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A particularly amusing spelling mistake…

December 31, 2010, 6:38 PM

Anytime someone makes a spelling and punctuation error in public, particularly on materials printed professionally, it’s funny. For instance, on the South Mountain rest areas on both sides of I-70 in Maryland, a sign indicates where “RV’s” should go. It should read “RVs”, since it is neither possessive nor a contraction for “RV is”. In English, we don’t add apostrophes when pluralizing. One can correctly write, “The apostrophe’s going to be placed here,” or “The apostrophe’s tail is beautiful,” but one cannot correctly write, “I am putting six apostrophe’s in the sentence.” That would be correctly written as “I am putting six apostrophes in the sentence.” If you want to really get on my nerves, just be sloppy with your apostrophes. It drives me crazy.

But this one is actually kind of funny, spotted at the 7-Eleven on Frederick Road (MD 355) in Rockville near Shady Grove station. Take a look:

Do you see the error?

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Categories: Amusing

Happy Generic Capitalist Holiday to you…

December 25, 2010, 4:20 AM

Yes, a happy Generic Capitalist Holiday to you. I will be glad to see another one of these pass, that’s for sure. This year, I was just totally not into the whole Christmas thing, and almost outright opposing it, as evidenced by my many comments about it on the Twitter in the past month:

People need to boycott WASH-FM until after New Years when they stop playing that annoying #Christmas music!

Wishing that “criminally bad lighting displays” was a citable offense: http://twitpic.com/3egpdi #xmas #christmas

My idea of Christmas spirit this year: http://twitpic.com/3f3suv #scrooge #christmas #holidays

After all, “#Christmas” is really just a celebration of #capitalism and materialism, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

@Slate Considering #Christmas has no meaning whatsoever, why not? Just one more thing for retailers to sucker you into buying. (Note: This tweet was in response to a question from Slate about whether Jews should own Christmas trees)

How much would I have to pay the man playing #Christmas music on his trumpet to get him to stop?

Why don’t we just refer to #Christmas as “Shameless #Capitalism Day” and get it over with already?

Is it rude to refer to people who post “Happy birthday Jesus” status messages as delusional? #christmas #birthday #jesus

Happy Generic Capitalist Holiday to all.

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I never thought someone would actually want to work in a purple office…

December 23, 2010, 6:27 PM

So I saw a chiropractor today for some neck and lower back pain that I’d been having lately. I chose to see a chiropractor as opposed to a regular doctor because of a couple of matters that happened some years ago. In the summer of 2001, I had a bout with some pretty severe lower back pain. I saw a regular doctor about it, and they prescribed muscle relaxers, which did nothing except cost money. Then one day in March 2002, after months of the back pain coming and going, I sat down on my couch in my old Potomac Hall dorm room, and… *pop* – instant relief. The pain was completely gone. I don’t think I had felt that good in a long time. Went from about a six on the 1-10 pain scale to ahhhhh in one short second.

So when my neck started feeling a little stiff a few months ago, as well as some lower back stiffness when standing for extended periods (like at demonstrations and such), remembering that feeling of relief from a while back, I started doing some research on chiropractic. I read up about what it entailed and what it was about, and also went on Quackwatch to see what kinds of red flags to look out for. I read plenty of horror stories about chiropractors who did way more adjustments on people than were necessary, who routinely x-rayed when it wasn’t necessary, and pressured patients with a lot of hard-selling.

So having done a whole lot of research on what to look for and what to look for as warning signs, I started looking for chiropractors in the Wheaton area. Ultimately, it came down to Dr. Peter McPartland and Wheaton Chiropractic. Both facilities took my insurance. While McPartland was closer to my house and within walking distance of Glenmont station, I ultimately chose Wheaton Chiropractic for a few reasons. First of all, McPartland was a storefront office at Glenmont Shopping Center, while Wheaton Chiropractic was in a medical office building (Forest Glen Medical Center). Then on McPartland’s new-patient forms, which were available for download, I read this passage: “This is to certify that I am not pregnant and Dr. Peter McPartland or Staff has my permission to take x-rays of me.” Compare to Wheaton Chiropractic, which said, “Current research does not support routine imaging, especially for uncomplicated cases. We are conservative about ordering studies for patients, and will order them only when clinically indicated.” That was the grabber there – one asked for blanket permission up front to x-ray, and the other one said they wouldn’t x-ray at all unless it was really necessary. So I went with Wheaton Chiropractic.

