Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 66/365 - Dinner at My Place

I invited my friends Desiree, Adriana, and Chris over to my place for dinner tonight, which meant I had to cook. I decided to go with a comfort food kind of menu, so I made meatloaf, mac and cheese, peas with mushrooms, tomato and herb bread, and chocolate cheesecake.

I was in the kitchen pretty much non-stop from 1:30 to 7:30. I'm not a very fast chef. The only dish I hadn't made before was the mac and cheese. It's made with penne and gruyere and turned out really good. I love this meatloaf recipe. It's not dry, crusty, and dense like my mom's meatloaf (sorry Ma). It's very light, moist, and flavorful. Even my brother, who hates meatloaf, loves it when I make this.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal. After we'd stuffed ourselves, I made a batch of chocolate martinis and we watched 'Wall-E" on DVD. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a great movie and it goes well with both chocolate martinis and chocolate cheesecake. But then again, what doesn't?

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 65/365 - Goodbye, Bettie Page

Bettie Page died last night. She was the all-time pin-up queen and a perfect blend of girl next door and kinky minx. It was a shame her life didn't turn out to be as joyous as she always appeared to be in her pin-up photos.

These are a group of Bettie Page magnets I have on my refrigerator. Normally they're scattered across the surface of my fridge, holding up an array of photos and comic strips. Tonight they're drawn together in tribute to a beautiful but troubled woman who seemed the ideal embodiment of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience.

Good night Bettie, wherever you may be.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 64/365 - String of Pearls

I liked the way these raindrops looked clinging to the branches of the trees growing in the courtyard of my apartment complex, so I grabbed my camera and an umbrella and headed outdoors. It was the first time I'd been out of my apartment all day. I have an appeal response I have to file Monday, so I lugged a bunch of files home with me last night and spent today working at home.

There's nothing quite like practicing law on your couch in a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt. I'm lucky in that my boss is really cool about letting me telecommute whenever I want. I always manage to get way more done at home than I would in the office. It's partly because of fewer interruptions, and I think partly because I feel less inclined to take a break at home. At work I'm almost always looking for an excuse to take a break.

It's been rainy and grey here for two days now, and yesterday it was uber-humid. It's been more like Spring in Washington state than the verge of Winter in Washington, DC. It's December -- it should be snowing rather than raining. You can't make a rain man or rain angels or have a rain ball fight. I want a white Christmas, not a wet Christmas.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 63/365 - Washington, DC: Nutjob Magnet

One of the downsides to living in the DC area is having to put up with the kooks and crazies that want to come here, get in the way, and air their idiotic viewpoints. Earlier this week it was the tinfoil hat crowd camped out on the steps of the Supreme Court trying to get it to entertain their conspiracy theory that the President-Elect isn't a natural born U.S. citizen. Now it appears that we have yet another demonstration of intellectually bankrupt ideological carpetbaggers coming to town.

They'll show up, mess up traffic, require the District to pay for a lot of police overtime, make themselves feel like they're doing something, accomplish nothing other than irking the people who live here, and then go back from whence they came. I guess this plague of angry crackpots is nothing new, though. This is the same city that played host to a Million Klan March back in the 1920s after all.

We get a few of these buffoon conventions each year and they're all ridiculous. The demonstrations, marches, etc. are never actually for anything. They just rail loudly and impotently against their personal Satan-of-choice: abortion rights, the Bush Administration, the World Bank/IMF, capitalism, and now the Federal Reserve. Apparently the Federal Reserve was the secret puppetmaster behind the invasion of Iraq, the financial sector bail-outs, and the 'inflation tax,' whatever the hell that might be.

Why stop there? Why not also blame the Fed for Hurricane Katrina, the Irish Potato Famine, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the musical 'Cats' (now there's a crime against humanity). These yahoos aren't even original. They're basically just recycling the same 'evil bankers are controlling the world' arguments the White Supremacist wackos have been espousing for years with their 'Protocols of Zion' BS.

These migratory nutjobs do a disservice to the occasional worthwhile protests that do come to DC and invariably get lumped in with the limpwits. The First Amendment gives you the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It does not give you the right to be an obnoxious twit who pointlessly aggravates your fellow citizens just to boost your sense of self-worth.

Next month the idiot brigade will spin the 'Big Wheel O' Stupidity' and pick a new cause celebre at which to shake their fists and gnash their teeth. I can hardly wait to see what it will be next. I nominate 'people who clip their nails on the Metro.' That's a scourge I could support eliminating.

(Taken with my Nokia 6133 cameraphone -- because I was stupid and forgot to take my S200 to work with me today)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 62/365 - Spoon Portrait

As you can probably tell by this shot, I didn't have much time at work today to think up a cool shot to take and now that I'm home I'm tired and I just want to read for a bit and then go to bed early. So that's how I wound up standing in my kitchen and shooting a picture of myself reflected in the back of a slotted spoon for this week's self-portrait. Ta da!

Why is it that your reflection on the back of a spoon is rightside up, but your reflection on the inside of a spoon is upside down?

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 61/365 - Office Away From Office

We have a Starbucks adjacent to my office building and when I need to really focus on something and blaze through my review of it, I take files down there and work. Today it was a grant announcement I'd promised to get reviewed and returned to the program office by COB. This is my favorite table. There were a couple kids sitting there when I entered, but by the time I got my chai they'd left and I was able to claim my usual spot.

I've always been one of those people who focus and concentrate better when there is stuff going on around them. I could never study in complete silence. My mind tends to start wandering if there isn't something going on in the background. Some people need absolute quiet in order to concentrate and others of us are just the opposite. In school I always had to have the radio or tv on when I was studying or doing homework and even now I listen to music in my office.

It seems counter-intuitive that you'd need noise and commotion in order to avoid distractions, but that's what works for me.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Blood Orange Blossom

For this week's extra photo from my archives we have a shot I took of a flower I saw at the zoo in San Diego. I have no idea what sort of flower it is, but I think it looks cool. I like shooting flowers for some reason. They're kinda like prettier versions of Rubik's Cubes -- lots of colors and shapes going on. And they tend not to move much, which makes them easy to shoot.

(Taken with my Nikon D80)

Day 60/365 - At the BB&T Classic

Well they couldn't quite pull off the double dip this weekend. Navy's basketball team played Virginia Tech in the opening game of the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. The temperature inside the Verizon Center was much more pleasant than that at Lincoln Financial Field yesterday, and the subway ride into DC was much quicker (and cheaper) than the Amtrak ride up to Philly.

My seat pretty much sucked, though. I was behind one of the baskets about fifty feet from the court, so I spent a lot of time watching the game on the jumbotron. On the plus side, however, I was right across the aisle from the Midshipmen seating section and they're always a fun and lively bunch. Plus the Navy cheerleaders were right behind the basket so even when the team was playing ugly I had something nice to watch.

Navy led at the half but wound up losing the game to Virginia Tech by a score of 79-70. Navy played hard, but not particularly smart, basketball. They kept playing physical defense even after it became obvious the refs were going to call a tight game and as a result they sent the Hokies to the free throw line far too many times. Also, the Mids were too reluctant to take shots as time wound down and just kept passing the ball around while the clock ticked their chances away. When you're down by ten points with less than four minutes to play in the game, it's not the time to be passive and unselfish. It's time to take things into your hands and be aggressive. Otherwise, you lose.

Oh well, at least I got to see one Navy victory this weekend. Next stop on the Navy Sports Express for me -- the EagleBank Bowl at RFK on December 20th. Go Navy!