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Buses, fire trucks, ambulances, trains, and… moo cows?

October 19, 2017, 11:17 PM

This past Saturday, Elyse and I got together with our friend Dave, and we went to the Public Safety Open House held at the new Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy on Snouffer School Road near Montgomery Village.  Then we went out to Middletown and visited South Mountain Creamery, which is a dairy farm that sells products on site.

The Public Safety Open House event was a lot of fun.  There was a little bit of everything for us to see there.  We started out by looking at a row of Ride On buses.  Apparently, this facility is used to train Ride On operators, because there is, more or less, one or two of each type of bus that Ride On operates located at the facility.  We saw two Gillig hybrids, an Orion VII CNG, a New Flyer C40LF, and two Gillig 30-footers.

Ride On 5822, a New Flyer C40LF.
Ride On 5822, a New Flyer C40LF.  We all commented on how the one panel on the front was so faded.  No idea why.  I speculated at the time that it might be from the diagonal parking at the old Gaithersburg division’s causing sunlight to hit that corner more than others, but after thinking some more about it, while certainly plausible, I don’t know if I’d necessarily go with it now.

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Elyse goes to the inauguration…

January 28, 2017, 8:24 PM

Sometimes, it’s fun to live vicariously.  Such is what happened on Inauguration Day.  I had to work, and so I spent my Inauguration Day mostly doing support work to help keep trains moving.  However, Elyse came down to DC to see what she could see as far as inauguration-related activities went.  She and mutual friend Dave went out to see what was going on, and I was able to follow along through frequent updates sent to me on Facebook Messenger.  Though this was not intentional, she did a photo shoot in a similar way that I shoot an event that I’m not directly involved in.  The official festivities were kind of “meh” (though she did watch the swearing-in live on television, which I didn’t get to do), but she kept up with a lot of the activism.

I admit: I have more or less hung up my activism hat, having not participated in a political demonstration in a very long time. I stopped doing black blocs in October 2010 after a pair of disastrous demonstrations soured me on the tactic, and I haven’t been to a political demonstration of any kind since August 2013.  However, I still cheer on and support my friends who are still involved in it, even if I haven’t done it myself in years, and in fact, a number of my activist friends helped organize some of the protests that occurred in DC.  So I was delighted to get these updates from Elyse, as well as from elsewhere on Facebook and the Twitter, to see what was up while I was at work.

After I got off of work, Elyse came over and we looked at her take from the day, and the photos were quite good.  She also gave me permission to run some of them on Schumin Web, and so hopefully you can live vicariously through Elyse as well, as people came to DC to protest Donald Trump on the occasion of his inauguration.

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A principal has egg on her face…

June 14, 2016, 6:10 AM

As someone who was on the receiving end of some pretty unfair punishments in school, and having witnessed school officials blatantly flout the rules on a number of occasions, it’s good to see someone get called out for a punishment that’s out of step with policy.  This was the culmination of a controversy regarding several students’ drinking alcohol on prom night at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School‘s senior prom, and the reversal of a decision that would have prevented them from attending their high school graduation.

The situation, as I understand it based on a Bethesda Magazine article and a Washington Post article, began with a policy set at the school level regarding consequences for students’ showing up for prom while impaired by alcohol or other various substances, or becoming impaired by the same over the course of the evening, encompassing the prom itself as well as the official after-prom party.  The school’s policy was that anyone who either was caught drinking at prom-related activities, or showed up to same already drunk, would not be allowed to walk at the school’s June 1 graduation at DAR Constitution Hall.  This is supported by a prom guest application document from the school’s website, where the relevant section, near the bottom of the second page, reads:

Students and/or guests who are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, inhalants, illegal drugs or controlled substances will not be admitted to Prom or After Prom.  Students attending Prom or After Prom who show signs of being under the influence of such substances, or who are found to be in possession of such substances during either event, will be subjected to the consequences set forth in the B-CC Student Handbook, and their parents will be notified.  If the student is part of an athletic team or other school-sponsored activity, the coach/sponsor will be notified as well.  Note that any senior who is determined to be under the influence or in possession of such substances when arriving at or during the course of Prom or After Prom will not participate in the on-stage distribution of diplomas at B-CC’s graduation ceremony.

