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Nine bucks later, I have a replacement Super Nintendo controller…

August 9, 2009, 9:20 AM

I finally confirmed today that one of the controllers on my Super Nintendo finally went bad. It was a shame, too, but such is what happens sometimes. I bought that controller new like eleven years ago, so it had a good run, giving me plenty of Super Mario-type fun. And then once I confirmed it was the controller and not anything else, I moseyed over to the computer, hopped online, and ordered me a new one. The joys of the Internet.

Meanwhile, does anyone know if the various USB video game controllers work with VirtuaNES? While I’ve certainly gotten some proficiency playing vintage games using the keyboard, as a rule, you can’t play vintage games with the index, middle, ring, or pinky finger. No – vintage video games are played with the thumbs. And maybe then I can really get going when it comes to Doki Doki Panic. After all, Wart is waiting.

Otherwise, the staff retreat at the Bolger Center went quite well. We did a lot of stuff, and really bonded as a staff. Meanwhile, I, as the Senior Office Manager, was in charge of logistics. I think I packed about half of our workroom into the back of my Sable and schlepped it all over to the Bolger. You really don’t realize how much a station wagon will truly hold until you have half the office loaded into the back of it, and luggage in the back seat. But it’s times like this that I’m glad I got a station wagon to replace the Previa rather than something else. You can’t load a mid-size sedan quite as well as you can a station wagon. Imagine if I had my sister’s car. The supplies would not only be in the trunk, but also in the back seat, which meant that I would have had to make a second trip home (on the other side of Montgomery County from the Bolger) to take my luggage.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Video games, Work

Two fire alarms in one day?

June 3, 2009, 7:04 PM

Well, it certainly was an exciting day at work today. We had not one, but two fire alarms today. The first was just before 1:00. I was walking down the hall in our suite, and then the fire alarm started sounding. Thus we got to hear those new fire alarms that we had put in a few months ago come to life. Needless to say, we heard these Wheelock NS horns loud and clear, which is more than could be said for the old Wheelock 34 horns that they replaced.

So I immediately got into my floor-monitor mode, getting my safety vest and hard hat out of my man-sized safe and doing a sweep of the floor, along with the other floor monitor. Then we did the same for the other suite on our floor before heading down to the street.

Down on the street, the fire trucks arrived, and checked things out. Amusing: The man in the rear steering position of one of the fire trucks was in there smoking a cigar! Kind of odd for the firefighter to be smoking on their way to a potential fire, where there’s the potential for lots of smoke.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

It was short, but it was a lot of fun…

April 27, 2009, 10:14 PM

So as expected, I went to the mainstream march for the World Bank/IMF protests. It was a lot of fun, though it only lasted for about 90 minutes. Thus this was short as far as protests go. But it was spirited, and went off without a hitch.

The march met up on Sunday at 2:00 PM in Dupont Circle. The crowd was diverse, as the World Bank affects a very diverse swath of humanity. Before the crowd of approximately 150 people stepped off on the march, people gave speeches:

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Categories: Fire alarms, World Bank

New fire alarms at work…

February 5, 2009, 10:54 PM

You never know sometimes what you’re going to come home with some days. I came home from work today with fire alarms in my bag. That’s not what most people would come home with, but then again, I’m not most people.

So today, they upgraded the fire alarms in our office. The Wheelock 34s and the Space Age light plates went away, and they installed Wheelock NS horn/strobes to replace them.

As such, we went from this:

Old fire alarm setup at the office

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

So the fire drill went well.

August 13, 2008, 11:20 PM

So the fire drill at work went off without a hitch. At 11:15 AM, the fire alarm went off, and all of us on “Team Wheelock” (since the signals in our building are Wheelock) put on our safety vests and hard hats and got down to business, doing a sweep across the floor, making sure that everyone was clear before leaving. And after the fire drill was over, here’s Team Wheelock, victorious:

"Team Wheelock" during the fire drill

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Categories: Fire drills, Work

Fire drill at work tomorrow…

August 12, 2008, 7:20 PM

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been in an honest-to-goodness, genuine fire drill? It has been five years, since the last time I was in an actual, planned fire drill was back in Potomac Hall in 2003. In fact, I got to pull that alarm. That was fun.

So now for tomorrow, we’ve been notified by the building management that we’ll be having a fire drill. They’ve given themselves a 30-minute window in which to conduct the drill, and that ought to be that. The alarms in our building are Wheelock 34 horns, and then those horns are attached to Space Age light plates. Thus we have these horns:

Wheelock 34

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Categories: Fire drills, Work

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

Bells, bells, bells!

October 14, 2007, 12:23 AM

I got to experience something new on Friday – a fire alarm at work. It was around 11:30 AM, and I’m working on some odds and ends in my office, and I hear a bell start ringing. So I look up. I see flashing lights. We all know what that means. Something set off the fire alarm in our building.

Now as the fire marshal for our floor, I have special duties when the fire alarm goes off. I put on an orange safety vest and hard hat, and do a sweep of the floor to ensure that everyone has cleared. Once that was done, I headed out, and joined my coworkers at our designated meeting place. The fire trucks quickly came and went, and it turned out that the alarm was caused by burned food.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

A whole bunch of miscellaneous stuff I’ve been meaning to show you…

June 17, 2007, 10:07 AM

I realized recently that I’ve gotten a little bit of a backlog of stuff I’ve been meaning to show you that I’ve captured with my cell phone over the last week or so. So here we go.

A deer in the vacant lot next door to me
So there you go – photographic proof that deer do wander through the vacant lot next door. Apologies for the blurry picture, but this is the cell phone, and not Big Mavica.

