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Looks like Metro might go out to Dulles after all!

April 30, 2008, 2:48 PM

Reminds me of that song from Today’s Special that goes, “It’s wonderful news, it’s a glorious day, everything’s fine, everything is okay,” as we learn today that the FTA is going to kick in their share for Metro’s extension to Dulles.

And let me tell you something, too. Having been out that way on a few occasions, getting around out there is a real @#$%$. People drive like idiots out there in Loudoun County, and everything requires driving because it’s all sprawly. Maybe this will cause them to rethink the way they plan out there, and design a more urban setting rather than the suburban sprawl that they’ve got going out there. It would also give the privately-operated Dulles Greenway a run for its money, I’d say. That thing is downright pricey…

Plus that means that if Katie’s up there visiting family, or if Mom has another teachers’ convention up there, or if I want to visit my friend Matthew, I would be able to take Metro right out there. As it is, I pride myself on my own Metro-accessibility. Anytime I have friends over, I tell them to take Metro to Glenmont and then I’ll pick them up at the West Kiss and Ride and drive them the mile and a half back to my house. And with the price of gas anymore, Metro is golden (even if a lot of the seats are orange and brown).

So all in all, not bad. And they’re also going to continue to hold Metro’s feet to the fire as far as maintenance is concerned, so perhaps it will reduce Red Line delays in the end. Should be interesting regardless…

Categories: WMATA

I am convinced that the purpose of the emissions testing in Maryland is for the task of extricating an additional fourteen bucks on top of everything else you have to pay around here…

April 26, 2008, 10:36 AM

Well, this morning, this beautiful April 26 where the sun is shining and the birds are singing, I had to drive down to White Oak to get an emissions test for the Sable. I’m all for keeping noxious fumes out of the atmosphere, but this was pathetic. I’m charged fourteen bucks for a five minute visit with Mr. Personality. Most of this time was spent processing my payment of $14. For the actual test, all I did was drive up to the testing location, turn off the car, get out, he plugs his computer into the car, looks at his screen, unhooks his computer, and hands me an emissions certificate saying I passed. Yaaaaay. No cone over the tailpipe or anything. No computers electronically “smelled” what’s actually coming out of the back end of my car.

This was also one of those things where I spent more time traveling to the location than actually spending time at the location. I always say that any trip, to be worthwhile, should be where the amount of time at the location is greater than or equal to the amount of time spent traveling to and from the location. This did not qualify, especially when you consider that I got stuck behind a roadblock on Randolph Road caused by an accident or something, and thus had to turn around, go down New Hampshire Avenue to White Oak, and then catch Route 29 from there to go up to the emissions testing station.

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Categories: Mercury Sable

The Watha T. Daniel Library has actually been demolished…

April 23, 2008, 8:28 PM

I’ve known the Shaw neighborhood in DC for almost four years now due to my patronage of the Infoshop that is located within it. In that time, Shaw has definitely grown up, as the Washington Convention Center is causing gentrification of the area. However, one major sore spot in the neighborhood for as long as I’ve been visiting Shaw has been the Watha T. Daniel Library, which is located directly across the street from the Shaw Metro station. The library closed in 2004 for a reconstruction, and was originally projected to reopen in 2006. That didn’t happen. From its closing in 2004 through about early 2007, the building just sat abandoned.

You may recall that I ran a photo of the Watha T. Daniel Library last May in the Photo Feature, shortly after the fence went up:

A chain-link fence surrounds the site of the Watha T. Daniel branch library in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC. The facility has been closed since 2004.

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Categories: Washington DC

The most disturbing thing about the whole thing was seeing the young child in the crowd wearing that t-shirt…

April 20, 2008, 8:35 PM

Many may have heard about the neo-Nazi group that marched down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol in Washington DC on April 19 as part of an anti-immigration march. I was there, along with all of my usual protest buddies, counter-protesting this march. Of course, I was half figuring that these Nazi whack-jobs wouldn’t even show up, a la July 4 last year, when we showed up ready for action, and they didn’t.

