Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 304/365 - Bobblehead Night at Nats Park

Tonight the Nats had their first bobblehead night of the season. They gave away Adam Dunn bobbleheads and if that wasn't reason enough to leave the ballpark happy, they also beat the Arizona Diamondbacks to secure their seventh straight victory. I believe that may be their longest winning streak since the inaugural 2005 season when they won ten in a row. Be still my beating heart -- the Nats are actually playing winning baseball.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 303/365 - French Twofer (Deux Pour?)

There is a French restaurant in Georgetown called La Chaumiere that I've been wanting to try for a few years and tonight I finally went. I was going to see the movie "Julie & Julia" that is, in part, about Julia Child's formative years in France and I thought it would be cool to have dinner in a French resaurant beforehand. La Chaumiere is a small, intimate restaurant with a rustic and cozy feel to it. The food is very good. I had an emmenthaler cheese souffle to start and followed that with the venison medallions. Plus a couple glasses of champagne. Why not?

I took the unforgivable step of skipping dessert so that I would have time to stop by an ATM and get to the movie theater on time. When I got to the electronic kiosk at the theater to buy my ticket, I discovered that my debit card was not in my wallet. Cue moment of minor panic. I decided I must have neglected to take it out of the folder thing the bill was in at the restaurant. I started heading back to La Chaumiere when it hit me that I'd still had the card when I stopped by the ATM, at which point I realized that I'd gone off and left my card in the machine after taking the cash. Ugh.

I wasn't too, too worried given that there was no one else around the ATM when I went, it was inside the bank foyer rather than on the street in the open, and I believe ATMs are designed to suck your card back inside if you forget to take it. My card wasn't there when I got back to the ATM, and this is where buying an iPhone came in handy. I used it to get on my bank's website and find the number for reporting a lost or stolen card. There hadn't been any activity on my card since I'd withdrawn money, and they went ahead and cancelled it and sent me a new one. Phew.

By that time I'd missed the 7:15 show, but there was another one at 8:15 so I pulled up the map on my iPhone, found the nearest Starbucks, went and got myself a mocha frappucino, and did the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle on my phone to pass the time. If it's possible to love a little hunk of metal and plastic, I'm coming to love my iPhone.

Back at the movie theater, the lady at the ticket counter recommended heading straight to the auditorium to get a good seat because it was looking like the show was going to sell out. Great recommendation, and something I wouldn't have gotten had I used the electronic kiosk rather than dealing with a person. The show did turn out to be packed and a lot of people who came in after me had trouble finding a decent place to sit.

The movie was very good. It has two storylines, both of which are based on real events. One is about Julia Child discovering French food in post-WWII Paris, learning to cook, and putting together her groundbreaking cookbook. The other is about a woman who decides to prepare all 500+ recipes in Julia's book in one year and blog about it daily. The plotlines echo each other in several regards, much in the way that the subplot informs on the main plot in Shakespeare. The first hint of this is in the introductory scene for each character when we see Julia drive by the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Julie drive by a rusty water tower in Queens.

Although their lives are very different on the surface, the two women's stories share many of the same elements. Each is trying to find something to do with her life, something more than just what she's done in the past and something more personally meaningful than just another way to pass the time. Each finds the answer in French cooking. BTW, don't go see this movie when you are hungry. I can only imagine it would be torment.

The Washington Post movie critic made a big noise over noting that the Julia Child scenes are more compelling than the Julie the blogger scenes. How insightful. Let's see, Julia Child and her husband are portrayed by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. Who'd have guessed that their performances would outshine those of Amy Adams and the anonymous guy who plays her husband? There's some rocket science for you. I enjoyed both storylines. So go, see this movie and have a fun night out. Just make sure you eat beforehand.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 302/365 - Phillips After Five

Although I've been a member of the Phillips Collection for two years and can get into the museum for free, I'd never been to one of their "Phillips After Five" events until tonight. Turns out they are pretty damn cool.

My evening started off with the Mortified performance piece in the museum's auditorium. If you're unfamiliar with Mortified, it essentially involves people getting onstage in front of a room full of strangers and recounting some of the most embarrassing and angst-ridden moments of their adolescence. Tonight's participants read from their high school journals/diaries, recited old love letters, and in one case sang childhood songs they'd written about their neighbors and friends. It was a hilarious, empathetic, touching, and occasionally cringeworthy experience. Evidently they stage events in cities across the country, so if one pops up in your neck of the woods you should go.

After the show ended, I ventured up to the third floor to check out the "Paint Made Flesh" exhibit, which highlights the way that the development of oil paints lead to greater skill and interest in depicting the human form among painters. The exhibit features a wide range of works from a variety of artists, styles, places, and eras. When I'd finished perusing it, I wandered around the permanent collection to visit a few old friends amongst the artworks, although I was bummed to discover that one of my Phillips faves -- Matisse's "Studio, Quai Saint-Michel" -- had been taken down from display. Don't know whether it's being restored or loaned out, but it was MIA.

From there I ambled on down to the music room to catch the tail end of a jazz quartet's performance. There was a cash bar there, but I had no greenbacks on me so I had to make like a teetotaller. Boooo. I then wrapped up the evening with a late supper and a bit of bookbrowsing at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. I guess I'd have to say it was a very yuppified night out. Fun, but definitely yuppified.

(Taken with my iPhone)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 301/365 - I Have Been Assimilated

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! He chortled in his joy."

My iPhone came in the mail today! Serendipitously, I spent the afternoon on the internet researching various lists of the top iPhone apps and then when I got home, there was my new toy!

Recently I decided it was time I got myself a smartphone. I don't really talk on my phone that much. Mostly I use it for going on the internet, texting, and playing games, so smartphones would seem to be perfect for me. I've been a T-Mobile customer for the past 7 years and I would've gotten a model they offered, but they decided I wasn't eligible for an upgrade discount and were going to charge me $399 for their smartphone. Hmmm, let's see.... I could stick with T-Mobile and pay $399 for their smartphone, or I could switch to AT&T and get an iPhone for $99... okay then, AT&T it is! Brilliant business model, T-Mobile.

Now if I can just get the activation to kick in on my iPhone I'll be able to play around with it.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 300/365 - Sweet!

This was the helmet sundae (chocolate-vanilla swirl with hot fudge) I had at the ballpark tonight, where the Nats came back from an 0-4 deficit to beat the Marlins for the first time this season! And to make matters even sweeter, this is Day 300 of my 365 Project. Only a little over two months left to go. I've only got to hang in there until October 8th and then I'll be done. Whew!

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 299/365 - Anti-Matter Me

For this week's self-portrait I decided to play around a bit and run a shot of me in a 'screaming maniac' pose through the negative effect on an old version of Microsoft Photo Editor just to see how it turned out. I can't tell whether I look more like a poltergeist or a pissed off Smurf.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - "What's WMATA with You?"

For this week's added shot from my archives, we have this photo of an Orange Line train in DC's subway system that I took on my walkabout last weekend. One of my contacts on Flickr pointed out that it looked like it could be a scene from a sitcom.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Day 298/365 - Spicehenge

After walking from Crystal City up to Rosslyn, over to Georgetown, and down to Foggy Bottom yesterday I didn't feel like doing much today. Mostly I just watched old movies I'd recorded on my DVR and finished up the book I'd been reading. In fact, the only time I left my apartment today was to go to the sports pub up the street to get dinner and read my Entertainment Weekly.

That meant I didn't have much of a photographic palette to choose from for my 365 shot today, so I decided to construct a model of Stonehenge using the spice jars I had in my cupboard. It's not entirely accurate, and it's certainly not to scale, but it's a fairly close approximation of Stonehenge anyhow.

The things I do to amuse myself...

(Taken with my Nikon D90)