I am ready to be snowed in…

3 minute read

February 5, 2010, 12:22 AM

I am ready to be snowed in this weekend. The Sable is safely parked, and the cabinets are full. I am set. My castle is stocked up. Bring it on, nature.

Otherwise, today I discovered that adults can be just as bad as children when it comes to getting revved up about a potential snow day. All I heard today was, “Do you think we’re going to get tomorrow off?” I was all, noooooooo, since I think that the Feds have already decided on their course of action. They’re operating under an unscheduled leave policy for Friday, which for us basically means show up. Now whether they close early once the snow starts coming down is another story.

Meanwhile, speaking of snow days, when I was in school, I always just wanted to strangle those teachers that acted like it was our fault for missing school due to bad winter weather when we grumbled about having to go to school on Memorial Day for make-up days. These teachers that would say, “You had your Memorial Day back in January!” Big help. Like it’s my fault that it snowed. I remember my seventh grade year was hell for that kind of thing. We had something like 16 snow days that year. Thus we had no days off of any kind except for weekends from the last snow day in March through to like June 16 plus one Saturday (yes, we had one make-up day on a Saturday). And when you couple that with the fact that my homeroom teacher was a real d—–bag, it made for a very rough year. This particular teacher even made fun of me (in a mean way) in front of the whole class when he presented me my perfect attendance certificate at the end of the year. I had better attendance than he did that year, and he made fun of me

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Categories: Snowmageddon, Walmart, WMATA

And it’s snowing again.

3 minute read

February 2, 2010, 9:37 PM

Yep… it’s snowing again. And of course, I’m still hitting the workahol, staying tonight until 7:30. When I stay late, I drive, and when I drove through, the roads got progressively worse the further north I went. P Street NW in DC was fine. Then 16th Street NW in DC was also fine. Crossing into Maryland, 16th Street was good. Then Georgia Avenue inside the beltway was all right, but once I cleared Wheaton, I started having to guess about where the lanes were. I really had to slow down in the last two miles home, once I cleared Glenmont station. Then my street was white except for tire tracks. But I made it, and I am once again in my nice, warm apartment.

Meanwhile, they’re calling for a good bit of frozen precipitation this weekend. Capital Weather Gang gives a 20% chance of more than eight inches. However, the reality is that they don’t know. They gave a 25% chance of less than an inch, a 25% chance of 1-4 inches, a 30% chance of 4-8 inches, and then the aforementioned 20% chance of more than eight. But instead of saying “I don’t know”, professional weather forecasters just guess. After all, giving something like that looks a lot smarter than “dunno”.

Otherwise, I’ve been meaning to show an old family photo for about a month now. Take a look:

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Let me tell you, I had a really good time on Saturday…

5 minute read

January 31, 2010, 9:35 PM

I had a really good time on Saturday. I went to the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, aka “Plungapalooza”, and while it was really, really, really cold and snowing, I had a blast.

The event was held at Sandy Point State Park, near Annapolis. The idea is simple: put on a swimsuit, and run into a body of ice-cold water in the middle of winter. The proceeds from the event went to support Special Olympics, and of course, all involved had a great time.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t jump in. Nuh-uh. Too cold. And when you consider all the cold-weather gear I was wearing, I was determined to stay toasty warm, too. And for the most part, I did.

Getting there involved taking the Beltway to Route 50, and then a short distance on local roads to the parking area. Parking involved leaving the car at a satellite location and then taking a shuttle bus to the site. I parked at the Naval Academy Stadium, and took a bus from there. That was like jumping into a time-warp. The bus appeared to be of more recent mint than I would have ridden, but the interior was light green, and the seats were dark green. I thought they got rid of that when they started using the brown interiors in the late 80s. I guess I was wrong. Ugly green on uglier green is obviously alive and well in the 2010s.

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Snow in Dupont Circle…

2 minute read

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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“You broke the bowling alley!”

4 minute read

December 20, 2009, 5:22 PM

Meanwhile, before the snow, I had a fun Friday night out on the town. The town of College Park, that is. I got together with JB, Anyman, and Burnt Toast from Anonymous, and we went out for bowling and dinner. We had a blast.

