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So the meetup went well, though turnout was low.

September 7, 2008, 1:58 AM

I always love getting together with my fellow Wikipedia geeks. We have so much fun, though I admit that the turnout was a bit low this time around. But, I also can’t blame many for not showing, considering that Tropical Storm Hanna came blowing through on the same day. I got pretty wet just walking the ten feet from my door to the car, but otherwise, no problem, since it was a short drive to the Metro station, and then from there, I’m on Metro and it can be as rainy and windy as it wants, because all the stations I’m dealing with (Wheaton and Union Station in this case) are underground.

Otherwise, though, Uno’s was wonderful as always, and the wait staff took very good care of us. One thing we noticed on the check was that they never billed us for the drinks! Much to our surprise, none of the beverages that anyone ordered, alcoholic or otherwise, appeared on the check. Then the conversation was lovely, as we made light of some of the various situations that came up on Wikipedia and all the things we managed to get into. Fun times.

And here we are:

The group that went to the September 2008 DC Wikipedia meetup

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Categories: Target, Wikipedia

I don’t know anyone in Olive Branch, Mississippi…

August 21, 2008, 12:20 AM

Okay, so for the past week, I’ve been receiving FedEx door tags on my door, as FedEx has tried to deliver something to me. Slight problem: I have no idea what is being sent to me, or who’s sending it to me. I ran the door tag number and got the tracking number, and it’s coming from Olive Branch, Mississippi (a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee), and it weighs seven pounds. I don’t know anyone from Olive Branch, Mississippi. For that matter, I don’t know anyone in Mississippi – period.

At first, I figured it was a mistake, and that the door tag was actually for my neighbor. Calling her, I found out that she was expecting a package. So after consulting with my neighbor, I moved the door tag to her door, figuring the FedEx guy goofed, because after all, the door numbers in my building are really tiny and easy to miss. And there was no apartment number written on the door tag. I used a little tape to make sure the door tag stayed on her door, since the sticky note-type adhesive was less fresh, now having been touched by fingers, and being on more than one door.

So okay. Next day, the FedEx guy came back while I was again out, and moved the unmarked door tag back over, tape and all. Okay. I moved it back over again, thinking the FedEx guy is a dope. My neighbor even wrote a note on it saying that if it was for her, then leave the package at her door. Then yesterday, I got a new door tag on my door, again unmarked. I didn’t even bother with it, and left it on the door.

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Categories: Companies

Done for another year, and good riddance to it.

April 6, 2008, 3:26 PM

You know what they say. There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The former only comes once, and most of us try to put it off as long as possible. The latter comes annually, and it comes due on April 15. And so I can now put it behind me again.

What’s weird, though, is doing it now, vs. in January when I usually do taxes. But this year was more complicated. I changed jobs and states, after all. I left Wal-Mart (yaaaay!), and found work with Food & Water Watch. And I moved from Virginia to Maryland. So for that, I bought TurboTax, and did the whole thing on the computer. Usually, I just sit down with a 1040, a calculator, and a pen, and do it. For the forty bucks or whatever TurboTax cost, it’s normally worth it to just do it manually. But for more complicated years – I was more worried about the state stuff than the federal stuff – TurboTax is handy.

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What a great visit!

April 5, 2008, 11:42 PM

Mom came up for a teachers’ convention during the latter part of this week, and she stayed at my house. And we had a great time. She arrived on Wednesday, and we met up at Wheaton Plaza and then went to my house. Then while I went to work on Thursday and Friday, Mom was at her convention for the Virginia Writing Project. On Thursday, Mom actually lobbied a few Virginia representatives and senators, and then on Friday they had some workshops.

And Mom got to be a DC commuter for two days. She took the 51 and the Red Line just like I do. She left the house ahead of me in the mornings, but we rode back together in the evenings. Thursday, Mom got to see her first big Metro delay, as there was a train having a problem at Van Ness-UDC in the direction of Glenmont (of course). An out-of-service train whizzed by Dupont Circle station, and then I took the next (very crowded) train, to meet Mom at Union Station. Then from there, we rode to Glenmont and took the Y5 back home.

Then on Friday, Mom and I got Breda 3062, which had advertisements on the ceiling. Take a look…

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Categories: Cameras, Family, IKEA, Shopping, WMATA

Big Mavica is gone…

March 31, 2008, 9:05 PM

Well, Big Mavica is officially on its way to that big photo set in the sky, as I shipped it to Recycling For Charities on my lunch hour today. And I got photos of this solemn event, too, which a friend of mine has described as the end of an era.

Big Mavica is in the box, the last anyone will see of it.
Big Mavica is in the box, the last anyone will see of it.

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Categories: Cameras, Walmart

“Prince George’s Pizza”?

