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…and later, Chuck E. Cheese!

May 11, 2012, 10:37 PM

After spending a few hours at Montgomery Mall where we got Adelle’s bear, among other things, Mom and I headed home, and then later, for dinner, headed over to the Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant in Laurel, Maryland.

Now you’re probably thinking: aren’t you a little old for Chuck E. Cheese’s? Answer is, yes, probably so. But we had a good time. It had been just over 20 years since the last time that any of us went to one of these sorts of places, and so this was the time to revisit some fun childhood memories. In fact, the Laurel location was specifically chosen because it was a former Showbiz Pizza location, and had the three-stage setup just like at the Showbiz Pizza in Fayetteville, Arkansas that we used to go to when Sis and I were growing up. Recall for a moment, from 1987 in Fayetteville, on the occasion of the party for my sixth birthday:

Billy Bob's stage, with the "Smitty's Super Service Station" background.
Billy Bob’s stage, with the “Smitty’s Super Service Station” background.

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And the photos are in…

May 21, 2011, 9:26 PM

I certainly had fun on my vacation week! I went swimming on Monday, sat around like a bum on Tuesday, headed to Stuarts Draft on Wednesday, photographed on Afton Mountain on Thursday, and then went to Kings Dominion and Potomac Mills on Friday. Plus I finished the Plungefest 2011 photo set in Photography across a few days’ time.

When I went down to Stuarts Draft, I headed down via US 29 through Charlottesville. Technically speaking, on my route, you just nick the top of the city itself, but spend a lot of time in the Charlottesville metropolitan area. I think the total time spent within the city limits is about two minutes, depending on whether or not the traffic lights like you. Arriving in Stuarts Draft, I first stopped at Stuarts Draft Middle School, where I attended middle school and where Mom now teaches eighth grade. Checking in at the office, I noticed that they had the cover off the master clock, due to the need to manually sound the tones because of SOL testing. So I got a photo:

The master clock at Stuarts Draft Middle School, a Lathem LTR4-128.

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“Oh, it’s terrible! The King has been transformed! Please find the Magic Wand so we can change him back.”

November 27, 2010, 4:31 PM

First of all, I admit – the title doesn’t mean much in relation to this entry, except that it perhaps reflects that I’ve been playing too much Super Mario Bros. 3 on my Super Nintendo lately. Regardless, this Journal entry has been a long time in coming, since this is about a trip I took to Stuarts Draft two weeks ago. All I have to say is, hey, I’ve been busy. But it’s also somewhat fitting that I post this entry this weekend, since this was “Thanksgiving” with the parents a couple of weeks ahead of the holiday. Traffic is a real pain, you see, and this obviates the need to mess with it. Have you ever driven US 29 in Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend? It’s no walk in the park.

On Friday the 12th, after driving perhaps a shade too fast the whole way down, I arrived at Stuarts Draft Middle School. After all, Mom was there, and I hadn’t seen her new classroom yet. Mom was recently switched from sixth to eighth grade, and so she moved rooms as a result, from Room 24 to Room 1. And here it is:

Mom's new classroom, Room 1

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So I am now the proud father of a Motorola Droid…

January 19, 2010, 12:27 AM

So I got my Droid today. I now have what I describe as the iPhone for people who don’t want an iPhone. This thing has the touch screen, it has Wi-Fi, it has downloadable apps and games, and it has a five-megapixel camera.

Yes, five megapixels. That’s right – my cell phone just out-megapixeled the late Big Mavica (which was four-megapixel). That’s obscene. My cell phone still slots below my real cameras, though. Duckie has six, and the Canon does ten. And take a look at a sample of its work:

Digging up the floor at Staunton Mall

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Categories: Cell phone, Staunton Mall

Okay, I’m calling it – Staunton Mall is toast.

May 2, 2009, 1:36 PM

Okay, I’m calling it. Staunton Mall is a dying mall, if not already basically a dead mall. I was in there on Friday with Katie, and I believe there are now more empty locations than there are full ones. Steve and Barry’s, in an anchor spot, is gone. Books-A-Million is gone, in another large spot. KB Toys is gone, as part of the chain’s complete closure earlier this year. The former Piece Goods location has never been filled for any appreciable length of time since Piece Goods left. The old CVS/Pharmacy location is still empty after more than two years since CVS moved to a freestanding location nearby.

Additionally, Peebles, while open, is in deplorable shape, with visibly worn tiles, stained and worn carpet, and stained ceiling tiles. That location needs to be renovated badly, but I doubt that Stage Stores (which owns Peebles) will invest in it, considering that all they did when it changed to Peebles from Stone and Thomas was change the nameplate, change some interior signage, and wall in a gift-wrapping counter. Meanwhile, the Belk store in Staunton Mall has never been remodeled since I’ve been there, aside from changes related to when the store changed its nameplate from Leggett to Belk in 1997 or so. It, however, looks to be in better shape than Peebles, but partly because the lighting is somewhat darker in there, and thus it hides the aging. Still, it certainly says a lot about what a company thinks about certain locations when they don’t bother to ever remodel or update them, while remodeling and updating other locations, sometimes multiple times.

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So Katie and I had fun yesterday…

November 26, 2008, 5:23 PM

Katie and I went out and about in Staunton and Waynesboro yesterday, and we had fun. I can’t believe it had been three months since last I saw Katie, but indeed that was the case. But of course, that doesn’t mean we had any less fun.