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Categories: Health issues

Obviously, the date and time would be too useful to display…

December 19, 2010, 1:59 AM

Coming back from a Christmas shindig in Northern Virginia this evening, I encountered this sign on the Beltway:

TERROR TIPS?  CALL 1-800-492-TIPS

Basically, the sign encourages people to report “terror tips” to the authorities at the aforementioned number. A little research indicates that the number goes to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, a state counter-terrorism agency.

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If this is how Metro is going to spend our money, then I want my fare increase back.

December 16, 2010, 7:31 PM

So Metro posted this little gem on YouTube today:

So Metro really thinks that security theater will make us safer? Really? Didn’t we like just discuss this a couple of years ago? I still firmly stand by what I said two years ago, and that is that it’s a waste of time and money.

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Categories: Security, WMATA

Word to the wise: Don’t drop your Droid on its head.

December 11, 2010, 8:54 PM

Those of you who follow me on the Twitter know when I’m riding Metro. After all, during those times, many of my tweets have the #wmata hashtag on them. And usually, one Metro ride in a day is followed later in the day by another (after all, after going somewhere, I usually have to go back). But on Friday evening, I was notably silent. See, I had broken my Droid.

What happened is that I had just gotten off the phone with Mom. I usually call my mother during the walk from the office to Dupont Circle station, and we stay on the phone while I go down into the station and wait on the platform, only saying goodbye once I’m safely on the train (there’s a dead spot in the tunnel between Dupont Circle and Farragut North, so we have to end it by then). This particular evening, Mom had to get off the phone early, because Dad had dinner ready and she had to go. So we said goodbye while I was still waiting on the platform, and got off the phone.

Once I get off the phone, I usually switch to my iPod and resume my Randi Rhodes podcast. So I tucked the phone under my chin and held it against my chest with my chin. However, my winter coat, zipped all the way up, got in the way, though I didn’t realize it at the time. So while I was pulling out my iPod and my headphones, the phone dropped from where I was holding it, and landed headfirst on the platform. If you’re holding it upright, the top of it is what struck the platform, and it hit with enough force to knock the snap-on case off of it. I picked the phone up, and to my surprise, the screen was black.

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Categories: Cell phone, Rockville

When the fire trucks show up in the middle of the evacuation, that should be your clue that it’s not a drill…

December 11, 2010, 7:29 PM

So I’m a little bit annoyed. Yesterday afternoon marks the second time I’ve missed a fire alarm at work on account of being out to lunch. Let’s admit it – building evacuations on account of a fire alarm of unknown cause are kind of exciting. First there’s the system aspect of it. The Wheelock NS horn/strobes and Wheelock RSS strobes in my office building come to life, and start making a Code-3 pattern and start flashing. That right there is always cool, since these devices are, for the vast majority of the time, silent fixtures on the wall, which I’m sure many forget about. But then there’s the other part of things, and that’s where a little suspense and excitement comes in. The building might actually be on fire! After all, if you don’t get out quickly, the fire might get you, and no one wants that.

And as mentioned, this is the second time in a row that the fire alarm has gone off this year that I’ve missed. And for anyone to miss it, it would be me. I’m just the person with the Wheelock 7002T on his desk, after all. Both times were during what we call “Schumy Lunch”, which is where a bunch of us go out on Fridays to have lunch. The first time was in August, and we were out at Logan Tavern, about two blocks away from the office. We saw a fire truck go by during lunch and didn’t think anything about it, until I got a text message during lunch. Turns out that hey, the fire alarm went off. Put two and two together, and aha – that fire truck was headed to our building! As I understand it, it was an accidental alarm caused by maintenance work. It happens, I suppose.

Then this one on Friday was caused by construction work. They’re renovating the small fitness center that’s in our building, and, well, they presumably tripped a smoke head. Oops. We got back from Schumy Lunch at Chipotle in Dupont Circle, found out coming in that we missed a fire alarm by about ten minutes, and found out what the source of the alarm was. My first reaction was being annoyed that I missed another one, and commenting that they need to stop accidentally setting off the alarm while I’m out of the building (and waiting to do it when I’m around). Then I suggested, in jest, “Can I just pull the alarm so we can do the evacuation with me?” They said no, and I was like, “Darn!” in that I-knew-that-was-going-to-be-the-answer kind of way.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

So if you ever wanted to know how much I talk about things…

December 9, 2010, 10:32 PM

So did you ever wonder how much I talk about what in this space? Well, I did, and so I sat down with a pen and paper and categorized my Journal entries. Seriously. I did every Journal entry starting with this entry at the beginning of 2009 about an Augusta County issue, all the way through this entry, which I remember most for composing it on the Metro.

