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“Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them…”

September 30, 2006, 10:46 PM

I’m watching the episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Nick at Nite where they get “Rafael de la Ghetto”, the allegedly famous poet, in to read poetry. Of course, it’s really Geoffrey the butler in an afro wig and a dashiki. It’s one of my favorite Fresh Prince episodes.

And with Jazz mentioning that finding someone literate to play Raphael de la Ghetto would cost Will “an extra two Jacksons” reminds me of something I’ve been thinking about lately. Have you noticed that in the two most recent incarnations of the US $20 bill, that they “softened” Andrew Jackson’s appearance? No? Take a look for yourself:

$20 bill, Series 1995

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Categories: Amusing, Television

Just speak directly into the clown’s mouth…

September 29, 2006, 4:33 PM

Here’s a new experience for all of you coffee drinkers. I went through the drive-through window at Starbucks in Waynesboro for the first time today. And for the record, the phrase “Starbucks in Waynesboro” still sounds VERY weird. But that’s besides the point. It was weird going up to a drive-through window and ordering coffee. Usually, when I go through a drive-through window, it’s for something that I probably shouldn’t be eating in the first place. Ordering a hot cup of joe from the car just seemed so foreign to me.

But it was painless enough. Study the menu, and then order your coffee. I ordered the venti regular coffee. The next question caught me a touch off-guard: “Would you like cream of sugar with that?” Ummmmmmm… So yeah, that threw me for a loop. But we managed. I wanted my coffee straight anyway, so I just declined. Maybe one day I’ll become good at ordering coffee from the car.

Then around at the pickup window, I paid with a card, and got my coffee, complete with one of those don’t-burn-your-hands rings on it. I didn’t actually get to enjoy the coffee until I got home, though, as it was WAY too hot to even think about drinking when I got it. It sat in my cup holder all the way home. So driving home, I was thinking, for the love of God, don’t upset the coffee! You see, I can handle crumbs. But I don’t want to have to get coffee off of my leather seats.

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Categories: Food and drink

And here it is…

September 29, 2006, 4:11 PM

As you can see, the Sable is BACK!

Sable following repairs

The new grille is in place, and the dents have all been repaired. I am whole again.

Categories: Mercury Sable

The Sable is BACK!

September 29, 2006, 12:12 AM

The Sable has returned, and now it’s got a brand new grille, a new windshield, and all the dents from the deer accident have been repaired. So basically, it’s good as new. And I also still have the original grille.

The only major difference is in the windshield. The original windshield was plain all the way up. On the other hand, the new windshield is tinted blue at the very top.

They also detailed the whole car in and out, so it’s looking just gorgeous. We’ll see how long that lasts, but I’m going to make it last as long as possible.

And of course, I’m out of Sis’s car again. Trust me, once one takes a ride in my Sable, and especially once one has become accustomed to it, it’s hard to go anywhere else. I’ve come to enjoy my leather seats, and I also have more legroom in the Sable.

As you can tell, and as if the present photo feature wasn’t a BIG hint, I’m so glad that the Sable’s in one piece again.

Categories: Mercury Sable

I cleaned it. It makes a BIG difference!

September 25, 2006, 1:55 PM

First, though, I came to the realization that I’ve not shown you what I’m driving for this week. Here’s Sis’s car, a gray 1997 Mitsubishi Galant:

Sis's Mitsubishi Galant

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Categories: Car

I drove it, and…

September 25, 2006, 6:53 AM

This is going to be an interesting week. I drove Sis’s car to Eavers Tire and back so Dad could drop off the truck for an inspection. The benefit to this trip is that at least we got one potentially-unpleasant thing out of the way: The first start. It hadn’t been started since mid-August, and so it took its time getting started this morning. But once it got going, great. The ride to Eavers Tire still was like an orientation trip to me, since the last time I drove Sis’s car was a year ago on a trip to Blacksburg.

The things that are the most unusual to me on her car are the back wiper (there is none), and the switch for the front wiper (on the right, vs. on the left in the Sable). Then I also still have to figure out what the proper position for me is in this car. I have long legs, and so in some cars, the “fit” is wrong. This is one of those “wrong fit” cars, because in order to get proper leg room, I’m a mile away from the steering wheel. If I want a good distance from the wheel, I have to drive with my knees in the dashboard. Oh, by the way, Mom’s Sienna is the same way as Sis’s car, where my choice is between knees-in-the-dash or reach-for-the-wheel. The Sable is a good fit for me, and so was the Previa.

Then one must clean it out, which is the name of the game today, once it warms up a little outside.

Categories: Car

The Sable is now at Whitesell’s for repairs…

September 25, 2006, 3:31 AM

With the Sable at Whitesell’s getting the dents taken out and a new grille and windshield installed, I’m going to be driving Sis’s car, a 1997 Mitsubishi Galant. This would be one that I’m going to have to get a shovel to make presentable.

