How stupid do they think that I am?

2 minute read

March 31, 2015, 1:08 AM

I recently received an envelope in the mail that looked like this:

I saw this envelope, with just an address and what appeared to be a handwritten address, and thought “bill”, since this is how I’ve seen some smaller doctors’ offices do billing.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

I completely nerded out on Sunday, and it was awesome…

14 minute read

June 24, 2014, 10:21 PM

I went out on a miniature road trip on Sunday, and I had a blast, taking photos of anything that vaguely interested me.  It was more or less spur of the moment, when you consider that for what ended up being a photography trip, I only had my cell phone, and then, I didn’t bring my spare battery along.  Thus it was a bit of a continual battle to keep a sufficient charge on the phone with only the car charger, but somehow, I managed, and the results came out pretty well despite my leaving my real camera at home.  The way this trip came about is that I wanted to go up to and explore Westminster, Maryland.  I’ve been wanting to explore Westminster for a while, ever since my father took an overnight business trip to Westminster a few years ago and I didn’t find out about it until it was too late in the day to go up and visit, because Dad didn’t realize that Westminster was as close to me as it was.  That sucked, because I would have totally gone up if I had known.  I’ll gladly travel an hour or so on relatively short notice to hang out with family.

So early Sunday morning, I just decided to go up and see what there was.  I like doing these sorts of trips, because it’s basically a scouting trip, seeing if there’s anything that I want to explore and photograph in more detail in the future.  Getting to Westminster is pretty easy: turn onto Georgia Avenue (MD 97) and take it all the way to Westminster.  Seriously, it’s that easy.  I got to Westminster just as the sun was coming up.  After a quick drive through the main commercial area along Route 140, I located the downtown area.

The downtown area in Westminster has what I consider an unusual feature: a single-track rail line for the Maryland Midland Railway running diagonally through the main intersection in downtown.  Main Street goes one way, and Liberty Street and Railroad Avenue (both MD 27) go the other way, and the rail line runs diagonally across the intersection.  I would have loved to have seen a train come through here while I was in the area, but unfortunately, I did not get to see that this time.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Sometimes you have those weekends where you just have to get out of the house…

12 minute read

June 11, 2014, 6:06 PM

Ever get that feeling of “I just have to get out of the house”?  I recently had that feeling, where I just needed a change of scenery for a little bit, and so I planned a weekend trip down to Stuarts Draft to visit the parents, going down Friday, and coming back Sunday.  They were, as always, delighted to see me, and on the whole, we had a good time.  I also made some extra space in my house, as, on Mom’s request, I brought my sister’s old bicycle back to my parents’ house.  Gave me some practice in “beheading” a bicycle by removing the front wheel, and then reattaching it at my destination.  But it travels much more easily without the front wheel:

The bicycle has been beheaded!
The freshly-liberated front wheel.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

…and later, Chuck E. Cheese!

6 minute read

May 11, 2012, 10:37 PM

After spending a few hours at Montgomery Mall where we got Adelle’s bear, among other things, Mom and I headed home, and then later, for dinner, headed over to the Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant in Laurel, Maryland.

Now you’re probably thinking: aren’t you a little old for Chuck E. Cheese’s? Answer is, yes, probably so. But we had a good time. It had been just over 20 years since the last time that any of us went to one of these sorts of places, and so this was the time to revisit some fun childhood memories. In fact, the Laurel location was specifically chosen because it was a former Showbiz Pizza location, and had the three-stage setup just like at the Showbiz Pizza in Fayetteville, Arkansas that we used to go to when Sis and I were growing up. Recall for a moment, from 1987 in Fayetteville, on the occasion of the party for my sixth birthday:

Billy Bob's stage, with the "Smitty's Super Service Station" background.
Billy Bob’s stage, with the “Smitty’s Super Service Station” background.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Nice weather, fire drills, FIOS, and stupid Comcast…

< 1 minute read

February 16, 2011, 8:22 PM

So I did a Video Journal tonight. And here it is:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

This time, I am saying something substantive while on camera…

< 1 minute read

August 21, 2010, 11:54 PM

So I gave the “Schumin Web Video Journal” (a name I came up with after I filmed this) a spin once again:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Time for a fun little craft project…

2 minute read

October 14, 2008, 10:30 PM

It’s getting close to halloween already, and we’re having a costume party at work. I am going as something that showcases one of my little geekish interests and will certainly be unique. Specifically:

Breda 4000-Series car

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Companies, Halloween

I don’t know anyone in Olive Branch, Mississippi…

3 minute read

August 21, 2008, 12:20 AM

Okay, so for the past week, I’ve been receiving FedEx door tags on my door, as FedEx has tried to deliver something to me. Slight problem: I have no idea what is being sent to me, or who’s sending it to me. I ran the door tag number and got the tracking number, and it’s coming from Olive Branch, Mississippi (a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee), and it weighs seven pounds. I don’t know anyone from Olive Branch, Mississippi. For that matter, I don’t know anyone in Mississippi – period.

