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25 random things about me…

January 30, 2009, 7:12 PM

The latest meme around Facebook is posting 25 random things that you might not otherwise know about them as a “note”. And as of right now, I’ve been tagged three times in people’s notes about it. It’s quite interesting reading about all of these different things about people, since while I know many of these people very well, a lot of these facts are things I didn’t know.

With this meme, the rule is as follows: “Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.” Then you’re supposed to tag 25 people in the note, including those who tagged you.

Since I’ve been tagged three times, in deciding whether or not to do this, I had one of those what-the-hell-why-not moments. I will admit this up front – this is going to be hard, since I’ve discussed so much on Schumin Web over the past twelve years, that it’s hard to find stuff I haven’t discussed on here.

So here goes.

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Categories: Myself, Social media

So the weatherman was right – it snowed today.

January 27, 2009, 7:37 PM

Yes, nothing like waiting for the bus in the snow. But at least I had my coat, my hat, and my iPod, where the headphones I use are large enough to cover my ears and therefore keep them warm. And what a wonderful sight this was:

The 51 arrives, in the snow.

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Categories: Ride On, Winter weather, WMATA

And the forecast calls for snow!

January 26, 2009, 11:29 PM

You know, when I was younger, the word “snow” meant the potential for an unscheduled play-day, since in Augusta County, Virginia, you could dump an ice cube tray out on the road and they would cancel school. As an adult, there is no such thing as a snow day, and so snow is a colossal pain in the behind. I remember last winter going back to the Metro after work, and slipping and sliding on the sidewalk on P Street. Not the most enjoyable thing in the world.

For that matter, really cold days are a bother, too. Today, I had a very cold commute to work. It was well below freezing, and that would have to be the day I got a 5000-Series on the way in to work. 5000s are a bit of a novelty for me since they are uncommon on the Red Line, but they’re well known for being the coldest cars in the fleet, and from what I understand, Metro isn’t going to fix the problem (cold CAFs are fine in the summer, but not in the winter). I got to Glenmont, and boarded CAF 5120 to ride to work. I sat down, and the seat was cold. It wasn’t just the air that was cold, but the seat cushion itself was cold. Not a good way to start the day. Good thing I have a nice, warm winter coat and that dashing hat of mine.

And then of course the walk down P Street to my office building was cold, too. But at least things warmed up from there, as the building was nice and toasty.

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So, wait, what happened to…?

January 25, 2009, 12:19 PM

In case you haven’t heard, I recently brought back The Schumin Web Transit Center from what had turned into a year and a half long slumber. Looking around, though, you might be asking me, “But Schumin, where are the Alstom photos? Where are the bus photos? Where are the videos?” Well, they’re coming back, but just not right away.

Realize that the big reason for the delay was because while the site looks visually similar to the old site, it is a completely new Web site under the hood. The database was rebuilt in MySQL from scratch, and all of the pages had to be rewritten in PHP. This all goes back to the July 2007 server failure, which was on a Microsoft server (figures, doesn’t it?). That was the inspiration to complete my planned conversion of the whole site to PHP and MySQL, as I was already in the process of changing hosts when that happened. This just sped the process up. Since the new server isn’t a Microsoft server, the existing site was unusable, and had to be converted over. It took me a month to get the main Schumin Web site going again, a few weeks to bring College Life back online, and then Today’s Special resumed last summer.

With Transit Center, I knew I could just straight-convert my databases like what happened with the other sites. But I didn’t want to. I realized as the Transit Center site grew that updates had become a colossal pain in the butt. So I was planning to scrap the existing database anyway and build a new one. That new one is designed and was made ready for a release, but I’ve not entered everything into it yet.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

And this is why I watched the inauguration on the TV!

January 20, 2009, 8:04 PM

As many of you know, I said in this space about a week ago that I was going to watch the inauguration on the TV. And you know what? It was a smart move. Check it out:

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Categories: National politics

Wheaton Plaza is starting to look kind of sad…

January 19, 2009, 12:25 PM

My local shopping mall, Wheaton Plaza, otherwise known as Westfield Wheaton, is starting to look kind of sad with the poor economy taking its toll. Currently, Office Depot and Circuit City are holding going-out-of-business sales. Office Depot is doing a round of store closings to stave off bankruptcy, and for Circuit City, the Wheaton location survived an initial round of closings, and only started its closing sale after the company announced it was shuttering all locations. Combined with the closing of the family-owned Montgomery Cinema and Drafthouse (a movie theater outfitted with tables and chairs so people could dine and enjoy a beer while watching movies on the big screen), the outparcels on the south side of Wheaton are going to be looking really empty in short order.

Combine that with the fact that one of the two-story anchor buildings in the mall itself has been empty for more than a year, and things are really starting to look sad. That empty anchor location appears to have been built as a Hecht’s (see photo), and closed when the merger with Macy’s was completed (Wheaton Plaza already had a Macy’s).

