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Pillow fight…

April 30, 2011, 9:03 PM

First of all, I don’t know why I never posted about this earlier. I must have been really busy. This event is too small for a photo set, and the video coverage is significant, which knocks it out of Photography. In addition, I think I’m going to rethink the way I go about the concept of the year-end-cleanup photo set for Life and Times, so I can’t guarantee that it will get coverage there. So here we are. Better late than never, I suppose.

On April 2, Capitol Improv celebrated International Pillow Fight Day in Washington DC, first at the Capitol building, and later in Dupont Circle. I skipped the Capitol part (and just as well – I’m told that they got kicked out), and caught up with them at Dupont Circle at the appointed time.

However, first thing I did was get ready for this event. See, I figure that if you’re going to be at an event where you know for a fact large objects are going to be moving around at high speed, you might as well bring some protection. So on the way to the Metro, I stopped at the Home Depot store on Georgia Avenue in order to get a pair of safety glasses. The way I figured, it’s like this: I can’t see without my glasses, and I wanted to get close-in photos. So in order to protect the real glasses, I got safety glasses to wear over them. That way, if I got hit, the $3.00 safety glasses would take the hit and not my real glasses (or my eyes for that matter). Maybe I was being over-cautious, but better safe than sorry (and blind).

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Categories: Amusing, Events

With all of this exercise effort lately…

April 28, 2011, 11:20 PM

With all of this exercise effort lately on my part, I went digging around on the Internet to find information on the old presidential fitness test that we used to do in Phys. Ed class in school. Remember that one? It’s that test you did where you had to do pull-ups, sit-ups, and a few other things. And you know what? I realized, some 14 years after the last time I did one (Virginia does not require Phys. Ed past the 10th grade), exactly how screwed up the implementation of this test was when I was in middle and high school.

First of all, elementary school is always a bit of an outlier for me when it comes to school experiences. I went to elementary school in Arkansas, and then we moved to Virginia in 1992. And considering that I have not been back since, August 31, 1992 (the day we arrived in Virginia) is a bit of a “wall” in my life’s timeline, in that every event either happened before then or after then. Plus with no Email or Facebook back then, all my people communications with the Arkansas folks ended when we moved as well (though I now have contact with many of them on Facebook). My move to the DC area in 2007 wasn’t like that, because Washington DC was part of my life before then, and Stuarts Draft has remained part of my life since. So thus it’s harder to compare elementary school to the rest because it is behind that “wall”.

But in elementary school, when most of us first learned of the physical fitness test, I believe the implementation was done correctly, based on what I read on the site for “The President’s Challenge“, as it’s called. Basically, you had two award levels: “National” and “Presidential”. That was something to work towards, but if you missed those benchmarks, it was okay as long as you put your best effort into it. If you didn’t even try, then you were in trouble, but as long as you made a good-faith effort and tried, then it was good. I still remember doing a mile in 14 minutes and 15 seconds as a first grader (why I still remember that 14:15 mile over 20 years later is beyond me). Looking at the published benchmarks, I was only about two minutes off from the time indicated for the “National” award for six-year-olds today. The numbers may have been and likely were different back then, but for this discussion, I’m going to use the modern numbers because that’s what I have easy access to. If you have historic numbers circa 1988 or so, send ’em on over.

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Talk about working different muscles…

April 25, 2011, 8:16 PM

As I mentioned about three entries ago, I am now walking home from the Metro whenever practical. It saves me a dollar by skipping the evening 51 bus, plus it’s good exercise, helping to make the pounds melt away like magic.

I also walked the southbound side of Georgia Avenue this time around to see how sidewalk conditions compared to the northbound side. I think I might have to start doing half northbound and half southbound. By my estimation, conditions on the northbound side of Georgia Avenue are better from Glenmont Metro as far as Hathaway Drive – about a third of the way from Glenmont to my house. Then from Hathaway Drive to my street, it looks like conditions are best on the southbound side. Why the need to switch? Southbound has a lot of broken glass between Glenmont and Hathaway, while northbound is for the most part clear on the same stretch. But from Rippling Brook Drive to my street, northbound side has a lot of gravel on the sidewalk, while on southbound, the gravel is still present, but less of a nuisance than on the northbound side. I’d prefer to make the switch a little further north than Hathaway Drive (like around Rippling Brook Drive/May Street or Kayson Street), but Hathaway is where the traffic light is, and let’s admit it – Georgia Avenue is not exactly a pedestrian’s paradise even in the best of conditions.

Then I also shaved a considerable amount of time off the walk this time around. Last time, I did the whole course from Glenmont station to my front door in 40 minutes. Last time, you see, I wasn’t wearing good shoes and the gravel on the northbound side really slowed me down. This time, I did the course in 30 minutes. Now I can really start improving my performance on this.

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Categories: Recreation/Exercise

Alexes’ Alley…

April 25, 2011, 7:18 PM

I’m sure that many of you have seen me talk about two of my coworkers, Alex Patton and Alex Beauchamp, on here before. You may recall that Patton pranked me pretty well for April Fool’s 2010, and then Beauchamp came by an Anon raid in August. It’s these two folks, on either side of me, seen here from last summer:

Alex Patton, me, and Alex Beauchamp
Photo: Sarah Alexander

That’s Patton on the left, and Beauchamp on the right.

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Categories: Video games

Go for main engine start… 3… 2… 1… we have booster ignition, and liftoff!

April 23, 2011, 10:58 PM

One of the fun things about living in the DC area is the fact that you have the Smithsonian Institution right in your backyard. Of course, it’s not like DC area locals go there on a regular basis. We don’t. But when I have guests over, I have a place to take guests that’s fun and educational. And in the case of this weekend, I hosted Mom from Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon, and on Friday, we went to the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center out by Dulles Airport. The goal: see the Space Shuttle Enterprise before they swap it out for Discovery.

Let’s admit – I’m a bit of a space nerd. I just got finished reading a couple of books about the history of human spaceflight, and have edited quite a few articles on spaceflight-related topics on Wikipedia. I’ve never seen a rocket launch in person (but would like to one day), and I think actually flying in space might be fun, but launch and landing kind of scares me.

And the Space Shuttle, the technological marvel of its time, though in practice seriously flawed in its design, was interesting to see live and in person. First of all, photos do not quite give you a good idea about what the scale of this beast is. In looking at Enterprise (the prototype orbiter used for atmospheric testing that never flew in space), what you find out is that parts of the shuttle are a lot bigger than one would think. But at the same time, a lot of the shuttle is a lot smaller than one might think.

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Categories: Driving, Family, Space

A fitter, trimmer Schumin coming your way?

April 19, 2011, 9:50 PM

First of all, before we start this discussion, why didn’t anyone tell me I hadn’t written a Journal entry in three bloody weeks? I came to this realization today when I was showing somebody a photo on the site, and noticed that the last Journal entry was March 29. Yes, I can get caught up in things, and occasionally need that little reminder that I haven’t done one of these in a while. So here it is.

Yesterday, I posted this on the Twitter:

I’ve lost nine pounds since last time the doctor weighed me about a month ago. Apparently I’m doing something right?
April 18 8:51 AM

First of all, I was as surprised as anyone. I realize that I weigh a lot more than I probably ought to, but that surprised me. That’s over a span of about a month. I’ll spare you the exact numbers, citing Schumin-will-not-share-that-with-you privilege, but I’ve been really trying to clean up my act health-wise.

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