As you can see, “moon shoes” are not exactly something we can balance on…

< 1 minute read

June 3, 2007, 10:19 AM

I don’t know if you saw the splash page or not yet, but it shows me balancing on “moon shoes”…

Balancing on moon shoes

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This time it’s really happening!

< 1 minute read

May 8, 2007, 5:19 AM

It only took, what, two years to make it up, but we are finally going to run the DC trip that was originally scheduled for February 2, 2005. This will be the trip where I take Katie with me to Washington. This time it’s really happening. This time, there is no pilonidal cyst to get in the way. As I said to Katie, my butt is in tip-top shape.

And it’s going to be a fun trip, as Katie experiences the Metro for the first time. So that means she’ll get to experience my friends Rohr, Breda, CAF, and Alstom, and get to know what Randi Miller sounds like.

So now, I’ll see you in DC!

Categories: DC trips, Katie

I am moving to Washington DC!

2 minute read

April 18, 2007, 6:30 PM

I am happy to announce that my days at Wal-Mart are over, as I have finally found a job in Washington DC! I will be working for Food & Water Watch in Northwest DC. Needless to say, I am excited.

I would like to thank the following people for their roles in helping me get there… first of all, thank you to my family for putting me through college, and to the student advising people at JMU for getting me out of the College of Business and into the Public Administration program. Thank you to all of my friends in Augusta County, etc. for their encouragement and support whenever I started feeling discouraged. Thank you to all of my friends in the DC area who also lent me encouragement and support in my quest to find gainful employment up in DC.

And in an odd twist of things, I’d like to thank Dorinda Wilson-Bowers and Lee Pinheiro at Wal-Mart… for firing me. Yes, I got fired from Wal-Mart on March 31 for what I consider specious reasons, which we won’t go into here. However, since Wal-Mart had become a very hostile and unpleasant place to be in my last month or so there, after the initial shock of getting fired (I’d never been fired before!), it was a great relief to be fired, because it meant that I no longer had to deal with this situation that was making my life a living hell, and where I used to dread coming into work every day. However, from the moment that they said to me, “You’re fired,” I made it my job to find a new job. And as you can see, I found one, and as it turns out, getting fired was the best thing to ever happen to me.

And throughout the time I was looking for a new job, I’d especially like to thank my friend Katie Shapiro, who really helped me through the day I got fired, and constantly kept me going like a true friend.

And to all of you that I’m leaving behind in Stuarts Draft, Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, etc., thanks for the memories.

What a neat use for a hood ornament!

< 1 minute read

April 6, 2007, 12:47 PM

While Katie and I were at the mall yesterday, we saw one other thing that caught my eye. One patron of the mall had a Mercedes, and they modified the hood ornament on their car:

Mercedes logo turned into a peace sign

It almost makes me wish I had a Mercedes so I could adapt the hood ornament into a peace sign for my own use. What a great use, going from a corporate advertisement to a very relevant sentiment in this day and age.

Categories: Anti-war, Katie, Staunton

“Staunton” and “Augusta County” are mutually exclusive…

2 minute read

April 6, 2007, 10:47 AM

Katie and I went to Staunton Mall yesterday evening, and had a great time. Then we went to Applebee’s for dinner, which was fun (though we ended up having to sweeten the sweet tea!).

One thing that led to an interesting discussion was when we saw a Sheriff’s deputy’s car parked outside the mall. I made the comment about the fact that seeing that is a reminder that technically, Staunton Mall is in Augusta County, to which Katie replied, “Well, yeah, Staunton’s in Augusta County.”

My little ears kind of perked up on that one, and my mind with its background in public administration kicked right into gear. I was like, “Noooooooo… Staunton is an independent city, therefore by definition it is not part of Augusta County.” And being in the car and being on the Belk side of the mall made it much easier to describe, because the boundary roughly runs along the edge of the mall’s property on that side. What better place to have this discussion than right at the city limits, no? I was like, “We’re in the county right now, but that CVS over there is in Staunton. Therefore, if you call Staunton Police for an incident at the mall, they’re out of their jurisdiction, since that’s Augusta County. They’ll refer you to the Augusta County Sheriff’s office.

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I feel like such a yuppie…

< 1 minute read

January 8, 2007, 10:06 AM

Here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, working on a laptop computer via a wireless connection, with a cup of coffee on one side, and a scone on the other. I’m sitting here at Daily Grind in Stuarts Draft, looking oh so trendy here with my coffee, scone, and little mouse next to the computer. The trick, though, is not to spill coffee on the Lappy’s keyboard. That would be BAD.

Otherwise, I got the Sable inspected today. It passed with flying colors, minus the right rear tire. I got that replaced, and all is well again. I kind of expected the rear tire to fail, as I’d had trouble with it holding air for a while. So good riddance to it. I have a brand new tire now that hopefully will hold air like a pro.

