Monday, July 18, 2005

training class and DC weekend review

Reston Town Center turned out to be not as bad a place as I thought. It still bothers me that there's a weird downtown area out in the suburbs of Virginia, but by the time I left I didn't mind the decent restaurants or the convenient access from local highways.

On Wednesday night, Magnus, an old friend from high school who lives in Fairfax, came out to Reston to meet me for dinner. We went to Clyde's, whose menu I knew well from my years living in Georgetown. We spent a long time reconnecting and catching up on old friends from school. He spends far more time in Johnstown than I do, so he knew more about our former classmates than I do. We're still waiting for a class of 1992 reunion, but we both suspect that unless one of us decides to plan it, it's never going to happen.

Thursday was the longest day of class. There was too much material for one day, and one of the hands-on labs had many bugs, so we spent as much time fixing the bugs as we did actually learning about clusters. Taking advantage of the $5 lunch deal from the local restaurants, I had a Pizzeria Uno "Numero Uno" pizza for lunch. I must be getting old, or else I'm not used to eating that much grease at lunch, but the pizza didn't sit right all day. By 4:30, my lab was done and I was ready to hit the road. Rich, one of my college friends, was already out in my area of Virginia, and so he picked me up in front of my hotel. We went to the agreed-upon meeting place of Red, Hot, and Blue in Arlington, where we got an early start on beers and catching up. Rob and Jon met us there about an hour later, and we tucked into appetizers of sausage and cheese plates and chicken wings, followed by platters of ribs and pulled pork. Then we stayed to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game and talk smack (or listen to Rich and Jon, on opposing sides in the game, talk smack to each other). When the game wrapped up around 11, no one wanted to drive me back to Reston, so I caught a cab back to my hotel.

Friday's class went more smoothly than Thursday's, and I made a wiser decision about lunch, so I felt better all day. And while I don't think it's the best balance for the timing of the class, I was pleased when we were done by 2:30 PM instead of the expected time of 3:30 or even 4:00. I had enough time before we would be able to leave work that I took a cab to Georgetown and met my dad there instead of at a downtown Metro stop. We also had time to stop by the bookstore so I could buy an overpriced polo shirt and visit "Uncommon Grounds" for some coffee. I had another "I'm getting old" moment when I saw the signs at UG marking their 10th anniversary. I was a student when the campus coffeehouse opened in 1995, and I occasionally enjoyed their mochas while hanging out with friends. The coffeehouse looks about the same, and I don't think their menu has changed at all. We sat by one of the Leavey Center windows overlooking what's left of the playing fields behind Harbin Hall. Georgetown is starting construction on new buildings for the business and science programs, so the old baseball field is long gone and the soccer field has moved down the hill, and received a new Astroturf topping.

I spent Saturday and Sunday in Bowie visiting my father, stepmother, and brother. Magnus drove out from Fairfax to have dinner with us, and we enjoyed grilled steaks, shrimp and vegetable skewers, and potato salad. I stayed up late watching Saturday's Tour de France coverage on OLN and "borrowing" from my dad's CD collection.

On Sunday we had a brunch of oyster stew, bagels with lox, eggs, fruit salad, and blueberry muffin-bread (blueberry muffin mix baked in a bread pan instead of a muffin tray). My brother, who has been a violinist about as long as I've been a violist, is preparing for an audition for one of his orchestras, so we listened to him play his audition music and some other pieces for us. And then, too early as it always seems, I was on my way home on the train.

No comments: