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Reading the book…

November 22, 2013, 11:15 AM

So to bring everyone up to speed on the employment situation, I am still between engagements.  That’s not to say that I’ve not been diligently submitting tons of applications and going to the occasional interview, but I still have yet to land a new full-time job.  However, there’s been a shift in my thinking.  I had an “aha” moment not too long ago when it came to what I wanted to do.  Everyone has said, considering how much of a transit nerd I am, that I should get into public transportation.  I talked it over with my family, and they all think it’s a great idea, so I’m taking steps toward making that so.  I want to get in on the ground floor and then work my way up.  After all, I love transit.  I can’t get enough of it.  So why not make it my career, already?

That said, I’m currently reading the Maryland CDL Manual with the intent of getting a commercial learner’s permit so that I can learn how to drive a bus.  So far, I’ve read Section 1, which is a general overview of the manual and the whole CDL process, as well as a list of many of the various offenses that would cause you to lose your CDL from a period ranging from a few months to life depending on what sort of offense and number of offenses.  I’ve also read Section 2.1, which discusses the pre-trip inspection.

The pre-trip inspection is something that, if you didn’t know to do it, you might not think to do it, but it makes perfect sense considering what you’re doing.  After all, these are very large vehicles that we’re talking about here.  Compare the size of a bus to that of a regular car:

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Categories: Driving, Transit

Road trip to New Jersey…

October 30, 2013, 9:45 PM

Last Thursday, October 24, was a fun day.  I took a one-day road trip to Monmouth County, New Jersey.  The inspiration was my needing a change of scenery for a day, and seeing this as an opportunity to do a few things I’d wanted to do for a while now.

As with any trip, they say that getting there is half the fun, but I was quickly struck by how much it cost to get to New Jersey.  Let’s just say that officials in northeastern states, New Jersey in particular, never met a road or a bridge that they couldn’t slap a toll on.  And tolls have gone up.  The Baltimore tunnels in Maryland (Fort McHenry and Harbor) are now four bucks each way (up from $2), and the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge is now eight bucks(!) for its northbound-only toll (up from $5).  Otherwise, the Intercounty Connector near me was $2.05 from Layhill Road to I-95 (it’s a variable toll depending on time of day – your results may vary), Delaware was still four dollars, the New Jersey Turnpike was $3.50 to Exit 7A, and then the Garden State Parkway wanted fifty cents from me for going one exit.  Kind of surprisingly, New Jersey didn’t want anything for my ride on I-195.  Altogether, it cost $22.05 in tolls alone to get to my first destination.  And that’s just getting there.  I had to run that gauntlet of tolls coming back, too.

The first stop was a very personal one for me.  I went to Temple Beth-El Cemetery in Neptune, where my grandparents on my father’s side, Ruth and Seymour (“Pop”) Schumin, are buried.  I also didn’t realize before I arrived that Aunt Ruth and Uncle Seymour were buried in the same location.  Uncle Seymour died in April 1981, a little less than two months before I was born.  Pop and Grandma died within a month and a half of each other in the spring of 1988, when I was in first grade.  Aunt Ruth died in November 2003, right around Thanksgiving.  Therefore, I never got to know Uncle Seymour, it’s been 25 years since Pop and Grandma died, and it’s been almost ten years since Aunt Ruth died.

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Categories: Asbury Park, Driving, Family, Roads

I can now add “commode critic” to my resume…

March 28, 2013, 12:44 PM

So I got back Tuesday night from a trip to Stuarts Draft.  That was fun, though not the fun that I was expecting.  I got to visit my friend Bergit in Charlottesville, and then spent two days spending time with my parents.  The original plan was to go to Roanoke with Mom on Monday and also visit friends and see transportation-related stuff, but that unfortunately got snowed out.

