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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Since I was already on the East Coast for a meeting, I figured I'd stay the weekend and seem my Uncle, Aunt and cousins. It just happened that the weekend after the meeting was the same time as the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Perfect timing. My brother decided to come down from NYC and it was a full family affair.

I met up with Blake on Friday afternoon at the American portrait gallery. From there we grabbed some lunch and walked over to the Air and Space museum. We only meant to stop by, but spent a good 2.5 hours wandering the halls. We had visited on our first family trip to DC and some familiar exhibits were still up.

From there we took the train over to the white house and had some amazing evening light to take pictures. Our uncle Charles met us there and we went to dinner and met up with Chris and Carolyn, cousins from another uncle.

We stayed with Charles, Pat and their son Jay that night and Saturday Carolyn met us at their house to go down to the Rally. I don't know if any of us really knew what to expect, but when we got to the subway station, the line was 100 yards long. We knew it was going to be a crowded day. After spending an hour in line to get a ticket, we finally made it onto the platform and the waiting train. For the first few stops people packed in pretty tight, and eventually turned to shouting NO at each stop that people wanted to join. I was glad we started from the end of the line.

They had only predicted 60,000 people would show up, but when we got there, I think there was closer to 200,000. At least 3 times their prediction. We started near the front and eventually filed in near the doors of the Air and Space museum. I bet we were about half way back. We made it to the near middle which was actually roomier then the crowded sides. We could barely see the stage from where we were, so really it was more like watching it on TV with a couple thousand friends.

There were jokes, music and presentations. Two of my favorite were the benediction by Guido Sarducci and Joseph Islam (Cat Stevens) singing Peace Train. He has certainly aged better then Bob Dylan. The first hour of the show was great, the second hour the performances seemed more put together by a producer. Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples sang, and they are pushing a new album, then Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow sang a new song and will probably be pushing an album soon. The awards were great and I think the Detroit pitcher was the most deserving. We left as Jon Stewart gave his closing speech. It took us under an hour to get from the Mall back to the car, which would have been much longer later. We all kept expecting Bruce Springsteen to show up, but he never did.

We had went out for a fun dinner at a japanese restaurant that cooks in front of you and went back to watch the Rangers win and UT loose.

It was a great weekend and a lot of fun hanging out with family. Traveling for work has lots of upsides.

Shepherdstown, WV

While my counterpart has been away, I have been acting as the GIS Manager for the Nevada State Office. It's been busy with the extra responsibility, and allows me to travel for more meetings. Most recently, I got to spend a week in Shepherdstown, WV for the BLM GIS Mangers meeting for all the states. It was busy planning out the BLM GIS objectives for 2011. We had a very successful 2010 in integrating GIS with a few programs and creating BLM wide datasets.

I won't try to explain what that means, but the place we got to meet in was amazing. It was at the National Conservation Training Center, off of the Potomac. The fall colors of the leaves were at their peak and the weather was nice and cool. We spent much of our time in planning meetings and small groups, but the walks between meals were gorgeous.

It kind of felt like summer camp, except this one included a bar. We had all of our meals together, met together and then relaxed in the evening together. Most of the time we just talked about work. It was really great networking, but was pretty exhausting.

Thursday afternoon we took a field trip to the nearby Antinetam Battlefield. It was the first large battle of the Civil War and the most single day casualties on America soil. Around 23,000 people lost their life that day. Standing there on a beautiful fall day, it was hard to believe such calamity occurred.

Being in the area reminded me of being on the AT again, I hope I can go to more meetings there.


Last February I bought a house in Reno. It needed a little work which is why I haven't put up many pictures. The biggest thing it needed was to have the exterior painted. At first I was going to try doing it myself and put a lot of time into it, my mom even came out to help. I began to realize that it was to big of a project for me, so I hired someone to come out and finish. It's great to compare the picture I took when I was looking at houses to what it looks like now.

Here are some pictures of the living room as well. I found that couch on craigslist for 200 dollars which inspired an upgrade to everything else.

Next up is completing the basement. I don't think I'll have very many before pictures which is unfortunate, but the after shots should be good.