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A belated reportback is better than no reportback at all, I suppose.

May 25, 2008, 5:29 PM

Hey, I’ve been busy. So sue me. But I must report back that Katie and I had a great time last weekend. We went all over the place, and had a great time.

However, it started out somewhat rough – Katie took the train up to DC, specifically the Cardinal. And it was late. According to AmtrakDelays.com, on May 16, the eastbound Cardinal, train #50, was an hour and 42 minutes late arriving in Staunton, where Katie got on. Then at Union Station, where I was waiting for her, the train managed to rack up another 44 minutes of delays, and thus ended up getting in at 8:21 PM. That would make it two hours and 26 minutes late. This thing was supposed to show up at 5:55 PM, which would have fit my schedule quite nicely. Leave work, take Metro to Union Station, wait a few minutes, get Katie, and then ride back to Glenmont. However, I found out about the Staunton delay from Katie well in advance, so no problems there. I compensated other places as far as that delay went, and ended up staying later at work, since there were a few things I needed to take care of anyway, and planned to arrive in time for the new delayed arrival. Okay.

So arriving at Union Station, I got in, and immediately checked the boards to see what the deal was. Another delay. Lovely. So I ended up just kind of wandering around Union Station for the next two hours, as I had nothing else to do. I was totally unprepared for a longer delay. However, I did have my iPod, and so at least I got to listen to Randi Rhodes (now on Nova M Radio!). And with headphones on was how I passed a good hour or so of that delay, as I went in and out of stores, seeing what amused me. I also managed to find a relatively quiet corner of the station to make a phone call, finding out about how things were going on the train from Katie. That quiet spot ended up being in a far corner of the parking garage, interestingly enough. But hey, it was nice out, so it worked. I got to watch train movements north of the station, and found out that the initial delay was due to weather, and then heavy rail traffic caused the delays closer in. Okay. Beyond the control of either one of us. What are you going to do, I suppose.

I also got this photo with the phone coming back down from the parking garage, which I like to call, “Damn Tourists”:

Tourists at Union Station

Apologies for the poor quality, but (A) I was on an escalator at the time, and (B) this is a new phone that I still don’t know how to handle quite yet. But this is a perfect example of the school groups that I despise so much. A bunch of children in roughly their early teens, all wearing little ID badges and matching t-shirts. And these children are generally not well-behaved, as they all share one brain amongst the lot of them when they’re in this configuration, and there are like three adults for the lot of them, and they’re nowhere to be found. There’s a reason that Stuarts Draft High School or Stuarts Draft Middle School never took any of their students on these kinds of trips. They didn’t want to deal with us for that long, and I don’t blame them. Washington isn’t just monuments and museums, after all. Some of us live and work here, too, and we don’t appreciate swarms of poorly-behaved tourists stampeding us while we’re trying to go about our non-touristy business. The well-behaved ones we don’t mind, and hope they’ll come multiple times and spend their money at our local merchants, but school groups are never well-behaved…

But I digress.

So eventually, Katie’s train arrived, and we finally got together. Great! I also got to find out about the lunatic that was sitting nearby on Katie’s train. It’s like Bill Cosby says – they put a nut on every car, and that was the designated nut for that car.

Considering how late it was, we just headed straight to the Metro station, and took the Red Line back to Glenmont, and then the Y bus back to my house. And Katie quickly figured out why I hate the Y. They wouldn’t know a schedule if it bit them on the tailpipe. But eventually it did show up, and we were off.

Then Saturday was our designated DC day. It was also the new Kodak’s inaugural run, as I took it out to get used to it and figure out how it all works. We were going to Forest Glen station, and I tried a new way to get there, to avoid the traffic on Georgia Avenue through Wheaton. So we ended up taking Connecticut Avenue to Plyers Mill Road to Georgia Avenue to Forest Glen Road. That did it, and it’s only about two miles longer than the straight-shot, and avoided most of the traffic. Score!

So from Forest Glen, we headed to Dupont Circle. We ended up wandering around Dupont Circle, going up to the location of the Church of Scientology (to show Katie where we did our Anon raids), and then across and down to my office building, and then back to the circle. And we have photos…

Well, in the week since Operation Fail Game, where there was a broken water main that I got to wade in a little bit, the DC government hastily fixed it.
Well, in the week since Operation Fail Game, where there was a broken water main that I got to wade in a little bit, the DC government hastily fixed it.

Outside the Foundry United Methodist Church, which is across from the building where I work, I ran into Elizabeth and Emily, two radical cheerleader friends of mine, who were helping run a yard sale at the church. How cool! Katie ended up getting a more authentic look at my world in DC than she expected, as she got to meet a few of my activist buddies.
Outside the Foundry United Methodist Church, which is across from the building where I work, I ran into Elizabeth and Emily, two radical cheerleader friends of mine, who were helping run a yard sale at the church. How cool! Katie ended up getting a more authentic look at my world in DC than she expected, as she got to meet a few of my activist buddies.

While visiting my office, Katie took a moment to pose for a photo at my desk in front of my office Mac. Note the Schumin Web mouse pad on my desk. The background on my office Mac is this one from No Armageddon For Bush.
While visiting my office, Katie took a moment to pose for a photo at my desk in front of my office Mac. Note the Schumin Web mouse pad on my desk. The background on my office Mac is this one from No Armageddon For Bush.

