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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

About Us

Another Positive Sign That Things May Be Heading Back To Normal

Another sign that things may be getting better as it relates to the virus: My wife is one of those people who gets Loudoun Alerts texted to her, and during lunch she said she had gotten one warning of traffic delays because there was going to be coronavirus testing over at Bolen Park in Leesburg.

But then shortly afterward, she got another alert saying there wasn’t much traffic at all and if you wanted a test, you could come out and be tested with no wait.

Shortly after that, my favorite Ashburn site, TheBurn posted this story saying the same thing, reporting zero wait at the noon hour, which traditionally has been the busiest time.

I may be adding two plus two and getting five, but this morning I went to a grocery store and encountered few people and very little traffic on the streets, as if people had gone back to work. Then there’s a test site for the virus which last time it was run encountered a huge wave of traffic.

Today…no wait.

Something’s going on.

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If You Didn't Know Better, You'd Think People Were Back At Work

Just went out grocery shopping, and there are some not so subtle signs going on that things are changing here in Ashburn.

I’ve always gone grocery shopping either early in the morning or late at night to avoid a lot of people also out shopping. Since Giant stays open until 10, going there at 9 on a weeknight usually insures you’ll be lonely. With Harris-Teeter or the other stores that close at 8 PM (and it’s no longer necessary folks; go back to your normal hours) I go right when they open shortly after 6 AM.

Not today. Went at 11 AM and it was like a typical Monday a year ago. Very few cars out, very few people in the store, almost like people have decided it’s time to go back to work. The store still had some blank spots in their selection, but they had a little of everything.

Particularly noteworthy were the islands of paper towels throughout the store, as if they want to remind you to not forget picking up some; two months ago that and toilet paper were the first two things you went looking for and were often greeted by empty shelves. And yes, there was toilet paper…quite a bit in fact, and the brands had names like Charmin, versus the single ply stuff you were forced to either accept or wait until you got to the office in late March.

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So Easy, You Wonder Why It Took So Long To Allow Them To Open

Yesterday I got my first hair cut since the shutdown, and now that it’s a day later, it has struck me that the solution sure ended up being awfully simple.

The barber shop in Broadlands I normally go to has six chairs, and I can’t ever remember it being so busy all six chairs were occupied. Normally you might see as many as 4 being used, but in fairness, I go there during the week when it’s not busy. On a Saturday or Sunday, maybe all six are used then.

But yesterday, all that needed to be done was not use the two middle chairs. The two on one end had a wall and the doors to back office storage facing them. The two up front ajoined the front desk and waiting area, but the shop made anyone waiting stand and wait outside on the sidewalk.

There was a steady stream Sunday morning of people showing up without an appointment because it was the first day they’d been open since the lockdown. People were immediately turned away without a mask, and the rest were allowed in 1 or 2 at a time to make an appointment, then they left.

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This Stingray Is About To Become An Endangered Species

Yesterday Maggie managed to be both as happy and as annoying as any dog could be.

She was excited about her new Stingray, which apparently is fun to chew on, but also has an oversized squeaker which she loved to run through the house and chew on. It will easily drive you crazy and yesterday it was taken away from her several times.

This morning, she has pulled it up to the sofa and seems concerned I'm going to take it away from her.

That's because if she bites on the squeaker one more time, I am....

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Recent comment in this post
Maggie The WonderBeagle

I'm Just Waiting For The Right...

Like when you're taking a nap. Then you'll be hearing squeaking that sounds like an army of kazoos!
Monday, 01 June 2020 09:14

If You Are Thinking About Registering Or Subscribing....

I got an email question about registering for the site a little while ago, so allow me to add a short blurb about how all this works.

The site has a lot of features that allow people to register and do all sorts of things, mainly because two years ago, an old friend decided to leave the friendly confines of the newspaper he worked for and wanted to strike out on his own. So I built him a site that allowed for paid subscriptions, an area for free stories, ads, the whole works. We were partners for four months, and at that point I gave him the site because while it was fun to build, I never expected to be part of the operation long term.

It was all based off the same basic architecture of this site, so as I’d add a feature to his, I added a feature to mine. But it's never been my intent to charge for anything, as I do all this for my own personal enjoyment, and nothing else. There is no fee to subscribe, just as there are no fees if I run an ad to help out a friend. The site has never charged a penny for anything in the 14-odd years it has existed in various forms.

So if you’d like to register, please do. It will make it easier when you comment, and your name and information will populate automatically. If you’d like to get email notifications, go ahead and subscribe, and the site should notify you when new content gets posted. I personally don’t do that with sites because if there’s a lot of content in one day, you’re going to get a bunch of emails. But if stuff is posted infrequently, it’s a nice tool to know when to check back. And if you have a business that could use a little extra exposure, if I've got room to run an ad, I'll be glad to help.

