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This year, I want to slim back down to where I was in 2012…

February 19, 2015, 3:28 AM

While I was between jobs, I put on a bit of weight, most likely due to reduced activity due to my being out of work, and out of a routine.  My current job, where I operate a bus, is not exactly conducive to physical activity, considering that I sit strapped to a seat for nine hours a day.  Pushing pedals and turning steering wheels does not count as physical activity, though I was getting nighttime leg cramps from it for a while. I also was a bit lazy when it came to exercise once I finished training and got my own assignment.  I work late afternoon into the wee hours of the morning, and initially would tend to sleep in a bit.  The only exercise I got was just under two miles on Sundays, going to and from a street relief that was just a shade under a mile away from the bus garage.  I also now drive to work in my car, which means that I don’t get any activity related to my own commute.

However, now that the bus has finally become routine and I’m really starting to get the hang of things (and – heaven forbid – having fun at work), I can start getting serious about fitness again.  After all, one of my more recent splash photos shows me looking like this:

The October 2014 splash photo, taken on July 5, 2014

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“I am bold. I am brave. I am confident. I am supreme. I am courageous.”

January 9, 2015, 1:22 PM

When I was in training to be a bus operator, about half of the program involved going out with seasoned operators on their regular runs, and actually driving in revenue service, i.e. taking real passengers where they need to go (as opposed to driving an empty bus around with the “TRAINING” sign set).  During that time, I joined ten different operators on their runs, and learned a number of different bus routes.  It’s also where I came up with the idea that great bus operators don’t just happen, but rather, they are formed through the help of many, and lends credence to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

However, the one point that sticks with me most from this part of training is something that I learned on the first day with a seasoned operator.  This particular operator put a strong emphasis on positive thinking, and encouraged me to say the following affirmations to myself each morning:

I am BOLD.

I am BRAVE.

I am CONFIDENT.

I am SUPREME.

I am COURAGEOUS.

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Categories: Work

And this is why I should never be allowed to go to Micro Center unsupervised…

August 14, 2014, 1:27 AM

First of all, I apologize for my silence as of late.  I’ve been busy working on various things plus having some computer issues, and that’s caused me to neglect the website somewhat, save for changing the photo features and splash photos.

However, the good news is that I’ve received job offers from a few different area transit agencies (that I’m not naming) for the position of bus operator.  I should be starting training with one of them soon, once all of the various onboarding processes are completed.  From what I’ve seen, these are not quick processes, but they’re done correctly the first time, and I’m fine with that.  In deciding to become a bus driver, I realized over the course of the job hunt that my heart just wasn’t in it for more nonprofit work.  I also realized that I wanted a career, and not just another job, and I didn’t really have a passion for the issues that the organizations that I was applying to were about.  In looking at my interests, I came to realize that I had a real interest in starting a career in public transportation.  And a job as a bus driver is a foot in that door.  In pursuing that, I took a commercial driving course at Montgomery College over the winter, and I now hold a Class B commercial driver’s license with passenger and school endorsements, plus no air brake restrictions.  So life is good on that front.

I also had a big day on July 26, checking out the new Silver Line stations.  I received an invitation to ride the VIP train before revenue service began, and I brought my friend Matthew as my guest.  I’m going to do a full-on photo set for Life and Times for this day (along with a few other subjects in the photo set queue), so I’m not going to say much about it now, but we had fun.  I got to see a number of congressmen and other various elected officials, I got to talk to former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, and then Matthew and I rode the first revenue train from Wiehle Avenue to Largo.  Then after lunch, we toured the new stations on the way back from Largo.

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Ten years after I graduated college, I’m going back to school…

December 23, 2013, 4:08 PM

First of all, yes, it really has been ten years since I finished college.  I finished up at JMU a little more than ten years ago, and then they mailed me the diploma not long after that.  I can’t believe that it’s been that long.  Doesn’t feel like ten years have gone by, that’s for sure.

