As I get older, I'm finding myself getting more and more interested in history. I think it's because I can learn it now on my terms, which means knowing what happened and the relationships between events, without the excessive memorizing of dates.

Although I have been oddly interested in naval history in the age of sail, I'm starting to find all history more interesting, including U.S. history. So when my friend Patricia and I got to talking about how we hadn't seen any of the historical places in Philadelphia, it turned into a Memorial Day weekend trip.

Philly was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed seeing Independence Hall and the other historic sites. I was glad I saw them not too long after visiting Boston last year, too. It helped me piece together things. And it was especially nice to go there by train — in two stress-free hours from Union Station in DC, we were there. It was odd to feel like I was on vacation without the grief and aggravation of getting there.

The photo below we took just as they were kicking us out of the room. In the background you can see the only actual period piece there — the chair George Washington sat in. More pictures are up at Flickr.



Still kind of shook by this fire. One of the things that has been oddest has been being on this side of a news story. When I went out into the parking lot Monday morning they were doing a press conference with the fire department. I looked as I went past but then I drove on to work.

I've been catching some of the news reports online. The nice big signs in the background for Halpine View were recently installed -- I think they were trying to spruce the place up. I initially couldn't remember them doing any walkthroughs of the apartments to check smoke detectors and the like, but I went through my apartment file and found this:

So the smoke detectors, theoretically, were checked in November last year. I haven't seen that anywhere -- the management company has been less than willing to talk to the press. So I didn't know quite what to do with it, and I thought I'd post it as my short-lived foray into citizen journalism. The building with the fire should have been checked on the same day as my building. It apparently hadn't been inspected by the pros in quite some time, though.

I'm planning to look for condos before my lease is up. Sprinkler systems? Suddenly a factor.


Apartment fire

I walked out of my apartment this morning and was like, "why is there crime scene tape across the parking lot?" The further I walked, the more I saw. Turns out the apartment building next to mine was gutted by fire. One person died and other people had to jump to get to safety. It all happened in the early morning and I had no idea what was going on. Really scary.