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Monday, November 2, 2015

Time again to fall back

My bloodsucking daughter takes stock of her haul from this year's Halloween

Daylight Savings Time has officially ended for 2015, meaning autumn is in full swing. The shorts and sandals have reluctantly been put away, though daytime temperatures are still warm enough that I can get away with wearing short-sleeved shirts, when combined with a light sweater and a windbreaker (at least while the sun is shining). Perhaps it was the lack of fall colors in Shanghai, but it feels like the foliage in the Falls Church area is a lot more colorful compared to the last time we were here. Yesterday morning was sunny and warm enough for me to take my bike out for an hour-long spin on some of the many cycling trails near our home:

There are numerous markers chronicling local history, many of them related to events that took place during the Civil War. Even information of a less-gripping nature doesn't get overlooked for those who stop to read and learn:

That's my bike parked in front of the trees. I actually have a nice Trek that I picked up in Shanghai, but it's currently in storage in Europe. The bicycle pictured above is a used one that I bought in an effort to try and get into something resembling a state of physical fitness:

It may be autumn and football season, but baseball is still being played by some. As I write this, Game 5 of the World Series will be played this evening at Citi Field in New York. Though I've always been a National League fan, I also like to root for small market, low payroll teams, so this year I'm pulling for the Kansas City Royals:

It's hard to cover a lot of distance with so much color to distract the earnest cyclist. The red caboose is a reminder that the W&OD Trail was once a railroad line:

Miles covered on Saturday: I don't know. Calories burned off: I have no idea. Elevation: They make a pretty good hamburger. Protein intake: Really? Who cares? My extremely modest goal at this point is to complete the 17-mile loop detailed on the sign below. Being so out-of-shape and having knees that complain loudly when asked to do more than they're accustomed to, I still have trouble making it up modest hills. One step at a time...:

The view over northern Virginia from the parking lot of the Tysons Corner Center shopping mall. For Halloween, I took Amber to see Goosebumps:

Sunday morning foliage on a Falls Church street:

I drove into the District of Columbia this afternoon to visit Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore that came highly recommended. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed with the store, as our local Barnes & Noble has a much greater selection of titles. There was a pitifully small number of books related to Japanese history (especially in comparison to the number of China-themed volumes on the shelves), and most of those had titles with words such as "samurai" 侍 and "ninja" 忍者, which gave me a pretty good indication of what most hipsters think of when it comes to Japan. Also, the store isn't easy to get to (it's a good mile on foot from the nearest subway station), and parking is hard to find.

On the other hand, Politics and Prose does have an extensive selection of books for younger people. And it is the first bookstore I've seen that puts guidebooks on Taiwan between Myanmar and Thailand, instead of lumping them in with the China guides. So it may rate another visit, the next time with my daughter in tow:

Being a cool hipster independent bookstore/cafe, it came as no surprise that it's located in an upscale neighborhood, with more fall colors to enjoy:

This church wasn't particularly noteworthy.  I was actually trying to catch the sky behind it:

A Sunday dinner of shepherd's pie, bread pudding and Amber ale at an Irish-themed restaurant:

It's all part of my autumn almanac...

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