Snow Suck

Town Plow on Fire Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse Now, Snotorious B.I.G. call it what you will, the blizzard of 2010 was pretty miserable for us.

If you don’t follow my Twitter Feed/Facebook Wall, you might not know that last week’s snow storm was pretty traumatic for the family. Besides 55″ of snow, we had a town truck catch fire in front of our house, blocking us in (that’s my car just ahead of the truck.

Being trapped in the house wouldn’t have been so bad, except that our power went out about 30 minutes after truck got stuck. We were without power and heat for 32 hours, and it took Kim heating up the phones to get the plow moved in only 25 hours. While being stuck in the house for 1 day doesn’t sound so bad, the house was cold enough that we could see our breath (about 50 degrees). We all bundled up and the kids toughed it out; joining us in our bed for warmth overnight.

The big effort went on towards the end of the outage where we heated aquarium water on the stovetop and manually cycled water in all 5 (condensed from 6) fish tanks. At the onset the tanks were all around 55º, and we had to keep heating water and adding back to the tanks until they got into the 70º range. I think we saved all of the fish, but we might have lost my red cherry shrimp (at least I haven’t seen them since).


minibarOn Friday night, Kim and I had the great pleasure of eating at the Mini-Bar by José Andrés.

A six-seat dining experience nestled within Café Atlantico, Kim had to work a bit to get reservations (call one month in advance @10 am). We were rewarded for our efforts by a 28-course tasting menu of “molecular gastronomy”. Most dishes were just a bite or possibly two, so 28 courses wasn’t the ordeal that might be imagined. Most of the dishes are amazing delicious, and all incredibly interesting to behold. Surprisingly, the chefs (2 for just the six seats) assemble and plate all the food before your eyes, and are willing and able to keep a running commentary of the ingredients and techniques employed in creating the meal.
The service, like the food, was impeccable. At the suggestion of our server we paired the meal with a 2005 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Clos. In the end, we had a throughly enjoyable (albeit pricey) evening.

Seagull Century 2007

Seagull Century 2007I had the great opportunity to ride in the 2007 Seagull Century. I completed the 100-mile ride in just about 10 hours. A few comments:

  • Carry the supplies to fix a flat tire, even if you don’t know how to actually change a tire. I was happy to help someone who had broken down and no clue how to use the supplies she had. The repair van showed up just in time to watch her ride off.
  • You should do some riding in the 2-3 months leading up to a big ride. Trust me on this one.
  • If you have a bad leg cramp at mile 47, keep riding at your own peril. I can’t really walk right now.
  • Gatorade is useful since cramps are aggravated by low electrolyte levels.
  • Whoever decided to serve pie and ice cream at mile 82 is my friend.
  • It’s easier than you think, and flatter than you imagine.

If you like bicycling and live in the area, you should seriously consider riding the Seagull.

Global warming…

I can’t believe that some boneheads in a school district placed absurd restrictions on showing ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘ just because global warming is a theory. For christ’s sake it’s 63 degrees in the middle of January and I only live about 100 miles south of Valley Forge (you remember the place where the Revolutionary Army was almost defeated by the frigid winter), we had better start looking for solutions instead of humoring paid shills for the oil companies in their attempts to continue our absurd energy policies.

On a related note, when will school board members (and journalists) be forced to pass a 6th grade science class so they know the difference between a scientific hypothesis, scientific theory, and a scientific law? The article includes this statement from the school board president Ed Barney:

Asked whether an alternative explanation for evolution should be presented by teachers, Barney said it would be appropriate to tell students that other beliefs exist. “It’s only a theory,” he said.


One fine day

I’ve always liked Sundays; especially if I can get my butt in gear early and make something of the day. I’ve always thought of sunday morning as the time when the city belongs to native Washingtonians; the legions who are only here because of the Government are no where to be found.

Eastern Market is one of my favorite sunday destinations; the a bazaar atmosphere with the farmer’s market and vendor stalls is always interesting, and photographic opportunities abound. But I’d been craving dim sum for months, I think I last had some in Seattle about eight years ago, so I went down to Chinatown instead. On weekends many of the restaurants in Chinatown serve dim sum for brunch, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to feed the craving. My housemate Soeren and I had a wonderful couple of hours stuffing ourselves with bite-sized Chinese delicacies at Tony Cheng’s. Afterward, we went over to Starbucks where I had a Chantico — best hot chocolate I’ve ever had; I’m not sure it was worth $3, but it was pretty damn good.

Well satisfied with our brunch efforts, we went down to the National Mall with the intention of checking out an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. There’s a great sculpture of a perspective changing house in the sculpture garden, and we had a chance to sit next to the skating rink and people watch while waiting for my friend Scott to show up.

The main attraction of the day was the André Kertész exhibit at the National Gallery of Art west wing. Kertész, a friend and compatriot of one of my favorite photographers — Brassai, started making photographs in 1912, and the exhibit spans his whole photographic career through his death in 1985. With the majority of the twentieth century documented through his lens, the exhibit is inspiring, but hard on the eyes; some the work, especially the earliest pieces, were made without the use of an enlarger and are only 2-3 inches in size. The result is that the viewer is forced into intimate contemplation of many of the 113 pieces in the collection. Kertész’s quixotic view of the world and his strong compositional sense make the entire experience worth the effort to see the exhibit — both in time and eye strain. The André Kertész exhibition is at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. through May 15, 2005.

WHFS redux

Driving to dinner tonight, I was surprised to hear Neci, once of WHFS fame, back on the airwaves at 105.7FM. As a little background, WHFS 99.1 FM went off the air on January 12th, 2004 at noon, replaced by an all-spanish format station. In the ensuing ,angry fans protested, and Live 105.7FM in Balitmore picked up the slack and started running the “legendary HFS” programming 7pm-3am weeknights and all day weekends. Apparently, they’ve hired a few former HFS dj’s including classic HFS dj Neci, and moved to a more traditional HFS (read less commercial) format. Unfortunately, after hearing Linkin’ Park just about everytime I’ve had this station on in the last week, I’m beginning to despair for this new HFS.

For those who miss the last incarnation of WHFS — not I — runs a 24/7 internet stream of the former 99.1FM. For those of us geezers who remember the good ole days, I’m told that WRNR 103.1FM should fit the bill — hey they’ve got Damien and Rob Timm, so they can’t be all bad.

Now if someone would just get Weasel back on the air.