And then today is an off-day because I was originally supposed to pick my friend Katie up from the Charlottesville airport today. But guess what – Katie came back home early, and to stay, too. So that airport trip was scrubbed, and I’m glad. Since she’s been back in Waynesboro, I’ve gone to see her three or four times now.

Then I’m also a bit concerned – the Green Line up in DC had its first-ever accident yesterday, as the fifth car of a six-car train derailed outside Mt. Vernon Square station, injuring 20. This is also the first accident involving CAF cars. And Mt. Vernon Square is a station I’m quite familiar with. It’s the station that services the area around the Infoshop. How weird to think of a train derailing over one of the interlockings in that area. Check out an article on the incident.

And then later today, I’m going to Charlottesville to do some odds-and-ends shopping.

Meanwhile, we find out how smart the Sable truly is…

< 1 minute read

April 27, 2006, 5:54 PM

First of all, to set our story, Katie and I got together on Monday evening for what will likely be the last time in quite some time, since Katie moved to upstate New York this past Tuesday.

After we spent some time at her house with her mother, we went out for a bit. First, we went to Staunton Mall, then to the Staunton Wal-Mart, then finally to Sheetz in Fishersville.

Leaving Staunton Mall, however, Katie got to see my Sable perform. One was one that I expected, and the other I didn’t expect. The expected one was my “automatic car finder”. That would involve walking in the general direction of my car and hitting “panic” on the remote. That lights the lights and sounds the horn, so I can quickly zero in on the car.

Then the other thing was one neither one of us expected. Katie didn’t buckle her seat belt coming out of the mall, and I hadn’t noticed. Usually I remind people to buckle their seat belt before we take off, but this time I forgot. Well, before we’d even left the parking lot, all of a sudden the car’s chime goes off, and the seat belt starts flashing. The car not only detected that Katie was in the seat, but it also realized she wasn’t buckled up. Smart car! The alarm stopped once Katie buckled her seat belt.

I thought it was hilarious, though Katie wasn’t as amused as I was about the car’s ratting her out about her seat belt.

Categories: Katie, Mercury Sable

Stand to the right!

2 minute read

April 11, 2005, 11:55 PM

Interestingly enough, a post made on Metroriders made me think about something that I noticed when Katie and I went to Lynchburg and Roanoke last Wednesday.

First of all, the post is here.

Now… so you know the background information, the unwritten rule of etiquette on Metro escalators is to stand to the right, and walk to the left. Tourists in DC are the biggest violators of this bit of Metro etiquette, though we will cut them a little (very little) bit of slack for being from out of town and not knowing DC Metro etiquette. But if you ride Metro, if you’re just riding the escalators, stand on the right side so that those walking the escalators can pass you.

I realized that I had internalized the unwritten “stand to the right” rule when Katie and I were at Valley View Mall in Roanoke. Valley View Mall is a two-story mall, and several sets of escalators link the two levels. I got on the escalator first, and immediately found the right side of the escalator without even thinking about it. Katie, on the other hand, kind of stood wherever. She’s never ridden the Metro before, so she’s never needed to put “stand to the right” into practice. Still, when I saw Katie standing in the middle-to-left part of the escalator, I encouraged her to stand to the right because that’s what you’re supposed to do on the escalator. Then I realized where I was. I wasn’t in Washington. I was in Roanoke, and more than 300 miles from a Metro station.

Still, I stood to the right nonetheless. It made me feel better.

And remember – if ever you go to Washington DC, stand to the right and walk to the left on the escalators, or you’ll leave some very aggravated Metro riders in your wake.

Categories: Katie, Roanoke, WMATA

Eight days until A16…

3 minute read

April 8, 2005, 10:05 PM

Only eight more days until A16, and I can’t wait. Of course, that day has big shoes to fill. I hope it’s as fun as or more fun than J20, the counter-inaugural. That day was SO fun. Still, A16 (World Bank/IMF demonstration), should all go as expected, will be my sixth big demonstration, and my fourth black bloc. I’m excited. And my sister’s coming with me!

Otherwise, Katie and I had a fun time in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke on Wednesday. We saw Teri, a former coworker, at her new job at the Comfort Inn in Charlottesville, and we also saw Steve, our old front end manager, at his current store in Lynchburg. And besides seeing old friends, we also shot a few photo sets with Big Mavica, and also some very humorous photos with the cell phone.

One of the more amusing moments was when we were finished eating at the Radio Grill in Madison Heights. Without even thinking, not only did I throw the contents of the tray away after I was finished eating… but I also threw the tray away as well. And I didn’t even notice that I did it until Katie mentioned it to me. She wondered if, after I threw the tray away, whether I would walk away from it. I did, since I didn’t even realize I did it. But I was a good person and fished it out, since it was right on top.

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Katie and I are going to Lynchburg on Wednesday!

2 minute read

April 4, 2005, 8:32 PM

Finally, Katie and I are going to take a trip somewhere. We’re going to hit three cities in one day: Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke. We’re going to be hitting a few things for each person. For Katie, we’re going to visit our friend Teri, who used to work with us at Wal-Mart, in Charlottesville, and then we’re also going to swing by River Ridge Mall, and also to visit our old manager, Steve, at the Lynchburg Wal-Mart. For me, I’m going to turn the whole day into a Life and Times set, plus I want to do Photography sets in downtown Lynchburg and possibly in Bedford. Then I also need a little “star time” in Roanoke, meaning it’s up to the Roanoke Star for us!

For some reason, when I need to think or something, I like to get up somewhere really high, and then look down and survey the area below. And I can do this either in a natural setting, like on top of a mountain, or I can do this in an artificial setting, like at the top of a parking garage. Just as long as I can see a lot, and can look down and watch things going on. I’ve actually found that the top of the parking garage at Huntington fits this purpose quite well. In Roanoke, I find that place at the Roanoke Star overlook. And then near home, that refuge can be found on the Blue Ridge Parkway, looking down over the Nelson County/Albemarle County side, or over the Augusta County side. I prefer the Augusta County side, since I’m more familiar with it. On that side, you can see Stuarts Draft and Waynesboro. One time when I visited during the day, I even found Wal-Mart! So yeah, I like high places when it comes to unwinding.

Categories: Katie, Myself

And we change the clocks again…

3 minute read

April 3, 2005, 12:27 AM

I can’t believe that our time with Standard Time has come to an end once again. And now it’s time for Daylight Savings! Amazing. I also can’t believe that it’s April, and that A16 is only two weeks away.

Meanwhile, Katie had a birthday on Thursday, March 31. So now she’s 23. She and I and her mother and her mother’s boss all went to Sanzone’s Italian Restaurant in Stuarts Draft for dinner. It was a lovely dinner, too. We all had some sort of pasta. And let me tell you… Sanzone’s is a wonderful restaurant. They really did a number on the old Tastee Freez building. Inside, you wouldn’t think that it was fast food. It’s a gorgeous Italian restaurant now. Now outside, its former use is still evident, as the drive-thru canopy is still there, though not in use, and the exterior looks like it was once fast food. But all in all, though, Sanzone’s is a good place to take your family if you’re interested in Italian food. Good food, and good service.

Okay, end of ringing endorsement. But they are good.

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So very amusing…

2 minute read

February 11, 2005, 2:42 AM

It’s interesting what my friend Katie and I ended up doing after work this evening. We ended up going to her house, and worked on getting the treadmill that she recently bought working correctly. It’s one of those push-it-yourself models, and the belt wasn’t moving very well. It seems that the belt was not properly lubricated, after I took a test walk on it. It took me considerable effort to get it moving, and then once it started, it practically flung me right off.

So I got on the floor with this silicone oil that came with the treadmill and went to work. I put “a few drops” on the surface beneath the belt as the directions specified. Still no luck, after a test run.

So I tried a plan B, which was to put some more drops of oil on there. In squeezing the bottle, the dropper thing came off the end. I guess you weren’t supposed to squeeze like that. No problem, though. I got some oil where it was supposed to go, and we gave it another test run. No go. Still wasn’t running smoothly.

Meanwhile, Katie’s laughing her head off, watching me practically fly off the back of the treadmill whenever it unexpectedly started.

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Categories: Katie

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

5 minute read

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, Retail

A mall trip with Katie…

4 minute read

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, Retail, Staunton Mall

An unexpected but fun evening

< 1 minute read

April 7, 2004, 12:43 AM

I had an interesting evening. After a Risk Control Team meeting and a cashier meeting at work that I had to attend on my day off, with three hours in between them, which basically shot my whole day, it was nice to have a change in evening activities.

Basically, after the cashier meeting, my friend Katie (who works with me) and I went over to her house and basically just visited for a while, and I also got to meet her mother, as well as a friend of theirs. Then Katie and I went out to this Chinese restaurant in Waynesboro on Main Street next to El Puerto. All in all, we had a good time. Then after that, we went back to her house, looked at some Strong Bad Emails (I made reference to the “Thnikkaman” at work once, and so we looked at that), and then noting the number of pop-ups on her computer, cleaned out some junk on her computer.

I don’t know what it is about me… a computer has an issue, it’s like something itching. I’ve got to fix it. So now all those evil pop-ups are gone. Especially when one of them said, “Decide who wears the handcuffs tonight!” That was a surprise, needless to say.

So all in all, it was a fun evening, with two friends hanging out for a few hours. And it’s always nice to be able to get away from work, too, since even after a day at work, I flip on Nick at Nite, and there’s a Wal-Mart commercial. So it was nice to have a change from the usual.

Categories: Computer, Katie, Walmart