historic times

This blog’s 16th anniversary was on the first, but it didn’t seem like a time to celebrate. It still doesn’t. I’ve been quiet here because we all know what’s going on. We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, but we couldn’t take a break from protesting because America didn’t stop killing Black people because of the pandemic.

Very briefly, because of 2017, eyes turned to Charlottesville. We had one small protest last weekend, one occurred yesterday and there is one scheduled for today. Either because of the students largely not being here, the unhealed wounds of 2017 or a strong desire to not become a hashtag again, our demonstrations were short and to the point.

But the protests had to happen because of what we saw. It wasn’t as detached as some of the videos of shootings or the other choke holds. This was nearly nine agonizing minutes of a police officer using his knee to squeeze the life out of someone in broad daylight on a street and we couldn’t do anything about it. Talking about it on social media and moving on just wasn’t enough because it happens again and again.

And it continued to happen as people protested. We had press releases contradicting what was aired live. We had officers doing the electric slide with protesters before hitting them with their batons. We watched pleas for the police to stop killing us be met with indiscriminate use of tear gas.

For years, I, and I’m sure many of you have been wondering what the breaking point in America will be, what was going to be the moment that made us take a hard look at how policing got this way.

It’s kinda interesting to me that I starting binge watching Hill Street Blues before this happened (I’ve briefly paused my marathon). In the 1980s, it showed a poorly disguised Los Angeles standing in for a poorly disguised Chicago. It was the “bad old days” of horrific poverty, despair and crime. The pain characters are flawed but overall noble. The bad cops always are the guest stars who wind up fired, transferred or killed off. At halfway through the third season, we never really see why that precinct is the way it is beyond the brief mentioning of white flight and the open war between the police and residents in the period before Capt. Frank Furillo assumed his role.

Still, the way they do things is cringeworthy. Nowadays, most of it is illegal. Nowadays, most of it is illegal but officers do it anyway. You can see how procedurals like it and the belief that official press releases in real life made so many things appear to be true at all times.

That sentiment has carried for nearly 40 years, that idea that the Black and brown areas of each city are just places where life is nasty, brutish and short, and the police are the only things keeping them from not only destroying their walled-off portions of the city but also the rest. Being outside means you’re up to no good. Being outside of your expected zone especially means it. We’re dealing with biases, stereotypes and a dearth of resources so deep, people could not and would not see that racism was at its root.

There’s much more to say, I’m not writing this to debate it or have a conversation or link to charts and graphs and studies to prove points you already know and/or refuse to believe. If at this point, you’re still waiting for someone to prove you wrong, nothing’s going to change your mind.

I inadvertently fell into writing editorials twice a week, and this is what I wrote on the first:

It’s a community with high incomes, long life expectancy, burgeoning commerce and sites that are draws for tourists. It’s also a community where high incomes mask inequities, where life expectancy varies widely between racial groups, where small business owners of color feel shut out of capital and there are spaces where many people of color aren’t overtly unwelcome but feel it over generational lines. The world watched as death came in broad daylight on a city street.

I’m talking about Minneapolis.

Over the weekend, Charlottesville, a city still reckoning with its own longstanding and recent trauma,  joined other localities across the country and globe in marching against police brutality. They also marched because of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other Black people during encounters with police or people claiming policing authority. The protests locally and nationally came with varying degrees of anguish, pain and rage. Unfortunately, police in some places through the country, some as close as Richmond, Fredericksburg and Manassas, responded aggressively. And, unfortunately, some people in the crowds also took advantage of the demonstrations. But we cannot let that detract from how people are crying out for their voices to be heard, for justice, for change.

We also cannot ignore that the COVID-19 pandemic still is raging. Especially if you found yourself in close quarters during demonstrations or had to remove coverings from your face during your attendance, monitor yourself and your households for symptoms. If tests are available where you are, seek one.

Protests punctuate weekend, June 1-2, 2020, Elliott Robinson

fifteen years

I’ll explain why this song is here in a moment.

This blog nearly is old enough to drive. Checking off this milestone is making me realize how far away senior year in college is now and how long some of the friends I made there have been my friends. Friday morning, I wished that formerly tiny palm I bought a few hours before I wrote my first LiveJournal entry a happy anniversary. I tell stories at work about things in my career and I sometimes panic about not being able to remember all the details. And then I remember that what happened was more than a decade ago. My fifth wedding anniversary is in a few weeks. A day after, I’ll be on the wrong side of 35. I’ve been on the wrong side of 25 for about 10 years now. I wrote about it here, and I’d have to go back in to the CMS to figure out what I said.

N.B.: I just saw how I turned 26, and I wish I hadn’t revisited that.

