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It’s been a little while since we spoke…

June 22, 2004, 12:57 PM

It’s been just a touch more than a week since last we spoke, and it’s because I’ve been hurrying to finish a massive update to my Transit Center site. There’s LOTS more WMATA on there now, in the Washington DC Rail section. And today, I’m actually writing you from the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, because I’m over here for two reasons. First off, I returned some pants to Casual Male earlier, because trust me… these pants were WAY too big. Made me feel skinny. The pants were that big.

I’m also bus-sighting over here, so I can add Charlottesville’s CTS system to my Transit Center Web site. I’ve actually gotten 42 photos today so far, plus one movie, though I highly doubt I will use everything. Still, look for Charlottesville to join the likes of Metrobus, Dash About, CUE, and Harrisonburg Transit at a Schumin Web Transit Center near you.

And then tomorrow I’m going to DC! I’m meeting two fellow posters from SubTalk, and we’re going to do some serious railfanning. I’m meeting up with Oren H., as well as Jersey Mike. I’ve railfanned with Oren before, but never Mike. This ought to be fun!

Categories: Public transportation

See anything in this picture that raises an eyebrow?

June 14, 2004, 10:24 PM

This was one of those days…

May 7, 2004, 9:54 PM

We were very busy. Busy is good, I must say, though. Makes the day go by, and means job security. But nonetheless it makes you want to pull your hair out. Ah, well. Could be worse, though.

Meanwhile, I’m going to Washington DC tomorrow to do some serious railfanning. The goal of the day is to visit some stations I’ve never been to before, and look ’em over. Let’s admit it – I have plenty of pictures of Vienna. I have plenty of pictures of Rosslyn. I also have plenty of pictures of Ballston-MU, L’Enfant Plaza, Pentagon City, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Farragut West, King Street, Huntington, and such. But there are a number of stations that I only visited briefly, or only visited inside a train. Those are the stations where I’ll be visiting tomorrow.

And if I get a chance, I may also swing by the new World War II memorial, though I may forgo that on this trip, and just stick to WMATA. See, the WWII memorial is some distance out of my way, since the nearest Metro is McPherson Square, which is under Eye Street. That puts the Washington Monument a number of blocks out of my way. But we’ll see. If not, I’ll do it on my next trip.

So it sounds like I have an interesting day ahead! Now to go to sleep and rest up for it…

Categories: DC trips, Walmart, WMATA

Yesterday was fun…

April 24, 2004, 11:11 AM

I went to DC yesterday, with the intention of checking out the protest activity surrounding the World Bank’s meeting. Unfortunately, there wasn’t all that much to see, with the big event planned for today, a day I couldn’t get off work for.

I did, however, take several laps around the area looking for activity at various times during the day. And it was hot outside. I did pretty well for the most part out in the heat, though. I did, however, have one thing that concerned me. On one lap, all of a sudden my hands and face went dry in the middle of the heat, which I took as a warning sign to get out of the sun, fearing the early stages of heatstroke. So I went to this little urban shopping mall in DC and went to Au Bon Pain, where I had a little something to eat (some pineapple chunks) and a soda. That took care of that.

After enjoying that small snack and generally cooling off, I went to this newsstand in the same mall and looked around. They had all the magazines you could imagine (I stopped to check out an issue of “The Economist”, among others), including some more “mature” titles. Near the mature area as I was making my lap around the store were the men’s magazines, where I found a familiar title. Remember Front? You may recall that my site was featured as “Geek of the Month” in the June 2000 issue. I actually mentioned this to the lady who was working there, who remembered that issue, and thought I looked familiar (a fan?). I bet she hadn’t seen my hilarious parody of that issue’s cover. Still, I was peeking through Front, and it seems the magazine isn’t nearly as wholesome as it once was (wholesome by comparison to its former self). While back then it was about guy stuff and had a reasonable amount of scantily clad women in it, now it’s a lot less guy stuff and a lot of women with their boobs hanging out. And a LOT of ads for naughty things in the back. Basically, it’s a little closer to a magazine like Playboy than it is to Maxim anymore. And no “Geek of the Month” feature, which I specifically hunted for in there.

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Categories: DC trips, WMATA

“I’d like to know if you all sell vibrators, but not the sexual kind.”

April 15, 2004, 1:00 AM

A customer actually did ask one of our associates that one time (not to me). But that’s besides the point.

You see, I have found a non-sexual vibrator. Let me tell you about my experience with my cell phone today. I went to DC as planned. I was planning to meet up with Dad midway through the day, since he was coming up to DC as well. Well, I was concerned with being able to hear my ringtone (which is Sakura Saku from Love Hina, a Japanese anime cartoon) on the Metro, with all the other background noise from trains and people and such. So I set it to ring and vibrate.

