Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where in the world is Loudoun County?

One of the difficulties in creating marketing and communications messages using automated Internet tools and "Web 2.0" strategies, is that not all geospatial technologies have yet become "smart" enough from a semantic perspective. What we mean, is that if one uses online tools to describe an area of the country (like "Dulles South") that doesn't fall neatly into geopolitical boundaries (i.e. "intergeostitial"), or isn't recognized via major geospatial services with specific latitude/longitude boundaries, the online tool isn't likely to understand what you mean. People understand what you mean, if you write about it with good contextual descriptions, but locator services aren't all yet leveraging the most advanced information sources and semantic indexing technologies.

Here's an example - it seems "Loudoun County" doesn't exist in the world (in Mixx's view, "we couldn't find Loudoun County, VA anywhere in the United States")...

So, now that we've described it to Mixx, we've done our small part in establishing another online gateway to Loudoun - make sure you do your part!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Laying the Groundwork for Year-Round Public School in Fairfax?

The signs are all there - speaking with a few long-time teachers and parents, it's apparent that movement may be afoot in Fairfax County for year-round school. Elective Summer School offerings are curtailed or cancelled. The population trends are dictating fewer realistic options for a more diverse parent crowd (with more single parents and dual income families) regarding options for daycare during the Summer months. Rampant evidence abounds regarding the extra time, expense and disservice to students with respect to their loss of accumulated knowledge over Summer vacation, and the need to "catch up" or "make up" the next year. Ideas and plans to reduce persistent overcrowding include year-round schooling, which offers more options for scheduling extra-curricular activities, staggered classroom schedules, and more useful, efficient use of school facilities overall. Several schools in Fairfax are already offering year-round classes, with much success. Benefits to existing teachers and those being recruited include flexible work schedules, reduced stress, and time for professional planning.

This is inherently a good idea, for a county and school system prepared both to offer and maintain this "sea-change" in local culture, and which has been gradually acclimating the local populace to the idea. Loudoun's perhaps still a bit too rural for such drastic change - but we think as Fairfax goes, so too should at least a few "test cases" in Eastern Loudoun (Eastern because of the population stressors, but perhaps also Western to alleviate rampant overcrowding) to test the waters.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Afghanistan Archaeological Treasures - Opening this Weekend in Washington DC

Looking for something to do downtown this Memorial Day 2008 long weekend? Here's a really interesting exhibit opening at the Washington DC National Gallery of Art.

For the first time ever, the U.S. is exhibiting Afghanistan's re-discovered ancient archaeological treasures dating back to 4,000 years in a 17-month nationwide tour, called Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.

Organized by National Geographic and the National Gallery of Art, in cooperation with National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul, the show is officially kicks off on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and will run its tour through Houston, San Francisco and New York, ending on September 20, 2009. According to sources, National Geographic struck a $1 million deal with the Afghanistan government to bring these artifacts to the U.S.

As part of the opening ceremonies for the exhibition on May 25th, the National Gallery of Art will feature a special presentation about children's songs in Afghanistan, which will include a performance by Washington, D.C.–area Afghan-American children. The songs are from the songbook, Qu Qu Qu Barg-e-Chinaar , which is a compilation of children's songs, discovered much like the hidden treasures that were found in the vault of the Kabul Museum in 2003. In late 2001, Louise Pascale, a former United States Peace Corps volunteer, was the one who searched for and found the worn and faded original copy of the songbook, which she had created back in the 1960s along with the help of Afghan poets and musicians.

Our own local Trivision Studios, in Chantilly, Virginia, was instrumental behind the design and production of the songbook, which can be ordered by calling National Geographic Books at 1-800-842-6002 ( or TriVision Studios at 1-888-600-5528.

Trivision Studios offers international, national and local (based in metro-Washington DC) Marketing and Communications services to businesses, organizations and entertainers.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Southern Loudoun Hospitals Need to be in Dulles South

While our eyes have frankly been glazed over by the back and forth between HCA and INOVA, being fought in newspaper and mailed advertisements ("HCA's in the wrong location!" and "The new hospital needs to be near the Ashburn population Center"!), a recent mailing caught our eye, and we'll be turning more attention towards this issue as it materializes. (We just read through the comments and diatribe over on the Living in Loco - sure to be more to come!).

A mailer came out from the "Hospital Alliance for Southern Loudoun", mailed out of Middleburg. Can't seem to find any info on this group online, nor in the mailer, other than its plea for a "Hospital in Southern Loudoun where the need for services and convenient access to care is so desperately needed". We obviously, totally agree with this statement, though it would be nice to know specifically whether this is a backer with financial interest of some sort, of INOVA.

