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Hurricane Sandy, early voting, etc…

October 30, 2012, 12:16 AM

First of all, hello from Aspen Hill, Maryland, where I live, and where the power is still on (as of this point in the writing at least) despite the pounding we’re getting from the wind and rain of Hurricane Sandy.  This was the view off my balcony about two and a half hours ago:

View off my balcony during Hurricane Sandy

Note the blurry areas on the trees.  As this was a fifteen-second exposure, the blurry areas are where the trees were moving around in the wind.  I just hope that the lights continue to stay on, and that the 22 cans of food that I bought at Shoppers on Saturday are just my being paranoid about this, and that I won’t actually have to open them with a manual can opener and prepare them on the stove.  So I guess we’ll see how that goes.  I’m rooting for no power outage, but that might be a tall request considering that this is Pepco we’re dealing with, and that the power grid in the Washington DC region is amazingly fragile.  My parents, who live out in the sticks, never lose power, and where I live in the suburbs of Washington DC, you can just look at a power line funny and the entire street goes dark.

But I didn’t start writing this entry to talk about Hurricane Sandy, though I certainly hope that everyone in the storm’s path is in a safe place to wait out the storm, and that everyone who still has their power keeps it throughout the storm.  Tonight, I want to talk about the election.

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Zombie night in Silver Spring!

October 28, 2012, 11:00 PM

So October 27 was the night of the annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk.  Except this year, for various reasons, there was no actual zombie walk through the downtown area of Silver Spring.  It was just zombie night, where there were a bunch of events for kids and adults, but no single, unifying event like in years past.  I knew this going in, and knowing there was no specific zombie walk but rather just a night of zombie-related fun and festivities, I decided to just see what I could see.

Not surprisingly, it was a little bit underwhelming.  I wasn’t about to hit the bars and take pictures of adults drinking in zombie costumes.  The best players in last year’s zombie walk were the kids, and so I tried to stick to the areas where most of the family entertainment would be held, around Ellsworth Drive, while still getting around the full downtown area a bit.

On Ellsworth Drive, in the “Downtown Silver Spring” development, the younger set was out and about.  Some of them were remarkably scary/creepy specifically because they were kids and looked a little too wholesome to be spattered with blood and looking all undead.  Like these two:

Two children dressed as zombies, looking far too wholesome to be covered in blood.  And the blank expressions add to the scary effect.
Add the blank expressions to the mix, and you have nightmare fuel right there.  Great costumes, great playing of the part, but still creepy.  Good work.

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Categories: Halloween, Silver Spring

One of my photos goes viral… sort of.

October 24, 2012, 11:12 PM

So apparently one of my photos has gone viral.  Remember this photo?

Code Pink demonstration on July 4

I took this photo on July 4, 2006 in front of the White House.  It first appeared on Schumin Web in a Journal entry posted July 5, 2006 about a trip I made to DC on July 4.  It also ran as the Photo Feature later in the same month.

Then a few years later, in 2009, that photo got morphed into this:

IF OBAMA DOESN'T END THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, CLOSE GUANTANAMO, AND STOP BOMBING PAKISTAN, WE SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD WE'LL VOTE FOR HIM WITH SLIGHTLY LESS ENTHUSIASM IN 2012."

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A whole bunch of bowling videos…

October 22, 2012, 10:09 PM

I realized tonight that I had never shown you some funny bowling videos that my friend Matthew and I had made a while back.  Matthew and I will, as I’ve demonstrated before, go bowling from time to time.  We always have a lot of fun, but considering that Matthew is a far better bowler than I am, the object of the game for me is to see how close I can come to matching his score.  I’ve discussed our first time doing ten-pin together and our first time doing duckpins together before, but I never showed you our second run of each style.

Now on the first time for each, I wasn’t sure how the various bowling alley operators viewed photography, plus I was concentrating a bit more on what I was doing.  After all, I had not done ten-pin in seven years before our first time bowling together in 2009, and then neither one of us had ever done duckpins before when we did that in August 2009.  Now, I have come to realize that the operators of these bowling alleys really don’t care if you’re taking videos and stills of yourself (plus I’m just using my phone here rather than my real camera), plus I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with the whole bowling thing overall.  Additionally, there’s a certain fun part of acting in front of the camera in these sorts of situations.  After all, there’s a certain bit of structure to these things, because you know the general idea of the afternoon, i.e. throw the ball and knock down some pins.  But how one gets from A to B is where the fun comes in.

