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“…and afterwards, I’ll let you sign my cast.”

February 27, 2006, 8:53 PM

Tomorrow evening, I’m going ice skating at Pentagon Row. I figure, what the hey – it’s my last DC trip during Pentagon Row’s ice skating season. The last day of skating is in early March, and then the entire setup disappears. I do intend on taking photos during the tear-down, as I think I’m going to get at least one visit while tear-down is in progress.

Now as you may know, I’ve been photographing the skaters there all season. Now, with this being my last visit of the season, I’m going to end my season there with a bang. And hopefully, that “bang” will not be my fanny landing on the ice.

Realize that it’s been ten years since I’ve been skating at all. It’s been even longer than that – twelve years – since I’ve been ice skating specifically. And my entire ice skating experience consists of one rather short skating trip in Connecticut.

A few of my coworkers have assured me that skating is like riding a bicycle – once you’ve learned it, you never forget. Still, I’m nervous about it, but I’m also quite excited about it. Roller skating, I used to have fun with it. Ice skating, as mentioned, I only did once, and it was not exactly a pleasant experience for various reasons that we won’t get into here.

Still, when I told coworkers, I said it this way – “I’m going ice skating tomorrow, and afterwards, I’ll let you sign my cast.” Hopefully, though, things will go just fine, and I won’t break a leg or something. And hopefully I’ll have some pictures of me skating on the ice. We shall see…

Categories: DC trips

New Chucks!

February 25, 2006, 12:23 AM

Check these out:

New red Chuck Taylors

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Categories: Shoes

Funny the way things work sometimes…

February 22, 2006, 9:23 PM

Who would have thought back when I was made fun of by Greg Galcik on his Spinnwebe site back in 2000 that now, in 2006, I would be one of the stronger defenders of the Spinnwebe article on Wikipedia?

It’s true!

The article on Spinnwebe on Wikipedia is up for deletion again, after having previously been deleted out from under us, and after someone else recreated the article. I have voted to keep the article, needless to say. I also was the initial creator of the original Spinnwebe article.

This whole process also goes to show how some people can get when they’re determined to accomplish something. A few users seem dead set on killing the article about Spinnwebe. It just kind of amazes me.

Categories: Wikipedia

I will not conduct my own fire drills…

February 19, 2006, 9:51 PM

I went to Martin’s with my friend Katie on Friday, and we had a blast. The thing I noticed first off, though, was in the right-side vestibule. Notice anything wrong with this photo of the fire alarm annunciator?

Notice anything wrong with this photo of the fire alarm annunciator?

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The magic number is $64.95…

February 15, 2006, 4:01 AM

$64.95. That’s the magic number to get the Ford dealership to start the process of making new keys for my car. See, I have programmed “smart” keys for the Sable, and so I can’t just go get a key cut. One person I spoke with said I’d need to go to the dealership, and “bring your checkbook.” He wasn’t kidding. And the $64.95 is just to hook up their computer. The keys are $18-something on top of that.

Meanwhile, I’m taking the car to Washington for the first time today, and that ought to be fun. With a new car in hand, I get to enjoy such comforts again that had stopped working long ago on the old car such as cruise control and a radio. I will actually be able to listen to NPR on the way up now. I’m tickled.

This trip will also help determine whether or not I’m going to let people (and by “people” I really mean “me”) eat in the Sable. Having drinks is okay, as I have been having my regular soda every day on the way to work. Still, I used to eat in the van, usually on my trips to Washington. The question becomes whether I am still going to do that, or whether I’m going to, like, eat the food at Sheetz. The Sheetz I go to in the mornings is a truck stop-style store, so there’s a large eating area in there.

This will also be my last Wednesday trip to DC for the foreseeable future, as it seems work is changing my days off, and so future DC trips will need to be taken on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Then April 22 is the date of the Spring 2006 meeting of the World Bank, and so there will be a Saturday trip in there for that demonstration (call it A22?).

Anyway, though, there you go. See you later on…

I’ve had this car for two days, and I’ve already taken it in the snow…

February 11, 2006, 6:47 PM

Funny how things work out sometimes. I’ve only had the Sable for two days, and we’ve already bonded in a way that can only occur when you’re driving home from work in the snow. It snowed today, you see. And with my still not being completely used to the car, I took it out in the snow. And we made it out and back in one piece.

And let me tell you… the Sable seems to handle better in the snow than the Previa. I’m thinking it’s because it’s front-wheel drive (the Previa was rear-wheel drive), plus it’s closer to the ground. The Sable is also a breeze to clean snow off of, too. It’s because it’s not so tall. Not so much reaching to do there, compared to the Previa, which was a full head taller.

Now tomorrow is going to be really fun, though, as I have to drive through all the snow in the morning, in the dark.

The Previa has come to the end of the road, and is now officially retired.

February 9, 2006, 7:56 PM

It’s really something to see, but my old Previa is now officially a part of automotive history. The final mileage on that car was 275,275 (funny how it came out like that).

