26 October, 2009

1 Down/BE Visit/Keeping Going

Category: Body Electric,Dating,DC,Family,Knitting,Running — Moose @ 8:02 am

No pictures yet, but I finished sock #1 of the set I’m doing from the Braun’s Woods colorway. Fairly pleased with how it came out – the fit is really good. The way the colorway came out was a bit odd – I get a nice spiral up the leg, but the foot alternates between some light striping and two big chunks of pooled colors. Hmmm. I expect the 2nd sock (which has been cast on) will come out about the same.

Dug through stash to see what I might have for some quick hats for the two younger nieces for giftmas. Given my brother’s job situation they’ll get a check from me as the main gift, but something tangible for the little ones is good to do, too. Hopefully the bits of stash I’ve identified will be enough for two hats for them. Oh, and may I say that I am very, very glad I got a ball winder, as that’s making re-packaging yarn to carry with me much, much easier.

Nice weekend here. One of my body electric brothers was in town and crashed here, so got in lots of walking around, playing tourist. I need to go ahead and join the Smithsonian as a supporter of the American Art Museum – I always end up taking people up there rather than the Mall! I especially love some of the crazy folk art stuff on the first floor; we ‘Mericans have managed to come up with some batshitcrazy stuff (as well as some seriously good art, but the batshitcrazy tends to catch the eye). ‘Twas good to catch up with him and reconnect, and I always enjoy playing tour guide in my little city.

Up a bit too late to run this morning, so will do so this evening instead. Will have the advantage of being warmer then, too. Made plans with Mike to head up there the first weekend of December. He’ll be down the weekend after next, so I’ll get to see him soon! There’s a game day that weekend, too, so I get to show him off as well. The holidays will be a little bit crazy, and we briefly toyed with the idea of a visit “home” to his parentals, but it’s a bit soon for that yet. We talk a lot, more than I normally ever like to talk on the phone (friends will confirm I’m more of a texter than a talker), but it’s not felt forced or anything. Still smitten, obviously.

It’s about time for me to go through the Uberlist for this year, catalog what’s been done, what’s yet to be done and is still doable, and what’s completely out. Not quite sure how I’ve done – I haven’t kept up with the list that well this year (in terms of looking it over), but I suspect I’ve done a bit more than I thought I might, realistically. But that’s another post.

22 October, 2009

A Good Way to Spend a Thursday Evening

Category: Club,Commuting,Dating,Knitting — Moose @ 10:33 pm

The club held a seminar on IM training and what not this evening. It was well attended (that it was at a bar, with a private room, helped I’m sure), and was very useful. Little reminders of things I’ve read, confirmation of other things, and some new info. I know I’m going to be doing a lot more posting to our web site with questions this next year as things come up, but it was good to be reminded that I have this incredible resource there, with a great community to turn to when I need ’em.

Was going to bike up there, but decided I didn’t want to deal with Porter Street on my fixie, so I took Metro instead and got in a bunch more knitting on this latest sock. It’s funny, it was pooling pretty randomly when I was doing the little bit of stockinette stitch at the ankle, but since I started a k2p1 rib after a couple inches it’s now doing a very wide spiral up the leg. I guess that little bit of extra yarn made the difference in pooling versus spiraling. The toe, sole increases and the heel all striped up nicely, but I think I’m just slightly off when I’m at the mid-foot and ankle diameters. Weird. Next batch with this particular brand of yarn (Blue Moon’s Socks that Rock) will probably need to be smaller or larger needles (more likely smaller). Not that the pooling didn’t look good, but it’s not as nice as the natural stripes that are supposed to come out of it.

Got to talk to a couple of girls on the way home who were curious about the knitting. That was fun.

Chatted with Mike when I got home. Going to plot out tomorrow morning’s run, lay out my gear, and get my butt to bed now.

21 October, 2009

Settling Back In

Category: Cooking,Dating,DC,Exercise,Food,Friends,Habits,Knitting,Running,Work — Moose @ 9:20 pm

Starting to get back into a routine now after a couple of weeks of head cold, travel, complete abandonment of exercise, etc. Ran Monday and this morning (much to the chagrin of my legs), went to the men’s knitting group tonight and got another inch or so done on the leg of the latest sock, cooked a good meal last night, getting into the groove of the new fiscal year at work, etc. A return to semi-normalcy, which is very welcome.

Part of cooking last night was using my microwave convection oven for the first time as an oven and not just a microwave. I knew they didn’t take as long to cook, but didn’t expect quite how much faster it would be. The little 3 lb turkey breast that the label said should take 2.5-3 hours in the oven took 45-60 minutes in the microwave convection oven, and came out quite nicely. Color me impressed. Add to that the butternut squash, roasted in the normal oven, and some asparagus to go with and it was a nice little meal, with some good leftovers. I need to cook more, and this was partly an experiment to see how easily I could cook up something like the turkey breast for taking into work instead of buying the deli meat sandwiches and all the filler they have in them.

Before heading out to the knitting group I raided my stash and managed to find the yarn I was going to make into a scarf last spring (improvised design, didn’t work). I have found a better pattern which is almost exactly what I was envisioning for myself, so was good to find existing stash for it. I should catalog the stash again, and add in all the new sock yarn from the summer, but meh. Also managed to find some stash for a couple of other gift projects. Score.

Spending time with Mike this past weekend was wonderful. Still very much smitten there, and looking forward to seeing how it grows. We just fit together well, and he makes me want to be better.

Running’s getting going again because I have a race in two months, and I will be prepared for this thing and its hills, come hell or high water. Fridays are going to start being hill workout days – heading up toward the Mall via L’Enfant Promenade (that dreadful monstrosity of I.M. Pei’s), and if I can get far enough, up around the ‘hill’ around the Washington Monument. This is the problem with having moved down to the river – it’s relatively flat here, and thus harder to train on hills without traveling. We’ll see how this Friday goes.

Friends visiting over the next three weekends, including Mike in early November. Busy times, and good stuff to do – will help get me out of the apartment, and back into a social groove. While I am doing the IM in August, I need to better balance a social life of sorts, no matter how limited, and settle back into a better pattern of living.

13 October, 2009

Physical Results/the Other ADA

Category: Body,Health,Work — Moose @ 9:57 pm

Got the results in from last week’s annual physical this morning. Cholesterol is a little higher than last year, but not yet “high”. Getting toward the “should watch it, perhaps” range. Vitamin D was on the low end of normal (meaning I need to be more consistent in taking my multivitamin, since it has D, and I don’t otherwise drink D-fortified cow’s milk). Everything else was perfectly normal, as expected. The annual dermatologist appointment is tomorrow morning, to do the skin check for odd spots. Gotta love getting older.

Tomorrow I have the unenviable task of telling work folks that if we screw up on a new provision in our appropriation this year (when it ever passes and gets signed, that is) we get to report that fact to everyone and his brother because it’ll constitute a violation of the Anti-deficiency Act. Woo-hoo! As if the contracting folks weren’t nervous enough about this. Lawdy. Well, it’ll give ’em some incentive not to screw this one up, at least.

11 October, 2009

National Equality March

Category: DC,Government,Politics,Queer — Moose @ 6:09 pm

I’m glad I attended the National Equality March (NEM). It’s hard to come up with excuses not to go to an event held in your back yard, though heaven knows I’ve begged out of other things. The last “march” in DC for GLBT rights was the Millennium March (MM), and that one felt more like an extended version of DC pride than an actual “march” (in contrast, the MM had a vendor area much like DC’s pride festival, down to the location). This one, at least for the march itself and the rally afterward at the Capitol, felt more purposeful than the generic feel-good atmosphere of the MM. Perhaps because this one was actually called for something, and didn’t feel like a corporate-abused bit of PR for HRC.

And yes, in case you couldn’t tell, I have an exceedingly low opinion of HRC. They got a lovely new building from all their fundraising, and the rest of us got saddled with DADT and DOMA. Not exactly a wonderful trade-off for paying for all their supposed “expertise” on lobbying.

Got down to the Capitol grounds as the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington was in the middle of their performance. I definitely could have done without the religious BS right after the Chorus sang, but I understand that it’s a necessary evil in our society. Popped out after a bit of the rally to go grab food, a very late lunch, but wandered back afterward to meet a Twitter buddy who’d come down from Pittsburgh, and managed to catch Kate Clinton, Urvashi Vaid, Cleve Jones and the cast of Hair (I left again as Lance Black was talking). Kate was funny, Urvashi was strident and allowed to go on for too long. Cleve was good, and the cast of Hair was amazing (Lance was good as well, but I wanted to get home before it got dark).

Hopefully some progress will come out of this, legislatively, and hopefully Cleve will get his (unspoken) wish – a better organized actually grassroots organization to counter HRC and company’s ineffective money pit, and actually get some work done. Were it not for the specter of how much worse a majority Republican Congress would be now (in the modern, nutso-driven version of that party), I’d like to believe we could do something like withhold donations until we got some progress on our issues, but I suspect that’s not practical. Not that I personally give to anyone other than my local politicos anyway, since I have no vote for Congressional representation as a citizen of the District of Columbia, but that’s a rant for another day. In any case, it would be nice to think that at least some of the folks here will go back and start talking to their representatives, Federal, State and local, and put more pressure on those same representatives to protect all of us.

2 October, 2009


Category: Government,Law,Work — Moose @ 3:12 am

Let me spell out why I’m upset at my field office, the one balking at following the directions from headquarters.

When a contracting officer of the U.S. federal government signs a contract, on behalf of the government, he or she assumes personal liability for any screw-ups he makes in the course of letting that contract. If he orders a contractor to do something, without the funds or authority to compel the contractor to take that action, he can be personally liable for the debt owed by the government to the contractor. That’s a Big Deal, no matter how you look at it, given that a great deal of my Big Gubm’nt Agency’s (BGA’s) contracts are worth multiple-millions of dollars, well in excess of the typical federal government employee’s salary.

In my role as legal counsel, looking at the fiscal responsibilities of the federal government and its accountable officers, my professional opinion rendered in the course of my employment can relieve a contracting officer of personal liability. If I tell an employee to take a certain action and that action is later found to be incorrect by a competent tribunal, the employee who followed my advice will not be held liable for following that advice. He or she sought the advice of counsel, and followed it, for better or worse. That’s a big deal, because we’re dealing with the public’s money, and if someone truly defrauds the taxpayers, they should be held liable for that fraud. So letting someone off that hook is not something to be done lightly.

Obviously I have no desire to defraud the government of funds; this money is my tax money as well as the usual federal taxpayer’s, and I don’t want to see it misspent when I can avoid it. So it’s distressing to me, personally, when a field office of my BGA questions my integrity, implicitly, by continuing to question the opinion my office has rendered in a particular case. The idea that I would casually hang a fellow federal employee out to dry, or that I would place the finances of my BGA in jeopardy, is personally abhorrent to me, and it causes me a great deal of distress when our field personnel assume that I would be so cavalier with their and the taxpayer’s finances. I think that’s what stressing me out about this latest brouhaha with the field, that implicitly they are questioning whether I am acting properly in my role as counsel to protect them and the head of my BGA. And the idea that they think I’m acting against their and the taxpayer’s interests, whether overtly or subtly, is a smirch on my professional integrity, and not something I take lightly. Thus, I’m distressed over the situation, as much as they are likely distressed as they contemplate taking an action which might cause them a great deal of personal debt. I don’t want that for them, nor do I want something to go wrong for the taxpayer or the administration (regardless of party), so I’m stuck in a very difficult situation until I can convince them that we’re not going to subject them to personal liability, something they’re not quite ready to accept.