A Very Pleasant Surprise

A couple of weeks ago I’d mentioned that the Ellipse Center was holding the All Arlington Salon, a show for people who live and work in Arlington, running from August 1st through September 13th, and with an opening tonight.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided that my Winged Migration photo would go into the show. I love the huge numbers of geese as they fly through the air. And of course, I double- and triple-guessed myself. Was it the right choice? Would people like it?

Well, apparently so; I got to the opening an hour after it began and saw the tell-tale red dot next to my photograph’s number. Someone had already bought the piece.


So yes, that was a very nice surprise. I met the purchaser, who was super-sweet. And I’m so happy it’s going to a home with someone who wants it. The excitement wasn’t over the money, but rather that someone liked it enough to buy it. I’m quite literally over the moon.

A great way to end the day.

How My Head Works

While running at the gym today, my right foot started hurting, feeling like something was poking/pushing into the inside of it. I finally stopped, took off my shoe, and shook it out as well as ran my hand along the outside of my sock. Nothing.

So I ran my cool-down mile, and the whole while it is hurting more and more. Almost like a wire is jabbing into my foot at this point. I finish up, and head home. The whole way back home I am worrying a mile a minute. Have I hurt my foot again? Did something tear? Is it a sprain? Something entirely different? Maybe I should book an appointment with the podiatrist right away. Can he see me today? What about my 16-mile run on Saturday?

I (finally) got home, pulled off my shoe, and ran my fingers through it again. No sign of anything poking out that would be hurting my foot. So I pull off my sock…

…it’s a blister. Probably a little piece of grit was inside my sock and rubbing against the bottom of my foot. But that’s what all the pain was. And that, boys and girls, is how my head works at times. Why pause and think, “I’m sure nothing is wrong,” when you can freak out about it instead? *sigh*

The Bad Food Triangle Begins to Crumble

Over a decade ago, back when my friend Jon lived in Rockville, Maryland instead of Sydney, New South Wales, we and our friend Cary used to get together on a really regular basis. We’d hang out, maybe go somewhere, watch some movies… and inevitably we would want some dinner. And that was where the Bad Food Triangle was born.

There was a span of about six months when Jon would inevitably suggest one of three restaurants: T.G.I. Friday’s, Ruby Tuesdays, or Bennigan’s. To add to the amusement level of this predictability, two of them were in the same parking lot on one side of Rockville Pike, the third directly on the other side of the street. I am not 100% sure if it was me or Cary that first called it the “Bad Food Triangle” (alternate name: “The Triangle of Death”) but it stuck, with much amusement.

Well, the unthinkable has happened. Bennigan’s announced yesterday that it has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means it’s going away. The End.

I will admit it, I never thought any of those three chains would go away; they just seemed so carved in stone on the American psyche. (Meanwhile, I am pretty sure the last time I ate at any of those restaurants was back in 2000 or so when Jon was home for a visit and T.G.I. Friday’s was the only place that would accomodate a large group on very short notice. I remember this trip quite vividly because there was a puddle of vomit next to my car in the parking lot, and everyone mocked me when I then moved my car. It was either that or let no one else back into the car for fear that they’d stepped in it, and after I explained that they agreed it was the right call.)

So, goodbye Bennigan’s. Jon and my old roommate Marc both loved you once up on a time, and of the three Bad Food Triangle locations you were actually my favorite. And now all we will have to remember you are some really terrifying commercials. And perhaps memories of food poisoning. Ah, those were the days.

Excavating Sanity

It’s pretty bad when someone asks what the most exciting thing you did last weekend and your response is, “Cleaned my apartment.” It’s doubly bad when you’re not even done, yet. But it’s actually at the top of the list for me. That’s probably because when things slide in my home, it’s not a build-up of trash or dirt, but rather piles of stuff everywhere. At first it’s just a small stack of books next to the desk, and the next thing I know half of my home is infested with piles of things.

So, I’m folding in the “clean this stuff up” path with a “get rid of things you don’t need any more” mission, and so far it’s a success. I have three bags of books and videos to go to the library; I’m especially excited about having sorted through the two comic book “long boxes” that housed my Doctor Who VHS tapes and pared them down to just two “short boxes” instead, thanks to weeding out the ones that have been released on DVD. Suddenly I have a lot more room in my closet, hurrah! That whole section of my bedroom is now a thousand times better; the stacks of books and unsorted CDs are all put away, I’ve rearranged some of the shelves, and I no longer cringe when I look at my room.

I’m not sure why I ever let it get to this level when I look at what a relief it always is to take care of it—I mean, we’re talking about an end result where I walk into my room and just stop and beam at how much better it looks. You’d think I’d be going crazy to keep it that way. The strange dichotomy of my head, I suppose. And until then I have to just keep excavating my room like some sort of bizarre archaeological dig.

It was a good weekend in addition to that, though. Charlie’s good friend Devo is visiting from Boston, and she’s super-sweet and nice to be around. We hit the Jim Henson exhibit at the Smithsonian, and while I’ve heard complaints that there aren’t that many actual Muppets on display, I really love the behind-the-scenes sketches and drawings that he created. They’re both beautiful and a creative inspiration to look at. We also hit my favorite Smithsonian museum, the Sackler Gallery; the new Yellow Mountains exhibit on that region in China was simply breathtaking.

