Last Wolf Trap show

We went to the last Wolf Trap show of the summer last night (but not the last outdoor show, that’s Coldplay on the 30th). Jill worked Saturday night, so I got up when she went to bed. Made some egg sandwiches while watching “Battlestar Galactica” (nice ending), then I took Illa out back with me on a lead as I cleaned the grill, swept the deck and patio, and trimmed the bushes. Then I brought him around front as I trimmed in front, weed wacked the lawn, and brought the brush around back. Next, I took him on his least favorite walk ever, as I was the one stopping every couple feet to trim (we’ve got these annoying thorny plants everywhere, and I’m getting tired of him dragging me through them).

He was zonked after an hour and a half outside, and I kicked back and enjoyed watching the Redskins eke one out over da Bears. Jill got up and we headed over to Wolf Trap. We had reservations at Ovations, the restaurant there. We’d never been, but I had a $20 coupon there, so we tried it. We both had the buffet, partly because most of their entrees were served as part of the buffet. The food was pretty good, but the desserts were great (they’re the same people that own Georgia Brown’s). It’s not often I go back for seconds – good thing I went back to boot camp today.

Joe Bonamassa opened, and he was great – reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughn. The crowd was there for B.B. King, and let him know it. He strolled out after his band played a couple songs, and let us know quickly that though he may need to sit down on stage and he turns 80 this week, he’s still got a nimble fingers and a quick wit. Good show, and a nice night for it – you could barely feel the chill starting to get into you by the end.

Fall schedule

Mostly to remind myself after reading two long articles on the new TV season.

Sunday 8PM West Wing and Simpsons: Watch West Wing (which had a resurgence last season with the new presidential contenders played by Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda), record Simpsons.
Sunday 9PM Desperate Housewives and Family Guy (and maybe American Dad): Watch the housewives (I favor serials), record the others.
Monday: nothing
Tuesday 8PM Bones: Not sure about this, but I gotta give David Borneaz a chance in his first post-Angel show
Tuesday 9PM Command In Chief and My Name Is Earl/Office: Still torn on this – Geena Davis as the prez, or Jason Lee as a scuzzball makes good and Steve Carell in a pitch perfect portrayal of a Pointy Headed Boss?
Wednesday 9PM Lost: The one I’m looking forward to the most, but we also just got the DVD of the first season, and been watching the extras – didn’t realize they’d purchased an actual jetliner and shipped it to Hawaii to use as a set.
Wednesday 10PM Invasion: One of several alien invasion shows, give it a shot
Thursday 8PM Alias and Smallville and Everybody Hates Chris: Watch Alias, record Smallville, not sure about Chris (though I did get a DVD of the first ep).
Thursday 9PM Night Stalker: Remake of the ’70s show that heavily influenced the X-Files by one of the X-Files producers
Friday 9PM Threshold: The other alien invasion show I want to see, getting good reviews.

TV weekend

At least, it seems that way. Friday night, I watched the 1 hour Katrina telethon on the broadcast nets. Pretty good (for some reason, Mary J. Blige singing “One” with U2 was really appropriate), and I liked that both the Foo Fighters and Garth Brooks covered CCR. I decided to hold off on “Battlestar Galactica” and recorded it while I read and walked the dog, started laundry, and cooked bacon and made BLTs. Had to watch Bill Maher, though – him and Jon Stewart have been especially good the past week, as they have some new villians to sharpen their wits on. I finished the paper and started EW, walked the dog one more time, then put him to bed and hopped online for a bit.

I slept in to 11, then got up, showered, stretched, and walked Illa. I started watching “Shark Tale” (cute movie, worth seeing once) while I made an omelette, then played with Illa and folded laundry. I read some of the paper and a PVP book while I watched the Brad Paisely/John Mayer Crossroads, then discovered Jill and I were 1-1 on laundry disasters. She left a pen in the wash that got all over a pillowcase and one of my efo cruise shirts and a pair of pants, and I managed to so overload the washer that water was leaking out the front – I had to scramble to contain it. A nice long walk for Illa, then I made steak faijtas for dinner. Jill was behind on sleep, so she just woke up in time to get dinner and go. I had started watching “The Grudge” while cooking, and finished it after cleaning up. My first time watching one of the new breed of Japanese horror movies, and well done. Pretty spooky, but a lot less of Sarah Michelle Gellar than I’d thought (miss my Buffy fix). Have to check out “The Ring” next.

