Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Hoping everyone has a really wonderful and Merry Christmas. 

As the song says 

May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmas be white. 

And here's to a great and fantastic and wonderful and fun and successful well you get the idea

Happy New Year. 

The Last from Nats Fest

Here are some final pictures from Nats Fest. I have a couple of videos that I'll upload in a little later.

Jordan Zimmermann

Stephen Strasurg and Ian Desmond

Tanner Roark

Craig Stammen and Tyler Clippard

Everyone on stage.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Sad Scene

Dillons is a supermarket chain in Springfield. Shortly that will be changed to was. At 6pm on December 24 all of the stores in Springfield will close for good.

My brother says the reported reason for the closings was the intensely competitive environment in the Springfield area. Because of that they were pulling out all their stores in the Springfield area.

We went into one of the stores to see what was left. These pictures show just how little was left on the shelves.

The employees were actually wiping down all the shelves so they'd be clean when they're taken apart.

All I could think of as I left was how very sad.

This is what most of the store looked like.

Most everything that was left was 50% off.

Empty shelves.

The bread isle was about the only area that was full.

Nats Fest — Youth Baseball Academy

They had a mini ball field set up in one of the corners at the convention center. That's where the youth baseball academy was. They had players come in and coach kids. Here's Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann giving some pointers.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Almost Seeing an Accident and then a Bizarre Afterwards

I had lunch with my friend Tom on Saturday. Afterward, we went for a walk around DuPont Circle. As we were heading up 17th Street we saw this unfold.

I looked over and noticed a car on a side street. It was moving slowly toward the stop sign. But the driver wasn't slowing down. I thought, What does he think, cars on 17th Street have to stop? Because they don't. He then proceeded to roll through the stop sign.

The driver of the oncoming car slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting the car — accident averted by the quick reaction of the car driving on 17th Street.

This is when things go bizarre.

The guy who almost caused the accident, the guy who ran the stop sign — he gets out of his car and starts yelling at the other driver. He says in part, You were driving too fast. This wouldn't have happened if you were driving the speed limit.

My reaction was, It wouldn't have happened if you'd stopped at the stop sign.

The guy continues to yell at the other driver. That driver, a woman, was shaken up over what happened, as anyone would be, just avoiding an accident. The guy then takes out his camera and takes a picture of the woman's car. The woman gets out of her car and says, What are you doing. The guy says, This is to document what you did. Again he repeats you were driving too fast.

You can tell the woman is even more shaken by this. The guy continues to yell. He adds I stopped and was inching out into the intersection. He implies again the woman was driving too fast. At this point, I've had enough and yell back, No, you weren't inching into the intersection; you ran the stop sign.

He says he wasn't and I say he was. He then yells, You lie!

A man across the street chimes in and says you're supposed to stop. The guy yells a him too.

The guy gets back into his car and moves it out of the middle of the lane, back to the street he came from. He is yelling again that he's a pedestrian and so he knows to stop his car. I yell back at him and say you ran the stop sign. I get you lie again.

The woman asks if she can get our names and contact information just in case this guy does something weird. She is shaking as she enters the information in her phone. She apologies when she has to ask me for my information again. I say you have nothing to apologize for. You didn't do anything wrong.

The guy has now driven across the street. He yells yet again out his window blaming the woman for what almost happen. I yell back that you ran the stop sign. This is your fault. I again get you lie and he finally drives off.

What a nut, one of us says. The woman says she can't believe what just happened. Tom and I agree. She thanks us for giving her our information. She gets into her car and heads out.

Tom and I continue our walk. We are both dumbfounded over what we just saw. Tom says, Did you notice the passenger side of his car toward the front? It had a big dent in it. I said I had.

Like I said, the whole event was so weird. Guy must have anger issues. Why else would he react the way he did especially when it was obvious (well obvious to everyone but him) that he was in the wrong?

Both of us wondered what would have happened if we had not been there or stayed around.

We finished our walk. I headed off to Gallery Place to see the Hobbit movie and then I went home. Oh, and during those two walks, I saw four cars run red lights, in one case making a left turn onto Massachusetts Avenue, which has two lanes of traffic going in both directions. In all four cases the light had long turned red before the cars entered the intersection.

