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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 went to Washington DC on Tuesday…

September 22, 2004, 8:28 PM

That was fun. I chose the date because of a picket event outside the US Treasury Building, in regards to third-world debt, sponsored by the Jubilee USA Network. It was an hour-long protest, going from noon to 1 PM. I attended the second half-hour of it. I got pictures of some of the speakers, and then got a bunch of photos of the people marching, carrying signs. This was a small event, carried out on the corner of 15th Street and New York Avenue NW. As such, “marching” basically meant all the people in attendance marched in a circle right there at the corner. It was still a spirited event, with all kinds of slogans being shouted. For instance:

“What do we want? Drop the debt! When do we want it? Now!”
“Medication for every nation! Drop the debt now!”
“Secretary Snow! The debt has got to go!”
“Don’t drop the ball! Cancel it all!”

All in all, it was a fun event. I also exchanged Email addresses with one of the Jubilee USA organizers, with the intent of sharing my photos. Maybe some of my photos will end up on there. We shall see. It would have been nice if they’d done it on a sunny street corner, because in the shade, it causes me to have to do some serious retouching to get the color right.

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Categories: DC trips, Driving, WMATA, World Bank

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…

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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The little kiddies go back to school soon, and vacation is on the 11th…

August 3, 2004, 12:00 AM

I don’t care if it’s only two days. I plan on making the most of those two days at Virginia Beach, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And at this last count, it will be a week and a day as of tomorrow. I can’t wait. And this time I know exactly how to get there, since no one changed the route number on me this time.

Recall from 2000, when I last went to Virginia Beach, that I actually rode almost completely around the Hampton Roads area, or as it’s also called over there, the “Hampton Roads Beltway”. Before 2000, I had gone to Virginia Beach only once before, on a one-day trip in 1999. I consider that trip a mistake in retrospect, since for all the driving my friend Andrea and I did, we only got a few hours on the beach before it was time to go back home. And we still didn’t get home until 4 AM. But in that 1999 trip, the actual road to the beach was signed as a state highway, VA-44. As a result, this is what I was looking for on the highway:

Virginia State Route 44 green sign

Instead, in 2000, this is what I got:

Interstate 264 green sign

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July 4: A colossal non-event

July 5, 2004, 7:02 AM

Yeah, I had to work on the Fourth of July. 2-11, too, which meant no fireworks. Oh, well. Just as well, though, I guess, because it rained anyway. I was on my lunch break at work, and I commented, “Please tell me that’s someone making a lot of noise on the roof and not thunder again,” since that would be our third or fourth consecutive night with thunder and lightning. And lightning was twinkling up above for quite a bit of the ride home, too.

Speaking of the ride home, though, that was an interesting experience. Let me tell you what’s going on. The road that I take most of my trip to work on, US 340 (Stuarts Draft Highway/Rosser Avenue), is a four-lane divided highway from the edge of Stuarts Draft until well into Waynesboro (beyond Wal-Mart). As a result, you have two lanes going northbound, and two lanes going southbound, separated by a wide median. So I’m going southbound to go home, in the left lane on my side. I see headlights ahead of me, and I’m looking at them, and I’m thinking, those headlights are at the wrong angle from me to be going north. Turns out that the headlights were going north, specifically, headed directly at me. So I moved over to the right lane, and we passed harmlessly. Considering the speed at which this person passed me, they were going full speed down the highway, on the wrong side of the road. If I hadn’t moved, we would have had a head-on collision at 55 miles per hour. Unpleasant? You bet.

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Categories: Driving, 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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So this officially puts me one day behind where I want to be…

February 11, 2004, 1:47 AM

After the successful room-stripping yesterday, where I took down all the wallhangings in the entire room, now we have to patch all the nail holes.

And why does this put me back a day? Well, the spackle I found in the garage turned out to not be nearly as fresh as I’d hoped. I figured it was still nice and squishy like it should be on the inside, but noooo… it was tough and rubbery, and not even a little water could fix that. All I made was a mess, which I had to then clean up. So that puts spackling back a day, as I now have to buy some fresh spackle after work. I have a nice putty knife set that I got at work tonight, but no spackle. Excellent planning on my part. NOT.

Also, just so you know, if you really want some great values on this stuff, the brand you want to look for is “Mainstays”. I’m currently swearing by it. And when it comes to light bulbs, you want “Great Value”.

Still, once I get some spackle, I’m slathering it all over the walls in here. And this place needs a lot of it.

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Categories: Bedroom remodel, Roads

Freezing rain. Just what I love driving in coming home from work!

February 6, 2004, 11:16 AM

Yeah, lovely drive home on Thursday. Kind of icy, and I forgot to get that hoagie that I wanted after work. This is a big hoagie. The sandwich is like 14 inches long, and five inches across, at least. I wanted to eat it, but forgot to get it…

If you are a ped, you are supposed to X when I tell you to X, understand?

January 13, 2004, 6:02 AM

I just get such a kick out of what phrases I come up with sometimes. This time with a pedestrian that wouldn’t cross the parking lot at Bank of America after I signaled to him to go (I was in my car). He wouldn’t go. I immediately think a little play on the sign “PED XING” for Pedestrian Crossing, and want this bozo to go. Still, the phrase amused me that I thought of “PED XING” like the sign says…

Categories: Driving

It took me an hour to get home!

December 14, 2003, 2:16 AM

Yay for snow AND sleet. I didn’t run off the road this time (thank God), but still, it took me a full bloody hour to get home from work today. Normally, this is a quick 20-minute drive to get from my house in Stuarts Draft to Wal-Mart in Staunton, going at least 55 most of the way.

Change that to snowy weather, and my top speed was 25, and I’m taking a different route than I usually do. Normally, when I go to and from work, I take Route 608 to I-64 to I-81 to US 250 to Wal-Mart. This is basically the direct route to Staunton via Fishersville from Stuarts Draft.

Tonight, you could say I took a more scenic route home, going from Wal-Mart taking US 250 to Waynesboro, using Lew Dewitt Boulevard to cut across to US 340, and then taking 340 to Stuarts Draft, picking up 608 at its intersection with 340. Why the different route? This different route has practically no curves, and is primary roads almost the entire way. No interstates (which make me nervous in the snow due to truck traffic), and no back roads. Sure it’s much longer, but in the snow, curves are the enemy, and could cause me to slide off the road into God-knows-what. Quite unpleasant either way.

But, hey, I made it. And I get to do it again going back to work again tomorrow, though I may very well see if I can get out of driving it and get Dad to take me. After all, when I parked, I blocked in Dad’s VW Golf, leaving a clear path for the truck to get out, and the truck has four-wheel-drive, and I don’t believe that the Golf has that.

Categories: Driving, Winter weather

Yay for snow…

December 4, 2003, 1:37 PM

Yippity-hoo. It’s snowing. And as such, I slid right into a ditch on my way up to Harrisonburg today on I-64. I was not hurt, and neither was the car, but still, it’s an excellent example of why you need to drive carefully. And if that’s not enough, seeing a huge semi with a big chunk out of it jackknifed in the median of I-81 (thankfully not blocking traffic) should convince you to take it, as gangsters on The Flintstones would say, “Nice and slow.”

But yes, it is indeed snowing outside. Augusta County schools were closed today. So were Harrisonburg City schools, Rockingham County Schools, Blue Ridge Community College, and a host of others. JMU was in session.

Meanwhile, a brief discussion of the rules of the parking lot: there are none. See, some JMU students are some seriously spoiled brats. Now due to landing in the ditch on my way up, I was late for class. So I had to seriously hunt for parking. I first went to the gravel lot, which was full. So I went to J-Lot, my usual lot, which was also full. There was this one girl in her little yuppie SUV sitting smack in the middle of the end of one of the (wide) lanes in the lot. Turns out that sitting and impeding traffic was her way of hunting for parking. But we’ll get to that later.

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“Never use a big word when a little filthy one will do.”

November 13, 2003, 12:22 PM

Johnny Carson once said, “Never use a big word when a little filthy one will do.”

Thus today on the way to JMU and then on the way to and from classes, in the wind. And goodness, what a bunch of wind we’re getting, too. Supposedly, it’s supposed to get up to almost 50 today. With this wind, it feels like winter coming to visit with a vengeance. And let’s not forget my car, which is a tall, large vehicle. (Recall that it’s a Toyota Previa) Blown around like a leaf on the freeway.

Now a driver seeing me get blown all over Interstate 81 could say, “I am lacking a conception of what the operator of the conveyance ahead of me is attempting to accomplish.” Big words. Compare, though…

This is what we say when we use the little filthy ones instead: “D—! What in the f— does this a—— f—ing think he’s doing?” That gets the point across just as well.

Categories: Driving, JMU

What part of “crosswalk” do you not understand?

October 9, 2003, 12:33 PM

The joys of driving through campus in the middle of the day… JMU students walking, JMU students running, JMU students mingling… all just fine by me. Then we have the problem:

JMU students crossing the street.

First of all, they’re totally obnoxious when they have the stop signs, and thus the right of way. You can find yourself sitting at these random stop signs throughout campus for minutes on end while everyone crosses the street. You really have to duck and dodge to get through, let me tell you, all the while trying not to run someone over.

Then there’s the painted crosswalks without stop signs or traffic lights. Crosswalk means we know to expect pedestrian traffic through that area. That still doesn’t mean that you can dart out in front of cars. And the pedestians think we have to stop for these things. I overheard one girl on the sidewalk say, “Thank you for stopping!” as I drove past without stopping. I’m sorry, but if there is no stop sign or traffic light, I don’t have to stop unless it would be unsafe to keep going (i.e. if some idiot is in the street already).

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Categories: Driving, JMU