4th of July 2009

On Friday we took a 20 mile bike ride out in Virginia. It was a beautiful day. Early on we stopped so I could take a picture. I liked the mimosa tree and wildflowers next to Four-Mile Run under the power lines.


Apparently I hit the shoot button as I put my iPhone back into the mesh pocket on the back of my jersey. When I got home and transferred my pictures I found this picture of the trail:


And here's another picture of mesh I took from my office desk last week. A grasshopper stopped by for a visit.


Capital Criterium

Joe and I walked downtown last Sunday to watch the Capital Criterium Bike Pro Race where about 100 riders did 85 laps around a 1km circuit on the streets near the Capitol. It was a beautiful day. There was a good turnout but it was easy to move around and see the race from several vantage points. Christian VandeVelde who placed 5th in the 2008 Tour de France raced and although he was in the final sprint he did not win. And conveniently the race was held near the Old Post Office home of the Masala Dosa and Mango Lassi.

ccrit_capital_t ccrit_close_t
The race in the shadow of the capitol.

ccrit_corner_t ccrit_harriers_t
The cyclists came around a corner to climb up a hill. In this lap Vandevelde was way ahead of the pack

ccrit_hare_t ccrit_fastfreddie_t
Vandevelde by himself early on and the group that scrambled for the win. The guy in red and blue won.

ccrit_autographound_t ccrit_lilracer_t
Vandevelde signing autographs and a participant in the children's race.

ccrit_building_t dosas_092008_t
A white building against a beautiful blue sky and our lunch.

Photo Credit: The photos that look like they might have been taken by someone who knows how to work the camera settings were taken by Joe.

That Cone Thing That Dogs Wear

This weekend was hot! It was 80 degrees at 8:00 am this morning when we left for our bike ride but luckily when we descend into Rock Creek Park the temperature drops by over 5 degrees. Unfortunately when I am struggling to climb up the hill out of the park the temperature is also rising 6 degrees adding insult to humiliation. I was dying. But the warm weather has warmed up the pool so the water temperature was perfect when I took my first swim of the season. Last weekend the pool was not warm enough for me but at least someone was enjoying it.


And in other animal news, Dana's sweet dog Pico hurt his leg and has to wear a cone to keep him from licking, biting, irritating the wound. I felt so bad laughing at him but could not help it.


And here are some neighborhood pictures.

One of the Chinese construction workers building the new embassy has pimped out his hard hat.


And we found some plum trees.
plum1_t plum2_t
And finally I tried something new this week. My dance friends, Brooke and Marcia, and I went to a great Indian restaurant called Indique and I had appam, a rice flour pancake, with chicken curry. It really was delicious. Appam is from the Kerala region in southern India which is somewhat familiar to me because it is where one of my favorite books The God of Small Things is set and where Vasanth, the most talented dancer we met on our trip to India, is from.

A New Hill of Hell and Humiliation

Joe and I headed out for our 12 mile bike ride in Rock Creek Park this morning. The temperature was just right for my vintage baby blue wool jersey so I was lookin' good. About a mile in another cyclist pulled up next to us and started chatting. It turned out to be our neighbor that has ridden with us once before. He and Joe chatted some more while I just tried to keep up. He offered to show us the route he was going and a hill that was challenging. For some reason I said yes. I was ready for some extra miles but not that hill. I had to walk most of the way - how humiliating! It was a very pretty street with no traffic so I may try it again one day. We ended up doing just over 17 miles.

Here are some miscellaneous pictures I took recently:

More new balcony flowers
windthing2008_t saraswatiflowers2008_t

A blouse I made in the sewing class I took. It turned out pretty well!

And here's a fun little scene in the local grocery store.

And Lynda had a pink flamingo friend join in on our video chat tonight.
And all of a sudden there was Tracy too!

More Beer reviews

Clipper City Red Sky at Night Saison Ale and Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale are from a local Baltimore brewery. I really like the Red Sky at Night Saison Ale. It has a nice full taste, just slightly sweet. The web site lists the ingredients. I had no idea there are so many different types of hops but I do know there is a world-wide hops shortage. Oh no!

Hops: Magnum and Styrian Goldings
Malts: Pils, Carapils, and wheat malts, Belgian candi sugar

The Hop3 ale is OK.

