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New Year’s Eve…

December 31, 2004, 9:56 PM

As I write this, it’s less than 30 minutes until 2005 arrives. And people were ready at Wal-Mart. Practically every customer the entire bloody day bought all sorts of alcohol, usually multiple items. Beer, wine, you name it. Virginia has state-operated liquor stores, so we don’t sell liquor at Wal-Mart – just beer and wine, and other stuff that falls into those two categories, like that malt liquor stuff.

And it was hopping at Wally World. Lines all day. People want to get loaded full of food and alcohol, and they bought it in large quantities. Whee!

Meanwhile, the Deli got some new mashed potatoes and gravy. I think that’s going to be a hit, particularly with the associates. I had some of it with my lunch. Good stuff indeed.

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All in all, we had fun on our not-a-date.

December 31, 2004, 2:08 AM

After work today, my friend Katie and I went up to Harrisonburg to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. I’d been there lots of times before with other people, but this was Katie’s first time at “BW-3’s” or “B-Dubs”, as it’s been called at times.

This whole outing was what we called our not-a-date, after a number of coworkers, three in particular (and you know who you are), kept commenting about how cute a couple we were and how it was so cute we were going on a “date”. For the record, Katie and I are not dating, nor do we ever intend to “date”. We are just friends. Strictly platonic. But that of course doesn’t mean we don’t have fun.

And to back up the fact that this wasn’t a date, we had also originally intended to have some others come with us. We were to have my sister come along, and also Teri from candy. Teri ended up having to cancel, and then Sis got sick and ended up having to leave work early.

At Buffalo Wild Wings, we ordered the boneless wings, and an order of mozzarella sticks. Why boneless? Bones are a bother to eat around, and make it quite messy. We had four of the twelve signature sauces on our wings. We had “Sweet BBQ”, “Mild”, “Spicy Garlic”, and “Caribbean Jerk”. So we had a third of the flavors. Still mighty good, though. Caribbean Jerk is about the upper limit of my tolerance of spicy sauces. That stuff is spicy. I’ve had the top of the scale, “Blazin”, before, and that’s just… whoo boy. I dipped a few wings in that when I went there on New Year’s Day 2002 with friends from Telegate. That sauce is potent, let me tell you. At first, it was like, this isn’t too bad, but then all of a sudden it hits you. Flames were shooting out of my mouth on that one, let me tell you.

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Categories: JMU, Katie, Shopping

Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the day after

December 26, 2004, 9:45 PM

My, what an interesting three days.

First there’s Christmas Eve. The crowds at Wally World were just amazing. Practically all of Waynesboro crammed into our store and cleaned it out. And then at 6:00, just like last year in the Staunton Wal-Mart, all became quiet, as the store closed, and the customers went home. All of us as associates finally wished each other a Merry Christmas, and went on home. Hey, the store was closed, and we were going to enjoy every minute of it. Though I think I caught Evelyn off guard with a Christmas hug.

Speaking of Christmas Eve, I’m still sore from that day. For one, my arms are sore from all the scanning I did. Let me tell you something. I was scanning far more items than a regular day, and was scanning at warp speed. So I’m still sore from that. We’ll recover. I also got a bruise on my front. I noticed it this morning while I was getting dressed. Then at work today, remembering where the bruise was, I realized how I got it. I must have accidentally jabbed myself with the arms on the bag spinner at some point, since it was at the right height to be the spinner.

Then there’s Christmas itself. Mom was the star of the show in the morning, overacting for everything. Sure, it was a bit bad acting, but it was cute. Meanwhile, you know you’re getting mature when you realize that the Christmas presents will still be there in the afternoon, and you don’t have to open them at the crack of dawn. I had no problem sleeping until noon or later. But the family woke me up at 9:00, and so I kind of lumbered down the stairs to open presents.

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Sarah Lanthier: You will not be forgotten

December 23, 2004, 9:17 PM

These last few days have left me in a bit of a funk. This stems from the fact that one of my best friends, Sarah Lanthier, recently passed away, on Friday, December 17.

