Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I Was Caught Showering in the Women's Locker Room of My Gym


"Attention Members! Locker Rooms are SWAPPED while the women's steam room is being rebuilt: Men use Women's; Women use Men's. Thanks!"

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Locker Room Burrito Is a Lie

I went to the gym tonight for the first time since I hurt my back a few weeks ago. To avoid hurting myself again, I only did cardio, which I need to focus on anyway.

In the locker room, there was this flyer taped to the mirror. After reading it, I needed to take a picture. (Yes, I was that guy using a cellphone camera inside the locker room):

The burrito is a lie.

It's a flyer for the relatively new Chipotle in Reston Town Center; the promotion involves showing your Fitness First membership card there on Saturdays in March for a free burrito (or bowl, tacos, or salad); the picture features a burrito, with the caption, "More Than Worth Those Ten Extra Minutes on the Treadmill."

Now, according to the ChipotleFan.com calorie calculator, a standard chicken burrito combination clocks in at just under 1100 calories.

Using any given calorie calculator (say, this one at SparkPeople), 10 minutes on the treadmill, at a basic 10-minute mile pace (6 mph), burns about 100 calories.

Unless you can run at 60 mph (you shut up, Mr. Steve Austin), what the ad implies is off by a factor of 10. It's a lot closer to two hours than ten minutes.

This does not mean that I won't be there on Saturday to snag a free burrito. (Hey, free burrito.)

I enjoy Chipotle, but I like Baja Fresh more, mostly because I raid the salsa bar and use the extra red salsa in meatloaf, marinades, etc. (Hate the new condiment bags, by the way -- they suck. I used to be able to fit 8 salsa cups into one of the old paper bags.)

Anyway, I did 20 minutes on the treadmill (brisk walking at about 4.4 mph -- running makes my knee hurt), then followed with about 10 minutes of jumping rope.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jack Bauer Tortured by Trope

First, a photo: Overflowing book drop at the Reston Regional Library (closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday):

I was returning two Charlie Stross books (Atrocity Archives and Missile Gap), and a few other people had beaten me there. I couldn't bring myself to leave the books outside, so I'll try again later.
* * *
In 24 news, I have to say that they're pretty close to losing me again. (Spoilers for Season 8, Hour 3). What did it was the sheer ludicrousness needed to squeeze in the police brutality scene: We're expected to believe that Officer Bullethead, upon getting the drop on an unknown guy (Jack Bauer) who's holding his partner at gunpoint (already a scenario which clearly justifies -- nay, demands -- deadly force)... instead chooses to tase him.

Okay, fine, a poor tactical choice at best, using nonlethal force like that... but then, he makes a big deal about having just tromped through the murder scene and how Jack is a copkiller who needs to be beaten to death so he doesn't skate on a technicality.

Got that? He's a rogue cop who's ready to turn to street justice. Yet when he sees a cop killer pointing a gun at his partner, instead of shooting him, he uses his taser.

It's a horrible example of lazy writing, using the police brutality cliche to justify a gratuitious "torture Jack Bauer scene." (Throw in the rookie redemption trope, too. At least the Asian guy gets to kick a little ass, eventually.)

Speaking of torture, the "I'm not going to cut the bracelet" line in the auto parts store was clearly meant to invoke "I'm gonna need a hacksaw" from Season 2. Although it's sort of interesting to see Jack on the other side of "I'll do whatever it takes," the writers are dipping into a dry well: Mole red herring; serial plots stitched together outlandishly (Yes, by all means, bring the weapons-grade uranium to the US -- the US is a great transshipment point for that sort of thing); annoying domestic subplots, etc.

Oh, and apparently, testifying in front of the Senate in open hearings does not preclude you from doing undercover work.

As I noted elsewhere, "suspension of disbelief" is accepting Freddy Prinz, Jr. as a tough guy badass field agent. This is just silly.

A few other things:

* Jack Bauer upgraded his messenger bag from canvas to leather

* Lastly, assuming that's where CTU: NY is located, might this finally make Roosevelt Island cool? Will we see a battle on the tram?

