outskirts: life and times in charlottesville

…small town life

Ever since TJ had fun with the ladies this area has been a place where radical things happen. A street was turned in to a mall, the parking lot of our train station was turned from a dirt pile parking lot to a nice paved parking lot (oh wait…that modernizing hasn’t happened), a really fancy hotel was completed (never mind), and stadium style theaters came to town (hmm…I hear by 2020).

So it is no doubt that the massive fire ignited in a dumpster in front of Perriello’s office had a purpose. After an in-depth investigation it has become apparent that the action was due to a local political party that has had enough government.

A law was recently passed that has put unbearable restrictions on the local community. Section 10-124 has banned public urinating and/or defecating! This is not humane. How can one possibly survive under this oppression.

It hasn’t gotten quite as much press as other political parties, but the Pee Party has claimed responsibility. One member of the party said, “If humans can’t piss in public then how can we possibly survive after all government has been eliminated in the upcoming days. There will be no fire department, no police, and no schools. Fires will run rampant and Charlottesville will burn like Chicago did way back when in the days of cows and lanterns.”

The Pee Party (started in 1875 when UVA was rebuilding from the Great Fire) stands for Peeing Extinguishes Exothermics and their number one priority is to encourage people to piss whenever they see a fire. Another member said, “There is no better way to get quick response to flame…if you know what I mean.”

Unfortunately, the protest didn’t turn out very well. No one chose to piss and the local fire department was called to deal with the political attack. The Pee Party is planning their next attack.

[Special thanks to Mr. T for the video clip]

As everyone knows (unless you live under a rock), Obama is rolling in to town. In a small village like Charlottesville this is going to cause massive change in our daily existence. Almost every road in this metropolitan (by ancient Mesopotamian levels) will be shut down for most of the day.

Since no signs are allowed I’ve heard that local protesters plan to wear t-shirts underneath their sweatshirts and do a unified striptease to reveal their body signature. Based on the proportion of locals I really hope they don’t accidentally pull their tees off with their sweatshirts.

Roads and businesses have been shut down during the visit, but the biggest threat to our civility is the cancellation of local school dances. It has been alleged that students are demanding some E in exchange for the cancellation. Dances may get cancelled, but those students need their fun.

The last thing I’ve heard is that a local band may do a rendition of Baracka Flacka Flames at the musical marshmallow this evening. Can’t wait to see the video of that on local news.

Remember when the elders announced new signage for the downtown area? The total cost per sign is $7500. In case you missed it a new one went up at 4th and Water which highlights the best of Water Street. Nothing better than a parking ramp that closes early every night so that your car gets locked in. Nothing like spending big bucks to advertise a place to park.

Destination Sign

Of course the same crazy spending for signs seems to have taken a wrong turn down a one way road for the village hall due to ADA compliance. Details, smetails. A pity we can’t spend $100k+ for more signs. Nothing is more important than signs. Except maybe machines to neuter and dehorn goats.

The biggest thing going on in C-Ville right now is the debate over goats. Should goats be allowed in the village or not? Goats are good for pets, food, fur, yard maintenance, and many other things (I guess).

Know Your Goat

I’m sure one of the goals of allowing goats is so all the perfect super-smart kids (or so the parent will tell you) can have a new pet. A local teen was recently seen with an illegally imported show goat. Seeing more of these youth hanging out at Mudhouse, smoking a cig, and grooming their pets would really be a gas.

Pink Pet Goat

Let’s think about this for a bit. Given the fact that people can’t keep their cats and dogs properly locked up do you really think the goats could be kept under control? Not a chance. I’ve even seen a pig running around loose in town, and I also recall that some cows got loose a few years ago from a cattle auction.

Since the goats will be running around I’m sure they will do what pretty much all the locals like to do…breed. In no time at all the village will be a crazed madhouse full of goats (hopefully no goat zombies). Once the goats run out of tin cans, cigarette butts, and baby diapers they’ll have to turn to other sources of food….plants. The grass won’t last very long so they will then look upward to one of our greatest resources – trees. Now, I hate to say this, but goats can climb trees.

Can you just imagine what will happen when they find their way to the downtown mall? This inception-ish video was taken in my mind and shows what many experts think will happen when the city passes a law that allows goats. Are you ready?

Years ago a single list maker did a bit too much of what TJ used to do (you all know what I mean) and listed C-Ville as the top city in the United States. What a mistake. For years others have copied him and C-Ville stayed near the top but eventually people forget the idiocy of the past.

Money Magazine came out with their list of the Top 100 Small Cities in the US for 2010. Where do you think C-Ville is? Top 10? Top 20? Keep going. Top 50? Nope. Top 75? Still not there. Top 100? No. They are nowhere to be seen. They aren’t even listed in the “All Cities” which contains many that aren’t ranked.

Why? Let’s examine. Many might think the answer is clear, C-Ville is not a city (as I always say, this place is a village of the damned). If you look closely most of the top 100 had more than our 40,000 residents (if you exclude students it is more like 30,000, and if you include Albeeeehhhmarellleee County it is more like 80,000). Perhaps we were too small. Let’s look instead at the list of Top 100 Small Towns that came out in 2009 (many of the towns are below 10k, others are above 100k). Where are we? Nowhere. Entirely missing.

