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Big Mavica is gone…

March 31, 2008, 9:05 PM

Well, Big Mavica is officially on its way to that big photo set in the sky, as I shipped it to Recycling For Charities on my lunch hour today. And I got photos of this solemn event, too, which a friend of mine has described as the end of an era.

Big Mavica is in the box, the last anyone will see of it.
Big Mavica is in the box, the last anyone will see of it.

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Categories: Cameras, Walmart

Big Mavica’s fate is now sealed.

March 29, 2008, 12:18 PM

It looks like Big Mavica will have a happy ending after all. I’m recycling Big Mavica with an organization called Recycling For Charities, with the proceeds from the camera’s recycling going to support Stage Left Theatre, a Chicago-based theater that produces plays intended to raise debate on social and political issues.

So after more than five years of documenting various political mobilizations, among other things, Big Mavica’s recycling will likewise help raise awareness of various political and social issues. Yay!

Categories: Cameras

And we’re back in business!

March 25, 2008, 10:43 PM

Yes, we’re back in business! The Vivitar 6200W waterproof camera has arrived, and I’ve fired off a few test shots. I hope you like looking at my kitchen:

Test photo, showing the stove and the microwave in my kitchen

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Categories: Cameras, Project Chanology

Schumin Web turns TWELVE today!

March 23, 2008, 5:39 PM

Wow. It’s been twelve years to the day since I started this site. I was fourteen years old when I started this site. I am now 26. I had a full head of hair when I started this site. Now, well… let’s not go there.

And at the twelve year mark, we find the site in a bit of transition. Two subsidiary sites – Transit Center and Today’s Special – are still awaiting restoration from a server crash that happened eight months ago, and I’m currently in between digital cameras after Big Mavica was unceremoniously destroyed during heavy rain at an anti-war protest.

However, in the last year, lots has happened. After hanging out in the DC area for three years, The Schumin Web formally moved there last May, plus I feel like I’ve been adding more photos to the Journal since making that move. Of course, that might just be me.

And to think next year, my site enters its teens…

Categories: Schumin Web meta

I don’t think I have had this much fun in a long time…

March 23, 2008, 11:44 AM

I will tell you this: I had SO much fun on Saturday. And to think I was worried about what to expect.

The event I went to was a demonstration by Anonymous against the Church of Scientology, which was having a convention at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in DC. The protest was about the Church of Scientology’s practices and tax exempt status, with signs quoting L. Ron Hubbard as saying, “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!” as well as various signs relating to the organization’s tax-exempt status, as well as mentions of Xenu.net, the Web site of “Operation Clambake”.

Let me draw a distinction here – we were not protesting Scientology the religion. If people want to practice Scientology, that’s their business, and more power to them. Our beef was with the Church of Scientology organization, and its various practices. In other words, we took issue with organized religion and the abuses that follow in so many of its instances, but not the religion itself.

So here’s the story.

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Categories: Project Chanology

Well, the Big Mavica era is over.

March 21, 2008, 12:22 AM

The era of Big Mavica has officially come to a close, as the screen is busted, wrecked due to water at the March 19 anti-war protest in DC. Due to the age of the equipment, I determined that a repair is not worthwhile. And the new camera is on order. The new camera is a Vivitar ViviCam 6200W, a 6.0 megapixel waterproof camera.

Well, that’s actually only half the story. This Vivitar will be my all-weather “hazard conditions” camera. This would be the one I’d take on the beach, to protests where showers are expected, and any other situations where I would expect the camera to take some abuse. In theory, this camera should be able to withstand a pepper spray to the face and keep on firing. Just don’t forget to wipe the lens. Isis, a photographer friend of mine, actually recommended this camera to me for bad-weather imagery. And I got a really good deal for it on Amazon.

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Categories: Anti-war, Cameras

This is why we’re glad Metro’s a transit agency and not a movie producer…

March 20, 2008, 7:20 AM

Need I say more:

Don’t quit your day job, Metro.

Categories: Amusing, WMATA

After almost five and a half years, Big Mavica may very well be done for…

March 19, 2008, 5:38 PM

First of all, the “Funk the War” protest in downtown Washington, for which I took the day off at work, went very well. I got a lot of great photos, but it was really rainy. It rained. Hard.

