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A Bittersweet Day: Hanging Up My Hat As The Unofficial “Mayor of Short Pump”

By business, life, rants 67 Comments

Well, it’s a bittersweet day for me. After eight years, I’ve hung up my hat as the unofficial “Mayor of Short Pump,” the title (jab, perhaps?) jokingly given to me over the years as one of the most vocal advocates of the Far West End of Richmond.

I started in 2004 in high school when no other online outlet for news specifically for Short Pump existed, after driving by the “Downtown Short Pump” signage in front of the Regal Cinemas. Under the title, etched in stone, was the domain name, originally used to promote the shopping center. After visiting the website and learning it had expired, I purchased the domain name for $8.00.

Now to understand the name, you have to go way back to the time when Short Pump was a sleepy, quiet outpost in the middle of nowhere. The long forgotten Henley’s Store, which stood right about where Trader Joe’s is now, donned a sign that said “Downtown Short Pump,” ironically poking fun at the fact that, well, that was about all there was out there. And it just about was.

That’s the Short Pump I grew up in. Back when it had soul. Fast forward to 2012, and there’s nary a point of reference to even begin to point out what stood where in the Short Pump of olden days. All that remains is the name.

Downtown Short Pump, then, was both an accurate and ironic name for my website. What was once a rural crossroads joking about being a city had actually become one, in a suburban sprawl kind of way. And that suburban city, I thought, needed an exclusive news source.

That being said, I never dreamed my little project with a couple visitors a day would end up netting 30,000 visitors per month or gaining the traction that it did. It’s funny to me that I sort of became the face or persona (or “Mayor”) of Short Pump to some people. I guess it was just because no one else was doing it. Either way, it ended up becoming the biggest project of my life thus far.

Unlike a lot of people who saw Short Pump as a suburban jungle of chain stores and concrete, which in many ways it had become, I aimed to utilize Downtown Short Pump to show that the community still had a pulse. Short Pump may have had an almost full-body transplant, but local businesses restaurants still thrived among the “big box” stores. I tried to demonstrate this as often as possible, and often times became the butt of jokes for it. Which I not only didn’t mind, but I quite often got a kick out of it and laughed right along.

I sold the site last December, but stayed on as Editor & Publisher. As the new owners prepare to take DTSP in a new direction, I think this was the right time to part ways. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to have had the opportunities I did because of the site, and the connections I made. Not just business connections, but the friendships I formed and the people I met city-wide.

I didn’t just run a website. It was literally part of me. After spending a third of my life running Downtown Short Pump, it was very strange, almost surreal, driving down West Broad Street and seeing a sign for a new business opening. The instinct to make a mental note on something like that and put together a writeup for the website is so ingrained into me that it just comes as second nature. It’s going to take a while to remind myself that’s not what I do anymore.

Thanks for everyone’s support over the years–for believing in me, especially in the beginning, when I sometimes didn’t believe in myself. And for all the advice and support as I started out (extra special thank-yous go out to NBC12’s Ryan Nobles and Andy Jenks, who in some ways were my mentors and provided phenomenal advice).

I’ve grown and changed in ways that never would have been otherwise possible, and I would be nowhere if it weren’t for those that stood by me for the past eight years, including the loyal readers.

So while moving on may be bittersweet, and I may even be (gasp!) moving to The Fan soon, stepping back from something I’ve been used to doing has really given me some good perspective and clarity. I think I’ll be able to focus more on some big projects and ideas I’ve had in mind for some time. But not before I take the next couple months to reflect and really consider what it is I want to do next with my life, get myself and my life in order, and prepare to embark on my next adventure. I have some big ideas to make an impact on the community again, and this time, I’m going Richmond-wide, if not further.

Stay tuned, and again, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who’s supported me.