That said, a lot has happened lately.  I am now the proud holder of a commercial learner’s permit, which I got on Monday at the MVA in Gaithersburg.  That was a stressful time, but probably not in the way you might think.  I got in there, got my number, and then sat down, figuring that I might as well get comfortable.  I took this picture, and then posted it to Instagram:

Waiting on one of the benches at the MVA in Gaithersburg

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Categories: Driving, School, Work

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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New fire alarms at work… again…

August 24, 2012, 10:17 PM

So apparently the folks who run the building where I work are looking to improve the fire alarm system.  Recall that in 2009, the fire alarm notification appliances were replaced after an incident where someone pulled a fire alarm in our building due to smoke from a car fire in an alley behind the building, and those of us looking out the window at the fire couldn’t hear the alarm going off.  For that, we started with Wheelock 34 horns and Space Age AV32 light plates:

Wheelock 34 and Space Age AV32

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

The arrival of a new statue…

June 28, 2012, 10:18 PM

So apparently my office building is getting a new statue in the courtyard.  They closed off the 1600 block of P Street NW around 4:30 or so this afternoon to deliver it, no less.  The statue is of a firefighter and a dog, and is, as best as I can tell, the National Fire Dog Monument for the American Humane Association, which is headquartered in the other building of the office complex where I work.  This certainly caused a fun little interruption to the day just before it was time to go home.  And here it is:

The statue, on the truck.
The statue, on the truck.

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Categories: Work

I got to witness some of the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery…

April 17, 2012, 10:19 PM

So this morning, not long after I got to work, I went up to the roof deck at work to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery fly over Washington DC before landing at Dulles International Airport. Discovery is expected to replace Enterprise at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center.

This was definitely something new for me. Being in the mid-Atlantic region, I am well north of where the Space Shuttle normally would fly. I had never seen one of the spaceworthy orbiters in person, though I had seen Enterprise last year (Enterprise was only used for testing purposes and never flew in space). And I had never seen the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in person before, nor had I ever seen an orbiter with the tailcone on it in person.

I was joined on the roof by three of my coworkers: Katy, Patton, and Genna. Additionally, a whole bunch of folks from other organizations came up to the roof deck to see Discovery pass by. I ended up taking a few photos with my cell phone. This was the scene on the roof:

Notice Patton and Katy in the center, standing on the table. Genna is behind Patton.
Notice Patton and Katy in the center, standing on the table. Genna is behind Patton.

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Categories: Space, Work

How many boxes can I hold at once? This many!

February 8, 2012, 11:34 AM

So a coworker got an amusing photo of me. I picked up and moved a stack of half case boxes of paper today after unloading the contents, and managed to get them all at once. Take a look at this:

Holding five boxes over my head

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Categories: Amusing, Weight loss, Work

How many of you have secretly wanted to see this happen to me?

January 17, 2012, 10:14 PM

So a coworker got a new app for his iPhone today called Action Movie FX, and decided to use me as his test subject. So first my coworker dropped a boulder on me from above:

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Categories: Amusing, Work

An earthquake? In DC?

August 23, 2011, 3:42 PM

Yeah. It happened.

It’s funny how it happened, too. I was at the office, helping a coworker move offices, and I felt the floor start to shake. My first instinct was to look out the window, since you occasionally can feel vibrations when trucks are moving around in the loading dock area. But there was no truck. Then I realized that the whole building was shaking, and that it must be an earthquake, and so I ended up standing in the doorway of the office next to mine (where my coworker was moving), waiting for the shaking to stop. From that vantage point, I saw everyone else standing in their office doorways looking as perplexed as I was. The lights flickered once for half a second, but once everything stopped, that was it. No further shaking occurred, and there was no damage that I could see. I was half expecting the fire alarm system to start up, but it never did.

A number of my coworkers left the building for a little bit, just in case, but I stayed in, and, like a number of others, tried to figure out what was going on. The Twitter and Facebook certainly lit up with earthquake-related buzz. I cross-posted a message to both services:

Okay… that was interesting. An earthquake in DC. Is everyone all right?
August 23 1:55 PM

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Categories: Nature, Work

Greetings from Durham, New Hampshire!

July 14, 2011, 7:13 PM

First of all, greetings from Durham, New Hampshire, where I’m traveling on business.

