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Now, about that boot…

9 minute read

December 23, 2015, 5:12 PM

You may recall that this past September’s splash photo showed me posing with a broken merry-go-round at Pentagon City Mall, i.e. this:

At Pentagon City Mall, sporting a boot cast.

Note the choice of footwear.  I’m wearing a Crocs shoe on one foot… and a massive boot cast on the other.  It was posted without any explanation other than a mention of its presence, but clearly, something was up, because I don’t normally wear a boot around like that.

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Categories: Elyse, Personal health, Work

Spotted a zebra finch today…

6 minute read

November 7, 2015, 11:42 PM

So I was on my layover right before starting my last trip of the night, when a bird flew into the bus shelter, and ran right into the glass sides.  The bird apparently didn’t hit very hard, because it never even appeared to act dazed.  It was like the Chumbawamba song “Tubthumping“, in that it got knocked down and then got up again.  And here it is:

A zebra finch, standing in the bus shelter

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Categories: Childhood, Work

While hunting for a photo…

4 minute read

August 29, 2015, 9:29 PM

Yesterday, I was hunting through my archives to find a photo to show a friend.  My photo archives are arranged by subject and by date.  If I took a bunch of photos in a single day, then all of those photos typically go into a folder marked with the general subject of the photos and the date.  One-off photos usually get dated, marked with their subject, and get put in a folder with all of the one-off shots for the month.  The photo that I was looking for depicted a bus sign after the normal text for that route had changed.  So I knew what it was, and knew what the photo looked like.  I also knew that the photo was a one-off, since I took the photo at Glenmont on the way home from work.  However, I didn’t remember exactly when I took it.  I had an approximate range for when I took it, but didn’t quite know.  So that meant that I needed to hunt.

First of all, I was successful in finding the photo.  Here it is, dated September 24, 2012:

Route Y5, destination MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

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“I feel important, just like a king…”

4 minute read

May 30, 2015, 12:49 PM

So today is my birthday.  I am officially 34 years old.  I rang my birthday in doing one of the things that I always enjoy doing, i.e. driving the bus, and watching out for Virginia drivers (yes, Virginia drivers are, by far, the worst drivers in this area as far as I’m concerned).  Then I took my birthday as a floating holiday, so I don’t have to work my birthday (yaaaaaay!).

But at the beginning of my workday on Friday, my friend Elyse met me at the location on the street where I pick up my first bus, and gave me a birthday card.  Check it out:

  

And of course, I immediately made sport of the grammatical error in the handwritten message.  But no worries – I did it with a smile, so it’s all in good fun.  Then down at the bottom is an Edwards Integrity fire alarm horn/strobe, like they have at work.

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Okay, folks, story time…

8 minute read

March 25, 2015, 2:03 PM

After hearing far too many people on Reddit spew out the “fact” that you can’t get unemployment insurance if you quit your job, I think it’s time to share a story about one instance why that “fact” is not the case.  It is not, in fact, a hard and fast rule that, if you leave your job on your own, you don’t qualify for unemployment insurance, and it doesn’t make a difference if you head it off by quitting or let your boss fire you.  I should know, because it happened to me.

You may recall that in July 2013, I posted a Journal entry about my last day at Food & Water Watch.  For those of you solely know me through the website, that post probably came as a surprise to you.  Save for a note on a photo feature, I didn’t give any hints prior to that entry that I was leaving Food & Water Watch, and I also never gave a reason in the entry about why I left.  All you knew is that I had left, with no reason given regarding why.  And that made enough sense, because I didn’t want to go into detail while I had an ongoing job search underway in the same field.  Now I feel as though I’m in a place to share, especially now that I’ve changed fields, going from nonprofit operations management to public transportation.

In 2011, I had started to change a bit as a person.  I grew up.  My interests began to shift.  I had also noticed that my own interests and those of the organization had started to diverge.  The organization had also begun to change, with the introduction of anti-fracking work into its fold, beginning its morph from a consumer group into an environmental group.

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Categories: Reddit, Work

Growing out the beard…

6 minute read

February 25, 2015, 2:44 AM

This past Sunday, I really came to realize that I have, as TV Tropes would say, started “growing the beard” when it comes to driving a bus.  It’s about getting past all of the newness and figuring out how it all really works, and starting to, you know, become proficient at what you’re doing.  When it comes to jobs, if a person is a good fit with the organization, they grow out their beard within the first few months after whatever training period ends.  If the beard doesn’t grow, then it’s possible that they’re not a good fit, and that often ends with a parting of ways.

Me, I’ve grown my (figurative) beard out quite nicely.  I have a run of my own, meaning that my assignment does not change much from week to week.  I do the same thing every weekday, and I do the same Saturday and Sunday schedules every week.  When the transit agency that I work for cut me loose to work my own assignment for the first time, I was a bit overwhelmed.  I was at a different bus garage than the one that I had trained at after having been unexpectedly reassigned at the end of training (about half the class was also moved from where they had trained), and I had never done a street relief in the middle of a route before.

For those not familiar, a street relief is how some bus routes work.  The buses are out on the street all day, and the operators just cycle on and off of them.  One guy takes a bus out of the garage, and then at a designated location, he hands the bus off to another operator.  That next guy takes the bus for however long, and then gives the bus to someone else.  That keeps going until the last guy gets the bus, and he brings it back to the garage.

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Categories: Transit, Work

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

4 minute read

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.”

4 minute read

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…

5 minute read

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…

3 minute read

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…

7 minute read

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…

7 minute read

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…

2 minute read

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…

4 minute read

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!

< 1 minute read

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