And what did I find out? Well, it’s kind of surprising and not surprising. Not surprising is that the thing I discussed most in the past almost-two-years is Metro – 38 times. Surprising, however, is that discussion of Anonymous is so close to it – 33 times. In 2009, I actually discussed Anonymous more times than Metro by one (24 Anon vs. 23 Metro), and then it reversed to more what I would have expected in 2010 (15 Metro and 9 Anon). Then after that, I discuss work – 24 times since the beginning of 2009. I wasn’t really surprised about that.

But you know what was really surprising? Since January 1, 2009, I wrote about snow 19 times, making it the topic I discuss fifth most often overall. I guess that’s what happens when nature dumps a few feet of snow on the Washington DC area and we’re all trapped in our houses for days at a time. I racked up most of those hits during the blizzards last winter, and in February 2010, that’s just about all I talked about.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

You know it’s something seriously Metro-geeky when I pull out the safety vest…

December 4, 2010, 12:23 AM

And it is. Take a look:

Wearing my WMATA vest

See, we did our annual office trivia contest on Friday, in the usual format. The way that works is that I ask a question, and the first person to get it right wins a prize, which comes from whatever freebie stuff we get over the course of the year. The topics are something I pick. In 2008, it was United States Presidents. In 2009, it was United States geography. In 2010, after complaints that I made the geography questions too easy, I went for something a little harder, yet something that people around here should know more about than they do: the Metro. Thus why I pulled out the safety vest. After all, if one is going to do a trivia contest about Metro, one should at least look the part. Thus I wore my WMATA safety vest at work when I hosted trivia.

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Categories: WMATA, Work

“Oh, it’s terrible! The King has been transformed! Please find the Magic Wand so we can change him back.”

November 27, 2010, 4:31 PM

First of all, I admit – the title doesn’t mean much in relation to this entry, except that it perhaps reflects that I’ve been playing too much Super Mario Bros. 3 on my Super Nintendo lately. Regardless, this Journal entry has been a long time in coming, since this is about a trip I took to Stuarts Draft two weeks ago. All I have to say is, hey, I’ve been busy. But it’s also somewhat fitting that I post this entry this weekend, since this was “Thanksgiving” with the parents a couple of weeks ahead of the holiday. Traffic is a real pain, you see, and this obviates the need to mess with it. Have you ever driven US 29 in Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend? It’s no walk in the park.

On Friday the 12th, after driving perhaps a shade too fast the whole way down, I arrived at Stuarts Draft Middle School. After all, Mom was there, and I hadn’t seen her new classroom yet. Mom was recently switched from sixth to eighth grade, and so she moved rooms as a result, from Room 24 to Room 1. And here it is:

Mom's new classroom, Room 1

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This is what a Vietnam Memorial photo set should look like…

November 23, 2010, 8:21 PM

I think I may have outdone myself with the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial set in Photography. I was quite pleased with the way the photos came out right after I shot them, and I was especially pleased with the way the whole set came out as a finished product on the Web site.

This certainly does a better job in showing the Vietnam Memorial than my previous attempt, in Part 5 of The Schumin Web Salutes America from 2001. The lighting is different, the Canon has far superior resolution than the original Mavica, and I’ve grown as a photographer and how things get displayed. Let’s admit it – the older photo set was a bit all over the place. I was operating under the assumption that it would be a very long time between visits to Washington, and so I went after a lot of stuff at once – probably too much. By the time I got to the Vietnam Memorial, I had already walked four-and-some miles, and so I was tired. The National Mall, by the way, is a lot longer than it looks, and I walked the entire length of it from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and about halfway back that day. So the effort was a bit lackluster due to my packing too much into a day.

By the way, I generally consider the older photo set from 2001 to be poor work by today’s standards despite all the effort that I put into it at the time, and a few retoolings of the photo set over the years. The older photo set does, however, show The Three Soldiers, which the newer photo set does not. I deliberately avoided the statues due to concerns over freedom of panorama as it applies to statues.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

Greetings from CAF 5109…

November 17, 2010, 7:29 PM

First of all, hello from CAF 5109. I am riding the Red Line home from the Tenleytown area, having just had a wonderful time enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend. Always good to see friends, and nothing beats a hot cup of coffee on a cool fall evening.

