Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 269/365 - Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, everyone -- from a guy born and raised in a town named Independence. I'm not going to any cookouts today, but I did have a hot dog, beer, and cheeseburger at the ballpark this afternoon. I love going to Nats games on the Fourth of July. The national pasttime should always be played in the national capitol on the national birthday. Period.

To make things even better, the Nats pulled off a 4-run comeback in the bottom of the 8th inning today and hung on to beat the Braves 5-3. Now if I can just manage to get some decent shots of the fireworks tonight it will be a perfect Independence Day. Fingers crossed...

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 268/365 - Summer Reading List

This is the stack of books I'm planning/hoping on reading this summer. I've already finished "The Miracles of Santo Fico" and I'm nearly done with "The Angel's Game." Like everything else about me, my taste in books can be pretty eclectic. There's a mix of fiction and non-fiction, class and trash in this stack. Not to mention the obligatory pirate book. Arghhhhhh...

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 267/365 - Jazz on Jackson Place

Tonight I went to the Jazz on Jackson Place concert at Decatur House just up the street from the White House. It's a great deal. For $25 you get all the beer/wine/soda you can drink, all the appetizers you can eat (tonight it was empanadas, cuban sandwiches, and chips with salsa, guacamole, and 7-layer dip), a jazz performance, and a tour of historic Decatur House. They host it at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month between May and September. Tonight's concert features a pair of excellent tango musicians from Argentina teamed up with some locals playing bass, keyboards, and fiddle. It was a good time.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 266/365 - 99 Problems

Hurray for Day 266! That means I'm down to double-digits now and I only have 99 more days and nights to document. Assuming my math is right, anyhow. That's always a dicey proposition at best.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 265/365 - Warhol Self-Portrait

For this week's self-portrait I decided to do an Andy Warhol-style piece. I took a self-portrait with my Nikon D90, used the stamp effect on an old version of Microsoft Photo Editor, ran it through Picasa to add the tints, and then put the four versions together with Microsoft Publisher and saved it as a jpeg. Voila!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 264/365 - Confessions of a Retro Boy, Pt. 2

I've already confessed my love of old movies (which really should've been the first retro boy confession) and old radio programs, so it should come as no great surprise when I confess that I also love old comic strips from the 1930s and 1940s. As with the radio programs, I don't care so much for the old comedy strips. It's mostly the old adventure and detective strips that draw my interest.

Terry and the Pirates and Jungle Jim are two of the best adventure strips and Dick Tracy is unequivocally the best detective strip of all time. Tracy is also my favorite comic strip, period. The contemporary version of the strip is pretty dreadful and not worth reading, but the classic Dick Tracy strips had it all -- action, mystery, romance, melodrama, suspense, high tech gadgetry, fiendish death traps, and larger than life characters. I got hooked on Tracy when I was in high school. At that time, the contemporary strip was still pretty damn good.

When I went away to college my parents would save the comics sections from the newspaper for me so I could catch up on my Dick Tracy reading when I came home. Then, after I joined the Navy, they would clip the strips from the paper and send me an envelope stuffed with them every month so I wouldn't have to go without my Tracy fix. Now I love collecting and reading reprinted editions of the vintage Terry and the Pirates, Jungle Jim, and especially Dick Tracy comic strips. As with most examples of popular culture from that time period, they have a tendency to be casually racist. It's astonishing how the mainstream America of that era had no qualms about employing slurs and stereotypes that make most modern audiences cringe.

I love the old comic strips despite their flaws, although being a white guy probably makes it a lot easier to overlook the racist elements they contain and just focus on the slam-bang stories. There's more than a little guilt associated with this guilty pleasure.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Don't Touch that Dial!

For this week's extra photo from my archives, we have this shot I took of Zeus the French bulldog when I was dogsitting yesterday. He had been curled up beside me on the couch with his head resting on my lap, but when I got up to get a drink he scooched over and snuggled up next to my backpack and rested his paw on the tv remote.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Day 263/365 - International Gentleman of Leisure

After a day spent wrangling dogs and a night in Adams Morgan I decided today called for something a little more leisurely, so I grabbed blanket, book, and iPod and headed to my secret spot. Down the street from my apartment there is a little park filled with fountains and other water features. On weekends there are always people standing in front of the fountains having wedding/prom/quinceaƱera photos taken. At the back of the park, a paved path winds its way up and around a grassy knoll. Few people go up that way.

I like to lay there on the hill and forget the world exists. The feel of the pages under my fingertips, the fluid poetry of Puccini on my iPod, the softness of the blanket, the smell of the grass, the coolness in the air, the sound of the water from the fountains, and the thrum and rattle of trains passing on the backside of the hill all formed a perfect equation of relaxation.

For a few hours today, this little patch of grass was my own private desert island.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)