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Thursday, May 29, 2008

DRAGNET: Police Hunt For Littering Suspects (Examiner Delivered Again)

Score a point for my driveway!  We got an Examiner Delivery this morning (the crowd goes wild cheering for the driveway).  You will recall, if the score gets to 10 unsubscribes and the Examiner is still delivered, my driveway gets a special power washing!

Let's Go Driveway!  Let's Go Driveway!  Let's Go Driveway!

SCOREBOARD

SCORE

Days Since We First Unsubscribed:

77

Number of Times We Have Unsubscribed

8


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Unwanted Newspapers

The "No Examiner" sign appeared on the corner of N Vermont and 26th Street.  When I stopped to take the picture, one neighbor complained that she was unable to cancel paper delivery while on vacation - resulting in a pile of papers in the driveway announcing to all would-be thieves that no one was home.  Ironically, a second neighbor complained that she wanted the Examiner, and could not get them to deliver it to her. 

The next set of photos were taken at the corner of Yorktown and N Buchanan St.  All of the houses on this court appear to be empty.  All of the windows have been boarded up from the inside. The tan color in the window below is plywood.  You can see the gutter has fallen off the house and the lawn is not cared for. It would appear clear that no one is home.  And there at the foot of the driveway is a pile of newspapers (there are four houses on the court - the house with the broken gutter was closest to Yorktown Blvd - several newspapers appear at the bottom left of the driveway. The closeup picture of the newspapers is from the next house over - which likewise has plywood over the windows, but no broken gutter).






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Monday, May 26, 2008

"Mission Accomplished" - No More Examiner Deliveries

All quiet on the Arlington Front.  We have taken no additional ordinance from the Washington Examiner.  And we are relieved to report that our azalea is is fairing quite nicely. We are declaring Mission Accomplished

We received a communique from The Washington Examiner "personally apologiz[ing] for our failure of stopping delivery to your residence."  There was no explanation as to why the Examiner was being fired at our driveway in the first place.  There was no discussion of any terms of surrender.  

We are slowly emerging from our bunker, coming out, and seeing the flowers, the birds, and the lawn that needs to be mowed due to the Arlington Monsoon Season.  We hope that our victory in our small battle will stand as a symbol to other neighbors still struggling in their quests.  Victory can be yours - you can protect your driveway from the slings and arrows of outrageous unsubscribed to news coverage.  There is much yet to be done - many other driveways cluttered with Indiana Jones Headlines in plastic rap.  In the words, of Winston Churchill, "Never, Never, Never Quit!"  As for us, we move on - to that new Nintendo Wii Fit game .... man that thing is cool.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Going DigitalTV in Arlington

As you may know, on February 17, 2009, analogy TV broadcast signals will be turned off by the TV stations, and all TV broadcasts will go digital. This effects the 56 of us who still get TV reception over the air with our rabbit ears. Our TVs can still work as long as we get a converter box to convert the signals from digital to analog. The government has program to facilitate the migration. We can request two $40 coupons (they look just like gift cards) to purchase two converter boxes (you can of course buy as many as you want with your own money). You can get more information about the program here.

I decided to be one of the first guinea pigs to get my DTV converter boxes. As soon as they were released, I signed up to get my two free DTV gift cards from NTIA - a $40 value each. When they arrived, I promptly put them in the drawer and forgot about them.

And then I was at some conference where a very kind lady from NTIA pointed out that the cards expire in 90 days. Oops. Gotta use those cards.

Being an educated consumer, I first searched for reviews of the different converter boxes. Bupcus. Nada. No Reviews. I guess I was in front of the buying-wave and there weren't reviews yet. So I decided to buy a brand name I liked.

I checked my favorite ecommerce sites. Some had boxes, but they were built by companies I had never heard of before. Others listed boxes, but you could not use your DTV gift card online. So I had to rediscover where the local electronics box store was - boy it had been a long time since I had been there.

I went into the box store - I am the type of person who doesn't like the store salesman-buy-the-extended-warranty help - so I tried to find the DTV converter myself. No dice. Not to be found.

So I conceded and asked a salesman. He had no idea what I was talking about, and tried to sell me a DTV tuner. Finally he resorted to ask a fellow salesperson -- sales guy #2 knew where the boxes were, and showed me where they were, when he was done with his first customer. And then he walked away. I am guessing there is no commission on DTV converter boxes.

Having accomplished my quest, I marched to the checkout line and presented my coupons. The checkout guy was not too sure, but the cards authorized, so he asked that I sign for the charge. I thought this was odd because the cards did not have my name on them, and I was paying for the excess price over the $40 card in cash. Whatever.

