53460036As promised, I’ve got some more pictures to share with you all now that I had finally gotten three rolls of film developed. They span all the way back to the fourth of July weekend and Boston, as well as a few from the Lincoln Memorial, the Third Church of Christ, Scientist building, and a group of daytime black and whites from Gravelly Point. A few of the sets on Flickr include some photos you may have already seen, but the film photos have now been added in. Check out some slideshows:

Boston | Mariners @ Red Sox | Lincoln Memorial | Third Church of Christ, Scientist | Gravelly Point

I’ll be one to admit, the Third Church of Christ, Scientist is much more difficult to photograph than I had anticipated. I’m sorry for the short set of photos from the Lincoln Memorial, but I’ll add to that over time. I’m really, really happy with the new black and white photos from Gravelly Point. And I’m still in love with the Kodak Ektar color negative film that I’ve been using lately.

19 August 2009 at 4:00 pm | Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , ,

IMG_4560Good morning, intarwebs. For better or worse (and there’s definitely a little bit of both today), there’s lots to talk about, so I’m just going to jump right in.

1. Nicole and I have continued to plow through the beginning steps of planning our wedding. Through last week, we’ve had the date, church, and reception location all locked down. Well as of yesterday, you can add the photographer(s) to the list of completed items. Nicole and I have decided to go with Robert and Kathleen Photographers, a husband-wife team from Fairfield County, Connecticut. Robert is an old acquaintance, a friend of a friend that I haven’t talked to in years. However, he’s been a friend on Facebook and I’ve been able to follow their progress over the years. They’ve got some great stuff in their portfolio and Nicole and I are definitely very excited to have them shoot both our engagement photos and our wedding next year!

2. A while back I had posted a list of locations throughout DC that I would like to set aside time to go photograph (find it here). Since Nicole and I returned from Boston early in July, I have indeed been able to find time to hit up some of those locations; three, in fact. Of course, I feel as though I’ve got to go back - I wanted better different lighting, different scenarios, etc. - but at least I’ve got some photos to start. I’ll be posting those to my Flickr page as soon as I’ve got the last roll developed.

3. Last week, I forgot to mention that I shot some video at the Depeche Mode concert. I’ve spliced together a number of clips into a montage and posted a video of the song “Stripped” (in full), both of which can be found on my Vimeo page.

4. One of the less exciting developments of the last week has been that the Red Sox have been playing ball like an inexperienced short-season Single-A summer league team. Absolutely pathetic. Some lowlights: consecutive shutouts at the hands of the Yankees (not to mention the 4 game sweep); 31 innings without scoring a run, including a 15 inning marathon Friday night; a fatigued bullpen’s inability to pitch effectively. The list goes on, but the point is that all of those things combined with and a six game losing streak amount to me being a very unhappy baseball fan.

5. And ironically, as the Red Sox fail, the Nationals prosper. Somehow, the stars aligned properly and over a span of 8 consecutive games, the Nationals failed to lose. In other words, the Nationals have an 8 game winning streak! What the ****? I mean, I know they are a professional baseball team comprised of some very talented ballplayers, but this has clearly exceeded everyone’s expectations. It is fun to see, though. Nicole and I and some friends went to Wednesday night’s game against the Florida Marlins, a 5-4 thriller in favor of the Nationals, win number 4 of the current streak (a slideshow of my photos are here).

6. My brother and his wife rented a house on Block Island for the last full week of August and have invited anyone from the family to join if they can make it. Nicole and I are headed up on Thursday the 27th, via a flight to TF Green Airport outside of Providence. The only difficulty we are having is somehow getting from the airport to Point Judith, RI to catch the ferry over to BI. I was expecting some sort of shuttle bus-type mass transit option, but of course there are none. Any suggestions out there? I’ve looked into chartering a flight from TF Green to BI on New England Airlines, but that will be prohibitively expensive. We’re looking for something in the $50-each-way area. Car rental is a possibiliity.

