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This makes the second time someone’s stashed something next to my car…

December 31, 2005, 6:22 PM

I don’t know what it is about my car, but it seems to be attractive to people for stashing stuff near at work. For those of you who don’t know, I park my car at the far left edge of the parking lot. And today at work, I found two gift bags stuffed under the front of my car that weren’t there when I pulled in that morning. Very strange.

Then another time last year, I found that someone had abandoned a full Burger King uniform, still in its box, on the pavement next to my car. I was inclined to leave it where it was and forget about it (the “not my problem” factor). A coworker that I was walking out with at that time took it over to Burger King the next day.

All in all, strange. Of course, people are strange in general, which is something I’ve found out working in retail…

Categories: Some people, Walmart

Meanwhile, in DC…

December 30, 2005, 12:26 AM

I took an “extra” DC trip this past Wednesday with Mom, Sis, and her boyfriend Chris Lysy. They had previously ordered tickets to see Wicked at the Kennedy Center for December 28, and when I found out that I would be off that day, I asked if I could come along, and Mom agreed. It turned out that my presence was quite helpful, as I knew exactly where I was going, both on the road and on the train, and also knew my way around Washington better than the rest of them. Plus I’m never one to pass up a trip to Washington, after all. Especially one where I didn’t have to pay for gas.

We were also celebrating Sis’s 21st birthday, which was on the 26th.

The trip was, to an extent, run like a regular DC trip of mine. Get to Vienna, park, ride to Rosslyn, go into Washington, run around for a bit, then go to Pentagon City. Our destinations while “running around” were things that Sis and I both picked.

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People do some strange things sometimes…

December 29, 2005, 11:11 PM

When I got back from work today, I found an interesting message on my AIM. Check it out:

graphicfly2: hello mr. schumin
graphicfly2: i was led to your website based on a deletion you made on a wikipedia entry that i made regarding sheetz
graphicfly2: in it i stated that karen will make delicous pretzelwich sandmiches after 10:30pm
graphicfly2: these are facts my good sir
graphicfly2: Hi. Are you there?
graphicfly2: :-[

Pretty strange. In case you’re wondering what this is in reference to, it involves this edit made by 20.137.18.50 on the article about Sheetz. I considered the edit vandalism, and reverted it.

I just find it strange that someone actually followed my paper trail on Wikipedia to Schumin Web, and contacted me through the Web site. It’s proper etiquette on Wikipedia to conduct Wikipedia-related discussions on Wikipedia talk pages, and so this really did surprise me.

Categories: Some people, Wikipedia

Greta enjoys her Christmas dinner…

December 26, 2005, 12:31 AM

Greta got the bone from the beef roast we had, and she just went to town on it!

Greta enjoys her Christmas dinner

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Categories: Christmas, Greta

As we have for a number of years, Sis and I went looking at lights…

December 24, 2005, 10:44 PM

Yes, Sis and I went looking at Christmas lights once again this year, on Christmas Eve as always, and one word comes to mind for this year’s displays: lackluster.

Christmas 2005 will definitely go down as a blah year for outdoor lighting displays. Far fewer houses decorated at all this year than usual, both in our neighborhood and elsewhere. And a lot of others scaled their displays back significantly.

First of all, though, Sis and I went looking for a set of decorations that used to reside in our neighborhood. I received a lead from a coworker on where this particular family had moved, and we followed the leads. This particular house, by the way, was just awful-looking in its decor. When they were in our neighborhood, these people had Santa, a nativity scene, large wooden snowmen with the family members’ names on them, winter-themed Disney characters, VeggieTales, and certainly much more than I’m remembering at this point. And it was all lit by large, garish white lights. So you could see this display a long way away.

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Categories: Christmas, Family

The Christmas season, for my purposes, is at last over.

December 24, 2005, 5:52 PM

It is Christmas Eve, and I have officially finished for the day at work, which I did at 4 PM. That means that for me, Christmas is over. Opening the presents tomorrow morning is nothing compared to dealing with a bunch of cranky Christmas shoppers.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing like working retail to suck the Christmas spirit right out of a person. The phrase “Merry Friggin’ Christmas” comes to mind. And if that offends your sensibilities, then “Happy Friggin’ Holidays” to you.

