A new tagger has arrived on the Red Line scene…

March 28, 2007, 6:32 PM

As many who ride the Metro can attest, the eastern part of the Red Line has a lot of graffiti visible from the train. Besides the large “Bush Hates Borf” message near the Takoma station, there’s also a whole bunch of graffiti nearer to the ground. A lot of it is on walls in CSX’s right of way, and then there’s some on nearby buildings, and so on.

But I noticed a whole bunch of new tags when I rode up to Fort Totten yesterday on the Red Line. They are anti-war graffiti tags. Here’s an example of one near Brookland-CUA station:

Stop the war graffiti at Brookland-CUA station

I actually saw a bunch of these along the Red Line with similar messages. I don’t necessarily agree with the method used to get the message out – that being tagging – but the sentiment is definitely a good one.

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Categories: Anti-war, Street art, WMATA

Lost two farecards in one day!

March 28, 2007, 11:22 AM

And when it was all said and done, my performance when it came to Metro on this last DC trip was horrible. Never before have I lost two all-day passes in the same day.

Now, I’ve had farecard problems before. On two DC trips some years ago (April 12, 2003 and January 3, 2004), and one recently (September 20, 2006), my day pass got demagnetized. In those cases, I got date coded, showed the pass to the station manager at every station, and went through the employee gate. In the two cases from a few years ago, it was caused by the farecard’s living alone in an otherwise empty pocket. Therefore, it saw a bit more abuse than it should have. I switched pockets after that, and put the farecard against other things, which worked well for the most part. The other occasion, who knows what happened. It shouldn’t have demagnetized.

Then on my November 21, 2006 DC trip, I lost my day pass at Pentagon City. I think it just fell out of my pocket when I pulled something else out. I ended up having to use my SmarTrip to get back to Vienna. I think I probably lost it at Champps in that instance.

This time, I lost my day pass twice! I lost it the first time at New Carrollton. I used the pass to leave New Carrollton, and that was the last I saw of it. I went to reenter the Metro at New Carrollton, and the pass was nowhere to be found. I even went back over to where I was earlier to look around a bit, since passes don’t just disappear into thin air, after all. But it was gone. So I ultimately just got a new day pass and was done with it. So the first day pass saw two official “rides”: Vienna to Rosslyn, and Rosslyn to New Carrollton. I rode four different trains during that time, but Metro only logs your entry and exit points, therefore the fact that I took a Blue Line train from Rosslyn to Stadium-Armory and then an Orange Line train from there to Cheverly (where we were offloaded), and another Orange to New Carrollton, doesn’t play into the equation.

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Categories: DC trips, WMATA

“Booger” is a word, but “burqa” isn’t?

March 27, 2007, 7:13 PM

First off, hello from Pentagon City. I’ve had a fun day today. I rode out to New Carrollton on the Metro and then around to Fort Totten and then to the Infoshop. And at times, I’ve been playing Scrabble Blast on my cell phone, like while I’m waiting on the train. I’m working my wordiness, keeping my mind in tip-top shape.

However, it’s kind of strange about what words are valid words. I had tried “burqa” – the Muslim women’s veil – and it rejected it! I would have scored 212 points on it, which would be a personal record, beating “mixed” for 170 points. This is the same game that accepts “booger” and “titties” as valid words (wipe that grin off your face!), while something far less juvenile gets rejected. It gets frustrating when it rejects perfectly valid words. Of course, it also rejects a number of “colorful” words that I’ve had the opportunity to give it.

But all in all, it’s a really fun game. That and Tetris Mania.

Otherwise, I’m revamping my discussion forums, changing from YaBB to phpBB. The official cutover takes place Saturday night. I’m excited.

Categories: Cell phone, DC trips, Language

Would you believe my site is entering its twelfth year?

March 22, 2007, 1:52 AM

Believe it or not, it’s true. Schumin Web completes its eleventh year of existence tomorrow, and so then the site will be eleven going on twelve.

As I say every year, I’m amazed to think about it. I look back at where we’ve been as a collective group (you, me, and the Web site), and I also try to look forward to where we’re heading.

