Tag

Virginia

The DMV: A Trip To Hell And Back

By funny, life, rants, sarcasm

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!

Summer Goal #5: Finish DowntownShortPump.com

By business, technology

Almost four years ago, I purchased the domain name www.downtownshortpump.com. It was a site owned by the developer of the Downtown Short Pump complex with Barnes & Noble and Regal Cinemas. They used it as promotion for their shopping center and etched it into two huge signs at the busiest intersection in Henrico County (West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road). They let the name expire. I bought it for eight bucks (you snooze, you lose)! I let the domain name sit idle for a year, then made some attempts at developing it, but never got far.

After three revisions, I’m finally at the point where it looks professional enough to market as a good advertising space. I’m getting well over a thousand hits per day at this point, and have made lots of efforts at collecting data to make the site more comprehensive. Advertising efforts are starting off slow, but I have a plan of attack that will bring me more success, including full-color, glossy brochures. You’ve got to truly believe something can succeed if you want it to. I believe I can achieve success with this business, it’s just going to take some time and hard work.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress. As for now, I’m closing in on several major advertising contracts and working up a pitch for future businesses to advertise. I’m very optimistic about the future of the site!

Summer Goal #2: Get Out Of My Comfort Zone

By life

I’ve always considered myself a relatively outgoing person. It could be said about my late grandfather that he “never met a stranger,” meaning he always talked to people when out and about and whatnot, and that trait has been passed on to me. However, we all get into ruts. I’ve developed a bad habit of sticking to what, or who, I know. For far too long, I’ve missed opportunities to meet new people and develop new friendships. Who knows where I could be in my life right now if I had seized those opportunities.

Here’s what I’m gonna do about it. First off, I’m going to start conversations with random people I encounter on a daily basis (haven’t in a while) and see where it goes. I’ve actually made a friend or two in this way in the past. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Second, I’m going to conquer my fear of public speaking. I plan to join the Innsbrook chapter of Toastmasters International, an organization that helps you with public speaking in an encouraging, uplifting environment. As I gain confidence through this and conquer my fear, I’ll in turn be better positioned to get out there and tackle other issues I’m writing about this week.

Summer Goals Series

By health, life

Plain and simple, here’s what the summer has in store for me, if all goes as planned. By the time I head back to school in late August, here’s what I wanna do to change myself and enrich my life (in no particular sequence or order).

I’ll be on vacation this coming Thursday through the Thursday after in the Outer Banks. While I will have wi-fi, I’m gonna try not to spend much of any time with technology because, quite frankly, I need a break from it. I’m going to write myself silly in the next few days and post-date more in-depth entries on the topics below, to show up while I’m gone, one for each goal below, and for each day I’m gone.

  1. Lose ten pounds (This is roughly what I’ve gained over the past year; probably more, but it’s a start)
  2. Get out of my comfort zone (This may mean selling ads for my web business, public speaking, or doing some acting at church in video productions)
  3. Read two books (Hey, I got my library card renewed; that’s a start, right?)
  4. Meet some new people (Can’t go wrong with this)
  5. Finish Downtown Short Pump (I’m well on my way, I just need to sell some advertising!)
  6. Change my ways of thinking (Attitude, etc.)
  7. Be more authentic (We all have room to improve on this one)
  8. Stop trying to please everybody and just live my life (I take on way too many projects and consequently never finish any of them)

It’s going to be an interesting eight days of reading. I’m on the verge of transforming my life into what I’ve always wanted it to be. I’ve felt it for a while, and now I have a plan of action. Sure, it says “Summer Goals,” but really this is what I want to accomplish by year’s end. You could say that 2008 is my year of self-improvement, and 2009 will be the result of this year’s work and reap the benefits.

Yet Another Stupid Rent-A-Cop Incident

By funny, life, rants, sarcasm

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.

“Henrico, Virginia” Mailing Address Coming Soon

By business, news, opinion

If your mailing address is Richmond, Virginia, but you live most anywhere in Henrico County, your address will soon change to Henrico, Virginia. Why? Henrico County loses millions of dollars every year to the City of Richmond. Big corporate chains that are based outside of the area think that because the mailing address is Richmond, the taxes should be paid there. This adds up quickly. Well that’s interesting enough alone. But it gets better.

Henrico County sent out a mail survey asking residents if they wanted to change the name to Henrico or leave it Richmond. They also did a TV ad campaign. Fair enough. What I don’t get is that Richmond did an ad, too! Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder (leave it to him) decided it would be a competition and fought to keep the undeserved money in the city! Then again this is Doug Wilder we are talking about here. Should we be surprised in the least? He needs to go.

Tracing The Three Notched Trail

By history

I’ve always been fascinated with local history, but nothing has intrigued me more than Three Chopt Road. Hundreds of years ago, it was an Indian trail, and was then improved in 1730 as a more substantial roadway between Richmond and Charlottesville. Route 250 (Broad Street) replaced the road in the 1930s, but it’s still one of the oldest roads still in service today in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson frequented the road, going between his home in Monticello and the Capitol in Richmond quite often. Many, many other notable individuals have also traversed this roadway.

