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What a wonderful dinner!

May 31, 2006, 11:17 PM

What a wonderful dinner we had at O’Charley’s! Dad met us up there, since it made more sense for him to meet us up there than go back home. So Mom, Sis, and I went up to Harrisonburg in the Sable via Route 11 (the scenic route through several small towns) and then cut through JMU to get to Harrisonburg Crossing.

Everything went well. The only point where things went slightly awry was when all the staff came out to wish some other customer a happy birthday. Sis mentioned how good of an idea it would be to mention it to our server that this was my birthday dinner. Then our server came out, and Sis mentioned it to her. My exact response was, “Don’t even think about it.” It worked out, though. Our server said she’d bring out a cake without the fanfare. And it was a nice cake.

Still, like I need the sugar and calories in a cake.

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My 25th birthday went quite well!

May 31, 2006, 2:09 AM

My 25th birthday, unlike my 24th birthday, did NOT suck.

I was off work, and with Sis in Blacksburg and the parents at their own workplaces, I had the day to myself. I got up, I ate something, and then went to work on the Web site. I got the upcoming Outlet Village photo set very close to completion, with the goal of releasing it on May 31.

I got the photos whittled down to 65, prepped them, and placed them all on a blank Schumin Web template. All I have to do is arrange them like I want, determine a “break point” to split the set into two parts, and I’m done. I chose May 31 for a release date, because that’s the day that the Outlet Village closes for good. Thus after we won’t be able to see the Outlet Village live and in person anymore, at least we’ll still have the memories.

The goal of my day was to finally renew my driver’s license. See this entry and this entry for more information on my license renewal ordeal. This time, though, I was successful, and I got another great license picture. The only difference between my old license and my new license besides the photo is the license number. The old license had my Social Security Number as the license number. I now have one of those “T numbers” on there (e.g. T00-00-0000). So all in all, good deal.

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Categories: Birthdays, Myself

Memorial Day weekend…

May 28, 2006, 11:07 PM

One thing you just have to love is Memorial Day weekend. People come in and buy hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, and beer. And some people are nice to their dedicated Wal-Mart cashiers who have to work the entire holiday weekend, while they’re eating and boozing it up. And then some people are crabby. The crabby ones are the ones you just want to strangle, because they make an unpleasant weekend even worse. Add to that the fact that I have a crummy schedule for the next three bloody weeks, and it’s just not fun. I have NO early mornings all three of these weeks. The earliest I come in is 9 AM. My usual schedule is coming in at seven, and out by four.

Otherwise, my birthday is this Tuesday. This year, I’m taking it kind of nonchalantly. No huge celebrations, but then again, I’m not rebelling against it this year like I did in 2005, where I wanted nothing to do with it at all. The only celebrating that I want is to go to dinner, and I haven’t even picked the restaurant yet.

I do know one thing, though – it’s not going to be T-Bone Jacks in Waynesboro. There was a fire there in the wee hours of Saturday morning, which basically gutted the place, and caused the roof to collapse in one place. They say it’s not arson, according to news reports. They say it started as an electrical fire in a back office. Most you can see from Lew Dewitt Boulevard is yellow caution tape all around the building and lots of smoke damage. Smoke seems to have come out of every possible opening based on the marks on the building. It even came out in between the individual sections of wood on the side. I figure when you consider the damage to the building, they’ll probably demolish the building and rebuild at the same location. I just hope they had insurance.

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Mobile Web just got a shot of Schumin…

May 25, 2006, 5:27 PM

What can I say? I’m tickled. I just completed a version of my Journal that’s optimized for display and navigation on a Web-enabled cell phone. I call it “The Schumin Web Mobile Edition”.

And why only the Journal? Because the whole thing is database-driven, and thus it’s easy to convert. No having to do any reconfiguring on the regular site at all. I just created a second interface for it from scratch and ta-da. It looks like crap on the regular Web, but it looks fine on the phone.

Compare what we see on the Web using a real computer…

Mobile Edition as viewed on the Web

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

Well, that’s a relief!

