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Guess who’s home…

November 21, 2004, 8:28 PM

Sis is home! Yay! She’s home for about a week, too. So while I toil away at Wally World, including on the infamous “Black Friday” day after Thanksgiving, she’ll be at home doing like whatever. Fun.

Meanwhile, this is a phrase that turned a few heads at Wally World: “This is why they give us guns around here.”

You’re thinking: What in the heck?

I’m referring to our handheld scanner guns, which are handy for ringing stuff up (oh, by the way, I got off the Service Desk recently, having had more than my fill of it – I’m now a cashier). Those things are handy for items that are impractical to put on the belt.

Meanwhile, speaking of Black Friday, I’ve officially promised to wear all-black on that day, like I did last year in Staunton.

And then on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, guess where I’m going. You guessed it. Washington DC. Metro’s newest in-fill station, New York Avenue-Florida Avenue-Gallaudet U opened yesterday for the first time. I’m going there, since it’s the first of what I would consider Metro’s “second generation” stations. This is quite a bit different than your typical Metro station. Four escalators (up from two), two elevators (up from one), a redesigned canopy… it’s neat.

I’m also watching CNN. There’s a thing about an NBA player going totally off in the stands. I’m just like, wow. How violent.

Categories: Family, Walmart, WMATA

Speechless…

November 3, 2004, 11:09 PM

You’ve seen my hundreds of WMATA photos on my Transit Center site before. This is one photo that had me somewhat speechless for a bit when I saw it:

Accident at Woodley Park-Zoo station
Photo from The Washington Post

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Categories: WMATA

The rest of Sunday…

October 20, 2004, 2:59 AM

Well! I told you about the Million Worker March that was held on Sunday, and all of my crazy adventures there. Now here’s what happened during the rest of that day, which was also somewhat interesting.

First of all, on my way up to DC on October 2, remember how the Vomit Fairy came to touch me with her star-ended wand? Well, when I got to that rest area again, I stopped to see whether my mess had killed the grass underneath it or not. Turned out that they had never cleaned the mess up, and it was still there. I nearly had a relapse right then and there. I will be checking there again next time I go to Washington on November 4. If it’s still there, I will be making a little fuss about it. Because then it will have been a month.

At Vienna, I ended up catching a train that, to say the least was interesting. The lead set was a Breda rehab consist, 3008 and 3009. I rode 3009, the lead car. The next two cars were regular Bredas, and the last two cars were CAFs. Talk about your odd consists. Rehab-Breda-CAF. Just as weird as the Rohr-CAF-Breda consist that I saw back in August at L’Enfant Plaza. One thing about this consist at Vienna, though, was the amount of wheel noise that was heard. From my vantage point at the head end of Breda 3009, I’d never heard so much wheel noise before. That was a surprise for me.

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Categories: DC trips, WMATA

I went to Washington DC on Tuesday…

September 22, 2004, 8:28 PM

That was fun. I chose the date because of a picket event outside the US Treasury Building, in regards to third-world debt, sponsored by the Jubilee USA Network. It was an hour-long protest, going from noon to 1 PM. I attended the second half-hour of it. I got pictures of some of the speakers, and then got a bunch of photos of the people marching, carrying signs. This was a small event, carried out on the corner of 15th Street and New York Avenue NW. As such, “marching” basically meant all the people in attendance marched in a circle right there at the corner. It was still a spirited event, with all kinds of slogans being shouted. For instance:

“What do we want? Drop the debt! When do we want it? Now!”
“Medication for every nation! Drop the debt now!”
“Secretary Snow! The debt has got to go!”
“Don’t drop the ball! Cancel it all!”

All in all, it was a fun event. I also exchanged Email addresses with one of the Jubilee USA organizers, with the intent of sharing my photos. Maybe some of my photos will end up on there. We shall see. It would have been nice if they’d done it on a sunny street corner, because in the shade, it causes me to have to do some serious retouching to get the color right.

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Categories: DC trips, Driving, WMATA, World Bank

With all the rain we’ve been having…

September 9, 2004, 2:06 AM

I’m going to Washington DC today, and it’s probably going to be a soggy day, based on the looks of things.

Doesn’t bother me. Means I’ll get to see a lot of Mode 2 operation (Mode 2 is manual with speed protection).