Moral of the story is people need to slow down when they drive. Because some day they will hit someone or someone will hit them. And it will do more damage then just a dent on the side of the car.

Nats Fest — Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond was there with one of his sons.

They won the gingerbread house building contest. I got a couple of pictures off the web of them building it.

Also here's a interview he did with Nats Insider.

Ian and his son hard at work building their house

Here are the final gingerbread houses

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nats Fest — Jayson Werth

Even with his conviction on speeding Jayson Werth was at Nats Fest.

A little more on Werth's run in with the law:

FAIRFAX, Va. — Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was convicted Friday of reckless driving and sentenced to 10 days in jail for driving his Porsche over 100 mph on the Capital Beltway earlier this year.

Fairfax County General District Court Judge Penney Azcarate said a jail sentence was appropriate given the excessive speed.

“I-495 is not a racetrack,” Azcarate said in imposing the sentence. She added that her sentence would be the same regardless of “what a person does for a living.”

And this:

Yes, according to the Washington Post’s Tom Jackman, Werth told the judge he was “pressing his luck” when asked by the judge what he was doing surging to 105 mph on the Beltway, where speed limits hover between 55 mph and 65 mph.

At one point on the main stage a game was going on. It might have been Family Feud. The question was what type of animal might be found in the Nats dugout. Someone said Jayson Werth. Werth is in the process of signing autographs close to the stage. He hears that and says hey. The answer is repeated and Werth stands up and says I'm right here.

He was also part of Match Game on the stage. Matt Thornton was sitting next to him. I can't remember what the question was but Thornton answered driving privileges. It got a big laugh from the crowd. Later Werth answered a question with Porsche. He added it had to come up sooner or later.

I think it was great that he could laugh at himself.

Parade of Peanuts Ties — Day 15

The final one which I wore on Friday. I always enjoy doing this. It's my little way of celebrating Christmas. I'm thinking that next year I might try and find a couple of new ties to buy.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Parade of Peanuts Ties — Day 14

Winding down the count down. But it has occurred to me that when I get back to the office after Christmas I just might wear one each day until the end of the year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Made a Pumpkin Cake

I'm getting together with my fellow Food and Friend volunteers after volunteer night tomorrow. We've been invited over by a couple who used to volunteer with us to celebrate Hanukkah. They are providing Latkes, sour cream and applesauce and a Dreidel too. My contribution is pumpkin cake.

Here's the pumpkin cake being made.

Getting all mixed up

In the pan and ready for the fire

First tooth pick test. It wasn't done.

All done and out of the oven

All frosted up and ready to be eaten.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Parade of Peanuts Ties — Day 13

Day 13. Only a few days left. I might actually wear them when I come back from Christmas.

Here I am in front of all the decorations that are on the window of my office. I know it comes as a huge surprise that they're Peanuts characters.

More from Nats Fest — Steven Souza Jr.

Here are some pictures of Steven Souza Jr. The guy who made that incredible catch to secure Jordan Zimmermann his no hitter. He received the 2014 Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) for Play of the Year. He was part of the final event on the main stage with Kevin Frandsen, Craig Stammen and Jordan Zimmermann. I have to say I didn't realize how funny Frandsen was.

Souza's GIBBY was mentioned often in the conversation. Usually at Frandsen expense. At one point Souza was asked why he wasn't afraid of Coach Williams. Souza replied becuase Williams is bald. A few minutes later Williams appeared on the stage. Very funny. In the Q&A one kid asked if they could all sign his baseball. Souza was told to go fetch. He seemed to have a great time at Nats Fest.

It seems he's going to be traded:

In an 11-player, three-team deal that hinged mostly on 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, the Nationals managed to pry away a potential shortstop of the future without hurting their chances of contending in 2015. The Nationals will send Steven Souza Jr. and minor league left-hander Travis Ott to the Tampa Rays for shortstop Trea Turner, the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and right-handed pitching prospect Joe Ross, according to a person familiar with the deal.