Just finished watching the four hour MTV Katrina telethon (Trent Reznor and Fiona Apple my faves so far – why no cover of “When The Levee Breaks”?) and writing this and working on an eBay auction – got extra Coldplay tix because I couldn’t get tix in the 100s on the off chance Jill might try the general admission pit, but she wants to sit, and I’m selling Spamalot tix for a friend of my mom’s. Tomorrow I’ll watch the Skins (a whole season in hi-def) and hopefully “Battlestar Galactica” before we go see BB King at Wolf Trap (we’re going to try the restaurant there instead of picnicking).

Layover

I saw my sister for the second time this summer as she had a 4 hour layover today between the second leg of her flight from Ghana and her final leg home to Charleston. I left work a little early – Sharon had gotten through customs and my mom was picking her up to meet at my house. Mom and Sharon met Illa for the first time (and I forgot to post a photo of him and Dad last week).

We went to Amphora’s to grab dinner. Hadn’t been back there since the rehearsal dinner. The food was excellent, as always. Jill and I split a cobb salad, then she had the gyro and I had tex-mex eggrolls. It was good to see Sharon, as the next time we see her will be October at the earliest. She’s asked us to come down to Charleston for Thanksgiving – we’ll see if everyone can do it.

Jazz and Wine

The Herndon Labor Day Jazz and Wine festival was Monday. We picked Illa up from the kennel around noon, then took him to my mom’s house. He relished the chance to go bounding around the yard. We went back home and relaxed for a couple minutes before heading over.

The festival happens on the same space as the Herndon Festival. We paid our admission ($15 for the tasting one), and I headed straight for the new acoustic stage. Held at the end of where it meets, Eric Scott was about to go on. I’d seen him before at Rock Bottom Brewery in Ballston. He plays with Deanna Bogart sometimes. More importantly, accompanying him was Kajun Kelley, a local virtuoso guitarist who made a solo CD 10 years ago I’ve always enjoyed. They made some fine music together. Jill did some tastings while they played, then joined me for the end of their set. Our friends Stuart and Janice came by, then we went and did more tastings after the set was over. I even bought a bottle of wine, from the Williamsburg Winery. We caught about half the set of the next artist, Pops Walker. Gritty blues, pretty good, then we’d enough of standing around in the sun and headed home.

First anniversary

Thursday morning we packed the car, got Illa in, and drove off to Seven Corners where the malamute rescue keeps their dogs. We decided on the car trip that we would adopt him, and called Lezlie the next day to let her know (we pick him up tomorrow). We stopped in Fredricksburg where gas was $2.69 a gallon on the Exxon ($2.99 across the street at the Mobil – go figure). No traffic, so we were in Williamsburg by 11:30, in the colonial area by noon. We bought the midlevel pass, good for two days, that let us hit the Governor’s Palace, Capitol, DeWitt Museum and the Public Hospital. First stop was the Governor’s Palace, where we only waited about two minutes for a tour. Long one, too, as the hostess gave us details about the pre and post war happenings there. Next, we shot down to the Duke of Gloucester Street for lunch at Chowning’s Tavern. Ok food, I had a roast beef sandwich and Jill had a cheeseburger. We continued down the street, stopping by several shops and the milliner. Jill exchanged shop talk with the apothecary, then we strolled down to the Capitol. They were doing a tour in 20 minutes, so we went to the gunsmith for a while first. The Capitol tour was nice – they had three different guides for each house and the upstairs rooms. Next, we took a shuttle bus over to the hospital, also known as the insane asylum. Then we went downstairs to the De Witt museum, but didn’t stay too long. My feet were getting awfully sore, and after we saw the African American religious exhibit, I sat down at a shuttle stop while Jill checked out some more stores and exhibits. I took some more pictures, then sat down, reading downloaded web sites on my phone and people watching. Jill was worn out by that point as well, so we rode the bus back to the visitor center and went to the hotel.

We hadn’t booked anything by Monday, so I went and booked us into the Travelodge, since it a) had a jacuzzi and b) was .2 miles from the colonial area. What a mistake that was. Both the jacuzzi and pool were closed (which wouldn’t have mattered anyway since Jill has a near open wound – D’oh!), and it was at least a mile, maybe two from the colonial area. And it turns out Jill doesn’t feel safe in motels, and the only working ice machine was on the third floor of the other building (as I was told by some guy with a Russian accent). We got over it, and relaxed. Jill finished the book she’d brought, and bemoaned the fact she had brought no other books. I grinned and asked her if perhaps she’d like her anniversary gift early. She stared at me suspiciously as I hauled out a duffel bag and dropped it on the bed with a thump. She unzipped it only to see about 30 books from her favorite mystery series. I even had a complete list of what she had and what she needed. She then got out my gift – 3 Redskins tix for the Chargers game after Thanksgiving (and a partial birthday gift as well). Very nice, and we’ll try to get my Dad to join us.

