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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 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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When I did the photo set, I never thought I was going to be documenting the last days of the complex…

June 19, 2005, 4:27 AM

When I shot the photos that comprised the two-part photo set Afton Mountain: Victim of Progress, I never really thought that what I was documenting would disappear so quickly. The focus of the photo set was threefold, if you recall:

Howard Johnson's Restaurant
Howard Johnson’s Restaurant

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What’s up? The ceiling.

May 22, 2005, 4:22 PM

Sometimes the “usual” greeting becomes part of the relationship. Other times, it just gets annoying. So goes it sometimes. I have officially had it with people responding to my “what’s up” with “the sky” or “the ceiling”. It’s gotten old, and it’s time to move on to something new.

However, one thing that a coworker and I do is really clever. We each say “hi”, then I say “What’s up?” and she says, “Ain’t nothin’.” That had been going on for months. Recently, we switched it up. I said “hi”, then she said “What’s up?” and I replied, “Ain’t nothin’.” It was clever since we switched our normal responses and it just came off so naturally that we both got a kick out of it. Life is interesting sometimes.

Speaking of interesting days, I went to Lake Moomaw on Thursday as planned. I got there via Lexington and Covington. It’s not the most direct way to get there, but it’s the only way I know (but if you do know of a shorter way to get to the Coles Mountain recreational area, let me know).

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Categories: Lake Moomaw

A proposed new high-rise in Rosslyn, making a dramatic new skyline, and eliminating a frightfully ugly building… and right next to my Rosslyn hangout!

April 14, 2005, 12:40 AM

In the April 13, 2005 issue of the Washington Post, I found this article about a new high-rise proposed for Rosslyn. This high-rise is significant because it would rise to 484 feet, which is an unknown height for Rosslyn. Currently, the tallest towers in Rosslyn top out at around 300 feet. So this one would certainly be a head above the rest. The proposed location, based on artists’ conceptions, places the building right next to Rosslyn Center.

Here’s an artists’ conception as seen in Thursday’s Washington Post:

Proposed building in Rosslyn at 1812 North Moore Street

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Categories: Arlington

Stand to the right!

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…

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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What a nice day I had on Friday!

March 26, 2005, 11:26 AM

I went OUT on Friday! I went down and did that Lynchburg-to-Roanoke-and-back circuit, and it seems to work for me. I got a late start, but it still worked. The weather, unfortunately, did not cooperate, which was a shame. I wanted clear skies so I could do a Photography set on downtown Lynchburg. That did not happen. So I skipped it. Downtown Lynchburg, at a glance, looks like a downtown with an older charm to it, but not too old of an older charm. The most prominent building on the skyline is the Bank of the James Building, which was built in 1972. Downtown Lynchburg is going to be fun to do when I get a good-weather day.

In going through Lynchburg, I take US 29. That one has a few different names in Lynchburg. It starts out as Memorial Drive, then changes to Fort Avenue, and then to Wards Road. On Wards Road, I stopped at River Ridge Mall, where I found an interesting sight – a train! I stopped to look, needless to say. I also got a few photos…

River Ridge Express  River Ridge Express

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Urban Demolition… I found out what’s going in the old building’s place.

March 8, 2005, 3:53 AM

Remember this building, which I first showed you in this photo from Rosslyn Center on January 20, which was in the process of being demolished?

In a January 20, 2005 file photo taken from nearby Rosslyn Center, demolition is underway as removal of the exterior curtain wall is underway.

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Categories: Arlington

It looks like someone shot it out of the sky…

March 6, 2005, 12:24 AM

Categories: Places, Roanoke