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The final DC trip…

May 31, 2007, 9:08 PM

The final DC trip in my every-two-weeks DC trip routine that I had maintained for almost three and a half years happened on May 8. On that final trip, it was highly appropriate that I tied up the final loose end in my DC trips. That was that I finally took my friend Katie Shapiro to Washington with me. You may recall that we were originally going to go on February 2, 2005, but I had an unexpected issue and had to cancel at literally the last minute. Now, we finally pulled it off.

You may be wondering why it took me this long to do this little exposé about this trip. After all, it’s May 31 now, and this trip occurred on the 8th. The reason is because two days later, I signed the lease to my Silver Spring apartment, and finally moved out of my parents’ house. So there was a bit of a disruption in my Internet service and my whole media collection, since all my stuff lives on my real computer rather than on the Lappy.

So let me take you back a little bit. I was in the last week of my “extended vacation”, and Katie and I planned to go to Washington right before I moved.

It was a fun trip, too. Since I’d gotten fired from Wal-Mart, every DC trip was related to either getting a job or getting an apartment. This trip would be different. This was a classic DC trip.

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Categories: DC trips, WMATA

Cindy Sheehan packs it in… my thoughts.

May 31, 2007, 7:07 PM

I was surprised to read in the Express that Cindy Sheehan is calling it quits in regard to her anti-war activism. As I understand it, it’s not that she’s changed her stance politically, but she’s ramping it down significantly.

As you may know, I met Cindy Sheehan twice – once on November 7, 2006, and once on January 4, 2007, both times in Washington DC. I think she’s a magnificent public speaker when you put her in front of a crowd. However, my experience was that she was not that good with making small talk. Me, I’m the exact opposite. I’m terrible with public speaking (I require a full script to get up and speak!), but I can make small talk all day and all night long.

I can also understand why Sheehan no longer wants to be the public face of the anti-war movement. She’s been an activist basically full time since the summer of 2005. Now it’s the late spring of 2007, so that means she’s been at it for almost two years. That’s a long time. I can imagine that the constant traveling and speaking engagements and demonstrations takes its toll eventually.

I have to say, though, I will miss Cindy Sheehan. She really was the public face of the mainstream anti-war movement for some time. Now we’ll have to see if the movement gets a new “face”. But I will always remember the time that I met her.

Categories: Anti-war

My birthday was good, with the exception of the morning commute.

May 30, 2007, 6:40 PM

So I had a good birthday. Thanks to all who IMed me, texted me, and left me messages on my Wikipedia talk page. And also thank you to all my coworkers who wished me a happy birthday.

However, the day started off like it was going to suck. My commute to work did not go very well. I think one could say it sucked. First of all, my regular bus never showed up. I usually take the Y5, which usually shows up right around 7:35 to take me to the Metro, give or take a couple of minutes. I get to the bus stop at 7:30, and the bus is there moments later. The Y5 never showed this morning. So 7:35 passes. Then 7:40. Then 7:45. Finally at 7:50, a bus shows up. It’s another Y5, and it’s Flxible 9769, which, interestingly enough, was the bus that took me home from Glenmont yesterday. So I got on, and rode into Glenmont station to catch the Metro. Then on the Metro, it was a slow ride aboard Breda 2066 – a rehab. It went well at first, though. We were going fairly smoothly until about Union Station. Then it was very much stop and go. I’m guessing that the trains got bunched up because of Union Station, Metro Center, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, and Farragut North – all very busy stations. At Farragut North, the operator for some reason turned off the train while we waited. So the little “RED” on the LED went out. That meant that we weren’t moving until that “RED” came back on. It did, and we took off again. Once we left Farragut North, it was smooth sailing as far as I was concerned. I was getting off at Dupont Circle – the next station. Then I got to work, and that was the end of my commute. Thank goodness.

Now the return commute was a breeze. I planted myself in a seat on Rohr 1100 next to a door partition, and the next thing I knew, we were at Glenmont. I kind of conked out for that ride. A nice late-afternoon nap always does a person good, and it’s a testament to the smoothness of Metro’s ride when I can go to sleep like that. Then I got Ride On’s 25th Anniversary bus on the 51 back to my house.

So, yeah, it was a nice birthday, except for the morning commute. Now I just have to iron clothes, make tomorrow’s lunch, and eat dinner (in that order), and then go to bed.

Categories: Birthdays, Commuting, WMATA

Well, that was fruitless.

May 28, 2007, 5:12 PM

Turns out I can’t order any of it online. It’s all in-store only. Drat. It means I have to brave that which is Ikea in person again. Well, I’m going to be sleeping on the couch for a while, since I’m not going back there today. But at least I have my list. Next time, when I’ve properly prepared myself mentally for this adventure, I will get the stuff.

And I’m going to go with someone next time I go, I believe. Mom’s likely going to come up on the third weekend in June, and so maybe we can go to Ikea then.

Still, though, I’m just glad that everything’s starting to come together in the apartment. It’s starting to feel like home.

I went to Ikea. That was a touch overwhelming.

May 28, 2007, 4:54 PM

First of all, hello from College Perk coffeehouse! I went to Ikea in College Park today to go bed-shopping. Talk about an overwhelming experience. First of all, the place is bigger than a Wal-Mart Supercenter. And it’s two floors. Then I got over there, and the parking lot was full. I mean full, like park-in-the-back-of-the-lot full.

I went in, and went up the escalator to their showroom. I saw the map coming in, so I kind of knew where I was going, or at least I thought. I got in, and got a bit disoriented. Lots of partitions made it less than straightforward about getting to the back where the beds were. I did find it, though I had no idea what was going on. I ultimately found a salesperson, to whom I admitted I was overwhelmed, and he was quite helpful and helped sort me out. I ultimately did figure out what was going on, though.

Bed shopping is interesting, though. To properly shop for a bed, one must try it out. I’m sure I looked amusing testing mattresses. The way you test them out is to get on them in a sleeping-type position and feel it. It reminds me of a scene from Today’s Special‘s “Shoes” episode. Jodie walks past a row of shoes, and comments on each pair:

Too big! Too small! Not right… at all! Too loose! Oh, too tight! Ah… (puts shoes on) these feel just right!

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With my desk and real computer in place, it’s really starting to feel like home in here…

May 27, 2007, 11:52 PM

At last, the Lappy is back to being the “other” computer. My real computer is all set up. My desk is together, and feels a lot like the old one. Sure, the color is slightly different and the edges are rounded, but it feels like home. I like it. It certainly says something about a desk when you have to replace it, and replace it with an exact duplicate.

I also upped the resolution on my monitors while I was at it. Working on the Mac in my office and also on the Lappy made 1024×768 on this computer look huge. So I upped my resolution to 1152×864. This harmonizes with the Lappy and my office Mac.

And now that the computer desk is set up, I only have one thing left to acquire. I need a bed. I’ve been sleeping on the futon couch in my living room. It’s not a bad bed, but I don’t particularly like sleeping in the living room, especially when I’m paying for a one-bedroom apartment and not an efficiency. So tomorrow I’m going to Ikea in College Park and going bed shopping.

This might also be an opportune time to go over to College Perk and have a cup of joe. After all, they’re both on Baltimore Avenue in College Park. You may recall that this is where my friend Rose used to work. I’ve been to it three times in the past on DC trips. Depending on how close it actually is to Silver Spring, College Perk might just become my equivalent to Daily Grind in Staunton, which you may recall is where I spent many happy hours with the Lappy and a cup of coffee during my unexpected six-week vacation.

And now, it’s late. Good night!

First thunderstorm in the new apartment…

May 27, 2007, 6:15 PM

My first thunderstorm in Silver Spring is now upon me, as the wind picks up, lightning starts flashing, and thunder starts crashing. This is actually the first storm I’ve experienced in Maryland since July 7, 2004, when I was at New Carrollton station when a big storm came up. Mom was in DC that day as well, and met former president Bill Clinton at a book signing.

