What kind of idiot builds his new secret base of operations on the site of his old secret base of operations, which had been destroyed by his enemies?

September 16, 2008, 12:39 AM

Zordon, that’s who. You know, this guy:


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Categories: Power Rangers

Who doesn’t like a free hug?

September 10, 2008, 10:54 PM

So as far as I was concerned, International Free Hug Day was a resounding success, as free hugs were given to all who wanted them. This was an event that I organized with Anonymous as a flash raid, and so we gave our free hugs on the triangle across from the Founding Church of Scientology, in front of La Tomate. I was out there for three hours, having come straight from work, and Heidi joined in about halfway through. Check us out:

Heidi with my "FREE HUGS" sign  Me with my "FREE HUGS" sign

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Phew! The whole place smells like Sharpie…

September 8, 2008, 10:55 PM

Yes, I pulled out my Sharpies to hand-letter a few signs. I made three. This is the general gist of the message:

"Free Hugs" sign

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Categories: Arlington, Netculture

So the meetup went well, though turnout was low.

September 7, 2008, 1:58 AM

I always love getting together with my fellow Wikipedia geeks. We have so much fun, though I admit that the turnout was a bit low this time around. But, I also can’t blame many for not showing, considering that Tropical Storm Hanna came blowing through on the same day. I got pretty wet just walking the ten feet from my door to the car, but otherwise, no problem, since it was a short drive to the Metro station, and then from there, I’m on Metro and it can be as rainy and windy as it wants, because all the stations I’m dealing with (Wheaton and Union Station in this case) are underground.

Otherwise, though, Uno’s was wonderful as always, and the wait staff took very good care of us. One thing we noticed on the check was that they never billed us for the drinks! Much to our surprise, none of the beverages that anyone ordered, alcoholic or otherwise, appeared on the check. Then the conversation was lovely, as we made light of some of the various situations that came up on Wikipedia and all the things we managed to get into. Fun times.

And here we are:

The group that went to the September 2008 DC Wikipedia meetup

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Categories: Target, Wikipedia

I think this is a help more than anything else…

September 6, 2008, 1:39 PM

Seriously, we’re getting a lot of rain, and that’s about the extent of it. Tropical Storm Hanna has given us no wind at all worth speaking of, and the lights remain on. So good deal. And all this rain will actually be of benefit to us so long as a lot of it soaks in and doesn’t just run off.

However, as I indicated yesterday, no Rosslyn visit today. I’m not contending with the rain to photograph a building being torn down. It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow, so I’m going out then.

And all systems are GO for the Wikipedia meetup at Union Station today.

Categories: Tropical systems

And they called her “Hanna”…

September 5, 2008, 8:41 PM

As of right now, Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to run up most of the eastern seaboard starting with the Carolinas and going up to New England. Per The Weather Channel, this is the projected path:

Projected path of Tropical Storm Hanna
Image: The Weather Channel

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School days and the oddball things that teachers would mandate for their classes…

September 3, 2008, 7:43 PM

I was talking to a friend of mine over IM who’s presently a senior in high school, and he’s told me about the joys of what teachers mandate for their classes. According to my friend, one of his teachers mandated use of the Cornell note-taking system for taking class notes. The Cornell note-taking system seems to be good enough, but seems right offhand to be a bit more of a use of paper than I would like. Use half the page for non-note activity? You’re looking at someone who, in college, as a cost-saving measure, would find the narrowest-ruled paper possible in order to squeeze a few more lines onto a page and therefore save a few sheets of paper. I’m sure that over an entire college career, I probably saved maybe two sheets total (and even that’s probably a bit optimistic), but at least I felt thrifty.

But that’s really not the point of this entry. It just reminds me of the wacko things that teachers used to mandate when I was in school. I remember that so many teachers thought that they knew best, and thus used that rationale to force various methods of organization on their students. Now my method of organization was always chronological. Everything was in the order that it was done, in a big binder, usually 1½” wide. Then as now, I’m big on dates and time order, since I am really good with knowing that A came before B, which came after C, and that A, B, and C were on or around such and such a date. Thus if I’m looking for something, I would go back to that point in time. Pow. All by date, and I could find my way around. And everything went in that notebook. Yes, I was one of those people who owned a small notebook-size three-hole punch to tote around. And yes, I also had a big three-hole punch at home. In fact, I still have that big hole punch.