I’m about to undertake a huge project. I’m going to single-handedly document the entire road from its origin near Powhatan Hill east of Richmond, all the way to Augusta County in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Why? It’s one of the most historic roadways in America, and yet little has ever been done to completely document everything on this rapidly-deteriorating (because of replacement roadways) trail.

I’m going to set out to document interesting buildings and houses, landmarks, and other features of the road, beginning near the city, sometime in the next two or three weeks. Armed with just my GPS, camera, and camcorder, I’ll document anything interesting I see. I hope to somehow export geodata about where videos and pictures were taken onto a custom Google map as the project progresses. Check back on the website I bought for the project, www.threechopt.org, soon. I’m ready to do this!

Am I crazy? Maybe. But this is my passion! Plus, a lot of people I’ve talked to out at the local history exhibition I put on every Fall always ask about the road and its history. Heck, it even runs right through Short Pump, although most of the original portions in this area have been realigned to make way for developments, such as West Broad Village.

Stay tuned, there are many more updates to come! If you or someone you know would like to get involved, I’d love to hear from you.

What Defines A True Friend?

By life, rants

One year: With certain things, it seems like an eternity, and with others, it seems the blink of an eye. A year ago this month, I was finishing out my last days of high school. It seems like forever ago. I’ve changed and grown so much in so many different ways over the past year since I left Deep Run. More than anything, I’ve gained a true sense of identity for the first time in my life. I know who I am and am on the fast track to determining my purpose in life.

One of the biggest things I’ve discovered is what defines a true friend. Looking back on my high school days, I had many people in my life who kept me around simply because I was always there and someone to use as a backup plan for everything. I was always someone who was at everyone’s beckon call. I was way too available and never too busy to give anyone some time. I guess I’ve just always been a nice guy. Too nice. I was played like a fiddle.

I was always the one who someone would call when there was nothing better to do, and I was always fun to be around until someone better came along. I was the victim of one-sided friendships in which I put in all the effort and made all the plans. Now that’s not to say I didn’t have a group of real friends, because I always have. However, there were many people in my life who completely took advantage of me.

In recent months, I’ve kind of segued into a new core group of friends. They’re some of the most caring, compassionate, genuine, and sincere group of people I’ve ever met. It seems a lot of the people I put myself around in the past, and even some who are still friends to this very day, are just complete downers, are negative, or just hold me back in general. I find more and more after being around this positive, spiritual, forward thinking group I have now that some of the other people in my life are just dragging me down.

A true friend is someone who is genuinely interested in what’s on your mind and in your heart. They’re excited for you when you’re excited. They’re there for you when you’re down. They support your endeavors and dreams and build you up. That’s what I’ve found in this amazing group.

However, this has also given me great hindsight to see all the things true friends aren’t and to see all the negative influences that I’ve had in my life. They’re not just someone who sits impatiently as you’re speaking, thinking about what they’re going to say as you talk. They’re not someone who cares only about themselves or what you can do for them when they do nothing for you (oh I could write a book of stories on this one). They don’t get mad over things that don’t make sense and then choose not to talk to you when you make a genuine effort to resolve the so-called problem and even understand what silly thing they’re upset over in the first place (that’s immaturity if I’ve ever seen it). They don’t just expect you to be around at times of their choosing and then aren’t ever available themselves when you want to hang out. They don’t belittle you, constantly mock you, or talk behind your back. These are actual examples of some of the people who have been pulling me down in recent days. This post is just the beginning, too. I have some stories, going back to fifth grade, that I’d like to share with you in the near future that will really give you some insight into what happened that year that shaped me into the person I am today. Simply put, it was moving to Wyndham that year. Oh, the stories I have to share.

I have big dreams, goals, and plans for my life that I’m actually coming to the realization of. One long-time dream of mine is already coming true. It’s amazing to see it in reality. I guess you could say I’ve just started to realize what matters (and what really doesn’t) in life. It started a few months ago and I really feel I’ve entered a new chapter in my life. I’m so happy to have found friends who fit the new productive, goal-oriented lifestyle I’ve chosen to live and who build me up, not tear me down like so many people have in the past.

I’d say it’s time to weed out the garden, so to speak, in terms of who matches up with what I want my life to be and who just drags me through the mud. Sorry, those of you who I’m speaking to have done it long enough, and I refuse to live my life that way and be such a blatant fool any longer. I’m finally truely happy with where and what I am in life, and man it feels good to be in that place for once, after being beat down and defeated so many times in the past.

 

Wanna See Some Interesting Entries?

By news

If you wanna see why I haven’t been keeping up with my blog this week, check out my Downtown Short Pump site. It’s packed with stuff now. Check out all the news entries I’ve written. I will be back to my regular posting once this is done for the most part. Check it out at http://www.downtownshortpump.com. Then comment and let me know what you like, what you think could be improved, and what you think I should add. More information to come about this soon!

Fake Reporter Freaks Out About Thunderstorm

By funny, news, videos

Some people will do anything to try and be famous. This guy, William Bernstein of Virginia Beach, has started his own fake news studio (done by green screen) and posts daily videos to CNN’s citizen reporting service called iReport. Honestly he scares me. Watch how he freaks out as he goes to provide “exclusive coverage” of the Suffolk tornado. He acts as if there’s a tornado right next to his car, but it’s actually just a thunderstorm. He loses it at about 53 seconds into the video. Too funny. Click here to watch.