February 10, 2008, 12:40 PM

My parents – both of them this time – came up to visit this weekend. They arrived Saturday morning, and left midday Sunday. What a fun time we had! We went to IKEA in College Park, and bought stuff. Mom got a new computer chair for her classroom (replacing one I got for free at Potomac Hall), and I got some mirrors that I’m planning to mount on the wall above my bed. I was also interested in getting some picture frames, but as they didn’t have the kind I wanted, we skipped on that.

These little mirrors are really cool. I got the idea after visiting my cousin Kate and her husband Nathan, and seeing these same mirrors over their fireplace arranged 3×3. The whole mirror unit is one square foot, and about four inches square in the center is mirror, and the rest is a wide wood frame. I think it will look great in the bedroom, after I stain the wood to match the bed. The style is called Malma.

Also, a surprise at IKEA: In those little “Living in [whatever] square feet” displays they have where they show an entire house, they of course show the bathroom. The surprise came when, being silly, I lifted up the toilet seat to make it look more “lived in”:

The display toilet at IKEA

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Categories: Family, IKEA, Shopping

Ever seen a Wheelock push station live and in person?

November 25, 2007, 10:26 AM

Those of us on my discussion forums have known for some years that Wheelock makes “push stations”, which are similar to pull stations, except you just push a large red button rather than pull a handle. But no one’s ever seen one. I was at the Ikea in College Park last week, and saw one. It was in their “Family Restroom” at the front of the store, in fact, and it was blue and marked “MEDICAL EMERGENCY”.

Wheelock push station at IKEA, marked "MEDICAL EMERGENCY"

So yeah, there you go. And as this is in a restroom, you can tell that some people have gotten bored in there and scraped off a few letters.

Categories: Fire alarms, IKEA

What a fun weekend!

November 25, 2007, 8:38 AM

All in all, I had a fun Thanksgiving weekend in Stuarts Draft, but I’m still very glad to be home again.

Thanksgiving itself involved the usual – turkey, and all the various fixings to go with it, and then falling asleep afterwards.

Then I spent Friday with Katie. We had a blast, as we did anything but shop. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while, then rode back around to Charlottesville, where we went to the Mellow Mushroom, where we had a vegetarian pizza with a pesto base. Twas awesome.

However, before Katie and I started out, we got a movie of Katie’s cat Peabo chasing a laser pointer around…

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So does anyone else see this as…

September 13, 2007, 2:41 PM

Does anyone else see Wal-Mart’s new slogan of “Save Money. Live Better” as reminiscent of Target’s “Expect More, Pay Less” slogan? I find it amazing how much Wal-Mart has been chasing Target, trying to be like them, in the last few years. It really looks like the little kid doing everything that an older person that they look up to does. It’s kind of pathetic-looking.

Still, Wal-Mart’s gone from gray to brown. They’ve upscaled their merchandise mix. They rolled out that test store in Plano, Texas. They’ve stopped including self-checkouts in their store updates. They switched from the blue vest to a uniform consisting of a dark blue shirt and khaki pants. Target stores are brown, they have a hipper merchandise mix, they have never used self-checkouts (quoted here as saying, “Target will not install self-checkout ’cause it takes away from the customer experience.”), and they dress their employees in red shirts and khaki pants.

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Categories: Walmart

For seven bucks, who cares what the pattern is!

September 2, 2007, 2:53 PM

I went shopping on Saturday, and I had a blast. I went down to Potomac Mills, where I did some furniture shopping for work at Ikea, shuffled over to Casual Male for some odds and ends, and then went perusing the Outlets at the mall itself.

I have now been to Ikea enough times that I know what’s going on. Not like that Memorial Day trip where I was totally overwhelmed. I’ve got it down, yo. And the Woodbridge store is an exact duplicate of the one in College Park.

This time, though, I was going by myself. No problem. So I picked out the stuff for the office in the showroom, crossed through the “marketplace” without looking, and arrived at the big warehouse where you actually grab your furniture. Yippee. I had no difficulty with the boxes, but then steering was a problem. Usually, when I go to Ikea with someone, I drive the flat-cart from the back, and they steer. Since it was just me, I had to push and steer all at once, from the back. So imagine this if you will. All four wheels turn on this thing. Thus it can move in any direction or spin on the spot. Personally, I think they should have welded the back wheels to make them non-turnable, since that would make it far easier to control, though some maneuverability would be sacrificed. But it would be worth it. Still, I can’t drive these things. The weight of the furniture and my inability to get a good handle on steering would have made it a difficult move to the checkout. Thankfully, I was able to flag down an employee, who helped me get to the checkout.

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Categories: IKEA, Shopping

Several hundred bad words later, I have a new dresser.