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

An Afternoon of Mild Disappointments

After a haircut this morning (not disappointing), I went to see District 9. I liked it (especially the parts where the bad guys go *splash*) but I was mildly disappointed by it, mostly because it had been hyped so much and I went in with really high expectations.

Parts of it were uneven, and parts of it felt like a standard buddy movie (even with aliens, it's fairly well-trodden ground). Everyone was interested in collecting and using the alien weapons (robot fighting suits!) except the aliens themselves, which was odd, though I guess an alien uprising would have been a different allegorical movie. And the The Nigerian gangsters felt like they were spliced into the plot to provide a convenient device.

Overall, the plot left a lot unexplained, in a very unsatisfying way. At least with Alien Nation (to which this movie owes a lot), we knew the Tenctonese aliens were slaves, which is why they couldn't go home. In District 9, the aliens have the means to go home -- one really smart prawn has been hiding the key to their return for 20 years, and they even have the fuel -- albeit in a form they need to furtively scavenge and refine -- like meth cookers -- from recovered bits of their own technology.

Anyway, it seems fairly well set up for a sequel. District 10, anyone?

Afterwards, I stopped by Reston Town Center to visit the new Apple Store. Though I missed the grand opening festivities, it was still loud and crowded. This one, I didn't have big expectations for -- after all, it's just an Apple store -- but it's also disconvertingly small. Narrow. Especially when compared to the nearby stores in Arlington and Tysons Corner. It doesn't take up the entire former Eddie Bauer store space (there's another store next door).

Then I stopped by The Counter for a burger. The space is shiny and nice, the staff is friendly, they have beer, and the burger is... average. Maybe "solid" is a better word. I would say overpriced.

The fries are shoestring style and good, though I guess I'm a french fry philistine -- my favorite is still the heavily-seasoned kind that come frozen in an institutional-sized bag.

Anyway, here's a cameraphone picture:


I still haven't been to Ray's Hell Burger yet, so the best I've had around here is still Joe's Burgers in McLean.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Using My Poor Man's Steadycam to Document Our Lackluster Kickball Performance

We had a kickball game on Wednesday. Even though it wasn't cold and rainy, the team was pretty flat offensively and we lost. (I went 0 for 2 at bat, including kicking into a double play, and was accused of being a rules lawyer because I reminded a girl that she couldn't take a lead off of first base.)

It did give me a chance to finally test out the Poor Man's Steadycam that I built just over a year ago (and hadn't used since).

The results were... mixed. I didn't really try walking around with it, just doing some basic panning. Even so, there's a lot of camera shake, because instead of using the prescribed 2.5 or 5 pound counterweight at the bottom, I just used a screw-on cast-iron flange, which I thought I could get away with because my Canon powershot only weights 1/4 pound. It saved weight, but basically killed the motion-dampening action, which defeats the whole purpose of the thing (other than to make people wonder "What the heck is that guy holding in his hands?").

Also, the wind noise is really prominent in spots -- need something with an external mike and one of those fuzzy covers.

Anyway, here's the video (make sure you click the "HQ" option, I may not have picked the best file size settings):


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Friday, February 06, 2009

The Wheel of Fortune Turns Faster These Days

I was in the gym last night on the Stair Master, and Wheel of Fortune was on the TV directly in front of me.

I haven't watched the show in years -- the last time probably found me laid up in bed with the flu, gazing slack-jawed at the original daytime version, where Vanna White still turned the cards by hand (she's still holding up well, incidentally), round winners shopped for stupid ceramic dogs, and they didn't give you R, S, T, L, N and E on the bonus round.

The thing I noticed as I was huffing and puffing away with the sound off, is that the gameplay is so much faster now. They hardly show the contestants spinning the wheel, or even the wheel spinning at all -- they just cut to the last few clicks. They might as well just be pressing a button on a slot machine.

It's a metaphor for the pace of life these days, compared to the halcyon days of my youth.

My lawn. Get off of it.

Anyway, I also tried out the VersaClimber for the first time. The Reston Fitness First has two, kind of tucked away. It wasn't what I expected, though I wasn't exactly on a record-setting pace -- I was just trying to get the motion down.

