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I never thought I’d be cheering a tropical system, but…

June 3, 2007, 3:55 PM

I never thought I’d be cheering a tropical storm system, but Tropical Storm Barry is working out for me. It’s giving the area a much-needed soaking, plus, for me, it cleared the air for those of us who suffer from springtime allergies. These last few days have been rough for me. I was running some work-related errands around Dupont Circle on Thursday, and my eyes got all swelled up. It was not fun, needless to say. This clears out all that junk from the air, and makes it much more pleasant for springtime allergy sufferers like me. I’m just glad that we’re now in the final month of allergy season, because once it’s past, life will be normal again for about ten months.

Meanwhile, yesterday, I went out to find the local Wal-Mart to see where it was, and to do a little shopping. I found it, and it’s in Germantown, store #2357. And it’s not likely I’ll be going back any time soon. It’s also stores like this that help explain why the DC area has generally shunned Wal-Mart. I was not impressed with this store. Let’s just say this: It makes the Wal-Mart where I used to work at in Waynesboro look like an upscale department store.

First of all, the place was dirty. The floors were gross, and there was trash everywhere. Additionally, the shelves were a mess. I don’t think that these people had ever heard of the concept of “zone defense”, which, in Wal-Mart terminology, is where associates basically get their departments in order – straightening the shelves, cleaning up debris, etc. This store looked like it hadn’t been zoned in weeks. The shoe department was especially a disaster – all the flip-flops were just thrown in there, and a lot were just sitting scattered on the floor. Then let’s talk safety, which is a place where Wal-Mart puts a big emphasis (or at least is supposed to). I stepped on a piece of loose cardboard in their main action alley, and nearly went flying. That’s not my idea of a good time. Meanwhile, the associates, where I actually could find some, were kind of rude.

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First thunderstorm in the new apartment…

May 27, 2007, 6:15 PM

My first thunderstorm in Silver Spring is now upon me, as the wind picks up, lightning starts flashing, and thunder starts crashing. This is actually the first storm I’ve experienced in Maryland since July 7, 2004, when I was at New Carrollton station when a big storm came up. Mom was in DC that day as well, and met former president Bill Clinton at a book signing.

So this ought to be exciting. Either way, I’ve got something to do in here in the meantime, since I’m putting the desk together tonight.

Categories: Weather

One more snow picture…

April 8, 2007, 8:52 AM

After I posted the previous shots, I was made aware of one more shot of the snow:

More snow

Mom took that one a little earlier than I did for mine, and from the street. As you can see, it really did snow, all right. And, as we expected, it was all gone by 5:00 yesterday evening.

Categories: Winter weather

It’s what month now?

April 7, 2007, 10:47 AM

I’m starting to have my doubts on the springiness of the spring here. Check these out, taken a few minutes ago from my bedroom window:

Snow in the neighborhood in April

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Categories: Winter weather

Were you expecting something else?

February 13, 2007, 11:57 PM

I got home after a very hellish drive back from work through heavy sleet and freezing rain, and Mom says to me, “You’re alive!” My exact response was, “Were you expecting something else?”

Let me tell you, though… in the year that I’ve had the Sable, this makes snowstorm #3 (one last year, two so far this year). And the Sable does so much better than the Previa did in bad weather. Driving the Previa in bad winter weather was kind of like playing Russian roulette. You never knew what was going to happen. The front of the car had a tendency to wobble a bit due to the engine’s location closer to the center of the car than the front, and correcting that made for a very unpleasant ride home, and on more than one occasion, caused me to briefly lose control.

I remember one time spinning out on ice in the neighborhood. I remember spinning counter-clockwise, and was convinced that I was heading for the ditch, and possibly into someone’s mailbox, and in that short time that I was spinning, basically resigned myself to that fate. But I ended up just spinning out on the road, and all I had to do was get pointed right again, and I was able to continue.

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Categories: Driving, Winter weather

Sad to say, it looks like I will not make my stated goal, but…

February 10, 2007, 11:16 PM

Sad to say, it appears that I will NOT make my stated goal of having the J27 photo set up before my next DC trip on February 14. However, this is because other factors over which I have no control are acting on my plans and throwing a little monkey wrench into it all.

One word: SNOW.

It’s forecast to snow on Tuesday, and also snow through Tuesday night. Therefore, I’m going to project that the roads will not be in sufficient shape on Wednesday morning for me to safely make a trip to Washington DC. So I’m moving it up to Monday the 12th, before the snow comes. Thus I’m losing two days to work on it, and so completion by my next DC trip seems unlikely. However, finishing it by my intended goal date of February 14 still seems likely. After all, I’m going to have all day on the 14th to work on it. The 12th was originally going to be that work day. So there you have it.

And considering the rapid progress on this photo set, I’ve also rediscovered something about how I work: deadlines. If I set deadlines, I get the material out by that deadline. The Outlet Village photo set sat idle for some time, but then once I set a goal of having that set completed by the time the Outlet Village closed for good, I made the goal. So perhaps I need to become more deadline-oriented with this site.

I feel like a kid on a snow day…

February 7, 2007, 1:24 PM

Look what it did last night:

Snow!

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Remember not to misspell, now… that’s B-O-R-F.

January 21, 2007, 10:10 PM

Occasionally I have fun with my coworkers. I recently had the occasion of having some cans of spray paint go through the Service Desk to go back to their proper department. And in the meantime, talk of graffiti came up. I made reference to the DC-area graffiti artist John Tsombikos from Great Falls, best known as the main person behind the “Borf” campaign. Of course, my coworkers had no idea. They don’t make these biweekly runs to DC like I do. I remember seeing graffiti from the train along the eastern half of the Red Line referring to “Borf”, and I was like, what-the-heck. “Borf”? It wasn’t until really recently, talking about the “disarm” message that was stenciled on the sidewalk of the Key Bridge, that I really found out what Borf was all about. Very prolific.

