Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 38/365 - Notre Dame vs. Navy

Took the train over to Baltimore today to attend the Notre Dame-Navy football game. Last year Navy won in triple-overtime after having lost to ND for 43 straight years -- an NCAA record. Unfortunately, Navy couldn't quite make it two in a row today. Guess I won't be getting another commemorative t-shirt this year.

They almost pulled off another miracle comeback, though, after being down by 20 points in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. With the score at 27-21 in favor of ND, Navy had the ball on the ND side of the field with 1:30 left to play, but the Fighting Irish proved to be a tougher opponent than Temple had the week before. Unable to get a first down when they most needed one, Navy turned the ball over on downs and ND ran out the clock.

I got so excited at the prospect of the comeback win that I was hopping up and down in the stands and cheering as loudly as I could. My throat is still sore and hoarse. Most of the crowd had already left at that point, some certain of the eventual outcome and others chased off by the high wind and heavy rain that struck mid-way through the fourth quarter and made it feel like you were being pelted with nickels.

I stuck it out to the end though and hoped for the best. Navy lost, but I'm not disappointed in them. They fought their way back into the game, recovered two on-side kicks and scored two TDs in less than two minutes to put the fear of the goat into the Fighting Irish. They played their hearts out just as they have all season. They might not be the biggest, fastest, or most athletic college football team, but they never quit. Never.

After the game I wandered over to the Inner Harbor to drown my sorrows in beer and hot wings at Hooters. A sizeable contingent of the Brigade of Midshipmen wound up there as well. Some things never change -- wherever you find beer and women, there you'll find sailors.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 37/365 - Hi Ho, Hi Ho

This is my morning commute to work on the Yellow Line train going into DC from Northern VA. At this point the subway pops above ground and traverses a bridge over the Potomac River before ducking back down into the tunnel like a groundhog that spotted its shadow. I have a pretty short trip into the District each day -- I go 3 stops, switch to either the Blue or Orange Line, go one more stop, get off the train, and my office is right next to the Metro station. If I get lucky with the timing it's a 15-minute trip. If my timing is off, it's a 30-minute trip.

Either way, it ain't bad. I'd definitely rather have my commute than that of the poor saps who are usually creeping along bumper-to-bumper on the bridge you can see in the distance. Plus my agency gives me free train fare to encourage the use of mass transit, so it doesn't even cost me anything to go to work.

Even though I've been traveling this route for years without any problems, I still have a bit of an irrational fear that one day the train will derail and plunge into the river. The odds of that happening are probably astronomically remote, but I still worry about it a little bit in the back of my mind just about every time the train crosses over that bridge.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 36/365 - I Wish...

"I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her..."

This brass oil lamp is one of my many unnecessary eBay purchases. I'm forever buying stuff I don't need but still want off eBay. I use this as an incense burner and I have to admit that the first thing I did when I got it was to rub it to see if a genie would pop out and grant me three wishes. It didn't. I'm such a doofus.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 35/365 - Me, Myself & Eye

For this week's self-portrait we have my right eye (apologies for how gross it kinda looks in large format). My right eye isn't much different from my left, apart from having slightly worse vision.

My eyes used to be plain solid brown, but as I've gotten older they've changed color until now they're a kind of hazel that has brown, green, and yellowy parts all mixed up together (the little brown splotch at about the 8 o'clock position on my iris is the color my entire eye used to be). I'm curious to see if they'll keep changing color and eventually wind up green or something.

I used to think my Pops was a bit batty because he has always said that his eyes changed color as he got older and my Mom always told him we was full of beans because eyes don't change color. Turns out they do.

Chalk another one up for Pops.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 34/365 - Veterans Day

I went to the wreath-laying ceremony that was being held at the U.S. Navy Memorial today in observance of Veterans Day. I wound up in the Navy by default -- I didn't have anything better to do at the time (which is also how I wound up in law school, evidently I'm not much for career planning). I left college with a bachelor's degree in journalism and no desire to be a journalist, so I figured 'what the heck, I'll go in the Navy and get paid to travel for four years.'

Plus I was curious to see if I could hack being in the military. I enjoyed the first three years of my enlistment, but by that fourth year I was ready to go and I think they were ready for me to be gone. At that point I was probably more trouble than I was worth. I knew that I didn't want to make a career in the Navy and I wasn't realistically going to advance further in rank or get any real increased opportunity for learning, development, or responsibility for about another four years. That meant it was time to go. I was a Second Class Petty Officer by the time I got out. That's equivalent to a sergeant in the other branches of the service (Navy ranks are very different from the other three branches), but that rank actually carries far less authority and responsibility than a sergeant does.

I was stationed aboard the USS Mississippi CGN-40, a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser. As an Operations Specialist my job was largely to sit in a dark, air conditioned room for 12 hours a day and watch a radar screen, but I also occasionally got to do more interesting stuff like navigation, communications, shore bombardment plotting, and managing the Navy's version of a wireless data network.

Right after I went to boot camp Operation Desert Shield started and then while I was home on leave between boot camp and advanced training (or A School as it's known) Operation Desert Storm commenced. By the time I left A School Desert Storm was already over, so I missed out on the action. When I got to my ship she had just entered the shipyard for upgrading and repairwork. I spent my first year in the fleet chipping, grinding, sanding, painting, mopping, waxing, and cleaning the bathroom (known as the 'head'). So much for the 'it's not just a job, it's an adventure' sales pitch.

After we finally left the shipyard, we had about five or six deployments to the Caribbean -- two in support of the UN mandated blockade of Haiti following the overthrow of the Aristide government and the rest as part of counterdrug operations. We never did bust any drug smugglers. One time we stopped and boarded a suspicious vessel we thought for sure would yield a big haul of cocaine coming up from South America, but instead it turned out to be an undercover DEA agent who told us to go away and leave him alone.

Being in the Navy allowed me to visit a half-dozen Caribbean Islands and a couple Central and South American countries, netted me a trip through the Panama Canal, and gave me the chance to be hoisted up into a hovering helicopter from the deck of a pitching ship at sea. All things considered, it was a pretty good bargain.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 33/365 - 'Twas a Dark and Chilly Night

I set out to walk home from work tonight, but I didn't realize just how windy and chilly it was outside. I wimped out after about four blocks and ducked into the nearest Metro station. Before I did that though, I did manage to snap this shot of a closed refreshment stand on the National Mall.

I really liked the way it looked huddled there in the dark in a puddle of light with the Washington Monument lit up in the distance. Getting this shot made me feel a little better about chickening out on the walk home tonight.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Shamu

This week's bonus photo from my archives is a picture I took at the Sea World Shamu show when I went to San Diego earlier this year. Hurray for continuous shooting mode. I took tons of pictures at that show but a lot of them didn't turn out so hot. This one I was very happy with. I had a big print made of it and it's now hanging on the wall of my office.

Day 32/365 - Collage á Moi

Whenever I go to a peforming arts production, museum, zoo, sporting event, or historic building, I save my ticket stub and program or brochure and then I make collages out of them. This is seriously nerdy arts and crafts type stuff, but I enjoy it and it gives me a free souvenir. I don't have to buy a t-shirt, mug, or fancy booklet and I wind up with a cool memento of the places I've gone and the things I've seen.

This is my 16th collage. I used to hang them all up on my walls. Now though I've got so many of them that they would monopolize all the wall space in my apartment, so I just hang up the current collage. The others are all stacked up in my closet. I've got them going back to 1994, so I guess this was an early form of 365 Project for me. The current collage covers stuff I did from February 18th to September 6th of this year and encompasses things I went to in DC, as well as trips to Las Vegas, San Diego, Charlottesville, Branson, Dodge City, and Kansas City.

This collage is all full now and I need to get started on a new one. I've already got a stack of tickets and programs sitting on my desk that I need to get glued to a new posterboard.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)