Don’t Try And Label Me: A Rant On Political Assumptions Amidst Increasingly Polarized Parties

By opinion, politics, rants 69 Comments

Let me start off by saying that I think I’m a pretty charitable person. I participate in or fundraise for no less than probably ten different organizations from across the political spectrum (and those that have no political affiliation at all). I do it because I wholeheartedly feel that we’re all in this thing together–life, that is–and that we should all do our best to give back to those in need and lend a hand to those that need it when we’re able. I love finding opportunities to help those who are less fortunate or raise money for a worthy cause I believe in.

Lately though, a couple of things I’ve participated in have resulted in more than just a few questions (a couple of them may be better filed under “interrogation”) from those that I know. I’ve heard things like “I’m surprised to see you at [event], I thought you’re a Republican,” or “I can’t believe you’re going to [presidential candidate]’s breakfast, do you really support him?”

First off, I really don’t share my political or religious views that often. Especially online, over social media, etcetera. I have my views and to me they’re both a private matter and not something that I feel like I should have to debate with anyone. I do from time, but I just don’t feel like any good has ever come out of a conversation like that. Part of that might be because I’m someone that generally avoids conflict like the plague, but it’s also because such conversations end up being so polarizing.

I have friends that I can have a mutually respectful conversation about things of this nature with, but by and large I feel like it ends up being a death match. A lot of times when I’ve been in the midst of a discussion like this, the other person will end up arguing until they’re blue in the face, out of breath, or have gotten angry enough that they seem worried they’re causing irreparable harm to our friendship.

It seems as though nowadays some people have to have to tell everyone else why their opinion is wrong and their own is unquestionably right. This may come as news to some people, but an opinion can’t be either right or wrong. It’s an opinion. But I’m getting slightly off topic.

Having run a news website for the past eight years, I’ve tried to be completely unbiased in my reporting and have covered and written about things that go against my own views even. But it’s that very attempt that’s gotten me the most critical comments at times. The one thing I’ve noticed the most is that the people who claim to be the most tolerant are often times only that way until you show that you’re against their views, and then end up being sometimes the most intolerant. And that has nothing to do with party affiliation, I’ve seen it from both sides.

All this being said, if you must know, I consider myself independent. There. I have a variety of views across the board on a myriad of issues (both social and fiscal) and don’t completely line up with the views of either party enough to consider myself on one side of the fence or the other. Now I know there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos (also a book title), but I vehemently oppose certain things going on in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Here’s how I can best sum up how I feel: I think the Republicans should get out of our bedrooms and the Democrats should get out of our wallets, and I believe in the ideals of our Constitution and our Founding Fathers’ vision for our great nation, which I feel we’re straying from more and more. I’d say I respect the ideologies and political thinking of Thomas Jefferson more than anyone else. And there you have it. Oh and I’m a Christian who believes that God is love, and love conquers all. There. Any further questions? Now back to your regularly scheduled, vitrol-infused, heated Facebook comment threads, already in progress.

But seriously, I think we all (I’m not excluded from this, either) need to think twice before both assuming the political affiliations of those around us, as well as be a little more respectful of viewpoints that differ from our own. Because like I said in the beginning, we’re all in this together (cue the slightly cheesy Ben Lee song from that TV commercial) and plus, how boring would the world be if we all had the same opinions on the issues? I doubt it’d be as utopian as you might think.

The Occasional Big Implications of Seemingly Insignificant Decisions: Life’s Funny

By business, life, rants 88 Comments

Life sure is funny sometimes. It almost makes you wonder if God himself has a sense of humor. When you look back on certain things, you realize it’s sometimes the smallest of decisions that end up taking you down certain paths. And it sure makes for a great story. I want to share one of those with you today.

It was mid September of 2009. I had just quit my job at a local computer company, where I managed a help desk at the University of Richmond and traveled around the state installing and servicing computers and printers for mainly educational clients to spend more time growing my web design and branding business and my news site, Downtown Short Pump. While working out of my favorite local coffee shop, I saw a tweet from a woman I’d never met before, desperately asking for help with her computer from someone nearby. Being that I was next door and had done this for a living, I decided to pop in to this woman’s store, By Invitation Only. It was there that I met Monica Horsley.