7. My pool team plays in the playoffs for the short summer session starting tonight. We had a really, really, crappy season so we’re playing in Tier 2, the lower level playoff bracket. Unfortunately, tier 2 champions can’t advance to regionals or Las Vegas Qualifiers, but if we play well tonight, we’d play in the final next week. And if we play well and win the final, we get more trophies. =]

8. I’ve just noticed that Pete’s Apizza now delivers. Though their established delivery area doesn’t encompass our apartment, they claim it to be “flexible.” Hmmmm.

9. And since I’ve been snooping around Pete’s site for a while, I’ve happened across something which, assuming it’s true, makes me a very, very happy man. From Pete’s page about their vision:

New York. Ah, New York. Frank Sinatra used to send a driver up to New Haven to get a pizza from Pepe’s whenever he was performing in New York City. New Haven style pizza is not New York style pizza, and it is not a derivative of New York style pizza.

Booyaa!

10. And since I’m on the subject of pizza… I’ve never been able to convince anyone other than a significant other to have pizza in New Haven. Ironically, though, I’ve never met anyone that didn’t love Pepe’s (my personal favorite). Well, my coworker Evan was recently telling me about a drive up to Vermont he’ll be making with friends this winter, so I touted Pepe’s for so long that it peeked his interest. He now plans to make his friends stop in New Haven for some slices of heaven when they pass through town. I can’t wait to hear what they all have to say.

IMG_4468There’s really no explanation for the “!”-style excitement in the post title… just as there’s really no explanation for my month-long hiatus from posting on a regular basis. Of course, the blog has not been the only thing to suffer, as I’ve taken far fewer photos in the past few weeks. But I have been working a completely ridiculous number of hours the past three weeks, so I guess maybe that has something to do with it. Yeah, that’s it.

Anyway, I’m back for a regularly scheduled edition of the Ten on Tuesday which will hopefully get me back on track. So let’s jump right in with a recap of the last month:

1. Nicole and I were in Boston for a long weekend back at the beginning of the month. A great trip overall, with some quality time spent with my parents as well as a half-day each with my cousins Andrew and Julie. We saw the Red Sox lose to the Mariners (yay!), as well as the fireworks over the Charles River later that night and a sunset cruise in Boston harbor Sunday evening. I’ve got some film from the trip (will link to those as soon as they are up), but here are the digitals in slideshow format, which can be found on my Flickr page: Boston | Mariners @ Red Sox

2. Nicole and I went to see Wilco at Wolf Trap on July 8 with Caroline and Drew (Wilco is Drew’s favorite band). What a great venue and a great show (our first time for both!)… a slideshow of some of my photos from the show can be found here.

3. Starting with the second week of July, Nicole and I visited 8 different potential locations for our wedding reception. Yes, planning has begun and we are moving at full speed. Our goal was to lock up the church and reception location before she returns to law school at the end of this month, and I’m happy to say that we chose the amazing Park Hyatt hotel at 24th and M Streets NW. The church is the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. The date is November 13, 2010.

4. I made a major blunder on Friday, July 24… I was supposed to head up to Baltimore on a MARC train to see the Chelsea FC v. AC Milan football match at M&T Bank Stadium with my brother and a bunch of his friends. However, I boarded the wrong MARC train and was informed of such at the Silver Spring MARC station (I was on a train that was heading to West Virginia… awesome!). I took the Metro out to Greenbelt in hopes of catching the proper train, only to find out the next scheduled departure from Union Station wasn’t stopping there. With my phone dying and knowing I wasn’t going to get to the stadium until well after the match started, I decided to scratch the trip and head home. Whooops! So, wallowing in my own self pity, I sat in solitude at the rear of the train back into town and shot some video. They can be found here, and here.

5. That following Sunday, July 26, I played in an APA-sanctioned tournament at Fast Eddie’s in Alexandria, VA. It was an invite-only tournament for the 2 Spring session MVP players (skill levels 5 through 7 only) from each APA division in the region. I think 151 players were invited and 71 appeared. Cash and assorted prizes were awarded for the top 8 finishers, but unfortunately, I finished in a tie for ninth place (not bad though!). Surprisingly, I played very, very well, and some of the other players that watched me commented about how I am “not a 5″ (skill level). All that says to me is that I played above myself, but the 7 foot tables helped as well. Nonetheless, I hope to be back there some day soon… Oh, and props to Cole, Lori, and Cash, for coming out to support me!

