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Happy Halloween from your radical cheerleader friends!

October 31, 2006, 11:22 PM

First of all, here’s the costume:

Radical cheerleader outfit

As you can see, I had fun with this one. From the bottom up, I’m wearing my Chuck Taylors, black tights, black shorts (no cheerleader skirt for me!), a red shirt with the sleeves cut off, on which I wrote “RADICAL CHEER”, a black shirt underneath that, black arm things with netting and chains and zippers, a black bandanna around the neck, and a red hat.

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Categories: Halloween

“Fire drills were my favorite subject in school…”

October 29, 2006, 12:24 AM

Okay, I’m slightly amused. I’ve launched my new Online Store today, having set all the new mods, and it’s definitely a change. Gone are most of the old designs. Goodbye “Chef Schumin”. Goodbye to the three “Photo” designs. Goodbye to the old “You know you’ve been thinking about fire alarms too much when” design. Goodbye calendars. And most notably, goodbye thongs. The little thong underwear that I’ve offered in the store for four years is officially gone for good.

Only two things were carried over from the old store. The design formerly known as “Traditional” remains as the sole entry in “Logo Apparel” and “Logo ‘Stuff'”. The other is the line of photo mousepads, which are going to get spiffed up a bit when they’re expanded in the future. Then there are some entirely new lines. I’ve started offering my own brand of slogan t-shirts, and new high-quality framed prints of selected photo features.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

A little preview of part of my radical cheerleader costume…

October 26, 2006, 12:10 AM

And here it is:

Radical cheerleader costume preview

I basically took a Sharpie and wrote “RADICAL CHEER” on the front, with anarchy signs for the As. Then I took a seam ripper and a pair of scissors and cut the sleeves off the red shirt. Then I’m wearing a very light black t-shirt underneath it. So that’s part of the cheer costume.

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Categories: Halloween

They say, “Vote early, vote often.” I did.

October 25, 2006, 5:56 PM

Today, I spent about an hour at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona, doing a bit of business with the local government, getting everything all squared away with everyone.

My goal was twofold. First of all, I was going to take care of the taxes on the Sable, and find out what the deal was with a $3.00-and-change late fee that was attached to the tax bill. It turns out that the late fee is related to a form that the county sends you at the first of the year. What they’re doing there is checking to make sure that you have the same vehicles that you had the last time you paid up. I did nothing with that form at the first of the year. I think I either trashed it, or it’s still sitting in a drawer somewhere. Either way, it seems that the 39-cent price of a stamp is well worth it if it saves me from having to pay more than seven times the amount in a late fee.

And then I also paid my personal property taxes on the Sable and bought a new county sticker. For 2007, the county stickers are orange. This is a change from the dark red 2005 sticker and the blue 2006 sticker. Since the old 2006 sticker was already loose in spots due to its being transferred to the new windshield in September, I just pulled it off with my hand, and affixed the new sticker. Bingo bango done.

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An interesting ride home…

October 24, 2006, 10:02 PM

Well, I ended up going against what I said I was going to do in my last entry. I did take Route 1 up through Alexandria, but then plans changed in Arlington. First of all, I took a side trip into Pentagon City, mainly to prove to myself that I could get there by car. So I went over, and drove past the mall. I also discovered some of the space between Pentagon City and Crystal City, and took a fleeting look at a park near the mall.

Then, returning to Route 1, I drove up until just short of the 14th Street Bridge. There, the road forks, with the right fork going to the 14th Street Bridge, and the left fork going to Rosslyn. I took the left fork, and found Wilson Boulevard. From here, I was basically following the Orange Line, station for station. I saw Rosslyn’s buildings (though I didn’t see Rosslyn Center), and continued past the Court House, Clarendon, and Virginia Square-GMU stations. There, I saw a sign for I-66, and turned, and headed into Ballston. I took Fairfax Drive past the IHOP restaurant, past the Hilton and Ballston Metro Center, and past the Metro station entrances. Then, a couple of blocks later, Fairfax Drive turns into the on-ramp for I-66.

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Categories: DC trips, Driving

The new strap is taking some getting used to, but it works…

October 23, 2006, 8:19 PM

Hello from Pentagon City on my Richmond-to-DC trip, where I started from home, drove to Richmond via I-64, and took the driving tour through downtown Richmond, which is best described as the good, the bad, and the ugly – very ugly. I don’t call Richmond the “armpit of the state” for nothing.

Then I swung up I-95 to Fredericksburg, where I explored around a bit. One of these days, I will figure out something to photograph while I’m there. Then from there, I continued to Woodbridge, where I visited Potomac Mills. Very quiet place this time around, with my visit occurring on a Monday afternoon. Then I drove up US 1 a bit, and caught the Metro at Huntington. I visited my friend Tristan, and then went around a bit on the Metro, ending up here at Pentagon City.

