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It’s the world of Monsieur Stenchy, where even a skunk can come out smelling like… a rose!

March 31, 2009, 11:45 PM

I think that phrase, from an episode of Power Rangers Zeo, could be used to describe my apartment. Seriously. Mom’s coming over tomorrow, and so I made sure this place was in tip top shape. I dusted, I scrubbed, I shined, I mopped, I swept, I vacuumed, you name it. Anything to make the place look less “lived in”. After all, you really don’t want to show your mother how you really live. I carefully control the way my mother views her little boy’s apartment. Any time my mother comes to visit, the place is all shined up and looking awesome. And that’s important, after all.

Plus it’s kind of nice to have the house smelling all clean, too, since otherwise, it can kind of start to smell like whatever, and what “whatever” is depends on many factors, and it’s not always a pleasant thing depending on what’s going on. This time, the cleaning wasn’t to the extent of the total clean I did in December, where I really went to town on the place including shampooing carpets, but that’s a once-a-year kind of cleaning, and we’re not there yet. Nonetheless, I want to make sure Mom is comfortable here while she’s in town for the Virginia Writing Project, where teachers meet in Washington to meet with legislative offices and such, to promote writing in schools. And for the Virginia Writing Project, I find it amusing that Mom will be spending NO time in Virginia whatsoever, since all the activity will be held in the District of Columbia, and she’s staying with me in Maryland.

So I’m excited. And then Mom and I are probably going to hit up IKEA on Saturday after all the writing stuff is over with. Whatever happens, though, my mother will see a neat apartment. After all, I have made sure that it’s like being in the world of Monsieur Stenchy, where even a skunk can come out smelling like a rose.

Categories: Family, House, Power Rangers

Anonymous DC does Philadelphia…

March 30, 2009, 1:21 AM

On Saturday, March 28, Anonymous DC pulled off a surprise raid outside the Church of Scientology in Philadelphia. We told no one, not even our own parents. We called it “Operation Inquisition”, because no one was expecting us, just as no one expects the Inquisition. And at 9 AM, we departed, arriving in Philadelphia just past noon. Thank goodness for HT’s GPS, which guided us straight to our destination without problem.

And having parked the cars, our raid began outside the Church of Scientology in Philadelphia. This was a very different experience than raiding outside our own local Founding Church of Scientology. For one, we have more room in DC. We have the sidewalk in front of the Founding Org, as well as the triangle across the street. In Philadelphia, we had half of a somewhat narrow sidewalk in front of – get this – a “storefront church”. Yes, the Org in Philadelphia is a storefront location, with two “Free Stress Test” signs on the door. How fail.

But regardless of what it might have looked like, we raided it. The cops, who came out to see what was up, even noticed that we weren’t the usual Anonymous that raids outside this Org. Yes, we were from DC, and Philadelphia Anonymous had been “pwned”.

The storefront Org.
The storefront Org.

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Happy birthday, Metro!

March 28, 2009, 4:56 AM

As of yesterday, it’s been 33 years since Metro first graced Washington with its presence. And I would say Metro had one hell of a birthday this year. According to Metro, a Red Line train derailed near Bethesda station, and the train being used to recover the first train subsequently derailed as well, causing a major delay on the Red Line for the evening commute.

So when I, walking to Dupont Circle station with our IT manager, arrived at the station, what a crazy scene it was, as the station was like mad crowded with people. As usual, my knowledge of Metro worked to our advantage. Rather than just guess at where to stand or otherwise randomly pick a spot, we stood right where a door was going to land. In the station on the Shady Grove side was a train that had just offloaded its passengers, because it was being turned to service the other side. Unaware of the derailment at the time, I thought that the train being turned was the cause of the delay. But no, it just crossed over to the Glenmont side just north of the station, and became a Glenmont train (I would have been royally PO’d if it had come into service as a Silver Spring train), which was packed to standing room right away. Though due to my knowledge of where to stand, we got a seat. That worked out, since I had a long ways to go. But amazingly enough, despite the major delay on Metro, on the Red Line, I got home on time. And for less, too, since I believe Metro adjusts the fares during major delays, since my normally $4.00 ride cost $3.35.

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Categories: WMATA

Can I do the door announcement a little too well?

March 20, 2009, 3:07 PM

You know, my friends and coworkers say I can do Metro’s door announcement a little too well. So I’d like you to take a listen to my impression of Metro’s current door announcement:

“Doors opening! Step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car.”

“Step back, doors closing!”

