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

February 16, 2011, 8:22 PM

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

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“Oh, it’s terrible! The King has been transformed! Please find the Magic Wand so we can change him back.”

November 27, 2010, 4:31 PM

First of all, I admit – the title doesn’t mean much in relation to this entry, except that it perhaps reflects that I’ve been playing too much Super Mario Bros. 3 on my Super Nintendo lately. Regardless, this Journal entry has been a long time in coming, since this is about a trip I took to Stuarts Draft two weeks ago. All I have to say is, hey, I’ve been busy. But it’s also somewhat fitting that I post this entry this weekend, since this was “Thanksgiving” with the parents a couple of weeks ahead of the holiday. Traffic is a real pain, you see, and this obviates the need to mess with it. Have you ever driven US 29 in Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend? It’s no walk in the park.

On Friday the 12th, after driving perhaps a shade too fast the whole way down, I arrived at Stuarts Draft Middle School. After all, Mom was there, and I hadn’t seen her new classroom yet. Mom was recently switched from sixth to eighth grade, and so she moved rooms as a result, from Room 24 to Room 1. And here it is:

Mom's new classroom, Room 1

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Well, I certainly was a man with a destination today…

September 25, 2010, 3:25 AM

Do you ever have those days where you look back at how you handled yourself and think, boy, I really was an a–hole? Today, I drove to work because I didn’t feel like dealing with Metro, and during the day after I got to work, I thought about how I handled myself on the way down, and I realized I was a bit of an a–hole in the car this morning. I had Randi Rhodes on as always, and for whatever reason, I refused to let anyone merge in front of me if I could help it. And then after the potential mergers gave up and dropped back, I was all, “Heh, heh, heh!”

Now mind you, I wasn’t a complete jerk in the car today, nor did I drive dangerously. If someone really wanted to get in, I still let them in. I wasn’t about to blatantly cut someone off. But I wasn’t as courteous as I usually am. Georgia Avenue during rush hour seems to do that to a person. Usually, I’ll let people in, but today I just didn’t feel like it, I suppose. What point I was trying to prove, I don’t quite know. But yeah, I look back at the morning commute, and I was certainly being a dick, which the folks at Wikipedia highly recommend against.

Otherwise, I put together a desk for the office today. Since our previous style had been discontinued, I was putting together the “Galant” style desk from IKEA. That was this one with the frosted glass top. It was something refreshingly modern, as one would expect from IKEA.

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Categories: Driving, IKEA

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

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:

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So what could cause these freezers to be empty?

August 1, 2010, 11:37 PM

First of all, I have power again. The power was restored last Tuesday evening, only to go out again on Thursday after another storm (but back on before I got back from work). One would think that burying the power lines would eventually pay off if it means saving money from not having to send crews out to repair the lines after every storm. After all, we practically never lost power in Stuarts Draft, where the utilities are buried, even during hurricanes. The power stayed on during Hurricanes Opal, Fran, and Isabel.

Meanwhile, with no power to run the refrigerator for two days, I was kind of screwed, food-wise. After all, even keeping the fridge closed, without refrigeration, things start to get ugly. And therefore I had to dump a whole load of food after the outage. Thankfully, I didn’t have much in there in the first place. I didn’t go shopping before going to Chicago, deliberately letting stuff run out with the intention of replenishing afterward. So I didn’t have to pitch much, but still… I don’t think I’ve ever put so much down the garbage disposal. Seemed to put the least amount of stuff into the waste stream that way (and recycling the containers). I nuked the frozen stuff enough to make it somewhat soft again (I didn’t actually clean out the fridge until the weekend, so everything had a chance to refreeze), and then down the garbage disposal it went. If it was too big to go down the garbage disposal in one piece, I broke it up until it fit. The food item that was the most fun to “flush”, so to speak? A frozen pizza. I put the whole thing down the garbage disposal. You just break that sucker up, and then watch as the garbage disposal obliterates it, piece by piece.

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Categories: House, Target

Someone explain to me why people think that I lose my right to criticize Wal-Mart, a horrible corporation that ultimately fired me, because I once worked there.

