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I lost my Breda sticker… very sad.

August 6, 2005, 7:29 PM

How sad, indeed. I lost my “My other car is a Breda” bumper sticker magnet. I think I know how I lost it, though. I believe I lost it when I took my car through the car wash on Friday with the magnet still in place. I noticed it after work on Saturday, after Mom and I went to Home Depot (she met me after work), when I finally got a good look at the back of my car when she drove me back to it, and noticed it was missing – showing an outline of dirt around where the sticker used to be. Mom said that next time I go through a car wash, I need to remove the magnets first. Good idea.

And it’s not like the sticker is irreplaceable. I still have the pattern for it, so I’ll just have a new one made up. This would also be an opportune time for me to get the “Stand to the right” bumper sticker that I designed, to add to the right side of the car, similar to the Breda sticker. The Breda sticker being on the left was a coincidence. The “stand to the right” sticker being on the right is deliberate. After all, that would be a little hypocritical otherwise, no? The “stand to the right” sticker magnet standing on the left side of my car? No. Still, check it out:

"On Metro escalators, please... STAND TO THE RIGHT"

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Categories: Arlington, Toyota Previa, WMATA

DC can be so fun, but in this heat, the fun is best had in the shade or indoors…

July 21, 2005, 10:03 PM

I had fun in DC on Wednesday the 20th. It was a long day, but fun nonetheless.

However, the fun didn’t start right away. Oh, no. The drive up to Vienna was “more challenging” than usual. For those of you who don’t know, my car will have been in our family for fifteen years this month. So it’s an old car as these things go. And it’s seen fairly continuous service for those fifteen years. As a result, things start doing strange things as they age. My cruise control can be a little tricky sometimes. When it wants to work, I get up to speed, start it up, and then set it. It will catch, and it will work fairly well. However, other days, it will do one of two things. It will either try to catch and miss, or do nothing at all. In both cases, the cruise control light blinks several times, and then goes out, and the light will not come on again until the car is restarted. The end result is no cruise control until the car has had several hours sitting turned off.

So coming off of VA 608 in Fishersville onto I-64, I set my cruise. It caught and we were sailing. Changing to I-81, I always come off of cruise control, since it’s too tight a curve to take at full speed. Then once I get back onto I-81, I set the cruise control back to where it was. And life is good, don’t you see. Today, coming off the ramp and onto I-81, in re-setting my cruise control, it missed. So no cruise for me on the way up! Thus instead of just sailing up there, I was kind of doing an up-and-down thing speeding up and slowing down, since my mind wants to be on cruise control, but my car just won’t agree to it. I’ll get up to the proper speed, and then accidentally let it drop. Not a good thing. So we have to start over, getting to the right speed again. It’s a vicious cycle. After my stops at Sheetz and Wal-Mart on the way up, I checked my cruise again to see if it would come to life again (it sometimes does), but unfortunately no. No cruise for me. Several blinks and then dark. But at least it’s during the day, and I’m still fresh as a daisy.

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Chucks, Metro, and Home Depot

April 29, 2005, 3:05 AM

First of all, on Monday, my off-day, I managed to get a lot accomplished. I went to the bank, to the Toyota dealership to get windshield wiper inserts (you can only get them there since the front wipers are so large), and also to Staunton Mall for shoes. I had said before that I was going to make my Airwalks last through A16 before I replaced them. A16 was about nine days past when I went shoe shopping.

Now do you remember a few weeks ago, in the April 15 Journal entry, which is six entries above this one (if you’re reading this on the archived page) or below this one (if you’re reading this on the Journal main page), when I tried on the Chucks while I was down in Blacksburg? Well, I looked at the photo that I took with the cell phone from that time, and decided to give the Chucks another try-on. So I tried them, and what do you know – I liked them! I ended up getting myself a pair, though I didn’t like that I couldn’t lace them all the way up.

So this led me on a bit of a wild goose-chase around Staunton. In pursuit of long enough shoelaces (the Chucks came with 63″ laces, which only left an inch on each end when laced to the top – I needed 72″ laces), I went to Super Shoes, Wal-Mart, Athletic Annex, Hibbett Sporting Goods, A&N, and even Claire’s (it was a long-shot). After all of them, I came up empty handed. So I had my too-short laces, and figured out how to make them work for now. I looked at a file photo from the Million Worker March of a person wearing Chucks, and laced them that way. I ultimately found the long laces I needed online, at a place called The ChucksConnection. They are currently in transit. Once they show up, I’ll lace all the way up.

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I still don’t understand…

April 21, 2005, 4:51 PM

I still don’t understand how I managed to get a screw lodged in my tire on Tuesday. I must have run over it somewhere between Wal-Mart and home on Tuesday, since the tire was in good shape when I went to work on Tuesday, and it was in good shape when I left work on Tuesday. And I had no problems on the ride home. Then on Wednesday morning leaving for work, the tire was deflated.