And then compare this with the real thing, seen here on Breda 2007:

So what do you think? Is it a good impression, or do I do it just a shade too well? You be the judge…

Categories: WMATA

And this is why we don’t normally write Journal entries in the early morning…

March 18, 2009, 11:09 PM

So I was reading over the previous Journal entry, and I remembered why I don’t normally write Journal entries in the early morning. Yeah, I was a bit scattered, as my writing was kind of all over the place, there. I don’t even remember writing about the conservatives being back on their meds, for one thing, but there it is, and then I kind of went off on a shoe tangent at the end.

Lesson to take from this: Writing Journal entries while still half-asleep is bad.

But nonetheless, I’m excited for tomorrow. Funk the War ought to be fun, as long as I’m smart about my cameras. It’s supposed to rain on and off, and after losing Big Mavica in a rainstorm, the policy is that as soon as it begins raining, Duckie becomes the active camera immediately, even if it means I am denied use of the Canon at a protest for the second time in a row. So we’ll see what happens on this final day of winter, as we, like, rock out in the streets and denounce the war.

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Categories: Anti-war, Schumin Web meta

Two demonstrations in three days?

March 18, 2009, 4:50 AM

Yeah, I’m going to two demonstrations in about three days’ time, which is something unusual for me. Usually things aren’t spaced so closely, but this is what happens sometimes.

Thursday is the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, and that day will be full of activism in DC for it. I’m planning to attend another Funk the War demonstration with DC SDS, and hopefully, unlike last year, all my equipment will come out intact this time. The Canon didn’t get to come out for the Anon raid last weekend, so Funk the War will be its first protest, provided the weather cooperates. According to AccuWeather, it will be in the mid-50s, and raining on and off throughout the day. Thus it might be Duckie’s time to shine again, but hopefully I’ll get to see how the Canon does in the bouncy conditions of a protest. Duckie, meanwhile, is a known quantity at protests, and does quite well in the daytime, as it was pressed into service, by necessity, as the primary camera for the NSM Counter-Protest last April.

Then on Saturday, March 21, there will be another march on the Pentagon, sponsored by ANSWER Coalition. This hopefully will not be a repeat of the March on the Pentagon from two years ago, but we shall see, I suppose. Recall that I described the previous Pentagon march as a poor idea, since it was in not-very-visible locations, and the final rally was in the Pentagon’s somewhat-isolated north parking lot – in front of an office building that would be mostly empty on the weekend. Of course, what a difference two years makes otherwise, though – last time, I had received numerous threatening messages from right-wing wackos just ahead of the event, and this time, I seem to have slipped in under the conservative radar. And when you consider that the de facto leader of the Republican party is Rush Limbaugh, of all people, they have more pressing matters to worry about than threatening activists. And with the right-wing wackos safely back on their medicine, AccuWeather indicates that it will be sunny and again in the mid-50s on Saturday. Excellent!

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Categories: Anti-war, Shoes

Something about the rain that keeps people home…

March 15, 2009, 10:39 PM

Anonymous had its March raid on Saturday, and those of us who came out to brave the cold and the rain had a great time protesting the Church of Scientology. It was raining on and off all day, and it was a bit cool, which makes for cold rain. It was enough to where I had to leave the Canon in the bag and shoot with Duckie all day. I had kind of figured that the Canon’s first protest would be an Anon raid (specifically, this one), but it looks like that distinction will go to a Funk the War demonstration later this week.

Nonetheless, though, for those of us who came out, we had a blast, “celebrating” L. Ron Hubbard‘s 98th birthday. And of course, we got photos…

JB got us started on the right foot, with a "Honk if you oppose Scientology" sign for MaidofWin to troll the cars with. The use of "oppose" was new this time, since consensus was that the previous "Honk if you hate Scientology" was playing too much into the Church of Scientology's hands. We don't hate them, after all, and we would welcome any Scientologist who escapes the cult with open arms. We oppose Scientology's practices.
JB got us started on the right foot, with a “Honk if you oppose Scientology” sign for MaidofWin to troll the cars with. The use of “oppose” was new this time, since consensus was that the previous “Honk if you hate Scientology” was playing too much into the Church of Scientology’s hands. We don’t hate them, after all, and we would welcome any Scientologist who escapes the cult with open arms. We oppose Scientology’s practices.

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Categories: Project Chanology

You know, I understand the whole concept of wanting to promote good health while the economy’s in the dumper, but…

March 12, 2009, 7:46 PM

Indeed, I understand about wanting to promote good health while the economy is in the can, but I think we’ll all agree that this is probably not the way to do it:

Free antibiotics at Safeway

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Categories: Advertising, Safeway

I just realized I never told you about my weekend…

March 9, 2009, 11:38 PM

What fun I had! I got to take a bunch of railfan photos, and I also got to meet the DC area Wikipedia gurus once again.

