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Now that Christmas is over, can we talk about the decor for a moment?

December 27, 2011, 11:42 PM

Well, Christmas is over. Now only 363 more shopping days until next Christmas. *rolls eyes*

As mentioned, I did manage to keep Christmas and myself a safe distance apart this year. I did, however, not understand the Christmas decor that I saw this year. Specifically, purple. There was purple Christmas decor in the lobby of my office building, at my doctor’s office, and in a number of places out and about.

Now I understand the whole idea of liturgical colors, and how Advent = purple. But that doesn’t explain what seems like purple’s explosion into secular Christmas decorations. Seriously, all of the places where I saw the purple Christmas decor made no indication of any sort of religion in the decor. Even my office building, which always decorates the first floor lobbies in December and normally also includes a menorah and a Kwanzaa candle holder on the front desk, omitted the menorah and the Kwanzaa candle holder this year. Go fig. And they went all out on purple.

This is what the first floor decor in my office building looked like this season:

 

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Categories: Christmas

I’d say I was pretty successful in avoiding it all this year…

December 24, 2011, 4:02 PM

Yes, this is the annual I-hate-Christmas Journal entry. Just saying.

But I do believe I was pretty successful in insulating myself from Christmas this year. Seriously, I even managed to go so far as to forget that Christmas was on a Sunday this year. Think about it: I don’t decorate my apartment, because I can’t be bothered. The extent of the decor at work was some poinsettias. And about the only store I’ve been in this month has been Giant. And you don’t need to decorate a grocery store for Christmas because people have to eat all the time, and not just in late December. And then the pool didn’t decorate, either, and that is fine by me, too. Then my activities outside of work and swimming can be mostly summed up in one word: Falcon. Yes, I’ve been thoroughly wrapped up in working on my Schumin Web work this month. I even gave up Wikipedia for a while in order to concentrate on it. So basically, my life has been home, work, pool, and Falcon. No room for Christmas this year, and that’s suited me fine.

And so owing to the fact that I was pretty successful in insulating myself from Christmas all season, it’s actually left me in a pretty good mood. Thus this year, I can say the following, in the words of Sam Crenshaw from Today’s Special, without grumbling:

"Merry Christmas to you, everybody."
“Merry Christmas to you, everybody.”

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Categories: Christmas

So I don’t know if I’m courageous or insane, but will you sponsor me nonetheless?

December 18, 2011, 10:31 PM

I really don’t know if this makes me courageous or insane, but I’m going to be jumping into the Potomac River on January 21, 2012 as part of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network‘s “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge event to help raise money for climate work.

In other words, I’m going to be doing this:

Scene from 2011's "Keep Winter Cold" polar bear plunge

Yes. That.

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Categories: Events

The Iraq War is over?

December 15, 2011, 9:37 PM

So apparently the big news today is that the Iraq War is over. It’s an announcement that’s come eight years, eight months, and 26 days later than it should have (truth be told, it should never have even started), but it’s better late than never.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure if I want to believe our government when they say that the Iraq War is over. I want to believe them – I really do – but considering that the Iraq War was built entirely on lies from our federal government, I have no reason to take them at their word. How many different rationales were there for our going in? Weapons of mass destruction? Yellowcake uranium? Bring freedom to the Iraqi people? Bringing the fight to them before they bring it to us? Others? As it turned out, there were no weapons of mass destruction. The yellowcake was a lie. The first victory announcement (“Mission Accomplished”) in 2003 was a lie.

We also expended scads of money – much of it off budget – for a war we should have never been in, while people go hungry in this country, while teachers must spend their own money on necessary school supplies, and while we still don’t have universal public health insurance (don’t get me started on the shortcomings of Obamacare). And what did we accomplish in Iraq? Nothing. We are no safer today than we were when we went in. Our own freedom as a nation was never in question. No one fought for your freedom or mine in this war. The war was all about oil, and I don’t believe we even managed to get our hands on that (good!). Your tax dollars at work.

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Categories: Anti-war, News

Discovering a significant bug in Falcon…

December 10, 2011, 1:11 PM

This is where things get frustrating! I discovered a significant glitch in my “Falcon” development site.

But first, for those not familiar: Falcon is my development site, where I’m currently working to convert Schumin Web to the WordPress platform. It’s running WordPress 3.2.1 right now (but will probably jump a version or so before I’m done). I’m running it all in a test location while I build it and then port and restore content. Then when it’s finished, I’m going to move it onto the main URL, and then it will cease to be “Falcon” anymore, since it will become the production site. Then I’ll probably set up a new development site as “Falcon” for future development and experimentation, such as a full redesign (the site under WordPress will look mostly the same as it has for a number of years).

