Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

The Camellia
By Honoré de Balzac
Translated by David Paley

Each flower speaks a word from the book of nature:
The rose is of love and celebrates beauty;
The violet is a soul both loving and pure;
And the lily resplendent in simple duty.

But the camellia is a giant of culture,
The lily without grace, the rose without fragrance,
That seems to blossom in the season of winter
With wearied portrayals of innocence.

And yet, when seated in the theatre,
I like to see those opening petals of alabaster
When white camellias form a modest crown
On the raven heads of pretty, young ladies
Who inspire in our souls pure love for things of renown
Like the Grecian marbles sculpted by Phidias.

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We got up early on Monday so we could have breakfast with son's girlfriend, who was staying at The Hotel at the University of Maryland for their computer career fair, interviewing people for her company and giving a tech talk. We went to Bagel 'n Grinds, which is in The Hotel and has very good eggwiches and hot chocolate (I can't speak about the coffee since I didn't have any, but there are free refills). When we got home, Paul went to work and I went out to do some shopping, which wound up taking the whole afternoon and I never got around to lunch before I ran into some Pokemon friends who reminded me that Gen 5 came out at 4.

So I caught a bunch of Lillipups and Patrats, then we went to do some Psystrike Mewtwo raids though I did not catch a shiny. By the time I got home, I was starving, so we had leftover chili casserole and peanut soup since they could be heated up quickly despite not quite going together. Paul wanted to watch Monday Night Football, which was not entirely dramatic since the Browns beat the Jets by a large score. Here are some photos from Sunday in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, including two monuments to Balzac, and Cars at the Capital on the National Mall, a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray owned by astronaut Alan Bean:

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Greetings from the National Mall

Quickie because we are getting up early to meet Adam's girlfriend, who is in town to give a tech talk and recruit for her new company at the University of Maryland's career fair, for breakfast before she has to work! Sunday was a gorgeous day, and since it was also a Pokemon Community Day, we went downtown early to visit the US Botanic Garden and I caught dozens of Turtwigs as we walked around the Capitol Reflecting Pool and the National Mall. We had a picnic in the Hirshhorn sculpture garden and got ice cream by the Native American museum's outdoor fountains.

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By the time the Pokemon event ended at 2, we were pretty tired from all the walking, so we came home and did a bunch of chores while I backed up my computer, though I still don't know what I'm replacing it with. We watched the very end of the Ravens game, which is all that was televised here, and after dinner we watched the season opening special of The Masked Singer and this week's Succession and On Becoming a God in Central Florida, which were both quite entertaining though I think even the villain of the latter is a better person than anyone in the former!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Greetings from Mount Vernon's Colonial Fair

Saturday was a little warmer and sticker than Friday but still quite nice, so after an early brunch, we went to the colonial market fair at Mount Vernon, where we heard sailor songs and bagpipes, watched a magic show, listened to General Washington answer questions about his career (he had complaints about Congressional budgets and refused to speak about his role as spymaster), saw ice cream being made, bought homemade soap, looked at lots of glass and pottery, witnessed a skirmish between the Continental and British militias, and ate bread and cheese sandwiches. Most of the animals weren't on the farm because of cannons, but we walked down to the river, too.

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As often happens when we go to Mount Vernon, we got in the mood for peanut soup -- the first time I ever had it was at the restaurant there -- so we stopped to get a few things at the Bethesda Co-op, then came home for soup, cheese, and appples with almond croissants we bought from the boulangerie at the fair. The Terrapins score was depressing and Florida's quarterback had a horrible leg injury, which was all the football news I needed, so instead we watched Booksmart, which felt oddly dated to me -- very reminiscent of high school movies from when I was in high school, and utterly focused on rich white girls, though at least girls were at the center of the story.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Poem for Saturday, The Hustle, Cape Henlopen Wildlife

Ardors
By Carol Frost

The tortoise walks on tiptoe in June,
the month of his ardors.
Buttery light, distant thunder
in the month of my ardors.

Flailing boughs, coral lime
in the wind and verdure.
Then silence, dark creamy
shadows in nighttime verdure.

The moon traversing the garden,
florals made of a blush or a breath,
nightbirds with a little lump
of insect under their tongues, breath

of clover, grassy, spiced,
and all of it rinsed of emotion.
The leaden nymph by the gate.
All, all rinsed of emotion.

By what bough are the fireflies
hidden, and the stars?
The night’s leavings in daylight
lie hidden like the stars.

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My Friday morning was uneventful -- mostly involved research into new computers, haven't made any decisions yet -- and listening to lots of Eddie Money. After lunch I was going to go out and do a raid, but when I opened the door, there was a tiny little green bird looking stunned on the porch mat, and when it hadn't moved an hour later though I went outside inches away from it and the cats sat in the window glaring at it, I called the nature center in Cabin John Park, which referred me to Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, which was likely to close before I could get there. When I went outside with a box and went to pick it up, though, it peeped, hopped, and flew away!

