and something in
the heart of me
is telling me it's time
to meet the eye
of destiny
and leave it all behind
and through my bones
an iron rage
paints my soul
upon the page
     david gray
     "real love"

I've been so obsessive with my CDs lately. This is the latest one I can't stop playing.

I get a little camera-happy every time it snows. We got about six inches overnight last Thursday night, so I decided to document my day on Friday.

I know. Try to control your excitement.

I forgot to take a picture of my car before I started to clear it off, so here's mine about halfway done, with other, un-cleared-off cars in my parking lot.

I was taking in an ice cream cake for Sally, the girl who watches Buffy with me sometimes, as it was both her birthday and her last day. I was worried that it might melt if I got stuck in traffic, so I packed snow around it and put it on the floor of my car along with my ice scraper which I was too lazy to clean off first.

Except that I forgot that it takes me about nine minutes to get to work when it snows, because everyone either stays home or takes the Metro (presumably because they don't want to be stuck in traffic).

Anyway, here's 395, with almost no traffic:

And the Memorial Bridge, with the Lincoln Memorial at the end of it:

Now. Once I get over the Memorial Bridge, I turn left onto 23rd Street and travel up to Washington Circle. This section of 23rd Street is the heart of George Washington University. There is a Metro stop and a hospital, and there are jaywalkers galore. I actually drive more carefully than normal and I still almost kill people almost every day. Freaking jaywalkers.

Anyway. After work, I went over to Georgetown to have dinner with my cousin's son, a recent college grad who has just moved to Washington to work in politics. He's a 22-going-on-50-year-old Republican (he ordered Maker's and water as an after-dinner drink), but he's a good kid, very funny, and has a lovely girlfriend who had come up for the weekend, and we had a good time catching up.

We parted ways shortly before 10:00, and I walked the eight blocks back to my car. I unabashedly love cold weather, and I actually enjoyed the walk so much that I didn't want to go home, but I didn't really have anywhere else to go.

I picked up my car from the lot I park in every day, which was almost deserted at this point. For lack of anything better to do while the guy was getting my change and finding my keys, I read the disclaimer signage on the door to the attendant booth, and found something rather amusing on it, so I took a picture.

(I'm sure the guy was wondering why I took a picture of the booth door, but I couldn't think of any plausible explanation so I acted like I was just fooling around with the camera and he fortunately did not ask any questions.)

And I started to drive home, except I still didn't really want to go home, and I saw the Lincoln Memorial again at the bottom of 23rd Street, so bright and majestic and stately, and I decided to stop.

So, okay, it might not sound very wise to visit a national monument at 10:00 on a Friday night in Washington DC on an "orange" security day, but I did it anyway, and it was beautiful.

(I haven't figured out how to take pictures at night yet, so this is the best I could do, and I even had to doctor it a little, though as you can see, it didn't really help much.)

I'd like to tell you that I had some profound thoughts while I was there (there were other tourists around, and plenty of security), about the history of our nation or patriotism or whatever, but I didn't. I walked around, I read the words of the Gettysburg Address carved into one side and the words of Lincoln's second inaugural address carved into the other, studied the statue for a while, then made my way back to my car and went home.

There, I discovered not one but two rather interesting pieces of mail. The first was a violation notice from the Maryland Transportation Authority, the issuer of my E-Z Pass, which has caused me no end of grief. Apparently I ran out of money on it, and my credit card was too near its limit to automatically recharge, so the last time I went through Baltimore's Fort McHenry tunnel, I failed to actually pay the toll. So they sent me a notice, and if I pay it before the 18th, I don't have to pay any fee, just the actual cost of the toll.

Which is one dollar.

The other piece of mail was interesting because, well, it told me not to open it.

And for a while I didn't, fearing a good smiting, which would have been par for the course as far as my life is concerned.

But alas, I gave in to an evil temptation and opened it. It turned out to be a rather horrifying piece of pro-life propoganda. Its level of hyperbole amused me at first (and I quote: "In other words, priests and bishops are contributing to the ongoing reign of terror that decriminalized abortion has created in America!"). Then it just made me sad, and then mad, and I was actually going to write them a letter but I realized rather quickly what a futile exercise that would be, so I ate some brie instead.

I want to thank everyone who wrote me about the last entry; if I have not yet written you back, I will.

Also, speaking of wanting to thank people, someone wrote and asked if I was going to do the Oscar pool again this year, what with the nominations coming out on Tuesday without a word about them from me. I suppose I can safely check the box on the depression questionnaire about losing interest in things that used to excite you, because I'm just not excited about them this year at all, but I am still going to do the pool, because it is my own little tradition and that is important to me, and perhaps it will help generate some excitement on my part.

Last year, you may recall, I accepted donations to sweeten the pot, and folks donated over one hundred dollars, which I found staggering. But it ended up being kind of a headache for me, for a variety of reasons, so we're going back to the flat prize of $50. If you feel like donating, you certainly can, but it'll be used to offset my contribution (i.e., I'll be keeping it), rather than being added to the pot.

And that's about all I can tell you. It's late, I'm tired, my bed is calling. I'm going to answer it.

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