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Richmond

Celebrating Easter

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It’s today that we celebrate that Christ, who died for all of our sins, rose again. Take the time today to remember and celebrate all He has done for all of us and in your own life personally. But it really is something to be joyful about. I know it’ll be a party at RCC this morning at the services (and when I say party, I mean that they really get into it, even more so today than usual, and it’s very impacting and powerful)! Happy Easter, everyone!

2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance Opening & Closing Videos

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I finally figured out how to compress these videos for YouTube and still have them look relatively decent. I made them for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance and had a ton of fun doing it! Can’t wait for next year.

Opening Video (shown at the opening ceremony to dancers to get them pumped up for the 27 hours ahead):


Closing Video (includes charity interviews, dance footage (cut out for YouTube time restraints), and a dramatic grand total at the end):

VCU Police Are Seriously A Joke

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VCU Police made complete fools out of themselves tonight with me, Allie, and Katelin. We were walking back to our cars in a VCU lot when all of a sudden three VCU cops on bikes roll up to my car and surround me. It was two men and one woman. They violated several of my rights and made complete idiots out of themselves. It was seriously like something off of Reno 911! (The woman cop almost kind of looked like the one from the show) It would almost be funny how ridiculous they were if it didn’t insult me so much the way they treated us. Here’s how the conversation went down:

POLICEMAN 1: “How are you this evening, sir? How much you had to drink tonight?”

ME: “Uh, nothing at all?”

POLICEMAN 1: “Why don’t you go ahead and step out of the car, sir. You were walking a little funny back there.” (I was walking a little funny? I was walking the way I always walk, and if you really want to investigate a real problem, go across the street to the hundreds of people at the Hyperlink waiting to get in the door and check them out because it definitely smelled like pot and everyone was running around and making a racket)

POLICEWOMAN: “There’s three of them, let me take one.”

POLICEMAN 2: “Shut up, I can handle this.” (I’m seriously not making this stuff up)

POLICEWOMAN: “Somebody’s been drinking, this place reeks of alcohol.”

ME: “Um, no, I haven’t had anything at all…”

POLICEWOMAN: “Yeah? What’s that under your seat?” (She points to an empty soft drink can wedged under my front seat, I pull it out, and she actually has the nerve to question it further)

ME: “I just need to clean out my car, I left that in there…”

POLICEWOMAN: “What did you have in that can and why is it empty?”

ME: “Root beer? It’s a soft drink can…” (She looks at it all suspiciously)

POLICEMAN 1: “Okay I’m gonna check your eyes out here real quick.” (He pulls out a pen and tells me to follow it with my eyes without moving my head) “What do you wear contacts for?” (You’ve got to be kidding me; what a stupid question… what do you think contacts are for?)

ME: “Farsightedness?” (I look at him in with that “Did you really just ask me that question, you idiot?” look)

POLICEMAN 2: “So do you have astigmatism or something?” (Oh come on)

ME: “Yes?”

POLICEMAN 1: “So has your passenger been drinking tonight?”

ME: “No, not at all.” (I later found out that while all of this was going on the policewoman was on the other side of the car questioning Allie and accusing us of hiding beer in a CVS bag in my back seat that had nothing in it but toothpaste and shampoo that I bought before we went down there)

POLICEMAN 1: “Okay, you’re good to go.”

Finally, we were free to go. I feel that several of our rights were violated in this situation:

1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe you can legally search someone’s vehicle without a warrant to find things that are not in plain view.

2. What was their probable cause? The fact that I was, in one of the cop’s opinions, “walking a little funny?” I was walking completely normal.

I’d also really like to know what in the world he was doing asking me why I wore contacts and was offended that he asked “how much” I had been drinking when the correct thing to ask would have been “have you had anything to drink tonight.” I do realize that they see a lot go on down there and have to be weary, but they completely jumped to conclusions and were accusatory to the point of being very unprofessional. They were poorly coordinated, argued amongst one another, and seemed to be on major power trips. They also completely fabricated several things, the biggest being that my car “reeked of alcohol.” There wasn’t, nor had there ever been, alcohol in my car, so I was completely bewildered, offended, and angry that they would make up such a blatant lie.

