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Even if it does just pain you to get a water cup, you’re not supposed to overtly show it…

July 16, 2008, 8:37 PM

This week, I’m not at the office as I usually would be. I’m at American University all week at Plone Bootcamp along with two of my coworkers. It’s been very interesting, as I’ve been learning about Plone, an online content management system that’s somewhat similar to a few things I’m used to, but on a far deeper level than anything I’m used to. It’s interesting, and I’ll get the hang of it. And I’ve been taking the Lappy along for this, and so we’ve been bonding all week. I figured that rather than borrow one of the Mac laptops from work, for this week, I’ll just use my own personal laptop, a Dell Inspiron.

And then meanwhile, there’s the lunch hour. I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know various other people in the class. There’s an Einstein Bros. in one of the buildings near where we’re having the class, which is where I’ve been getting lunch. And obviously, they didn’t hire the woman with the mustache working behind the counter for her personality. She is not a pleasant person. Her style is almost confrontational in asking us what kind of sandwich we wanted. After all, who are we to be asking for a meal from her? Puts me slightly on the defensive as soon as she says it. And I don’t even get a custom-built sandwich. I get the Italian chicken sandwich, where the only question I get is whether to get lettuce and tomato on it, and then I get a fruit cup with it.

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Categories: Some people, Work

Let’s all say, “Go, team, go!”

June 25, 2008, 9:27 PM

I think that would be appropriate. Food & Water Watch, where I work, has a team for a summer volleyball tournament on the Mall. And on my way home, I ran into them on the Metro heading towards their first game. So here’s everyone on Breda 4058 this evening…

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Categories: WMATA, Work

“You are one cheap bastard.”

June 7, 2008, 3:16 PM

Yes, I will quote Zach, one of my coworkers at Food & Water Watch, when he said to me, “You are one cheap bastard.” I’ll take it as a compliment, since frugality is important when one is single and living on one’s own. I say it’s being frugal, but Zach, both parents, Sis, and a host of others, would be more inclined to quote the Car Talk guys and say, “Oh, you mean your cheapskatism?” This was after I explained how I’m loath to run the air conditioning unless I absolutely HAVE TO (like today, where it got up to 100 degrees).

Otherwise, though, Friday was fun. After work, a bunch of us went down to the Sala Thai restaurant just west of Dupont Circle for dinner in order to celebrate with Meg, one of our coworkers who recently took a position with Greenpeace. I had this wonderful vegetarian dish that had eggplant and mushroom in it among other vegetables in a spicy sauce, with rice on the side. Really tasty. Very hot, too. And we had such a wonderful time.

I have to say – I love my FWW coworkers. I could never go out socially with Wal-Mart people in a group like that.

And then after dinner, we headed into the land of Metro, and Marianne got a photo of everyone on the train:

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Categories: Work

What are you talking about? Coffee’s supposed to taste like sludge!

June 5, 2008, 10:50 PM

It’s funny… at work, the coffee drinkers have for the most part gone into two camps. There are the ones who would happily make it so strong that the spoon stands up, and those who like weak coffee.

I’m part of the “sludge” crowd. There is a dedicated group of us who gets to the Bunn-O-Matic in the morning and make strong coffee. Some people describe it as being like castor oil. I prefer the term “sludge”, myself. And if anyone asks why I like the coffee like sludge, I just smile. And not just a regular smile, either. It’s that kind of smile that’s so much so that it works muscles all down your neck and on your chest. The I’ve-had-too-much-caffeine smile. I love it.

Of course, I always cut myself off at noon. No more coffee past noon, which paves the way for a nap on Metro some evenings. Yesterday after work, I really must have been pooped – I fell asleep before Brookland-CUA, and next thing I knew, it was Glenmont. Usually, if I fall asleep on Metro, I briefly wake up around Fort Totten or Takoma, and then also around Forest Glen or Wheaton. Usually if it’s Wheaton, I end up staying awake to Glenmont, because I don’t see any point of nodding off again, being so close.

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It’s like when worlds collide!

May 9, 2008, 8:32 PM

This was definitely a fun day at the office today! I got to meet my predecessor at Food & Water Watch, a woman named Lis. She left so much information for me as far as how to do the job while I got the hang of things, and now I finally got to thank her. Additionally, Leah, a former Food & Water Watch coworker, was also in town, and so with these two visiting, we had a little office get-together after work. So fun. Knowing they were coming, I brought my “duckie” camera to work – the yellow rubber-covered Vivitar camera. And so here you are:

Leah, Lisa, and Lis

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Categories: Silver Spring, Work

iMac takes Metro?

