Friday, July 31, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Laugh with Peanuts

It's Wednesday. It's been a hot week in Washington so far. Sometime on Thursday things are supposed to cool down a little.

So until then here's something to take your mind off of the heat. Lucy's given out the best advice around.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Southpaw – Movie Review

I had to take my car back to the Meineke shop for them to check on the air conditioning on Saturday. They were going to see if the dye they put in the air condition tank showed any places where there was a leak. Thankfully they did not.

They finished up around 3:30 and I decided to go and see a movie after that. I found a parking space in a garage (where it just so happens parking is free on the weekends) and went to the movies.

I decided I wanted to see Southpaw. I decided not to read any reviews but to go in with a fresh mind. I did notice on one of movie apps, which I checked to get the show times, that the score was only so-so.

The first thing about the movie is how different Jake Gyllenhaal looks in this film. And he really looks different from the preppy look he has in most movies. He was almost unrecognizable.

Here’s a little about the training he went through for the role:
Gyllenhaal went from a relatively slight 147 pounds to a ripped 175 pounds in just six months, trainer Terry Claybon, who whipped Jake into shape for Southpaw, in theaters July 24, tells E! News. And they had a lot of work to do when they first met up to discuss training.

“He wasn’t in any shape at all,” Claybon said. “We met at a boxing gym, and he was jumping rope. Just the way he was jumping rope, I knew we had a lot of work to do.”

Claybon didn’t let Gyllenhaal cut any corners: “Everything we did in training was as if he was having a professional boxing match.”
That realism really showed in the movie. Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope (there were just one too many use of the last name for me in the script too many there’s still hope get it), a boxer from the wrong side of the tracks an orphan no less that has made it big. He’s the champion. The opening of the movie Hope in a title fight which he wins but takes brusing in doing so. The fight scenes are real the blood isn’t but there’s still a lot of it. I would say this film is not for the squish because there’s a lot of blood.

Hope is challenged by another boxer Victor Ortiz who wants to fight Hope. While both are leaving a charity function an altercation ensues which leads to guns being fired. It leads to the death of Hope’s wife Maureen, played by Racheal McAdams.

That’s when Hope downward spiral starts. He’s unable to deal with his wife’s death and in short order sees everything he has crumble. And quickly those people around him desert him. He tried to fight again but simply gives up. This is one graphic scene in the film where Hope is just pummeled. Because of that Hope drinks heavily tries to kill himself by running his car into a tree. The house goes. The cars goes. His daughter is put into foster car.

Hope hits rock bottom. Ends up in a flop house. But tries to rebuild his life because he wants his daughter back.

He ends up in Tick Wills’ gym played by Forest Whitaker and tries to rebuild. For the rest of the story you’ll have to see the movie.

Gyllenhaal is just fantastic in this role. He really looks the role. You feel his pain with the death of his wife. The absolute despair of not knowing how to put things right. His complete helplessness as his life spins out of control. His anguish when he tries to reconnect with his daughter, Leila played by Oona Laurence (who is just great in the roll. The scenes where she finally gets to watch her father fight are just great).

There is also a very funny scene between Gyllenhaal and Whitaker on the rule of not swearing in the gym. There relationship is very well drawn. There isn’t an instant liking between the two. But there is a slow development of respect between the two of them.

I like that not everything is tied up in a neat bow by the end of the film. The person who murdered Hope’s wife is never brought to justice. The big fight between Hope and Ortiz ends very realistically.

Here's a little from the review in USA Today:
Call him “Joltin’ Jake” Gyllenhaal, because the actor adds needed presence and punch to the melodrama of Southpaw.

As champ-turned-chump Billy Hope, Gyllenhaal shines with the same intensity he showed in Jarhead and Nightcrawler, and performances from him and Forest Whitaker lift up a movie that goes a full 12 rounds of rope-a-dope with every boxing-movie story trope.
I really liked the movie and highly recommend it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2Political Podcast Episode 109

2Political Podcast Episode 109 is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

his a NEW episode, recorded just a few days ago! Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately, there's a weird background noise at some points. I guess maybe we can have new, or we can have perfect…

We start out talking about the Republican Clown Bus, especially Trump. The news media’s obsession with Trump has meant that other stories are being missed. Also, other candidates can't get any attention whatsoever. We even talk a bit about the Democrats. But, we also talk about some of the challenges that Republicans face, especially the party’s attitude toward immigration reform. It leads us to talking about making poor people peeing in a cup.