So the question remains, why are we not included in any lists? Is it our murder rate of hoo-ish things? Bike theft rate? The fact that we don’t have mass transit to our airport? The fact that there is not a single working water fountain in the main (lawsuit-enabled) park in the city (which has no bike lane leading to the it)? Maybe it is the fact that we killed 1200 geese the other day and didn’t let people harvest them for food. Or perhaps the fact that the main feature of our downtown is now a derelict half-built carcass of a luxury hotel where aggressive panhandlers pack it in for the night.

Typical scene on downtown mall.

Let’s get away from all those ludicrous answers and look more closely at what the city may have been up to. We’ve spent the past two months in 90 degree heat. Baking. No humanity can survive in this. I’ve watched brains leaking right out of heads. With all this heat the top issue at the most recent city council (aka village elder council) was snow and cold. The city is a bit upset that locals didn’t shovel 30 inches of snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours. The fact that this was the big topic should say enough.

Looking back on our record breaking snowy winter (we now have record breaking summer heat in progress) it is hard to remember how things looked, but I do. The city didn’t bother plowing the main parking area for the downtown employees. The spots were never plowed…they just waited weeks until things melted. A vast number of “city” sidewalks were never cleared until locals got sick of walking in the middle of the road. Another key factor is that the city loved to plow the entire pile of snow from the street directly in to your sidewalk 2, 3, or more days after the storm. Does that mean you have 24 hours from the time the city plows your street?

Since my brain has leaked from my head in this endless heat/humidity I can’t answer the question of why we aren’t listed.

Or maybe I can. We aren’t a Top 100 city of any size. When looking for a solution, go with the simple one.

We’ve had a bit of snow this year in C-Ville and the city likes to think it is doing a good job to help us citizens in this perfect town, but what are they doing to commuters? For some odd reason the city refuses to clear out the lanes where commuters park. They tell locals they can park in the parking ramps, and then bill them for it.

In this picture you can see the main road where hundreds of people park every single day. How many cars do you see? That’s right…none. Snow entirely covers ALL the parking for the downtown area.

Picture taken Tuesday evening…four days after our Friday storm.

On the weekend the city has been offering free parking in the ramps, but that always seems to end on Monday mornings. Apparently the city elders don’t care about this situation. They all have their parking spots in the ramps that the taxpayers pay for, and figure commuters will just park at Barrack’s Road Mall and spend 2 hours on a bus to get to their jobs downtown.

Several commuters told me that they have been talking with the city trying to get the free ramp times extended until the parking lanes are cleared. Apparently they don’t like that idea, since they don’t want the garage to become overly crowded (typically it is at 40% capacity during the day).

Others say that all the money they make during the day will be used to cover parking costs rather than feed their babies. They also can’t afford to pump any money into the local economy since they can’t buy food from local eateries.

Is this situation good for anyone? Local businesses are losing money, commuters are getting in extremely late which is destroying productivity, no one wants to shop on the mall, and the city is losing lots of money since police can’t write as many parking tickets.

Last night we had a dusting of snow. There are a few flakes out on the street and the city has declared a parking emergency so all streets are now a no parking zone, yet the ramps aren’t free. The economy will continue to crumble. There are rumors that this may be due to the tribal warfare that has started between the city and the surrounding county. C-Ville is trapped in enemy territory, and some think this might be a sneak attack at those that don’t live inside the sugar walls…but that story will be continued at a later time.

Village elders…listen to the public and make the parking ramps free until the streets are cleared. You can’t expect us to eat your tainted cake every single day (and babies don’t seem to like it either). And do you really want commuters to continue to crap when they see their daily parking options?

Update: Over the weekend the parking was free in the garages due to the 15 inch storm that started Friday. On Monday morning they began charging once again despite the fact that no streets had been cleared. On Tuesday at 1pm the parking ban (on streets which only have short term parking) started due to the storm of the day (a big 3 inches), and the garage became free again. On Wednesday at 2pm they started charging once again for the garage. As of Wednesday evening not a single parking spot on Garrett has been cleared. What are the chances the road will be cleared by tomorrow? Friday?

Local police and riot squads are preparing for an estimated 25,000 people that will be paying $50 to have their picture taken with a true American hero, Joe The (unlicensed) Plumber.

Joe The Plumber

Be sure to stop by Arch’s Frozen Yogurt to have your picture taken. Local resident feel that he is the best representative for this region since he is so similar to Thomas Jefferson in philosophy and their long lasting sociopolitical importance. To top that off, they both enjoyed a few smokes (although TJ had his own “cigs” if you know what I mean).

There is a rumor that Joe might even drop by the downtown mall to try to get the fountains working once again.

Time to go beg for a few bucks so I can get my picture taken! See ya’ll there. Authorities suggest you use mass transit rather than drive due to lack of parking on the corner, and the potential for snow covered roads.

