Life and Times

Life and Times from 2019

Life and Times from 2018

Life and Times from 2017

Life and Times from 2016

Life and Times from 2015

Life and Times from 2014

Life and Times from 2013

Life and Times from 2012

Life and Times from 2011

Life and Times from 2010

Life and Times from 2009

Life and Times from 2008

Life and Times from 2007

Life and Times from 2006

Life and Times from 2005

Life and Times from 2004

Life and Times from 2003

Life and Times from 2002

Life and Times from 2000

Everything Else

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

If there’s one thing to say about 2015, it was that I had a busy year.  Between work as a bus operator and a well-scheduled social calendar outside of work, I didn’t get to take as much time to do the website as I would have liked.  The only exception to that was when I was out with a broken foot, and got a number of content backlogs caught up while I was on that unscheduled six-week sabbatical.  However, I only produced thirty Journal entries in 2015, which is much lower compared to previous years.  And much of that was because with being busy and what have you, and the more time-sensitive nature of many Journal posts, I just never talked about a lot of stuff.

So here it is: everything else from 2015 that didn’t, for whatever reason, come up earlier.


I spotted this on January 2 in a bus shelter near Georgetown University. Apparently, there is a lot for Georgetown students to be thankful for!

I spotted this on January 2 in a bus shelter near Georgetown University.  Apparently, there is a lot for Georgetown students to be thankful for!


From January 4, a question for the group: does the fact that this is a chicken holding a plate containing a chicken drumstick make this chicken a cannibal?

From January 4, a question for the group: does the fact that this is a chicken holding a plate containing a chicken drumstick make this chicken a cannibal?


Do you ever have things that just bother you when it comes to cleanliness? Someone else is supposed to take care of it, but they don't. In this case, the Simplex notification appliances at the Macy's store in Wheaton reached that threshold, to the point where I actually wrote the company to bring the dirty alarms to their attention. They said that they would take care of it, but they never did. I finally took matters into my own hands with one horn on January 13, and found out exactly how much dust had accumulated. The left photo is the "before" photo, and the right photo shows the amount of dust that I wiped off of it.  Do you ever have things that just bother you when it comes to cleanliness? Someone else is supposed to take care of it, but they don't. In this case, the Simplex notification appliances at the Macy's store in Wheaton reached that threshold, to the point where I actually wrote the company to bring the dirty alarms to their attention. They said that they would take care of it, but they never did. I finally took matters into my own hands with one horn on January 13, and found out exactly how much dust had accumulated. The left photo is the "before" photo, and the right photo shows the amount of dust that I wiped off of it.

Do you ever have things that just bother you when it comes to cleanliness?  Someone else is supposed to take care of it, but they don’t.  In this case, the Simplex notification appliances at the Macy’s store in Wheaton reached that threshold, to the point where I actually wrote the company to bring the dirty alarms to their attention.  They said that they would take care of it, but they never did.  I finally took matters into my own hands with one horn on January 13, and found out exactly how much dust had accumulated.  The left photo is the “before” photo, and the right photo shows the amount of dust that I wiped off of it.


On January 14, I was out with my friend Doreen, and we hit up Dave and Buster's at Arundel Mills. Dave and Buster's is open much later than the rest of the mall, but you can still exit through the mall after the mall closes. There's something serene about walking through a shopping mall after closing. Very peaceful, observing a facility that is quite busy during the day, but that has now gone to sleep for the night.

On January 14, I was out with my friend Doreen, and we hit up Dave and Buster’s at Arundel Mills.  Dave and Buster’s is open much later than the rest of the mall, but you can still exit through the mall after the mall closes.  There’s something serene about walking through a shopping mall after closing.  Very peaceful, observing a facility that is quite busy during the day, but that has now gone to sleep for the night.

On January 14, I was out with my friend Doreen, and we hit up Dave and Buster's at Arundel Mills. Dave and Buster's is open much later than the rest of the mall, but you can still exit through the mall after the mall closes. There's something serene about walking through a shopping mall after closing. Very peaceful, observing a facility that is quite busy during the day, but that has now gone to sleep for the night.


Among other things that I carry with me when I go to work, I always carry a bag of nuts with me. When you work as a bus operator, depending on traffic, you might not always get time for a proper meal. Thus the nuts - something to eat at the end of the line when I don't get time for an actual meal. At the time that I took this photo on February 1, I captioned it, "A quart size bag of bus driver chow."

Among other things that I carry with me when I go to work, I always carry a bag of nuts with me.  When you work as a bus operator, depending on traffic, you might not always get time for a proper meal.  Thus the nuts – something to eat at the end of the line when I don’t get time for an actual meal.  At the time that I took this photo on February 1, I captioned it, “A quart size bag of bus driver chow.”


Remember the "WE GET IT" sign that was in the splash photo from March? The whole idea was to point out how ridiculous that "Let's see how far this 'private' photo travels!" meme was. The original, pictured here, was quite a bit wordier than the one that ultimately made it to the top of the site.

Remember the “WE GET IT” sign that was in the splash photo from March?  The whole idea was to point out how ridiculous that “Let’s see how far this ‘private’ photo travels!” meme was.  The original, pictured here, was quite a bit wordier than the one that ultimately made it to the top of the site.

