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What a fun weekend!

November 25, 2007, 8:38 AM

All in all, I had a fun Thanksgiving weekend in Stuarts Draft, but I’m still very glad to be home again.

Thanksgiving itself involved the usual – turkey, and all the various fixings to go with it, and then falling asleep afterwards.

Then I spent Friday with Katie. We had a blast, as we did anything but shop. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while, then rode back around to Charlottesville, where we went to the Mellow Mushroom, where we had a vegetarian pizza with a pesto base. Twas awesome.

However, before Katie and I started out, we got a movie of Katie’s cat Peabo chasing a laser pointer around…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2007, 5:13 PM

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a safe and fun turkey day.

Categories: Thanksgiving

Gentrification in Stuarts Draft…

November 22, 2007, 1:54 PM

I’m in Stuarts Draft for Thanksgiving, and I was driving around with Mom today, and I was like, whoa at just about every turn. All these new buildings. Dominion Outdoors and all this other shopping going up by Exit 91 in Fishersville. Food Lion and a related huge shopping center on US 250 in Fishersville. There’s a Sonic in front of my ex-Wal-Mart in Waynesboro now. Staunton now has Starbucks.

And a lot of McMansions are going up all over the place, as well as all kinds of condos. Oh, dear…

I’m just afraid that with all this building that it’s going to run roughshod over what I like about Stuarts Draft and surrounding areas. Wide open spaces. Scenic views. Leave that field there. Plant a plant, not a shopping center. I’m afraid it might suck the life right out of the area, and turn it into something that looks like Fairfax County. I don’t particularly care for Fairfax County, because it’s a traffic nightmare, and all you have is shopping center after shopping center after shopping center. I don’t want the area where I did most of my growing up to turn into that…

Categories: Stuarts Draft

You know, you’d think I lived here or something…

November 20, 2007, 11:30 PM

Yeah, based on my activities today, you’d think I lived in Maryland or something. Today, I finally got a Maryland driver’s license. Emphasis here on “finally”. I’ve lived here for what, six months now, and I’m just now finally getting the Maryland license. So that took me a while.

Of course, I’m pleased to have a license that once again agrees with the state where I actually live. Now whenever I get carded for the Manischewitz that I occasionally buy, the birthdate will be nearer the center, vs. in Virginia, where it’s towards the edge and partly blocked by the edge of the pocket in my wallet. Likewise, when I go to the bank and they ask for my ID, now it agrees with what’s in their systems, since I changed that to my Maryland address right away online.

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I’m drained!

November 18, 2007, 11:31 PM

Let me say this: I’m drained! Tonight, I completed and published three photo sets in Life and Times. Since the September 15 protest, the weekend with Katie, and the October Rebellion protests happened so close together, I decided to do the photo sets for all of these as one giant project. That’s something that will drain you by the time everything’s said and done. Everything that I would normally do for one photo set was done in triplicate. Three times writing. Three times picking photos. Three times watching movies. Three times the photo prep work. My goodness, I’m glad to be done.

That’s not to say, however, that these were not great experiences. Now you can finally see my first serious moves with radical cheerleading, as well as my usual black bloc stuff. So yeah. Plus Katie and I had a blast, as we kind of wandered around Washington and thereabouts, going from Chinatown to Metro Center to Dupont Circle to McPherson Square to Rosslyn to Georgetown to Foggy Bottom to Pentagon City and back to Silver Spring.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

I call this my “heartburn” look…

November 18, 2007, 12:27 AM

I’ve got two photos to show you that I found somewhat amusing. This first one was taken late on Friday at work, and is of Zack, a coworker of mine, and me, posing for a photo in my office:

Ben and Zack after work

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Categories: Amusing, Work

Once a slimeball, always a slimeball, I suppose…

November 8, 2007, 7:38 PM

Some people never change, I suppose. When I was in seventh grade, my homeroom teacher and I did NOT get along. He was a bit of a jerk back then, and told little seventh graders to work interpersonal problems out themselves and not even so much as assist in the process. I am convinced that he did that because it was easier to let these little children who don’t know any better come to blows, because then, by letting an issue boil over rather than actually having to deal with the issue at hand, he could just pull both students apart and send them to the office, and not have to so much as get his hands dirty. And that would be that.

Now fast forward to 2007. As you know, my mother now teaches in the middle school that I once attended. My former seventh grade homeroom teacher is now an assistant principal at another middle school in the same county. And Mom was at that particular middle school for something, and ran into him. He mentioned to Mom that he’d seen me recently. Mom gave him this puzzled look, and asked where he’d seen me. He said, “Wal-Mart.” Busted. Mom enlightened him, as it’s now been seven months since I left Wal-Mart. She said, “Ben works in Washington now.”

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Categories: Middle school, Some people

Hello from the city of brotherly love…

November 4, 2007, 10:10 PM

Well, from the suburbs of the city of brotherly love, at least. I’m not in Philadelphia proper. Anyway, though, I made it. I am spending three nights in Fort Washington for a class in Blue Bell.

What’s weird, though, is how the locations go. I live in Montgomery County, Maryland. Then I traveled however far it is to Philadelphia, to end up in… Montgomery County. Pennsylvania, mind you, but a Montgomery County, nonetheless.

And then otherwise, it cost $11.75 in tolls to get up here. Every time I looked, it seems, there was a guy in a yellow safety vest with his hand out. The Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore cost two bucks. The Susquehanna River bridge cost five bucks(!). Then the Delaware Turnpike, the short stretch of I-95 in Delaware, cost four bucks. Then driving a few miles up the Pennsylvania Turnpike cost another 75 cents.

I’m just glad that tolls are few in the DC area. The only toll road I know of in my area is the Dulles Toll Road.

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Categories: Philadelphia

I’m going to Philly…

November 2, 2007, 9:16 PM

This Sunday, I’m going to Philadelphia, and I’m staying until Wednesday. I’m taking a course which explores the function of a Macintosh in great depth. For those of you familiar, it’s MacOS 101, which is titled “Mac OS X Support Essentials v10.4”. In short, I’m going to be able to troubleshoot a Mac like the pros, so that when a Mac hiccups, I should know how to cure those hiccups, or at least tell you why it’s hiccuping.

Then I’m also going to have two computers in tow. Since I’m going to be doing some of my regular work while I’m out on this little business trip, I’m going to have “Jeff”, one of our office Macs, with me. Then I’m also going to have Lappy, my personal laptop, with me for taking care of the Web site and such while I’m out.

And the drive is almost all Interstate, too, starting at the Beltway in Silver Spring, and going almost all the way to my hotel in suburban Philadelphia. Specifically, it’s mostly I-95, which should be interesting. Last time I rode that stretch of I-95 was to go up to New Jersey in January 2003 for a funeral. So we’ll see.

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Categories: Philadelphia, Work

“Greta says HI!”

October 30, 2007, 7:28 PM

Just before I left work for the day today, I got a text message from Mom with a photo:

Greta says HI!

And Mom added, “Greta says HI!” It’s always nice to see Greta. I haven’t seen her in a while, after all, since I’ve not been to Stuarts Draft since September. Plus with Greta being a dog, she can’t talk on the phone.

So that was awesome, seeing Greta and all. Next time I see Greta will be on November 22, when I come down to Stuarts Draft for Thanksgiving.

Categories: Greta

No better way to say “happy halloween”…

October 29, 2007, 8:21 PM

This is what greeted me as I took my usual walk along P Street to work this morning…

Pumpkins on P Street NW

Pumpkins! Aren’t they just darling? I like the one on the right because the face is just slightly off-kilter by design, and then the face on the one of the left isn’t exactly creepy, but it is the perfect complement to the über-happy one on the right.

Meanwhile, this year for halloween, I’m going as an office worker. My costume will consist of dress pants, dark shoes, and a collared shirt. No hat, and glasses on. Accessories to go with this costume include an iMac G5 and my red Swingline stapler. In other words, I’m not dressing up. Then when I get home, I’m changing into those pajama pants that only cost $7.00 at the JCPenney Outlet and making the next day’s lunch.

Still, it was so fun to see those pumpkins this morning…

Categories: Halloween, Work

“You’re not going to become one of those self-righteous Mac people, are you?”

October 25, 2007, 7:23 PM

You know you’re still a computer geek at heart when you get all excited when you see a shiny new operating system and get to install it. I remember back in the old days when I used to get excited over a new version of MS-DOS. I remember when we installed MS-DOS 5. That was exciting. Microsoft had completely revamped the DOS Shell for that version. Fun stuff. Then I remember Windows 95. That was exciting, too, exploring this new Windows with all this new stuff on board. Start menu – what’s that?

This time, though, we’re doing the operating system upgrade to “Tangerine Dreams” – my office Mac. So this will be exciting. I’ve never upgraded a Mac before. So this will be new and uncharted territory. After all, I’ve upgraded DOS and Windows numerous times, but never Mac OS. My understanding is that it’s fairly straightforward, but we’ll see.