Hops: Magnum, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Palisade
Malts: Crisp English Pale, Carapils, and Munich

I will definitely buy the Saison Ale again.

Databases and bike rides

I am helping Dana set up a database for mailings and to track donations. I sat on my butt most of Saturday entering the data and designing reports. Most of my work for Dana is creative (web site, video work, etc) so this was more left brain (nerdy) work. It's good to keep both sides in good shape.

So I exercised my brain Saturday and the rest of me on Sunday. We took a 33 mile bike ride on the Four Mile Run and W&OD bike trails in Virginia. The weather was perfect . The prettiest part was actually near the water treatment plant where the late summer wild flowers are at their peak. The most unusual part was the guy riding a low-riding recumbent bike pimped out with an aerodynamic shield and red and black zebra print spandex. Joe has seen him an number of times over the last couple of years. It used to be Captain America-themed This was the sort of bike he was riding. Picture the black and white part as red and black zebra print spandex:


And as a reward for reading my blog here is an advance copy of the Christmas Contest announcement.

Triathalon, The Tour and YouTube

Today I did my first mini-triathalon of the summer - a 12 mile bike ride, a half mile swim and a 3 block walk to Schlotszky's for sandwiches. It was great.

The Tour de France has started and I am very interested to see what happens. There are a couple of good riders that I like left after 2 years of doping scandal to root for. Allez Tom Boonen! Allez Jens Voigt and the whole CSC Team! Allez George Hincapie!

Although i understand the appeal of youtube i always groan when I see a youtube link because i know that the quality of the video i want to see will be crap. Which is too bad because I have been thinking it would be nice for Dana to have some videos on youtube. Well after seeing that some youtube videos actually do look good I did some investigating and found a page that has suggestions for good quality video. youtube takes what you send it and re-encodes it to their format, size, etc so this if you can upload a video that is close to youtube's format you have a better chance of good quality.

So after about 15 minutes of playing around and 8 hours of rendering I uploaded my first youtube video. It seems to look better (less choppy) if you actually go to the site but here it is embedded:

Miss Red, White and Blue

Joe and I took a bike ride about 30 miles out in Virginia. As we rode into the town of Leesburg we ran into a parade and so we stopped, took a rest and watched the fife and drum group, the world war II vets, the fire trucks and Miss Red, White and Blue.
fifeanddrum_t miss4th_t

And there were interesting sites along the trail. Nice flowers, a quarry, and Old Dominion Brewery (unfortunately they were closed).

adoptatrail_t woodfence_t

quarry_t barrels_t

Catch Up

I am slowly reconstructing my blog. You'll see that May is there and Feb, March and April will be there soon.

So what did we miss? Joe and I went to the CSC Invitational Cycling race that was held June 2 across the river in Arlington.The riders do a 1km circuit 100 times. The beginning and the ending circuits are very exciting but the 50 or so in the middle, not so much. So we went walked around a bit and ate lunch at Baja Fresh. Here's a movie of the cyclists going by. The sounds of all those fast bikes traveling so close together was pretty cool.

Last weekend was Spoleto and the big birthday party. Mom, Lynda, Graeme and I went to see Philip Glass's latest work Book of Longing which was marvelous. We met Glass and several of his musicians and singers at an after-performance party - didn't talk much with Glass but had nice conversations with the other performers.

Before the performance Glass talked with a local critic on the set of his new work. It was interesting to hear about his background, his teachers (Ravi Shankar!), his work with young musicians and the artistic development of Book of Longing.

glass_set_t glass_talks_t

Here are pictures from the very elegant after performance party.

lynda_graeme_party_t graeme_mom_atglassparty_t

Now to the party. I made a little video and for now you have several choices. Below you should see a small 2.9MB version.

Your other choices (all Quicktime) are:

Pet Food Bunny

We went on our usual 12 mile bike ride Sunday. It was a brisk 45 degrees but I am getting better at figuring what to wear. I have a couple of vintage wool cycling jerseys and I love wearing them. It's a bit cold at first going downhill to the park but it warms up really quickly once we get down to Rock Creek Park. Other cyclists are always commenting on Joe's bike which is a hard-to-find Japanese steel bike. My Italian Atala bike is also old and steel but it is not as popular. The last couple of outings though I've gotten comments too. One guy passed us a couple of weeks ago and said "Old school bikes. Cool".

