Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 24/365 - Original Sin

For those who can't be bothered to pluck the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil themselves, it now comes in a handy bottled form.

We lucked into more great weather today, so this morning I rode my bike back down to Old Town Alexandria. This time though instead of just turning around and riding home, I parked my bike and walked all over the place taking loads of pictures (548 to be exact, hurray for digital photography). Old Town really has great textures, colors, shapes, and architecture to photograph. I'm going to have to do more photo safaris there.

Before hopping back on my bike and heading home, I grabbed lunch at a little bar/restaurant called Bilbo Baggins. The home-baked bread they serve there is amazing and they've got a crazy huge list of beers to choose from. I decided to be more autumnal in my choice of beverage though and opted for the Original Sin hard apple cider. It hit the spot perfectly. To go with it, I ordered the Quiche Lorraine. It was a warm, crusty, cheesy slice of edible heaven (which came in handy after my fall from Grace due to the cider).

I'm definitely going back there again.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 23/365 - Lame-oween

This picture should've been a shot of my friends and I out barhopping in costume. Or maybe it would've been a shot of someone we saw who had on a really clever or cool costume. But instead, it's just a shot of a leaf laying on the sidewalk that I took earlier in the day. Hoo-freaking-ray.

One of the group of people I was supposed to be going out with tonight got a headache and another got sick and so the plans fell apart and for the second year in a row I wound up doing nothing with no one for Halloween.

woo hoo

fun fun fun

What a great Halloween I didn't have today.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 22/365 - The Way of the World

It had been a while since I'd attended a play, so tonight I went to check out the Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of 'The Way of the World'. I love going to plays. It's like 3-D tv. I got my ticket for half-price from Ticketplace. It's amazing that more people don't know about Ticketplace. It's DC's version of NYC's TKTS. They have half-price tickets to most shows in town, including the Washington National Opera. It sure makes theatre-going a lot more affordable.

The Shakespeare Theatre Co. is a pretty safe bet for a night out. They stage some very good productions. This is the Lansburgh Theatre -- their old, small theatre. They also have a huge, fancy new theatre just up the block that is basically an architectural rip-off of the Signature Theatre in Shirlington. I think I like the old one better. It's less uppity and pretentious.

'The Way of the World' isn't one of Shakespeare's works. It's by William Congreve and was written a century after Shakespeare. It's a farcical and funny bit of frippery with overwrought costumes and big fluffy wigs. It's essentially a sharp-tongued morality play about a bunch of scheming lovers and/or deceivers and it takes a pretty stiff needle to the foibles of society and its obsessions with reputations and appearances.

I liked it and got quite a few laughs out of it. I have to admit to getting a bit lost in the first act, though. There are loads of different characters that are all interconnected in about a dozen different ways and involved with each other in about a dozen different schemes. I was a little embarassed that I was having some trouble keeping abreast of things until during the intermission (or as I like to call it, half-time) the older couple seated next to me asked if I'd been able to make sense of the first act.

I freely confessed that the play had me a bit dizzy and then the three of us read through the synopsis of the plot that they'd printed in the program and talked it through trying to remember which characters were which and what they were all up to. It was a lot like reading a Chekhov play where each character goes by at least three different names and you can't keep them straight without a scorecard. After the half-time cram session though, I was able to follow the second act much more easily.

All things considered it was a good night's entertainment with some very funny lines, great costumes and sets, and (for the most part) excellent performances.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 21/365 - Here Comes the Sun

I pass underneath this highway overpass every weekday on my way to and from the subway station near my apartment. It's a much more pleasant walk now that they've installed the mosaics and painted sections of the sidewalk. It used to be pretty grey, drab, and institutional/industrial looking. And then there were the pigeons.

There were hordes of pigeons roosting in the girders that make up the underside of the overpass. Walking through there was a bit like darting past a firing squad. I was pretty lucky and only got hit once, although of course I happened to be wearing my favorite jacket that day. Getting pooped on by a bird is supposed to be lucky, but frankly that's luck I think I could do without.

Before they installed the mosaics they pigeon-proofed the underside of the overpass with these little spiky things that keep the birds from roosting up there and then then they hydroblasted the accumulated guano away. So instead of pigeons, poop, and prison grey concrete we now have a clean, colorful, really cool walkway.

Not all tax expenditures are bad. To quote Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: "I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization."

Okay, maybe 'liking' paying taxes is a bit strong, but sometimes I don't mind paying them so much.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

P.S. - Click here to hear the song from which I stole the title for today's post.

UPDATE: This installation is called "Radiance" and the artist is Valerie Theberge.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 20/365 - Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

For this week's self-portrait I thought I'd introduce my hands, Lefty and Righty. Turns out that shooting a picture of both your hands at once is not an easy thing to do. Go figure.

I haven't always been particularly good to my hands, especially the right one. Once when I was very small I was sitting in the garage with a mostly full pop bottle and I stuck my right finger in the mouth of the bottle and and proceeded to shake and shake and shake and shake it. Not sure why I did it. In fact, I don't even remember it. It's one of those stories your family tells about you that you were too young to remember yourself. My guess is I just wanted to see how much pressure I could build up in the bottle as the pop got fizzier and fizzier.

In those days pop bottles were made of glass rather than plastic, and eventually the bottle exploded and bits of glass went into my hand. I still have a tiny scar from the stitches on the edge of my palm. A few years later I was hanging upside down from some monkey bars while we were visiting my aunt in San Diego and slipped. Somehow when I fell the thumbnail on one of my hands (can't remember which) was torn almost entirely off. That one I remember. Not having a thumbnail looks weird, btw.