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No DriveCam to set off this year…

February 2, 2016, 6:46 PM

This past Wednesday, Elyse and I went to the Washington Auto Show.  We checked out the cars, and then went down to see the Metrobus display.  This year, Metro had an Xcelsior artic on display.  Remembering last year where I inadvertently set off the DriveCam on the demo bus, I was surprised to see that there was no DriveCam on the demo bus this year:

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Categories: Elyse, Events, Washington DC, WMATA

I can’t believe I set off the DriveCam…

January 28, 2015, 7:57 PM

I had a good bit of fun on Tuesday.  I went down to the Washington Auto Show at the Washington Convention Center with Elyse, and we wandered through, seeing all sorts of interesting things.  We took the Red Line to Gallery Place, then took the 70 bus up to the Convention Center (and we got an artic).

Unlike most car shows that I’ve been to in my 33 years, this was primarily for auto manufacturers to show off new cars.  As such, it was heavy on the marketing, and you could touch and interact with most of the vehicles that were there.  If you go on a Tuesday, as we did, the place was pretty quiet.  No wait for tickets and security, and no wait to see or do anything, and more time to chat it up with people.

Right off the bat, with its being a slow day, Elyse and I could tell that the people working the event were in a good mood.  When I purchased my ticket, the guy mentioned that admission, normally $12.00, was only $10.00 with a SmarTrip, or $5.00 with a student ID.  My old JAC card from my college days still lives on my keychain over a decade after I graduated college.  I said, “I still have my old student ID from when I was in college.”  The guy sold me a ticket at the student rate, and justified it by saying that it just says “a student ID”, and not that you had to be a current student.

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Categories: Elyse, Events, Washington DC, WMATA

“It should be legal to push tourists into the Tidal Basin when they don’t watch where they’re going.”

April 28, 2014, 1:22 PM

One tweet just says it all sometimes, doesn’t it?  Such describes my experience on the 13th seeing the cherry blossoms on the Mall.  It was my first time doing that, and, as long as I don’t forget about this experience, it will also be the last time that I do that.  I was reminded once again that large crowds of tourists tend to get on my nerves very quickly.  I was also reminded that I have springtime allergies, as I discovered that putting myself in close proximity to cherry blossoms activates my seasonal allergies.

That said, all of this made my cherry blossom experience something that I was very interested in getting over with not long after I got there.  I took Red Line in, and walked over from Metro Center.  I believe that this sight, near the Holocaust Museum, should have been my warning that this would not necessarily be a pleasant experience:

A trash can overflowing with trash

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Car show!

April 20, 2014, 8:34 PM

On Saturday, April 12, I got together with my friend Matthew, and we went to a car show in the Sterling area.  I’ve always enjoyed a good car show.  I used to go with my father when he would bring his Mustang to car shows in the 1990s.  I met Oliver North at a car show at Wright’s Dairy Rite in Staunton back when he was running for the Senate in 1994, in fact.

Thus I was quite pleased to go to this show with Matthew.  I had been to this show once before, in 2012, and had a lot of fun, but for whatever reason (possibly related to the ongoing site conversion at that time) never really featured all of the neat cars that I saw, save for one.  I’m not about to miss this time, because I saw some really neat cars.  I also remembered what I like when photographing cars.  I like seeing show cars as they might appear while being driven.  Thus I like it when the hood is kept down.  For whatever reason, I’m not that interested in looking at the engine.  And then if it’s a convertible, I love seeing the top down.

That said, this is not the way I like to see a car when it’s on display:

Ford Mustang with the hood way up

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Categories: Events, Matthew, Photography

Brace yourselves…

January 29, 2014, 12:22 PM

On the morning of Saturday, January 25, I started the day with this post to Facebook:

BRACE YOURSELVES: SPEEDO PIX ARE COMING

See, January 25 was polar bear plunge day, i.e. the day that I would head over to National Harbor and go for a quick swim in the cold Potomac River in support of climate change work with Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  And for those of you who are unfamiliar with my practice on these things, it should be noted that I follow my own advice, which I first gave in 2010, and thus I wear a speedo when I do the plunge (and if you don’t like it, don’t look).

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Categories: Events, Friends

It definitely gets easier once you’ve done it before…

January 26, 2013, 10:28 PM

And the 2013 “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge is done!  That was a lot of fun.  And it was also a very different experience from last year.  While the event followed the same format as before, my experience was very different.  Last year was my first time going in, and as a result, I was very nervous and uptight about the whole thing.  This year, I knew what to expect.  No problems.  I was cool as a cucumber.

