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About ssullivan

  • Birthday 04/27/1974

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    Former Houstonian transplanted to DC
  • Interests
    Urban renewal, public transportation, commercial aviation, architecture, travel, photography, international art and culture, museums, good food, reading, social equality and justice issues, gay and lesbian rights.

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  1. I fly with a laptop every week. It's no big deal. Carry it on, save the cash you would have spent on FedEx. There's no reason not to just carry it on. And, depending on the design of your laptop bag, you may not even have to take it completely out of the bag at the TSA checkpoint.
  2. We have never opened anything on Christmas Eve
  3. London has this system at most bus stops, and it's quite helpful. Sometimes it's off by a couple of minutes, but my experience has been that it's generally pretty accurate.
  4. I've had three stays at aloft locations in the last month, and have been very pleased with all of them. The rooms are very modern and comfortable, and the showers are incredible. I had a few minor complaints; the large compact fluorescent bulbs used in the desk lamps are too big to fit completely inside the lamp, and hang out, creating a blinding glare right at eye level when working at the desk, at first I thought there was no iron and ironing board in the room but then discovered it's just well hidden, and on the last night of my third stay, the housekeepers ignored our room. However, overall the stays were great, and at a great price
  5. Lucy was one of my favorites on XM. I really miss it and haven't listened to channel 54 in the car nearly as much since the transition. The Sirius programming directors just don't get it. There was a reason that Lucy, Fred, and Ethel all existed on XM, even though there was some overlap of the playlists. Each one targeted a somewhat different listener, and each had a different personality. I really miss Lucy, as does my partner. We both bitch about it every time we're in the car together.
  6. I was just about to post that one. That's pretty awful too. I'll also add my pet peeve of making a song that has nothing to do with Christmas into a "Christmas" song. Perfect example — "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. The song has nothing to do with Christmas, but this time of year you hear it on the radio, and it's shown up on countless Christmas albums produced over the last 10-15 years.
  7. If you call and complain and threaten to cancel, you'll likely get anywhere from 3 to 6 months free right now.
  8. Actually the couplers are on Metro's LRVs too. They're just concealed by that panel that lifts up, but they're still there. Not all signals in Texas use the double red light on left turn signals. I always assumed that it was used at intersections where the left turn signal is timed differently from the thru lanes, and the second red light served as a backup. That way, if one bulb was out, there would still be a red light showing. Georgia has some intersections with the double red light as well.
  9. That's because Conn's pays all of its sales staff on commission.
  10. LOL. Well their move to the Internet hasn't seemed to kill DVDs.
  11. Building on stilts isn't enough by itself to fight off a storm surge. Have you not seen the pictures from Bolivar? Those houses were built on stilts, and they're no longer there. The same story would have been true on Galveston's west end had Ike come in at Freeport.
  12. No kidding. Compared to street-running light rail I've seen in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and several other cities, Houston's has more safety features built into the design than any other I've seen in the US. Yet those other cities don't have the kind of accident rates Houston does. And let's not forget that it was illegal to turn left from Main Street in Downtown and Midtown for decades before the light rail line was built. It's not like MetroRail was built and suddenly turns that were legal before were now illegal. The no left turn on Main Street rule had been in place for a very long time before Metro even existed as Houston's transit agency. The fact remains that any driver that runs a red light, ignores a no left turn sign, or drives on the track, is breaking the law and is responsible if an accident with the train occurs. Driving next to the light rail is no more difficult than driving next to another large vehicle, like a semi. You follow the signs, obey standard traffic laws, and stay out of its way. Doubtful. Nearly five years of seeing trains plowing into cars making illegal turns or running red lights along the MetroRail line on the news hasn't stopped people from continuing to do it. Even a fatality a few years ago didn't stop it. And you know what? You don't need expensive movable barrier systems popping up out of the pavement to ruin the cars of people stupid enough to cross into the train's path. The train does a pretty good job of that by itself. Light rail vehicle versus most cars? Light rail vehicle always wins that one and often drives away with a few minor scratches and dents, while the car is written off by the owner's insurance company.
  13. That sounds almost exactly like our first VCR, which was a GE brand machine. It may have been very similar to your Sears model, as GE made a lot of small appliances and electronics for Sears at the time. Until selling it in a garage sale just a couple of years ago, my parents still had it, and it still worked, although they hadn't had it connected to the TV in years. I sold my VCR -- the only one that was ever "mine" -- before moving back in May. I put it on Craigslist along with a TV I got in high school and someone bought them both for $25. We do have a VCR still. It was my partner's, and we have it connected to the TV in the living room… but I have no idea when we'd ever use it.
  14. I'm not thrilled with the change. For one, Sirius gutted the XM lineup. The list of discontinued stations that editor posted isn't truly complete. It leaves out the dozens of XM stations which were merged into existing Sirius stations that were similar, but not exactly the same. In many cases XM had a more extensive playlist and better programming director for many formats than what Sirius had. And in many of those cases, the XM playlist and programming director were cut in favor of what Sirius already had. So Lucy, which was an excellent 1990s alternative station was merged into Lithium, which plays that music, but also plays a lot of more modern music as well. Also gone are the bumps and on-air talent that made Lucy so unique. A similar situation exists with XM's X Country. The Sirius station isn't even close to the quality that X Country had. In general my friends who were XM subscribers are not happy. But my friends who were Sirius subscribers are thrilled. The Sirius customers definitely got the better end of the deal. And for us XM customers, we were treated as an afterthought by the new management. Want to know when XM subscribers were finally told what our new channel line up would be? It was well into the first day of the new lineup that my e-mail communication came. Sirius's management really blew this from a PR and customer service standpoint, and then they acted surprised when their call centers were flooded with calls from angry XM subscribers the day of the transition calling to cancel their accounts in protest.
  15. So Joe the Plumber is now an expert on foreign policy and Israel? Good God, how much more can McCain screw up his own campaign? I'm so ready for this to all be over with. And for the record, I stood in line just over two hours Friday afternoon to vote. Early voting in Texas is so much easier than in Georgia, where you have to fill out a stupid application that asks for the same information two or three times on the same piece of paper, to justify why you're voting early. And until this week, there was only one location per county for early voting. Anyway, it's done now and I was glad to be able to cast my vote.
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