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I’m losing my voice…

March 30, 2005, 2:58 AM

This is like the moment that my coworkers can’t wait for… I’m losing my voice. Of course, they all say that in a joking manner, since I have a bit of a big mouth (and will be the first to say so, too!).

Still, I think I got it while I was out on Friday. Remember how I said I went up to the star, and the weather “let loose”? Well, the rain actually soaked right through my coat, and I also got my hair wet, and I think that contributed to how I caught something that’s causing me to lose my voice.

Still, though, just because I’m losing it doesn’t deter me from using it. If I need to make a page, I’ll still page it myself. I sound a little rough on there, but you know what? If I can get the words out, I can broadcast it over the squawk box. So there.

And this isn’t stopping me from going to Washington DC today as planned. I plan to drive up to Vienna, catch the Metro, and do my DC thing as always. In fact, I’m going to be shooting photos for what I call my “In the Face of Danger” photo set. So we’ll see how that goes.

Plus I’ve gone to DC before with no voice. I even have a recording of myself dictating a car number into the camera for reference purposes (read: Transit Center). Rohr 1273 on the Green Line to Greenbelt. Rohr cars on Green are rare, so it was worth noting.

And this is also my last DC trip before A16. So that means it will likely be a month or so before I can get any more “leisure trip” photo shoots in, since April 16 will be filled with World Bank protest fun… with my sister!

Categories: DC trips, Health issues

A week of mornings!

March 29, 2005, 3:39 AM

I don’t understand that one. I’m working mostly mornings this week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday – all mornings. Usually I’m on evenings.

And then on Wednesday I’m going to Washington DC. In the morning. And of course, I’ll be there until late at night. Seriously, I usually hit the Orange Line at Vienna right around 10:00 in the morning, after the all-day passes become valid, and the guaranteed parking spaces become available. Then I don’t leave Vienna in the evening until just beyond 12:00. I do cut it close in the evenings, but I’ve never ridden on the last train of the night. Closest I’ve come is second-to-last, and another time the train I had just gotten off of at Vienna was going to be the last train of the night to New Carrollton. The last trains of the night all meet at Metro Center and Gallery Place-Chinatown depending on color before proceeding to the terminals.

Meanwhile, I am going down to Blacksburg on April 14 to pick Sis up. I figure that since it’s my event that we’re going to, after all (A16), I might as well do the Virginia Tech run at least one of the two runs. So I’m doing the pick-up run. I’m going to let a parent do the drop-off run, since I’m going to be all driven out after A16. You drive 150 miles each way the day before and see how much you want to drive another 100 miles in each direction the next day. At least the drive to Washington has a big urban area at one end of it, and requires busting a move in changing between I-81 and I-66. The Virginia Tech run is just a straight shot through the most boring part of I-81.

Otherwise, I need to come up with a good April Fool’s joke for use at work. I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I want it to be good. On the topic of good April Fool’s jokes, I’m still quite proud of my 2002 joke, which I ran in the quote space. I even X-ed out the logo for that week and changed the circle-pic. It was so much fun.

What a nice day I had on Friday!

March 26, 2005, 11:26 AM

I went OUT on Friday! I went down and did that Lynchburg-to-Roanoke-and-back circuit, and it seems to work for me. I got a late start, but it still worked. The weather, unfortunately, did not cooperate, which was a shame. I wanted clear skies so I could do a Photography set on downtown Lynchburg. That did not happen. So I skipped it. Downtown Lynchburg, at a glance, looks like a downtown with an older charm to it, but not too old of an older charm. The most prominent building on the skyline is the Bank of the James Building, which was built in 1972. Downtown Lynchburg is going to be fun to do when I get a good-weather day.

