Jay Bruce in right.  Bruce added to his excellent night with a solo home run, which proved to be half of the runs the Reds would get all night.

Even with my Reds having a tough time of it, I love seeing games live, so it was a great time for me.  In fact, the most disappointing thing was not the outcome, but our neighbors.  We sat in the upper deck, and after a few innings some folks showed up to fill the row behind us.  They were Reds fans, I'm ashamed to say.  I suspect they had "pre-gamed" some, as they were already quite loud and obnoxious.  Despite children sitting nearby, they cursed quite a bit.  They sloshed a bit of beer on us.  And, possibly most annoying to me, they were ignorant about the game.  They would yell out how so-and-so couldn't hit, and how another player was a great fielder.  They were almost uniformly wrong.  Baseball is a subtle, elegant game, but they had no appreciation for it.  I don't understand how you can be a baseball fan, and not be interested how baseball actually works.  Adam Dunn may "only" hit homeruns (not entirely true), but he also walks.  A lot.  So he forces in a lot of runs, and puts himself on base so others can bat him in a lot.  He is immensely valuable.  Austin Kearns is a decent player, but is not nearly as valuable as Dunn because he is often injured and has never shown the same degree of power.  But they had to share their contrary opinion with the whole section.  These are just two examples of their errors.

We ended up moving to some empty seats in the ninth to get away from them.  I think I actually prefer it when the crowd is less in to a game - I can concentrate on what is happening and enjoy the details of defensive positioning, pitch selection, and the running game.

I've complained a lot, but truly the annoyances were a drop in the bucket compared to watching my team play with my friends.  It was a lot of fun, and even if this is the last time the Reds are in town this year, I look forward to catching some more games before the season is out.