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Montgomery County is definitely not itself right now…

June 30, 2012, 5:06 PM

And that’s putting it lightly.  A very big storm blew through the DC area on Friday night, and the results were not pretty.  As I understand it, the weather event was called a derecho, and the effects of such a phenomenon were painfully obvious for those of us in Montgomery County.  Remember back in 2010, when that big storm came up out of nowhere and left much of Montgomery County without power?  It seems that history has repeated itself.  This storm blew through, and took out trees all over the place, and with that came power lines, and that left Montgomery County in the dark.  According to WUSA, out of 305,000 Pepco customers in Montgomery County, 210,000 of them currently don’t have electricity, and out of 800 traffic lights in the county, 500 of them don’t work on account of power outages.  And unfortunately, I am part of the two-thirds of Montgomery County that doesn’t have power.  I lost power on Friday night.  The lights went on and off a few times, and then went out for good.  And they’re still out.

And with so much of the county in the dark, people’s patterns changed.  First of all, getting around is a real pain.  With five out of eight traffic lights down (and no rhyme or reason about which lights are dead), we have been told all over to treat dark traffic signals like four-way stops, which slows things down.  From what I can tell, there are four ways that intersections with traffic lights are treated in these sorts of situations.  First are the lights that work.  Those function as they always do.  Then there are the really big intersections, which have police officers directing traffic through them.  Then the bigger intersections but that aren’t as big as the others get these little portable stop signs between the lanes to remind drivers that they are supposed to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.  And then finally, most intersections with dark lights are just left dark without any signage or personnel on scene, and drivers are expected to be courteous to each other and stop before proceeding.

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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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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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I actually got compliments on my bathroom…

August 2, 2009, 3:25 PM

My parents came by as planned, and we had a great time. I actually got compliments on the cleanliness of my bathroom, believe it or not. It certainly pays to really give the place a once-over. Of course, my parents got advance warning that I had cleaned. I posted a status message on Facebook indicating that I was cleaning, and my Aunt Mary, whom, along with Uncle Bruce, my parents visited before leaving New Jersey, saw the status message and commented on it. And Mom noticed that I had missed dusting my printer, and wrote “MOM” in the dust, and then dusted it with a paper towel.

So we got together, and went out for lunch. We originally planned to eat at Umbertos in Wheaton, but much to our dismay, they were closed. I don’t know what was going on, because they were supposed to have been open based on their posted hours, and the restaurant was in a bit of disarray, with the chairs missing, and the tables arranged in a way like they’re doing something or other. So who knows what’s going on. This merits further investigation, but a phone call to the restaurant a few hours later got no answer, and a call to the other Umbertos in Potomac got nowhere. I hope they’re not closed for good, because that would be a disappointment. That’s a favorite of mine for entertaining, and it’s really a diamond in the rough as far as Wheaton is concerned.

So we went to downtown Silver Spring, and had lunch there instead. We went to Austin Grill, which also serves Tex-Mex cuisine, though not as authentic as Umbertos. At Umbertos, the staff consists of mostly native speakers of Spanish and converse amongst each other in Spanish, while at Austin Grill, the employees definitely speak English as a first language. But the food was good. I had the grilled chicken burrito, my father had the burger, and Mom had enchiladas. I also got a hat from the Don Strock Diabetes Classic golf tournament, which Uncle Bruce’s company sponsored.

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Meanwhile, about Sunday…

November 2, 2008, 9:57 PM

I had fun today, as I completed the field work for my Rosslyn photo set. I have followed 1815 North Fort Myer Drive from operating office building to hole in the ground. Today, I finished up with photos of the completed demolition. Basically, we went from this:

1815 North Fort Myer Drive

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Categories: Arlington, Silver Spring

Car fire!

October 19, 2008, 2:36 PM

Just about 20 minutes ago, a car caught fire just down the street from my apartment complex. I noticed smoke and flames from my balcony door, and grabbed the Kodak to go down and see what I could see. By the time I got down there, the fire department had put the bulk of the fire out, and was working to make sure that it was completely extinguished before leaving. Check it out…

Spraying foam on the fire.
Spraying foam on the fire.

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Categories: Silver Spring

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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It’s like when worlds collide!

May 9, 2008, 8:32 PM

This was definitely a fun day at the office today! I got to meet my predecessor at Food & Water Watch, a woman named Lis. She left so much information for me as far as how to do the job while I got the hang of things, and now I finally got to thank her. Additionally, Leah, a former Food & Water Watch coworker, was also in town, and so with these two visiting, we had a little office get-together after work. So fun. Knowing they were coming, I brought my “duckie” camera to work – the yellow rubber-covered Vivitar camera. And so here you are:

Leah, Lisa, and Lis

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Categories: Silver Spring, Work

What the…?

May 8, 2008, 10:55 PM

Look what my neighbor and I found in front of our apartment complex upon our return from work today:

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Categories: Silver Spring

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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Sable is packed to the gills…

May 11, 2007, 9:53 PM

I don’t think I’ve filled a car so full since I left Potomac Hall at JMU for the last time back in 2003. Back then, I had the Previa stuffed to the gills with my junk from the dorm. Now, I have the Sable filled to the brim with my stuff, headed for Silver Spring. That car is literally packed full. The back seats are folded down, and I’ve put stuff in every possible spot. There’s even stuff sitting in the passenger seat. I just hope the car doesn’t think it’s a passenger and sound the seat belt alarm when I get going. That would look odd to have the seat belt buckled over there, to keep the alarm quiet.

It reminds me of a rhyme by Muffy from Today’s Special:

There was an old woman who lived in a hat,
With fourteen kids and one smelly cat.
The hat was bulging, filled right to the brim,
And inside, things were looking mighty grim.
And then when the woman came back with one more kid,
The hat shouted, “Fifteen!” and blew its lid!

That was then followed by the top flying off a nearby top hat. But yeah, I think if I put anything else in there, the car will shout, “Fifteen!” and blow its lid, too.

One thing that I will really appreciate with this run for stuff is the lamps. Those four torchiere lamps that I have are coming, and will be placed in strategic locations in the apartment. It’s helpful because there are few light fixtures in the apartment, and lots of switches attached to electrical outlets. Thus since I brought no lamps on the first run, I had to kind of find my way around in the dark upon leaving the apartment, feeling for walls and furniture, to avoid running into them, and the subsequent cursing. And I don’t particularly like to swear, though I’ve been known to let them fly fairly easily.

Speaking of swearing, I remember something I did for a professor at JMU that both the professor and I found amusing. He said that we could write whatever on the tests themselves, “Just don’t write any swear words.” So I decided to be a bit of a wiseguy. I wrote “SWEAR WORDS” in all caps near the top of the test paper. Not actual dirty words – literally the phrase “swear words”.

All in all, I’m excited about living in the DC area…