Let’s put it this way: Dad described the Previa that I used to drive as a “dumpster”. I did, however, defend it there. It had its faults, but it was still a good car, albeit very well-loved. And it wasn’t the cleanest. On the other hand, Sis’s car is “worse than a dumpster”. All I know is that in being off work on Monday, I’m taking a garbage bag to that car and cleaning out the… well… garbage… from the interior of the car.

It’s going to be weird driving another car this week. Though I can’t wait to see the Sable restored to its proper look again. Plus they’re detailing the whole thing…

Categories: Mercury Sable

For my generation, NASA spaceflight is the Space Shuttle…

September 24, 2006, 12:33 AM

I’ve been following the articles on the Space Shuttle on Wikipedia, and all the articles indicate that the Space Shuttle fleet will be retired by 2010, with Atlantis retiring in 2008, Discovery in 2009, and Endeavour in 2010.

Exploring into the various articles about human spaceflight, reading about the old Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo programs, as well as Skylab, plus various Russian space programs like the various Soyuz craft, and the Buran program (the Russian space shuttle), and then looking at the articles about the US Space Shuttle, it got me thinking. I also looked at the articles about the Orion spacecraft program, which is NASA’s intended replacement for the Shuttle, which is based on Apollo spacecraft designs, with a “shuttle derived” launch vehicle. That also got me thinking, as the new launchers as I understand it have the solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank from the Space Shuttle, but with the stack having a much different look than the Space Shuttle.

The Shuttle-derived launch vehicles are really what got me thinking, and I had a realization. And that was that for my generation, NASA human spaceflight is the Space Shuttle. The first Shuttle, Enterprise, was used for handling tests four years before I was born. Then Columbia flew STS-1 in April 1981, while Mom was a little more than a month away from having me. Then I was four years old when Challenger blew up at the beginning of STS-51-L. I distinctly remember seeing news footage on TV of the incident, though I don’t remember if it was the live broadcast that I saw, or a replay. I just remember seeing the Shuttle stack disintegrate on TV. Then I remember hearing about when STS-26 took off and landed, as NASA’s post-Challenger return-to-flight mission.

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Categories: Space

And the change is made!

September 23, 2006, 5:45 AM

It’s September 23, the first official day of fall. And that means only one thing: Long sleeves and the Chuck Taylors come back out for their own season. And I’m so glad about it, too.

It seems to be a little known fact that I actually dislike short sleeves. I don’t know why, but I just do. I’d wear long sleeves all year (regardless of whether I wear shorts or not), but the weather just won’t permit it during some of the warmer months. But now, with temperatures dipping to fall-like levels, I welcome the change back.

And my preference for long sleeves shows in how I schedule the change, too. Last time, I changed over to long on September 24 (coinciding with a very large protest that day), and changed over to short on April 24 – that’s seven months long, and five months short. Then this year, it was slightly less than five months on short sleeves. So there you go.

Weirder is to decommission the Crocs and other summer footwear that I’ve been wearing for the last several months. I’ll probably replace the sandals (being pretty cheap as it is), and the Crocs will probably return next year.

Categories: Clothing, Shoes

The time I got backhanded…

September 18, 2006, 11:11 PM

I still remember the time I got backhanded in high school, and I was thinking about that recently. It was in Mrs. Dixon’s English class way back in 1998, and I got decked by a girl, whom we’ll call “Wilma Eyeball” (this person gave herself this nickname in sixth grade back in 1992, so they know who they are), who sat in the seat in front of me. I had presumably managed to tick off this particular girl, and while I was discussing something with another classmate, she just up and backhanded me. She just swung her arm back and kapow. I was kind of stunned. I got decked by Wilma Eyeball. I must have really gotten on her nerves. And it marked the only time I ever got decked in school. And thankfully, no injuries came about – not even a bruise.

After I got decked, Mrs. Dixon took us both out in the hall to discuss this between the two of us. This ultimately led to a seating change, where Wilma Eyeball was moved to a seat across the room. It ended up working out for the better.

Meanwhile, now I find out that Wilma Eyeball lives near Los Angeles and seems to be having a great time…

Categories: School

One windshield, added to the list of things to do.

September 18, 2006, 8:45 PM

So let’s officially add a windshield to the list of things to work on while I’m in the shop. I also finally got the insurance check from the deer accident resolved, and it’s now in the bank and waiting to be paid to Whitesell’s when the work’s all done. The Sable’s going to be out of service for a week. It’s going in next Monday night, and returning on Thursday or Friday.

And meanwhile, I’m going to DC this Wednesday instead of next Wednesday. It’s confirmed: Dad won’t let me take Sis’s car to Washington in the week that the work is going on, and so I’ll be taking the DC trip a week early, and doing it in the Sable. This means that DC will see my car with its dents and missing grille one more time, as well as that brand new crack in the windshield that happened yesterday. Of course, this means that there will be a longer gap between DC trips than I’d prefer. One week between this and the last one, and then three weeks until the next one.

