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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inauguration pics

I finally posted my Obama inaugural pictures to Flickr. I didn't actually take that many pictures on the day, as it's hard to take good pictures of a crowd, and we were of course way too far back to take pictures of the actual event.

It was pretty cool. So many people.

Leaving the Metro station:

Moving toward the Mall:

The crowd behind us:

As an aside, in the summer of 2004, I remember being at a BBQ in Minneapolis, and we were talking about Barack Obama because he was running for Senate and had just been chosen to keynote the Democratic National Convention. Everybody thought he seemed very promising, and several folks thought he might be president someday. One was heading off to public policy grad school that fall and said, "Well, we want him to wait a while and get experience so that we can start our careers and have a chance of working in his administration." Didn't work out that way...

Anyway, I'm off to Texas all this week for work, which I'm looking forward to.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pre-gaming the inauguration

The big weekend is finally here. It's cool to see DC so abuzz...even in my neighborhood, three miles north of the Mall, there are a lot more people than normal. And many are wearing pins, hats, t-shirts, anything with Obama's name on it. Alex and company are in town, and he bought a Barack Obama action figure while at Giant getting stuff for tonight's potluck. I put my DC Vote "I demand the vote! No taxation without representation!" sign out on the front porch.

Yesterday we braved the chilly-for-DC weather (Target was entirely sold out of hats, gloves, and long underwear) and went to the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial. It was almost comically star-studded, with Bruce Springsteen, U2, Shakira, Garth Brooks, Tiger Woods, Beyonce, Tom Hanks, etc., etc. We arrived about an hour and a half before it started, and were pretty far back, but within Jumbotron view. It was actually pretty enjoyable -- they let Bruce open with The Rising, and Obama spoke at the conclusion. Some pictures follow, full set on Flickr.

People streaming past the Washington Monument on the way to the concert.

The crowd in front of us, looking toward the stage at the Lincoln Memorial.

The crowd behind us, which stretched to the Washington Monument.

Of course, even in a crowd estimated at 400,000, I managed to run into someone from work and someone from Carleton. (Someone else from work ended up in the first picture of the NY Times slideshow of the event.)

The actual inauguration tomorrow should be pretty exciting. We'll be leaving the house at 7am to walk there -- wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In the Times

Today, the New York Times had an article (which has now made its way to the top 10 most-emailed list) about restaurant scene in DC coming into its own. It name-checks my neighborhood, and names two places I pass every day -- Rumberos and Columbia Heights Coffee. I don't go to either very often, but it's still strange to see them in the Times.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bike miscellany

A vignette: Riding my bike home in the dark this evening, I saw something in the intersection ahead that I thought might be a flare from an earlier car accident. As I approached, the regular red flashing revealed it to be a bike taillight that had fallen off, now merely pleading not to be run over. I paused to scoop it up, and rode on while trying to figure out how to turn it off (there weren't many cars around, so my divided attention was not a huge problem). I went on examining it for a few blocks, and I could not figure out for the life of me how to turn the darn thing off -- it sort of felt like I had picked up stray baby bird, fallen from a nest, and it was still chirping for its mother despite my attempts to muffle it. When I came to U Street, I stopped to find the switch and put it in my bag. I was thinking about the futile craigslist lost-and-found posting I would make, as well as potential uses for my newfound light, when I noticed there was a guy without a taillight waiting at the stoplight. "Hey, you didn't just lose your blinkie, did you?," I asked. His head snapped back and forth from his seatpost to the flashing light in my hand. "Oh, yeah! Thanks, I really appreciate that." And that was that.

An upgrade: I put the puncture-resistant tire on my front wheel this morning, joining the month-old one on the back wheel. Hopefully I won't be needing to fix more flats anytime soon. In the spirit of Consumer Reports, I will report back here the first time I get one.

An estimation: I've had my Cross-Check for a bit more than a year now, and it didn't seem like I should have already worn out both tires. I've not kept track of my mileage in any way, but a rough estimation might be as follows. I've been in town for about 48 work weeks, and probably ride an average of 10 miles each work day. I've been in town for about 42 weekends, and probably ride an average of 15 miles per weekend day. That comes out to (48*5*10)+(42*2*15) = 3660 for a one year period. I guess a few thousand miles is okay for bike tires, which can't be as chunky as car tires.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I've been getting a lot of flat tires on my bike. (I counted five patches on my current front inner tube when I fixed it last night.) They're almost always from shards of glass that embed themselves in my tire. I think the bike lanes actually increase the frequency with which this happens: When car windows or bottles are broken, the glass that falls in car travel lanes is quickly pulverized and pushed aside by the traffic. In the bike lane, this takes a long time to happen, and the cars push the glass into the bike lane.

This is, of course, a huge pain. But I am taking decisive action. When I last got a back flat (a few weeks ago), I bought a puncture-resistant tire made with a tough rubber compound and woven kevlar in the tread. Now that I've gotten a front flat, I'm going to get one for that wheel, too. The brand is Specialized Armadillo, and according to this promotional video, I should be in good shape: