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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

The mildly interesting things that you see in a day…

March 21, 2014, 11:34 PM

So my Friday was fun.  I got together with my friend Matthew, we did some cooking, and then after Matthew and I parted company for the day, I headed over to Dulles Town Center for a bit.  Over the course of the day, I spotted a few things that I found mildly interesting.

On the way in, I stopped over at Aardvark Swim in Chantilly.  I usually go to the Rockville location, but since they were out of goggle straps (the bungee cord kind) in Rockville, and I knew I was going to be out this way sooner than Rockville would get more in stock, I swung by and here to get them.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram may remember that I was contemplating whether or not to buy this:

"Suck it up, cupcake" swim cap at Aardvark

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One of my worst bowling performances ever?

June 20, 2013, 6:22 PM

So I finally got around to posting the videos of when my friend Matthew and I went bowling on March 3.  It’s only what, three months late, but, hey.  Matthew and I went to Bowl America in Dranesville (Reston/Sterling area), and we did two games of ten-pin bowling.  Matthew was feeling a little camera shy on this particular occasion (it happens), but he was more than happy to film me hamming it up for the camera.

Take a look:


Welcome to bowling, and, in my own words, I can throw gutter balls like a pro.

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This should become an Internet meme…

March 3, 2013, 10:01 PM

So you may have seen the new splash photo, showing me holding a monkey wrench at Home Depot.  I was amused enough by it that I decided to make an “Internet meme” version of it.  Take a look:

PLEASE TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR PLANS

After all, what’s the fun of having a monkey wrench if you can’t throw it in someone’s plans, right?

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Categories: House, Matthew, Netculture

A whole bunch of bowling videos…

October 22, 2012, 10:09 PM

I realized tonight that I had never shown you some funny bowling videos that my friend Matthew and I had made a while back.  Matthew and I will, as I’ve demonstrated before, go bowling from time to time.  We always have a lot of fun, but considering that Matthew is a far better bowler than I am, the object of the game for me is to see how close I can come to matching his score.  I’ve discussed our first time doing ten-pin together and our first time doing duckpins together before, but I never showed you our second run of each style.

Now on the first time for each, I wasn’t sure how the various bowling alley operators viewed photography, plus I was concentrating a bit more on what I was doing.  After all, I had not done ten-pin in seven years before our first time bowling together in 2009, and then neither one of us had ever done duckpins before when we did that in August 2009.  Now, I have come to realize that the operators of these bowling alleys really don’t care if you’re taking videos and stills of yourself (plus I’m just using my phone here rather than my real camera), plus I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with the whole bowling thing overall.  Additionally, there’s a certain fun part of acting in front of the camera in these sorts of situations.  After all, there’s a certain bit of structure to these things, because you know the general idea of the afternoon, i.e. throw the ball and knock down some pins.  But how one gets from A to B is where the fun comes in.

This first bunch of videos was from December 3, 2011, when Matthew and I were doing ten-pin at Bowl America in Reston.

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The rule on pricing at Tysons II is, “If you have to ask, you cannot afford it.”

March 4, 2012, 4:17 PM

This weekend was certainly a blast. My mother came to visit, and we went to Tysons Corner on Saturday.

The plan was for Mom and I to meet at Vienna. It made sense, since she was coming from Virginia, Tysons is in Virginia, and I could take Metro to meet her, thus only have to take one car out. And Vienna is somewhere that all of us were familiar with from countless visits to the DC area before I moved up here. So my plan was to take the bus to Glenmont and then Metro the rest of the way. First thing I learned was that Nextbus, while useful for the most part, is still very much not perfect. I left the house based on a prediction of a Y8 in 12 minutes, and so I headed down to the corner. It does not take 12 minutes to get down to the corner, but when I got there, there was no bus, and the bus that I was tracking had dropped off the screen, with the next bus not supposed to show up for 45 minutes, which would make me very late. So I ended up walking to Glenmont, because I knew I could walk there in less time than it would take to wait for the bus. I had never walked to the Metro from my house before. I had done from Metro to home many times, but never the reverse. The uphill walk was very good for working the calves, since my legs were sore by the time I got to Glenmont. I might have to do that more often. It was a good workout, and helpful on a week where I had missed a pool session.

Once I got to the Metro, I got a seat on a train, and all was well. Mom, however, for reasons that neither one of us can quite figure out, got turned around a bit, and so my lateness ended up working out for her. I don’t know if she missed a sign for Vienna or what, but she managed to get lost. No idea how. And it’s frustrating when she’s lost in an area that I’m not entirely familiar with myself. Usually, I can guide someone over the phone to get wherever they need to, but I’m not that familiar with the neighborhood around Vienna station. I know how to reach the station from both sides of I-66, I know how to get to Route 123 from Vienna via Nutley Street, and I know how to reach the shopping center with the Safeway and Micro Center in it, and I know that there’s a high school northwest of the station, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of that area. So I couldn’t help her as much as I usually can, since she didn’t know where she was very well, and neither did I. Somehow, she ended up at Dunn Loring station, and told me as much. My response: “Good. Stay there.” After all, she managed to get to an Orange Line station, and so all was well. None of us quite know how she managed to get to Dunn Loring, though, since I would have expected, if she was going to land at a different Metro, to end up at West Falls Church, which is also very close to I-66 and easily accessed from there. Dunn Loring, not so much. I don’t even know how to get to Dunn Loring by car. Only time I’d ever been to Dunn Loring before is for railfanning, since I think station visits are just as important as riding in the first car.

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Categories: Family, Matthew, Shoes, Shopping, WMATA

Car shopping, and getting in shape!

November 8, 2011, 11:55 PM

It’s a Video Journal! Enjoy:

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Orange Line to New Carrollton…

May 2, 2010, 11:06 PM

That about sums things up for Saturday, along with “Orange Line to Vienna”. See, I went railfanning with Matthew Tilley on Saturday, and our goal was to railfan the heck out of the Orange Line, with the goal of getting good photos of a lot of the stations for Transit Center and Wikipedia.

In doing this, we planned to cross the Orange Line twice. Once out to New Carrollton, and once back in to Vienna. On the run out to New Carrollton, we concentrated on the outdoor stations. The idea was that since we needed daylight to get good shots of the outdoor stations, we would do those first. Then we would do the underground stations after that, since they would look the same regardless of what time of day it was.

So starting with Vienna (I drove out to Vienna to start), we did Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, and East Falls Church, and then jumped over to Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover, and finally New Carrollton. We took a break at New Carrollton, and then turned around and did Potomac Avenue, Eastern Market, Capitol South, and Federal Center SW. Then we skipped over to Court House, Clarendon, and Virginia Sq-GMU. Then we went over to Ballston for dinner, and then back to Vienna.

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Categories: Matthew, WMATA

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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A different twist on a game we’re all familiar with makes for an interesting evening…

August 30, 2009, 11:25 AM

On Saturday, Matthew Tilley and I went duckpin bowling in College Park. You may recall that we have bowled together before, having played three games of ten-pin bowling (i.e. what most consider bowling) in July.

This was exciting, because neither one of us had done duckpin before, and the rules and the equipment are slightly different. First of all, the pins are shorter and squatter than ten-pin. Secondly, the ball is smaller and lighter, and without any finger holes. The play is different as well, as you roll three balls per frame, and the scoring is slightly different. It’s the same as ten-pin, with the exception of knocking down all ten pins on the third roll. If you knock down all the pins on the third roll, no bonus is awarded.

And one thing that neither one of us was used to was that this was a very low-tech operation. This was a totally manual game. There was no automatic scoring equipment, and you pressed buttons to operate the pinsetter. There were two buttons – one was to reset the pins, and another just to clear the pins that had been knocked down (“deadwood”). This was one of those do-your-best moments. On Matthew’s first frame, we didn’t realize that there was a “deadwood” button, and so we bowled that frame in something of candlepin style, not clearing the pins between shots. On my first frame, I figured that there had to be something to clear the downed pins, and so I wondered if the reset button would do that. So I rolled one shot, knocked down a few pins, and then pressed reset. That killed all the pins, and laid out a fresh set. Oops. Good thing I didn’t do too well on that roll, since I essentially forced a do-over. That’s when we discovered the “deadwood” button, and we were good to go. Now we knew what we were doing.

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First time bowling in almost seven years…

July 5, 2009, 9:38 AM

So I went bowling for the first time in seven years on Friday with Matthew Tilley at Bowl America in Sterling, and we had FUN. We each bowled three games. Matthew, who used to bowl in a bowling league, scored way better than me, but that wasn’t the point. The point was having fun.

However, “fun” required having the correct ball. I know I use a 16-pound bowling ball, but the fingering was wrong on the first ball I picked up, and after hitting zero pins my first two frames, I realized that I couldn’t be that bad – it had to be the ball. So it was back to the ball racks for me, and I found a different ball. With a different ball, my game greatly improved immediately. Thus it was the ball.

We also came up with fun train names to put into the scoring system. I was Breda 3287AC, and Matthew was Rohr 1299.

In playing the three games, you could tell that I was getting back into it slowly but surely. At the end of the first game, my score was pretty bad, like 50-something. Then on the second game, I did a little better, knocking down a few spares, and then in the last game, I finally nailed a strike (yaaaaay!), though I still didn’t break 100.

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No more beautiful a day to get kicked out of the WMATA Rail Rodeo…

May 11, 2009, 8:05 PM

So Saturday was fun. I got together with Matthew Tilley, and we went to the WMATA Rail Rodeo at Branch Avenue Yard, went up to Dupont Circle (I had to stop by my office), and then checked out Amtrak’s National Train Day events at Union Station. The day didn’t go quite as expected, but we still had a lot of fun.

