Georgetowner Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "georgetowner" journal:

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January 10th, 2011
01:57 am

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What to Read?
As most folks reading this are aware, there was actually controversy in the House of Representatives last week. Grandstanding on the part of some to say that the text of the Constitution read by the members was not the "full" or "complete" Constitution because it lacked parts edited out, especially, one would suspect, parts that were changed for being immoral or unethical, e.g., slavery.

Earlier this evening, I wound up in a discussion on Facebook about this. I posted a simple statement, which sums up my feelings on the subject. I wrote:

The Constitution was read as it stands today. In other words, the House read the document that they swore to "support and defend." Accepting that the purpose of reading the Constitution was to remind everyone what they were supporting and defending, that was the correct thing to read.

Current Location: Washington, DC
Current Mood: tiredtired
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December 8th, 2010
06:52 am

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Shock and Awe?
Wow.

Shock and awe may have come to Major League Baseball, courtesy of my hometown Washington Nationals. First came Sunday's signing of Jayson Werth at 7 years and $126 Million. The baseball and general sports worlds were shocked.

I woke to reports this morning (on WRC-TV 4) of the Nats offering Cliff Lee, the top prize in the Hot Stove League this offseason, a seven-year, $175 Million deal. I wonder what Sandy Alderson will say about that.

I am staying tuned.

Current Location: Washington, DC
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
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May 13th, 2010
12:27 am

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Civ Score
I recently bought a copy of Civilization on eBay. I figured I was getting a copy in good condition, as the description (no photos were posted) said some of the decks were still sealed in plastic.

The game arrived Tuesday. I started unpacking it and quickly noted something amiss. Sure enough, there were three decks of technology advancement cards still in shrinkwrap, plus bunches of one-sided cheap paper ones strewn in the box along with commodity cards. Why all the cards? The Archeological Succession Table (A.S.T.) clued me in fast. It was not the Civilization A.S.T., but listed two types of commodity cards at each level, and requirements including five colors of Civ cards for advancement. Sure enough, I picked up the rule book, and it was the Advanced Civilization rule book!

Opening the shrinkwrapped card decks, it became really clear what had happened. Someone had bought the Advanced Civ expansion, not even unwrapping all the parts, and put everything into the original Civ box.

Here is the really fun part. I had been trying to build an Advanced Civilization game. My intention was to buy a copy of Civilization, then either buy or create additional cards and an A.S.T. from files found online or purchased from game parts suppliers. I had even bought some cards, along with extra paper and ink for my printer, even a laminator to make the remaining parts. Guess what I no longer have to do? w00t!

Current Location: Washington, DC
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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February 12th, 2010
12:17 am

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Release the Car!
I had hoped, with snowmageddon snow having buried my car, that I'd be able to leave it parked until snow melt did the work for me. It became likely today that I will have to drive to an appointment Saturday night. Figuring that I might not get tomorrow off, I decided to take advantage of my day off today to shovel it out. Here are a couple of 'before' pictures, taken at 1:54 PM, just before I put shovel to snow and ice:

Before - Side View Before - Rear View

Trying to dig into the mess piled up by plows using the plastic shovel with the wood handle I borrowed from my building, I quickly found that some of the ice was a bit hard for the plastic blade on the shovel to break up. So, I stood atop the ice and dug into the snow behind it, quickly getting down to bare pavement few feet behind the car. I cleared down to bare pavement all the way to the granite curb. Digging along the curb, I freed the rear passenger side wheel, then started removing the snow behind the rest of the vehicle.

By about 3:00, I had dug up the side of my car, and had finally broken through the icy berm between my car and freedom up near the driver's side front door. I even was scooping huge shovelfuls of snow from the car's roof. Here's a sequence of photos (click to see full size):

Pavement Up the Side Getting There 1 Getting There 2

I kept shoveling the heavy snow and ice - about 30 inches deep, four feet out from and packed underneath the car, until I cleared up past my front bumper. I dug out under the wheels and well up under the chassis. I even removed a 7-inch long (or maybe more) plug of crystallized snow from my tailpipe. I started the car and let it run for a while as I dug the snow away from the curb side of the car, even digging under the car and removing what I could. Grabbing the snowbrush from my back seat, I removed the rest of the snow from the car's exterior. I moved the car back and forth in the space a few times just to be sure everything was working properly, then turned the engine off, and cleaned up snow that was between my car and the one parked in front of me.

Finally, the car was free! I stopped and photographed the freed vehicle (see below). As for that snow I dug up, it left a pile my height (about six feet) in back of my car, and a few feet high along the curb all the way to the front of the car.

It's Free! (angled view) It's Free (front view) Pile of Snow

Current Location: Georgetown, DC
Current Mood: tiredtired
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February 10th, 2010
06:40 pm

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Snowmageddon Pt. II
We had the Snowpocalypse. It turned out that was only part one of DC's Snowmageddon. Last night and today came part two.

