Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thursday Ramble: Changing a light bulb

A true tale.  I moved to the Space Coast of Florida a few years after black-Friday. When the Apollo project finished NASA terminated 10,000 employees one Friday - locally known as black-Friday.  The surrounding communities of 20,000- 30,000 residents took years to recover.  There were Phd physicists teaching in the public schools so they didn't have to move away from a place they had grown to call home.  

I went to work in a local real estate office, and one of my office mates was an electrician, who had worked on the launch systems for the moon rockets.  He was selling real estate, doing a little electrical work on the side, and hoping he could return to full time electrical work.  There were only a handful of full time industrial electrician positions on the Space Coast.  

He had done some thrilling things like connect the power to the external ignitors under the Saturn V that assure that those main engines fire when the fuel starts flowing.  He got to talking one day, and said, "How many people does it take to change a light bulb on launch pad 39B?" 

First someone fills out a form reporting a light out of service. 

Then an electrician verifies that the light bulb is burned out, and it is not an electrical supply or switch problem.  

Then the access crew is dispatched to set up a ladder. 

Then the electrician returns to disassemble the light fixture, laying the parts out on a soft pad on the a flat surface. 

Then a supervisor sends out janitorial, to clean
the fixture. 

Then the electrician is sent out to replace the burned out bulb and reinstall the fixture. 

Then the access crew goes back and removes the ladder, 

Then janitorial goes back and cleans the area. 

And a supervisor inspects and verifies that the work has been completed properly. 

So three workmen, plus supervisors, at least 9 steps, more if there are any questions or concerns along the way, such as a crack in the glass on the fixture, and he said, "you don't want to know how many pages of paperwork!" 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

My World of Wonders aka The Wednesday W's Tax Week Edition

Who have I seen this week?  Emily, the adult daughter of one of my best friends from high school.  She and her boyfriend were here in DC for a few days and we met them for lunch. 

Where am I at with tax returns this year? Done a month ago. (Tax returns were due Monday in the USA.) 

Where have I been this week? Out for daily walks, Old Town Alexandria, Huntley Meadows, National Harbor, Mt. Vernon; the weather has been nice for walking outside. The Farmers Market on Saturday morning, Whole Foods, into DC one day. 

What have I been reading?  I finished a Hemingway novel, I am working on two other books. My Kindle is loaded and ready for an adventure. 

What am I listening to? 70s soft rock at the moment.

What made me think, I remember when?  O.J. Simpson died. I was working in a department store when the verdict came in, the store came to a quiet halt, and the broadcast was played over the store public address system.  I was not surprised, the prosecution had way over tried their case, and the defense was brilliant.  If it doesn't fit, you must acquit. I started law school a few months later.  If you can't explain your case to the jury in a week, you don't understand the core of your case or you don't have one.

Who deserves a big THANK YOU this week?  The service manager, who came up with a 10% discount on a rather expensive service and car repair. I have bought cars for less. 

What was I thinking the other day? All of the cars I have owned, 3 Oldsmobiles, 2 VWs (decades apart,) 2 Toyotas (at the same time), 4 Hondas (three new Accords in a four year period,) 2 Mazadas (years apart,) 1 Renault (fun but I couldn't get it repaired,) 1 Saturn, (a cheap reliable car until law school was paid for,) 1 Cadillac - by far the nicest car I have owned.  Several of these put smiles on my face, only one real lemon in the bunch, 5 of them bought new.  The two Toyotas I got more for when I sold them than I had paid for them.   

What made me laugh this week? Two things at lunch with Emily the other day.  She is a hair stylist, I told her what I had been paying for a haircut and she said, "to cut what? you don't have much left to cut!" True.  Her mother died a couple of years ago, and her father, who is about my age is starting to date, using dating apps. She was warning him about the dangers of meeting strangers, and I said will at least Aileen Wuornos is not still on the loose in central Florida. Aileen was a serial killer of men.  Not listed in her bio, is the man she bonked in the head with an orr and pushed overboard in alligator infested waters about a mile from the office I was working in at the time, he lived. Dark humor, but humor.  



Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Travel Tuesday : Artomatic

I mentioned Artomatic a couple of weeks ago. This is the third one that I have toured.  It is run by a non-profit group. Every few years they fill an empty building, often a vacant office building that is slated to be torn down, with Art.  This year is in an office building, slated to be converted to residential space. It is partially gutted. 
Artomatic welcomes a full spectrum of artists, professional or amateur, in a wide array of media.  It is very grassroots.  Much of the art is very good, some of it excellent, some of it very personal - a kind way of saying not very good.  
I am back painting again, maybe the next time Artomatic is held, I should toss my hat in the ring.  


Monday, April 15, 2024

Moody Monday: Ten Things To Be Grateful For This Week

  1.  I continue to have great walks, about an hour a day, with the spring weather most often outside in a variety of surroundings. 
  2. My sweet bear, 30-odd years and we still find new things to talk about and laugh about. (Some of the years are odder than others.) 
  3. A reasonable degree of security in life. 
  4. Each day, there are no guarantees, another one of my high school classmates died, his family posted photos on Facebook, I haven't aged all that bad 
  5. Easy access to great public transit, we went into the city for lunch the other day, and it was so nice to sit back and ride. 
  6. My blogging friends, you are my daily wake-up ritual. 
  7. Good health insurance, I had prescriptions renewed the other day and my out of pocket cost was $12 for a three month supply. (The first time since my insurance coverage changed this year.) 
  8. Time, my time is my own.  
  9. Being free of the bureaucracy, it is budgeting season at my former employer - I am so glad I never face that process again. 
  10. Being me.  I am who I am, shaped by my life experiences, flawed, a work in progress, moving forward everyday.
So how is my mood?  Good, very good.  And still adjusting to my new normal.  

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Sunday Five: Would You?

 1: Would you live in this cabin in the woods? 

2: Would you spend a quiet afternoon here reading or writing? 

3: Have you read the book Walden, by Henry David Thoreau? 

4: Do you live a simple life? 

5: Would you hike 30 minutes to get to this cabin? 

My answers:

1: Would you live in this cabin in the woods? No. my idea of roughing it is staying at a three star hotel. 

2: Would you spend a quiet afternoon here reading or writing? Yes, I may go back next summer. 

3: Have you read the book Walden, by Henry David Thoreau? Multiple times, this cabin reminded me of Walden. 

4: Do you live a simple life? In a modern sort of a way, yes. 

5: Would you hike 30 minutes to get to this cabin? Apparently I would, it is around on the back side of a lake.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Saturday Morning Post: Touching the Third Rail

Oh I know I am going to frighten and piss off some people with this post.  I generally stay away from politics, religion, and guns.  People are frightened and angered by all three (pissed off = angered in American English.) 

Bob posted about a politician who keeps lying about how he was shot.  Was it in a war zone, or the tale he told to the police when he was being investigated for discharging a firearm in a national park.  He told the police that the handgun discharged when he dropped it while loading it. That is possible, though unlikely. A single action revolver would be most likely to have that happen if he was being careless in handling it while loading or unloading it.  Pistols are much safer, and it is nearly impossible for them to accidentally fire, throw them around all you want, drive over them with a car, and they are unlikely to fire.  

I seldom talk about this, I am a gun owner.  My grandparents gave me a semi-automatic rifle when I was a teenager, I still have it.  I spent many hours as a teenager shooting target practice.  

When I was in my 40's my father gave me his colt-revolver.  I had grown up with it in a locked box in the hall closet. A few times a year it would come out for target practice, a cleaning, then be locked away again.  I think I fired it once, before he gave it to me.  