Starting out, of course, I picked Matthew up at his house. This would put my new GPS device, an early birthday present from my parents (thanks, Mom!), to the test. It did very well, and sent me on a very quick and easy route there, and one I would not have thought of – essentially the back way into Matthew’s neighborhood.

After I picked Matthew up, we got back on the Beltway, and rode over to Branch Avenue Yard to watch the rail rodeo in action. The WMATA Rail Rodeo, for those not familiar, is an annual event where Metro’s rail employees get to show off their skills in various competitions. The event is usually open to the public. I’d been wanting to go to the Rail Rodeo for some time, and this year, I finally did my homework ahead of time, writing Metro’s customer service department back in late February to find out the tentative date, and following up in late April to confirm that date.

Arriving at Branch Avenue Yard, we stopped at the security checkpoint at the gate, and indicated that we were here to see the rail rodeo. The security guard asked if we worked for Metro (we didn’t), checked my driver’s license, and waved us in. We parked, and asked a few Metro employees we found where the activity was. They weren’t too sure themselves. Okay, fine. We’re resourceful. So we went about finding out for ourselves. Matthew and I soon found ourselves in the shop building, where WMATA mechanics perform routine maintenance on the trains.

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Categories: Amtrak, Matthew, WMATA

A day of railfanning, and then a somewhat disturbing dream…

February 23, 2009, 8:44 PM

First of all, hello! I can’t believe it’s been a week since last I wrote a Journal entry. I guess I haven’t had much to say lately. But now I do.

And by that, let me tell you about the fun I had on Saturday! Matthew Tilley and I got together and hit the Metro, doing a railfan trip on the Blue, Orange, and Yellow Lines. The trip served two purposes. First of all, I really enjoy Matthew’s company, as we always have fun when we get together, and this was no exception. Secondly, I bought a new Canon PowerShot SX10 IS camera in the past week, and so this was also acceptance testing for the camera, as I ran it through all of its paces in the many varied lighting conditions that Metro offers.

Now if you’re wondering about why I got another new digital camera within a year of getting Duckie and the Kodak, and since neither of those cameras have broken down (trust me, I’d tell you), let me explain. When it comes to the Kodak and me, it’s not working out. Basically, the Kodak is a little too automated for my needs, and goes from fully automated to fully manual with very little in between. Big Mavica gave a lot of in-between options for shooting, and I had gotten accustomed to having those, and missed them terribly. So the Kodak will be going on eBay soon. I figure, while it didn’t work out with me, it will almost definitely be perfect for someone else, and so let’s see if I can recover some of my investment in it. Plus I can provide sample images taken with the exact camera being offered for sale, so we’ll see what happens.

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Categories: Dreams, Matthew, WMATA

And so for those wondering how my birthday went…

June 4, 2008, 2:07 PM

My birthday weekend went quite well, thank you. I spent my actual birthday at home, where I wrote a Wikipedia article about October Rebellion. Yes, that October Rebellion. I had a great time writing that article, though it’s not often that I’ll sit down and write a new article from scratch and go hunting for reliable sources and such.

Then the next day, Mom and Dad came to visit – just for the day. We went to downtown Silver Spring, where we had a birthday lunch at Austin Grill, a restaurant that serves Mexican food. As we were coming in, rain appeared to be imminent, and yet some people still wanted to be seated outside, and stayed outside, even as the rain started coming down. There was a very small overhang that these people ate under, and I presume they stayed dry for the most part.

At the restaurant, Mom committed what would be considered a major sin if you like to stay in the good graces of your companions. She told the server that it was my birthday. Now I admit that she didn’t mean to let that out in front of the waitstaff. It slipped out unintentionally. But you know how it is… if you say “birthday” to a server, next thing you know, you have ALL of them marching in clapping, and singing happy birthday to you. Once we realized Mom’s error, we flagged the server again about the birthday thing, and good news – Austin Grill doesn’t sing. Very good.

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And it looks like I know where I’m going to be living in DC…

April 30, 2007, 7:35 PM

As things presently stand, it looks like I’m going to be living in Wheaton, Maryland. The apartment is going to be nice. It’s got one bedroom and one bathroom, a good-sized living room, an eat-in kitchen, another separate dining area, and – the best part – a balcony. The balcony was the clincher for this deal. One thing I never liked about dorm life was having to go halfway across the building to be able to go outside. Now, I’ll be able to go out onto a balcony right off the living room. Sweetness on a stick.

And it’s within walking distance of Glenmont Metro.

However, here’s the kicker – the apartment won’t be available until May 20. The job starts May 14. This is when you find out who your true friends are. Matthew Tilley and his mother are letting me stay with them for that week before the apartment becomes available. So for a week, I’ll be living in Reston, and taking Metro to work from Vienna. Then that Friday, I’m going back to Stuarts Draft, getting a whole lot of stuff together on Saturday, and then moving into my apartment on Sunday. That will be when Wheaton becomes “home”, and Stuarts Draft officially becomes “my parents’ house”.

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