We thought we were done, but no! One more topic: The death of A&P. And also about Frango mints. It's all about numbers on a balance sheet, the rest be damned. Arthur thinks there HAS to be a better way to raise finance for corporations.

One last thing! A site about all the candidates running for president.

Everyone’s welcome to leave a comment (agree or disagree!).

Links for this episode:
“The last big clown” – Arthur’s post when John Kasich entered the Clown Bus.
“Early presidential poll favorites sometimes struggle at finish line” – from the blog of the National Constitution Center
California Proposition 187 – The Wikipedia article on the proposition Jason mentioned
“A&P was ‘the Wal-Mart of its day.’ Now it’s filing for bankruptcy.” from Wonkblog at the Washington Post
“Here's who's running for president in 2016” - a guide to all the candidates from Vox
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Ever Unreliable Weekend "Service" from Metro

The Post had an article recently on the state of Metro as perceived by the riders and the management.

This sums it up:
Here’s where we get to an underlying issue involving how Metro perceives Metro’s problems and the tasks ahead.

Metro officials tend to describe a rail system that is recovering after years of inadequate investment in equipment and safety.

“The goal is that by 2017, we will have caught up with the backlog” interim general manager Jack Requa said of Metro’s $5.5 billion rebuilding program.

Many Metro riders describe a system that is broken, after years of official statements about new programs meant to ensure safety and reliable service.

“Something is not right,” said Korman, who described himself as a daily Metro rider. “Anecdotally, there’s a problem on an almost daily basis.”

Statistically, things don’t look any better to Korman. Pointing to Metro’s quarterly reports on performance, he said, “WMATA’s own numbers show a system that is not improving. This treading water is occurring after years of investment.”
What occurred to me on my way home sort of sums up the two worlds. The first is the Metro world and the other is the riders of what I'd like to call the real world.

I went to Metro Center after seeing Mr. Holmes (which was very good; more on it later) to go home. As with just about every weekend there was track work as Metro is rebuilding the system. I'm never sure what they are rebuilding since nothing seems to change all that much.

The next train sign stated the lines that were being worked on for the weekend and the time between trains. For the Red Line, it said trains were operating every 16 minutes. The problem is that that was not the case at all. When the next train was finally listed it said it would be arriving in 18 minutes. Not the 16 promised in the announcement.

I decided to time how long it took for the train to arrive. It was a little over 19 and a half minutes. I figured I was in the station for at least 5 minutes before that. Instead of waiting for 16 minutes for a train, I waited for at least 25 minutes.

This just reinforces how unreliable weekend "service" on Metro is.

Maybe at some point weekend service interruptions will end. But that day is a long way off. In the meantime, Metro needs to let people know when to really expect trains to arrive at stations. But it seems it can't even do that.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Person Behind the Racing Presidents

Me with all the presidents on my birthday last year.

As you know I am a HUGE fan of the racing presidents at Nats Park. There is probably not a game I go to that I don't take a picture or two or more of a president.

A few days back the Post had an article about the person who is responsible for maintaining the presidents. That person is Ingrid Crepeau. She happened on this by complete chance when she bumped into Teddy at a party. Crepeau is a puppeteer and spotted what was wrong with Teddy right off:
But after decades of building ­larger-than-life puppets for children’s theater, Crepeau told Teddy that she could get him back to his crowd-pleasing antics in no time by replacing his frame with one made of airplane aluminum, which is much lighter but more durable than other metal. And the Nats hired her to do it.

A year later, the Nats asked her to replace frames for all of the presidents and to make five baseball caps for them. By the third season, Crepeau was customizing 27 mascot shirts — no small feat, given that each is as big as a pup tent, requiring six yards of fabric.
Thus started a second career that has morphed into not only taking care of the racing presidents but just about every other mascot for a team around the DC area.

