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After three days, I am back online…

July 16, 2005, 11:22 PM

Three days of no Internet and four updates ready to go (Photo Feature, Childhood Days, Transit Center, and Journal) will drive a person completely up the wall. There’s just something about knowing that your Internet connection is down that makes you crazy. No Email. No AIM. No forums. No Web updates. Seriously, everything grinds to a halt.

Of course, it could be worse. I could be one of those people who do their Web page right on the server, and thus not have a local copy to do. I have the whole Web site right here on my computer, and that’s my “master” for the site. What you see online is simply the latest update from the master on my computer.

Still, it makes a person crazy to have all these updates ready to go and nowhere to put them. Hopefully, now that we’ve had the cable guy in to fix it, the connection will stay up. They rearranged how everything was wired together, giving the cable modem its own cable jack and somehow making it work. So I’m pleased.

Categories: Internet, Schumin Web meta

What a wonderful two days off I had, and now back to the salt mines…

July 15, 2005, 5:35 PM

Wednesday and Thursday were such wonderful days off. I ran some errands, ran around a bit, and also got a lot of work done on the computer.

On Wednesday, I spent much of the day out. I first went to the RadioShack store in Waynesboro to return that RF switch that I ended up not needing to hook up my Super Nintendo. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the switch that was the problem, but rather where along the line I was hooking it up. So no problem. The Super Nintendo works, and I got my thirteen bucks back.

Then I went over to Staunton. Since the Harley-Davidson shop moved to its new location in Staunton, I’d heard a lot about it. Add to that the fact that they had their first annual “Rally in the Valley” about a month or so ago, and that generated a bit more buzz about it. So I went over to take a look. Now I’d never been to the old Harley place when it was in Waynesboro, so I had nothing to compare this to. Still, I was favorably impressed, even though biker stuff isn’t exactly my thing. First of all, the sense of space really gets you. The place is huge. And that’s not even the whole place. That’s just the main salesfloor. And on the salesfloor, there are bikes on display, there are sections for parts and accessories for one’s motorcycle, sections for men’s, women’s, and kids’ apparel, a section for shoes, a section with hats, helmets, sunglasses, and goggles, and even more. Then on the other side of the building, there’s a service area, and a well-appointed waiting area for people whose bikes are being serviced. And then outside the building, down a hill, is a course for people to take on their motorcycles. With it being down a hill from the main building, it makes for a great viewing area. As I said, I was favorably impressed with the place, even with biker stuff not being my thing. The place is very high-visibility (it rises high above the VA 262 loop), but actually getting to it is a little weird, since you have to go south on US 11, turn left onto Rolling Thunder Lane, which is almost right after you get onto Route 11. Then Rolling Thunder Lane is a longish, slightly-curving road with the Harley place looming up at the end.

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Jolt Cola: It really does exist!

July 12, 2005, 10:50 PM

I could not believe it today when I went to the 7-Eleven after work for some refreshment. Looking in the drink cooler, I found Jolt Cola. I was surprised, because I’d heard of it for so long, but had never ever seen it. I was starting to think that Jolt Cola, the soda that was completely LOADED with caffeine, was an urban legend, since people had spoken of it, but I’d never seen it before. But now I know it’s real, and it’s weird. Take a look:

Jolt Cola - it does exist!

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The combination of things people buy sometimes…

July 11, 2005, 12:08 AM

I saw what was perhaps the funniest thing on the self-checkout register today. A person bought a pack of condoms, and two different kinds of sandpaper. I’m just like, hmmmmmmm. You have to wonder about that. It leaves lots to the imagination. But if they like to sand in bed, that’s their business. Still, what cracks me up the most is the line I came up with. The couple is in bed together. He says, “So honey, do you want medium grit or fine grit tonight?”

Priceless.

Of course, the reason people buy condoms through the self-checkout in the first place is to be discreet. They don’t want anyone to know that they’re buying condoms in the first place.

This, by the way, is how retail employees have lots of fun doing their jobs. We are completely following established procedure, and laughing like heck on the inside the whole time. Person rings up condoms on the self-checkout. They put it in the bag. The self checkout machine goes off: “Item not recognized! Remove last item and try again!” So I come over. Me: “Hi, let me fix you up so you can continue.” I look into the bag (so as to visually verify that the items match their ticket). I see the condoms. I don’t say anything, but you can tell that they’re completely embarrassed by it. I’m laughing on the inside.

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Malcolm X Park: Mission Accomplished

July 7, 2005, 9:48 PM

Yes, I had a very productive time in Washington DC. Though I did get a touch of a late start. But we recovered. I ended up making up the time by hurrying along my Sheetz stop on the way up, plus traffic was lighter than usual going in. Usually I hit a considerable bottleneck from mile 41-45 on eastbound I-66, and this time, while I did encounter traffic (slowed due to construction vehicle movements), it was not as bad as I’ve seen it. So I was able to breeze right through. I still got to Vienna a touch late, but no problem.

I also finally found some background information on the I-66 construction.

At Vienna, I got a pleasant surprise – a parking spot on the top level, close to the elevator. Usually, and especially since the garage rehabilitation project began, I can only get a parking spot in the North Garage after 10:00, when the guaranteed spaces open up. So that was handy. Also, the rehabilitation work has moved once again, now encompassing the western ramp between levels. How strange it is to have that section closed off now, since that’s the ramp I usually use going up and down.

