Hurricane Michael

Got another hurricane in the South, Michael, first Cat 4 to make landfall at the Florida Panhandle.

Orbital view of Michael from the ISS. Helicopter video of flattened homes in Mexico Beach, FL. Photos of the aftermath from Apalachicola Times and The Atlantic.

As of this writing the remnants of Michael, now a tropical storm, are over us in Virginia. It’s raining pretty hard and the soil is nicely soaked so I threw some grass seed out on the lawn to let the storm water it.

Around the Capitol

Living out in the ‘burbs now, I rarely get to enjoy much of DC anymore these days. When I can I try to walk the “scenic route” home, circling past the Capitol before heading for the train station out to my stop in Virginia.

US Capitol
Washington Monument and National Mall

Ominous clouds overhead and behind the Washington Monument this time, as Hurricane Florence, despite being centered far south in the Carolinas, stretches its rain bands up to here.

Recent Donut Roundup

Having a Dunkin’ Donuts counter right at my workplace has certainly been good* for my eating habits. (* — bad) There was last April’s seasonal Cherry Blossom donut, and as September rolls along there’s now a “Festive Fall” Donut.

Festive Fall Donut

Over summer we also had a “Capitals Craze” donut commemorating the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup win

Capitals Craze Donut

…and for Shark Week, a donut with little blue shark-shaped sprinkles.

Shark Week Donut

While I’m at this office I will continue to log my novelty donut consumption.


While at the National Aquarium we picked up a souvenir plush shark for Ezra. Amelia gave it a sniff.

Amelia with Plush Shark

Meanwhile, here is Martha’s face when presented with a catnip fish toy. She is such a goof.

Martha with catnip toy Martha with catnip toy

Back to Amelia, who shows us cat circle theory in action.

Amelia in a Hoop

Sad news: I’ve ended the cat-centric “JonesAndPond” Twitter account I started a couple years ago; if you were following it for pictures of Martha and Amelia, there’s always here, and the Flickr “companionkittens” tag.

National Aquarium, Baltimore

Hopped over to the National Aquarium in Baltimore last Sunday. We wanted to be out of the DC area while the white supremacist rally was on (though it turned out to be a failure) — but even not counting that, we also wanted to take Ezra on his first aquarium trip to see some fish and turtles and sharks.

National Aquarium, Baltimore

I’d forgotten how very linear — and exhausting — the crowd flow in the main “Blue Wonders” part of the Aquarium was, parading you past tank after tank after tank before depositing you in the Rainforest, then ramp down shark alley, and an anticlimactic underwater viewing area all in not-so-quick succession, with only a small upstairs cafe for respite along the way. We knew better and retreated back to the larger cafeteria downstairs for an early lunch when Ezra got cranky, but it wasn’t an easy backtrack through the mazelike layout, nor was the return trip via elevator to where we left off entirely intuitive.

National Aquarium, Baltimore

Still, we saw a nice variety of aquatic wildlife, lots of sharks, plus some golden lion tamarins in the Rainforest. I also learned the giant sea turtle in the reef is named Calypso.

Sand Tiger Shark Golden Lion Tamarins

The main aquarium experience ends with an interactive guestbook where a touchscreen invites you to construct a phrase of up to six words selected from a limited, aquatic/conservation vocabulary, for display on a big projection screen. Ezra mashed at the touchscreen a bit to say SWIM HUMANS HEALTH HEALTH HUMANS.

National Aquarium, Baltimore

I haven’t been to Baltimore for a while and have been terrible about keeping up with friends there. Must come back again.

Baltimore Panorama from Aquarium

More photos here, and a collection of photos from previous trips to the Aquarium here.

Ocean City

Back from Ocean City, MD for a seaside weekend. This was Ezra’s first trip to the beach and his first time to touch an ocean, which he found enjoyable. (I really thought he’d be scared and crying like I was at that age but he literally jumped right in to the experience.)

We stayed at Safari Motel on the boardwalk, slightly old but livable beachfront accommodations with a view of the ocean (if you look sideways from the room) — and a gorilla on the balcony.

Safari Motel, Ocean City, MD

Had a chance to walk along the boardwalk to Trimper’s Rides for Bill Tracy’s classic Haunted House dark ride, which I’ve wanted to ride for years. Would have been too intense for Ezra, however, so he did several rounds on the Wild West Train.

Trimper's Rides, Ocean City, MD
Trimper's Rides, Ocean City, MD

Not having had oysters for a while, I was also glad to try the Chesapeake Steampot, at Hammerheads to get my fill of briny shellfish. Ezra sampled some too.

Chesapeake Steampot, Hammerheads

Other stuff I still want to try for next time: Jolly Roger, Thrasher’s Fries, probably a bunch of other stuff we missed. But for now it felt good to get in the ocean again; it had been a while.

Ezra in the Atlantic