Monday, July 06, 2015

Video of July 4, 2015 Fireworks

This took me a little while to get together. I had some problems with iMovie (more on that later). But this gives you an idea of what it is like to be on the Mall on July 4th. I have one more video where I used the slo-mo function on the camera. I'll post that in the next day or so.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

July 4th Fireworks

Something that makes living in Washington, DC is the fireworks each year. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've missed them in the past 25 years or so. I went to a slightly different spot this year. Very close to the Washington Monument. I also took pictures with my iPhone and not my digital camera.

I think the digital camera does a little better job of capturing the fireworks. I have some video which I'll post later. So here are some shots of the spectacular July 4th fireworks on the National Mall.
This one looks like a heart

Fireworks Part II

Even More Fireworks

I really like these because of the way they slowly descend toward the ground.

Linus and Charlie Celebrate July 4th

Helping out with the laundry

Linus and Charlie and a very restful July 4th. That's how they like to celebrate it. Naps and a little play time. Then more naps. Come to think of it, that's how they celebrate every day.

Linus and his toy. Napping won out over playing.

Charlie couldn't find anything to watch so he took a nap.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Hand to God

Another very high energy show. Very funny but very very dark.

Christian when in to pick up the tickets and he said there was someone in line trying ti get a refund. They said they just found at that their son was too young to see the show. As Christian said just because it has puppets doesn't mean the show is for kids.

And it wasn't. The puppet opened and closed the show. In the first ten minutes or so the puppet dropped the f word probably half a dozen times.

Who knew a sock puppet could be so evil.

This is from the New York Times:
Possibly, this needs some explaining. Mr. Askins’s dark comedy, which opened on Monday night at the Lucille Lortel Theater, features a brilliant performance by Steven Boyer in the central role of a troubled but good-hearted teenager, Jason, who’s forced to participate in a church puppet pageant. On his left arm resides a fellow he’s named Tyrone, made of gray knit material trimmed in bright red fur, with big, black eyes.

Tyrone looks about as cuddly and harmless as your average Muppet. But soon, to Jason’s horror, Tyrone begins to display the ornery demeanor of a foul-mouthed bully, combined with the violent instincts of a terrorist. And, by the end of Mr. Askins’s play about the divided soul in all of us, poor Jason will be locked in a duel to the death (or thereabouts) with his own left arm, or rather the evil spirit that has taken possession of it.
As the hapless, uncomfortable Jason, Mr. Boyer gives a touching, gently hued performance, his voice barely rising above a whisper as he tries to warn his mother that, as he puts it, this puppet business is “doing bad things to me.” At the same time, Mr. Boyer establishes Tyrone as a such a singular presence, with his snarky snarl of a voice, that you soon find yourself considering him, as Jason does, as a malign entity independent from the benevolent character to whom he is attached (and of whom he is, obviously, a psychic alter ego clad in friendly-looking felt). 
 I was amazed at Steven Boyer's performance. Because with his voice he has indeed created two totally and  completely different characters. The entire cast is amazing. The show, as I said is funny, but does pose some very important questions of just exactly where does evil and why people do the things they do.

Nationals Beat the Giants 2-1

A pictures duel last night at Nationals' Park between Gio Gonzalez and Jake Peavy. And one inning that made all the difference in the game.

That was the seventh inning when all the scoring for the game was done. Gio had pitched really well. But in the seventh one bad pitch to Buster Posey and the Giants were on the board:
But in the seventh, three at-bats changed the game. Gonzalez fired a low first-pitch fastball to Buster Posey. It wasn’t a bad pitch, but Posey smashed the ball over the center field fence for his 14th home run of the season to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Shades of last October and the 17 inning game that the Nats lost by a run.

But then along came the bottom of the inning. Once again one pitch made all the difference. One pitch and a walk. The walk was to Bryce Harper:
Peavy wanted little to do with Harper the first two times he faced him, walking him both times (once intentionally). In his third plate appearance, Peavy attacked Harper with the bases empty. But Harper drew a tough walk, holding off on a close 3-2 pitch. 
Up next came Clint Robinson and one pitch once again changed the game. Robinson hit a home run. And just like the Nats had the lead. (Early in the game Gio came within a few feet of having his own home run. It was even reviewed by the umpires but it was ruled a foul ball.)

Matt Thornton pitched the 8th inning with no problems and then Drew Storen came in for the close.

It was great to beat the Giants. Does it make up for last October? Not really. But it is good to beat a team like the Giants. It's very possible come this October the Nats will be facing them again.

Congratulations all around for the win.

Fireworks After the Game

I am a sucker for fireworks. Here are a few pictures from the ones after the game. And a video of the grande finale.

Friday, July 03, 2015

The Neue Gallery and Tony's Di Napoli

The goal of our walk in Central Park was to reach the Neue Gallery and see the Women in Gold painting. Both Denis and I had seen the movie and were anxious to see the painting.

The exhibit was spectacular.

More from the museum's web site:
Note: Although the exhibition "Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold" is only on view through September 7, the painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt is on permanent view at the Neue Galerie.

"Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold" is an intimate exhibition devoted to the close relationship that existed between the artist and one of his key subjects and patrons. Included in the exhibition is a display of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, paintings, related drawings, vintage photographs, decorative arts, and archival material.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Neue Galerie President’s Circle. Conservation of Adele Bloch-Bauer I and support for this exhibition is made possible in part by A. Lange & Söhne.

This exhibition coincides with the opening of the historical drama "Woman in Gold," starring Helen Mirren as Adele Bloch-Bauer's niece Maria Altmann, and Ryan Reynolds as lawyer Randol Schoenberg. The Weinstein Company is set to release the film in U.S. theaters on April 1, 2015. The film is based upon the incredible true story of how Altmann, working in collaboration with Schoenberg, successfully sued the Austrian Government for the return of five Klimt paintings seized by the Nazis from the Bloch-Bauer family townhouse in Vienna during World War II.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) is one of the most important artists of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Trained at Vienna's Kunstgewerbeschule, Klimt began his career in a traditional and historicist style, but quickly emerged as one of Vienna's preeminent modern artists, creating ebullient landscapes, striking portraits, and erotic drawings of women. Klimt was a key figure in Vienna's art scene, and is one whose artistic achievements and mentorship paved the way for painters Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.
From there we took the subway down to Times Square. Our reservation for Tony's Di Napoli was at 1:30. We were a little early but stopped by to see if we could get seated right away. Turns out we could be. We ordered chicken parma, spaghetti with meat balls and ravioli along with a house salad. It was fantastic as always. I highly recommend to go there and have a meal. You won't be disappointed!

Lunch at Tony's Di Napoli some of the best food ever.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Another Day. Another Delay. That’s Metro

The third major delay this week. You know you’re in trouble when there are trains on both sides of the platform and they both are going in the same direction.

I missed out on the other two major disruptions of service on Metro earlier in this week. I was not so fortunate today. The only saving grace today was the fact it was the day before the July 4th holiday weekend so it was not a normal rush hour. If it had been it would have been terrible. As it was there were fewer people than normal on Metro this morning. It meant that the first train that pulled into Rhode Island Avenue after a more than 20 minute wait was not completely full of people. It was crowded but not jam packed.

I guess it could have been worse. Here’s a little taste of what happened on the Red Line on Monday:
It was chaotic at Farragut North on Monday evening.

Two trains offloaded at the station within minutes of each other during the heart of the rush hour. Trains single-tracked. There were delays in both directions. A platform was so crowded that some riders were pushed back to the mezzanine. The fare gates closed for at least 20 minutes to keep more passengers from flooding the station.

My 15-minute train ride turned into a 90-minute nightmare.

The problem, as some riders described it Monday night, is not that this happened Monday. It is that these delay-plagued commutes are becoming too common on the Red Line. This week was Monday. Last week was Wednesday.

This has become the norm these days. It’s not the rare break down of service. It is becoming a weekly event. Usually not a small scale but on a large one. Effecting wide swaths of the Metro system. Today there was an announcement urging riders to go to Fort Totten and transfer to the Green Line and then transfer to the Red Line at Gallery Place. That’s a pretty good idea but if everyone does it then both of those stations will be overwhelmed with passengers. It was also difficult to do because for a while no trains were running in either direction.

It ended up I was just about 40 minutes late getting to work. Not a huge amount of time but enough to be annoying. That seems to be the best word to describe Metro these days annoying.

It really does seem that the whole system is just falling apart. It makes me wonder if Metro is able to operate a system that runs seven days a week.

I also wonder at what point people get so disgusted with the Metro that riders start leaving in droves. Or has that begun? Is this that start of the collapse of the entire system? Only time will tell on that.

In the mean time Metro needs to improve service so people actually notice a difference. So far they haven't been very good at that.

A Walk Through Central Park

Sunday morning, we got up early. We decided to go Neue Gallerie to see the The Woman in Gold portrait. We had some time so we decided to walk through Central Park.

There was a carnival set up in the Park

Still a little foggy early in the day

Someone out for a carriage ride

Boat rental anyone?

The Alice in Wonderland sculpture

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park

One of the many impressive things to see in Central Park is the Bethesda Fountain.

Here's a little more about it:
The gorgeous focal point of the Bethesda Terrace, the Bethesda Fountain is one of the largest fountains in New York, measuring twenty-six feet high by ninety-six feet wide.

It is one of the most well known fountains in the world, and the statue at its center was the only sculpture to have been commissioned as a part of Central Park's original design.

This neoclassical sculpture, also known as Angel of the Waters, features an eight-foot bronze angel who stands above four small cherubim representing health, purity, temperance, and peace.

The angel herself carries a lily in one hand while the other remains outstretched, poised in the action of delivering a blessing on the water pouring from around her feet and into the basin at the bottom of the fountain. This is to commemorate the 1842 opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which supplied New York City with fresh water.

There are also some pictures of the detail on the bridge and what is under the bridge near the fountain as well. Just spectacular.

Some of the amazing work near the steps down to the fountain