Monthly Archives: November 2009

Google Street View Clues

I’ve been waiting for Google Street View to arrive in our neighborhood for quite a while. It was close-by — in the business area of Bethesda, but it had not made it to our immediate neighborhood until very recently. I discovered it had when I tried to figure out where the neighbor who needed a tutorial in how to delete unwanted emails lived. I noticed that Pegman made the neighborhood streets turn blue when I lifted him off his little tower — the universal sign that we were now on street view.

When I told Dean about it we spent an hour or so trying to figure out when the Google street view camera came through the neighborhood. It was like a mystery. We first looked at our house, of course, and found some clues:

It was warm, but not hot outside because our bedroom window was open (but we had the air conditioning off and the windows open most of the summer, so this is not really a clue):

Window Clue
Window Clue

It was this past summer because our new neighbors’ cars were parked in front of their house:

Neighbor Car Clue
Neighbor Car Clue

It was a few weeks after the 4th of July because we found this flag, but no others (the local real estate agent puts flags in front of each home for the 4th of July):

Flag Clue
Flag Clue

It was early in the morning because of the way the sun was shining:

Sun Clue
Sun Clue

It was not a Friday because the Fish Guys were not at Bethesda Community Store:

No Fish Guys Clue
No Fish Guys Clue

It was not a regular weekday because the entrance at NIH was barricaded:

NIH Clue
NIH Clue

It was probably not a Sunday because this construction worker is getting ready to work on a house:

Construction Worker Clue
Construction Worker Clue

It was probably sometime in August. The leaves on the tulip poplars started to drop early this year, and I saw several yards with yellow tulip poplar leaves in them. I cannot tell if our house repairs were completed — the basement windows, with one blurry exception, are not visible in the photos and the back porch is too far away to tell if it had been repaired. The one big clue for me is the branch on our across-the-street neighbor’s curb — I remember seeing a fallen branch in the street, thinking that I should move it, getting distracted by something else, then seeing the neighbor had moved it. I asked her about it the next day at a neighborhood coffee get-together and she said she thought it came from her tree.

Branch Clue
Branch Clue

I checked my emails and found reference to the neighborhood coffee get-together. It took place on August 1st, 2009. So, I’m thinking now that the Google Street View camera car came through on Saturday August 1st.

Here is a bonus picture, although not a clue:


Closing Time

He was first introduced to me by Suzanne, a woman in my book group. She said I’d really like him and she told me a few stories about him. I wasn’t sure though. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Suzanne’s judgment — I just wasn’t ready for him yet.

About a year after hearing about him from Suzanne, I ran into him on an airplane ride from DC to San Francisco and after that flight I couldn’t stop thinking about him, so when I returned home I looked him up and so began a new obsession.

At first I saw him several times a week, but after a while I cut that down to once a week, usually on Friday evenings. I anticipated his arrival for days, and basked in the warm memory of his visit all weekend, smiling often at something he did or said.

He was funny, but also very sad. He was smart – so very smart. Yes, he had is faults – he had a hard time accepting differences and don’t get me started on his tidiness. But he was lovable and, in his own way, kind.

About a year or so ago I noticed that the obsession had gotten out of hand: I saw him in other people.  I began to talk like him. I knew it had to end.

So, with a heavy heart I will no longer be seeing him after our next meeting – next Friday evening at 9:00 (8:00 Central). We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. We’ll remember old times. But I know it is for the best. I wouldn’t want it to grow old and boring. And I’ll always have the memories to look back on.

Goodbye Mr Monk. It was a great run and good clean fun.

What’s wrong with this picture?

2009-11-18 15.45.25

Look Closer:

2009-11-18 15.45.40

Notice anything missing?

2009-11-18 15.45.55

That’s right — there are no seats.

Here’s what happened:

In 2004 Dean and I took a financial plunge and purchased a Harvey Ellis Stickley dining room set from a store that went out of business in 2006. We had a Danish modern set, but both felt embarrassed to have people over for dinner using that set — the chairs were stained and the table top was messed up.

We loved our new dining room set — so much that we never used it except for holidays and dinner parties. After a while we began to use it more often — especially in the winter when the room with the kitchen table was chilly — but still we didn’t use the dining room table more than 40 days a year.

The table has a few scratches now — mostly barely noticeable. It also has a ding on one side and a couple of rings from hot dishes being put on it with out enough protection. At this point, I’m not too upset about those minor blemishes. It shows we use the table.