Just a word of warning: I haven’t turned any of this stuff on in two years, so when a couple people asked about registering and subscribing today, I probably messed up those accounts. I think that's now all  been fixed, but if you encounter any issues, just email me and we’ll figure this out together 😊

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Maggie The WonderBeagle Is Now An Author On The Site

Since Daddy told me we weren’t going to be on Twitter any more, the first thing I told him was I HAD to have my own account. He may be good with words, but it’s my pictures that people REALLY want to see.

So he said yes. If I had known it would be this easy, I’d also have asked for a handful of treats too.

I’ve been annoying him all day because of a pet toy I got that looks like a Stingray. It has a squeaker in it and every time he tries to read a book, I come in his office and squeeze it extra loud. It's driving him crazy :)

But he’s now taken it away from me. So I’m now sitting on his lap while he reads a book that he seems pretty interested in. And waiting for him to reach for that pack of peanut butter crackers he thinks I don’t know about sitting on the side table.

I mean, I am a hound, so I know how to hunt for stuff…..

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Recent Comments
Dave Scarangella

Gee, What A Surprise. You're S...

Welcome to the pack, Maggie....
Sunday, 31 May 2020 19:37
Maggie The WonderBeagle

Don't Make Me Look For Those C...

And since I'm now an author, my percentage goes up from 20 percent to 25 percent, right?
Sunday, 31 May 2020 19:38
Steve Wade

Maggie is a good girl

Spoiled, but a good girl nonetheless!
Sunday, 31 May 2020 19:56

After 10 Years On Twitter, I Think I've Posted Enough

When I first tried Twitter a decade ago, I thought it was really cool.

It was like going to a bar and meeting a bunch of people with similar interests to your own. You’d start the evening strangers and by night’s end you were friends, as you pulled for the same teams, argued points of trivia and memories of days gone by, and found yourself feeling part of a community.

It was nice.

But while Twitter was at first that person at the bar who had one or two drinks and acted funny, interesting and totally unfiltered, Twitter has now graduated into being that same guy who has had a few more beverages and turned into a mean drunk. The days of scrolling through a timeline in the morning and walking away feeling like you learned something have now given way to the feeling of wanting to tell everyone to kiss your backside.

Which I no longer wish to deal with.

I’ve always tried to take the high road and avoid Twitter battles at all cost. I try to think responses through several times before posting and if I find I’m not saying something positive or at least fair, I delete it. I avoid politics and try to respect everyone whose path I cross.

But as I scroll through my timeline several times a day lately, I’m finding it harder and harder to feel entertained. Or informed. Or just about any other emotion than “that’s a crock.” The reasonable people on a national level seem to be disappearing from my timeline. The reasonable people on a more local level have stopped commenting. And the topics you can get into a reasonable debate with anyone these days has gotten smaller and smaller.

Twitter has become one giant straw man argument that reminds me of the line from an old movie called War Games, where a super computer called the WOPR notes “the only winning move is not to play.” It doesn’t mean there aren’t nice people on the medium as probably one of the greatest moments of my life was set up by something on Twitter.

This was a decade ago, when I noticed a single mom who was a huge Nats fan was posting about how much her two small children loved the team and baseball. I happened to have a box of old Nats bobbleheads, umbrellas, hats etc. in the basement I had gotten from a gig I had with a local radio station and asked if she’d like some. She said yes, and we agreed to meet at a Starbucks here in Ashburn.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Bonnie Sumner

Is it possible to register?

Hope I’m registering correctly!
Sunday, 31 May 2020 16:17
Dave Scarangella

You are!

You should be receiving an email that asks you to pick a password soon!
Sunday, 31 May 2020 18:08
John Schick

Sorry to see ya go

Well said Dave. Have enjoyed the Tweets banter, but I get it. I won’t be far behind, I expect.
Sunday, 31 May 2020 16:51

After Six Months, This Sheep Finally Got Sheared

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated haircuts.

Part of it was growing up in the 60s, when long hair was seen as a positive act of rebellion. I was the son of a Navy Chief Petty Officer who insisted on taking me to the barbershop every two weeks whether I wanted to or not at the Amphibious base in Norfolk, and I hated it.

Navy barbers, I’ve learned, know only one way to cut hair: as much as possible. I once made the bold decision to ask the barber not to cut very much of my hair, and was greeted at the car by a parent who sent me right back in. Telling a Navy barber your Mom said “you didn’t cut enough the first time” is like saying “just shave my head.”

Then you’d go to school, and as is the male adolescent tradition, you would be needled unmercifully by your classmates.

As a result, I’ve never been a fan of haircuts. When the barber asks how I want my hair cut, I always say “make it look like you HAVEN’T cut my hair.” If my wife says “I think you need a haircut” I always wait another two weeks. I may be in my 60s, but when it comes to haircuts, I’m still an 11-year-old with post traumatic haircut syndrome from my days at Little Creek Elementary.

