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It only took me a month, but it’s done!

June 29, 2005, 11:41 PM

Yay! The closet is clean! It only took me a month to do, but the closet is completely devoid of all of my crap. And I took no prisoners. Sixteen tubs’ worth of crap went to the landfill. I have one tub’s worth of stuff that I’m keeping/selling/donating. Not much came out of the closet that was of any worth, though.

I did find some interesting stuff, though. One was an old videotape of early-1990s television that I had been looking for on and off for years. Turned out it was in my old toy box the whole time. How it got there, I don’t know. But that tape was a lot of fun to watch again. It contains, among other things, a re-airing of the original 1990 pilot of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Let me say this about it. The pilot was awful, but it showed great potential.

Speaking of my old toy box, we found it, and it’s in pretty good shape. I cleaned it completely out, and Mom and I are going to refinish it. Right now, it’s got some splinters in it, mostly around the edges, it’s got some weird marks on it, and some discoloration. So we intend on sanding it and painting it before it sees a new life storing whatever it is that I choose to put in there. It could hold a lot of stuff.

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You’ve heard of Deep Dish? This is what we call “Cheap Dish”.

June 25, 2005, 5:45 PM

Yes, tonight, dinner consists of what I call “cheap dish pizza”. In other words, Great Value is the name of the game. Store brand pizza. Whoopty-doo. Of course, on a Wal-Mart income, that’s what it’s about. Still, that ought to be pretty good.

Meanwhile, Mom’s been organizing and rearranging things in my bathroom lately. I have two words for it: BAD IDEA. She completely rearranged all the stuff in my bathroom that I use on a regular basis. In fact, it’s been in the same place for so long in there that I can reach for it all while still half-asleep (and sometimes do end up doing just that). So Mom rearranged. A big handful of my Q-tips ended up in a container on top of the toilet. My blue toiletry tote that sits on the counter and contains all my toiletries was missing, and the contents scattered all around the bathroom. My toothbrush was in a holder elsewhere in the bathroom. My flosser was in there, too. My deodorant was in the closet. So was my dental floss on a string. And then while the flosser was in the aforementioned holder (that had always been known for being downright nasty), the floss clips that fit it were in the closet. All on different shelves all over the bathroom. And my toiletry tote was in the bottom of the closet, empty.

Needless to say, this rearrangement of my stuff without even so much as telling me was not wanted nor appreciated. My Q-tips went back in the box. Q-tips are for cleaning ears, not for display. That little container went back in the closet empty. My tote came back out. And all the stuff that went in it went back into it in the proper places. Everything I needed to use regularly went back where it was before. When I am ready to rearrange, then I will rearrange. And for someone who doesn’t even use that bathroom to come in and totally rearrange it really irritates me.

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When things go so well, you wonder where in the ointment that we’ll finally find the fly…

June 23, 2005, 10:37 PM

As anyone who read my away message on Wednesday saw, I was in the DC area. And things went smoothly. Very smoothly. The kind of so-smoothly that makes you start to wonder where the kinks are going to show up. I got up right on time before my alarm clock (unlike the late start I got last time), and got out without a hitch. My cruise control held up for the entire trip (it’s been known to cut out from time to time), and I encountered no major traffic jams on eastbound I-66 coming in. Usually I encounter traffic at around milepost 41 (just past the Haymarket exit), and it usually doesn’t clear until milepost 46 (just before the Manassas exit). Clear sailing right on in. Traffic only really got thick right around the Nutley Street exit, which is the one I take to access the Metro station. Beyond Nutley Street, and approaching the Beltway, however, was where the traffic was. I’ve often contemplated skipping Vienna and driving a few miles further to park at West Falls Church (where I noticed the new parking garage was underutilized), but all that traffic kept me at Vienna.

By the way, I currently am comfortable in driving to two Metro stations: Vienna and Franconia-Springfield. Vienna of course is my Metro station of choice. I always start at Vienna. Out of all my trips to DC, I’ve only not originated at Vienna twice (and one of those is only half a non-originate at Vienna). Once was my first trip ever to DC, back in 1994 at the age of 13. Our family went with friends, and we stayed over at another friend’s house. We ended up driving around to Pentagon City in Arlington, interestingly enough, and parked at the parking garage at Pentagon City Mall. That’s how I learned of Pentagon City Mall’s existence, and I still go there all the time, as I love Pentagon City, though for differing reasons over the years. I used to actually seriously shop there, but now the mall is more like a hangout, where I spend about $5 there to get something quick to eat and get a newspaper and then park myself somewhere to enjoy it all. I have no idea how to get to Pentagon City by car (I wasn’t driving), but could probably figure it out.

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Stop the presses!

June 19, 2005, 10:34 PM

After publishing the last Journal entry, where, at the end of the article, in the “Quote” part, I spoke about the demolition of the former Howard Johnson’s motor lodge in Harrisonburg, I learned from a friend that the motor lodge still exists!