So we ended up rearranging the cars in the driveway, and I took Sis’s car to work. Her car has air conditioning. My car, you see, had air conditioning at one time. It no longer works, along with a whole bunch of other things on that car. Once I find a real job in DC, getting a new, smaller car is on my list of priorities.

Still, on my lunch break today, I took the car around to Tire and Lube Express (TLE), and I picked it up after work. I got a new tire on it, and so now the car is happy again. It was also nice to not have to walk practically halfway across town to get to my car after work, which is where associates normally park for work. I just paid for my tire and then slipped out through TLE.

Meanwhile, one of my coworkers told me on Tuesday that I was driving slowly coming to work. And this on a day when I was pushing it on speed. Thus now we have nicknames for each other. I say, “Hey, speedy!” and they say, “Hey, slowpoke!” I’m just tickled by the whole thing, since I was in a hurry that particular morning that I got told I was driving slowly.

So all in all, life is interesting.

Categories: Driving, Toyota Previa, Walmart

Today was a Monday, and there was no mistaking it for anything else but a Monday.

April 11, 2005, 9:45 PM

Now I know why Garfield hates Mondays so much. This particular Monday seemed out to get me. Two significant occurrences happened today.

The first was my shoes. Now, since it’s gotten warmer out, I’ve switched from the Airwalks to some Faded Glory sandals, which I normally wear with socks. Today, I was wearing the sandals. And a piece that holds the top of the sandal together near the toe gave out as I was going to my break. Thankfully, that had an easy quick fix, and an easy permanent solution. The quick fix was to borrow some tape from the bike assemblers. My coworkers suggested duct tape to fix it. I couldn’t find any. So I used masking tape. It held until my lunch break, when I could make a permanent fix. On my lunch, I got another pair exactly like them off the shelf and exchanged them. Problem solved. Hopefully that first pair was just a fluke, and that these will go the distance.

The second thing to go wrong involved the bag spinners at the cash registers and a gallon of milk. I guesstimated how much space I had on top of my spinner, and was wrong. Thus I accidentally shoved a gallon of milk off the top of it, where it bounced off the bottom of the spinner, and then hit the floor. There, the container was compromised, sending milk all over the floor. Thankfully, it was a slow day, plus it spilled into an open area, and so no one was hurt, and nothing was damaged aside from the milk container. Still, I had no idea that a gallon of milk could go so far. But three of us managed to get the spill under control.

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Categories: Shoes, Toyota Previa, 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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I dropped a license plate and didn’t even realize it…

September 13, 2004, 12:27 AM

Seems that on Saturday, I dropped a license plate! When I left for work today, I noticed that my front bumper was bare. I look at it, and I’m thinking, oh, crap, no license plate. I’m also figuring out when I can go to DMV to get my missing license plate replaced. Then my thought process changed to figuring out when it fell away, and whereabouts it would be. I didn’t hear anything that sounded like a metallic object falling off the front of the car on my way home from work, though. And it would have had to have been at least then, since I had my license plate when I left on Saturday.

So being unsure of where my license plate fell away, and being pretty sure it wasn’t malice (I’d had to reattach the license plate once before), as I was driving to work, I was not only looking where I was going, but also scanning the sides of the road on the side I take for my return trip (US 340 is a divided highway most of the way to Waynesboro). I usually ride the left lane, so if it fell away on 340, it should be readily visible from the other lanes.

My assumptions for this quick search (object staying on the left side, and possibly being off the road after falling off of a moving vehicle at 55 mph) were probably wrong anyway, but regardless, the plate was not found, and as it turned out, I didn’t drop the plate on the road anyway. As it turned out, the plate had already fallen off by the time my van was in the area I looked in.

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Categories: Toyota Previa

And now the car is dry again

July 2, 2004, 6:07 PM

And thank goodness for that, too. Turns out that the “hot box” treatment worked just fine, where I shut all the windows and left the car out in the sun. Totally dry the next day, and was greeted by a mass of warm, moist air when I opened the door. And then when I got it all vented, it was good as new. Then after I finished running my errands and then some driving around, I cleaned up from Thursday’s storm, getting some Great Value window cleaner (aka Wal-Mart brand Windex) and wiping down the entire front end of my car. And getting the rear view mirror clear again.

Otherwise, though, I have a lot less hair now. I finally got a haircut today, which was a long time in coming. I think if I had gone any longer without getting a haircut, I could have rented myself out as a mop.

Categories: Toyota Previa

One more thing about the storm…

July 2, 2004, 1:38 AM

One more thing… a number of people’s cars were damaged by not only the hail, but also the wind. The hail was an obvious one. Golf-ball sized chunks of ice can do some serious damage to a car. One person’s windshield was cracked as a result. The wind did some damage by catching the shopping carts, sending them flying into cars, and also literally spinning in the parking lot. A dangerous combination.

