Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 17/365 - Sarah Palin Is a Real Dog

Today I went to a Halloween extravanganza in the Clarendon section of Arlington, VA that was being held for dogs (and their owners). I don't have a dog, but I went along to be moral support and designated photographer for my friend Chris and his miniature Australian shepherd Chewie. Normally Desiree (who is Chris' wife and another friend of mine) would serve in those roles, but she's in Florida for a bachelorette party this weekend.

There were about 20 dogs there, mostly the yappy little fluffball kind but there were a few regular-sized dogs as well. The costumes ran the gamut from pirates, pumpkins, hotdogs, fairies, Elvis, ladybugs, lobsters, dinosaurs, angels, lions, monkeys and Chewbacca the Wookie (that was Chewie) to Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. That's the crazy clueless right wing moose-hunting beauty queen herself pictured above.

The Palin costume was definitely the best. That dog had on a navy business suit, wig and glasses and was riding along in a jeep with guns in the back and was accompanied by another dog in a moose costume. Don't know if she won the costume contest portion of the festivities or not, but she should have. The event was organized by a funky little local pet store and in addition to the costume contest they had a full slate of activities scheduled, including professional dog portraits, a parade, and doggy trick-or-treating.

Seeing as how it was raining, however, Chris and I opted to bail before the costume judging was over. There was still a full hour and a half to go at that point, but we couldn't be bothered to stick around any longer. After hanging out with a bunch of frou-frou dogs in frilly costumes we felt the need to reassert our dude-hood, so we went back to his place and played a fighting game on his Wii. Then we ordered some hot wings, drank beer, and watched college football like the manly men we are. Grrrrr!

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 16/365 - Black & White Movies on a Grey Day

It was cloudy and overcast in the DC area today, perfect weather for curling up on the couch and watching old movies. I love old B&W movies. Directors and cinematographers back then did absolutely amazing things with light and shadow (Casablanca is one of the best examples of this) that modern filmakers just ignore. When I lived at home my parents could never understand why I always watched old movies and tv shows. At some point they would invariably shake their heads and say "I don't know why we bothered buying a color tv when everything you watch is in black and white."

I think Turner Classic Movies is my favorite tv channel. If I'm not watching an old movie on TCM, then I'm probably watching sports. I don't really watch much broadcast tv anymore. The Amazing Race and 24 are about the only series I still follow. I gave up on Lost after the second season. I don't really miss it.

The movie on my tv in this picture is Hotel Berlin from 1945. It's all about layers and levels of intrigue, schemes, and plots taking place among a group of people from different walks of life in a grand hotel in Berlin toward the end of WWII, most of whom are looking to get the hell outta Germany before it's too late. It was pretty good. It had been sitting on my DVR for a while, but tonight I finally got around to watching it (BTW, DVRs get my vote for most awesome invention of the past few years).

Now it's time to dash downstairs to the convenience store in the basement of my apartment building and grab a pint of Ben & Jerry's before they close. Then I'll browse through the list of movies waiting on my DVR and see what I want to watch next. It's a Friday night double-feature at my place -- bring your own ice cream and join in the fun.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 15/365 - Math Problems

Emphasis on the 'problems' part. This is what you get when you make an attorney do math. I realized after I took this shot that my calculations looked a lot like the rantings of the crazy homeless guy from a few posts ago. Who knows, maybe once upon a time he was an attorney who was forced to work with numbers and it drove him stark, raving bonkers.

I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon and this morning reviewing the assets and liabilities of a married couple who own a government contracting company and winnowing through their tax returns to try and figure out how much of their collective income was attributable to each spouse. They had applied for certification as a disadvantaged business and I had to see if the program office's determination that the couple was not economically disadvantaged was legally supportable. Which meant I had to do math.

Math is not my friend. It was always my worst (and least favorite) subject in school. It's not a widely known fact, but most lawyers are terrible at anything involving numbers. We tend to react to numbers like Superman does to Kryptonite and vampires do to crosses. If we were good at math we wouldn't go to law school. We'd be doctors or scientists or engineers instead (or in my case, an architect), or something useful like that. But we suck at math so we wind up lawyers by default.

After a lengthy and awkward struggle (and a bit of cheating using the QuickMath automatic math solutions website -- man I love that website), I was finallly able to determine that the couple's adjusted net worth was below the $750,000 threshold but their average two-year incomes were in excess of $200,000, which put them in the upper percentiles of all U.S. taxpayers and therefore precluded them from being deemed economically disadvantaged.

Anyone who wasn't math illiterate probably could've figured that out in about 20 minutes, tops. Making an attorney do math is like giving a monkey a chainsaw -- it might turn out all right, but the odds are it's going to result in something messy and unpleasant.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 14/365 - Morning Gory

I decided that I should do one self-portrait each week as part of my 365 Project, and then I had the less-than-brilliant idea of taking a shot of myself right after waking up in the morning. Hopefully this will be the roughest I’ll look in any of the self-portraits, although I did manage to lessen the carnage a bit through the use of B&W and soft focusing.

Anyhow, that’s me and my Nikon D80 with the Tokina 12-24mm lens attached first thing in the bloody morning.

(Rather obviously taken with my Nikon D80)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 13/365 - My Grindstone

This is where I work. I’m an attorney for a small (and generally ignored) agency of the U.S. Federal government. It’s not as sexy or important as some of the big agencies are, but it’s not a terrible place to work. The pay is good, the people are nice, and the work doesn’t drive me crazy or make me miserable. That’s really all I’m looking for in a job.

I’ve never understood why some people invest so much of their self-image into their job, or why they expect fulfillment or affirmation from their work. For me, a job is just that -- a job. It’s a means to an end and a way to pay the bills. If work was wonderful, they wouldn’t have to pay you to do it.

I show up, I do my work, they pay me, and I go home and do the stuff I really enjoy and that I find stimulating and fulfilling. Work isn’t Disneyland, it’s my ticket to Disneyland.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 12/365 - Reflecting on Greatness

Got this shot of the Washington Monument's reflection rippling across the Tidal Basin as I walked home from work today. Politicians have been routinely badmouthing DC for over 100 years, but the city really gets a bum rap. It's actually quite a beautiful and amazing place to live and/or work (although I only do one of those within the District myself).

Never ceases to amaze me how every election cycle it's the same old thing. There are always a bunch of blowhard politicians running the District down. It's always "Washington is a mess", "Washington is what's wrong with this country," yadda yadda yadda. Yet despite the fact that these bilious buffoons loudly profess their hatred for all things DC, they sure fight like hell to be able to live and work here.

I guess it's a bit like Brer Rabbit pleading with his captors to not throw him in the briar patch. 'Pleeease don't throw me in that briar patch. Oh no, anything but that!'

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 11/365 - The Calculus of Madness

These are the rantings and ravings of the crazy right wing conspiracy theorist persecution complex homeless guy who periodically passes through my neighborhood. He has a compulsion to write on things and he also likes to record his pronouncements on a little boom box tape recorder he carries with him.

This set of rantings is on a concrete pillar supporting an overpass. The guy writes on any and everything and it always looks like those scenes you see in the movies where a crazy person covers every inch of the walls in his cell with cramped, chaotic scribblings.

I feel sorry for the guy because it must be awful to deal with a compulsion like that, but I'm also annoyed that he's in my neighborhood (not the most charitable and commendable of views, I know). Additionally, I'm a bit worried that he's going to snap and turn homicidal one day.

I really hope he doesn't have access to firearms.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)