So that’s why it frustrated me then and amuses me now when teachers would mandate to students how they were to arrange their notebooks. After all, by high school, one would hope that one has a system that works. I know I did. These kinds of things always frustrated me. I remember some teachers would require notebooks that were so anal-retentive in their organization, requiring separate labeled sections for notes, classwork, homework, quizzes, tests, vocabulary, etc. etc. etc. And half of those sections never got used, and were a waste of space.

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Categories: School

No, no, no, nothing like that…

September 2, 2008, 7:23 PM

Today, I was telling my coworkers, along with how my vacation went, about how I did a little decorating yesterday. Remember back in February when I bought those little mirrors at IKEA? Well, I finally put them up. I put five of those little mirrors on the wall above my bed. Check it out…

The "Malma" mirrors on the wall above my bed

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Categories: Furniture

John McCain picks Sarah Palin as his running mate. Interesting…

August 29, 2008, 11:38 PM

Finally, the battle lines are completely drawn for the 2008 election. Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden as his running mate, and John McCain surprised us all by picking Sarah Palin of Alaska, whom most of us have never heard of, as his running mate. Interesting move.

What got me was in reading this AP article on the VP pick. Specifically: “She mentioned that she followed in the footsteps of Geraldine Ferraro, who was the Democratic vice presidential running mate in 1984[…]”

It’s always a good idea to invoke the name of a vice presidential candidate whose ticket lost by a HUGE landslide in the 1984 election. Not to mention that this is the same person who, back in March, left-wing pundit Randi Rhodes described as “the David Duke in drag” due to Ferraro’s comments about why Barack Obama has gotten as far as he has. Excellent strategy, bringing a failed VP candidate’s name into the mix.

I say that if we’re going to invoke the name of Geraldine Ferraro, let’s see if we can’t make sure that they go the whole way down that Ferraro road. We do that by making sure that the McCain-Palin ticket goes the same way as the Mondale-Ferraro ticket did in 1984. Recall that in 1984, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide victory. Let’s see if we can’t secure as big of a landslide victory as Reagan did in 1984 for the Obama-Biden ticket in 2008. It’s doable.

Categories: National politics

And we’re back!

August 29, 2008, 10:00 PM

And we’re back in Silver Spring once again, after a fun vacation. Now we’re refreshed and ready to take on the real world once again.

It’s interesting, though – the way my travels usually go, usually one leg of the trip goes flawlessly, and one has issues. The outbound leg went flawlessly. Perfect driving conditions, and traffic was fairly light. The return trip, however, was not so flawless. Traffic was heavy the entire way, and I had to detour around a bit within Hampton Roads.

First of all, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Hampton Roads area, let me explain for a moment. Hampton Roads is encircled by the Hampton Road Beltway, which is formed from the final 36 miles of I-64, and roughly 20 additional miles of I-664. Inside that, going roughly east-west through the middle, is I-264, which runs from I-64’s terminus to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Then there’s also I-464, which runs from the Downtown Tunnel in Norfolk (part of I-264) to State Route 168 on a roughly north-south track, intersecting I-64 along the way. Confused yet?

My detour started because I saw a sign on one of those highway message signs: “HRBT 4.5 MILE BACKUP, MMMBT CLEAR”. This told me that the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) had a massive backup nearly five miles long on westbound, while the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) was going smoothly. My understanding is that these HRBT backups are common, and that they’re looking into a permanent solution to the problem.

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Categories: Driving, Travel

Thursday was fun…

August 29, 2008, 9:11 AM

Thursday was fun. I spent much of it wandering along the strip, checking out the various stores and such. However, I only spent money at Flipper McCoy’s, which, unlike the visit on Tuesday night, was pretty quiet this time around. I had so much fun. I took both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man for a number of spins, I played skee-ball, I played Spin-to-Win, and I got to see someone win 1500 tickets on the Deal Or No Deal machine.

Perhaps the most interesting was skee-ball. They have two different versions. One named along the lines of your typical skee-ball game and styled as such, and then the other was called “Ice Ball”. The gameplay between regular skee ball and Ice Ball was exactly the same, but the Ice Ball balls were white, and they felt ever so slightly heavier, which I preferred. In play, I somehow managed to hit every spot, including the 10,000 spot, except for 5,000. Why not 5,000? Dunno. Got 1K, 2K, 3K, and 4K no problem. Go figure. I also found that I scored better by changing my angle. I was initially playing like it was bowling. Underhanded roll, hitting the rolling surface fairly close to the edge. When I changed to a different style throw, aiming for it to start rolling along the track towards the back, I did a lot better. Go fig.

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And while I’m on vacation, the Democrats put an end to the nomination fight once and for all…

August 28, 2008, 1:43 AM

Let me say that the fourth day in Virginia Beach was a lot of fun. It started with a walk down the beach. Recall that on Monday, I took Duckie into the water for a swim, and got those amazing wave photos. Today, I again took Duckie to the water, though this time I was mainly out to cover the beach. I got people making sandcastles, as well as completed sandcastles. Some people made forts for themselves, while one person dug a small tunnel system in the sand. Metro for the sand crabs, maybe? Looked as though he had just completed his system’s equivalent of Metro Center when I passed by. And most people, by and large, were very friendly, even offering to pose with their creations as they were building them. However, considering the style of photos I normally like to take, the phrase “act natural” became a fairly common phrase for me.

This, by the way, is the pièce de résistance when it comes to Virginia Beach sandcastles today:


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Late start, but not bad.

August 27, 2008, 11:28 AM

I got a late start on Tuesday, owing to a sore foot. But the day definitely made up for the late start. I kind of explored around the city a bit by car, and it was certainly worth the time, as I got to see what kind of city Virginia Beach was in the “local” department, vs. the resort area. Not bad. I don’t think I’d want to ever live here, if nothing else but for the constant sound of jet noise due to the presence of the Oceana Naval Air Station in the town. You can hear those jets even when you’re driving in your car. Very disconcerting, because I’m thinking it’s something wrong with the car or something, and it’s the military flying jets overhead. And then a jet flew directly overhead – that’s ear-splittingly loud. Give me a Wheelock 7002T to the face any day, thank you.

Due to a strong wind blowing over the area, the ocean was a bit rougher than usual. The strong waves actually reshaped the beach somewhat – it was a smooth slope down to the ocean from the main beach on Monday, but today, there was a noticeable step down to the water, as the waves carved it out as they took sand out to sea. I went down to the water in the early evening, and got in this rough surf, and the waves were noticeably more forceful than the day before. And I got sand up my suit. No fun. But it was a good experience out there.

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Categories: Travel, Virginia Beach

Cold water is COLD!

August 25, 2008, 10:24 PM

It’s Day 2 of vacation! And let me just say that the cold water in the ocean is as cold as longcat is long. I went swimming in the ocean today. And it was interesting how the temperatures turned out. I believe the majority of the water around here was quite cold. But as the waves crashed, the heat off of the beach would warm the water up, and then it would roll back in, it made a warm layer in the water. It was quite a weird feeling. But on a warm day, the cold water in the ocean was quite refreshing.

I also took Duckie out in the ocean today, and I had a great time. Duckie is a great in-the-water camera, and I had fun taking up-close photos of the waves. Check it out…

Big Mavica would certainly never have gotten this close to the ocean!
Big Mavica would certainly never have gotten this close to the ocean!

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Categories: Travel, Virginia Beach

Watch as the highway narrows…

August 24, 2008, 10:39 PM

So I made the trip to the beach today, and I am now writing from the Travelodge Suites on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

And the best way to describe the trip down is watching the highway as it gets narrower and narrow. I started in Silver Spring, where I caught the beltway – each side four lanes wide. Then after I cleared the DC area, I-95 dropped a lane and was down to three lanes. This was the configuration all the way to Richmond and onto I-64. Then once I cleared Richmond, I-64 dropped down to two lanes, and stayed this way into Newport News, when it fluctuated between two and three lanes as we went through Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk, and finally three lanes to the oceanfront.

On the way in, I swung by the site of the former Coliseum Mall in Hampton, which I visited back in 2005. Recall that they had Edwards horn/strobes, and that I visited in 2005 to positively identify the mystery mall that I had briefly visited back in 2003. Now, though, Coliseum Mall is very different. The mall was demolished in early 2007, and construction of a new open-air “town center” style shopping center called Peninsula Town Center is well underway. Currently, the only stores open are JCPenney in a new building, and Macy’s in its original building. I never thought I’d see an anchor store with one of those “STILL OPEN” signs on the side in person like I’ve seen in various retail blogs, but there it was. These signs are generally used to indicate that the anchor store is still open despite that the rest of the mall is being torn down. In this case, the regular Macy’s logo is on the side, and a sign saying “IS OPEN” was right beneath it. This was the case on all of the Macy’s building’s logos. The new town center is certainly cute-looking, but the 1970s-era Macy’s building will look really strange next to the rest of the buildings. Of course, they may renovate the exterior of Macy’s and make it match, but we’ll see.

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Categories: Driving, Travel, Virginia Beach