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Great walks, great photos, and great conversations…

February 2, 2006, 11:38 PM

This last trip to Washington was definitely an interesting trip. I managed to put myself behind schedule at almost every turn I took, but it was SO worth it.

I arrived at Vienna on time – right after 10 AM. Rode Breda 4053 to Rosslyn. At Rosslyn, I got a message on my phone from Matthew Tilley. That turned into a phone call, where we discussed all sorts of stuff while I also watched birds do laps in the air above North Moore Street.

Then after that, I got on the Metro and rode Blue to Capitol South. I took a walk from the Capitol South station entrance up to Union Station, going by the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court in the process.

The Supreme Court building has netting around the pediment, due to a chunk of marble falling off the building and onto the steps on November 28. In addition, on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court, a pro-life group stood facing the building, symbolically gagged with red duct tape with “LIFE” written in black on the tape. Take a look:

Pro-life demonstrators outside the Supreme Court building

This was a religious group, and they were allegedly praying in front of the steps of the Supreme Court, presumably regarding a pro-life view of abortion, from what I gathered from speaking with their spokesperson. I question, though, whether they were actually praying, as most of them were wearing iPods and visibly rocking to the music.

I don’t endorse their views whatsoever. I am strongly pro-choice. And before it was all over, I was ready to deck their spokesperson. More on that later.

After I took a few photographs of the pro-life group rocking to their iPods, I went up the steps to do some architectural photos, which was the real purpose of the walk. There, I encountered a couple also photographing the architecture. We discussed the building and the netting, and then to politics, and it was quite interesting.

After this, I did a little more photographing, including one, as I describe it, “showing tourists being tourists”. It’s a photo of a man taking a photo of a group standing in front of the Supreme Court. It will be on the main page before too long.

Then, standing on the first step, I took a few more pictures of the pro-life group. I was asked by a Supreme Court Police officer to come off the steps. I was aware of the law that prohibits people from demonstrating on the marble (must be on the sidewalk). In fact, that was the reason for the arrests shown in the Confirmation Demonstration photography set from nearly a year ago.

Clarifying with the officer, she said that if you’re photographing the demonstration, you’re considered part of the demonstration for the purposes of that law. We ended up getting into a conversation about the anti-torture demonstration, and about how she didn’t want to have to arrest Midge, Pete, and David, but they had no choice. Also found out that the officer had a sore shoulder after having to carry Midge Potts off. See the carrying-off here.

All in all, not a bad discussion. I also got some good photos. But by now the sun was starting to move across the sky, and I needed to think about moving on. So I started to leave. Spokesman for the pro-life group asks if I’m leaving. I said yes, and wished him a good day. He starts to ask me the Jesus question. I keep moving. He keeps up. Where am I headed, he asks. I just tell him, “This way,” and point in the general direction of where I’m going, and wish him a good day. He tells me about how his deity of choice loves me and wants to be a part of my life (which is really a scary thought). That’s it. I tell him somewhat forcefully, “HAVE A NICE DAY.” He left me alone.

Question: What is it lately that’s been drawing the religious wackos to my side? There was the guy from Wayne Hills Baptist Church hitting me up about religion on the Fastlanes at work. Then there was the guy last weekend. Now this guy in DC. As I stated in this entry, my own religious beliefs are really none of their business.

At Union Station, I caught the Metro and rode past Brentwood Yard (where the cars from the November 2004 accident remain unchanged since the last time I went by), and up to Fort Totten. There I did the Green Line to Shaw, and visited the Infoshop.

The Infoshop is really a hit-and-miss as far as enjoyability goes. Some of the people who volunteer over there are not very helpful at all. Those types make the Infoshop less than welcoming. Then there are other times when the person working the Infoshop is friendly and quite helpful. Today was the latter of the two, with a friendly person at the desk. In addition, instead of the usual punk-rock type music most play on the stereo, this time classical music was emanating from the stereo. Very nice.

And then one of my favorite Infoshop regulars came by – a guy named Mike. He and I get along so well, and we always have great conversations. This was no exception. I also got to promote WikiProject anti-war a little, which has been on the Infoshop bulletin board for some time (I put it there at least as far back as September). Still, fun times.

After the Infoshop, I ran over to Mt. Vernon Square station, and visited Pentagon City. Let me just say I was later arriving at Pentagon City than I like to be. So I dashed right through the mall without taking my coat off and out to Pentagon Row, where the skating rink is.

I love photographing Pentagon Row’s ice rink. I’ve been photographing it since October. The people running the skate shop all know me (and have been to my Web site), and think my interest in the rink is great. I intend to continue my rink visits until it closes for the season, and then is removed for the summer. Maybe I’ll skate before it’s all over.

Also, as of right now, I think I’m going to do a photo set compiling the season at Pentagon Row. Don’t know whether it will be Life and Times or Photography. I’m on the fence about which section to put it in. I could do it more formally and seriously using the Photography format, but I think I could also do it well using the more light-hearted and less-formal Life and Times format. We’ll see.

Then dinner and a Washington Post. Not bad. By then it was past 10:30, and so I was able to Metro right out to Vienna. No problem.

The ride home was good. Sheetz in Mt. Jackson. Wal-Mart in Woodstock. I love that Woodstock overnight group. They all know me over there.

In addition, the company that does the video games and such for Wal-Mart put Stacker in the grocery-side vestibule. Basically, you line up blocks at increasing speeds to win a prize. Miss and you’re out. 50¢ a play. It’s addictive.

Then a quick stop at the Wal-Mart in Dayton, and back home for me. Fun trip…

Web site: First Amendment Center article on demonstrating at the Supreme Court

Quote: "Somehow, this tub gets me where I'm going." - Me about the Previa. The use of the word "tub" to describe it comes from the game "Spaceship Warlock", where Captain Hammer says, "I hereby take command of this tub in the name of the Warlock."