So this ought to be exciting. Either way, I’ve got something to do in here in the meantime, since I’m putting the desk together tonight.

Categories: Weather

“Consolation of Ruin” was a very interesting and thought-provoking art show…

May 26, 2007, 10:03 PM

All in all, it was awesome! The Borf show was definitely not your mainstream art show. The building, in a somewhat run-down neighborhood in Northeast DC, was covered with graffiti on the inside, for one. And that makes sense, since “Borf” is primarily known for graffiti. The outside of the building even had a giant, elaborate “Borf” tag on it near the roof. This, of course, was all part of the show.

Then inside, there were several sculptures of people. One, in a room with red-painted walls, and the only room free of graffiti, depicted a person hanging from the ceiling, with a belt being used as a noose. This was how Bobby Fisher, whose likeness graced Washington as “Borf”, committed suicide. That was a very shocking and thought-provoking scene, all wrapped together as one. Then another sculpture of people shows three working as a team to make graffiti tags. All three are wearing ski masks, and two are holding a pole, which carries the third person, holding a can of spray paint, up high to place a tag.

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Categories: Street art

I have a cell phone, and I have a desk.

May 25, 2007, 5:49 AM

Everything showed up Thursday evening. The desk showed up right outside my door, and the phone sat right next to it. So life is good. And I didn’t have to be a he-man, either, since the desk was brought right up to the door. So all I had to do was drag it in. If they had left it at the main door to the building, I would have had to drag it up three flights of stairs. And then I could have saved myself the trouble and brought up the old desk.

So, yeah, I’m happy. Cell phone is working again, same number as before, so text away. And I’ll be putting the desk together this weekend.

I realize that the 4000-series cars are 16 years old now, but still…

May 23, 2007, 7:30 PM

Let me say that my ride on Breda 4045 this evening on the way home from work was not pleasant. And it’s because the car was experiencing a mechanical issue, but not enough to pull the train from service. If you can imagine this, the car was vibrating pretty hard near the wheel truck on the “blind” (non-cab) end. And it was making a sound resembling that of a lawn mower. This from a car that’s normally supposed to make that nice buzzing sound that Bredas are known for.

And I had to deal with this from Dupont Circle all the way to Glenmont. All that vibration started to make me feel a little ill, too. After all, I was sitting on the right side of the car, facing the blind end, in the first row after the doors. In other words, I was right on top of it. Not fun.

And for those of you who are wondering, even though I now ride the Metro every day, I still take my little notepad with me and write down train numbers.

Categories: Commuting, WMATA

Is anyone else going to the Borf show this weekend?

May 23, 2007, 2:42 PM

Is anyone else planning on going to the Borf art show this weekend in DC? I’m thinking about going either Saturday or Sunday to check it out. Seems like it might be interesting. After all, I go past the giant BUSH HATES BORF tag twice a day every day on my way to and from work. Plus I saw Borf’s face on a protest sign from J27. Then I spotted another possible Borf face on a wall near the Red Line’s giant Borf tag, where the face is partially painted out in white.

So if anyone else is going to the Borf show, let me know! Like I said, it might be interesting.

Categories: Street art

Wireless Internet is now set up in my apartment…

May 22, 2007, 9:17 PM

Okay, everyone. I’m online in Silver Spring. I’ve set up a wireless network, and the Lappy is online. My real computer comes online once I get the new desk set up. That will be a breeze now that we know that everything else works.

So life is good. I can now go sit out on my balcony with the Lappy and send messages to people and surf the Internet.

Now what I’d like to know is what the heck did I need to have the cable guys over for? All they did is bring the cable box and such and hook the cables into the jack. Big whoopty-doo. They didn’t have to fiddle with anything outside. They just went in, hooked it up, and left. I could have done that myself and not have to wait around the house.

But at least it’s set up now.

Categories: Internet, Move to DC area

Two days from now, I will have a phone.