Mom was concerned about all the rain. So I cited that strange dream I had back in February (according to this journal, February 19, entitled “Your assignment: Figure out where this dream came from”). It’s the one where I went Metro kayaking. I still think that’s one darn strange dream, and if I recall, at the time the people on SubTalk thought it was off-the-wall, too. And in that dream, if I recall, paddling a Breda down the water was for the less-experienced while rafting with a Rohr was the more challenging.

What’s odd, though, is how much that matches the actual trains. According to a few train operators I’ve spoken with, the Rohrs have some really weird quirks that make them more challenging to operate. Bredas are much less quirky.

Ah, well.

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Categories: Television, Walmart, WMATA

“I don’t want to feel like a fish with no water!”

August 26, 2004, 8:04 AM

At work yesterday, we were actually discussing those public service ads that run on cable TV. Like the one where the fish tank slowly loses water talking about asthma, or the one where the guy walks into the store to buy a wallet and he gets a really tiny wallet for the really tiny money he’ll be making as a high school dropout.

And then there’s one ad that, among the people in our group, that kind of creeped us all out a little bit:

Nobody likes me. Nobody. Maybe it’s because I like to attack people. Men. Women. Kids. I can leave them as stammering, confused, scared imitations of their former selves. If they don’t stop me, I just might leave them that way for life. I am a stroke.

A little creepy, because he looks like a pretty rough character there, with the wrinkled face in the shadow. But still, it’s a very memorable way to get the message across. I think we’ll all understand the seriousness of a stroke now if we didn’t before.

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Categories: Greta, Television, WMATA

This is a bit of a messed-up day…

August 25, 2004, 9:43 AM

If you want to talk about a day without a purpose, this is it. See, I found out a couple of hours after work yesterday that the guy would be coming today to put the finish on the new stairs.

Now note that when I say “new”, I mean that only because in the process of replacing the flooring, the floor people took out the old wood on the stairs, which was intended for carpeting, and thus had a lot of knots in it. And then they put new wood down, which, for the last week or so, we’ve been using bare. Now it’s going to get the finish and the runner on it, which will also finish the entire flooring job.

So as a result of the work being done on the stairs, and my room and such being upstairs, I had to vacate for the day, with the guy showing up at 7:30. So I had to be all ready for work and such by then, even though I don’t have to actually be at work until 2:00. And so I’m kind of wandering around doing whatever until then. I’m actually at the Waynesboro Public Library right now, which I’d not been to in ages. Still, I also drove out to Weyers Cave today.

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“This train will now be off-loaded. All customers must exit the train at this time. This train is now OUT OF SERVICE.”

August 7, 2004, 12:48 AM

Yes, this phrase actually happened to me at Metro Center on Wednesday, on the Red Line platform in the direction of Shady Grove. That was delay number three of three delays I experienced on the Red Line. Let me tell you what happened…

First of all, after going out to Rockville to meet Oren of Oren’s Transit Page, I went out to Shady Grove to see the Shady Grove rail yard, the adjacent Ride-On bus yard, and get a rail-to-bus transfer to use on Ride-On a little later.

So after I got back to the train at Shady Grove and boarded, the train operator made this announcement:

“This is the Red Line to Glenmont by way of downtown Washington DC. Stand clear, doors will be closing.”

This was followed by the “doors closing” announcement and the chime. And we’re off! Or so we thought. Before we’ve even completely cleared the station, the train stops, and the train operator said that we are experiencing a delay and that we will be going back to Shady Grove and opening the doors again. So the train is put into reverse and we are back where we started. “Doors opening!”

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“If you wish to continue on to Shady Grove, the train following me will go to Shady Grove. Train is out of service. Train is out of service.” (Doors opening!)

August 4, 2004, 3:06 AM

And within the hour, I will be in my van, on my way to… (you’re going to be SO surprised on this one) Washington DC. And we’re exploring a little bit out on the Red Line today. What I plan on doing is going all the way out to Shady Grove, taking a Ride-On bus across to Glenmont, and then taking the Metro back down the Glenmont side of the Red Line. In other words, ride Metro’s “A Route” (Shady Grove side of the Red Line) in its entirety, bus across, and then ride Metro’s “B Route” (Glenmont side of the Red Line) in its entirety. The two routes, A and B, meet in the center of the Red Line platform at Metro Center.