I spent an hour or so attempting to resolve Monica’s computer issues that day. Well it turns out there was more than one issue that needed taking care of. The next day, Monica asked me to come back and take a look at a few other things. The third day, she invited me out for drinks with her and the rest of the staff after work. We all really got along. She invited me back to do a few more things the next day.

Before I knew it, I got my first paycheck. I was officially working at a invitation and stationery store. I began helping with the graphic design and printing of everything from childrens’ birthday parties and graduations to rehearsal dinners and weddings. I even familiarized myself with the more than eighty vendor invitation books we had and began helping customers select wedding and other invitations when they came in the store.

Once the former manager quit and a couple others left for one reason or another, it was pretty much just Monica and I holding down the fort for a few months. I was doing so many things that, though I didn’t, I felt like I owned a part of the store. I had that kind of dedication to its continued success.

I stayed for just over two years at a job I was never really hired for– I just never left! But two weeks ago, I put in my resignation after accepting my new job at Loving Consulting. My last day was February 29, 2012.

It was a fun ride. Getting to work in a fast-paced retail environment with a clientele that expected nothing less than perfection definitely sharpened my skills physically, mentally, and socially. I was kept on my toes at all times. It had its ups and downs, but overall, I’m thankful for the experiences that helped mold and shape me that I otherwise wouldn’t have had if I had stayed at the coffee shop that day in 2009.

A lot of the people I met through Monica (one of the most connected people I’ve ever met) helped me to accomplish a lot for my business and connect the dots between myself and those that they knew to do the same.

If you asked me two years ago if I’d ever either work in or get to know anything about the bridal industry, I would have looked at you and laughed. But I now know it inside and out, and I’m better off for it. And I never thought I’d be sitting here typing that.

What I’ve learned is that little, seemingly insignificant decisions can end up making the most impact in your life. If I had continued to sit in that coffee shop and not respond to that tweet asking for help, what path would I have taken? I have a feeling I wouldn’t have expanded my horizons the way I have or even ultimately made the decision to sell my website (and accept a position doing something I love while still getting to run my website), which ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It makes me wonder how many other small decisions I’ve made, even subconscious ones, that have lead me to where I am now. I guess John Lennon was right. Life’s what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

So, as I said once before, life sure is funny.

Black Friday 2011: Midnight Chaos Edition

By funny, opinion, rants, sarcasm 195 Comments

My photo of the line at Urban Outfitters that made it onto Mashable.

I’ve always hated shopping. Absolutely loathe it. I still have nightmares about being dragged through the JCPenney as a small child all Saturday at Regency Square. The few times I’ve been out doing it for more than a couple hours (which has usually been as the mercy of a bargain-hungry female companion), I’ve practically been able to feel my soul slowly departing my increasingly lifeless body. Jokes aside though, the one day I set this all aside has always been Black Friday. Something about that day has always made me set those feelings aside.

Whether it’s the adrenaline of fighting the crowds for merchandise or just being in the midst of chaos and enjoying some five-star people watching, I can’t be sure. But I’ve always been all about it, albeit just a day out of the year.

For years, the concept has been simple: Get to bed early and wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. and drive around Short Pump, snap some photos for my website and buy some stuff that I probably would have anyway and get a deep discount on it. Perfect.

But, alas, this year all of the big box retailers apparently had a secret roundtable meeting in which they decided that they were going to opening at midnight (and of course Walmart, in its typical “let’s one-up them all” style, decided to open at 10:00 p.m. Thanksgiving night). Workers required to leave family celebrations early in some cases (over 200,000 Target employees signed a petition against the early opening), which I can’t say I agree with.

Still, I decided to take my sister out for our annual tradition, at midnight. You know, because I love fighting crowds before the tryptophan has had time to wear off my sister asked me to take her.

So we rolled out of the house at 10:30 p.m. for what my sister claimed was an 11:00 p.m. opening of Urban Outfitters, the slightly out-of-place hipster retailer that happens to be in the heart of Prepville USA, beautiful Downtown Short Pump.