When I moved to the area in mid-2007, that anchor location housed a store called IFL Furniture, selling overpriced furniture. That location closed in the fall of 2007, and it’s been empty since. There were rumblings that a Kohl’s and a Steve and Barry’s would be taking over that space, but something tells me that’s not happening any time soon. Steve and Barry’s is closing all its locations, and so the Wheaton location is presumably stillborn. Then with Kohl’s, I don’t know what to think. When IFL vacated the location, work started on that building. Trailers came in, black coverings were put on all the doors so you couldn’t see in, and an area in front of the south entrance was fenced off for various construction stuff. That whole fenced off area is now gone, and it looks like nothing’s happening there anymore. Inside the mall, the entrance to the former Hecht’s/IFL space has been walled off, and it’s as if they’re pretending that there is no building behind that wall. The wall is being used to promote DSW Shoe Warehouse, which recently opened in the former Hecht’s wing, and made for a small reshuffling of tenants as locally-owned Wheaton News was moved elsewhere in the mall, and a Payless Shoes was relocated as well.

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Categories: Wheaton

I’d say that in January, Anonymous made a bigger splash than usual…

January 18, 2009, 8:17 PM

In January, Anonymous DC raided not once, but twice. This stemmed from the fact that the global raid date was January 17, and for us, bringing out the big guns on January 17 for the global was not the best idea in the world, considering that right now, Washington DC is swamped with out of town tourists – and out of town cops – for Barack Obama’s inauguration in two short days. Thus we had our “global” raid on January 10, and we flash-raided on the 17th. Win was had by all, though it was cold as hell on both days.

On the 10th, our raid was loosely themed around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thus:

We had Shredder.
We had Shredder.

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Categories: Project Chanology

And with a new ceiling mount in place, we have a proper projector again.

January 13, 2009, 8:44 PM

At last, the dangling wires are gone, and the conference room at work has a proper projector again. And interestingly enough, actually mounting the projector was the easy part. I had no problems putting the new mounting ring on the pole and securing the projector to its bracket. No, the most challenging part of it all was getting all the cords connected again. For that, I pulled out a ceiling tile, and went down to the building management office and got a real ladder. The biggest problem was getting the computer to work. The problem was that there was an unfamiliar cord in there with a different end on it, and that was how the computer was connected to the old projector. Up in the ceiling, the unfamiliar cord was connected via an adaptor to a standard VGA cable. No problems there – the adaptor and the unfamiliar cord came off, and I just hooked the VGA cable up to it directly. Problem solved.

Meanwhile, you should see this new projector. The picture is brighter and crisper than the old projector. So awesome. Go me for getting it all working.

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Categories: Work

And of course the old mount didn’t fit the new projector!

January 10, 2009, 12:25 AM

We’re replacing our projector at work, and so I got to move tables and such in order to do it. After having removed the very old and very heavy old projector from the ceiling, I went to put the new one on the mounting bracket. And guess what – the new projector does not fit on the old mounting bracket. I didn’t discover that detail until I went to put the new projector on and saw that the holes didn’t line up. So now I have to get a new mounting bracket. So I basically had to stop on that front, and wait for the new bracket to come in. And in the meantime, I have this coming out of the ceiling:

Cords coming out of the ceiling from the projector  Cords coming out of the ceiling from the projector

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Categories: Work

Would you buy a DVD collection of Today’s Special? I would!

January 9, 2009, 12:42 AM

Tell me, does this bring back memories for you?

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Categories: Today's Special

Metro: Don’t quit your day job.

January 8, 2009, 8:30 PM

Schumin to Metro: Don’t quit your day job. Check this video out:

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Categories: WMATA

A year of Anonymous…

January 8, 2009, 7:39 PM

It was recently brought to my attention today that Project Chanology, the Scientology-protesting offshoot of Anonymous, has been going on now for a year. And despite the Scilons’ best efforts, including bogus legal threats, bullbaiting by Scientology spokesmodel Sylvia Stanard, and many other half-assed efforts at intimidation, Anonymous goes on.

And if you think the protesting of the Church of Scientology is just a DC thing, you are sadly mistaken, as Scientology has been protested across the United States and worldwide. This video sums up the situation quite well, that despite the Church of Scientology’s best efforts, we are still alive, and not going anywhere:

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Categories: Project Chanology

So I find out that Augusta County is planning on killing an elementary school…

January 1, 2009, 4:28 PM

While my father and I were out today, he told me that he had heard that Augusta County might be closing Ladd Elementary, which is in Waynesboro.

First of all, before I even researched it, I said it was probably a good idea to abandon the site. First of all, the facility is indeed an Augusta County school, but it’s located within the independent city of Waynesboro. That happened because the area that the school is in was annexed by the city of Waynesboro in the 1980s or so. So it’s an anomaly for being a county school that’s no longer in the county. But it’s also now in the middle of a large shopping district, with Wal-Mart directly across the street, and Home Depot, Martin’s, Target, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, and a plethora of other smaller retailers within a short distance from the school. Traffic is hideous outside the school, with signs for tractor-trailers telling them that the school is not a turn-around. Plus I’m sure some other retailer would snap up the school site in a heartbeat to peddle more crap to people.

Then I found an article in The News Virginian about the plan. How interesting. They want to close and sell the Ladd location in Waynesboro, close Beverley Manor Elementary School near Staunton, and expand Wilson, Cassell, and Riverheads elementary schools to accommodate more students. They say no teachers will lose their jobs, since it’s more of a consolidation than a closing. And the idea of moving the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School into the old Beverley Manor building was tossed around as well. Currently, that facility shares a building with Valley Vocational Technical Center.

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