Gray Flannel Dwarf


Toy boat toibot toboot

There are times when one recollects just how redneck one’s state can be, at times. This is one of those. From Isaac Hunter’s Tavern:

The controversial measures (there are two versions) would let people tow 10-ft-wide mega-boats on the roads in the dark. Standard lane width is 8½ to 9 feet. You do the math.

Supporters of the change say it’ll keep NC competitive in the market for sport fishing tournaments and other luxury boat tourism. But critics say the boats, which aren’t lit, are dangerous on darkened two-lane roads, where they could sideswipe drivers in the oncoming lane.

I can already see the commercials. “I’m a BASS member. And I vote”

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 11:43 pm


I guess the asylums are in Cary

Got this resulting gem of a targeted text ad from Google.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 10:28 am


Congrats Appstate

I’m not a huge college football fan, but I do like a good David vs. Goliath tale. As such…

michigan = bo0n3d.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 9:06 am


talkin’ white-bread north carolina suburb blues

So the background on this one:

You know those kids who go around the neighborhoods in the summertime trying to sell magazine subscriptions, for college, or leadership training or something. It’s annoying as hell, but nothing new.

This one unfortunate kid was going around our neighborhood selling them the other day. Doubly unfortunate, I guess, in the sense that his sales pitch was horrible… and that he was a young black kid in a mostly-white neighborhood.

Someone made an initial posting to our community mailing list asking if anyone else had had an encounter with this kid. It wasn’t long before someone else had responded that he was in the process of being handcuffed.

And thus, my response to a question posed:

Yes, it was quite unnerving. We are installing a peep hole in our front door as a result! Does anyone know what they were charged with?

If the comments that about a dozen people have left in this thread are any indication, the guy was charged with being black.

Seriously folks, can we take an honest look at this? I am just as weary and annoyed by solicitors as the rest of you probably are. But who hasn’t ever seen kids going up and down the streets in the summertime selling magazine subscriptions for “leadership training”, or “raising money to go to college”, or whatever? This is nothing new, the program has been around for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen white kids, black kids, hispanic kids all involved in this program.

So this kid was trying to sell these magazines, and yes, his spiel was pretty bad. He certainly didn’t have the best sales pitch in the world. He got to the end of his speech, tried to sell me some magazines, and I told him I wasn’t interested. He thanked me and left.

So I can only imagine that someone called the cops on him because some black kid came around a white-bread neighborhood and looked different. The outcome? All anyone else sees is a post about an “arrest”, and the worst is automatically assumed.

I’m really trying to avoid being inflammatory, but this looks less like a case of “neighborhood watch” and more like a case of
“neighborhood WASP”. That people will probably, as a result, get defensive about this kid’s arrest, won’t surprise me either.

FYI, here’s the FTC’s advice regarding door-to-door magazine sales:

Door-to-door sales: Beware of emotional appeals by someone selling door-to-door. For example, the student selling magazine subscriptions using the appeal that your sale will help him/her get a college scholarship or other such rewards. If you buy from a door-to-door salesperson in your home, and the purchase is more than $25, you’re protected under the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule. The Rule gives you three days to cancel your order and receive a full refund. The seller must tell you that you have a right to cancel, and give you a summary of your cancellation rights and two copies of the cancellation form. Ask to see the required cancellation notice before you agree to buy. If the salesperson doesn’t have it, don’t place an order. The company is breaking the law.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 9:07 am


What were they thinking?

Now, I can’t consider myself an expert gardener. I like to grow vegetables in the summertime, but that’s about my limits. I do know how to do a little research before I grow something, though.

Similarly, I can understand if someone makes an honest mistake, and plants say, one evil, vicious little plant in a yard. But three?

I’ve mentioned my battles with wisteria before, and I kept ours mostly under control this year. Nonetheless, I went out there today with a saw and separated the top of the bush from the bottom. Literally “separated”, due to the fact that the massive numbers of vines and shooters are permanently attached to an almost dead tree already. I took the saw to the vine, sawed through both trunks and three major branches… and the result is this disembodied wisteria body hovering three inches above the stump. I will Round-Up the sonofabish later.

In any case, reading some more on the web about it, I found out that the Butterfly Bush we have is also an invasive plant in some locales. No wonder it grew so big.

Wisteria, English Ivy, and now Buddleja…all of these things were planted by the previous owners of this house. Genius!


The Peak of Good Taste

I was a bit surprised this morning to hear an ad on the radio for Nissan of Apex, to the tune of “Jingle Bells”, featuring the line, “Just minutes from the chemical spill.”