I was offended at how the situation was handled and feel that VCU Police are not doing a satisfactory job at all. I can’t speak for all VCU officers, but the unprofessional and unskilled behavior of this group leads me so far as to say that their salaries (that group specifically) are a waste of Virginia taxpayers’ money.

I feel this is something that needs to be shared, so pass it along.

40-Hour Fiasco

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I’ve pretty much been up since 7:00 AM Friday and have been at the 27 hour Deep Run Marathon Dance up until now. That makes for a grand total of 40 hours awake, moreless. I don’t feel a thing… yet. I bet tomorrow it’ll hit me like a ton of bricks. I will post the opening and closing videos I made for the dance tomorrow once I figure out how to squish 3 GB files into a 100 MB maximum YouTube upload. Anyway, it was an incredible experience and I’ll write much, much more about it tomorrow!

Fun With Styrofoam At RCC

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What’s the best way to clean styrofoam out of a huge building? Ride it down the steps, of course! This is absolutely hilarious and we had so much fun doing it. Check it out (and make sure you have your sound on to hear all the ridiculous stuff we said)!

New Do For The Moo: Milk Carton Makeover

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Richmond’s Costco stores are the test market for a new generation of milk jugs that could soon replace all that are on the market now and will save the industry ten cents per carton because they’re stackable. I just found this interesting when I looked in the refrigerator and saw the new, oddly-shaped gallon jug. I’ve got to say though, I really like them. Here’s a Richmond Times Dispatch article about the new jugs:

The iconic 1-gallon milk jug is getting a makeover. The streamlined plastic bottles showed up this month at Costco stores in the Richmond area, and they’re causing customers to do a double take in the dairy aisle. At home, people are having to relearn a skill they took for granted — how to pour milk without sloshing or dribbling.

The redesigned jugs are flat on top and have a wide cap at one corner. They pour more like a pitcher than a traditional gallon jug. Because they can be stacked, they save money — about 10 cents a gallon. Early reviews are mixed, which is what Costco experienced in other areas as customers got used to the new bottle. “I like the milk fine,” said A.T. Grady as he picked up one of the new containers at the Costco off Hull Street Road in Chesterfield County, “but I don’t like the jug it’s in. It’s harder to pour out. It’ll drip back down the jug if you’re not careful.”

His wife, Helen, was more willing to give it a chance. “It’s time for a change,” she said. “These milk jugs have been around since the ’60s. I wonder how long it’ll be before they get to the supermarket?” Mary Dennis was glad to hear about the lower cost. “It’s something to get used to,” she said. “If it saves a dime, I’m all for saving.”

Costco has been phasing in the new design since an Ohio dairy presented the idea in 2004, said Sandra Custer, corporate foods buyer at the national Costco office near Seattle. “We saw merit in it. We’ve been slowly rolling it out around the country ever since.” Traditional milk jugs must be loaded onto a metal rolling rack called a bossie cart for shipping. One bossie cart can hold 80 gallon jugs.

The new stackable design can be shipped on a pallet that holds 224 milk bottles. “That’s almost three times as much in a similar display space,” Custer said. “Those bossie carts are often stolen for scrap metal. . . . They have to be hauled back to the dairy. They rust in a cold, wet environment. Now it’s only a one-way haul.” The savings get passed along. In East Coast markets where the new jug has been introduced, customers may have “a little bit of comment at the beginning,” said Jim Stafford, vice president of merchandising for the Northeast market. However, milk sales have remained steady. Designers have been making modifications to the jug based on customer feedback, Stafford said. “We will do another cap at some point in the future. That’s probably a few months out.” From Custer’s viewpoint, there’s something good to be said about the reaction. “It’s certainly got people talking about milk.”

Finally, OBX To Get A Mid-Currituck Bridge!

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Finally, after years and years of talk and no real solid plans, it looks as if the Outer Banks is finally going to get the long-debated Mid-Currituck Bridge! If you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks during the peak Summer season, you’ve no doubt been stuck in endless traffic coming over the Wright Memorial Bridge into Kitty Hawk. There has been much debate about whether to construct a second bridge farther north, or simply widen Route 12 (NC-12 is the road that stretches from north of Corolla southward to Cape Hatteras and is known as the Beach Road where it parallels Highway 158 in the more commercial stretch of the Outer Banks).

