So how does this look?

< 1 minute read

February 25, 2008, 9:12 PM

How does this look to you?

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

“…because I slept with half of them!”

< 1 minute read

February 24, 2008, 11:53 PM

First of all, I am feeling a bit better after two days out of commission, and if things stay like this, I’m probably going to be in a suitable condition to go to work on Monday. Good.

And I spent much of the weekend watching old clips from The Price is Right on YouTube. There were quite a few good ones, but perhaps the weirdest one was this one of a woman playing Shell Game. Bob Barker asked her why the audience would know any more about where the ball was than she did, and she told him that she slept with half of them! Girl gets around!

Those kind of clips are the ones that amuse me the most – when people say something strange and seeing everyone’s reaction to it. Far more amusing than Yolanda and her wayward tube top, the Price blooper that everyone thinks about when they think of game show bloopers.

Still, they say that laughter is the best medicine, and I certainly got my fair share of it this weekend, so that’s a good thing.

Categories: Television

I wish I was in Stuarts Draft today…

< 1 minute read

February 23, 2008, 8:56 AM

Yeah, I wish I was in Stuarts Draft today. The reason is that up until yesterday, this weekend was going to be spent in Stuarts Draft. Then on Friday, I started coming down with something. It started Friday morning, when I had a very painful sore throat and a bit of a cough, but otherwise, no problem. By the end of the day at the office, I was pretty much feeling like I was sick. I notified all concerned that unless I felt really good come Saturday morning, that I was not going to make the trip down. And just as well. Yes, my mother would probably take good care of me if I made the trip sick, but I figure that if I’m going to be miserable all weekend, I’d at least rather be miserable in my own bed.

I figure I probably caught this one at the MVA on Tuesday when I got my Maryland license plates. That was about the only major deviation from my usual routine where I would be sitting in relatively close company with people I normally didn’t spend any time around. Realize it’s mostly the same people every day on the bus and the Metro. Then it’s definitely the same folks at work. So yeah, MVA seems the likely culprit.

And meanwhile, I now need to figure out another weekend to go to Stuarts Draft.

Categories: Personal health

Continuing to stain…

< 1 minute read

February 18, 2008, 1:32 PM

Now that the stain has proven to be a match, we’re staining two more:

Staining the Malma mirrors

Two coats later, it looks like my bedroom set. Excellent! And it’s 60 out right now, according to Weatherbug, which to me means it’s good staining weather. This is going to look so nice when it’s all done. I haven’t decided yet whether it’s going to be two rows above the bed staggered, or a tic-tac-toe style arrangement. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, speaking of home decor, I’m going to hang the Sable’s old grille on the wall in the closet. Why the closet? Well, it’s not something I want to put out where everyone will see it, but nonetheless it is a keepsake of sorts – a memento of my run-in with the deer, a somewhat traumatic experience.

Categories: Furniture, Mercury Sable

Staining the “Malma” mirrors…

2 minute read

February 17, 2008, 8:47 AM

Out of the nine mirrors I bought at IKEA when we went last weekend, I have so far stained one to match the bed. I got a can of water-based stain that’s not necessarily a “wood” color, but a “black” stain, which I was a little worried about. However, it’s exactly what I needed. I was using the first mirror to test out the stain to make sure it matched before I committed to the rest. After applying two coats of stain and letting it dry, I held it up to the dresser to see how it looked. Wouldn’t you know – it was a perfect match, and so it will look good once it’s all finished.

And this is a stain I can deal with. Unlike most stains, this one is water-based, and therefore doesn’t have a pungent smell, and also, it washes out of the brush, and off of my hands so easily. Of course, that’s not saying I’m doing the staining inside. Any time the lid is off on that can of stain, it’s going to be out on the balcony. And on my little balcony table, I make sure to lay out some bags from Shoppers to make sure it doesn’t get on the table.

My only complaint? It’s winter. So it’s a wee bit cold out there staining these mirrors. But I’m an adult – I can handle it. And it’s supposed to be 48 today, and 58 on Monday (a holiday!), so I don’t think it will be that bad.

Meanwhile, freezing rain is even worse than I thought. You may recall that in the previous entry in this space, I complained about slipping and sliding due to the freezing rain. Add to that losing power, too. I woke up on Wednesday morning, and my alarm clock was dark. Not a good thing. Check the light switch – nothing. Not a good thing. Check the hallway outside my door – dark. Confirmed, it’s not me – the power is definitely out. So I ended up having to get ready for work in the dark. Well, almost. I have this big flashlight that doubles as an electric lantern, and so at least I had some light. Not a lot, but some. In Stuarts Draft, we had underground utilities in our neighborhood, and so for the most part, freezing rain didn’t affect the power situation. In my neighborhood in Silver Spring, it’s overhead wires, and it does. At least I still had hot water, though. If not, I’d be taking a towel to work and showering there.

So there you go.

Categories: Furniture, Weather

I hate freezing rain…

2 minute read

February 12, 2008, 11:06 PM

Freezing rain is perhaps my least favorite kind of winter weather. Snow and sleet I don’t mind so much, because they at least make the landscape look all pretty for a while. But freezing rain is no fun. Looks like regular old rain, but gives everything a glossy, deadly sheen when it freezes.

And thus my evening commute. I step out of the building, go down the front steps to the sidewalk, walk off the area where the building management treated the ice, and whooooop! Slip and slide. Repeat several times, going from areas where no ice formed, to dry areas, to icy areas. And it’s somewhat difficult to see, so it’s a surprise when you hit it. I nearly did the splits at one point, when I stepped on ice with my right foot, while the left remained on a non-icy surface. And so that right foot went sliding forward, until I eventually caught myself. I never actually fell between my office and Dupont Circle, but there were quite a few close calls.

Then once in the (relative) safe haven of the Metro (at least the stations I regularly use are underground, so no ice), the train operator was careful to remind everyone that the platforms might be icy between New York Avenue and Silver Spring. “Red Line, watch your step!” Then the area where I catch my bus wasn’t bad, as there was no ice there (it was just freakin’ cold!). But then on my street, where the bus lets me off, let me tell you something… you thought Dupont Circle was bad, this was worse. The sidewalks on my street were completely iced over, and so in order to get any traction, I had to walk on the (also icy) grass. But at least I made it. They also hadn’t yet de-iced the sidewalk in front of my apartment building, so that was an interesting walk.

Now tomorrow, I’m going to be ready, since I’m going to be a little more prepared for what I’m up against. Of course, this also hinges on the bus actually being on time. Ride-On doesn’t necessarily always make it on time in bad winter weather, but they’re usually pretty good about it. But at least I have Ride-On, which keeps to its schedule, compared to the Y5, Y7, Y8, and Y9 on Metrobus, which wouldn’t know a schedule if it bit them in the behind.

Categories: Winter weather

“Prince George’s Pizza”?

4 minute read

February 10, 2008, 12:40 PM

My parents – both of them this time – came up to visit this weekend. They arrived Saturday morning, and left midday Sunday. What a fun time we had! We went to IKEA in College Park, and bought stuff. Mom got a new computer chair for her classroom (replacing one I got for free at Potomac Hall), and I got some mirrors that I’m planning to mount on the wall above my bed. I was also interested in getting some picture frames, but as they didn’t have the kind I wanted, we skipped on that.

These little mirrors are really cool. I got the idea after visiting my cousin Kate and her husband Nathan, and seeing these same mirrors over their fireplace arranged 3×3. The whole mirror unit is one square foot, and about four inches square in the center is mirror, and the rest is a wide wood frame. I think it will look great in the bedroom, after I stain the wood to match the bed. The style is called Malma.

Also, a surprise at IKEA: In those little “Living in [whatever] square feet” displays they have where they show an entire house, they of course show the bathroom. The surprise came when, being silly, I lifted up the toilet seat to make it look more “lived in”:

The display toilet at IKEA

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Categories: Family, IKEA, Retail

iMac takes Metro?

2 minute read

February 10, 2008, 11:51 AM

This past week, I had two things that were worth a shot or two, and so I thought I’d share…

First of all, Katie and her mother went up to Leesburg in northern Virginia to see her brother and his family. And while she was up there, we also got together. The surprise of the evening was that prior to my arrival, her brother’s wife styled her hair. So here’s a photo of the one and only time she’ll be all curly, taken here at Chili’s, where we had dinner:

Katie with curls

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Categories: Katie, WMATA, Work

So the question is, how super will “Super Tuesday” be, i.e., will we have nominees by then?

2 minute read

February 4, 2008, 11:49 PM

So that’s what I’m wondering. With more than half the states having primaries tomorrow, and with this race being as it is, we might end up with nominees tomorrow… or we might not. After all, it’s been a downright ugly race at times, as on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has accused Barack Obama of representing a slum-lord, and Barack Obama has pointed out that Hillary Clinton was on the board of directors of Wal-Mart. Then on the Republican side, it seems that if they’re not trying to amend the Constitution to match the word of “God”, then they’re trying to compare how each matches up to Ronald Reagan, the great Republican god.

Meanwhile, I’ve officially adopted a wait-and-see attitude. I’m not particularly enthused about any of the remaining candidates. I was really excited about Dennis Kucinich’s candidacy, as exemplified by the fact that I got on the iStump for him, but now Kucinich is out, and neither Hillary or Obama really sends me like Kucinich did. I’m probably going to just hold my nose and vote for someone, but at this point, I genuinely don’t know about this current crop.

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Categories: National politics

And the morning wasn’t the only new and different ride today…

3 minute read

January 28, 2008, 10:43 PM

My morning commute certainly wasn’t the only thing new and different about my commute today. My evening commute brought me on board Rohr 1133, where Metro was presumably testing a few things. Unlike on Breda 3283, where the changes were designed for passengers, the changes on 1133 appear to be designed more for Metro’s internal use than for the passengers, though passengers certainly benefit from some of the changes as well.

First of all, on Rohr 1132 and 1133, Metro is using different interior lighting. I don’t know if it’s a change in the light bulbs, a change in the covers over the light bulbs, or a little bit of both, but the light was much whiter – significantly different from the way Rohrs normally look. I got a photo with my cell phone that hopefully demonstrates what I mean:

As you can see, the light is much whiter, showing off the true color of the unadulterated Rohr interior, which actually looks quite nice when viewed in pure white, and not with a yellowish tint.

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Categories: WMATA

And now my opinion that the lean rests are a bad idea is also based on actual experience.

4 minute read

January 28, 2008, 9:38 PM

It seems that January is the month for the Red Line to get all of Metro’s test cars. You may remember that I got Alstom 6105 on the 17th. Well, this morning, I got Breda 3283, which, you may recall from an earlier Journal entry, was being used to test a new seating pattern.

Let me quickly refresh you: All of the side seats next to the center doors, as well as the two rows beyond those on both sides of the center doors, were eliminated in favor of sets of six side-facing “cloth-based” bus seats. Metro also removed eight seats from the blind end of the car and installed leaning rests for standees, ran a ceiling grab bar back into the blind end (which normally has no grab bar, making it a no-man’s land for standees), installed spring-loaded metal “straps”, removed all the windscreens except for those around the center doors, removed the railfan window seat near the cab, and added two three-handled grab bars at the cab end of the car. They also recarpeted the car in the same style used on the newer rail cars, and changed all the seat cushions to the “colonial burgundy” color. Because of that color change, doing away with all the orange that Metro loved so much during the 70s and 80s, it’s somewhat ironic that the new bus seats that were installed were what color? That’s right – orange. Then Metro also slightly refurbished Breda 3282, which is 3283’s mate, as well. All of 3282’s seat cushions were replaced with the “Potomac blue” color, and it was also recarpeted. However, 3282’s floorplan was unchanged, as it is likely a control car in Metro’s experiments. 3282 has been refurbished at least since late September, as Katie and I saw it on the Green Line at Fort Totten with the blue seats on that weekend that she was in town.

