Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 255/365 - Some Dim Sum

Met up with some old friends for a dim sum lunch today. We all started work at the agency at around the same time and they put us all together in a single room in the basement. We were only supposed to be there for a couple months while they built out a new suite of offices, but it wound up taking just over a year for the new space to be ready.

We got to be pretty tight during that year. We went out for a lot of happy hours and went a bunch of other places together. In the ten (OMG, ten!) years since we all met though, two of us have gotten married and had kids, one left to work at the FBI, and one moved on to become district counsel in Baltimore -- so we don't see each other much anymore.

Once a year we try to get together for lunch somewhere and this year it was dim sum at Good Fortune in Rockville. It was yummy and I ate loads, though I couldn't tell you what half of the dishes I ate were. I can tell you that I'm not a big fan of the turnip cake, however. It tastes pretty much like it sounds.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 254/365 - Stranded in New York

So to resume from yesterday's entry, I missed the last train back to DC due to a rain delay at the Nationals-Yankees game and the next one wasn't until 3 a.m. That left me plenty of time to kill in New York City in the wee hours of this morning. I wandered around Time Square for a bit and spotted a couple of movie theaters. One was closed, but the other still had one show playing at midnight -- "Year One" with Jack Black and Michael Cera. I had been hoping to catch a screening of "The Hangover," but figured 'what the hell, it's a way to pass a couple hours.' Ugh.

DO NOT go and see this movie. Not to be unduly flippant, but it's the cinematic equivalent of waterboarding. If someone you know mentions the possibility of going and seeing this movie, beat them about the head with a rolled up magazine until they come to their senses. Based on the previews, I figured "Year One" would be about 25 percent funny. However, even my lowered expectations overshot the mark by at least 15 percent. It's dreadful.

It did successfully throttle a couple of hours to death, though, so I guess I got what I wanted from it. After that, I ambled back over to Penn Station to wait for my train. I was expecting the station to be full of freaks and derelicts at that time of day, but it wasn't. It was largely empty except for a cluster of weary travelers waiting for their trains to come.

Mine finally came and after fidgeting and squirming in my seat for about an hour, I was able to doze off for the rest of the trip. We pulled into Union Station at 7 a.m. this morning, 23 1/2 hours after I'd caught the train up to NYC the previous day. I metroed back to my apartment, brushed my teeth, and collapsed into my bed.

Home at last.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 253/365 - At New Yankee Stadium

It was a simple plan: take a day off work, train it up to NYC, catch the Nats afternoon game against the Yankees at their new ballpark, train it back to DC, and get to bed in plenty of time to go to work the next day. So much for the plan.

It was pouring down rain in the Bronx when I got to new Yankee Stadium. That led to a 5 1/2 hour rain delay. I nearly threw in the towel and went home a couple times, but I stuck it out. I passed the time until the game started seeing Monument Park and the Yankees Museum, walking around the stadium, browsing the team store, reading, listening to my iPod, napping in my seat, and having lunch (a hot dog and order of cheese fries) and dinner (two big slices of cheese pizza).

And then the game finally began and it all turned out to be worth the wait as the Nats beat the Yankees 3-0 and took the series 2 games to 1. The new Yankee Stadium is a nice ballpark, apart from the outfield section which seems a bit half-ass and unfinished. It's a pretty good place to watch a game and I much prefer it to the Mets new ballpark.

After the game I headed to Penn Station to catch the train back to DC only to discover that the last train of the day left 45 minutes earlier (at 10:00 p.m.) and the next train didn't depart until 3:00 a.m. So much for going to work the next day. With no other real options, I bought a ticket for the 3:00 a.m. train, wandered up to Time Square, had a couple cups of coffee and a ginormous slice of cheesecake, and tried to come up with something to do to pass the time for the next 4 hours.

To be continued...

