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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  I had long-outdated information about the 2008 Democratic National Convention from the Unconventional Action consulta that occurred in January 2008.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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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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Power-walker extraordinaire…

November 10, 2010, 12:16 AM

Well, what a crappy day today was. It just seems like a lot of stuff went wrong today. It started out with a call from the mechanic, where the Sable is currently undergoing yet another expensive repair. This time it’s the fuel pump and related equipment that decided to conk out on me. Basically, it’s a rehash of the problem from last Christmas, when Mom and I almost got stranded in Roanoke, except this time the car didn’t get back up again, and was down for the count, and so I had to fix it. After all, I live in the suburbs, and where I live, you need wheels. The reason that was no good is because I got the final number. The shop called me while I was at the bus stop, telling me that they wanted $2,200 for the work. I told them I’d need to get back with them on that. They called me back again while I was on the Metro, talking it down to $1,900. No go again. Have to get back with them. I managed to somehow get them down to $1,295, and that’s what it’s going to take to get my car going again. I get my car back soon, though I’m thinking that the Sable’s days might soon be numbered, because the old adages of “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “Found On Road Dead” are ringing very true for me, and that starts to add up to real money.

What would be really cute, though, is if the Sable started honking on its own every time I mention the words “new car”, a la Gertrude from Today’s Special.

Then at work, I had to attend to an emergency that would of course rear its ugly little head at 4:59 PM. I didn’t get out of the office until way later than I would have liked. Taking the 51 home was out of the question, since even with the new and later last 51 of the night, I hadn’t even left the office when that pulled up to the bus stop at Glenmont. So I ended up taking Metro home at night, and got to Glenmont around 10:45. According to NextBus, there wouldn’t be another Y9 going north for an hour.

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A number of things to discuss today…

October 14, 2010, 9:48 PM

So I have a few things that I’d like to discuss with you today. First of all, I got a new netbook! I got the HP Mini 210, in black. Looks like it ought to be a pretty solid netbook computer, and for how I do computing on the go, it ought to work pretty well. My biggest complaint about the Lappy is that typing would give me fits, because the keyboard didn’t hold up too well. The left control key broke off, and typing would cause nearby keys to fire as well. This new computer has a “chiclet” style keyboard, which actually kind of reminds me of a Mac keyboard. And this thing weighs about three pounds. And this is what the Mini 210 looks like:

HP Mini 210 netbook

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The Sable’s all mine!

June 21, 2010, 2:45 PM

Certainly you’re familiar with the Sable:

My 2004 Mercury Sable LS wagon

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Categories: Mercury Sable

Leaving for Stuarts Draft in a bit…

January 14, 2010, 11:41 AM

Yes, as soon as the laundry is finished (see, Mom, I am capable of taking clean clothes down when I visit), I’m heading out to Stuarts Draft. I can’t believe that this weekend is almost here. My sister’s getting married this Saturday! She’s going to become Mrs. Chris Lysy on Saturday.

Of course, now I’m going to have to get used to seeing “Ann Lysy” on Facebook and such. That’s just going to be strange to see, but I’m sure she’ll be happy as can be.

Then meanwhile, I am going to get to Stuarts Draft under my own power, despite that the wheel of automotive misfortune has been spinning in my direction as of late. Recall that I’ve not had a good time with the car lately. First the car spazzed out on me on Christmas Eve as I was leaving for work. Then when I was in Roanoke on the 30th with Mom, the car didn’t want to start up. After a trip to the Firestone place in Wheaton when I got back, though, the car was running fine again. However, (automotive) misfortune apparently comes in threes, and on Tuesday, when I went to get into the car to go to work (if I know I’m going to be working late, I drive), I discovered that the right front tire was flat. Greeeeeeeeeat. So I had to call AAA and get the spare put on. Then I was on my way. Then yesterday, another trip to Firestone got my brand-new tire fixed up. The comment was, 20-some thousand miles is what this thing is supposed to last, and it didn’t even make it to 100. But they fixed it, and determined it was probably a bad seal.

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Categories: Cameras, Family, Mercury Sable

“ZOID”?

December 30, 2009, 11:01 PM

Mom and I went to Roanoke today to get my outfit for Sis’s wedding that’s coming up in a few weeks. I’m the photographer, and we got a really cool black-on-black-on-black outfit for me. We got black dress pants, we got a black shirt, and the surprise: a black vest as well. Mom saw it and wanted to see it on me, and it actually looked pretty good. So we got it. Excellent. I’m covered for the wedding, and at less cost than renting a tux. Oh, and unlike the rest of the boys, I get to keep my new threads after the big “I do”. Plus I’ve got my Metrobus tie that Sis is letting me wear, and we’ve got it all covered.

Then afterwards, we went to Panera Bread for lunch, where the food was good, but a little pricey. Fun stuff, if you ask me. Then after that, we went over to Valley View Mall, mainly just to wander around for a bit. We spent most of our time in three stores.