We were some of the first in line because, well, the store opened at midnight, not 11:00. So once I swallowed this wonderful news, we enjoyed the picturesque scene of two 12-year-olds smoking in front of us in line and another kid that wasn’t much older brown bagging it. Classy.

Line at Short Pump Town Center from second floor.

Anyway, so once the doors opened, these kids practically trampled one another, so they only let a few people in at a time and cut all the lights off in the store so no one could see anything. The logic of anything going on at this store was fleeting.

So having lost my sister at this point in the sea of insane teens practically killing one another over cheap clothes, I opted to hang out outside the store by the fire pit and think warm thoughts until she came out an hour later… literally.

Next it was on to Target, where the line of people had wrapped around the building an hour earlier, and adjacent Best Buy, which almost circled the building a time and a half. What these people were lined up for is beyond me, considering there was no hot item or toy this year to speak of. Most people coming out had TVs if I could find any one theme or pattern.

Once we actually got into Target (the outrageous line was gone at this point), it was worthless to even buy anything that was on sale, considering the checkout line weaved through about 15-20 aisles in the front of the store. Nothing was worth waiting in that.

So I guess to conclude, and to put all sarcasm aside, I was skeptical as to whether people would actually come out in droves at midnight as opposed to 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. like usual, but boy did they. In much bigger numbers, too. I guess will be the new normal. Heck in a couple years stores will be open 10:00 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, right?

The upside was that the following day, while the mall itself was pretty packed, Short Pump as a whole didn’t look much more busy than a typical Saturday around the holidays. Midnight shopping took care of the daytime crowds and effectively killed the typical gridlock of Black Friday morning.

Fortunately, I didn’t see anything like the crazy people at a Walmart that rioted over $2 waffle makers, but hey, my photo of the line at Urban Outfitters made it onto Mashable, which was pretty cool. Only thing I saw was a fight over a parking spot at the Short Pump Target. Three police cars showed up. It amazes me how people turn into animals over something so silly.

New Home Demolition: Our “Throw-Away” Society

By environmental issues, opinion, rants, sarcasm, videos 13 Comments

This is an absolutely disgusting example of how much of a “throw-away” society America has become. It’s one thing to tear down an old, non-historic house that’s beyond repair, but this is just a blatant waste. According to the video description, the house you’re about to see being demolished was torn down because the new owners didn’t like the house itself, only the lot. It can’t be more than 10-15 years old and it’s a gorgeous house that must be close to, if not more than, a million dollars. Once again, it’s one thing if you’re talking about a multi-million dollar oceanfront lot, but this one just appears to be in the middle of a typical neighborhood.

I hope the owners are ashamed of the wastefulness of their demolition project. It just further solidifies my opinion that we don’t value anything anymore. Just throw it away and get another one. Maybe that’s why we’re in such a mess ecomonically speaking right now, or why we’re in the midst of climate change. We always seem to think there’s endless resources out there. But I digress. It’s ridiculous nothing in this entire house was saved or reused. I’ve seen much older houses that were being demolished have almost everything stripped out of them first to be reused or recycled. Nothing in this house appears to have been salvaged. Shameful. Watch the video below. I’m sure you’ll agree in some way or another.

XM & Sirius Merge Channel Lineup: My Thoughts

By business, music, news, opinion, rants, technology One Comment

I’ve been an XM subscriber for a good year and a half now, and have always enjoyed their programming lineup. Well, the rumor I had heard lately, that XM and Sirius were going to merge their channel lineup, came true just two hours before posting this. At midnight, the switch took place. It appears more XM channels were replaced by pre-existing Sirius channels than vice-versa. It makes sense, considering Sirius technically bought out XM in the supposed “merger of equals” as the deal was described. (I’ve personally never understood why XM wasn’t the one buying Sirius, considering their significantly larger subscriber base). I have a lot of mixed feelings about the merger. Let’s get started.