With a large family, we've made many trips to the hospital over the years from South Riding - electing usually, in the middle of the night, to go to Fair Oaks - it's the most direct and familiar route to us. Births have been over at Fairfax, given their reputation for excellence in all types of OB/GYN areas, including emergencies (although our last couple of experiences there were far less satisfactory than the first few). We've been to the occasional specialist at Manassas - but haven't actually ever gone to Leesburg. It's simply to far, and, frankly, a bit of an unknown area to those of us down here in SouthEastern Loudoun (Dulles South) area.

While the new Dulles South Urgent Care facilities recently opened on Rt. 50 are somewhat helpful, we absolutely need a "real" hospital in this area - and one that isn't "blocked" from our access by the nightmare traffic (during rush hours) heading into Fairfax on 50, heading up to the Ashburn/Brambleton area, or south into Manassas.

So, we are entirely in favor of the message put out by this "Hospital Alliance for Southern Loudoun" - though we don't really care whether it's HCA or INOVA who develops land already owned on Rt. 50. Just get the hospital done, be sure to proffer improvements to th Rt. 50 and North/South routes in and out, and be sure to become active, involved members of the Dulles South community.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

I Am Modern Magazine for Moms - Summer Issue!

The latest issue of I AM Modern Magazine for Moms is here, now printed in Virginia on environmentally-responsible, FSC-Certified paper. It is a wonderful and packed edition filled with very useful information, from Yoga Studio Reviews to the latest fashion finds.

I Am Modern Magazine for Moms is a Northern Virginia Women's and Mom's Lifestyle Magazine, part of the I Am Modern Social Media Network of print products, social meetups, website and forums, blogs, and other distributed content. This magazine can be found at many local, family-friendly retailers currently around Loudoun County, VA, or can be mailed via subscription.

Read more here...


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rt. 50 Healthcare Meeting and Brambleton Summer Concerts

Public Meeting on the future of Rt. 50 Health Care, Wednesday, May 14th, 7 pm

Pleasant Valley Methodist Church, 43987 John Mosby Hwy, Chantilly, VA 20152

Please join Inova Loudoun Hospital CEO Randy Kelley for an update on the status of Rt. 50 Health Care. Mr. Kelley will discuss and take questions on the future Inova Medical Center – Dulles South. Other topics will include the current Dulles South urgent care facility and other Inova plans for Loudoun. Light refreshments will be provided.

Brambleton Hosts Sizzlin' Summer Concert Series at Town Center
(Find more Loudoun and Northern Virginia Concert Information at Dulles South Online)

Dance music from the '70s and '80s, country rock, Latin sounds, and reggae, will drift through the community of Brambleton when the Summer Concert Series comes to the Town Center. Exciting live performances are scheduled several Thursday evenings a month, beginning on June 5.

Sponsored by the Brambleton Town Center Associates, the concerts are open to the public at no charge. Enjoy dinner out at one of the Town Center's vibrant new eateries, and then bring a chair or blanket to the Town Center plaza and join the fun from 7 to 9 p.m.

Kicking off the first performance, on June 5, is The Groove (, featuring music from the '70s and '80s. Then on June 19, Rebelicious ( takes center stage with its mix of classic rock and country.

On July 3, enjoy Trio Caliente ( with its unique Latin, gypsy rumba, and jazz beat. On July 17, popular artist Doug Segree ( and his band play their version of soft rock tunes.

Reggae band, Jah Works ( visits on Aug. 7. Gonzo's Nose (, playing music from the '80s and '90s, concludes the summer series on Aug. 21.

For additional information, visit Brambleton's website,, or call the Brambleton Visitor's Center at 703-542-2925.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is coming, here in Northern Virginia - I know it, I can feel the anxiety a card good enough? Do I need to send flowers or a gift? Should I actually throw the kids in the car and drive for a visit?

Luckily, the Internet exists. Along with the Internet, comes email - a very lazy, disembodied vehicle with which family obligations regarding in-person communications can be addressed, in 30 seconds at zero cost (after technology capital investment and depreciation are factored in, of course).

Instead of a self-help book or snippets from Oprah/Rosie about what to do with your life, send an ebook, like the Mom-Force (for those Moms who want to get back into the workforce). Instead of organizing a visit with friends and family, introduce your Mom to an entire social network, magazine and online forum, like I Am Modern Magazine and Mom's Lifestyle Social Forum (complete with Spa Reviews!). For the very practical-minded, send along a complimentary Northern Virginia Handyman or Northern Virginia Landscaper - to fix those pipes or fight those weeds. Heck, send along a San Diego-style Hummer Limo, for a quick breakfast outing.

Lots of ideas and couch-control options out there - just make sure your laptop batteries are charged.