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April 2013

AFSA 2013 Election

AFSA logo
It's shocking to see how few AFSA members are voting in the annual AFSA election. I didn't realize it myself until reading articles and seeing this post on Diplopundit.

So if you're an AFSA member, help yourself and the rest of us, by making sure you see who's on the ballot and what they have to say.  Unfortunately the field of choices is slim, but on the upside that means you don't have as many statements to read through.  That should make the choices easier for you to decide.

Go here to vote now: 2013 AFSA Governing Board Election

They'll even send you your AFSA member number again if you forgot it.

Foreign Service pets


Pet passport
photo courtesy of


Even though I'm domestically assigned, I'm always on the lookout for Foreign Service pet travel stories.  Here's a great write up from DP's Blog about the current issues he and his wife faced with planning the transport of their dogs.

A blatent reminder there are still scummy folks out there

MeksUpon leaving my house everyday, my bonsai tree is always in my eye-line to give me a pleasant visual to start off the day.  That was until yesterday.  The bonsai tree was gone.  At first, I thought maybe the wind had knocked it off its table.  Then I noticed my sidewalk gate was open.  

My heart dropped as I realized the bonsai tree I had cared for the last year was now gone.  Someone had decided they deserved it more, then waited until one dark night to slip into my yard and take it off my front porch.

I hate thieves.

The worse part- my tree was a hardy bonsai that needs to stay outdoors during all seasons.  I'm sure the whelp that stole it is hiding it in their house where it will slowly die.

Over my lifetime, I've been remind of this several times when someone has either broken into my car, or taken something off my porch.  And each time I wonder if there's a special place in hades for them. Hopefully its right in between animals torturers and elderly abusers.  


Scooter facelift

Long story short, I'm replacing some chassis pieces on my scooter. After the scoot accumulated too much damage over the last decade, I just couldn't continue riding it safely any longer.

Scooter chassis
Unfortunately, the main chassis part (front shield) I'm replacing surrounds the entire front forks and steering column. Hence, the removal of the front tire would be required. I was surprised to find out Coleman’s Powersports is no longer an Aprilia dealer. So I couldn't get the parts I needed locally. (Boooo)  I ended up ordering the new parts from Ultimate Cycle in Richmond, VA. (Great first time service, btw.) They got the parts to me in under two weeks. Not bad for a discontinued model and having to get the parts from supplier.

The whole process to remove the wheel and front shield and install the new parts, took about a day. It would have been faster except it was the first time I'd ever removed the front wheel. The only mistake I did was getting air in the brake lines.  So half the time was me bleeding the air back out.

I couldn't get the new shield in the original scooter's metallic gray/silver color.  It was only available in a black/charcoal shade. But after installing it, I couldn't be happier with the outcome. It fits perfectly with the other black colors on the scoot. Basically, looking at it from the front gives it a two-tone vibe.

Scooter facelift

DC Challenge

DC medal
The title isn't in reference to the challenge of trying to find good parking in DC.  Instead, it's the name of a scavenger hunt that took place last Saturday.  B and I joined a friend and his team among 1700 other participants.

The goal of the DC Challenge is be the fastest team in solving twelve clues, take pictures at various locations to prove you solved them, and get back to the race organizers before everyone else.  We set our sights a little lower and just wanted to solve all the clues before the day was over.  

To make the day even more entertaining, the organizers recommended teams dress in their own preferrred costume themes.  We saw everything from superheroes, ladybugs, undead presidents, sharks, and not one but two different groups of minions.  B and I are already plotting what our costumes will be for next year as we form our own group.

The course took us around the Mall and near several national landmarks.  I had anticipated more metro riding but thankfully we we're able to enjoy the beautiful day and walk most of it.  Start time was at 1:30PM begin at the Nationals ballpark.  We finished the race in under 3 hours beating around 200+ teams!  (Ok, to be fair we were in the first 150 teams that finished, but still...) 

After the race concluded there was a costume contest that seemed a bit unorganized.  Race participants were told to drop their tickets into the cups of their favor costumed competitors.  But we never saw anyone giving out voting tickets.  Other than that minor hiccup, it was a fun day to get out and explore DC with a bunch of other folks.

DC Challenge