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“Peace”

November 25, 2006, 9:39 PM

Paz, paix, peace, an, siochain, friede, shalom, salaam,amani, santeepop, heiwa, hoa bihn

That’s “peace” in twelve different languages: Spanish, French, English, Korean, Gaelic, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Swahili, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese. In this time in our history, with a war going on in Iraq, I’m reminded of the song whose lyrics are reproduced above in all those different languages.

I first learned the song in 1991, when I sang a duet with Laine Virtue in the fourth grade for the school chorus. Back then, there was another war going on in Iraq: Operation Desert Storm. Laine and I sang that song, whose only words were the various translations of “peace” as quoted above. Then the next fall, the whole chorus sang a song, “Let Peace Begin With Me”, which was a really neat song (and I can’t find the lyrics for it online).

And with Christmas exactly one month away, I’m holding out hope that we can come up with a peaceful end to the current conflict, and bring our troops home alive very soon. I think this photo says it all…

A woman holds up a US flag, where the fifty stars are arranged to form a peace sign

“Remember this?”

October 18, 2006, 4:47 PM

Dad went to a meeting at my old high school today, and caught a photo with his cell phone of a piece of artwork that had my name attached to it.  What the meeting was about, I have no idea.  But this is what he got, seen here in the art room of Stuarts Draft High School:

Old artwork

Dad texted the photo and the message to me this morning, with the message “remember this?” with it.  When it first buzzed in, I looked at it, and I was like, nooooooo… since I wasn’t even quite sure what I was looking at.  I honestly don’t remember making that.  It must not have left that big of an impression on me.  We can assume that this was a group project, considering that my name appears on top, and Samantha Hensley’s name appears at the bottom.  I’d say it was probably done about mid-semester in the spring of 1998, during the acrylic paint unit.

So, yeah.  I’m sure Dad was quite proud, though, to see my name on the wall from some eight years ago.

Categories: High school

The time I got backhanded…

September 18, 2006, 11:11 PM

I still remember the time I got backhanded in high school, and I was thinking about that recently. It was in Mrs. Dixon’s English class way back in 1998, and I got decked by a girl, whom we’ll call “Wilma Eyeball” (this person gave herself this nickname in sixth grade back in 1992, so they know who they are), who sat in the seat in front of me. I had presumably managed to tick off this particular girl, and while I was discussing something with another classmate, she just up and backhanded me. She just swung her arm back and kapow. I was kind of stunned. I got decked by Wilma Eyeball. I must have really gotten on her nerves. And it marked the only time I ever got decked in school. And thankfully, no injuries came about – not even a bruise.

After I got decked, Mrs. Dixon took us both out in the hall to discuss this between the two of us. This ultimately led to a seating change, where Wilma Eyeball was moved to a seat across the room. It ended up working out for the better.

Meanwhile, now I find out that Wilma Eyeball lives near Los Angeles and seems to be having a great time…

Categories: High school

College shirt weekend at work led to an amusing photo in the end…

July 23, 2006, 1:47 AM

Yes, it was college shirt weekend at our store this weekend, and so I made sure to represent JMU.

But what’s funny is the shirt that I chose. I went hunting through my closet to find a JMU shirt. I was really looking for a “JMU Alumni” shirt that Mom got me, since that’s what I really wanted to wear. I ended up not finding that, and the only thing I found that was suitable for late July ended up being my old Office of Residence Life “purple shirt”. That would be this shirt, seen here back in the day. So I wore that under my vest. And purple and maroon certainly do look good together. Judge for yourself:

Wearing the Residence Life "purple shirt" with my Wal-Mart vest

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Categories: JMU, Walmart

How does one fail the DMV vision test?

May 11, 2006, 2:49 PM

How does one fail the DMV vision test? I’d like to know. I went to DMV today to renew my license, and subsequently failed the vision test. Weird. And it wasn’t that things were fuzzy. Things did look sharp, but they all looked like 8s. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, because I can see. Quite well, as long as I’m wearing my glasses. I wonder if it’s the machine, because I didn’t think to ask to use a different machine. Either way, though, I have to go see Dr. Patel at AMC again to get an eye exam. But DMV said that once I get the eye exam and Dr. Patel fills out their form, that will bypass DMV’s vision test. All in all, weird.