I also finally caught The Dark Knight, which I thought was very good, although not the nerdgasm that so many others seemed to be claiming. A really cheesy ending, but so many small and individual good scenes that I’m willing to forgive. I’d be happy to see a third Nolan Bat-movie down the line.

(And last but not least, while I did not miss going to Comic-Con in the slightest, seeing everyone’s pictures makes me miss seeing my friends there. Maybe I could just go to San Diego and not enter the show? Ha ha.)

Today my throat is a little sore from running in the bad air quality. I suppose I should be thankful it’s just Code Orange and not Code Red or Purple (aka, “Don’t even think about breathing” levels of badness). By the time I was done with my run it was too late to take the bus into work, but I might just leave my car here and take the bus home, then bus it back in tomorrow. I’m enjoying my extra reading time that I get from my once-a-week public transportation.

No, I’m Not Going to Comic-Con

Earlier this week I had a dream about Comic-Con out in San Diego.

Karon and I had shown up to check into our room at the hotel, except the hotel had run out of rooms ages ago. So instead, everyone was being assigned a space on the hotel lobby floor where a sleeping bag was set up for us. And we didn’t even bat an eye, because that level of too-many-people insanity just seemed normal in a show that draws over 100,000 people each day.

And that is why I’m not going to Comic-Con. Sorry.

(Smell some rancid sweat and pay $15 for a bottle of water for me, though!)

Down to Earth

Charlie and I went and saw WALL-E on Sunday night and it was, well, as great as everyone said it was. This is a movie I’d actually want to see in the theatre again (although movies are so darn expensive these days, who knows); just beautiful in both animation and story. And if that wasn’t enough, the super-fantastic Scott Morse designed the closing credits, which were beautiful and had a new song by Peter Gabriel (“Down to Earth”) playing over them. And I freely admit that I have listened to said song over a dozen times in the past 24 hours.

Obsessive? Me? Oh no.

I also found out this weekend (or was reminded of after I’d forgotten) that the Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington is having a six-week exhibition starting in August showcasing art from Arlington residents. The day one has to drop off the art is Thursday, so it’d have to be something that I showed in Artomatic. What’s nice is that the Center handles sales (for a percentage of the asking price), and it would certainly be nice to sell another piece. I didn’t come even close to breaking even at Artomatic; I wasn’t expecting to come out ahead, but I was certainly hoping to do so. When the show was over, I went home with all but two of the 5×5″s (that a nice gentleman in Falls Church bought), and one piece that Charlie had said he wanted and which I gave to him.

On the bright side, though, it certainly made me think a lot more about what I would do differently next time (a lot); presentation and selection and print size choices certainly had a lot to do with it. Glad I learned (or at least I think I did), but it would’ve been nice to have some of the costs offset.

Ah well! I’ve been having fun taking the new camera to the farmer’s market (as people who look at my Flickr account have no doubt seen) and I figure I’ve got a few more sessions to go there as the summer progresses. I like to imagine having a huge kitchen with which I could use some of those photos to decorate. One of these days, right?

Oops, American Gladiators is on. And such is my life, these days…

Public Transit

Twice in the past two weeks I’ve ended up taking the bus to and from work, because of car repairs/appointments. I’m not a big fan of the bus for the simple reason that on the way home, it doesn’t matter which line I take—it is always late. In the spring or the fall, this isn’t too bad; in the winter (which is when I had to take the bus back in 2005 while I was without a vehicle for about a month) it meant shivering as the freezing wind blows, and in the summer it potentially means sweltering in the lack of shade.

The 38BThe other thing I’m not a big fan of is the amount of time spent to take the bus to work. To get to my office in McLean, I need to hop the 38B to either Rosslyn or Ballston, then transfer to either the 15K (Rosslyn) or 23A (Ballston) to get to work. (I could take the metro from Court House to those stations, but the cost jumps up a great deal. And if it’s a really nice day I can snip the 38B out and walk, but that’s not going to change the amount of time spent for the better.) When I drive to or from work, barring accidents on the road my transit time is in the 15-20 minute range. With the bus, it’s a solid hour if the bus is on time.

But I do like the chance it gives me to read while going to work; between the bus home last night and to work this morning, plus a little bit of time at the car dealership, I read all of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, which has sat on my shelves for eight years waiting for this moment. (It was worth the wait. I’m looking forward to read Parable of the Talents in what will certainly be a less than an eight year wait.) And, perhaps most crucially, once someone suggested that I take the 38B over to my second bus of the morning (instead of the metro), it meant that the cost of the bus ride is now less than the cost of gas used to drive to work.

Yeah, that was an eye-opener. If I assume I’m getting 30mpg, it costs $1.53 to get to work, versus the $1.25 spent when I use my SmarTrip card, thanks to free bus-to-bus transfers. So now I’m considering the idea of trying to designate one day a week to take the bus to work. It’s certainly less convenient (no errands as part of the work transit) and it means I really need to make sure I’m out the door by a certain time in the morning or it’s another 20-30 minutes before I can get to the office. But I really like the idea of getting that reading time added to my day, and while the monetary savings are hardly a lot, it would also be good in general for the environment, right? So we’ll see.