I will look forward to trying some Tabata Intervals on it (20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds recover, 8 times) -- people seem to rave about them, and a 4-minute burst appeals to me more than 20+ minutes of slogging.

On a final note, I see that the footer of the Fitness First site has a link (unlinked, as yet) for a "Fitness First blog," which makes a lot of sense. I'm surprised that more gyms and health clubs don't do blogs, it seems like a ready-made audience, as seen by the tons of personal trainers on YouTube and such. (They do have a Facebook profile, though not much a presence -- it's overwhelmed by pages and groups about the non-US chain of the same name, which apparently everyone hates.)

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

So, a Rabbit Walks Into a Bike (and other events)

It's been unseasonably warm for October, so I ventured this afternoon into the weekend sunlight to skate. I preceeded this with a trip to the gym for a bonus beach muscles workout, which is a necessity if I'm going to complete my Michael Phelps Halloween costume.

(I'm not actually going as Michael Phelps. It'd be a simple costume, but I don't want to shave my bikini line. Also, I get cold easily. And, while I do have pectorals again, it's a long way from here to there. I did, however, get a costume inspiration Saturday night, so I've been shopping around for materials. Though I haven't actually, you know, formulated a plan yet, which is always a winning strategy. But I do know I need to buy a heat gun.)

Anyway, conditions on the trail were good. I started on the W&OD trail in Reston and headed east, which of course meant hitting the annoying hill at Buckthorn Lane (which features my favorite sign):

Actually taken coming back (westbound)

Nothing too eventful on the way out, and I turned around at Vienna. On the way back, I saw a bunch of vultures perched on a power tower, though the most notable thing happened back in Reston. There was an oncoming biker about 50 feet ahead of me, when all of a sudden, a rabbit darted out from the side of the trail and ran smack into the guy's back wheel.

For a bad moment, I thought the critter was going to get caught up in the works, but it just bounced off and scampered back into the brush.

I made it back without further incident. Afterwards, I went to Home Depot for some materials (did you know a 10-foot length of PVC pipe will bend just enough so I can fit it completely inside my car?), then to Harris Teeter (always a good idea, food shopping when you're ravenously hungry).

Saturday, I went to Oktoberfest Reston in Ye Olde Reston Town Center -- as noted, I didn't quite get how Zydeco music fit into the whole "Oktoberfest" thing.

Afterwards, we went to Jackson's Mighty Fine Food, which I didn't even know was there -- it was a parking lot a few months ago. It's a Great American Restaurants joint, so it's done up by the same folks who do Sweetwater Tavern and such (and looks it).

It was muy crowded -- we were surrounded by Stiflers (and the cougars who hunt them) -- though don't wear a baseball cap, else you'll be told to remove it (I suggested using it as a strategem to get a drink order in faster).

I think I packed it in before midnight, so I missed the excitement just up the street -- according to the Post, just down Sunrise Valley from me, a driver went off the road, hit a tree and flipped, killing him. Owwie. I predict more speed enforcement, and maybe another DUI checkpoint, in the neighborhood in the near future.

As to the rest of it -- the costume will involve some crafting, some engineering, and some construction, so we'll see how that goes.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

You Don't Have to Go to the Gym If It's on Fire

I was going to go to the gym today, really I was. But then I saw this on the front door:

"Fitness First is CLOSED DUE TO FIRE..."

The Fitness First Web site says, "Reston, Virginia - Due to a fire, the club will remain closed until 5 am, Tuesday, August 26th. Group exercise and free weights will remain closed for approximately two weeks."

I guessed that someone was just too darned fast on the treadmill, though a fellow thwarted gym-goer suggested it was due to a fat lady wearing corduroy pants, which I find unlikely.

I've been to the Fitness First in Tysons Corner a few times, which is close to my work site. It's newer, bigger, and nicer, so it works out pretty well -- I can still get an afternoon workout before I head into Arlington or DC (for a change, it looks like I chose wisely).