Otherwise, though, I went up to Harrisonburg today. I actually am writing this from JMU, and I got an interesting photo of myself with my cell phone that will probably end up being May’s photo on the front of the site. Still, things have changed at JMU. Taylor Down Under has been rearranged, with a new TDU stage, and some other stuff has been shuffled around. I also visited Harrison Hall, which was just starting renovations when I graduated. Now, it’s done, and it’s interesting. It’s certainly not the rathole that I remember from my college days anymore.

I also stopped at Steve and Barry’s to see if I could get more tie-dye shirts. In a word: No. They clearanced them all out, and so there are none left to wear. A shame.

So all and all, it’s been an interesting day. I still have more stuff to take care of in Harrisonburg, so I’m not done yet…

Categories: JMU, Myself

Gave my scooter to Goodwill, and it’s kind of heartening to know that the system does still work.

March 27, 2006, 5:25 PM

First of all, remember this?

Scooter with glow in the dark wheels

That’s my “Just Go” scooter, which is basically a knock-off of the Razor scooter. It is actually better described as my former scooter, as I donated it to Goodwill last Thursday. I figured, since I’d not ridden it in nearly five years (seriously!), I might as well get rid of it, so someone else can get some good use out of it. Thus I gave it to Goodwill.

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Categories: JMU

I read an article that troubled me…

November 6, 2005, 10:31 PM

I was reading this past Saturday’s News Virginian, and an article on the front page of the paper troubled me. The article was called “Dilemma of threats on Internet”. Here’s a link to the article.

The basic premise of the article was about students’ reactions in their own online journals to an incident at Riverheads High School in Augusta County, where a 15-year-old student was given an “indefinite suspension” by school officials for an October 1 entry in his online journal hosted by xanga.com where he contemplated “a massive systematical killing of people at rhs for the soul purpose of saying that i can”.

First of all, I will be the first to say that posting such things in a public space (which the Internet basically is) was not the best thing to do. But, to avoid dwelling on should-have-dones in that situation, let’s assume that what’s done is done. It’s posted, and that’s all there is to it.

In addition, I do not take issue with the principal’s encountering the material in question in the first place. These online journals are accessible to the general public without a password, and thus I consider the principal to be well within his rights to look at these online journals. When someone posts to an online journal that is publicly accessible, including this one, that means that anyone can look at it, and I do mean anyone. To make my point, I had no trouble finding AnothrDmBlnd’s Xanga site, whose November 2 entry was the source of one of the comments mentioned in the article.

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Upgrading the fire alarm system at my old middle school brings back a lot of memories…

September 10, 2005, 9:02 PM

I found out on Friday that Stuarts Draft Middle School is getting a new fire alarm system, to replace the charming vintage-but-terribly-obsolete Edwards system installed when the building was constructed. As I’ve not been over there lately, I can’t tell you whether the update is in the process of completion or if it’s done, though my guess is that it’s done. I also don’t know who makes the new system or what model, nor do I know what kind of horns and pull-stations were used.

I found out when Mom brought a Food Lion bag home from school containing, to my surprise, two Edwards 270-SPO pull-stations (“Local Alarm”), two Cerberus Pyrotronics MS-151 pull-stations (from the 1993 addition), and an Edwards Edwards 881D horn. I believe that one of the Edwards pulls came from the gym next to the boys’ locker room, as it has a sticker with a zig-zag line under the “E” logo that I recalled on that spot. I don’t know where in the school the horn came from, or where the other pulls came from.

Altogether, before this alarm update, SDMS had 24 horns, of which 20 were the Edwards 881D (all were originally the Edwards 881D). Two horns were replaced before I started there with large square horns – one in the cafeteria and one outside Room 38 (a stone’s throw away from the other replaced horn). I won’t swear to it, but I think those horns said “Pyrotronics” on them in small white letters. Then two horns were replaced in 1993 with Wheelock 34T horns. One was outside Room 12, and the other was outside Room 22. I remember seeing workers replacing the horn outside Room 12 from a distance, and noticed the Wheelock 34T outside Room 22, which was near the sixth-grade lockers (which were later relocated), as being new when it was replaced during third or fourth period.