Needless to say, I’m going to be climbing the walls by the time October 11 (estimated date of next scheduled DC trip) rolls around unless I double-dip (meaning that I take an extra non-scheduled trip), which is possible.

Categories: Mercury Sable

Add “windshield” to the list of things to fix next week…

September 17, 2006, 11:17 PM

It seems that when it rains, it pours, as I had another incident in the Sable on my way up to Harrisonburg today. This time, I got a nasty crack in my windshield. I was driving up I-81, and a rock flew up and hit my windshield in the extreme upper left corner from my perspective. Since it was so extreme of a corner that it was actually on the black, I thought at the time that I’d gotten away unscathed, since I didn’t see any damage from my vantage point in the driver’s seat.

The purpose of my trip to Harrisonburg was to visit the Rocktown Infoshop, which is a left-wing bookstore on Elizabeth Street in downtown Harrisonburg similar to the Brian MacKenzie Infoshop in DC. I parked along Court Square in Harrisonburg, and walked the block or so to Rocktown Infoshop.

Rocktown Infoshop is a neat place. Besides a small selection of books (they aspire to have as much as DC’s Infoshop), they also have locally-made crafts, a free store where you can donate items and also take what you wish at no cost, and a place to sit and relax. The space is larger than DC’s Infoshop, and unlike the Infoshop in DC, Rocktown Infoshop is at street level, and therefore has a good storefront. Recall that in DC, the Infoshop is in the basement of the Flemming Center, and as such has a narrow set of stairs to access its outside entrance, and has no street-level storefront to speak of.

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Categories: Driving, Mercury Sable

And another piece of computer equipment bites the dust…

September 16, 2006, 10:47 PM

Yep… sad to say, after I spent a whole lot of time working with my Hewlett Packard 930C printer, I’ve come to a conclusion: It’s broken.

So last night I bought a new printer. I didn’t truly realize it until last night, but the straight inkjet printer seems to be going extinct. Everything is either specialized for photos, or is an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier. Since I generally don’t print photos, I don’t particularly need something specialized for photos. For the amount of times I print photos, it’s not worth it. I also already have a scanner that works just fine, so I didn’t particularly need a new one. However, due to the lack of choices in straight inkjets, I bought one of those printer/scanner/fax/copier ones.

I ended up getting an HP PhotoSmart C3140, mainly because the scanner surface is about the same size as my present scanner, which is an HP ScanJet something or other. I’m going to be sad to retire my scanner, which is in perfectly good condition, but there is a perk to this: I can consolidate my setup. I no longer have to have the printer off the desk and on a side shelf. I can put it front-and-center on my desk, where my scanner currently resides. So that’s a plus.

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Categories: Computer, Shopping

Ben Schumin, your “man on the street” out gathering people’s thoughts…

September 14, 2006, 1:50 AM

As date-stamped on my previous entry, my most recent trip to Washington DC was on September 12. That date coincided with the primary elections in Washington, where, among other things, people were making their choices for the Democratic Party candidate for mayor. In Washington, with the city itself being heavily Democratic, the Democratic primary is considered the actual deciding contest in the mayor’s race. And with Mayor Tony Williams not seeking another term, the field was wide open.

In fact, there were seven candidates on the ballot: Adrian Fenty, Linda Cropp, Marie Johns, Vincent Orange, Michael Brown (name remained on ballot despite exiting the race), Artee Milligan, and Nestor Djonkam. Fenty ultimately won the race (see here), and therefore, Fenty will likely be the winner in the general election in November.

Now let me remind you that I presently do not live in Washington DC, nor do I live in the Washington DC metropolitan area (though I’m working hard to change that part, but no success yet). I’ve followed the race to an extent, as I spend the equivalent of a month in Washington each year (a day in Washington every two weeks plus a few double-dips). I also really hate it when our national leaders step on the local leaders’ toes or leave them out of critical incidents, such as on May 11, 2005 (one of my DC trip days, by the way) when the White House and Capitol were evacuated due to an idiot who got lost in restricted airspace over Washington. There, the DC government wasn’t informed that something was up until it was all over. Mayor Williams was not happy, needless to say.

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New compy or second rehab?

September 12, 2006, 7:14 PM

First of all, hello from Pentagon City Mall in Arlington.

With my computer at eight years old now and with its last rehabilitation more than five years behind us, I’ve started toying with the idea of going for MORE POWER once again. Thus the question becomes whether I want to just get an entirely new computer or do another rehabilitation on the one I’ve got. A second rehab on it would likely see a new motherboard and CPU, plus more memory, if nothing else. In the last rehab, I left the original motherboard and processor in place.

The reason I’m even contemplating a rehab vs. just replacing the whole thing is because I really do like my current box. It’s a full tower, has loads of expansion slots, and has three drive bays on it. I’ve not found a new PC to match it. That and I’ve grown rather attached to my present system, and I’d hate to part with it.

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Categories: Computer