Archive for the ‘The Great Outdoors’ Category

Take a Hike.

The Capital Weather Gang (rarely wrong, always fun to read) have put up their insanely optimistic forecast for the early part of the week, calling for sunshine, low humidity and the kind of perfect days that exist only in the collective imagination of the poets.

So, here’s what you do after work today. Don’t head straight home, take a walk. Getting on the metro at McPherson Square? Walk to Metro Center or Farragut West. Walk through Dupont Circle down to Farragut North. Walk to Gallery Place or Archives.

Give yourself a taste of this awesome weather instead of taking the subterranean route home. Taking the bus? Walk a few blocks and catch it at the next stop up the route.

Or, blow off dinner at the house, and pack it up and head for the park for a picnic. Better yet? Take your camera and snap some shots for the Flickr group!

From my walk — Originally uploaded by tbridge

My barrels, let me show you them.

Photo courtesy of Me

Here they are.

That’s the inside of what our friends call our “Chester the child molester van,” but what we simply call “big red.” Receding into the distance is the Hyattsville Pepsi bottling plant, where these 4 food-grade barrels came from. Two are 55 gallons, two are 30 gallons. All are intended to go around the edge of my house to be used as rain barrels, though we may end up not making use of them all.

Pepsi charges a nominal $5 per barrel fee to sell them to you, which is a steal compared to what you’d pay a commercial outfit. In fairness, I’m going to have to put on the necessary attachments myself before they can be used, to say nothing about washing out some leftover syrup sludge. Unless you can tell me for sure that tomato plants and daffodils are fans of lemon-lime, that is.

If you’re not quite as cheap & handy as I am (in that order) you can pick up barrels from the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. $60 is more than the $5 plus parts and time I’ll spend, but you won’t have to show up in Hyattsville at 6:30am to be assured of getting one either.

If you like to walk the path less traveled sensible as I do, instructions for making a barrel are provided here by the Maryland Environmental Design Program or you can use the contact link and ask the Fairfax Country Conservation District program to contact you the next time they run a rain barrel construction workshop.

If you’re thinking this sounds a little too hippie-dippy for you, I had some initial qualms about that as well. However I pretty much made up my mind to do it because of two things. One of them is probably unique to me: the previous tenants in our house left behind a number of soaker hoses, so we’d like to make use of them. The other factor I am sure applies to you as well: water is expensive. Since Arlington – and many regions –¬† base our sewer bill on our water consumption, we don’t just pay the $3.34 for each 1,000 gallons we pour out onto our lawn and garden – we also pay an additional $5.86 to cover the cost of spiriting it away down the drain and off to the stinky water¬† treatment plant… even though there’s no drain in our vegetable garden.

So if I put all 4 of my barrels to use, that’ll be a combined 170 gallons of water on hand to use rather than the $1.56 worth that comes out of the tap. Not a money saver right out the door, but combined with the lazyness factor of letting the soaker hoses do the work without any accompanying worry about them rupturing and costing me money, I think it’ll be worth it.

Besides, it’s yet another do it yourself project I can add to my overstocked pile. What more could I ask for?

It’s a Beautiful Day for a Photowalk

As I climbed up from McPherson Square Metro this morning and walked up to Thomas Circle, I was struck by the light. It’s spring sunlight. Warm, crisp and citrusy against the brick and concrete. It’s a distinctly different light than the crystalline, icy light of December and January, where all the colors are pale and muted, and where none of the jewel tones of Spring and Summer shine out.Soon we’ll have leaves on the trees, and the flowers will be up. The forsythia along I-66 was starting to bloom as we went for a drive yesterday, which means the one outside my door should be along in the next week or so, and the rising daffodils are coming up like weeds.So take a walk this afternoon and bring your camera with you. Doesn’t matter if it’s a cellphone cam or a DSLR, it’s worth it to capture some of the very best light this city has to offer.

Morning rush at Thomas Circle – Originally uploaded by tbridge

The Morning News: Just Three More Days Edition

Three more days in this quadrennial joke that is Leap Year February. Just three days and we’re through the worst of winter and Spring will be just around the cusp. For those of us who are seasonally-affected, making it through February is like making it through mile 20 of a marathon, or seeing the light at the end of tunnel is not, in fact, an on-coming train. Just three more days.

Cab Drivers Whine to DC Council Committee

Taxi drives spent time complaining to the DC Council yesterday that the new meter system will impoverish them to level unbeknownst to cab drivers since the D.C. Cab era. One driver remarked that he “pities the fool” who thinks meters are a good idea. There was also a strange remark about “jibber jabber.”

