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My birthday: It sucked.

May 31, 2005, 5:02 PM

May 30, my 24th birthday, was awful. I wanted no attention, and had decided not to request the day off so I could forget about my birthday by just doing the work thing.

That didn’t quite work out. Everyone and their mother knew it was my birthday yesterday, and no one would leave me alone. Everyone meant well, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted nothing more than to not hear about it. Still, there were no less than FOUR announcements made on the squawk box – one after I specifically told the person to their face not to make the announcement. Then there was a small group of coworkers that came up behind me and started clapping and singing “Happy Birthday”. I ran the other direction.

It was enough to just want to curl up and die. And so many people didn’t understand why I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday this year. I even mentioned how I vetoed a cake and a card this year. No cake. No card. That’s how you know I’m serious, when I specifically said I didn’t want a cake or even a birthday card.

Couple the relentless (but well-intentioned) unwanted attention with the fact that I hadn’t quite had enough sleep the night before, and I was completely miserable on my birthday. I even got a form letter from the CEO of Wal-Mart’s stores division wishing me a happy birthday. With a misspelling in it, no less. They obviously went to the Dan Quayle school of spelling, as I was wished a “greate” year instead of a “great” year. How professional.

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Categories: Birthdays, Myself

I am trying to make my birthday a non-event this year…

May 28, 2005, 11:00 PM

I am SO trying to make my birthday, May 30, a non-event this year. For some reason I just don’t want to be reminded that it’s coming up, and want it to pass without notice.

And I certainly don’t want it announced over the loudspeaker at work, going so far to say that, while admitting that it is coming up soon, it is on an “undisclosed date”.

I have also told the family in the last day or so that I want NO birthday cake, and NO card. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t particularly want to celebrate my birthday this year. Last year, it was a bit of a non-event, too. That time, instead of saying no cake, I said no chocolate cake, and if I found a chocolate cake, was fully prepared to launch it into the backyard, icing first. It ended up being a red velvet cake, which was satisfactory.

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Categories: Birthdays, Myself

My adventure in College Park…

May 26, 2005, 7:51 PM

I went up to the DC area today, and, in an unusual twist of things, spent NO time above ground in downtown Washington DC.

Arriving at Vienna, one thing I quickly noticed in the North Garage was that the contractor had completed work on the first section of the garage to undergo rehabilitation, and had moved to the second section. I’m not quite sure what they did in rehabilitating it, since it looked exactly the same as it did before. Who knows. On the top level, a pickup truck was parked so badly in its space so as to make the opening for the space next to it a little too close for comfort. Thus there was this very attractive looking empty space, but it was a little too tight of a squeeze to get in there. I ended up having to wait for the guaranteed spaces to open up at 10:00, and then parked on the third level.

Getting on the train at Vienna, I rode a mixed consist of Breda 4000-series cars and CAF cars. Leaving the station, the 4000s were in front, and the four CAFs followed behind. The operator out of Vienna knew me from a previous trip.

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I finally settled my conscience in regards to a March 16 incident…

May 23, 2005, 10:50 PM

I finally settled my conscience regarding a run-in with Metro’s contractor on March 16 at Stadium-Armory. You may know that Metro has Lunchtalk Online chats twice a month. Last Friday’s chat was with Richard White, Metro’s General Manager/CEO, as well as the two new Red Line managers, BJ Jones and Bob Hester, on improving the Metro system.

So I posted a message entitled Safety practices of Metro canopy construction contractor, where I discussed what happened on that day. Mr. White responded that they would follow up with the contractor, which made me feel much better about the whole incident.

By the way, I originally wrote about this incident in my Journal, in the entry dated March 17, 2005 at 5:37 PM, entitled “All in all, it was a good trip to Washington!

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Categories: WMATA

I should do a black-and-white day…

May 22, 2005, 7:17 PM

Seriously, I should do a black and white day. One day when I go to Washington, I should switch Big Mavica over to black-and-white and see what I can come up with. I think it will make me think differently about how I compose my photos, and kind of break the monotony.

I’ve contemplated doing a photo set or something in black and white before, but I’ve always been a bit timid about actually shooting the originals in black-and-white for fear of missing something good in color, or wishing I’d had something in color that was shot in grayscale. Since you can shoot in color and then convert to black-and-white, but you can’t convert black-and-white to color so easily. But of course, that kind of wimping out really got me far. See any black-and-white photo sets on the site? Answer is that at the time of this writing, there are none there. I shot in color, and thus the photos weren’t designed for black and white. Because when you shoot in color, you think in color. And thus they look funky in grayscale.

Compare for a moment, using the Photo Feature that I ran on April 20 of this year:

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Categories: Photography

What’s up? The ceiling.

