Random thoughts composed on an Amtrak train from DC to Baltimore

The stupid machines that sell Metro passes charge $6.50 for a day pass, and won’t give back more than $5.00 in change. Somewhere there are two lovely black women who were also stuck with only $20’s as was I, and are amazed at the crazy guy from New Hampshire who got fed up with the whole mess and bought three day passes, then gave them two of them.

Oliver Willis is taller than he looks in person, and has considerably less bluster than on line.

I, too, have considerably less bluster in person, even when I planned the visit in advance.

Only in DC can one be reasonably expected to say “then I took a wrong turn, and wound up in front of the Iraqi embassy.”

Pennywit, Wizbanger Emeritus, knows good places to eat, and we had a great 90-minute lunch and conversation.

I am insanely jealous that he has a girlfriend who “gets” Babylon 5.

You can walk to a lot of places in DC. Especially if you get lost and don’t know where the subway stations are.

One of those subway stations, Judiciary Square, is so far underground that the escalator up to the surface feels like you’re going vertically.

DC is the only city where I had to go through a security screening to use a public restroom.

The next time I come to DC, I need to plan it out better and leave earlier. I didn’t arrive until noon, and promptly compounded the problem by getting lost.

Note: when planning on meeting people, make note of the actual addresses, don’t just vaguely recall general locations in relation to certain landmarks.

Amtrak trains are quiet — quieter than I thought. I think all those old westerns and other old movies have us convinced that we need the clack-clack-clack sound. It’s probably just an audio shortcut the entertainment industry uses, much like the sound of a shotgun chambering a round.

And a double-decker train is an odd concept, but it seems to work.

Riding backwards is an odd thing, but one that you can get used to. I can see why some might get airsick, though.

DC in July is not the place to be schlepping around a 20-pound pack. It’s very easy to sweat right through your shirt.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many hot dog stands in my life. It’s amazing.

The stereotype of all cabbies being driven by immigrants seems to be based on reality. My cabbie appeared to be from Africa, and while an excellent driver, was not quite familiar with the concept of directionals.

Update: the trains are even quieter when the air conditioning quits working. No wonder I’m sweating so much, and I feel sorry for my seatmate.

Browsing for unsecured wireless networks from a moving train” might become my new metaphor for futility.

Update 2: Trains with working air conditioning are noisier, but more comfortable.

My wonderful laptop, Electric Mayhem, gets rather warm on the left side, right where it rests on my leg.

Pennywit did not seem overly impressed with meeting Mr. Duckie.

My cheap digital camera crapped out JUST as I arrived in DC, and not even fresh batteries helped. I think either the LCD screeen or the connection to it died. I’ll have to see if it got any usable pictues.

DUH — I have my USB card reader with me; I can do it from the train!

Nope. The camera’s dead. No picture of Mr. Duckie at Media Matters or the Iraqi Embassy.

It's a small world after all...
Appeasement Bought Us Nothing But Trouble


  1. Laurence Simon July 7, 2006
  2. Oliver July 7, 2006
  3. Peter F. July 7, 2006
  4. Ken McCracken July 7, 2006
  5. JLawson July 7, 2006
  6. Totally Matt July 7, 2006
  7. John Irving July 7, 2006
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  20. pennywit July 8, 2006