Friday, July 31, 2015

Library of Congress Moving Pictures and Sound Recordings Packard Campus in Culpeper Virginia

We love movies. In Milwaukee we used to go to one almost every Sunday - probably because in the winter it was the best recreation for us on a freezing winter day. But we grew up on movies - at the drive in and with my family for Sunday matinees. Since we moved to DC, we haven't even been inside a movie theater. We usually rent new features through cable, but more likely record on the DVR and watch one when we feel like it. I particularly like movies from the 40's. So for anyone who likes moving pictures, a ride to Culpeper Virginia to the Library of Congress Moving Pictures and Sound Recordings location was a treat. It's even more of a treat when you are able to go as part of your work. Some of my colleagues needed to meet vendors there for some business, and several of us went along for the ride. It took about two hours on the Library's bus for about ten of us to travel there from DC. The main purpose of the campus is to house old flammable nitrate film in vaults that are maintained at freezing temperatures. The oldest film is from the 1890's! Any one who ventures in to the vaults needs to wear Wisconsin like winter clothing. And for that reason alone it is one place I would not care to work. Many of the classics are there including the Three Stooges, and old Frankenstein films of which Quentin Tarantino browsed; Ginger Rogers personal collection, stored Disney masterpieces, RKO studio films. Everywhere are old movie posters and sound & recording experts who convert sound and film from and to new and old devices of all kinds. A 1920's film was being restored while we watched. The place was a bank vault at one time out in the middle of no where.  It's amazing to think all of the items we didn't see. If you live in the area, free films are shown every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - with an organ if needed. I'm not sure I would have gone there otherwise, but it was a great way to spend a day at "work." Can you imagine doing that for a living?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Architect of the Capitol

A couple days ago I posted a few pictures of the Capitol on Instagram. It was noticed by the Architect of the Capitol. It's not unusual for subjects to be noted by the owner of whatever is highlighted. So I blogged about the fact that it was noted by the AOC, and shortly thereafter the blog was favorited by the Architect of the Capitol. I'd like to see how long I can keep this conversation running! It's not too difficult to capture images of the Capitol building living on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. I have many of the images posted on Fine Art America in all seasons of the year. It's hard to believe we live only a couple blocks away from all this. It's certainly nothing like Wisconsin. Some days I'm not sure if that's good or bad. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Architect of the Capitol and Instagram

It's nice to get noticed. I post a lot of photos to Instagram. And living in Washington DC on Capitol Hill makes it easy to find scenes and activities to photograph. I recently put a few Capitol building pictures up and they were liked by the Architect of the Capitol. It's happened before - parkmobile liked a blog entry and the Sackler gallery liked a Persian new year entry. I've even had Comcast respond to an unhappy customer comment. Aside from the fact that I love everything digital, all the social media outlets make it even more fun. And I actually work occasionally with folks from the Architect of the Capitol and know someone who just retired from there. That makes it even more personal. And they are the Capitol Building experts. It is nice to be noticed!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Oral B Pulsar Toothbrush

He wasn't sure why it was so expensive. When my husband went grocery shopping he brought home some fancy toothbrushes. When I looked at the label, they were battery operated toothbrushes - no wonder they were so expensive. I'm sure he was just looking for a soft headed and interesting looking toothbrush and ended up with this value pack. Neither one of us has ever used an automatic instrument. We both pretty much depended on the good old fashioned method - using your hand to brush up, down & sideways and floss to make sure. So I took the green one and he took the purple one. The darned thing is as good as long as the battery lasts - approximately three months. I can't see if I can tell the difference but it definitely feels weird - like a bumble bee in your mouth and carpel tunnel in the wrist. We always get new tooth brushes every six months with routine dental visits. I suppose time will tell if this approach is worth it but so far I am not impressed. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Capitol Dome From Two Sides

