Tag Archives: baltimore

So bored with this winter weather event

So I went to work on Friday, with a bag packed in case I decided to stay in DC.  There were a grand total of three people in my end of the building.  In fact, I had no idea there were as many as 100 people (out of 2,000+) in the office until 12pm, when the building closed and everyone except security was expected to leave.

In the end, I decided that I’d rather be snowed in at home, where I could be bored among my stuff for entertainment rather than in a hotel or couch-surfing.  Which is just as well, since the Pens-Caps game was postponed.  Actually, I was kind of entertained by the email that the Marc Train/MTA sent out in the afternoon (before the ANA-Caps game was postponed) that basically said, “The last train out leaves at 7:40p. We are not holding it for the Capitals game.  Be on the train or find your own way home in the snow.”  Not literally, of course, but that was the subtext as I read it.

So I took the 12:20p train home, which was PACKED.  When I boarded at 12:05, the last of the seats were being taken and by the time it left the station, the aisles were impassable in some cars and the vestibules were full, too.

Got home in time to run a couple of errands, including a run to Cafe Poupon for emergency rations.  (Seriously, croissants make being blizzard-bound so much better.)  They were closing early and were pretty much cleaned out of everything.  The only croissants left were ham and cheese (fine by me), with a few other pastries and a couple of quiches.  Lorelei said they were surprisingly busy, mostly people stocking up.  (Hah! I’m not the only person who likes to have Emergency Croissants on hand.)

Charles St in snow

Standing in the middle of Charles St., no cars to be seen.

I went out Saturday when NOTHING was moving except the snow.  I stood in the middle of Charles Street and probably could have made a snow angel without worrying about being run over.  The major streets had seen a plow (plough?) at least once but two or three inches of snow had accumulated since, and most of the cross streets hadn’t been touched.  On Sunday, I cleared the 20″ of snow that had accumulated on my balcony.  The power went out in my building; it was weird because everyone lost power to the stove and microwave and kitchen lights, but not to their hot water heaters, refrigerators, other outlets, etc.  BGE took care of it pretty promptly, which I appreciated.

snow pile

You have to walk in the street to get to the sidewalk on that side of the street. But the city said not to shovel into the street, so piles are going to appear on corners.

Today the streets are slightly better, and a fair amount of sidewalk has been cleared.  Feeling stircrazy, I walked down toward the harbor, and ended up having lunch at Cazbar (I’d highly recommend the pumpkin soup).  There are two lanes cleared on most of Charles Street.  Which would be great if people didn’t keep trying to park in a parking lane that isn’t clear yet, effectively reducing traffic to about 1.5 lanes.  There’s a giant snow pile on one corner that’s at least 9 feet tall.  Monument Street has not been cleared at all. I’m hoping that things will be closer to normal tomorrow.

Stuck

There is actually a car hiding under all that snow. It’s plowed in on the street side and shoveled in (the sidewalk was very well cleared by the business owner) on the sidewalk side. And the temperature has been high enough to cause melt, followed by freezing overnight. That’s not going to be fun to dig out. Unless maybe it gets towed, but I’m not even sure how they’d get it out to tow it.