First off, I know the merger of redundant programming on two channels (one on each service) into one channel on both will save the company, currently hemmoraging money, lots of coin. Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of many long-time employees at both satellite radio services. I heard the number of people let go was in the hundreds. As far as consolidation goes, I think some of the names of the stations Sirius previously had, that took over XM stations, are silly. I don’t even necessarily listen to the following stations, but they’re relevant examples. Why replace XM’s light alternative rock station “The Heart” with “Sirius XM Love?” Silly name. Then again in some cases neither station’s equivilent station makes any sense. XM’s classic alternative rock channel “Lucy” got replaced by Sirius’ “Lithium.” Go figure either one of those. Some replaced stations do have better names now, though. My favorite station, ’90s & ’00s hot adult contemporary station “Flight 26” was replaced by Sirius’ “The Pulse.” I do like the name better.

I’ve been listening to The Pulse for the past two hours and haven’t really noticed any big differences. I’ve caught a few “new” (to the station) songs sprinkled in, like a catchy track from The Killers I hadn’t heard before, but nothing else out of the ordinary. My guess is the same program director will stay at the reigns, and the only shift will be in the name. The on-air personalities now include two from each station, with the exception of one Flight 26 personality, P.J., who was either let go or was moved to another station. Even the voiceover guy is the same, as I’ve discovered with most other respective channels as I’ve flipped around the dial tonight. The new imaging packages by the voiceover team all say “[Name of station] on Sirius XM] now and come wrapped in a much tighter package, all sounding very quick, snappy, and punchy.

What I don’t get, and don’t agree with, is Sirius XM’s decision to integrate programming lineups but keep channels different on both services. In fact, I think if they’re going to do this, they should go big or go home. What’s the point in having the same channel lineup on both services, yet have different channel numbers for each? I know nothing about exactly how the technology will now be implemented and combined, but my guess would be they could decomission either the XM or Sirius (one or the other) satellites and have only one previous company’s satellites serve the combined subscriber base. It would most definitely save the company a lot of money. Plus, XM’s channel bandwidth could then be used to expand Sirius’. The sound quality on either service has always been questionable. I’ve heard better stereo sound from a cassette tape. The biggest difference can heard when you switch between highly-compressed XM and an insanely-processed, polished-sounding radio station, such as Q94. Using XM’s bandwidth for Sirius’ channels would allow the combined company to allot more bandwidth to each station, effectively dramatically improving sound quality. I’ve heard that music channels are compressed as low as 64kbps (half of what is considered mediocre to good MP3 quality), and some talk channels as low as 16kbps. I can’t confirm this, but I believe it.

Why not just lose the silly Sirius XM moniker and pick one name? I think, for simplicity’s sake, just one should be used. Also, get rid of the channels hardly anyone listens to, like the three French music channels and “The 40s.” How many people do you know in their 80s (that’s how old you’d have to be to reasonably remember music from the 1940s) that listen to satellite radio, much less even know what it is? It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out, and the response from subscribers. We all knew this was coming. The company is looking to bring value to its shareholders by cutting costs, and this was the quickest way to do just that. I think in the long run, after customers such as myself accept and adapt to the changes, it will be a good thing for everyone.

The DMV: A Trip To Hell And Back

By funny, life, rants, sarcasm One Comment

So I had to go get my driver’s license renewed yesterday. Naturally, I procrastinated and waited until the last minute to go to the DMV. That’s just how I roll, I guess. Anywho, we all know what a dreaded experience the DMV is. I walked in expecting it to be bad, but not this bad.

When you walk in the door, before you can even sit in the seats to wait for someone to help you (at some point in the next few years), you have to go to an information desk and explain what the purpose of your visit is. I wanted to tell the lady that it was just for fun or because I was bored, just to see what she’d say, but the poor woman already looked like she’d had her soul sucked out by that terrible place.