Remember the "WE GET IT" sign that was in the splash photo from March? The whole idea was to point out how ridiculous that "Let's see how far this 'private' photo travels!" meme was. The original, pictured here, was quite a bit wordier than the one that ultimately made it to the top of the site.


I spotted this on the side of 14th Street NW on February 28. "Sleep tight" is written on the mattress in spray paint. Kind of creepy, no?

I spotted this on the side of 14th Street NW on February 28.  “Sleep tight” is written on the mattress in spray paint.  Kind of creepy, no?


On March 3, my friend Elyse and I went to Baltimore. Elyse had managed to acquire a Metro uniform on eBay (seriously!) just before this, and she had it on for this particular outing. She looked ready to drive, don't you think?

On March 3, my friend Elyse and I went to Baltimore.  Elyse had managed to acquire a Metro uniform on eBay (seriously!) just before this, and she had it on for this particular outing.  She looked ready to drive, don’t you think?


While in Baltimore, we went to a military surplus store, and checked out some of the stuff there. Never know what you'll find at a store like this. We found a hatchet, and here I am posing with it with something like a menacing grin. Reminded me of my brother-in-law Chris, who said, "I feel braver when I'm holding a weapon!" while playing the Cowardly Lion back in 2011.

While in Baltimore, we went to a military surplus store, and checked out some of the stuff there.  Never know what you’ll find at a store like this.  We found a hatchet, and here I am posing with it with something like a menacing grin.  Reminded me of my brother-in-law Chris, who said, “I feel braver when I’m holding a weapon!” while playing the Cowardly Lion back in 2011.


Elyse and I eventually made our way to Mondawmin Mall, and eventually found our way to the T-Mobile store. There, I seized an opportunity to troll someone. There's a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is that if you sign onto Facebook on a demo phone, sign out before you walk away. Ferebee Laverne was destined to learn this the hard way, when I left a little note on her wall, under her name. I think I made my point.  Elyse and I eventually made our way to Mondawmin Mall, and eventually found our way to the T-Mobile store. There, I seized an opportunity to troll someone. There's a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is that if you sign onto Facebook on a demo phone, sign out before you walk away. Ferebee Laverne was destined to learn this the hard way, when I left a little note on her wall, under her name. I think I made my point.

Elyse and I eventually made our way to Mondawmin Mall, and eventually found our way to the T-Mobile store.  There, I seized an opportunity to troll someone.  There’s a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is that if you sign onto Facebook on a demo phone, sign out before you walk away.  Ferebee Laverne was destined to learn this the hard way, when I left a little note on her wall, under her name.  I think I made my point.


Now this was a surprise: while taking the Light Rail back to Cromwell station, our train lost power, probably due to ice on the overhead wires that powered our train. We got offloaded at Centre Street, and so, with the light rail out of commission, we walked down the street towards Lexington Market station, looking to determine alternative transportation towards our destination. Thankfully, between getting offloaded and figuring out alternative transportation, they got the power restored to the train, and so we were picked up by the train that we had previously been offloaded from at Lexington Market station.  Now this was a surprise: while taking the Light Rail back to Cromwell station, our train lost power, probably due to ice on the overhead wires that powered our train. We got offloaded at Centre Street, and so, with the light rail out of commission, we walked down the street towards Lexington Market station, looking to determine alternative transportation towards our destination. Thankfully, between getting offloaded and figuring out alternative transportation, they got the power restored to the train, and so we were picked up by the train that we had previously been offloaded from at Lexington Market station.

Now this was a surprise: while taking the Light Rail back to Cromwell station, our train lost power, probably due to ice on the overhead wires that powered our train.  We got offloaded at Centre Street, and so, with the light rail out of commission, we walked down the street towards Lexington Market station, looking to determine alternative transportation towards our destination.  Thankfully, between getting offloaded and figuring out alternative transportation, they got the power restored to the train, and so we were picked up by the train that we had previously been offloaded from at Lexington Market station.


On March 10, Elyse, Melissa, and I got together. This was the first time that Melissa and Elyse had met, and everyone quickly hit it off. First thing that we did was mess around at the Target in Ellicott City for a while, since we had to get a few things.

On March 10, Elyse, Melissa, and I got together.  This was the first time that Melissa and Elyse had met, and everyone quickly hit it off.  First thing that we did was mess around at the Target in Ellicott City for a while, since we had to get a few things.

On March 10, Elyse, Melissa, and I got together. This was the first time that Melissa and Elyse had met, and everyone quickly hit it off. First thing that we did was mess around at the Target in Ellicott City for a while, since we had to get a few things.  On March 10, Elyse, Melissa, and I got together. This was the first time that Melissa and Elyse had met, and everyone quickly hit it off. First thing that we did was mess around at the Target in Ellicott City for a while, since we had to get a few things.


We later went bowling at a duckpin facility south of Baltimore.

We later went bowling at a duckpin facility south of Baltimore.


The best photo of the night came from an Elyse blooper. I had just gotten up to bowl, and Elyse sat down in the seat that I had just vacated. Referring to the warmth of the seat, Elyse said, "You have a hot butt!" Melissa and I both looked at her like, oh, really, and then Elyse realized exactly what she said. Friends don't let friends get away with stuff like that without a good-natured ribbing.