So I went into JMU’s Facilities Management master schedule online, and found out that a lot of different scheduled projects are listed as being on hold. All sorts of projects are marked “ON HOLD”, such as:
Renovating humidity controls in the ISAT/CS Building
Reconfiguring the old WMRA space in Anthony-Seeger Hall for JMU Police use
Building a turning lane into the Convocation Center
Asbestos abatement and demolition of Lincoln House, Shenandoah Hall, Smith House, Wellington Hall, and Zirkle House
Demolition of Rockingham Hall (the old HoJo’s)
Replacement of UREC astroturf

As you can see, a lot of stuff is on hold. And it seems that ALL the demolition projects are on hold, for that matter. I really have no idea why all of these projects are on hold, but they are. By the way, all the other demolition projects aside from the HoJo’s are all on the same block, to make way for a new performing arts center.

So maybe the old Howard Johnson’s motor lodge will be with us for a tad longer than anticipated. Not like it will be of any use to us, though, as it will more than likely remain closed, as it has been for the past year.

Now to clarify, I am referring only to the MOTOR LODGE complex (guest room buildings and the gate lodge). The restaurant had already been demolished in June 2004. I describe my discovery that the restaurant had been demolished in the June 29, 2004 Journal entry.

Categories: Howard Johnson's, JMU

When I did the photo set, I never thought I was going to be documenting the last days of the complex…

June 19, 2005, 4:27 AM

When I shot the photos that comprised the two-part photo set Afton Mountain: Victim of Progress, I never really thought that what I was documenting would disappear so quickly. The focus of the photo set was threefold, if you recall:

Howard Johnson's Restaurant
Howard Johnson’s Restaurant

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An online survey

June 16, 2005, 12:05 PM

I thought I’d try one of those Email surveys. You know, the ones all your friends send you (you know, the ones that won’t be your friend much longer because they keep sending you all those annoying forward-this Emails). I’d gotten the idea that I wanted to do one on here, and you know me… I tend to be a little long-winded. So let’s take it for a spin, using this survey that I found online.

So, as Strong Bad might say, “Let’s get this train wreck a-rollin!”

WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR KITCHEN PLATES?

The plates in my kitchen are green and white, with an ivy theme on them. They’re cute, but when I find a real job and move out, I’m not getting anything like that. My dinnerware is going to be black, which is really shaping up to be a color I really like.

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Categories: Netculture

Cleaning out another corner of the closet…

June 15, 2005, 7:30 PM

It’s really amazing what I found in this wing of the closet. First of all, I managed to fill up two tubs’ worth of crap that’s getting hauled out (and I’m not even finished with this corner yet).

I did, however, find a whole bunch of pictures (a few of which may end up on this part of the Web site), three cents, and, of all things, the Grimes Good Egg pin that I got in May of 1989 (second grade).

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Good Egg Award is basically a student-of-the-month kind of award, given to one student in each class at Bonnie Grimes Elementary School. Officially, the award is given for “good citizenship”. Though it really was more of a “teacher’s pet” award. And you could tell, too, because the same faces got the award every year, and those kids would wear ALL their Good Egg award pins at once, which always irked me, since until the end of second grade, I’d never gotten the Good Egg award.

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Categories: House

“I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

June 14, 2005, 10:42 PM

On my lunch break, I went to our in-store McDonald’s to get lunch, since our lines on the front end were backed out the wazoo (even the self-checkouts!). McDonald’s wasn’t busy. So since they weren’t busy, I decided to see what their reaction would be. I came up to the counter, and said that famous line of Wimpy‘s: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

And the reaction?

*crickets chirping with blank stares*

Yeah, none of the people at the counter got it. The manager, however, did get it, and got a kick out of it.

Sometimes throwing pop culture references around is fun. Also amusing is that today was Thesday, so “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” was rather odd. Of course, I did gladly pay them Tuesday for a hamburger today, since it was Tuesday and all…

Categories: Food and drink, Television

What do a candidate’s freshman year grades in college really have to do with anything?

June 13, 2005, 7:11 PM

I was reading an article in the Staunton News Leader today at work, talking about John Kerry’s grades in college as compared to those of George W. Bush. I was reading the article, and the question came up again and again – what does this have to do with anything? John Kerry graduated Yale in 1966, and George W. Bush graduated in 1968. As of Election Day 2004, that would make John Kerry’s college days 38 years in the past, and would make George W. Bush’s college days 36 years in the past. Since then, both men pursued their various careers.

