Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2nd HDR Attempt

This is my latest HDR experiment. If you can't tell, it's the National Harbor. I really hope this is an improvement from the last one!

Until the Cherry Blossoms on Saturday,

Monday, March 29, 2010

Manhunt: Deep Creek

Click to view the larger image:


Bonnaroo Prep: Footwear

Lots of discussion has been had about what footwear to bring to Bonnaroo, because of the amount of mud and walking present at the concert.

People have reported lots of injured or sore feet issues, and as a result, the recommended footwear has been Crocs. Even the folks who recommend Crocs agree that they are gross, and that they are ONLY worn during Bonnaroo. Gross but effective. I searched for another alternative.

What I found were these Pumas at the Puma Outlet. Totally lightweight (like Crocs) and they look and feel like they're made of the same (Croslite) material as Crocs too.

There are plenty of breathable portholes all over.

And they seem to have a shock absorbing sole, like Crocs.

They still make me feel like I'm wearing nurse's shoes, like Crocs. But still cooler than Crocs.

Maybe we can even adorn them with Croc Charms, no?

What are you going to wear to Bonnaroo? Still searching for a more sandal-like alternative,


Sunday, March 28, 2010

10 Things I Learned In Deep Creek MD

This weekend, some of my closest friends and I went to Deep Creek, MD for a fun and relaxing time away from (Washington) DC.

Instead of the regular picture show, how about 10 Things I Learned In Deep Creek:
1. Be sure to bring plenty to drink. Having fun can make you thirsty.

2. Be sure to bring plenty to eat. Use your drinks to wash it down.

3. Have an open mind to try new things. Even if that thing is smelly.

4. Be prepared to see things you've never seen before, like a Menage'a Dog.

5. Bring a game console (xBox, WII or PS3). No matter how many people are there, not everyone will want to do the same thing at the same time. Have options. And assorted games of all kinds.

6. Bring a deck of cards, and other games.

7. Be sure that a member of your party can build and sustain a bonfire.

8. Elect a house mascot. (Like Fozzie Bear below.) Everything is more fun with a mascot. If you've run out of things to do, just look to see what your mascot is doing, and follow suit.

9. Feel free to overdo it. You have to worry about drinking and driving after your buddy's houseparty, but at the end of the night in Deep Creek, you can just hobble to your room without a care in the world.

10. By golly, bring your camera. I swear, most of the things I do are 10 times more exciting for me because I brought my camera.

And here's a bonus: Remember what happened this year, so that you can plan accordingly for next year. That's right, next year--we're going to make this an annual event. I can't wait to do it again!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Un Prophete

Sunday afternoon, my homegirl Sue and I went to see Un Prophete, or, The Prophet, a film that I read about weeks ago and had been anticipating ever since, about a young man who has just been condemned to prison, and cannot read or write. Arriving at the jail entirely alone, he appears younger and more fragile than any of the other convicts, at 19 years old. Cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang currently ruling the prison, he is given a number of missions to carry out, to toughen him up and gain the leaders protection and confidence.

Malik is a fast learner and rises up in the prison ranks, all while secretly devising his own plans.

Watching this movie was suspenseful, because you never knew what the leader of the Corsican gang was going to ask Malik to do next. Keep in mind, he wasn't really asking. At the same time, he treated Malik like a dumb slave, because he was Arab, or, just another brown man, in his eyes.

Although you knew that Malik was somehow smarter than that, you still never knew who he would side with--the gang who protected him in prison (for a price), or the people who helped him learn to read and write.

Un Prophete is a gritty film, full of all the familiar trappings of prison life and what a man must do to protect himself. You feel sorry for Malik, a young man just starting adulthood, and at the outset, you know he's sentenced to six years (although you never discover why) so you want him to make it through his term, without being raped or humiliated.

But the more you find out about him, the more you realize you don't know. He has no family, no one to visit him, loyalties to no one. You don't know if he's Muslim or not. You don't know who his parents are, or where they're from. You DO know that he dropped out of school when he was 11 years old. But why? Is he a man who will never lie? Never steal? Does he make promises and break them? Did he do something admirable or something unforgivable to be sentenced to prison?

