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I’m looking up my old stomping grounds

August 31, 2004, 12:11 AM

I went online and did a little Rogers-hunting here. As I found out that a former coworker of mine at Wal-Mart used to live in Rogers, it was interesting to share stories, as her family knew Mrs. Carmical, the principal at Grimes Elementary at the time, Wal-Mart store #1 (though I knew it as a regular Wal-Mart, and she knew it as a Supercenter – the 1991 store was converted), Beaver Lake, and all that. That was just cool. So I went online this evening and went to Rogers.

I actually was somewhat drawn to the parks and rec pages this time around. I found a page about Lake Atalanta in there. Although that name has four A’s in it, making it “Lake At-a-lan-ta” (to break it up by syllables), the common pronunciation in Rogers was “Lake Atlanta” (like the city in Georgia). You pronounce the extra “a” in there and I think that people will look at you strangely. But anyway, they show it as two parks. You have “Lake Atalanta” and “Lake Atalanta Dam Site”. Now I’m confused. I remember there being two major Lake Atalanta recreational areas, straddling Walnut Street. The older area was adjacent to Lake Atalanta itself, which had a large playground made mostly of large wooden beams (nice to play on, but watch for splinters!). They don’t make ’em like that anymore. They also had a skating rink which closed not long after we moved there. I think I went in that building once when it was a skating rink, and I was still not comfortable on roller skates, so my memories are of falling down in there. Most of my memories of the skating rink are of it as an abandoned building. I’m told it’s since been renovated and converted into banquet space. There was and still is a pool at Lake Atalanta, which I remember as being a really cool pool. Had two water slides. A small one for the kiddies (which I used as one of those little kiddies), and a big one that was like huge (but remember I was like eight). That was cool. Then there was the bait shop. There you could not only buy bait, but also rent paddleboats. Those were fun, as I got to drive and pedal the boats with Mom. When we left Rogers, the bait shop had closed. Presumably it’s opened back up since then, since the Web site mentions it.

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Categories: Arkansas

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! The remodeling is finished!

August 30, 2004, 9:29 PM

Finally! No more hammering. No more nail guns. No more polyurethane. No more getting up at an ungodly hour to vacate so that they can do the stairs. No more! It’s DONE! And I am so pleased with that.

And it looks really nice, too. I’m going to take a final round of photos tomorrow for the Web site, and then I’m going to compile a photo set about the whole remodel for Life and Times.

It’s amazing… when we moved into this house, we had an open deck out back, and light beige colored carpeting in the entire house, including up the stairs. The only areas not carpeted were the entry foyer (immediately in front of the front door), the kitchen, and all the bathrooms. And those were linoleum. We replaced the kitchen floor linoleum with ceramic tile in 1994 (it wore particularly badly), and then in 1998 replaced the downstairs hallway carpeting and entry foyer linoleum with hardwood. Now the only original carpeting left downstairs is in the hall closet. The living room was recarpeted, and the family room and dining room got new hardwood. And the stairs are finally wood, as they should have been from the get-go. So good stuff there. And the upstairs hallway is also hardwood. The bathrooms are all still original, as are all the bedrooms. Good.

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Sleep. We got some. And we’re going to get some more.

August 27, 2004, 10:02 PM

How refreshing a little shuteye can be! After working 9-6 and getting maybe eight hours sleep total over the last few days, a little sleep can be great. And I’m going to get a little more momentarily.

Because let me tell you… all this work on the stairs turned into where my butt was really dragging by the end of the day at work. And that’s not fun. I think if I had stayed any longer, I would have fallen down, I was so tired. But we don’t show that to the customers. Based on what I let on to the customers, I was fresh as a daisy. But still, after work I went home and got sleep. Ah, sleep.

And so now, nearing midnight, I’ve slept for some hours, and now I’m going to brush my teeth and then get some more sleep. And then tomorrow…

Doors closing! (ding-dong)

Washington DC. And not “Warshington DC” as some people like to say it. I’ve never seen an “r” in Washington. But anyway, though, I’m excited, especially since last time my first train of the day was not a Breda, as I usually have first thing out of Vienna. I had a CAF! (Ooooooooooooh!)

Anyway, back to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Categories: Myself

Tired? You bet!

August 27, 2004, 6:24 AM

Seriously, after doing two LONG days due to the stairs (days I otherwise would have slept longer), I have a third get-up-early-for-the-stairs day here.