Once I got through the huge information desk line, in which everyone told the attendant their life story in addition to why they were there, I sat down and waited. I had been there about an hour by this point. This was just the beginning, though. I sat in a chair for an hour, waiting as patiently as possible, listening to the most annoying PA system I’ve ever heard call every number but mine. I almost wanted to say “bingo!” when mine finally came up. Once again, not something I think these people would find humorous.

Once I was called up to a window, I stood there and waited while the gentleman on duty talked with a co-worker for about five minutes about such erroneous small things as what company to use to get his backyard fenced in. I kid you not. So once he finally decided to help me, the customer, he had to look at my current driver’s license about ten times to get all the information entered correctly. Either he was completely OCD and unsure of what he wrote, or stalling for reasons unknown to me. But he was ridiculously slow.

After I got through with him and the vision test he tried (and failed) to administer to me (he asked me to read a line and then didn’t know what letters were supposed to be on the line in the first place and had to look for himself), he told me to go sit down at the other end of the building and wait for my name to be called so I could take a knowledge test.

I sat in a chair on the other side, waiting for my name to be called, for about twenty more minutes. This extemely annoying (I don’t get annoyed easliy) boy sat down next to me with his mother. He was somewhere between 13 and 15, and would not stop talking. And loudly. About really strange and publicly-inappropriate hings I won’t even repeat on here. When his mom told him not to talk so loud about what he was discussing, he exclaimed, “I don’t care, mom, I won’t ever see these f***ers again.”

I eagerly walked forward, away from that guy, when my name was called to the testing station. I took the ridiculously easy knowledge exam, consisting of 10 road sign questions so elementary that if someone actually failed the test they should be required to have some serious mental evaluations peformed. Next were 25 “what-would-you-do-in-this-situation” questions. I used the 50:50 and ask the audience buttons on screen for this portion. No, just kidding. But there was a phone at the station. Phone a friend? They were pretty easy.

After I finished, I sat back down. The annoying boy was up at the window being helped, and when he was finished, came and sat back down next to me again, in my new location! I was starting to get a little pissed  off at that point. I tried to occupy myself on my iPhone, but he just sat there staring at the screen and tried to read my text messages.

Next, I got called up to get my picture taken, or so I thought. I sat in the chair to have my mugshot taken, and the attendant told me I actually had to go back on the other side of the room and wait to be helped again, pay a $32 dollar fee for my new license, and then come back and sit down again.

I waited on the other side of the room for the same ignorant man who ignored me the first time to “help” me again. After he finally called me up and took my credit card number (a half hour process), I went to the opposite side of the building again. Sure enough, that kid was there again, this time talking about how screwed up the government is or something like that. I was so sick of his shrill voice  (you could compare it to nails on a chalkboard) by this point, I didn’t know what to do.

Finally, I was called up to have my picture taken, for real this time. I stood to the side while an older gentlemen proceeded to have his picture taken six times, because he didn’t like it. Last time I checked they don’t do re-dos. Look at how many terrible pictures there are. It doesn’t happen (or so I thought). I finally sat down and produced the somewhat strange-looking picture you see above. I’m about to cut  most of my long hair off, so this will be a funny picture to look back on years from now.f

After two more minutes waiting for it to print, I was finally on my way, hours later. It was such sweet freedom walking out of that horrid place. I’d suspect that was a glimpse of what hell must be like: two rows of hard plastic seats, angry people, and an annoying PA system calling numbers all day. Thank the Lord I don’t have to go back and do that again until July, 2016!

Yet Another Stupid Rent-A-Cop Incident

By funny, life, rants, sarcasm One Comment

Anyone that knows me fairly well knows I like driving out to the country. If gas was cheaper, I’d cruise around aimlessly every day. There’s such a sense of freedom that comes with traversing the open road late at night, away from the light pollution of the suburbs.