Me, my car came out unscathed, except for one minor problem… I left my windows open a crack to let the heat out. Remember it was sunny when I came to work. So I got to my car for my lunch break, and it had rained in. A lot. Usually a little crack doesn’t let any water in, but with the wind, it really rained in, getting the entire front seat area all wet. No damage. Just wet, and it’s already mostly dry. But still… even with the windows cracked, the storm was going so hard that it got my rear view mirror dirty, perched high up in the center of my car. I’m like, whoa.

Just remember that I am driving the car that a friend of mine described as “The car that will not die”. It’s fourteen years old now, you realize. We got it when I was nine. And it’s been through three major accidents (street sign by Mom, deer by Dad, and hillside by me), one minor accident (a small fender-bender last September), a few slides off the road in bad weather (unscathed each time), and God knows what else. It’s like Bill Clinton – the comeback kid. Or like that Chumbawumba song, where they say, “I get knocked down, and then get up again”.

Right now, though, I just need a dry day to let this car air out. And of course, I have to clean the front of the car again, which I just did on Monday. Now it looks like it never happened.

Categories: Toyota Previa, Weather

Finally, an off-day!

June 29, 2004, 11:42 PM

Yes, after six straight days, where I worked all four different Service Desk shifts at least once, I finally have gotten another off-day. This Wednesday, I will be going nowhere near my own Wal-Mart. Other people’s Wal-Marts, on the other hand, are a completely different story, as most other Wal-Marts don’t look at all like Waynesboro’s. Most Wal-Marts are gray, red, and blue. Our store is beige and forest green. Our store has black signage and faux-wood floors. Most stores have some sort of blue signage and carpeting.

So I have yet to figure out what tomorrow looks like. Probably not going to go out, but rather I will probably take the opportunity to do some serious work on the Web site. I really need to work on it, since right now I’m behind on a few different projects, including spinning College Life off into its own subsidiary site, working on “The Lights of the Night” group of photo sets, and my “Memories” College Life set.

Otherwise, the phrase “Are your gas bills so high they make you want to cry?” is just perfect for me. To fill up the Previa costs almost $30 with these astronomical gas prices. And my car isn’t even one of those gas-guzzling SUVs.

Now sport-utility vehicles aren’t helping the price of gas, either. If people would all get small, fuel-efficient cars, maybe we could all get more for our money as far as gas goes. I know that when I eventually replace the Previa, I will be getting a small car, preferably a station wagon.

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I don’t know what happened, but it definitely looked unpleasant

June 12, 2004, 11:59 PM

On my way back from Charlottesville, where I spent the day today (somehow I got a Saturday off without asking for it – go figure), on US 340 right before the intersection of 340 and 608, I had to slow down considerably. It was the only smart thing to do considering that there were northbound cars traveling in the left southbound lane. I’m like, what in the heck and slowed down and got in the right lane. Once I got closer, it all made some sense. First thing I saw was lots of shattered glass strewn across four of the five lanes of US 340 right where Stuart Avenue meets 340. I looked left, and I see two cars in some poor innocent person’s front yard at a weird angle. Looks like they didn’t go there on purpose. Some other cars were parked nearby. Then there was a guy putting out flares. I don’t know any details other than what I saw, and don’t know how bad the damage was or whether anyone was hurt or not. But I can tell you this. It definitely doesn’t look pleasant.

Otherwise, I had fun in Charlottesville. First, though, I got the Previa’s front end aligned at Eavers Tire in Stuarts Draft. That was related to the blowout I had two weeks ago. While I was waiting, I worked on my phone some, downloading a new version of Mobile IM (remember that my AIM screen name on my phone is Schumin Wireless), plus downloaded Tetris and Ms. Pac Man onto my phone.

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“WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!”

June 8, 2004, 2:04 AM

It’s been a few days since I last posted, and so I thought I’d fill you in on what’s happened in my life.

Biggest event was on June 5, where I attended an International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) protest in Washington DC. That was FUN. We went from Lafayette Park in front of the White House to Donald Rumsfeld’s house at 2206 Kalorama Road NW. To get there we left Lafayette Park and took H Street to 14th Street. From there we went several blocks up to U Street, where we caught Florida Avenue to Connecticut Avenue, and finally to Kalorama Road.

I ended up connecting with a group of relative strangers from Chicago who drove a long way to come to this event. It was a very diverse group, too. One of the women had their hair colored purple. Another carried a bucket being used as a makeshift drum. Another was dressed for the weather (cool and wet) and were ready to follow the protest. The two men in the group appeared to be my age or slightly older, and were dressed for a Black Bloc, wearing all black and masks over their faces. Considering that I came to the protest alone, I was very pleased about how well this group from Chicago that I never met before and will probably never meet again accepted and welcomed me into their group. Very friendly folks. Me from two hours away, and them from half a continent away.

Chants at this protest ranged from “Occupation is a crime from Iraq to Palestine”, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people ’cause the power of the people won’t stop!”, chants about Mumia Al-Jamal (Free Mumia), “Whose streets? Our streets!” and others I can’t remember off the top of my head.

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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 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