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Thursday was fun…

August 29, 2008, 9:11 AM

Thursday was fun. I spent much of it wandering along the strip, checking out the various stores and such. However, I only spent money at Flipper McCoy’s, which, unlike the visit on Tuesday night, was pretty quiet this time around. I had so much fun. I took both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man for a number of spins, I played skee-ball, I played Spin-to-Win, and I got to see someone win 1500 tickets on the Deal Or No Deal machine.

Perhaps the most interesting was skee-ball. They have two different versions. One named along the lines of your typical skee-ball game and styled as such, and then the other was called “Ice Ball”. The gameplay between regular skee ball and Ice Ball was exactly the same, but the Ice Ball balls were white, and they felt ever so slightly heavier, which I preferred. In play, I somehow managed to hit every spot, including the 10,000 spot, except for 5,000. Why not 5,000? Dunno. Got 1K, 2K, 3K, and 4K no problem. Go figure. I also found that I scored better by changing my angle. I was initially playing like it was bowling. Underhanded roll, hitting the rolling surface fairly close to the edge. When I changed to a different style throw, aiming for it to start rolling along the track towards the back, I did a lot better. Go fig.

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And while I’m on vacation, the Democrats put an end to the nomination fight once and for all…

August 28, 2008, 1:43 AM

Let me say that the fourth day in Virginia Beach was a lot of fun. It started with a walk down the beach. Recall that on Monday, I took Duckie into the water for a swim, and got those amazing wave photos. Today, I again took Duckie to the water, though this time I was mainly out to cover the beach. I got people making sandcastles, as well as completed sandcastles. Some people made forts for themselves, while one person dug a small tunnel system in the sand. Metro for the sand crabs, maybe? Looked as though he had just completed his system’s equivalent of Metro Center when I passed by. And most people, by and large, were very friendly, even offering to pose with their creations as they were building them. However, considering the style of photos I normally like to take, the phrase “act natural” became a fairly common phrase for me.

This, by the way, is the pièce de résistance when it comes to Virginia Beach sandcastles today:

Sandcastle

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Late start, but not bad.

August 27, 2008, 11:28 AM

I got a late start on Tuesday, owing to a sore foot. But the day definitely made up for the late start. I kind of explored around the city a bit by car, and it was certainly worth the time, as I got to see what kind of city Virginia Beach was in the “local” department, vs. the resort area. Not bad. I don’t think I’d want to ever live here, if nothing else but for the constant sound of jet noise due to the presence of the Oceana Naval Air Station in the town. You can hear those jets even when you’re driving in your car. Very disconcerting, because I’m thinking it’s something wrong with the car or something, and it’s the military flying jets overhead. And then a jet flew directly overhead – that’s ear-splittingly loud. Give me a Wheelock 7002T to the face any day, thank you.

Due to a strong wind blowing over the area, the ocean was a bit rougher than usual. The strong waves actually reshaped the beach somewhat – it was a smooth slope down to the ocean from the main beach on Monday, but today, there was a noticeable step down to the water, as the waves carved it out as they took sand out to sea. I went down to the water in the early evening, and got in this rough surf, and the waves were noticeably more forceful than the day before. And I got sand up my suit. No fun. But it was a good experience out there.

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Categories: Vacations, Virginia Beach

Cold water is COLD!

August 25, 2008, 10:24 PM

It’s Day 2 of vacation! And let me just say that the cold water in the ocean is as cold as longcat is long. I went swimming in the ocean today. And it was interesting how the temperatures turned out. I believe the majority of the water around here was quite cold. But as the waves crashed, the heat off of the beach would warm the water up, and then it would roll back in, it made a warm layer in the water. It was quite a weird feeling. But on a warm day, the cold water in the ocean was quite refreshing.

I also took Duckie out in the ocean today, and I had a great time. Duckie is a great in-the-water camera, and I had fun taking up-close photos of the waves. Check it out…

Big Mavica would certainly never have gotten this close to the ocean!
Big Mavica would certainly never have gotten this close to the ocean!

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Categories: Vacations, Virginia Beach

Watch as the highway narrows…

August 24, 2008, 10:39 PM

So I made the trip to the beach today, and I am now writing from the Travelodge Suites on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

And the best way to describe the trip down is watching the highway as it gets narrower and narrow. I started in Silver Spring, where I caught the beltway – each side four lanes wide. Then after I cleared the DC area, I-95 dropped a lane and was down to three lanes. This was the configuration all the way to Richmond and onto I-64. Then once I cleared Richmond, I-64 dropped down to two lanes, and stayed this way into Newport News, when it fluctuated between two and three lanes as we went through Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk, and finally three lanes to the oceanfront.

On the way in, I swung by the site of the former Coliseum Mall in Hampton, which I visited back in 2005. Recall that they had Edwards horn/strobes, and that I visited in 2005 to positively identify the mystery mall that I had briefly visited back in 2003. Now, though, Coliseum Mall is very different. The mall was demolished in early 2007, and construction of a new open-air “town center” style shopping center called Peninsula Town Center is well underway. Currently, the only stores open are JCPenney in a new building, and Macy’s in its original building. I never thought I’d see an anchor store with one of those “STILL OPEN” signs on the side in person like I’ve seen in various retail blogs, but there it was. These signs are generally used to indicate that the anchor store is still open despite that the rest of the mall is being torn down. In this case, the regular Macy’s logo is on the side, and a sign saying “IS OPEN” was right beneath it. This was the case on all of the Macy’s building’s logos. The new town center is certainly cute-looking, but the 1970s-era Macy’s building will look really strange next to the rest of the buildings. Of course, they may renovate the exterior of Macy’s and make it match, but we’ll see.

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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.

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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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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See anything in this picture that raises an eyebrow?

June 14, 2004, 10:24 PM

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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