July 4 weekend in DC

Nate flew in from Santa Barbara and I drove down from NY for a weekend of fun with Dave Mollitor, who’s working in DC for Geico.  it’s been off the hook!
 
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Mollitor’s apartment is hooked up: pool table, and Versus on the TV!
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on the roof with some of Nate’s friends for the 4th
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DC Metro … looks like Space Mountain!
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Spy Museum … awesome.  we did the interactive be a spy game, then toured the museum.  it takes a while, budget 5 hours for the whole thing (1h for the game, then another 4+ for the collection, which is well laid out.
 

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the national gallery:  a great collection for an afernoon tour
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had some delicious Gelato downtown, not as good as Grom, but it had real mint in it.  as in flakes of mint leaves.  tasty and refreshing
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The only sure thing, part III

Yesterday, while Jose and I were doing the epic Intercity Ride, my friend Tony Napoli died.  He was 85, a charter member of the Greatest Generation.  In WWII, he joined the air force, and served as a flight engineer and gunner on a B-24 in the European theatre, flying from north africa and later Italy.  He participated in the raids on the oil services at Ploesti, one of the major events of the war, and his crew would always say "tony will get us home", and he always did.  I knew him from the park where he was something of a legend.  He’d done more marathons than he could count, held the indoor masters mile record (5:25, at cornell’s Barton Hall track, which is a rather slow track as they go), and was always a fun guy to run and walk with.
 
One of his best stories was of the time he ‘marooned’ his crew in Vegas:
After the war, Tony was on a B-29 crew and on a trip to Nevada the crew had the brilliant idea of ‘diverting’ to Las Vegas.  "Hey Tony, can you knock out one of the engines?"  "yea I can lean out the mixture and knock out an engine."  So he leaned out the mixture, the engine started to ping and knock and they had to shut it down before it caught fire.  Diverting to Las Vegas, they had a little time off, until the necessary parts could arrive.  Needless to say, the guys had a little fun at taxpayer expense.
 
He will be missed by all, but after his intracranial bleed a few weeks ago that robbed him of his ability to speak, and left him in a near comatose state, it was time for him to go.  I got to see him in the hospital, and he indicated that he recognized me.  It was hard to see him in that state, but that’s what happens.  Being 85, this is a little different paradigm than the deaths of my friends Chris Webber (hit by a van) and Tony Apuzzo (complications from liver cancer) at age 25.  Tony had a full life, and although he had no children, his legacy will live on in the memories of his friends.

why it matters

Jose asked me the other night, "why do you spend all this time thinking about philosophy etc?"
 
 
I want to understand people.  I want to figure out the Grand Unified Theory of Everything, so that we can make rational decisions.  People do ‘irrational’ things, like attack Russia in fall, or bike from new york to boston nonstop, or whatever, for rational reasons.  They are acting, within their own framework, rationally.  And following the micro-macro domino theory*, it all makes sense
 
If we can figure out what makes people tick, we can use that knowledge to engineer society to make our survival more likely.  What keeps me up at night is the worry that we’re going to blow it.  The issues of environmental degradation and fossil fuel use will not be addressed in time, and civilization is going to collapse.  It won’t do us any good to argue about it then in the dark, we need to address it now.  and however radical the changes may seem, they’re going to be better than the forced changes later.  You can always scale back taxes or rationing when there’s still oil in the ground, but when the well’s dry, the well’s dry.  I’m worried that we’re going to go over the edge–when the crisis becomes aparrent, there won’t be enough left to bridge the gap.  How are we going to feed 9 billion people?  how will we ration energy, how should we live?
 
and that’s where the philosophy and psychology and NY times reading come in.  How is society to be engineered?  How do we make people care about the starving africans and flooded out Burmese, when as humans we’re not adapted to care about those not in our ‘circle’?  How do we end nationalism, ethnic strife, inane competition for resources, war, famine, etc?  What is truth, and how do we seek it?  and how do we make people believe in it?  and then what is utilitarian?  How do we guarantee a decent standard of living for everyone, and how do we make people believe that everyone is entitled to a decent standard of living, even if it doesn’t go over so well with the voters?
 

“I wrote the car off… I made a mistake”

–Steve McQueen, Le Mans.
 
(for a movie with little dialog, it has some choice lines)
 
 
so this saga started on October 10th, with the great rainstorm of 2007.  Kevin (my boss) had a consulting job for a guy in Oyster Bay–a quick 100 bucks, so I took care of it.  on the way back, it was raining pretty hard, and at a somewhat low spot, at the 
View Larger Map">intersection of 107 and Chicken Valley road, the road flooded.  stuck in a line of cars, there was nothing i could really do to avoid going through it.  the water was rising like in a movie!  midway through the flooded spot, the engine sucked water and stalled.  oh no.  fortunately the engine restarted and I was able to make it out of the water and nurse the car into a driveway up the road.  sitting there, the water continued to rise, and I thought I might have to abandon my position… for a while a girl who works at Safavieh kept me company, but when the waters began to recede, she left me.  Finally, I called kevin to rescue me, as AAA wasn’t going to be showing up anytime soon, and it was about 10PM by that time.  I spent the night at the GPs and the next day got the car flatbedded to Sonny’s.
 
The bad news: engine hydrolocked, crankshaft bent.  the worse news: Chubb wrote the car off.
 
The buyback was $125, so I bought the car as a ‘salvage’ and had sonny get a new engine, which only came to $5700… a bit more than the projection of 2500-3000.  oh well, chubb paid out 6500 for it to start with.
 
Because it was now a ‘salvage title’ I thoguht I had to go through the antitheft inspection process… which took forever to figure out due to the fact that the salvage dept in albany works Tues-Thurs… and all of the forms are insanely confusing.  After weeks of trying to figure out the system I finally got through to the appropriate person in albany: "you don’t need to pay $200, or wait a month-six weeks, or get the inspection, unless you want to"  YAY!  car!
 
so the 944 is back in action with a half-rebuilt engine from someone elses’ car.  And it only took 2 trips to the DMV, and 2 hours waiting to get a replacement front license plate to replace the one that fell off in the flood.

2 things quiz

I got this one from Dan
 
TAG, YOU’RE IT!

Two names you go by:
1. Dave
2. Miller

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Seiko diver’s 200 watch
2. Levis Jeans (purchased in San Francisco, how cool is that?)

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Bike
2. read Wikipedia

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. GF
2. the medical device to come to fruition

Two favorite pets you have had/have:
eh… not much of a pet person

Who will post this:
1. Dan did
2. ?

Two things you ate today:
1. Pizza from Casa Di Pizza – spinach and broccoli deep dish

2. Carrots

Two people you last talked to:
1. Dave Mollitor
2. Shilpam

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:
1. Flying back to NY
2. calling Zipp about sponsorship

Two longest car rides:
1. Buffalo – Vail Colorado
2. Buffalo-Roslyn (Long island)?

Two favorite holidays:
1. Halloween
2. New Year’s

Two favorite beverages:
1. young coconut juice
2. Gu2O

Now, here’s what you’re supposed to do. Copy and paste, then delete my answers and type in your answers. Then post this on your own blog!

Orbits

I am reminded of the James Blunt song You’re Beautiful (video below)’
 
Yesterday I was on the subway with the boss going to the Population Council, and on the other side of the Tokyo packed subway car was a really cute girl.  Most people wouldn’t consider her to be range topping, but she caught my eye for some reason.  Was it the short blonde hair?  the puma running jacket?  the well-worn Tony Apuzzo style messenger bag?
 
REGARDLESS, ‘no shot’ as cousin Pete would say.  But for some reason she was stuck in my mind all day.  interesting how these things happen.
 
As for the concept of orbits, sometimes you cross paths once, sometimes twice, and sometimes you enter the same orbit.  Sounds a little like Donny Darko stuff, but I like the concept.  Now if I could only get some thrusters to make it possible to change orbits…