The article is absolutely delightful. There is even a video of her huge triumph the other day at Nats Park of all the presidents dressed up in Star Wars characters.

A little more from the article:
It was over in a flash. Six weeks of work came to a close as Washington won the race. Walking back to her seat, Crepeau seemed subdued as 40,000 fans above her turned their attention back to baseball.
But rounding the corner, she came across all six presidents posing for a photo, along with Screech as Obi-Wan and Little Screech as Yoda. They beckoned her over with silent waves, and putting her arms around the fuzzy creatures on either side of her, she gave a big grin. She was with her people.
All I can say is a job well done.

People Can Be . . . Well so Stupid Sometimes — The Newest Craze Buffalo Selfies

I saw this article in the Post today. The headline says it all:
Bison selfies are a bad idea: tourist gored in Yellowstone as another photo goes awry
Gee can you say that that’s a stupid person. I thought you could.

I remember on one of the vacations we took as a family when I was young going to South Dakota. One of the highlights was going on a jeep ride to see the buffalo. We were on the back of an open jeep. At one point my dad tried to climb down to take a picture. He was told not to. The guide explained that if the animal charged my dad would never get back into the jeep in time. That buffalo can run very fast and even for such a large animal can go from a dead stop to a run very quickly.

The article talks about the fact people are told not to go close to the buffalo but do anyway. Here’s how dumb people are:

The root problem is simple, according to park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett.

“People are getting way too close,” she told the AP after Tuesday’s attack. “The [woman] said they knew they were doing something wrong but thought it was okay because other people were nearby,” she also said.

I’m curious as to what this woman thought the other people around her would do. Maybe someone had a cape they carried with them and try and get the buffalo away from her by waving it around. The thing that is really amazing is she was with here six year old daughter. I’m sorry but how stupid can you get.
The article show a series of selfies people have taken. Again what idiots.

But for an even better laugh there’s this from when the government was sued when someone was attacked:

Occasionally, gored tourists have gone after the park. In 1984, 70-year-old Gladys Hoffman from Waco, Tex., sued the federal government for $1.5 million after she was gored by a Yellowstone bison. Hoffman claimed that the United States, the Department of Interior and the park’s superintendent were guilty of negligence for failing to warn her of the danger, UPI reported at the time.

But a federal judge ruled against Hoffman. “The plaintiff admitted that she knew bison are dangerous animals,” U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer said. “The evidence showed the plaintiff nevertheless approached to within 15 feet” of the bison that gored her.

During the trial, a government attorney, Lisa Leschuck, added insult to injury, arguing that “an animal weighing 2,000 pounds with horns is nature’s warning,” UPI reported.
I'm sure at some point in time someone will not be so luck to walk away and will end up dead. But I think even that somehow will not stop people from being well stupid.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2Political Podcast Episode 108

 2Political Podcast Episode 108 is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

This episode was recorded at the start of July, and the reasons that episodes 106 and 107 took so long to post were also true for this one. We talk a bit about those delays at the start of this episode.

Next up, we start talking about Supreme Court rulings (the first one is not the one you might expect, and not totally serious. The Leap Second is next, before we’re back to serious talk (this is how we’ve always talked). Our main discussion is about the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality and the irrational reaction of the radical right. Toward the end we talk about the Arizona case, and why it could in the long term lead to one of the USA's most critically needed forms of electoral reform.

Everyone's welcome to leave a comment (agree or disagree!).

Links for this episode:
"Hold on a second…" - Arthur's post on his attempt to see the Leap Second (complete with a video he made right after this episode was recorded)
“New York City Trip June 2015” – a link to all Jason’s posts on his trip to NYC in June
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Minions — My Review

I had some time to kill before my car would get fixed. They needed to install a new fan and the fan assembly. As I mentioned earlier the fan wasn’t kicking into high gear which would allow for the a/c to actually get into the car.

When I thought all that was needed to fix the a/c was recharging the coolant, I was going to go to a 10:20 showing of Minions. But complications ensued. Turns out there was a 11:10 showing. I would still have a little time to kill before the car after the movie but I figured I could have lunch.