Anyway, I’m going to kick of this 15th year by going deeper into the past, like before I was born deep.

I went home on Mother’s Day, and I mentioned to my mom that I had purchased a record player. That reminded her that there was a large box of albums in the coat closet that was a mixer of hers and her brother’s. She gave me the entire thing, and I’ve been listening to one a day since what would have been Theresa’s 50th birthday on May 13.

Since I like music, and already have a queue, here’s a the kickoff of Diggin’ in the Cardboard Box.

Yeah, they were dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin';
And just when it hit, me somebody turned around and shouted ...

I started off with Wild Cherry’s eponymous album from 1976. (If you don’t know the most famous song off this album, we aren’t friends anymore.) Other than that, the band’s cover of Nowhere to Run isn’t that terrible, but the band was a one-hit wonder with four albums.

I have two stacks for now (I’ll get milk crates soon). They did not lay down the boogie enough to make it into the “I’d listen again for pleasure/I’d put these on if I’m being pretentious at a party at my place” pile.


Renée mentioned recently that this album is 30 years old, and that made me realize I have been jamming to this song since kindergarten.

It’s getting to the point that this is depressing.

The summer before my senior year in college was 14 years ago.

Fourteen years ago, I was in that sweltering living room, wondering where I’d be after graduation.

I bought myself a plant in a tiny pot earlier that day. This was Cecil a few days ago.


My little teenager.

I hadn’t heard of Facebook when this blog started, because it was just a few months old. Twitter wasn’t a thing. Nor was the iPhone. I was not quite 21.

Cecil went through a lot. I had no idea how to take care of a plant. There was a cluster of palms in that tiny pot. Two survived. These two nearly died several times in the early years. They started leaning in 2007 when I didn’t account for a balled-up article of clothing unfurling. But fronds no longer are falling as fast as the new ones come in. There’s been no leaf burn recently. Cecil’s finally in a window facing toward the south and west.

Cecil has been through a lot, but Cecil survived and is thriving.

Cecil is a metaphor.

let’s pretend i wrote this yesterday

Twelve years.

Including this one, 2,060 entries.

Because I was so prolific in the first few years, I’m still averaging nearly a post every other day.

Chronicling my 21st year seems like such a long time ago, but I still remember sitting on that ratty blue couch in the living room. It was sweltering in that house. We had an undersized window unit in that living room. It was already kinda dirty when we moved in. The wiring was faulty to the point I’m surprised it never burst into flames.

But it was our house.

At the same time, it feels like only yesterday. But that couch is long gone. The new owner has been struggling to renovate that wreck of a house. This blog is still here.

I just haven’t been ridiculous lately. I can’t remember the last time I jumped in my car and visited a random small town. I can’t remember the last time I jumped in my car and showed up at someone’s house just because. Oh wait, that was in February.

I mean, it doesn’t happen all the time anymore. Most weeks, I get up, go to work, go home, cook dinner and then putter around the apartment until bedtime.

Things are changing still, but it’s more gradual than it once was.

My head is still full of ideas but I still cling to the idea that a journalist is objective. Although it is great to sit back while people are foaming at the mouth about the outrage du jour.

But, at the same time, my writing overall has dried up. Sure, I write for a living, but I can’t remember the last time I banged out a short story. My drive to work on my novel died with LSWV. It’s so easy to blame my lack of writing on my laptop dying in 2013, but I can’t ignore the correlation.

The overall issue is that I promised myself the novel would be the culmination of all the stories I set in that particular universe and I don’t want to reverse that decision. But I want to write. I need to write. Something. Anything. I need to get back into it.

This dozen years can’t be all for naught.

Rules are meant to broken. Especially if they’re your own.

Stay tuned.

year eleven

Round and round we go.

Nearly every year, I’m partially surprised this blog still exists. It’s been more than a decade so it’s time to stop being in awe.

But, still. Eleven years ago, we were embarking on a chronicle of turning 21 while living in a fraternity house. When I was sitting on that couch at 210 Deep Creek Road, I didn’t envision it becoming it covering nine years in journalism, my highest highs, my lowest lows, countless road trips and adventures and, before this month is through, my first wedding anniversary. I didn’t expect this blog to last the summer.

I’m glad that it survived.

This is an auxiliary memory of sorts, for better or for worse. I was in a conversation about something a few weeks ago in which everyone couldn’t remember the date or precisely how something happened. I pulled out my phone and there it was: Read it and weep: It’s what happened, documented less than 24 hours after it happened.