6. Sheesh, and then on the next Tuesday, July 28, Nicole and I and some friends headed out to Nissan Pavilion to see Depeche Mode. This was my first DM concert and I was seriously impressed. They are Dave’s favorite band, so he made sure that he got seats that were good and close to the stage… orchestra row 6, stage left. Not that bad! A few of my photos from the show are in slideshow format here. Also, props to Nissan Pavilion for getting us in and out of the parking lots smoothly. This was my first visit where it didn’t take an hour to park after getting off the highway, and it didn’t take an hour to get out of the lots to the highway after the show.

7. Take the current work environment (slow and worrisome for my boss, though super busy for me the last three weeks), add how busy Nicole and I have been the last few weeks, and for good measure, toss in the fact that the Red Sox had been playing like absolute crap for most of July, and you’ve got a Swifty that finds himself in a bit of a funk. I don’t slide into these kinds of phases too often and I’m pretty good at putting a happy face on most of the time, but still, it’s been tough. Thankfully, starting this week, Nicole and I have a much lighter schedule ahead; the Red Sox are finally playing well (despite my initial skepticism, the Victor Martinez trade is starting look like a good move); and work has leveled out a bit.

8. Nicole and I have been using Betty Crocker’s instant mashed potatoes for a long time… ever since we’ve been cooking together. A few years ago, however, my mother had given me an old Foley Food Mill that (I think) belonged to my grandmother. I was always the one in charge of making the mashed potatoes during holiday gatherings, mostly because they’re usually my absolute favorite thing on the table during dinner, so Nicole and I decided to put the food mill to work and make our own last week. Well damn, I had forgotten how good homemade potatoes can be! Goodbye, Betty Crocker!

9. The story lately has been how much rain we’ve had and how mild this summer has been so far. As I look out the window right now, it looks as though the trend shall continue. It seems like it’s rained just about every day for the last two months! But at least it’s not as hot as it could be or has been in the past.

10. Annnd, finally, Nicole and I get back to seeing some baseball games starting tomorrow. Though the Nationals are still stinking up the basement of the National League East, it’ll be nice to head to the ballpark for some of our nation’s pasttime. Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll only get to about 15 games this year. Oh well.

That about wraps it up. I’m sure that after I click “Post Entry”, I’ll remember something that I meant to post. But this is it for now… it’s enough typing (and for you, reading!) for one day!

IMG_4158It’s about time this weekend has finally arrived! Nicole and I head out tomorrow afternoon for a long weekend in Boston, our first time there since the summer of 2006.

Saturday will be spent with my parents who are driving up from Connecticut to see an afternoon Red Sox game against the visiting Seattle Mariners, followed by watching the fireworks over the Charles River Esplanade. This is exciting in and of itself for several reasons: as I had already mentioned, it’ll be myfirst game at Fenway Park since the summer of ‘06 (and Nicole’s second game there ever); I get to see my parents (which doesn’t happen all too often); and my parents will get to see Nicole and I for the first time since our engagement just over a month ago (and see her ring for the first time in person).

Nicole and I will be there until Monday afternoon (due to s flight planning SNAFU on my part, but it all works out in the end), so Sunday we plan to get our tourist on around The Hub, perhaps the North End, Quincy Market, and the waterfront. (As a side note, I’m excited to see how the former Central Artery area of downtown has progressed since I have last been there. I understand that much of the work on the Rose Kennedy Greenway has begun and that the grand, tree-lined boulevard is complete as well.) We also hope to meet up with my cousins that live up in the area, either Friday or Saturday nights, or at any point on Sunday, for some food and drink I’m sure.

So, I’ll be returning on Tuesday to work, hopefully to resume posting my Ten on Tuesday, which I have taken a seriously long hiatus from. Enjoy your weekend, whatever you may be doing, and happy 4th of July!