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 4:06 pm


I love the smell of chlorine gas in the morning!

It’s not every day that your small town makes the front page of CNN.

So far, we’re on the other side of the highway, so they’ve not evacuated us. Then again, I seem to remember seeing a thing on the news the other night about the winds shifting and coming out from the east today as the cold front moves in, so I dunno.

Interesting times…

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 8:13 am


No more Plensa in Raleigh.

Well, over the past few days, I was trying to figure out the best way to express my dissatisfaction with Raleigh’s faltering on the Jaume Plensa project which led to Jim Goodmon recinding his $2.5 million grant, but the good folks at Raleighing did a pretty good job expressing what many of us probably feel regarding the bumbling, short-sighted neanderthals on the Raleigh city council:

It would have set Fayetteville Street apart from all of the other main streets in the South. Plensa turned down the City of Miami to offer us his vision and we botched what could have been one of the nation’s best pieces of public art.

Raleigh has a history of putting things in the wrong place. Maybe this was the next one of our blunders. We built a Civic Center, the RBC Center, Crabtree, and the N.C. Zoo all in the wrong places. Maybe Soleil is on this list, too. Who knows? On the other hand, maybe we are just scared. We ran off the world’s best glass sculptor and one of the best sculptors (or whatever Plensa really is). We spent millions of dollars on Fayetteville Street yet we’re afraid to address its damning vagrant problem. We were too timid to tell the Hurricanes that the official parade should be downtown.

It’s truly a shame. For a few months now, I’d been telling friends from Chicago — where Plensa’s famed Crown Fountain is enjoyed by millions — that Plensa was coming to Raleigh, too. And now this. Shame on you, Raleigh.

Another good editorial on this latest development is available here at the News and Observer.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 8:31 am



I saw something about “Artsplosure” in an email someone sent out to the company, but didn’t pay much attention to it. Guilty of judging a book by its cover, I thought the name was dumb and didn’t really pay much attention to it.

That is, until I happened to look at Corey Harris’ website and discovered that he’d be playing there. Awesome!

Tags: , — cswiii @ 11:58 am


Tourney season in NC… I guess.

Odd exchange today.

Making my third or fourth trip in the past week to Lowe’s today, I picked up some more soil and mulch. Thus, as usual, I parked over towards the garden centre side of the store to make for quicker loading, and was lucky enough to spy one of the small red flatbed carts nearby. In any case, I went in, got my stuff, and headed on out.

Approaching my car, I noted an older fellow, probably in his 60s, heading up towards the store. I could pretty much guess he’d done the same thing, and with these carts at a premium, I gestured towards the cart to see if he wanted it, at which he rattled off something that sounded like “d’gun wan”.

Puzzled, I quickly interpreted that as “got one”, sorta looked over one more time to make sure I heard him correctly.

“Doesn’t matter. Duke won!”, he …apparently… repeated himself.

I finally figured out what he said, but I had a hard time figuring out what that had to do with anything else in the exchange.

Tags: , — cswiii @ 5:47 pm


Desperate Yardwork

As warm as the weather was last weekend, I decided to get out and see what kind of yardwork I could get done. It’s still slightly too early to put down any seed or fertilizer and too late to plant any bulbs (we did that back in November anyway), and then I remembered my evil yard nemesis… the wisteria.

Some people love the stuff, and some hate it… I quickly turned into a member of the second group… not to mention that, from what I’ve read, it can be considered invasive in NC (no shit!). I guess the people who owned the house before us planted this, and I am not sure how old it is, but I also don’t know what the hell they were thinking. In the springtime it doesn’t look so bad, but in the winter, with all the leaves off the trees, one can see it’s already engulfed and killed one tree in the yard; the four vines the diameter of a nickel it has shot off, in addition to numerous pencil-sized vines, also were ready to take over another one.

Considering the fact that there was another wisteria in a planter — and almost engulfed by the big one — that never got put into the ground, I’m thinking they were gluttons for punishment.

Thus, the hand saw, the manual hedge clippers, and Black and Decker hedgetrimmers came out of the garage.

It was a battle to the death, just about. The electric trimmers were about useless, but the manual clippers were able to nail most of the 2cm stuff, and a handsaw managed to take a chunk out of the snaky vines taking hold of the other tree.

After two days and probably about 25 pounds of vines later — I also pulled a good number of vines that were left hanging in the tree, lest the wisteria use those to latch onto — the thing looks… well, naked.