February 10, 2008, 11:51 AM

This past week, I had two things that were worth a shot or two, and so I thought I’d share…

First of all, Katie and her mother went up to Leesburg in northern Virginia to see her brother and his family. And while she was up there, we also got together. The surprise of the evening was that prior to my arrival, her brother’s wife styled her hair. So here’s a photo of the one and only time she’ll be all curly, taken here at Chili’s, where we had dinner:

Katie with curls

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Categories: Katie, WMATA, Work

I should have gotten “Technology Czar” put on my new business cards…

January 10, 2008, 7:40 PM

Yes, if it’s in the office and it plugs in, takes batteries, or has a screen, it falls under my domain. One of the fun things about my job is that when we get some new electronic toy, I get to be the first one to play with it and figure out how it works. Case in point: We got this new direct fax system, where everyone now has their own fax number. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to fax something than I’ve been with this. Usually, I hate to fax stuff. The conventional fax machine is a pain in the butt, you see. You put your number in, feed the document, and then maybe it will work if the moon is in the proper alignment with Betelgeuse, Pollux, and Deneb. So yeah, I got the new system running today, in my newfound role as “Phone Czar”, and I faxed. I think I sent about six faxes. And they all showed up one after the other as a PDF in my inbox. How nice! No longer do we have to wait for the fax machine to slowly spew out what we want. Now, it just dings into the Email. Yay!

Meanwhile, it’s been eight months to the day since I moved up here, and I’m embarrassed to say that my car still has Virginia plates. That’s a bit of a work in progress. I have a Maryland driver’s license, and I’m registered to vote in Montgomery County, but legally, the car is still from Stuarts Draft. I’m getting a Maryland inspection done on it this weekend, so things will hopefully be going on that front soon. I just can’t get over how long it’s been since I moved, and that I still don’t have Maryland license plates. Well, at least I’m getting more time than I expected out of my Virginia registration. My Virginia plates’ month is April, and I figured, that’s 35 bucks down the drain, as I was expiring and, at the time I went in to renew, I knew I was moving up to the DC area, but not exactly where yet, but probably on the Maryland side (it’s a tad pricier in northern Virginia). And with that move happening within a month’s time, I was convinced bad timing had cost me 35 bucks for about a month’s worth of use. That’s what, $1.16 a day for a month’s worth of useful registration. After all, the 35 bucks is less than the ticket I’d get if I’d adopted a wait-and-see attitude about it and went around with an expired tag waiting to figure out where I would be living. However, it’s taken me ages to do anything with the whole car thing (I’ve been busy, yo!), so I’ve stretched that registration out to nine months. Still, yeah, time to get that done…

Categories: Mercury Sable, Work

One starts to question one’s own sanity…

January 6, 2008, 12:40 PM

One starts to question one’s own sanity when one spends a Saturday night… in the office. One of these days, I am going to realize that spending time in the Resources and Conservation Center in DC on a day that starts with “S” is an inherently BAD IDEA. I originally came in to drop off some stuff that I’d purchased for the office. This was stuff that I wasn’t about to take on the Metro, so I drove down and brought it in that way. But then since I had to wait on a process to complete anyway once I was in there, I turned on my office Mac (bad idea) and started doing other work, and then it was two hours later and I realized I still hadn’t gone to Pentagon City, which was Objective Number Two on this trip. The idea was to drop the stuff off, then go to Pentagon City to buy a neck warmer.

At Pentagon City, I bought a neck warmer by The North Face. The intention is for it to replace my gray scarf, which isn’t quite working out for me, as it’s too floppy and prone to twisting up at inconvenient times, letting all kinds of coldness in. We’ll see how the neck warmer works out on Monday, when I’m waiting for the bus once it gets cold again. It’s going to be warm around here this week, being in the 50s and such. And this is January

Now here is where I start to realize there’s a problem: I go back to the office after Pentagon City. I took time to set some stuff up in my own individual office, and do a lot of stuff all around the place that I’d been meaning to do. And I put all the stuff away that I bought. Oh, dear…

I didn’t get out until almost 1 AM, but at least I got a lot done. I was productive! And then arriving back home, I came back to discover that the pilot light had gone out on my heater, and so I had to place an emergency maintenance call to get that re-lit at two in the morning. But at least I got to watch the pilot light get relit.

Categories: Shopping, Work

This marks the third day in a row that I’ve been watered…

December 6, 2007, 5:46 PM

Today marks the third day in a row that I’ve gotten watered over the course of the day at work. Tuesday, I was getting ready to pour a glass of juice for myself. I usually always shake well before opening, and this time, the top was not on, unbeknownst to me at the time. So I shook well as I usually do… and the juice went all over the front of me. Greeeeeeeeeat. Then yesterday, I was cleaning out one of those big coffee pots that get used at meetings, and managed to shoot myself with water out of a spot in the pump. At least it was clean water and not coffee that I got shot with. Then number three was today. I’m demonstrating a feature on the water cooler, grab a nearby pitcher that had an inch of water in the bottom of it, and it’s watering #3 as I grabbed it a little too fast and got water all over my leg.

Thankfully, I dry out pretty quickly, though. Still, if I had this much trouble with water, I’d hate to say “I don’t know” (ha ha).