However, at least I have work at 9 AM today, instead of 2 PM. This is a good thing. I get off at 6 PM, and can thus go home and snooze (provided the stairs are ready) so that I can be fresh as a daisy for my planned trip to Washington DC tomorrow. I need to be fresh as a daisy for these trips, but this whole thing with the stairs has just been running me into the ground, because of the guy’s schedule (bright and early before even 8:00), and my schedule (work at 2:00). So that’s the problem we have.

Still, soon this floor work will all be over, and I’ll get my life back again…

“I don’t want to feel like a fish with no water!”

August 26, 2004, 8:04 AM

At work yesterday, we were actually discussing those public service ads that run on cable TV. Like the one where the fish tank slowly loses water talking about asthma, or the one where the guy walks into the store to buy a wallet and he gets a really tiny wallet for the really tiny money he’ll be making as a high school dropout.

And then there’s one ad that, among the people in our group, that kind of creeped us all out a little bit:

Nobody likes me. Nobody. Maybe it’s because I like to attack people. Men. Women. Kids. I can leave them as stammering, confused, scared imitations of their former selves. If they don’t stop me, I just might leave them that way for life. I am a stroke.

A little creepy, because he looks like a pretty rough character there, with the wrinkled face in the shadow. But still, it’s a very memorable way to get the message across. I think we’ll all understand the seriousness of a stroke now if we didn’t before.

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Categories: Greta, Television, WMATA

This is what we call “hell”…

August 25, 2004, 11:30 PM

Remember how a little earlier in the day, I told you I had to vacate the house for the day while the guy did the stairs? Well, he stained the stairs, as planned. So the whole house smells like stain.

And tomorrow, it begins again. Thursday, the guy puts the polyurethane down on the stairs. What does that mean for me? It means I’m scheduled to work 2-11 again tomorrow like I did today, and so I have to waste about six hours before work. Maybe I’ll actually do something constructive tomorrow.

This is what I did today. Got up, got dressed, grabbed the newspaper off the kitchen table, and left the house. Went to the ATM, then went to McDonald’s for breakfast. From there, I hopped on I-81, and stopped at the rest area on I-81 north just beyond the Verona exit. There, I read the News-Virginian (Waynesboro paper). Got back on the freeway, and went out to Weyers Cave. There, I just turned around, and got back on the Interstate using the southbound ramp. Got off at the other rest area, across the freeway from the other rest area. There, I scrounged up 50¢ to get a copy of USA Today. Read it at that rest area. Then I went into Waynesboro. Went to the library. There, I got online. Wrote the previous journal entry, and then, after I ran out of time there (they limit you to an hour a day), I drove around Waynesboro and into Fishersville, and then finally arrived at Wally World to kill a final 30 minutes. I looked at the musical Christmas toys that they have at the Garden Center. Most amusing thing was the fact that they have a snowman that dances and sings, “Ice, ice, baby” with an LED-lit “bling-bling” around his neck that says “ICE” on it. Cute.

And it all begins again tomorrow, as I waste another few hours out of the house…

This is a bit of a messed-up day…

August 25, 2004, 9:43 AM

If you want to talk about a day without a purpose, this is it. See, I found out a couple of hours after work yesterday that the guy would be coming today to put the finish on the new stairs.

Now note that when I say “new”, I mean that only because in the process of replacing the flooring, the floor people took out the old wood on the stairs, which was intended for carpeting, and thus had a lot of knots in it. And then they put new wood down, which, for the last week or so, we’ve been using bare. Now it’s going to get the finish and the runner on it, which will also finish the entire flooring job.

So as a result of the work being done on the stairs, and my room and such being upstairs, I had to vacate for the day, with the guy showing up at 7:30. So I had to be all ready for work and such by then, even though I don’t have to actually be at work until 2:00. And so I’m kind of wandering around doing whatever until then. I’m actually at the Waynesboro Public Library right now, which I’d not been to in ages. Still, I also drove out to Weyers Cave today.

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35 CDs and counting…

August 23, 2004, 4:16 AM

Since I started burning CDs of images from Big Mavica a couple of days ago, I have filled up 35 CDs worth of pictures! Amazing? Yeah. It doesn’t look as big until you count the images. Thirty-five. Wow.

And there’s still more to do. I still have yet to burn my recent Virginia Beach trip to CD, which filled 10 of the mini-CDs that the Mavica takes (no telling how many full-size CDs it will use). Then I still have to do all the College Life and LPCM photo sets that I did with Big Mavica.

