It’s been a little while since we spoke…

June 22, 2004, 12:57 PM

It’s been just a touch more than a week since last we spoke, and it’s because I’ve been hurrying to finish a massive update to my Transit Center site. There’s LOTS more WMATA on there now, in the Washington DC Rail section. And today, I’m actually writing you from the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, because I’m over here for two reasons. First off, I returned some pants to Casual Male earlier, because trust me… these pants were WAY too big. Made me feel skinny. The pants were that big.

I’m also bus-sighting over here, so I can add Charlottesville’s CTS system to my Transit Center Web site. I’ve actually gotten 42 photos today so far, plus one movie, though I highly doubt I will use everything. Still, look for Charlottesville to join the likes of Metrobus, Dash About, CUE, and Harrisonburg Transit at a Schumin Web Transit Center near you.

And then tomorrow I’m going to DC! I’m meeting two fellow posters from SubTalk, and we’re going to do some serious railfanning. I’m meeting up with Oren H., as well as Jersey Mike. I’ve railfanned with Oren before, but never Mike. This ought to be fun!

Categories: Schumin Web meta, Transit

See anything in this picture that raises an eyebrow?

June 14, 2004, 10:24 PM

I don’t know what happened, but it definitely looked unpleasant

June 12, 2004, 11:59 PM

On my way back from Charlottesville, where I spent the day today (somehow I got a Saturday off without asking for it – go figure), on US 340 right before the intersection of 340 and 608, I had to slow down considerably. It was the only smart thing to do considering that there were northbound cars traveling in the left southbound lane. I’m like, what in the heck and slowed down and got in the right lane. Once I got closer, it all made some sense. First thing I saw was lots of shattered glass strewn across four of the five lanes of US 340 right where Stuart Avenue meets 340. I looked left, and I see two cars in some poor innocent person’s front yard at a weird angle. Looks like they didn’t go there on purpose. Some other cars were parked nearby. Then there was a guy putting out flares. I don’t know any details other than what I saw, and don’t know how bad the damage was or whether anyone was hurt or not. But I can tell you this. It definitely doesn’t look pleasant.

Otherwise, I had fun in Charlottesville. First, though, I got the Previa’s front end aligned at Eavers Tire in Stuarts Draft. That was related to the blowout I had two weeks ago. While I was waiting, I worked on my phone some, downloading a new version of Mobile IM (remember that my AIM screen name on my phone is Schumin Wireless), plus downloaded Tetris and Ms. Pac Man onto my phone.

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It seems that carbohydrates have become the new fat…

June 11, 2004, 1:24 AM

After having just seen two commercials in a row about low-carbohydrate foods, I have to believe that we’ve officially gone off the deep end.

The first commercial was for Special K, which acted as though people were just crushed to death, showing people sitting on the ground with their head buried in their knees and crying if that tells you anything, about not being able to use their cereal bowl due to their low-carbohydrate diet. That’s why this new version of Special K is supposedly so great, because it’s only nine net carbohydrates per serving.

The other commercial was for CarbWell salad dressing, which promotes having no carbohydrates. Not nearly as bad as the first, but still pretty bad…

I’m just amazed, really. I grew up with something else, and it wasn’t long ago when it was the case that fat was the enemy. We counted our fat grams, and counted our calories. And food manufacturers announced how low in calories they were and how low in fat they were.

Now it’s carbohydrates. Sugars. All of a sudden, fat and calories are left by the wayside. The key to slimmer thighs is to lose the sugars now! The way it’s come around, it seems like a huge national fad.

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Compare for a moment… who looks better?

June 8, 2004, 10:33 PM

Let’s compare for a moment… who looks better in their blue vest? Let me present to you…

Ben Schumin in blue Wal-Mart vest
Exhibit A: Ben Schumin

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June 8, 2004, 2:04 AM

It’s been a few days since I last posted, and so I thought I’d fill you in on what’s happened in my life.

Biggest event was on June 5, where I attended an International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) protest in Washington DC. That was FUN. We went from Lafayette Park in front of the White House to Donald Rumsfeld’s house at 2206 Kalorama Road NW. To get there we left Lafayette Park and took H Street to 14th Street. From there we went several blocks up to U Street, where we caught Florida Avenue to Connecticut Avenue, and finally to Kalorama Road.

I ended up connecting with a group of relative strangers from Chicago who drove a long way to come to this event. It was a very diverse group, too. One of the women had their hair colored purple. Another carried a bucket being used as a makeshift drum. Another was dressed for the weather (cool and wet) and were ready to follow the protest. The two men in the group appeared to be my age or slightly older, and were dressed for a Black Bloc, wearing all black and masks over their faces. Considering that I came to the protest alone, I was very pleased about how well this group from Chicago that I never met before and will probably never meet again accepted and welcomed me into their group. Very friendly folks. Me from two hours away, and them from half a continent away.

Chants at this protest ranged from “Occupation is a crime from Iraq to Palestine”, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people ’cause the power of the people won’t stop!”, chants about Mumia Al-Jamal (Free Mumia), “Whose streets? Our streets!” and others I can’t remember off the top of my head.

