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Surprised that more people aren’t outraged by this…

August 22, 2013, 9:15 PM

Yesterday evening, I attended an event described on Facebook as “Emergency Protest of Whistleblower Bradley Manning’s Sentencing”.  For those not familiar, Manning (now Chelsea Manning) is a former US Army soldier who, according to Wikipedia, “was convicted in July 2013 of several violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after releasing the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison and dishonorably discharged.”

I really don’t understand why more people aren’t outraged by this.  This is your government and mine, and it operates, at least in theory, by the consent of the governed.  That requires an informed public, and people are all too willing to allow their government to harbor secrets about human rights abuses and other vile acts done in our name.  Government should have very few secrets, if any, because the best disinfectant for government is sunshine and transparency.  The government, out of anyone, is the entity that should have “nothing to hide”, because it is funded by our taxes, and therefore we are all stakeholders with an interest in its activities that are being done in all of our names.  Thus why it really concerns me that people are more up in arms about the fact that material was leaked and about the person who blew the whistle vs. the content of what was leaked.  People really should be more up in arms about what their government is doing in their name, and about protecting the messenger – not shooting the messenger.

That said, Manning should be held up as a hero and walking free rather than imprisoned.  And thus the message of this demonstration was simple: Free Bradley Manning.

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Categories: Activism, Washington DC

And who managed to dump themself out of their kayak in the first thirty seconds? That’s right. Me.

August 21, 2013, 1:46 PM

On Sunday, August 18, Melissa, Doreen, and I went down to the Key Bridge Boathouse (historically Jack’s Boathouse) right under the Key Bridge in Georgetown for a kayaking adventure.  This was a long time in coming.  We bought a Groupon voucher for this back in May, with the intention of going on May 19.  However, come May 19, the weather did not cooperate with those plans, giving us a cold and rainy day.  We ended up rescheduling, and this was the day we eventually settled on to reschedule.  It still ended up being a rainy day, but at least it wasn’t cold.

Doreen came along for our outing as well, and her participation ended up being something of a surprise.  Originally, Doreen didn’t want to go out on the water with us, and was going to be our designated photographer, using my real camera from the dock to photograph us.  Once we got to the dock, she decided that she wanted to go in the water, and so all three of us ended up going kayaking, and we just photographed using Duckie, which was securely clipped to my life jacket.

After signing all of our waivers and putting on life jackets, we got going.  First, Doreen got into her kayak:

Doreen gets into her kayak

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A very upbeat goodbye…

July 22, 2013, 11:28 PM

You may have gotten a hint from the notes in the July 14 photo feature, but this past Friday, July 19, was my last day working at Food & Water Watch.

On my last day, we were having an ice cream social in my honor.  I wanted to make it a celebration of me rather than an emotional goodbye, so I made a slideshow of photos to go through and talk about with the folks gathered.  Many had never seen these photos before, and I was sure that the photos would garner some laughs and rekindle fond memories.

On the evening before my last day, though, I was a bit nervous.  I was somewhat uptight about how my emotional state would be when I finally said goodbye.  I didn’t want to cry on my last day, but I was really afraid that I might.  I even went to far as to post this Facebook status at 1:44 in the morning:

Thinking about my last day at Food & Water Watch on Friday. Wondering how the mood will be when I finally say goodbye, and thinking about it in terms of the ending theme for an episode of Today’s Special. I think it could go one of three ways:

1) A very upbeat end to the day. That would warrant the regular ending theme.

2) A more emotional ending that might have me in tears at the end of it. That kind of end would call for the flute theme that was used in “Butterflies”, “Babies”, “Wishes”, and “Phil’s Visit”.

3) Considering that I have a slideshow with old photos planned, it might be a celebration of days past with mixed emotions of laughter and sadness. For that, I would lean towards the ending theme used in “Memories”, the series’ last episode, which was a continuation of that episode’s final song.

We’ll see how it plays out on Friday, but I’m rooting for the day to warrant the regular ending theme.

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ZooLights!

December 23, 2012, 2:10 PM

You can tell that my life has been busy lately.  This happened a week ago and only now am I finally getting a chance to write about it.  Nonetheless, though, I had fun last weekend.  I got together with my friend Melissa, who I know through a few Anons, and who I first met at the Silver Spring Zombie Walk in 2011.  We went around the mall in Wheaton a bit, and then headed into DC for ZooLights at the National Zoo.  That was a lot of fun.