July 29, 2007, 10:14 PM

First of all, let me preface this story by telling you that Mom came up to visit this weekend, and we went to Ikea in College Park. I’ve finally just about figured the place out, and so it’s no longer as intimidating as that first trip was back in May. Mom wanted to get some more silverware and various other odds and ends. In the end, we came out with a dresser for me, since I’d mentioned I needed to look at dressers since my present one was too small.

In the bedroom department, they had dressers coming out of dressers. Mom and I found a dresser that matched my bed – the “Hemnes” style. Very dark wood. And this dresser was really big, too. So after perusing the “marketplace” where Mom got more silverware and various other stuff, we went into their big warehouse and fished out the two boxes that the dresser came in, checked out, and brought it home in the Sable.

By the way, it’s a real you-know-what to carry that stuff up three flights of stairs. Just thought you ought to know that.

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Cable is downgraded, and so life is good!

July 21, 2007, 10:31 AM

Comcast showed up today, and all is well again. And unlike last time, this time I was favorably impressed. One guy showed up – early, I might add – and he was polite, professional, and the whole thing took all of five minutes to complete. And I returned all the various Comcast equipment I don’t need anymore. Unfortunately, both of us totally forgot to think about the remote for the converter. I’ll bring that back to their office one of these days. I have no use for it.

So now I just have to get my laundry done before the Wiki-meetup.

Categories: Companies

I’m getting really annoyed with the cable company…

July 16, 2007, 7:26 PM

I am really starting to hate Comcast Cable. Now I understand why just about every person I’ve spoken with in the DC area about cable hates Comcast. Here’s why I’m aggravated with Comcast…

I’m knocking my cable television service down to the bare minimum. The only reason I have cable TV in the first place is because I get a discount on my high-speed Internet if I get the television as well. I don’t watch much TV at all. To get set up in the first place, they had to make a house call. In said house call, they sent two guys. One guy handed me my equipment and plugged a cable into the wall and into the television. The other guy stood there and watched the other guy do his work. And for this, I got charged $25 for “installation”. They didn’t twiddle with anything else – they just came in, plugged me in, and left. They could have mailed me the equipment, and I could have hooked it up myself for free.

Now, to downgrade my service to “el cheapo” cable, the one that comes with the various broadcast networks and not much else, it requires a house call. This is allegedly to “verify” my existing service. I can do without tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber, personally. I’m starting to think that the cable company is more interested in verifying that I can pay another $25 fee with this house call.

I’d ditch Comcast entirely, but their Internet service is actually really good, and the stuff on YouTube is far more entertaining than the crap you find on television.

Categories: Companies

First night in the new bed…

July 2, 2007, 6:03 AM

I had my first sleep in the new bed last night, and it was okay. The first night in a new bed is never five stars, because one is not used to it. But it’s going to be a wonderful relationship, I can tell. The bed is HUGE! This is a big upgrade from what I used to have. I used to have a twin bed from 1988, where the sleeping surface was only about a foot off the ground. This new bed, meanwhile, is what sleeping is all about. It’s queen size, and it’s got a box spring, a nice, thick mattress, and the sleeping surface is just below hip level.

Problem: I need a table or something to put next to the bed. I currently have this tiny little wooden box next to the bed that’s only about a foot or so tall. The bed is tall enough that I can’t reach the floor from the bed, so I can’t feasibly put like a book and a thing of water on the floor next to the bed. So it seems another Ikea trip is in order to get a bedside table.

Speaking of Ikea, I realize that they’re a multinational operation with so many languages spoken, but putting the bed together was a challenge using only the little pictures they showed. One of my neighbors said that you almost have to be a rocket scientist to put Ikea furniture together. But somehow, I made it.

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Categories: Furniture, IKEA

What a fun weekend…

June 24, 2007, 6:52 PM

The weekend went really well! Patrick came over on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. One question Patrick had was whether Mom had gotten used to my being gone. My exact comment was, “Do you want to see how used to it she’s gotten? Come look at this.” And I showed him my old bedroom, which Mom totally redecorated, as I described earlier. Then Patrick, Sis, and I went to Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, where we split two pizzas amongst the three of us. One was a vegetarian pizza, with a pesto base, and lots of tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Then the other was a cheese pizza with mozzarella and feta cheese. Really good stuff.

Then after Patrick left to go back to Harrisonburg, I kind of crashed myself. I slept on that futon Mom got. It was a futon. It’s firmer than mine, and Mom put a fitted sheet over the futon cover, since she claimed the texture of the cover would be uncomfortable to sleep on. I said don’t worry about it, since I would likely be too tired to care, but she insisted, and so it was. And when I went to sleep, I was indeed too tired to care. But it was a decent sleep, though it felt strange sleeping in my old bedroom on this strange new piece of furniture. Of course, I’m used to sleeping on a futon, though I only have to do that for one more week.

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