The other day I noticed that the seat of one of the chairs looked different than the others. While the other chairs’ seats filled up the space alloted to it, this one had a 1/2 inch gap. I looked at the bottom of the chair and felt that the support within the padding was bent. Upon further inspection (taking the seat off the chair and removing the staples that held the fabric) I saw that the support was bent on the front and back of the cushion. And — get this — the support in the seat of this Stickley chair was made of particle board. Very thick particle board, but particle board nonetheless.

Dean was all set to get out his jigsaw and make new support for the chair, then I noticed that another chair had the same, although not as pronounced, problem. I thought we should call Stickley or at least the store that now sells Stickley in the area to see what they thought. I checked the warranty and, wouldn’t you know it — the warranty was up for dining room chairs. That’s pr0bably because they are made from particle board. Dean took one of the seats to Sheffield Furniture and was told to bring all the seats to them, they’d send them to an upholsterer for us and let us know when they were done. Whether or not we’ll be charged for this, I don’t know — Dean assumed we wouldn’t be.

But that’s not what is forefront on my mind right now. My pressing question is:

Where are the guests going to sit on Saturday?

Busy — but that’s good

November and December are busy months. Not just for me, but for most people I know. Family & social gatherings for the holidays are most of the reason — at least for us. We tend to try to pack things in before the rush of the holiday season sets in — and sometimes end up with more than we can handle.

We’d been meaning to have a small dinner party for some neighbors and I put it off until November for no reason than laziness. That’s planned for this coming Saturday. Then we were invited for dinner at another neighbor’s house on Sunday. Then we got an invitation to a small gathering of parents of wrestlers for Friday. The next day we received another invitation to a combined meeting & dinner party with the wrestling coaches and parents of the entire team for Saturday.

1 weekend, 4 dinner party invitations. And we’re doing them all. At least Dean will be doing them all. I’m not going to the party on Saturday because I’ll be cooking paella for my neighbors. Dean will simply show up here late.

I discovered this weekend (but really knew this already) that I really need to socialize [offline] more often. I’d been in a funk for a while — sometimes not leaving the house for days. I’d get up, turn on the computer, work / play / work /maybe shower/ play /work / play on the computer until it was time to make dinner. When Dean got home I had little to say and often would return to the computer for more work / play / work before going to bed. I’d do this all week and even some weekends. I’m not sure it is actually laziness — more like inertia.

This Saturday, after attending BarCampDC, I felt like a new person. It wasn’t just the sessions I attended, but being around people. On Sunday I went to a local Unitarian church with a friend. While I may not go back to that church,  I enjoyed the day. They were very welcoming. I’m not really looking for a church, but this might do if and when I do decide to attend a church regularly. I was around people again.

I had a hard time settling down to do work yesterday afternoon — I have a lot of deadlines to meet this week. Part of the reason was that the weather — 70 degrees in November — was amazing. But another part was the solitude. I felt lonely — something that I’d not felt in a long time, at least not that I recognized.

So, I’m glad that we have a lot of activities coming up — this food packed weekend, then Thanksgiving weekend, then work parties, book groups, Christmas. Maybe a resolution should be to be more social in an off-line kind of way. Hopefully the good kind of inertia has taken hold.

The New New Number 2

I blogged about one of my favorite television programs back in January when the star of that program died. I’ve still not seen all of the episodes of The Prisoner, but have been watching them on when I get a chance. I think I’m going to have to buy the series because each episode has so much in it — and they are not going to be on AMC forever. I watched The General last week and was surprised about what it had to say about education and knowledge.

AMC is providing us the opportunity to watch the old series for free because tonight, on AMC, the remake modern update starts, starring Ian McKellen as the the New Number 2. I have my doubts about this because I loved the old series so much, but I’m going to watch the first episode tonight. There was a segment about it on NPR yesterday morning — I heard it on the way to BarCampDC3 — and I see now, that NPR panned discussed it the day before.

So we’ll see how I like the new series. I expect I won’t, but Ian McKellen.

Be seeing you.

Here is a not really related video — but the band is thenewno2 (George Harrison’s son is the lead guitar player) and I kind of like this song.

BarCampDC Take 2

BarCampDC was exhilarating. I talked to very few people, but heard many.

I went to four sessions.

The first session discussed Play in education and it was concluded that kids in the US do mot get enough free play. Also that, although US test scores might be lower than European or  Asian counterparts, kids in the US are more creative and can solve problems.

Session two discussed how to create android applications.

The third session discussed how to use the telephone to be even more obnoxious than it already is.

The fourth was the most rewarding. The four of us talked about web accessibility. I met three people very invested in accessibility.

I think I annoyed Dean and Andrew when I got home because I was very talkative about my day. I guess the moral of the story is that I need to get out more.