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It’s nice to just kind of go out on the town for a bit… the local town, that is.

January 14, 2005, 5:25 PM

It’s nice to go out on the town a bit. That’s what I did today. I had some errands to run, and went to both Staunton and Waynesboro in the process.

Note I say “local town”. You may recall that I go to Washington DC a lot, and spend a lot of time in that town, which hopefully will be my local town before too long. So I draw that distinction.

But anyway, I went out and about, which was fun. Went to Staunton Mall. I had lunch at “Hot Wok”, a Chinese restaurant in the mall. I’d never eaten a meal at Hot Wok before. It was good.

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Categories: Personal health, Staunton

Roanoke and Lynchburg…

December 5, 2004, 1:43 AM

I just have to say what a trip it was… on my off day I traveled in a big loop. Traveled from Stuarts Draft over to Charlottesville, then down to Lynchburg, across to Roanoke, and back up to Stuarts Draft.

I started out taking a bit of a back way to I-64, which meant I took Route 610 from its origin about a mile or so away from my house to Mount Torrey Road in Sherando. This took me through Lyndhurst and on into Waynesboro (where it becomes Delphine Avenue), where I met up with I-64. So I took I-64 eastbound, to Exit 118A. This took me over the mountain, and to the first Charlottesville exit, which landed me on US 29 southbound. As you can see, Charlottesville was just a hub for me. The place where I changed direction.

Actually, I went too far east to be most efficient. The most direct route would have been to get off I-64 at Exit 99, which is Afton, at the top of Afton Mountain. Travel eastbound a few miles on US 250, and then take VA 6 down the mountain into Nelson County and meet US 29 at the end of VA 6. But this was a road trip, with the drive being half the fun.

So I took US 29 from I-64 near Charlottesville. Boy, that’s a lot of undeveloped space around there going south. Very scenic, though. Rode US 29 through Albemarle County, into Nelson County, and into Amherst County. I got to experience a traffic circle in Amherst. Funny thing about the Charlottesville-to-Amherst (as in Town of Amherst) leg of the trip was that you’d have lots of empty space, then all of a sudden, boom. A store. Then more open space. Then boom, a Food Lion in a full strip mall in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

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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

Unexpected things…

August 16, 2004, 8:57 PM

First of all, I did not expect for one of the nose pads on my glasses to give out on me while I was at work. So after work I went to LensCrafters to get my glasses adjusted. That took me to Staunton Mall.

After I got my glasses worked on, I decided I wasn’t ready to leave quite yet, and so I decided to walk a lap around the mall. So I headed towards the JCPenney end of the mall. So who did I run into near Penney’s? Marie (a coworker) and her significant other (I want to say he’s her fiance, but I’m not for certain). The two of them were enjoying a massage in these automated massage chairs. $1.00 buys you three minutes. They told me that it was really good. So we got to talking while they got the massage done. Talked about the massage, and how nice it would be to have this at home. I chimed in that as nice as it would be, the really good massage chairs are pricey. At Brookstone at Pentagon City near DC, they sell the high-end models, and they cost a few thousand bucks. A little out of range.

Then when they finished, I parked myself in one of the chairs and gave it a whirl. It was a pretty good massage. Not the best I’ve had, but pretty good. It uses vibration, heat, and something that goes up and down your back in a few different motions. Pretty good massage. The only downside to it was when the back massager got down low on its track. There instead of working my back it was working my hip-bone. And that massager rubbing against bone is not comfortable. But usually on its first cycle, once you figure out where the uncomfortable zone is, you can adjust to avoid it.

Still, it did feel good as it vibrated and heated, and as the back thing pressed, kneaded, and pulsated. And it’s surprisingly addictive. I got the three-minute massage, and then the 15-minute massage. The 15-minute massage was SO good… so relaxing that I actually fell asleep in the chair! That was an odd experience, to wake up in the middle of Staunton Mall. I hope no one saw me napping in the mall…

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One job finishes, another job begins…

August 10, 2004, 7:04 PM

The deck’s finished! I have some hooray-the-deck-is-finished photos that I took with Big Mavica. The construction is totally finished, and now all that’s left to do is for Mom to pick up the new furniture that she’s getting for there.

Phase two also begins, as we replace the remainder of the downstairs flooring. The living room will be getting a new rug, and the family room and dining room are getting new hardwood flooring. In addition, beyond downstairs, we’re replacing the carpeting on the stairs with hardwood, as well as the carpeting in the upstairs hallway. Also hardwood. Currently, the family room and dining room are finished, and we’re putting things back to how they should be in there. The stairs and upstairs hallway are bare. That looks really weird. The living room has not yet been touched. I’ll be glad when it’s all finished, since waking up to the sound of nailing and other handyman-type jobs is not my idea of a good wake-up call. And now the work is right outside my door.