The DTV box was extremely complicated and involved an extensive installation. There is an in-jack from the rabbit ears and an out-jack to the tv. Very complicated.

The box installed great. It took a few minutes, turned the tv to channel 3, and boom, the converter box detected all of the digital channels. The picture was crisp. The remote had a nice zoom button that toggled through framed, cropped, squeezes, and “set by program” choices.

Now the bottom line - reception. This chart compares the channels I could receive before the digital box, and the channels I can receive after the box. With digital, if you can get signal, you get a great picture. But if you can't get enough signal, instead of getting your program with some static or snow, you get nothing. This means channels you use to receive sort of okay before, you may not receive at all with digital.

Channel Analog Digital
4 NBC Good
4-1 Good
4-2 Good
Weather
5 Fox Good Good
7 ABC Good
7-1 Good
7-2 Good
Weather
7-3 Good
9 CBS Good
9-1 Good
9-2 Good
Weather
14 Uni Good Good
20 My20 Good Good
22 MPT Fair None
26 WETA Good
26-1 Fair
26-2 Fair
Create
26-3 Fair
WETAKids
26-4 Fair
32 WHUT Good None
45 Fox Poor None
50 CW Good Good
54 CW Poor None

I can receive MPT 22 with a little bit of snow over analog; I do not receive it with digital. I receive a hand full of Baltimore stations poorly; on my upstairs TV the reception can actually be quite fair. But when I switch to digital none of these stations are received.

The big surprise is WETA 26. The station is not far from me and the digital tower shows up through Wikipedia/Google as quite near also. The picture, however, pixelates and regularly freezes. On occasion, I get a “no signal” screen. I could not get a confirmation of the problem from other online forums. Not sure what the deal is.

Bottom line: Even on an analog TV, when I get the picture, it is a much better picture; but I receive fewer stations and am having trouble with a station I should be getting.+

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Arlington Youth Film Festival May 28, 29 - Kenmore Middle School

ARLYWOOD has a fab film program with great classes at the Arlington career center. If you have been to the Arlington career center, the first thing that strikes you as you walk in to door is the Pilot Classroom with the mega cool flight simulator. I have first hand knowledge the one of the most dramatic film entry will involve an Indian Jones scene using the flight simulator , with a dare devil battle out on the wings.

I'll be at the festival with my tub of low fat lightly salted pop corn - will you??
Arlington Youth Film Festival

May 2, 2008 - Arlington Independent Media together with the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families is pleased to present the fifth annual Arlington Youth Film Festival. This festival encourages youth to share their ideas, perspectives and creativity through moving image.

The 2008 Arlington Youth Film Festival will be held at Kenmore School Theater, on May 28th & 29th. All middle school entries will be showcased on Wednesday May 28th and all high school entries will be showcased on Thursday, May 29th. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Jackie Steven at 703-524-2388.

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Weekend at Thirsty Bernie's

Thirsty Bernie is moving into the neighborhood. What is a "Thirsty Bernie?" Well, its an "All American Sports Bar." More than that, I haven’t a clue. But these folks certainly are excited about it. And the So Happy It's Tuesday group planned a trip there even though its not open yet.
Thirsty Bernie is moving into the Lee-Glebe Shopping Center next to the old Angler's Lie. See Map. I've lived in the neighborhood maybe 20 odd years and I have patronized the Lee-Glebe Shopping Center maybe two odd times. It's not a place that has many cars in the parking lot. And the housing development next door was recently leveled, leaving a rather large plot of dirt with a pleasant wooden fence around it. But nearby are a number of very successful businesses including the Metro 29 Diner (which was dropped in the middle of an at-the-time empty field maybe 14 years ago), Cassatt's which just had a Starbuck's plop down next door, and Pastries by Randolph's mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Sport Bar at Bernie's will be competing against local favorite watering hole the Cowboy Café with its new and improved porch.

The sign on the door says Opening Soon and there are lots of folk buzzing about. The Sports TV is on and the Menu is posted on the door. All that's left to do is invite the local bloggers in for a free meal and a review (hint hint), and they'll be in business.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tax Free Freeze Dried Food and Bomb Shelters!

