The Ugly American: August 2007 Locations of visitors to this page
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The Ugly American
Friday, August 31, 2007
  East Coast Surfing Championships
Last weekend Virginia Beach hosted the East Coast Surfing Championships...I took a few pictures...

It was extremely hot and their were tons of people there!

It also looked like it might not be a good day to get in the water!

A lot of people and a lot of fiberglass in the water...

...and a few that really knew how to use that fiberglass!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
  Some cops have way to much time on their hands...
There was an article in yesterdays Virginian-Pilot about a police officer in Portsmouth Virginia who's been busy chasing down ice cream trucks for playing music. I wrote this response to the paper, we'll see if they print it.

According to the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime report for 2006, Portsmouth, VA had 869 reports of violent crimes, 5041 reports of property crime, 3587 reports of larceny and theft, 18 murders and 36 forcible rapes. There are more crime numbers in the report, but you get the idea. According to the website “Portsmouth's property crime levels tend to be much higher than Virginia's average level. The same data shows violent crime levels in Portsmouth tend to be much higher than Virginia's average level.” I’m sure the residents of Portsmouth are happy to know that one of their finest is chasing down ice cream trucks.

I’d rather see Officer Conrad issuing citations for excessive noise to the punks running around spending more money on car stereo speakers than tires. I hear them all the time, I rarely, if ever, hear the ice cream trucks here in Virginia Beach and I’m pretty sure the sound carries about the same in Portsmouth. I think the only place that’s considered a serious crime is on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach.

I also don’t understand how someone who hits a child hard enough for that child to be, as quoted from today’s article, “rolled onto the hood and was thrown into the road” of a Dodge Caravan, wasn’t cited at least for speeding. It seems to me that if you hit someone hard enough with your vehicle to throw them into the road in a residential area, you were probably speeding. I understand that if someone runs out in front of you while you’re driving you’re not necessarily responsible for hitting that person, but it would be prudent to slow down around an ice cream truck in any neighborhood. Maybe that’s just me.

Lastly, maybe it would be a good idea to teach children not to run out into the street before looking both ways instead of harassing people just trying to make a living.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
  Ever wonder what the Limited in Ramada Limited really means?
I said in one of my posts yesterday that I’d tell you all about the crumbiest hotel at the waterfront in Virginia Beach. I’ll preface this story by saying that it’s nobody’s fault but my own that I ended up in the crumbiest hotel at the beach. I mean, I only work about 15 minutes from the beach and I could have easily gone down there and looked before I made the reservation. Sometimes, I’m just a lazy bastard though and I didn’t get off my butt and go take a look. I won’t make the same mistake again.

Over the weekend we decided to hang out at the beach and do a little partying. Rather than risk the chance of doing something stupid we got a room down at the beach. I made the reservation through one of those websites. I can’t recall which one, but I remember checking and They both gave the hotel two stars. Not spectacular, but not a bad rating either. They also both said that every room had an ocean view. All the rooms at the Ramada Limited have an ocean view. You have to look around the hotels on the other side of the street, but all the rooms have a view of the ocean.

We got to the hotel about 4:30 or 5:00 on Friday, checked in and rode the elevator to the fourth floor of this 5 story hotel. The elevator was hot, extremely small and kind of creaky. We exited the elevator and walked all the way to the other end of the building. There are no elevators at that end of the building, only a stair case and I’ll talk about that in a minute. The room was all the way at the other end of the hallway and it was actually a little dark down there!

The first problem was that only one of the keys worked. When I attempted to call down to the front desk I found out that the phone didn’t work either. Not to mention the fact that the phone had a “used” sunflower seed husk on it! I walked out on the balcony to check out the “view” and found the rest of the sunflower seed husks that the previous guests had enjoyed, all over the floor out there.

A short time later I decided I needed a bottle of water. I was a little afraid to drink the water out of the tap, I mean, who knows where else the previous guests had stashed sunflower seed husks. They were everywhere else in the room! I walked down to the drink machine I had seen when we exited the elevator earlier to buy a bottle of water. The machine flashed “ICE COLD” across the little red display above the coin slot, but the coin slot was jammed. I tried a dollar bill, but that part of the machine wasn’t working either.

I pressed the elevator button…I figured I’d go up to 5 and check out that machine. A family walked up to the elevator heading down and we struck up a conversation. I told them how embarrassed I was to even say I lived in Virginia Beach knowing that this hotel was in my town and charging almost $200 for a nights' stay. I also told them that I was trying to find a bottle of water. The dad/husband told me not to bother going up to 5, that machine didn’t work either. So, I rode the elevator down to 3 with them. I quickly jumped off the elevator, tried the machine, found out it didn’t work and jumped back in the elevator. I then went down to the second floor, same thing. I ended up around the corner from the hotel at a BP. And this is almost worse than what I got from the hotel. A 20 ounce bottle of water cost more at the BP than it would have cost me if I could have grabbed one out of one of the hotel vending machines. But I grabbed a few and bought them back up to the room for later on. Something told me that I was gonna be thirsty by the end of the night.

After all this we decided to go grab a bite to eat. We walked out of the room and figured it would be shorter to just head down the staircase that was at that end of the hotel. The staircase smelled like a port-o-potty that’s been baking In the sun for a few months. It was dark and damp and really pretty nasty.

I now understand why there are Ramada’s and Ramada Limited’s. This hotel is called a Ramada Limited and I’m here to tell you. Limited is an understatement. I will never ever stay here again and I’ll never in a million years recommend that someone else stay here. It’s my personal opinion that this hotel should be razed and something a little better be put in it’s place.

I really didn't bother to check on this hotel prior to making the reservation because I trusted the name Ramada. Now, to me, the Ramada name is synonomous with EconoLodge, Motel 6 and Travelodge for the worst places in the U.S. to ever stay. I will say that the Econolodge looked like a much nicer hotel. But it was also about $50 more than the Ramada. Actually, EVERY hotel down on the oceanfront looked like a better place to stay than the Ramada.

So, if you visit Virginia Beach and plan on staying at the oceanfront. Please, take my advice and stay away from the Ramada!
Monday, August 27, 2007
  A couple more pics of the spider...
As my oldest called him this morning...two more pics of Spider Steve...sorta like Scuba Steve...only uglier!!!!

The pictures I put up in the previous post were taken with my bigger lens. It's a 70-300mm zoom lens. I set the camera up in it's macro mode to take those.

These two pictures were taken with the standard lens that comes with the Canon Rebel XTi. They're still pretty cool and you can zoom in on the spider pretty well, but not like with the bigger lens.

  Ain't macro cool?
I told you before that i have this pretty nice digital SLR. Well, last night, my oldest told me about this really cool spider that was "hanging" around outside.

It was pretty dark outside, the weather broke just long enough to go outside and take these. I have a few more, but they're not as cool as these two!

I have another story for you...later, I'll let you know what a shithole the Ramada Limited is in Virginia Beach!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
  So...we'll try it this way instead!

Find more videos like this on Blog Writers and Artists Network

The really good lightning strike comes about 22 seconds into the video. I think it's cool...but that's just me!
  Let's try this...
I was playing with my new cell phone...I got one of those chocolates from Verizon. It's a blue mint chocolate. I got it because it's Giants blue!!! Anyway, there was a heck of a light show last night and I managed to get this. You have to watch for a little bit, the really good strike is right at the end. I'm gonna try to edit all the junk out and upload again...that's if this upload works.
  It was bound to happen...
I got this picture in an email. It made me think...if they had changed the mass back in the day, I might still be going to church!

After all that time I spent in Germany I know I like German beer and German pretzels! And I must say, that looks like a pretty good lager the Rat is pouring there!!!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
  Something to do...
Took a drive out to a very small lake today to check out some wakeboarding competition that I read about in the paper.

I got a few pretty good shots...

It's not really a big lake, but they get far enough away that the pictures get a little fuzzy...

...but they also get pretty close too...

It's funny...I meant to take a picture of the no swimming sign...

...but I think they spent more time flying anyway!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
  I have a question...
I just finished reading an editorial in my local paper, The Virginian Pilot, about a smoking ban in the city of Norfolk. It mentions all those typical evils associated with smoking and second hand cigarette smoke.

Here's my question. If cigarette smoking is so bad for me and the smoke pouring out of my cigarette is so bad for everyone else, why can I still go to just about any store in America and by a pack of these evil things?

I mean, you make me wear a helmet if I ride a motorcycle; you make me wear a seat belt if I ride in a car. You even make me carry a life jacket for everyone on my boat. In some states I can't talk on my phone while I'm driving. I'm not even allowed to cuss at the beach here in Virginia! But I can still go to a 7-Eleven and by a pack of smokes if I want to!

Lawmakers are trying to pass a law in one state that would outlaw smoking in your car if there are children in there with you. There seems to be a law for just about anything and everything, but evil cigarettes are still of those things that make you go hmmmmm.....

If they're so bad for me then outlaw them. Oh wait! The loss of those extra tax dollars of mine would be more harmful to the government than even my cigarette smoke is to you and me!

And here's the real problem with city councils banning anything. It's not their job. If they think something is bad for us then put it on the ballot and let the people decide. That's the way this country is supposed to work. At least that's the way I remember learning it.
Not sure if I am THE ugly American, but I must be AN ugly American, because some Canadian told me so!!!

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Location: Virginia Beach, United States

20 year Navy vet, originally from NJ now living in Virginia Beach and yeah, Life Is Good!

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