Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

Senioritis II

The senioritis is really bad now.  I have one big paper left in one class.  A group project with a couple minor loose ends and group presentation left.  That and 3 more weeks.  Can I motivate myself to write this paper?  I’m sure I well but the energy level is mighty low at the moment.

November 19, 2009 Posted by | social media | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Senioritis

Only five weeks left until completion of this graduate degree.  I really can’t wait to finish the program.   You go through many stages in a program like this.  I’m clearly at the final stage; lets get it done.  A couple more assignments to do and its time to check out.  Working hard to maintain motivation and quality of work! I guess almost everyone in my classes feels the same based on conversations.  No reflections on the program I think everyone is just spent at this point.

The Urban Dictionary has some funny definitions of senioritis.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | social media | Leave a comment

Boycott the NFL

I’m boycotting the NFL for the rest of the season and I encourage you to also.  Consider this a “call to action” for the masses of NFL fans to boycott the NFL.

I’m boycotting the NFL because the referees are deciding the outcomes of games to cover their Vegas bets or for whatever personal reasons they have.

I just returned from the Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals games where for the second week in a row the referees handed the game to our opponent by sustaining drives with defensive pass interference or roughing the passer penalties.

In the Ravens vs. Bengals case three pass interference calls with less than two minutes to go to hand the game to Bengals and cover or beat the odds in Vegas.

Although a big NFL fan and heavily invested in the Ravens with season tickets since 1999 I’m done other than Ravens home games.

Hey Roger there are plenty of entertainment options out there besides the NFL for me to choose from.

Since I’ve paid for season tickets I will continue to go to home games. However I will not watch any games on TV the rest of this season.  Not on Sundays, not Sunday Night, not Monday Night, not Thursday night nor on Thanksgiving NFL football.  I also won’t be watching any more NFL TV or listening on Sirius NFL network.

Guess I’m kind of old school in that I think a fumble is a fumble and I don’t need instant replay to see if a knee is on the ground and that the play of the players should determine the game not the referee bias.

October 11, 2009 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ravens vs Browns

The Ravens blew out the Browns today, 31-3.  The crowd was fired up from the start.  Its great finally have a quality “franchise” quarterback in Joe Flacco.  The Ravens passing and running game is really going great.  Unlike last week against the Chargers the defense was up to the task too.

Being a long-time Ravens fan I’m not used to so much and consistent offense in three games in a row.  But I can get used to it real quick!  🙂

September 28, 2009 Posted by | social media | Leave a comment

Neglect

I see I’ve been neglecting my blog…  I guess I should post something recent.  Its been so long where should I start.

September 16, 2009 Posted by | social media | 2 Comments

2008 Ravens

Well the NFL season as ended for my team the Baltimore Ravens.  Although the Steelers where our down fall, what a Great Season the Ravens had.

For a team the talking heads and most fans didn’t think would even be 8-8 it was incredible.  An unbelievable season considering this team went to the AFC championship game without a bye weekend, with a un-known running back and a rookie quarterback.  Our defense as always was exceptional.

I think finally we’ve found a quarterback for hopefully the next ten or so years.

Already looking forward to the draft and next season.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | social media | 1 Comment

DC MetroRail Fire and Train Evacuation

I was a passenger on the DC MetroRail Red Line train that caught fire on December 12, 2008.  Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to snap some photos so you’ll have to settle for my account the event.

I caught the train at Shady Grove like I do every day.  The ride itself was uneventful until the fire and evacuation.  I wasn’t really paying attention to my morning commute to DC as I was deeply engrossed in a good book I am currently reading.

After we had passed Friendship Heights station the train stopped in the tunnel.  Soon afterwards the train operator announced that there was a fire and we should evacuate the train.  Of course this took us all by surprise and we all just sat around looking at each other.  About then we started seeing smoke in our train car.   The operator made a couple more announcements to evacuate. After that there was no other announcements or help from metro employees.  I guess the operator beat feet also.

In this situation it appears Metro has no over-ride to allow the operator to open the train doors.  Metro needs to seriously review this because if the operator had opened the doors evacuation would have been easy.