Those in support of the bridge opposed the only alternative, which would have been to widen NC-12 from two to four lanes from Kitty Hawk to Corolla, in turn destroying the character of the northern Outer Banks, especially in quaint villages such as Duck.

The Outer Banks is pretty much my second home. I go there all the time with family and friends. For the most part, I stay in either Corolla or Duck (or somewhere in between), both of which are a good 45 minutes north of the Wright Memorial Bridge, and that’s without traffic backups. The Mid-Currituck Bridge would not only alleviate congestion, but also shave a lot of time off travel for people like myself that stay on that stretch of beach. Think about it. If you’re driving from Richmond, you come in south down Highway 158 on the mainland, then go across the Wright Memorial Bridge, and drive north again, and by the time you reach your beach house you’re 7 miles from where you were two hours ago.

The new bridge has been approved (funding has been approved since 1989 but nothing has been done to start construction!) and construction will start in early 2009, opening tentatively in 2013! You’ll be able to fly on across the Currituck Sound once you reach Coinjock on the mainland and be right at the TimBuck II Shopping Complex near Corolla in 5 minutes! That knocks off nearly two hours from the 4 hour trip from Short Pump to Corolla! That’s pretty exciting, and makes it a lot more affordable to go down there gas-wise. There supposedly will be an $8 toll during the peak Summer season, but that’s far less than the money it would cost for gas to drive for two more hours, plus time is money. It’s estimated the project will cost between $340 and $745 million dollars. There are six current alignment proposals, which can be seen in the map graphic.

More Information:

Project Website

Project Map (PDF)

“Build The Bridge” Non-Profit Group Website

Exciting Things

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Well, today’s a day of meetings of all sorts. I’ve been to two, got one more this afternoon. Some good things resulted from these meetings, and things are finally getting back on track it seems. First off, I just got a great job offer today that I’m taking with a local computer company, where I’ll be able to repair Macs (I’m even going to become an Apple Certified Repair Technician just like the people that work at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store) and might even get to set my own hours. I tentatively start the second week of March. I’ll say more about what company it is and everything once all the details are hammered out.

In other news, Virginia Credit Union asked me to be in a TV commercial with a few other members to talk about our experiences with them. They’re filming it near VCU next to the new business building the first week of March. It should be fun; I’m looking forward to it.

I’m meeting later this afternoon with members of the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) at Deep Run to film a segment about the work they do to for people who would otherwise not come to Christ. They’re the last of ten organizations to be filmed that are benefiting from funds raised at the 2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance. I’m producing a DVD of the event again this year, and I’m looking forward to the event. It’s a great experience.

Things are looking up!

Free Swag From Mix 103-7

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So I got an email that I won a prize pack of free stuff from Mix 103-7 for, well, I don’t even remember. I think I took a survey a while back to rate the music they play online. Anyway, I drove all the way down to Midlothian to get my stuff, and here’s what was inside the bag (with their logo printed on it): A t-shirt, coffee mug, plastic cup, magnetic clip, and fridge magnet. I mean I can’t complain because it’s free stuff, but I drove to southside for a bag of promotional goodies so that I can sport items with their logo on them and help Cox Radio garner more listeners? Appears that way. Oh well, it was free!

VCU’s Alert System Still Needs Work

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VCU tested their Emergency Alert System today at noon, sounding sirens, displaying messages on flat screen TVs in buildings, sending out text messages and emails, and updating their VCU Alert website. The previous test that was conducted last Fall was largely unsuccessful because the single siren on the Monroe Park Campus couldn’t be heard. Five were added on the campus, bringing the total to six on the Monroe Park Campus and ten total between that one and the MCV Campus.

Last time, I was in class at the Grace Street Theater, somewhat removed from campus. The sirens were still audible, though, even if it was somewhat faint. However, today when the sirens went off, I was in class at Hibbs, right next to one of the main sirens that’s mounted on the roof of the Cabell Library. I could barely hear it! In addition, I didn’t receive the text alert (nor did anyone around me) until a full fifteen minutes after the test! In my personal opinion, the test was yet another failure. In some classrooms such as mine, students would be unaware of an emergency, and text alerts coming in fifteen minutes late is ridiculous. The harm could already be done by that time. I think it’s a good thing that VCU is putting systems like this into place, but they have a long way to go to make it effective and useful.

Here are some pictures of the news coverage on Shafer Street outside of Hibbs today: