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You know you’re from the [Shenandoah] Valley if…

September 6, 2005, 8:06 PM

I found this on a friend’s AIM profile, and I was laughing out loud at it. I’ve lived in Stuarts Draft for thirteen years now, which means that most of my life has been spent in this area. Some of it is just SO true, while other parts of it are a stretch. So here goes.

You know you’re from the valley if…

  • You think the traffic on 340 at 5pm on a Friday is a major traffic jam.
  • If you go to Wal-Mart and you see at least 10 people that you know pretty well.
  • The smell of manure makes you homesick.
  • When people ask where you’re from and you never give the specific town… but somewhere about 30 miles away (Charlottesville,
    Harrisonburg).
  • When you’re showing an outsider the town, they’re shocked that so many people wave in
    passing… even though you don’t know half of them.
  • Two words POTATO GUN.
  • If you remember shopping at Roses or skating at TRB’s in Waynesboro.
  • If the Stuarts Draft Fireman’s Lawn Party and parade was a must.
  • If you remember when 340 (through Stuarts Draft) was a two-lane road.
  • You had a heart attack when we got TWO Wal-Marts!
  • “Bring your tractor to school day” was a regular part of spirit week.
  • You went to the Frontier Culture Museum for a field trip every year in elementary school.
  • Wright’s Dairy Rite, a movie, and Wal-Mart is the ideal date.
  • “Stuarts Draft” is pronounced as one word.
  • You’re driving down the road and you smell cow manure, you don’t roll your window up, you just breathe it in.
  • One of the cliques at your school was the “Aggies.”
  • Your parents had the same teachers in school you did.

Interesting, no?

Categories: Amusing, Stuarts Draft

Talk about threatening-looking weather…

August 30, 2005, 5:15 PM

Categories: Arlington, Weather

Wheee, back to the salt mines again.

August 28, 2005, 5:36 PM

So far, we’ve spent two days back at work post-vacation. Saturday and Sunday. Everyone was glad to see me, and actually was questioned a couple of times on whether or not I really actually went to the beach. Why? Because I came back home from the beach the same color as I was when I left. And that would be a pasty white color over most of me, and then a little bit browner over one side of my arms (and slightly more pronounced on my left arm due to the “driving tan” effect).

Why did I keep my original color? Because I was really careful with my sun exposure for that very reason. I did not want to come back with something like what happened last year – where I had a huge sunburn, with a white spot on my chest shaped exactly like Big Mavica (seriously!). So this year, we took a lot of precautions. First of all, I made sure to either cover up or lotion up. On Tuesday, when it rained all day, and I did the strip, I didn’t use sunscreen (due to an oversight). But I did keep covered. When it was raining, of course I used the umbrella. But even when it wasn’t raining, for those brief periods when the sun was out, I still used the umbrella. And I remained pasty-white.

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Categories: Myself, Virginia Beach

Tuesday may have been a wash, but things still went quite well!

August 25, 2005, 10:39 AM

Tuesday was mostly a wash, unfortunately, with rain causing me to scrap most of my outdoor activities. Sad. But I did get to peruse the strip, and got “part 2” of the holier-than-thou attitude of the management of the Holiday Department Store at the corner of 19th and Atlantic (diagonal from my hotel). I photographed a sign on the door of the “boy’s stockroom”, which is just as bad as the one I got last year on the back door about boxes. The writing is readable, and I shall transcribe it when I get back home (I’m at the library again).

Anyway, though, the strip was good, and I made a discovery. To discover the strip, you really only need to walk maybe six blocks in either direction from your hotel (if that), because the strip repeats itself. You have a few classes of stores on the strip. Stores that sell souvenirs and beach crap, stores that offer henna tattoos, oxygen bars, little convenience stores, and restaurants for seafood or pizza. Then they start to repeat. Seriously. Even the same stores. I went a ways south on the strip, and found another “Holiday Department Store”. I found three “Sunsations” stores. It all repeats.