And then Greta’s away at the vet for a few days, getting a nodule of fat removed on her underside. So Greta’s kind of out of it right now. Greta’s operation was successful, and she’s at Cedarcrest right now, where she’s recovering. She’ll be back home on Friday. It’s probably just as well that she’s getting it done now, while work on the stairs is progressing. And Greta will be a better dog for this, too, which will be a good thing.

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Skyline Parkway Motel… people were charged!

August 7, 2004, 1:04 AM

An update regarding the recent fire at the Skyline Parkway Motel…

Turns out that it was arson, which we were not surprised about. And the building is a total loss. Also not a surprise. The surprise is how old the three suspects are. There are two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old charged with the Class 4 felony of setting fire to an unoccupied dwelling. I’d have thought it would have been people who were at least legally adults, rather than kids. But go figure. Anyway, though, since they are children in the eyes of the law, or as the law calls them, “juveniles”, their names were not released.

I understand why their names were not released, but I so want to put the “Nick and Adam” theory to rest. Recall that some days before the fire, the previously-blank sign in front of the motel read “NICK AND ADAM”. Recall this from a previous journal entry:

"Nick and Adam" at the Skyline Parkway Motel, post-fire

I so want to put that theory to rest and either have it be the case or not be the case, because I really want to see if people are actually stupid enough in real life to prominently place their name on the crime scene, showing to the world how stupid they are. Just remember… never underestimate the power and speed of stupid.

The little kiddies go back to school soon, and vacation is on the 11th…

August 3, 2004, 12:00 AM

I don’t care if it’s only two days. I plan on making the most of those two days at Virginia Beach, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And at this last count, it will be a week and a day as of tomorrow. I can’t wait. And this time I know exactly how to get there, since no one changed the route number on me this time.

Recall from 2000, when I last went to Virginia Beach, that I actually rode almost completely around the Hampton Roads area, or as it’s also called over there, the “Hampton Roads Beltway”. Before 2000, I had gone to Virginia Beach only once before, on a one-day trip in 1999. I consider that trip a mistake in retrospect, since for all the driving my friend Andrea and I did, we only got a few hours on the beach before it was time to go back home. And we still didn’t get home until 4 AM. But in that 1999 trip, the actual road to the beach was signed as a state highway, VA-44. As a result, this is what I was looking for on the highway:

Virginia State Route 44 green sign

Instead, in 2000, this is what I got:

Interstate 264 green sign

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Things we do on our off-days…

July 28, 2004, 8:37 PM

I was off yesterday and today, and it was quite an interesting time. The highlight of the days off was going to Roanoke on Tuesday afternoon and evening. I did some very minor photography, mostly night photography at Mill Mountain Park, home of the Roanoke Star. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just a certain draw to that location for photographing it at night. The only problem is that with the warmer months, darkness comes later, and thus I get far less time topside before they kick us out of the park at 11 PM (that’s when the gates close) than I would during the winter when it gets dark at like five.

Still, I managed to get a few gems. My only major problem up at the star this time was children. Elementary-aged children running around doing child-type stuff, getting in my way, tromping around on the wooden overlook platforms, messing up more than one shot. One child actually bumped my tripod, creating a double image with some strange trails on it.

On this trip, I also realized why winter is the better time for visiting the Roanoke Star. Besides there being more dark up there at night, the leaves are gone from the trees, permitting us to see more of the area. Foliage is a big blocker, let me tell you.

And then after I was finished at the star, I went over to Hooters, where I had a meal, and also got into a conversation with Cierra, one of the Hooters girls, about the Metro in DC, MARTA in Atlanta, and other transit-type topics. Also found out that Roanoke indeed does have transit service – a bus service called Valley Metro. I will have to chase this and photograph service one of these days. It may be more difficult than I would like it to be, considering that I had never even seen buses in Roanoke before this trip. Still, we’ll figure it all out in the end. May pair it up with the BT in Blacksburg.

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Photos of the Skyline Parkway Motel fire, and some other stuff

July 15, 2004, 1:56 PM

First of all, before I start showing you photos, guess who I saw on Tuesday afternoon at Wal-Mart. I saw Mrs. Kucs (pronounced “kooch”), my sixth grade math teacher at Stuarts Draft Middle School. That was a lot of fun. She’s retired now, so I don’t see her around SDMS when I go visit. Still, Mrs. Kucs was a great teacher. The one phrase that has stayed with me that I learned from Mrs. Kucs was “That will be fifty whacks with a wet noodle!” All in all, great math teacher, and it was great to see Mrs. Kucs again.

Anyway, after seeing Mrs. Kucs as I was leaving work, I headed out to Afton Mountain and then beyond. Going to Afton, I went by way of downtown Waynesboro, because I had a few other photo spots I wanted to hit on the way. For one, the “scar” on the mountain in Waynesboro:

The scar on the mountain in Waynesboro

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It was nice while it lasted…

July 11, 2004, 10:38 AM

Remember this?