To run certain parts of the site, I set up custom post types. I have custom post types for the Fire Alarm Collection, Quote Articles, Photo Features, Site Updates, and Splash Photos. What this will look like when finished is nothing new, as those of you who have been with me for a while, when you see the way these things look, will see something very familiar, even if it’s totally different under the hood. The problem is that when you page through the pages of these custom post type archives, the site will act as though it’s displaying the next page, but the content will not change. Let me show you what I mean:

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So I believe that the spirit of Patrick’s Christmas lights have attacked my camera…

December 4, 2011, 10:39 PM

Yeah, it’s only been a week since my Thanksgiving trip to Stuarts Draft ended, but better late than never, I suppose. I’ve kicked production work on Falcon into high gear, and just about everything on my Internet life has taken a back seat to that, including Wikipedia (I’m taking a Wikibreak!). I have a feeling that if you look into my eyes, you’ll see that blue squares-in-squares pattern that I use burned onto my retina.

But this is a Video Journal. So that means one of these, which I shot on the drive home from Stuarts Draft along Route 29:

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So I got a follow-up message from Metro about my photography incident…

November 28, 2011, 11:26 PM

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I was harassed by a Metro Transit Police officer regarding photography while riding on Rohr 1260. Today, I got a response:

Dear Mr. Schumin:

Thank you for contacting Metro. Every Metro employee is responsible for professional and accurate information. Metro does not tolerate conduct that falls short of that standard. The detailed information you provided was forwarded to a Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) Superior for review and investigation. Thank you for bringing this important matter to our attention.

[I am deliberately omitting the standard paragraphs about calling or using the site]

Sincerely,

Jeannie Greene-Barr
Rail Customer Service

Case # 669011

“Safety is our number one priority”

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Categories: WMATA

One year and 70-some pounds later…

November 21, 2011, 10:05 PM

So I shot the splash photo for December today. I was specifically out to reproduce the splash photo from December 2011 in order to show the progress that I have made in slimming down.

So here I am in late November 2010:

In 2010, holding "BAH HUMBUG" for the front of the site

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss

So I got to ride Metro in the dark tonight!

November 16, 2011, 1:03 AM

First of all, yes – it is in fact 1:00 in the morning as I write this. Right now, I am sufficiently pissed off to the point that I can’t sleep until I get a few things off my chest.

So after a wonderful evening out with my coworkers in Adams Morgan, I headed over to take the Metro home. Because of where I was, I walked over to Woodley Park. By the way, now that I’m in so much better shape, the walk through Adams Morgan and out to Woodley Park station was like nothing. It used to be quite a hike.

So I got my Red Line train to Glenmont at Woodley Park, and to my surprise, the third and fourth cars in the eight-car train, Rohrs 1261 and 1260 respectively, were in service and dark. I boarded 1260. There were only two lights on in the entire car – over the left-side end door at each end of the train when facing the bulkhead door at each end, i.e. over the 5-6 door, and the 7-8 door. In other words, Rohr 1260 looked like this:

Rohr 1260 with lights out.  Most of the light you see here is from station lighting at NoMa-Gallaudet U station.

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Car shopping, and getting in shape!

November 8, 2011, 11:55 PM

It’s a Video Journal! Enjoy:

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Safeway photo set update for you…

November 7, 2011, 11:17 PM

Remember my “Abandoned Grocery Store” photo set, where I took photos of the board-up on the Safeway store in Wheaton, Maryland? They’re finally tearing the building down. Let the record show that I did the photo set on December 27, 2009. The store had closed eight days prior to this. They’re just now getting around to demolishing the building – nearly two years later. Admittedly, it didn’t look quite as rough as it looked in my photo set the whole time. The board-up was painted gray by spring 2010, and then a “Coming soon your new SAFEWAY” banner was hung from the front of it for a year and a half. It looked like this:

The board-up on Safeway in Wheaton, seen here on January 25, 2011

Of course, that banner was none too reassuring, because the closed store was still there, and the new building replacing it couldn’t go up until this one was gone.

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Categories: Safeway, Wheaton

Another new keyboard, and I believe that I need to take it out for a spin…

November 6, 2011, 12:40 AM

So I went back to Target and returned the cheapie GE keyboard, and then I went to Micro Center and returned the keyboard that was causing me hand pain. You couldn’t tell from the downward-looking photo I took in the previous Journal entry, but the whole keyboard felt like it was slightly canted back, as well as a touch too high, and that made the reach just a tad too far, and I think that’s what caused the pain. And I don’t like hand pain, because if I can’t type anymore, I couldn’t do the Web site like I’m used to, and all I’d be able to do for ages would be Video Journals. And those are nice only in small quantities.