We went to College Park Lanes for bowling, where we rolled three games of duckpins. Of the three games, Burnt Toast won the first two, and Anyman won the last one (by one pin over Toast). JB hovered between second and third place, and then I came in last on all three games.

The strangest moment was when I accidentally broke the pinsetter. I wasn’t quite paying attention, and rolled the ball thinking that the pinsetter was finished. Turns out it was almost finished, but not quite. As a result, the ball hit the pins while they were still in the pinsetter. Oops. See, unlike in regular ten-pin bowling, a gate does not come down across the entire lane when the pinsetter is in action. So my ball hit the pins, and knocked a few of them out slightly left of the center. Yeah, if they hadn’t been in the pinsetter, that would have been a great shot. So the pinsetter sat for a minute or so, and then rose up with the pins it still had. Then after another minute or so, it unceremoniously spewed out the pins that it had been holding. Seriously, it just dropped them all to the floor, like as if it was carrying a bunch of stuff and accidentally dropped it all. We tried to get the lane to reset the pins from the controls we had, but it wouldn’t respond. That led to the comment, “You broke the bowling alley!”

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Categories: Friends, Snowpocalypse

It’s like playing “find the buried treasure”…

3 minute read

December 20, 2009, 3:02 PM

Remember how I said I wasn’t going to clear my car until at least Monday? Well, I lied. First of all, I was bored, and it was something to do. Secondly, I started to think about things a bit. If I have work tomorrow, this will be about the only opportunity I’ll have to clear the car out in daylight, because this time of year, it’s dark by the time I get home. Plus if there’s any melt-and-refreeze action, it might make the snow harder to clear later.

So I went out to the parking lot of my apartment complex with a broom, and kind of dug out my car. Note the use of the term “kind of”. I cleared most of the snow off the upper half of my car. The lower half is still firmly embedded in the snow, and I don’t have the tools necessary to clear that out. But at least you can see the windows, and know that yes, there is actually a car under there (though mine wasn’t buried as deeply as others’ were).

But at least the car has lost its hat, and you can distinguish enough features to tell that it’s my car. The windows are clear, and the foot or so of snow on the roof is gone. So here’s the result of my handiwork:

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Categories: Snowpocalypse

Sun’s out!

2 minute read

December 20, 2009, 10:28 AM

The sun is out, and it’s looking like it’s an absolutely beautiful day. That, of course, means it’s time to dig out. And people have been doing just that, getting the snow off their cars and such. My car, meanwhile, still wears its hat:

The Sable, still covered by more than a foot of snow

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Categories: Snowpocalypse

As the snow stops, here’s what we’ve got…

3 minute read

December 20, 2009, 6:44 AM

Well, it looks like the snowfall is over. The snow has stopped, and the folks at Capital Weather Gang say that clouds will decrease during the day. Meanwhile, we’re pretty much buried in the white stuff, and here’s the proof:

My car has a foot or so of snow on top of it. That snow is expected to stay on there until at least some time tomorrow, because there's no way in hell I'm going anywhere today.
My car has a foot or so of snow on top of it. That snow is expected to stay on there until at least some time tomorrow, because there’s no way in hell I’m going anywhere today.

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So needless to say, I’m not going anywhere today…

2 minute read

December 19, 2009, 4:13 PM

Yeah, take a look at this:

The Sable, covered with snow

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Categories: Snowpocalypse

This is going to be a lot of snow…

3 minute read

December 19, 2009, 2:43 AM

The second snowfall of the year is officially underway, as of around 9 PM Friday night. And here it is:

The snow comes down outside my apartment in the early morning of December 19, 2009.

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Categories: Snowpocalypse

So it looks like the season’s getting off to a very good start…

< 1 minute read

December 5, 2009, 1:28 PM

While winter doesn’t technically begin until the 21st, this is possibly a good sign of things to come:

The first snowfall of the season

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Categories: Winter weather

So, yeah, it was nasty this morning…

3 minute read

March 2, 2009, 9:54 PM

I think the one time that taking public transportation to work truly sucks is when it’s snowing outside, and you have to wait outside for the bus out in all of that. And let me tell you something… it was really coming down. The federal government had a late opening today (two hours late), and I think that definitely worked to my advantage, since it gave everyone a chance to dig out and give the buses a better chance to get where they’re going, and for the sidewalks to get cleared so as to lessen the chance of my falling on snow and ice.