I will see how it looks this spring, and if it stays well-behaved, I might let it stick around. However, if it begins to take over again — and I have a feeling it will — I will not hesitate to enlist the RoundUp army.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 5:28 pm




Dear Governor Easley:

I am writing you this letter to bring to your attention to a quality control issue about which you may not be aware, concerning the North Carolina Department of Transportation, specifically the Division of Motor Vehicles.

I am a relatively new resident to the state of North Carolina; I moved to Apex in February of 2005. As expected, I went to the DMV to turn in my old Virginia driver’s license, take the written test, and obtain my new North Carolina license. I received this on February 17th, 2005.

Unfortunately, less than a year later, the license has faded beyond recognition. Anyone looking at this license would be wholly unable to discern that it is me in the photo and my license number has faded to near-illegibility. This, however, is by no means any fault of mine. Rather, it is a quality control issue that occurred at some point during the time I got my license. When going through security at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), the guards have remarked that they have seen this a lot, where newer North Carolina licenses have quickly degraded beyond recognition, so obviously the issue I am facing is not a one-time thing.

Indeed, I travel a great deal on business – it has been every week, Monday-Friday since mid-March – and need to show my license when passing through security at RDU and others around the country. Today I was challenged regarding my ID. This has now happened a few times during my travels, but this is the first time it has occurred at RDU. Upon this event, I decided it was finally time to call the DMV and obtain a replacement license.

I spoke with a polite woman named Melanie at the DMV call center and explained the situation to her, asking if I would have to pay the required $10 DMV fee to get a replacement. After speaking with her supervisor, she responded stating that despite the quality defects, I would nonetheless be responsible in paying for a replacement, and that I would have to bring it in to show an examiner before a replacement would be made.

Obviously, you might understand the issue at hand here:
• I do not feel that I, or anyone in my situation, should be subject to a $10 replacement driver’s license replacement fee when this is a readily-known DMV quality control issue for license production;
• Furthermore, I should not have to take time out of my extremely busy travel schedule, to “prove” to the DMV that my license has seen this degree of degradation, in order to get a replacement;
• Finally, as the DMV refuses to supply to me at no cost a valid replacement for my poorly manufactured license, I am riskily put in the position of liability when my state-issued ID fails to identify me, be this at an airport or by an officer of the law in the state of North Carolina.

I anticipate that I have made clear the issues that I, and others, am facing with regards to the North Carolina DMV, and trust that you will take this issue into consideration. Thank you very much for your time, and I wish you and your family the best during the upcoming holiday season.


Courtenay S Welton, III

cc: Division of Motor Vehicles

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 2:39 pm



Huge kudos to the North Carolina General Assembly and to Governor Mike Easley for passing HB392, which raises the cap on alcohol content in beer to 15%. North Carolinians will finally be able to purchase fantastic craft beers previously unavailable in the state, due to an older 6% imposed cap.

More thanks goes out to the folks at Pop the Cap for all their hard work campaigning and lobbying to get this done. Sean, if you’re ever in Apex, let me know — I owe you a round.

For what it’s worth, this is just in time for the World Beer Festival in Durham…

Tags: , — cswiii @ 10:45 pm

Talkin’ David versus Goliath Bike Ridin’ Blues

Did a bit of biking today. I have really been enjoying my bike outings lately. I have been riding the Wake County portion of the American Tobacco Trail as of late, but since Chatham County is being lazy in getting their section complete… (in)convenienthly smack in the middle between Wake and Durham counties, it is getting boring riding the same stretch over and over again.

Thus, today, I got on the road, went about 2 miles down to the Log Pond portion of the Carolina Connection trail, which is also encompassed by US Bike Route 1. Rode that for a while and then looped back onto the ATT and rode home from there… probably did between 15 and 20 miles today, so I’m pretty pleased.

It’s always the first 2 miles or so of hills that get me, then I am fine. I would like to eventually be able to bike the Cape Fear Run, which heads into Wilmington. 140 miles or so… I’ll get there eventually.

Anyway, a large portion of my trip encompassed pieces of New Hill, NC, which is currently embroiled in a battle with schoolyard bully Cary, over the latter’s desires to build a waste treatment plant within the town limits. I lost count of how many Stop Cary signs I saw, and saw many other more amusing ones. Two notables:

  • A toilet sitting out near the road with a stuffed bulldog on top of it, accompanying a sign which read something to the effect of, “If you won’t take ours, we won’t take yours”
  • A sign sitting outside an old, vacant gas station (when was the last time you saw gas for $1.37/1.47?) that read, “Save New Hill, don’t “Waste” It!”