Anyway, I went home and got my skates (which of course I'd taken out of the back of my car) and went on the W&OD Trail (my usual route, from Reston Parkway to Route 28 and back). It smelled like rain, so I almost cut it short early, but ended up sticking it out. Yay, me, although my feet hurt now.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stupid Should Hurt: Health Club Audition Edition

Probably the AOL perk I miss the most is easy access to the well-appointed, on-campus fitness centers. (Not that I used them much in my last few months, but still.)

So I'm currently (not to mention finally) in the process of auditioning a new gym, which I haven't had to bother with since the McBurney YMCA in NY a few speculative bubbles ago. (It was a nice setup -- after work, I'd take the bus down from midtown, work out, then use my transfer to go crosstown to my place on 20th.)

I visited a couple of the local gyms last week, looked around and got free passes. I went to the first place on Friday, did an extremely lame and light full-body workout, and yet still managed to knock the legs out from under me.

Today, as I was heading into the second place, I discovered that I had left and lost my lock at the first place.

Now, I have a few extra combination locks at home (I even have the combinations for some of them), but I didn't feel like driving back. Luckily, there was a sporting goods store next door that had them for a higher-than-usual markup, so I bought one (remember, stupid should hurt -- or at least cost).

Unlike the duplicate CD caper, though, you do not get any benefit from this dumb move -- although you can have my old combination in case you run into my old lock (it's purple):

From Joelogon's Macbook

(Incidentally, I know that it's trivially easy to make a padlock shim out of a beer can.)

Now, as to the Reston health club offerings, here are my capsule reviews:

Reston Sport and Health
Positive: Lots of machines (though some are older, uncomfortable, and, frankly, just look like filler). Close to the W&OD Trail.
Negative: Bumpy parking lot. A little hard to get to during rush hour (though I suppose that goes for practically anywhere around here).
Neutral: Open floor plan.

Fitness First Reston

Positive: Free weight area set apart a bit. They have a machine setup I'm used to, plus headset audio for the TVs in front of the cardio machines. Can use the other locations.
Negative: On the small side -- a little cramped (though the space is well-utilized). Plus, it's in Plaza America, so parking can be tight at times.
Neutral: Looks like it has its share of both meatheads and hot chicks.
Perverse: It's on the second floor -- and the main way up is an escalator.

Reston YMCA

Positive: Big, lots of machines. Indoor running track and basketball court. Swimming pool. Lots of programs and activities.
Negative: Very pricey. And I'll probably never use the programs or pool.
Neutral: Right next door to Chipotle. (Better make that a negative. The Fitness First is right next to a Five Guys, with the pizza place and Baja Fresh just a few doors down, so I guess that's even worse.)

Health Club of Reston
Positive: Convenient location across from Reston Parkway.
Negative: No longer exists.
Neutral: That about covers it.

There are a few more possibilities, though I don't see myself as a Gold's person. I'm leaning towards the Fitness First -- it's marginally cheaper and open a little later. But whatever happens, I'm sure I'll be fit, ripped and huge shortly.

If anyone has any opinions about Reston/Herndon fitness club options, leave a comment.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Skate or Blog: Choose One

I'm so out of shape right now, when I go skating, it wipes me out for the rest of the day. And for a good chunk of the next day. Which is probably one of the reasons I haven't posted for a while.

My first time out this year was in Baltimore, for the Kinetic Sculpture Race (the photos of which I still haven't done up yet). It was a sink-or-swim kind of deal, since it covers about 15 miles over the course of the day, but I made it. (More or less -- but were my feet sore.)

I went out again last Wednesday afternoon, starting at Sunset Hills and going west just past Herndon. Not too far, but my legs were still dead from a bike ride on Memorial Day Monday (only Reston to Vienna, but the hill at Blackthorn Road coming back wiped me out).

I also wanted to do a trial run on skates using my Poor Man's Steadycam, but I ended up just hauling it around in my backpack to get a sense of the weight (it's not a delightful experience). Though I did take a few video test shots just holding my camera -- kind of a "before" shot for comparison -- it's pretty unwatchable because of all the side-to-side motion (until I get to the coasting part):

Leaving aside the fact that it would be kind of, you know, dangerous, to try skating at speed while hanging on to the rig with both hands, I'm hoping I can still use it while coasting on flats or mild downhills. Which would make me kind of a human steadycam dolly.

