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“We’ve got a store that I explore when the customers aren’t here anymore…”

June 27, 2010, 12:14 AM

Tonight I learned some very disturbing news. G20 protesters in Toronto broke windows at The Bay’s Queen Street store on Saturday. Fans of Today’s Special will know this place best as simply “the store”. I was shocked, and it actually briefly brought tears to my eyes. But they did:

Broken windows at the store  Broken windows at the store
Photos: Karen Liu/Toronto Life

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Welcome to the new site!

June 25, 2010, 7:46 PM

Welcome to the newly-redesigned Schumin Web! Since February, I’ve been busy at work on the site, reworking the code and generally cleaning the site up, and now it’s finished and launched.

The main thrust of this redesign was to finally get away from using tables for layout, and do the layout entirely in CSS. I also pledged to do everything “right” this time, and not do anything kludgy. If I didn’t know how to make something work the way I wanted, then by golly, I researched it to find out how to make it work as intended.

However, the site still generally looks like the old site, since I admit – I really like the layout, and I saw no reason to make major revisions to that at this time. Why fix what’s not broken, after all? But that doesn’t mean I didn’t take the time to do a lot of smaller changes.

Let me give you a quick rundown on some of the stuff that’s new…

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

So I tried my hand at video blogging today…

June 23, 2010, 10:36 PM

So I tried my hand at video blogging on the way home from work today. I used my phone, setting it up it in the holder clipped on my air vent that I usually use for the GPS while I was stopped at a red light. Then I started it recording and just started discussing things:

And there you go, I suppose. It’s a first try, and so I kind of want to know what you think. Did I plan out what I wanted to say? No. I just kind of discussed it as I thought of it. And I managed to go on for just about ten minutes. So what do you think? Like it? Hate it? Think it’s got potential but needs to be refined? I want to know.

The Sable’s all mine!

June 21, 2010, 2:45 PM

Certainly you’re familiar with the Sable:

My 2004 Mercury Sable LS wagon

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Categories: Mercury Sable

Now I understand why Randi Rhodes says that the news has been cancelled…

June 15, 2010, 9:25 PM

I recently had a request for an interview by Kathryn Blaze Carlson of the National Post. It’s a Toronto-based newspaper, and according to its Wikipedia article, has a conservative-leaning editorial section. I was asked for an interview about black blocs due to my having participated in more than a dozen black blocs. I figured that since this was a news article and not an opinion piece, that some journalistic integrity would be in effect here, and my comments would be quoted truthfully. Not so, I’m afraid. As political pundit Randi Rhodes has so eloquently put it many times in the past, “The news has been cancelled.”

Now I’ve definitely done interviews with the media before. I was interviewed on WHSV back in 1996 about Virginia’s Standards of Learning, I had an interview in 2001 about Schumin Web in Turf (a short-lived supplement to JMU’s The Breeze newspaper), and then I was interviewed in 2006 by The News Virginian about the Skyline Parkway Motel at Rockfish Gap. This was my first interview about political issues.

What I found out after reading the final story, called “Black Bloc & Blue“, is that I could have said anything, and the story would have come out the same. Seriously, I could have said that when a black bloc forms at a demonstration, the sky turns yellow and people all start singing “La Marseillaise”, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Carlson seemed to have it already set in her mind that “black bloc” was a movement and a defined group, and despite my best efforts at talking her down from it, it seemed that my assertions that the whole thing was a tactic and not a movement fell on deaf ears.

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Categories: Black bloc

Here’s some advice: Don’t eat a five-day-old salad…

June 14, 2010, 11:48 PM

That’s my advice for you, because on Saturday, I wasn’t feeling too well, and I blame it on Friday’s lunch. You know how it is – you wake up feeling icky and with a fever, and then by the end of the day, the fever has broken, and all is feeling well again. I have a feeling it was food poisoning on Saturday. At least that was my theory until recently.

Except now I don’t know what to think, since I started feeling bad again on Monday, too, and I’d not eaten anything else that I could pin down as questionable. I hope I’m not getting sick. That would be really unpleasant. But as of right now, I have a fever, and my chest hurts from all the coughing I’ve been doing. I really don’t want to have to call out at work tomorrow, because I’ve got stuff I need to do down there, so hopefully I’ll be in a state where I can make it in tomorrow.

Meanwhile, now I’m trying to figure out where I caught this. It’s been two weeks since Boston, so for all I know, I might have caught something up there, because after all, that was a perfect breeding ground for colds, with people sharing rooms and coming together from all sorts of cities. I consider that most likely, because since coming back, I haven’t done anything, other than the aforementioned salad that was a shade past its prime, that would have made me sick.

Actually, I take that back. We got all of our summer interns in recently at work, and I wonder if I didn’t catch something from one of them. That would certainly be unpleasant, wouldn’t it?

Either way, it certainly shot my weekend. I was planning to go out, and ended up staying in all weekend. That did, however, do wonders for the Web site, where I got a lot of work done on new content (by the way, look for the CSS version of the site to go live around July 1 with at least two new photo sets at launch).

You know, driving is starting to look really attractive…

June 7, 2010, 2:37 PM

Well, Metro announced its fare increase, and it’s now going to cost me $11.00 round trip for work. Multiply that by 22 workdays per month on average, and you’ve got $242 in commuting costs per month. By comparison, the cost of a monthly parking pass at my building is $230. Transit still edges out driving when you factor in the cost of gas and increased car maintenance, plus that early-evening nap that I like to take on the Metro going home. Plus I’ve made friendships on the bus, and I would miss those folks if I started driving to work every day. It’s those little intangibles that are keeping me on transit, even as the costs are coming close to being a wash.

But with this new fare increase, one really has to start wondering if Metro isn’t starting to price itself out of the market. For folks like me who commute from the suburbs and have a choice between driving and commuting, if driving becomes cheaper than public transportation, I’m driving. I don’t care that I’m a public transportation buff. If it’s more expensive than driving and parking, then the hell with it. I’ll add one more car to the road, spewing noxious fumes out its tailpipe.

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Categories: WMATA