Later, we got ready for dinner. Jill had chosen to eat at Christiana Cambell’s Tavern near the Capitol. We showed up a little early and waited on the porch, next to a large and obnoxious family – luckily we weren’t seated near them. Jill had the house “salet” and a seafood pastry, and I had an appetizer extravaganza – the salad, plus the crab soub, baked shrimp and spinach and fried oysters with bacon relish. That’s right – bacon relish. Pretty tasty. The best thing was the bread – biscuits and sweet potato muffins. Of course my reliability as a witness may be a bit suspect as I got blitzed on a “Rummer” – dark rum mixed with peach and apricot brandies with a splash of lime and a cherry in a big glass. Oh and a beer – Jill had to take the remainder of her half bottle of wine back to the room to drink.

Friday we planned on getting out early to avoid any beach traffic. Of course we didn’t make it out until 11, so we decided we’d get breakfast once we made it over the James and past any bottlenecks at the bridge-tunnels. Since “you can’t spit without hitting” a pancake house in Williamsburg in Jill’s memorable words, we thought we’d hit one soon after we got into Portsmouth and got on 17. Wrong – unless we were looking for a Rent-A-Center, check cashing place, or Popeye’s, we were out of luck, so we continued down 17 to Elizabeth City. The plan was we’d have lunch in Elizabeth City, then kill some time until 7 when Rusty and Meredith were scheduled to arrive. Once we saw Elizabeth City, we decided to head east towards the Outer Banks – there was one restaurant on the waterfront in Elizabeth City, and it didn’t look like a place we could kill 5 hours.

Now I hadn’t been to the Outer Banks before, and perhaps I have some misconceptions (it seems like everytime someone cuts me off, it’s a asshat in a SUV with an OBX sticker on it). It took us about an hour to get there, and we stopped at the visitor center in Kitty Hawk. The lady there gave us a map to the Wright memorial, and when we asked where to have a nice lunch on the water, advised us to go to the Black Pelican on Kitty Hawk Rd. It turns out the Black Pelican has a Wright Brothers connection (it was a Western Union building when they took their first flight, and they sent telegrams from it), but the food was great. We split a greek salad, then each had a pizza – shrimp and scallop for me, Landlover’s (pepperoni and andouille sausage) for Jill. That and a beer totally hit the spot. Then we parked next door and went across the street to the beach, where we went into the ocean for a while, then stretched out on the sand and read. About 5, when the sun started setting, we went to the Wright memorial and walked through the small building with a replica plane, then visited the actual spot. For some reason that moved me more than anything I saw at Williamsburg. I’d gotten the call that Rusty was almost there, so we headed back. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much traffic coming in at that point.

We went through Elizabeth City again, and soon were in Hertford, a small town (2 traffic lights) just off 17. Meredith’s parents owned a nice house (known as the Newby house after the first owner in 1905) on the banks of the Perquimans River there. We got our stuff in from the car, and hung out as Rusty grilled burgers and Meredith made a salad. We ate and chatted and drank beers late into the night. Rusty is an old fraternity brother and a longtime friend (as well as one of my groomsmen), and it was good to catch up in a one-on-one setting that we don’t usually get the time to do. Of course after they went to bed, Jill and I were up another couple hours reading.

Saturday morning I was awakened by Rusty and Meredith moving furniture. I recalled them mentioning that the night before, so I whipped the previous night’s clothes on and helped them get the furniture (from Rusty’s grandmother) upstairs (they were still furnishing and finishing the house). Rusty had to return the trailer, so I showered, then got some cereal and an english muffin. Next I went down by the banks of the river to read. I was trying to keep a book a day pace on vacation, and only just finshed my first and started my second then (rerearding my way through Terry Pratchett, “Men At Arms” anf “Feet Of Clay”). After Rusty returned, we took a quick tour of the town (Jill enjoyed the antique shops). We had some lunch after that, Rusty and Meredith had some sandwiches, and everyone had some of the eggplant and squash we brought after Jill cut it up and I sauteed them in olive oil and Mrs. Dash (the spice selection was a bit limited). Everyone read through the afternoon, though I was the only one who wanted to be right next to the water, and Jill returned to one of the antique shops for a silver coffee set she’d decided she wanted.

