“Duke, what the fuck are you doing?”

That’s what I just overheard from outside my apartment window. “Duke, what the fuck are you doing?”

It caught my attention and gave me a chuckle, but it wasn’t much of a surprise. You see, we’ve lived here for a year now in these apartments. And while they have good points — our rent is, cheap, relatively speaking, and our apartment has been renovated in the past year or few — they also have bad points.

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Hampton Road Streets: The First and Maybe Biggest

Rachel and I moved to the Hampton Roads metro area of southeast Virginia last year. Anytime one moves to a new place, there are quirks one picks up on as a new arrival. One of the things I quickly noticed here was that the streets, particularly in Virginia Beach, are not in a grid. Definitely not in a grid.

I’ve had it in mind to start this project for a little while; and now I finally have. I want to show you continuous streets — they change names, even highway designations, but the basic rule is that I follow the route that happens if you drive “straight” through intersections. There can be judgement calls. In some cases, you might have to merge or split or make some sort of other decision, but in my judgement, it doesn’t count as turning off the road, it would be something where the average driver (in my subjective opinion) would count it as staying on the same road. So I present to you the first Hampton Road Street: Ocean View → Shore → Atlantic → Pacific → General Booth → Pricess Anne → Landing → Mt Pleasant → Johnstown → Benefit.

Here’s a map with Google’s directions from the start to end point:
And here’s the map of the continuous-street:

Welcome to the first in an entire series of weird roads around Hampton Roads, Virginia! Let me know in the comments what you think. If you’re local, what roads would you like me to cover next?

Troubleshooting Does Funny Things to the Brain

So I went to Food Lion today – for the first time. I saw a special that I wanted that required their membership card, so I paused, downloaded their app, signed up, and picked the item up.

When I went to check out, I had my phone ready with the app’s barcode for my new account showing for the cashier to scan. And scan she did — although the scanner wasn’t scanning the barcode. She held it at different angles, we made the screen brighter, trying any number of things to get it to scan. Nothing worked. She got to the point of saying, “I don’t know what to do now.”

It occurred to me to ask: What would you suggest for someone who is checking out and forgot their card? “Oh, try entering your phone number in on the keypad.” That worked. 🙂

It’s very very easy to get lost in making one angle of attack work such that you lose sight of alternatives. It’s something I face from time to time as a technical specialist.

A Little Evening Snack

Cheese, as my wife Rachel will tell you, is the food of the gods. It is truly amazing stuff. Seemingly endless varieties of tasty magic, basically starting from the same stuff, and taken in so many disparate directions and distinct bits of joy.

There are so many cheeses, from inexpensive to very pricey, that it is a blessing that a local store — Lucky’s — has a little bin where they wrap odds and ends of various cheeses that are priced under $5. While they stock dozens upon dozens of cheeses, there’s often a half dozen or so types in the little bin to choose from. It’s wonderful, because it allows for a sampling of cheeses that one might otherwise never plonk down the required money for.

And, indeed, I did plonk down $3.80 for a little piece of “Clothbound Cheddar” that runs $19.99/lb. So while the wedge I got was not large, it was enough to share with my wife, Rachel. I gave her some Triscuit and had some Sesame Crostini myself.

This isn’t the actual cheese I bought, but it does look rather like it, although my wedge was short. It was very dry and quite crumbly; a little of it crumbled as I cut it, although I ate those bits before taking the main picture. White a sharp cheese, it was not unpleasantly so. A definite bite. And for being a relatively crumbly cheese, it was buttery and smooth on the tongue.

This was a very delightful cheese and would go well on any snack tray – by itself or paired with a variety.

I am a fan of sesame. For a while, I found sesame Melba toast rounds, and they are a delight. I can’t find them anymore, but I did find these sesame crostini at Lucky’s. They are light in flavour, but are so wonderful. I love to spread cream cheese on them. They would also be amazing with the cream cheese plus a little bit of chipotle raspberry or similar spicy/sweet/smoky on top.

Little toasts make for one of my favorite cracker types, and these are such a delicious example.

Sugary Cereal

I grew up largely not eating sugared cereals, raisin bran being a notable exception. But I’ve always been happy with grape nuts, bran flakes, corn flakes, even cheerios from time to time (not a favorite).

So once when I was a teen and was on a trip with fellow teens, we stayed overnight at a place that, in the morning, had long tables with every kind of cereal that existed. My mind was blown – I mean, I’d seen them in the store but hardly paid attention as they were never on the shopping list…. but here – here I could pick and choose and have a bowl.

I looked long and hard to make a wise choice and eventually ended up with Fruity Pebbles just because I’ve always been a fan of colour, and while the chocolate cereals were tempting, the fruity stuff truly had the draw of forbidden fruit.

So I got a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, poured in my milk, and sat down ready to have my mind blown.

What I found was that they quickly turned the milk grey – GREY – and became a soggy, slightly sweet mush of lightly flavoured globs that tasted slightly of nothing.

I was rather underwhelmed.

And I do have to admit to a minor lie – when I was very young, I got Lucky Charms from time to time, which I adored and ate as much as a snack as I did as cereal. Saw Chocolate Lucky Charms a few months ago in the store and just had to – first time having the cereal in any form in 30 years. It wasn’t amazing – but I knew better than to have them in milk, and the little chalky “marshmallows” were as good and bad as I remembered. I felt like I was eating the human equivalent of cat food – human kibble – not meaty-icky, just a similarly designed product. It was good, but that has satisfied my sugary-cereal itch indefinitely.