Yesterday evening, I did a two-part Video Journal discussing some of the experiences on the trip up as well as my first day in Durham. Due to all the stuff I needed to take care of while up here, I didn’t get a chance to post it until tonight, but better late than never. So here it is:

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When the fire trucks show up in the middle of the evacuation, that should be your clue that it’s not a drill…

December 11, 2010, 7:29 PM

So I’m a little bit annoyed. Yesterday afternoon marks the second time I’ve missed a fire alarm at work on account of being out to lunch. Let’s admit it – building evacuations on account of a fire alarm of unknown cause are kind of exciting. First there’s the system aspect of it. The Wheelock NS horn/strobes and Wheelock RSS strobes in my office building come to life, and start making a Code-3 pattern and start flashing. That right there is always cool, since these devices are, for the vast majority of the time, silent fixtures on the wall, which I’m sure many forget about. But then there’s the other part of things, and that’s where a little suspense and excitement comes in. The building might actually be on fire! After all, if you don’t get out quickly, the fire might get you, and no one wants that.

And as mentioned, this is the second time in a row that the fire alarm has gone off this year that I’ve missed. And for anyone to miss it, it would be me. I’m just the person with the Wheelock 7002T on his desk, after all. Both times were during what we call “Schumy Lunch”, which is where a bunch of us go out on Fridays to have lunch. The first time was in August, and we were out at Logan Tavern, about two blocks away from the office. We saw a fire truck go by during lunch and didn’t think anything about it, until I got a text message during lunch. Turns out that hey, the fire alarm went off. Put two and two together, and aha – that fire truck was headed to our building! As I understand it, it was an accidental alarm caused by maintenance work. It happens, I suppose.

Then this one on Friday was caused by construction work. They’re renovating the small fitness center that’s in our building, and, well, they presumably tripped a smoke head. Oops. We got back from Schumy Lunch at Chipotle in Dupont Circle, found out coming in that we missed a fire alarm by about ten minutes, and found out what the source of the alarm was. My first reaction was being annoyed that I missed another one, and commenting that they need to stop accidentally setting off the alarm while I’m out of the building (and waiting to do it when I’m around). Then I suggested, in jest, “Can I just pull the alarm so we can do the evacuation with me?” They said no, and I was like, “Darn!” in that I-knew-that-was-going-to-be-the-answer kind of way.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

You know it’s something seriously Metro-geeky when I pull out the safety vest…

December 4, 2010, 12:23 AM

And it is. Take a look:

Wearing my WMATA vest

See, we did our annual office trivia contest on Friday, in the usual format. The way that works is that I ask a question, and the first person to get it right wins a prize, which comes from whatever freebie stuff we get over the course of the year. The topics are something I pick. In 2008, it was United States Presidents. In 2009, it was United States geography. In 2010, after complaints that I made the geography questions too easy, I went for something a little harder, yet something that people around here should know more about than they do: the Metro. Thus why I pulled out the safety vest. After all, if one is going to do a trivia contest about Metro, one should at least look the part. Thus I wore my WMATA safety vest at work when I hosted trivia.

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Categories: WMATA, Work

Power-walker extraordinaire…

November 10, 2010, 12:16 AM

Well, what a crappy day today was. It just seems like a lot of stuff went wrong today. It started out with a call from the mechanic, where the Sable is currently undergoing yet another expensive repair. This time it’s the fuel pump and related equipment that decided to conk out on me. Basically, it’s a rehash of the problem from last Christmas, when Mom and I almost got stranded in Roanoke, except this time the car didn’t get back up again, and was down for the count, and so I had to fix it. After all, I live in the suburbs, and where I live, you need wheels. The reason that was no good is because I got the final number. The shop called me while I was at the bus stop, telling me that they wanted $2,200 for the work. I told them I’d need to get back with them on that. They called me back again while I was on the Metro, talking it down to $1,900. No go again. Have to get back with them. I managed to somehow get them down to $1,295, and that’s what it’s going to take to get my car going again. I get my car back soon, though I’m thinking that the Sable’s days might soon be numbered, because the old adages of “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “Found On Road Dead” are ringing very true for me, and that starts to add up to real money.

What would be really cute, though, is if the Sable started honking on its own every time I mention the words “new car”, a la Gertrude from Today’s Special.

Then at work, I had to attend to an emergency that would of course rear its ugly little head at 4:59 PM. I didn’t get out of the office until way later than I would have liked. Taking the 51 home was out of the question, since even with the new and later last 51 of the night, I hadn’t even left the office when that pulled up to the bus stop at Glenmont. So I ended up taking Metro home at night, and got to Glenmont around 10:45. According to NextBus, there wouldn’t be another Y9 going north for an hour.

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