When he gave it to me, I went to a professional indoor range owned and operated by a couple of retired police officers, and hired a professional instructor to show me how to handle it safely.  The Colt was an old design, single action revolver, a design that has been around since the 1850's.  You have to be very-very careful if it is loaded and "half cocked" and you wish to not have it fire, if you carelessly drop it at that point, it could fire accidently if it landed just the wrong way.  The instructor meticulously showed me, and had me practice how to safely do that with the gun unloaded, and was explicit in how to only do that under controlled circumstances so that if an accident happened no one and nothing would be hurt. Then we spent a couple hours on the range firing line practicing what I had learned.  

I went back to that instructor when I bought my first pistol.  He was pleased that I was moving to something modern, and spent time showing me how to handle it safely, and how to safely unload and clear the chamber.  You never pick up a firearm without verifying that the chamber is clear - NEVER. You NEVER point a gun at anything you are not prepared to make a big hole in.    

No one should handle firearms without that kind of training, and without the instructor signing off that the person has the skills and judgement to safely handle the firearm.  It was not required, I did it because I knew I didn't know what I was doing and wanted to do it safely. I live in a state that does not license or register guns.  I never have lived in a state that does.  

I enjoy target shooting, though it has been several years since I last went to a range.  Why do I own them? Because I do.  I have enjoyed them over the years. There is no real need or justification other than I do because I can.  Kind of like why do I own cameras. 

The Colt is a family heirloom, it has been passed onto a family member, with the instruction to go hire an instructor before putting ammunition into it for the first time. 

A friend of mine lives alone in a rural part of appalachia.  His father gave him a loaded revolver to keep next to his bed.  He has no idea how it works, he has never fired one, never loaded or unloaded one, that is how people die. I have urged him to hire an instructor, or contact the local police and say, "would you please come take this thing away."  

No one should handle guns, without careful instruction and good judgement.  People who lack good judgement, should never be allowed near guns.  

The idiot politician is either a liar, or careless, or more likely both. His actions and words show that he lacks the character needed to handle firearms and shouldn't be allowed near them. 

Friday, April 12, 2024

100 Ways to Slightly Improve Your Travel Experience: #1 Always Select Your Seat Carefully

Unless you weigh 98 pounds and enjoy being crushed between a couple of 300 pound strangers, you always want to select your seat with care.  Aisle seats generally allow the most space, you can lean out into the aisle, but you can't lean out the window.  I prefer the left hand side of the aisle, so my right arm is in the aisle, and not in the face of the person in the middle seat.  The farther forward you are, the fewer people ahead of you getting off the plane.  But sometimes there are empty rows in the back allowing you to stretch out.  

The seats in the rows in front of the overwing exits don't recline. This is a safety issue to improve access to the emergency exit.  If you are a recliner, best to avoid that row.  Exit rows generally have an extra couple of inches of legroom, and most airlines now charge extra for those rows.  

I generally avoid the first row.  On widebody jets, often the first row of coach on many planes has fixed armrests that can be quite confining.  I remember one trip, I had paid extra for the bulkhead row on an overnight transAtlantic flight.  The middle row, behind me was empty, and I moved back there, put up the armrests and slept for 4 or 5 hours that night.  

Both of us are "full size" adults.  When we travel together in coach, I pick seats across the aisle from one another, that way we don't spend the flight bumping into one another's space.  

I check seating when I check in, and sometimes move to a part of the cabin with more open seats.  With the airlines selling seats without seat assignments, this is not foolproof.  Most airlines will fill empty seats from the front of the cabin back. If the flight is full, every seat will be filled.   

Some airlines charge extra for seat assignments.  Some of those waive that if you join their frequent flyer program (always join, they are free to join, and the perks add up.) Others waive the charge if you carry one of their branded credit cards.  More on airline credit cards in another post, but look at the benefits, if you fly more than a couple of times a year the cards are a bargain. 

Even in business or first class seating matters.  The first row does not have under seat storage for small items, or seat back pocket storage for things like my Kindle.  You are also limited to the tray that folds up from the armrest.  I avoid the first row, if I can. The worst seat in business class, is better than the best seat in coach.    