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It is official: I have ordered two Strong Bad tees!

June 2, 2004, 10:39 PM

Yes, my birthday present is now officially on order: two Strong Bad tees. If only it worked like this, though…

Hey Strong Bad,
Get Bubs to give out free luncch (sic) specials and I’ll show you a hot girl.
Sincerly (sic),

Maybe if I can get Bubs to say his name backwards minus the first B, legend has it we can get a free lunch special, and maybe a free T-shirt if we’re really lucky.

Now if we can only get him to make another appearance on H*R as the Thnikkaman, and life will be perfect.

Though I should let you know that the current plan for the June cover photo (and by extension an explanation why one is not up yet) is that I am planning on dressing up as the Thnikkaman for the cover photo. A little tribute to one of my favorite Homestar Runner characters.

Still, I can’t wait to get my Strong Bad T-shirts. It will go quite well with my sister’s Teen Girl Squad T-shirt.

Got some new tires today…

June 2, 2004, 7:59 PM

After work, I went to Wal-Mart’s Tire and Lube Express (hereafter TLE). And I got me some tires. And this is the benefit of my sister now also working at Wal-Mart. Only an hour of our shifts coincided today, and so while she was working, and my car was at TLE, I took her car out for a little while, since waiting around at Wal-Mart is a drag if you’re not in the shopping mood, and you can only ride the mechanical horse in the game room so many times before it gets old. Besides, when I rode it, I ended up looking like Strong Bad after he drank a cup of soy sauce, like I’m trying to pilot Bubs’s Concession Stand.

So I rode around in her car, which she calls “The Gray Lady”. Very small car compared to the Previa. I felt like my butt was dragging on the road. In fact, I think I would be literally dragging along the road if that thing were any lower. For her trouble in letting me use it, I did fill the tank, do her windows, and take out the used napkins that were on the floor.

Meanwhile, it’s burning up in here. We need to turn on the air conditioning.

Categories: Walmart

Gotta love the first of the month…

June 1, 2004, 9:58 PM

The first of the month… everyone decides they want to go shopping! So as a result, we were busy. Good to be busy, though. Time goes by quickly.

Meanwhile, this has been a stormy spring! Last spring it rained and rained. This year, we’re getting our fair share of rain, along with some serious thunder and lightning. And wind. Makes for an interesting spring, though it will make for many spoiled attempts at outdoor recreation, like my most recent trip to Lake Moomaw.

By the way, I am going again, and plus after I saw a map of where Lake Moomaw is, I’m going to see if I can find a more direct route to Lake Moomaw than via Covington, since Lake Moomaw is near the border of Alleghany and Bath Counties, which means that the way I go, I go south to Lexington, west to Covington, and then north to Lake Moomaw. I wonder if there’s a southwesterly route I could take. Hmmmm…

So tomorrow I work 7-4, and then going to Tire and Lube Express to get a new tire to replace that blown one. Also probably replacing the one on the other side, since it’s about ready to be replaced, judging by the looks of the treads. I also need an alignment, but sadly, TLE doesn’t do alignments. But I’m told that alignments aren’t too bad cost-wise.

So that’s my life. And I’m now officially 23 years old. Whoopee. But I am ordering those Strong Bad tees soon.

Categories: Walmart

“Arlington Cemetery station is closed! Please get back onto the train and go to the next station!”

May 31, 2004, 9:36 PM

Well… my birthday trip to Washington DC that I took a day early (my birthday is the 30th, and I went on the 29th) went very well. A friend of mine actually put it this way…

Um, do you realize what is going on in DC this weekend? I’d leave Transit Deprived Town in the Middle of Nowhere, VA now if you want parking at Vienna come Saturday morning.

I do not take offense to “Transit Deprived Town in Middle of Nowhere, VA”. I am both transit-deprived locally, and also in the middle of nowhere. And Staunton’s trolley-bus system, the closest thing to transit around here, doesn’t even follow a schedule, but rather, they just say that they run a 20-minute loop, and so a trolley-bus should be there about every 20 minutes or so when service is running. They do call their two services “Green Line” and “Red Line”, which amuses me, though.

But anyway, though, the main concern in the comment was that DC was supposed to be swamped with tourists for the World War II Memorial dedication, which I was already aware about. The concern, of course, was that I would not be able to get parking at Vienna. Hadn’t planned for that, but after thinking about it, I determined that if I didn’t get parking at Vienna, I would head over to Franconia-Springfield on the Blue Line and park over there.

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“I am thunder and nothing can happen till I bellow, and I rumble, and wake everybody with my roar!”

May 27, 2004, 9:32 PM

After Tuesday’s disaster, I went to Covington for a soak in Lake Moomaw on Wednesday. At least that was my intention. Let me tell you what happened.

I got all the way down to Lake Moomaw and parked and all that at the swimming beach. Changed into my swimsuit, and got into the lake. Fast forward about ten minutes. Thunder! Lots of it. And lightning. Regardless, it’s enough to send me to shore, and seeking some cover, and in a place that is designed for outdoor recreation, there’s some cover, but not a lot.