In any case, it was a good ride, and even kind of thought provoking. Next time I may try riding down the ATT, connect onto Log Pond and ride into Moncure, NC. I am sure there will be some interesting stories to learn there, too.


The River

Shortly after moving down here, Scott told me about “100.7 — The River“, a new station that doesn’t air very many commercials, and to my knowledge, except for the sports talk stuff at night, doesn’t seem to have any on-air DJs. The music selection is pretty diverse, and generally pretty good. It’s also pseudo-”edgy” with regards to its station IDs and promotions, i.e., “The conspiracy continues”. I say pseudo because it is nonetheless a Clear Channel station, and I share Scott’s moderate scepticism.

Recently, during one of their station commercials, they said something, again in their edgy way, to the effect of “you won’t hear a repeat until we think it’s time you should”… something like that anyway.

Well, to tell the truth, I heard my first repeats today, since I started hearing the station at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately, despite all the good music they play, the three songs I’ve now heard twice on that station are “Walking in Memphis”, “She’s So High”, and “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone”. What luck.

On the other hand, I did hear “Sympathy for the Devil” (Rolling Stones) and “Buffalo Soldier” (Marley) on the way home, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 7:50 pm


A moving experience

February 1976: Born in Newport News, Virginia
August 1976 (approx.): moved to an apartment in Alexandria, Virginia
1981 (approx.): moved to a house in Springfield, Virginia
1988 (approx.): moved to a different house in Springfield, Virginia
1994-1998: attended college in Bristol, Tennessee, but still lived, for official purposes, in Springfield house #2
1999: moved to an apartment in Fairfax, Virginia
June 2000: moved to a condo in Sterling, Virginia
November 2003: moved to a townhouse in Sterling, Virginia
February 2005: moving to a house in Apex, North Carolina.

Nervous? Yes. Unsure? Yes.

Fairly certain I made the right decision for us? Yes.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 10:44 pm


This rainy weather is teh

This rainy weather is teh sux0rz :(.

Last weekend was a lot of fun, went down to the Raleigh area to help celebrate my Uncle’s 50th birthday. Much booze was consumed, many hot dogs and hamburgers consumed. One nice moment was when my (probably pretty toasted) uncle said to my aunt (his sister, not his wife), “You know, maybe I can be to Corey what Uncle Jack was, to me”. This won’t mean anything to anyone else reading this, but it was cool.

The drive back was amazingly smooth. I drove through Raleigh itself, and really think I’d like it. It reminded me of Johnson City, only a lot larger.

Beer was so cheap down there. The local bar (that actually loses money anytime my uncle throws one of his parties) was selling Killians for $2.25/bottle, and something else a slight step up, for $2.50. Compare that to the $5.00 Guinness and $3.50 Miller light I had last night at Carpool.

I do believe I actually see a bit of sunlight outside. However, the fields are probably too soaked for kickball today, the second week straight. Bleh.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 10:58 am


what’s new?

I dunno, way too much. Thursday the 15th, I saw an unbelievable Bob Dylan show. What a setlist. Amazing. And now, I have seen the two acts I wanted to see before they die, BB King and Bob Dylan — both this year.

Next morning, I commenced the trip that, at its completion, will become the shiny new tacoma’s longest trip yet. Made it to the Raleigh suburbs in about 5 hours…. wonderful weather, just unbelieveable. Non-stop trip…. unless you count the stop-and-go traffic I was in for 30 minutes, and about 5 miles, as I got stuck behind a truck carrying a house, down the two-lane NC Route 42. I am not talking one of these modular houses. No, his house, taken up off its foundation and moved, presumably to another section of open land down the road. Weird.

Hit the bar that night with family, met up with an old friend of mine. Knew him in HS, and roomed with him a while back in fairfax,… he’d moved to Raleigh, so he and his wife came out to Fuquay to toss back a few beers.

Got back in relatively late — around 1.30, which left me a little drunk and utterly tired, after no more than 5 hours of sleep, either of the previous two nights and the long drive.

I woke up the next morning, fairly groggy. We got on the road around 10.30, en route to the Outer Banks, took our time, relaxed, and got here at 4.00, Saturday afternoon.

Since then, it’s been a lot of drinking, a lot of eating, with a few things in between, like watching the Leonid meteors and soaking my sore bones in the hot tub. I’ve still got a week more of this to do ;). Everytime I come down here, I get the itchin’ to buy a beach condo.

Anyway, time to crash for the evening. Later.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:40 am