Dear neighbor:

Hurricane season begins June 1 and a "well above average" cyclone season has been projected for the Atlantic basin this year. To encourage citizen preparedness, the Commonwealth of Virginia is holding its first-ever Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday from Sunday, May 25 through Saturday, May 31. During this period, purchases of certain emergency supplies and equipment with a sales price of $60 or less will be exempt from sales tax. That means now's the time to stock up on batteries, flashlights, water storage containers, radios, first aid kits ... and even certain generators and power inverters (under $1,000). For a complete list of eligible purchases, go to

www.vaemergency. com/threats/ hurricane/ 2008taxholiday. cfm

Another way to be better prepared is to complete Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). This eight-week course, which is free to those who live and/or work in Arlington County, is offered twice a year and covers such topics as disaster preparedness, fire suppression and utility shutoff, disaster psychology, disaster medical operations and terrorism. For additional information, contact ArlingtonCERT@ aol.com.

CERT members make good neighbors!

Lee Rosner
Coordinator
Northwest CERT
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Monday, May 19, 2008

New Bike Map Mashup

Well it's really a new Mashup - not quite a bike map yet. The biker community shares a lot of information about bike routes, dangerous crossings, bike stores, where accidents took place and so on, that I thought there ought to be some central place to store all this information. So with a few clicks I set up the Washington Bike Mashup Map. Everyone can contribute to it, adding information, routes, pictures, links and wisdom. And best yet, this is a google widget, so everyone can add it to their page --- just like I have done below. Thus the Washington Bike community to contribute to and take advantage of a common resource.

Check it out. Add you biking wisdom. It's only just a beginning but it could be a great cooperation.


View Larger Map


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What Arlington Public Schools Gets Right!!! or "We Are Number 16!"

Tip of the Hat to APS High Schools! In the recently released "America's Top Public High Schools" by Newsweek, Arlington Public Schools ranked as follows:
  • HB Woodlawn #16
  • Washington-Lee #64
  • Yorktown #74
  • Wakefield #420
The ranking is of 1300 schools and the methodology of the index is "the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2007 divided by the number of graduating seniors. All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1.000; they are in the top 5 percent of public schools measured this way." I cant find a quick answer to how many high schools there are in America, but 1300 is 5%, then we are talking ~ 26,000 high schools in America. Just to be on the list is impressive. To be in the top 100 is amazing. To be in the top 20 means we should stop and ask ourselves what can be learned from this school!

An excellent job by all the High Schools and APS! And Tip of the Hat to HB Woodlawn. There is a big lesson here about how HB Woodlawn follows a different educational path, and how that environment fosters excellence by bring out the best in the students!

"A Word to the Wise is Sufficient"
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 63: The Siege Continues! Washington Examiner Missile Damages Azalea Petals

Day 63 and the siege continues. We awoke this morning to find that another missile from the Washington Examiner had landed in our territory. Extreme damage was suffered to the hero of this conflict, our Driveway. Well, okay, the newspaper landed on some Azalea petals, and a tree was cut down and made into the newspaper to be tattooed, launched, and recycled. The good news is, fortunately, no one has yet to suffer from actually reading the Examiner.

Intervention from the strongest military county in the world (Arlington is home of the Pentagon) has yet to arrive. At the rate of casualties we are suffering, I… I just don’t know how much longer we can hang out against this invading force!

We continue to fight on – our spirits undaunted. We will continue to update you on our plight until we are victorious against the siege – or we get bored and move on to something else.

SCOREBOARD

SCORE

Days Since We First Unsubscribed:

63

Number of Times We Have Unsubscribed

7


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Lee Shopping Center - Historic Landmark?

The APVA just came out with its APVA Preservation Virginia Announces the 2008 Endangered Historic Sites List. The second site on the list is the Lee Shopping Center in Arlington, VA.

First question, where is the Lee Shopping Center?? Wouldnt it be on Lee Highway? Apparently not. Apparently it is at 2201 North Pershing Drive, Arlington, Virginia, in the Lyon Park Historic Preservation District. According to Arlington County, the Lyon Park History District is "Lyon Park Historic District, Bounded by North 10th Street, Arlington Boulevard (US 50), and North Irving Street."

Here is what the APVA says about the Lee Shopping Center
The Lee Shopping Center was originally designed in 1941 to complement the adjacent garden apartments of Lee Gardens. Its construction was held up by World War II and it was redesigned in 1949, following the same footprint. The Lee Shopping Center buildings are contributing structures in the Lyon Park National Register Historic District. The County is currently conducting a survey of all historic buildings to create a Historic Resource Index as the tool to implement the recently adopted Historic Preservation Master Plan. The Lee Shopping Center was rated Essential, the top of four possible categories. Only three other commercial districts achieved that status.
A developer has proposed to buy the Lee Shopping Center, on the condition that the County Board approves a change in the General Land Use Plan, a change in the zoning, as well as an insensitive site plan that proposes consolidating the site with a contingent non-historic commercial site. As a result, the Lee Shopping Center would be demolished to build a mixed use project of four and five story apartment buildings with retail businesses on the first floor.
See also coverage by WTOP. The Recent Past Preservation Network has also highlighted the Lee Shopping Center.