DC Can’t Handle Naked Statues

Never mind that they’re in various stages of grief and anger at the loss of their loved ones, the Capital Memorials Advisory Commission said that the naked figures could be offensive. I guess the taboo of nakedness far outweighs the artist’s judgment that we all stand naked and unprotected against the grief of the loss of loved ones, and against the unexpected violence of terrorists. But there’s boobies. So, no statues.

$75M Budget Gap in DC

WTOP is reporting that there’s a $75M Budget Gap in the city’s bottom line. Income and Sales Tax receipts are down this year, which was not expected, and as a result, the city will have to find some creative new ways of sealing the rift in the budget.

Another Great Success Story at DC Childrens’ Services

The Examiner has a chilling story of failure by the DC Childrens Services department in which a local elementary school principal was told that she doesn’t have the tools or experience to identify child abuse, all the while a little girl was getting abused by her male relatives. Nice work, DC.

The Morning News: Snow Day? Edition

February is rearing her ugly side again, and may leave an inch of snow on us today, starting in about an hour or so. So, because DC can’t handle more than a single flake without some sort of traffic casuality, get ready for a crappy evening rush.

DC Loses $250,000 in Emergency Radios

Apparently, the DC Government can only account for 73 of its 151 emergency radios, and given that some of the radios have turned up for sale in DC, it’s probably not a bad assumption that the other 78 (valued at over $3,000 apiece) are pretty much gone. So, next time there’s an emergency, look out for those other 78 people fucking with the EMT and Police crowd. That’ll just be awesome.

Goodbye Awakening

awakening.jpg The Awakening is leaving DC today, being dug up from its home at Hains Point and moved to the National Harbor project (Warning, Annoying Music) in Prince George’s County. We’ve known this was coming, but it’s still jarring to think that it’s finally going. Thanks much to Christopher Dale for the use of his amazing long-exposure shot.

No More French in 9th Grade in DC

I know in my educational path, foreign language was an option as young as 7th grade. Apparently not in DC, where it’s not until 10th grade that you can take a foreign language. I’m no pedagogue, but I’m fairly sure that kinda screws over the students, no?

Two Weeks to the Lunar Eclipse

One of our readers wrote in the other day to ask about spots to view the upcoming lunar eclipse on February 20th:

It’d be great to solicit some suggestions on the best places to view February’s total lunar eclipse – I missed the August one so this will be the first one I’ll be in town for, and would love to find a nice, clear (noise-pollution free!) area to view from.

So, what say you? All those roof-top decks in DC? The Washington Monument? A field out in Fairfax or upper Montgomery County?

Where are you going to see the red moon?

DC Flickr Meetup & Photowalk

In the spirt of some of our lovely Washington-area photography of late, I was excited when I saw a post on Upcoming about a DC Meetup and Photo Walk for local Flickr folks.

On January 27, the shutterbugs will assemble at 2:00 at Rocket Bar. At 4:00, they will set off on a photo walk to snap some city shots. (Tip: You are going to want some fingerless gloves to operate your camera and maintain some warmth. Trust me.)

More information can be found on the Flickr discussion board.

If you go, be sure to let us know. We would love to see your lovely photos of our lovely town!

Green Festival this Weekend

There’s been a lot of talk of home construction here this week, what with Wayan looking for a new kitchen, and Don talking about green construction, this weekend is the DC Green Festival at the Conference Center downtown.

Picture 6.png

If you’re interested in Green life in DC, this would be the place to go, with 350 Green Businesses on exhibit, and 125 speakers or so, it looks like it could rock. Tickets are $15, which mean they’re just as accessible as the technologies on display.

Check it out!

Gotta Love Mosquito Season

It’s that time of year again, or maybe it’s been that time of year for a while now and I’m just now noticing how many f*#!ing mosquitoes have been out lately. I’ll step outside for a 10 minute dog walk and come back bitten by about 5 of those little bastards. It’s too warm to wear jeans, and I’m not a big fan of bug spray, so what am I to do? Set my leg hair on fire? That trick only works once a year. I just hope I don’t die of the West Nile Virus.

Harpers Ferry Weekend Getaway for the Carless

View of Harpers Ferry from the Train Station I don’t drive. It’s a long story involving a dent in a parked car on a village road in Southeast Asia, but suffice it to say that I do so enjoy living in DC where I can take the Metro and walk places and not need to pay hundreds for insurance or parking or gas or maintenance. And my carbon footprint is tiny. The major disadvantage to my carless lifestyle, however, is limited travel options, so a peculiar challenge presented itself to me after my wedding two months ago: where to go for a nice, quick, cheap, outdoorsy DC-area weekend honeymoon using only those forms of mass public transportation immediately available to our downtown location?

My solution: Harpers Ferry. Is it possible? I found out:
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