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The weather held out, though it looked likely to rain at any moment.

September 1, 2005, 11:43 PM

My trip to Washington DC on August 31 was a good trip, though I was expecting some rain to keep me indoors for much of it. If that turned out to be the case, I was going to go explore the Crystal City Underground (by the way, here’s an interesting article about Crystal City’s future). But it turned out that the weather would hold out for me, and so things went differently.

But on the way, up, I got quite an unpleasant surprise:

Gas prices at the Sheetz in Mt. Jackson, Virginia

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No more gate lodge for the old Howard Johnson’s in Harrisonburg…

July 30, 2005, 11:05 PM

Going through Harrisonburg on my way up to Pennsylvania on Thursday’s road trip, I noticed something unusual out my right window. At the site of the former Howard Johnson’s in Harrisonburg (which, according to both official and unofficial sources, is being upgraded in order for it to be used as a dorm again due to capacity issues), another building had bitten the dust. Recall that on October 9, 2003, I photographed the old Howard Johnson’s as Rockingham Hall – perhaps the last photos ever made of the complex while still whole. Then in June 2004, the unused restaurant was demolished. Gone. I drove by on June 23, 2004, and was shocked. A pile of rubble stood where the restaurant was, including the mangled remains of the cupola. Then this summer, you may recall, the remainder of the complex, meaning the gate lodge and the motor lodge, was slated for demolition. However, the demolition was called off, and the motor lodge building was upgraded slightly for use as a dorm once again. However, the gate lodge was demolished, having been reduced to a pile of rubble. The gate lodge had been done over in the 1990s, and there were even remnants of the blue roof installed at that time (replacing the signature orange roof) visible in the debris.

For the back-story on that, JMU learned in 2004 that they couldn’t use the Howard Johnson’s buildings anymore unless they were upgraded to higher standards. Thus the buildings were vacated, because it was not considered feasible to upgrade a building that they bought with the intention of demolishing. Thus, for 2004-2005, the facility was unused as a dorm, and offices housed there were intended to be relocated (no word on how that went). However, capacity reared its ugly head again, since JMU still hasn’t figured out that it’s not a good idea to admit more freshmen than you have space. And I also don’t believe that bunking three people in a room designed for two is a solution, either, even if you do have a suite living room at your disposal. What JMU needs to do is find the funds to demolish the R5 parking lot next to Chesapeake Hall and build the third CISAT dorm that’s in the master plan for the east campus. That would either be three separate buildings of five floors each that are basically single-wing versions of my beloved Potomac Hall, holding roughly 200 students each, or the same three structures as “A”, “B”, and “C” wings connected by low-lying corridors like at Potomac Hall. Which one it’s slated to be depends on whose drawing you look at. But until then, they’re remodeling buildings whose days are already numbered. It looks fairly nice, with JMU putting new furniture, carpeting, and fixtures in, according to some new-freshman literature I found on the Web. One may notice right offhand driving by on I-81 that the sliding doors to the balconies were removed, and replaced with a more conventional glass door with windows on either side. Additionally, new railings were installed on the balconies. And this is going to be a FRESHMAN dorm.

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Categories: Howard Johnson's, JMU

Stop the presses!

June 19, 2005, 10:34 PM

After publishing the last Journal entry, where, at the end of the article, in the “Quote” part, I spoke about the demolition of the former Howard Johnson’s motor lodge in Harrisonburg, I learned from a friend that the motor lodge still exists!

So I went into JMU’s Facilities Management master schedule online, and found out that a lot of different scheduled projects are listed as being on hold. All sorts of projects are marked “ON HOLD”, such as:
Renovating humidity controls in the ISAT/CS Building
Reconfiguring the old WMRA space in Anthony-Seeger Hall for JMU Police use
Building a turning lane into the Convocation Center
Asbestos abatement and demolition of Lincoln House, Shenandoah Hall, Smith House, Wellington Hall, and Zirkle House
Demolition of Rockingham Hall (the old HoJo’s)
Replacement of UREC astroturf

As you can see, a lot of stuff is on hold. And it seems that ALL the demolition projects are on hold, for that matter. I really have no idea why all of these projects are on hold, but they are. By the way, all the other demolition projects aside from the HoJo’s are all on the same block, to make way for a new performing arts center.

