Outside dining at Zorba's in Dupont Circle. The weather last weekend was stunningly gorgeous, so L and tried Zorbas for the first time. It's offers good, relatively cheap and quick Greek food—a good choice if you'd just like a quick meal, and the patio is a fun place to people-watch.
Tree stump and sawdust are all that remain of this tree that was cut down the other day. One day last week after a bit of wind I noticed this tree had been partially uprooted and was leaning out into the street, threatening to fall on a shiny new silver Volkswagen Golf. I remember wondering if there was someone I should call. The next day, the three was gone. I still wonder who was responsible for that—the city or the person who owned the house the tree stood in front of. Who does that strip between the curb and the sidewalk belong to? At my old house in IL I had a huge tree in this strip of no-man's-land in front of my house, but lucky for me, the street was part of a fire lane so the city maintained all trees overhanging the street to make sure the street was always clear and open for fire trucks to pass. It was lucky because the tree seemed to need a lot of help. It was so big they had to install several huge cables up in its top branches to hold it together. It was great for making shade, but not so great every fall when it shed its leaves. The city made sure the tree didn't fall down, but I still had to rake the leaves.
Ants building a home in the crack in the sidewalk. A sure sign of spring. At right is an even closer closeup. So small, so industrious. Inspirational really. I wonder if they learn that the sidewalk is not maybe the best place for a home...
Police man a temporary iron wall abutting GW Law School last weekend. The iron wall was part of a modified circle of barriers designed to keep WTO/IMF protesters far away from the WTO and IMF (GW sits right next to both of those wonderful institutions, which is one reason I never wanted to go to GW, but that's another story. The law school was locked down to prevent those big bad protesters from coming in; all doors were sealed except one in the "back" of the building, and that door required a school ID for entry.) If you're a protester these days, you've got a right to free speech—except where you don't. Reminds me of a wonderful Billy Bragg lyric:
"If you thought the army Was here protecting people like yourself I’ve some news for you We’re here to defend wealth Away with nuns and bishops The good lord will help those that help themselves I’ve some news for you We’re here to defend wealth
We’re making the world safe for capitalism! "
Tra-la-la-la! And today it is my joyful pleasure to take an exam in this building. At least the barricades are down now. They were never really needed anyway...
Women on Connecticut Avenue sporting pink "Stand Up for Choice!" buttons. This shot was taken from the hip, hence the skewed angle. The March for Women's Lives sounds like it was a huge success. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, but L did, and her report is consistent w/what the media is saying about at least half a million in attendance. Here are some great (professional) pics of the march, also a great sign [via L-Cubed].
The March for Women's Lives is today! These signs appeared throughout Dupont (and elsewhere, I assume) about two weeks ago and I'm sure the thousands of visitors from out of town have been glad to see them as they've arrived for the march. Yesterday the neighborhood was almost mobbed with pretty pink "Stand Up for Choice" buttons and stickers, which was also good to see. The city feels full, alive; there seem to be people everywhere. I hope that means the march will be well-attended. Of course, the gorgeous weather could also be a factor, as could the IMF/World Bank protest yesterday. Whatever the case, it seems like a great time to be in the city. Not a good time to be studying for finals. But then, is there a good time to study for finals?
These beautiful daisies decorated L's sister's table during Easter dinner last week. (Apologies for still more flower pictures. They're just so pretty, and I've been too busy recently doing non-photogenic things—studying for law school finals—to get a good variety of shots.)
L's sister has a neat apartment w/coolio furniture, awesome orange curtains, and a great view. On a clear day you can see the Washington Monument from here. Of course, the Washington Monument is the tallest thing in the city, but still...
Crossing the Connecticut Avenue Bridge toward Woodley Park at dusk. Yeah, I know, shots like this would look better w/a tripod, but hey, you do what you can, right?
FYI: Buy.com is currently offering a 256MB Compact Flash card for only $33.99 after rebate. Sounds like a steal to me. They also have deals on Secure Digital cards ($41 for 256MB), if that's what your camera requires.
View from the Connecticut Street bridge from Kalorama to Woodley Park, looking northeast toward the National Cathedral.
Cruiser hanging in the window of the District True Value Hardware Bike Shop on P St. in Dupont Circle.
After a winter of daily commuting, my trusty steed was a little worse for wear. I cleaned it up, lubricated things, and gave it new tires (slicks for city streets) a couple of weeks ago, but that only emphasized the grinding noise when I pedaled and the fact that the bottom bracket was wobbling just a little more each day. (The bottom bracket is the "axle" between your pedals, the thing that connects them to the frame and to each other. If you can grab a crankarm and wiggle that "axle" even a little bit, you've got a potentially big problem.) Plus, my rear wheel was so out-of-round from the poundings of the city streets that I felt like I was riding a clown's bike—instead of traveling a straight line, my bike sort of wobbled down the road. So the other day I stopped into the bike shop to see if they could fix all those wiggles and wobbles by tightening the bottom bracket and truing the wheel. One hundred dollars later ($$!), I've got a brand new bottom bracket and a straight wheel. The amazing thing is they did the work while I waited! That's a lot of money for a bike repair, but in the big picture it's a small price to pay for feeling almost like I'm now riding a brand new machine.
Waterproof Rockports, size 10. These may be the best shoes I've ever had for three simple reasons:
Heading North on Connecticut Avenue from the passenger seat of L's trusty CorsicaCar. It rained for what seemed like forever last week. It was really only 3-4 days of steady rain and continuously oppressive grayness, but it seemed like longer for some reason. Perhaps the days were dragging because I had to bike to/from school a couple of times each of those days and city biking in the rain is about the least fun kind of biking there is, especially if you get to school/work wet and have to remain that way for the next few hours. Thankfully, the sun came out late in the week, and the last couple of days have been doubly gorgeous for the fact that they followed such dreariness.
A worker paints the ornate fence surrounding the Russian Embassy just north of Dupont Circle in D.C. Ok, it's not the Russian Embassy, because this is the Russian Embassy, but it's some building somehow related to Russia. Perhaps the ambassador's residence?
Interior of your average D.C. Metro train car. It may run smoothly (most of the time), but the interior of these cars is so 1970s. I mean, I really like orange, but too much orange naugahyde ("The real performance fabric!") is just not a good thing. The green line has a few new cars with the same design but a new color scheme—red naugahyde and carpet. Those cars generally smell better too, but that's another story...
The Dupont Circle Metro station (North entrance, looking South) in D.C. When I first moved to D.C. I was thrilled with the train. It seemed to magically take me wherever I needed to go, and the whole time I was traveling I could sit and read or just watch the scenery fly by. (The NE end of the red line is above ground a lot, so it provides some scenery. The best scenery is on the Yellow line crossing the Potomac from Virginia—great views of the Capital, Jefferson Memorial, and Washington Monument, and just downtown D.C. in general.) After a few weeks of daily commuting on the train, I still thought it was neat, but not so neat I really wanted to ride it every day. Partially because of that, we moved, so now I bike to school, but L still rides the train every day. She says she doesn't mind it, but I think she's just being nice. Anyway, her family visited for Easter and her brother was very impressed with the Metro; he called it "Futureland," apparently because he finds it so much better than the T in Boston, where he lives. I guess even a ride at Disneyland would lose its charm if you had to ride it twice a day, to and from work.
Meta: This was taken w/out flash, auto exposure, handholding the camera. Isn't digital cool?
L makes the greatest chocolate pie. On an Oreo crust, it's a little bit of heaven. Is it bad idea to take pictures of your vices?
We visited the International Spy Museum the other day. Quick review: Lots of flash, little substance. The best features of the museum are the old gadgets—tiny cameras, tiny bugging devices, codebreaking machines, etc. Not surprisingly, the place seems geared for the spectacle tourist, rather than for a historian or someone with a genuine interest in spying. It's also not really "international"; it focuses primarily on the 20th century and the spying efforts of the U.S. and Western Europe, and, of course, the old Soviet Union. The museum devotes a special room to the horrors of the Red Terror and the fact that the Soviet Union spied extensively on its own people, but said nothing about Cointelpro. (Not to say that the two are equivalent, simply that the U.S. also has a rich history of spying on its own citizens, and the museum completely ignores that.) Most shocking: There wasn't a single mention of the proposed TIPS Program (which probably isn't dead) or the domestic spying operations authorized by the so-called "Patriot Act." In other words, the "International Spy Museum" is largely a really snazzy and extravagant bit of pro-U.S. propaganda. Still, it's fun propaganda, and certainly worth a visit if you're in D.C.
The station two blocks down the street. Prices keep rising, and Americans keep driving. Worse, they keep driving SUVs. The crotchety old man in me says, "when I was a kid, I remember my parents paying $.98/gallon for gas and thinking that was highway robbery." Where will prices go from here? Will we continue to demand and get artificial prices for our gas, or will the price of gas finally reflect the scarcity of resources and the huge costs created by the pollution produced by cars and driving? I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before we're paying double these prices or more on a regular basis. It's sad, in a way. They high prices may mean no more On the Road -type rights of passage for Americans, but on the bright side perhaps we'll start putting some serious resources toward alternative fuels and lifestyles that don't rely so heavily on cars and gas. Maybe.
Thank you Easter Bunny! I don't recall much in the way of Easter gifts when I was a kid. Sure, we colored and hunted eggs and usually got a choco bunny and lots of jellybeans and other chocolate, and we usually got some kind of easter clothing so we'd look nice for church and whatnot, but toys and other gifts? I don't remember so much. L's family does every holiday big-time, though, so this year I was treated to two Easter baskets, including lots of candy, some little toys, and two CDs (Coldplay, "Parachutes" and Modest Mouse, "Good News for People Who Love Bad News"). Which is why I say again, Thank you Easter Bunny!
Last weekend's full moon lit up the clouds over the ornate rooftops of Dupont Circle.
Rolls of change from the "Jar Wars" portion of the EJF Auction. What does that mean? The first year class at GW Law School is huge—close to 500 people, maybe more—so it's divided into four sections, with students in each section basically attending every class together for the first year. The "Jar Wars" pitted section against section to see which could raise the most change. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of a single generous student, Section 14—my section—won, which thankfully saved me from taking a pie in the face. ;-)
The GW Equal Justice Foundation Public Interest auction is today. The EJF has been using this See and Say to help sell $1 raffle tickets—buy five tickets, take a spin on the See and Say for your chance to win a t-shirt, a movie pass or poster, a keychain, or five more tickets. It's a 50/50 raffle s the winner will take home half of whatever it raises. Past winners have received as much as $350.
The D.C. Metro Orange Line coming into Metro Center.
Two more shots of necklaces my sister made. I just think they're stunning, and they make terrific photos. Lighting for taking pictures of reflective objects can be hard to manage. These were taken without flash by setting the camera on the table to reduce shake.
If anyone can recommend a very small, very portable, but good tripod, please let me know. Do "monopods" work well, or do they still allow too much camera shake for low-light and time-lapse shots?
These beautiful necklaces were hand-strung by my sister, creator, proprietor, and artistic director of Cassiopeia Productions. She doesn't have a website yet, but it's probably only a matter of time. Meanwhile, if you'd like to order a custom-made necklace, bracelet, or earrings, or various woven products, or a unique sculpture, just let me know and I'll pass the word.
How many people can say they've argued in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals? A few thousand, probably, and now I'm one of them. Of course, my arguments were only for practice and not before real judges, but hey, details schmeetails. The "judges" hated my arguments, by the way; "they're just too subtle," they said. That was pretty dispiriting but turned out well in the long run because it forced me to refine them and find better ways of explaining them for the Moot Court competition that followed a couple of days later. Six out of nine judges in that competition really seemed to like my arguments, so the odds were in my favor.
That white spot above the houses is a crescent moon. So what's the secret to a shot like this? I'm guess a tripod and a timed exposure, but I'm not sure I can do timed exposures with my camera. For now, this will have to do. (This is the street I live on, by the way, but the building my apartment's in didn't make it in the shot.)
"Why are you taking my picture .... again?" Our lazy hound pound puppy is nearly four years old already. Hard to believe. From this angle it looks a little like she's going gray around the nose, but she's always had that coloring, so it's not age, just innate wisdom or something.