May 22, 2005, 4:22 PM

Sometimes the “usual” greeting becomes part of the relationship. Other times, it just gets annoying. So goes it sometimes. I have officially had it with people responding to my “what’s up” with “the sky” or “the ceiling”. It’s gotten old, and it’s time to move on to something new.

However, one thing that a coworker and I do is really clever. We each say “hi”, then I say “What’s up?” and she says, “Ain’t nothin’.” That had been going on for months. Recently, we switched it up. I said “hi”, then she said “What’s up?” and I replied, “Ain’t nothin’.” It was clever since we switched our normal responses and it just came off so naturally that we both got a kick out of it. Life is interesting sometimes.

Speaking of interesting days, I went to Lake Moomaw on Thursday as planned. I got there via Lexington and Covington. It’s not the most direct way to get there, but it’s the only way I know (but if you do know of a shorter way to get to the Coles Mountain recreational area, let me know).

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Categories: Lake Moomaw

New glasses!

May 18, 2005, 11:02 PM

So I went to the ophthalmologist today, and I’m happy to announce that my eyes are quite healthy. I also got new glasses, as expected. My new glasses are copper-colored, and are more more squarish than round. So I ended up going with the suggestion by one coworker who said I should get square glasses. I also hope that the other coworker doesn’t consider these new glasses as “old fashioned”.

So what do my new glasses look like? Let’s pull out my “hat mannequin”, which I acquired back in 1996 or so from a store that was going out of business, and let’s model some glasses.

First of all, this is my old pair, which I have been wearing since January 2001:

Old glasses

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Categories: Glasses

Fishing for dachshunds…

May 18, 2005, 10:07 AM

I just went over to Mom and Dad’s room and fished Greta out from under the bed. Today was Merry Maids day, and so they came and gave the house a cleaning. And Greta goes and hides under Mom and Dad’s bed while they’re here.

This goes back to a recurring thread with Greta. She thinks she’s a ferocious watchdog, protecting her family from intruders. But a watchdog she is not. She barks at the TV, and when the Merry Maids show up, she hides under the bed, and barks from there. She goes under the bed on one side, and crawls all the way over to the other side, and stays there. Some watchdog. And then once the Merry Maids leave, she stays there and continues to bark. Sis tried to fish her out earlier (which involves calling her to come out), with no success. So an hour or so after she tried, I successfully extracted her, picking up the dust ruffle around the bed, and calling to her to come out. She came out the same way she went in. And she still won’t shut up. Once she figures out that no one’s around, she’ll be satisfied.

Categories: Greta

“Weekend” doesn’t just mean Saturday and Sunday, you know…

May 17, 2005, 5:44 PM

You know, a weekend is a state of mind, and not necessarily two specific days. My weekend is usually Wednesday and Thursday, and like most people for Saturday and Sunday, I’m so glad when those two days roll around.

It’s interesting how that mindset is, too. If you call Wednesday and Thursday your weekend, then it’s your weekend! So many people at work complain about not getting weekends off, yet you don’t ever hear a peep out of me. My weekend just doesn’t happen to match with the days traditionally designated as weekends. I’ve in fact asked not to be scheduled off on traditional weekend days because I like my mid-week weekend.

So I normally start my week out on Friday, and so Friday is like Monday to me. So the traditional weekend is like Tuesday and Wednesday in my week. Then my “Friday” is actually Tuesday. So for me, today was like Friday, where I know that if I can make it through the day, I get two days of freedom from that big, green building known as Wally World (our store, for those not familiar, is tan and green instead of the normal gray and blue).

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Categories: Myself, Walmart

New glasses – it gives you a chance to update your look…

May 15, 2005, 7:27 PM

I’m going to the ophthalmologist’s office on Wednesday to get my eyes examined, mainly to see how much my vision has changed since January 2001 when I last got things checked (that’s when I first started wearing glasses). My guess is that I’ll probably need to get new glasses when it’s all said and done. Ask my coworkers at Wal-Mart, and they’ll tell you that I have occasionally remarked that I need new glasses.

So… as a result, this gives us the chance to update my look. And glasses do make quite a difference. Compare for a moment:

Glasses:
With glasses

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Categories: Glasses, Myself

I’m becoming a morning person…

May 15, 2005, 4:08 AM

I’ve been working straight mornings (7 AM to 4 PM) for a while now and will be working that for the foreseeable future (read: as far as the schedule goes for). It’s weird, because as a result of this kind of schedule, I’m becoming the one thing I never thought I could be – a morning person! I’ve been getting up before my alarm clock, and turning into Mr. Sunshine in the early morning with little to no caffeine. It’s weird. For years, I was like, “Oh, how I hate mornings,” and now I’m actually becoming one of those morning people.

And of course the benefit is that I get off at 4:00, when the day is still in its prime and I have the whole evening. Not bad.

