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“Arlington Cemetery station is closed! Please get back onto the train and go to the next station!”

May 31, 2004, 9:36 PM

Well… my birthday trip to Washington DC that I took a day early (my birthday is the 30th, and I went on the 29th) went very well. A friend of mine actually put it this way…

Um, do you realize what is going on in DC this weekend? I’d leave Transit Deprived Town in the Middle of Nowhere, VA now if you want parking at Vienna come Saturday morning.

I do not take offense to “Transit Deprived Town in Middle of Nowhere, VA”. I am both transit-deprived locally, and also in the middle of nowhere. And Staunton’s trolley-bus system, the closest thing to transit around here, doesn’t even follow a schedule, but rather, they just say that they run a 20-minute loop, and so a trolley-bus should be there about every 20 minutes or so when service is running. They do call their two services “Green Line” and “Red Line”, which amuses me, though.

But anyway, though, the main concern in the comment was that DC was supposed to be swamped with tourists for the World War II Memorial dedication, which I was already aware about. The concern, of course, was that I would not be able to get parking at Vienna. Hadn’t planned for that, but after thinking about it, I determined that if I didn’t get parking at Vienna, I would head over to Franconia-Springfield on the Blue Line and park over there.

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“I am thunder and nothing can happen till I bellow, and I rumble, and wake everybody with my roar!”

May 27, 2004, 9:32 PM

After Tuesday’s disaster, I went to Covington for a soak in Lake Moomaw on Wednesday. At least that was my intention. Let me tell you what happened.

I got all the way down to Lake Moomaw and parked and all that at the swimming beach. Changed into my swimsuit, and got into the lake. Fast forward about ten minutes. Thunder! Lots of it. And lightning. Regardless, it’s enough to send me to shore, and seeking some cover, and in a place that is designed for outdoor recreation, there’s some cover, but not a lot.

So I had to find something to do until the storm passed. Going back to Covington, the nearest town, was not really feasible, as Lake Moomaw is a ways from Covington. So I basically hung around. I drove back to the dam for a little while. I drove up to the picnic shelters. I sat in the car and pondered my thoughts. I walked a few times around the bath house.

Meanwhile, it was doing just about everything outside. Rain. Lots of it. Wind. Lots of it. Thunder. Lots of it. Lightning. Amazing amounts of it. I’d never seen lightning like this. It was like a strobe light the way it flashed. Filled up the whole sky (this was during the day, by the way), and really lit up everything.

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Categories: Lake Moomaw, Weather

There’s a reason I don’t ever work on my Web site when I’m upset…

May 26, 2004, 9:42 PM

There’s a good reason I don’t work on my Web site when I am upset or angry. Because my Web site is a creative endeavor, and I believe your mood really shows through when you create stuff. And I really hate being upset, and so there you go. That’s why this journal entry is being written at half past two, rather than at a more “reasonable” hour.

This is also reason enough that I am no longer going anywhere by myself with Mom, as well. She invited me to go out to dinner with her, since “we don’t spend any time together anymore”. She tells me where we’re going to go eat in the morning, and then when she gets home from school, we’re off to dinner in Staunton (it’s a bit early for dinner, but we can deal with this).

Of course, it’s not like we actually made it to dinner. On the way, Mom decided to use the trip to push all my buttons, and proceeded to bother me about my job and that she thinks I should be looking for another job NOW (all in due time), and about my weight. Nothing more I’d rather talk about, and especially with her. Realize my mother has brought this crap up so many times over so many years that I really don’t care anymore, don’t appreciate the sentiment, and as such it really goes in one ear and out the other. And I think that my mother is smart enough to KNOW that I don’t appreciate it and that those topics do push my hot buttons.

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Categories: Family

Strange group of people with weed eaters in the neighborhood…

May 25, 2004, 9:20 PM

Yes, Sis and I encountered a strange group of people across the street from the house today. They were using weed eaters to weed-eat the area around the creek that runs near our house. Still, we were trying to figure out what this group was. Most of the people were wearing blue pants with a red stripe down the leg. These same people also wore bright orange T-shirts, the official don’t-run-me-down color.

Then there was also a person there in a blue work shirt, and a uniformed officer from somewhere. I couldn’t make out the uniform, and I wasn’t going to break out the binoculars.

We figured it was likely that these people were inmates of somewhere, considering the bright orange shirts plus the uniformed officer. But then I thought that the sign of inmates was the that the guy supervising was always very obviously holding a large shotgun. Plus, think of the children! This is a residential neighborhood, and I didn’t think they could use inmates in a residential neighborhood.

Still, it was definitely an odd sight seeing all these people running weed eaters at once.

Categories: Stuarts Draft

Why do people look at me funny when I say this?

May 22, 2004, 9:42 PM

I always get strange looks when I say this:

Person: I’ll be right back. I’m going to use the restroom.
Me: Okay, have fun.

That’s when I get the strange looks. Right there. I don’t know what it is. It’s just my generic “goodbye” that usually say to people. It could be about something else:

Person: I’m going out. I’m going to head over to the store.
Me: Okay, have fun.

Yeah, but I guess the juxtaposition of “restroom” and “have fun” makes heads turn.

Meanwhile, life at home is kind of blah, with the parents continuing to get on my nerves. Realize that their answer to everything is “move out”. It could be, “Mom, I have a headache. Where’s the Advil?” Her answer would be “You should move out”. Ever have it happen where an unwanted message is repeated so many times it loses its meaning? That’s the “move out” response. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. I’ll move out when I’m ready, and I’m not there yet.

And I still can’t believe that my birthday is in a week, on Sunday the 30th. Another step towards forty, I call it. Scary. And I’m going to Washington DC the day before, on Saturday the 29th, which I just realized tonight is the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. And I’m still going to do some serious railfanning. Joy…

Categories: Birthdays, Myself

“When the water fills the clouds, then they call on lightning! When the rain needs to pour, then they call on me! And I crackle, and I flash… people think I’m frightening… when I dance through the clouds and send the rain free!”

May 21, 2004, 11:04 PM

You know the story. Thunder blows its giant trumpet, and then…

“I must dance my dance… at last I am set free! It’s my chance to dance (to dance his dance!) where the whole world can see me! I can flash through the sky… and light up the heavens…”

Yes, it rained today. Specifically, we had some mighty thunderstorms. It’s not often that you can see lightning through the skylights at Wal-Mart. It’s also not often that you can hear the rain on the roof from the salesfloor at Wal-Mart. Usually you can hear the rain on the roof in the back room, since it’s usually quiet back there. But to hear it over the din of the customers is is something else. You know that it’s got to be raining hard for that to happen. And it was LOUD on the roof, too! And to hear thunder loud and clear in the store is another thing.

And the ride home was just fun. Raining and all that all the way home, with lightning flashing all over the sky, really lighting up the sky. If only I had Big Mavica and a tripod with me to get a long-exposure shot of it all. And watch me get zapped in the process. It would be a heck of a way to go, though.

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Let me tell you about Lake Moomaw…

May 21, 2004, 2:25 AM

What a wonderful day on Wednesday! I admittedly got a late start, not leaving for Covington until 1 PM. But I still had fun. Stopped at Wal-Mart in Covington to grab some cheap flip-flop sandals (palm tree print!) and some sunscreen, and then went off to the lake.

I found the swimming beach, and the little bath house next to it, and changed into my suit, and went to soak for a while. It was fun. Very cool and refreshing. Very quiet, with the Interstate and the city of Covington far away. It’s really a great place to let your mind just go. Way out in the mountains, where you can just let your mind relax. I do love Lake Moomaw. I need to go out there again some time.

Meanwhile, the Covington Wal-Mart is amusing. I think it’s perhaps the smallest Wal-Mart Supercenter I’ve ever seen. It’s also what I’d describe as a “transitional” store. On the outside, it looks like the older-style Supercenters, like Staunton. But on the inside, it’s just like the Dayton Wal-Mart, which is a newer-style Supercenter (the ones with “Always” over the entrances). But it’s painted gray inside like the older Supercenters. It’s also amusing about the signage. You know how practically every Wal-Mart says “Thank you for choosing your (city name) Wal-Mart”? Well, in Covington, over the Grocery entrance, it says, “Thank you for choosing your Covington Wal-Mart” (right over the doors, mind you, vs. over the cart area). Over the General Merchandise entrance, there’s nothing at all. My semi-humorous interpretation is, thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart if you’re buying groceries, but if you’re not, thanks for nothing. We realize that this is probably an omission rather than something done intentionally, but it’s amusing.

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I have my car again…

May 18, 2004, 9:40 PM

My car is back! And my, does it brake wonderfully now that all of the brake pads are back on it. And I also found out about the air conditioning situation. I would be hard pressed to find a shop that would service my car with its existing refrigerant, which is some sort of freon. But to convert me to the new kind of refrigerant would only cost $150, and return cold air to my Previa. Which would be nice.

And tomorrow, it’s off to Lake Moomaw…

Categories: Toyota Previa

Tomorrow, my own personal hell will be over…

May 17, 2004, 10:44 PM

In case you’re wondering, since Saturday, I have been without my Previa after a brake pad fell off in the driveway. As a result, I have been without wheels, and have had to bum rides from the family to and from work. It SUCKS. See, my parents are using it as an excuse to bring up all the unpleasant topics they would like to bring up all the time, but can’t because I can leave. Now that I’m a captive audience, they used it as an opportunity to bring them up. Makes for a very long drive to Wal-Mart.

It’s best exemplified by this trip home from Wal-Mart, as said by Mom in the car: “So when are you going to lose some weight?”

Realize I’m not a fan of questions about weight in the first place, and I especially don’t give any weight to comments about it from Mom, since she seems to be obsessed with everything that goes into everyone’s bodies, and is obsessed with the appearance of everyone’s bodies.

These rides could be quite painless, and we could talk about fun things like my Web site, or Metro, or about whatever, but instead my parents bring up all the unpleasant topics. Not fun.

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Categories: Family, Toyota Previa, Walmart

What a horrible dream…

May 16, 2004, 3:16 AM

This was quite a dream last night. For what seemed like ages, in my dream, I was constantly telling people to go to the registers, because the Service Desk was CLOSED for the night, and that I had no register in which to give refunds from, and that money transfers would not be available until the Service Desk opened. No telling why I was there in this dream (especially since I even acknowledged in the dream that I was in my bedroom at home), and for the customers to please GO AWAY!

I think this dream came from two things. One, yesterday was day six of an eight-day stretch without a day off. Secondly, yesterday was the day from hell at times, with it being Saturday, plus a number of people (one in particular) with a few screws loose.

And now I work the 7-4 at the Service Desk today. Hopefully today will make up for yesterday, plus I hope it makes up for that dream I had…

Categories: Dreams, Walmart

Rubber Duckie’s got a big mustache now…

May 15, 2004, 12:24 AM

First of all, take a look. Then I’ll explain.

Duck mustache gift card

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Categories: Walmart

Dumb, dumb, dumb animals…

May 12, 2004, 9:58 PM

People really need to get a handle on their animals. On the way home from work, I nearly ran over two rabbits, three cats, and a dog. I didn’t actually hit any of them, thank goodness, though one of the cats was a very close call. We can’t fault people for the rabbits, since they’re wild, but for the cats and the dog, geeeeeeeeeez… People need to keep better tabs on where their animals are because it would really be a shame for them to get run over. I really don’t want to do it. Hit a skunk one time on the way home from Harrisonburg, and that was just ugly. And stinky. But people’s pets out on the road, that’s just unacceptable. People should show a little more love towards their pets and keep them out of harm’s way. That’s what we do with Greta. She has the whole house to roam around in, and her fenced-in yard, keeping her inside and safe, and keeping other things out.

Otherwise, though, tomorrow morning comes early, as I once again work the 7-4 shift, after three blissful days working the 11 AM to 8 PM shift at the Service Desk. I love that 11-8 shift. Not too early, and not too late. So tomorrow morning, I got up early.

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This was one of those days…

May 7, 2004, 9:54 PM

We were very busy. Busy is good, I must say, though. Makes the day go by, and means job security. But nonetheless it makes you want to pull your hair out. Ah, well. Could be worse, though.

Meanwhile, I’m going to Washington DC tomorrow to do some serious railfanning. The goal of the day is to visit some stations I’ve never been to before, and look ’em over. Let’s admit it – I have plenty of pictures of Vienna. I have plenty of pictures of Rosslyn. I also have plenty of pictures of Ballston-MU, L’Enfant Plaza, Pentagon City, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Farragut West, King Street, Huntington, and such. But there are a number of stations that I only visited briefly, or only visited inside a train. Those are the stations where I’ll be visiting tomorrow.

And if I get a chance, I may also swing by the new World War II memorial, though I may forgo that on this trip, and just stick to WMATA. See, the WWII memorial is some distance out of my way, since the nearest Metro is McPherson Square, which is under Eye Street. That puts the Washington Monument a number of blocks out of my way. But we’ll see. If not, I’ll do it on my next trip.

So it sounds like I have an interesting day ahead! Now to go to sleep and rest up for it…

Categories: DC trips, Walmart, WMATA

Greta seems to like to walk the walk and talk the talk, but a guard dog she is not.

May 7, 2004, 9:10 AM

As I write this, our little dachshund, Greta, is barking her little head off. It started today when we had a repairman by to look at the washing machine (which is currently busted). Of course, Greta barks any time the doorbell rings, any time a doorbell rings on TV, and any time she thinks someone else is in the house. I think she thinks that the repairman is still here. Of course, realize that the whole entire time that the repairman was here, and even after he left, not once did Greta move from her bed upstairs. All she did was bark her little head off. Lazy dog. She likes to think she’s a ferocious watch dog, but I’m afraid she’s not even close. But still, you’ve got to give her credit for trying.

Categories: Family

My birthday is in 24 days!

May 6, 2004, 3:10 AM

My birthday is in 24 days, which makes it May 30, which means that today is the 6th. If not, I got up at 4:00 for nothing.

But anyway, though, I figured out what I want for my birthday. So tell me… do you know who this is?

Strong Bad

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