Friday Morning


Originally uploaded by Karon

Dawn at the Tidal Basin

I was at the Tidal Basin before 7am today to photography the cherry blossoms.  Sunrise is lovely but the effort it takes to get up that early just convinces me more than ever that I am not a morning person.  It did turn out to be nice if rather overcast and I never needed the umbrella I had brought with me.  The lighting really wasn’t very good for photos the first couple hours thanks to overcast skies except for about a wonderful 10 minute stretch where the sun came out from the clouds and hit the Jefferson memorial beautifully.  I think the whole morning will be worth the photos I got then.

I was interviewed by the Weather Channel.  Or Channel 7 doing interviews for the Weather Channel.  Not sure which.  But we had a nice chat about the trees and how it wasn’t quite yet peak thanks to the cooler weather the last few days and they they took some close up shots of me taking photos for the “B roll”.  I assume I was coherent but it was still really, really early so I’m not entirely sure.

Another benefit of being there at such an ungodly hour was I had the Jefferson Memorial to myself for a few minutes.  By the time I got around to the Roosevelt Memorial the tour buses of high school kids were out in force.  But the sun came out then and for the last stretch of the circle around the basin I even had blue skies.  I was stopped by two family groups and asked to take photos of them.  That is about average.

The plan after the tidal basin was to have a big breakfast at Les Halles or that restaurant at the Willard.  However it was after 11am so I went for the steak frites lunch special at Les Halles.  The plan was also to go over to the garden behind the Smithsonian castle but I was absolutely beat.  I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired when it was only 1pm until it hit me that I had already been downtown over six hours and covered almost five miles.  Tomorrow is a busy day so I came home and had a nap on the couch.  This made the cats very happy.

Now I am awake and starting to dig through all the photos I took.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Originally uploaded by Karon

Thanks to egg sleeves I picked up in the wonderful gift shop at HIllwood, I have fancy hardboiled eggs for lunches this week. The Palekh style ones are lovely but I particularly like the creepy big-eyed waifs holding icons.

It was another lovely Hillwood tour on Saturday even if the weather wasn’t great for touring the gardens. There were a few more people in our tour group than usual thanks to a docent shortage. One docent had become suddenly ill. Another docent, the native Russian speaker, had to be pulled to do a private tour for the Russian Cultural Minister. He showed up without letting anyone know he was coming over. HIllwood has one of the largest Russian art collections outside Russia so I expect this must happen often to them.



Originally uploaded by Karon

Yay, spring is here. I don’t know why this winter has bothered me so considering it was rather mild but I have been anxiously awaiting spring. Seeing the trees blooming in front of Whole Paycheck made my day Friday night so I walked over Saturday afternoon to get some shots.

The Pogues


The Pogues are a band I have wanted to see in concert for about 22 years – ever since Ronnie put “Haunted” and “Dirty Old Town” on a mix tape for me. For a decade there it seemed like I would never get the chance, at least not with Shane MacGowan in the band. Who didn’t expect him to drink himself to death sometime during the 1990s. But amazingly he has survived. He reminds me a bit of a George Romero shuffling zombie or a 90 year old man in the way he moves. He can’t quite follow a set list but Spider Stacy sets him straight when he announces the wrong song. But he can still sing. He can still work a crowd. And the band puts on one hell of show.

It was particularly nice to see The Pogues at the 930 Club. I got there early enough that I had a good spot up on the balcony close to the front of the stage and pretty much just didn’t move. Shane and Spider traded out lead singer duties for most of the show with Phil Chevron singing “Thousands Are Sailing” and the drummer Andrew Ranken covering Irish Rover during one of the encores. Two encores meant the band played for almost two hours. They closed with “Fiesta” complete with head vs. tin pan percussion. It was a marvelous show and I am so glad I decided to spend the money when the tickets went on sale.

The Urban Voodoo Machine

Urban Voodoo Machine was the opening act for The Pogues last night and they were marvelous.  I’m going to post my thoughts on The Pogues later but since Urban Voodoo Machine has a show at The Red and The Black Tuesday night I wanted to get this posted.  They are such a fun live band.  Very high energy but that is to be expected with a band that includes two drummers, violin, trumpet and a gorgeous woman with a gong.  The music is in the vein of Brian Setzer Orchestra/Squirrel Nut Zippers but with a decided gothic turn.  Here is what The Red and The Black website states and I would say it is a very apt description.

With their lurching sea shanties, debauched murder ballads and whiskey-soaked gypsy stomps, some reckon they’re from the stable of stallions such as Tom Waits and Nick Cave; others point out the ‘last gang in town’ swagger of The Clash and the hellhound blues that JL Hooker first dragged out of the swamp. But comparisons aside, as Paul-Ronney says himself – “we play Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’n’Stroll and we do it mighty well!”

I have a work function Tuesday night but I’m going to try and make it over afterwards since the show doesn’t start until 9pm.  Anyone walked to Red & Black from Union Station or should I grab a cab?

Revisting the Past

Off to Vespers

Originally uploaded by Karon

I haven’t been posting many photos on Flickr recently because I haven’t been taking any. It has been cold and I am a wimp so I have hardly left the apartment the last couple weekends. As I haven’t had new photos to process I have been going through my old ones and checking for tags. I also decided to get some Moo cards printed up which is when I discovered the London photos I uploaded to Flickr are the low-res versions. I can’t find the high-res versions on either of my drives or my backups but I have the original files in several locations. I decided to take another look at my London trip so that I could switch out the low-res for high.

I wasn’t all that pleased with my London photos when I returned. The skies most of the time I was there were grey. Not a nice dark atmospheric grey but a blown-out, almost white, looks like nothing in a photo, grey. Bleh. But since that trip I have an upgraded computer and better knowledge of photo editing programs. I don’t like making huge changes – I wouldn’t switch out those grey skies for the brilliant blue of another photo’s – but I do like being able to tweak the contrast, saturation and the like. In revisiting my trip I found quite a few more shots that I like. Over the next few days I will be uploading them.

Leftovers for Lunch

Leftovers for Lunch

Originally uploaded by Karon

Packed my lunch for tomorrow using leftovers from tonight. Baked salmon with dill, lentils with roast peppers and lemon infused olive oil and steamed asparagus with lemon peel. The asparagus is of the frozen, steam-in-the-bag in the microwave variety. It ends up a bit mushy but it could be I overcooked it.

There Go the Arteries

One day I will attempt to make these.  The Not Martha blog has full instructions.

Bacon Cups!

Recognize this Sequence?

Here is one for my fellow comic geeks.

If the graphic doesn’t work, click here.