The best photo of the night came from an Elyse blooper.  I had just gotten up to bowl, and Elyse sat down in the seat that I had just vacated.  Referring to the warmth of the seat, Elyse said, “You have a hot butt!”  Melissa and I both looked at her like, oh, really, and then Elyse realized exactly what she said.  Friends don’t let friends get away with stuff like that without a good-natured ribbing.


I found this note on a bus shelter near Georgetown University on March 12. Some of the Ten Commandments on a sticky note.

I found this note on a bus shelter near Georgetown University on March 12.  Some of the Ten Commandments on a sticky note.


This note by one of the training instructors at the bus facility where I worked described my progress on the bus after three months of driving by myself. "Bomb diggity!!"

This note by one of the training instructors at the bus facility where I worked described my progress on the bus after three months of driving by myself.  “Bomb diggity!!”


On March 24, Melissa, Suzie, Suzie's friend Shanila, and I went to Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring for Suzie's birthday. We had a good time, enjoying each other's company.

On March 24, Melissa, Suzie, Suzie’s friend Shanila, and I went to Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring for Suzie’s birthday.  We had a good time, enjoying each other’s company.

On March 24, Melissa, Suzie, Suzie's friend Shanila, and I went to Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring for Suzie's birthday. We had a good time, enjoying each other's company.  On March 24, Melissa, Suzie, Suzie's friend Shanila, and I went to Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring for Suzie's birthday. We had a good time, enjoying each other's company.


Piratz Tavern, however, was a shell of its former self on this visit.  Much of what made Piratz fun, including the pirate-themed decor and the staff dressed in pirate costumes, was gone.  The one employee on duty was wearing a Piratz Tavern t-shirt.  The bar would close a few weeks later.  I always liked Piratz Tavern, so it was sad to see it looking this way.  I can’t help but think that Bar Rescue did a large disservice to Piratz by switching the theme from pirate to, literally, corporate, as Jon Taffer and crew rethemed the place as “Corporate Bar and Grill”.  The owner of the bar, as indicated on the show, didn’t want to change the theme.  I’m pretty sure that the “Corporate Bar and Grill” theme was designed to be a giant middle finger to the pirate bar that came before it, and it was no surprise that they immediately went back to the pirate theme after the show.  Seriously, it was a no-brainer.  I worked in an office at the time that the show aired, and I, for one, wouldn’t want to go to an office-themed bar after spending all day in an office.  Opening for lunch made good business sense, but the corporate theme was awful.  I wonder if Bar Rescue would have gotten a better result if they had worked to refine the pirate theme rather than throw it out completely.  Taffer had shown in other episodes that he could make good themes, but this wasn’t one of them, and it almost seemed to be designed to insult.  “Buccaneers Bar and Grill” is the name that I thought of that would have incorporated the main thrust of Taffer’s improvement plan, i.e. capture the lunch crowd and let the public know that there is food, while also refining the pirate concept.  Of course, it’s all academic now, since Piratz Tavern has gone out of business.

This visit to Piratz was also notable as it was the last time I had any kind of alcoholic beverage in 2015 (and as of this writing, into 2016).  Since I turned 30, adult beverages would give me a headache within an hour of consuming them – even one drink.  I finally determined that drinking just wasn’t worth the headache anymore.  It wasn’t something specific to the Piratz outing that did it, but rather, it was a realization later that I hadn’t had any sort of adult beverage in severaI months, and I didn’t miss it, or the attendant headaches.  I was never much of a drinker in the first place, so… no big loss there.


The day after Piratz, I had an appointment with my doctor. First thing I thought when I saw this skeleton was, "I'm a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle..." and then it needs to have the other arm positioned for a spout.

The day after Piratz, I had an appointment with my doctor.  First thing I thought when I saw this skeleton was, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout.  Here is my handle…” and then it needs to have the other arm positioned for a spout.


This was the last step in the process before I gave up coffee. I finally retired the Melitta coffee maker that I'd had since college, and got a new Mr. Coffee machine. I used it once, on April 8, and the coffee still made me feel bad, though not in a puke-your-guts-out kind of way that had happened within the previous week. That officially marked the end of my coffee-drinking days, and I got rid of this machine soon after.

This was the last step in the process before I gave up coffee.  I finally retired the Melitta coffee maker that I’d had since college, and got a new Mr. Coffee machine.  I used it once, on April 8, and the coffee still made me feel bad, though not in a puke-your-guts-out kind of way that had happened within the previous week.  That officially marked the end of my coffee-drinking days, and I got rid of this machine soon after.


I had to replace my umbrella on April 14 after I lost my old one, and I was surprised to see this label on the new one. I always figured that it was a given that you shouldn't open the umbrella with the business end pointed towards you, but I guess not everyone knows that...

I had to replace my umbrella on April 14 after I lost my old one, and I was surprised to see this label on the new one.  I always figured that it was a given that you shouldn’t open the umbrella with the business end pointed towards you, but I guess not everyone knows that…


This is a sign on the door to the drink cooler at the Sheetz in Charles Town, West Virginia, that I spotted on April 15. I don't understand why people who work in places with public-facing areas will put up signage like this that reflects poorly on the business, in a part of the facility that is open to the public, vs. an area open only to staff. As a customer, I don't need to know that the store has no control over what its vendors do, and I also don't need to know that the store management thinks that the products that it sells are crap. Someone should have thought again before posting this sign.