So fun stuff. From here, I’m going to railfan over to Franconia-Springfield, then double back to King Street and ride back to Huntington, where the Sable is parked. Then leaving Huntington, I’m going to take US 1 to the 14th Street Bridge, and then drive into Washington. I don’t know what my route will be there yet. Then from there, I’m going to take I-66 to US 29, take 29 to Charlottesville, then catch I-64 again to go back home.

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Categories: DC trips, Driving, Radio

Sometimes, the way I set up a shot is amusing…

October 22, 2006, 1:02 AM

I’m looking at the photo feature I’m running right now, described as “Headlights illuminate a sign marking the Buena Vista overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.” What I find amusing is how I used practically everything I had with me except for the Blistex that I keep in my camera bag in order to get this shot. Seriously. Even the Sable got into the act. Where do you think the headlights that illuminated the sign came from? Sa-a-a-a-a-able…

I was actually trying to get a nice long-exposure shot of the sign, which is how this all came about. The sun was down enough to where the shot would come out dark, but light enough to where it would be blue. So I fiddled with things, and also, since I was parked right in front of the sign, I fiddled with my headlights to get things how I wanted. In the shot I ultimately used, I timed things. I set the camera up at an eight-second exposure, and then using the remote, unlocked my doors (which makes the headlights come on) with two seconds to go. I used other exposures and length of time with the headlights on as well, but that’s the one that looked the way I liked.

I also had some fun taking some long-exposure shots of the Sable while I was up there in the dark, with the tripod all set up. I reached into the car and hit the switch for the interior and door lights. Then I fired off a few long-exposure shots of that. Thus we have the Sable, an island of light in the midst of darkness…

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I got my strap, and I got a battery for the Lappy…

October 21, 2006, 6:21 PM

My strap and the Lappy’s battery came on the same day. First of all, thank you to everyone who made suggestions regarding both items.

Interestingly, Mom intercepted the package for the strap before I got home, and was wondering about the fact that I’d ordered from a scuba company. After all, I’ve never expressed an interest in scuba diving, nor have I even so much as mentioned it in passage. And then Mom sees this package, a nondescript brown box, addressed to me, with “scuba.com” as the return address. So it caught her interest. And so I explained the whole story, as I already explained to you here, ending with, “And no, I’m not planning on taking up scuba diving.”

I still find it amusing, though, that the only place where I could find a replacement strap was through a scuba place. Of all places, a scuba place. That just doesn’t make sense, but I’m like, sure. At least I got a new strap. And the bag rides like two inches higher with the new strap than it used to, and I have no problem with that. So all is well on that front.

And meanwhile, we scored a direct hit with the Lappy’s battery. We got an exact replacement, and it snapped right in, and now it’s charging peacefully.

So once again, all is well!

Categories: Computer, Family, Products

“Remember this?”

October 18, 2006, 4:47 PM

Dad went to a meeting at my old high school today, and caught a photo with his cell phone of a piece of artwork that had my name attached to it. What the meeting was about, I have no idea. But this is what he got, seen here in the art room of Stuarts Draft High School:

Old artwork

Dad texted the photo and the message to me this morning, with the message “remember this?” with it. When it first buzzed in, I looked at it, and I was like, nooooooo… since I wasn’t even quite sure what I was looking at. I honestly don’t remember making that. It must not have left that big of an impression on me. We can assume that this was a group project, considering that my name appears on top, and Samantha Hensley’s name appears at the bottom. I’d say it was probably done about mid-semester in the spring of 1998, during the acrylic paint unit.

So, yeah. I’m sure Dad was quite proud, though, to see my name on the wall from some eight years ago.

Categories: School

I returned empty-handed, but…

October 16, 2006, 11:31 PM

Yes, I’m sad to say that I returned from Charlottesville empty-handed, having gotten no shoulder strap for my camera bag, and no battery for my Lappy. Sad times on both counts. I went all over the place, too. I went to Office Depot, to Best Buy, to Circuit City, to Ritz Camera, to Target, to JCPenney, to Belk, and even to Wal-Mart in a last-ditch effort. It turns out that no one sells replacement shoulder straps, and I looked in camera sections, luggage sections, and even the ladies’ handbags to see if I could dig up a stand-alone strap. No dice. These stores would have been more than happy to sell me a shoulder strap with a bag attached to it, but I neither want nor need a new bag. Big Mavica’s been living in its current bag for three and some years, and it’s quite happy with its living space, thank you very much. Ritz Camera came closest, selling replacement straps. However, they were designed for the camera itself, and not for the accompanying bag. Big Mavica’s strap presently has no issues, and so I wouldn’t think about replacing it at this time, though they certainly had some nice ones.

Note that I didn’t go to Batteries Plus, though, to get a battery for the Lappy. I can’t say that I didn’t try to go, but when I got there at 7:30 PM, they were already closed. So that was a wash.