This also marks the first time I’ve upgraded an operating system on the day it was released. I got Windows XP on the day after it was released, but never day-of. And this upgrade basically fits in my job description, too, as I’m also the day-to-day IT guy for the office, and so learning the newest operating system is important.

Meanwhile, with the whole excited-about-Leopard thing, in a phone call with Sis, she asked if I was becoming one of those self-righteous Mac people. I was like, no, because unlike a lot of those self-righteous Mac people who had been with Macs since the days of classic Mac OS, I’ve only been a serious Mac user since Mac OS X Tiger. However, I will be the first to say that my next computer will probably be a Mac, since Macs are awesome, and Windows Vista… kinda sucks. I think if I could put Mac OS on my Dell, I’d be a very happy person.

So, yeah, I’m excited.

Categories: Computer, Work

“I’ll be home a little before 7:00.”

October 22, 2007, 8:06 PM

Famous last words.

I got home at 8:00, and we can say there’s never a dull moment when riding Metro. First of all, my morning commute went swimmingly, and I had a good day at work. However, the evening commute was another story. Normally, going home, I walk to Dupont Circle, I take a Red Line train to Glenmont, and then Ride-On’s 51 bus. But today, due to a fire at Union Station, it took three trains, a bus, and a two-block walk to get home.

So I walked to Dupont Circle, talking to Mom on the phone as I walked. Then I got my Red Line train to Glenmont at Dupont Circle. CAF 5140. So we’re off. Farragut North. Metro Center. Gallery Pl-Chinatown. Judiciary Square. Stop in the tunnel. Sit. Hold. Meanwhile, I was somewhat absorbed in the game of Scrabble that I was playing on my phone, while listening to Randi Rhodes (with Lionel sitting in), so it took me a while to even realize we were stopped. I realized, wait a second, we’re not moving. Then the operator came on the PA. “Due to a fire at Union Station, I have been instructed to bring this train back to Judiciary Square.” So then the little interior LED, which until now said “RED” on it, went blank. The operator gets out, and walks through the train to the other end. Then the interior LED comes on again, and it says “RED” on it, which means the operator is on the Shady Grove end of the train, and he’s turned the train back on.  Which means we’ve gone from this:

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Categories: Commuting, WMATA

And here we are…

October 21, 2007, 1:30 PM

And here we are, RCDC, on October 20 in Franklin Square:

RCDC on October 20, photo Mike Flugennock
Photo: Mike Flugennock

In this photo, I’m second from the right, next to Maddy. You may recognize the outfit I’ve got on – yes, it’s the same one that I wore last halloween. The other people in the group loved it. So finally, my radical cheer outfit has seen an actual protest. Score!

Categories: World Bank

“Loosen the bra that binds you! Take it off if you feel like it!”

October 21, 2007, 11:28 AM

Let’s just say that it was a great march on October 20. The Georgetown march the day before went well aside from one incident where a bystander was struck by a projectile, but this one had no such incidents. The cheer group did its thing, and we were awesome. We cheered at the main rally, we cheered along the march route, and we cheered at the World Bank itself.

What really surprised me about Saturday’s march, though, is what happened once we got there, when a number of women began taking their clothes off en masse, shouting, “World Bank out! Skin is in!” while also encouraging other people to do likewise. I was quite literally speechless, as I couldn’t believe people were stripping in the streets. I, in fact, didn’t even take photos of the scene at first, until Maddy finally basically said, “Don’t be such a prude.” But yeah, some women stripped down to their bra and panties, some just took their shirts off and left the bra intact, while others went completely topless. No one went totally naked. The guys who participated just took their shirts off. Some of the photos will probably end up in the photo set, but I’m still trying to figure out how to display those photos without being explicit about it. They’re going to go up on the site for the sake of completeness, but as Mom and others look at the site, I’m going to clean the photos up a little bit to keep the site at a certain caliber. After all, this isn’t a porn site – this is Schumin Web.

Then after the protest, I went home, changed out of my cheer outfit and into more normal clothes, hopped in the Sable, and rode out to Dulles, where Mom had some teacher convention this weekend. According to her, it went swimmingly. Mom and I had dinner at this little Italian restaurant called “Pomodoro Pizza Pasta & More”, which was kind of like, as Mom described it, the McDonald’s of Italian restaurants. You ordered your food at the counter, and you got your own drink out of the fountain, and they gave you your order on a giant tray to take to your table. However, unlike a fast food restaurant, where everything is disposable, they served you your food on real plates, you had real silverware, and real cups. And the food was good, too. Mom and I both enjoyed it.

So all in all, not a bad day. There’s going to be a new photo set called “October Rebellion” in Life and Times, and what a weekend it was…

Categories: World Bank