This is a sign on the door to the drink cooler at the Sheetz in Charles Town, West Virginia, that I spotted on April 15.  I don’t understand why people who work in places with public-facing areas will put up signage like this that reflects poorly on the business, in a part of the facility that is open to the public, vs. an area open only to staff.  As a customer, I don’t need to know that the store has no control over what its vendors do, and I also don’t need to know that the store management thinks that the products that it sells are crap.  Someone should have thought again before posting this sign.


I spotted this on Georgia Avenue on the evening of April 16. This is a bike-mounted laser that projects two lines onto the sidewalk, delineating a keep-out zone on either side of the bicycle.

I spotted this on Georgia Avenue on the evening of April 16.  This is a bike-mounted laser that projects two lines onto the sidewalk, delineating a keep-out zone on either side of the bicycle.


On April 21, I was hanging out with Elyse again, and we, among other things, went to Walgreens in Ellicott City. I'm pretty sure that this pose was supposed to be in imitation of Lone Star or Helmet from Spaceballs. The line was, "You have the ring, and I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!"

On April 21, I was hanging out with Elyse again, and we, among other things, went to Walgreens in Ellicott City.  I’m pretty sure that this pose was supposed to be in imitation of Lone Star or Helmet from Spaceballs.  The line was, “You have the ring, and I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!”


Later on the same day, we got a photo of this camping ice cream at Walmart. It always amuses me to see this in the camping department in stores, because when we all were kids, it was sold as "astronaut ice cream" in every museum gift shop, for a pretty big markup, I'm sure. While I have no doubt that the dehydrated foodstuffs were originally developed for the space program, I laugh to see the same "space food" marketed as something that you would take with you when you go out in the woods.

Later on the same day, we got a photo of this camping ice cream at Walmart.  It always amuses me to see this in the camping department in stores, because when we all were kids, it was sold as “astronaut ice cream” in every museum gift shop, for a pretty big markup, I’m sure.  While I have no doubt that the dehydrated foodstuffs were originally developed for the space program, I laugh to see the same “space food” marketed as something that you would take with you when you go out in the woods.


This sign, photographed May 2, on the 1400 block of Aspen Street NW in DC, consists of two different legends printed over each other: the intersection sign over top of the family version of pedestrian crossing. Regarding this juxtaposition, I commented at the time that this must mean that we can run people over at this intersection.

This sign, photographed May 2, on the 1400 block of Aspen Street NW in DC, consists of two different legends printed over each other: the intersection sign over top of the family version of pedestrian crossing.  Regarding this juxtaposition, I commented at the time that this must mean that we can run people over at this intersection.


On May 19, I spotted this sign in the men's restroom at the library in Wheaton. Apparently paper towels in the urinals were a problem. And apparently, the idea of making a small investment in some urinal screens to stop the unwanted items from going into the plumbing eluded someone.

On May 19, I spotted this sign in the men’s restroom at the library in Wheaton.  Apparently paper towels in the urinals were a problem.  And apparently, the idea of making a small investment in some urinal screens to stop the unwanted items from going into the plumbing eluded someone.


On May 20, I stopped at the 7-Eleven in Aspen Hill and spotted the Redbox movie rental kiosk open and being serviced. I suppose I never gave much thought to what the inside of a Redbox looked like prior to this, but this is what it looks like.  On May 20, I stopped at the 7-Eleven in Aspen Hill and spotted the Redbox movie rental kiosk open and being serviced. I suppose I never gave much thought to what the inside of a Redbox looked like prior to this, but this is what it looks like.

On May 20, I stopped at the 7-Eleven in Aspen Hill and spotted the Redbox movie rental kiosk open and being serviced.  I suppose I never gave much thought to what the inside of a Redbox looked like prior to this, but this is what it looks like.

On May 20, I stopped at the 7-Eleven in Aspen Hill and spotted the Redbox movie rental kiosk open and being serviced. I suppose I never gave much thought to what the inside of a Redbox looked like prior to this, but this is what it looks like.


I spotted these "BABY ON BOARD" signs at the Big Lots store in Lutherville. I find these signs to be obnoxious. The intent of these signs is to warn drivers to be a little more careful around their vehicle because of the presence of a small child inside. There's another variant that says "BABY ON BOARD - KEEP DISTANCE".

I spotted these “BABY ON BOARD” signs at the Big Lots store in Lutherville.  I find these signs to be obnoxious.  The intent of these signs is to warn drivers to be a little more careful around their vehicle because of the presence of a small child inside.  There’s another variant that says “BABY ON BOARD – KEEP DISTANCE”.


The problem that I have with these signs is that they’re turning something that is their own problem, i.e. ensuring safe transport of one’s small child, into everyone’s problem.  And at the same time, they’re also making themselves out as a victim.  I’ve seen enough bad drivers with “BABY ON BOARD” signs in their windows to make me think that they put the signs up as a way of taking complete carte blanche to drive as badly or as recklessly as they want, but since they have that stupid sign on their window, it’s okay, because other drivers should yield to them because they have a kid in the car.  Bottom line is that it if you actually care for your child, drive safely and defensively, therefore ensuring safe transport without requiring everyone else’s compliance.  I discussed this in the Journal regarding school bus stops in May 2015.

