I now know what cranberries really taste like…

July 31, 2006, 7:02 PM

First of all, considering my recent illness, I’m pretty much convinced that it was food poisoning, considering that I got really sick all of a sudden, with the fever and all the other symptoms of being sick, and then with it going away so fast like it did.

But now I feel fine, and so life is good. And today, I got something new with my lunch and discovered something. I discovered what cranberries taste like. Previously, whenever I’d have something with cranberries in it, it would usually be something like cranberry sauce, or the food would have cranberries in it. Or if drinking it, it wouldn’t be straight cranberry juice. Cranberry-apple, cranberry-grape, etc. Or even if it was just cranberries, it would have been sweetened.

Today, I bought a 32-ounce container of Ocean Spray 100% all-natural unsweetened cranberry juice (from concentrate) to have some of with my lunch. No one commented on the faces I made, but I certainly made some faces when I was drinking some of that. This was certainly something. I had about half of the container on my lunch, and the other half on my last break. And I did have it all myself. However, I did have to make a minor “adjustment” to it in order to finish the container. “Unsweetened” lost its “un” when I added some sugar to the juice to make it more palatable. I couldn’t handle it straight. Consider this “wimping out”. But I did get my money’s worth out of it, even if I did have to sweeten it slightly.

Categories: Food and drink

Being sick is no fun…

July 30, 2006, 12:58 AM

Let me tell you, being sick straight-up sucks. I don’t know how I got it, but I was out of commission on Saturday. This marks the first time I have called out sick to work since 1999 when I dislocated a shoulder, and the first time ever with Wal-Mart.

This that I had would be your typical “sick”, too. I had a fever, I had a headache, I was wobbly, and I felt like I had weights on both feet. I spent much of the day in bed.

Now, though, I think we’re on the road to recovery. I’ve been sweating, which means that the fever’s going away, and I’m just feeling better overall. I don’t like missing work, and so I’m glad to be feeling better again.

Categories: Personal health

Firefighter Schumin is on his way!

July 26, 2006, 9:09 PM

Wasn’t today an exciting day at work!

Not long after my first break, one of our cart pushers reported that there was a mulch fire in the parking lot. One of our CSMs, knowing I’m on the safety team, came up to the service desk and got me, and handed me a fire extinguisher. I quickly found out what was going on as we were walking out to the parking lot to the fire. I ended up ripping off the tag and pulling out the pin on the way out the door.

We got to the mulch that was on fire in the parking lot. It was on a traffic island about a third of the way down the lot. After chasing off some very stupid teenagers who were trying to put it out by stomping it out in their flip flops (very dumb teenagers), I went to work. Since I had already pulled the pin, I went about it as I’d seen in the past, staying low, aiming for the base of the fire, and sweeping side to side. And I got the fire out, too. It seems that what I’d learned had sunken in fairly well, as I’d performed flawlessly despite having never actually used a fire extinguisher before.

I used up the entire extinguisher on it, just to be on the safe side. It’s just as well, too, since you can’t reuse a fire extinguisher that’s been discharged until it’s professionally recharged. But like I said, I got the fire out.

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Categories: Today's Special, Walmart

This Thursday, the kitchen counters go in…

July 26, 2006, 1:18 AM

Mom found out today that our new kitchen counters are going in this Thursday. These new countertops are STONE. Mom actually went to Roanoke to pick out a slab of granite a few weeks ago that would become our new counters.

I am impressed. So on Thursday, they go in. And we had nearly fourteen years with the old counters. The old ones were cheap counters with some sort of laminate on top of them. These new ones are nice. I’m told that if you put something really hot on them, that the worst that will happen is that the surface will get hot for a while.

So that ought to be nice. And so preparing food will be a touch tricky for the next few days while they put it in.

Otherwise, today I ran the first vertical photo feature since the main page was redesigned. And it’s from my very first protest back on April 12, 2003 of a black bloc demonstrator. Boy, oh boy, oh boy… that was an interesting protest. The word “greenhorn” comes to mind to describe how I handled that event. I had never heard of a black bloc back then, and I had certainly never seen masked demonstrators before in real life. But this was real life, and there they were. And I never thought that three years out from that first demonstration, that I would have participated in a black bloc six times.

But seriously, though, if you look at the April 12, 2003 protest and compare it with something more recent, like Night March, you’ll see a big difference. The first one is very much an account of a first protest, while the other one comes from a more seasoned participant.

Categories: House, Schumin Web meta

College shirt weekend at work led to an amusing photo in the end…

July 23, 2006, 1:47 AM

Yes, it was college shirt weekend at our store this weekend, and so I made sure to represent JMU.

But what’s funny is the shirt that I chose. I went hunting through my closet to find a JMU shirt. I was really looking for a “JMU Alumni” shirt that Mom got me, since that’s what I really wanted to wear. I ended up not finding that, and the only thing I found that was suitable for late July ended up being my old Office of Residence Life “purple shirt”. That would be this shirt, seen here back in the day. So I wore that under my vest. And purple and maroon certainly do look good together. Judge for yourself:

Wearing the Residence Life "purple shirt" with my Wal-Mart vest

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Categories: JMU, Walmart

“This is the best elevator music I’ve ever heard!”