So I had to find something to do until the storm passed. Going back to Covington, the nearest town, was not really feasible, as Lake Moomaw is a ways from Covington. So I basically hung around. I drove back to the dam for a little while. I drove up to the picnic shelters. I sat in the car and pondered my thoughts. I walked a few times around the bath house.

Meanwhile, it was doing just about everything outside. Rain. Lots of it. Wind. Lots of it. Thunder. Lots of it. Lightning. Amazing amounts of it. I’d never seen lightning like this. It was like a strobe light the way it flashed. Filled up the whole sky (this was during the day, by the way), and really lit up everything.

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Categories: Lake Moomaw, Weather

There’s a reason I don’t ever work on my Web site when I’m upset…

May 26, 2004, 9:42 PM

There’s a good reason I don’t work on my Web site when I am upset or angry. Because my Web site is a creative endeavor, and I believe your mood really shows through when you create stuff. And I really hate being upset, and so there you go. That’s why this journal entry is being written at half past two, rather than at a more “reasonable” hour.

This is also reason enough that I am no longer going anywhere by myself with Mom, as well. She invited me to go out to dinner with her, since “we don’t spend any time together anymore”. She tells me where we’re going to go eat in the morning, and then when she gets home from school, we’re off to dinner in Staunton (it’s a bit early for dinner, but we can deal with this).

Of course, it’s not like we actually made it to dinner. On the way, Mom decided to use the trip to push all my buttons, and proceeded to bother me about my job and that she thinks I should be looking for another job NOW (all in due time), and about my weight. Nothing more I’d rather talk about, and especially with her. Realize my mother has brought this crap up so many times over so many years that I really don’t care anymore, don’t appreciate the sentiment, and as such it really goes in one ear and out the other. And I think that my mother is smart enough to KNOW that I don’t appreciate it and that those topics do push my hot buttons.

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Categories: Family

Strange group of people with weed eaters in the neighborhood…

May 25, 2004, 9:20 PM

Yes, Sis and I encountered a strange group of people across the street from the house today. They were using weed eaters to weed-eat the area around the creek that runs near our house. Still, we were trying to figure out what this group was. Most of the people were wearing blue pants with a red stripe down the leg. These same people also wore bright orange T-shirts, the official don’t-run-me-down color.

Then there was also a person there in a blue work shirt, and a uniformed officer from somewhere. I couldn’t make out the uniform, and I wasn’t going to break out the binoculars.

We figured it was likely that these people were inmates of somewhere, considering the bright orange shirts plus the uniformed officer. But then I thought that the sign of inmates was the that the guy supervising was always very obviously holding a large shotgun. Plus, think of the children! This is a residential neighborhood, and I didn’t think they could use inmates in a residential neighborhood.

Still, it was definitely an odd sight seeing all these people running weed eaters at once.

Categories: Stuarts Draft

Why do people look at me funny when I say this?

May 22, 2004, 9:42 PM

I always get strange looks when I say this:

Person: I’ll be right back. I’m going to use the restroom.
Me: Okay, have fun.

That’s when I get the strange looks. Right there. I don’t know what it is. It’s just my generic “goodbye” that usually say to people. It could be about something else:

Person: I’m going out. I’m going to head over to the store.
Me: Okay, have fun.

Yeah, but I guess the juxtaposition of “restroom” and “have fun” makes heads turn.

Meanwhile, life at home is kind of blah, with the parents continuing to get on my nerves. Realize that their answer to everything is “move out”. It could be, “Mom, I have a headache. Where’s the Advil?” Her answer would be “You should move out”. Ever have it happen where an unwanted message is repeated so many times it loses its meaning? That’s the “move out” response. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. I’ll move out when I’m ready, and I’m not there yet.

And I still can’t believe that my birthday is in a week, on Sunday the 30th. Another step towards forty, I call it. Scary. And I’m going to Washington DC the day before, on Saturday the 29th, which I just realized tonight is the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. And I’m still going to do some serious railfanning. Joy…

Categories: Birthdays, Myself

“When the water fills the clouds, then they call on lightning! When the rain needs to pour, then they call on me! And I crackle, and I flash… people think I’m frightening… when I dance through the clouds and send the rain free!”

May 21, 2004, 11:04 PM

You know the story. Thunder blows its giant trumpet, and then…

“I must dance my dance… at last I am set free! It’s my chance to dance (to dance his dance!) where the whole world can see me! I can flash through the sky… and light up the heavens…”

Yes, it rained today. Specifically, we had some mighty thunderstorms. It’s not often that you can see lightning through the skylights at Wal-Mart. It’s also not often that you can hear the rain on the roof from the salesfloor at Wal-Mart. Usually you can hear the rain on the roof in the back room, since it’s usually quiet back there. But to hear it over the din of the customers is is something else. You know that it’s got to be raining hard for that to happen. And it was LOUD on the roof, too! And to hear thunder loud and clear in the store is another thing.

And the ride home was just fun. Raining and all that all the way home, with lightning flashing all over the sky, really lighting up the sky. If only I had Big Mavica and a tripod with me to get a long-exposure shot of it all. And watch me get zapped in the process. It would be a heck of a way to go, though.

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