I also find it somewhat funny to think about how my life was way back in 1996 when I started this site. I was a freshman at Stuarts Draft High School. I wore no glasses, but I did wear a retainer. I had great hair that I didn’t have to photoshop (remind me to elaborate on that later). I wore Airwalk sneakers. The Previa was running in tip-top condition as Mom’s car, and I rode in it regularly – as a passenger. Greta was only two years old. Washington DC was a city that was far away, and I could count on my hands how many times I’d visited it. My computer was a 90 MHz Pentium with 16 MB of RAM and a 1 GB hard drive running Windows 95. Bill Clinton was in his first term as president. I had a mild crush on my first-year Spanish teacher. I was too uptight to discuss fire alarms with anyone, but instead held a silent interest. My Internet service provider was America Online. My bedroom had white walls. My watch was synchronized with the master clock in the school office so I would know exactly when the bell would ring. Netscape was considered the hip Web browser.

I also look at how the focus of this site has shifted over the years. Originally, it was strictly whatever. I would make a page for something, and I would write about it. No sections, no sorting. Just add it to the menu and go. I would regularly update a page called “News of the Week”, which was basically about whatever was going on in my life. I would often grouse about school on there. The page was expendable, though – I kept no archive of what I wrote from week to week. Then later, we went to frames, which allowed me to keep the menu on screen all the time. I now consider frames to be a hideous concept, but back in the mid-1990s, they were the latest fad. They remained until September 1999.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

Back from DC, back at work…

March 20, 2007, 11:11 AM

The first day back at work after a big protest is always a bit of a letdown. All that positive energy and excitement generated during the protest just kind of dissipates at work. I tell a few of my coworkers the story, and defend myself from the inevitable “so what did you really accomplish” questions.

And now I’m focusing on the follow-up work, where I consider my real activism to come out. The photo set. I’m not that great with public speaking or otherwise being put on the spot, though I do have my moments, like in a conversation about the Nationals and Metro service at A16, and my attempted discussion about the flag and the conservatives at J27. But then back here at my studio (read: my desk), that’s where I like to think I shine. There, I discuss the issue and other things in the context of the march. I have a great time, too.

So, yeah, I’m working on my M17 photo set, which has the working title of “March on the Pentagon”. I’m still in the very early stages of it, though, since I’ve not had much writing time on it at this point. I’m going to have to be clever with how I do mix photos and text this time, because I didn’t get the maneuvering room I usually have at these things. I was essentially locked in a tight formation facing forward, and it affected how the photos came out.

Still, returning to work after a big, successful protest is always a bit of a letdown for me. It doesn’t do that to me for smaller protests, but for the big ones, yes.

Categories: Anti-war, Schumin Web meta

You were just on TV – Fox News

March 17, 2007, 5:01 PM

First of all, hello from the Infoshop, where I just now met David Rovics.

The protest went swimmingly. I got off the Metro at Foggy Bottom, headed down to the main rally site, and eventually found the SDS contingent. After we determined what we wanted to do, we were off! This time, the black bloc stayed with the mainstream march (sponsored by ANSWER) for the most part. We formed a very tight affinity group, with arms locked the entire way. My right shoulder is now a bit sore due to that. We marched past the counter-protesters “guarding” the Lincoln Memorial (*eyes rolling*), and then marched over Memorial Bridge and on into Arlington. We eventually made a left turn, and headed towards the Pentagon. Our black bloc, after initially having to wedge itself into the mainstream march to get moving, mostly marched as its own unit to the side of the mainstream march, arms locked all the way. Did I say very tight affinity group?

At the Pentagon, we split from the mainstream march. The mainstream march went left, and down into the Pentagon’s north parking lot (ho-hum). There, they had their rally, complete with speeches. Meanwhile, we continued on Route 27 for a little bit more, before we were physically stopped by Pentagon Police and the Virginia State Police. After briefly pushing against the line of police, a pyrotechnic device went off right in front of us (I was near the front of the march at this point), and we backed off. The police then started putting on gas masks, and a standoff began. The police were warning us to disperse, and many participants in the black bloc sat down in the street in front of them. The police gave warnings to disperse, they sat down. I backed off, and went to the back of it all, since I wasn’t in the mood to get sprayed and/or arrested. Thus I ended up standing in the back, ready to run if it became necessary. A number of people from the SDS contingent determined that they were going to go back to the recruiting center in DC where the window had previously been broken, while others (including myself) decided to call it a day. Meanwhile, a very dedicated group of black bloc-ers remained at the Pentagon, continuing the standoff. I’m told that no pepper spray or tear gas was ever used (though they were prepared to use it), and that the group finally dispersed on its own when the State Police brought a large number of paddy wagons into position, prepared to make mass arrests (unlike DC, they can do that in Arlington).