But not today.

Turns out when I wished everybody at the Royal Barber Shop on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I had no idea I would not be seeing them again until the last day of May, 2020. I had been thinking the last week of February it was time for another haircut, but postponed going for a couple of weeks.

Then everything was shut down from the pandemic.

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Tony Banks


my phone isn't magnetic like the games used to be to drag the metal filings to a hairstyle, but if I could -
Sunday, 31 May 2020 13:44

It's Pizza Night In Ashburn. Decisions, Decisions...

Tonight is pizza night. So it’s time to share another of my lifehacks for being under house arrest.

Pineapple On A Pizza?
Poll is expired! Results

We’ve been doing pizza night every Friday since my daughter moved out to be on her own. Dad was convinced that if he offered an alternative that included free pizza and daughter’s social schedule didn’t have anything all that attractive on it, going to visit the parents, enjoy your favorite pizza and not have to spend a dime might win out.

Dad was right.

Alas these days, that doesn’t work, but the ritual lives on for my wife and I. The days of ordering two large pizzas so there’s plenty for everyone are gone too, so we started a new approach when the shutdown started.

It started by accident when LIDL had a sale on its self-rising frozen pizzas. Normally I don’t care for anything frozen, as it tastes to me like watered down ingredients on cardboard. Even if you enhance them with other fresh ingredients, that cardboard taste is still there.

But the LIDL self-rising pizza actually had a decent crust. It sells every day for $2.75, and it’s about the size of a medium pizza, meaning it’s more than enough for the two of us. And because it’s so cheap, I took the approach I was just buying the crust as a base to work with, and I’d add the rest of the ingredients we wanted.

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If You Try Sometimes, You Just Might Find...You Get What You Need

If there is a positive aspect to all this house arrest nonsense, it’s that it has probably changed my way of shopping for groceries forever.

The shutdown has taught me there’s a more efficient way to do it.

I realize for some, shopping for groceries is a tiresome chore, but I actually enjoy it because I’m the cook. I also am a bit of a control freak, so when I go shopping for things that aren’t a commodity like canned goods, I want to personally look at a tomato, chicken, etc. before purchasing.

This means that in the past, I went grocery shopping about every 2 or 3 days. With so many grocery stores within a 5-mile radius of my home, there was no reason not to enjoy fresh meats and vegetables. I bought what I needed for the next 4 or 5 meals, then went back for more as necessary. The freezer for the most part was used for ice cream, bags of ice and an occasional frozen pizza. Otherwise, I made meals out of fresh ingredients.

The current virus situation changed that. In mid-February, I signed up for Amazon Prime to get free shipping on any quantity I wanted, then did the same with Sam’s Club, going from their $45 basic membership to their $100 “Plus” tier. This includes free shipping with no minimum and 2 percent back.

The strategy was to use those two merchants for non-perishables, which in theory should mean my trips to the grocery store should be less frequent. As the supply of goods got tighter and tighter, I then added Walmart.Com, Target.Com and to the mix. They had minimums for free shipping, but if you planned properly, that was no issue either.

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To Binge, Or Not To Binge, That Is The Question....

There are certain recommendations you can occasionally get during this shutdown that are as valuable as gold. Like a place where toilet paper is in stock. Or a really good book to read. Maybe even a recipe for something different to try at dinner.

But the one I yearn for, and often find difficult to get, is one regarding a television show to binge watch.

It’s not that people won’t offer one. Ask on Twitter and you’ll be overwhelmed with the recommendations, which is the problem. Everyone has their niche show that is their favorite, and you’ll end up with 242 recommendations. It’ll be just like turning on the channel guide and looking through everything.

“Everything” I might note, is rarely good.

In addition, there’s also the “I don’t want to offend you” factor when you ask somebody for a good show to watch. If it doesn’t sound interesting to you, declining to watch the show can come across to the person doing the recommending as “you have no taste” or “your baby is ugly.”

I had one person recommend a book to me once, and she then kept asking in every subsequent conversation if I had read it, and didn’t I absolutely love it, etc. Truth be told, I got about one third of the way through it and it wasn’t my cup of tea. But you can’t say “no, it sucked” after the fourth or fifth time you’re asked how wonderful you thought the book was.

I’m particularly cautious with binge-watching ideas because if it turns out not to be good, I find myself staying with it long past the time I should have quit. I tell myself “this next episode will be the really good one” but it never happens. Then you feel like you just wasted a lot of time.

There’s also the problem that for many series, no matter how successful, they reach a point in their tenure where they drift aimlessly. I remember the TV show “LOST” - where they never defined exactly how long the show was going to go on -and it seemed like the writers just ran out of things to write about.

They had introduced the concept of the show, told all the back stories of all the characters, but weren’t yet to the point of crafting the story line to reach its conclusion. You found yourself watching some episodes and thinking “what was the point of THAT?”

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