Monday, December 28, 2009

After-Christmas Trip Report

Summary: The way down was a lot slower than the way up, but still not too bad.


Left home at around 3pm; there were a few reports of slowness on the NJ Turnpike, so I just skipped it entirely, taking Route 1 South (which is kind of like the built-up parts of Lee Highway, lots of lights, and just as jammed up in spots, too), to Route 295 South (smooth sailing).

Getting into Delaware, though, it was already congested in the usual spots, so I detoured down another Route 1 (Delaware), to go around and down via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Route 1 in Delaware has a bridge that's lit up nicely at night -- it's the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridge (the Senator William V. Roth, Jr. Bridge). One of these days, I'll figure out how to take a good shot while (driving) in a moving car. I got a couple of crappy pics, instead:

IMG_2320 IMG_2319

The Bay Bridge route was uneventful (going through those small towns in Maryland can be kind of a pain, though). I took Route 50 in and cut through the District, to avoid any Beltway backups because of the football game.

Travel time, just under 5 hours.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Miracle (of Sorts) and Christmas Music Musings

GPS trip summary from Christmas Eve:


Wanting to avoid the bulk of the traffic, I left at 7:45pm (though I probably could have done just as well leaving a lot earlier, this being Christmas and not Thanksgiving).

I actually would have left 15 minutes earlier, but a neighbor's guest had gotten his BMW X3 stuck in a plowed snowbank -- isn't traction control supposed to keep that from happening? -- so I spent a few minutes helping to dig them out. Not sure how much I helped, but it felt right.

Anyway, I got in just at 11pm. Total travel time: Three hours and 15 minutes, averaging just under 70mph, which is really good for me. I don't usually go more than 80, the 90.2 max speed shown above notwithstanding -- I only did it to get past a left-lane hog on the 2-lane section of the NJ Turnpike; he keep speeding up to block me when I moved to pass.

Christmas Music in Review
I've gotten detached from Christmas as the years have gone by. I didn't send a single Christmas card this year, and could barely be bothered to stick a suction-cupped decoration light in the window. I guess that you really need kids to keep the full effect.

Another contributing factor is that I don't really listen to music on the radio very much any more, so I don't get to hear much Christmas music. I made an effort to seek out Christmas tunes on the drive up (aided by a dead cassette player keeping me from using my iPod), though it only reinforced the notion that broadcast terrestrial radio sucks (especially in that stretch around Delaware, in the zone between the DC, Baltimore and Philly stations).

Even with on-demand music mooting most of the old-fashioned seasonal rationing of Christmas music, it's still not a real Christmas to me, unless I hear a few classic tunes -- "classic" as defined by what was popular when I was 12-13, those formative years that lock in your childhood tastes:

* My must-hear song is Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? which holds up really well, even with all the "Wow, is that really Bono/Sting/Boy George?" that comes with it.

* Christmas Wrapping, by The Waitresses. I always found it an amusing contrast to their other hit, I Know What Boys Like. It suffers from no lack of airplay.

* Feliz Navidad, by Jose Feliciano. Nothing more needs to said. I also associate it with the Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (they both come from the '70s and the song is used in the special), which I haven't seen in years, but still makes me tear up remembering it.

* A late entrant for me is Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You. While it's a good song, I heard it an inordinate number of times on the drive up.

* A few Christmas songs that are good year round include The Kinks' Father Christmas, U2's version of Baby Please Come Home, The Pogues' Fairytale of New York (the last of which I don't really even think of as a holiday song).

* The Bing Crosby and David Bowie collaboration Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, which is supposed to be part of the Christmas canon, but I haven't heard it on the air.

* Outliers from the era: Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings from the 90s and the Beach Boys' Little Saint Nick.

There are a few others -- classic standards, mostly, and some of the lesser 80s songs, like Strange Brew's Bob & Doug Mckenzie's 12 Days of Christmas (though, notably, not Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus Is Coming to Town -- never liked that one), but finally, Christmas for me isn't complete without this song:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Things That Are Upcoming To Which I Am NOT Going

First off, I did not make it to Rocket Bar tonight for the Duke Club of Washington's viewing of the Duke-Wisconsin game. It was probably for the best; Wisconsin led all game, and when Duke shifted into "jocking up instant inappropriate three-pointers" mode with about 8 minutes left, I knew it was over. Not for the lack of Johnny Andre Dawkins trying, though, with that spate of 3-pointers near the end.

* Thursday, December 3, I will not be attending my sister's work-in-progress screening of her documentary about my dad, Every Day Is a Holiday. Dad was a Japanese POW during WWII, so the film covers his experiences before, during and after. (He's been around.)

6:30pm at the Museum of Chinese in America in Chinatown, NYC.

(Instead of going to the screening, I'll be down here, at TechCocktail DC 7, at LeftBank in Adams Morgan.)

* Saturday, December 5, I won't be going to a DC Fark Party downtown. Instead, I'll probably be stumbling around the Reston Town Center, in tackiest holiday sweater I can find between now and then.

* Wednesday, December 9, I won't be going to the DC Blogger Meetup at Madam's Organ in DC at 7pm. Instead, I'll be going to the DC Blogger Meetup at Mezza Luna in DC at 7pm. (See, the meeting venue has changed.)

I think that covers what I'm not going to for now.