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Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2005, 6:41 PM

What a fun Halloween I had! I spent it where I’ve spent every single Monday for a very long time – work. However, they let us dress up for Halloween, and I had a real blast, too.

This year, I dressed up as The Thnikkaman, which is a variation of Bubs, who runs Bubs’ Concession Stand. All in all, it comes from homestarrunner.com. I love the site, and Thnikkaman was easy to do, too.

All I did was wear an orange “Athletic Works” shirt, my usual black jeans and chucks, and then accessorized it all. I bought some green felt and safety-pinned that around my waist. That made that strange green section on Bubs’s outfit. Then to go from just plain old Bubs to The Thnikkaman, I borrowed a pair of sunglasses from my sister that resembled the ones that The Thnikkaman wore in Strong Bad Email #97. Then to finish the outfit, I printed a red “TH” on paper and pinned that to my shirt. And thus we have Thnikkaman. Check out my costume:

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Categories: Halloween, Homestar Runner

I really need to do something about getting a N-E-W C-A-R…

October 30, 2005, 8:30 PM

Yes, we’re spelling it out. You see, every time I talk about the C-A-R on here, I have some sort of mishap with the Previa. But let me tell you, though… that car is a trooper, but parts are starting to go. The radio went in 2000. The air conditioning died in 2002. At some point, a panel on the interior of the door broke loose. The cruise control started a slow death in 2002 or so and now only works when it feels like it. I also recently got a crack in the windshield. And as you saw not long ago, I had to do a quick-fix on a wiper blade (which still works like a charm).

And now, I have no heat. Absolutely NO heat. Last time I got heat out of the car was on April 16 of this year, when Sis and I went up to Washington DC for A16, and needed heat (and didn’t get heat until halfway up there because we accidentally forgot to switch it over to heat). Then the warmer months came along and I didn’t need the heat. Now it’s cold again, and I have no heat at all. I really need a new car, but since I can’t afford that, I’m going to have to get it repaired. And that means that I’m going to have to call around to find out who will be willing to look at it and such to get it fixed.

And my rule about going to local businesses is that I don’t like going some place where everyone who works there is someone I went to high school with. I don’t like getting called “buddy” by people I never particularly cared for. I prefer to go some place where the people don’t all know me – makes me feel more like a customer.

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A fun day was had by all…

October 27, 2005, 11:48 PM

Now that I’m back home, I’d like to tell you about my surprisingly eventful day in Washington on Wednesday. As I mentioned before, I spent much of the day railfanning with my friend Matthew Tilley. The day was “surprisingly” eventful for two main reasons. One was an incident at New Carrollton, and the other was an incident at Ballston.

I met up with Matthew Tilley at Rosslyn Center, where we’d previously agreed to meet. Not finding him right away, I looked outside the door, and saw a person matching his description outside. The person pulled out their cell phone. I had a feeling that mine would be ringing shortly. Not wanting to be detected, since I knew what I wanted to do here (you’ll see), I quietly stepped outside the door and waited. My cell phone went off as expected. “Hello?” Matthew says, “Where are you?” I replied, “I’m right behind you.” He turned around and hung up the phone. We ended up sitting at the tables on the first floor of Rosslyn Center for a few minutes before starting out, talking about what Metro and what we were going to do for the day and such.

Then we started out. Blue Line in the direction of Franconia-Springfield. We went as far as King Street. There, we got off, and I discovered a strange object on the platform:

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Categories: DC trips, Matthew, WMATA

What a fun time!

October 26, 2005, 5:25 PM

I had quite a fun time in DC with my friend Matthew Tilley today. We went railfanning, since he’s quite the Metro buff as well. We met up at Rosslyn, and then rode to Huntington via Arlington Cemetery with a transfer at King Street, then rode back up and transferred to the Blue Line again at L’Enfant Plaza, rode out to Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center, rode back to Stadium-Armory and transferred to an Orange Line train out to New Carrollton. Then we rode back in, and we parted company at L’Enfant Plaza. All in all, a fun day. We rode the trains, and also walked around at a number of stations. The Exeloo, however, was closed. A shame.

Meanwhile, now I’m at the Infoshop, where I’ve got a small notice posted to hopefully get some people to contribute to WikiProject Anti-war.

And next up: Pentagon City! This has really been a fun day, and I have lots of stories to tell you (particularly about our time at New Carrollton). I also got some beautiful photos today, and hopefully they’ll all come out like I want them to.

Categories: DC trips, Matthew

I’ll bet you had no idea that the Blue Line ran to Staunton…

October 23, 2005, 6:59 PM

Yes – in this very strange dream that I had, Metro runs to Staunton, near where I live. Specifically, Staunton Mall. And specifically, the Blue Line.

In this dream, Mom and I were at Staunton Mall at night. We were out shopping, and I discovered that there was a Metro station at Staunton Mall. It was an elevated station, with side platforms similar to Eisenhower Avenue or West Hyattsville. So while Mom was telling me to hurry up and such, I went up and visited the station. Somehow, in this dream though, I wasn’t on the platform. I was in the trackbed. There were no “third rails” in the trackbed, for some reason. Go figure. After I’d crossed from one track to the other, Mom shouted to me that I was in the tracks and what if a train was coming. That’s when I decided to climb up onto the platform opposite where I originally was (which I was now standing next to). Then I noticed something to my right:

Train similar to the one in my dream

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Categories: Dreams, WMATA

Good morning!