Sarah and I had a wonderful relationship. We first met through my Today’s Special Web site back in 1997. She found it, liked what she saw, and contacted me. I replied, and we ended up talking extensively about Today’s Special through Email correspondence. Then our conversations branched off into other things. Then we had a phone conversation, where we got to talk with each other in “real time” for the first time. We did that and Email for the longest time, and also later adding ICQ for real-time conversations online. And all the time, we became so much closer, and even discussed meeting up one day.

And then in August 1999, we did! We arranged to meet in Toronto, where we stayed in the same hotel (the Delta Chelsea), and visited “The Store” from Today’s Special together. We had a lot of fun. Here’s a picture of us from that trip:

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Categories: Friends

A day of cart patrol… all day…

December 18, 2004, 11:21 PM

Goodness! Let me tell you… a day of clearing the parking lot is quite a day. Especially when you consider a few things. First of all, it’s a weekend. Busy. In December. Busier. The last Saturday before Christmas. BUSY AS HELL.

Needless to say, as soon as I would put some carts in the cart bay on one entrance, they would disappear. Just remember what I said earlier this month about doing carts being like a video game. Goal is to completely clear the lot. All the while, more carts are coming back out. And hit anything and you die. I think the best video game analogy is Pac-Man, with a touch of something else in there, since I use the automatic cart machine, and thus my consist gets longer as I keep going.

Also interesting that I drove off a fellow cashier doing carts because I wasn’t interested in some of the socializing that they were doing instead of doing carts. Since I’m efficient. Go to a corral. Round ’em up. Go to the next one. Round ’em up. Bring it in. Go back out. And so on. Now I’m all for socializing. But you’ve got to still get it done. I got a different fellow cashier out there later on, and we had a great time, and still got the job done.

Needless to say, though, I’m tired. And so I’m going to bed now.

Categories: Walmart

“Zordon? You know Zordon?”

December 15, 2004, 1:39 AM

This evening I finally appointed moderators for The Schumin Web Community, which is the name for my discussion forum section. However, I didn’t publish guidelines for my moderators just yet. So they are without guidance for now. Basically, imagine a Power Rangers scenario. I’ve given them Morphers, and I’ve given them Zords. But I’ve not shown them how to use either one yet.

Power Rangers was the first thing to come to mind for me. It also reminded me of the funniest thing that I’d seen in Power Rangers. First of all, do you know who this guy is in the tube?

Zordon

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Categories: Power Rangers

11 days until Christmas… let it all be over soon…

December 14, 2004, 9:06 PM

Goodness… let it be over soon! December 14 means ten more shopping days until Christmas, and please let these ten days go by quickly. Then maybe things can get back to normal.

Today, since we were short-handed, I ended up doing cart patrol for the last part of my shift. Let me tell you, too… there’s nothing like running around the lot with the QuicKart 2000, which is our automated cart machine, in the dark and in sub-freezing conditions. I’ve used the cart machine before, but this is the first time I’ve used it at night, and in this cold of weather. But let me tell you… that thing ran like a pro. And it sure beats the heck out of pushing carts manually. Then you can only do like five at a time, and plus requires pushing. Now, I can move thirty at a time, and all I have to do is steer.

Still, it’s very satisfying to see a clear lot after coming out to a full one. Though it was quite a cold time out there.

Otherwise, I’m off tomorrow, and I’m still job hunting in Washington DC. The Internet is a wonderful thing, as I’ve placed resumes on a few different job-hunting sites. Tomorrow will hopefully be productive, though before I do some serious work on stuff, I plan on getting some serious Zs.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta, Walmart

And I’m not touching that bloody photo set again until the 2005 redesign…

December 14, 2004, 1:24 AM

I finished it. I have finally finished the Million Worker March photo set in Life and Times. See it in all its Million-Worker-March-ness. And just three days shy of the two-month anniversary of the march.

The most-photographed view of the Million Worker March, based on what I could find elsewhere online, looked like this:

Million Worker March view from Lincoln Memorial

As you can see, I got the obligatory camera angle as well. This was from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking towards the Washington Monument. It seems like everyone and their mother got a picture from up there.