Special Note 
I have found "Foodie Friday" hard to sustain. I love to cook, I enjoy interesting foods, but I am not in a habit of taking photos when I am cooking, or in restaurants.  Sorry!  I am going to try something new 100 travel tips, inspired by Spo's 100 tips to slightly improve your life. we will see if I can keep this up. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Thursday Ramble: Why Do People Follow "he who shall not be named?"

I was having a late lunch, and a glass of wine with an old friend late last week, and she said "I just don't understand how anyone can follow #rump (he who shall not be named - HWSNBN.)  We agreed that we find him vile, evil, sexist, racist, a braggart who at the heart of it is a failure (he claims to be a billionaire but couldn't raise $175,000,000.) 

I kind of understand why people follow him, support him.  Some are family members, some are people I knew growing up in middle America.  

He says things that make them feel better, or powerful, or even good about themselves. And many of them have a had a difficult life. 

When I was a teenager the dream of my high school classmates was to graduate, get a job in one of the automobile plants before you turned 25, and retire at 55 (55 and 30 or more years of service) with a comfortable pension and guaranteed health insurance coverage for life.  Older brothers and sisters of my classmates who had graduated a decade earlier were already on that path, they were earning a good living, buying homes, new cars, and starting families.  Then came the Arab Oil Embargo of the middle 1970's, the price of gasoline quadrupled,  energy efficient cars entered the market from Japan and Germany, and the bottom dropped out of the auto industry.  Over the next 30 years those jobs never really came back.  Old inefficient plants were closed, new one's built that require many fewer man hours to build each car. Many of the high paying jobs like the paint room, are now entirely automated.  We build as many cars as we ever did, but with many fewer well paid workers. 

Other industry never filled the void in employment and opportunities in those areas.  Often the best job in town, maybe the only job in town was McDonalds at minimum wage.  I went to my 25th High School reunion, I had classmates who were still living in their mother's basement eeking out a living at less than $10 an hour.  

That generation is angry, they feel left behind, overlooked.  They are looking for something, anything to blame their misery on.  Women, immigrants, or persons of color are easy targets and HWSNBN pushes that button for them.  Makes them feel okay about blaming others for their lot in life.  

And to a great extent the government's efforts to address poverty failed this generation in rural America.  The efforts to eliminate poverty focused on inner city and urban poverty. Many people never understood poverty in rural America.  The population in rural areas is much less dense, it is easier to address jobs and poverty in an urban area, than in farm country, but the suffering of poverty is just the same in a rural area.  We put transit funding in cities, but if you are poor and live 5 miles from the nearest grocery store a junker car may be your lifeline. They watched others prosper, while they were left behind. 

Many urban areas, especially where manufacturing was the primary employer also imploded, and never recovered. As long as it is cheaper to manufacture halfway around the globe and ship the item to market, that is how it will be done.  People want cheap manufactured goods, companies make bigger profits on them, and the "rust belt" and "cotton belt" factories closed and the jobs were not replaced. In places like Louisville, large appliance manufacturing was all sent out of the country, and as it has slowly returned, it has been automated, with 1/3 of the workforce employed 40 years ago.  (My new top GE Profile appliances were made in Louisville.)    

This same message of blaming the other was perpetuated in some faith and community based organizations.  People showed up, if what was said made them feel better about their life, and blaming the challenges on the success or sins of others made people feel better.  I know that is not what religion should be about, but the gospel of prosperity flourishes in the this country.  

I was fortunate, in that I had seen some of the country outside of the where I grew up, and had an opportunity to move and start life where there were more opportunities.  I realized that education would bring more opportunities and worked my way through it.  When the two greatest opportunities opened up for me, I was not afraid to leave home and chase them.  If I had stayed behind in my home town, I would be likely be as battered as what is left of mainstreet.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

My World of Wonders aka the Wednesday Ws - the why there edition


What is the firetruck doing there?  The drivers, one at the front and one at the back, were practicing backing in a tight spaces.  

Someone asked Why I was in Cincinnati Ohio last week?  Simple answer, someone paid me (paid well at that) to be there. 

