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October 2011

September 2011


The September rains have pushed the limits of what my foundation can handle.  A few weeks ago one of the worst summer storms hit the northern Virginia/DC/southern Maryland area.  Four days of constant drizzle and rain led up to the downpour which lasted a few hours.  The ground was already saturated in most areas and water ended up pooling in yards with no where to run.  Downhill neighbors reported their sewage tanks had backed up causing major damage in their basements.  I was lucky in comparison and only had to deal with a crawlspace leak within my foundation that snuck into a basement closet before I noticed. 

My damage consisted of removing rain soaked carpet and floor tiles in my basement.  About a fifth of my basement floor space was effected.  Unfortunately, I'm not in what is considered a flood plain.  When I was shopping for home insurance, I noticed flood insurance was ridiculously high and the quotes didn't even cover my basement, personal belongings or floor replacement.  So I passed on the flood policy and decided to deal with preventitive measures myself.  Hopefully, I can schedule some of the yard landscaping work I had planned before it get too late into fall.  The slope around my home is higher in the front and north side of the house.  If I can get it graded correctly and inspect the foundation for cracks, the reduced risk of water damage will follow.

On the positive side, my new sump pump is still keeping the ground water from coming in from below.  During the last major rainstorm, the pump ran continually and caused the outside drainpipe to look more like a firehose nozzle than its usual gardenhose gurgle.

Delhi House - Clarendon, VA

If you enjoy Indian food then this is the place to go- Delhi House.  It's located literally across the street as you come off the Clarendon Metro stop.

I picked it at random when a buddy (and FSO) was in town for training.  I had the vindaloo.  It very hot spice-wise but I could still taste the full flavor.

Go. now.

Delhi Club's lamb vindaloo

The lost 27th character of the alphabet

Not many people know the "&" or ampersand was once considered our 27th letter.  It was considered part of our alphabet during the 1800's. 

Part of my job is to edit and research documents.  I found this bit of language history interesting because the word ampersand in itself has a cool little story behind it.

The char "&" dates back to the 1st century, long before ampersand was used to name it. It is actually the letters "e" and "t" put together, which meant "and" to the Romans.  They wrote "e" and "t" in cursive and the letters became one word overtime.  Then along came the 1800's and "&" inclusion into the English alphabet.

Well, you can't pronounce "&" after X, Y, Z, so people would say "X, Y, Z and per se and".  "Per se" meaning "by itself".  (example: and by itself "and") I guess you could say X, Y, Z and AND.  But that sounds crude.

Eventually the words were slurred together and you would hear one word instead of "and per se and", it would sound like ampersand. The pronunciation of the new word ampersand became widely used and it wasn't long before it was accepted as a new word in the English language.  That's what is called mondegreen, when a word (or words) comes about from a mistaken pronunciation. 

So now you know why we formally call &, ampersand. 

Side note: As a kid I couldn't figure out why "Youth in Asia" sounded like an Asian children group for good but was actually the word “euthanasia”.  I remember Tom Brokaw's nightly updates and wondering why he hated kids so much.  Sorry Tom.


What? No news of your own?

Sounds like the West coast has earthquake envy after our rattling last week...

Tale of two earthquakes

I for one never saw anyone in DC panic, scream, break down, or riot in the streets after the quake.  Secondly, living in DC during 9/11 makes one slightly more sensitive to abnormal sounds and vibrations.  Our building codes typically don't meet earthquake zone standards.  And lastly, Eastern cities roadways don't compare to the expanses of highways in the West, so yes we have traffic jams. 

Glad to see the West coast had some jollies at our expense regardless.  Makes me think what if....

  • East coast and West coast walk down the street.
  • East coast trips a bit on some broken sidewalk and continues walking.
  • East coast "Huh, sidewalk's busted up there a bit."
  • West coast "OMG, you totally fell down there."
  • East coast "What?... no i didn't."
  • West coast "Should've seen your face, that was classic."
  • East coast "What are you talking about?"
  • West coast "Can't wait to twitter this"
  • East coast "Do I even know you? Why are you even following me?"