The cost of movie tickets continues to go up. And now they are strange prices. I paid $10.70 for Minions (I looked at my ticket and it turns out I got the senior discount without even asking). I have a Regal Club Card and with this purchase I got some free stuff. I got a free small popcorn. I’m not a huge popcorn person. I decided I would give it to someone to use. First I wanted to make sure you didn’t have to show your card in order to get the popcorn. Turns out you don’t need to show the card. I walked up to a woman in the concessions line with her son. I said I got this coupon for a free popcorn and that I didn’t eat popcorn and wondered if she would be interested in taking it. She said yes and thanked me for it. When she explained it to her son he got very excited about it. I figured that was my good deed for the day.

I went into the theater and was surprised. The surprise was there were hardly any kids in the theater at all. More did show up but I would say there were way more adults in the theater then kids.

Along came the previews. And at the start of each one a kid behind me would ask what it was. Each time the dad explained it was for a movie coming in the future. I got concerned that this kid would be talking throughout the movie. Thankfully once the movie started he didn’t make a peep unless to laugh.

The movie is very silly. But I enjoyed it and it was exactly what I needed. The Minions dialog is mostly gibberish except when they need to say something people will understand. Like banana. And who knew that banana could be so funny. The plot is the Minions attempting to find someone evil to serve. The opening sequence shows the various masters that they find and how in each case the ineptitude of the Minions leads to the master being killed off.

They end up going off to the Artic and find a large cave to live in. But the main reason for their existence is to serve an evil master. Kevin, Bob and Stuart set out on the quest. Kevin being the head Minion. How the others are picked is one of the funniest parts of the whole moive.

Here’s part of the review from the Post:
Soon, they’re on their way to Villain-Con, a riff on Comic-Con only a convention celebrating the likes of Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), an evil world-conqueror in a beehive. The trio inadvertently wins a job in Overkill’s entourage, and they’re soon enmeshed in her plan to take the British throne, along with Overkill’s inventor, Herb (Jon Hamm).

There are, it should be noted, more ambitious seats of power to set one’s diabolical sights on. But this is 1960s Swinging London, a colorful if over-familiar backdrop, and the goggle-wearing Minions could just as well be chipper Mods.

At the very end Gru makes an appearance as well.

I thought this was a funny movie and a great way to spend some time while waiting for your car to be fixed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Back to the Park

I wanted to come on Sunday but it was just too hot.

A little better tonight. Hopefully the rain misses us. 

It's an interesting line up for tonight's game. 

Go Nats!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Car Air Conditioner Gets Fixed

The air conditioner in my car has a slow link in the coolant tank. It usually takes about a year or more for all the coolant to leak out. I took it to the dealership several years ago to get it recharged and to see if they could find where the leak was.

They recharges the coolant and put a dye in the tank which was to show where the leak was. It didn’t show anything. I was told it might be in the dash board. If it was it would be really expensive to fix. He added if the recharge last like a year or so to just recharge it each year. If it stops working in a month then the dash board option might come into play. Turns out it takes like a year to leak out. In fact I got two years out of it this time because last summer was so cool.

I decided to try some place other than the dealership. First to see if maybe some other place could find the leak but mostly I wanted to see if it would be cheaper some place else.

I decided to take it to Meineke. I looked on line and found a couple of places near my house. I’m glad I did a little research on what was around the locations closest to my house. The one that was closest was out in the middle of no where. There was another one in Silver Spring. It was right near the shops and restaurants and the movie theater and only a short walk to the Metro. I decided to make an appointment there. And I’m glad I did.

I set up an appointment for 7:30 on Saturday. It was the first appointment of the day. It didn’t take very long to get there in part because it was so early in the morning. I actually drove past it and went to the are where the shops were to see how far it was from the shop. Not far at all. More than five but less than a ten minute walk.

Took a little to get into the parking lot. It was in back and you had to go down an alley which served as an entrance for a parking lot. Part of the problem was there was a sign but the Meineke name had long since fallen off of it.