The same “BABY ON BOARD” victim-complex mindset is also the one that produces signs like this (spotted on Reddit around Halloween) that demand that everyone else change because of one person.  If, as in this case, your child can’t eat most candy because of a food allergy, that’s fine – but it is your responsibility as that child’s parent to make sure that you have suitable candy that won’t kill them at the ready, or distribute suitable candy to the neighbors ahead of time for them to give to your child.  Telling the neighbors what type of candy that they should and should not buy with their own money is completely over the top.

Bottom line is that whatever your situation is, it is your responsibility to handle it, and you should not attempt to offload that responsibility onto the public at large, because it is not everyone else’s responsibility to look out for you.


On May 26, this was the end of an era. My old television, which I got in 2003 as a freecycled item when moving out of the dorm in college, finally hit the dumpster. It was already pretty old when I got it, and I got another 12 years out of it. It certainly would have lasted much longer, but it was time to upgrade to high definition, since there was a lot that I wanted to do with my television that I just couldn't do with the older models.

On May 26, this was the end of an era.  My old television, which I got in 2003 as a freecycled item when moving out of the dorm in college, finally hit the dumpster.  It was already pretty old when I got it, and I got another 12 years out of it.  It certainly would have lasted much longer, but it was time to upgrade to high definition, since there was a lot that I wanted to do with my television that I just couldn’t do with the older models.


Later that day, at a Giant Food store in Gaithersburg, I demonstrated to an employee that I could parallel park anything. I can parallel park a car, a bus, and now I can add an electric shopping cart that has no mirrors to that list. Look at that fine parking job.

Later that day, at a Giant Food store in Gaithersburg, I demonstrated to an employee that I could parallel park anything.  I can parallel park a car, a bus, and now I can add an electric shopping cart that has no mirrors to that list.  Look at that fine parking job.


In 2015, Elyse developed an interest in bus 2137 after we spotted it on the street doing the 70 just before the Washington Auto Show. Here, on May 29, at Fort Totten, Elyse meets the subject of her fascination.

In 2015, Elyse developed an interest in bus 2137 after we spotted it on the street doing the 70 just before the Washington Auto Show.  Here, on May 29, at Fort Totten, Elyse meets the subject of her fascination.


On June 2, my friend Matthew came over, and we did some troubleshooting on his tablet. This was a relatively inexpensive no-brand Android device in a clamshell form factor. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to make the tablet work again. Considering the cost of the device and the cost of taking it out for a repair, we determined that the problem was terminal. I warned Matthew of this, and so he was mentally prepared for this possibility. At the end of it all, I came up with a solution: I went into a drawer in my kitchen, picked up a hammer, and placed it in his hand. He didn't want to do it himself, so I did the honors, smashing the tablet and ensuring that it was done for. When he asked me if everything was destroyed, I gave the tablet one final blow with the hammer, and then said, "Yes." I did a real bang-up job on that tablet, didn't I?

On June 2, my friend Matthew came over, and we did some troubleshooting on his tablet.  This was a relatively inexpensive no-brand Android device in a clamshell form factor.  Despite our best efforts, we were unable to make the tablet work again.  Considering the cost of the device and the cost of taking it out for a repair, we determined that the problem was terminal.  I warned Matthew of this, and so he was mentally prepared for this possibility.  At the end of it all, I came up with a solution: I went into a drawer in my kitchen, picked up a hammer, and placed it in his hand.  He didn’t want to do it himself, so I did the honors, smashing the tablet and ensuring that it was done for.  When he asked me if everything was destroyed, I gave the tablet one final blow with the hammer, and then said, “Yes.”  I did a real bang-up job on that tablet, didn’t I?


On a transit bus, much to the surprise of many who don't work in the industry, the turn signals are on the floor, operated with the left foot. This shoe, which I retired in June, shows a distinct wear pattern from signaling many, many turns.

On a transit bus, much to the surprise of many who don’t work in the industry, the turn signals are on the floor, operated with the left foot.  This shoe, which I retired in June, shows a distinct wear pattern from signaling many, many turns.


I took this photo - a selfie - on the way home from a dental appointment in DC at the beginning of July. I don't quite know what I was going for with this expression, but clearly, I was not impressed with something.

I took this photo – a selfie – on the way home from a dental appointment in DC at the beginning of July.  I don’t quite know what I was going for with this expression, but clearly, I was not impressed with something.


This pamphlet lives in a rack in the exam room at my doctor's office. I see this smile, and I keep thinking that this is not the face of someone who is suffering from constipation. Way too happy.

This pamphlet lives in a rack in the exam room at my doctor’s office.  I see this smile, and I keep thinking that this is not the face of someone who is suffering from constipation.  Way too happy.


On July 8, Elyse and I hit up Columbia Mall. While we were there, we found a random pair of glasses sitting on a bench on the upper level. We knew that Elyse needed glasses, and so I got her to try them on to see how the frames looked. I told her not to smile, since I said that those were "hipster glasses", and apparently, I thought that hipsters never smile.

On July 8, Elyse and I hit up Columbia Mall.  While we were there, we found a random pair of glasses sitting on a bench on the upper level.  We knew that Elyse needed glasses, and so I got her to try them on to see how the frames looked.  I told her not to smile, since I said that those were “hipster glasses”, and apparently, I thought that hipsters never smile.


I spotted a "hoverboard" for the first time on July 14 in Glen Burnie. I think that if I ever tried one of these, I'd break more than just my foot.

I spotted a “hoverboard” for the first time on July 14 in Glen Burnie.  I think that if I ever tried one of these, I’d break more than just my foot.


Also, by the way – is it just me, or does anyone else think that the name “Glen Burnie” sounds like the nickname for a town properly titled “Glen Burnell” or something?  The name’s actual origin, according to Wikipedia, is “Glennsburne”.


July 15, the new carpet went in, which was the culmination of a project to enhance the common areas of the building where I live. They painted the brick walls, they put carpet in, and they installed an access control system (good for keeping the salespeople away). This was the final result of the paint and carpet job. The trim, doors, and the stairs and railings were not painted. I'm used to it now, but for a while, it certainly didn't feel like home until I got in my apartment (since nothing changed in there).  July 15, the new carpet went in, which was the culmination of a project to enhance the common areas of the building where I live. They painted the brick walls, they put carpet in, and they installed an access control system (good for keeping the salespeople away). This was the final result of the paint and carpet job. The trim, doors, and the stairs and railings were not painted. I'm used to it now, but for a while, it certainly didn't feel like home until I got in my apartment (since nothing changed in there).

July 15, the new carpet went in, which was the culmination of a project to enhance the common areas of the building where I live.  They painted the brick walls, they put carpet in, and they installed an access control system (good for keeping the salespeople away).  This was the final result of the paint and carpet job.  The trim, doors, and the stairs and railings were not painted.  I’m used to it now, but for a while, it certainly didn’t feel like home until I got in my apartment (since nothing changed in there).

July 15, the new carpet went in, which was the culmination of a project to enhance the common areas of the building where I live. They painted the brick walls, they put carpet in, and they installed an access control system (good for keeping the salespeople away). This was the final result of the paint and carpet job. The trim, doors, and the stairs and railings were not painted. I'm used to it now, but for a while, it certainly didn't feel like home until I got in my apartment (since nothing changed in there).  July 15, the new carpet went in, which was the culmination of a project to enhance the common areas of the building where I live. They painted the brick walls, they put carpet in, and they installed an access control system (good for keeping the salespeople away). This was the final result of the paint and carpet job. The trim, doors, and the stairs and railings were not painted. I'm used to it now, but for a while, it certainly didn't feel like home until I got in my apartment (since nothing changed in there).


I ordered this Power Rangers shirt on Amazon, and it arrived on July 17. File this one under "Worst Nerdy T-Shirt Ever", and not in a funny and/or ironic way, either.  I ordered this Power Rangers shirt on Amazon, and it arrived on July 17. File this one under "Worst Nerdy T-Shirt Ever", and not in a funny and/or ironic way, either.

I ordered this Power Rangers shirt on Amazon, and it arrived on July 17.  File this one under “Worst Nerdy T-Shirt Ever”, and not in a funny and/or ironic way, either.


I couldn’t believe that the product came back looking like this.  I described it as such in my Amazon review:

“The description for this product on the website indicated that the design was only printed on the front.  I reasonably assumed that this was a blue shirt with the design screenprinted on the front of the shirt, much like other Power Rangers shirts that I had bought in the past.  This is not what you get.  The front of the shirt is printed with a lighter version of what is shown in the image description.  The back of the shirt, however, is literally plain white.  This is not a blue shirt with a design on it.  This is a white shirt with the entire front printed with a primarily blue design.  This makes the shirt more akin to paper dolls than real clothing, and I won’t wear it.”

I think that about covers it, no?


I spotted this at the Giant store in Olney on July 21. The ingredient list for Rebel Green vegetable wash amused me because of what it says. After purified water, the second ingredient in the list is, "natural cleaning surfactant (plant derived)". Rather vague, no? This product, while pandering to the "all-natural" crowd, doesn't indicate what its main active ingredient is. What plants? What is the name of this chemical? So thanks for nothing. However, even though it doesn't list what the main active ingredient is, I guarantee that the people who associate with a certain nonprofit that I used to would eat that right up because it's "plant-based", has that "all-natural" look, and name-drops all of the current dietary fads.

I spotted this at the Giant store in Olney on July 21.  The ingredient list for Rebel Green vegetable wash amused me because of what it says.  After purified water, the second ingredient in the list is, “natural cleaning surfactant (plant derived)”.  Rather vague, no?  This product, while pandering to the “all-natural” crowd, doesn’t indicate what its main active ingredient is.  What plants?  What is the name of this chemical?  So thanks for nothing.  However, even though it doesn’t list what the main active ingredient is, I guarantee that the people who associate with a certain nonprofit that I used to would eat that right up because it’s “plant-based”, has that “all-natural” look, and name-drops all of the current dietary fads.


The whole idea of undisclosed ingredients like on the vegetable wash kind of reminds me of what Waffle House says about the nutritional content of their items: “While Waffle House does not currently publish nutritional information, we want you to know that most of the food we serve in the restaurants is the same food you buy for your family at your local grocery store.”  Whenever I see that, I can’t help but think about how condescending that statement is, and how much of a “f— you” that is to anyone who wants to know the extent of the caloric hit that they will take when eating at Waffle House.  It is fine if you use the same kinds of products that we find at the grocery store, but in what quantities do you use them for my meal?  After all, it’s not going to be very healthy if I use the whole tub of margarine to make a few recipes.  Sure, they’ll taste like something, but they won’t be very healthy.