One of my favorite places to go is Beaumont On The James, a roadside pulloff slash park and boat landing, off Route 522 in Powhatan County, on the James River. It’s beautiful out there, and a wonderful place for stargazing. It’s pitch black at night and completely quiet and peaceful, save for a few other souls who venture out therefor the same reasons on occasion. With the price of gas and my 17 MPG Xterra, however, this fifty-mile (there and back total) trek is no longer a frequent option.

That being said, I decided to only venture out a little ways last night. Rochelle and I were driving around, talking about this and that and working on some script ideas for upcoming RCC dramas. We were headed through the West Creek office park complex in eastern Goochland at the time. Deciding my tank of gas would dry up long before our conversation did, I figured I should put it in park eventually or I’d just drive around all night. So, we pulled into one of the parking lots for just a few minutes.

Not even five minutes into our stay, an SUV pulls up to my car. It was very obvious that it wasn’t a police car. Nope, it was a rent-a-cop, I’m guessing from the office park. I just laughed when he pulled up, because apparently I’m a rent-a-cop magnet (most of you will recall my VCU Police incident slash misunderstanding a few months back, plus other incidents).

So after I had a good chuckle, I put my window down and very politely said hello and that we weren’t doing anything wrong and would head on our way. In the SUV was a grumpy old man who spoke with a strain in his voice that was a result of his failed efforts to sound stern and threatening. He swiftly barked at me, “You are tresspassing! Leave immediately or I’ll report your license to the police!” All cops, real ones or fake (as was in this case) seem to have a coherent attitude towards people of my age group. No matter how cooperative or respectful you are of them, they still all seem to go on the defense right off the bat. I guess it’s understandable considering how some people my age would probably get into some sort of mischief out there, but come on, I wasn’t doing anything wrong and wouldn’t have even gone in there if I saw any sort of “no trespassing” signs. I didn’t see any posted.

So as I was backing out, the guy annoyingly used the only “weapon” he had on him: his flashlight. He waved it around in a circular motion and tried to blind me as I went in reverse. What the crap. He seemed like he was way more afraid of me for some reason, despite how nice I was to him, than I was of him (which was not at all).

So there you have it, another day, another “rent-a-force” (or farce) story. It’s funny how the people who actually do wrong in these places get away with it and people like me who do nothing get all the heat. Oh well, at least it gives me a good laugh every time.

Oh, and in other news, this morning as I was pulling out of my neighborhood, a Henrico County policeman (yeah, a real police officer story for once) had pulled over a golf course maintenance truck on the cart path! How great is that? Granted, he may have done something on the road and just caught up to the guy once he hit the golf course, but still, that’s priceless.

Textbook Ripoff: Part Deux

By rants, sarcasm 16 Comments

It’s the end of the semester, and you know what that means: It’s time to get screwed over by the VCU Bookstore! So I spent $400 on textbooks back in January. Today I went down to VCU and got a whopping $13.50 back in resale value. Half of my books wouldn’t be taken back because they’re proprietary, custom VCU books that have no value once used because they change every year. I have a big problem with that. That’s just ridiculous. I spent more money than that on cheese pies yesterday at the Lebanese Food Festival. I probably spent more than that getting my Xterra down there to the VCU Bookstore and back. Textbooks are a royal ripoff. Students such as myself are getting nothing short of scammed. It’s infuriating.

Ridiculous Ford F650 Parked Outside My House

By environmental issues, opinion, rants, sarcasm 14 Comments

I had just gotten out of the shower this morning when I heard what sounded like either a train or cruise ship horn go off in my cul-de-sac. I looked out my window and saw this monstrosity of a truck.

Upon closer examination, I found out it’s a Ford F650, and whoever drives it has a whole lot more money than sense, that’s all I’ve got to say. It pulled up to my neighbors’ house and they got in for a ride and went around the neighborhood. Then it disappeared again for a while, probably because it was time for another $400 tank of gas after going around the block once. The price of diesel is scary.

Who would want one of these? It’s just over the top. They’re made for hauling. Hummers are bad enough on gas, but whoever bought this thing oughtta be embarrassed. What a waste. Here’s a picture of it I snapped this morning: