February 2, 2016, 6:46 PM
This past Wednesday, Elyse and I went to the Washington Auto Show. We checked out the cars, and then went down to see the Metrobus display. This year, Metro had an Xcelsior artic on display. Remembering last year where I inadvertently set off the DriveCam on the demo bus, I was surprised to see that there was no DriveCam on the demo bus this year:
January 24, 2016, 10:55 PM
So the “Snowzilla” (as named by The Washington Post) storm has come and gone, and it left a large pile of snow in its wake – enough to kill part of the roof of the Safeway in Bel Air, Maryland, and the roof of Wayne Lanes in Waynesboro, Virginia. Thankfully, I came through this storm just fine, and it was just a matter of digging out. This storm dropped light, powdery snow (as compared to wet, heavy snow), and there was a lot of it. I got more snow on my balcony in this storm than I did in 2009 and 2010’s major winter storms, for one. Check this out:
January 20, 2016, 1:44 PM
Last Thursday was a lot of fun. I got together with Elyse, with the intent of getting some sample material to evaluate for the future purchase of a new camera. This new camera will be a digital SLR, as I am quite confident that I have outgrown the “prosumer” level of camera that I have operated on since Big Mavica in 2002. I discovered that in 2014 when I photographed Brighton Dam and Triadelphia Reservoir with a borrowed Nikon Coolpix P510. The photos with that camera came out well enough, but other than a few extra pixels because of the higher resolution on that camera, I didn’t get any better features than my existing camera.
But first, after Elyse and I got together, we had lunch at Jimmy John’s. I had a sandwich, and Elyse just had one of the day-old rolls that they sell:
January 14, 2016, 1:26 AM
…and apparently, the place where not to store soda is the refrigerator. Seriously.
I put a bottle of diet root beer in the back of the refrigerator, and apparently it was too close to the vent where the cold air came out. The contents of the bottle froze, and the additional pressure found a way out through a small weak point near the top of the bottle. That created this overnight:
December 23, 2015, 5:12 PM
You may recall that this past September’s splash photo showed me posing with a broken merry-go-round at Pentagon City Mall, i.e. this:
Note the choice of footwear. I’m wearing a Crocs shoe on one foot… and a massive boot cast on the other. It was posted without any explanation other than a mention of its presence, but clearly, something was up, because I don’t normally wear a boot around like that.
December 20, 2015, 12:41 PM
This past Thursday, among other places, Elyse and I checked out a store called Bill’s Music in Catonsville. What a wonderful place this was, with professional-grade equipment for sale at professional-grade prices (but you’re paying for quality). The store has every single piece of musical equipment that you could imagine, including some stuff I hadn’t seen in years, like real xylophones and such. Elyse actually knows a thing or two about music, unlike me.
The first thing that we discovered was a metallic xylophone (metallophone?). I hadn’t played one of these since sixth grade music class, a six-week “exploratory” course at Stuarts Draft Middle School. It was pretty awesome, working not so much with singing, but mostly with musical instruments – primarily xylophones. We learned some very basic songs on them, and apparently I still remember a couple of them:
November 26, 2015, 10:09 PM
First of all, I hope that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. I certainly did. Since I have Wednesdays and Thursdays off for the current pick at work, Thanksgiving worked out perfectly, so I went down to Stuarts Draft on Wednesday and came back Thursday. Not bad.
That said, one of the things that we had with our Thanksgiving dinner was cranberry sauce. My opinion on cranberry sauce is that if it doesn’t look like the can it came out of, it’s not cranberry sauce. Last year, I posted this photo to Instagram, and captioned it thusly:
November 7, 2015, 11:42 PM
So I was on my layover right before starting my last trip of the night, when a bird flew into the bus shelter, and ran right into the glass sides. The bird apparently didn’t hit very hard, because it never even appeared to act dazed. It was like the Chumbawamba song “Tubthumping“, in that it got knocked down and then got up again. And here it is:
October 25, 2015, 11:12 PM
This past Thursday, I went up to High Rock, which is a rock outcropping on South Mountain in Pen Mar, Maryland, in Washington County near the Pennsylvania border. It reminds me a little bit of both Humpback Rock in Virginia, and the Aqueduct Bridge stub in DC. Like Humpback Rock, it’s high on a mountaintop, however, unlike Humpback Rock, you can drive up to it and park right next to it, rather than parking down below and then hiking a mile straight uphill. Like the Aqueduct Bridge, it’s covered in graffiti and a popular overlook point, but unlike the Aqueduct Bridge, it’s a natural feature rather than manmade. I went up there with the intent of scouting out the location for a potential future set for the Photography section on Schumin Web. I knew it had a view, but I wasn’t so sure about it. I arrived just before 5:00 PM, and stayed for about an hour and a half. While there, I let my curiosity lead the way, as I checked things out at the site and just kind of followed what I found interesting. I don’t know which intrigued me more: the formation itself, the view, or the graffiti.
So here’s what some of the take from this outing looked like:
View from High Rock facing approximately north, towards Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The bit of stone in the foreground is actually manmade. As much as I can tell, this is some of what remains of an observatory that once stood at this site.