Indoor Smoking Ban

Today was the day. Indoor smoking has been banned. Locals are in a state of shock. Many are out rampaging on the streets (but run out of breath after 1/2 a block). Miller’s is drawing up the paperwork for bankruptcy. Rumor has it they will then reopen as a private smoking club (similar to Kramer’s smoking club…and we know how that turned out).

So what can be done about this. A lot. Some bars (such as Miller’s and all the Hoo-bars) are contemplating velvet ropes with a big smoking bouncer. As patrons line up the only ones allowed in will be the ones that finish at least 3 cigs in less than 20 minutes. That is considered a good pace for real smokers. You’ll get in even faster and get VIP treatment if you crawl around on the ground to find a few butts and smoke three of those.

Others plan to just light up anyway. Rumor has it you’ll get a free beer at Miller’s for every nine $25 smoking violation tickets you get. Just like the punch cards for a free cup of coffee.

However, most (approximately 38% of the C-Ville residents are smokers) of the local are just going to become subservient to the socialist government and no longer smoke inside. Said one person at Rapture late one night, “I figure I’ll go out for a smoke and take a piss while I’m at it. It saves me a trip to the restroom.”

Wow. This will be interesting!

The big question for the few that don’t smoke is when will all restaurants start making their patios smoke-free. Several already do this. The Local is number one. No smoking. Fabulous (for the few that don’t smoke). Bang banned smoking on the back patio. Hamiton’s banned smoking on their outdoor tables two years ago! Will anyone else join in?

If a coffee shop would go smoke-free I’d say LaTaza is the best option, but I don’t see it happening, since some eat at the BBQ place across the street before getting coffee. BBQ eaters need to smoke as they choke on a long segment of cartilage. MudHouse attracts all the 15 year old wanna-be goths who smoke a pack while away from mommy, so they can’t ban the puffs. Guess the few non-smokers will be waiting for awhile.

If I’m not taken down by the rampaging crowds I’ll try to post a few updates later in the day.

Now that this pointless midterm election has ended can we please stop political advertisements for at least a week?

Virginia voters made it to the polls in record numbers (as in low numbers…not high) and got rid of the evil-minded democrats. Sanity is back in the South!!!

The best part is that Bobby McD is now in power as the governor. We can now get rid of all those annoying women in the workplace, ban divorce, penalize singles, insure that contraceptives won’t be sold in this commonwealth, and of course get rid of the homosexuals*.

Bobby is so Virginia. And he was so much slicker than that Deeds dude (if you know what I mean). The rise of the South is back baby (with ribs).

In a drastic change in policy the city elders have decided it is time to shake things up a bit. Garrett Street is where almost all commuters who work on the downtown mall park. This has been the case for years. Due to excessive crime in the area it became a no parking zone from 9pm-5am (although the city likes to deny the crime but could never explain the reason for the parking ban at those hours). That 9pm cutoff was brutal on the local dining spots, since everyone wanted to leave early. On the other hand, it was great for local law enforcement in terms of income.

New signs begin to appear.

Two hour parking is about to become law.

In the past few days a number of the 9am-5pm signs began to vanish. Were they being stolen? Did they just need some fresh paint? Well, today the new signs began to appear. It won’t make the local commuters happy.

The 9pm-5am No Parking sign is gone.

The 9pm-5am No Parking sign is gone.

The commuter area is now going to be two hour parking during the workday (plus Saturday). An anonymous elder claims that this will bring more foot traffic to the mall and thus greater income for all Crapshaw-based businesses. People will only have two hours to pop in, buy, and leave. That is the theory. In reality thought, this will be the end of the C-Ville world as we know it.

A large number of people will become employed as car rotators, and entire businesses may take “moving minutes” every two hours to do a quick shift of a dozen cars. Two feet forward, one foot back.

The good news is that you’ll now be able to stay out late for dinner without having to worry about parking. Of course, your car might have a broken window or be entirely gone when you get back. How long will it be before people are brave enough to park overnight? That should be interesting.

These were the signs during construction, when some got buried.

These were the signs during construction, when some got buried.

An anonymous source says this is only the first step. Two hour parking meters are most likely to go in next spring. Two hours will cost you $2. The source is really hoping that commuters start using the parking ramps, which typically reach 65% of capacity during a typical day.

The next week or so might get a bit rowdy. I wonder if the YouTube footage of the C-Ville outrage and riots will get international coverage? OK…get to it people..raise some hell. Or else just give in and move your car every two hours.

Update: The following information has been sent to me. A parking report can be downloaded, along with a petition form. The following statement was received from Tipster S.

The only way we’re going to get our parking back (and keep the parking we have) is to call the City and complain (See contact below).

It appears based upon report, the City will convert almost all, if not all parking, around Garret area to either 2 hour or residential permit, includes Monticello.

Not sure what location the City expects full time downtown workers to park that do not have parking paid for in garages. The garages couldn't accommodate all full time anyway; they restrict the water street lot.

Contact person:
Donovan Branche
Assistant Traffic Engineer
(434) 970-3182
branche @ charlottesville . org