Monday, November 30, 2009

Cybershopping Monday

According to the "Complete Idiot's Guide to Start Your Own business" from 1998, we knew that e-commerce was on its way when we saw signs that

Santa is dot- comming to town.

The nice dot-com bubble from Web 1.0. Anyway, you can do your part to further the future!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Say it ain't so...

The editor of Greater Greater Washington pulled up a proposal for the future of the Washington Metro. The map came from the mid-'90's from a community politician. Most notably, "it envisioned a rich white person's subway", says the website's editor, noting the fact that the two new lines, the Beltway and a line from Annandale through the Northwest (and this politician's grounds) to Wheaton, which serves said demographic. Remember, these are demographics from 15 years ago.

This is in start contrast to the 'dreamer' maps of today, which focus on new lines to the 'underserved' esat side of town and mid-city. Of course, 15 years ago, a riot may have been around the corner...
Naturally, the 1968 riots caused many to flee the inner city, if not the city writ large. Development in the city, other than the construction of 'projects' for the displaced, was focused on downtown areas soon to be served by the multibillion dollar Metro. Most guys like Foulger and Pollin made their fortune in developing the northwestern suburbs, which yielded way to Washington's silicon valleys on the Dulles Corridor in Virginia and the I-270 Corridor in Maryland. Long story short, biotech and computer firms held more promise in the '80's and '90's than an arts district in a gritty neighborhood. If you build office space, will they move into the nieghborhood? No. 1992 riots. Put off hope of repopulating your inner city. And that was when this politician made the map.

Ranked by seriousness, it was only a practice activity for the consulting firm which probably drew it up pro bono.

The politician endorses big development projects but does not endorse the map.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Party Crashers, Washington Style

What a global warming's worth of hot air.

As a public house, the President, the cabinet, the secret service and the other elected officials have only so much control in restricting access. Unlike your private home, the White House is technically open to the public.

But there are a lot of bad people out there. Ever present was the barrel-rod fence on all four sides, which you aren't supposed to grab (the police tell kids that the fence is electric). There was always a security tent with magnetometers, and eventually Penn. Ave was closed to general auto traffic.

For the past few years, Congress has sided with Mr. Bush in limiting access by the public (something that seems to be constitutional). But back in the '90's, you didn't need to give a social security number for visiting, nor schedule well in advance. Indeed, there were free range tours.

Naturally, I was never on a guest list when I visited. Of course it's rude to crash a high-power party, but criminal investigations for harmless celebrities? Sounds like a show trial.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ARRA Lives on

Here lies the site of the first project funded by the ARRA.
The ARRA funded 'shovel-ready' projects that individual
states could not afford.This project, developed in the midst
of the Great Recession of 2007-2010 by Senator then President
Barrack Obama, saved and created over 600,000 jobs and
led the nation to the future with things we thought we didn't need.

Sign posted on the 2034, 25th anniversary of the start of the project
on Interstate 70 Washington Spur at Antiteim Battlefield, known as
Eisenhower HIghway, National Pike, or Obamaway.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wrestling: Not That Boring

During my free period, I went out for some clean air and to complete a mission. Buy a Twix bar and deliver to wrestler before the match. I nervously used the price-check function and inserted quarters and dimes. $1.25. I pushed the code E-7 with the utmost care. Down came the bar. I put it in my backpack and the day went on.
Technically, we were let out 15 minutes early to do a pep rally for the talented wrestling team. In reality, I got there slightly late and the team did a little dance-around on the gym floor. In good time, it was over and we were free to go. Unusual for me, I lost track of the next 40 minutes and remembered playing in the orchestra as well as waiting in the wrestling antechamber.

I put the bar in a manila envelope, unsure of wrestling team policy. Some kids who shared the locker room with the wrestling team took a peek. I shared it with them. The lights, spare a dim flourescent, was off, and the wrestlers sat in a quiet circle. "I wonder if they're doing (bad things) in there". "Nah." Soon, though, a dozen of them came out in hardly anything at all. "The weigh-in". The team spent the day not eating, cutting their hair, shaving, losing water mass, however they could to cut their weight. Then I was approached. "Give it to me NOW I'm so hungry". Quick energy boost.