Where am I going this week?  Into the city to the Old Ebbit Grill to have lunch with the daughter of one of my old high school friends.  Her mother died a couple of years ago, after a long struggle with poor health.  

What have I been reading?  Not much, I started a book on my Kindle, but have not finished anything in 10 days. 

What have I been eating?  Last week in Cincinnati I was with people who believed that two things kept consultants happy, great food, and paying them well.  Mexican food, Italian food, seafood, subs, salads, and order what ever wine you want.  Since I have been home, I have been cooking again. 

What surprised me?  I was quiet, asking questions and listening.  A couple of times I said, I could tell war stories, but my role this week is to hear your stories. 

Who have I communicated with? Spo, Andrew, my sister, my middle brother, the team, the friend we are having lunch with, it was a good week for trading messages.  Late last week was not a good time for reading blogs, time was tight, I have been catching up. 

What am I listening to? 70's soft rock at the moment. 

Who deserves a "way to go!" this week?  American Airlines, the flights were early, in both directions. 

Who deserves a big Thank You! this week? The owner of zTrip taxi in Cincinnati and Louisville.  I got to talking to the guy in the z-Trip polo shirt while waiting for a taxi at the airport in Cincinnati - a long wait about 10 minutes but it went fast with a nice person to talk with.  Turns out he co-owns the regional franchise and he was more disappointed in the wait than I was, he comped the taxi ride to the hotel (it was 19 miles.)  They are really trying to improve service. 

What made me strangely sad this week?  Listening to the Carpenters Greatest Hits. Such a great talent, Karen Carpenter died of anorexia. We are so body image driven that people die needlessly from it.  Be kind to everyone, of every shape, including yourself.  You are all beautiful just the way you are.  

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Travel Tuesday: Huntley Meadows in Spring

Nose to Tail Turtles in the Sun

A very large Snapping Turtle

The circles in the water, are mating frogs, dozens of them.

A wet beaver

Huntley Meadows is a county park about 2 miles south of the where we live.  The site has a long and varied history, but over the past 40 years it has been managed as a wildlife preserve.  There are very well maintained walking trails, and long boardwalks over the wetlands. A great place to go walk for an hour. 

Monday, April 08, 2024

Moody Monday: Here is Looking At You Kid!

Immagine for a moment coming face to face with my little friend here.  He is not so little, about two feet tall (60 centimeters).  He would make himself at home, sleeping under your bed poking his head out for an occasional scratch.  He feeds on your fears, bad memories and anxieties.

He seems to survive all attempts to kill or chase him away.  He can be shooed back under cover, but he is always lurking there waiting for an opportunity to surprise you.  

The best we can do is learn to live with him.  He is a part of your past, a past we can not change.  He disturbs today, because that is what his mission is in life.  He can't change the future, only how we live today.  

His purpose in life is to warn us about the mistakes of the past, so we can avoid repeating them. But in the process he dredges up the past in ways that we don't always find helpful. 

The best we can do is learn to live with him.  To say, thank you for reminding me to not repeat the regrets of the past, now go away and let me enjoy the moment.  

Origin is not destiny. 

Learn from the past and try not to repeat the mistakes of it. 

Carpe Diem! 

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Sunday Five: Travel Preferences


1: What is your favorite way to travel?

2: What is your preferred Hotel brand? 
3: What is the worst part of travel for you? 
4: Have you rented a house or apartment on vacation? 
5: Would you spend a vacation in a tent? 

My Answers 

1: What is your favorite way to travel?  I love to fly places. 