But show they did, and we were ready. We gathered at 14th and Constitution waiting for them, and things got interesting when two members of the Nazi group showed up near the Washington Monument. Three of our people were arrested after someone attacked the Nazis with a banner. Then things slowed down for a while. It ultimately picked up again when the Nazis got started. These white-supremacist nutjobs were outnumbered by police officers protecting them from us, and then we, counter-demonstrating them, also outnumbered them.

Marching to the Capitol, we marched outside the police lines, primarily on the sidewalk, attempting to drown out the Nazis’ message. When they got to the Capitol, they took the center part of the west lawn, and we were in the south part of it. While they gave their speeches, we played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have a Dream speech over a bullhorn. Hopefully we got our message across that racists are not welcome in our city.

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Categories: Activism

And Ride On welcomes Pope Benedict…

April 16, 2008, 7:34 PM

Even though the pope is not scheduled to visit Montgomery County to my knowledge, and certainly not ride a bus in Montgomery County, Ride On is still getting into the whole papal-visit thing:

Ride On cutaway displaying "Welcome Pope Benedict" on its sign

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Categories: Ride On

A very ugly building in Rosslyn looks like it will be coming down soon…

April 11, 2008, 10:34 PM

Remember almost three years ago, back in 2005, when I wrote this Journal entry about the construction of a really tall building (by local standards) in Rosslyn, on a site that currently houses a frightfully ugly building? Well, here’s the building, at 1815 North Fort Myer Drive in Rosslyn:

1815 North Fort Myer Drive

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Categories: Arlington

Metro’s experimenting with all kinds of flooring solutions…

April 9, 2008, 7:47 PM

I got another car Metro was using to test flooring this evening. This time, it was Rohr 1062, in which they replaced the carpet in the “door zone” with grooved brown rubber flooring. Kind of like a bus aisle. This is what it looked like in place:

Door zone flooring on Rohr 1062

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Categories: WMATA

Done for another year, and good riddance to it.

April 6, 2008, 3:26 PM

You know what they say. There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The former only comes once, and most of us try to put it off as long as possible. The latter comes annually, and it comes due on April 15. And so I can now put it behind me again.

What’s weird, though, is doing it now, vs. in January when I usually do taxes. But this year was more complicated. I changed jobs and states, after all. I left Wal-Mart (yaaaay!), and found work with Food & Water Watch. And I moved from Virginia to Maryland. So for that, I bought TurboTax, and did the whole thing on the computer. Usually, I just sit down with a 1040, a calculator, and a pen, and do it. For the forty bucks or whatever TurboTax cost, it’s normally worth it to just do it manually. But for more complicated years – I was more worried about the state stuff than the federal stuff – TurboTax is handy.

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What a great visit!

April 5, 2008, 11:42 PM

Mom came up for a teachers’ convention during the latter part of this week, and she stayed at my house. And we had a great time. She arrived on Wednesday, and we met up at Wheaton Plaza and then went to my house. Then while I went to work on Thursday and Friday, Mom was at her convention for the Virginia Writing Project. On Thursday, Mom actually lobbied a few Virginia representatives and senators, and then on Friday they had some workshops.

And Mom got to be a DC commuter for two days. She took the 51 and the Red Line just like I do. She left the house ahead of me in the mornings, but we rode back together in the evenings. Thursday, Mom got to see her first big Metro delay, as there was a train having a problem at Van Ness-UDC in the direction of Glenmont (of course). An out-of-service train whizzed by Dupont Circle station, and then I took the next (very crowded) train, to meet Mom at Union Station. Then from there, we rode to Glenmont and took the Y5 back home.

Then on Friday, Mom and I got Breda 3062, which had advertisements on the ceiling. Take a look…

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Categories: Cameras, Family, IKEA, Shopping, WMATA

I save on bus fare, and needy families get nutritious food – everybody wins!

April 1, 2008, 10:40 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my bus fare for my weekday morning ride to Glenmont on the 51 for next week:

Green beans being used as bus fare

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Categories: Ride On