My sonnet is coming along but I am still finding it very hard. I've changed themes a couple of times. I heard rumors that Lenore finished hers while lounging in her chemotherapy comfy chair and that Paula has already written 2 sonnets.

A neighborhood picture:


Some more movie/DVD reviews

Good Bye Lenin!
A nice little movie about a son trying to hide the fact that the Berlin wall has fallen from his mother after she wakes up from a coma. It is an interesting portrayal of that time and place.

Vintage Blue

For the last two years in June we've gone to a bike race nearby and I have bought vintage wool bike jerseys from one of the vendor booths. The first one I bought is long sleeved and it is easy to know when to wear it. The one I bought last year is beautiful with handy pockets in front and back but it has short sleeves. I have not worn it much. It seemed to me that if it's cold enough to wear wool it is too cold to wear short sleeves and if it's warm enough to wear short sleeves wool would be too hot. Well today was the perfect weather for it. It was about 60 degrees but the warm spring sun was out. It was a bit cold
heading down the hill to the park but after we got on flatter terrain and the sun warmed me up a bit it was perfect.

Joe took this picture when we got back so I am still somewhat red in the face and Cardassian headed.

The other picture is of me with my new laundry cart which has changed my life. The cart seems to also fit in with the new interior design of our building which is better than what was there before but it resembles a prison. It seems like laundry always plays an important part in movies and TV shows that involve prisons.

vintage blue wool jersey new laundry cart

To The Limit

I have a new employer. The contract I work on (about 350 people) is up for bid every 5 years and the competition is fierce. 5 years ago I switched companies. I liked the new company but they lost it this time around. I am not so sure how I feel about the new company. Only time will tell. It is somewhat disruptive and there is always the chance that the new company has someone already to fill your position but so far that has not happened.

Joe and I took a longer than usual (for me) bike ride this morning. It was great. The weather was nice and the trails were fairly uncrowded for holiday weekend (well, holiday for some. I have to work on Monday). We rode from National Airport to Mount Vernon, through marshes, under the Wilson Bridge, through Old Town Alexandria to the RV parking lot at the home of George Washington. Here are some pics.

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Initial D This is a nice Hong Kong movie about car racing based on a Japanese comic book series. It is a story about a tofu delivery boy who gets involved with professional and street racers. It is also a story about friendship, fathers and sons and first love. There is no testosterone-fueled violence, only testosterone-fueled car racing.

Spending Other People's Money

Dana is getting about $28,000 from the DC Commission on the Arts to buy hardware, software and spiff up the company's PR package. One stipulation is that board members have to attend meetings and be involved. I have attended 2 meetings, one to discuss our hardware/software needs and one earlier this week to network with other grant recipients about databases. It's been pretty cool, especially building a fantasy computer system. This week's meeting was in an art gallery and the antendees included others from theaters, art galleries, dance companies and the head of the DC commission and experts in fundraising. And there were coffee and bagels.

The Tour de France is going on and without Lance Armstrong (due to retirement) and other big names (due to suspician of doping) the race is very interesting.

A recent picture I took:

Ice Cream Update
The bread machine has been put away and the ice cream machine is out. We've made two delicious batches so far - vanilla and cinnamon.

Heat Wave

God, it's hot. Walking outside is like opening an oven door.

There was some sort of incident at work and we have been cut off from any system outside of the gsfc.gov domain since yesterday and it may continue through the week. It has been so hard for both work and play. Whenever I have a computer code syntax question or get some sort of error message I go to Google. I usually get my "home" email at work and that's not happening. And during the Tour de France I check the day's outcome in late afternoon. I still am not sure what happened today on the Tour's toughest mountain day ending with the legendary L'Alpe d'Huez.

We rented season 1 of Project Runway. It's a reality show like other reality shows but it seems to be more about the fashion and less about the bickering. I've been enjoying it. Season 3 has just started and it is being shown on NBC as well as cable which is great except for the commercials and the inconvenience of not being able to go on to the next episode right away.

More neighborhood pictures:

balcony pinwill little car