So the last day with the coworkers before vacation went well…

August 23, 2008, 4:21 PM

Indeed, I a fun time was had by all at our all-staff retreat. One of the fun parts of it is that I maintained an open-Kodak policy. Anyone who wanted to fire off some photos on my camera was welcome to do so, and so we had a number of photographers over the course of the day. We had a catered lunch together, we hung out and socialized a bit, and we went on a three-mile-or-so hike. Check it out…

A number of us, including myself, played a few hands of Spades out on the deck.
A number of us, including myself, played a few hands of Spades out on the deck.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Recreation/Exercise, Work

I am now officially on vacation…

August 22, 2008, 7:02 PM

Yes, today marks the beginning of vacation. I am excited, and looking forward to it. And the last day at work prior to vacation was exciting, as we had an all-staff retreat at our executive director’s house. That was a lot of fun.

And so now I get to clean up and pack. I need to finish the milk in the fridge, since that expires during vacation (and we don’t like spoiled milk), do my laundry, and then pack for the beach.

And then the beach is going to be exciting, too. I’m taking both cameras – Duckie and the Kodak. Duckie will be used for some in-the-water shots, and then the Kodak will be used for the stuff on dry land. I’m taking my tripod, and I’m going to be giving the Kodak its first experience with night photography.

I’d hoped to practice locally doing night photography on the Kodak, but stuff happens, and I never got a chance to. One of the things for my to-do list is to do some night photos in downtown Silver Spring, since it’s so close to me. I also want to eventually cover the memorials at night – start at Jefferson, and then do the full circuit, going from Jefferson to FDR to Korea to Lincoln to Vietnam to World War II. I would love to take a friend along for that shoot – mainly so I can have someone to talk to while I do my thing. My JMU photo shoot in December was one of the loneliest photo shoots I’ve ever done, because due to my schedule, the shoot had to be done over Christmas, and the campus was deserted.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Travel

I don’t know anyone in Olive Branch, Mississippi…

August 21, 2008, 12:20 AM

Okay, so for the past week, I’ve been receiving FedEx door tags on my door, as FedEx has tried to deliver something to me. Slight problem: I have no idea what is being sent to me, or who’s sending it to me. I ran the door tag number and got the tracking number, and it’s coming from Olive Branch, Mississippi (a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee), and it weighs seven pounds. I don’t know anyone from Olive Branch, Mississippi. For that matter, I don’t know anyone in Mississippi – period.

At first, I figured it was a mistake, and that the door tag was actually for my neighbor. Calling her, I found out that she was expecting a package. So after consulting with my neighbor, I moved the door tag to her door, figuring the FedEx guy goofed, because after all, the door numbers in my building are really tiny and easy to miss. And there was no apartment number written on the door tag. I used a little tape to make sure the door tag stayed on her door, since the sticky note-type adhesive was less fresh, now having been touched by fingers, and being on more than one door.

So okay. Next day, the FedEx guy came back while I was again out, and moved the unmarked door tag back over, tape and all. Okay. I moved it back over again, thinking the FedEx guy is a dope. My neighbor even wrote a note on it saying that if it was for her, then leave the package at her door. Then yesterday, I got a new door tag on my door, again unmarked. I didn’t even bother with it, and left it on the door.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Companies

So the fire drill went well.

August 13, 2008, 11:20 PM

So the fire drill at work went off without a hitch. At 11:15 AM, the fire alarm went off, and all of us on “Team Wheelock” (since the signals in our building are Wheelock) put on our safety vests and hard hats and got down to business, doing a sweep across the floor, making sure that everyone was clear before leaving. And after the fire drill was over, here’s Team Wheelock, victorious:

"Team Wheelock" during the fire drill

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Fire drills, Work

Ever wondered what a single person’s apartment looks like?

August 12, 2008, 10:52 PM

I was fiddling around with the Kodak camera a little bit this evening, trying to figure some stuff out. Specifically, I was trying to figure out how to overcome a focus problem where photos come out really pixelly. I think I have that figured out how to turn the feature that’s responsible for that problem off, but while I was playing around, I also screwed around with the panoramic shot mode.

What the panoramic mode does is take three images and stitch them together in the camera, giving you an edge to use to line it all up in the second and third images. And since I was practicing at home, let me show you what a “bachelor pad” looks like…

My living room, facing the balcony door

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: House

Fire drill at work tomorrow…

August 12, 2008, 7:20 PM

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been in an honest-to-goodness, genuine fire drill? It has been five years, since the last time I was in an actual, planned fire drill was back in Potomac Hall in 2003. In fact, I got to pull that alarm. That was fun.

So now for tomorrow, we’ve been notified by the building management that we’ll be having a fire drill. They’ve given themselves a 30-minute window in which to conduct the drill, and that ought to be that. The alarms in our building are Wheelock 34 horns, and then those horns are attached to Space Age light plates. Thus we have these horns:

Wheelock 34

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Fire drills, Work

JMU class reunions in September 2008: Cancelled due to lack of interest.

August 6, 2008, 8:00 AM

JMU does so many things that make me laugh, and not in the hee-hee-that’s-funny kind of way, either. Unfortunately, it’s usually in a far more mean-spirited kind of way, as I laugh at some of the DUMB things that they do. I still remember back in 2003 when JMU announced that they were fighting spam, while at the same time constantly spamming the student body after they set a far-too-flexible process for campus organizations to promote their junk.

Of course, once you graduate JMU, you lose the abovementioned spam, and start hearing from the alumni people. JMU recently sent me mail about the reunions for the classes of 2008, 2003 (me), 1998, 1993, and 1988. That’s five graduating classes right there. I know – I’m exhausted just reading all those different years. And JMU had a whole slate of events for people to do, and an overblown fee for the package (read: “Good lord, that’s expensive!”). My exact reaction was, oh, hell no, as I’ve been through the procedure with JMU’s cheesy event scheduling before, and it’s not that much different than going to Sea World, going from one show to the next to the next all day.

So I was quite amused to get this in my Email yesterday:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: JMU

These glass guys aren’t exactly bright people, but they do good work.

August 4, 2008, 8:13 PM

First of all, let me preface this Journal entry by saying that the Sable is going through some rough times right now. Not long after I had to drop a new compressor into the car to get it moving again, I have something else go wrong. Let me explain. I’m driving in the car, going to Reston where my friend Matthew Tilley lives, in order to pay him a visit. I’ve gotten off of I-66, and I’m going up Fairfax County Parkway. There’s a car in front of me. And a rock comes right out from under that car, and *smack* hits my windshield, leaving a nice chip in it. So okay. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a chip, but I’m still a little bit pissed about this, even though it’s something that’s totally covered under my insurance.

So after I finished over at Matthew’s house, I headed back to Silver Spring to my house and filed the claim with Progressive. You go on their Web site, and you have to tell Progressive where you got nicked, and how you got nicked. Okay. Next day, bright and early, I got a call from Progressive. Okay. We went over everything, but first they needed proof that the windshield work was done back in 2006. So they had to call Whitesell’s, who, like the truly awesome folks that they are, came through with an invoice. So once Progressive had that in hand, we were going well. I agreed to use their roving glass service to fix the car, since I’m not taking the Sable anywhere to get it fixed if they can come to me.

So then later, the glass guys call me to schedule an appointment. We go over all the information that they got from Progressive, including make, model, body style, color, state of registration, tag number, plus we went over the damage again. In other words, there is only one car that fits that description – mine. And then I confirmed with them – I don’t need to be there for this job, right? Correct. I don’t need to be there. We also confirmed that it doesn’t matter which way I’ve got the car pointed, because they can get at it whether I’m parked forwards or backwards.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Mercury Sable

The big vacation starts in three weeks, and the mini-vacation starts in mere days… I’m excited!

August 1, 2008, 11:17 PM

Yes, August is going to be fun, since I’m spending about a week and a half of it away from the office, recharging my batteries.

First of all, I will be on a “mini-vacation” for three days next week plus the weekend. I’m spending half of it up here with Katie, who’s coming up to see me. We’re going to be running around DC one day, cooling off at Splashdown Waterpark the next, and then wandering around Potomac Mills on the third day before we head down to Stuarts Draft. I’ll be returning Katie home, and then going to see my parents, whom I’ve not seen in Stuarts Draft since May (they have come up to DC on a few occasions since then).