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Categories: Anti-war, Black bloc, DC trips

At this early hour, we’re up, and you know what that means…

March 17, 2007, 2:09 AM

It is 3:30 AM on Saturday, March 17, 2007 as I am writing this. And you know what that means, right? Yes, that’s right – I’m going to Washington DC, and it must be something important if I’m going on a weekend and getting up so bloody early that the road’s not even awake yet.

As you probably guessed, and as I hinted to in my previous Journal entry about the Malkinites, I’m going to the M17 demonstration today. Yep! Despite the snow that hit the area yesterday, I’m still going. Nature’s going to have to do better than that to keep me away.

And I’m ready, too. The protest pack is already in the car, and Big Mavica’s batteries are fully charged, plus I topped them off last night. All I have to do is get my two big bottles of water, and I’ll do that on my Mt. Jackson stop.

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Categories: Anti-war, DC trips

If this is the best that the right wing has to offer, I am not impressed.

March 14, 2007, 6:35 PM

I seem to have been made the poster child of the anti-war movement on the blog of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. And if what I’ve seen is the best that the right wing has to offer, I am not impressed.

And now we understand why the Republicans lost in November if this is how these people handle themselves. Here are a few gems for you…

From “jim”: When Islam over runs this country it will be because of wussy boys like you.

From “Kelly Aasen”: Go to the gym, read some real books (not the liberal trash you appear to be reading) and get the [expletive deleted] out of your parents house and on your own.

From “A Vet”: Kindly don’t come looking to desecrate the VN memorial. We had experience dealing with people in black previously and we won’t take kindly to any attempts to leave any paint/marks on it. Otherwise have a nice day Sunday. PS: kindly don’t date my daughter.

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Daily Grind is closing!

March 14, 2007, 11:50 AM

I saw this on the front door when I went to Daily Grind today in Stuarts Draft. They’re closing on March 31! Sad. Especially since I finally got into my groove over there and was starting to become a regular.

According to the sign on the door, they will be opening this summer to serve ice cream in the evenings, and then further along, they plan to open “The Cheese Shop Sandwich Shop”, presumably a restaurant version of The Cheese Shop. For those of you who are not familiar, The Cheese Shop is a Mennonite-run store on Route 608 in Stuarts Draft with all kinds of meats, cheeses, and candies, both sugared and sugar-free. They sell all kinds of stuff, and it’s almost all locally made. My mother buys from The Cheese Shop regularly. I’m told she’s their first customer in the morning on Saturdays.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to have to find another place to have coffee and use the Lappy. There’s another Daily Grind in Staunton and in Waynesboro, and I’ve been to the Waynesboro one before, but wasn’t that excited about it. Not as close of an environment as in Stuarts Draft. The Staunton one is one I’ve not been to. I might have to check it out.

Of course, neither of those is as close as Stuarts Draft…

Categories: Companies

You mean this?

March 13, 2007, 9:52 AM

While I was at Daily Grind yesterday burning my mouth, I was listening to Neal Boortz on WTKS out of Savannah, Georgia via an Internet feed. Neal and a caller were discussing ANSWER Coalition (which as of late has become far less mainstream than it once was). The thing that got me a little riled up, though, was the fact they attributed the graffiti-ing of the Capitol on January 27 to ANSWER.

Why did this get me a little riled up, you might ask?

Well, first of all, what did ANSWER have to do with the January 27 march, and also, what did ANSWER have to do with the black bloc that was originally organized by SDS? The answer is nothing. ANSWER had nothing to do with J27, aside from a few banners out in the crowd. It was the anarchist contingent that put graffiti on the front of the Capitol. I should know. I was with them all day.