In going through Lynchburg, I take US 29. That one has a few different names in Lynchburg. It starts out as Memorial Drive, then changes to Fort Avenue, and then to Wards Road. On Wards Road, I stopped at River Ridge Mall, where I found an interesting sight – a train! I stopped to look, needless to say. I also got a few photos…

River Ridge Express  River Ridge Express

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“Boiling popsicle isn’t exactly a romantic dance…”

March 25, 2005, 12:05 AM

Today I worked what I recently dubbed the “Cinderella shift” at work. That would be the 3 PM to 12 midnight shift. At the stroke of midnight, I’m outta there, because at that time, my car turns into a pumpkin, my Wal-Mart vest turns into rags, and I am required by the guidelines set forth in the story to leave one shoe in the breakroom. The assumption is that CSM Charming must then go to all the associates in the land with the shoe and see who it fits so that I can work happily ever after. The “boiling popsicle” comment came from the Today’s Special interpretation of Cinderella, which had Cinderella and the Prince dancing something like rock and roll before doing something a little more romantic.

Okay, all joking aside, I did really work the 3-12 shift, and ask my coworkers – I really did call it the Cinderella shift due to its ending at midnight.

Speaking of work, it’s funny what people will assume when you leave a few pieces of the puzzle missing. With the exception of my friend Katie, I gave none of my coworkers any details about the operation I had on February 28 beforehand. So people knew I was going to be out for two weeks for an operation, but not for what. So when I came back to work, I found out that people were speculating, and trying to fill that gap in their knowledge that I left.

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Categories: Health issues, Walmart

I told some coworkers about a dream I had, and I had another one!

March 21, 2005, 6:11 AM

I told two coworkers at Wal-Mart who had also worked with me at CFW/Telegate (though only one was from the Telegate era) about the dream that I had that I told you about in my March 5 Journal entry entitled “Six days in the house thus far…” And after telling them about the dream, now last night I had another weird Telegate dream! And this one is a real doozie.

I don’t know if this dream satisfies some internal urge for getting revenge on Telegate for closing our call center and costing us all a job or something, but this was a weird one.

In this dream, a number of us were working for Telegate. Then we found out that our call center was closing. This was due to the company mismanaging all sorts of whatever. And in this dream, the “company” was basically one man who owned the place and was also our boss. And the whole focus of the dream was that if we were going down due to the closure of the center, that we were taking him down with us. Since in this dream, you see, this man was not exactly without sin. He was raising large amounts of strange, genetically modified, mutant rodents in his office. Now notwithstanding any legal or ethical standards in the real world, in my dream, this practice was highly illegal, and we knew it was and were going to report the guy, as well as on the way he mismanaged the call center (it was never revealed how it was mismanaged in the dream, but it cost us our jobs, and it was also criminal, whatever it was). After taking our last calls, a number of us stormed the guy’s office for something or other. But we confronted him, basically to the extent of either getting the center back up and running or he was going down. The man showed us out of the building via the employee entrance. We went right back in via the main entrance, saying it wasn’t going to be so easy to get rid of us.

And then I woke up. Always when we get to the good part, too. And when that happens, it’s like poof. The dream is gone. And I even tried to go back to sleep so I could pick up again where I left off in a naïve attempt to return to the dream.

Strange dream, indeed. That’s two Telegate-related dreams in one month. One hopeful, and the other one vengeful. Weird.

Categories: CFW, Dreams

“We don’t want you to worry about cooking while you’re shopping, so come to your McDonald’s in Wal-Mart…”

March 20, 2005, 9:51 PM

I have now been back at work for three days, and you know what? I am still getting back into my groove. I’m still getting used to standing up all day once again. Before this operation, I could stand up all day, no problem. Now I’ve got to work my way back up to that again.

Meanwhile, what has just amazed me is one of the automated announcements that the in-store McDonald’s runs over the loudspeaker. The announcement in question goes like this: “We don’t want you to worry about cooking while you’re shopping, so come to your McDonald’s in Wal-Mart…”

I think that what McDonald’s is trying to say that they don’t want you to worry about having to cook up a meal later on, and thus why they want you to come to the in-store McDonald’s. But that’s not how the announcement comes off. To me, it sounds like they don’t want people cooking food while they are shopping, since they talk about taking a “shopping break” at McDonald’s. It’s like if it weren’t for McDonald’s, people would be putting a hot plate in the kiddie seat and start warming up a can of soup right there in the middle of the store.

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Categories: Advertising, Walmart

All in all, it was a good trip to Washington!