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Categories: Activism, Schumin Web meta

Something’s going around Wal-Mart…

December 11, 2004, 8:04 PM

You know, I’d expect it in a college dorm, where everyone lives in close proximity to each other and shares community facilities. But I didn’t expect to see it like this in the workplace.

What is “it”? A cold. Seriously, there’s a cold making its rounds through the associates at Wal-Mart in Waynesboro. I just think it’s interesting that so many people have it. But with having meetings and sharing phones, tills, podiums, and registers, it’s bound to happen, I guess.

I caught it myself, too. It’s not all that bad of a cold, manifesting it mostly as congestion. At its worst, I was congested all the way from the nose right on down the throat. Now I’m on what I’d consider the upswing – things are starting to get back to normal in my body. Now I only have a little throat congestion. So I feel a lot better, but I still haven’t gotten my whole voice back, and that seems to go in and out as it pleases.

It just bothers me that for right now, I can’t do all that I usually can do vocally. It will be back soon, I’m sure. Still, when I have to get on the squawk box, everyone in the store can tell that I’m trying, but still haven’t gotten my whole voice back yet.

Am I taking anything for it? Nope. Not a thing, aside from some nasal spray on a couple of occasions where I didn’t want to mess with my nose. See, cold medicine doesn’t seem to do anything for me anyway, so there you go. I save my money.

And of course this kind of thing has to hit right around Christmas, when everyone is already frazzled due to it being our big season.

Speaking of which, I finished my Christmas shopping. Did you?

Categories: Myself

Cart patrol!

December 7, 2004, 9:04 PM

Today was an interesting day at work. I didn’t run a regular register all day.

Why, you may ask?

We were short-handed, and so for the first half of the day, I was a stand-in cart pusher, or as I refer to it, “cart patrol”. I did quite a job, too, running the cart machine all around the lot, picking up the carts, and dropping them in the proper cart bays for customers to use.

It’s really like a video game. The object of the game is to clear the lot of all unattended shopping carts both in the cart corrals and just floating around loose. Meanwhile, customers will drop carts in the corrals all the time. However, if you hit a parked car, a customer, or a moving car, you’re dead.

The rest of the day, I worked the Fastlanes. In other words, the particular model of self checkouts that we have. Not bad. I like running those compared to a regular register, because I feel like I’m running my own little empire.

Categories: Walmart

Roanoke and Lynchburg…

December 5, 2004, 1:43 AM

I just have to say what a trip it was… on my off day I traveled in a big loop. Traveled from Stuarts Draft over to Charlottesville, then down to Lynchburg, across to Roanoke, and back up to Stuarts Draft.

I started out taking a bit of a back way to I-64, which meant I took Route 610 from its origin about a mile or so away from my house to Mount Torrey Road in Sherando. This took me through Lyndhurst and on into Waynesboro (where it becomes Delphine Avenue), where I met up with I-64. So I took I-64 eastbound, to Exit 118A. This took me over the mountain, and to the first Charlottesville exit, which landed me on US 29 southbound. As you can see, Charlottesville was just a hub for me. The place where I changed direction.

Actually, I went too far east to be most efficient. The most direct route would have been to get off I-64 at Exit 99, which is Afton, at the top of Afton Mountain. Travel eastbound a few miles on US 250, and then take VA 6 down the mountain into Nelson County and meet US 29 at the end of VA 6. But this was a road trip, with the drive being half the fun.

So I took US 29 from I-64 near Charlottesville. Boy, that’s a lot of undeveloped space around there going south. Very scenic, though. Rode US 29 through Albemarle County, into Nelson County, and into Amherst County. I got to experience a traffic circle in Amherst. Funny thing about the Charlottesville-to-Amherst (as in Town of Amherst) leg of the trip was that you’d have lots of empty space, then all of a sudden, boom. A store. Then more open space. Then boom, a Food Lion in a full strip mall in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

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A mall trip with Katie…

December 2, 2004, 10:50 AM

It’s very amusing what happens when two friends go to the mall sometimes. Take for instance, Katie and I, who are also coworkers at Wal-Mart. We went to the Staunton Mall, and basically had a blast.

One thing we did was have our pictures taken with Santa Claus:

Ben and Katie with "Santa Harry"

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Categories: Katie, Shopping