I made a phone call, fiddled a tune, and made it back in time to watch the show. THe reason I took the loss was that, er, expected to be paid back. So I fidgeted with the manilla envelope as our Panthers gravely bashed the Heights by wide margins.
[I was asked about the "yellow envelope". Nah, nothing official, really.]
Contrary to what I thought, the 2 minute matches were fast-paced. The two opposing wrestlers would jostle for a bit, then one would lunge for the other's legs, and then they were on the ground. Pretty soon one was on their front as the other tried to pin him on his back. Sometimes the tide would flip, and the aggressor was now the vulnerable. For a while the guy would struggle to keep one shoulder up off the mat, but eventually he was pushed down as the referee dashed from side to side for a better view. A slap on the mat and a whistle and a loud cheer. A pin. Point on the record now, and a safety pin on the Abbey Boy Wrestler's Varsity Jacket.

Tow sophomores of ours approached the scoring table, shook the coaches' hands and left. "A forfeit", I thought. I followed the two to the wrestling team room, where to my benefit there was no future master commander yelling orders at guests.
(I was summoned by BFF.
Well I summon you out.)
"So", I said shaking the manila envelope wide open, waiting for money to be poured in. "By Christmas", he said.
I sure liked the show. I thought that the promotion with the pep proved that wrestling is a cool spectator sport.

"Well", explained Little Brother, "our wrestlers sit at a dark table in the corner staring at each other and only eat, say, an egg for their meals. They're really strange". "You see, our wrestlers are the life of our party".

Monday, November 16, 2009

Retrojourney Through Books

Like any good home library, our home library collection encompasses past times. Take, for example, the zen in ________ books from the 1980's. Also from that time is the grand era of self help and dreams of money. Move to the early 1990's. What did that first family do to us? Gawking at the barcode scanner was the first step to make people reconsider their consumerist ways. After all, we didn't have to put on a show for the Soviets anymore. Maybe it was something else. Titles like "Living Cheap News" and "Tightwad Gazette" flourished with the tool called the computer. They, and others, were blatantly anti-consumerist. After all, do we really need to fill up our landfills with diapers? The fad didn't last long, and we got sick of cloth diapers and went out buying this new toy called the SUV, and subscirbed to this thing called the internet. Then there were the Dummies guide to living your e-life, and then, print media as we knew it vanished like the colony of Roanoke.

Well, luckily we forgot what sensibility was about.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Most rules suspended, except stop signs

In med school you learn about how the body works for the first year. Then you learn what goes wrong. The spedometer in the car went finkley recently and thus required a suitable rental vehicle to take a road test with. I seemed tro hacve solved the problem by ordering DMV service from an "AB Driving School", which operates in both DC and Maryland. Skip to this morning, I arrive at the RI Ave station, across the parking lot from the testing center, 7 minutes to 8. 8 as a rendevous time that would allow me to get acquainted with the vehicle for 15 minutes before the test. But they didn't show: a call found that they were utterly incompetent and nowhere near the DMV at 8:15. Cutting accross the parking lot, I found an ambulance and roadwork that blocked the exit. Upon further inspection coming around the other way, there was a federal case of roadwork. On top of this were a multitude of student driver cars with timid drivers proceeding at walking pace.

The DC road test is known to be infamously easy. I wondered what the route would be around the construction zone: maybe around the triangular parking lot. Donald the Road Test Inspector took a seat and asked to check Left flasher, right, then brake. Clumsily, I did right left brake. But that didn't really matter. He pulled the emergency brake, and then said to go: "I'll tell you where to go but not what to do, right out of the lot and left at the signal, and don't use your left foot otherwise I'll fail you". What? One foot driving? Never heard of that before. Tough love. Driving sort of like I was hopping on one leg, I causiously edge out of the parking spot next to a Dick's driving school car. At the junctio I come to a complete stop, just in case. A right turn out of the parking lot, a full stop before turning right on Brentwood. "Careful around the roadcrew", I muttered. Carfeful, too, to avoid being a lemmin going off the cliff, I avoid following a pickup that cut across what seemed to be the solid-line-marked median and I turned on the left flasher and he grabbed the wheel "Game over. Intervention", I thought. He pulled the wheel around the corner. I remember striking the brake with the left foot. He ordered for us to switch places. At this point and time, why bother putting the car in park? but I did an accidental or intentional notation error could happen. "You see, this is a living city. You can't live by the (driving) book. One day there's no construction, next day they're tearing up your street. (Yes, once I practiced parralel parkiong behind a steamroller.) You've got to prove to the city that you're in control. This ain't no countryside (there isn't much countryside in DC) the city is breathing. It changes. Now how wide is the lane?" "Usually 10 to 12 feet, the distance between the white lines or from the center of the roadway to the parked cars." "Nah. It's curb to curb. Now on a road like this (unmarked two-way with dual side parking), where would you drive? Sort of to the center right with enough space to let cars pass the other way and to make sure there aren't kids running from behind cars" "THe center. You see, You got to be the master of the road. You have to see ahead. Like back there, you should've seen that truck come from behind and make a turn (whups...missed that). Back at the circle you should've seen where you were going, that's why I told you a long time before where to go". He gave more spiel, and had some dialogue about driving in the moment. and he continued driving, smoothly and carefully around the block. Failure's route? We hit a cement truck. I mean, it blocked the street. You see that?, pointing to the faded double yellow that now went off the road, you wouldn't follow that, would you. The guy put down the new marking but didn't come around to taking off the old ones. It's a living city. Now, if the speed limit was 25 mph but everyone was going 35, how fast would you go? Um...I suppose I'd go with the flow of traffic. And at 45? Well...if I didn't avoid the road, then...I guess the same applies. And alone you'd go 25, right? Yes. He took his dented aluminum clipboard with him as he went to talk to my parental figures. "Yeah, we had a talk with the supervisor about the consturction zone, but it's a living city. He seems to be following the book, but some professional practice would help. And more about getting real life practicise. I asked about getting the score sheet. "We only give them to you when you pass. If something happened on the 3rd road test they'd want to look for a pattern". "Oh, and he wanted to know about the route and tips of the trade. If we gave that out, then we wouldn't know who could drive and who couldn't".

"He didn't mention the speedometer" Mommy said. "Well, he was baffled by the cement truck. But we didn't even get to paralel parking".
This inspirational coach story would have worked in a movie if it didn't involve a not-pass situation. Of course, situations might change. Lost paperwork, lack of completing the form, etc.

_______brentwood rd________



Friday, November 13, 2009


For American English speakers, that's fear of the number 13. And how appropriate is it that I have four friends with birthdays today.
I pointed out that a 13th floor doesn't diminish property values in pricey markets. Nor is the floor by pure essence of labeling and weaker than the 12th or 14th floors. There were also 13 people at the Last Supper.

There could be a scientific explanation to bad things happening on Fridays that fall on the 13th: There is nothing to fear than fear itself. That is, fear made you fail that quiz. Or just utter non-preparation. Or this- lighting bug repelant on fire to create a fireball for your Friday 13th ritual. Bad idea. The can could explode. Just an example. Make the day more unlucky. (Someone did post a live picture of the bonfire tonight).


Thursday, November 12, 2009

How much money shalt thou bring?

$2 for token participation in the Model UN fundraising event (hot drinks and donuts), of which I'll be going to school early to handle.

$5 for the tag day. I just learned that these were paired with dances to "make it more convenient" for stduents to wear their dancing attire to class- for a fee.

$5 for the RAVE. For some reason, student government does not approve of the student body's favorite DJ, DJZ ( Maybe Dionysis should get cracking to GPA (that's right, grade-point-average) reform instead of old spite. ($10 at the door)

Well, all that great stuff is still cheaper than a movie at so-called 'Chinatown'. It makes even more economical sense if you believe in the 'loot rail' theory.
(Crooks steal well-monied people's stuff and make a getaway on mass transit. This is based on the theory that crooks ain't got wheels. Evidence has shown that most crooks steal a car if they need one.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Show Must Go On!

It's a ritual that's been performed for millenia.

The mental condition that made you decide to hurt our life liberty and happiness does not let you off the hook

The state prosecuter was careful to dot I's and cross T's.

The governor (and the Supreme Court)respect the authority of the state court system.

Public consensus says...
We'd like to see you dead.

Oh, and there is a 100% chance that you're guily (not 99.99%)

You've gotten more attention than the average felon

And manage to cost more dead than to stay in prison for another 40 years.

While we no longer have public ceremonies, we make it up with media hype and the standard rituals:

Last Meal
Last Rites
Last Words
Last Breath
Last Heartbeat

Many states have outlawed formal, legal executions such as that which will be happening to our local sniper in a few minutes. Some more states have so throughly restricted it so that there's an insurmountable amount of red tape to hurdle, there's Texas Law. Or Virginia in this case.

The individual trials were spread among 3 governing bodies:
The trial happened in DC: We can't execute you.
The trial happened in Maryland: Now what if that aforementioned condition mitigated that thing you did? Did we catch you on tape? Is there DNA evidence? Now someone else could be framing you?...
So, the trial was focused in Virginia: It'd be an honor to continue this fine tradition.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where have all the dollars gone?

Oh (boy), (Little Brother), I saw someone with an old $20 bill today. Not just the old black and white one, but the really old one. It made me really sad. [Oh, Atticus, did you do anything?] In fact I did. I asked the person to save it for me, and she gave it to me. [What?] Yes she did. I started to did through my wallet to scrupple enough change to make equal. I would have given that 1999 $5 bill away for it. She said "Don't worry about it. Keep your savings for college".

I have managed to collect every series bill in denomination of $1, $2, $5, $10, and even $50 from 1995. But why not $20? There's a reason: The two $50 bills were given as gifts for Little Brother and I for Christmas when Santa decided that I should start saving money. Those lower denominations were easy to pull from the wallet over the years, even the $10 on occasion. But as for the $20, there were emergency milk runs, "Hey, that's my Jackson", and other personal necessities that kept them from being saved. Well, I hope we saved this one from soon destruction by the Federal Bank.

There's a red seal $5 that's a family heirloom.
Disclaimer: The generous person who gave me the $20 was mommy.

The Vienna Quarterly Coin Show is going on tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spoof Alert

The Silver Spring/ Takoma Park MVA has started offering online road tests. The videogame format did not conform to state standards, said Ms. Fay Liu, who developed this new way of 'skipping the trip'. It's easy: all you do is have a friend film you while driving, and upload it to the website when you're done. The instruction sheet informs test-takers to announce what action they're making, so that the voice analysis system can grade the test. If you fail, you can make an online appeal to have the film reviewed by a make-work program participant.

Activists have applauded the move, saying that while banning new drivers altogether would be more effective in reducing global warming, the reduction of an oft-hated carbon-spewing trip is a step in the right direction. Why did Ms. Fay Liu come up with such a great idea. "Because I really don't like Ms. Bumper. I'd like to see her transferred to Gaithiersburg and deal with complaining customers there".

Ms. Fay Liu added that test-takers should eschew putting on makeup, excessive giggling, drinking from those big party cups, and excessive eyeballing of the camera. "Look, you just saved like 2 hours. You'll have time to do all that... at home". MVA officials have asked local videoediting shops to not edit the test films. "As for geeks who can do it by themselves, I mean, if they can fix a Mac, I'm pretty sure they'll be able to use a car", said Bubba "Babbling" Brook, a state legislator. "We might, though, consider putting a make-worker in each testing car to verify honesty. If they are incapable of knowing wrong from right, at least their extra weight will add another complication to the process of acquiring a motor vehicle operating licence".

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Carry Me Back

We don't pay enough attention to Virginia politics here, but since it's such an important day in Old Virginny, we had to cover this story.

Virginia and New Jersey hold their governal elections on off-year 1, that is, 1 year after presidentials. From surveys, it seems that the Republican candidates are going to win, altough liberal media sources are not willing to accept that.

So this is exactly how republicans win in red states: An unpopular democrat runs for reelection. He/she wins the party primary, hence the battle, but loses in the war*.

This is the case in New Jersy, but in Virginia, there are no second terms, so change of party in power is the way the cookie crumbles.

McDonough- hurt by ultra-conservative Master's thesis- Republican
Deeds- hurt by running smear campaign- Democrat

*I made a prediction a while back that this is what is going to happen in Maryland in 2010. Let's see what happens.

Monday, November 2, 2009

DST Horror

My cell phone was still an hour ahead at 8:26am. I fiddled with the buttions to no avail. But sometime during the day, it switched itself to the proper time. Now this extra hour we got yesterday was put to good use by wasted revellers, either still singing sin, drinking gin, or on the street, or in bed. But I was eager to get my math homework done. The day went on as normal. Sort of. An open house at school (the 50% of the student body who showed up still have yet to learn of their reward), an ensemble.

But with this new change in daylight savings time, there are a few problems (or as some say, concerns): Pitch black at 7am on Oct 31, the change time check battery mantra: is it anywhere near 6 months anymore? Loss of synchronocity with Arizona most of the year (they don't do DST).

And since I was up so many hours yesterday, I was real ready for bed at 10pm.