Spotted on July 22 near Arundel Mills. This license plate frame says "GOD IS IN CONTROL" and "LET GO AND LET GOD". I have said before that people with religious stuff on their car are some of the worst drivers, and this one was no exception. When it comes to the "Jesus, take the wheel" mindset, I have to remind people that cars had not been invented in Jesus' day, and therefore Jesus never learned how to drive a car. Thus he cannot help you drive to your destination. You must do so yourself without divine intervention, real or imagined.

Spotted on July 22 near Arundel Mills.  This license plate frame says “GOD IS IN CONTROL” and “LET GO AND LET GOD”.  I have said before that people with religious stuff on their car are some of the worst drivers, and this one was no exception.  When it comes to the “Jesus, take the wheel” mindset, I have to remind people that cars had not been invented in Jesus’ day, and therefore Jesus never learned how to drive a car.  Thus he cannot help you drive to your destination.  You must do so yourself without divine intervention, real or imagined.


At the beginning of July, my apartment complex started offering reserved parking for an additional fee. Since I don't work standard 9-5 hours anymore and also drive to work, parking could be a little dicey when I get home. Therefore, I made sure to get a reserved spot for myself right away, directly in front of the door to my building. On the afternoon of July 24, I discovered that one of my downstairs neighbors had parked in my spot when I came home during my swing break at work. They got zero sympathy from me. I pay for that space, and so if you park in my space, I have your car towed. I didn't ask them to move their car first, either - I just called the tow company, and that was that.  At the beginning of July, my apartment complex started offering reserved parking for an additional fee. Since I don't work standard 9-5 hours anymore and also drive to work, parking could be a little dicey when I get home. Therefore, I made sure to get a reserved spot for myself right away, directly in front of the door to my building. On the afternoon of July 24, I discovered that one of my downstairs neighbors had parked in my spot when I came home during my swing break at work. They got zero sympathy from me. I pay for that space, and so if you park in my space, I have your car towed. I didn't ask them to move their car first, either - I just called the tow company, and that was that.

At the beginning of July, my apartment complex started offering reserved parking for an additional fee.  Since I don’t work standard 9-5 hours anymore and also drive to work, parking could be a little dicey when I get home.  Therefore, I made sure to get a reserved spot for myself right away, directly in front of the door to my building.  On the afternoon of July 24, I discovered that one of my downstairs neighbors had parked in my spot when I came home during my swing break at work.  They got zero sympathy from me.  I pay for that space, and so if you park in my space, I have your car towed.  I didn’t ask them to move their car first, either – I just called the tow company, and that was that.


I spotted this shirt at College Park station on August 3. I thought it was pretty awesome, mixing Power Rangers and Super Mario. A little research revealed that this shirt was designed for the July 2015 1Up Box shipment, and therefore is not sold in stores.

I spotted this shirt at College Park station on August 3.  I thought it was pretty awesome, mixing Power Rangers and Super Mario.  A little research revealed that this shirt was designed for the July 2015 1Up Box shipment, and therefore is not sold in stores.


On August 4, while Elyse and I were on our way down to Virginia see Matthew and then go trainspotting, we noticed some work going on at the former KFC by Glenmont Metro station. This restaurant closed in May 2011 after a Ride On bus made contact with the front of the building. On this particular day, they were finally demolishing the building. The property, owned by Metro since 1982, is now vacant, pending further discussion on the area's redevelopment.

On August 4, while Elyse and I were on our way down to Virginia see Matthew and then go trainspotting, we noticed some work going on at the former KFC by Glenmont Metro station.  This restaurant closed in May 2011 after a Ride On bus made contact with the front of the building.  On this particular day, they were finally demolishing the building.  The property, owned by Metro since 1982, is now vacant, pending further discussion on the area’s redevelopment.

On August 4, while Elyse and I were on our way down to Virginia see Matthew and then go trainspotting, we noticed some work going on at the former KFC by Glenmont Metro station. This restaurant closed in May 2011 after a Ride On bus made contact with the front of the building. On this particular day, they were finally demolishing the building. The property, owned by Metro since 1982, is now vacant, pending further discussion on the area's redevelopment.


We did our trainspotting at Point of Rocks. My photos were mostly kind of "eh", but I did get two decent ones, both of MARC trains.

We did our trainspotting at Point of Rocks.  My photos were mostly kind of “eh”, but I did get two decent ones, both of MARC trains.

We did our trainspotting at Point of Rocks. My photos were mostly kind of "eh", but I did get two decent ones, both of MARC trains.


Interestingly enough, my memory of August 4, where Elyse and I went bowling with Matthew and then trainspotting at Point of Rocks, is mostly colored by events that occurred after it, i.e. this was my last outing prior to breaking my foot, even though none of us would have ever imagined that I would break my foot two days later.


After I broke my foot, I was stuck in the house for a while, because movement with the splint that the emergency room set me up with was extremely difficult. I broke my foot on a Thursday, and by Saturday, I had a major case of cabin fever. My mother, who came to town to take care of me post-injury, initially offered to take care of the shopping for me so that I didn't have to deal with the stairs. I was like, "I have got to get out of the house." So I went, and we used the electric carts at the stores that we visited. This photo was taken at Whole Foods in Rockville. It's too bad that I couldn't run some of the people in the store over, because people can be really rude to someone using the electric cart.