July 22, 2006, 1:56 AM

First time I’d ever heard the term “elevator music” was actually on The Cosby Show, at the end of the sixth-season opening, when Bill Cosby says, “This is the best elevator music I’ve ever heard!”

I, being eight years old at the time, thought that “elevator music” was a genre, akin to rock and roll or classical, rather than something more practical: Music that gets played in an elevator. Though note that I’ve never actually been in an elevator with music being piped in.

Nowadays, though, I genuinely enjoy so-called “elevator music” when I just want something – nothing in particular – to drown out the silence. Music from The Weather Channel does really well for that. This would be why I hate the voice during the local forecast saying, “Currently in your area…” Then I also have a clip called “elevator music” and a bit of something else that allegedly was played on The Weather Channel.

So yeah, I’m a nerd.

And speaking of the title of this entry, it’s funny… the clip I have on my iPod of the sixth-season Cosby Show theme was from an Italian translation of the show. Thus instead of “This is the best elevator music I’ve ever heard!” it’s something else in a different voice in Italian. I was playing that for Mom on the way home from Harrisonburg once. She was surprised to hear that.

Categories: Music, Television

I bought a confetti maker…

July 21, 2006, 8:50 PM

Yes, I bought a confetti maker – in other words, paper shredder – after work yesterday. I figure it’s a good thing to have, so that one can shred all of one’s confidential but no longer needed documents. And I made sure to get the cross cut shredder, thus the “confetti maker” term. I like the cross cut shredder over the strip cut shredder.

I bought it at Staples. Since they had display models set up in the store, I shredded some things with the floor model before I bought one of my own. I think I destroyed about half of their brochures on shredding before I decided to get one. After all, though, one has to make sure that everything gets shredded into confetti to one’s satisfaction before going off and purchasing one.

Now I just need to play with this thing. Just don’t do like Fred Pfisterer wrote about in his “Follow the Leader” column, where he wrote that he shredded, among other things, the instructions to his shredder. I just need to make sure that anything important is locked away and out of sight before I have a shredding party. Don’t want to destroy anything important by accident now…

Categories: Products

Meanwhile, at the Infoshop…

July 18, 2006, 4:32 PM

While on the same DC trip, I made a visit to the Infoshop. The last time that I’d been there was on June 6, and since that visit, DC had a so-called “100-year” flood. And during that flood, the Infoshop, being a basement location, took on some water. This caused the Infoshop to close for a few days. There wasn’t too much damage, but they did lose the carpet. Sis can be seen sitting on said carpet in this photo from the A16 photo set:

Sis on the carpet at the Infoshop

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Categories: DC trips

Fire alarm at Hecht’s!

July 18, 2006, 4:20 PM

So I was in DC today, and was on the fourth floor of the large Hecht’s department store at Metro Center, which I visited to get out of the heat and make a visit to a men’s room. So while I was washing my hands…


I initially figured that someone had accidentally tripped the alarm for a fire exit door that was nearby. Coming out of the restroom, I noticed a very old-looking red light on the wall was flashing. The light said “FIRE” on it in white letters. Hmmm, I thought. It seems that the fire alarm is going off. I asked a store employee what was going on, and they had no idea. I was getting ready to leave anyway, and so I took the escalator back down. But not first before reaching into my camera bag and turning on Big Mavica. This was the first time that I’d been somewhere with a fire alarm going off in a LOOOOOOONG time, and so I set it to movie mode and started filming.

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Categories: DC trips, Fire alarms

Wait a second… where am I?

July 18, 2006, 12:43 AM

I made what I consider a real doozie on the PA tonight. Like at most 24-hour Wal-Marts, parts of the store, like the Service Desk, close overnight. So I made the closing announcement for the Service Desk. Usually, it goes like this:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Service Desk is now closed, and will reopen at 7 AM. If you wish to make a return before that time, you may do so at any open register. (Repeat once)

As always, we thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart, and have a safe and pleasant evening.

This time, the announcement went like this:

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Categories: Walmart

I feel very dressed-down today…

July 14, 2006, 11:22 PM

At work, every Friday is blue jean day. Pay a dollar to Children’s Miracle Network, and wear blue jeans that day. For the past two years, I have shunned blue jean day every single Friday. I’d never worn blue jeans to work, and saved my dollar each week. I did this primarily because I didn’t have any blue jeans that fit right.

However, now that I’ve lost some weight (the same weight loss that lead to the April 26 wardrobe malfunction), I gave an old pair of blue jeans a try. Much to my surprise, they fit, and fit quite well. This pair of jeans was one that was in good condition from a long time ago. I bought these jeans on August 19, 1999, on a trip to Pentagon City and Potomac Mills with my friend Andrea Fox. I was 18. This was the week before I’d started my freshman year of college. In other words, this was clothing bought before the so-called “freshman 15” came on. So I am doing quite well, thank you. And I have room to maneuver in these pants, too. So I am just awesome.