But first, though, in case you’re wondering what the deal with the title is, let me explain.  My trip started out with proof that my kidneys do great work, and that having a cup of coffee before a three-hour road trip is inadvisable.  Yes, I took far more restroom breaks on this trip than I normally would.  I ended up stopping at the rest area on I-66 near Manassas, Sheetz in Madison, the new Trader Joe’s in Charlottesville, and then the rest area on I-64 near Ivy.  Usually I can make it on one restroom break.  But, noooooo… my body decided that this was the perfect time to unload a bunch of water.  And I was not shy about discussing restrooms on social media on the entire trip.  This from the Sheetz in Madison:

This road trip has been brought to you by the letter P, and by the number 1.

And I accompanied this on Instagram with the following caption: “This road trip has been brought to you by the letter P, and by the number 1.”  Yep… that kind of day.

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Driving in Virginia on Thanksgiving morning…

November 22, 2012, 7:04 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I will be through Sunday.  And so far, so good.  The drive went surprisingly well, and then Thanksgiving dinner was absolutely wonderful.

Considering how well my drive went today, though, I don’t know why anyone would want to go driving on the day before Thanksgiving.  Seriously, this was one of the easiest drives to Stuarts Draft that I’ve had in a long time.  I left the house around 8:45, and it was more or less smooth sailing the entire way.  Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County, from my house to the Beltway, was no problem.

On that note, by the way, does anyone know what’s going on with the Freestate gas station on Georgia Avenue at Layhill Road?  This is how it looked this morning:

The Freestate station on Georgia Avenue

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Of all the people to cut me off in traffic…

April 19, 2012, 9:41 PM

Of all the people to cut me off in traffic, who cut me off twice while driving south on 16th Street NW? None other than DC Council member Jim Graham of Ward 1. Take a look:

Jim Graham's Volkswagen Bug convertible.
Jim Graham’s Volkswagen Bug convertible.

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Categories: Driving, Some people

This is what vacations are good for…

May 18, 2011, 11:34 PM

Vacations are great for Schumin Web. Usually, every time I take a vacation, I manage to finish a photo set. This time, it’s Plungefest 2011. Normally this wouldn’t be notable, except that I ran out of time to finish this “in-studio”. See, I normally do all my photo sets at home, on my real computer. However, I ran out of time on Tuesday night, and I had planned a trip to Stuarts Draft from Wednesday to Friday. So first of all, hello from my parents’ house in Stuarts Draft. Thankfully, I was able to complete enough of the set on Tuesday night that I could do the rest of the work on the road from the netbook. So I did all the captions on my parents’ couch, and then pulled the covers off the menu entry, and then voila! Done.

On that last part, that was kind of interesting. Before I left the house, I put the menu entries in and then commented them out. Kind of reminds me of when banks change names, which, as you know, happens on a fairly regular basis anymore. They change the signs ahead of time, and then put a cover over the new sign with the old logo on it. I believe Wachovia is in this process right now, with their eventual change to the Wells Fargo nameplate. Then when the time comes, they just yank the cover off and the name is changed. Same here. I just removed the comment tags, and boom – the menu item is revealed.

Of course, this kind of stuff will all change when I eventually convert the site to WordPress. Then I’ll be able to do all of the site from anywhere, rather than the current situation of being restricted to my home computer for some parts and being partially mobile for others. I’m looking forward to that, but it’s going to be a long time still before that happens.

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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

Wednesday’s commute home was perhaps one of the most challenging driving experiences I’ve ever had…

January 28, 2011, 9:09 PM

It was also the most unpleasant, for that matter. Wednesday, January 26, you see, the DC area was hit by a fairly large snowstorm. I think the area got about eight inches of snow, which, by last winter’s standards would be just a dusting, but by this year’s standards so far was a major snowstorm.

I think my biggest mistake was that since I had the car with me (due to work-related errands that I needed to run), I decided to wait to leave until it was likely too late. So I ended up getting a six-hour snow tour around Washington DC, watching transformer explosions light up the sky and testing every nerve in my body in the process. And both the car and I came out just fine, thank you.