First thing we did was go over to the nTelos store, since it was just about time to upgrade Katie’s cell phone, and so we were seeing what the scene looked like. I think Katie’s going to get a really good phone this time around – one with an on-board camera, and one that can do all of the cool things that cell phones can do nowadays. And I demonstrated the picture feature on one of the demo phones:

Katie at the nTelos store

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What a fun weekend!

November 25, 2007, 8:38 AM

All in all, I had a fun Thanksgiving weekend in Stuarts Draft, but I’m still very glad to be home again.

Thanksgiving itself involved the usual – turkey, and all the various fixings to go with it, and then falling asleep afterwards.

Then I spent Friday with Katie. We had a blast, as we did anything but shop. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while, then rode back around to Charlottesville, where we went to the Mellow Mushroom, where we had a vegetarian pizza with a pesto base. Twas awesome.

However, before Katie and I started out, we got a movie of Katie’s cat Peabo chasing a laser pointer around…

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So I guess you could say I had a good time in Stuarts Draft over the weekend…

September 11, 2007, 10:48 PM

All in all, I did have a good time. Spent time with the parents on Saturday, and with Katie on Sunday. We had a blast, too.

First of all, on the way in, as I mentioned, I photographed the Starbucks in Waynesboro at the request of a coworker, and here it is:

Starbucks in Waynesboro

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As you can see, “moon shoes” are not exactly something we can balance on…

June 3, 2007, 10:19 AM

I don’t know if you saw the splash page or not yet, but it shows me balancing on “moon shoes”…

Balancing on moon shoes

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The Skyline Parkway Motel has finally been demolished.

April 25, 2007, 5:04 PM

Afton Mountain now presents a slightly more picturesque view to those who visit it, as the Skyline Parkway Motel was demolished in the last week or so. In doing so, they not only removed the main building, which had been the target of an arson attack in 2004, but they also removed the row of cabins next to the main building. The cabins had never been torched, but had been abandoned for some time, and were in hideous shape.

And of course, here are photos:

Straight-on view of the former motel.
Straight-on view of the former motel.

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A few quick things…

April 24, 2007, 1:02 AM

First of all, the photos of the now-demolished Skyline Parkway Motel are officially in the can, and I will be posting those on Wednesday, after I get back from apartment hunting in DC on Tuesday.

Secondly, does anyone have a good recipe for green slime? I want to do a homage to You Can’t Do That On Television for the splash page, and so I need to make some slime. In making the slime, the finished product can’t be clear. It needs to be opaque and somewhat thick, and it also can’t be completely smooth. I want something authentic poured on my head when I say “I don’t know.” And of course, to get clean again after getting slimed, you just have to mention “water”.

Meanwhile, to be truly authentic, I’d need to find an old-style metal jungle gym to do the shoot at.

An Outlet Village update for you all…

November 20, 2006, 9:45 PM

It’s been about three months since the last time I gave you an update on the Outlet Village, presented in my Building 7 Burns photo set. Since then, the fire training exercises have ended, with Building 1 also being torched for training purposes. Now, work is underway to prepare the site for the new shopping center that will be going up in its place, which will house a Target and a Kohl’s, among other things.

I took all these photos from the car with my cell phone while I was out running an errand on my lunch hour. So here are the photos:

The remains of the Waynesboro Outlet Village, November 20, 2006

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Categories: Outlet Village

Photos of mine, printed ABOVE the fold…

August 28, 2006, 7:51 AM

How often can you say that your photos end up on the front page of the local newspaper? And above the fold, no less. If you look at the August 28, 2006 edition of The News Virginian, you will see two photos anchoring an article about the Skyline Parkway Motel, which, you may recall, had been abandoned for some time, and then was torched in 2004. Both of them are tagged with “Photo courtesy of BEN SCHUMIN”. Here are the photos that the newspaper ran:

Skyline Parkway Motel before the fire  Skyline Parkway Motel after the fire

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The first fires took two buildings…

August 6, 2006, 1:22 AM

The Waynesboro Outlet Village on August 4, 2006

The fires set at the Outlet Village by the local fire departments for training purposes actually brought two buildings to the ground. They burned the barn, which formerly housed Gitano, the Artisans Center, and OCAT, but also tiny Building 18, which housed the mailboxes for the complex, and which also at one point housed a tourist information center. As you can see, #18 is completely gone, and then all that’s left of the barn is the silo, which now has dark markings on it from the fire. Additionally, the shingles are missing on the edge of the roof closest to the barn on Building 5, and the siding is noticeably melted on the front of Building 2.

So there you go. And with the conventional demolition of Building 16 well underway, that makes three down, and 15 to go (I mistakenly said there were 17 buildings in the complex earlier – there are actually 18).

Categories: Outlet Village

And when the smoke clears…

August 4, 2006, 9:39 AM

According to The News Virginian, the barn-like building, that housed a Gitano outlet, and later the Artisans Center of Virginia and OCAT, was torched for firefighter training. So say goodbye:

Building 3

And according to the same article, a neighboring building was to be burned to the ground as well for outdoor training. And this is the first of a series, too, as fire officials have received permission to torch almost the entire complex before it’s all said and done. Maybe I’ll get to go to one of these to watch – from a safe distance, of course.

And I’m going to quick swing by there on my way to work today and get a couple of photos with my phone.

Categories: Outlet Village