And this doesn’t count any stuff I took with the old camera, either. That, having much smaller images, is being handled separately, since I can fit all that onto one CD. Can’t do that with Big Mavica, since images from that are generally around 1.5 MB each.

This is what happens when you’re productive and have a big camera, and put off doing your CDs for a long time. The last time I rearranged my images on CD was in 2002, just after coming back home after my Junior Year at JMU. So it’s been about two years and three months (give or take) since I last redid my Images CDs.

I just can’t believe that I had that many images to begin with.

Otherwise, though, today is the first day of school for JMU, Virginia Tech, and also area schools around here. Fun stuff indeed. And meanwhile, I, as always, have to work. But at least now the little kiddies will be away in school, where they can torment their teachers, vs. coming in our store, tearing apart the displays, and tormenting us.

This is also the first time school has started and I’m not going anywhere. Recall that I graduated from JMU back in December, so this is a really weird feeling, watching a first day of school as a bystander.

Categories: Photography, School

“One person. One life. One Web site.”

August 20, 2004, 10:32 PM

Still working on redesign ideas, and I think I’ve come up with a theme for the redesigned site. Some sort of overarching theme for the Web site. Something that will stick in your mind. Something, at least. When I originally thought this up in the shower this morning (all my great Web ideas are thought up in the shower, but few actually leave the shower), I originally thought it up as, “One person. One Web site.” But that sounded too much like, “One person, one vote.” And while this is a presidential election year (SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: Vote for John Kerry!), that’s not exactly what we’re going for on this Web site, which tries for the most part to keep politics out of frame. (The trick now is to say that with a straight face after I write my next quote article.) So I threw in “One life” in order to make it more personal, and as a reminder that this site is now more so than ever a 360-degree view of my life. So we’ll see how far that goes in the redesign, and how it turns out in the end. I do like that phrase…

Speaking of my life, though, my one hard drive is going to have to become multiple CDs sooner rather than later. I’m out of disk space! An 80-gigabyte hard drive, and I managed to fill ‘er up. Mostly with stuff from Big Mavica, which is a testament to how much use Big Mavica gets. Realize I’ve had to cut stuff on my computer to fit in three out of the last four photo sets. So we’re against the wall, as I’ve cut just about everything I am willing to cut. Time to burn CDs. This is going to hurt.

I also realized how few CD-Rs I have. I thought I had a big spindle of them. Turns out I was imagining one like my sister has as being one of mine. So that sucks. I have maybe ten blank CD-Rs in my possession, in a half-sized spindle, after realizing that my “stash of CDs”, which I had “hidden so well” was a lot smaller than I thought it was.

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I finally have a Simplex 4040 in my fire alarm collection!

August 19, 2004, 2:46 AM

At long last, I have a Simplex 4040 in my fire alarm collection, thanks to a person who I’ve been corresponding with online. At last. First of all, to the person who sent it to me, a very heartfelt thank you. This means a lot to me.

For those of you who don’t know, this is what the Simplex 4040 looks like:

Simplex 4040

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Categories: Fire alarms, Fire drills

Unexpected things…

August 16, 2004, 8:57 PM

First of all, I did not expect for one of the nose pads on my glasses to give out on me while I was at work. So after work I went to LensCrafters to get my glasses adjusted. That took me to Staunton Mall.

After I got my glasses worked on, I decided I wasn’t ready to leave quite yet, and so I decided to walk a lap around the mall. So I headed towards the JCPenney end of the mall. So who did I run into near Penney’s? Marie (a coworker) and her significant other (I want to say he’s her fiance, but I’m not for certain). The two of them were enjoying a massage in these automated massage chairs. $1.00 buys you three minutes. They told me that it was really good. So we got to talking while they got the massage done. Talked about the massage, and how nice it would be to have this at home. I chimed in that as nice as it would be, the really good massage chairs are pricey. At Brookstone at Pentagon City near DC, they sell the high-end models, and they cost a few thousand bucks. A little out of range.

Then when they finished, I parked myself in one of the chairs and gave it a whirl. It was a pretty good massage. Not the best I’ve had, but pretty good. It uses vibration, heat, and something that goes up and down your back in a few different motions. Pretty good massage. The only downside to it was when the back massager got down low on its track. There instead of working my back it was working my hip-bone. And that massager rubbing against bone is not comfortable. But usually on its first cycle, once you figure out where the uncomfortable zone is, you can adjust to avoid it.