IMG_3894It’s high time I finally post this list… these are all locations around the DC area that I’d like to photograph this summer. And I mean do it right; film camera and a few hours to walk around and shoot a roll or two of film. Some may require more than one trip since I’d like to get some pictures dawn, dusk, mid-morning or late afternoon for their differing lighting conditions. It’s a tall order for someone who has so little free time as is and happens to now be planning a wedding, combined with an abnormal amount of out-of-town travel this summer, so we’ll see how this goes.

And so, in no particular order, the locations are as follows:

  • National Museum of the American Indian: the most recent addition to the National Mall, the NMAI stands out like a sore thumb, at least for the time being. Architecturally, it’s a bold form of billowing, monochromatic curves intended to evoke a wind-swept rock formation of, say, the American Southwest.

  • Third Church of Christ, Scientist: just from reading my blog, you should be somewhat familiar with this church by now. It’s a Brutalist-style concrete hexagon that is now almost sure to come down at the hands of a wrecking ball. Though some more minor roadblocks still stand, the greater weight of historic preservation has been lifted. At this point, it’s only a matter of time, so this one is on the top of my list.
  • National World War II Memorial: a rather heated debate surrounded the design and eventual approvals of this monument, but the fact remains, there are some spectacular pictures to be had from this particular swatch of stone and water on the National Mall.
  • Lincoln Memorial: a classic, of course, but my drive for this particular location stems from a desire to have pictures of Lincoln himself, bathed in the oranges and reds of sunrise over the Mall.
  • National Gallery of Art, East Wing: again, the I.M. Pei-designed museum and research center is an American icon, but it’s acute angles and sharp points outside, combined with the light flowing through the interior atrium makes for lots of potential.
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: from the campus of my old stomping ground, this magnificent Roman Catholic basilica stands adjacent to the Catholic University of America in a part of Washington, DC that houses numerous religious institutions. The church itself, though, Neo-Byzantine in it’s architecture, has got some great exterior angles and some amazing spaces inside.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island: situated in the Potomac River in between Rosslyn, VA and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, this is a national park that’s got a memorial plaza dedicated to Teddy, and walking trails throughout the island, which is preserved in it’s natural condition.
  • Gravelly Point: I’ve been here before for pictures, but I’d like to get back. The park, located a few hundred feet from the end of one of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s main runways, it offers some of the best views of incoming and outgoing commercial jets in the United States. My first time there, planes happened to be landing, but I’d like to go back for planes taking off.
  • United States National Arboretum: again, I’ve been here before, but never up to the old Capitol columns. That’s the primary purpose for my next visit…
  • Meridian Hill Park: well to be honest, I don’t quite know much about this park, but I know I want to go there with a roll of film. I’ve heard people speak of the steps, the fountain, the people, etc. So, I figured, why not?

As you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me in what is already a busy summer, so please keep your fingers crossed!

IMG_3830Anyone who follows my Flickr stream knows that come summertime, it’s overtaken by pictures from baseball games. With a club here in DC now, and the occasional excursion to some other ballparks on the east coast, I’ve been able to see nearly 60 games over the last two full seasons. Once again, I’m looking to reach the mid-20s this year, so expect a lot more pictures coming from me as the season progresses.

Shortly after the 2007 season, I had compiled a Flickr set of my favorite photos from all the games I saw that year and, though it took me a while, I finally made a set of my favorite photos from the 2008 season. Both of these sets are rather special, as the first marks the last season of baseball to be played at RFK Stadium, and the latter marks the first season of the new Nationals Park.

Follow the links here for the sets in a slideshow version: 2007 | 2008

23 June 2009 at 10:30 am | Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , ,

IMG_3821Good morning all… It’s been three weeks since I last posted, so accept my apologies. I’ve been a bit crazy with work, planning for a wedding now, baseball, friends, etc. etc. You know the deal.