First, though, I railfanned. I had gotten wind on the Railroad.net forums that Metro would be single-tracking between Vienna and West Falls Church, and with that configuration, that usually means that (A) some trains will be terminating at West Falls Church instead of Vienna, and (B) trains will be utilizing the center track at West Falls Church to cross over to the proper track for single-tracking.

Thus, I rolled on over to West Falls Church, coming down from Glenmont via Metro Center. I caught a train terminating at West Falls Church, and was initially disappointed because the train offloaded at West Falls Church on the correct track. I was disappointed because I figured that they would terminate the short-turn trains on the center track and then dwell there before departing to New Carrollton.

Before we continue, here’s the track layout at West Falls Church:

Track layout at West Falls Church

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Categories: Wikipedia, WMATA

So what is this supposed to accomplish?

March 9, 2009, 5:55 PM

Okay, check this out:


(Apologies for the butt crack – I have no control over that)

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Categories: Project Chanology

So rather than use an actual photo of the station your complex is named after, now you’ve resorted to photoshopping…

March 8, 2009, 11:33 PM

Remember back in June when I criticized the people advertising the Fort Totten Station complex for using Clarendon station in their advertising? Well, they fixed it… kind of. Take a look:

Fort Totten Station advertisement
March 4, 2009 issue of Express, page 2

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Categories: Advertising, WMATA

So, yeah, it was nasty this morning…

March 2, 2009, 9:54 PM

I think the one time that taking public transportation to work truly sucks is when it’s snowing outside, and you have to wait outside for the bus out in all of that. And let me tell you something… it was really coming down. The federal government had a late opening today (two hours late), and I think that definitely worked to my advantage, since it gave everyone a chance to dig out and give the buses a better chance to get where they’re going, and for the sidewalks to get cleared so as to lessen the chance of my falling on snow and ice.

And because of my later start time, I wasn’t able to take the 51 to work, since the last 51 of the morning goes past my house at 8:40. So I went down to Georgia Avenue and caught the Y5. And as you can see, it was nasty out there when the bus arrived:

The Y5 arrives along Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County

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Categories: Winter weather, WMATA

“Use $1 coins: They last for decades and save our nation money.” Okay, but…

March 1, 2009, 5:27 PM

So I saw this advertisement as I was leaving the Metro on Friday:

Dollar coin advertisement

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Categories: National politics

Well, easy come, easy go, I suppose.

March 1, 2009, 4:46 PM

Well, that was a short-lived feature. I have officially reversed my position on use of Lightbox on Schumin Web. It’s going away. As seems to be so often the case with fun enhancements, the feature worked well in testing, but then fell apart in production use.

What happened is that when using Internet Exploder, and only Internet Exploder (no surprise there), pages that included it were getting an error that said, “Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site [URL]. Operation aborted.” Clicking “OK” would then switch to an error page. And this would be after the browser had already completely loaded the page. So it would be like, “Here’s the site, oh, ha ha, just kidding.” A little research indicated that it was indeed a problem with Internet Exploder, but since most of my visitors use IE (but ought to try Firefox), a new feature is not worth locking people out over.

So as a result, I removed the Lightbox feature from Schumin Web, and retrofitted Midnight March with the older display-page enlargements that have been demonstrated over countless photo sets over the last seven years to work very well.

So yeah, stuff happens. Let this be a lesson to me about jumping for something overly fancy on this site, I suppose.

Categories: Schumin Web meta

Why is it that I always seem to finish photo set projects at two in the morning?

March 1, 2009, 2:49 AM

Yep… it’s almost 3 AM on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, and in the last hour or so, I finally finished Midnight March, which is about a protest against the World Bank and IMF during their fall 2008 meetings.

This set was more challenging than most protest sets I’ve shot. I’ve done plenty of protest marches before, both in daylight, as well as at night. I believe my most recent nighttime protest photo before that one was October Rebellion, specifically the Georgetown march. That was shot in some of the worst weather conditions that I had ever experienced during a protest march. After all, it was raining hard, and it was cold. Plus everyone was on edge due to the way that march was promoted. But for Midnight March, I had the weather on my side, as the skies were completely clear. And it was only slightly cool outside, much to my delight. Very comfortable protest weather. But the camera was something of an unknown quantity. I had barely done any shooting at night with the Kodak, with most of the nighttime shooting consisting of two Anon raids, and a day out with Katie. And all those were cases where I could carefully line up my shots. Can’t do that at a protest march, unfortunately. You have to go with the flow and keep up with the crowd.

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