I consider career accomplishments better performance indicators than grades, which I consider along the lines of the old saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Call it what you will, but I find grades to be rather meaningless, as I’ve seen so many professors play with the numbers to make the grades look the way they want them to look. Besides, what’s important in the college experience? I quote from Dr. Stillion’s Student FAQ:

Since THAT is the very, very valuable thing for which you are investing all this money, time, and energy, you should study with the goal of learning ALL of the material to the best of your ability – and NEVER MIND the grade. In the end, you are NOT learning this stuff for a grade (I know that may seem strange, but it is nevertheless TRUE). Ten years from now, NOBODY will care what grade you made in this course – NOT EVEN YOU … . However, ten years from now, somebody’s LIFE may depend upon how well you comprehended and retained this material with the ability to APPLY it to their situation. … This is true for Psychology classes whether or not you ultimately work in a Psych-related field. Even if you ended up working picking strawberries somewhere, your ability to recognize, for example, a depressed co-worker and get them the help they need could make the difference between life and death for them.

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Categories: National politics

Today was a good day, though a long day.

June 13, 2005, 6:01 PM

Today was a good day. It was also a long day, but a good day nonetheless. The customers were nice, and seemed to do fairly well today on the self-checkouts, compared to a weekend, where people seem to have trouble on them.

All in all, it was quite a pleasant day. It seemed to be a long day, too, but it was a good day. And we were comfortably busy. Not bad.

And then otherwise, I realized that I’m nearly two weeks late writing this month’s newsletter. I guess with everything going on lately it just totally slipped my mind. Well, I’m going to rectify that just as soon as I finish this Journal entry.

Today was also an interesting head-music day for me. I had the weirdest songs floating through my head today. I had Marzipan’s scroll buttons song running through my head. I had the Crying Kitten song in my head today. I had the I Love You Kitten song stuck in my head. I had Yatta playing on a loop in my head. Today just seemed to be a day for all the different “Internet Songs” to take over my mind.

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A very hot day in DC!

June 9, 2005, 9:28 PM

What a hot day it was on Wednesday. But it was a fun day, though I tried to spend as little time as possible in the sun, and outside for that matter. A good day to go railfanning for most of the day, as Metro’s air-conditioned in and out, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

But first, some outdoor photography, with an emphasis on vertical photos, so that they would be easy to use in the photo feature on the main page. I spent a little time downtown, since I wanted some new urban photography for use on the Web site. I was successful here, and so I got off at Farragut West and walked down to Murrow Park, across the street from the World Bank. Last time I was down that way was for A16, when Sis and I went to a big demonstration.

This particular day, it was, as expected, normal. I got a few pictures, and then slipped into the Starbucks across the street from the World Bank. Now you want to know what was downright bizarre? Wherever there was a fire alarm strobe, there was not one, but two. A Gentex strobe was to the left, and a Wheelock strobe to the right. Like this:

Two different fire alarm strobes, side by side

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Categories: DC trips, Shopping, WMATA

I can’t believe it’s been a year…

June 5, 2005, 8:09 PM

I can’t believe it’s been a year since the June 5 anti-war demonstration sponsored by ANSWER Coalition. I can’t get over that it’s been that long.

Goodness… I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember being excited, but a little bit nervous, since it would be my first time as a true participant, vs. the previous one where I’d stayed on the sidelines the whole time.

I wrote about the June 5 demonstration in the Journal back in June 2004, and it’s good reading. I still regret packing Big Mavica for that demonstration, as all the photos I took were taken with my cell phone. It was a good day temperature-wise, as the rain that fell that day cooled things off a bit.

After the march, I found myself near the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station. I visited a nearby McDonald’s, where other participants in the march went afterwards, and I also helped out a girl who was in tears because she was stranded by her boyfriend in DC, hundreds of miles from home (she was from the Virginia Beach area). I provided comfort, and help. She was nice. I hope things worked out for her in the end.

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I only cleaned out a little tiny section, and I’m well on my way to three tubs of refuse!

June 2, 2005, 8:43 PM

Well, I procrastinated all Wednesday and much of Thursday, but I did get started on Thursday evening. And this is going to be a BIG job. I only cleaned out a little bit of stuff on the floor and ended up with two full tubs of refuse, destined for the landfill, and one tub with the stuff that I’m going to keep, sell, or donate.

It’s interesting what I found, too. A lot of it was literally trash. Paper. Empty boxes. Old, dried-up markers and stuff. I did find three new Sharpies, though, which I’m going to keep.

I also found some old clothes that I didn’t realize I had. I have an old “CFW Information Services” shirt still new in the plastic. That shirt is going away. Look for it in a thrift store near you. I also found a bunch of old, obsolete computer books, and some old textbooks from when Mom was a teacher before, back in the 1970s. Mom taught in New Jersey from 1973-1981, had me and then Sis, and didn’t go back to teaching until 1997.

Speaking of which, today was the last day of school for the county, and Mom tells me that her students all lined up at the end of the day for hugs. How cute!

But anyway, though, I can already tell that this project is going to require quite a few trips to the landfill to dispose of all the stuff that my Schumin High Intensity Target locator (think about that for a moment) came up with.

Categories: House

The enemy has been identified, and we shall clean its clock…

June 1, 2005, 11:43 AM

This is the enemy, as identified by the Super High Intensity Target locator (I’m not even going to give you the acronym for that one – figure it out yourself):

The closet

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Categories: House