It's too bad. But I'm pretty sure he will always be remembered for that catch. I'm very glad I got to see him make it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Parade of Peanuts Ties — Day 12

It's Snoopy in space.

And Charlie Brown and Snoopy actually did get into space in a fashion:

NASA asked Schulz for permissions to use his two famous characters as call signs for the [Apollo 10] mission, something the artist considered a highlight of his career. Some of Schulz’s friends brought up the “what ifs” – what if the mission failed and a crew of dead astronauts was forever synonymous with his characters? Schultz replied simply that if the astronauts could risk their lives on the mission, he could risk his characters. Charlie Brown and Snoopy became semi-official mascots for Apollo 10, even though they weren’t included in the official mission logo. People brought Snoopy dolls in to NASA to lay on top of the crew’s simulators.

More from Nats Fest — Jerry Blevins

Nats Fest gave you a little sense of what the players are like off the field. I have to say I really like Jerry Blevins. He joined the Nationals last December. He had an entire segment on the main stage about the movies he liked. He gave out his top 10 list.

Then he played a movie trivia game with three members of the audience. Names of movies were put on index card. Blevins held the card to his forehead. The contestants then gave Blevins clues to the movie without using the title. Blevins then had to guess the title based on those clues. He was very good.

He also did an interview with 106 the fan radio about his playing in Japan.

Finally he played Nintendo baseball against Tyler Clippard. The Nats played the Nats.

A really smart and funny guy. Looking forward to see how his career develops with the Nats.

My Email Works Again

I got up Saturday morning. I checked my email and I was still not receiving anything. It was that way on my phone as well. Nothing coming through.

I decided that I was not going to call in the morning and ask what was happening. I figured I would just get the run around. I didn’t want to leave my house for Nats Fest in a bad mood. I decided to wait until I got home.

After having a blast at Nats Fest and a great buffalo burger at RFD, I came home and knew I would have to face this.

I called up Comcast. I got through rather quickly. I had to give the back ground on what had happened. The guy acknowledged that this was still an open ticket. He wanted to try one thing to see if that would solve the problem. We changed the password for the account. Still didn’t make any difference.

The tech said he was going to put a priority on this (which I thought was what had happened Friday night but I guess there are different levels of priority?). My email should be working by 9pm that night. I decided I would wait and check at 10. Giving them an extra hour to fix this problem.

At ten, I checked my email. In my in box was an email from Comcast saying my email had been fixed. It came in at 7:30. About an hour or so after I’d talk to the guy. I’m glad it’s fixed. Glad I’m getting email but emails that were sent to me in the down period have not appeared. Not that I think I missed anything important but it would be still be nice to get them.

What I don't understand is why my ticket wasn't made a priority when the problem wasn't fixed in the promised 24 hours. I'm not sure why I had to call to have that happened. Especially in light of the fact it took them like an hour to fix it. I have to wonder if I'd called in the morning if it wouldn't have been fixed then. I guess it does prove the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Monday, December 15, 2014

NoVa Lights Chorale — Vivaldi's Gloria

Another wonderful concert from the NoVa Lights Chorale on Sunday. They performed Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria.

More about the Chorale:
NoVA Lights Chorale is a community-based vocal group based in Arlington, Virginia.

Participation in the Chorale is open to all interested performers in Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region. Welcoming all singers without regard to race, gender, national origin, faith, or musical training, this non-auditioned ensemble sings several concerts each year.

Its free performances include a wide range of musical styles, including popular, jazz, global, sacred, folk, holiday, and classical.

NoVA Lights is an independent corporation, not affiliated with any religious or cultural organization.

In the program handed out Gloria is described as a joyful hymn of praise and supplication divided into 12 relatively brief movements, ranging from festive brilliance to profound passion.

There was also a section on Vivaldi himself. Something I did not know was that although well respected in his time he had faded from music history. That is until the mid '20s when volume upon volume of works were found in an old boarding school. After World War II, Vivaldi's works burst upon the classical music scene.  

Parade of Peanuts Ties — Day 11

Here's day 11's tie. I had to bend down a little so the wrapping paper could get into the picture. That's the reason for the big smile. Also a few more decorations from my office.