Otherwise, it snowed today, as the weather forecasters predicted. Actually, it snowed first, then turned to freezing rain, and then to sleet. All and all, it was not a pleasant drive to work. Actually, going in was worse than leaving. It was all still snow then. Basically packed snow all the way to Waynesboro. The Sable still drives better in the snow than the Previa did, but the trip was not without its challenges, as stopping was something of a challenge. Most notably, I was unable to stop at the intersection of the westbound off-ramp of I-64 and Rosser Avenue in Waynesboro, and therefore slid right through a just-turned red light. So yes, I ran a red light today. I did, and so did the car beside me. Both of us slid right through the red light, blowing our horns to warn any potential cross-traffic of our situation. We both got through unscathed.

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Quite a storm yesterday morning…

November 17, 2006, 9:17 AM

Check these out:

Storm

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Categories: Weather

“I must dance my dance… at last I am Jeffrey!”

April 14, 2006, 11:07 PM

First of all, yes, I realize that the title of this entry is a mis-quote, from “A Visit to the Opera” on Today’s Special. The correct end of that line is “at last I am set free!” I wrote it with “Jeffrey” in there because that’s how I initially heard it as a child. A little mondegreen right there. It made sense to me – the character of Lightning in “The Rainmakers” was played by Jeff Hyslop, and while it seemed odd that he would sing “At last I am Jeffrey,” it made sense.

But the reason I mention this is because you should have seen the lightning this evening! It looked like a fire drill in the sky with all the flashing going on. And it wasn’t just the twinkly kind of lightning. There were some serious lightning bolts, both in the sky, and also going towards the ground. Some of them really lit up the landscape in this very eerie blue color. They’re very spectacular to watch, but not so fun when you’re out and about, as I was. I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway after work to relax, which I take as far down as Buena Vista, where I cross over to Lexington and then go back home via US 11.

I didn’t get the lightning, though, until I got to Lexington. Thankfully, I had clear skies while I was on the Parkway, though there was a slight haze in the valley below. By the way, the Blue Ridge Parkway is NOT somewhere that you want to be when it’s raining. Because it’s high up in the mountains, it gets VERY foggy up there, and visibility often becomes practically zero.

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I’ve had this car for two days, and I’ve already taken it in the snow…

February 11, 2006, 6:47 PM

Funny how things work out sometimes. I’ve only had the Sable for two days, and we’ve already bonded in a way that can only occur when you’re driving home from work in the snow. It snowed today, you see. And with my still not being completely used to the car, I took it out in the snow. And we made it out and back in one piece.

And let me tell you… the Sable seems to handle better in the snow than the Previa. I’m thinking it’s because it’s front-wheel drive (the Previa was rear-wheel drive), plus it’s closer to the ground. The Sable is also a breeze to clean snow off of, too. It’s because it’s not so tall. Not so much reaching to do there, compared to the Previa, which was a full head taller.

Now tomorrow is going to be really fun, though, as I have to drive through all the snow in the morning, in the dark.

This will either be seen as brilliant or really stupid

December 16, 2005, 12:01 AM

This Thursday, we received a few inches of snow and ice. And I have to go to work Friday morning. So rather than scrape my windshield in the morning when I’m in a hurry, I cleared it tonight. No problem. Windshield clear. I did it with a plastic snow shovel, too. Once I made a dent in the outer layer of ice with my hand, it came off easily.

The only way this could backfire on me (and knowing my luck, this is quite possible) is if we get any further rain or ice and it freezes into a sheet on my windshield. Then I’m screwed, because then I might have just as well left the original snow on the windshield in the first place.

So we’ll see if this time-saver works. Now I’ll still have to scrape my back window in the morning, which was covered by a sheet of ice, to make myself a peephole for driving. And the shovel is not precise enough to get that gunk off. Still, the big job – clearing my front windshield – is done.

Bad, bad parking…

December 7, 2005, 4:09 AM

Just a couple of things I want to show you before I go off to Washington DC this morning…

First of all, check this out:

Wearing the FliteStar vest

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And the first snowfall has started!

December 5, 2005, 7:35 PM

It’s so interesting to work at Wal-Mart when snow is falling or when it’s predicted to come. The entire population of Waynesboro piles into the store, and buys enough groceries to last them for weeks on end. All of us who work there just comment to ourselves that it’s only a few inches, and these people are acting like they’ll be buried in snow up to their necks for weeks.

Then of course when it snows, reports trickle in about what’s going on elsewhere in the town. By that I mean road conditions, school closures, accidents, etc. And of course, since Wal-Mart has no windows, it’s hard for us to tell what it’s doing outside.

Of course, meanwhile, I’m thinking about my ten-mile drive back to Stuarts Draft from work, and how deeply my car will be covered in snow, and how tricky getting out will be. I park on the far edge of the lot, nose in, with a rear wheel drive vehicle, so it can get a little tricky. By the way, I park in the same parking space every day unless a semi or motor home blocks it. The last row in the lot is slanted down more sharply than the rest of the lot, and so with my car being rear-wheel drive, it doesn’t take much distance before my drive wheels are on snow, ice, or slush. But I got out just fine, after realizing I didn’t know where my snow brush and ice scraper were. So to get de-snowed, I just used the front and back wipers a few times, and did some up-and-down moves with the front windows to clear it all.

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Categories: DC trips, Winter weather

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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