May 25, 2006, 1:51 PM

I went and had that eye exam today, and there were no surprises there. When they checked me, they even admitted that it was really strange that I failed the test at the DMV office. Indeed, with glasses on, I have perfect vision. So $90 later, I passed the vision test with flying colors.

It’s funny, though, regarding getting to the appointment. I went to what I thought was the office on the first floor of the Medical Office Building, which is a wing of the Augusta Medical Center building. I get there, and I see something that’s definitely not Augusta Eye Associates. I’m like, What in the heck? I caught the nearest person with an AMC identification, and asked what happened to Augusta Eye Associates. As it turned out, they moved across the street to a new building. Very nice, too. Well-decorated, and so spacious.

And I absolutely love that “new building smell” that the office had. I absolutely love that smell.

Categories: Myself

Some people have no consideration…

May 22, 2006, 10:13 PM

I can’t believe what happened today after work at the gas station in front of Martin’s. I was waiting in line for the pump, and this old man in a white Honda Accord went forward out of the pumps and rammed me.

Why was forward a bad move? It’s because I was already occupying that position and his clear space was behind him. My gas tank is on the right, and so I sometimes have to make some odd maneuvers.

So this man didn’t even think to look behind him for the clear area to leave. Instead, he tried to go forward past me in a very tight maneuver that he didn’t have the room to make. So in going out, he hit my Sable. In the end, he left some paint from his car on my front bumper, and a small scratch on my car.

Here’s what happened:

Scratch on the Sable's front bumper

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“The platform elevators at Crystal City is out of service. Shuttle bus service is available from Pentagon City.”

May 20, 2006, 5:46 PM

Yes, that’s an actual line from a Metro train operator that my friend Tristan and I encountered on a Blue Line train to Pentagon City on Tuesday. Note “The platform elevators at Crystal City is out of service. Such hideous grammar…

Now, though, it’s Saturday, and I’m in DC again. There was an ANSWER Coalition rally and march related to Latin American issues that I covered strictly as a photographer. Thus, I didn’t participate directly, nor did I march the route. I took the Metro to the ending point. The opening rally was at Malcolm X Park, and the closing rally at Lafayette Square. So all in all, fun.

It’s funny, though… the first protest I ever went to was an ANSWER event. Now, though, they seem to have gotten so “out there” that I understand why so many people don’t want to associate with them. ANSWER does best when they attack issues like the Iraq War. This one didn’t draw the same kind of crowd (and certainly not the Infoshop crowd), and seemed a little bit “out there” politically.

I was amused, though, that ANSWER gave me press credentials for the event. Seriously. I have a badge from ANSWER that says “Media” on it. I didn’t wear it (no one’s going to stop me from photographing an event on public property), but it’s a souvenir of the day. So I kept it. I’ll post it on here later on.

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Categories: Activism, DC trips

Cheers to Mozilla Firefox! Jeers to Internet Explorer 7 and AIM Triton

May 19, 2006, 5:08 PM

As you might be able to tell from the subject line, I tried out some new software products today.

First of all, I finally took the time to download and install the Mozilla Firefox browser application. I was quite impressed with the way Firefox operates on my computer. It has all the things that I like about IE, and isn’t afraid to look like a computer program. Plus it has tabbed browsing, which keeps things neat and tidy. I was an instant convert to Mozilla.

I also upgraded my Internet Explorer to the newest version, which was IE 7. IE 7 also offers tabbed browsing and such. However, it was so “heavy” that it slowed my computer down (my computer is eight years old), and the interface was confusing. All I have to say is that if this is the future of Internet Explorer, I’m jumping ship. I was not impressed.

Then there’s AIM Triton. Like IE, it was somewhat “heavy”, and the interface was hideous. Most of the handy features that I liked about AIM were gone, and it was pretty bad overall. It also came with AOL’s own Web browser, which was not welcome on my computer from the outset. The one nice thing about it was that it didn’t install over my old AIM, so going back to the old version was a snap. It was still there and waiting for me. So I just uninstalled AIM Triton and that was it. Sometimes there’s no program like an old program, after all.

And I’m just glad to have finally discovered Mozilla. What a lovely browser.

Categories: Computer, Internet

My new cell phone inspired me to make an enhancement…

May 17, 2006, 4:07 AM

I got a new cell phone last week while I was up in Harrisonburg, and it’s definitely an improvement over the old one. Along with a 1.3 megapixel camera (wheee!), this one has a better mobile Web feature. It actually displays graphics, and all in all makes things very easy to get around in, provided that the site is optimized for such a use.

And The Schumin Web is a pain in the butt to get around in on the mobile browser. It’s because my design is optimized for display on a computer monitor with a conventional browser. I use a big table to lay everything out, for proper viewing on a computer. With that, the phone then tries to make do with what it’s given.

As a result, the first thing you get is my logo and the “Celebrating ten years online” message beneath it. Then you get the list of sections. Then it displays the header image, and from there it rattles off the menu. Then it displays a large black box, which is how it renders that black vertical line that I use as a divider. Then, after navigating through all of that, you finally get to the actual content. By then your thumb is tired from all the scrolling, and you’ve probably decided it’s not worth the trouble to browse my site on your phone.

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I didn’t think it was possible to screw up spaghetti…

May 15, 2006, 9:47 PM

Well, it’s Monday night, and the whole house has the smell of burned food in it as I accidentally burned a pot of spaghetti. And of all foods, I thought that spaghetti was the one food that you couldn’t mess up.

And it really is my fault for burning it. I put it in the pot, and then left it for a while, during which time I worked on a future photo set for the Web site and talked to a few friends online. Then, remembering that I had spaghetti on the stove, I “brb”-ed myself, and went downstairs, where the distinct smell of burned food greeted me. I caught that smell and my exact thought was, that’s not a good sign. In the pot, the water had boiled away, and some of the spaghetti was stuck to the pan. So I took it off the heat, and with the pot in one hand, I pulled out the colander and salvaged what I could. The spaghetti was sticky and slightly gloppy, but I got it out. I also scraped out a lot of burned spaghetti. Eww. And right down the garbage disposal with that. That pot’s going to need a little work to get all that gunk off of it.

But the unburned spaghetti was salvageable, and I still had a nice dinner, after I added the chunky Ragu sauce. But now we know better for next time, despite that after so many cookings of spaghetti, this is the first time I’ve screwed it up.

Categories: Food and drink

Tonight, I pledge a set of kitchen chairs!

May 13, 2006, 9:24 PM

I have two cans of Pledge (as in the furniture polish) so that I can work on a set of chairs we used to have in the kitchen and then stored off-site.

A little history for you… we bought the table (which is still in storage off site) at Freight Sales Furniture in Bentonville, Arkansas right before we moved to Virginia.

Freight Sales Furniture, for those of you who don’t know, is (or was, I don’t know) a small furniture chain that had locations in Joplin, Missouri, and also Fort Smith, Springdale, and Bentonville in Arkansas. Their spokespeople were Lurlene Freight and Lois Price. Lois Price had a thick southern accident, curly blond hair, and was a touch overdressed. Her big line was, “Remember, if you’re looking for Lois Price, I’ll always be at Freight Sales Furniture!”

Anyway, we set up the table in the house here, and that’s where it lived until 2003.

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Categories: Advertising, House

How does one fail the DMV vision test?

May 11, 2006, 2:49 PM

How does one fail the DMV vision test? I’d like to know. I went to DMV today to renew my license, and subsequently failed the vision test. Weird. And it wasn’t that things were fuzzy. Things did look sharp, but they all looked like 8s. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, because I can see. Quite well, as long as I’m wearing my glasses. I wonder if it’s the machine, because I didn’t think to ask to use a different machine. Either way, though, I have to go see Dr. Patel at AMC again to get an eye exam. But DMV said that once I get the eye exam and Dr. Patel fills out their form, that will bypass DMV’s vision test. All in all, weird.

