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Third time’s the charm when it comes to Metro, apparently…

March 29, 2011, 10:00 PM

I certainly had an exciting commute home this evening, that’s for sure. My commute took 35 minutes longer than usual, and involved three Metro trains and one Ride On bus. Of those, one train and the bus are considered normal for my commute. I have a one-seat train ride, you see, going from Dupont Circle to Glenmont in the evening (and vice versa in the morning).

So on this evening’s commute, I went down into Dupont Circle station at exactly 5:44 PM according to the clock on the SunTrust building in Dupont Circle, as per usual. I got down into the station, and missed catching Breda 4018 (best known for being the struck train in the Woodley Park-Zoo accident) by seconds. Seriously, if the mezzanine-to-platform escalator had been running, I would have made that train, and ridden Breda 4018 home. But since I missed it, I had to wait on the platform for the next Glenmont train, sitting out one Silver Spring train in the process.

When my Glenmont train came, it was headed by Breda 3021 (I ride in the lead car coming home). This was pretty normal so far. I got in, got a seat right away, and got comfortable for my ride home. We made it from Dupont Circle all the way to Takoma station without incident. Then at Takoma, we started having a door problem. The train operator started going around and around and around with the doors, opening, closing, opening, closing, etc. trying to get the doors to do what they were supposed to do. Once I saw the train operator get on the radio, though, I knew what was likely coming next.

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Categories: Commuting, WMATA

Big Brother knows when you travel the Intercounty Connector…

March 24, 2011, 11:01 PM

On February 23, the first phase of Maryland Route 200, otherwise known as the Intercounty Connector (ICC), opened from Shady Grove station to Norbeck Road, with an interchange at Georgia Avenue.

Taking advantage of the fact that tolls were waived on the ICC for the first week and a half of operation (it’s normally a toll road), I rode the ICC for the first time on February 26, riding from Georgia Avenue to I-370, and then I turned around somewhere on Sam Eig Highway. Basically, for those not following the designations, it’s one road with three names. My trip going west started at Georgia Avenue on Maryland Route 200 (Intercounty Connector). At Shady Grove Metro, the MD 200/ICC designation ends, and I-370 begins. Then at I-370’s interchange with I-270, the I-370 designation ends and the road becomes Sam Eig Highway, and goes for a while longer as an arterial, and then as a regular surface road (but whatever, I’ve never traveled Sam Eig Highway beyond where I turned around).

The ICC is certainly a nice-looking road, with the concrete sound walls designed to look like natural stone, and stained to match. Plus they also did a lot of work on the landscaping, and there is even a short tunnel along the route, covered in bright white tile (seriously, this is like the-color-of-your-toilet white, and lit brightly).

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Categories: Roads

And Schumin Web is officially fifteen years old…

March 23, 2011, 10:44 PM

Fifteen years old, today. Really. If you want to put things into perspective, I have had this site for more than half my life. I started the site at age 14, and I am now 29. Wow.

And so this evening, we celebrated! After a remarkably stressful day at work (at least for me), a number of us from work went out to El Tamarindo in Adams Morgan to celebrate, where they have some really great margaritas. My coworkers certainly managed to surprise me, having secretly signed a birthday card for the site, with some very sweet comments in it. Take a look:

Schumin Web's anniversary card (front)

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

What a strange place to have a demonstration…

March 20, 2011, 11:21 PM

This weekend was pretty fun. Two demonstrations in two towns in two days. Saturday was the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and an anti-war protest was held in front of the White House. Then on Sunday, everyone piled into their cars and in buses and headed about 35 miles south to Triangle to have a “Free Bradley Manning” demonstration outside the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Prince William County, Virginia.

Saturday’s event was pretty typical for an anti-war protest in DC. The only major difference was the lack of younger folks. Seriously, this march had a large showing from the over-40 crowd, and while there were people in their twenties present, it was definitely less so than other marches. And no red-and-black flags flying this time, no SDS, and no black bloc.

Somehow I sensed what the tone of this event was going to be (I must have a sixth sense for these things), and planned accordingly. Usually when I go to demonstrations, I bring a backpack, and carry supplies. I carry water, I carry items to protect from pepper spray, and I also carry extra clothes in case I have to ditch the ones I’ve got on due to getting sprayed. I’m not one of these people who will change clothes at a demonstration in an attempt to make themselves untraceable. I have always considered that a waste of time. But I would take extra clothes with me in case things got hairy. But this time, the backpack and all of the extra supplies stayed at home, and I just brought my regular camera bag with me. Trust me when I say that was much easier to handle than the backpack with all of its contents. Plus on a day with weather like Saturday’s, I wouldn’t need to bring water along.

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Categories: Anti-war

“I can only hope that the movement learns from its complete and utter failure in the fall of 2010, but unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath.”

March 15, 2011, 7:15 PM

In watching the various anti-World Bank and anti-IMF events get announced online at imfresistance.org for the weekend of April 15-17 (what do you know – a third A16!), one event stood out among the rest. And here it is:

What: Music to Smash Capitalism
Where: Freedom Plaza – 14th & Pennsylvania Ave NW
When: 7-10pm
Details: Free Outdoor Punk Show!

And then immediately below that:

What: Nocturnal Anti-Capitalist Action
Details: TBA

Sound familiar? This sounds suspiciously like what happened on Saturday night for the World Bank and IMF protests last fall. And we all know what a resounding success that was, heh heh.

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Categories: World Bank

So there you go. My body officially abhors the springtime.

March 9, 2011, 6:23 PM

Yeah, there you have it. My body abhors the springtime. I am allergic to pretty much everything related to the spring, and this was all confirmed by a doctor that specializes in allergies. So I have proof of it.

By the way, allergy testing is pretty interesting. What I’m allergic to in the spring is kind of irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion, but the process was interesting. They checked my blood pressure, temperature, pulse, heartbeat, and breathing, and then they offered two options for the actual allergy testing. One was a blood test, and the other was a skin test. I opted for the skin test, since the little applicator for that was better than getting my finger pricked or having them take a little vial of blood.

For that, they came in with a tray full of samples of different allergens, with the little skin applicators ready to go. They did the testing on my upper arms, which seemed agreeable enough. I’ve heard of people getting these kinds of things on far less preferable places, and so I wasn’t complaining. Plus I could watch the process, since it was in a spot that I could see.

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Categories: Health issues

Metro cars with black floors, wool seats, and overly “busy” patterns…

March 2, 2011, 10:57 PM

One of the people I work with, when taking the Orange Line, happened to get Alstom 6027 for their ride into Washington today, and was surprised about the seat patterns being employed there. For those who don’t know, Alstom 6027 is one of two Metro cars (the other being its mate, Alstom 6026) that have been outfitted with some new materials that Metro is testing for future use on rail cars. Specifically, Metro is testing out certain types of resilient flooring and different patterns for wool seat pad covers on this car, having first outfitted the cars like this in late 2008.

On the resilient flooring, Metro seems to be primarily testing colors across the 6026-6027 pair. 6026 has a black floor:

Alstom 6026

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Categories: WMATA