7/11 -- Fishtales.
Takoma Park at night

We were in Takoma Park on Saturday night and I saw a group of burly-looking firemen sitting outside the local ice cream parlor and licking cones. I thought the scene looked sweet and hilarious, but when I raised my camera a few of the guys turned and gave me a look that said "Sure lady, you could take our picture like this -- but then we'd have to kill you."

When we got in the car I got the brilliant idea that when Bill drove past the ice cream parlor, I'd snap a quick shot of the firemen from the car window.

Of course, that didn't work. I'm still not totally clear on how much pressure is too much with the camera's button, and I pushed it too early. The above picture was the result. I doubt you would have been able to see the ice cream-eating firemen even if I'd gotten them. But when I got home I decided the picture was kind of neat on its own merits, so there it is.

Bill with Fish and ChipsSo yes, Bill and I were in Takoma Park on Saturday night, having dinner at Taliano's with the visiting Larisa. Being in Takoma Park always triggers a big rush of nostalgia for me, and with Larisa there the flashbacks intensified. The first time I ventured to Takoma Park, it was to meet Larisa at Taliano's for lunch and celebrate that I'd landed my first job. Within a year, Larisa and I rented our first post-college apartment about a block away from Carroll Avenue.

Poor Bill never gets through a visit to Takoma Park without an earful of "That's where we used to buy groceries and that's the playground where I liked to play on the swings and that's where we used to get coffee and muffins and that's where our friend Wayne used to live and that's a Japanese restaurant but the food really sucks so don't go there and that's my horrible landlord's old house and ..."

Clown Fish! Geddit? Ha!We had dinner and caught up on each other's lives. We staged a rebellion and pissed off a lot of customers when the jukebox, a weird ultramodern touch-screen dealie that offered up one or two big hits apiece from an amazingly diverse collection of albums, kept defaulting to that heinous Whitney Houston "IIiiyiiii Will Aaaaalways Luuuuuhve YoooOOOOOOoooooo" garbage. Bill and I took turns playing stuff like Godsmack, Metallica and Soundgarden until we'd scared off most of the other dinner patrons and the waitstaff actually turned the thing off. Hee. We're so bad, we are.

During dinner, I mentioned that our friend Ted had helped design a fish for the Baltimorefish.org display now showing all over Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and we still hadn't visited it.

"Want to go to Baltimore?" Bill said. What, right now? At nine on a Saturday night? Without having planned it at all? Yes! We piled in the car, I snapped the blurry picture of Carroll Avenue out the car window, and we were off. And giddy. At least I was. I can't remember the last time we did a spontaneous little road trip just for the hell of it. We might not have done it if we'd realized that the Orioles had a home game that night and every trade organization in the world apparently had a convention in Baltimore that weekend.

But sometimes, overthinking things and fretting ourselves into another night in the apartment just sucks. We got to Baltimore, found a parking garage without too much trouble, and set off to look for "Fish 'n' Chips," Ted's entry. The sharp-eyed Larisa spotted it first, and we took pictures with the digital camera and laughed. (Fish 'n' Chips is being nuzzled by Bill in that picture up above.)

Ghost Rider!I'm amazed by how much work and creativity went into these fish. I snapped a few shots of some other ones that caught my attention. I especially like the one of the mesh figure. It didn't look as downright spooky in reality as it does in this picture (I found that the camera really stinks at taking night shots, sadly), but it was still impressive.

After being laughed out of the Cheesecake Factory for our ridiculous notion that they might have an available table at 10 pm on a Saturday night, we wandered through the pavilions to find ice cream. And then we stood out on the harbor. We people-watched and licked rapidly-melting ice cream off our fingers and marveled at the full, deep orange moon. Sadly, the picture I took of the moon didn't come out. My dad used to tell me that the orangey color meant the moon was covered with too much "moon dust", and I think I must have been in college before I realized he'd made that one up. No kidding. "Gee, the moon sure is dusty tonight. Needs some Space Pledge or something."

Duh, Nicole.
trash. gross.

This was funny. I wanted to take a picture of this woman playing the fiddle. She looked so ponytailed and gingham-jumpered and innocent and wholesome in the midst of the throngs of grunge teens and jocks and gangstas and frazzled families with strollers. And she played really well, although I realize you can't tell that from a picture. But my first shot ended up with someone's butt in the middle of it while he was giving her some money. Just as I was taking another picture, this scuzzball stepped out of the waves of passersby and started scamming on the poor fiddler. She managed to gracefully and yet firmly communicate the idea "Get the fuck away from me, loser," and he eventually left her alone. Go fiddler lady!

Indulging my inner hit slut

(clix like you mean it.)

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville ...

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