First, we hit up Bath and Body Works, where Mom got various treatments to mask stinky air in the bathroom. There, they had these giant rubber duckies. I, of course couldn’t resist picking one up. I wondered if they were functional or for looks. So I squeezed it. It let out a squeak that just made my face light up. This was fun! Then I got Mom to take a photo of me with the duck. And here we are:

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Categories: Family, Mercury Sable, Roanoke

So someone explain to me how this happens…

November 30, 2009, 11:56 PM

First of all, the return trip to from Stuarts Draft to Maryland was not exactly a walk in the park. I encountered traffic jams almost the entire way back up. First on I-64 near Ivy, which caused me to have to detour onto local roads. Then Charlottesville was a mess. I was going to call a friend who goes to UVA about possibly stopping by for a quick hello, but I ended up having to nix it because of traffic. Long lines at a lot of lights there. Charlottesville going up Route 29 is like a miniature version of Fairfax County in so many ways, complete with a Giant store, and traffic to make you pull what’s left of your hair out.

Traffic was clear for a while after Charlottesville, but then the headaches returned in Fauquier County, and traffic stayed bad all the way through to I-66 in Gainesville. Seriously, it was like a crawl for what seemed like forever. Then once I got on I-66, it was fairly smooth sailing the rest of the way in. I missed the Beltway, though, since I needed to swing by work on the way back, and thus had to go all the way into Washington.

Regardless, though, it was not fun. My parents kept calling me to check on where I was. My mother called me while I was making a stop, and when she asked about traffic, my response said it all: thbbbbbt. Yes, I gave a Bronx cheer into the phone. Yes, it was that bad. I hate holiday traffic. Regular DC area traffic I can handle. Holiday traffic as one approaches the DC area, not so much. Though as much as I complain about Fairfax County drivers, the drive through Fairfax County was flawless and uneventful.

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Categories: Driving, Mercury Sable

A computer fix-up turned into more adventure than expected…

November 22, 2009, 4:52 PM

So on Saturday, I went down to Reston to visit my friend Matthew Tilley. The DVD drive on his computer was acting up, and so our goal was to confirm that it was actually a bad drive as HP tech support had indicated over the phone, and then if that turned out to be the case, to get a new drive.

So after dealing with traffic getting over there (heavier than usual due to the upcoming holiday), I made it to Matthew’s apartment complex. We hung the visitor’s pass on my car and parked in the designated visitor spots. We tested the drive, and it wouldn’t recognize anything short of one music CD, even after ensuring that the discs were clean of fingerprints. So that confirmed HP’s diagnosis – the drive was busted.

Not to worry, though – I came prepared. I brought tools, and so I popped the cover off his computer. Matthew’s computer is an HP Pavilion “Slimline” computer (like this). One thing about those miniature computers is, they don’t waste a lot of space. I’m used to tower computers with a lot of airspace in them, and this one was jammed with equipment just about everywhere. It certainly makes for a more delicate operation, as you could accidentally slip and take out an unrelated component. On the other hand, computers I’ve had, especially my old Gateway, have a lot of room to get in there with your hands and move stuff around.

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These glass guys aren’t exactly bright people, but they do good work.

August 4, 2008, 8:13 PM

First of all, let me preface this Journal entry by saying that the Sable is going through some rough times right now. Not long after I had to drop a new compressor into the car to get it moving again, I have something else go wrong. Let me explain. I’m driving in the car, going to Reston where my friend Matthew Tilley lives, in order to pay him a visit. I’ve gotten off of I-66, and I’m going up Fairfax County Parkway. There’s a car in front of me. And a rock comes right out from under that car, and *smack* hits my windshield, leaving a nice chip in it. So okay. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a chip, but I’m still a little bit pissed about this, even though it’s something that’s totally covered under my insurance.

So after I finished over at Matthew’s house, I headed back to Silver Spring to my house and filed the claim with Progressive. You go on their Web site, and you have to tell Progressive where you got nicked, and how you got nicked. Okay. Next day, bright and early, I got a call from Progressive. Okay. We went over everything, but first they needed proof that the windshield work was done back in 2006. So they had to call Whitesell’s, who, like the truly awesome folks that they are, came through with an invoice. So once Progressive had that in hand, we were going well. I agreed to use their roving glass service to fix the car, since I’m not taking the Sable anywhere to get it fixed if they can come to me.

So then later, the glass guys call me to schedule an appointment. We go over all the information that they got from Progressive, including make, model, body style, color, state of registration, tag number, plus we went over the damage again. In other words, there is only one car that fits that description – mine. And then I confirmed with them – I don’t need to be there for this job, right? Correct. I don’t need to be there. We also confirmed that it doesn’t matter which way I’ve got the car pointed, because they can get at it whether I’m parked forwards or backwards.

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Categories: Mercury Sable

“What do you know that I don’t?”

July 1, 2008, 2:22 PM

Well, the Sable’s in the shop at Lindsay Ford in Wheaton, after I had it towed there late last night. That was not a fun experience last night, but the tow guy was really helpful, meeting me at Glenmont, among other things, making it far easier.