During the ride, my bearings were making a lot of noise. I figured I'd thrashed them pretty good in Baltimore, so over the weekend, I took them apart to rotate the wheels, and clean and regrease the bearings:
Skate shell, booties, wheels, bearings, shields, clips, spacers, bolts and grease.

Here you can see my current, first, and only skates: Rollerblade Coolblades, which I bought back in 1994 or 1995 for about $300 (with pads). I've taken them up and down Manhattan, through the Central Park loop countless times, up to Niagara Falls, and out to Iowa. They've held up surprisingly well -- I've only replaced the wheels and bearings a couple of times.

They still pinch at the base of my shins, but I'm pretty used to that by now (bloody socks and all). Though I'll think I'll eventually switch to a traditional lace-up boot, maybe jump over to K2s (K2 still makes skates, right?)

Here's a macro shot of one of the bearings:
Degreasing brought to you by Simple Green.

Anyway, I and my now-clean bearings went out again on Monday, starting at Sunset Hills and going west. I got a late start (6:20ish), so I figured my turnaround time would be 7pm, giving me enough margin to get back before safely before sunset (even if I gassed out).

At 7pm, I'd just made it to Church Road, which is just close enough to the Route 28 overpass that I decided to stretch it out a little more. Although I wasn't able to do a full speed run on the overpass's westbound downhill (which is still one of my favorite things to do -- it's no Central Park "Big Hill," but it has a nice, long, straight rollout), since there was an inconvenient bit of gravel on the trail.

I eventually made it back with time to spare. Again, only about a 15-mile round trip. But here's a tip -- if you're going to be skating close to dusk, try to keep your mouth closed. (Bugs -- ptooey.)

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

The White Van Speaker Scam Blows Into Reston

I was driving back from lunch and stopped at a red light on Reston Parkway, when I heard a loud conversation coming from behind me.

A guy in a white van in the left lane was talking to the driver of the car behind me. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but when the van rolled up to me and the passenger motioned to me, I figured they were asking for directions.

I rolled down my window and heard:

"Hey, you want a set of speakers? For your house?"

This, of course, is straight from the script of the White Van Speaker Scam. (If you haven't heard about it, it's pretty interesting to see how it works. The mechanism relies on people's greed for a bargain, as well as the desire to help someone stick it to The Man. See also.)

I just shook my head no and rolled up the window. I should have taken a picture of the guys, but I only got a crappy and useless cellphone photo of the back of the van:


They moved turned in to the North Point Shopping Plaza, presumably in search of another sucker.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Told U Reston Was Hardcore (as I Am a Crazy Gangbanger)

DSCF4070In case you were wondering, Reston's a pretty rough town unincorporated part of Fairfax County. Reston-related gun crime made the news again -- from Saturday's Washington Post: Armed Woman Arrested at D.C. Police Headquarters:
"A Reston woman armed with a pistol walked into D.C. police headquarters Thursday afternoon and attempted to take a guard's gun before she was wrestled to the ground, authorities said."
Now, there are several odd elements to this story. For starters, isn't it usually suburbanites who worry about crime being exported from the cities? But then we find out:

* The woman's name is Cynthia Nixon. Presumably, it isn't the Sex and the City actress. Although they're about the same age. I couldn't tell you anything about her -- the only relevant Web result for the Reston Nixon was a 5k race result from 1999.

* " The charging papers quoted Nixon as telling police that her plan was to 'rob a police officer of his weapon.'" This alone suggests all kinds of crazy, because:
  1. Robbing a cop of his gun. Yeah. Somehow, I don't think you thought your cunning plan all the way through. You could probably get some bullets this way, though.
  2. It's a long way to go to get a gun -- especially if you live in Virginia, where it should be a lot easier to get a handgun than in the District (legally, that is).
  3. Oh, and did you miss the part where she already had her own gun (real, loaded, and presumably functional -- though she pulled the trigger when she tried to shoot the guard and it didn't go off)
* In addition to the gun and 36 rounds, she had two joints and two baggies of pot. Judging by her previous statement, this was probably for Phase II: Steal drugs from a narc.