At first, I figured it was a mistake, and that the door tag was actually for my neighbor. Calling her, I found out that she was expecting a package. So after consulting with my neighbor, I moved the door tag to her door, figuring the FedEx guy goofed, because after all, the door numbers in my building are really tiny and easy to miss. And there was no apartment number written on the door tag. I used a little tape to make sure the door tag stayed on her door, since the sticky note-type adhesive was less fresh, now having been touched by fingers, and being on more than one door.

So okay. Next day, the FedEx guy came back while I was again out, and moved the unmarked door tag back over, tape and all. Okay. I moved it back over again, thinking the FedEx guy is a dope. My neighbor even wrote a note on it saying that if it was for her, then leave the package at her door. Then yesterday, I got a new door tag on my door, again unmarked. I didn’t even bother with it, and left it on the door.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Companies

Cable is downgraded, and so life is good!

< 1 minute read

July 21, 2007, 10:31 AM

Comcast showed up today, and all is well again. And unlike last time, this time I was favorably impressed. One guy showed up – early, I might add – and he was polite, professional, and the whole thing took all of five minutes to complete. And I returned all the various Comcast equipment I don’t need anymore. Unfortunately, both of us totally forgot to think about the remote for the converter. I’ll bring that back to their office one of these days. I have no use for it.

So now I just have to get my laundry done before the Wiki-meetup.

Categories: Companies

I’m getting really annoyed with the cable company…

< 1 minute read

July 16, 2007, 7:26 PM

I am really starting to hate Comcast Cable. Now I understand why just about every person I’ve spoken with in the DC area about cable hates Comcast. Here’s why I’m aggravated with Comcast…

I’m knocking my cable television service down to the bare minimum. The only reason I have cable TV in the first place is because I get a discount on my high-speed Internet if I get the television as well. I don’t watch much TV at all. To get set up in the first place, they had to make a house call. In said house call, they sent two guys. One guy handed me my equipment and plugged a cable into the wall and into the television. The other guy stood there and watched the other guy do his work. And for this, I got charged $25 for “installation”. They didn’t twiddle with anything else – they just came in, plugged me in, and left. They could have mailed me the equipment, and I could have hooked it up myself for free.

Now, to downgrade my service to “el cheapo” cable, the one that comes with the various broadcast networks and not much else, it requires a house call. This is allegedly to “verify” my existing service. I can do without tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber, personally. I’m starting to think that the cable company is more interested in verifying that I can pay another $25 fee with this house call.

I’d ditch Comcast entirely, but their Internet service is actually really good, and the stuff on YouTube is far more entertaining than the crap you find on television.

Categories: Companies

The Skyline Parkway Motel has finally been demolished.

3 minute read

April 25, 2007, 5:04 PM

Afton Mountain now presents a slightly more picturesque view to those who visit it, as the Skyline Parkway Motel was demolished in the last week or so. In doing so, they not only removed the main building, which had been the target of an arson attack in 2004, but they also removed the row of cabins next to the main building. The cabins had never been torched, but had been abandoned for some time, and were in hideous shape.

And of course, here are photos:

Straight-on view of the former motel.
Straight-on view of the former motel.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Daily Grind is closing!

< 1 minute read

March 14, 2007, 11:50 AM

I saw this on the front door when I went to Daily Grind today in Stuarts Draft. They’re closing on March 31! Sad. Especially since I finally got into my groove over there and was starting to become a regular.

According to the sign on the door, they will be opening this summer to serve ice cream in the evenings, and then further along, they plan to open “The Cheese Shop Sandwich Shop”, presumably a restaurant version of The Cheese Shop. For those of you who are not familiar, The Cheese Shop is a Mennonite-run store on Route 608 in Stuarts Draft with all kinds of meats, cheeses, and candies, both sugared and sugar-free. They sell all kinds of stuff, and it’s almost all locally made. My mother buys from The Cheese Shop regularly. I’m told she’s their first customer in the morning on Saturdays.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to have to find another place to have coffee and use the Lappy. There’s another Daily Grind in Staunton and in Waynesboro, and I’ve been to the Waynesboro one before, but wasn’t that excited about it. Not as close of an environment as in Stuarts Draft. The Staunton one is one I’ve not been to. I might have to check it out.