But anyway, I’m sure by now you all know about the recent Metro train accident yesterday, which occurred on the Red Line in between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations. There’s plenty to read about it all over the internet as the story has been picked up by national outlets across the country, and even across the pond.

Details are still conflicting from one report to the next, but the basic facts remain clear: a train in motion hit a stationary train on the Red Line; numerous fatalaties (anywhere from seven to nine); over 70 people injured, most minor, but several critical; major train service disruption across the entire Metrorail system; the NTSB is investigating, along with the FBI; black box data is likely not going to be as good as it could have been, as a first generation rail car was leading the train in motion (newer, third generation cars have more comprehensive black box recorders, greater safety measures, and are much more “crashworthy”).

Since I’m a major advocate of mass transit and the Metrorail system in particular, I’m going to spare criticism for the sake of the victims of the terrible tragedy (besides, Metro’s operating budget is not necessarily exemplary of a first class, one-of-the-largest-in-the-world mass transit system, but that’s a discussion for another time). At this point, I just want to extend my thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the wounded.

23 June 2009 at 9:40 am | Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

engagement ring1. Well, I guess I’ll cut to the chase with this one… If you haven’t heard, I took the plunge and asked Nicole to marry me! I proposed at sunset on a pier over the Currituck Sound on the grounds of the Currituck Beach Light in Corolla, NC (on the Outer Banks). Thankfully, she said yes! After nearly 8 months of searching for a setting and diamond, I finally found this one, designed by Gebrueder Schaffrath of Germany. Thanks, Adam (from I. Gorman Jewelers) for all of your help!

2. And speaking of the Outer Banks, what a vacation! We had an absolutely awesome, awesome time in a great big house with a whole bunch of our friends drinking, playing cards, beaching, swimming, and generally hanging out. It was definitely tough to come back to work yesterday, I can tell you that much.

3. And more: On the drive back to DC from Corolla, Nicole and I had a bit of car trouble. Nothing serious in the end (a heat shield from under the car, which I was eventually able to break off, had started to fall of and was dragging on the ground), as we found an Advance Auto Parts store nearby in Jockey’s Ridge State Park while on the Outer Banks, but that never happened. However, I did take a slew of digitals with the point-and-shoot. You can find that set here, or a slideshow here. Be warned though, as of today, captions are only partly complete.

5. Nicole and I spent the weekend parading her ring around town… despite a long, 8 hour, drive home from OBX, we mustered up the energy to see some friends at a birthday party nearby. Though we were planning to go home shortly thereafter, we hit up our two regular spots in Adams Morgan for a little while and got to show off the ring a bit more.

6. All of this showing off, well, it’s partly due to the fact that I had ordered the ring about 3 sizes too large (boo!). So tomorrow, we’ll be returning to the jeweler to have them size the ring and send it back to Germany to be resized.

7. I’m quite proud of myself, concerning this whole engagement ring process. I kept it a complete secret from all friends and family, save a select few that knew only out of necessity. Needless to say, everyone was completely shocked, surprised, and excited. I gave myself a pat on the back for that one…

8. Since it had been a few weeks since we last say Ryan, Blythe, and the boys, we spent a few hours Sunday afternoon just hanging out with them. They wanted to hear the whole story about the engagement and about how I found the ring. I guess I should get used to telling that story…

9. My pool league team, the Ballbreakers, kicks back into gear tonight for the first time in two weeks since we last swept the finals of the previous season in a 3-0 drubbing. Though we are dropping our top-ranked player and adding one who has barely played pool at all, I think we are still the team to beat. We shall see…

10. And finally, Nicole and I have two baseball games this week. Suffice it to say, I don’t think I’ll reach 30 games this year like I had hoped… money is just too tight and we are trying to kind of tighten the purse sttrings as much as we can. Nonetheless, I’m hurtin’ for a ballgame!