However this particular episode turns out, it only adds to the growing body of evidence that Reston is hardcore. (Check out the Brandon Vedas story if you don't get the reference.)

To that end, I will show you what a vato loco I am, by mean mugging for all you civilians:

We gangbangers have poor trigger discipline.

Normally, for your typical MySpace gangbanger self-portrait, you have to be able to see the camera in the bathroom mirror. Also, my wifebeater is gray and not the usual white. But that's just how we roll in South Reston.

Here, I am double-strapped in the 20191-3512:

My Imperial Rifle Blaster does my talking.

Since we don't sacrifice accuracy for style, here you can see my slightly-modified gangsta grip (canted, not fully horizontal):

Note the extra-gangster orange safety tip.

The "Tec-9" is a toy, of course -- it was made by Larami about 20 years ago, in the late 80s, when life was cheap, and so were toy guns that were realistic enough to get you shot by cops (as opposed to the much pricier airsoft guns these days). The rest of the photo set is here: Mean Mugging With a Toy Tec-9.

Since I was raiding the toy closet anyway, I took a few more photos of the Tec-9 and its accessories, which I will post in a followup entry.

Why yes, I am feeling a lot better now: Yesterday was pretty bad in terms of overall sickness. I've over the hump now, but still wasn't well enough to go out. So here we are.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Foreclosure - Impressive!

Won't You Be My Neighbor? A "for sale" sign on the townhouse across the street from me -- the FORECLOSURE bit is a new wrinkle:

Foreclosure - Impressive!
Another victim of the housing market implosion?

It's had different for sale signs out in front for a long time. I don't think I've ever met the owners -- between the different signs and the various moving trucks, I'm not sure how many times it's changed hands (I'm assuming people had been trying to flip it), or if it had just been on and off the market.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Geekiest License Plate & Car Combo Yet

I was driving on Reston Parkway this afternoon when I noticed this vanity license plate. It's pretty geeky: "TO SOL-4" -- in other words, "To Mars."

Then I pulled up behind the car at a light, and saw that I had barely scratched the surface of the geekiness:

See the photo on Flickr for notes.

Please note the following items (you'll have to take my word on it, since it's not my finest cameraphone pic):
  1. "TO SOL-4 [Mars]" vanity license plate, in a Planetary Society license plate frame
  2. Matching Planetary Society bumper sticker
  3. Linux penguin sticker
  4. Discordian bumper sticker
  5. And of course, it's a Saturn.
Bonus: "I'm Pro-Choice on Everything" Libertarian bumper sticker.

And those were just the items I could identify.

In other news, it was really windy late this afternoon. I was driving north on Route 28 and I swear my car was headed northeast.

But at least the days are getting longer.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Get Your Bids in to the AOL Reston Asset Auction

The liquidation auction of the former assets of the AOL Reston offices that I mentioned last week started at 10am and is going on right now.

All the kitchen & cafeteria stuff is sold, but you still have a little time to get at some of the office fixtures if you like.

I'm not going to be bidding on anything -- the few things I was looking priced out of my range quickly. Though I did go to the preview yesterday to take a look, and got a few pictures -- here's the set: AOL Reston Asset Auction Preview, 1/22/08.

I'd only been to the Reston building once or twice, so I didn't really know it. The guy who let us in said that over 100 people had been by looking over stuff, and sources inside AOL say that lots of folks (who used to work in that office) were following online. (Though looking over the sold items now, the same high bidders keep popping up -- most likely not interested individuals, but probably resellers, or property owners.)

The photos of the fixtures aren't much different from in the catalog, so I was mostly just looking for remnants of the AOL presence:
Empty Infrastructure Services cubicle.

Empty Mail Ops Bulletin board -- bid on it here (ends 12:15pm).

Personal Information Data Systems whiteboard. Didn't see it on the auction list.

Turnstile. Not for sale, I just thought the LEDs looked cool.

