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A visit to JMU…

April 12, 2016, 10:36 AM

Recall that on March 30 and 31, my friend Elyse and I went on a road trip to Stuarts Draft and such.  On the 30th, we visited Afton Mountain, my ex-store in Waynesboro, and Staunton Mall, among other things.  On the 31st, we visited JMU, as the plan was to show off a bunch of vintage elevators and fire alarm systems on campus.  Plus JMU was planning to build a new dining hall to replace the current one, so a final visit to D-Hall was a must.

The first order of business on our trip to JMU was a visit to Zane Showker Hall.  I took many classes in that building over the course of my college career.  We came to Showker to update a very well-known photo in higher resolution with my Nikon SLR.  Specifically, this one:

Wheelock 7002T at Zane Showker Hall, March 22, 2003

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Categories: Elyse, Family, Fire alarms, JMU

Preserve community heritage, and keep names local…

July 23, 2015, 3:23 PM

In the wake of the June 17 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, a movement has come up to remove things related to the Confederacy from places of honor, and relegate them to history.

That said, if things go that way, a lot of things named for people who fought for the Confederacy will be up for renaming soon.  Among other things, there is discussion about renaming Jefferson Davis Highway in Virginia.  In addition, there has been longstanding discussion in Staunton, Virginia about renaming the city’s public high school, currently named for Robert E. Lee, if it moves from its current, dated building to a new building on a different site.

Now as far as I’m concerned, history is where the Confederacy belongs.  I mean, the south lost the Civil War 150 years ago.  It’s time that people stopped fighting it, already.  However, when it comes to naming places for people, there are different ways to go about it.  One way is to name things for a prominent national figure, either current or historical, and the other is to search for someone with a direct connection to the area.  If the title of the post didn’t give it away, I support the latter more than the former.

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Here’s a blast from the Internet past…

November 20, 2014, 8:28 PM

So for Throwback Thursday, here’s a little blast from the Internet past: my old AOL Instant Messenger away messages!  Yes, AOL Instant Messenger, otherwise known as AIM, i.e. this:

AIM, circa April 2000

I was recently shuffling some files around on my computer, and found these, which I had preserved as a backup in February 2007, when I moved my computer from the Gateway to the Dell.  I want to say that I used AIM for about fifteen years.  I started using it the summer after I graduated high school, and stopped using it earlier this year, telling the two people that I still talked to primarily via AIM (both in-real-life friends) that I was dropping AIM and for them to use Facebook chat to get a hold of me.

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Categories: JMU, Social media

Campus candids…

April 19, 2012, 12:46 AM

File this under “the amusing things that the camera catches”:

File this under “the amusing things that the camera catches”.

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Categories: Amusing, JMU, Photography

You would think that an event that happened eight years ago wouldn’t be such an issue today…

January 11, 2012, 1:58 AM

And tonight I’m losing sleep over it, and I feel that I need to unload. You may recall that, back in 2003, I deliberately did not attend my college graduation. At the time, I wrote about how I planned to not attend on the Main Page, which carried an article at that time. And since then, the whole thing has come back to haunt me time and time again. My mother and I still occasionally get into arguments about the matter, even eight years later. The arguments only last a few minutes and always end in stalemate, but it’s kind of annoying to have to rehash. I want to finally bury the issue. So if you’re thinking this is going to be a “happy” Journal entry, skip down to the next one, because this is a tale of things losing meaning and my losing control over my own destiny.

My whole thing when it comes to things done in my honor is that if I can’t control what’s going on, I don’t want to have any part of it. What’s the point of doing something in my honor if I don’t get any input into it, right? And I really got soured on awards ceremonies and things early on.

Back in spring 1996, I was a freshman in high school, and doing quite well, I suppose, having managed a 3.75 GPA (for whatever that’s worth) for my second semester classes (we were on a semester block schedule). For my grade-A performance in Spanish class, I was invited to the Stuarts Draft High School academic awards ceremony. So I got my little certificate for doing so well in Spanish class. Woo hoo. So instead of celebrating my accomplishments as a family after that, my parents decided to pick a huge fight with me before we even got home about why I wasn’t involved in more extracurricular activities. I was in Spanish club as a freshman, and that was basically it. Maybe they had a point, but I really didn’t appreciate how they basically stomped on my achievement and turned what should have been a happy occasion into one that I still get angry and upset over whenever I think of it. I don’t have the certificate anymore. I probably threw it away, and just as well – it was worthless to me.

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Categories: Family, JMU, Myself

This is the interesting part of all the photo work I’m doing on the site…

September 5, 2011, 1:28 AM

I made quite the interesting find while digging around for a few images. Take a look:

The locations of all the fire alarm notification appliances in Potomac Hall

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A fun time was had by all…

April 7, 2010, 9:06 PM

So I got back from Stuarts Draft last night, and all in all, it was a pretty good trip. First of all, on the way down, I visited my friend Bergit, who I first met at the National Equality March back in October. We had a good time, chatting it up, and visiting a few stores in Charlottesville’s Corner district. Perhaps the most amusing part of the whole trip was the discovery that UVA sold a Snuggie with their logo on it, which Bergit modeled for the camera:

Bergit models the UVA Snuggie

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JMU class reunions in September 2008: Cancelled due to lack of interest.

August 6, 2008, 8:00 AM

JMU does so many things that make me laugh, and not in the hee-hee-that’s-funny kind of way, either. Unfortunately, it’s usually in a far more mean-spirited kind of way, as I laugh at some of the DUMB things that they do. I still remember back in 2003 when JMU announced that they were fighting spam, while at the same time constantly spamming the student body after they set a far-too-flexible process for campus organizations to promote their junk.

Of course, once you graduate JMU, you lose the abovementioned spam, and start hearing from the alumni people. JMU recently sent me mail about the reunions for the classes of 2008, 2003 (me), 1998, 1993, and 1988. That’s five graduating classes right there. I know – I’m exhausted just reading all those different years. And JMU had a whole slate of events for people to do, and an overblown fee for the package (read: “Good lord, that’s expensive!”). My exact reaction was, oh, hell no, as I’ve been through the procedure with JMU’s cheesy event scheduling before, and it’s not that much different than going to Sea World, going from one show to the next to the next all day.

So I was quite amused to get this in my Email yesterday:

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Categories: JMU

Sable is packed to the gills…

May 11, 2007, 9:53 PM

I don’t think I’ve filled a car so full since I left Potomac Hall at JMU for the last time back in 2003. Back then, I had the Previa stuffed to the gills with my junk from the dorm. Now, I have the Sable filled to the brim with my stuff, headed for Silver Spring. That car is literally packed full. The back seats are folded down, and I’ve put stuff in every possible spot. There’s even stuff sitting in the passenger seat. I just hope the car doesn’t think it’s a passenger and sound the seat belt alarm when I get going. That would look odd to have the seat belt buckled over there, to keep the alarm quiet.

It reminds me of a rhyme by Muffy from Today’s Special:

There was an old woman who lived in a hat,
With fourteen kids and one smelly cat.
The hat was bulging, filled right to the brim,
And inside, things were looking mighty grim.
And then when the woman came back with one more kid,
The hat shouted, “Fifteen!” and blew its lid!

That was then followed by the top flying off a nearby top hat. But yeah, I think if I put anything else in there, the car will shout, “Fifteen!” and blow its lid, too.

One thing that I will really appreciate with this run for stuff is the lamps. Those four torchiere lamps that I have are coming, and will be placed in strategic locations in the apartment. It’s helpful because there are few light fixtures in the apartment, and lots of switches attached to electrical outlets. Thus since I brought no lamps on the first run, I had to kind of find my way around in the dark upon leaving the apartment, feeling for walls and furniture, to avoid running into them, and the subsequent cursing. And I don’t particularly like to swear, though I’ve been known to let them fly fairly easily.

Speaking of swearing, I remember something I did for a professor at JMU that both the professor and I found amusing. He said that we could write whatever on the tests themselves, “Just don’t write any swear words.” So I decided to be a bit of a wiseguy. I wrote “SWEAR WORDS” in all caps near the top of the test paper. Not actual dirty words – literally the phrase “swear words”.

All in all, I’m excited about living in the DC area…

College shirt weekend at work led to an amusing photo in the end…

July 23, 2006, 1:47 AM

Yes, it was college shirt weekend at our store this weekend, and so I made sure to represent JMU.

But what’s funny is the shirt that I chose. I went hunting through my closet to find a JMU shirt. I was really looking for a “JMU Alumni” shirt that Mom got me, since that’s what I really wanted to wear. I ended up not finding that, and the only thing I found that was suitable for late July ended up being my old Office of Residence Life “purple shirt”. That would be this shirt, seen here back in the day. So I wore that under my vest. And purple and maroon certainly do look good together. Judge for yourself:

Wearing the Residence Life "purple shirt" with my Wal-Mart vest

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Categories: JMU, Walmart

How does one fail the DMV vision test?

May 11, 2006, 2:49 PM

How does one fail the DMV vision test? I’d like to know. I went to DMV today to renew my license, and subsequently failed the vision test. Weird. And it wasn’t that things were fuzzy. Things did look sharp, but they all looked like 8s. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, because I can see. Quite well, as long as I’m wearing my glasses. I wonder if it’s the machine, because I didn’t think to ask to use a different machine. Either way, though, I have to go see Dr. Patel at AMC again to get an eye exam. But DMV said that once I get the eye exam and Dr. Patel fills out their form, that will bypass DMV’s vision test. All in all, weird.