IMG_36161. Much like the man in this photo, over the last 6 months I’ve been arriving to the office very, very early. Today I woke nearly half an hour before my alarm, hopped right out of bed and got to the office at about 735. I’m a fan…

2. Roughly 98 hours until I hop in a car and head down to North Carolina with Nicole and a group of friends. The weather, at least in the 10 day forecast, is not lookiing fantastic for the week, but we all know how much that can change in the course of a week. Being a barrier island though, I think the weather is quite fickle anyway. We shall see…

3. I’m concerned that my days are numbered for getting down to 16th and I Streets to shoot some photos of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, which will surely be coming down at some point. I have read that there are still some hurdles to clear, so I hope that means I’ve got at least a few weeks left.

4. A tough weekend to be a fan of Boston sports teams. Ironically, this is a complete 180° of where we were last Tuesday. Nonetheless, the Celtics lost game 7 to the Magic, the Bruins lost game 7 to the Whalers Hurricanes, and the Red Sox are absolutely putrid on the road so far this year.

5. Tonight the Ballbreakers, the team on which I play billiards in the local APA league, plays in the season finals. We had finished the regular season in first place and thusly had a bye straight through the playoffs to tonight’s finals. As the “high point champion,” we’ll also win money, trophies, plaques, and I think someone will get an MVP patch as well! If we win tonight, we play in the regional tournament in Virginia with a chance to move on to Vegas. Crazy…

6. As you may or may not know, I got a BlackBerry Curve a while back. After having some time to get acclamated, I’m quite pleased with it. Within the past week however, I discovered that the popular iPhone music applications Pandora and Shazam (WOW!) are available for the crackberry. You can only imagine my excitement…

7. Speaking of music, long ago at The Reef, I had heard a some that caught my ear. According to the bartender, it was called Heartbeats”, by Jose Gonzalez. I downloaded a number of his songs and I am loving “Remain” right now (samples from the album on Amazon). The guitar work is fantastic, reminiscent of Federico Aubele. Good stuff.

8. Artomatic starts next week. We won’t be here when it starts, but it lasts a month, so I’m confident that I can get out to the arts extravaganza for the first time this year.

9. I’m nearing the time where I can begin to take the Architectural Registration Examination(s)! I recently finished the professional development portions of the Intern Development Program and though I still have my community and professional volunteer service to report, I should be eligible to begin taking the exams in Maryland sometime this year. There’s a huge lag in paperwork processiong, so I’m hoping to hear from the state board by the middle of July. Keep your fingers crossed!

10. I know, I know… more about the Outer Banks. It’ll be my first golf match of the year, at Kilmarlic Golf Club. Wish me luck!

fast carsWell, first things first, thank goodness it’s Friday! It’s been a long tough week here in the office. I’ve got a presentation this morning which through yesterday at 730pm when I left work, I had put in 53 hours working on this week. The most satisfying moment was Thursday morning when my boss arrived at the office and saw the fruits of my labor (which had kept me in the office until 1115pm on Wednesday night) and said that everything was looking great. So now, the boards are up and I’m ready to go…

And because I’ve been so busy this week, my picture-taking and web-surfing have been spare. However, I did happen to see these three very, very fast cars parked on M Street in Georgetown late on Wednesday night on my way home. I’m used to seeing the occassional fast car in the neighborhood, but three in the same night? On the same block? Within a span of 5 cars? Definitely a rare occurrence…

In other news, I thought I would share a few tidbits that have caught my attention lately. This is quite possibly one of the greatest commercials ever made. It’s got great music and the three lines of narration to open the spot are spectacularly classic. It’s reminiscent of the aura of someone perpetually intriguing like James Bond or Thomas Crown (I know, random, but it’s what I think when I see the commercial). Good word, Dos Equis.

There’s been a lot of talk this year in baseball about mysterious appearances for some players on the disabled list, most of which have large contracts and no options left. I’ve never been able to figure out why this matters for a team, when they take a player and put him on the DL for what may be considered by insiders and competitors as a sham diagnosis, so I decided to do some research. I happened upon the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players association and the league (or, owners). I find it fascinating, but beware, it’s one hell of a long document.

And finally, it’s Friday! And that means I’m outta here early because I busted my ass this week! See you all next week…

15 May 2009 at 2:43 pm | Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , ,

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