Since it was still raining quite hard by the time dinner came around, I pulled out the umbrella and took a walk down the strip in search of the food that struck my fancy. I walked a LONG way south and didn’t find anything exciting. Not wanting to walk all that way back, I took a VB Wave trolleybus up to about 24th Street and then walked south again. I found a seafood restaurant, and had dinner there. Quite enjoyable, though I hate restaurants with mirror walls. I don’t like looking at a mirror image of myself eating while I’m eating.

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Vacation: So far, so good, but it’s raining today.

August 23, 2005, 10:25 AM

So far, vacation has been pretty good. I went to Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant on 21st Street again last night for dinner, which was, as before, a great experience. Then I went down to the boardwalk and did a lot of night photography, which went really well. I even met a couple from Pennsylvania who showed great interest in my work. I gave them the address to the Web site, and so who knows – maybe they’ll see some of the photos I showed them on the camera on the Web site.

So I had wonderful weather coming in. I made all the stops I intended, and a couple more. Breakfast went without a hitch, and then I stopped at the Patrick Henry Mall as planned. Turns out that’s not the mall that I was thinking of. They had mostly System Sensor horn/strobes, and the mall I was after had Edwards. But we did find the mall later. But I’m not there yet.

Before leaving that area, however, I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Newport News, where one of our Waynesboro people transferred. And I found our former coworker Carliqua running register 33. Since it was slow, we got to catch up for a few minutes. It was good to see her again.

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Packing up for a nice vacation…

August 21, 2005, 9:13 PM

I’ve got my suitcase all packed up, and all I have left to do is to properly pack Big Mavica, unhook my alarm clock and my cell phone charger, and put together my entire toiletries kit. Not too shabby. Then over here on the Web site, I’m going to change the photo feature to an image from last year’s trip to the beach (the black-and-white photo of the woman in Dupont Circle was deliberately held longer than intended to time this next feature), and then I’m going to put a vacation message on the updates list.

All in all, I’m excited! And I think that everyone at work knows that I’m going on vacation. I told everyone, and even was nearly counting down the minutes until 4:00 (which is “quittin’ time” for me). I also jokingly told a few more coworkers I’d get them some sand as a souvenir. And then other coworkers were saying it’s going to be so quiet around the store without me for those five days.

Also, I had one of those priceless moments at work today. In a slower moment, a coworker needed a CSM. They ultimately needed to page over the squawk box for them. So they dial the number to page, and thought they were paging. What do we hear? A voice without amplification. So I said, “I don’t think you got it.” So they try again, and they still don’t get on there. So I give it a try. I dial to page, and I’m live on the PA system, and successfully deliver the page. I hang up, and turn to the coworker: *raspberry*. Yes, I couldn’t resist doing the old “Bronx cheer” there, giving them the raspberries. They knew I was being silly, and so it was all good.

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You know what I need to do…

August 19, 2005, 6:32 PM

You know what I need to do? I need to get a big banner, and wrap it around my car. The banner should say, “I’m going to the beach!” Then the most important part would be finding some school buses full of kids to fly that banner past.

What can I say? The kiddies got three months off. I get this little vacation. If I were to actually pull the above stunt off (and there is no chance in hell that I would), it would be quite fun. Nothing like rubbing it in their faces. And four (count ’em – FOUR) days in Virginia Beach while the children back home sit in school hearing from every one of their teachers about how to evacuate for a fire drill.

This is what we call the benefit of not having children. Once the children get back to reality, I get to leave reality for a few days. Of course, I’ll probably look like a lobster when I get back, but it will be worth it.

Categories: Virginia Beach

I just added an extra day onto my vacation…

August 19, 2005, 4:24 PM

I just added another day to my fabulous Virginia Beach vacation that’s coming up in three days. Now, instead of leaving Tuesday and coming back Thursday, I’m leaving Monday and coming back Thursday. That means that I have Friday to be back at home, and then on Saturday, back to work. So thus it’s going to be a four-day vacation instead of three. Very nice, indeed. So all in all, life is very good. Get some time away from work and home, in order to kind of, like, chill out in a different setting for a few days. And maybe get a nice tan or something.