Or was he just a dumb young guy who flew by the seat of his pants and everything seemed to work its way out? These are the questions that I was left with at the end that made Malik seem like less of a prophet with a grand scheme and more like a wild yet lucky S.O.B. There were so many moments were Malik could have, and probably should have, been killed and then that would have been the end of it all.

But would he die? Should he die? And if he doesn't, will he ever really make it out of prison alive? Will he make a difference in the world because of what he learned inside? Or will he go back to a life of crime because, as people say, going to prison is like going to Crime School? Maybe having these kinds of questions at the end of a film could be called insightful, but I like answers. Watching everything that Malik had to do and endure was a ride, but knowing why we're going along for the ride would complete this evolution.
See you at Landmark next time,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goodie Mob and Us

Wednesday night, my friends and I ventured out to the Goodie Mob Reunion Concert at the 9:30 Club in NW DC. I'd never been there before, but the seasoned veterans, Nicole and Ryan, showed us the ropes (basically that you get to a 7 pm show at 9:30 for the REAL fun) and we all met up at Busboys and Poets for dinner, about four blocks away from the 9:30 Club.

Busboys and Poets looks like the type of place that poets literally go to write poetry all day long. There are tables of people on their laptops and large groups discussing what I only imagined were topics like literature and cultural events.
Because this place had a bar and a bunch of young people who seemed to be doing more writing (or Facebooking) than eating, I thought the food would be so-so. Boy was I wrong. I ordered a Hawaiian Pizza (minus the Canadian Bacon) and was happy.
But I was even happier with Mike's dish, a chicken panini with caramelized onions and cheese. And sweet potato fries.
Lynda got crabcakes, which she said were good.
Ryan got his "usual", the salmon, so it must be good!

And Nicole got a pear salad. It ALL looked great!

We were full, and it was after 9, so we were off to the club down the street. I wish I could have taken a picture of the cat-sized rat that we saw on the way there, but I wasn't quick enough at the draw.

Anyway, we made it to 9:30 and I got my hand stamped. Does that say 8:15 though?

Although my friend had photos of some awesome 9:30 Club cupcakes from some miscellaneous secret cupcake corner of the club, I discovered that they sell food there too!

B.O.B T-shirts. B.O.B. AKA Bobby Ray (I think that's his whole name) was set to perform just before Goodie Mob.

A girl was singing on stage when we went inside. I don't remember her name though. Nona Skye, Nina Angel, darnit.
Despite her singing, the crowd was growing. You could tell showtime would soon be upon us.
In the meantime, my competitive friends and I fulfilled our photo challenges. We were to take photos of the Biggest Bamma, the Most-Out-of-Place Person, the Drunkest Person and a Wild Card. Here are mine:
Candidate for Biggest Bamma
Candidate for Most-Out-of-Place Person
Candidate for Drunkest Person: Mike
I cheated. I don't think he was actually drunk. Not at that point anyway.
Candidate for Wild Card: Funniest T-Shirt, also Mike

And then...B.O.B. entered the stage. I still have no idea who this guy is, but I guess I could shut up and listen.
He can rap, great. And he's pretty clever, not just garbling about foolishness.
He can sing too?
And he can play the guitar? I'm starting to like this B.O.B guy!
By the end of his performance, I was a fan. He's going to be at Bonnaroo this year in June, and now, I'm totally looking forward to seeing his show!
The ladies loved his performance too! Heck, EVERYONE did!
After an intermission, it was time for Goodie Mob to appear. Check out their DJ.
And then there were four.

They played all of the hits that we remembered, and a bunch that we didn't. Soul Food, Cell Therapy, Beautiful Skin, Get Rich to This, etc. Cee-Lo even did a little bit of "Crazy" before performing "Freak" in his fabulously sequined jacket.
Then, the song we were all waiting for. They Don't Dance No Mo'. It was great.

I can't wait to see more live shows there. I hope to see you at the next concert!