As I mentioned in this space on Wednesday, I spent most of last week in the DC area visiting family and friends. Here are some highlights:
Thursday: I had lunch with two of my old college friends/former roommates at The Quarterdeck in Arlington. The three of us attacked a pile of two dozen crabs and made them disappear over the course of two hours. I would have taken pictures of the feast, but I would have gotten Old Bay seasoning on my camera. Back at home that afternoon, I took a number of photos of flowers in my father's garden. I played with the macro and color filter settings on the camera just to see what would happen. Later that night, my brother and his friend came over for dinner, and then we had a little family concert. I forgot about the weird facial expressions I make while I'm playing the viola.
Friday: my father and I took my cousin to the Air & Space Museum. I hadn't been there in about ten years, but I immediately noticed the addition of the SpaceShipOne and the glider that went around the world in the museum's main hall. My cousin went off to see the space exploration wing, so my dad and I went to see the WWI and WWII planes at the opposite end of the museum. We're aviation geeks, so we noticed changes like that they'd moved the Messerschmidt 262 from the WWII hall to the jet plane exhibit. Also, the Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise now sits in the basement gift shop, instead of in an exhibit hall. I thought it looked better hanging from the ceiling, but in its new glass case I got better close-ups. That night we watched The Blue Max, a movie about German fighter pilots in WWI, starring George Peppard and James Mason. The flying sequences were fantastic, but the accents were not. Since it was an American production, the actors spoke in clipped accents meant to signify them as foreign. However, about 20 minutes in, George Peppard, also playing a German, gave up all pretense of an accent and became Hannibal from The A-Team.
Saturday: I drove out to the Dulles Airport area of Virginia to visit a good friend who recently moved there from New York. I didn't take any photos while I was there, so that explains why there aren't any. I'm still a little disturbed by the "town center" concept of suburban planning, but I'm getting used to the idea, as it's clearly here to stay. Though if I'd moved out to the far western suburbs of DC about ten years ago to get away from civilization, I think I'd be upset that civilization has now expanded out that far. Where my friend lives now was farmland just a few years ago. Now it's townhouses, apartments, and a brand new shopping center. I wonder what kind of character these new neighborhoods will have ten years from now. Right now they're not all that inviting: there's too much space between the large houses, and not enough space between the townhouses. And the town center doesn't offer much in the way of entertainment (though there is a multiplex under construction and presumably more restaurants on the way). I guess if you're moving out that far, you're not looking for different dining options each night. In any case, my friend is ecstatic to be there and out of New York, and I was glad to see the change.