Otherwise, though, I went up to Harrisonburg today. I actually am writing this from JMU, and I got an interesting photo of myself with my cell phone that will probably end up being May’s photo on the front of the site. Still, things have changed at JMU. Taylor Down Under has been rearranged, with a new TDU stage, and some other stuff has been shuffled around. I also visited Harrison Hall, which was just starting renovations when I graduated. Now, it’s done, and it’s interesting. It’s certainly not the rathole that I remember from my college days anymore.

I also stopped at Steve and Barry’s to see if I could get more tie-dye shirts. In a word: No. They clearanced them all out, and so there are none left to wear. A shame.

So all and all, it’s been an interesting day. I still have more stuff to take care of in Harrisonburg, so I’m not done yet…

Categories: JMU, Myself

Gave my scooter to Goodwill, and it’s kind of heartening to know that the system does still work.

March 27, 2006, 5:25 PM

First of all, remember this?

Scooter with glow in the dark wheels

That’s my “Just Go” scooter, which is basically a knock-off of the Razor scooter. It is actually better described as my former scooter, as I donated it to Goodwill last Thursday. I figured, since I’d not ridden it in nearly five years (seriously!), I might as well get rid of it, so someone else can get some good use out of it. Thus I gave it to Goodwill.

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Categories: JMU

The weather held out, though it looked likely to rain at any moment.

September 1, 2005, 11:43 PM

My trip to Washington DC on August 31 was a good trip, though I was expecting some rain to keep me indoors for much of it. If that turned out to be the case, I was going to go explore the Crystal City Underground (by the way, here’s an interesting article about Crystal City’s future). But it turned out that the weather would hold out for me, and so things went differently.

But on the way, up, I got quite an unpleasant surprise:

Gas prices at the Sheetz in Mt. Jackson, Virginia

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No more gate lodge for the old Howard Johnson’s in Harrisonburg…

July 30, 2005, 11:05 PM

Going through Harrisonburg on my way up to Pennsylvania on Thursday’s road trip, I noticed something unusual out my right window. At the site of the former Howard Johnson’s in Harrisonburg (which, according to both official and unofficial sources, is being upgraded in order for it to be used as a dorm again due to capacity issues), another building had bitten the dust. Recall that on October 9, 2003, I photographed the old Howard Johnson’s as Rockingham Hall – perhaps the last photos ever made of the complex while still whole. Then in June 2004, the unused restaurant was demolished. Gone. I drove by on June 23, 2004, and was shocked. A pile of rubble stood where the restaurant was, including the mangled remains of the cupola. Then this summer, you may recall, the remainder of the complex, meaning the gate lodge and the motor lodge, was slated for demolition. However, the demolition was called off, and the motor lodge building was upgraded slightly for use as a dorm once again. However, the gate lodge was demolished, having been reduced to a pile of rubble. The gate lodge had been done over in the 1990s, and there were even remnants of the blue roof installed at that time (replacing the signature orange roof) visible in the debris.

For the back-story on that, JMU learned in 2004 that they couldn’t use the Howard Johnson’s buildings anymore unless they were upgraded to higher standards. Thus the buildings were vacated, because it was not considered feasible to upgrade a building that they bought with the intention of demolishing. Thus, for 2004-2005, the facility was unused as a dorm, and offices housed there were intended to be relocated (no word on how that went). However, capacity reared its ugly head again, since JMU still hasn’t figured out that it’s not a good idea to admit more freshmen than you have space. And I also don’t believe that bunking three people in a room designed for two is a solution, either, even if you do have a suite living room at your disposal. What JMU needs to do is find the funds to demolish the R5 parking lot next to Chesapeake Hall and build the third CISAT dorm that’s in the master plan for the east campus. That would either be three separate buildings of five floors each that are basically single-wing versions of my beloved Potomac Hall, holding roughly 200 students each, or the same three structures as “A”, “B”, and “C” wings connected by low-lying corridors like at Potomac Hall. Which one it’s slated to be depends on whose drawing you look at. But until then, they’re remodeling buildings whose days are already numbered. It looks fairly nice, with JMU putting new furniture, carpeting, and fixtures in, according to some new-freshman literature I found on the Web. One may notice right offhand driving by on I-81 that the sliding doors to the balconies were removed, and replaced with a more conventional glass door with windows on either side. Additionally, new railings were installed on the balconies. And this is going to be a FRESHMAN dorm.

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Categories: Howard Johnson's, JMU

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