Otherwise, though, I went up to Harrisonburg today. I actually am writing this from JMU, and I got an interesting photo of myself with my cell phone that will probably end up being May’s photo on the front of the site. Still, things have changed at JMU. Taylor Down Under has been rearranged, with a new TDU stage, and some other stuff has been shuffled around. I also visited Harrison Hall, which was just starting renovations when I graduated. Now, it’s done, and it’s interesting. It’s certainly not the rathole that I remember from my college days anymore.

I also stopped at Steve and Barry’s to see if I could get more tie-dye shirts. In a word: No. They clearanced them all out, and so there are none left to wear. A shame.

So all and all, it’s been an interesting day. I still have more stuff to take care of in Harrisonburg, so I’m not done yet…

Categories: JMU, Myself

This is a shirt that got me some attention…

May 11, 2006, 12:07 AM

Today going to work, I went with a different shirt than usual. My regular shirts are simple. Solid, and with a few buttons on the front.

Today? Tie-dye. When I was putting away my winter clothes on Tuesday, I found a new shirt that I’d forgotten about in the bottom of things. I figure that I probably got it from Mom either last Christmas or the Christmas before that. It was tie-dyed – blue and darker blue. It fit me really well, and so I took the tags off and introduced it into the regular clothes rotation. And thus Wednesday was the first day it was out.

And what did the coworkers have to say? It was a very nice change from my regular wardrobe, and that they liked it. And the best part? The comments were unsolicited. I just kind of went about my business, and the comments just kind of rolled in.

So now this brings me to an interesting question. I need to get some more warm-weather shirts anyway. More tie-dye? It’s an idea… I’m going to go price shirts at the mall tomorrow where the shirt came from (Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear) and see how feasible that might be.

Categories: Clothing

Sometimes people just amuse me…

May 5, 2006, 11:50 AM

Sometimes people really amuse me. In this case, a user on Wikipedia not only flamed me on multiple occasions for editing “his” article about Skyview High School (which I encountered while perusing Articles for Deletion), but then, when he realized that he couldn’t do anything about my edits, he proceeded to go from decent contributor to blatant vandal. What’s really funny is that he nominated my user page for deletion on Wikipedia. He also vandalized it three times. These were reverted by myself and two other users.

One thing I like about Wikipedia, though, is that no matter how destructive some individuals can be, their electronic feces can be cleaned up and everything fixed. The Articles for Deletion discussion about my user page was closed 33 minutes after it was opened.

And in the end, the fool was blocked for his vandalism and personal attacks.

Categories: Wikipedia

That was fun…

May 4, 2006, 10:07 AM

I had fun while I went out on Tuesday. As I kind of implied in the last entry, I went to Breezewood, Pennsylvania, which as it turns out is feasible to run as a day trip.

Going up, I took I-81 to I-70 just south of Hagerstown, Maryland. Then I took I-70 straight into Breezewood. First thing I did was to drive up to the east end of the strip and reset my trip meter to get an idea of the length of it. Turns out that it’s a half-mile from the first motels to the last. Then, finishing that, I couldn’t find a place to turn around for several miles. No one told me that US 30 becomes a divided highway west of Breezewood. Getting back into the subject area, I first went to McDonald’s, which had been remodeled since I was last there in 2003, and had their Asian Salad for lunch. Then after lunch, Starbucks let me use their lot while I did the photo set. Then from there, I walked back up towards the Ramada, crossed, walked back down to the other end, crossed again, and then returned to Starbucks.

And I took over 400 photos in the process. We’ll see how this turns out as a photo set.

Since I was working along a very busy highway, much of it with an Interstate designation (I-70 follows US 30 through Breezewood), where there were no sidewalks, and for that matter no facilities at all for pedestrians, I used my FliteStar vest to make sure people could see me. It worked out. In fact, I think I accidentally fooled a Turnpike employee into thinking I worked for the PTC. A turnpike worker in his car waved hello to me. I waved back.

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Categories: Photography, Places