Then, during my time in the Navy, there was the time I broke my right hand in the most idiotic way imaginable -- by getting mad and hitting things. I'd only had two drinks, so I can't even really blame it on alcohol. It was just sheer, inexcusable lack of sense on my part. I was mad about a woman and a situation I was powerless to change, and so I was walking down the street and roaring at the top of my lungs and hitting things that didn't have much give to them -- like concrete light poles. It's a wonder the people who lived nearby didn't call the police to complain about a madman roaming their neighborhood.

I didn't realize I'd broken it at the time. In fact, I went out and played basketball the next day. I'd never broken any bones before and thought (mistakenly) that if your hand was broken you wouldn't be able to move it. My hand still moved fine and the only time it really hurt was when I turned it from side to side, and that was probably just because the bones were then grinding together. I broke it on a Saturday and didn't go to get it looked at until Monday. Even then I just went to sick bay on my ship to see if they could do anything to take down the swelling. At that point my hand looked like a grapefruit with five little vienna sausages attached.

They sent me for x-rays and then it was pretty apparent my hand was broken. The x-ray showed that the last two fingers on my hand were snapped in two. The bones never did heal properly, thanks in part to the less-than-stellar care I received at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital. They should've put pins in the bones to keep them knitted together, but they just taped them to a splint they attached to my cast. The bones are more curved than straight now and they bother me from time to time.

No one to blame for it but myself, really. Guess it's like my brother is always telling me, I've got a fair amount of brains but no common sense whatsoever. Even I know how to learn a lesson, though. Hitting things in anger and frustration is not something I've ever done again, nor will I.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 19/365 - The Ties that Bind (and Choke and Gag)

The photo is a close-up of my necktie du jour. Every work day I stuff a tie in my bag that matches what I'm wearing and then when I get to the office I drape it over some reference books at the side of my desk to keep it from getting wrinkled. I only bother to actually put it on if I have a meeting to go to, otherwise the tie just lays there until it's time to go home, at which point I stuff it back in my bag.

I hate wearing a tie. Given that fact, I might have been better off choosing a profession that generally didn't require me to wear one. I'm half-convinced that one of my ancestors was hanged at some point and that my aversion to having things tight up around my neck is the hereditary remnant of his sorry end.

When I started work I wore a suit everyday, but then after the first year I realized that was a bit pointless because the first thing I'd do when I got to my office was take my jacket off and hang it up. So then I ditched my suits and just started wearing slacks, shirt, and tie to work. After about 5-6 years of that, I began to question why I bothered with the tie given that I spend most of the day in my office and generally don't see anyone except for other lawyers, none of whom care whether I'm wearing a tie.

That's when I switched to carrying rather than wearing the tie and only putting it on for meetings. And now it's even gotten to the point that I don't wear it to every meeting. Only certain meetings merit the tie. Meeting with regular clients on routine matters = not tie-worthy. Typically I only put on a tie now if the meeting involves people from outside the Agency or if there are going to be fairly high-ranking people in attendance.

Guess you can tell I've never really cared for dressing up. When I was in the Navy the sailors on my ship were only permitted to go ashore if we were wearing collared shirts. Don't ask why, it was some BS argument about upholding the reputation of the command. Whatever. After dealing with that frustration for a while, I finally hit upon the idea of buying a white golf shirt and cutting the collar off it. Then when I wanted to go ashore, I would just tuck the collar under my t-shirt or sweatshirt so that technically I was wearing a collared shirt. Once I was off the ship, I would take the collar off and jam it in my pocket and go on my merry way.

Worked like a charm. When I left the Navy I gave my shirt collar to another guy in my division so he could carry on my legacy of obeying the letter of the rule while simultaneously thumbing his nose at the spirit of it. You know, on second thought maybe I was destined to be a lawyer after all, my distaste for neckties notwithstanding.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Girl + Duck + Fountain = Cute

This isn't part of my 365 Project, but I thought I'd start adding a bonus photo on Sundays. This is a shot from my archives that I thought turned out well. It was taken at the fountain in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. You can't really tell from this angle, but the little girl had a bright pink cast on her arm.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Day 18/365 - My Badass Beach Cruisin' Bike

Too bad there isn't an actual beach anywhere nearby. This is the bike I got for Christmas a few years back. I had my family all get me gift cards for Target and then I used them to order my bike. It came in a jillion pieces in a box and I had to assemble it. That took a while. I'm not the most mechanically-inclined guy in the world. I somehow managed to put the front wheel on backward. Twice.

This morning I went for a bike ride with my friends Chris (that's his serious black bike just on the other side of my frivolous one) and Adriana. We headed down the Mt. Vernon Trail from Crystal City to just past Old Town Alexandria. I'd never been on that part of the trail before. It's very scenic and mostly level, which is good given that I hadn't taken my bike out of the closet for over a year now. I tend not to do well biking on hills.

Chris said we covered about 8.5 miles and it took us around an hour and a half. If he and Adriana had gone without me they could've done that distance in far less time, but they kept having to wait for my slowpoke butt to catch up. I'm sure my thighs are going to be killing me tomorrow, but it was worth it. I got to enjoy a nice morning, hang out with friends, see some pretty scenery, and get a bit of exercise. Not a bad way to start the day.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)