Now I keep my cell phone in my right front pocket when I’m out and about. So there I am railfanning on a Rohr train, on the Blue Line between Pentagon City and Pentagon. Next thing you know, I feel this fierce vibration on my leg, and Sakura Saku starts playing. Let me tell you, I nearly SCREAMED when that thing started vibrating on me. That’s definitely one way to wake up a 28-year-old rail car. I’m sure the other passengers would have really appreciated it if I’d let loose with a scream. As it is, I jumped up from my railfan seat when that thing went off on my leg.

Needless to say, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever put my phone on vibrate again.

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I went to Washington DC on Saturday…

March 23, 2004, 2:40 AM

I went to DC on Saturday, March 20, the year anniversary of the beginning of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (a name that still doesn’t sit right with me). Originally, there was supposed to be a big ANSWER anti-war rally in DC, but it unfortunately never materialized. I found it strange that there were rallies in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc., but not the obvious choice for a political rally, Washington DC.

However, there were two small rallies that I kind of swung by in passing. One was at Constitution Gardens a few blocks from the White House, which was a pro-Aristide march for Haiti. The other was a silent anti-war vigil at the Capitol, which is documented in the “A Sunny Day at the Capitol” Photography set that I just posted.

The Haiti rally was interesting, as it was interesting seeing the rather small group on the sidewalk along Constitution Avenue saying “Whose streets? Our streets!” That one chant just seemed out of place, what with the difference in how it was presented last April, where it was the anarchists’ call as they actually marched out into the road, and shut off a lane of traffic.

Meanwhile, the silent vigil at the Capitol seemed to go well, as the small group stood in silence (for the most part). Between the Capitol group and the Haiti group, the Haiti group was a lot more united. The Capitol group didn’t seem as “together” and presenting as strong of a message due to their appearance.

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Categories: Activism, DC trips, WMATA

“You retard!”

March 12, 2004, 2:14 AM

Yes, when I came back up to the Service Desk after my lunch break, before I could even say hello to anyone, I’m greeted with a familiar voice saying, “You retard!”

It was Sis.

And returning a printer cartridge that I bought two weeks ago. Seems I bought the wrong one. I just followed the list that Dad gave me. So it’s not my fault.

Still, it was amusing to see Sis and her friends (Matt and Ben, both of whom I also like) at the Service Desk as I came back. And amusing is what my coworker asked of Sis: “Is he as hyper at home as he is at work?” She answered, “Worse!” All in all, I was amused. Plus I got to find out about their trip to New York, which I couldn’t partake in due to work.

Plus this was the first time Sis got to see me in my vest, since the last time she was at our store while I was working, I was on lunch and carrying it in my hand as I was ringing up my food on the self-checkout.

Still, amusing.

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Categories: DC trips, Family, Walmart, WMATA

Your assignment: Figure out where this dream came from

February 19, 2004, 4:37 AM

This is a weird dream that I had last night, and let me tell you why. The dream was about driving Metro trains with oars in rough weather down a river.

Yes, that’s right. In this dream, a friend of mine and myself were basically driving Metro (as in WMATA) trains in rough weather down a river. If you can imagine this, the trains had the doors open, and were submerged about 1/3 of the way up from the floor. My friend and myself were each commanding our own trains, and safely strapped in by way or some harness. And not in the cab, mind you. Oh, no. Actually in the area just behind the cab, between the first doors.

And we were paddling these trains down a river, in somewhat rough conditions. Why the trains were in the water, I don’t know. Why they floated I also don’t know, since I doubt that these Metro trains would float in real life.

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Categories: Dreams, WMATA

Went to DC on Saturday…

January 19, 2004, 5:49 AM

What a day I chose to go to Washington DC as well! First of all, the good part: I got an opportunity to ride the rehabilitated Bredas on the Metro, and I scoped out some sites for possible future photo sets. And I of course was all over that Breda train like stains on white. It even had that new train smell, if you can imagine that.

Now for the unfortunate part. Of all the things to happen when you’re more than two hours away from home, it started SLEETING while I was still in Washington. Sleet. And it was accumulating. A shame, too, since I’d planned this for my evening: Go back to Vienna, get the tripod, and then return for some fancy night photography. Change of plans: Go back to Vienna, and leave the DC area. I got in the car around 8:00. The platform at Vienna, an outdoor station, was decent, since it had been treated with de-icer.

The roads, now, were interesting. Local roads in Vienna were fairly icy, but not impossible. The Interstate close into DC was a little treacherous, but as I got further out from DC, the roads got better. Nonetheless, my average speed going home was 50 (despite the 65 mile speed limit). Took me ages to get home, but I made it.

And so then I posted on Subtalk about the Bredas. Fun…

Categories: DC trips, WMATA

Newest D-Hall security device that would be amusing to see: Iron Maidens

December 12, 2003, 6:43 PM

While I was talking to the D-Hall cashier today, we had two people try to sneak in without paying (they were tracked down and made to pay). That led to two discussions…

First of all, we discussed how silly it was to try to avoid paying in D-Hall, since you pay with a punch, which is already paid for with tuition.

However, the second part was amusing. How do we keep people from, shall we say, “jumping the turnstile”? It came up that turnstiles would help, with people swiping their JAC cards like New Yorkers swipe their Metrocards. Metrocards, for those of you who don’t know, replaced the fabled subway token for good in 2003.

So you swipe your JAC, it’s verified, and the turnstile opens. Go eat. But you want to really be secure about it, and prevent people from simply going out the in? Install what is known as an “iron maiden” at the entrances and exits. An iron maiden is a big wheel with bars radiating out from it that only turns one way, and only lets you go one way on it. New York’s used them for entrances and exits on the subway for years. Swipe your JAC on a reader, the inbound iron maiden unlocks and lets you in, and then on the way out you use the outbound iron maiden. In the event of an emergency, people can still exit through the iron maidens. And like I said, New York’s been using them for years in the subway.

I think it would be quite amusing to see an iron maiden-style turnstile installed in D-Hall, and is HIGHLY unlikely to ever happen, but you must admit that an iron maiden would be effective…

Categories: JMU, Public transportation

The scary part about finals is…

December 11, 2003, 9:41 AM

The scary part about finals is when you finish the final exam and turn it in, and know that you have completed all the work for the course, and you now have a final grade, and it’s just a matter of finding it.

It’s downright scary, too. You’ve finished your final exam in a course. So now, you have a grade, and there’s nothing you can do about it. And you don’t know what the grade is, for that matter, until some time next week.

So now is what we call the waiting game. La dee da dee doo… waiting, waiting, waiting. Nerve-racking is what it is. But anyway, on another topic…

I was waiting for the elevator at Taylor Down Under and talking to the desk attendant, and the fire alarm went off. Since I was in TDU, I went out through the main door, past the annunciator. It said that the alarm originated from a second-floor duct detector (a smoke detector in an air duct). Don’t know what caused the alarm, though. But it was cool to hear, plus see the strobes, needless to say.

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Categories: JMU, Public transportation

Sometimes I just amuse myself…

November 18, 2003, 11:32 AM

I had my CARR (Case Analysis Research Report) presentation today in PUAD 420. And since all the projects in that class are individual, I’ve been known to embellish my projects somewhat to make them amusing for myself. And I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but my CARR was about the fictional transit agency called the Carinthia Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, otherwise known as CMATA, which is loosely based on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, otherwise known as WMATA, or Metro.

So I did my presentation, and spent hours preparing it. And thus the amusing parts come in. All the characters were named for Metro stations. I had a guy named Farragut West as the chairman of the board, a guy named Dan Loring (after Dunn Loring/Merrifield station) as the general manager, Woodley Park (after Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station) as the financial manager, Forrest Glen as the CASHRail Manager (CASH stands for Carinthia Accesses Surrounding ‘Hoods, by the way), Amanda McPherson (after McPherson Square station) as the CASHBus Manager, and the maintenance supervisor was a woman named Franconia Springfield. I also had customers named Addison Rhodes (Addison Road), Naylor Rhone (Naylor Road), Anacostia Rivera (Anacostia), and Ford Totten (Fort Totten).

But where I really amuse myself is with some of the visuals. I introduced what the fundamental problem in the case was (which was capital planning) via two pictures. Here they are:

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Categories: JMU, WMATA

Let’s drink a big soda and ride the Yellow Line!

October 9, 2003, 12:42 PM

Metro finally got a public restroom in a station! A self-cleaning restroom has been installed at Huntington. What this means is that every 30 minutes, the restroom closes up and cleans itself. Interesting idea… I wonder if it catches on. I also hope that it’s really totally clean after the guy before you has done his business. Hmmm…

And they installed it at Huntington, too. Huntington Station shows up in some of my “Urban Comparison” pictures way off in the distance. Finally, this will give me reason to go to Huntington and ride the inclinator there.

But not before first having a BIG soda…

Categories: Restrooms, WMATA

And I did it all from memory…

August 2, 2003, 11:25 PM

Categories: WMATA