March 17, 2005, 5:37 PM

My first DC trip since the operation went very well, aside from the two incidents that happened that I told you about in that post I made from the Infoshop.

As I’ve said on here before, timing during the week is a balancing act, and it also takes a bit of luck. The reason that timing is important is twofold. First off, I can’t use an all-day pass before 9:30 during the week. So if I arrive way before that time, if I want to go anywhere, I have to use my SmarTrip and pay full fare. Secondly, there’s parking. I like parking in the North Garage at Vienna because it’s close to the station, and considering that I usually arrive at Vienna right around when Metro is closing for the evening, I feel more comfortable being closer in. But with it being choice parking, it fills up quickly. So if all the regular parking spaces fill up, I can’t park until 10:00 when the reserved spaces open to the public. There have been times when I can slip right into a space. There have been other times when I end up having to circle the garage for 20 minutes waiting for the reserved spaces to open up, since by the time I get there, once you’re in the lot or garage, you can’t leave without paying by SmarTrip.

On this particular day, Metro had posted a sign outside the North Garage saying that all regular spaces were full, and only reserved parking was available. To me, that’s a sign that is really saying to come back at 10:00 for parking.

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Categories: DC trips, WMATA

Some people…

March 16, 2005, 2:17 PM

Good afternoon! I am writing this entry from the Brian MacKenzie Infoshop in Northwest DC, which I’ve visited on a number of occasions before.

And I don’t understand what is the deal with some people. On my way to the Infoshop, just outside the Shaw-Howard University Metro station, as I walk by this group of kids, they started throwing rocks at me. These kids had to be no older than ten. I figured that talking to them would be a waste, so I just kept on going.

Then out in front of the Infoshop, this lady came up to me, said she loved me, gave me a hug and a kiss, and then hit me up for money. This would be the same technique that children such as the ones described above would do to get something out of an adult. “Hey, you’re pretty, can I have a dollar?” That just irked me.

Otherwise, though, my day is going quite well here in Washington. Did some serious railfanning, and also took care of a few other things. So life is good.

Still, some people… I just don’t understand it.

Categories: DC trips, Some people

Oh, how wonderful it was!

March 15, 2005, 2:55 PM

How wonderful it was today. I went out. First time I’d been out since February 28, when I had the procedure. My, it was nice to return to civilization. Went to Wal-Mart, and got some odds and ends, and said hello to everyone. And get this – I ended up having Wednesday and Thursday off as regular days off. How nice! So I don’t have to go back to work until Friday.

And since the doctor said I can resume my normal activities, you know where I’m going? Washington DC! I asked about DC, and he said that DC was fine. And with those days off, I think someone is trying to tell me something. It’s just telling me, “BEN, GO TO WASHINGTON!”

Those of you who have followed my Journal since the first of the year have found that I’ve only had two out of five DC trips planned for this year go without a hitch. My first trip of the year, January 4, got a late start due to oversleeping. I was, however, through some stroke of good fortune, able to shorten that delay considerably. So that was good. Then the next trip was J20. That went off without a hitch – in fact, it went better than expected. Then February 2, I was supposed to go with Katie. Cancelled due to an emergency (that led to the procedure on February 28). February 9, I went, and it went without a hitch. February 24, I was supposed to go, but I got snowed out. Now I hope to have another trip go without a hitch, and make it three to three – three flawless and three problems. Plus going to Washington is just what I need right now, since I’ve got a major case of cabin fever. I need out!

All in all, though, I’m just glad to be getting back into the swing of things. Oh, and I bought this year’s pair of sandals today, which I will proudly wear with socks, like I did last year.

Categories: DC trips

Tomorrow… freedom!

March 14, 2005, 5:31 PM

Tomorrow begins that transition back into real life again. I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor, I have to swing by Wal-Mart to pick up and drop off some stuff, and lastly, I have to go to the bank.

What I can’t believe is that it’s officially been two weeks now that I’ve been at home. And with one short exception when Katie came to visit and I stepped outside, the whole time has been spent inside the house. Scary? Yeah. So it will definitely be nice to get out for a bit.