Now I’ve been riding metro for 15 years and this was a first for me and I learned many things that I’ve never really paid much attention to.  First in an emergency situation only the center door on metro rail cars open and only one half of the door opens. Initially passengers tried to open our metro rail door and could not.  As the smoke in our car increased fellow passengers continued with their efforts to open the door.  (To be fair I was observing as there were four men who I considered capable of opening the door working on it and thought myself jumping in at that time wouldn’t have helped the situation.)

As our passengers worked on the door we began to see other passengers outside the car and this lead to some degree of panic.  A couple passengers gave the windows a push but quickly realized breaking the windows to get out was not possible.  I actually thought about the passengers who died in the MARC train crash in Rockville a few years ago because the windows on the train couldn’t be opened.  About this time the guys working on our door got it open.  There was an elevated level of smoke in our car, although a serious concern I didn’t think it had reached a critical level.  You could see it sort of like fog. You could also most certainly smell it when you breathed and taste it.  But it wasn’t at a level causing coughing or choking but most certainly gave cause for alarm that we were in a serious situation.  I guess if you had some physical issues particularly respiratory the situation would have been much more difficult.

Luckily we were calm and exited the train in an orderly manner.  Although our car was only about half full when we stopped in the tunnel it felt like an eternity waiting to get out.  You know what is like getting off a DC MetroRail car with three doors open at the platform.  Imagine half a car load of people trying to get out half of one door, in poor light conditions and having to step down to the track level.

Eventually our car emptied and we followed the line of people making their way slowly to the Friendship Heights station.  There wasn’t much light but it was enough to walk along the tiny path between the train and the wall of the tunnel.  I didn’t see any people with walkers or wheelchairs etc on my car.  I’m not sure how anybody with those kind of disabilities could have evacuated.  Scooters, wheelchairs and walkers would have been to wide to fit on the skinny walking path.  The path was about as wide as a goat trail.  The path had several obstructions protruding from the tunnel walls.  There were also little rocks and the like that somehow overtime fell down onto or were kicked up onto the path by trains and people.  Movement was slow but steady and the person in front of you pointed out hazards and you told the person behind.

I had always thought in this situation you walked to the next station platform and exited.  We never made it to the station, I guess because a Metro employee took us another way. We ended up climbing a metal scaffolding like stairway from the tracks to Wisconsin Avenue.  It must have been ten to twelve stories give or take.  Many passengers had to rest on the landings to catch their breath and recover.  As with everything that morning it was eventful as the stairs wobbled back and forth because of the weight and movement of the people. Eventually I popped out on Wisconsin Avenue at Friendship Heights station no worse for experience and with a story to share at work.

I must commend my fellow passengers for working together as a team and not panicking.  Once the door opened everyone was helpful, courteous and calm.  Of course there is always one person.  One woman who was panicked kept cutting the line and going around others to save herself I guess.  She passed me at the base of the stairs before the climb up to Wisconsin.  However she wasn’t in good enough shape to speed up the stairs.  I passed her about halfway up as she rested on the stairs after burning out.

As a result of this experience I am convinced that Metro needs to make at least one window on each side of every train car an emergency exit that can be opened by passengers in emergency situations to exit.  Also the operator should be able to override the safety controls and open the doors in the tunnel to facilitate evacuations in the future.  I sent an email to Metro about my experience suggesting these improvements.  In today’s restrained monetary environment I doubt Metro will spend money on these safety enhancements.

I only wish it had occurred to me to take some pics, so much for my citizen journalism.

December 13, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Driving in Cali

I recently spent a week in Cali and actually thought that Cali/LA drivers were much better than DC drivers.  If you live in DC you know the drivers here are the worst.  Then if it rains or snows forget it.  You’ll have white knuckle drivers going 5 mph because there is some snow on the road.

Anyhow about the only decent thing about Europe are their driving laws.  I’m speaking specifically about Germany and Italy where I’ve driven significantly.  What really burns me in DC and most of the east coast is drivers who block the fast lane going 55 mph.  Soon 10 to 20 cars pile up behind these fools.  Eventually you have to weave between lanes to get around them.