Driving in was a little bit interesting, though.  It had snowed on Friday, and I took Metro to work that day.  So I hadn’t seen the roads.  I was fairly confident that the roads would be fine, but the parking lot in my apartment complex was still snowy, and I had never driven the Soul on snow before.  Getting out of the lot ended up being fine.  Good.  Then going down, rather than take the Beltway all the way around to get to National Harbor, I took the Beltway to B-W Parkway, which then becomes DC 295 before becoming Interstate 295.  It’s a more direct route than taking the Beltway around, but I couldn’t go this way last year due to an accident that shut down part of DC 295 that I got wind of before I left.  This year, no problems.  This route took me past Minnesota Avenue station and Anacostia station, and also past two separate speed cameras each way.  DC apparently is trying to turn 295 into a toll road via the speed cameras and an unreasonably low speed limit (50 mph?  Seriously?).  It is far too easy to speed on that road, and DC robo-ticket fines are high.  As far as I know, I did not get nailed by a robo-ticket.  And then like I did last year, I listened to the Today’s Special album on the way down.  Not to keep me calm, but just because I wanted to.  And it filled the trip down perfectly.  I started it up when I left the house, and it ran out as I arrived.

I got there insanely early.  I knew this was going to happen.  The folks running the plunge weren’t even entirely set up yet.  But again, no problem.  I was early.  So I ended up checking out The Awakening to pass the time while they got ready to go.  The last time I saw that statue was when I photographed it for a Photography set nearly ten years ago, back in March 2003 when it was still at Hains Point in DC.  It was later bought for the National Harbor development, and was moved there in 2008.  And now, here it is.

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Categories: Events, Friends

Take that hope for an unseasonably warm January day and toss it out the window…

January 24, 2013, 12:39 AM

So this Saturday is the big day: the 2013 “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge at National Harbor.  And they’re calling for snow on Friday.  Which means it’s going to be plenty cold for Saturday morning’s polar bear plunge.  And I so hoped for a nice, warm day.  Yeah, that’s not going to happen.  That said, though, it still ought to be a lot of fun.  Katy is going again, and Ryan should be back this year, too.  Plus if all goes as expected, RaQeeba and Davette will be there again to take photos.

Now going into it this year, I have some experience.  I know what it feels like to walk into water that is very cold.  And no – a cold swimming pool has nothing on this.  I don’t care how cold you think that the competition pool at Germantown Indoor Swim Center is.  This is a lot colder.  And I have also promised a few people that I won’t be taking a movie of my experience this year.  That’s something that we only need to hear once.  I am, however, going to take Duckie in with me for still photos.

Also, you remember last year, where there was some discussion about what I should wear to the plunge?  This year, there’s no question about what I’m going to be wearing.  Like last year, I’m wearing a suit out of the suits that I wear to the pool for swimming.  That’s how I came up with last year’s selections for you all to vote on (and the jammer with the yellow stripes won).  I last went shopping for suits in mid-October.  I bought two polyester Tyr jammers: one with red stripes, and one with blue stripes.  But then what I didn’t mention at that time is that I also got a third suit on that trip: a black Tyr racing brief.  It’s part of the rotation just like the other two.  Day one is the red stripe jammer.  Day two is the blue stripe jammer.  Day three is the brief.  Then back around to red.  I do this since, as I understand it, giving your swimwear a “rest” period between uses extends their life.  And since I swim every day, that means multiple suits.  Plus the polyester suits are supposed to last way longer than lycra.  And get this: based on my swim schedule and the suit rotation, the brief comes up as the next suit for Saturday.  So even though I was going to wear it anyway, it actually does come up in the schedule on its own.

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Categories: Events, Photography

First it was cold, and then it was colder…

January 21, 2012, 7:49 PM

I think that about describes today. Upper forties, my foot. It was bloody cold today. And of course, today would be the day that the Chesapeake Climate Action Network would have its seventh annual “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge, which, you may have heard, more than once, that I signed up to participate in over at National Harbor. I had a lot fun, though I was certainly excited about things.