And in the break room, we cozied up to reading the children’s letters to Santa Claus that were published in The News Leader today. I tell you… that was high entertainment. The letters were printed verbatim, complete with original spelling and punctuation errors, so Sis and I had fun reading them literally. As both of us enjoy Strong Bad Emails, we have no qualms over making fun of someone’s punctuation and spelling. Still, the letters ran the usual course. Children asked for a long list of very expensive toys, and so there will be some very disappointed little children tomorrow morning, when they didn’t get the three different game consoles they asked for. Same for the kid who asked for a horse and two frogs. Then for one kid, the term “oversharing” came to mind, as he said how he was a big boy who poops in the potty. All of us were thinking that this was too much, and the phrase “I did not need to know that!” came to mind regarding his restroom practices. Of course, there was a fully grown adult male who recently told me in the checkout line, in front of his wife, no less, that he wasn’t wearing any underwear. The wife and I were both telling him, “Oversharing!” Then there were some nearly-illegible Emails, where we couldn’t make out the writer’s intent regarding the words, and where the sentences were far from complete.

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Fodder for America’s Funniest Home Videos?

December 22, 2005, 8:24 PM

I went up to the Washington DC area once again on Wednesday, and all in all, I had a good day.

The daytime took me all around the Metro doing railfan stuff. I rode the entire length of the system in Virginia, going from Vienna to Rosslyn to Franconia-Springfield, to King Street, to Huntington, and then into Washington via the Fenwick Bridge. While I was at it, by the way, I also rode the entire length of the Yellow Line all at once, riding from Huntington to Mt. Vernon Square. I also checked out the new entrance at King Street, which opens out onto Commonwealth Avenue. It’s nice and new and such, and still harmonizes with the original part of the station, which opened in 1983.

I spent the late afternoon, which is bad for urban photography due to dark shadows cast by buildings (but great if you can avoid it – same goes for early morning), at Dupont Circle and also Union Station. Dupont Circle was basically a photography thing – in, photograph, back out. Then at Union Station, I got a phone call from Mom: “Where did you go today?” This is where we realized that I forgot to tell Mom where I was going. Told Dad, but not Mom. Oops. So I filled her in.

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Catching up…

December 22, 2005, 6:39 PM

First of all, despite the site outage, its resolution, and related kinks to be worked out in restoring everything, I’m still doing the Journal, though composing the entries offline to be added in later (the time, however, does reflect the time of wrtiting). It’s been so long in writing because I’ve been hoping that this would be a short downtime. Since it seems it will be longer in getting things fixed, it’s time to get some things going again.

You’ve probably wondered what happened with the previous entry, regarding whether or not I would be brilliant or stupid with clearing my window. Turned out I was brilliant, but ended up looking stupid another way. What happened? I got my driver’s side door to open, but then I was unable to get it to close again. Mom ended up taking me to work. Mom later got the door closed, too. It had something to do with some gunk. I still don’t completely understand what’s going on there. But the door closes. Previously, I’d had some trouble getting it closed on really cold mornings, but never before had I been unable to get it closed.

Otherwise, I stocked up on Vault. The 20-ounce single-serve bottles are perfect for the drive to work.

This will either be seen as brilliant or really stupid

December 16, 2005, 12:01 AM

This Thursday, we received a few inches of snow and ice. And I have to go to work Friday morning. So rather than scrape my windshield in the morning when I’m in a hurry, I cleared it tonight. No problem. Windshield clear. I did it with a plastic snow shovel, too. Once I made a dent in the outer layer of ice with my hand, it came off easily.

The only way this could backfire on me (and knowing my luck, this is quite possible) is if we get any further rain or ice and it freezes into a sheet on my windshield. Then I’m screwed, because then I might have just as well left the original snow on the windshield in the first place.

So we’ll see if this time-saver works. Now I’ll still have to scrape my back window in the morning, which was covered by a sheet of ice, to make myself a peephole for driving. And the shovel is not precise enough to get that gunk off. Still, the big job – clearing my front windshield – is done.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday…

December 15, 2005, 10:45 PM

On Wednesday, I went up to northern Virginia, though not like you’d expect. This was by no means a “DC trip” like I usually do. Like my “accidental” DC trip in August, this was an off-week trip, but this time it didn’t involve the Metro at all (closest I got was driving past the 1C bus on two occasions), nor did it involve Pentagon City.

The official purpose of the trip was to make a run up to the DC metro area using US 29 via Charlottesville to see how well it would do as an alternate route. I also tested a variation on that route via Harrisonburg. Then while I was up that way, I also had a surprise in store for a friend.