Of course their argument is something like “the speed limit is 55, you’re not allowed to go higher than 55 even when passing, it’s my right to be in the fast lane” blaa blaa etc.  These people are so myopic that they don’t see how they are disrupting the traffic flow and that they could go 55 in one of lanes right of the passing lane without affecting the traffic flow.  Try doing that in Europe and you’ll be involved in an rear-end collision quickly.  In Europe you pass and immediately get out of the passing lane because somebody going faster than you is coming soon.

If U.S. drivers were smart enough to adapt this policy I believe traffic would flow much better in most places.
So here’s to the majority of the 405 and 5 drivers I encountered in Cali who passed and moved to the right allowing faster moving cars to pass them.  Most Cali drivers will disagree I’m sure, but compared to DC drivers at least in Cali drivers have a clue.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No bailouts, not for anyone

Well the pigs are running to the Federal trough.  GM, Chrysler, Ford came the other day.  Citibank bellied up to the trough.  Fanny and Freddie are in line.  Who else is going to come to feed at the Federal trough filled with the taxpayer’s money; your money and my money?  Perhaps the airline industry, insurance industry, print industry, cattle associations or milk producers?  The line will never end.

We should let all these companies fail.  The auto industry foolishly entered into agreements with the UAW unions that forced them pass vehicle costs on to consumers in the form of higher car prices to pay for ridiculous UAW union worker wages and benefits.  Add to that perceived lower quality than other manufactures and building cars nobody wants to buy.  Why should we pay for this failure of all these highly paid experts?

As for Fanny and Freddie let them fail.  I’d like to have a large house but instead bought a condo I can afford.  I could have had a big house with a zero percent loan or no principal loan but I didn’t.  Banks that gave out loans to poor credit risk consumers should pay for their mistakes as should people who bought beyond their means.  No redos.  Corporations that bought band loans from banks too bad, eat your losses.

I wish someone would bail me out of my condo loan or my car loan or my student loan for graduate school.  Somehow I don’t see any bailout money coming my way or to any other normal person trying to make it.

Here’s an idea.  Take the bail out money what ever it ends up being and give it back to where it came from.  Yes, back to you and I the taxpayer.  It is our money to begin with.  Prorate it for everyone who paid taxes over a certain period.

We’d save the money, perhaps we’d invest it.  Maybe we’d spend it.  Perhaps we’d pay off our mortgage.  Maybe we’d buy a car from Ford, GM or Chrysler.  Let us put the money back in the economy where we want to rather than rewarding failure.

That’s how I think we should spend some 750 billion dollars.  Give back to those who created it in the first place.  We’ll spend it better than any faceless government or corporate bureaucrat.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inward Journey

With the approach of winter I’ve put my road bike away and haven’t been looking forward to going back to the gym on the elliptical machine.  I decided that I would mix up my routine and try something different; so I am now taking Yoga.  The gym won’t go away but some gym time is being replaced with yoga.

After a bit of searching, visiting yoga studios and talking to people I’ve settled on Thrive Yoga in Rockville.  The owners, instructors and atmosphere at Thrive is wonderful.  It’s a great place to be exposed to yoga or if you’re more advanced to move to higher levels.

I’m specifically taking a fundamental yoga class at the moment.  The fundamental class is based on Hatha Yoga.  Hopefully I can get to the point where I feel comfortable taking the Vinyasa Flow yoga classes.  That seems to be the more popular classes once you’ve got the basics down.

Much of what I’ve read about yoga talks about the inward journey you have embarked upon.  I can’t say I’ve figured this mystic part of yoga out yet.  But I can tell you this.  I never really thought much effort was needed to practice yoga.  I was wrong about that.  I’m finding that yoga is physically hard and mentally demanding.  Much more so than I had ever thought it was.  If it wasn’t for those blocks I think I might snap in half!!!!

After my weekly yoga class I feel great for a 2-3 days afterwards.  All of my little bodily aches a pains are gone or diminished. I’m sure there is a connection here. Thanks to Susan and Claudia for getting me moving in the right direction! (I was going to say straight, but that didn’t seem like the right word)  lol

If you haven’t tried yoga before give it a try.  One great thing about yoga is that it is all about you.  It doesn’t matter what the people around you are doing only that you are improving with each class.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , | Leave a comment