Going down to the event, I decided to do a Video Journal to talk about it, since I was a little nervous and needed to distract myself:

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Something funny about shooting photos in the Metro of people with no pants on…

January 8, 2012, 7:09 PM

Yes, today was the day of Capitol Improv‘s annual “No Pants Metro Ride”. It was exactly what it sounds like: people come in and ride Metro with no pants on. Basically, people have shoes on, are fully dressed from the waist up, and are wearing their underwear, but the pants are missing.

Now you may recall that I went to this event last year and covered it for Schumin Web, though the photos never got any further than a Journal entry for various reasons. This year, I went again, and I was once again out to photograph the excitement, while keeping my pants firmly on my body. Considering that I covered the event pretty well last year, I decided to make the photography more interesting for myself. Thus I shot everything in black and white. Black and white, you see, makes you look at things differently, and think differently as a result. Black and white photography makes you look at lightness and darkness and the play between them, while color photography obviously focuses more on colors. And like Big Mavica, the Canon won’t stay in black and white if you turn it off. You have to set it to black and white every time you turn it on. Trust me when I say I got really good at quickly setting the camera to black and white every time I powered it on.

So at 2:00, everyone met up at Hancock Park, which is a small open space in DC across the street from the north entrance to L’Enfant Plaza station. There, they laid out the course and gave some advice on how to do things.

Bruce (with the bullhorn) discusses the course, explaining how Dupont Circle is probably the furthest west that participants should go on the Red Line.
Bruce (with the bullhorn) discusses the course, explaining how Dupont Circle is probably the furthest west that participants should go on the Red Line.

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Categories: Events, WMATA

So I don’t know if I’m courageous or insane, but will you sponsor me nonetheless?

December 18, 2011, 10:31 PM

I really don’t know if this makes me courageous or insane, but I’m going to be jumping into the Potomac River on January 21, 2012 as part of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network‘s “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge event to help raise money for climate work.

In other words, I’m going to be doing this:

Scene from 2011's "Keep Winter Cold" polar bear plunge

Yes. That.

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Categories: Events

Braaaaaaaaaaains…

October 26, 2011, 12:24 AM

First of all, I can’t believe that Halloween is almost upon us again! Feels like just yesterday that it was Labor Day, no?

In the spirit of Halloween, I got together with some friends last Saturday night, and attended the fourth annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk in downtown Silver Spring. For those who don’t know, a zombie walk is an event where people dress up like the undead as commonly portrayed in works of fiction, and then walk through an area as a group, in character. In addition to people dressed as zombies, you also have people dressed as “zombie hunters”, who dress up like commandos and carry Nerf weapons and other similar faux-artillery.

In Silver Spring, my friends went dressed as zombies. I went straight and had my camera out. My goal was to get some photos and have a good time. I’d dare say that both goals were accomplished. The zombie walk gathered at approximately the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Sligo Avenue outside Jackie’s, just north of the point where the Red Line crosses Georgia Avenue (you know, that bright pink bridge). Once we got going, we walked north on Georgia Avenue as far as Ellsworth Drive. Then we made a right turn, walked east on Ellsworth Drive through the “Downtown” development, made a left turn, walked north on Fenton Street for two blocks, and then turned left and walked west on Colesville Road to the AFI Silver theater. There, the theater was showing two horror movies, and was the formal end of the zombie walk. We didn’t go to the movies, and instead continued on to Georgia Avenue, and then went back to the “Downtown” development on Ellsworth Drive, where we got to hang out for a while. Not bad!

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National Train Day!

May 7, 2011, 11:17 PM

Today was National Train Day, and so I headed on down to Union Station to check it all out. I had been to National Train Day once before in 2009, so I kind of knew what to expect, but still, it’s always neat to see the different rolling stock that they had on display. Rail cars that travel over the national rail network are very different from those on urban mass transit systems, and so it’s always a treat to see them.

I took the Metro from Grosvenor (yes, Grosvenor) to get to Union Station. The way I figured, since I was also going to a Wikipedia meetup afterwards in Tenleytown, this made more sense than going all the way around to Glenmont afterwards. Plus I’ve never originated a day’s Metro riding from Grosvenor before.

Arriving at Union Station, I found the line. Specifically, the line for the train equipment display. After all, I came to see the real trains. The model trains don’t interest me so much. I want to see the real thing when I go out. The line was long. The end of the line, when I found it, was out in the shops, back here:

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Categories: Amtrak, Events