Which brings me to point number two. Big Mavica took on water, as it’s done in the past, but this time, I think it might be a goner. It quit shooting photos, and the screen is all white. Something tells me that something might have shorted out in the camera. Hopefully once Big Mavica gets time to dry, it will be up and kicking again. And if not, well, it might be time to finally upgrade. After all, five years is a long time for electronic equipment. So if it’s to the point where I’m faced with sending it out for repair or just replacing it, I’m going to replace it, and retire Big Mavica.

And if this is the end for Big Mavica, at least it went out in a blaze of glory. In Part 3 of the Virginia Beach 2005 photo set, I said, “If I’m going to lose Big Mavica, it might as well be in the process of shooting a great photo set.” And when it comes to shooting a huge protest, I can’t think of a better time or place to lose it.

And the photo set won’t be toast, either. I can still recover everything that I had shot prior to the camera’s going out on me, and my friend Isis is going to help me fill out the remainder of the set.

So we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it won’t be the end of Big Mavica, but we’ll see…

Categories: Anti-war, Cameras

This was the first time we were all together in a long time…

March 17, 2008, 10:48 PM

Stuarts Draft was, as always, a lot of fun. And note, that is one sentence I never thought I’d find myself saying. But anyways…

So the whole dump-the-car-at-Vienna plan went according to plan, though it did take longer than I had planned to get out of the exit ramp. Of course, look what I had to contend with:

Traffic on I-66 at Nutley Street

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“Chad Sinclair, come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!”

March 14, 2008, 11:27 PM

How cool to see someone you know on The Price is Right. Chad Sinclair is the son of two of Mom’s coworkers at Stuarts Draft Middle School, and recently was on the February 19 episode of The Price is Right with Drew Carey. Chad won a home gym, and a year’s supply of Hot Pockets from his time in Contestants’ Row, where he made the classic bid of $1. Then he played “Switch?“, a fairly quick and simple pricing game that involves deciding whether to switch the prices of two prizes or to leave them in place. He was playing for a popcorn cart and a stainless steel oven. You may recall that this was pricing game #5 in The East Coast Price is Right that I hosted in high school back in 1999. Easy game to play. Unfortunately, Chad didn’t win, as he switched, and he should have left them alone. Ah, well. Then he did well on the wheel, but got bumped from the showcase by a trucker named Leroy who was closer to the dollar than Chad.

Chad also made sure to get all of his hellos in while on the show. He mentioned Bridgewater College, and he said hello to his parents in Stuarts Draft. Little Stuarts Draft (where I am writing you from today), getting mentioned on The Price is Right. Awwww…

So all in all, that was pretty darn cool, if you ask me. Plus we’re still watching Drew Carey get settled into his role as host. I think that Drew Carey will ultimately do well on The Price is Right, but he’s still got to find his stride. Give him a couple of seasons, and Drew Carey on Price is Right will seem the most natural thing in the world.

Categories: Friends, Television

Meanwhile, next Wednesday, the 19th, will be SO fun…

March 11, 2008, 6:41 PM

Wednesday, March 19, will be SO fun. I’m taking the day off at work, and I’m going to be participating in “Funk the War 3”, which is kind of like a dance party to various organizations involved in the Iraq War, in order to register our opposition to the war. It’s sponsored by DC Students for a Democratic Society, and so this will mark my first anti-war action of 2008. Good to get an election year off on the right foot when it comes to protests.

And if you’re wondering what Funk the War 3 will be like, here’s a movie about Funk the War 2, courtesy of DC SDS.

Funk the War 2: electric boogaloo Reportback from Daniel Meltzer on Vimeo.

So we’ll see what happens. Like I said, it should be fun. And now, to take the car over to Vienna for my trip to Stuarts Draft…

Categories: Anti-war

I pay four bucks each way for the privilege of waiting on a stationary rail car?

March 11, 2008, 2:33 PM

I have had it – I hate Metro’s tiered fare system, where you’re charged by time of day (higher fares during rush hour) and distance. I like some other systems’ fare structures better, where it’s a flat fee regardless of when or how far you ride. Kind of like the buses, where you pay the same whether it’s from my house to Glenmont, my house to Silver Spring, or my house all the way to work down on P Street.