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My Driveway Scored Another Examiner!

My Driveway scored another Examiner!  Let's go to the scoreboard!

SCOREBOARD
SCORE
Days Since First Unsubscribed
62
Number of Times Unsubscribed
6

The Green Mile comments about how so many of these papers are not being recycled or thrown away, but instead are ending up in streams or littered about the roads.  I know there are a number of empty houses in my neighborhood where there have been piles of Examiners rotting in the driveway.

Once again I have unsubscribed and sent a note to our friends at the Examiner and the County.  Four more "unsubscribes" and my Driveway gets a free powerwashing!

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Washington Capitals Youth Camp at Ballston Iceplex!

Another great camp opportunity!  Wash Caps have had for many a year a wonderful youth camp experience where the kids get to train with members of the Capitals community, train like the Capitals, and conclude the week with a head-on-head smash mouth (well sort of) hockey game coached by guest Capitals members.  Of course, just a few years ago, the Caps were at Piney Orchard and crazy families had to schlep to the North of the city to participate.  And then in the last few years its been at Reston Skatequest.  But NOW its on home ice.

It is a marvelous camp for beginner-intermediate youth hockey players.  It involves a great deal of hoop and a generous portion of lah.  Pictures with Caps.  Autographed stuff.  Russian trainers barking power skating at if your junior were Ovechkin and could understand Russian.
Camp Sessions
June 23-27 - Washington Capitals Youth Camp (ages 7-12)
July 21 - July 25 - Kettler Capitals Iceplex Girls Week (ages 8-12 and 13-18)
July 28 - Washington Capitals Youth Camp (ages 7-12)


Let's Go CAPS!
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Monday, May 12, 2008

Look What's on My Driveway! It's the Examiner!

On Friday I received a nice email from Becky Brown of the dcexaminer.com, in response to my request to discontinue the delivery of their fine newspaper to my Driveway (my Driveway does not have that much of a habit of reading newspapers you see). Ms. Brown assured me that the kind gentleman who delivers the Examiner would cease doing so in 2 or 3 days.

Of course she did not tell me why the kind gentleman was delivering the paper at all. I am quite sure my driveway never subscribed.

She did not tell me why it would take 2 to 3 days to tell the delivery gentleman he need not waste his effort - I get the impression that the good folk at the Examiner do know how to use computers.

And knowing that my Driveway is particular about garbage gathering at the end of it, I had already canceled the subscription two or three times over what seems several months. She did not tell me why those unsubscription requests did not work.

And Arlington Assistant County Manager Shannan Flanagan-Watson had a chat with the Examiner suggesting maybe they should not be delivering the papers to driveways that would prefer not to receive them. She did not tell me why a chat from the government seemed ineffective.

Apparently other people have been sharing their concern as well. Other newspapers have highlighted the concern. Why there was even an article in the Examiner about the unwanted delivery of The Examiner!

The first time for me was several months ago. I found the Cancel Subscription page, and appreciated the kind service the paper was offering me permitting me to unsubscribe from the newspaper my Driveway never subscribed to.

And look what my driveway got this morning! Another copy of The Examiner!

In the time of Flowering Beauty and Arlington Azaleas and other excesses of Spring, my Driveway is a bit vain about its appearance. I tell my driveway that its a bit vain, and it should be proud to such a regular contributor to newspaper recycling - as The Examiner goes from Driveway to recycling bin every day without even a single page of the newspaper getting soil.
I made a deal with my Driveway - every day the paper is delivered, I would unsubscribe again and update the following scoreboard:



Days Since I First Unsubscribed (actually I have no idea but I will make a wild guess that it was exactly 2 months ago):60
Number of Time Unsubscribed:5

My Driveway and I have a side bet; if I unsubscribe 10 times and The Examiner still comes, my Driveway gets a special powerwashing!



Friday, May 9, 2008

Stop Throwing Your Newspaper on My Driveway!

Another Tip of the Hat to Arlington County for confronting the Washington Examiner for its objectionable practice of littering Arlington with unwanted and unsubscribed newspapers. One of the inspirations for this new blog has been to take pictures of all of my piss-off neighbor's signs that scream "STOP DELIVERING THE EXAMINER TO MY DRIVEWAY." Good Job Arlington!

Washington Examiner subscriptions

To unsubscribe from the Washington Examiner

If you currently receive the Examiner and wish to stop receiving it, call the Washington Examiner at 1-800-531-1223.

If you have already called and are still receiving the paper, you can contact the Examiner's customer service and distribution managers:

Mr. Donte Allen
Director, Verification & Contractor Relations
The Washington Examiner
6850 Versar Center
Springfield , VA 22151

(703) 738-0758 (direct)
(703) 738-0615 (fax)
dallen@dcexaminer. com

Ms. Theresa Browne
Manager, Administration and Reporting
The Washington Examiner
6850 Versar Center
Springfield , VA 22151

(703) 738-0754 (direct)
(703) 738-0615 (fax)
tbrowne@dcexaminer. com

Ms. Becky Browne
Customer Service Manager
The Washington Examiner
6850 Versar Center Dr , 3rd Floor
Springfield , VA 22151
(703) 738-0762
bbrown@dcexaminer. com

In addition, you can call JoAnn Harrison on the Arlington County 's Constituent Services team at 703-228-3120.

To subscribe to the Washington Examiner

Send subscription requests to Circulation Vice President Michael Barnum at 6850 Versar Center , Springfield , VA 22151 .

Background

In response to the recent increase in the number of complaints received from residents, Assistant County Manager Shannon Flanagan-Watson recently met with Michael Phelps, President & Publisher of The Examiner newspapers in the Baltimore/Washingto n region.

Several strategies were discussed to decrease the number of unwanted deliveries to Arlington County residents. An agreement was made to work together to identify “hot spots” in Arlington where there have been complaints and to reduce the route sizes in these areas.

Other mitigation measures are in effect including carrier fines, spot checks, upgraded GPS system and new carrier training.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bike to Work Day Friday May 16

Tip of the Hat to Arlington for being such a great biking community. Arlington County Board has been working hard to make Arlington a Bike Friendly Community. From North Arlington, the Curtis Trail provides a magnificent bike artery into Washington D.C. The Potomac Bridges all have bike paths across. And many federal buildings provide both sheltered bike parking and locker room space. Getting home, if the Arlington hill proves to daunting, the subway permits bikes during non-peak hours and the buses mostly all have bike racks now!

Whether you're one of those gusto bikers cruising in multiple days per week, or the occasional pedaler hoping to compensate for the rest of the day as a desk-jokey, Friday May 16th is the one day to make sure you bike to work! It is a great day to demonstrate biker solidarity and send a message to local governments on the importance of supporting cyclists.

Join thousands of area commuters for a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work! Meet up with your neighbors at one of 26 pit stops all over the region, ride into the city with experienced commuter convoys and meet your colleagues at Freedom Plaza. Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections invite you to try bicycling to work as an alternative to solo driving. Help the Washington region become a better place to ride. Bike to Work Day is a FREE event and open to all area commuters. Free Bike to Work Day t-shirts will available to the first 7,000 registrants who attend the pit stop they registered for.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Capital Ultimate Camp

Shout out to Will Smolinski and Dave Soles, two Arlington School teachers, that are reason 569 and 570 why it is so cool to live in Arlington. Coach Smo and Coach Soles volunteer their time with the Williamsburg Ultimate Frisbee Club, the HB Woodlawn Ultimate Frisbee Club, and the Yorktown Ultimate Frisbee Club.... and probably some other clubs too. Arlington is fortunate to have these two, and to have some of the only schools in the area with youth Ultimate clubs. The kids love their experiences with Coach Smo and Coach Soles, and learn a sport where sportsmanship is paramount.

Now, as if to put whipped mocha icing on an already magnificent chocolate cake, the Coach Smo and Coach Soles combo is offering an Ultimate Camp this summer. Oh, to be young again!

Capital Ultimate Camp Ages 10-14

Newcomers are introduced to the fun, fast-moving, and fast-growing sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Coaches Dave Soles (from H-B Woodlawn) and Will Smolinksi (from Williamsburg Middle School) bring a combined 21 years of Ultimate experience.

Campers will work on individual skills like throwing, catching and cutting, team skills like stacking, forcing and zone, and most importantly, personal skills like self-officiating, conflict resolution and social responsibility. Each participant will receive a shirt, official Ultimate disc and great instruction!

Staff to participant ratio: 1:12

Locations and Dates
H-B Woodlawn: 4100 N Vacation Lane Arlington VA 22207
Session 1 July 21 - 25
Session 2 July 28 - Aug 1

Times and Fees
AM Extended Hours: 7-9am $25
Core Program Hour: 9am-4pm $250
PM Extended Hours: 4-6pm $25

Registration: contact Will Smolinski at will.smolinski@gmail.com.