So I spent a while at Micro Center in Rockville. After returning the keyboard, I got the other memory stick, which snapped right in when I got home and works just fine. So my Dell now has 4 GB of memory in it. Good. I also fiddled around on the demo machines, and came up with a few silly pictures of me:

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Categories: Computer

Oh, have I found a store that I really need to avoid if I know what’s good for me…

November 4, 2011, 11:41 PM

So after I got home from work this evening, I went down to Micro Center in Rockville to get a new keyboard. I had been to this store one time before, about a month ago on September 27. But that was for work, and I was all surgical-strike about it, and was in and out in ten minutes. This visit was for me, and so I got to spend a little more time peeking around at stuff.

The reason I went to Micro Center in the first place is because my existing keyboard finally called it quits after a little less than five years – specifically, four years, ten months, and 19 days according to the Journal entry I wrote when I got the old keyboard, the date that the keyboard finally quit working (November 1, 2011, i.e. this past Tuesday), plus this date calculator to do the math. I said to a few folks about it, “It finally crapped out on me.” On Tuesday night, you see, I was working on whatever on the computer, and then keys started to type things that they shouldn’t have. Specifically, striking one key would cause a number of keys around it to fire. My reaction, via the Twitter (from my phone):

So I think my keyboard just freaked out on me. Seriously. #computerproblems
November 1 10:46 PM

Let me demonstrate what it was doing. I tweeted a statement from the computer to demonstrate what the keyboard was doing. Here it is:

Muy7 l=Lo-gei8ftrkeichu kekeiuy7bo-atr5d ei8s skeitr5ei8o-huysluy7 mkeisskeid huyp.
November 1 10:49 PM

I then picked up my cell phone again and translated:

That was how my keyboard said, “My Logitech keyboard is seriously messed up.”
November 1 10:50 PM

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Categories: Computer, Shopping

Braaaaaaaaaaains…

October 26, 2011, 12:24 AM

First of all, I can’t believe that Halloween is almost upon us again! Feels like just yesterday that it was Labor Day, no?

In the spirit of Halloween, I got together with some friends last Saturday night, and attended the fourth annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk in downtown Silver Spring. For those who don’t know, a zombie walk is an event where people dress up like the undead as commonly portrayed in works of fiction, and then walk through an area as a group, in character. In addition to people dressed as zombies, you also have people dressed as “zombie hunters”, who dress up like commandos and carry Nerf weapons and other similar faux-artillery.

In Silver Spring, my friends went dressed as zombies. I went straight and had my camera out. My goal was to get some photos and have a good time. I’d dare say that both goals were accomplished. The zombie walk gathered at approximately the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Sligo Avenue outside Jackie’s, just north of the point where the Red Line crosses Georgia Avenue (you know, that bright pink bridge). Once we got going, we walked north on Georgia Avenue as far as Ellsworth Drive. Then we made a right turn, walked east on Ellsworth Drive through the “Downtown” development, made a left turn, walked north on Fenton Street for two blocks, and then turned left and walked west on Colesville Road to the AFI Silver theater. There, the theater was showing two horror movies, and was the formal end of the zombie walk. We didn’t go to the movies, and instead continued on to Georgia Avenue, and then went back to the “Downtown” development on Ellsworth Drive, where we got to hang out for a while. Not bad!

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This goes to show that people are really starting to get it regarding the 99 percent!

October 21, 2011, 12:02 AM

So after work today, I spent some time with the “Occupy DC” group doing an anti-Walmart demonstration at Union Station. Basically, this was a demonstration held on the occasion of a $1,000 per plate fundraising dinner attended by a number of big names as far as the rich-bastard types go. Here’s what the description that I got said about it:

Rob Walton, son of Sam and chairman of the board of Walmart Stores, is going to be speaking in DC at a $1000/plate fundraising dinner tonight (Oct. 20) for Conservation International, an organization that helps big corporations greenwash their image. Respect DC is teaming up with Occupy DC to plan an action outside of this dinner to get out an anti Walmart message out to attendees, including Mr. Walton. Apparently Northrop Grumman and Harrison Ford (who is on CI’s board) will be there too.

First of all, I find it wonderful to finally publicly demonstrate against my former employer in a public setting. There are many, many, many reasons that Walmart is the scum of the earth, but considering how they chewed me up and spit me out, I have extra incentive to sock it to them.

So at 6:30, people started gathering at Union Station. This was staged a bit like a flash mob. People showed up, and blended in. Then someone blew a horn, and the demonstration began. The demonstration was very much anti-Walmart and full of energy.

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Categories: Activism, Walmart