Dark City

As most people who were following this particular news story over the weekend will know, Hurricane Irene did thankfully little damage to the Washington DC area. Our cable/internet/phone service went out for about 24 hours, and a lot of Takoma and Takoma Park was without power as well. But aside from a walk up to the farmer’s market on Sunday morning, I hadn’t gone out until late in the afternoon when I hopped the Metro to downtown and caught The Help. My metro station had no power, so all the gates were open and we were told to get the station conductor at our destination to get our cards scanned there. (Happily the person running the exit gate at Gallery Place just let me out without having to pay. Free ride!)

But it was after the movie, when we were driving home (Charlie had driven down earlier in the day to get some work done) that we discovered that a lot of DC still didn’t have any power. It was around 9:30 at night, and as we drove up North Capitol Street/Blair Road, the one mile stretch between Madison St and Whittier St was almost completely dark.

It’s initially an eerie sensation to drive through a completely dark city street. Never mind the lack of street or traffic lights, there are no porch lights, or glimmers from people’s windows… nothing. And there were remarkably few cars out on the road, either, which plunged our ride home into even further darkness.

It was rather beautiful. It makes you feel like you’re the only people out there (even though it’s of course patently not true), gliding quietly through the darkness. Occasionally a car going southbound would pass by, but otherwise we were all alone in the night, the city to ourselves, our surroundings shifting back and forth from a purplish-black to complete darkness.

When we got to Aspen Rd (and power), it was almost a bit of a disappointment. Sure, I was glad that we still had power at home, and felt bad for my friends and neighbors that were going without. But it was a pleasant, brief experience that is rarely duplicated.

So in all sincerity… thanks, Irene. You really were good for something, after all.

How To Lose A Month In One Easy Step

When we first had our moving date, I had an incredibly ambitious plan. I was going to document the moving process, write up how the progress was coming along, take pictures each ste of the way, that sort of thing. And then, suddenly, it was over a month later and I’d done absolutely none of that. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s because we had actually, well, moved.

It’s a little staggering to me how much time and energy it takes. Maybe it’s because with each move I’ve been five or six years older and have that much more in the way of possessions to take care of? (Or alternately, it’s because I’m that much more old and decrepit. Please do not answer which of the two it probably is, unless you are certain it is the former.) But even with us hovering somewhere around the 90% done mark (I’ve got a handful of boxes to sort through and figure out what’s going away, the final step of hanging things on the walls, and the later task of putting some more books up for sale and/or donating them), it’s taken forever. And it’s been more mentally exhausting than physically.

Which is, of course, a great time for the edge of a hurricane to swoop by this weekend, right? I’m pretty convinced Hurricane Irene is doing its driveby merely because it heard about our 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday (which was disconcerting and exciting at the same time) and it wants to get in on the action. Honestly, I’m expecting it to be not as bad as Hurricane Isabel and its direct strike back in 2003, and I’m not even worried about it… if it wasn’t for its disruptive presence. Because even just strong winds and monsoon rains means no walking to the farmer’s market on Sunday (I suspect it will not even be set up), no trip to IKEA to get that nightstand we’re going to use to hold the printer, that sort of thing.

Right now so many things are at the “90%” done stage in my life that I just want them all to get wrapped up, feel closure, and move forward. I have a bunch of new projects I’d like to start. I have one writing assignment that’s been sitting untouched for two months (eek) that needs to get a jumpstart. I’d like to restart my “State Streets in DC” photo project from scratch and with a lot more focus. (Although for that I suppose I should first figure out where the heck my charger and spare battery for my camera have quietly relocated themselves. I’d settle for just the charger, honest.) And once I can strike all these other things off to “to do” list, then I can move forward.

In short, I’m putting this all out into the open to try and spur myself toward getting there. See if it’ll be the final gentle nudge to get to a conclusion, right?

Well, probably not. But eventually it’ll happen. It’ll be nice to add swimming, biking, photos, that sort of thing back into my life. Perhaps I can even start documenting some of the great new places I’ve found in Takoma, like I’d hoped. Tune in this time next month for another excuse why not. Or maybe, finally, some real progress.

Eat, Learn, Move

Every now and then, videos on the internet go viral and suddenly everyone’s posting them. I usually try not to do so, not because I don’t like the video or because I think I’m too cool, but usually because I’m too late on the bandwagon and because it’s a matter of simply liking rather than loving.

Well, I don’t like these three (one minute) videos, I love them. Maybe it’s because I like to read travel books and guides, to see different parts of the world I might never see, to get to explore different locations. Even if, so often, it’s just through the eyes of someone else.

Now, to be fair, the ideas behind these three videos are ones that we’ve seen before. But there’s a combination of the joy and the technical excellence on display here that makes these stand out. (Especially “MOVE,” my favorite of the three.) Definitely check these out; Rick Mereki did a great job with them.


EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.


LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.


MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.