And I’m excited about something else, too. I’m meeting my friend Oren for at least a few minutes, and he’s giving me one of Metro’s July 4 maps. These maps are special because unlike the regular WMATA map from 1996 that I have hanging up in my room, the July 4 maps show a special service that Metro runs. On the Fourth of July, Yellow and Blue switch their southern terminals sending Blue to Huntington and Yellow to Franconia-Springfield (interestingly, this is how it was to be normally if not for a temporary car shortage early on in Metro’s history). Additionally, there is no Blue Line service beyond Rosslyn in order to send more trains out to Vienna as Orange Line trains. As such, Orange Line serves trains going to both Addison Road and New Carrollton (normally, Addison Road is Blue). Blue Line trains drop their passengers on Rosslyn’s upper level and then wrong-rail back out of the station on their way back to Huntington, making Blue Line essentially a shuttle. Yellow Line still goes over the bridge to terminate at Mt. Vernon Square. Then Metro short-turns every other train on the Red and Green Lines, with every other train terminating at Fort Totten instead of Greenbelt on Green, and every other train terminating at Silver Spring instead of Glenmont on Red. Oh, by the way, in case you can’t mentally follow my verbal description of Metro’s system map (you mean there are people who DON’T have that map seared into their brains?), here’s a map of the system showing normal service.

And now… it’s off to the shower for me, so I can hit the road to Washington and roll into Vienna at 9:30 or so.

Categories: DC trips, Friends, WMATA

The deck construction continues!

July 23, 2004, 10:18 AM

I had forgotten what it was like being in a place where construction was occurring on the outside of the building. I think that the last time I lived around construction was from 2000-2002, when, while I was living in Potomac Hall, JMU built Phase II of the College Center (aka “The Festival”). Then there was the time in 1993 at Stuarts Draft Middle School when they built on eight new classrooms while school was in session (but doing all the tie-in work after school was out for the summer).

But now it’s at home, and there is a group working on our new screened-in porch, which has replaced the old deck. It has also incorporated the structure of the old deck, as the workers didn’t demolish the framework, but built new framework around it. Right now there’s no roof on there yet, nor any evidence that one will be there yet except for tall support columns holding nothing at this point.

It’s been a few days since I’ve taken photos due to my work schedule. I took photos on Monday and Tuesday, then haven’t taken any since then. Next I photograph will probably be on Saturday or Sunday. I’m going to show you the progress photos in a Life and Times photo set. That will be neat.

Otherwise, my Washington DC trip on Wednesday went really well! I have now officially railfanned the entire system at the railfan window, and also visited all 83 operating Metro stations. There are three stations currently under construction that will open at the end of this year, which I will be visiting soon after they open. Still, that’s quite an accomplishment, no? Riding into Branch Avenue station at the extreme southern end of the Green Line and saying, “I did it!”

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Wednesday’s DC trip report

July 10, 2004, 1:14 AM

I can’t believe it’s Friday night/Saturday morning, and I still haven’t told you about my Washington DC trip from last Wednesday (July 7).

First of all, the date is significant. You may recall that some three years ago, on July 7, 2001, I did my first full Washington DC Photo Essay (that’s what we called Photography back then – Photo Essays). That was the first one that was all Washington DC. We had Thanksgiving 2000 before it, but that also had a lot of Stuarts Draft in it. So what was this photo set? It was the massive photo set called “The Schumin Web Salutes America”. Remember that one? If you recall, I visited a bunch of sites in Washington DC that were strongly American. After all, we were following on the coattails of the Fourth of July, and it was fitting. I visited the Library of Congress (quick pass-by from the street), the Supreme Court (went to the front doors, but didn’t go in), the Capitol (partly circled the building, didn’t go in), the outdoor sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American History, the Washington Monument (inside was closed, but the grounds were open), the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the White House (just passed by and snapped a few photos).

But that’s about where the similarity ends. In 2001, July 7 was a Saturday. In 2004, it’s a Wednesday. In 2001, I walked the entire length of the National Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, which is essentially the length of the Blue Line from Capitol South to almost Arlington Cemetery. Seriously, if I’d gone further out, going beyond the Lincoln Memorial, I’d have ended up at Arlington Cemetery station, and then Arlington National Cemetery. In 2004, I was providing support for Mom while waiting for Bill Clinton to sign her copy of “My Life”, as well as railfanning the Blue and Orange Lines.

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Categories: DC trips, Weather, WMATA

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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