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Snowzilla!

January 24, 2016, 10:55 PM

So the “Snowzilla” (as named by The Washington Post) storm has come and gone, and it left a large pile of snow in its wake – enough to kill part of the roof of the Safeway in Bel Air, Maryland, and the roof of Wayne Lanes in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Thankfully, I came through this storm just fine, and it was just a matter of digging out.  This storm dropped light, powdery snow (as compared to wet, heavy snow), and there was a lot of it.  I got more snow on my balcony in this storm than I did in 2009 and 2010’s major winter storms, for one.  Check this out:

The reach of the snow on my balcony: all the way in!

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Categories: Kia Soul, Winter weather

How stupid do they think that I am?

March 31, 2015, 1:08 AM

I recently received an envelope in the mail that looked like this:

I saw this envelope, with just an address and what appeared to be a handwritten address, and thought “bill”, since this is how I’ve seen some smaller doctors’ offices do billing.

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“I am always so thrilled when people realize how much better a place can look with just a few simple changes!”

October 12, 2014, 12:07 PM

This past week, I finally finished the work that I’d been doing at my house for the past two months.  The way I figured, since there was a period of time while the various processes related to onboarding at the new job were still coming together, I might as well take the time to finish a few things on my to-do list.  It’s funny, however, what inspires a person to decorate.  Back in July or so, my friend Suzie described my house as “a hot mess”.  I thought about that over the next week or so, and came to the conclusion that she was right.  And I admit – it was looking a little bit too “lived in” at the time, with a lot of unfinished business all over the place.  The closets were not being used to their full potential, I had a pile of stuff on the counter between the kitchen and the living room, the table was full of junk, and there were things in visible locations when they should have been in closets.

I started out on August 5, doing what I called the “demolition” phase.  This was where I cleaned out the closets and determined what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of.  It’s amazing how much junk can fit in a one-bedroom apartment.  I ended up getting rid of a ton of stuff.  I had long-outdated information about the 2008 Democratic National Convention from the Unconventional Action consulta that occurred in January 2008.  I had the banner from the black bloc at the National Equality March from October 2009.  I had an expired bottle of generic Solarcaine from the time when I got sunburned at Splash Down Waterpark in June 2008.  I also had a carton of fabric softener from 2007 that I had never opened, where all the liquid had been absorbed by the carton itself, leaving a blob of whatever solids were in the softener at the bottom.  No, seriously.  Take a look:

Yeah, I believe that the light parts of the carton were supposed to be white...  The blob of fabric softener solids in the bottom of the carton.

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Digging out of the snow…

February 13, 2014, 6:55 PM

So considering that the pool is closed tonight due to the snow, I still got my exercise today, pool or no pool.  For those not familiar, the east coast of the United States got hit with a pretty significant snowstorm.  This is the biggest snowstorm that I’ve seen since Snowmageddon in 2010.  And hitting in the same week as Snowmageddon did back in 2010, no less.  However, this snow has mostly been the light, fluffy kind so far, and that’s the stuff that you can clear off the car with the brush part of the scraper with little effort (and really get some distance when slinging it).  However, when more than a foot of it falls in a short time, it does start to compress a bit.  But it looked very pretty while coming down last night:

The parking lot at the Safeway in Olney at around 10:00 on Wednesday night.
The parking lot at the Safeway in Olney at around 10:00 on Wednesday night.

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Categories: Kia Soul, Winter weather

Getting some action out of this snow…

January 22, 2014, 11:37 PM

Let’s admit it: between the wet, heavy snow and the light, fluffy snow, I will always fall on the side of the light, fluffy snow.  Powdery stuff is just nicer snow than the wetter stuff.  And with the recent snowfall to come over the DC area, we got the fluffy stuff.  It’s more likely to blow around and hit you in the face, but it’s easier to clear off of your car, and easy to shovel off of the balcony.