First of all, I had not been to the National Zoo in ages.  I think that the last time I was at the zoo was, I believe, the summer of 1996.  Back then, Mom and Sis and I went on a weekday, and I remember its being my first time ever making any sort of Metro transfer, and my first time on the Red Line.  Prior to that trip, we had been to Washington a few times, but never before had we done anything other than one train.  I took the Blue Line on my first trip, and several Orange Line rides.  That first transfer was interesting, because I had never been to Metro Center before, nor had I ever transferred.  It had never crossed my mind that one line crossed over the other.  Then when we got to the zoo, I recall our being not so impressed with it at that time.  But at the same time, it was also really hot out and I was not doing well on the hill that the zoo is built on due to my being somewhat out of shape.

Back in the present, though, I’m in really good shape, and it’s time to see Christmas-themed lighting.  I will admit that I had some fun (in a mean way) with the identity of the main sponsor for ZooLights: Pepco.  Pepco, you may recall, is the for-profit utility that has the notoriously unreliable power grid in DC, Montgomery County, and PG County, and that keeps asking for permission to raise rates.  My comment was that with Pepco sponsoring it, I was somewhat surprised that the lights were even on, considering that they often have problems with that.

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And the fruit is photographed…

August 5, 2012, 9:00 PM

At last, it is done.  I went down to Eastern Market earlier today and did something that I said I’d wanted to do for a while: photograph food.  I visited most of the food vendors over there and photographed the fresh fruits and vegetables that were out for sale.  I photographed so many different kinds of tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms that it’s not even funny.  I certainly got a lesson in foods, though.  I didn’t realize that tomatoes came in so many different colors.  First, there’s this one, which looks pretty conventional, at least to my grocery store shopping eyes:

Red tomatoes

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Renovations at Union Station!

July 25, 2012, 2:16 PM

This is my traditional posted-from-Club-Acela-at-Union-Station Journal entry, because I’m going to be on a train to Chicago with my mother within the hour.  Should be fun.  However, at Union Station, I was surprised to see a lot of netting and scaffolding in the Main Hall.  Last time I was at Union Station, which was in October for the anti-Walmart demonstration, this wasn’t there.  From what I can find, this scaffolding and netting is for ceiling repairs necessitated by damage from the earthquake that happened last August.

In any event, it’s pretty neat looking, seeing all of this extra hardware in what is otherwise a very clean looking Main Hall:

Lights under the scaffolding around the statues on the west side of the Main Hall.
Lights under the scaffolding around the statues on the west side of the Main Hall.

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Categories: Amtrak, Washington DC

Schumin Web after dark…

July 8, 2012, 7:38 PM

And apparently my life after dark, at least last night, was a bar, two buses, and four Green Line trains.  So cue up the “Fireside” music, because here it is.  I went into DC in order to hang out with Christina, a friend and former coworker, one more time before she moves to Hawaii.  I’m quite happy for her, because she’s wanted to move to Hawaii for a long time.  However, I’ll miss her in DC.  That’s why this evening was special.

Getting there, though, was a little more exciting than I expected.  The bar where we were going to was The Passenger, across 7th Street NW from the convention center.  I considered this to be a good opportunity to go see some of the new Rush+ signage that Metro had put up, that would include new station names and slightly different train movements.  I had originally decided to go in on the Green Line to avoid a shutdown on my neck of the Red Line, but after a heat kink fouled the Green Line on Friday evening, the planned shutdown on the Red Line was cancelled and it moved to the Green Line instead.  I didn’t realize that there was a shutdown on the Green Line until I got to Greenbelt station, but decided to just roll with it rather than get back in the car.  It’s okay, you see.  I did, however, spot an amusing license plate on the way in at Greenbelt station:

"CIAO BB"
“CIAO BB”, a play on “Ciao, baby!”

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Categories: Friends, Washington DC, WMATA

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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My first Breda ride…

October 11, 2011, 10:22 PM

So I was scanning again on Sunday, since I brought all the old photos up from Stuarts Draft a few weeks ago.  Among other things, I scanned in the photos from our family’s first trip to Washington DC, which we did with friends of ours visiting from out of town, on June 21, 1994.  The night before, all of us had stayed with another friend in Tracys Landing, Maryland, and then drove over to Pentagon City Mall, where we caught the Metro at Pentagon City.  We rode into DC from there to McPherson Square.  That first ride was on a Rohr (1000-Series) car, since I specifically remember the red door release covers from that ride.

Getting off the Metro, we toured the White House, went to the Natural History museum, and then saw the Air and Space Museum.  Not too bad.  We were definitely all tourists on that trip, and so we did the tourist thing.

Then on the way back, we took Metro from Smithsonian back to Pentagon City.  As chance would have it, either Mom or Dad took a picture of me on the return trip home.  And much to my surprise, in looking at the photo this weekend, it turns out that the return trip was on a Breda:

My first Breda ride, from June 21, 1994

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Categories: Washington DC, WMATA

More swimming, Jimbo Wales, and a new exercise guide!