Meanwhile, this is my first time actually writing a Journal entry on my netbook while on the Metro. The train is not crowded by any means, so I’m sitting sideways in a row and typing with the computer on one leg. And it seems to work. I’m listening to Randi Rhodes on podcast, and just tapping away on the keyboard. For those wondering, I don’t have Internet on here right now, but instead, I will post this when I get home. I’m too late for the 51, so I figure, I’m either going to take the Y9 bus or walk. Follow me on the Twitter and find out, I suppose. Meanwhile, this train did not service Farragut North, strangely enough. When we went through (without stopping), there was caution tape on the platform and a bunch of people in safety vests at the outbound end, but a lot of regular people on the inbound end. Go fig. I know that the L Street entrance was closed, but who knows if that’s related.

Then this weekend is raid weekend. It’s always fun to troll Scientology, and this ought to be good, though I’m concerned that our numbers will be down due to its being so close to Thanksgiving. This is, after all, the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I’m sure that many people will be taking off early for the holiday. However, Scientology is not above scamming people out of large sums of their money on the weekend before Thanksgiving, and thus we will be outside to troll. It’s this Saturday from 1-5 PM. Hope to see you there. Should be fun. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong on the numbers, and we’ll have a good number of (masked) faces out there trolling Scientology.

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Make a happy face out of cooking oil, and then light ‘er up!

November 13, 2010, 9:02 PM

Tonight’s dinner experience was certainly a bit more exciting than most when eating out. I went with my parents to Massaki, a Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar in Staunton. That was a cool experience.

See, Massaki is one of those places where they cook the food right in front of you, and put extra emphasis on showmanship. And the food was good, for that matter. But yeah, they put the whole cooking thing on display. First the server takes your drink order, and then after they bring you the drinks, they take your order. The soup comes out, the salad comes out, and then while you’re eating the salad, the chef comes out.

The chef came out with a little cart containing all the raw ingredients for the table. I had the swordfish and mahi mahi, others had a chicken dish, and someone else had steak. First thing the chef did was get started. After doing a little thing with his spatula, he made a happy face on the grill out of cooking oil, and then lit that sucker on fire. Big flame-up right there (and you can feel the heat from the individual flame-ups several tables away). Then he put the rice down, and got to work chopping up the vegetables. Then he did the side dishes. Dad and I had chicken livers, and Mom had sauteed mushrooms. The chef made a big to-do of the cooking, that’s for sure. It was quite fun to watch, as he placed this sauce on this, and this on that, and moved stuff around and flipped stuff.

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Power-walker extraordinaire…

November 10, 2010, 12:16 AM

Well, what a crappy day today was. It just seems like a lot of stuff went wrong today. It started out with a call from the mechanic, where the Sable is currently undergoing yet another expensive repair. This time it’s the fuel pump and related equipment that decided to conk out on me. Basically, it’s a rehash of the problem from last Christmas, when Mom and I almost got stranded in Roanoke, except this time the car didn’t get back up again, and was down for the count, and so I had to fix it. After all, I live in the suburbs, and where I live, you need wheels. The reason that was no good is because I got the final number. The shop called me while I was at the bus stop, telling me that they wanted $2,200 for the work. I told them I’d need to get back with them on that. They called me back again while I was on the Metro, talking it down to $1,900. No go again. Have to get back with them. I managed to somehow get them down to $1,295, and that’s what it’s going to take to get my car going again. I get my car back soon, though I’m thinking that the Sable’s days might soon be numbered, because the old adages of “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “Found On Road Dead” are ringing very true for me, and that starts to add up to real money.

What would be really cute, though, is if the Sable started honking on its own every time I mention the words “new car”, a la Gertrude from Today’s Special.

Then at work, I had to attend to an emergency that would of course rear its ugly little head at 4:59 PM. I didn’t get out of the office until way later than I would have liked. Taking the 51 home was out of the question, since even with the new and later last 51 of the night, I hadn’t even left the office when that pulled up to the bus stop at Glenmont. So I ended up taking Metro home at night, and got to Glenmont around 10:45. According to NextBus, there wouldn’t be another Y9 going north for an hour.

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So I did one of the things I bought this netbook for…

November 5, 2010, 11:33 PM

Well, I did my first Video-Journal-on-the-go entries today. I did two videos, both on the Metro. I first did one in the morning:

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