October 22, 2005, 4:57 AM

Good morning… I have the house to myself this weekend, and thus I will be spending it going to work and taking care of the dog. The parents are going to a wedding in New Jersey this weekend.

To get to New Jersey, they took I-81 to Carlisle, followed the road that connects I-81 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), and then took the turnpike to the Schuylkill Expressway through Philadelphia into New Jersey.

And discussing the non-connection between I-81 and the turnpike, my father still insists someone must have gotten paid off to create that, despite my insistence that it’s related to rules on use of funds at the time of construction. Basically, the rule in place at that time stated that if you’re going to use federal funds to build a direct connection serving a toll road, then the toll road must cease collecting tolls once the bonds are paid off. Otherwise, the toll authority must fund the direct connection themselves. Or, as happened here, they can simply not build a direct connection between the two highways.

This, by the way, is also the same set of rules that created the better-known non-connection west of here between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-70 at Breezewood.

Still, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get Dad to realize that no one was paid off in creating the non-connection at Carlisle. When I told him that it was about rules unrelated to the specific project in question, he said that it was probably the rulemakers who got paid off.

So there you go. It’s like Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” Thus non-connections.

Categories: Family, Roads

Choosing a new color scheme is like looking at color swatches…

October 21, 2005, 1:25 AM

I’m working on the preliminary stages of a site redesign, and as with every year, I start with writer’s block before suddenly getting inspiration.

This year, keeping in mind that the look I choose will be the one that the site wears for its ten-year anniversary, I have been looking at silver as a possible color. I’m not too keen on using gray as a main color, but I’m hoping to artsy it up a bit and add some more color to it to balance out the grayness of it – though silver is a nice color.

You know what this reminds me of? Going through all the color swatches in the paint department of Wal-Mart or Lowe’s looking for the proper color of paint for various paint jobs I’ve done in the past. After a while, you just start to get numb to it. This is how you can tell I’m not cut out to be a decorator. Blue is blue. This is blue. I also consider this to be simply blue. And after a while, they all kind of start to look the same. And this is also why it’s not a good idea to start obsessing over colors over an extended period. Short sessions are good before it gets mind-numbing.

Still, though, I’m not going to be able to tell you the difference between “Bondi Blue”, “Azure”, “Cerulean”, “Cornflower”, “Dodger”, “Denim”, etc. I lump them all into “blue” and say “that one”.

But the interior decor metaphor goes on, as I choose a color scheme to carry the site to the big 1-0 mark and pick something that isn’t going to make me want to retch when I see the finished product…

Categories: Schumin Web meta

I can’t believe it’s been a year…

October 17, 2005, 3:43 AM

I can’t believe it’s been a year, but it has. Right now, one year ago at the time of this writing, I was just leaving the house to head to Washington DC to attend the Million Worker March. That was quite a day. I met Jess for the first time at the Million Worker March. I also consider it the moment that I became part of the DC activist crowd, because it was at the Million Worker March that I first met a number of people that I later got to know more extensively at other protests and at the Infoshop. Speaking of which, this was also the first time I’d ever been to the Infoshop. Jess introduced me to the Infoshop for the first time after the Million Worker March.

I just can’t get over that it’s been a year, though. That was also the only protest I’ve been to where something didn’t go wrong either on the way up or back. Since on the drive to or from protests, I usually have something weird happen to me. My very first protest, on April 12, 2003, I got a speeding ticket on the way up. June 5, 2004, I soaked the undercarriage of my car on the exit ramp for Vienna, which caused the car to strain at 25 mph for the final little bit to the station. October 2, 2004 (Day of Activism), I got sick and threw up at a rest area near Manassas (most likely due to nervousness). Then October 17, 2004 was the Million Worker March. Nothing. Since then, on January 20, 2005 (J20), I had an awful time coming home due to snow. Then on April 16, 2005 (A16) with Sis, the car initially didn’t want to start up in the morning (it performed fine the rest of the day). We also forgot to turn on the heat, and wondered what was wrong with the heat because it was still so cold in the car. We figured out that we’d never turned the heat on (despite thinking we had) about halfway to DC. Then on September 24, 2005 (September 24 Protests), I nearly got physically sick again on the way up.

Still, that day was something. It was the most fun I’d had all year in 2004. The whole thing was just like a dream, and I was honestly sad to return to real life after it. And let me tell you – I will never forget that day.

And how am I celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Million Worker March? I’m going to work. It is Monday, after all.

Categories: Activism

It’s done…

October 14, 2005, 11:57 PM

Finally, my September 24 photo set is finished. Three weeks from shooting to completion. Of course, this means that now I don’t have to look at my photos from September 24 for a while. For let me tell you… when you do a photo set, particularly a large one like September 24 (121 photos plus 14 movies), trust me when I say you can get tired of looking at the photos.