Of course, getting a tan kind of reminds me of what Strong Bad said in Email #77 about the suggestion that he should turn over to cook evenly: “What? Who wants a tan on their back? There’s no abs to accentuate.”

And if nothing else, maybe I can get something like what happened last year: a sunburn with a blank spot on my chest shaped exactly like Big Mavica.

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

I did go out, and I certainly covered some distance!

July 30, 2005, 10:59 PM

Yes, I did go out on Thursday, and it was quite a road trip, for that matter. I drove up to Pennsylvania and back via I-81.

I left the house at around 10:30 AM. The outfit was black shirt, blue shorts, and flip flops. Also unshaven for that matter, but the last time the razor and I had spent some quality time together was Tuesday morning. So I could almost pass it off as one of those thin beards that some men wear. Moving along, though, one look from Mom at how I looked leaving the house got this reaction: “You’re wearing flip-flops?” I’m like, “Yes…”

I still don’t understand what Mom’s obsession is with my shoes. After all, I’m an adult, and I can wear what I want, and look as sharp or as dumpy as I want. I decided to go for “casual”, thus no shave and the flip-flops. Still, the objection to it was weird, but expected. But it’s rare that I’ll wear flip-flops. Normally, I’ll wear my chucks or my real sandals (with socks, of course). Never flip-flops with otherwise bare feet. So that was a surprise for Mom, but lately on my off-days when I’m not doing anything too important, I’ll wear that. It’s quick and easy.

Moving along, though, I ran this like DC to an extent. But obviously, the destination was not DC this time around. The 10:30 departure, for one thing. Still, I went to Mt. Jackson on the way up and enjoyed some grub at the Sheetz there, which I do on the way up to DC. It was busier there, though, since it was around 11:30 when I got there, vs. 7 AM or so when I go on my DC trips.

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I went to Singles Shopping… or at least tried.

July 23, 2005, 5:38 AM

I went down to Roanoke on Friday evening after work to visit the Wal-Mart on US 220, where, you may recall, I wrote in this space about “Singles Shopping”, the place for desperate singles to tie a red ribbon onto their cart and try to find true love.

So after traveling 90 miles from Stuarts Draft to Roanoke, I arrived at Wally World way down in Roanoke, only to find out that Singles Shopping was cancelled, and that they wouldn’t be having it anymore. I knew something was up as soon as I got in, considering there was no signage for the event, and saw no red-ribbon carts. I asked the greeter, who, after enthusiastically greeting me with a hearty “Welcome to Wal-Mart!” (major plus points there), told me it was cancelled. Turns out that earlier in the day, the store received a directive from Home Office in Bentonville: Do not have Singles Shopping tonight, and do not have it again. Drat. And I was looking forward to it, too. I, along with several others, put in comment cards about how we traveled distances to see this, only to find it was cancelled. Some even came from West Virginia, though from Roanoke to West Virginia isn’t as far as from Roanoke to here. All the store associates I spoke to were very apologetic about it, from the managers and right on down, since this was their great idea, and Bentonville nixed it (though I was told that some associates absolutely HATED the concept). After all, it got such wonderful press in the Roanoke Times (linked in the first entry I posted on this topic), and via the Associated Press to other papers. Jay Leno even made fun of it on his show.

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Categories: Roanoke, Walmart

Wal-Mart in Roanoke – the place for desperate singles to meet and greet?

July 17, 2005, 5:58 PM

You know what’s so special about this store?

Wal-Mart on US 220 in Roanoke

This is the Wal-Mart on US 220 near Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Virginia. They have introduced Singles Shopping, which, according to The Roanoke Times, is “an opportunity for singles to meet while stocking up on milk, underwear, snacks and small appliances.”