Categories: Work

Have you ever seen an iMac with the skin off?

November 30, 2007, 9:21 PM

Well, you soon will. I had the opportunity to do a memory upgrade on a first-generation iMac G5 today at work, and so I got to open one of those puppies up. So this is what the iMac looks like with the skin off:

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Categories: Computer, Work

I call this my “heartburn” look…

November 18, 2007, 12:27 AM

I’ve got two photos to show you that I found somewhat amusing. This first one was taken late on Friday at work, and is of Zack, a coworker of mine, and me, posing for a photo in my office:

Ben and Zack after work

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Categories: Amusing, Work

I’m going to Philly…

November 2, 2007, 9:16 PM

This Sunday, I’m going to Philadelphia, and I’m staying until Wednesday. I’m taking a course which explores the function of a Macintosh in great depth. For those of you familiar, it’s MacOS 101, which is titled “Mac OS X Support Essentials v10.4”. In short, I’m going to be able to troubleshoot a Mac like the pros, so that when a Mac hiccups, I should know how to cure those hiccups, or at least tell you why it’s hiccuping.

Then I’m also going to have two computers in tow. Since I’m going to be doing some of my regular work while I’m out on this little business trip, I’m going to have “Jeff”, one of our office Macs, with me. Then I’m also going to have Lappy, my personal laptop, with me for taking care of the Web site and such while I’m out.

And the drive is almost all Interstate, too, starting at the Beltway in Silver Spring, and going almost all the way to my hotel in suburban Philadelphia. Specifically, it’s mostly I-95, which should be interesting. Last time I rode that stretch of I-95 was to go up to New Jersey in January 2003 for a funeral. So we’ll see.

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Categories: Philadelphia, Work

No better way to say “happy halloween”…

October 29, 2007, 8:21 PM

This is what greeted me as I took my usual walk along P Street to work this morning…

Pumpkins on P Street NW

Pumpkins! Aren’t they just darling? I like the one on the right because the face is just slightly off-kilter by design, and then the face on the one of the left isn’t exactly creepy, but it is the perfect complement to the ├╝ber-happy one on the right.

Meanwhile, this year for halloween, I’m going as an office worker. My costume will consist of dress pants, dark shoes, and a collared shirt. No hat, and glasses on. Accessories to go with this costume include an iMac G5 and my red Swingline stapler. In other words, I’m not dressing up. Then when I get home, I’m changing into those pajama pants that only cost $7.00 at the JCPenney Outlet and making the next day’s lunch.

Still, it was so fun to see those pumpkins this morning…

Categories: Halloween, Work

“You’re not going to become one of those self-righteous Mac people, are you?”

October 25, 2007, 7:23 PM

You know you’re still a computer geek at heart when you get all excited when you see a shiny new operating system and get to install it. I remember back in the old days when I used to get excited over a new version of MS-DOS. I remember when we installed MS-DOS 5. That was exciting. Microsoft had completely revamped the DOS Shell for that version. Fun stuff. Then I remember Windows 95. That was exciting, too, exploring this new Windows with all this new stuff on board. Start menu – what’s that?

This time, though, we’re doing the operating system upgrade to “Tangerine Dreams” – my office Mac. So this will be exciting. I’ve never upgraded a Mac before. So this will be new and uncharted territory. After all, I’ve upgraded DOS and Windows numerous times, but never Mac OS. My understanding is that it’s fairly straightforward, but we’ll see.

This also marks the first time I’ve upgraded an operating system on the day it was released. I got Windows XP on the day after it was released, but never day-of. And this upgrade basically fits in my job description, too, as I’m also the day-to-day IT guy for the office, and so learning the newest operating system is important.

Meanwhile, with the whole excited-about-Leopard thing, in a phone call with Sis, she asked if I was becoming one of those self-righteous Mac people. I was like, no, because unlike a lot of those self-righteous Mac people who had been with Macs since the days of classic Mac OS, I’ve only been a serious Mac user since Mac OS X Tiger. However, I will be the first to say that my next computer will probably be a Mac, since Macs are awesome, and Windows Vista… kinda sucks. I think if I could put Mac OS on my Dell, I’d be a very happy person.

So, yeah, I’m excited.

Categories: Computer, Work

Bells, bells, bells!

October 14, 2007, 12:23 AM

I got to experience something new on Friday – a fire alarm at work. It was around 11:30 AM, and I’m working on some odds and ends in my office, and I hear a bell start ringing. So I look up. I see flashing lights. We all know what that means. Something set off the fire alarm in our building.

Now as the fire marshal for our floor, I have special duties when the fire alarm goes off. I put on an orange safety vest and hard hat, and do a sweep of the floor to ensure that everyone has cleared. Once that was done, I headed out, and joined my coworkers at our designated meeting place. The fire trucks quickly came and went, and it turned out that the alarm was caused by burned food.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work