Last Friday we walked over to the Capitol grounds because it was such a beautiful evening. During the summer months there are always military band concerts on the steps. It's a free event and tourists and locals gather alike to listen to the music and take in the sights. On the way over, it's close to sunset and the Capitol grounds take on a splendid scene. During the evening I took several photos of the same view, without thinking much of it. When I got home something stuck out in the photos, and I started to play with my Instagram layout app. Taking two similar photos at different settings and times of the day, I placed them half and half next to each other, flipped one to mirror the same side, resized them to match, and created a different view altogether. They both show the Capitol dome in somewhat of a unique presentation. It also highlights the notion that you can do just about anything with the right amount of imagination using the applications that are now readily available. This sort of thing would have taken quite some time to complete on a desktop using Picture It all those years ago. Using my ipad and the Instagram app was a snap. It's really just another form of art. I just wish I had more time in the day to experiment with it. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

South Mountain Creamery and Great Falls Creamery

I didn't really pay that much attention to the white boxes sitting in front of the front doors on our walk this morning until I noticed there were more than just a few. They looked to be what I once knew as the old milk boxes that we actually had on our front porch in New England when I was a youngster. I remember them being aluminum, or something shiny like that. On the face of the box was written South Mountain Creamery. So when we got home I looked it up and couldn't believe that people really want their dairy products delivered to their door? It's not only dairy, but meat and juice and bread, etc. I suppose folks who never experienced the real thing out of necessity feel the need to experience it out of I'm not sure what. It reminded me of another creamery sign in Great Falls that we saw a couple days ago. I didn't pay that much attention to it either. So I looked that place up today and saw that it is an ice cream parlor that also happens to sell dairy products in the store. That seemed to make a little more sense. I do remember going out to Michael's dairy for ice cream as a kid - vanilla was my favorite. And dairy farms have a certain appeal. Having lived in Wisconsin for thirty years certainly made us even more aware of cows and dairy products - especially when we visited the state fair. But to go through all the hassle of dairy product delivery in this day and age in glass bottles? I just don't get it - especially when it's in the 90's outside. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Leaf and Fern Textures and Patterns - Swiss Cheese?

On a recent tour of the US Botanical garden, we learned a lot about the secrets of the place and hope to return for the underground visit to see all the behind the scenes operations. We have been here many times - before we moved to DC  - and since we moved here. In Milwaukee, we visited the Chicago Botanical garden quite regularly. One can always find a lot of ideas to incorporate in your own personal space on a much smaller scale from these well thought out gardens. But this visit highlighted some of the more obvious and not so obvious items in the various spaces that are created to support a particular plant's needs to prosper and grow. The Swiss Cheese plant leaves had "swiss cheese" holes in it so the leaves under it can also receive the sunlight, rain, and nutrients to survive. In the "dinosaur" section, the leaves and ferns took on a very different feel when we were asked to look at the undersides. The patterns and textures simply can't be replicated. They were all so artistically spellbinding as any painting I've seen. As green is my favorite color, they looked even better. Whenever we've been here before we rushed through this part of the garden because it is all green and "ferny." I'm glad we didn't this time. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

A US Botanical Garden Guided Tour

We've been to the US Botanical Garden many times since we moved and several times before we moved to Capitol Hill. But this was the first time we had a guide take us through the gardens - on a lunch break - arranged by our office manager. It was a beautiful day as we walked about two blocks over from the Library along Independence Avenue. It was a small group so it was even more interesting - none of the others had been there before! There were cooking demonstrations going on in  the main building, amidst the citrus display. It was all about tomatoes. Our guide pointed out things that we've passed by - artificial trees being strangled by the strangler fig; how each "room" is regulated with great sophistication; how the dessert section blooms at night when there are no visitors; the "pets" that get released in to the gardens (especially the scaled types); an original South African tree from the original 1830's expedition whose purpose was to collect plants and specimens from all over the world; the Swiss cheese leaves that have a reason for the way they look; showing us ferns that "hide" when they are touched; and plans for the 2015 Christmas train display and future exhibits. The botanical garden was the only other structure beside the original Capitol building in 1810. Things have certainly changed. But one thing remains - everyone loves the outdoors and the beautiful flowers and plants around them. And it's just so pleasant!