Still, it did feel good as it vibrated and heated, and as the back thing pressed, kneaded, and pulsated. And it’s surprisingly addictive. I got the three-minute massage, and then the 15-minute massage. The 15-minute massage was SO good… so relaxing that I actually fell asleep in the chair! That was an odd experience, to wake up in the middle of Staunton Mall. I hope no one saw me napping in the mall…

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Seems that our good friend Charley is going to miss us…

August 13, 2004, 11:06 PM

Back from the beach! I will provide a full trip report a little later. Right now I’m still processing the pictures and still working on a sunburn. Oh, and my legs are sore from all the running around I did. But the full report is coming later. Stay tuned.

On my trip, though, I did keep the TV on in my hotel room for the most part. Thus I found out about Tropical Storm Bonnie (since downgraded to below a tropical depression), and Hurricane Charley. For some reason, I just like that -ey ending on there. Conveys something different than with the -ie. Compare: Charley and Charlie. Or, of course, we could just call this storm Chuck and just say to hell with it.

Still, both storms were originally forecast to go past our area, and thankfully that has changed. Still this is what Charley was originally projected to do as of about a day ago:

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Categories: Tropical systems

One job finishes, another job begins…

August 10, 2004, 7:04 PM

The deck’s finished! I have some hooray-the-deck-is-finished photos that I took with Big Mavica. The construction is totally finished, and now all that’s left to do is for Mom to pick up the new furniture that she’s getting for there.

Phase two also begins, as we replace the remainder of the downstairs flooring. The living room will be getting a new rug, and the family room and dining room are getting new hardwood flooring. In addition, beyond downstairs, we’re replacing the carpeting on the stairs with hardwood, as well as the carpeting in the upstairs hallway. Also hardwood. Currently, the family room and dining room are finished, and we’re putting things back to how they should be in there. The stairs and upstairs hallway are bare. That looks really weird. The living room has not yet been touched. I’ll be glad when it’s all finished, since waking up to the sound of nailing and other handyman-type jobs is not my idea of a good wake-up call. And now the work is right outside my door.

And then Greta’s away at the vet for a few days, getting a nodule of fat removed on her underside. So Greta’s kind of out of it right now. Greta’s operation was successful, and she’s at Cedarcrest right now, where she’s recovering. She’ll be back home on Friday. It’s probably just as well that she’s getting it done now, while work on the stairs is progressing. And Greta will be a better dog for this, too, which will be a good thing.

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Skyline Parkway Motel… people were charged!

August 7, 2004, 1:04 AM

An update regarding the recent fire at the Skyline Parkway Motel…

Turns out that it was arson, which we were not surprised about. And the building is a total loss. Also not a surprise. The surprise is how old the three suspects are. There are two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old charged with the Class 4 felony of setting fire to an unoccupied dwelling. I’d have thought it would have been people who were at least legally adults, rather than kids. But go figure. Anyway, though, since they are children in the eyes of the law, or as the law calls them, “juveniles”, their names were not released.

I understand why their names were not released, but I so want to put the “Nick and Adam” theory to rest. Recall that some days before the fire, the previously-blank sign in front of the motel read “NICK AND ADAM”. Recall this from a previous journal entry:

"Nick and Adam" at the Skyline Parkway Motel, post-fire

I so want to put that theory to rest and either have it be the case or not be the case, because I really want to see if people are actually stupid enough in real life to prominently place their name on the crime scene, showing to the world how stupid they are. Just remember… never underestimate the power and speed of stupid.

“This train will now be off-loaded. All customers must exit the train at this time. This train is now OUT OF SERVICE.”

August 7, 2004, 12:48 AM

Yes, this phrase actually happened to me at Metro Center on Wednesday, on the Red Line platform in the direction of Shady Grove. That was delay number three of three delays I experienced on the Red Line. Let me tell you what happened…

First of all, after going out to Rockville to meet Oren of Oren’s Transit Page, I went out to Shady Grove to see the Shady Grove rail yard, the adjacent Ride-On bus yard, and get a rail-to-bus transfer to use on Ride-On a little later.

So after I got back to the train at Shady Grove and boarded, the train operator made this announcement:

“This is the Red Line to Glenmont by way of downtown Washington DC. Stand clear, doors will be closing.”

This was followed by the “doors closing” announcement and the chime. And we’re off! Or so we thought. Before we’ve even completely cleared the station, the train stops, and the train operator said that we are experiencing a delay and that we will be going back to Shady Grove and opening the doors again. So the train is put into reverse and we are back where we started. “Doors opening!”

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