I finished my second book, and read all the way through my third, Neil Peart’s “Travelling Music”. Neil is the drummer from Rush, and this his third book. They’re all travel books, but totally different. “Masked Rider” is about a bike trip to Cameroon, West Africa in 1988, and “Ghost Rider” is the best one so far about recovering from the devastating impact of losing his daughter and wife back to back and how he rode 55,000 miles on his motorcycle to see if there was a reason to keep going. “Travelling Music” is ostensibly about a trip he took from Santa Monica to Big Bend, Texas and the music he listened to, but it’s close to a memoir as he relates how music and travelling has guided his entire life. An intriguing read, especially if you’re a Ruch fan, but the way the narrative jumps back and forth makes for trick reading unless you’re a big Heinlein fan.

I finsihed with enough time to get ready for dinner. We had reservations for 6:30 at the Beechtree Inn just east of Hertford. We were there early enough to get a private room, which was nice. We all had the prime rib, and I had the she-crab soup while Jill had a portabello mushroom barley soup. She split a bottle of merlot with Rusty whiel I had a local ale. Jill enjoyed a chocolate chambord cake and forced me to have some. Very nice place and the owner herself came and waited on our table. After we got back, we had an epic battle of Trivial Pursuit, at least 3 hours long and culminating in a trivia off between Jill and I. Next we tried Uno, which was taking forever until we discovered the rules we’d all been playing by forever (if you can’t play, you pull cards until you can) weren’t the official ones (only draw one per turn unless a draw two or draw four has been played), and we finished that game quickly as well as another one (ok, I won them all). We were pretty tired, and headed for bed (and more reading).

We got up the next morning and read for a little (I finshed my next book, back to Pratchett and “Interesting Times”) then went to brunch at Dotty’s in town. I enojoyed my sausage and egg wrap and sticky bun, but Jill didn’t like her “Belgian” waffle (ordinary waffle with no whipped butter and real maple syrup as promised). We packed up the house later, then read for a last little bit before leaving (I didn’t want to start anything big so I read the first volume of PVP). We got on the road about 1:30 going our separate ways. We reversed the way we’d come down, quickly getting into Virginia and past Williamsburg. We stopped a bit past for a bathroom break and so I could drive (she’d been driving the whole trip before that). I drove up to Fredricksburg, where we stopped for gas around 4:30 at the same Exxon (now $3.29), then kept on going up 95 to the Fairfax County Parkway. We stopped at Starbucks in Burke for another bathroom break and fuel for Jill, then she drove the rest of way home (would have been home at 6PM but we stopped for groceries).

We brought everything in and put the food away, then Jill decided she was in the mood for the buffet at Charlie Chang’s, which almost never happens (I love buffets, and she’s mostly not fond of them), so I took full advantage of that, and got my money’s worth. After we got back, Jill went online while I put this together, then I started uploading the pictures from the trip. Right before midnight (since the actual anniversary was today), we shared the two cupcakes we’d saved from the wedding, as well as some carrot cake we got today (since the groom’s cake disappeared without a trace 10 minutes after it was cut). A very nice anniversary weekend, and now we’ve got tomorrow free for the Labor Day Jazz and Wine fest.

NOLA

I really can’t add much to the horror that this disaster has become. Just that like Peter David said, it’s a personal impact now as we know some of those people after visiting two years ago. We’re wondering how Matt Easley, owner of Creole Cottage and many others are doing now. I think I’ll be doing what I did after the tsunami, which is waiting to see which relief organinzations need help after the initial surge fades in a couple weeks.

Update on NOLA musicians here.

Interesting rant from Kanye West on Friday’s NBC telethon:

Comedian Mike Myers was paired with West for a 90-second segment that began with Myers speaking of Katrina’s devastation. Then, to Myers’ evident surprise, West began a rant by saying, “I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they’re looting. See a white family, it says they’re looking for food.”

While allowing that “the Red Cross is doing everything they can,” West declared that government authorities are intentionally dragging their feet on aid to the Gulf Coast. Without getting specific, he added, “They’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.” After he stated, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” the camera cut away to comedian Chris Tucker.

West’s comment about the president was cut from NBC’s West Coast airing, which showed three hours later on tape.

Insightful comment about the media, as this bears out.