I checked in. Gave all the pertinent information. I was told it would be right around $160. I should come back in an hour and a half. I walked to the Dunkin Donuts that is near the Silver Spring Metro stop. I got there looked in and there were no donuts to be seen. It looked like they had muffins but no donuts. Really no donuts. That’s nuts.

I walked back up to where all the other eateries were. I ended up eating at Eggspectation. I had french toast and bacon. It was really good. I wondered around a little after that. I still had some time. I decided I would see a movie after the car got fixed. So I looked for parking garages. The garages around there are operated by the county and are free on the weekends.

I headed back around 9:30. This is when the complications started. In a nut shell the recharging went just fine. But they still couldn’t get cold air to come out. They did a little investigating and determined that the fan was not functioning properly. There’s one fan use it to heat the car. But when you cool the car the fan amps up a notch and it wasn’t doing that. So I needed a new fan. And they needed a couple of hours to get the fan and install it. And around another $400 to do that.

I headed off to see a movie. I saw Minions which I’ll talk about later but I will say I thought was funny. After the movie, I had lunch. Then I wondered around a little stopping off at City Sports to look at shoes. I then got a call from the shop. My car was all ready to go.

I went back and picked up the car. First thing I did was turn on the air conditioning and in very short order cold air came out.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hot, HOT, HOT!!!

From the Capital Weather Gang:
We’re in for a steamy one. Partly to mostly sunny skies, and a light but warm down-sloping breeze from the west-southwest, help make today a contender for hottest day of the year. Highs head into the mid-to-upper 90s, and with humidity levels remaining in the “ugh” range, a heat advisory is in effect for “feels like” temperatures in the 100-105 range. Cooling showers and storms are likely confined off to our west, with only a slight (10%) chance that one pops up in the immediate metro.

I went out to the grocery store this morning and then came home and have been in ever since. I'd thought about going to the Nats game today because it was Star Wars day. I knew it would be really fun. But just way too hot. It was too hot when I went out shopping at that was before 9 this morning.

Hopefully there will be another Star Wars day next year.

Even being inside in the air conditioning, I didn't have much motivation today. Did some laundry and read a few magazines in the morning. Then this afternoon we all took naps. Hope to get a little more motivation this evening.

It looks like it will last another day or so and then break. At least I hope that's what will happen.

The Peanuts Movie is Coming

While waiting for the air conditioning on my car to be fixed, I went to the movies. While there I noticed all sorts of promotional material around the theater. Here are a few pictures I took.

More about the movie and the car experience shortly.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

When the Contractor Doesn’t Show

Wednesday was the day I had scheduled to have the ceiling in the dinning room fixed. It has a hole in it from where the plumber went in to fix the bath tub drain that I so nicely put a hole in.

It took me a long time to get around to doing it. I’m not exactly sure why. Part of it was they only had 8-12 or 12-4 windows for when the guy would show up. I didn’t want to take the day off to have the work done. So I had to figure out what the best time would be to have someone come. I decided that the early slot would only work if you could guarantee the person would show up early. The job isn’t all that big but it would probably take a couple of hours to do. It includes painting as well. If the guy showed up at noon, best case scenario is I'm leaving my house around 2 and getting to work around 3. Not the best alternative

I took the later time. I figured I could get into work really really early and leave around 10:30 or so. That way I’d work for half a day and actually get some things done. I ended up arriving at work at 6:20 am. It is a good thing I did come in that early because there was a major melt down on the Metro yesterday morning. In fact I had to stand for a large part of the way home on the Metro. At 10:30 in the morning trains should be pretty empty that was not the case.

I got home around 11:30. So now all I had to do was wait for them to show up. I never know exactly what to do while I’m waiting. I never know if they will call me on my cell or home number (turns out they called me on my cell). I don’t feel real comfortable doing something in the basement or doing something loud like say vacuuming or cleaning the bath tub because I’m afraid I’ll miss the call telling me when they’ll be arriving. I assume they would try more than once or leave a message but you never know.

I ended up doing a little cleaning around the house. Going through some newspapers and old mail. Also doing a little clean up on my computer hard drive. Played around with they guys some. They were surprised to see me home. Linus was visibly startled one of the times he came downstairs as if to say why are you here. I had a light lunch. Cleaned a little more. Then took a nap with Charlie and Linus joining me. Charlie on the sofa near me and Linus napping underneath the coffee table.