Skyline Parkway Motel, September 10, 2003

For those of you who don’t know, this is the Skyline Parkway Motel, which, along with the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant, and the Skyline Parkway Motor Court, I photographed on September 10, 2003 for the Afton Mountain: Victim of Progress photo set.

Things have changed since then.

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See anything in this picture that raises an eyebrow?

June 14, 2004, 10:24 PM

I don’t know what happened, but it definitely looked unpleasant

June 12, 2004, 11:59 PM

On my way back from Charlottesville, where I spent the day today (somehow I got a Saturday off without asking for it – go figure), on US 340 right before the intersection of 340 and 608, I had to slow down considerably. It was the only smart thing to do considering that there were northbound cars traveling in the left southbound lane. I’m like, what in the heck and slowed down and got in the right lane. Once I got closer, it all made some sense. First thing I saw was lots of shattered glass strewn across four of the five lanes of US 340 right where Stuart Avenue meets 340. I looked left, and I see two cars in some poor innocent person’s front yard at a weird angle. Looks like they didn’t go there on purpose. Some other cars were parked nearby. Then there was a guy putting out flares. I don’t know any details other than what I saw, and don’t know how bad the damage was or whether anyone was hurt or not. But I can tell you this. It definitely doesn’t look pleasant.

Otherwise, I had fun in Charlottesville. First, though, I got the Previa’s front end aligned at Eavers Tire in Stuarts Draft. That was related to the blowout I had two weeks ago. While I was waiting, I worked on my phone some, downloading a new version of Mobile IM (remember that my AIM screen name on my phone is Schumin Wireless), plus downloaded Tetris and Ms. Pac Man onto my phone.

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It seems that carbohydrates have become the new fat…

June 11, 2004, 1:24 AM

After having just seen two commercials in a row about low-carbohydrate foods, I have to believe that we’ve officially gone off the deep end.

The first commercial was for Special K, which acted as though people were just crushed to death, showing people sitting on the ground with their head buried in their knees and crying if that tells you anything, about not being able to use their cereal bowl due to their low-carbohydrate diet. That’s why this new version of Special K is supposedly so great, because it’s only nine net carbohydrates per serving.

The other commercial was for CarbWell salad dressing, which promotes having no carbohydrates. Not nearly as bad as the first, but still pretty bad…

I’m just amazed, really. I grew up with something else, and it wasn’t long ago when it was the case that fat was the enemy. We counted our fat grams, and counted our calories. And food manufacturers announced how low in calories they were and how low in fat they were.

Now it’s carbohydrates. Sugars. All of a sudden, fat and calories are left by the wayside. The key to slimmer thighs is to lose the sugars now! The way it’s come around, it seems like a huge national fad.

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“I am thunder and nothing can happen till I bellow, and I rumble, and wake everybody with my roar!”

May 27, 2004, 9:32 PM

After Tuesday’s disaster, I went to Covington for a soak in Lake Moomaw on Wednesday. At least that was my intention. Let me tell you what happened.

I got all the way down to Lake Moomaw and parked and all that at the swimming beach. Changed into my swimsuit, and got into the lake. Fast forward about ten minutes. Thunder! Lots of it. And lightning. Regardless, it’s enough to send me to shore, and seeking some cover, and in a place that is designed for outdoor recreation, there’s some cover, but not a lot.

So I had to find something to do until the storm passed. Going back to Covington, the nearest town, was not really feasible, as Lake Moomaw is a ways from Covington. So I basically hung around. I drove back to the dam for a little while. I drove up to the picnic shelters. I sat in the car and pondered my thoughts. I walked a few times around the bath house.

Meanwhile, it was doing just about everything outside. Rain. Lots of it. Wind. Lots of it. Thunder. Lots of it. Lightning. Amazing amounts of it. I’d never seen lightning like this. It was like a strobe light the way it flashed. Filled up the whole sky (this was during the day, by the way), and really lit up everything.

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Categories: Lake Moomaw, Weather

Strange group of people with weed eaters in the neighborhood…

May 25, 2004, 9:20 PM

Yes, Sis and I encountered a strange group of people across the street from the house today. They were using weed eaters to weed-eat the area around the creek that runs near our house. Still, we were trying to figure out what this group was. Most of the people were wearing blue pants with a red stripe down the leg. These same people also wore bright orange T-shirts, the official don’t-run-me-down color.

Then there was also a person there in a blue work shirt, and a uniformed officer from somewhere. I couldn’t make out the uniform, and I wasn’t going to break out the binoculars.

We figured it was likely that these people were inmates of somewhere, considering the bright orange shirts plus the uniformed officer. But then I thought that the sign of inmates was the that the guy supervising was always very obviously holding a large shotgun. Plus, think of the children! This is a residential neighborhood, and I didn’t think they could use inmates in a residential neighborhood.

Still, it was definitely an odd sight seeing all these people running weed eaters at once.

Categories: Stuarts Draft