So my trip went like so: I-64 westbound from Fishersville to Staunton. Swing north onto I-81, and take that as far as Harrisonburg. Here, we said goodbye to the Interstates for a while, which honestly are boring roads. I took a pass through JMU for old times’ sake, and ended up down near Valley Mall in Harrisonburg, at US 33. I took US 33 eastbound for a while. This took me through Elkton, in the eastern part of Rockingham County, and then up a mountain to Skyline Drive at Swift Run Gap. At the top of the mountain, we entered Greene County, and got into a monster of a backup. Two trucks were doing the safe thing – going down the mountain very slowly. We can’t fault them for that. Well, we could, but it wouldn’t be fair. Besides, the runaway truck ramp was snowed over, and looked pretty short anyway. I wouldn’t want to be a runaway truck and have to use that…

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Categories: DC trips, Driving, Matthew

I would be very flattered if Wal-Mart refused to print my photos…

December 13, 2005, 8:21 PM

Let me explain that for a moment. Wal-Mart’s copyright policy on their Web site states:

“Walmart.com will not assist in the copying of a photograph that is signed, stamped, or otherwise identified by any photographer or studio as copyrighted material, or any photograph that appears to have been taken by a professional photographer or studio, even if it is not marked with any sort of copyright, unless we are presented with a signed Copyright Release.”

This Christmas, I’m getting gift cards for the family once again. It’s far easier than getting gifts, because I’m not a great shopper, and my family is hard to buy for anyway. So this year, I’m getting the custom gift cards that Wal-Mart sells. I can put my own photo on there instead of the cheesy ones that come preprinted.

I consider myself to be a photographer by hobby, and do take some real gems from time to time. So I picked some photos that I’m particularly proud of and uploaded them to Walmart.com and saved them. I’ll actually order them right before I leave for work the next time I work, which will be Friday.

And if our photo lab refuses to print them because they look professional, I will be quite flattered, to say the least. Then I’d likely have to fill out the bloody release saying that I took the photos myself. But still flattered nonetheless.

Meanwhile, I’m going out tomorrow…

Categories: Photography, Walmart

Hah! What did I tell you?

December 12, 2005, 10:43 PM

This confirms what I’d discussed in 2003 about Santa Claus. Look:

Santa Claus proves my point

That proves it – Santa Claus is a sick, perverted wanker. And he’s got that food thing going on, too, like George Costanza did on that one episode of Seinfeld.

Categories: Christmas

Another Santa picture…

December 11, 2005, 8:07 PM

Categories: Christmas

Blue Screen of Death on the self-checkout…

December 11, 2005, 5:58 PM

I wondered when it would happen, and today it finally did – one of our self-checkouts crashed and displayed the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death”. I just wish I had a camera with me at the time, because I so wanted to take a picture of that…

Otherwise, though, I realized in the last few weeks that the customers don’t listen to a word I say. I put this to the test recently, using one of everyone’s favorite Homestar Runner holidays – Decemberween. Decemberween is, to quote the Homestar Runner Wiki, “a holiday celebrated by the people of Free Country, USA, 55 days after Halloween, on December 25th. It bears many similarities to Christmas with colorful lights and garlands and the giving of presents, but with some obvious differences.” Read the whole article for more information on Decemberween, because it’s otherwise irrelevant. Just focus on the name. So I would casually ask, “Are you all ready for Decemberween?” instead of “Are you all ready for Christmas?” I would get the same response for “Decemberween” as I would for “Christmas”. Not a single person ever questioned my use of “Decemberween”. Not a one. Scary.

Meanwhile, my belief that the more religious stuff a person has on their car, the worse driver they are has been confirmed once again. I first talked about this in this entry from May 23. Today I had two cases on the way home. The first was on US 340 where I got stuck behind this van that had “JESUS” right on the license plate. And it was going 35 in the left lane (and the speed limit was 45 and then changed to 55 before I could pass them). Then turning onto 608, I got behind another person with a bumper sticker where a religious group decided to be cute and do a religious take on the logo for CSI. The bumper sticker said “CSI: Christ Saves Individuals”. Here’s a Web site showing the logo in question. These people not only were going five miles below the speed limit the whole time I was behind them, but they also decided that a green light means “stop”. After dealing with the previous slowpoke coming out of Waynesboro, and then having to sit behind this moron for a few miles, sitting at the green light was the final straw. I hit my horn, and leaned on it until these bozos moved. They moved, and thankfully, our paths diverged after that point.

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Bad, bad parking…

December 7, 2005, 4:09 AM

Just a couple of things I want to show you before I go off to Washington DC this morning…

First of all, check this out:

Wearing the FliteStar vest

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