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Magic Breaks – meh

The new Ilona Andrews book came out last week.  I read it.  It was fine?  I mean, I like their voice/style in this series — unlike other work they’ve done that didn’t really wow me.  But as I’ve mentioned in the past, the world building is kind of wobbly sometimes and some of the copy editing and proof-reading has been less than impressive given who their editor is at Ace.  (The lack of commas when multiple adjectives are used to modify a single noun drives me crazy.  And I love how the sword’s name changes might sword-fight.)  This book isn’t a *huge* surprise, plot-wise, but in some ways it feels a little forced, as if the characters as originally established have taken a hard left turn.  There were signals in earlier books but it all just feels heavy-handed to me.  Other readers’ mileage may (and does) vary.  But I think I’m finished with the series.

~~~

I went to today’s game against the Mariners on impulse.  \o/ to Nick Markakis for his lead-off, game-winning HR and his 1,500 hit as an Oriole.  The game was excellent, but two ancillary things are stuck in my mind.  First, I stopped at the team store, thinking I’d buy a t-shirt since the last merch I bought (for myself) was a Mike Mussina t-shirt; he’s long since retired from the despised pin-stripe team, which tells you how long ago that was.  There’s a ladies section full of poorly made, overpriced stuff.  An Orioles bikini?  Uh, no, I’d like a plain t-shirt, no player name or number, no pink, no sequins, and reasonably priced.  By reasonably priced, I mean priced at about the same amount that men’s apparel goes for rather than 30-50% more.  Ugh.

Second, I really am not comfortable with the singing of God Bless America and accompanying kudos to the military during the 7th inning stretch.  That song reminds me of being in middle school, learning about “manifest destiny” and not really getting it — people really thought their god gave them a right to own the country from sea to sea? what kind of bullshit propaganda is that? — and the sports/god/military combination feels really creepy and infringing on my freedom of religion while pushing a model of patriotism that I do not subscribe to.  Church and state are (in theory) separate, and I don’t want either of them interfering with baseball.  (Or hockey or tennis, etc.)

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Sunset at the Fort

Monday morning was dreary and overcast, so I did not take my planned walk to the fort. The day may have cleared but I was too busy for the walk (an hour or more, depending on route and whether I do a lap around the fort). It was approaching dusk by the time I set out. The fort was closed, but I got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset of orange and magenta over south Baltimore.

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Enjoying the sunshine at the Fort

Saturday was a gorgeous day. In the morning, I walked down to Fort McHenry with a packed lunch and an old blanket. Stretched out in the shade and enjoyed the sunshine and people-watching. Below you can see the view from my spot, including the Key Bridge.

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Centerfield

This year is the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park. I’m hardly an impartial judge, but I do think the stadium has aged well. Two or three hours spent in left field (my preferred locale) on a sunny Sunday is one of my favorite spring/summer pass-times.

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there are times when I don’t understand why the city isn’t already bankrupt

The finance office in Baltimore City is ridiculous.  

I paid my quarterly water bill and an alley paving fee last month.  Separate checks, separate envelopes, separate account numbers, separate invoices.   And on Thursday, I got a delinquent notice for the alley paving bill.  WTF?  The check cleared!  So I checked my account online.  My water bill shows the payment I made PLUS a credit in the amount of the alley paving payment.  Obviously, despite noting the account on the check and sending it separately AND including the invoice, the finance clerk applied the payments wrong.

So I called to get them to apply the alley paving payment properly, since I do not appreciate getting a delinquent notice.  Their answer:  provide proof of payment and request that the payment be transferred.  

Okay, they HAVE proof of payment on their books.  This is their error.  Why do I have to get copies of my canceled check and take it to the finance office in person to get it fixed?

If I hadn’t labeled everything carefully and intentionally sent the payments in separately, this wouldn’t be so irritating.  But I was very careful, mostly because I’ve dealt with the finance office for years in a professional capacity and have never been impressed by their performance.

There are times when I wonder if the city hires incompetent people intentionally.

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Oh, hey, look at the shiny pretty

I have a book review of sorts to post later for SBD, but first, I wanted to share some links and videos.

Er, also, today is the deadline for AAR’s Top 100 voting.  I couldn’t be arsed to list 100 books.  Really, I get lost after the first 20 or so.  But it’s always interesting to see what other people through were the best of romance to date.  When the list is published, I’ll give my opinion book by book, just to compare my taste with the standard/average reader taste.

Now, onto the links and videos.

First, okay, government cheese, yes, whatever, plus the farm subsidy, which needs to be seriously reconsidered.  But now the federal government is pushing the consumption of even more cheese?  

Second, courtesy of Bill in Exile, is this very funny video explaining the Fed’s retarded fiscal policy, quantitative easing.

Next, a while ago TBC and I discussed how we preferred different versions of songs, live vs. album vs. covered by others.  For example, Green Day’s Whatshername on the album is pretty good but not my favorite song and the version of the cast album is ~meh~ to me.  And yet I love this version from the AOL Sessions (despite all the guyliner John Gallagher Jr. is sporting):

And last, seriously, would you ever guess that this guy was a governor?


Photo courtesy of Midnight Sun.
His band, O’Malley’s March, played local gigs before his political career kicked into high(ish) gear, first as mayor of Baltimore then governor of Maryland.  I heard on the radio that last year they played at the Baltimore Irish Festival, so I’m assuming they still fit some performances in with the busy gubernatorial schedule. 

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