Archive for the ‘places’ Category

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It's coming down by Dave Kleinschmidt

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or, you know, don’t obsessively follow weather-related news), DC got absolutely clobbered with about two feet of snow this weekend. Well, okay, maybe more like 18″ (at National), but that’s enough to rank something like the fourth or fifth biggest snow storms in recorded history down here.

Fun fact, the last time I heard the phrase “potentially historically significant” being tossed around regarding a snow storm, they were forecasting six to eight feet. But that’s New England.

Anyway, I’ve been absolutely over the moon, what with all the shoveling and tromping around and midnight snow-biking (see below). This weather seems to bring out all the Northerners in DC, and to whip them into a little bit of a giddy frenzy. You can identify them by their goofy grins and non-beleaguered looks, or, you know, by the fact that they’re jogging down 13th St carrying a pair of cross-country skis (and exclaiming “good choice” over the six-pack of Bell’s you’re carrying). My downstairs neighbor (an Alaskan) and I bonded over how much we love shoveling out our three-house-long stretch sidewalk for our building (which he did in December, when we got 16″).

I do have to admit, DC weather is pretty nice. Right now it’s spring, as far as I can tell: the sun is warm, temperatures hover around freezing, and there are occasional snow storms. I’ve even started to see robins here and there. Having an actual spring (instead of the muddy mess that passes for spring in New England) will be great, too.

But nothing compares to getting absolutely walloped by a couple of feet of snow and all of the shoveling, trudging (biking?) fun that ensues. Part of the fun is undeniably seeing the absolute panic that this weather sends people from less snowy climates into. There are literally runs on the supermarkets around here at the threat of snow, with people—I shit you not—buying up toilet paper, milk, and canned food. As one Wisconsonite on NPR put it, this kind of weather brings out the survivalist tenancies in people who don’t have to deal with it on a regular basis, which is pretty entertaining for people who know that life will go on, a little messier and a little more fun.

(Link: photo from flickr)

From this morning’s Post, a delightfully breathless story about how cold it was this weekend:

Many Washingtonians exulted in a sunny Saturday, but their delight came on a day that could also be described as the coldest since March.

But about eight hours earlier, the mercury had dipped to 35 degrees. It had not fallen so low since March 25, when it was 34. The 35-degree reading was seven degrees below normal and eight degrees above the record for the date, 27 degrees, which was set in 1930.

While I do enjoy a good chilly New England fall day as much as anyone, I also enjoy that reasonably temperate (aka bikeable) weather like this lasts until the middle of November, and I’m especially stoked for spring, which from what I’ve heard is actually a Real Season here, not some godforsaken mud/snow/rain event that happens sometime between April and June.

There are more concrete benefits, too.  The combination of temperate weather and our row house apartment which has all of two dozen feet of walls exposed to the outside air also means that we haven’t had the heat or AC on for a couple of months and are basically paying nothing in utilities.  Win all around.

The downside, of course, of the mercury never dipping below freezing for fully half of the year, is that there will be very little real, snowy winter weather. You can’t have everything weather-wise, I suppose, so I’ll just have to wait until the holidays to get a dose of Maine winter.

Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

As recently alluded to, I recently moved from my Little Ancestral Village in the Provinces to The Big City.

Short version: It has taken some getting used to, but maybe not quite as much as I expected, and I am really loving it. (Long version after the break)

qualiacoffee

Qualia Coffee in Petworth. Qualia. Coffee. It all depends on whether or not their coffee is good enough to justify the trek, I guess. But they are a micro-roastery (yes I know that’s not a real word), so that’s encouraging, as is the excerpt from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Qualia on their website.

(Found via their ad on Prince of Petworth)

DC (bike) blogs

So I’m moving to DC soon, and in preparation I’ve been scoping out DC-oriented blogs. There are certainly plenty out there: the Washington Post of course, and DCist, as well as more Columbia Heights-specific things like Prince of Petworth and New Columbia Heights. But my favorite so far is ReadysetDC, which has a art/design/fashion slant and a DAILY BIKE FEATURE. Its appeal to me is self-explanatory.

Seasonal pond by Dave 'Coconuts' Kleinschmidt

Okay okay, I know it’s been a while, but first I was writing my thesis, and then being plied with alcohol and mixed emotions as a future alumnus of a wealthy institution of higher education, and finally reverting to my natural, hermit-y state, as per the instructions of not one but two trashy magazines’ horoscopes. Phew.

Anyway, yesterday I went for a truly lovely walk at the Bangor City Forest, which included the absolutely, can’t-believe-I-never-realized-how-fucking-awesome-it-is bog boardwalk. There I met many old plant-y friends, free from the fear of being sucked into the peat and preserved for curious scientists multiple millennia down the road. There was sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), there was labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), and of course, there was Sphagnum moss in abundance. Pitcher plants in full flower (Serracenia purpurea) were a special treat. I even made some new friends: the cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and who can forget cotton-grass (Eriophorum sp, actually a sedge).

You can find some photos here, and the full list of the plants that can be found in the bog here.

(Link: photo from flickr)