And because of my later start time, I wasn’t able to take the 51 to work, since the last 51 of the morning goes past my house at 8:40. So I went down to Georgia Avenue and caught the Y5. And as you can see, it was nasty out there when the bus arrived:

The Y5 arrives along Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County

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Categories: Winter weather, WMATA

So the weatherman was right – it snowed today.

2 minute read

January 27, 2009, 7:37 PM

Yes, nothing like waiting for the bus in the snow. But at least I had my coat, my hat, and my iPod, where the headphones I use are large enough to cover my ears and therefore keep them warm. And what a wonderful sight this was:

The 51 arrives, in the snow.

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Categories: Ride On, Winter weather, WMATA

And the forecast calls for snow!

2 minute read

January 26, 2009, 11:29 PM

You know, when I was younger, the word “snow” meant the potential for an unscheduled play-day, since in Augusta County, Virginia, you could dump an ice cube tray out on the road and they would cancel school. As an adult, there is no such thing as a snow day, and so snow is a colossal pain in the behind. I remember last winter going back to the Metro after work, and slipping and sliding on the sidewalk on P Street. Not the most enjoyable thing in the world.

For that matter, really cold days are a bother, too. Today, I had a very cold commute to work. It was well below freezing, and that would have to be the day I got a 5000-Series on the way in to work. 5000s are a bit of a novelty for me since they are uncommon on the Red Line, but they’re well known for being the coldest cars in the fleet, and from what I understand, Metro isn’t going to fix the problem (cold CAFs are fine in the summer, but not in the winter). I got to Glenmont, and boarded CAF 5120 to ride to work. I sat down, and the seat was cold. It wasn’t just the air that was cold, but the seat cushion itself was cold. Not a good way to start the day. Good thing I have a nice, warm winter coat and that dashing hat of mine.

And then of course the walk down P Street to my office building was cold, too. But at least things warmed up from there, as the building was nice and toasty.

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I hate freezing rain…

2 minute read

February 12, 2008, 11:06 PM

Freezing rain is perhaps my least favorite kind of winter weather. Snow and sleet I don’t mind so much, because they at least make the landscape look all pretty for a while. But freezing rain is no fun. Looks like regular old rain, but gives everything a glossy, deadly sheen when it freezes.

And thus my evening commute. I step out of the building, go down the front steps to the sidewalk, walk off the area where the building management treated the ice, and whooooop! Slip and slide. Repeat several times, going from areas where no ice formed, to dry areas, to icy areas. And it’s somewhat difficult to see, so it’s a surprise when you hit it. I nearly did the splits at one point, when I stepped on ice with my right foot, while the left remained on a non-icy surface. And so that right foot went sliding forward, until I eventually caught myself. I never actually fell between my office and Dupont Circle, but there were quite a few close calls.

Then once in the (relative) safe haven of the Metro (at least the stations I regularly use are underground, so no ice), the train operator was careful to remind everyone that the platforms might be icy between New York Avenue and Silver Spring. “Red Line, watch your step!” Then the area where I catch my bus wasn’t bad, as there was no ice there (it was just freakin’ cold!). But then on my street, where the bus lets me off, let me tell you something… you thought Dupont Circle was bad, this was worse. The sidewalks on my street were completely iced over, and so in order to get any traction, I had to walk on the (also icy) grass. But at least I made it. They also hadn’t yet de-iced the sidewalk in front of my apartment building, so that was an interesting walk.

Now tomorrow, I’m going to be ready, since I’m going to be a little more prepared for what I’m up against. Of course, this also hinges on the bus actually being on time. Ride-On doesn’t necessarily always make it on time in bad winter weather, but they’re usually pretty good about it. But at least I have Ride-On, which keeps to its schedule, compared to the Y5, Y7, Y8, and Y9 on Metrobus, which wouldn’t know a schedule if it bit them in the behind.

Categories: Winter weather