The weather was completely gorgeous, cool and overcast, so I could have the doors open most of the day. I did eventually go do a Deoxys raid near CVS, after which I went to the park for a little while and got gas. We had dinner with my parents, saw the beginning of the Nationals-Braves game (which did not end well for the Nats), then watched The Hustle, which had some cute moments but I did not like as much as I was expecting; it's not a story of women working together to con men so much as women in a turf competition and the male con artists are always a step ahead of them, so there's really no good girl-power feeling at all. From Cape Henlopen, some of the wildlife and cacti:

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Poem for Friday and Cape Henlopen Towers

Prairie Dawn
By Willa Cather

A crimson fire that vanquishes the stars;
A pungent odor from the dusty sage;
A sudden stirring of the huddled herds;
A breaking of the distant table-lands
Through purple mists ascending, and the flare
Of water ditches silver in the light;
A swift, bright lance hurled low across the world;
A sudden sickness for the hills of home.

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I spent an insane amount of Thursday determined that I could fix my computer if I just found the software glitch making my screen dim -- I ran Dell scans and AMD scans and Microsoft scans, I went hunting for drivers to replace the ones they apparently haven't made for my computer since Windows 8, and long story short, I'm pretty sure there's either a short in the physical monitor controls or the bulb needs to be replaced, in either case not something I can fix myself. So I need a new computer, that I can afford, ASAP. Sigh.

I had a better evening, since we met Kay and Chris at the new Silver Diner in Gaithersburg for dinner. There was live music in the new bandstand on Washingtonian Lake and the temperature had dropped, so it was a nice night when we left despite some drizzle on the way home. We missed the beginning of the debate and frankly I was more in the mood for the Panthers-Bucs game before the infotainers came on live with the inevitable highlights. From Cape Henlopen, guard towers and lighthouses, mostly ornamental now:

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Poem for Thursday and Fenwick Island Beach

Song Of The Sea
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

(Capri, Piccola Marina)

Timeless sea breezes,
sea-wind of the night:
you come for no one;
if someone should wake,
he must be prepared
how to survive you.

Timeless sea breezes,
that for aeons have
blown ancient rocks,
you are purest space
coming from afar...

Oh, how a fruit-bearing
fig tree feels your coming
high up in the moonlight.

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I spent Wednesday morning researching new computers, trying to figure out what I need and what I can afford (opinions on 7th Generation Intel Core i5 Processor vs 8th Generation Intel Core i3 Processor and on graphics cards, which I know absolutely nothing about, are welcome). Then I went to A.C. Moore looking for beads that it turned out I'd seen at Michael's, so I went there too, and it will surprise no one when I say I also bought a bunch of Halloween decorations at 40-60% off. Paul wanted to make chili casserole using Fritos for dinner, so we ran out to Giant to get the aforementioned Fritos -- and it was raid hour, so I also completed a set of Deoxys formes on my baby account.

After dinner, we went to see the Bruce Springsteen inspired Blinded By the Light, which is quite enjoyable especially if you're a Boss fan, though it's structurally a lot like many other immigrant experience movies, and I'm not very comfortable with how easily this and Yesterday both posit that huge white pop stars produce songs so universal, they help Brits of color come to terms with their own dreams and aspirations, which in both cases turn out to be about fame and financial solvency far more than necessary social change. But so much to sing along! Here are some of my favorite views of the beach at Fenwick Island plus one sunset over the bay just across the coastal highway from the ocean:

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Beach Shopping

The Sea Shell
By Marin Sorescu
Translated by Michael Hamburger

I have hidden inside a sea shell
but forgotten in which.

Now daily I dive,
filtering the sea through my fingers,
to find myself.
Sometimes I think
a giant fish has swallowed me.
Looking for it everywhere I want to make sure
it will get me completely.

The sea-bed attracts me, and
I’m repelled by millions
of sea shells that all look alike.
Help, I am one of them.
If only I knew, which.

How often I’ve gone straight up
to one of them, saying: That’s me.
Only, when I prised it open
it was empty.

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My Tuesday was a giant scream of frustration because my computer, which was originally my father's computer and is therefore eight years old, is suddenly having major issues particularly with the monitor and Dell is no longer providing any of the updates I may need to fix it (or it may be a hardware issue, in which case no BIOS download is going to help). None of my in-house or out-of-town tech experts could solve it. Plus, I am no longer at the beach and this is always an upsetting date.

I did get to hang out for a while with our neighbor and cat-sitter, catching up on things around the neighborhood, and I did get to eat the leftover hush puppies from Monday evening with fresh butter. Plus we caught up on the Succesion and On Becoming a God in Central Florida episodes we missed on Sunday and those characters have much bigger problems than I do. Here are some things at Sea Shell City in Rehoboth and the Seaside Country Store in Fenwick Island that I wish I had bought:

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