Thursday, September 29, 2016

On a Soggy Night the Nats are Flat and Fall 3-0

The Nats were just flat last night. In very soggy conditions with rain and wind in later innings in this shortened 6 inning game, the Nats were not able to put things together. In the fifth they came very very close. A few feet higher and a few feet longer and Trea Turner's hit in the fifth would have gone out of the park or at least bounced off the wall. Instead it was caught and that essentially ended the game.

From the Post:
The score held until the game was stopped with one out in the top of the sixth inning. Just a few minutes earlier, with runners on first and second, Trea Turner crushed a line drive through the wind and rain to the warning track in right-center field, where Mitch Haniger caught it to end the fifth inning and make the game official. On cue, the rain intensified and fans scurried for shelter.

“I thought it had a chance to get out or worst-case go off the wall, and I realized he caught it and I was pretty confused,” Turner said. “But I think the wind and the rain were howling in pretty hard from right-center. And that’s how it goes.”
Starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez did not have a good night. He allowed way too many hits which created way too many base runners. Although the Nats defense was not up to snuff either. Maybe you can blame it on the weather. Or just one of those games when nothing seems to go right for a team.

The only silver lining in all of this was that the Dodgers. So the Nats are still two games ahead of the Dodgers in the quest for home field advantage. The Nats need to be one game up on the Dodgers to secure it. Fingers crossed the Nats can play well and the weather cooperates to get the games in.

Rain pouring down as I left the park.

Add caption

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Pandas at the National Zoo

Can you spot the panda?

One of the main reasons to go to the National Zoo is to see the pandas because there are no less than four of them to see.

Here's the first group of pictures of them.

Filing for Unemployment

I applied for unemployment on line in the beginning of August. It's a fairly easy process but does take some time. Close to an hour to go through all of the section and answer their questions and fill out the information. Once you apply you have to start looking for jobs immediately. This while the unemployment office processes your application and decides if you are eligible for unemployment. I thought that was a little strange.

In order to receive benefits you have to apply for at least two jobs a week. You also have to keep records of the jobs you apply for. I set something up in InDesign which approximate the form that I received.

And speaking of forms and information from unemployment (actually in Maryland it is called Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation what a mouthful or the DLLR). I applied on a Wednesday (that was mistake because the week for unemployment runs from Sunday to Saturday so if you ever are unemployed make sure you apply early in the week so you have time to find the two jobs you need to apply to) on Saturday in the mail I received four pieces of mail from the DLLR.

Not four pieces of information in one envelope but four separate pieces of mail. Seems to me they could have saved some postage put everything in one envelope. One of the pieces was a form to take federal and state taxes out of the unemployment payment. Yes, you have to pay taxes on unemployment compensation. Of course not being in the state of Maryland, I only had federal taxes taken out. Better to have it done now then at tax time. One of the other pieces (I don't remember what they all were) contained a booklet information on the unemployment process. The cover of the booklet was a dark green. On the inside cover was a list of the most important dos and don'ts. Problem the cover color is so dark it is hard to read the questions. Again something they might fix. I wasn't the only one to comment on that.

As I said, you have to apply to at least two jobs each week and document them. I had a table I created that keeps track of what I apply to. It lists basic information: the date, the company, how I applied, the web site address, type of job etc. I also keep any emails sent to me by the company I applied to as confirmation that I did indeed apply for the job. I also take a screen grab of the information on the job, the application (if any) that I fill out. Then any confirmation from the company that I applied for the job beside the email sent to me. You have to keep this information for a year in case you are audited at some point.

The other thing you have to do is go on the DLLR site and fill out a form so you can get paid for the previous week. You can go on line and fill out the form Sunday through Friday. If you don't fill it out, you won't get paid. In the first couple of weeks in the mail I would get a reminder that I had to go online (or you call in to a DLLR phone number) and fill out the form. After a few weeks I stopped receiving the reminders. I'm not sure if that is standard procedure or if you fill out the form in the time you are supposed to they just stop sending you reminders.

And that's the low down on filing for unemployment.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I'm Not Watching Tonight

And of course I mean I won't be watching Monday Night Football.

But or course I mean I won't be watching the debate. In fact I stopped watching the debates a long time ago. To me they have become meaningless. I don't think you learn much from them. Part of that is I've made up my mind how I'll be voting. And I'm not interested in seeing Trump lie for 90 minutes.

Another reason I've stopped watching is I've become disillusioned with the political process. At one point politicians had ideas. There was at least some debate on the issues. The media also covered the issues. Now it seems like endless name calling on the part of the candidates and all the media is the results of the latest polls.

And then this year there is Trump. The culmination of the Republican Party's pandering to the far far far right of their party. The result being a candidate who is uniquely unqualified to be president. But the Republicans don't care about that. All that matters to them and has matter for a long time is power. If it takes pandering to a reactionary and undemocratic forces so be it. All that matter is that Republicans win.

Nothing shows this more to me than this statement from a Trump campaign official (who just so happened to be a contestant on his reality show). Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.

She might want to read the Constitution (my guess if she did it would be the first time she has). She might find out we are electing a president not a king.

National Book Festival

It's been a couple of years since I've been able to go to one of these. It's now a one day even at the Convention Center. It allows for many more people to attend. More programs to go on at the same time. And it's inside so not to be exposed to the elements like it was when it was on the National Mall.

More about the festival:
The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. Over its 16-year history, the National Book Festival has become one of the pre-eminent literary events in the United States.

It was created by Laura Bush and then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington at the suggestion of Mrs. Bush, who had created the Texas Book Festival. The first National Book Festival was Sept. 8, 2001. Mrs. Bush served as honorary chair of the festival through 2008. President and Mrs. Obama have served as honorary co-chairs from 2009 to the present.

The festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy. Since 2010, National Book Festival Board Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein has been the festival’s lead benefactor and in 2013 pledged funding for the festival for five more years.

This year I head Jon Meacham talk about Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. More on Meacham:
Jon Meacham is the executive editor and executive vice president at Random House. During his career, he has been editor-in-chief of Newsweek, a contributing editor to Time Magazine, editor-at-large of WNET and a commentator on politics, history, and religious faith in America. Meacham’s book "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House" won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for biography. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times Book Review and The Washington Post Book World. Meacham has written the best-selling book "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation" and edited "Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement," a collection of distinguished nonfiction about the midcentury struggle against Jim Crow. His most recent work is “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” (Random House).
Between sessions I saw John Lewis and Ken Burns being interviewed for C-SPAN.

The second author I heard was Douglas Brinkley talk about Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America.

I had no idea how much FDR to further conservation and the national park system in the US. More on Brinkley:
Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and American Heritage. He is the author of more than 20 books and the Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America's new past master.” Seven of Brinkley’s books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. His book on Hurricane Katrina, “The Great Deluge,” won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and his recent biography “Cronkite” received the Sperber Prize for Best Book in Journalism. His most recent work is “Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America” (HarperCollins). Brinkley lives with his family in Texas.
I also dropped by for a little while to hear Bob Woodward being interviewed. I also ran into my friend Christian who was there to get a couple autographs. Actually the same two people who I heard talk. I saw Meacham  and then found Christian in the book signing line. We chatted while he waited in line. I want and saw my second talk. Then went back and found him in the next signing line and talked a little more. It was a very fun afternoon.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Big Cats at the National Zoo

More from the National Zoo

The Fun of a Nasal Rinse

I had a cold in the beginning of September. It took about a week and a half to go away. What I was left with after that was a reoccurring cough. It was due to the fact that although my cold had gone away I was still have terrible post nasal drip. So not to be too gross about it I'd have snot running down the back of my throat. To try and clear it I would cough.

The wonderful hot and humid weather added to the fun of this. Sometimes I would start coughing and wouldn't stop for several hours. Every few minutes I would be coughing trying to clear everything out.

I finally decided I needed to go to the doctor. You can read all about the saga of changing doctors here.

I got an appointment with my doctor. He checked to make sure my lungs were clear which they were. He suggested using Flonase and a nasal rinse.

I have to say I'm not a huge fan of a nasal rinse in part because I never feel I do it right. Now what I have is not those little tea pot things but sinus rinse bottle like the one above. It's sort of like an enema for your nose only not as gross. Well not as gross as long as your nasal cavities aren't impacted with charming colored snot.

I will say I now think I have the hang of it. The rinse really seems to help or it could be the cough would have gone away on its own along with the fact that the weather has finally changed and the heat and humidity are now gone. 

In any case, the rinse really does clear me out and my cough is going away. Mission accomplished.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Great Lunch and a Quick Stop at the National Gallery

Had a great lunch today with a friend and former co-worker. We met up around 1 today and had lunch. We caught up on what's been going on with us.

We commiserated on our unemployment experiences. While hers was a while ago, she did have some good advice on what to do. The main thing is that you have to accept there is only so much you can do each day. After that you have to step away from it or you'll drive yourself crazy. I agreed. She also had some suggestions on things to do. I'll be following up on those in the coming days.

After we parted company I was going to go see the movie The Magnificent Seven but it was such a nice day out I decided not to. I got off the Metro at Gallery Place. Walked down to the National Gallery. I took a quick walk around seeing some of my favorite. Then walked to Union Station and headed home.

Here's a little of what I saw.

A Wonderful Visit to the Zoo

I decided to take some time off from job hunting and do something fun. So I went to the zoo. Over the next few days I'll be posting pictures of my visit.

I'm going to start off with these amazing tortoises.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Changing Doctors

A few years back when my insurance changed I had to change doctors too.

So I went to the new insurer's website and looked at a list of doctors. I just picked one at random. Near where I wanted the office to be which is around DuPont Circle. The search function on the site wasn't the best. You could search by field which wasn't that important to me because I wanted a general practitioner. You could then select a zip code and search within a certain radius from that zip code. The smallest search area you could choose was a couple of miles. So when I conducted the search I ended up with a couple of hundred possibilities not exactly a small list.

Like I said I picked on at random. Turned out to be a good choice. I had this guy for a little over a year until he left the practice. So I went to another guy at the same office. Liked him as well.

Recently I got a letter from the office of the doctor with the following news. The first paragraph stated that the office was moving to a new location. A brand new office featuring state of the art amenities. The current office was located in an old building which probably had not seen major upgrading for years. The letter went on to say the new location would allow more services to patients.

I thought that's not bad. The new office wasn't too far away from the current one. So that wasn't a problem. Then along came the third paragraph. It said the doctor I was going to was retiring as of August 29. It went on to say: it has been our pleasure to offer you expert primary care, and we hope you will continue to allow us to meet your health needs. Following that is a list of doctor's associated with the practice that is accepting new patients.

Very helpful of them.

I took a little closer look at the letter. Here's where my problem with it started. It was dated August 25. I didn't receive it until September 12. Eleven business days after it was dated. Really why did it take that long. I'd have no problem with it if it was just an announcement of the office moving but my doctor retired. I should have been told about this earlier. Like I don't know before he retired.

I thought about what to do. In fact I need to see a doctor because, although my cold was gone, my cough from it was still hanging on. This had happened to me the last time I had a cold. I continued to have wonderful sinus drainage down the back of my throat which caused me to cough.

So the question now was what to do. Since the loss of my job, I was on a different insurance. I decided to call up my old doctor to see if they accepted my new insurance. After a little bit of a run around (which was mostly my fault), it turns out my old doctor's office accepted the insurance.

I thought better to go to someone who knows my history and I'm on friendly terms with (even if I haven't seen them in almost three years) instead of someone completely brand new. Also since I have a $6,000 deductible better to go to the place that charges less. The place that charged less was my former doctor not the current one.

I was able to get an appointment at my new/old doctor's office for that day. Got my new/old doctor caught up on what had been going on with me. Then we got to the issue of my cough. He told me what to do. I was in and out of the office in under 20 minutes. If everything works out with the insurance (I'm still a little confused about the whole insurance set up but the office said they did accept it), I'll call the old office and have my records transferred.

Now that's the way a doctor's visit should go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Finally a Ceiling Fan on the Ceiling

I've been talking about putting up ceiling fans for many many many years. Like at least five or more.

I had planned on taking advantage of an offer made at Home Depot many years ago. They would install the fans for free. I went into the store one day to do just that and the offer had ended a few days earlier. I didn't realize just how much you get charged to install a fan. I thought at the most maybe a couple of hundred dollars. No much more than that. I asked for some bids to put two fans. I think the cheapest price I got was around $500. Way too much money.

At Christmas I got some money from my dad. In the note enclosed in the card was a note that said buy the damn ceiling fans. I got back from Springfield and did just that. I did research on the best size fan to buy for the rooms I wanted them in. I then went down to Home Depot and bought them. I bought just two. My plan was to put them in the living and dinning room.

They sat in their boxes for many months. A couple friends said they would help install them. I finally made arrangements with one friend to put one up. We ended up cancelling that. This past Friday talked to that friend again and he said we've never put up those fans. So he said how about tomorrow. I said sure. I added that I decided to put the first one in my bedroom. In part because the ceiling was much lower than the one in the dinning room.

Around noon on Saturday my friend arrived. We then installed the fan. Actually it was more like I watched as he installed the fan. I did help out some.

So thanks Tom for helping me to finally get a ceiling fan up. Hopefully the next one wont't take another five years.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Visit to Anderson House

Every once and a while you come across something new in Washington. Well not all that new but something that you've never been to. That you knew was there but had never taken the time to explore it. I had lunch with a friend and he said he was going to go to Anderson House. He said it was free and they conducted tours as well.

It was about a five minute walk from where we had lunch. We arrived and were greeted with the question of did we speak French. Turns out there were a group of French tourists there about to begin a tour. We said we didn't speak French. The staff joked that they would set us up with a guide who spoke English.

We waited a little while for the French group to head out. We looked at one of the exhibits at the house. Our guide then conducted us on a tour of the house.

Here's more about the Anderson's and the house:
In the spring of 1905, Anderson House was completed and took its place as one of the capital city's most fashionable mansions—a "Florentine villa in the midst of American independence." The firm of Arthur Little and Herbert Browne of Boston designed the mansion as the winter residence of Larz Anderson, an American diplomat, and his wife, Isabel, an author and benefactress. For more than thirty years, the couple enjoyed their Washington home as a showcase for their art collection, a backdrop for high society galas, and a home from which they explored what they considered "the most beautiful of American cities."

At a cost of nearly $750,000, Anderson House included a walled garden, tennis court, and three-story carriage house and stable. The fifty-room mansion is Little & Browne's finest architectural achievement. Its eclectic interiors, dominated by English and Italian influences, feature the painstaking work of craftsmen who adorned the house with carved wood walls, gilded papier-mâché ceilings, ornate iron staircases, and intricate marble floors. Anderson House was also outfitted with all the latest conveniences, including electricity, central heat, telephones, and two elevators.

Larz and Isabel Anderson intended their Washington home to be a grand setting where the rising diplomat could entertain American and foreign dignitaries. The Andersons would distinguish themselves among the capital's most sought-after hosts. During the Washington social season—generally between New Year's Day and Easter—the Andersons held diplomatic and inaugural receptions, formal dinners and luncheons, concerts, and dramatic performances. Their guest lists included Presidents William H. Taft and Calvin Coolidge, Gen. John J. Pershing, Henry A. du Pont, and members of the Vanderbilt family.

To the Andersons, their Washington home represented the culmination of what America's founders, including George Washington, hoped their capital city would become—a grand, modern city to rival European capitals, but with a patriotic identity and a sense of history that would make it distinctly American. When Larz Anderson died in 1937 with no children, his widow oversaw the gift of Anderson House and its contents to the Society of the Cincinnati, of which Larz had been a devoted member. Since 1939, this National Historic Landmark has been open to the public as a historic house museum where the Society has continued the traditions of collecting, entertaining, and patriotic service that the Andersons began one hundred years ago.

The next few posts are what I saw on the tour.

The Society of the Cincinnati

The Society of the Cincinnati is the current owner of Anderson House. There are in fact bedrooms on the third floor of the house that members can stay in when the visit Washington. Here's a little more about the society:
The Society of the Cincinnati is the nation's oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission is to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence and to foster fellowship among its members. Now a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the principles and ideals of its founders, the modern Society maintains its headquarters, library, and museum at Anderson House in Washington, D.C.
The first president was George Washington. Alexander Hamilton was a president too.