So that's about it.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

AOL Goes on the Auction Block

Rasmus Auctioneers does asset liquidations when companies move or go bankrupt. I check out their site pretty regularly, though I've never bid in one of their auctions.

This time, however, I may need to make an exception:
URGENT SHORT NOTICE! Inspect Tuesday! Former AOL Offices - 3 Day Auction
Internet Only Auction Bidding Starts Closing 10 AM Wednesday January 23rd.
AOL closed its Reston office and data center a few months ago, so they're liquidating some of the office furniture and cafeteria fixtures:


"URGENT! Super short notice liquidation of 120 offices. Former AOL Reston offices. Designer offices, admin offices, executive seating, modular workstations, conference rooms, break rooms.... Online Monday."


"URGENT! Super short notice liquidation of complete corporate cafeteria. Former AOL building. Super high end equipment. Full compliment of equipment. SHORT NOTICE opportunity!"

A sad-looking cubicle.

Even though Rasmus says they "conducted the majority of dot com liquidations resulting from the “Dot Bomb” in the mid-Atlantic region," I'm not going to draw any larger inferences from this.

Since they're basically down the street from me, I will take a look and see if I can score a chair or something.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

What's Worse, Reston or Kansas?

I'd seen the report that Sprint Nextel is looking at layoffs, but Silicon Alley Insider also reports that the new CEO is also looking at relocating their executive HQ from Reston (right off Reston Parkway) back to Overland Park, Kansas.

Gee, where have I heard something like that before?

Actually, since their operational and engineering HQ is in Kansas (according to the Wikipedia entry), it would be different from the AOL corporate HQ move and might make more sense, though I doubt that Northern Virginia technology advocates would see it that way.

I've only been to Kansas once (and for barely a weekend at that -- most of it was in the car, since we drove out over July 4th weekend), so I don't really have a basis for comparison. Other than the cost of living is presumably a lot lower out there. Though we have fewer tornados.

(To DCites who might scoff that the suburbs is the suburbs -- I trot out my canned response: Once you're outside of New York, it's all suburbs.)

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Election Day, 2007

Chalkboard at Greenberry's Coffee today:


"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room." -- Betty Reese

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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Onion's Take on Northern Virginia

The Onion main page today (the "National News Highlights" rollover) features a reference to Arlington:

"ARLINGTON, VA -- Nate Martin was so happy to drive home from Washington, D.C. without hitting a traffic jam that he briefly forgot how much he hated his house, job, and life in northern Virginia."
Hey, it's not that bad. As a northern Virginian, that would be my expected viewpoint, though my biases point in different directions, since:
  1. I live in Reston, and thus look enviously upon Arlington.

  2. I moved down here from New York City, and thus I consider everything outside New York "the suburbs," anyway.*
*Granted, I was only there a couple of years -- growing up in NJ doesn't count -- and that was a long time ago. I also don't actually feel this way -- I just trot out that line whenever I hear DC-dwellers looking down on the northern Virginia suburbs.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Arts Festivals and Unsecured Loads

I went to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival today (though to be honest, if I'd known earlier that the Joint Service Open House Air Show was going on at this weekend at Andrews Air Force Base, I probably would have gone to that instead.)

It was really windy at times (which was fine for the wind-powered whirligig and kinetic sculpture folks, bit troubling for others, especially as tents threatened to blow over), but it was an otherwise nice day. I took a few photos:

A biophysical archer.

A piano-ish sculpture.

However, the most interesting photo was one I didn't get: Driving home on Baron Cameron, there was a Mustang convertible in the oncoming lane, probably only going about 30 mph, with hazard lights on and a full-sized sheet of plywood (at least 4'x8') and a few 2"x4"s propped up in the back seat.

Which meant that the plywood was sticking up into the air about 5 feet, like some gigantic spoiler. With nothing to tie it down to.

Of course, the driver and front-seat passenger were trying to hold it down (a la the guys you see with one arm sticking out the window, trying to hang on to a mattress tied to the roof).

It was pretty comical. I'm sure the long line of cars following them as they blocked the left lane (presumably from the Home Depot) also found it to be comical.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Now That's Just Mean

Photo from Plaza America in Reston:

That's Just Mean
"Coming Soon: Five Guys," immediately next door to a Fitness First

The space where the Five Guys is coming in used to be a Burger King, so I guess it's not that much of a change.

Also, that Fitness First is on the second floor of the building. Of course, there's an escalator to get upstairs.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

1 to 2 Inches of Snow, MY ASS

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that this exceeds the normal parameters of "wintry mix":

Snow Photo

Why yes, I'm kind of irritated, because the sn*w kind of killed my plans today.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No strip clubs? What the hell kind of planned community is this?

Forget about the lack of cemeteries; Reston has a couple of big hotels (the Hyatt and the Sheraton come to mind), but no strip clubs (let alone any within easy cabbing distance from said hotels).

Don't see the demand? Au contraire -- here's a referrer from about 10:30pm, Tuesday:

(Reston Sheraton Hotel)
Virginia, Reston, United States, 0 returning visits

Date Time WebPage
30th January 200722:29:48www.joelogon.com/blog/labels/auctions.html
www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8 &rlz=1T4GGIH_enUS205US205&q=Strip clubs Reston%2c VA

Looks like it's discreetly billed hotel room porn for you, fellow traveler.

Now, if you could get it past the zoning and planning boards, a strip club in Fairfax or Loudoun County would make a fortune. Like that would ever happen. (Though I hear the Board of Supervisors in Loudoun County gets pretty cozy with real estate developers. I sense possibilities.)

As it happens, I guess the closest titty pastie bar would be Crystal City Restaurant (never been, though I have been to the Crystal City Sports Pub a few times, which I am told, is run by the same people). Though from here, and especially given the presence of nipple-coverings, you might as well go the whole hog and into the District.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Fat Penguins and Scenes from the Snow

This no-camera thing is sort of liberating, actually.

I met up with the folks at the Boulevard Woodgrill (the original plan had been to hit up RiRa, but there was a line).

The bar area there is really narrow and crowded (which is a little odd, considering that by the end of the night, the rest of the restaurant is empty.) It makes for lots of incidental contact and some okay people watching -- I had my eye on a large chocolate cake, as well as a trio of young bucks trying to pick up on 2 girls (leading in with the ever-popular, "we got a round of shots for you.")

There was also a comparison of different pickup lines/jokes -- Jenny led with "Fat Penguin," and Scott countered with the Reese Witherspoon stabbing (which is a joke, believe it or not)

We got kicked out at midnight and went to Galaxy Hut (where we met and hung out with a visiting Aussie named Dan); after that closed, we went to Ryan's house (after a brief encounter with an Arlington County fire truck that was blocking my car in).

I didn't get home until around 4am. I also rediscovered that the left travel lane at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Ave does not trip the roadbed sensors that trigger the traffic light.

Snow Day

I woke up this afternoon to the snow. I had some vitally important errands to run, so I blatantly disregarded any suggestion to stay off the road. My ABS kicked in one or twice, but it was generally okay, though I did see:
  • A seven-car accident on the toll road (two cars were facing the wrong direction; only a few of them looked smashed up, though)
  • A Trans Am driving backwards on Sunrise Valley Drive -- the bit by the golf course is hilly, curvy and surprisingly treacherous; I guess he couldn't make it.
  • A couple of cars high-centered on medians or slide off the side of the road, as well as a few just abandoned in turn lanes.
Anyway, I survived. I would prefer to have the unseasonably warm January we had before, though.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Why Is There Whipped Cream on My Car?

10:08pm: The Spectrum at Reston Town Center parking lot (in front of the Barnes & Noble):

Crushed Can of Reddi Wip Whipped Cream

As you can see, there's a pile of Reddi-Wip cans on the ground, including one that'd been crushed under the tire of the car parked in front of mine.

Some of the whipped cream had squirted onto my front tire. Not much.

Hadn't realized that the RTC parking lot was the in-place to do whipits.

I'd had my camera in my pocket in case I could get a shot of tonight's full moon, though this was more interesting.

Turned on the long exposure and 2-second self timer, and set the camera on my front driver's side mirror.

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