After I broke my foot, I was stuck in the house for a while, because movement with the splint that the emergency room set me up with was extremely difficult.  I broke my foot on a Thursday, and by Saturday, I had a major case of cabin fever.  My mother, who came to town to take care of me post-injury, initially offered to take care of the shopping for me so that I didn’t have to deal with the stairs.  I was like, “I have got to get out of the house.”  So I went, and we used the electric carts at the stores that we visited.  This photo was taken at Whole Foods in Rockville.  It’s too bad that I couldn’t run some of the people in the store over, because people can be really rude to someone using the electric cart.


On August 13, Mom went home, and so I was on my own for the first time since I broke my foot. So I took a boot selfie on the couch (of course!).

On August 13, Mom went home, and so I was on my own for the first time since I broke my foot.  So I took a boot selfie on the couch (of course!).


Boot selfies from August 18. The left photo is while I was waiting for the bus in front of the Safeway in Wheaton, and then the right photo is while I'm taking the Y2 back home on bus 6022.  Boot selfies from August 18. The left photo is while I was waiting for the bus in front of the Safeway in Wheaton, and then the right photo is while I'm taking the Y2 back home on bus 6022.

Boot selfies from August 18.  The left photo is while I was waiting for the bus in front of the Safeway in Wheaton, and then the right photo is while I’m taking the Y2 back home on bus 6022.


August 21 was Elyse's birthday, and we did some railfanning on that day. Among other things, we went down to Franconia-Springfield and photographed a VRE train, and we also rode a 7000-Series train.

August 21 was Elyse’s birthday, and we did some railfanning on that day.  Among other things, we went down to Franconia-Springfield and photographed a VRE train, and we also rode a 7000-Series train.

August 21 was Elyse's birthday, and we did some railfanning on that day. Among other things, we went down to Franconia-Springfield and photographed a VRE train, and we also rode a 7000-Series train.

7000-Series train at Franconia-Springfield.

7000-Series train at Franconia-Springfield.

7000-Series train at King Street.

Elyse photographs a 7000-Series train at King Street.


The 7000-Series train departs King Street.


This was at the Hilton next to King Street station. The male pictogram is standard, but the female pictogram isn't. With her hands on her hips like that, it looks like she's angry about something, doesn't it? The question really is, what did that neutral-looking man do to make her so angry? (And yes, gentlemen, we're very often the guilty party...)

This was at the Hilton next to King Street station.  The male pictogram is standard, but the female pictogram isn’t.  With her hands on her hips like that, it looks like she’s angry about something, doesn’t it?  The question really is, what did that neutral-looking man do to make her so angry?  (And yes, gentlemen, we’re very often the guilty party…)


On August 24, Mom was back in town, and we went to El Golfo, a Latin-American restaurant in Takoma Park, where we had dinner and where I sang in a Blinkie's Karaoke show. I have no idea what song I was singing here, but from the looks of it, I was clearly having fun.

On August 24, Mom was back in town, and we went to El Golfo, a Latin-American restaurant in Takoma Park, where we had dinner and where I sang in a Blinkie’s Karaoke show.  I have no idea what song I was singing here, but from the looks of it, I was clearly having fun.


On August 27, the Soul reached a milestone: 50,000 miles.

On August 27, the Soul reached a milestone: 50,000 miles.


Later that day, I got to experience what it's like to ride RTA, which is the transit agency that serves Howard County and Anne Arundel County, and also links up with WMATA's and MTA Maryland's bus networks. Elyse rides RTA a lot to get around the area where she lives. This photo was at the end of my RTA ride, showing Elyse and Carmela, one of the drivers that Elyse regularly gets.

Later that day, I got to experience what it’s like to ride RTA, which is the transit agency that serves Howard County and Anne Arundel County, and also links up with WMATA’s and MTA Maryland’s bus networks.  Elyse rides RTA a lot to get around the area where she lives.  This photo was at the end of my RTA ride, showing Elyse and Carmela, one of the drivers that Elyse regularly gets.


Elyse poses for a photo with bus 9521, a Gillig Low Floor. This is a former Howard Transit bus. Howard Transit is one of the predecessor entities to RTA, which was formed as a consolidation of several smaller local agencies.

Elyse poses for a photo with bus 9521, a Gillig Low Floor.  This is a former Howard Transit bus.  Howard Transit is one of the predecessor entities to RTA, which was formed as a consolidation of several smaller local agencies.


The left photo, I call "Lane glasses", after my old boss at the nonprofit, who had glasses just like those. I told Elyse that I wouldn't be able to handle it if she ended up getting "Lane glasses".  Then the right ones are classic aviator frames. For anyone thinking about getting aviator frames for regular glasses, I have some advice for you: NO. Just no. Aviators look great as sunglasses, but not as regular glasses.

We also went to Towson Town Center on the 27th, and tried out a few more frames to see what looked good on Elyse.  These two were intended to be funny.  The left photo, I call “Lane glasses”, after my old boss at the nonprofit, who had glasses just like those.  I told Elyse that I wouldn’t be able to handle it if she ended up getting “Lane glasses”.  Then the right ones are classic aviator frames.  For anyone thinking about getting aviator frames for regular glasses, I have some advice for you: NO.  Just no.  Aviators look great as sunglasses, but not as regular glasses.


And then there are these. Um... wow.

And then there are these.  Um… wow.

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