The highlights of the visit to Natural Bridge…

6 minute read

September 28, 2012, 10:39 PM

So on this, the night before I pull the wraps off of the new “Modern Blue” design and hang up the “Blue Squares” design for good, I realized that I never showed you the pictures that I took in Natural Bridge last week.  While I was down visiting the family, we all went down to Natural Bridge on the 20th and saw this geological formation.  We realized that in twenty years in the area, we had never seen the Natural Bridge from which Rockbridge County takes its name (and by the way, the town and the rock formation are both properly named “Natural Bridge” – confused yet?).  Mom, Sis, and I saw the wax museum there in 1993, but never the bridge itself.  So we did.  And here are the highlights:

Mom stops for a smile on the stairs down to the Natural Bridge.
Mom stops for a smile on the stairs down to the Natural Bridge.

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Categories: Family, Nature

And this is what Shenandoah Acres looks like now…

3 minute read

September 21, 2012, 9:01 PM

So while I was out and about today, I got new photos of Shenandoah Acres as a follow-up to my previous Journal entry on Shenandoah Acres.  And if you ask me, it was kind of depressing.  Take a look:

One of two platforms in the lake, and the 1997 beach house.  To give you an idea of the normal lake level, the platform was less than a foot above the water level, and the platform was completely surrounded by water.
One of two platforms in the lake, and the 1997 beach house.  To give you an idea of the normal lake level, the platform was less than a foot above the water level, and the platform was completely surrounded by water.

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A train ride with far more excitement than you might expect…

4 minute read

September 19, 2012, 9:21 PM

This is also why, when I’m traveling on a public mode of transportation, the idea is to leave early so that I can be at the boarding location in plenty of time, just in case anything goes wrong in the process.  Today was one of those days where something went wrong.  I described it as a “clusterf—“, and I think that was putting it nicely.

First of all, though, to set things up: I’m in Stuarts Draft right now, and I went there on Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal.  To get there, my plan was to take the 51 from my house to Glenmont, and then take the Red Line to Union Station. Initially, things went well.  I caught the same 51 that I usually get to go to work, and caught my Red Line train.

And then things went downhill from there.

The Red Line was having a power problem on Track 2 at Brentwood Yard.  Thus they had to single track through the yard, during morning rush hour.  Whenever you hear “single tracking” and “rush hour” in the same sentence, by the way, that’s never a good sign.  So at Glenmont, we sat for several minutes before we started the run – much longer than usual.  Then we proceeded to Wheaton and held again.  No hold at Forest Glen.  Then we held for about ten minutes each at Silver Spring and Takoma.

And then things got worse.  There was a second power problem on the Red Line at Van Ness-UDC, with single tracking over there, too.  Lovely.  By this point, Metro was telling people in the e-alerts to consider taking the Green Line.  That’s when you know it’s bad.  With two areas of single tracking, I bailed at Fort Totten and took the Green Line.

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“I’ve gotta get up and move around!”

3 minute read

September 17, 2012, 10:42 PM

I think this describes this past Saturday quite well:

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Categories: Music, Recreation/Exercise

Discovery looked like it had made many trips into space…

5 minute read

September 12, 2012, 12:00 AM

So this past Sunday, I was involved in a day out with family.  It was a lot of fun, and I don’t get to see any of them nearly as much as I would like.  Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary came down from New Jersey, and Dad (Mom couldn’t make this one) came up from Stuarts Draft, and we spent the afternoon at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery, among other things there.  Of the four of us, I was the only one who had been there before.  So I sort of knew what was where in there, though I admit that on my last trip there with Mom, we spent like 95% of our time there in the space wing.

Personally, the thing I was most excited about seeing was Discovery, since the last time I was there, Enterprise was the shuttle on display.  It was interesting to see the difference in how a test article looked vs. the real thing.  And as you might expect, Discovery looked like it had made no less than 39 trips into space over the course of nearly three decades, and had been put through its paces.  Enterprise, on the other hand, was perfect black and white.  So most of my photos focused on Discovery:

The nose of Discovery
The nose of Discovery.  Compare to a similar view of Enterprise.

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Categories: Family, Space

And so this is (roughly) what the redesign will look like…

2 minute read

September 10, 2012, 12:36 AM

So this is what it’s going to look like:

The Schumin Web's new design

This shouldn’t really surprise anyone.  The various reviews of this design were favorable, and so I’m going to move it towards production.  “Moving it towards production” in this case means, now that I’m settled on the design, building it for real with the cleanest code that I can possibly write.  After all, when I’m designing and testing, I’m not necessarily being the neatest that I can be.  I’ll comment code out, make code obsolete, or otherwise leave “debris” around.  The production version, however, will have only what it’s supposed to have, and no more (and no less).

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

Now let’s talk about the Journal…

3 minute read

September 3, 2012, 5:16 PM

You may have noticed that, except for the “Magic” concept, I never showed you pictures of the Journal.  If you go back and look at the Journal entries where I introduced the last three concept designs (first, second, and third), I show the Main Page, I show photo sets, I show intro pages, and whatever other pages, but never the Journal.  That’s because I hadn’t quite nailed down how I wanted to do the Journal.

Going into this, realize that the Journal has never seen a major redesign since it was introduced nine years ago, in July 2003.  Here’s a screenshot of the Journal from then, while the Journal was still in its original place on the front of Life and Times, just before it launched:

The Journal as it appeared in July 2003, just before launch.  The entry shown here is a test entry.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

What to do with Shenandoah Acres?

8 minute read

September 2, 2012, 8:39 PM

For the last few years, I have been involved in a Facebook group called “Remembering Shenandoah Acres“.  This group is built around discussing memories of times spent at the Shenandoah Acres resort in Stuarts Draft that closed after the 2004 season, but most discussions anymore center around complaining about the state that the property is now in.

For those not familiar, Shenandoah Acres was a facility that billed itself as “America’s Finest Inland Beach”, owned and operated by the Blacka family for many years.  It had a campground, there were cabins, and a motel building on the property.  The facility also had tennis courts, trail rides on horseback, and miniature golf.  However, the centerpiece of the facility was a manmade lake with a beach around it, playground equipment in the water (including one slide about two or three stories high), and a large tower in the center that offered a zip line ride.  The facility was a popular tourist attraction, and the lake was also very popular with locals during the summer season.

In the years that I’ve been familiar with the facility, one of the merry go rounds in the water was replaced in 1995 by “Clyde the Slyde”, which was a small slide built inside a dinosaur sculpture, and the zip lines were dismantled in the late 1990s or early 2000s and replaced with the “Pink Zipper” water slide.  Additionally, the roof of the original beach house collapsed due to excessive snowfall in 1997, and was replaced with a new structure slightly to the northeast of the original.  The facility closed after the 2004 season because, according to the owner at the time, whom my family went to church with, the cost of insurance finally became too much to bear.  My family went to Shenandoah Acres from 1993 until about 1996.

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