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Categories: WMATA

And the second day of the consulta went equally well.

2 minute read

January 28, 2008, 8:24 PM

The second day of the consulta went just as well as the first. We had a slightly smaller crowd, but it still worked. We couldn’t get into the Frederick Cultural Arts Center right off the bat on Sunday due to the fact that a church had services in there at 11:00, so we started out at the Frederick Coffee Company for the first hour and some. There, we discussed affinity groups, protest tactics, and even “protest fashion”, which was kind of like What Not To Wear: Black Bloc Edition.

Then we went over to an area about a block away from the Arts Center, and had lunch, courtesy of the local Food Not Bombs. There, they had a selection of vegan food, as well as what’s called freegan, meaning it’s stuff that was obtained for free after being cast off by the primary purchaser.

From there, we got into the Arts Center, and prepared for a workshop on police tactics. However, before that got going, while everyone was setting up, Jeff and Maddy had a chance to be wacky with a cart that was in there.

Jeff pushes Maddy around on the cart
First Jeff pushed Maddy…

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Categories: Activism, Frederick

Day one of the “Unconventional Action” consulta went very well!

3 minute read

January 26, 2008, 9:39 PM

Day one of the “Unconventional Action” consulta in Frederick, Maryland went quite well, indeed. The main thrust for the consulta was to prepare for the protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, as somewhat indicated by the banner inside:

Consulta banner

However, with Denver and St. Paul being out of range for many of us (I have neither the time nor the funds to go), it also worked well for things to apply in that hotbed of activism that’s right in our own backyard – our nation’s capital, Washington DC.

We discussed a lot of stuff, too, mostly related to protest tactics and community organizing. We started with discussion on how to combat gentrification (with handouts!), took a break, and then moved onto discussion about the logistics of the RNC and DNC. Bridges, hotels, locations of various buildings, perimeters, etc. Very interesting stuff. And lots of handouts! I like handouts.

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Categories: Activism, Frederick

In Memoriam: Greta, February 12, 1994 – January 24, 2008

< 1 minute read

January 24, 2008, 7:18 PM

Greta by her bowl in the kitchen, December 25, 2007

This is the entry I’d hoped not to ever have to make. Sad to say, Greta has passed on at the age of 13 years and 11 months. She died peacefully at home. Everyone whose lives she touched will miss her dearly.

Greta was quite the dog. She was very protective of the family, barking loudly and continuously at anyone who would visit that she didn’t know. She knew the drill when the doorbell rang, too – she would be the first at the door, barking her little head off. She would also do the same thing if a doorbell would sound on the TV. But she would always give a little doggy smile whenever she saw us.

She also knew how to give love and receive love, as Greta was Mom’s little baby, always small enough for Mom to hold in her arms. The two of them had a great time, too, as they would sit and watch television together, and Greta could always be found near Mom in the house. And as all domestic dogs should be, Greta was spoiled rotten, getting just about anything she wanted. Talk about a great life.

And now, all I have to say is, Greta, you will be missed…

Categories: Greta

“Are you running Linux? Looks like you’re running Linux.”

< 1 minute read

January 21, 2008, 5:04 PM

Yes, as of this writing, the Lappy is officially running Ubuntu Linux. So this is exciting. My Linux experience is presently quite limited. The antiquated computer at the Infoshop runs Ubuntu Linux, and so I’ve gotten some experience there with Linux. Plus I’ve also had some (and by “some” I mean “very little”) experience with the Unix command line, which Linux also uses, both at the Infoshop, and in the Mac OS X training class I went to up in Philly last November. It seems like it’s a pretty good system, and once I figure out how it works, it should serve me well. After all, I’ve learned how to use Mac OS X, so I can figure out Linux. At first glance, Ubuntu Linux kind of reminds me of Mac OS X a little bit.

So yeah, I still have no idea what I’m doing on Linux, but I’ll figure it out. Still, it seems I’ve entered the ranks of computer users who use Linux. Scary…

Categories: Computer