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And the Soul is now a Maryland resident.

March 29, 2012, 11:06 PM

At last – my new car is now all registered where it lives. No more temporary tags. No more temporary parking pass. No more Virginia inspection sticker. Take a look at this:

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Categories: Kia Soul

Sixteenth anniversary!

March 22, 2012, 11:49 PM

So the Video Journal that I did for Schumin Web’s sixteenth anniversary was a bit more challenging than most that I’ve done. First of all, though, here’s the video:

In this video, I discuss the site’s anniversary, how things are changing on the site, and how I’ve changed in the last year as well with my weight loss and all. Check it out. I’m sure that you will find it quite interesting.

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For all the trouble I went to…

March 19, 2012, 10:27 PM

So the story of the $150 shoes comes to an end. Kind of anticlimactic, too. Remember earlier this month when I went to Tysons and got those New Balance shoes? Those shoes are now back at the store in Tysons, and I got a refund. So after all of that buildup, and considering I did what my podiatrist told me to do, testing them in the store for ten minutes before buying, why did I never wear them, and ultimately return them?

Well, it’s twofold. First, those shoes cost $150. A hundred and fifty dollars. As I mentioned in the Journal entry linked above, that was more than I’ve ever paid for shoes by more than fifty bucks. That alone made me uncomfortable about wearing them. The fact that they were $150 shoes made me afraid to wear them. So there’s that.

Then secondly, and more importantly, I don’t think now is a good time to buy nice shoes. I have now lost almost 100 pounds since I began this journey a year ago (99 pounds lost as determined at a weigh-in this morning!). In that time, my feet have changed size. Shoes that fit me last year don’t fit so well anymore. I wore flip flops that I wore last summer to the pool recently, and they were too big on me. Likewise, Crocs that I bought during heavier days are now so loose on me to the point that they’re almost unusable. The lined Crocs that I have are also too big for me now, and I only bought those in December. So since I’m not at a stable size right now, it made me even less comfortable with having shoes that cost that much, since my fear was that I would size out of them before getting my money’s worth out of them. It’s happened to me several times already with jeans. First I sized down out of my original jeans, then the jeans I got in August, and now it’s starting to happen again with the jeans I’m currently wearing. Thankfully, though, next time I have to replace the jeans should put me into cheaper sizes – and out of the big and tall store.

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Categories: Kia Soul, Shoes

A new geeky shirt and a 30-minute Metro ride inspire me to have some fun…

March 16, 2012, 10:02 PM

Today, I wore my new Power Rangers shirt out for the first time:

Power Rangers!
Photo: Mykia Mahan

This is similar to the Power Rangers shirt that I owned before, except that this new one is a smaller size, and has slightly different styling. I am quite proud to place the old Power Rangers shirt in with my “second tier” clothes. It’s too big for me, which is just as well, because I am getting smaller, after all. Then on different styling, this shirt, unlike the first one, falls victim to an error that many Power Rangers toys and such had: emblems on the center diamond.

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My car search has at last come to an end…

March 14, 2012, 10:54 PM

So on Monday, my search for a new car came to an end, as I turned one set of wheels in for another. So let’s take one final look at what was my car for a little over six years:

Say goodbye to the Sable...

In trading in the Sable, I will say this: it was a very comfortable car, and it certainly had an air of class about it, with the Mercury trim level that included leather seats, a chrome grille, a climate control system that worked via a thermostat (i.e. you set a temperature vs. setting the intensity of the fans), and a Gentex auto-dimming mirror (yes, the same Gentex that makes fire alarms). Realize that a Mercury Sable is basically a Ford Taurus with nicer trim.

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Two trade-in bids for the Sable, and some roadgeekery in between!

March 10, 2012, 5:36 PM

First of all, you knew I was also a bit of a roadgeek. I admit – I am. I’m a nerd about transportation in so many different ways. But interestingly enough, I’m not that into cars. But in any case…

So I am coming ever closer to replacing the Sable with a Kia Soul. Today I went to two Kia dealers that my guy at the credit union had previously spoken with and had gotten bids from for a Soul. My goal was to get bids from these dealers for a trade-in on the Sable, and of course they would need to actually see and feel the Sable to do that.

