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Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens (Monday, August 2, 2004)

Well, I survived my vacation — sadly, now I'm back in the office. So Wednesday, Claire and I drove down to Kings Dominion, where we went on all the rides, including the evil Skyflyer. For those of you who don't know, or aren't insane, this ride consists of a really tall arch with a bungee cord suspended from it. Claire and I were harnessed to the cord, then hoisted up and up... and up and up, like a big swing... and after we'd gone up about half again further than I was comfortable with (15 stories, according to The Washington Post), Claire pulled the rip cord, and as the sky opened up into pouring rain, we dropped like a rock. The first several moments are among the most terrifying that I can remember, though after that, the ride was a lot of fun. By the time the ride ended, we were soaked through to the core, but it was a lot of fun. If by "fun", you mean "terrifying", which I'm convinced Claire does.

From Kings Dominion, we drove south to Williamsburg, where we had a late dinner at Chowning's Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. There, we were greeted by 18th Century music, and Mr. Chowning's Tavern Ale, one of the most delightful drinks I have ever tasted. The conversation was interesting, the music and beer grand, and while the food left something to be desired (they were out of cheese! And worse, serving modern bar food!!), the experience as a whole was tremendously positive, and I can't wait to go back.

Thursday morning, we slept in, then went to Busch Gardens. We enjoyed lunch at the Oktoberfest beer hall, and because the rides were shutdown for fear of lightening, we stayed for the show. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Chicken Dance, which doesn't involve plunging to near death, but Claire does not share my enthusiasm. Nevertheless, she indulged me, and I enjoyed a relatively sedate start to the day. Once the rides came back on, we enjoyed the Big Bad Wolf, and all of the other rides. The rides at Busch Gardens are much less jolting than the ones at Kings Dominion, and for me, that was a big plus.

After Busch Gardens, we went back to Williamsburg, cleaned up, and then headed to the Kings Arms Tavern for a nice dinner. We both had the Game Pie, which included duck, venison, and rabbit. We had generous portions of Sally Lunn bread, and all of the things that make an 18th Century dinner taste so good. Including dinner entertainment.

On Friday, we spent the day walking around Colonial Williamsburg in the scorching heat. I was surprised to learn that women practiced trades like blacksmithing. I had a long conversation about that with a lady working with one of the silversmiths, and she gave me a magazine with an article on the topic.

While I didn't get to see and do everything in town that I might have liked, Claire and I both got Independence Passes, so we'll be able to go back and see what we missed, any time we like. I think our next trip will be in the fall when it is cooler. And definitely for the Grand Illumination in December.

Friday night, Mrs. Lee prepared an elaborate feast for us, including presents and name plates in front of our places. After several hours of eating, and dessert and tea, we had to take our leave for the grueling trip home.

We finally did make it home — I dropped Claire off, and then went home and collapsed. On Saturday, I caught myself up on all the fun stuff that TiVo recorded in my absence. Saturday night, Claire and I briefly attended a party with her friend Erica, whose older sister briefly dated my little brother. Fascinating. And then on Sunday, I played tennis with Ross (and got destroyed, not to mention a high speed groin shot), and then had dinner with the Powers. After dinner, Claire and I went back to my place, watched some Friends and had ice cream. Then it was early to bed for her, because she's got a new job, that requires her to get up really early in the morning.

I stayed up kinda late, because being a dork, I was curious about some aspects of the Highlander universe, and I wrote a computer simulation to see if there could in fact "Be Only One". I'm not happy with the dynamics of the simulation yet, and if I find the time to work on it, maybe I'll write a paper about it and post it here.

Today, I managed to get through a bunch of chores, like ordering a parking permit for the new school year, getting my financial aid taken care of, calling the deck people, making an appointment to service the Mustang, and getting my paperwork in order for my home equity loan. After all that, and making a brief appearance at the office, I met Claire for lunch at Bennigan's, where I enjoyed a crock of potato soup, and a yummy club sandwich.

After lunch, I finally got down to business, and took care of a support issue that's been plaguing me since before my vacation. One less thing I have to worry about now. The only major task ahead of me is LDAP. And I really can't put it off anymore. Now that I'm up to date here, to LDAP I must now attend... after getting a drink.

—Brian (8/2/2004 3:42 PM)
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