2: What is your preferred Hotel brand? Hilton.
3: What is the worst part of travel for you? Renting cars still frustrates and terrifies me. 
4: Have you rented a house or apartment on vacation? Twice in France, soon to be three times. 
5: Would you spend a vacation in a tent? No, my idea of roughing it is staying at a Holiday Inn. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, April 06, 2024

The Saturday Morning Post: Finding the Artist Within You

Esther Miller started me on the journey to discover the artists within me.  She was a dear neighbor, for about 8 months of my teenage years.  The second and third winters that my family spent in Florida, when I was in the 9th and 10th grade, we rented a condo on the Indian River in Titusville, Florida directly across the river from the space center. Mrs. Miller lived next door.  She was in her 80's, a bit eccentric, smoked, collected antiques and painted to relax.  She described herself as a successful widow.  Her first husband died and left her a few hundred acres of land.  She used that to bankroll her second husband into a VW, Porsche Audi dealership, that she owned and her sons operated.  She had moved to Titusville to get out of the son's way, people would call her if they didn't like the deal they got from her son, so she bought a condo and moved away. 

She was talented, she did landscapes featuring the flatlands of inland Florida.  I was intrigued.  She told me where the local art supply store was.  I bought a starter kit, and she coached me - taught me to blend colors and to paint from the heart.  To put on canvas what I feel.  To relax with the media, and not worry about what the end product looks like.  For her it was about the process, she had more art than walls, when she finished the new work it went in the closet, or under a bed, or in the back seat of her VW Squareback hoping that someone would please take it.  

I painted for about 4 years, trying landscapes and portraits.  I would best describe those as artistically handicapped.  Near the end of that I moved onto abstracts. All of those early works are lost to time.  Left behind, given away. 

Photography filled the void on and off for decades, and continues to do so.  I love photography, painting helps me to understand colors in ways that photography never could. 

Then life moved on, I didn't paint for decades. Fourteen years ago after I moved into the Condo, and while Sweetie Bear was still teaching and living in the other house eight months out of the year, I decided I wanted to try painting again.  I bought another starter kit for painting, and splurged,  and bought a proper studio easel.  I don't remember what I paid, I remember cringing when I clicked "buy it' on Amazon.  It was the best thing I ever did for painting.  My bedroom is large, I have space for a nice desk and to paint at the end of my bedroom.  

There have been a couple of off periods when I didn't paint, and a couple of very intense periods when I did one after another, after another.  I have long ago run out of space.  If you like one, please come ask for it and take it with you.  

Am I any good? That is debatable.  I enjoy it, I find it relaxing, I see the world in new ways, by trying my hand at trying to represent it in some way.  

Each of us has an artist within us, find ways to let it out.  Good, bad, or indifferent, it is your art, it is your dialog with the inner and outer world.  

Friday, April 05, 2024

Foodie Friday: Bourbon

 The Bourbon I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, was too special to drink steadily, that bottle will last a few months.  

I picked this one up at my local, Rebel, Distiller's Collection wheated. It is good.  Not a lot of nose for me, oak. The taste is surprisingly spicey, with a notable oak. On my scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being Jim Beam, I wouldn't give that swill to my ex, and 10 being impossibly perfect, I give this a 7.  A good solid, everyday sipper, and just under $50. 

How did I pick this one? 

It is a distiller's select, hopefully meaning that the master distiller sample the barrel and deemed it worthy of a stand alone bottling.  It is wheated, meaning that there is more wheat than rye in the mash bill as a secondary grain (it has to be 51% corn.) Wheat generally results in a sweeter bourbon - my taste.  And it is a single barrel.  Interesting it does not say Single Barrel on the label, but at the bottom it shows the batch, barrel number and date making it clear that it is a single barrel and not a blend.  I generally find single barrel bourbons to be the best that the master distiller had available that day.    

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Thursday Ramble: Growing up on a Farm

 Neil over at Yorkshire Pudding recently posted wondering about growing up on a farm, in a rural area.  Today, few people do grow up this way, less than 15% of the United States population lives on an active farm today.  It was 80% when my grandparents were growing up.  

My paternal grandfather bought an 80 acre farm during World War II, about 60 miles north of Detroit, in the middle of nowhere.  In the mid 1950's, my parents moved out to the farm, built a small house, and a couple of years later my grandparents moved out to the farm.  The farm is 1 1/2 miles from the nearest paved road.  There were three neighbors within 1/2 a mile, all were older adults, one house changed ownership when I was about 10 with a family with kids moving in.  We were about 5 miles outside the nearest Village, where the local shops and schools are.  

By the time I was a child, my family had stopped "farming" the farm. A few fields would be rented to neighboring farmers. The primary purpose for us was to host the honey-farm, there were about 60 colonies of bees along the side of one of the back fields.  The honey processing plant was next to my grandfather's garage.  I spent my teen years working in the honey plant in the summer and weekends into the fall each. 

As the youngest for 4 kids, I grew up without children around. Children and babies still mystify me. Social contact was limited.  In many ways I am still a soloist, very comfortable being alone, taking long walks, being fiercely independent. 

What do a retain from that experience? A simple joy in being alone. In quiet. In long walks without seeing another person.  An ability to entertain myself. The ability to recognize pretty much everything there is to grow or raise on a farm. An understanding of what goes into feeding the world's population, the work, the challenges, crop failures, and bumper harvests.  It shaped how I view money and finance, farmers never know what the next harvest will be like and avoid debt if at all possible. The value of good neighbors, you have to be a good neighbor to have good neighbors. To live for days without visiting a store or shop.  I could cook for a couple of weeks with what is in the pantry and refrigerator, living on the farm, you lived that way.  

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

My World of Wonders, aka The Wednesday Ws April 3, 2024

Where in the world am I? Cincinnati, Ohio on a consulting project.  

Where have I been?  Home, the farmers market, into DC for Artomatic, grocery shopping, a long walk near home, a long walk at the Pentagon Center Mall, a long walk at the outlet mall at National Harbor in Maryland (three miles from home, just across the bridge), and National Harbor for a slow walk in light rain.  

Who have a talked with? Hmm, not much of anyone. 

What have I been eating?  We had lunch at a northern Italian restaurant in DC, on Friday, and I had a great Chicken Parmesan sandwich.  I have been cooking a wide variety of boring things at home.  

What have I been listening to?  Country, classic rock, classical music.  The CD player in my car jammed last fall, so the radio is on with a local NPR classical station.  

What have I seen on YouTube?  Karl in Iceland uploaded a good video about Grindavik. I met Karl and his wife last fall when they visited Washington DC, he is a really nice guy (computer programer.) I had lunch in Grindavik a year ago this month. Near the place where the street is broken with one side raised by 2-3 feet, is a supermarket I  took a walk through - making this event very personal for me.  (I love walking through supermarkets when we travel - seeing what is different, what is the same.) 

When is the next adventure? The end of the month, I checked in with the cruise line and printed the pre-boarding boarding passes.  

Who deserves a huge THANK YOU this week? All of my readers and commenters.  Comments have been up in numbers the past few weeks.  Thank you all so very much. 

What is the photo all about? It was taken at Artomatic, I don't know what is in room 6055, the building is huge and the elevators (lifts) were out of service, we didn't make it all the way up. But I like the message, always do something to be proud of.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Travel Tuesday: The Future of the Washington DC Subway System

The subway system in Washington DC, locally known as Metro, short for Metrorail, is relatively new - it entered service in 1976.  Metro is currently showing a mock-up of the latest generation of rail cars, this will be the 8th generation, the 1st and 5th generations have been removed from service.  The 1st generations had a fatal design flaw that cause one car to "telescope" into the next one in a collision.  The 5th generation was plagued with electrical wiring issues and the cost of remedying that was nearly the same as the cost of new cars, so they were scrapped out. 

The 8th generation will be the first with an open passageway from one car to the next, in two car pairings.  They will have more center facing seating creating wider aisleways, allowing better mobility access, and more comfortable standing room.  The new cars will space for luggage and bicycles, the first cars to do so (both airports are served by the subway and bikes are being promoted as a part of the transit system.)

The mock-up is plastic, about one and half cars long and is temporarily on display.  The new cars are being built in Maryland.