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They saw it, and that’s all that they shall see of it.

July 5, 2005, 6:00 PM

Sometimes, you just have to give people what they want. At work, coworkers comment all the time about my wearing my sandals with socks. That’s just how I do it. I wear the socks with the sandals because, for some reason, sandals without socks cause the shoes to smell absolutely awful. Plus the socks help wick sweat off my feet. So it works out.

A number of coworkers have said that I should go sockless with the sandals. Bare feet in the sandals, like many people do. One particular coworker was quite emphatic about it, and so I said to them, “Okay. For you, I’m going to wear my sandals without the socks one day.”

Fast forward about two weeks. Today was the day. So instead of my usual white socks with the sandals, this is what it looked like:

Wearing sandals without socks

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Categories: Shoes

Breezewood?

July 3, 2005, 10:00 PM

Yes, Breezewood. Specifically, Breezewood, Pennsylvania, which is known as the “town of motels”. I’m considering going up to Breezewood to do a photo set on the abandoned alignment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which is now owned by the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy and being turned into the “Superhighway Trail”. This alignment includes the old Rays Hill and Sideling Hill tunnels, among other things.

You may recall that I traveled through Breezewood in 2003, as part of an LPCM trip. Photos and movies here. At that time, we used Breezewood as many others do, which is as a connection between the free I-70 and tolled I-76 (there is no direct connection between the two highways). In fact, that’s how Breezewood came into its modern existence.

According to this article, “…Breezewood is the unintended consequence of decisions having nothing to do with it.” Basically, to build a direct interchange between I-70 and I-76 at Breezewood, if federal funding was to be used to build a direct connection, then the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission would have to stop collecting tolls when the bonds funding the connection were retired. To quote the article again:

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Categories: Places, Roads

We have Nintendo!

July 1, 2005, 7:05 PM

I got it all working, though not through the fix that I intended. The good thing, though, is that I can return the RF switch to Radioshack, since it turns out the problem was not the switch, but where in my massive array of stuff that I hooked it up. I don’t know. Don’t ask me. But it works.

Then I had to find the controllers. I have four Super Nintendo controllers. One is the standard-issue SNES control pad with purple buttons. One is some sort of weird turbo pad that doesn’t work. Then I have two “Superpad” SNES controllers, which look exactly like the standard-issue controllers, except they say “Superpad” on them and have the Super Famicom-style colors for the buttons (think the different-colored Yoshis).

Of course, when I dug the SNES and stuff out, I found only two controllers. The standard-issue one, and the non-working one (that I didn’t know didn’t work at the time). The Superpad ones were nowhere to be found. As you know, I’ve been cleaning out the closet and going through and tossing lots of stuff, considerably lightening my load. The closet looks good. So in looking for the two Superpad controllers, I ended up turning my room upside down. Went through the different totes of stuff, went hunting in dresser drawers, my desk, in stuff, under stuff, through my fire alarms, you name it. You know where I eventually found the controllers?

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Categories: Video games

Still offline, but what a productive day!

July 1, 2005, 4:05 PM

I’m still offline and entering this Journal entry directly into the database, but I found out from Dad what most likely caused this outage. It turns out that the storm that I was outrunning in Amherst County last night was the likely cause of our losing Internet service. According to Dad, that’s when the outage occurred – during the storm. And it seems it was more intense in Stuarts Draft than where I was. Remember that I caught a lot of heavy rain between the town of Amherst and Lovingston in Nelson County. No thunder and lightning while I was getting the rain.

So we’ll see. We’ve got a guy coming to the house tomorrow to take a look at it.

Meanwhile, I got a lot of stuff accomplished today. I paid a bill related to that surgery I had in February, and then I went to the bank to deposit a check. So that worked out well. After that, I went to Radioshack in Waynesboro to pick up an RF switch that will hopefully make my Super Nintendo come to life again (more on that in a second). Then lastly, I went to Goodwill in Waynesboro and dropped off a whole load of stuff from the closet. Nice place, and I was in and out in five minutes. Smelled like a combination of old clothes and new building, though, but such is to be expected.

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Categories: Internet, Shopping, Video games

Talk about a trip gone off course…

July 1, 2005, 12:35 AM

First of all, welcome to July, which means I close out the journal file that I use for the first half of 2005, and open a new journal file for the second half. So that’s why none of the previous entries are showing on the front of the Journal. They’ve been swept off the page because I’ve switched journal files.

Otherwise, though, I did add one new feature to to the Journal with this new journal file for my own information. Now, whenever I post a Journal entry, it will capture the remote host name of the place where I posted the entry. Most of the entries will show the host name for my regular computer, but there are times when I post from elsewhere, like that time in the middle of March when I posted an entry on the Infoshop‘s computer while I was up in Washington on my first post-surgery DC trip. From your perspective, there will be no change in your experience. The host name information will not show on the site.

What’s ironic about this new feature, though, is that with this first entry in the new journal file that captures the host name, is that I’m writing it offline, thus there is no host name to capture. Why? A few reasons. First of all, my Internet connection is down for some unknown reason, and thus the online form that I usually use for it is inaccessible. So I’m writing this directly into the database. Secondly, I’ve not yet done any of the changeover work on the site for the new file. And lastly, this entry was not supposed to be the first July entry, but rather the final June entry, but a fly got into the ointment while I was out today after work, which made me FAR later in getting home than I wanted. That story follows.

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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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