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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

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