June 13, 2011, 11:10 PM

Oh, do I have a lot to discuss today. First of all, I went swimming on Sunday, which was an interesting experience all its own. What made it so interesting was how busy the pool was. First, though, I got there early, while maintenance work was still going on. So I got to do something I’d told Mom I’d do for a while now: take pictures of the pool. And here they are:

The "leisure pool" (read: kiddie pool) area. This pool is three feet deep at its deepest, and water is normally flowing out of the top of the mushroom structure towards the back, and water fills the buckets in the right of the photo. The buckets tip over and dump their contents when they become full. There's also a small water slide that's mostly out of frame, but you can see part of it behind the buckets. One of the two "hydrotherapy pools" (read: hot tub) is visible in the background.
The “leisure pool” (read: kiddie pool) area. This pool is three feet deep at its deepest, and water is normally flowing out of the top of the mushroom structure towards the back, and water fills the buckets in the right of the photo. The buckets tip over and dump their contents when they become full. There’s also a small water slide that’s mostly out of frame, but you can see part of it behind the buckets. One of the two “hydrotherapy pools” (read: hot tub) is visible in the background.

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The wading pool known as Dupont Circle…

August 27, 2010, 10:18 PM

So our Friday “Schumy Lunch” was more exciting than usual today. We went to Crepes-a-Go-Go west of Dupont Circle, and then went back to the circle to enjoy them. First of all, this place is really worth going back to. It’s got a great selection of crepes for breakfast, lunch, and dessert, and the employees were really friendly.

Then after we finished lunch, since the fountain was running and full of water, with some encouragement from my coworkers, I decided to go for a quick wade in the Dupont Circle fountain. I’d been in the fountain once before, during Funk the War 7, but that was in winter when the fountain was not running, and dry.

So I rolled my jeans up to my knees, and went in. Katy, one of my coworkers, took pictures of me in the fountain…

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Categories: Washington DC, Work

Okay, move it or lose it…

April 29, 2010, 7:55 PM

This is currently the largest annoyance for pedestrians in Dupont Circle:

Message sign on the sidewalk in Dupont Circle

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Categories: Amusing, Washington DC

Snow in Dupont Circle…

December 25, 2009, 9:05 PM

First of all, I hope everyone had a lovely Decemberween, as images of Dr. Christmas and the Dethemberween Thnikkaman dance through everyone’s heads.

I took some photos with my phone on the way into work on Tuesday, the first day back at work after the big snowstorm caused a snow day on Monday. These photos are of the snow encountered on my usual walk from the Dupont Circle Metro to the office.

Snow on top of the canopy over the south entrance to the Metro station.
Snow on top of the canopy over the south entrance to the Metro station.

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“Will play for tuition”?

July 10, 2009, 6:14 AM

You know, one thing I love about Dupont Circle is that you never know what you’ll see coming to/from the Metro. Today, coming back from the Metro, I ran into this scene:

 

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Categories: Washington DC, WMATA

Why can’t DC set all the traffic signals in Dupont Circle to flashing red more often?

June 9, 2009, 2:39 PM

Let me tell you… Dupont Circle was definitely different this morning coming out of the Metro. DDOT had milled the pavement overnight in preparation for resurfacing, and all of the traffic signals were set to flashing red in all directions. This traffic light configuration lasted through rush hour, which is when I saw it.

And let me tell you… I haven’t felt this safe crossing the street at Dupont Circle in a long time. Nine times out of ten, when I’m navigating Dupont Circle, I’m doing so as a pedestrian, and am pretty much at the mercy of the cars. I’ve heard people describe the signals in Dupont Circle as “suggestions”, and people really do drive like maniacs through Dupont Circle, going too fast through the intersections, honking at pedestrians, and cutting pedestrians off. I’ve told people numerous times that the most dangerous part of my commute is right near work – specifically, crossing Massachusetts Avenue NW in the southeastern part of Dupont Circle.

At that location, you have several movements going on. You have people turning from Dupont Circle onto Massachusetts Avenue. You have Massachusetts Avenue through traffic in Dupont Circle (separated from local traffic) going back onto Massachusetts Avenue. Then you have traffic from Massachusetts Avenue going into either the through lanes in Dupont Circle or the local lanes. Now the traffic entering the circle from Massachusetts Avenue is okay. That tends to go in pulses, and there are long breaks where the roadway is clear. But the traffic going past that intersection that’s already in Dupont Circle is no-holds-barred. People go too fast. People cut other people off while making illegal turns. And the pedestrians are like little targets, or at least that’s what it feels like sometimes.

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Categories: Roads, Washington DC