It’s annoying today because I had to sit through two delays, and nearly got offloaded. Let’s just say that the Red Line did not have a good morning, as I woke up to messages on my cell phone about a “minor” delay on the Red Line. Then after I got on Breda 4005 this morning, we were stopped directly behind a train that was experiencing mechanical problems at Takoma. Thus we’re sitting, with the electric “chopper” (which produces the Bredas’ signature buzzing sound) completely silent. No good. Then they announce that they’re offloading the train, and we should be moving “shortly”, and “Metro apologizes for this inconvenience.” Sure. Then they mention to us that we might have to be offloaded as well if they can’t get the problem train moving on its own, because they would need to use our train to push the problem train to the yard (probably Brentwood, considering the location and the direction of travel). Finally, we got to the station. I’m waiting to hear the phrase “Red Line to Shady Grove” to know that we weren’t getting offloaded ourselves. The doors opened. “Red Line to Shady Grove!” Thank you, Mr. Train Operator. I don’t have to lose my seat.

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Categories: WMATA

Of course, this would be the time when I realize the discs I need are with my parents.

March 11, 2008, 6:14 AM

I was getting ready to convert the Lappy to its new “final” configuration – a dual boot between Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux – and in looking for my Vista discs, I realized that they weren’t here. I turned the place upside down, too. Went through all the drawers in my desk, through all the junk on my desk, and so on and so forth. Not here. So I have to go digging through what stuff of mine is still in the “pirate room”, aka my old bedroom. Of course, it’s not like it’s far away. I’m going there tomorrow night. So I’ll look.

Otherwise, today should be exciting. This is the day I position the car at Vienna after work. I’ve already packed my suitcase, and emptied my crates (I intend on bringing more of my stuff to Silver Spring, so the take from last time needs to be unloaded). Then you realize that whatever I don’t take with me this evening has to go to work with me tomorrow. Thus the key is remembering everything tonight, because I’m not coming back after work tomorrow, and I don’t want to drag all of everything of mine to work. Bad idea.

And then Sis flies in earlier on Wednesday, so we all will be together again on Wednesday night. Yaaaaaay!

Two days until Stuarts Draft…

March 10, 2008, 2:33 PM

Two days and counting until I leave for Stuarts Draft! And how exciting, since Sis is coming to visit! I haven’t seen her since December when we went to Chicago. Me, I’m close enough to the parents that I can go see them just about any time I want, but Sis is a little further flung, way out in the midwest and all. I’m excited.

Otherwise, though, I’m looking to update Schumin Web’s appearance. It’s not going to be major, but it will involve updating the various section headers, a few page redesigns, and possibly a new background across the whole site. I’m testing what I like, and we’ll see what we come up with. I want something that will look smart, but not something that looks too trendy. After all, the current look has lasted three and a half years, and I don’t want to screw up a good design with something cheesy. So we’ll see. It was a testament to the existing design, however, that I put the same interface back in place with very few modifications when we had that little meltdown last summer.

So yeah, I’m excited on all counts. And Schumin Web celebrates its 12th birthday in a little less than two weeks (March 23).

Categories: Family, Schumin Web meta

Didn’t think I’d be going to Stuarts Draft again so soon…

March 4, 2008, 11:18 PM

Yeah, I didn’t think I would be going back to Stuarts Draft again so soon. But… Sis is coming to visit! Yaaaaaaay! I will happily make the drive to see her, since we don’t get to see her all that much, what with her being half a continent away and all.

Plus this will be the first time that the four of us will have all been together since like June. I moved to Maryland in May, and made trips back to visit in May and June. Then Sis left for Chicago with Chris in August, and she’s not been back since, though Mom and I went out to visit her in December. Dad couldn’t make it due to other obligations that he couldn’t get out of.

So this ought to be a lot of fun. Sis and I are both arriving on Wednesday, March 12, and then we’re both leaving on the 15th, as she flies back to Chicago, and I drive back to Washington.

Then I’m also finally going to put a maneuver into practice that I’ve contemplated for months – leaving for Stuarts Draft directly from work. This involves placing the Sable at Vienna the night before, and then taking Metro back home. Thus I’m essentially making two evening commutes, as I’m going from Dupont Circle to Glenmont and taking the 51 back home, and then turning right around, driving to Vienna, and taking the Orange Line to Metro Center, and from there, back to Glenmont, and then the Y9 back home. This would be the day when it would be worthwhile to shell out the extra ten cents for a paper transfer, since bus drivers treat them like day passes. Then I’d have a normal morning commute, work all day, and then go directly to Vienna from work, and then to Stuarts Draft from there. Not bad. That would also mark the first time since May that I will have been to Vienna.

So yeah, I’m excited!

Categories: Family, Stuarts Draft