So where were we going with this? Oh, yes.

So I wore the jeans. Add my tie-dye shirt to that mix, which is a few different shades of blue. Then add to that a pair of backless Faded Glory sandals with tan leather straps. And no socks. All in all, I felt rather dressed down today at work.

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Categories: Clothing, Shoes, Walmart

I’m really liking my new photo feature…

July 13, 2006, 12:32 AM

I’m getting the feeling that the recent reconfiguration of the main page to accommodate a horizontal photo feature is going to turn out to be a great thing. I’ve got a lot of horizontally-oriented photos that could be used as features, but that I’d been unable to show due to format limitations. Now I can do it. So far, though, I’ve not used something really new or daring with the horizontal feature. I’m still getting used to how it all looks on the newly-redesigned page. It will be a lot of fun, though.

And there’s still room for vertical features. I figured out how to use the space that was recently by the menu to fill what otherwise looks very empty. That will be visible as of the next vertical feature.

And I figured out how to make it where I can change the page design using a database switch. Part of the page’s design is supplied by the database, which has the HTML to render the filler material for the vertical features, or the HTML to leave it out.

Categories: Schumin Web meta

Always make sure you read the warnings before you use something…

July 12, 2006, 10:16 PM

I went to Water Country USA in Williamsburg on Tuesday, and it’s doubtful that I’ll be going back any time soon, since I didn’t have that good of a time, plus it just costs too much money anymore.

I think part of the reason I didn’t have that great of a time was because it was so crowded. It seemed like everyone and their mother was in that park and trying to get everywhere. As a result, all of the lines just about everywhere were insanely long.

Additionally, they’ve gotten worse over the now-six times I’ve been there in regards to how badly they get you money-wise. Of course, food and drink is expensive as hell. In fact, a 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina, which I can get at Wal-Mart for like $1.10, cost $3.00 at Water Country. Then there’s the parking. It’s $10.00 to park your car for the day. That’s pricey. Then it’s $15.00 for “preferred”, which is parking up close next to the entrance. Then the fee to actually get inside the park is $37.95. Locker fee is $10.00, with $4.00 refundable as a park voucher. It used to cost $6.00, and they gave you $2.00 back in cash. Now they give you what basically amounts to store credit, which you can only redeem in the park. So that’s $57.95, not counting the bottled water.

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Categories: Companies

Vacation’s over…

July 10, 2006, 7:06 AM

Unfortunately, my vacation is over, and has been over for a few days now. As I write this, I have three post-vacation workdays under my belt, and am going to start another one in less than two hours. However, the vacation did do what it was supposed to do – it left me refreshed, and not feeling like I want to strangle someone by the end of the day.

Otherwise, I’m just tickled about the new Transit Center design that I’m implementing. I’ve already got the section on the rail pages, and I’m getting ready to make the changeover for the buses. It’s got a tan-colored background, and the Transit Center logo is now orange. And you know how I describe the color scheme? I refer to it as the “Breda” color scheme. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I based the color scheme here on Metro’s 4000-series cars, which were manufactured in 1991 by a company called Breda. I was tempted to add “Made in Italy by Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie S.p.A.” to the page somewhere, complete with horse logo, but I don’t want anyone to think that the page was actually made in Italy by Breda.

And then as far as reconfigurations go, I’m also launching a new main page design. This reconfigures the photo feature so that I can carry horizontal images on the site, and also sweeps the sidebar menu off the main page to make room for it. Losing that side menu isn’t too much of a loss because the main-page menu just carries information that’s linked to the bottom of every page. So we’ll still get along fine if we lose it. I’m just tickled, though, to be able to run horizontal photos in the main-page space.

Categories: Schumin Web meta, Travel

Twenty-three different trains!

July 5, 2006, 6:14 PM

I chose to go to Washington on July 4 to do a little railfanning, since Metro runs a special service pattern on that day, which means that some of the lines go to different places.

In the final accounting, I rode twenty-three different trains. That breaks down to four Rohrs, four Breda 2000s, three classic Breda 3000s, four rehabbed Breda 3000s, three Breda 4000s, and five CAFs. That also breaks down to ten Orange Line trains, seven Blue Line trains, four Yellow Line trains, one Red Line train, and one Green Line train.

One Metro employee tried to give me a map of the July 4 service, and I did not take it, because I admitted I had the whole thing committed to memory. I really impressed them when I then rattled off the entire service change, including no service to Smithsonian, and shuttle bus service from L’Enfant Plaza to the Pentagon.

All in all, it was a lot of fun railfanning Metro’s July 4 service. It’s all a matter of remembering that one cannot catch a Blue Line train before Rosslyn, and that every westbound train from Washington to Virginia goes to Vienna.

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Categories: DC trips, WMATA