And like any good snowfall, I got pictures.  Of course, I got the obligatory off-the-balcony photo:

Good morning from Aspen Hill, Maryland!

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Categories: Kia Soul, Winter weather

Driving in Virginia on Thanksgiving morning…

November 22, 2012, 7:04 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I will be through Sunday.  And so far, so good.  The drive went surprisingly well, and then Thanksgiving dinner was absolutely wonderful.

Considering how well my drive went today, though, I don’t know why anyone would want to go driving on the day before Thanksgiving.  Seriously, this was one of the easiest drives to Stuarts Draft that I’ve had in a long time.  I left the house around 8:45, and it was more or less smooth sailing the entire way.  Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County, from my house to the Beltway, was no problem.

On that note, by the way, does anyone know what’s going on with the Freestate gas station on Georgia Avenue at Layhill Road?  This is how it looked this morning:

The Freestate station on Georgia Avenue

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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

Making chili!

April 8, 2012, 7:58 PM

I was cooking today, making a pot of vegetarian chili:

I had a blast, too. Anyone who can go on like this for just over 45 minutes had better be having a blast, I’d say. But what can I say? I love performing for the camera. I do, however, need to be mindful about how long I run the faucet. In reviewing the footage afterwards, noticed that at times I left the water running for a lot longer than I needed to (so don’t write to tell me this – I recognize that I was wasting water).

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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

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

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

So I believe that the spirit of Patrick’s Christmas lights have attacked my camera…

December 4, 2011, 10:39 PM

Yeah, it’s only been a week since my Thanksgiving trip to Stuarts Draft ended, but better late than never, I suppose. I’ve kicked production work on Falcon into high gear, and just about everything on my Internet life has taken a back seat to that, including Wikipedia (I’m taking a Wikibreak!). I have a feeling that if you look into my eyes, you’ll see that blue squares-in-squares pattern that I use burned onto my retina.

But this is a Video Journal. So that means one of these, which I shot on the drive home from Stuarts Draft along Route 29:

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Car shopping, and getting in shape!

November 8, 2011, 11:55 PM

It’s a Video Journal! Enjoy:

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And so the second round of car shopping begins…

September 18, 2011, 1:08 PM

For those of you who don’t know, I’m looking for a new car. As you may have noticed over the years, the Sable, while certainly a comfortable car, has been needing about one major repair a year as of late, and I’m tired of dealing with it. So I’m trolling around car manufacturer Web sites and dealerships looking for a worthy replacement for the Sable.

The first round of selection is complete – that was done from the comfort of home, compiling a list of cars to check out. I think the term for the kind of car I’m looking for is “subcompact“. In driving the Sable around for these last few years, I’ve realized that for most of what I use the Sable for, I have too much car. I don’t take passengers very often. It’s extremely rare that I’ll carry more than one passenger. In the entire time I’ve had the car, I’ve taken more than three passengers once – that time during the Boston Megaraid weekend when I carried six other people in the car, including one across three others’ laps and another one in the “trunk” – and that was only for about a mile (if that). Then it is also rare that I will ever fill the cargo area. I think I filled it completely up once or twice when I was moving things to Maryland, but otherwise, no. Buying groceries doesn’t even fill the back area up. So I end up transporting a lot of empty space around, and extra space (and the weight of material needed to enclose it) comes with a fuel penalty. Plus the car is simply too big for a lot of the spaces that I try to squeeze it into. There are plenty of instances, like the parking garage at work and the Whole Foods on P Street in DC, where I have a really hard time getting into and out of spaces because it’s a tight garage and my car is a few sizes too large. I have scuff marks on my car from where I’ve been less than successful in my maneuvering. If I had a smaller car, I’d be a lot better off.

So on Saturday afternoon, I went over to the Toyota dealership on Route 355 to try a few cars. I tried one car strictly for fun (but never tell the dealer that you’re doing one just for fun), and two were serious.

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Categories: New car