In a way, because of that, I’m looking forward to presenting this all to my children and grandchildren. “I can show you how things were in 2005.” “Let me show you why Richmond is my favorite place.”  “If you read these entries closely, you can tell I was in love with your grandmother for a long, long time before 2011.”

I can’t wait to see what the next year brings and how I’ll bring it to you. I’ve already declared this the Year of the Trip, so there’s that.

Let’s do this.


TEN YEARS AGO TODAY, I was a rising senior in college. As I was wondering where the road would take me, I decided to chronicle my senior year and my experience as one of the charter members of what was our fraternity house. When I started, I had no idea how long this would last. I definitely didn’t think I’d be reflecting on blogging for a decade. We’ve gone from the halcyon days of college to slouching through young adulthood and, now, marriage.

I nearly shut the viaduct down several times in its early years. There were a few points when this blog all but faded away (such as January 2013 when there were exactly two entries, as compared to 46 in the first month). The name of this blog went from Langley Park to the S p r i n g h o u s e to the viaduct. The viaduct endured some awful, awful designs along the way and migrated from LiveJournal to WordPress. Exit265c.com went from a blog to almost a website with a blog included.

Through it all, though, it’s always been what it’s always been: A blog for everyone and no one, a public collection of my private thoughts, a relevant way for those who know me to keep abreast of my irrelevancy.

As the countdown says, now that’s it’s finally ticked down to 0, it’s been a crazy 10 years. But you know that. We’ve gone from college to unemployment to eight years of journalism. We’ve been from Rochester to Miami, Boston to Baton Rouge, Nashville to Norfolk. I’ve had some of my highest highs and my lowest lows expressed in words on this exit265c.com.

And I don’t regret a single word. Except for that one time. Then I got over it.

But I digress.

It’s time for a celebration. A month-long celebration! Today is the start of Year 10. My wedding is in 21 days! The 10th anniversary of me turning 21 is in 22 days!  There are many more miles to go, things to experience and people to see.

As I’ve said nearly every year, I’m taking you with me.

We’ll end this, and start the next decade, with our first refrain, the last words of Entry No. 1, June 1, 2004: sit back, relax and vicariously enjoy the randomness that is me.


I figured, at this point, I’d just smash everything together in a giant post.

First off, press play.

This is one of Falyn’s favorite songs. It was the last song to play at her wedding reception. I was in the wedding two weeks ago.

Before the festivities. Note the before.

I love these crazy guys.

Technically, I was a bridesmaid. The wedding was in Richmond and, because it was Falyn and Isaac, it was what was expected: Awesome.

But, before I got there, I visited one of our former reporters who now works at the Richmond paper. After we grabbed a late lunch, a state tourism truck ran a red light. Then this happened.

I kinda wish a tourist was involved.

Virginia is for Lovers … of fail.

No one was injured seriously.

I told him, “I bought you news; you’re welcome.”

This happened in front of Third Street Diner, which was a common theme of the day.

Afterward, we celebrated the upcoming nuptials with a tour de drink throughout RVA that ended at Third Street.

I love this place for some reason.


I don’t have any photos of the wedding yet. I didn’t take any because I was kinda in it.

Also, this trip was brought to you by Alamo BBQ. That’s Alamo BBQ: 2202 Jefferson Ave., in the beautiful city of Richmond.

Also try the brisket!

Get the Texas Trainwreck. You’ll thank me later.

So, it’s Year Nine. Nine years ago, I was already drinking wantonly and preparing for more wanton drinking to herald my final year of college. And launching this blog. Now I have no more than 365 days to get my entire wedding settled. I think that’s going to be the theme of this entire year.

It’s been a ride, hasn’t it? When I started this thing, I had been officially single for a couple of years and trying to make the most of being a senior in college. Initially, this was supposed to chronicle senior year. Then it turned into senior year plus starting my first job. Then becoming a young adult. Then nine years went by.

The wedding side of this is about to blow up. Then we’ll prepare to find a place to find our home for the long haul. Then I’ll have to balance being a dad and not being boring. All of this is still odd to me. I wasn’t even thinking about being a real adult when I started this thing. Now I’m a rare breed: Almost all of my friends who had a blog in 2004 don’t have one anymore. I’m still plugging along somewhat. I’m still excited about what the future holds.

The next 365 days will find me gearing up to marry the woman I wanted to marry back in 2002; the next 365 days will more or less devote this blog to me prepping to become someone’s husband; the next 365 days will not be like the other years this blog has covered.

Let’s do this.

But first, seriously, I need everybody and everything to go away for like 24 hours or so. At least for one day. I really, really need a day where I don’t leave the house.

Let’s end with the two songs I hope are played at my wedding. Bonus points if they’re played live.