October 23, 2015, 10:51 PM
After visiting Diamond Point Plaza just east of Baltimore, Elyse and I set our sights on something else, which she had spotted on South Newkirk Street a few weeks prior. I’m talking about this:
October 21, 2015, 8:40 PM
On Thursday, October 15, my friend Elyse and I went to check out a rare thing in the area of retail: an abandoned Ames store, with the signage mostly intact, just outside Baltimore. For those of you not familiar, Ames was a chain of discount department stores, operating, for the most part, in the northeastern United States. Through the course of its history, Ames acquired and absorbed two other retail chains, purchasing Zayre in 1988, and Hills in 1998, converting stores from their original names to the Ames brand. And each of these acquisitions was a contributing factor to bankruptcies. The Zayre acquisition led to a bankruptcy that lasted from 1990 to 1992, after which the company emerged and returned to profitability. The Hills acquisition led to a bankruptcy in 2001, which led to the chain’s demise in 2002.
The last we heard of Ames was this final voicemail:
Um, just a couple reminders. Payroll needs to be called in by 10 AM on Monday. Um, you can call it in at any point. Leave a message on your payroll representative’s, uh, voice mailbox, um, either with the hours worked, or for salaried associates, number of days worked. Um, you can call that in at any time between Saturday night and Monday morning by 10 AM. Please make sure that the mail, um, post office, has been notified of the forwarding address to the Ames home office, 2418 Main Street, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, 06067. Once again, uh, when leaving the building, um, set the perimeter alarms, bypass the motion. This will, uh, help reduce the number of false alarms after we vacate. Interior lights should be shut off by the breaker, leaving only a few night lights on, scattered around on the salesfloor. The vacate checklist, notate anything that is left, um, from the fixture liquidator, such as any telephone equipment or ticketing equipment. If they haven’t sold it, it will be left where it is. The main thing with all of the fixtures and anything that has not sold is that it be left in the building neatly. Once again, the final vacate checklist. The photos, stamps, should be forwarded to my attention, and mailed by Tuesday, November 12. Once again, I’d like to thank everybody for all their help and cooperation over the past few months, and I wish everybody the very best of luck in the future.
October 14, 2015, 11:50 PM
I’m always surprised to see how some of my photos are used. I recently got a membership with Pixsy, which skims the Internet for potentially infringing photo usages, and then allows the user to go after infringing users to get them to pay for their usage. One photo that surprised me as a frequent candidate for infringements was this one from 2003:
September 22, 2015, 11:20 PM
This past Sunday, I was at the National Capital Trolley Museum with Elyse. Unlike most days, where they only run one or two streetcars, this particular day, they were running four. They were running a streetcar from Brussels (by way of Grand Cypress Resort in Florida), a streetcar from New York City’s Third Avenue Railway, the 1971 PCC car from The Hague, as well as an open-air car referred to as “the boat“. We got to ride the first three, but the boat had already been brought in for the day by the time we got there. Ah, well, there’s always next time, as I literally only live two and a half miles away.
These are the cars that we got to ride. First, the former Brussels car:
September 16, 2015, 5:46 PM
This past Friday, I was out with my friend Elyse checking out a few interesting shopping centers in the Baltimore area. We weren’t so much interested in shopping as we were in seeing the centers themselves, and their various eccentricities. We first visited Owings Mills Mall, which is a large. two-story facility in Owings Mills, Maryland that contains only six tenants: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret. Needless to say, this was a dead mall. Then we visited the Centre at Glen Burnie, which is a small and well-hidden single-level indoor mall off of Route 2 in Glen Burnie. This was no dead mall by any means, but its being an enclosed mall surprised me. I’d been by this shopping center many times in the past, and shopped at the Target store there, and never would have guessed that this was an enclosed mall. Then our third and final mall was Security Square, a mid-sized single-level mall in Woodlawn. Security Square was interesting for its former JCPenney building, which, after Penney’s closed, was converted to “Seoul Plaza”, a mall-within-a-mall consisting mostly of Korean businesses, though now approaching dead mall status (though the rest of the mall is doing well).
However, the biggest surprise of the day came as Elyse and I were walking through the Sears wing of Security Square. Does this remind you of anywhere in particular?
August 29, 2015, 9:29 PM
Yesterday, I was hunting through my archives to find a photo to show a friend. My photo archives are arranged by subject and by date. If I took a bunch of photos in a single day, then all of those photos typically go into a folder marked with the general subject of the photos and the date. One-off photos usually get dated, marked with their subject, and get put in a folder with all of the one-off shots for the month. The photo that I was looking for depicted a bus sign after the normal text for that route had changed. So I knew what it was, and knew what the photo looked like. I also knew that the photo was a one-off, since I took the photo at Glenmont on the way home from work. However, I didn’t remember exactly when I took it. I had an approximate range for when I took it, but didn’t quite know. So that meant that I needed to hunt.
First of all, I was successful in finding the photo. Here it is, dated September 24, 2012: