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A mall trip with Katie…

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, Shopping

Well, today was fun!

October 11, 2004, 9:44 PM

I went to Charlottesville this afternoon! Fun times. I ran into a few people that I knew this time.

First of all, I went to Sbarro at the mall for dinner, and guess who I ran into at Sbarro? Sarah Jones! You may recall that Sarah lived in Potomac Hall for two of my three years there, and was a good buddy of mine. So she, her brother who I met for the first time today, and I all had dinner at Sbarro. That was fun. Especially since I hadn’t seen Sarah since we left Potomac. And Sarah’s expecting! She’s going to be a mother before you know it – the proud mother of a little girl.

And while I was visiting with Sarah, a coworker from Wal-Mart heard me and stopped by to say hello. After Sarah and her brother headed off to do some serious shopping, my coworker, his girlfriend, and I took a few minutes to chat it up, mostly about work.

Then later, someone recognized me from Schumin Web, which I thought was neat.

So that made for a nice day. This is starting to get like Rogers. I say that when I see a whole bunch of people I know while I’m out. By the time we left Rogers (Arkansas), we would always see at least one person we knew any time we’d go out somewhere. It was odd not to see someone we knew when we went out.

So that was fun. And tomorrow, work at 7 AM. I’m just glad to have a day off here and there.

Categories: Charlottesville, Friends

“If you wish to continue on to Shady Grove, the train following me will go to Shady Grove. Train is out of service. Train is out of service.” (Doors opening!)

August 4, 2004, 3:06 AM

And within the hour, I will be in my van, on my way to… (you’re going to be SO surprised on this one) Washington DC. And we’re exploring a little bit out on the Red Line today. What I plan on doing is going all the way out to Shady Grove, taking a Ride-On bus across to Glenmont, and then taking the Metro back down the Glenmont side of the Red Line. In other words, ride Metro’s “A Route” (Shady Grove side of the Red Line) in its entirety, bus across, and then ride Metro’s “B Route” (Glenmont side of the Red Line) in its entirety. The two routes, A and B, meet in the center of the Red Line platform at Metro Center.

And I’m excited about something else, too. I’m meeting my friend Oren for at least a few minutes, and he’s giving me one of Metro’s July 4 maps. These maps are special because unlike the regular WMATA map from 1996 that I have hanging up in my room, the July 4 maps show a special service that Metro runs. On the Fourth of July, Yellow and Blue switch their southern terminals sending Blue to Huntington and Yellow to Franconia-Springfield (interestingly, this is how it was to be normally if not for a temporary car shortage early on in Metro’s history). Additionally, there is no Blue Line service beyond Rosslyn in order to send more trains out to Vienna as Orange Line trains. As such, Orange Line serves trains going to both Addison Road and New Carrollton (normally, Addison Road is Blue). Blue Line trains drop their passengers on Rosslyn’s upper level and then wrong-rail back out of the station on their way back to Huntington, making Blue Line essentially a shuttle. Yellow Line still goes over the bridge to terminate at Mt. Vernon Square. Then Metro short-turns every other train on the Red and Green Lines, with every other train terminating at Fort Totten instead of Greenbelt on Green, and every other train terminating at Silver Spring instead of Glenmont on Red. Oh, by the way, in case you can’t mentally follow my verbal description of Metro’s system map (you mean there are people who DON’T have that map seared into their brains?), here’s a map of the system showing normal service.

And now… it’s off to the shower for me, so I can hit the road to Washington and roll into Vienna at 9:30 or so.

Categories: DC trips, Friends, WMATA

What to do…

April 28, 2004, 11:59 PM

Fixing Becky’s computer, and her roommate Rebecca’s computer went very well on Tuesday. Rebecca’s computer needed to have a DVD-RW drive installed on it, which was a piece of cake. I just slid it in through the front of the computer, secured it, connected it up, and voila. Done. Installing hardware was a snap.

Meanwhile, I think we may have finally gotten W32.Welchia.B off of Becky’s computer. Note I say “think”. We hope we did. I found better instructions than before, with actual manual removal instructions that don’t just say “Run a Norton scan and let us do the rest”. However, we did accidentally delete an important file, svchost.exe. We actually had to scavenge that file from elsewhere to make her Internet work again. But I think that the virus has finally been eradicated from her computer, though I’ll be the first to know if it recurs again.

Becky and Rebecca and I also went out to eat at O’Charley’s in Harrisonburg and then out to the Dayton Wal-Mart to shop. The most priceless visual moment was when Becky climbed in the shopping cart, and proceeded to sit down in it. The most priceless line was by me to the person running the Service Desk after we were finished shopping, with Becky and Rebecca at my side:

And I quote: Is it okay if we leave our cart here while we go use the men’s room?

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Categories: Computer, Friends

Today was a slow day…

April 26, 2004, 9:41 PM

I was surprised. Today was surprisingly slow. Of course, it makes more sense when you think about it. It was Monday, and it was raining. Two things that keep people inside. But all in all it was a good day nonetheless. I’ve been minding my use of the squawk box at work, since people say I page too much.

Meanwhile, the smokers in the smoking room have been having some good-natured fun with me. After going in the smoking room once to talk to someone and being unable to breathe, since the smoke was so thick in there, I vowed never to enter the smoking room again. So when I need a section of newspaper that the smokers have in there, I have to ask for it. I open the door, and ask if I can have the section. They tease, once even blowing a big cloud right on it. Of course, they don’t mean it to be mean, but it’s amusing nonetheless.

I also had a lady who reminded me of Mecca from Potomac Hall today at work. I’m explaining what’s going on with her refund, and all of her options and asking how she wants her refund, and she’s giving me this hard, ugly stare. If her eyes were lasers, they’d have burned a hole in me in no time. Then she acted all arrogant and like she knew it all, and acted like I was an idiot for asking what she wanted me to do.

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Categories: Friends, Walmart

An unexpected but fun evening

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

One computer down, and one more to go…

March 30, 2004, 8:39 AM

Well! Monday night at Becky’s (the person whose computer I was fixing) in Harrisonburg was productive and fun. It was determined to be the W32.Welchia.B worm, after a Norton Antivirus scan was run. We also did some general housekeeping, running my favorite “spyware” cleaner, Ad-Aware, as well as getting rid of some unused programs.

We also had a load of fun that evening. We went to Chili’s on East Market Street for dinner after running the system scan, and then while we were out, went to OfficeMax to see if we could cash in on the “STORE CLOSING EVERYTHING MUST GO” sale going on. I didn’t get anything, but Becky and her roommate both found something. At 50-70% off, it’s quite a deal. Becky’s roommate got a DVD-RW for like $75, which I thought was pretty darn good. Amusing product: A do-it-yourself divorce kit. It’s actually a little box that supposedly has everything you need for getting a divorce. No wonder it was marked 70% off. I’d love to hear testimonials of people who used it: “I got a divorce-in-a-box and look at me now!”

After OfficeMax, we went a little bit down the street and headed over to Wally World, a store that all of us are much more familiar with. We bought some stuff, and we had a blast, and I brought my cell phone with me, and so we have pictures. A sequel to the Wal-Mart photo set from 2000? I don’t know, but I definitely got enough to make a photo set out of it for Life and Times. That will also mark the first time that the cell phone gets some extensive use with the Web site. But we had a blast, buying up some junk food, some stuff you want to keep away from the “bad ol puddy tat” (you’ll see), as well as hamming it up with the “quintessential Wal-Mart item”, Spongebob Squarepants, etc., etc., etc.

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Categories: Computer, Friends, Shopping, Walmart