Of course, neither of those is as close as Stuarts Draft…

Categories: Companies

No, I want a “platinum” wash, please.

< 1 minute read

January 8, 2007, 10:33 PM

The folks at All-American Auto Spa in Waynesboro ought to be ashamed of themselves for this misspelling on their wash-selection screen. It’s a real doozie, too. You can select one of three washes: Silver, Gold, and “Plantinun”. I presume that they meant “Platinum”, but that’s not what they said. Check it out:


Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amusing, Companies

Always make sure you read the warnings before you use something…

2 minute read

July 12, 2006, 10:16 PM

I went to Water Country USA in Williamsburg on Tuesday, and it’s doubtful that I’ll be going back any time soon, since I didn’t have that good of a time, plus it just costs too much money anymore.

I think part of the reason I didn’t have that great of a time was because it was so crowded. It seemed like everyone and their mother was in that park and trying to get everywhere. As a result, all of the lines just about everywhere were insanely long.

Additionally, they’ve gotten worse over the now-six times I’ve been there in regards to how badly they get you money-wise. Of course, food and drink is expensive as hell. In fact, a 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina, which I can get at Wal-Mart for like $1.10, cost $3.00 at Water Country. Then there’s the parking. It’s $10.00 to park your car for the day. That’s pricey. Then it’s $15.00 for “preferred”, which is parking up close next to the entrance. Then the fee to actually get inside the park is $37.95. Locker fee is $10.00, with $4.00 refundable as a park voucher. It used to cost $6.00, and they gave you $2.00 back in cash. Now they give you what basically amounts to store credit, which you can only redeem in the park. So that’s $57.95, not counting the bottled water.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Companies

No more gate lodge for the old Howard Johnson’s in Harrisonburg…

3 minute read

July 30, 2005, 11:05 PM

Going through Harrisonburg on my way up to Pennsylvania on Thursday’s road trip, I noticed something unusual out my right window. At the site of the former Howard Johnson’s in Harrisonburg (which, according to both official and unofficial sources, is being upgraded in order for it to be used as a dorm again due to capacity issues), another building had bitten the dust. Recall that on October 9, 2003, I photographed the old Howard Johnson’s as Rockingham Hall – perhaps the last photos ever made of the complex while still whole. Then in June 2004, the unused restaurant was demolished. Gone. I drove by on June 23, 2004, and was shocked. A pile of rubble stood where the restaurant was, including the mangled remains of the cupola. Then this summer, you may recall, the remainder of the complex, meaning the gate lodge and the motor lodge, was slated for demolition. However, the demolition was called off, and the motor lodge building was upgraded slightly for use as a dorm once again. However, the gate lodge was demolished, having been reduced to a pile of rubble. The gate lodge had been done over in the 1990s, and there were even remnants of the blue roof installed at that time (replacing the signature orange roof) visible in the debris.

For the back-story on that, JMU learned in 2004 that they couldn’t use the Howard Johnson’s buildings anymore unless they were upgraded to higher standards. Thus the buildings were vacated, because it was not considered feasible to upgrade a building that they bought with the intention of demolishing. Thus, for 2004-2005, the facility was unused as a dorm, and offices housed there were intended to be relocated (no word on how that went). However, capacity reared its ugly head again, since JMU still hasn’t figured out that it’s not a good idea to admit more freshmen than you have space. And I also don’t believe that bunking three people in a room designed for two is a solution, either, even if you do have a suite living room at your disposal. What JMU needs to do is find the funds to demolish the R5 parking lot next to Chesapeake Hall and build the third CISAT dorm that’s in the master plan for the east campus. That would either be three separate buildings of five floors each that are basically single-wing versions of my beloved Potomac Hall, holding roughly 200 students each, or the same three structures as “A”, “B”, and “C” wings connected by low-lying corridors like at Potomac Hall. Which one it’s slated to be depends on whose drawing you look at. But until then, they’re remodeling buildings whose days are already numbered. It looks fairly nice, with JMU putting new furniture, carpeting, and fixtures in, according to some new-freshman literature I found on the Web. One may notice right offhand driving by on I-81 that the sliding doors to the balconies were removed, and replaced with a more conventional glass door with windows on either side. Additionally, new railings were installed on the balconies. And this is going to be a FRESHMAN dorm.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Howard Johnson's, JMU