Heading to Shacharit I Heading to Shacharit II Heading to Shacharit III
En route to shacharit this morning, several inches had already fallen, but the wind had yet to kick up in earnest. The paths that had been worn into the snow (see, e.g., second picture, above) had new snow on top of the hard-packed stuff underneath. Of course, the sidewalks in front of and alongside the shul, which we had cleared off just a couple of days ago, were covered by several inches of fresh snow.

After shacharit, Clate and I went out to shovel. We cleared a path in front of the two row houses the shul owns on 28th Street, past the side of the shul, around the corner past the front of the shul to the far edge of the congregation's N St. neighbor. (The neighbor had shoveled a path for us early Saturday morning during the first big snowstorm, which allowed us to reach and open the synagogue's front door when we arrived for services. It was only right to be neighborly in return.)

While we were shoveling, the winds kicked up in earnest. The snow picked up further, filling in as fast as we could shovel. At least an inch per hour was falling, and that rate continued for hours. We convinced shoshiboo to come home, and she walked with Clate and me, trudging through the windblown snowy streets. She emailed her boss that she had gone home. He replied that he actually had called her office to tell her to go home, just in case she actually was there.

Trudging Through the Blizzard Idiots!
On the way home, shoshiboo trudged ahead while Clate and I followed. We also came upon a couple of idiots trying to drive on 27th St. That road has yet to be touched by plow (several trees fell along that block during the first storm) and is barely wide enough for two cars to pass when dry. Why did two people think they could pass with snow over a foot deep all over it?

When returning for mincha, I went back through Rose Park. The path I posted a picture of above was not recognizable. I kept plunging over a foot deep into fresh snow; it had completely blown over and filled in. One of the attendees started shoveling in front of the shul before minyan. After mincha, AG told me he'd found snow melter at the CVS on M St. I went after some while AR started shoveling more of the shul's walk.

After returning with 48 lbs. of snow melter (4 12-pound jugs), I took over shoveling, and re-cleared everything Clate and I had cleared after shacharit. This time, I put down plenty of snow melt to keep things in decent shape As you can see in the picture, it looked pretty good!
After Mincha

After stowing some of the leftover snow melter in the mikvah, and the rest with the show shovel in the shul, I went home. Before I left, I snapped one last picture, showing the pile of magnolia we had removed from the shul courtyard now covered in new snow. Here are before and after pictures:
Pile O' Magnolia Buried Dead Magnolia

On the way home, I stopped in at the Griffin Market, just in case they had anything I would find tasty. They were out of a lot of things, but I found something that will make thegameiam happy:
Augustinerbräu

Current Location: Georgetown, DC
Current Mood: tiredtired
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11:32 am

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Lazy Debt Collectors
I have been receiving calls for months from a series of debt collection companies. There's a fellow with my first and last names who has not been paying his bills. I have had to answer the questions several times:

  • Is your middle initial (letter)? No.

  • Were you born in (year)? (laughs) Not even close.

  • Do you live on (name of street)? I'm not even sure where that is.


While I understand it might be possible to mistake two guys if all you have are a first and last name to go by, that's not the case. They do have an address for the fellow they are after (I tracked that down on SuperPages using the information in the above questions. It took me all of 60 seconds. Several sites on the internet allow reverse lookup of phone numbers. Plugging in my number to any of them will tell them I have a different middle initial and address from the person they want to reach. Simple due diligence would prevent them from calling me in the first place. Instead, their laziness costs me time and aggravation.

Another thing about debt collectors. It would be nice if, after they call you once and find you are not the correct person, and tell you they won't call back, that they stop calling. I have four messages on my message machine from four different people at the same debt collection firm asking me to call about the same case. Each time, I called and proved I was not their guy. At least I haven't heard from them in a couple of months.

I hope they get the fellow they are after to pay up so they stop calling me.

Then there's the blizzard outside. That's for a different post.

Current Location: Georgetown, DC
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: NBC4 Snow Coverage
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February 7th, 2010
05:16 pm

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Clearing Out from the Snowpocalypse
After shul this morning, I went out to start shoveling the sidewalk in front of an alongside the shul, then attack the courtyard, so I could clear a path through the courtyard to the mikvah entrance. While thegameiam was making waffles for the "Waffles and Wisdom" program going on with our Rabbinic Intern, I was shoveling away at 2-3 inches of ice topped with 20 or so inches of heavy snow.

Magnolia CourtyardThings went pretty well until I finally managed to clear a path to and open the door to the shul courtyard, and was greeted by more tree than I had seen out there in the post-Shabbat darkness last night. I knew that parts of the neighbor's magnolia tree had fallen onto the shul's property, but had not realized it was so much. A quick inspection revealed that I was not getting this limb out of the courtyard without first cutting it up. Even worse, the way back to the mikvah was completely blocked with several limbs, not to mention another large one lying on the fire stairs descending into the shul courtyard.