However, seeing my parents in Stuarts Draft is kind of a mixed blessing for me. On one hand, I love seeing my parents, and enjoy spending time with them. Our relationship has improved greatly now that we don’t share a house anymore. We have a blast together. On the other hand, there is nothing to do in Stuarts Draft and vicinity. There is this plethora of new shopping in Staunton and Waynesboro… but I can get all of it two or three times over in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, with the most important places for me within five miles of my house. But yeah, aside from maybe cow tipping, there’s not much to do in Stuarts Draft. Why do you think I was always going up to Washington DC every chance I got while I was living in Stuarts Draft?

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Travel


July 30, 2008, 3:12 PM

You have to admit, with this being my kitchen week at the office, that this is a cute way to announce that the dishwasher will be running soon…

Lolcat dishes

Yes, the concept of the Lolcat is alive and well. I got the original image from Gumuz on Flickr, and then lolcatted it up using the Lolcat Translator.

Categories: Netculture, Work

Chris Core, part of commentary and analysis on WTOP radio…

July 29, 2008, 3:06 PM

As you may remember, Chris Core was let go from WMAL as part of a round of layoffs by Citadel Broadcasting back on February 29 of this year. Since then, Core seems to have landed on his feet, as he now works as a guest host on POTUS ’08 on XM Satellite Radio, as well as a featured commentator on WTOP, a local FM radio station that provides news and comment, where Core has a daily one-minute commentary segment called “Core Values”.

I’m not a subscriber to XM, so I can’t speak about Core’s performance on POTUS ’08. However, I did find the WTOP podcast, and have been listening to it for some months now. That’s the Chris Core we all know and love, talking about national issues at times, and also talking about local issues. But there’s something missing. “Core Values”, by design, is very one-sided. One of Chris Core’s strong points was his interactions with callers. Core knew many of his repeat callers well, and very often it was a wonderful place for the community to discuss the local issues of the DC area.

This is why I so wish Chris Core had a three-hour show again. While it’s great to hear him on the radio again, I miss the interactions. The one-sided “Core Values” segment is all right, but he needs a full show again. Perhaps he’ll eventually find a home on WWWT, aka “3WT”, an all-talk station owned by the same company that owns WTOP. That would be optimal. I’d hate for the lion’s share of Core’s talent to be on satellite radio. He needs to be back on a DC-area station again, talking about local issues full-time.

I guess you could say that having The Chris Core Show or something similar to it back on the air talking about local issues… is a Core value.

Categories: Radio

Nylon straps? Ummmmmm…

July 29, 2008, 8:03 AM

Here’s Metro’s latest innovation on their rail cars:

Nylon straps on Rohr 1127

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: WMATA

Scientologists don’t scare me!

July 21, 2008, 7:10 PM

I finally got the opportunity to scan the letter, and so here is the Church of Scientology’s effort to try and silence me, reprinted here in its entirety:

Scientology letter, Page 1

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Project Chanology

Metro on speed?

July 20, 2008, 11:53 AM

This is perhaps the weirdest thing I’ve heard come out of Metro’s door speakers ever:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: WMATA

“Ask me why I’m NOT wearing a mask!”

July 18, 2008, 10:06 PM

After the final day of Plone training at American University, I rode down to Dupont Circle – not to go to the office, mind you. Anonymous was holding a “flash raid” ahead of tomorrow’s “Over 9000 Anon March” in front of the Lincoln Memorial. That usually involves a handful of people in Guy Fawkes masks or other kinds of masks protesting Scientology. They’re called “flash raids” because they’re quick and often called on very short notice.

So leaving the house this morning, I grabbed a hat and a bandanna and stuck it in my bag for the flash raid. However, I had a revelation around 2:00. What’s the point of my masking up for this one? The reason why participants in Anonymous wear masks in the first place is to protect against the Church of Scientology’s practicing Fair Game on them by concealing their identity. However, I received the cease-and-desist letter from the Church of Scientology’s lawyers. So they know about me. I’m “outed”. They know I’m part of Anonymous. So what’s the point of masking up? I didn’t see one, so the bandanna and hat stayed packed.

I also got to take a moment to celebrate my cease-and-desist letter with another anon who goes by “Heidi”, who also got a cease-and-desist letter. Same law firm, and same letter except for the last two paragraphs. And we had a quick strategizing session on how to capitalize on that. What we came up with was a little play on the classic Anonymous sign that reads, “Ask me why I’m wearing a mask.” We went unmasked, and our signs said, “Ask me why I’m NOT wearing a mask.” Check it out:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Project Chanology