At Dupont Circle, we ran into a woman who had a cat named Jack. We got into a long conversation with the woman, who let Katie pose for a photo with her cat. It turns out that this woman and I pass each other every day in the mornings on the way to our respective offices. My exact words in realizing who she was: "You're 'Flogging Molly'!" This woman often wears a black hoodie with the name of the band Flogging Molly on the front of it. Unlike before, when we used to just pass each other, now we say hello to each other when we pass in the morning.
At Dupont Circle, we ran into a woman who had a cat named Jack. We got into a long conversation with the woman, who let Katie pose for a photo with her cat. It turns out that this woman and I pass each other every day in the mornings on the way to our respective offices. My exact words in realizing who she was: “You’re ‘Flogging Molly’!” This woman often wears a black hoodie with the name of the band Flogging Molly on the front of it. Unlike before, when we used to just pass each other, now we say hello to each other when we pass in the morning.

From Dupont, we took Metro over to Union Station, where we were going to meet up with my fellow Wikipedia gurus for the fourth DC meetup. We had dinner at Uno’s. We had a blast, though Katie admitted later that much of the discussion was a bit over her head, as Katie doesn’t normally edit Wikipedia.

From there, after we bid farewell to my fellow Wikipedians, we headed south. I gave Katie the walking tour of the east side of the Capitol, taking her past the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. At the Supreme Court, the anti-Roe v. Wade demonstration involving the taped mouths with “LIFE” written on the tape. This time, however, unlike the first time I saw it back in 2006, this time it was a lone woman:

So there you go. However, the one thing that surprised me at the Supreme Court, though, had nothing to do with the woman. It was that the sidewalk had been redone, putting a semicircle of bollards around the steps in front of the Supreme Court.

So there you go. However, the one thing that surprised me at the Supreme Court, though, had nothing to do with the woman. It was that the sidewalk had been redone, putting a semicircle of bollards around the steps in front of the Supreme Court. Take a look…

Personally, I think that this could have been done a lot more tastefully, because right now as it stands, it ruins the view and obstructs pedestrian flow to an extent, because it is admittedly in the middle of the sidewalk. Presumably, the bollards are there to keep crazy people from driving their cars into the Supreme Court, but this could have been done differently and have been just as effective without compromising aesthetics and pedestrian flow. My recommendation would have been to install bollards at the curb. This would still prevent cars from reaching the Supreme Court, but would not affect pedestrian flow, and would be easier to overlook, thus not ruining the aesthetics.

Personally, I think that this could have been done a lot more tastefully, because right now as it stands, it ruins the view and obstructs pedestrian flow to an extent, because it is admittedly in the middle of the sidewalk. Presumably, the bollards are there to keep crazy people from driving their cars into the Supreme Court, but this could have been done differently and have been just as effective without compromising aesthetics and pedestrian flow. My recommendation would have been to install bollards at the curb. This would still prevent cars from reaching the Supreme Court, but would not affect pedestrian flow, and would be easier to overlook, thus not ruining the aesthetics.

Unfortunately, they didn’t listen to me when they came up with this idea that was probably good in concept, but birdbrained in its implementation.  *sigh*  Still, imagine if all that junk had been in place during the Confirmation Demonstration photo set in 2005. Back then, the sidewalk was made of aggregate, and there were no barriers, giving a clear view of everything. The impact of the demonstration would have been reduced were the bollards in the way back then.

Then after leaving the Supreme Court, we passed the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, and got a photo of Katie in front of the fountain:

Katie standing in front of the fountain

Returning to the Metro, we swung by L’Enfant Plaza. I’d gotten intelligence that there would be an Anonymous raid outside a Dianetics event being held at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, and who knows – they might still be out there. They weren’t, and, calling Isis, we learned that they had already left. Of course, we weren’t going to join in anyway – just observe. And I had also half-figured that they would already be gone when we got there. Just as well – the Wikipedia meetup was more important in this case.

And from there, we headed to Rosslyn, because Katie wanted to see the Iwo Jima Memorial. I had been there twice before – once in November 2002 with Mom and Sis, and then on the fourth of July 2006, where I got to watch the fireworks. I felt no guilt going there at night, as the memorial is illuminated at night, and is perhaps a more striking sight when illuminated than during the day.

Katie strikes a pose at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Katie strikes a pose at the Iwo Jima Memorial.

And from there, we headed back to the Metro, and back to Forest Glen station via Metro Center.

The next day, we went to Arundel Mills! Katie had originally said that she wanted to go to Potomac Mills, but due to the locations of the two, we substituted one “Mills” for another. Arundel Mills is about 12 miles closer to my house than Potomac Mills.

So off we went. Katie’s mission was to get a new pair of gauged earrings. These were nothing huge, like those earrings that you’ve seen that you could drive a train through, but just a little thicker wire than a normal earring.

Now Arundel Mills is a lot newer than Potomac Mills. The surroundings give it away (trees vs. oodles and oodles of other shopping), plus the mall itself looks really new, with those Wheelock speaker strobes that they had all around. Potomac Mills, on the other hand, has horns. Arundel Mills is also arranged as a giant loop, vs. Potomac Mills, which is arranged like a long strip. It was an amazing mall, and we were able to spend most of the day there, but we were unfortunately unsuccessful in getting gauged earrings for Katie.

And then on Monday, I had arranged to take the day off of work, and so I went down to the bus depot with Katie to see her off. Her bus was the 10:10 to Charlottesville, leaving from Gate 8. We made my regular commute to get down there. We caught the 51, and then caught the Red Line to New York Avenue. We had a snack at their snack bar, which, for the record, was disgusting food, but we didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast at the house, so we made do.

And after seeing Katie off, I headed back to Silver Spring, and from there, I caught a Y bus back home. And before I knew it, I got a call that Katie had made it home safely. Excellent!

Web site: Unos, where we had the Wikipedia meetup.

Song: The "Numa Numa" song

Quote: Katie and I have such fun when we get together! I can't wait until next time...