This first bunch of videos was from December 3, 2011, when Matthew and I were doing ten-pin at Bowl America in Reston.

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This is always a good feeling…

October 21, 2012, 9:32 PM

It’s always a good feeling to unload a bunch of clothes that I can’t wear anymore on account of my sizing down out of them.  So on Saturday, I donated an armful of clothes to Goodwill, and I think I’ve now just about kissed the era of big clothing goodbye.  Take a look at this:

A whole bunch of shirts that I can't wear anymore

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Categories: Clothing, Shopping

Two days, two eye exams…

October 11, 2012, 11:58 PM

So this week, I had two eye exams on consecutive days.  And that means getting my eyes dilated twice.  Yay me.  The reason I have two eye exams is because I also see a specialist for a retinal hole, which is stable, but the specialist wants to observe it to make sure it stays that way.  Thus two eye exams – once for the retina doctor, and once for the regular eye doctor.  It wouldn’t be that bad if not for the dilation.  That means that after the eye exam, I’m going home and hiding in the house with the shades closed for a few hours until the drops wear off.  And it would of course be my luck that it would be sunny on the days that I had my eye exams – and this isn’t even Philadelphia (where I’m told that it’s always sunny).  But it was cloudy on Tuesday, but then yesterday and today, it was a beautiful day, which is exactly what I don’t want when my eyes are dilated.

One complaint about the eye exams is that there’s not enough diversity in eye charts.  I’ve done this enough times, especially since I get two eye exams a year, that I’ve got the eye exam chart just about memorized.  The eye chart is done with a projector, and then they use mirrors to get the full 20 feet in the exam room.  This is the projector, seen here at my regular eye doctor’s office:

The eye chart projector

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Categories: Health issues

Nothing like shopping with an arsenal of snarky tweets…

October 7, 2012, 1:42 AM

So I went shopping in Gaithersburg and Germantown on Saturday night. This was a follow-on from Friday’s shopping trip in Wheaton and Aspen Hill. Today’s goal, as with Friday’s goal, was to find some shirts in my current size that I could wear to work. The shirts that I wore last winter (the thrift store clothes) are now too big on me. So I went off in search of clothing.

First of all, Friday’s mission consisted of Old Navy and JCPenney in Wheaton, and then Kohl’s in Aspen Hill. I quickly discovered that Old Navy was not what I was looking for. It was clear that Old Navy was not catering to my demographic. It caters to the teenage set and to adults who are way hipper than I am. However, I did find a winner at Penney’s:

The shirt I found at Penney's  The shirt I found at Penney's

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Categories: Clothing, Kia Soul, Shopping, Target

What “SPECIAL” really means…

October 3, 2012, 12:14 AM

This morning as I was taking the Red Line to work and reading the Express, I read the DC Rider section, as I usually do.  Today, they ran a rider Q&A with Dr. Gridlock.  One of the questions that was posed was about Metro’s destination signage, which I quote here along with Dr. Gridlock’s answer:

Q: Why doesn’t Metro label trains during their weekend shutdowns?  Several times this weekend on the Green Line, I saw passengers confused by trains that were only labeled “Special” with no color line identified on the front.  One lady rushed off a train at L’Enfant Plaza because she thought it was a Yellow Line train, and another guy was about to try to transfer because he didn’t know the train was going to Congress Heights.

Dr. Gridlock: I don’t see any good coming from labeling trains “Special.”  When Rush Plus began, Metro officials made such a big deal out of telling everyone to watch the destination signs.

I have a few concerns with this response.  First off, the response mixes up regular service with temporary service changes for track work.  Metro’s Rush+ is the regular service pattern during the hours that it is in operation, and comes with certain things like programming in destination sign information for the regular terminals if need be, maps, and permanent signage.  Service changes for track work are only in effect for a weekend, and thus what Metro has at its disposal is different, and it’s not always feasible to make things look like they do in regular service for weekend service changes.  Second, they leave PIDS completely out of the equation in the response.  And last, there seems to be a lack of understanding on both parties’ part about what makes Metro pull out that “SPECIAL” destination sign in the first place.

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Categories: DC area local news, WMATA