I left the office around 5:30 on Wednesday, sending a tweet to announce my departure:

I’m outta here: LSMFT @capitalweather: Heavy snow overspreading entire region http://wapo.st/gp0zP2
January 26 5:27 PM

It was in the early stages of being dark, and I figured I was doing fairly well. Traffic was heavy, but moving, albeit slowly.

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So why don’t you just tell us what you really think?

January 11, 2011, 10:02 PM

So I drove to work today, and then going home, I put the phone in my GPS mount and did a Video Journal entry from the driver’s seat. And here it is:

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Obviously, the date and time would be too useful to display…

December 19, 2010, 1:59 AM

Coming back from a Christmas shindig in Northern Virginia this evening, I encountered this sign on the Beltway:

TERROR TIPS?  CALL 1-800-492-TIPS

Basically, the sign encourages people to report “terror tips” to the authorities at the aforementioned number. A little research indicates that the number goes to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, a state counter-terrorism agency.

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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

Oh, what a commute it was today…

August 12, 2010, 10:55 PM

So today is one of those days where I drove to work. I had to do some work-related errands in the suburbs first thing, and when I do those kinds of things, I drive into work because I’m already in the car, and so it just makes sense to do that.

Now mind you, we had some intense storms today. There were some severe thunderstorms in the early-ish morning (enough to wake me up), and then in the late afternoon and early evening, there were more severe storms, including some tornado warnings (eek!) near Fredericksburg and in the northern part of Montgomery County. Needless to say, I hear “tornado warning” and “Montgomery County” in the same sentence, and I drop everything at work to find out exactly where the tornado is, because I would like to know if I’m going to be without power, or worse, homeless, when I get home. Thankfully, not only were the tornado warning areas a considerable bit north of me, but I also never lost power the whole time.

So… the morning’s errands ended at Home Depot near my house. Since Georgia Avenue looked wall-to-wall, I took Connecticut Avenue, which I had hoped was not as bad. It was also pretty bad. It took ages to get as far as University Boulevard, i.e. this far. Basically, as Homer Simpson would say, “Gas, brake, honk.”

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Categories: Driving

So I decided to talk and drive again…

July 8, 2010, 2:19 PM

So on Wednesday evening, I decided to talk and drive again. I set the cell phone in the GPS holder once again, and started talking. I started at approximately 16th and T Streets NW, heading north on 16th Street:

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So I tried my hand at video blogging today…

June 23, 2010, 10:36 PM

So I tried my hand at video blogging on the way home from work today. I used my phone, setting it up it in the holder clipped on my air vent that I usually use for the GPS while I was stopped at a red light. Then I started it recording and just started discussing things:

And there you go, I suppose. It’s a first try, and so I kind of want to know what you think. Did I plan out what I wanted to say? No. I just kind of discussed it as I thought of it. And I managed to go on for just about ten minutes. So what do you think? Like it? Hate it? Think it’s got potential but needs to be refined? I want to know.

See, don’t tell the allergies that it’s their season, because maybe they’ll forget and it will be too late then…

April 3, 2010, 10:10 PM

First of all, hello from my parents’ house in Stuarts Draft. This ought to be a fun weekend. I saw my friend Bergit in Charlottesville on the way down (that was a lot of fun), and then I’m spending tomorrow with the parents, then Monday I’m spending with Katie, and then Tuesday, back to DC.

The drive down here was kind of interesting. Usually I don’t hit traffic on a Saturday, but this time, the Beltway was awful. Almost as soon as we crossed into Virginia, pow. Slowed to a 10 mph crawl. Once I hit I-66, though, no problems, and except for some moderate congestion on US 29 through Gainesville, we were good. Smooth sailing right down 29 to Charlottesville. I noticed that they were expanding the Charlottesville Wal-Mart, and also noticed that an Exxon station at the corner of US 29 and Barracks Road had been demolished and seeded. Very strange seeing a vacant corner lot like that…

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