I also can’t believe that this time off of work is nearly over. Believe it or not, I have, overall, enjoyed my time off of work because of the operation. I got a lot accomplished in these last two weeks. I did a big Transit Center update, I put up a new photography set, and discontinued the quote, which necessitated a redesign of the main page. Plus I’ve finally gotten a chance to work on the total redesign and overhaul of the Today’s Special site that I have, and it’s getting close to being finished.

Of course, there were the unpleasant moments, like in changing the dressing on the wound, since it was still quite tender (and therefore painful) during the first week. After that, though, as things continued to heal, that dressing change got a lot easier.

Still, I’m just glad to be getting out of the house again. But at least things will be getting somewhat back to normal, which will be nice. I’m even thinking about going to Washington DC again later on this month. Hopefully that will be a go.

All in all, things are looking up!

I think you left your voice over in Europe…

March 12, 2005, 9:37 AM

Sis is back from Europe, and she had a lot of fun. But I think she forgot her voice over there. We’ll have to get Chris (her boyfriend who’s studying there this semester) to mail it back.

Seriously, though, she’s back, but she caught a cold while there. We hope she gets better soon. It must be a curse that comes with the second year, getting sick during spring break. One might recall that I was sick as a dog during my sophomore year spring break while at JMU. I was absolutely miserable.

But she did get a lot of cool pictures. Lots of pictures of things and people. It’s neat.

Otherwise, I spent some time yesterday redesigning my main page, which currently looks like this:

Main Page with Quote Article

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Categories: Family, Schumin Web meta

Goodness… it’s been ten days since I’ve had caffeine!

March 10, 2005, 8:23 PM

No one’s more surprised than me. The last time I had any caffeine was a Coke at AMC right after the procedure. And it wasn’t intentional, either. It just happened that way that I haven’t had any caffeine in ten days. All I have to say is that when I do have a soda again, probably after I go back to Wal-Mart, I’ll probably be bouncing off the walls.

Meanwhile, I’m itching to go somewhere. I haven’t been out since the surgery on the 28th. Considering that I’ve been working on various Washington DC photos lately, both in an “Urban Demolition” photo set that I’ve been working on (coming soon!), and all those Transit Center photos I put up last week, I’m really itching to go to Washington again. Depending on how well I’ve healed up, I want to go at the end of this month or the beginning of next month.

Otherwise, Sis comes back from Europe tomorrow! I’ll be so glad to see her again. Especially since when she came back from VT, I only saw her for 20 minutes at most. Plus I’ll be interested to see how she did with her new digital camera.

Categories: Family, Food and drink, Myself

Urban Demolition… I found out what’s going in the old building’s place.

March 8, 2005, 3:53 AM

Remember this building, which I first showed you in this photo from Rosslyn Center on January 20, which was in the process of being demolished?

In a January 20, 2005 file photo taken from nearby Rosslyn Center, demolition is underway as removal of the exterior curtain wall is underway.

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Categories: Arlington

It looks like someone shot it out of the sky…

March 6, 2005, 12:24 AM

Categories: Places, Roanoke

Six days in the house thus far…

March 5, 2005, 6:34 PM

Yes, this is day #6… Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and now Saturday. I have been at home recovering from this procedure. And according to Mom, it’s slowly but surely healing up. I have to ask, because the wound is not somewhere that I can see myself.

Meanwhile, it’s Spring Break at Virginia Tech, and my sister is in Europe! Her boyfriend Chris is doing a study abroad program this semester, and so Sis is going to visit him. Of course, the trip nearly didn’t happen, as there was a small snafu with the passport, as we didn’t realize that since she was under a certain age that it expired sooner than the rest of ours did. But with some scrambling, a phone call to the office of our Congressman, Bob Goodlatte, and an unexpected trip to Washington DC (vs. just Dulles Airport, where the flight was), my father managed to get the whole situation straightened out, and she’s over in Europe now. So I hope she has fun.

Meanwhile, the TV is showing nothing but wall-to-wall Martha Stewart. My exact thought is, who cares? She just happens to be a celebrity that went to jail, instead of someone less-known.

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