But I’m quite proud of the set. I covered the Mobilization for Global Justice’s feeder march, I covered the ANSWER/UFPJ march, I covered the Freepers, plus I met up with Mom after it was all over.

Now the next photo set in the hopper is from my vacation to the beach. I’m also working on some anti-war stuff for Wikipedia, and some stuff about the Metro, also for Wikipedia.

I also have the 2005 redesign to think about, and I can tell you this – it’s getting later and later every year. The annual redesign was originally in September when I first started doing redesigns annually in 1999. Then it was moved up to July in 2001. Then 2004’s was in October. Now, since I have a backlog of photo sets, and since I generally like the way the Web site currently looks and operates, I’m thinking about doing a very minor redesign on the site, mainly to correct any shortcomings on this design that turned up in the year we’ve had it.

Hello from my phone…

October 12, 2005, 12:39 PM

I am sending this from the middle of Dupont Circle on my cell phone! I am amused. Needless to say, typing like this is cumbersome, but it is something new.

Categories: Schumin Web meta

“I work alone, except when I work with Renaldo – which is all the time.”

October 12, 2005, 4:20 AM

I’m about to head up to Washington today, for the first time since the big September 24 protest. Depending on the weather, I hope to get some outdoor photo sets today.

Meanwhile, it’s funny… the day after the September 24 protests, Mom read in our local paper (I believe it was The News Virginian) about how a group from Augusta County went to the big protest. I believe the group was the Augusta Coalition for Peace and Justice, which participated in the protests at the Augusta County Courthouse that I spoke about in August (and which I could not attend due to being on vacation).

Mom wondered why I didn’t go with them and instead did my own thing. I simply replied, taking a line directly from Dangeresque on homestarrunner.com: “I work alone, except when I work with Renaldo – which is all the time.”

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Categories: Anti-war, DC trips

My trip to Starbucks to get a Venti Coffee Frappuccino…

October 10, 2005, 9:57 PM

I finally visited the new Starbucks Coffee in Waynesboro after work today. Yes, that’s right. Starbucks in Waynesboro. I never thought of Waynesboro as a Starbucks kind of town, but there you have it. I guess someone thought we were.

So I went over there to check the place out. It was built on a small property, where the old KFC once stood (KFC moved to a bigger property next door and the old building was demolished). It’s bigger inside than it looks, too. Going in, I remembered SpinnWebe‘s parody of my original Wal-Mart photo set, now in Life and Times, and so I ordered a Venti Coffee Frappuccino. So this is what it looked like:

Venti Coffee Frappuccino at Starbucks in Waynesboro

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“I am your knight in black armor!”

October 2, 2005, 4:12 PM

Yes, I actually said that to a coworker today when I relieved them on the self-checkouts on the grocery side in our store.

Why did I say it? Well, I bought this lovely black mock-turtleneck shirt last night, and I tried it out today at work. And let me tell you… I looked sharp in that. Imagine for a moment, if you will: Black mock-turtleneck shirt, black jeans, black shoes (my Chucks), and blue Wal-Mart vest.

And in switching out on the self-checkouts with this particular coworker, who’d not had a break in too long, I knew I was a welcome sight.

Plus we must admit – I look good in black. It’s like that song Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic: “And my homies agree, I really look good in black, fool…” There’s another coworker and I who each describe ourselves as the best wearers of black in the store, since we both wear it so well.

Plus I like the look.

Otherwise, while talking fashion, I still don’t understand people whose shoes do not “agree” with the rest of the outfit. This has come to mind because it’s been cold in the morning lately, and so people pull out jackets and such. So you have people wearing long pants, long sleeves, a jacket, a wool hat (in one case), and flip flops with otherwise bare feet. I’m just like, aren’t your feet cold?

Me, if I’m going somewhere and dress like it’s cooler, I’m going the full nine yards, no questions asked.

Categories: Clothing, Music

“That’s a word that grown-ups use…”

October 1, 2005, 10:30 PM

The thing to remember when you’re playing Pac-Man in a game room with children present and you get eaten by a ghost is to mind your language. When I play Pac-Man and get eaten by a ghost, I usually let out a mild expletive (it starts with “D”). Doing that and then realizing that children were present in the game room, I said to myself, “There are children in the room…” and just kept reminding myself of that.

I figure that the children’s parents would really love me if I inadvertently taught them some new words that would be less-than-appropriate in polite company. Sure, the children will likely learn those words eventually, but I don’t exactly want to be the one to teach those words to them.

And you also have to wonder… what would you say if a child heard you curse, and they asked you about it? (This didn’t happen to me, by the way.) That would be one heck of a tight spot to have to tiptoe your way out of. A response might be, “Well, that’s a word that grownups use when they’re not careful about what they’re saying. And you should never say that word.”

Since we certainly don’t want to rob these children of their innocence any earlier than necessary. Television does a fine job of it already, and it doesn’t need any competition. And I need to remember to mind what I say when I get eaten by a ghost playing Pac-Man. Since I don’t want to be the one to teach these children all kinds of naughty words. And remembering my time as a child, naughty words are kind of a novelty. They’re a novelty specifically because you’re not supposed to say them.

And again, I don’t want to provide the children with these novelties.

Categories: Language