So first thing in the morning, as I’m tying my shoes to go out, I got a call from the folks at Lindsay. They want to know what to do with the remote. I said I just need to get it programmed again, since it quit working when I had the battery replaced back in December. Okay. Pretty straightforward.

Then at around a quarter to two, I got a call from Lindsay’s sales department, as a gentleman was looking to see if I was interested in something a little newer. My exact response: “What do you know that I don’t?” Once I watched him start doing some major back-pedaling, I realized what he was up to, as service just casually gave my name to sales to try to drum up some new-car business. I nicely told him off, and that unless there’s something he knows about my car that I don’t, I’m keeping the one I’ve got, thank you very much. And more back-pedaling, and he made sure to give his name again before he said goodbye.

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Categories: Mercury Sable, Some people

Ford: “Fix Or Repair Daily”? “Found On Road Dead”?

June 28, 2008, 7:24 PM

The Sable’s not feeling well right now.

The little check engine light came on when I took it out on Tuesday, and now today, I had such a time trying to get it going today that I determined that if I ended up taking it out, I couldn’t guarantee that the car would be able to make it back under its own power. So that scraps my weekend plans. I had to run a bunch of errands, and they’re not getting done now. I was also going to go to a coworker’s housewarming party in Shaw today, and sadly, that’s not happening now, either.

So here’s what happened. I went down to fire up the car to go out, and it started up. I put it in reverse. I move a few inches, and the car stalls. Start up again. Reverse. A few inches, and dead. I eventually did manage to start the car and get it moving, so I ran it once around the parking lot to test. As soon as I got to the exit of my complex, which is up a slight incline, the car died again. I had to wave someone around me there, since the Sable was “Found On Road Dead”. Well, almost on the road. So I managed to get it back into a parking space, and raised the hood to take a look. Here’s what I saw:

Battery on the Sable

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Categories: Mercury Sable

I am convinced that the purpose of the emissions testing in Maryland is for the task of extricating an additional fourteen bucks on top of everything else you have to pay around here…

April 26, 2008, 10:36 AM

Well, this morning, this beautiful April 26 where the sun is shining and the birds are singing, I had to drive down to White Oak to get an emissions test for the Sable. I’m all for keeping noxious fumes out of the atmosphere, but this was pathetic. I’m charged fourteen bucks for a five minute visit with Mr. Personality. Most of this time was spent processing my payment of $14. For the actual test, all I did was drive up to the testing location, turn off the car, get out, he plugs his computer into the car, looks at his screen, unhooks his computer, and hands me an emissions certificate saying I passed. Yaaaaay. No cone over the tailpipe or anything. No computers electronically “smelled” what’s actually coming out of the back end of my car.

This was also one of those things where I spent more time traveling to the location than actually spending time at the location. I always say that any trip, to be worthwhile, should be where the amount of time at the location is greater than or equal to the amount of time spent traveling to and from the location. This did not qualify, especially when you consider that I got stuck behind a roadblock on Randolph Road caused by an accident or something, and thus had to turn around, go down New Hampshire Avenue to White Oak, and then catch Route 29 from there to go up to the emissions testing station.

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Categories: Mercury Sable

Of course, this would be the time when I realize the discs I need are with my parents.

March 11, 2008, 6:14 AM

I was getting ready to convert the Lappy to its new “final” configuration – a dual boot between Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux – and in looking for my Vista discs, I realized that they weren’t here. I turned the place upside down, too. Went through all the drawers in my desk, through all the junk on my desk, and so on and so forth. Not here. So I have to go digging through what stuff of mine is still in the “pirate room”, aka my old bedroom. Of course, it’s not like it’s far away. I’m going there tomorrow night. So I’ll look.

Otherwise, today should be exciting. This is the day I position the car at Vienna after work. I’ve already packed my suitcase, and emptied my crates (I intend on bringing more of my stuff to Silver Spring, so the take from last time needs to be unloaded). Then you realize that whatever I don’t take with me this evening has to go to work with me tomorrow. Thus the key is remembering everything tonight, because I’m not coming back after work tomorrow, and I don’t want to drag all of everything of mine to work. Bad idea.

And then Sis flies in earlier on Wednesday, so we all will be together again on Wednesday night. Yaaaaaay!

Continuing to stain…

February 18, 2008, 1:32 PM

Now that the stain has proven to be a match, we’re staining two more:

Staining the Malma mirrors

Two coats later, it looks like my bedroom set. Excellent! And it’s 60 out right now, according to Weatherbug, which to me means it’s good staining weather. This is going to look so nice when it’s all done. I haven’t decided yet whether it’s going to be two rows above the bed staggered, or a tic-tac-toe style arrangement. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, speaking of home decor, I’m going to hang the Sable’s old grille on the wall in the closet. Why the closet? Well, it’s not something I want to put out where everyone will see it, but nonetheless it is a keepsake of sorts – a memento of my run-in with the deer, a somewhat traumatic experience.

Categories: Furniture, Mercury Sable