Life and Times

Life and Times from 2017

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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 3

Part 2

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.


I like to think that I keep nice nails. However, there comes a point where they get a tad too long. This is typically the extent of my nail growth before I trim them. I took this photo on August 29, and tagged a friend and former coworker from my Walmart days, since she didn't like it when guys grew their nails out. The caption that I included was, "Sporting that 'guys with nails' look that @smilesrcontagious loves so much."

I like to think that I keep nice nails.  However, there comes a point where they get a tad too long.  This is typically the extent of my nail growth before I trim them.  I took this photo on August 29, and tagged a friend and former coworker from my Walmart days, since she didn’t like it when guys grew their nails out.  The caption that I included was, “Sporting that ‘guys with nails’ look that @smilesrcontagious loves so much.”


On September 4, Mom came back up for another visit, this time to go to the National Book Festival. She also brought up a CD of x-ray and MRI images to see if we could see what the doctor was referring to in her wrist (we could see it on the x-rays, but I was lost on the MRI images). This label, however, amused me. I'm sure that they meant "breached" with an "A", but they said "breeched". As a verb, according to Google, "breech" means, "To put (a boy) into breeches after being in petticoats since birth." I want to see someone's confidential record in breeches. That might be amusing.

On September 4, Mom came back up for another visit, this time to go to the National Book Festival.  She also brought up a CD of x-ray and MRI images to see if we could see what the doctor was referring to in her wrist (we could see it on the x-rays, but I was lost on the MRI images).  This label, however, amused me.  I’m sure that they meant “breached” with an “A”, but they said “breeched”.  As a verb, according to Google, “breech” means, “To put (a boy) into breeches after being in petticoats since birth.”  I want to see someone’s confidential record in breeches.  That might be amusing.


Mom and I later went to Whole Foods in Rockville, where, in the men's restroom, I found the perfect use for one of those Dyson Airblade hand dryers: a paper towel holder. Beats the manufacturer's intended use, hands down.

Mom and I later went to Whole Foods in Rockville, where, in the men’s restroom, I found the perfect use for one of those Dyson Airblade hand dryers: a paper towel holder.  Beats the manufacturer’s intended use, hands down.


On September 8, I encountered another mangled skeleton at Capitol Orthopedics - this one missing its face. Just like the first one, I also asked what happened to him. Turns out that he didn't pay his bill, either.

On September 8, I encountered another mangled skeleton at Capitol Orthopedics – this one missing its face.  Just like the first one, I also asked what happened to him.  Turns out that he didn’t pay his bill, either.


My best line at the orthopedist’s office was when they asked if I was taking any medication for my foot.  I told them that they had given me some ibuprofen in the emergency room, and that they gave me a prescription for some stronger pain medication that I never filled.  After that, I said, “If I fill that, I could get some decent money for it on the street, right?”  The folks in the office got a kick out of that one, because I suppose someone who would really do that wouldn’t discuss it openly with the doctor’s office, right?


On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.  On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.

On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore.  The mall was a “dead mall” in just about every way.  At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body WorksDTLRGymboreeJCPenneyMacy’s, and Victoria’s Secret.  The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.

On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.  On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.

On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.  On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.

On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.  On September 11, Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall, a large two-story mall outside Baltimore. The mall was a "dead mall" in just about every way. At the time of our visit, the mall only had six stores remaining: Bath & Body Works, DTLR, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret. The interior of the mall would close before the month was over.


Elyse poses for a photo with the "Escalator Closed" sign.

Elyse poses for a photo with the “Escalator Closed” sign.


Former Shoe Dept.  Former Shoe Dept.

It was very strange walking through this empty mall.  It really causes you to notice how much stores use standardized architecture and designs to define their brands, and how much we associate such standardized features with the stores.  The former tenants of many of these spaces were still readily recognizable, despite the removal of the merchandise, fixtures, and signage.

Formerly Suncoast.  Formerly Suncoast.

Former Disney Store.  Former Disney Store.

Former Structure.  Former Kay Jewelers.

Former Mrs. Field's Cookies.  Former Hot Topic.

Former Ritz Camera.  Former Gadzooks.


On September 12, I had a moment of great immaturity with a mannequin at the JCPenney in Wheaton. Yes, that mannequin is doing exactly what you think it's doing, and it serves them right for getting mannequins with articulated, posable fingers in the first place. I caption this photo, "F--- you, this is my pillow." The simple gesture reminded me of that cartoon that goes, "Everyone just wants to be liked and accepted. Except for Tim."

On September 12, I had a moment of great immaturity with a mannequin at the JCPenney in Wheaton.  Yes, that mannequin is doing exactly what you think it’s doing, and it serves them right for getting mannequins with articulated, posable fingers in the first place.  I caption this photo, “F— you, this is my pillow.”  The simple gesture reminded me of that cartoon that goes, “Everyone just wants to be liked and accepted.  Except for Tim.

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