I woke up at 3:30. No call from Michael and Son. Then it occurred to me that maybe they tried to call me at work. I called in and found that I had no messages. It then crossed my mind that there was a good possibility that no one was going to show up at all.

At about 3:50 I got a call from Michael and Son. It wasn’t from the person who was going to do the repair. It was their main office. They said that the person who was supposed to be coming to my house was stuck on another job.They had another person in Baltimore but it would take an hour to get to my house. I thought in the best of circumstances it would take an hour to get from Baltimore to my house. During rush hour much longer.

I was to say the least not pleased. Yes, I was angry that the hole was not going to get fixed. But what I was really angry about was the fact I was being informed of this at ten minutes to four at the very edge of the time window when someone was supposed to show up. 
I realize jobs can run long. Something that looked simply and easy turns out to neither of those. We have all run into that as one time or another. But if that was the case then I should have been told much earlier. Surely by 3 it must have become obvious that the contractor was not going to get to my house by 4. He should have called the office and said that. Then the office should have called me and said he's running late and he might not make it in time. We'll be back in touch before 4 to let you know how things are going. I would have been disappointed that he wasn't coming but would understand it. But getting the call that late well there is no excuse for that.

I was told that, although they don't usually work on Saturday, they could send someone out this Saturday. I said I couldn't do that because I had appointments (I'm taking my car to have the air conditioning fixed good thing to since this weekend could be the two hottest days of the year). 

The bottom line is they will be coming next Saturday. They should be there first thing in the 8-12 window. And they better be on time too. It's not like the hole is going anywhere or causing any problems if it was I would have been really mad. But, once again, I have to arrange my schedule around someone coming out to fix it. I was also promised some sort of a discount and I thought damn right but I didn't ask how much it would be.

And that's what happens when the contractor doesn't show. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I Rode on the New Metro Train

The other day when I was heading home from work one of the new trains pulled into the Bethesda Metro station. I decided to jump on and get a first hand look at what the new trains looked like.

I was impressed. Very modern looking. First thing you notice is there is an automated announcement of what stop you are at. No more garbled or incomprehensible  announcements from the conductor of the train.

No carpet on the train at all. There are several places that shows what the next stop is as well as the rest of the stops on the line.

The seats were very comfortable. They have a higher back on them which gives you more support. There are no arm rests any more so you can't catch a strap from a purse or back pack on one of them.

In all a very favorable impression. I will say that around the doors there doesn't seem enough things to hold on to. I know the idea is to have people move into the center of the car. But at some point, especially during rush hour the car will fill up.

It was a great look into the future of Metro.  The draw back is, of course, it will be years before this types of cars become the rule on Metro as opposed to the exception.

And as people wait you have the problems you had this morning. All the fancy new trains won't make up for what feels like delays all the time. Here's a little of what happened:
Updated at 8:27 a.m.

Metro said trains on its Red Line are continuing to share a track between the Grosvenor and Twinbrook stations.

There is a problem after oil spilled on the tracks, while another train was offloaded for a brake problem. Delays are up to 30 minutes for riders.

Metro said trains are bypassing the White Flint and Twinbrook stops.

Updated at 8:49 a.m.

Crowded platforms and delays remain on the Red Line for riders. Trains are sharing a track between the Grosvenor and Twinbrook stations because of an oil spill on the tracks near the Medical Center stop.

Riders are experiencing delays of up to 30 minutes.

Updated at 10:37 a.m.

Still, there are problems on Metro’s Red Line. Trains are sharing a track between the Grosvenor and Twinbrook stations. Oil got on the tracks, Metro said.

It is not known how the oil got there. Around 10:30 a.m., crews could be seen trying to clean up the oil.

It was not immediately clear how long the delays would last on the Red Line. But many riders had a rough — and long — commute in Wednesday morning’s rush hour.

Migraine Set Back

Last Tuesday I woke up with a bit of a headache. Then while getting breakfast I had the all too familiar aura start to appear in my left eye. Suddenly my dull headache turned into a migraine.

A little more on migraine with aura:

“Migraine with aura” is a relatively new name for the less common type of migraine headache. Aura refers to feelings and symptoms you notice shortly before the headache begins. These early symptoms are also called a prodrome.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes migraines with aura. It’s thought that at least two brain chemicals -- serotonin and dopamine -- play a role. According to the theory, something goes awry in the way these chemicals regulate brain function. This may cause the brain and the body’s immune system to overreact. When this happens, a flood of immune response cells flows through the blood vessels to the brain. The brain’s blood vessels open wider to accommodate these cells. Even more chemicals are released to help control the vessels’ muscles. The vessels open and constrict. A severe, often throbbing headache results.

I had some aspirin for migraines. I tried to read the label and figure out how many to take but the aura restricting my eye sight and the printing on the label so small I gave up and took two. I went upstairs. I soaked a wash cloth in hot water. Got into bed and put the wash cloth over my eyes and hoped for the best.

In about an hour or so I started to feel better. An hour after that I headed out to work.

I used to get migraines on a fairly regular basis when I was in high school and college. I don’t get them all that often any more. When I do most often they are during the summer. I think all the time I’d spent out doors at the games and seeing the fireworks helped trigger this one. Also the general humid conditions didn’t help either.

What I have noticed is the pain seems to linger for a longer period of time. It’s not a sharp pain but a dull ache. I thought it best to stay away from a computer screen after work. But things seem to be back to normal so I’m back posting again.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Racing Presidents Arrive


Here are the Racing Presidents arriving at Nats' Park on Sunday. Including the newest Racing President Calvin Coolidge. George was leading the way.




The newest president Cal


Monday, July 06, 2015

Nats Sweep the Giants with 3-1 Win on Sunday

Another exciting game at Nats Park on Sunday.

And another win for the Nationals. And a sweep against the Giants the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Did this sweep make up for it? Did it make up for the 17 inning game in October?

Not really. I like this perspective from the Post:
A muggy weekend in early July does not avenge a few chilly October evenings, the memories irrelevant and the outcomes unrelated. Baseball seasons are too long, rosters too fluid and injuries too fickle to allow an autumn grudge to find satisfying resolution in the middle of summer.

But when the Washington Nationals beat the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, 3-1, on Sunday night to sweep a Fourth of July weekend series, they stepped forward. With wins in three games played in front of large holiday crowds and national television audiences, the Nationals moved 10 games over .500 for the first time all season — two weeks before they reached that mark on their way to 96 wins last season.
What it does show is the Nats are capable of taking on and winning games against very good teams. Face it that's what the Giants are a very good team. The Nats went up against the cream of the Giants' rotation Peavy, Bumgarner and Vogelsong. The best of the group Bumgarner they got a home run off on the first pitch of the game.

The Nats are banged up to say the least. Strasburg is back on the DL. But with the talent that they have the Nats have been able to string together a series of victories. The Nats have won 11 of their past 14 games.

Last night Jordan Zimmermann pitched really well. More on his start:

Zimmermann had not allowed a run in 16 2/3 straight innings before Sunday and had not walked a batter in that time.

Both streaks ended Sunday, through Zimmermann shined again. Brandon Crawford hit a 3-0 fastball out of the park in the fourth to break the scoreless streak. Brandon Belt walked in the sixth, Zimmermann’s first walk in more than 20 innings. That was all the Giants got against him as Zimmermann threw 100 pitches over seven smooth innings. He struck out eight, walked one and scattered three hits to earn the win.
 Essentially he had one bad pitch. That was it. The bull pen did their job. Harper continued to be red hot. He got a double in the 8th and eventually scored when Ramos singled him. Ramos also helped put the Nationals up for good in the 6th inning when he hit a home run. A guy sitting behind me said before the at bat that Ramos was due for something big. Sure enough.

In all a great night at the ball park. And it was bobble head night too!

Just a bobble head or two or three or . . .

Part of the starting line up.

Great sign a few rows down from me. A guy a few seats over had a sign supporting the Giants. I thing they were together.

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