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What a wonderful two days off I had, and now back to the salt mines…

July 15, 2005, 5:35 PM

Wednesday and Thursday were such wonderful days off. I ran some errands, ran around a bit, and also got a lot of work done on the computer.

On Wednesday, I spent much of the day out. I first went to the RadioShack store in Waynesboro to return that RF switch that I ended up not needing to hook up my Super Nintendo. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the switch that was the problem, but rather where along the line I was hooking it up. So no problem. The Super Nintendo works, and I got my thirteen bucks back.

Then I went over to Staunton. Since the Harley-Davidson shop moved to its new location in Staunton, I’d heard a lot about it. Add to that the fact that they had their first annual “Rally in the Valley” about a month or so ago, and that generated a bit more buzz about it. So I went over to take a look. Now I’d never been to the old Harley place when it was in Waynesboro, so I had nothing to compare this to. Still, I was favorably impressed, even though biker stuff isn’t exactly my thing. First of all, the sense of space really gets you. The place is huge. And that’s not even the whole place. That’s just the main salesfloor. And on the salesfloor, there are bikes on display, there are sections for parts and accessories for one’s motorcycle, sections for men’s, women’s, and kids’ apparel, a section for shoes, a section with hats, helmets, sunglasses, and goggles, and even more. Then on the other side of the building, there’s a service area, and a well-appointed waiting area for people whose bikes are being serviced. And then outside the building, down a hill, is a course for people to take on their motorcycles. With it being down a hill from the main building, it makes for a great viewing area. As I said, I was favorably impressed with the place, even with biker stuff not being my thing. The place is very high-visibility (it rises high above the VA 262 loop), but actually getting to it is a little weird, since you have to go south on US 11, turn left onto Rolling Thunder Lane, which is almost right after you get onto Route 11. Then Rolling Thunder Lane is a longish, slightly-curving road with the Harley place looming up at the end.

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The combination of things people buy sometimes…

July 11, 2005, 12:08 AM

I saw what was perhaps the funniest thing on the self-checkout register today. A person bought a pack of condoms, and two different kinds of sandpaper. I’m just like, hmmmmmmm. You have to wonder about that. It leaves lots to the imagination. But if they like to sand in bed, that’s their business. Still, what cracks me up the most is the line I came up with. The couple is in bed together. He says, “So honey, do you want medium grit or fine grit tonight?”

Priceless.

Of course, the reason people buy condoms through the self-checkout in the first place is to be discreet. They don’t want anyone to know that they’re buying condoms in the first place.

This, by the way, is how retail employees have lots of fun doing their jobs. We are completely following established procedure, and laughing like heck on the inside the whole time. Person rings up condoms on the self-checkout. They put it in the bag. The self checkout machine goes off: “Item not recognized! Remove last item and try again!” So I come over. Me: “Hi, let me fix you up so you can continue.” I look into the bag (so as to visually verify that the items match their ticket). I see the condoms. I don’t say anything, but you can tell that they’re completely embarrassed by it. I’m laughing on the inside.

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Malcolm X Park: Mission Accomplished

July 7, 2005, 9:48 PM

Yes, I had a very productive time in Washington DC. Though I did get a touch of a late start. But we recovered. I ended up making up the time by hurrying along my Sheetz stop on the way up, plus traffic was lighter than usual going in. Usually I hit a considerable bottleneck from mile 41-45 on eastbound I-66, and this time, while I did encounter traffic (slowed due to construction vehicle movements), it was not as bad as I’ve seen it. So I was able to breeze right through. I still got to Vienna a touch late, but no problem.

I also finally found some background information on the I-66 construction.

At Vienna, I got a pleasant surprise – a parking spot on the top level, close to the elevator. Usually, and especially since the garage rehabilitation project began, I can only get a parking spot in the North Garage after 10:00, when the guaranteed spaces open up. So that was handy. Also, the rehabilitation work has moved once again, now encompassing the western ramp between levels. How strange it is to have that section closed off now, since that’s the ramp I usually use going up and down.

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