I went into the shul, where I found thegameiam and shoshiboo cleaning up from the earlier waffle making. Fortunately, there was a pruning saw in the Building and Grounds Committee cabinet, which I took outside and went to work. I started cutting up the fallen tree limbs to make them easier to move.

Another Magnolia Pic Magnolia Fail Blocked! thegameiam and shoshiboo came out to help Shoshana took some pictures. David and I took turns shoveling snow. All three of us helped haul limbs out of the courtyard. David grabbed a long metal pole and knocked snow from anything in reach and still standing. He knocked so much snow from so many places, that we had to go back and re-shovel places we had already cleared off. He also managed to knock some snow purposely onto me. We later traded freshly shoveled snow chunks at one pace.

I should mention that a pine tree also in the neighbor's back yard audibly cracked and bent over while we worked, but did not split. All three of us turned for a look when we heard that! At least we were on the street when it cracked, so were out of the way of anything that would have fallen. We knocked snow off it to give it a chance to spring back, but otherwise left it alone. I hope the tree makes it.

Here are some pictures of what we removed, and the remaining magnolia tree. By the way, the thickest limb that fell was still hanging in a crook of the tree.

Pile O' Magnolia More Magnolia Grim Administrator The Magnolia Culprit

By the time we finished, my shoes and gloves were soaked through; my hands an feet were nearly numb with cold. On the way home, we had to help push a BMW out of the snow. The driver had been nice enough to move aside to let an SUV coming up the 28th street pass, and gotten stuck for his kindness. About four of us that happened by helped push him out. For my efforts, his right rear wheel spun, and that sent a torrent of snow flying into my coat. After the morning's activities, I just laughed. The deriver stopped and checked if I was okay. I laughed and told him it was no big thing after I'd been shoveling and hauling dead tree all morning.

The next driver we ran across was not so smart or lucky. A delivery guy for Manny and Olga's Pizza had driven his Nissan Sentra down Dumbarton St. and gotten stuck. That little subcompact had no business on Georgetown streets today. Of course it got stuck. Unlike the BMW, it had no chance of moving. We tried to help, but that little car was not going to budge. It was in snow up to its bumper and was only digging further into the snow and ice spinning its wheels.

At least shoshiboo got to play in the snow some on the way home ...
Shoshana Waves Shosh Angel

Current Location: Georgetown, DC
Current Mood: chipperchipper
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August 4th, 2009
09:54 pm

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R.I.P.
Today would have been Jake's 40th birthday. Rest in Peace.

Current Location: Washington, DC
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Nats Beating Marlins ... Finally
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July 5th, 2009
06:34 pm

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Premature Explosions
shoshiboo and I went to the Nationals game vs. Atlanta today. After Scott Olsen was pulled with 2 down in the ninth and the Nats leading by 2 (Olsen had only allowed one through eight innings, but had just given up a two-run homer to new Brave Nate McLouth), Mike MacDougal came in to get the last out.

Special shout out here for Scott Olsen. 8 2/3 innings, 116 pitches, 75 for strikes, and he went 2-3 with an RBI at the plate. Needless to say, he was the Player of the Game.

A batter later, Chipper Jones is up with Martin Prado on first. On a two strike count, MacDougal unleashed a fastball, Jones swung, and the traditional fireworks exploded around Nationals Park. Only one problem: Chipper got a piece of the ball. It was a foul tip, not strike three. According to Nationals Journal, Chipper turned toward the Nationals dugout and said, "You've got one more pitch, bro." Jones actually wound up walking.

When MacDougal finally retired Brain McCann, the third batter he faced, for the final out, the PA system piped up "Beautiful Day" by U2, the scoreboards all flashed Charlie Slowes' "Bang Zoom Go the Fireworks" radio call ... but no fireworks. I guess after they went off prematurely, they just didn't have time to reload.

Current Location: Washington, DC
Current Mood: chipperchipper
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May 8th, 2009
12:58 am

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Trek is Dead ... Long Live Trek
I saw the new Star Trek film tonight.

Wow! It rocked. The characters were instantly recognizable, yet different. Karl Urban channeled De Kelley as "Bones" McCoy. Zachary Quinto hit Spock well, as Leonard Nimoy said he did in interviews before the premieres. Chris Pine had an interesting take on Kirk, etc.

Since anyone reading this soon likely has not yet seen the film I will not spoil it. Suffice it to say that the Star Trek you have been watching for 40-plus years is gone. That Trek is finished after this film; it rewrites everything. The crazy thing is, J. J. Abrams and Co. somehow managed to make the crew feel comfortable like your favorite pair of slacks, yet fresh. Kudos all around.

A whole new Trek universe was born today. The old one is gone, and a new, exciting, yet-to-be explored one has risen in its place.

Current Location: Washington, DC
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: Nationals @ LAD
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