So maybe the old Howard Johnson’s motor lodge will be with us for a tad longer than anticipated. Not like it will be of any use to us, though, as it will more than likely remain closed, as it has been for the past year.

Now to clarify, I am referring only to the MOTOR LODGE complex (guest room buildings and the gate lodge). The restaurant had already been demolished in June 2004. I describe my discovery that the restaurant had been demolished in the June 29, 2004 Journal entry.

Categories: Howard Johnson's, JMU

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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“I told you I was on a budget!”

April 10, 2005, 1:41 AM

Kids say the darndest things sometimes. This was one of those cases. On Friday at Wal-Mart, a really young girl, probably around first grade or so, said to her mother, proudly, “I told you I was on a budget!” after buying a few things on her own ticket in my line.

Of course, the thing that amused me more than that was what she said while I was ringing up her mother’s stuff. This girl, on her budget, presumably being a real cheapskate with her own money, then turned to her mother, and asked her if she could buy her something. Now we know what “I’m on a budget” really means. We’re not spending much if we’re on our own budget, but on mother’s budget, on the other hand…

I was quite amused, to say the least.

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What would you say if it was me behind the wheel of your transit bus?

February 21, 2005, 1:42 AM

What would you say? Well, I can’t say you’ll be seeing me driving a bus any time soon, but I did get someone to take a picture of me behind the wheel of a Harrisonburg Transit bus on Friday. That will be my cover photo for March on the site.

Otherwise, though, photographing in Blacksburg on Wednesday turned out to be quite successful. I got a whole load of bus photos, and also various other non-bus photos. Plus I got to eat dinner with my sister, which was nice.

I also discovered that Coca-Cola is coming out with a new flavor – Coca-Cola with lime. This is regular Coke, with the lime flavoring. This is NOT a diet soda! This is regular Coke. I tried it. It’s got a good flavor. It’s not like Pepsi Twist. This is like Vanilla Coke – it’s there, but it’s not obnoxious, and you’d think that the two had been together for ages. Pepsi Twist honestly tasted like Pepsi with some strange-tasting lemon flavor in it. Only place I’ve found the new Coca-Cola with lime so far is the Wal-Mart in Salem, where I stopped to make a pit stop on my way down. I’m sure it will be around elsewhere before too long.

Otherwise, I have confirmed that my sister is coming with me to DC on April 16! Though it might be more appropriate to say “A16”, considering what we’re going to a big demonstration on third-world debt. This will be my sister’s first big DC demonstration! Awwww…

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All in all, we had fun on our not-a-date.

December 31, 2004, 2:08 AM

After work today, my friend Katie and I went up to Harrisonburg to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. I’d been there lots of times before with other people, but this was Katie’s first time at “BW-3’s” or “B-Dubs”, as it’s been called at times.

This whole outing was what we called our not-a-date, after a number of coworkers, three in particular (and you know who you are), kept commenting about how cute a couple we were and how it was so cute we were going on a “date”. For the record, Katie and I are not dating, nor do we ever intend to “date”. We are just friends. Strictly platonic. But that of course doesn’t mean we don’t have fun.

And to back up the fact that this wasn’t a date, we had also originally intended to have some others come with us. We were to have my sister come along, and also Teri from candy. Teri ended up having to cancel, and then Sis got sick and ended up having to leave work early.

At Buffalo Wild Wings, we ordered the boneless wings, and an order of mozzarella sticks. Why boneless? Bones are a bother to eat around, and make it quite messy. We had four of the twelve signature sauces on our wings. We had “Sweet BBQ”, “Mild”, “Spicy Garlic”, and “Caribbean Jerk”. So we had a third of the flavors. Still mighty good, though. Caribbean Jerk is about the upper limit of my tolerance of spicy sauces. That stuff is spicy. I’ve had the top of the scale, “Blazin”, before, and that’s just… whoo boy. I dipped a few wings in that when I went there on New Year’s Day 2002 with friends from Telegate. That sauce is potent, let me tell you. At first, it was like, this isn’t too bad, but then all of a sudden it hits you. Flames were shooting out of my mouth on that one, let me tell you.

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Categories: JMU, Katie, Shopping