The first place I went to was JBA Kia in Ellicott City. This was surprisingly closer than I expected. Baltimore seems so far off to me, and Ellicott City is a suburb of Baltimore. I felt like I was there in no time. Arriving there, I explained what was going on, how I had been working with my guy at the credit union, etc. So they knew what to do, but they didn’t exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling in the process. I had to explain multiple times that I was not interested in discussing new cars with them (since I would do that exclusively through my guy at the credit union), and that I was there only for the bid on the Sable. You could tell that they were none too happy that I wouldn’t give them a chance to swindle me. If it tells you about the vibe that I got from this dealership, I posted this about it to my Facebook:

Did I mention that car salesmen are rotten slimeballs? Can't wait to get out of this dealership.

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Categories: New car, Roads

Commuter, railfan, transit nerd, and photographer…

March 5, 2012, 11:34 PM

And this past week, it seemed to all come together. Twice in the last week, I was interviewed on things related to Metro.

The first was for a three-minute video, where a group of Corcoran students interviewed me as a Metro commuter. They also interviewed Chris Barnes, aka @FixWMATA, as a vocal Twitter user, and then Metro chief spokesperson Dan Stessel representing Metro. That was actually a lot of fun to do. About a week and a half ago, I was approached about the possibility of appearing in the short video on Metro. I agreed, and so then on Monday the 27th, the group producing the video met me at my apartment complex. There, they wired me for sound, and filmed me on my commute and we talked about commuting via Metro. I am a daily Metro and bus rider, and one of the things that I shared was that I do have my commute down to a science. I know exactly what time I need to be at a given point in my commute in order to make my connections and then get home at the time. I also shared how since so many people take Metro, if the Red Line is going to be messed up, then a lot of people in the office will be affected.

Then the video also shows my particular geekish side, as they got a good shot of me doing my little transit log book, writing down the number of CAF 5188.

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Categories: WMATA

The rule on pricing at Tysons II is, “If you have to ask, you cannot afford it.”

March 4, 2012, 4:17 PM

This weekend was certainly a blast. My mother came to visit, and we went to Tysons Corner on Saturday.

The plan was for Mom and I to meet at Vienna. It made sense, since she was coming from Virginia, Tysons is in Virginia, and I could take Metro to meet her, thus only have to take one car out. And Vienna is somewhere that all of us were familiar with from countless visits to the DC area before I moved up here. So my plan was to take the bus to Glenmont and then Metro the rest of the way. First thing I learned was that Nextbus, while useful for the most part, is still very much not perfect. I left the house based on a prediction of a Y8 in 12 minutes, and so I headed down to the corner. It does not take 12 minutes to get down to the corner, but when I got there, there was no bus, and the bus that I was tracking had dropped off the screen, with the next bus not supposed to show up for 45 minutes, which would make me very late. So I ended up walking to Glenmont, because I knew I could walk there in less time than it would take to wait for the bus. I had never walked to the Metro from my house before. I had done from Metro to home many times, but never the reverse. The uphill walk was very good for working the calves, since my legs were sore by the time I got to Glenmont. I might have to do that more often. It was a good workout, and helpful on a week where I had missed a pool session.

Once I got to the Metro, I got a seat on a train, and all was well. Mom, however, for reasons that neither one of us can quite figure out, got turned around a bit, and so my lateness ended up working out for her. I don’t know if she missed a sign for Vienna or what, but she managed to get lost. No idea how. And it’s frustrating when she’s lost in an area that I’m not entirely familiar with myself. Usually, I can guide someone over the phone to get wherever they need to, but I’m not that familiar with the neighborhood around Vienna station. I know how to reach the station from both sides of I-66, I know how to get to Route 123 from Vienna via Nutley Street, and I know how to reach the shopping center with the Safeway and Micro Center in it, and I know that there’s a high school northwest of the station, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of that area. So I couldn’t help her as much as I usually can, since she didn’t know where she was very well, and neither did I. Somehow, she ended up at Dunn Loring station, and told me as much. My response: “Good. Stay there.” After all, she managed to get to an Orange Line station, and so all was well. None of us quite know how she managed to get to Dunn Loring, though, since I would have expected, if she was going to land at a different Metro, to end up at West Falls Church, which is also very close to I-66 and easily accessed from there. Dunn Loring, not so much. I don’t even know how to get to Dunn Loring by car. Only time I’d ever been to Dunn Loring before is for railfanning, since I think station visits are just as important as riding in the first car.

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Categories: Family, Matthew, Shoes, Shopping, WMATA