And like so many times when I go out, I get recognized from my job at Wally World. You see, we get a lot of people from Charlottesville, because the Charlottesville store is not a Supercenter, and ours is. But at least when I get recognized, they always tell me how nice and helpful I was when they were patronizing the store. It would be something else if they told me I was Mr. Crabby Pants or something. I do have days at work when I get crabby, don’t get me wrong, but the customers don’t see that. The only time in recent memory that the customers could sense something wrong was the day that I ate a banana on my lunch hour that for some reason didn’t agree with me, and I was feeling really bad afterwards, and I looked like I was feeling bad, and the customers picked up on it, with one even asking me if everything was all right. I think I ended up taking like six Tums for that, in an attempt to feel better. I did end up feeling better before the day was out, though.

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Categories: Shopping

The only thing wrong with the Lappy is…

October 16, 2006, 2:45 AM

…the battery. I checked the Lappy out from top to bottom, and the only thing wrong with it is the battery. I got only ten minutes of life out of the battery before it started screaming for its AC adaptor. It went from full to zero in a very short time. I did a little research on it, and I’ve determined that during Mom’s time with it, she made good use out of the battery, and it basically won’t hold a charge anymore.

I’m going to Charlottesville on Monday anyway to get a new shoulder strap for my camera bag, and so I’ll probably swing by Batteries Plus or somewhere like that for a new battery for my Lappy while I’m at it.

Also, I’ve determined that the new notepad cover that I discussed here will be just fine for logging Metro trains. I took it with me on my most recent DC trip, set the paper up with the proper columns to be my transit log, and stuffed it in my bag. And all in all, it worked. The pad that came with it holds only ten trains per page, down from fifteen on the old notepad, but it works for me. Unless I have something like the fourth of July where I rode 23 separate trains, two pages per trip will work just fine. In my DC trips since July 4, I average 14.5 trains per trip. So in short: no problem. So my search for a notepad is over. Thank goodness.

Categories: Computer, Shopping

Scroll buttons and the Lappy, together at last…

October 14, 2006, 12:36 AM

Now this is an interesting way to compute. I’m sitting in my recliner, going tappity-tappity-tappity away on the Lappy, which is now very much customized to my own needs. I installed Firefox on here and imported my bookmarks, I put a nice background on the desktop, and arranged everything the way I like it.

Yes, the Lappy is going to make a great mobile workstation. I’ve even set it up to print to my real printer via our home network. Just hit “print” and the document is waiting for me at my desk, ready to pick up. That makes my life quite easy, and also puts that printer/scanner/copier that I paid ninety dollars for to good use on not one but two computers.

Right now, though, I’m just tickled that I can compute from anywhere…

Categories: Computer

A photo of my camera bag’s damaged shoulder strap…

October 13, 2006, 9:00 PM

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and so here’s a photo of the broken strap on my camera bag, originally referenced here:

The broken strap on my camera bag, temporarily repaired with a rubber band.

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Categories: Cameras

This was perhaps one of my scariest return trips from DC…

October 13, 2006, 12:47 AM

On my DC trips, for the run up to Vienna and the run back home, the goal is for the actual driving to be uneventful, and therefore forgettable. As you probably guessed, having had so many of these things, I don’t always get what I want.

I remember one time in May 2004 when I had a blowout on the way up. It happened on I-81, near Mt. Crawford. Thus this happened about 30 minutes into the trip. AAA put the spare tire on, and I continued to DC. The return leg of that trip was uneventful. Then there was the time in June 2004 when it was raining hard all the way to Vienna, culminating in a soaking of the Previa’s undercarriage right at the Nutley Street exit, which caused the car to strain at 25 mph for that last little bit into the parking space. Then there have been numerous return trips where I’ve gotten so fatigued that I have to stop en route and take a nap. Then there was January 17, 2004, and also January 20, 2005 – on those return trips, I had to battle snow almost the entire way back.

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Categories: DC trips, Driving

I feel like such a loser… a resourceful loser, but a loser nonetheless.

October 11, 2006, 7:39 PM

For those of you wondering about the title, the strap on my camera bag broke. I got off of Breda 2007 at Pentagon City, and was heading for the escalator, and all of a sudden, my camera bag started falling. I caught it, but nonetheless had no working strap. The clip that attaches the strap to the bag on the “leading” end (i.e. the side facing ahead when I’m carrying it, as opposed to the “trailing” side facing behind) snapped off.

Now I’d had warning that the aforementioned clip was having issues. When I was getting ready to go into Union Station today, that same clip slipped off the hook. But then I just reattached it. This time, it actually snapped off, rendering it unreclippable (if that’s not a word, it is now).

So I went to the station manager and asked if he had any string. No string. I didn’t think he’d have any, but it never hurts. So I thought for a second. A rubber band might also work in the same capacity as string in this case. So I asked, “Do you have any rubber bands?” He did! He even offered to give me a few. I took two, and went to work. The station manager even held the strap in place for me while I tied. I tied a number of knots in that rubber band, securing the remnants of that end of the strap to the bag.

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Categories: DC trips