And the car was very much on its last legs, too. It failed its last inspection due to brakes, an exhaust leak, a crack in the windshield, a sticky door handle, and a few other odds and ends. Besides that, a number of other components went over time. The radio died in 1999. The sunroof, which was originally motorized, stopped working in 2001 or so. There was a strange dent near the driver’s side door that made a cracking sound when it opened. The air conditioner was on its last legs in 2002, barely cooling the air, and then was gone completely for 2003. The driver’s side window started having trouble coming back up if it was lowered all the way down starting in 2003. In 2005, something hit my windshield (probably a rock), causing a crack that proceeded to grow quite a bit. In addition, the heater stopped working in October. You may recall that I discussed having no heat here, discussed getting it fixed here, and actually got it fixed here. That was one problem I couldn’t stand and thus had to have fixed.

Then in 2006, the brake light came on and stayed on while I was trying to park at the Vienna Metro station on my January 18 trip to DC, accompanied by the brake pedal going much further down than it used to before coming to a stop. That was scary at first, but a number of test-brakings confirmed that it was still drivable, and got comfortable handling this. The interior manual lock switch on the driver’s side door also broke that day as well. I got the car inspected the next day and it failed as expected. Dad and I determined that the cost was prohibitive, and I went car shopping. Then in the last month, on my most recent DC trip (February 1), the interior power lock switch stopped working to lock the doors. It would, however, unlock. So this meant that I had to lock the door with the keys. The plus to that, though, is that it was impossible to lock my keys in the car. And lastly, as I mentioned here, the air blowers stopped working on the way home from the car’s final trip before retirement.

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What a great last trip!

February 9, 2006, 12:12 AM

The Previa’s had an absolutely wonderful last hurrah. I went down to Roanoke, and met up with my friend Amanda Mone, who also now has the honor of being the Previa’s last passenger.

We had a blast, too. We met up in Salem, and kind of ran all over Roanoke. We went to Valley View Mall for a while, then went out to Bonsack, then went out to Tanglewood Mall, went to the Roanoke Star, and finally to the IHOP near Valley View Mall for dinner. Then, after dropping Amanda off, it was back home to Stuarts Draft.

It was really a great trip, and it really was a celebration of the old van while spending quality time with a friend.

In a way, it kind of reminded me of the last voyage of the SS Canberra, because such a tremendous celebration was made to commemorate that ship’s last formal voyage.

And I made sure that this last trip in the Previa was special, too.

And in what has been typical form for the Previa lately, another system stopped working near the end of the trip. This time it was the air vents, as they stopped working on the way home, essentially leaving the car with minimal heat (but nothing like those two months when the heat was out a while back).

Now, though, there are a few things still to do. I have to move all my stuff out of the car, leaving only the things that I need to take the car out on Thursday. And there is only one trip left to make – to Whitesell’s Service Center, where my new car is. There, the Previa will be formally retired, and I will drive off in my new car, a 2004 Mercury Sable LS station wagon. I am just tickled about my new car, but I will certainly miss the Previa.

Categories: Friends, Roanoke, Toyota Previa

“When sitting in the new Previa, I start to feel like… like… like an ace pilot…”

February 6, 2006, 9:34 PM

The title of this Journal entry comes from Toyota’s promotional video for the 1991 Previa. I think that it’s a fitting way to begin a tribute to a vehicle that’s played such a significant part of my life:

My 1991 Toyota Previa

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The child said, “Grandma, we’re never going out in public with you again!”

February 5, 2006, 7:03 PM

Oh, what a day at Wal-Mart. What a weekend at Wal-Mart, for that matter. You’d think that it was the biggest football game of the year going on based on the way these people were shopping.

Still, what left me amused was when this one lady came through my line today. She asked me to page her daughter. So I did. A few minutes later, the daughter’s children (i.e. the woman’s grandchildren) came up to the lady and the older one of the two said, “Grandma, we’re never going out in public with you again!” I couldn’t contain myself any longer – I, along with the lady who was checking out (and the target of the remark), started laughing. I’m sorry, you should have seen it. It was SO cute. Even more so when they said that their mother had told them to say it.

So that just made my day.

Categories: Amusing, Walmart

Great walks, great photos, and great conversations…

February 2, 2006, 11:38 PM

This last trip to Washington was definitely an interesting trip. I managed to put myself behind schedule at almost every turn I took, but it was SO worth it.

I arrived at Vienna on time – right after 10 AM. Rode Breda 4053 to Rosslyn. At Rosslyn, I got a message on my phone from Matthew Tilley. That turned into a phone call, where we discussed all sorts of stuff while I also watched birds do laps in the air above North Moore Street.

Then after that, I got on the Metro and rode Blue to Capitol South. I took a walk from the Capitol South station entrance up to Union Station, going by the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court in the process.

The Supreme Court building has netting around the pediment, due to a chunk of marble falling off the building and onto the steps on November 28. In addition, on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court, a pro-life group stood facing the building, symbolically gagged with red duct tape with “LIFE” written in black on the tape. Take a look:

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