April 14, 2010, 8:49 PM

Someone explain that to me. Someone explain to me why I should not criticize Wal-Mart because I once worked there, despite having been treated rather poorly while there, and ultimately fired for nonsense reasons. Someone explain to me why the fact that they once employed me makes them above criticism as far as I should be concerned.

I was on the phone with my mother today, as I usually am right after work while walking to the Metro, and the conversation today turned to Wal-Mart. I came down pretty hard on the Wal-Mart issue this time, as I was quick to call them a horrible corporation that does not buy American, squeezing their suppliers so hard that many of them are forced to move production overseas to cut costs in order to meet Wal-Mart’s demands.

And let’s not forget Wal-Mart’s stance on labor relations, as written on page two of Labor Relations and You at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center #6022: “Wal-Mart is opposed to unionization of its associates. Any suggestion that the Company is neutral on the subject or that it encourages associates to join labor organizations is not true.” In addition, from the same document, “We firmly believe we are capable of running our own Company without any assistance from an outside third party.” Additionally, from page two of A Manager’s Toolbox To Remaining Union Free, it states, “Wal-Mart is strongly opposed to third-party representation. We are not anti-union; we are pro-associate. We believe in maintaining an environment of open communication among all associates, both hourly and management. At Wal-Mart, we respect the individual rights of our associates and encourage everyone to express his/her ideas, suggestions, comments or concerns. Because we believe in maintaining an environment of open communication through the use of the Open Door policy, we do not believe there is a need for third-party representation. It is our position every associate can speak for him/herself without having to pay his/her hard-earned money to a union in order to be listened to and have issues resolved.”

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Categories: Family, Walmart

It’s been three years since “Firing Day”…

March 31, 2010, 9:40 PM

Today marks three years from the day that I got fired from Wal-Mart back in 2007. That was an interesting experience. I am thoroughly convinced that I was not fired for anything I actually did. After all, the stuff that they accused me of allegedly happened in the store, while I was actually off the clock and off the premises. I believe I was probably viewed as a threat for my various left-wing political views, with a little help from Michelle Malkin and her goons to bring it to light. And let’s admit – by my count, during my time at Wal-Mart, I participated in eight different black blocs. I can say with certainty that Wal-Mart would have disapproved of at least one of them – the one at the Million Worker March. After all, by Wal-Mart’s view, unions are the spawn of Satan, and must be stopped at all costs.

Still, the day that I was fired was quite a day. First of all, the night before, my friend Katie had asked me to join her mother and herself for dinner on the evening of the 31st. I had to decline, since I was scheduled to work the Service Desk from 12 noon to 9 PM. Then at noon, I came in and started my shift. I lasted 90 minutes – just long enough to clean up the Service Desk (those bastards). Then I got called into the back office, and as soon as I saw the green piece of paper on the desk, I knew where that meeting was going. For those who don’t know, Wal-Mart at that time printed their “Exit Interview” forms on green paper, commonly called a “green sheet”. Essentially, it’s your walking papers. And they gave them to me. In short, I had to hand over my maroon “Four Star Cashier” vest and my name badge, and then clean out my locker. I did, however, get to keep my company-issued box cutter, which they never asked for and I never gave them back. And I still use it, too, for that matter. But after cleaning out my locker, they were all, “Don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you!” and escorted me out of the store.

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Categories: Walmart

I am ready to be snowed in…

February 5, 2010, 12:22 AM

I am ready to be snowed in this weekend. The Sable is safely parked, and the cabinets are full. I am set. My castle is stocked up. Bring it on, nature.

Otherwise, today I discovered that adults can be just as bad as children when it comes to getting revved up about a potential snow day. All I heard today was, “Do you think we’re going to get tomorrow off?” I was all, noooooooo, since I think that the Feds have already decided on their course of action. They’re operating under an unscheduled leave policy for Friday, which for us basically means show up. Now whether they close early once the snow starts coming down is another story.

Meanwhile, speaking of snow days, when I was in school, I always just wanted to strangle those teachers that acted like it was our fault for missing school due to bad winter weather when we grumbled about having to go to school on Memorial Day for make-up days. These teachers that would say, “You had your Memorial Day back in January!” Big help. Like it’s my fault that it snowed. I remember my seventh grade year was hell for that kind of thing. We had something like 16 snow days that year. Thus we had no days off of any kind except for weekends from the last snow day in March through to like June 16 plus one Saturday (yes, we had one make-up day on a Saturday). And when you couple that with the fact that my homeroom teacher was a real d—–bag, it made for a very rough year. This particular teacher even made fun of me (in a mean way) in front of the whole class when he presented me my perfect attendance certificate at the end of the year. I had better attendance than he did that year, and he made fun of me

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Categories: Snowmageddon, Walmart, WMATA

Something tells me that they’re closed.

December 27, 2009, 11:50 PM

First of all, hello from Stuarts Draft, Virginia, where I’m writing to you from the Lappy at my parents’ kitchen table instead of my real computer.

On the way down to Stuarts Draft, I stopped to photograph the Safeway in Wheaton. The Safeway in Wheaton recently closed due to a pending redevelopment. They’re supposed to be tearing down the existing store and replacing it with a mixed-use development, including a new modern Safeway store at street level. The store closed on the 19th (the day of the snowstorm), and, to my surprise, was completely boarded up following the closure. I saw it boarded up on Christmas Eve, and was like, whoa! when I saw it.

First of all, here’s the store as it appeared when open, courtesy of Google Earth:

Safeway in Wheaton while open
Image: Google Earth

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Categories: Safeway, Wheaton

So it seems to be the case that the Waynesboro Wal-Mart is that special place where managers’ careers go to die…

November 27, 2009, 11:03 PM

So Katie and I had fun today, running around Staunton and Waynesboro doing part trolling and part shopping. After I picked Katie up, we first went over to troll the Waynesboro Wal-Mart, where we used to work. After saying hello to some of the people we used to work with, we also ran into the new store manager. The manager is now a guy named Nathan, and he looks like he should be wearing a pinstriped suit and a fedora rather than a Wal-Mart name badge. Seriously, he looked like a prohibition-era gangster.

So with Al Capone as the new manager, the question becomes, what happened to the previous manager, who was there when I was still there? Turns out that he is “no longer with the company”. In other words, he probably got canned, because when management types say that someone is no longer with the company and leave it at that, you know that someone’s career had a “fiery” end. Otherwise, if they left on good terms, people will generally say something like, “Bob left to take a new position at Company XYZ.” When I visited my ex-store not long after getting hired at my current job, I found out that the management at the store was saying that I was “no longer with the company”. I personally wish they would have just said that they fired me. Let’s be honest now, since I’m pretty open about it. Especially since in my case, they made stuff up and rammed it through a coaching process. Really ethical people over at Wal-Mart.

But anyway, that means that the Waynesboro Wal-Mart is three for three. Their current manager is number four, and the last three all did not leave the Waynesboro Wal-Mart with their Wal-Mart career intact. Thus the Waynesboro Wal-Mart seems to be the place where management careers go to die. No one’s career leaves there alive, it seems.

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The parking lot known as Interstate 66…

November 25, 2009, 10:07 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I’ve not been in six months. I’m here until Sunday, and left straight from work, which was interesting.

I tried something new this time around. I drove into work, worked a half day, and then left for Stuarts Draft straight from the office. For that, I took 16th Street from P Street to K Street, and then took K Street to I-66. Then I took 66 to the end, where I caught I-81 down to Staunton, and then from there, moseyed around a few back roads to Stuarts Draft and my parents’ house.

Driving into work and then leaving straight from work certainly has its ups and downs. On one hand, I can load up in the morning and then go, and not have to go back home to pick up the car, i.e. go north from the office back to Maryland just to immediately turn south again to go to Virginia. Then the drop-at-Vienna-the-night-before bit is a shade complicated. Recall that the drop-at-Vienna method involves positioning the car with most of the luggage in Virginia the night before, taking Metro and a bus back to Maryland, and then going to work like normal the next day. Then after work, take Metro to Vienna rather than Glenmont, grab the car, and zing off to Stuarts Draft. The idea there was to avoid the inside-the-beltway traffic by putting the car ahead of that and taking Metro to meet the car, but it’s just a bit too much trouble, and involves a lot of advance planning and coordination of what needs to be where. Plus it’s weird stashing the car and one’s luggage in another state for a night.

The whole idea is dealing with the traffic most effciently when there’s a workday involved. See, going into work precludes use of the Beltway for the trip out, since work is in Dupont Circle, near downtown Washington. One would think that it would have been less congested, but I-66 was slow all the way to Vienna. Seriously, I was on the phone with Mom part of the way, and was like, “I’m going eight miles per hour. Oh, wait, now ten. Wait… five.” Yeah, that slow. On the freeway. At least I had people on the phone, plus Randi Rhodes when I didn’t have anyone on the phone.

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You know, I understand the whole concept of wanting to promote good health while the economy’s in the dumper, but…

March 12, 2009, 7:46 PM

Indeed, I understand about wanting to promote good health while the economy is in the can, but I think we’ll all agree that this is probably not the way to do it:

Free antibiotics at Safeway

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Categories: Advertising, Safeway

So the apartment is clean from top to bottom…

December 28, 2008, 2:09 AM

I just finished giving my apartment a thorough cleaning ahead of my trip to Stuarts Draft for a week. I did the rugs, I did the floors, I dusted, I completely cleaned the kitchen, and I completely cleaned the bathroom. It was a long ordeal, but the place looks great now!

Most bothersome, though, was cleaning the carpets. I had Mom’s shampooer, and I went the whole nine yards. I picked everything up, moved furniture around, and everything. I had my coffee table up-ended and in the kitchen, if that tells you anything. Bedroom, hallway, and then living room. The living room was perhaps the most challenging. First I had to make sure not to shampoo myself into a corner, but also what to do once the carpets were done.

\Determining what to do once the carpets were finished was actually pretty exciting. I grabbed my coat, my hat, my iPod, and my phone, and took to the Sable for a few hours late at night. Makes me glad that gas is cheaper again, because I finally got to explore a bit. It’s time to see what’s beyond Silver Spring. So I took a small late-night road trip. Previously, I’d only been on Georgia Avenue as far as Norbeck Road, which is not all that much further north than my street. Now, I followed Georgia Avenue a long way. I went through Olney, seeing roughly where Montgomery General Hospital is (the Y bus’s northern terminus), and continued, finding out that Georgia Avenue narrows down to two lanes once you clear Olney. Olney also appeared to be a lot smaller than I expected. I expected a larger town, but there you go. And then beyond Olney, Georgia Avenue reminded me a lot of various back roads in Augusta County, Virginia, where I used to live. Lots of curves, and two lanes. For the first time in a long time, I broke out the high beams.

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Ladies: Would you really want your guy smelling like a cheeseburger?

December 18, 2008, 11:11 PM

You know, I thought it was enough getting used to the scent of the Brut. But then one of my coworkers forwarded me an Email about Burger King’s releasing a meat-scented cologne for men. Seriously. Take a look.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of scent I would want to be spraying on myself. Honestly, the smell of meat is not the kind of scent I would want to wear to impress someone. Personally, if I encountered someone smelling like meat, I’d start to wonder. “So are you carrying a few hamburgers in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?” Besides, hamburgers, and especially fast food hamburgers, are kind of gross. For that matter, Burger King food is just disgusting in general, and along with McDonald’s, I try to avoid it.

Personally, I’ve never really seen the point of cologne in general. It makes you smell like something, but you usually have to really use your imagination to decide just what the stuff smells like. However, even the cheap stuff costs too much money, and too often, cologne is done badly by the person wearing it. I remember two specific examples of colognes done badly. One was my sophomore year in college. My RA in Potomac Hall wore way too much cologne. You could smell him coming way before you saw him. His fumes preceded him. Likewise, when I worked at Wal-Mart, there was this one guy who wore too much cologne who worked the cigarette line regularly. His fumes preceded him, too. He smelled awful because he wore far too much cologne.

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Categories: Products, Walmart

Time for a fun little craft project…

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

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Categories: Companies, Halloween