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What Schumin does on his “weekend”…

January 27, 2006, 12:51 AM

My Wednesday-Thursday weekend was fun. I got to accomplish a few things that I’d wanted to do. First of all, I attempted to visit the new Martin’s store in Waynesboro, that opened up next to Wal-Mart. I attempted to get in, but the store was so crowded that I ended up having to scratch that idea, since I wasn’t about to park at Wal-Mart and walk over to Martin’s. There were literally no parking spaces available in the Martin’s lot. I consider that too far of a distance to walk, plus I consider it rude to park in one business’s parking lot to patronize their competitor. I did, however, get the chance to fill up the car, since Martin’s has a gas station on its premises. I got to fill up for $2.19 a gallon, too, which is pretty good for Waynesboro at this time (the nearby Exxon and Citgo stations were selling at $2.29 a gallon).

After that, I took a trip to Roanoke, which worked out well despite that the friend I was supposed to meet up with in Roanoke never got back with me (so we didn’t end up meeting up). I ended up visiting my usual Roanoke spots, plus I also drove over to Salem, where I basically took a little driving tour of the town. So that was fun.

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What “abandoned former Wal-Mart sites”?

January 21, 2006, 11:17 PM

In the Staunton News Leader‘s January 21, 2006 house editorial, they discussed about the Frontier Culture Museum’s plan for using some of its property fronting US 250 and Frontier Drive for retail in order to help fund the museum’s programs (the museum itself is back and out of sight from the front of the property).

What made my ears perk up while reading this was this paragraph about the facility that anchors all this development:

Remember too that the retail leviathan that anchors the area is an aging Wal-Mart. Those who recall all the other abandoned former Wal-Mart sites around Staunton can attest that this chain is not the most faithful.

I question the accuracy of this statement. I am not even going to touch the issue of how “faithful” Wal-Mart is, because it’s immaterial to the discussion.

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Photographing the Waynesboro Outlet Village before it all comes down…

January 12, 2006, 6:38 PM

Today, I went to see the Waynesboro Outlet Village for what will likely be the last time. The January 6 issue of the Staunton News Leader ran an article discussing how the Outlet Village will be demolished this summer to make way for a new shopping center.

Let me tell you… the Outlet Village is a “dead mall”. When we first moved to this area in 1992, the Waynesboro Outlet Village was alive and full of stores, and most of them were factory outlet stores. Then in the mid-1990s, something changed (I think a management change is what did it), and stores started to leave the Outlet Village, leaving the place in its current form. As of my visit today, there are five stores in operation. Let me name them: Liz Claiborne (which was having a going-out-of-business sale), Paper Factory, Tile Visions, Virginia Metalcrafters, and the Artisans Center of Virginia. All of these stores are isolated from each other in the Outlet Village as far as location goes.

Then there are also a number of non-traditional tenants, as there’s a nonprofit computer refurbishing service in one location, as well as One Child at a Time, aka OCAT, in another building. In other words, a few spots are filled up with offices. This is nothing new – I was hired by Borg-Warner Staffing for CFW Information Services (later Telegate) at the Outlet Village. Borg-Warner had offices in 7F. Borg-Warner, like the rest of them, is now gone from that location, having presumably folded up shop there when Telegate closed their Waynesboro call center in April 2002.

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Categories: Outlet Village, Waynesboro

Meanwhile, in DC…

December 30, 2005, 12:26 AM

I took an “extra” DC trip this past Wednesday with Mom, Sis, and her boyfriend Chris Lysy. They had previously ordered tickets to see Wicked at the Kennedy Center for December 28, and when I found out that I would be off that day, I asked if I could come along, and Mom agreed. It turned out that my presence was quite helpful, as I knew exactly where I was going, both on the road and on the train, and also knew my way around Washington better than the rest of them. Plus I’m never one to pass up a trip to Washington, after all. Especially one where I didn’t have to pay for gas.

We were also celebrating Sis’s 21st birthday, which was on the 26th.

The trip was, to an extent, run like a regular DC trip of mine. Get to Vienna, park, ride to Rosslyn, go into Washington, run around for a bit, then go to Pentagon City. Our destinations while “running around” were things that Sis and I both picked.

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Fodder for America’s Funniest Home Videos?

December 22, 2005, 8:24 PM

I went up to the Washington DC area once again on Wednesday, and all in all, I had a good day.

The daytime took me all around the Metro doing railfan stuff. I rode the entire length of the system in Virginia, going from Vienna to Rosslyn to Franconia-Springfield, to King Street, to Huntington, and then into Washington via the Fenwick Bridge. While I was at it, by the way, I also rode the entire length of the Yellow Line all at once, riding from Huntington to Mt. Vernon Square. I also checked out the new entrance at King Street, which opens out onto Commonwealth Avenue. It’s nice and new and such, and still harmonizes with the original part of the station, which opened in 1983.