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It could only happen to me…

August 24, 2006, 11:13 PM

This one falls under that heading of stuff that could only happen to me. I went to visit Mom after school today. I was wearing my fire alarm shirt. First thing’s first, though. Being the first week of school, I asked Roxie, one of Mom’s teaching partners, “Did you all have one of these yet?” and pointed to the Wheelock 7002T on my shirt. Answer was, yes – they had their first fire drill this morning. And it’s sad – SDMS has broken with tradition entirely. It used to be that the first fire drill of the year was always on the third day of school at 9:30 AM. Not so this year. This time, it was on the fourth day of school, and closer to noon than to 9:30.

But anyway, what could only happen to me? I was describing something to some of the other teachers in the room at the time, and using Schumin Web to illustrate my point. I clicked a link, and I got this:

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Categories: Computer, Fire drills

Fire alarm at Hecht’s!

July 18, 2006, 4:20 PM

So I was in DC today, and was on the fourth floor of the large Hecht’s department store at Metro Center, which I visited to get out of the heat and make a visit to a men’s room. So while I was washing my hands…

WHOOOOOOOOOOP! WHOOOOOOOOOOP! WHOOOOOOOOOOP!

I initially figured that someone had accidentally tripped the alarm for a fire exit door that was nearby. Coming out of the restroom, I noticed a very old-looking red light on the wall was flashing. The light said “FIRE” on it in white letters. Hmmm, I thought. It seems that the fire alarm is going off. I asked a store employee what was going on, and they had no idea. I was getting ready to leave anyway, and so I took the escalator back down. But not first before reaching into my camera bag and turning on Big Mavica. This was the first time that I’d been somewhere with a fire alarm going off in a LOOOOOOONG time, and so I set it to movie mode and started filming.

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Categories: DC trips, Fire alarms

I will not conduct my own fire drills…

February 19, 2006, 9:51 PM

I went to Martin’s with my friend Katie on Friday, and we had a blast. The thing I noticed first off, though, was in the right-side vestibule. Notice anything wrong with this photo of the fire alarm annunciator?

Notice anything wrong with this photo of the fire alarm annunciator?

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Upgrading the fire alarm system at my old middle school brings back a lot of memories…

September 10, 2005, 9:02 PM

I found out on Friday that Stuarts Draft Middle School is getting a new fire alarm system, to replace the charming vintage-but-terribly-obsolete Edwards system installed when the building was constructed. As I’ve not been over there lately, I can’t tell you whether the update is in the process of completion or if it’s done, though my guess is that it’s done. I also don’t know who makes the new system or what model, nor do I know what kind of horns and pull-stations were used.

I found out when Mom brought a Food Lion bag home from school containing, to my surprise, two Edwards 270-SPO pull-stations (“Local Alarm”), two Cerberus Pyrotronics MS-151 pull-stations (from the 1993 addition), and an Edwards Edwards 881D horn. I believe that one of the Edwards pulls came from the gym next to the boys’ locker room, as it has a sticker with a zig-zag line under the “E” logo that I recalled on that spot. I don’t know where in the school the horn came from, or where the other pulls came from.

Altogether, before this alarm update, SDMS had 24 horns, of which 20 were the Edwards 881D (all were originally the Edwards 881D). Two horns were replaced before I started there with large square horns – one in the cafeteria and one outside Room 38 (a stone’s throw away from the other replaced horn). I won’t swear to it, but I think those horns said “Pyrotronics” on them in small white letters. Then two horns were replaced in 1993 with Wheelock 34T horns. One was outside Room 12, and the other was outside Room 22. I remember seeing workers replacing the horn outside Room 12 from a distance, and noticed the Wheelock 34T outside Room 22, which was near the sixth-grade lockers (which were later relocated), as being new when it was replaced during third or fourth period.

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“I told you I was on a budget!”

April 10, 2005, 1:41 AM

Kids say the darndest things sometimes. This was one of those cases. On Friday at Wal-Mart, a really young girl, probably around first grade or so, said to her mother, proudly, “I told you I was on a budget!” after buying a few things on her own ticket in my line.

Of course, the thing that amused me more than that was what she said while I was ringing up her mother’s stuff. This girl, on her budget, presumably being a real cheapskate with her own money, then turned to her mother, and asked her if she could buy her something. Now we know what “I’m on a budget” really means. We’re not spending much if we’re on our own budget, but on mother’s budget, on the other hand…

I was quite amused, to say the least.

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Glad that’s over with!

February 28, 2005, 7:10 PM

Today I had a small surgical procedure done at Augusta Medical Center. Let me tell you… they’ve got quite an operation going in there for outpatient surgery. But it was quick and relatively painless. So that was good. And I arrived at AMC at 6:30 and was out before noon. So that was really good. And now I’m at home once again.

It’s interesting… it’s like a television studio to an extent. They have all kinds of furniture that they change out in your little cubbyhole throughout the time you’re there. We got to AMC and they called me and took me into the outpatient center, and we went to one of many of those cubbyholes. It was fitted with two chairs. There, they wheeled a little computer over and verified all of my information.

Then I went to a second little cubbyhole. This had a stretcher in it, and a chair. They gave me the hospital gown, and it was time to change into it. They closed the curtain and I changed. I did pretty well for the most part, but had quite a time with the sleeves, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing with them. As it turns out, the sleeves snapped up the sides. I don’t know what I was thinking when I was trying to put that thing on. Of course, I also had to figure out which end was up in the first place on that thing. But I managed to get it on, tie the string in the back, and then screw up the sleeves. If you can imagine this, I had my arms sticking out the sides of the sleeves. I thought maybe this thing was supposed to look like a Roman tunic. I had no idea. Then, figuring that didn’t look right, I unsnapped the upper snap and put my arm through the two snaps (vs. the top of the sleeve and the first snap). I was satisfied that it was right. Or so I thought.

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