I have no problems with these radio talk shows criticizing these organizations, whether their target be ANSWER, UFPJ, DAWN, SDS, or otherwise. That’s their right. I do, however, think that if people are going to criticize groups, that they should at least attribute actions to the correct groups. To do otherwise is just irresponsible.

Categories: Black bloc, Radio

That coffee is HOT!

March 12, 2007, 3:44 PM

Beware the coffee, at least at first, at Daily Grind in Stuarts Draft. It’s not often that I’ll comment on coffee, but this is some hot stuff. It looks somewhat innocent at first:

Hot coffee

But then when you take even a small sip of it, your mouth soon becomes a hot wasteland. I’ve never burned my mouth so far back before. That stuff is hotter than your typical home coffeemaker. It’s hotter than Sheetz. It’s also hotter than Starbucks. It’s HOT. I took the lid off and gave it time to air out.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I do enjoy their coffee. It’s good as coffee goes. But don’t take it fresh. Give it time to cool first before you dive in.

Categories: Food and drink

This time change, unlike most, has me a bit on edge…

March 10, 2007, 10:17 AM

Unless you live in Arizona, the United States changes its clocks twice a year – once in the beginning of April and once at the end of October, going onto and off of daylight savings. Okay. Routine. Now, however, with this new energy bill that got passed, it’s the middle of March that we go onto daylight savings, and early November (I believe) that we go back to standard time. As a result, it just seems awfully early to be changing over to daylight savings, partly because it is.

Usually this is so routine. We change the clocks and I’m like, okay. And life goes on. But due to the earlier date, I’m running myself ragged on it. I’m fairly confident that my computers will change on their own, and I’m also confident that my cell phone will change on its own. I’ve already changed my alarm clock. Still, I’ve been obsessing over this, worried that somehow I’ll have forgotten to change something, and end up late for work tomorrow.

This, folks, is a partial explanation as to why I’ve found a few hairs coming in white as of late. I’m running myself silly over smaller issues.

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Categories: Events, Myself

Fun times in Charlottesville

March 8, 2007, 2:08 AM

For the second time, Katie and I went over the mountain to Charlottesville, and we had a blast. I picked her up at her place, and we went over. I had Big Mavica and the Lappy in tow.

We went to the Downtown Mall, parked on the top level of the Market Street garage, and walked from the parking garage to the Charlottesville Ice Park and back. On the way, we stopped in at Five Guys for a restroom break and a soda (and where they don’t validate parking!), and at this little coffee shop near the Ice Park end for a steamer. Then going back, we stopped over at the free speech wall and photographed the messages, and added some of our own. The free speech wall is so fun, both to read and to contribute to. It’s also so Charlottesville, as in it’s something that is just so fitting for Charlottesville.

And we got lots of photos, too.

Katie took a moment to pose for a long-exposure photo on some planters.
Katie took a moment to pose for a long-exposure photo on some planters.

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Categories: Charlottesville

Now let’s travel to Breda 3040…

March 4, 2007, 8:54 AM

As promised, I have posted the videos of the man singing on the Metro to YouTube. And here you are:

Singing “Age of Aquarius”

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Categories: Amusing, DC trips, WMATA

I wonder if he’s been puffing on the magic dragon…

March 1, 2007, 7:50 PM

So I’m on the Metro, on Breda 3040. I got on at Mt. Vernon Square, and rode all the way to Huntington. Most people board the Yellow Line at Gallery Pl-Chinatown or L’Enfant Plaza. Those who want seats board at the former. This guy got on at Gallery Place and sat in the seat in front of me. He was a middle-aged white guy, and appeared to be coming home from work.

Why is this notable? He started singing on the train. He’s sitting there, and he’s got his MP3 player with headphones, and he’s singing to himself, somewhat loudly. It wouldn’t be that bad in and of itself, but this guy could not sing to save his life. He was oblivious to the fact that everyone around him was making fun of him. I took the additional step of pulling out Big Mavica and recording him. I’ll put that up when I get home. He sang a bunch of different songs. Two that I knew were Age of Aquarius and Puff, the Magic Dragon. He was awful. He couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. The other people on the train wondered if he was not exactly all together. I suggested that he probably just didn’t care, or that he thought he sounded good.

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Categories: Amusing, DC trips, WMATA