May 21, 2007, 6:33 PM

Good news! I will have a cell phone again two days from now. Verizon is sending me a replacement phone after the first one got crushed during my fall in Logan Circle. So all in all, good deal. I backed up my contacts, and so that’s not an issue. I am, however, going to have to download all my games again. But at least I’ll be whole again, after I mail back the old phone. My apologies for being out of contact for so long, but you know what they say… stuff happens.

Otherwise, the cable guy comes tomorrow and sets me up with TV and Internet service. I can’t wait. I’ll be able to, like, update the Web site and check my Email and such again. As it is, the computer’s up here now, but it’s just not set up yet due to lack of a desk (which is on its way). Then on this long weekend coming up, I might see about finally getting a bed. Sleeping in the living room on my futon when I’m paying for a one-bedroom apartment is not a good thing, since the bedroom is basically wasted right now.

So that’s what’s going on.

Trust me when I say that carrying a large desk up three flights of stairs is not my idea of fun.

May 19, 2007, 11:44 PM

First of all, hello from my parents’ house in Stuarts Draft.

In continuing to outfit my apartment in Silver Spring, I’m bringing my real computer up with me this time, and it will get set up in a little corner of my apartment. And then I’m going to have Internet service on Tuesday, so all in all, life is good. And the first week with my new employer was awesome. Now I’ve kind of caught onto how this whole thing works, and I feel confident. It’s not like the first day anymore, where my level of anxiety was so high that I could barely eat my cereal in the morning, and forgot the lunch that I’d packed.

So what does this have to do with the desk? Well, the original plan would have had me returning to Maryland with the computer in the Sable, and the desk in either the truck or the Sienna, depending on who went with me. Then in looking at the cost of gas to take a second car back and forth to bring this large piece of furniture to Maryland, we realized that it wasn’t exactly a worthwhile proposition. Thus we had a slight change of plans. My parents will put my computer desk of nine years to work for them. Translation: It’s staying. Meanwhile, I went to Staples and ordered a new desk. It’s identical to my original desk in almost every way, except that it’s a lighter shade of brown (I don’t know what you call the original desk’s color, but the new one is “natural oak”). And it’s getting delivered to Silver Spring. That satisfies everyone. No one, including me, really wanted to drag that thing up three flights of stairs. However, I liked the desk. It was sturdy and well-designed. I’ll happily put a new desk together on site after it’s delivered to my door, and I’m sure my parents will like the old desk.

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If anyone has been trying to contact me…

May 16, 2007, 3:03 PM

If anyone has been trying to contact me via the phone or AIM to Schumin Wireless for about the last 24 hours or so, I’m sorry, but I have not received your messages. Turns out that I did a bit more than skin an elbow and shred my pants when I tripped and fell in Logan Circle yesterday. It seems I also jarred something out of place in my cell phone.

Here’s the problem. Since the accident, the phone will come on and do whatever internal functions it does, but it is incapable of receiving wireless service. In other words, it plays the games that I have on there, and it will take pictures, but I can’t make calls, I can’t text message, I can’t transmit pictures, I can’t get on the Web, and I can’t do anything else that actually requires communication with other devices.

Since my cell phone is now officially my only telephone, this bumps this problem up to a very high priority issue. Since I have no Internet at home right now, I am basically out of contact. Translated: Not good. So I’m going to Pentagon City later today to get one of two things. I’m either going to get this phone fixed, or if it’s terminal, get a new phone.

If I get a new phone, I might as well upgrade, perhaps finally get a Blackberry device or something. I’ve wanted one of those for a while, especially when you consider that I refer to my present phone as “a poor man’s Blackberry”. Add to that the fact that I don’t really like my current phone all that much. I never particularly liked the way everything was laid out, and it lacked some functionality that the phone I had before that had.

So, yeah, if you tried to get a hold of me, sorry, but the phone is currently on strike. It shouldn’t be long before everything’s working again, though.

Categories: Cell phone