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 252/365 - In the Bag

I shamelessly stole this idea from Mr. T. in DC, but here are the current contents of the bag I take with me to work everyday:

-- Eagle Creek Vagabond series bag
-- Let's Go! map/guide of Washington, DC
-- Tide stain pen (I tend to be a messy eater)
-- Blue ink pen
-- Mini Mag Lite
-- "Old Man"-style change holder (my Grandpa always carried one of these)
-- Flashing red light (for when I walk home after dark along the Mt. Vernon Trail and don't want to get run over by cyclists)
-- 80 GB iPod Classic with hard shell case and Bose earbuds (got 'em free by using my debit card points)
-- Box of matches (I don't smoke, but you never know when they might come in handy)
-- Washington Nationals pocket schedule
-- Blistex lip balm
-- Listerine strips
-- "Peter the Brazen" book by George F. Worts (collection of old pulp magazine stories from the 1920s about the adventures of a wireless telegraph operator serving onboard a variety of steamships sailing to the Far East)
-- Cheap sunglasses I bought at CVS (I lose/break/scratch them far too frequently to spend much on sunglasses)
-- Steno pad (never know when you might want to write something down)
-- Keys and Washington Nationals keychain
-- Wrigleys Extra peppermint gum (I'm addicted)
-- Ricola cough drops
-- Anacin tin holding Excedrin aspirin
-- DayQuil cold medicine
-- Alavert allergy medicine
-- Nokia cellphone
-- Today's necktie in case I had to go to a meeting (I didn't, thankfully)
-- Reusable water bottle
-- Nikon Coolpix S200
-- 4 GB USB drive
-- Engraved business card case (gift from one of my sisters on the occasion of my being admitted to the Bar)
-- ESPNZone MVP card
-- Hand sanitizer
-- Harris Teeter, CVS, and Borders membership cards on a key ring

And that's what I lugged with me to and from the office today.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 251/365 - Tying One On

This week's self-portrait is a shot of me standing in my office at work trying to tie my tie before heading off to a meeting. If I don't tie it standing in front of a mirror, then I have to look up at the ceiling and kind of zone out while I try to remember how it goes. Hence the vapid, vacant expression on my face. BTW, this is the tie I bought to go with my Dick Tracy Halloween costume from a couple years back.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 250/365 - Modern Day Drive-In

The Business Improvement District in my neighborhood stages an outdoor film festival every summer. They erect a movie screen on a grassy sward in the courtyard of an office complex and show movies for free every Monday after dark. Last summer they showed all the James Bond movies. The theme for this summer is superhero movies and tonight's show was Superman II, so I decided it was high time I put in my first appearance at this year's festival.

Superman II is my favorite of the Superman movies despite all the logic holes, such as:

-- Why, when the villains drop the flags after attacking the lunar expedition, do they immediately fall to the surface of the moon rather than drifing down slowly?
-- When Superman uses his laser vision while in his Clark Kent disguise, why doesn't he burn holes through his glasses?
-- After being stripped of his superpowers, how do Clark and Lois make it back to civilization from his remote Fortress of Solitude?
-- How does Superman get his powers back after his mom tells him the process of removing them is permanent?
-- And just how does his amnesia-inducing superkiss manage to neatly erase Lois' memory of his secret identity?

In the final analysis though, who really cares? It's still a fun movie and seeing it makes me feel like a kid again, just like sitting outside to watch a movie makes me think back to when we'd go to the drive-in theater when I was little. That's worth overlooking a few gaffes.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Alaskan Sunset

This week's extra photo from my archives is a shot I took on my recent cruise to Alaska. This was the second night after we left Seattle and the sunset at sea was pretty spectacular.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Day 249/365 - Ballin'

We had our last regular season kickball game today and we lost as usual. The round of jello shooters we did before the game didn't help us play any better, but the round we did after the game made us feel a little better anyhow. This was the first game I'd been able to make in quite a while. My team did manage to win two of the games I missed -- one by forfeit and one legitimate victory -- so at least we didn't go all season without a win.

We stepped it up at the bar after the game though and were the flip cup all-stars. We were so good at it we started inventing variations on flip cup to keep ourselves challenged. I think the funniest one we did was "drink, spin around, do an '80s dance move, and then flip your cup." That was the highest of low comedy. One guy even dropped down on the floor and did the worm. I lost track of how many pitchers of beer we went through. I think we must have drunk enough beer tonight to float a battleship.

Our next game will be in the division championship tournament two weekends from now. In that one, you play until you lose. In our case, that shouldn't take long. We've already christened ourselves the "one and done" crew. Don't think I'll stay as long at the post-game happy hour next time, though. I'm definitely getting too old for those kinds of shenanigans.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)