And meanwhile, I need to make some phone calls about my vacation, which I’m again going to take to Virginia Beach this year. Before I book, I’m going to inquire a few things of that new Travelodge, to make sure that they have the amenities that I want. That would be a refrigerator in the room, and solid sides on the balcony. As you can see from my photos from past beach pics, Ocean Holiday has a fridge, and the balcony does not have solid side walls. Ocean Holiday’s balcony sides were just railings, so you don’t get much privacy on your balcony.

Otherwise, I’m getting an eye exam on Wednesday, and possibly new glasses as a result. That will be interesting. Everyone at work is trying to convince me about what style is “me”. One person went so far as to say my current style is “old fashioned”. Still, I’ll keep you posted as to what I get.

And lastly, the day after the eye exam, on Thursday, I’m going out to Lake Moomaw again! The last time I was out that way was June 14 of last year. So that will be nice to revisit.

Categories: Myself

There was some unexpected excitement when I went to Washington DC this time…

May 12, 2005, 10:10 PM

Yeah, this was not your average Washington DC trip on Wednesday, though not like I noticed anything different aside from the buzz of the people throughout the city.

Normal start, though. Get up, go on up to DC, and find a parking space at Vienna. This time, I actually found a pretty good one, though. As luck would have it, a woman was leaving the parking garage as I was hunting, and so I got a parking space on the top level of the garage, no more than fifty feet from the elevator. Very nice parking. I saw her walking towards the cars, and I said, “Where are you heading?” She pointed to the car, and I positioned myself to get into place. She pulls her car out, and mine goes in.

Then from there, I did my usual Rosslyn thing, and then went back into the Metro right around noon or so.

Meanwhile, in DC, the fun began, as air controllers noticed a small Cessna plane flying into restricted air space over the White House and such. This led to evacuations of the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court, and a few other government buildings.

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At last, I have my Web site back again!

May 9, 2005, 11:24 AM

Finally, after about two weeks of server problems, everything is working properly once again, and I can do regular updates again. I am just tickled.

I know that everyone on the discussion forums will be happy, too, since the server problems caused more issues there than anywhere else. After all, that’s probably the most complicated part of the entire site. Most of the site is fairly simply done.

And then once everything got rectified, then it was a matter of cleaning up the forums. Any new topics attempted during the outage were lost, and so I had to manually create text files and posts for them (since the titles still showed up), and then delete them.

In any case, though, I’m just glad I have my site back.

Categories: Schumin Web meta

As far as I know, I’m completely out of Sis’s room…

May 8, 2005, 10:25 PM

Note the “as far as I know” part of that. I went through Sis’s room tonight and grabbed up everything that was mine that I put in there in January for my botched clean-out project that I didn’t get on Friday. I did, however, stash most of it in the corner of my room here, which hopefully will give me enough space to clean out the closet. If I forgot something, I’m sure Sis will let me know. But I’m pretty sure I got it all.

Otherwise, here’s a tip for all of you when handling fresh flowers, particularly roses. Watch for thorns. A customer today brought a bouquet of fresh roses to my register. I, without giving it a second thought, grabbed them to scan just like I do for most flowers – by the stem end, so as not to mess up the flowered end. And I got a handful of thorns, with a particularly sharp one poking my right middle fingertip. No blood, thankfully. But that was enough for me to quickly drop the arrangement back onto the counter and reassess how to pick up those flowers. That hurt.

Also, have you ever thought about the real scents that companies name their products for? My favorite is the fabric softeners, specifically the “Fresh Rain” scents. I remember the commercial where they say, “Snuggle’s nose knows that the best scent to be found is after the rain falls down.” Have you ever smelled the air right after the rain falls down? It is not a particularly pleasant smell, and it’s certainly not what’s in that bottle of fabric softener. If they made it really smell like the smell of fresh rain, I’m certain it would be a real stinker, both literally and figuratively.

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And we managed to get something accomplished…

May 6, 2005, 10:49 PM

So I didn’t make my goal of getting everything out of Sis’s room. So sue me. But I am almost there, having gotten everything out except for one nearly-empty tub and some small odds and ends. I’ll tackle that after work tomorrow. Still, I’m proud of myself. I got most of the junk out, and I placed it all in a corner of my room that would otherwise sit idle due to the way the furniture’s positioned.

And then once I get the rest of my junk out of Sis’s room, I’m going to start on the closet. I suggested that we just park a dumpster outside my window, but Mom shot that one down. Seriously, though, most of the junk in my closet is just that – junk – and needs to be given the old heave-ho. I think I’ll start with the floor and once I clear that, I’ll work my way up to the shelves.

All in all, it will be a very liberating feeling indeed to be rid of all that junk.

Categories: House