I spent the late afternoon, which is bad for urban photography due to dark shadows cast by buildings (but great if you can avoid it – same goes for early morning), at Dupont Circle and also Union Station. Dupont Circle was basically a photography thing – in, photograph, back out. Then at Union Station, I got a phone call from Mom: “Where did you go today?” This is where we realized that I forgot to tell Mom where I was going. Told Dad, but not Mom. Oops. So I filled her in.

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Fun day in Lynchburg and Roanoke on Wednesday…

December 2, 2005, 1:21 AM

I got a late start, but things still went well. When I go to Lynchburg, I usually take a back way – 610 to 664 (Mt. Torrey Road), which changes to Delphine Avenue when you hit the Waynesboro city limits. Then I take I-64 to Charlottesville and then take US 29 south to Lynchburg.

This time, I did things differently – partly by choice, and partly by necessity. I intended on taking Route 610 to 664 and then to US 250 over the mountain, and then follow Route 6 to US 29 near the Nelson County Wayside. I was on a bit of a no-interstates thing on Wednesday. No interstates (except for the dash back home from Roanoke), and nothing controlled-access, either.

The by-necessity change started on Route 610, which was impassable due to the flooding from the day before. Unlike the people in their pickup trucks, my van with its low ground clearance wouldn’t stand a chance if I crossed the water. I think I’d more likely be dead in the water. Visions of June 5, 2004 came to mind, when I hit a large puddle coming off an exit ramp, which caused the car to strain at 25 mph. Thankfully in that case, I was already at the end of my trip, and had less than a mile to go, so I just limped into the parking garage at Vienna and parked. This time, it was at the beginning of my trip, and would have wrecked the trip if I’d had that happen again. So I turned around and took an alternate route. I ended up taking US 340 into Waynesboro like I would take to go to work, went past Wal-Mart, down Main Street, and then up the mountain via US 250.

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Black Friday, FliteStar, and beyond…

November 28, 2005, 10:34 PM

Let me tell you… the day after Thanksgiving, when Wal-Mart had its blitz sale, was interesting.

First of all, I was somewhat disappointed about the results of my efforts to get coworkers to wear all-black with me. I bombed badly on that front, as I was one of only two people wearing black on that day.

Anyways, though, I worked 4:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon, as scheduled. I arrived in the parking lot at 4:15 in the morning. The lot was packed. Coming into the store, it was full of people, most of whom were kind of hanging around, waiting for the big sale to start at 5:00. Many told me that they’d been in the store since 3 AM waiting.

My exact reaction was to think, that’s hardcore. Me, I’ll happily pay full price and not deal with the crowds and chaos.

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My trip to Starbucks to get a Venti Coffee Frappuccino…

October 10, 2005, 9:57 PM

I finally visited the new Starbucks Coffee in Waynesboro after work today. Yes, that’s right. Starbucks in Waynesboro. I never thought of Waynesboro as a Starbucks kind of town, but there you have it. I guess someone thought we were.

So I went over there to check the place out. It was built on a small property, where the old KFC once stood (KFC moved to a bigger property next door and the old building was demolished). It’s bigger inside than it looks, too. Going in, I remembered SpinnWebe‘s parody of my original Wal-Mart photo set, now in Life and Times, and so I ordered a Venti Coffee Frappuccino. So this is what it looked like:

Venti Coffee Frappuccino at Starbucks in Waynesboro

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What a wonderful day Wednesday was…

September 8, 2005, 11:41 PM

I went down as far as Blacksburg on Wednesday. My goal was to visit two people: Sis at Virginia Tech, and my friend Amanda Mone, who I first met in December at the Roanoke Star.

But first, I had some shopping to do. Coca-Cola recently launched Vault, which is marketed as an energy drink, but is basically Surge in a new package. Currently, Coca-Cola is test-marketing it, and Roanoke is one of the areas where it’s being test-marketed. So I went down to the Wal-Mart next to Valley View Mall and got some. First I bought a 20-ounce bottle, to make sure it was really Surge in drag. It was a match! So I went and bought ten bottles of it, so that I’ll have lots of it, since I have no idea when I’ll be able to get down to Roanoke again to get some more.

I also checked out the Halloween aisles, since I was looking for a certain Halloween item that Wal-Mart sold last year that I was hoping they were going to sell again. You may recall that I mentioned in December about a mechanized black cat that reared up on its hind legs and sang a song that went like, “I’m just an alley cat, with an alley life.” I’d been unsuccessful in finding it in Waynesboro so far this year. I figured this store in Roanoke is bigger than Waynesboro, so it might be in this store. And I was right! So I bought the cat, and I’ll be figuring out all the lyrics. All I know is that I’m pretty psyched that I finally got my hands on it. I honestly thought I’d never hear that song again. And it’s catchy.

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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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