Archive for June, 2005

Rights come with responsibilities, even on two wheels.

People who ride bikes in traffic with cars and yet disobey the traffic laws that they and cars are bound by are one of my personal traffic pet peeves. Bicyclists have the same right to be on the road that I do in my car, and they have the very same responsibilities- bicyclists who blow off those responsibilities are part of the traffic problem, not part of the solution.

With that in mind, allow me to present selected highlights from the District’s Bicycle Laws (available in PDF form from DC Government’s site):

Regulation 1201.1:

Every person riding a bicycle on a highway shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the drivers of motor vehicles under this title, except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, and except for those duties imposed by this title which, by their nature, can have no reasonable application to a bicycle operator.

Regulation 1201.15:

No person shall operate a bicycle except in obedience to the instructions of official traffic control signals, signs, and other control devices applicable to vehicles, unless otherwise directed by a police officer or other person authorized to direct and control traffic.

Did you know bikes in DC have to be registered? I didn’t…

Regulation 1202.1:

No person shall operate a bicycle in the District unless the bicycle has been validly registered as provided by this chapter and bears a serial number, a valid registration tag, and valid registration plate, as provided by this chapter; or unless it is validly registered in another jurisdiction, when required by applicable law of such jurisdiction, and bears readily visible evidence of being registered.

So stop at the red lights, use hand signals, and stop cutting in front of cars when they’re trying to turn, and then maybe we won’t hate you so much.

Whistle while you work

Sitting here on my 10th floor work-perch, I can hear the whistles of the downtown DC Traffic Enforcement Officers (TEOs). Recruited from the DC parking police, they stand at key traffic intersections during rush hour and direct traffic. Or they should.

As a cyclist, mimicking the apparently hated bicycle couriers, I don

Summer Moments

Last night I had one of those perfect DC summer moments: cooking shrimp on the grill for some pasta, a beer in my hand, the smoke of the grill combining with the citronella coming off my torches, fireflies flitting and flirting amongst the hedges. That damp heat in the air, the feel of sandal leather under my feet, and sizzle of the shrimp was enough to relax me wholly, and rejoice in the simple joys of summer: barbeque, beer, and life out on the porch.

Even though today feels like soup outside, I may find myself cooking with fire on the back porch and sweating it up with a cold beer in my hand on the back porch, just to enjoy that summer moment again.

Google’s Spy Eye in the Sky

wish it was open

Oh my God is this hot!

Google just launched its Google Earth application and if you download it you can see amazingly detailed satellite images of everything from the Mall to your house. I just checked out where my bosses live – nice pads all – and maped one of our offices in Iraq. Yeah, Google Earth does other countires too.

Closer to home, if you click the “3-D buildings” option on a map of DC, you can fly through downtown. You can even “crash” into buildings, just like some Saudis tried to do a few years ago. Nice.

To the left is a prominent memorial in DC that you should recognize right… about… now.

Exposed!

If a young lady is to live in a city for several years, she invariably finds herself in situations that may, er, expose her to elements of an unsavory nature.

But in all my sixteen years as a DC resident,
today is the first day that I’ve actually been flashed.

There I was, daydreaming on the 14th Street bus after work. I can be a tad oblivious to the world around me and so was really not intending to stare out the window, but I found myself looking out at the corner of 14th & L, making inadvertent eye contact with a gentleman sitting at the bus shelter.

Before I could right my mistake,
he slowly stood up and very casually…
whipped…
it…
out…
as the bus pulled away.

Ah yes. City living.
I feel like I’ve finally arrived.

Can I have some water please?

wish it was open

So while Tom was fouling fountains with his toe-jam feet, I was out training for triathlon foolishness and found a serious lack of drinkable water. In my run loop from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol via the White House, I couldn’t find a single water fountain that worked. When I complained to the National Park Service rangers at the WWII memorial, they directed me to the fountains next to their info-shack, saying I had to hold the button for 3-5 seconds to get the pump to work.

In doing so, that fountain worked, but none of the others did, even when pushed for 10 seconds. I forgot to check the always-on fountain in front of the Capitol Building, I ran up the Capitol steps instead of in front of it, but when I went by two weeks ago, it too was not working. They closed off the little Capitol Hill Summer House a while ago too. Who knows when or if that will reopen.

Now this I think is a serious lapse by the National Park Service. Free & accessible water fountains, available to the general public, is an expectation that we should have on the National Mall. Not just for thirsty runners, but for all visitors. In the same way that the museums and memorials are free, supported by American taxpayer money, so should water fountains.

Is this a greater conspiracy by Coke & Pepsi, the overpriced Smithsonian food vendors, or the random hawkers just off the Mall, or just another sign of how the NPS is being bled dry to fund other governmental wars priorities?

Hangover Helper

The best cure for a hangover is aggressive action

Comfy Feet


Comfy Feet

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

As we left the festival, fully intending to go to the BBQ Battle on Penn Ave., we wandered through the Sculpture Garden to find the large fountain an oasis for weary tourists like ourselves. We joined a family from Texas and some Polish visitors by putting our feet in the cool water. Overcome by the desire to go swimming, we gave up on the barbeque (with its concentrated heat on the pavement) for the comfort of the pool (with the cool water).

How had I missed such a wonderful oasis in the middle of the Mall’s desert?

Omani Weaving


Omani Weaving

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

This weekend, Tiffany and I headed over to the Folk Life Festival to see what we could see. The Forestry Exhibit, while interesting, didn’t do much for me, beyond looking neat.

The Omani exhibit, however, was quite amazing. They had set up on the stage several dancing groups, including some women in the most amazing dress I have ever seen, bedecked in silken shawls and incredible cloth. They had weaving, metalwork, incense and all manner of other exhibits spread across the mall.

Also on display was “Food Culture USA”, which seemed to be a good excuse to have a lot of really good food on the Mall on display. The spices, in particular, were wonderful, as was the Coffee and Tea exhibits. The change in American food culture over the last hundred or so years has been just amazing, and it was great to see them explore that change. I took about 30 great photos, the rest have their own photoset on Flickr

Gah!

Now WUSA is saying that there was ANOTHER mall stabbing in Northern VA! This one was at Pentagon City Mall around 6:30 p.m. What is it about malls that elicit so much violence? Is it the inability to find a good parking spot?

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