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I can’t believe my sister is really going to Chicago…

August 24, 2007, 2:44 PM

Yeah, my sister, Ann Schumin, is moving to Chicago with her boyfriend, Chris Lysy. They leave on September 1. I’m stunned. I know that they’ve been talking about it, but now they’re really going. They even have an apartment!

I’m just surprised, because I didn’t know the exact date until a few days ago. So wow. Still, Chicago is just so far. It’s in a different time zone, and it’s far, far, far from the coast. Of course, this means I’m finally going to get to visit Chicago. Maybe I’ll get to see some Blues Brothers landmarks, like Dixie Square Mall.

Of course, we wish the two of them all the best in Chicago, though I’m going to miss them. After all, I’m within a day’s drive of the parents and most of my other relatives. In fact, being in the Washington area puts me right in the middle of everyone. Then Sis will be a bit of a time commitment to travel, requiring either an overnight train trip or an airplane trip. Yikes.

Still, September 1. Wow.

Categories: Family

“It’s Friday, ya bastards!”

August 10, 2007, 2:42 PM

What can I say? It’s Friday, the end of the work week. And I got the day started out right, listening to Randi Rhodes on my way to the bus, hearing the beginning of her Friday show (where the title of this entry comes from), and hearing Rusty Warren talk about Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin having wives and “a few broads on the side, too” while Randi Rhodes makes her own commentary.

Otherwise, though, I’m excited about this weekend. I’m going down to Stuarts Draft, and seeing the family, and also getting together with Katie for breakfast on Sunday morning on the way back up. So that ought to be a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, I got this text message at work today. Mom asks me, “Do you have a teapot?” I replied, “No.” A couple of hours later, I get a message from Sis: “You has a teapot now.” The last message didn’t surprise me (aside from the bad grammar), since the normal way these things go is that if I say no, one will be in my future. I’m told it’s white with flowers on it. Ought to be interesting. I’m also getting something that has to do with making spaghetti, but I couldn’t tell you what (in fact, Mom couldn’t describe it, either, but she got one for herself, too).

Still, it will be nice to get away from Washington for a day. Boy, I never thought I’d hear myself say that. For years I was constantly longing to live in Washington. Now I live in the area, and work in Dupont Circle, and never thought I’d need to spend some time away from it. But yeah, DC’s nice, but it’s still nice to get away for a while.

Of course, now I just have to figure out what to do after work today. I should go down to Pentagon City for a while, since after all, it’s Friday, and all I have to do to get ready to leave tomorrow is throw some stuff in the back of the Sable. All in all, we’ll see what I end up doing. Should be interesting.

Categories: Family, Radio

When in Washington, this does happen from time to time…

August 8, 2007, 7:50 PM

Towards the end of the day at work today, my cell phone went off for a text message. Dupont Circle, Woodley Park-Zoo, and Cleveland Park stations closed for a while due to a suspicious package. As it turns out, the package was harmless, containing cardboard and paper.

Still, it caused a major delay in Metro service. And all the more amazing was that Metro was actually calling it a “major” delay. Realize that this is a transit operator that considers single-tracking on significant amounts of several lines with 20-minute waits for trains during the day to be a “minor” delay. But this time, Metro even went so far as to say to avoid the Red Line altogether. The suspicious package was on a train at Dupont Circle. Woodley Park-Zoo and Cleveland Park were closed to allow trains to turn back towards Shady Grove using the interlocking at Van Ness-UDC. Then on the other side, trains turned back towards Glenmont using the pocket track at Farragut North. Then Metro ran a “bustitution” (where buses are used to fill in for the lack of rail service) between Van Ness and Farragut North.

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Categories: Family, WMATA

Several hundred bad words later, I have a new dresser.

July 29, 2007, 10:14 PM

First of all, let me preface this story by telling you that Mom came up to visit this weekend, and we went to Ikea in College Park. I’ve finally just about figured the place out, and so it’s no longer as intimidating as that first trip was back in May. Mom wanted to get some more silverware and various other odds and ends. In the end, we came out with a dresser for me, since I’d mentioned I needed to look at dressers since my present one was too small.

In the bedroom department, they had dressers coming out of dressers. Mom and I found a dresser that matched my bed – the “Hemnes” style. Very dark wood. And this dresser was really big, too. So after perusing the “marketplace” where Mom got more silverware and various other stuff, we went into their big warehouse and fished out the two boxes that the dresser came in, checked out, and brought it home in the Sable.

By the way, it’s a real you-know-what to carry that stuff up three flights of stairs. Just thought you ought to know that.

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It’s like tempting fate…

July 13, 2007, 6:52 PM

It’s like tempting fate when you get Breda 4018 as your lead car. You may recall that number. It was the car that got hit in the Woodley Park-Zoo accident in 2004. But now it looks like a regular 4000-series again, with CAF carpet replacing the original orange carpet. Only thing different is it’s missing its exterior Breda horse.

Otherwise, Sunday the 22nd is going to be fun, as two members of the Schumin family travel and meet in the middle. Sis is going to Minnesota to visit Chris at his summer job, flying out of Dulles. Mom is going to be returning to Stuarts Draft from Philadelphia, after a weekend out with her old college roommates. And where is everyone meeting? Silver Spring, Maryland, putting me into play. Dad’s not going to be able to join us, as he’s going to be elsewhere racing the Mini with his autocross group.

So the question becomes what to do… the encounter will be brief, since Mom’s going to be roughly in the middle of her travel day. I’ve suggested having either lunch or dinner somewhere in Wheaton. That ought to be fun. I must say, it’s nice being along the I-95 corridor, since Richmond is to the south, and Baltimore and Philadelphia are to the north. In fact, both Baltimore and Philly are on my eventual to-do list, as Baltimore’s really close, and Philly’s about the same distance from me as DC is from Stuarts Draft. So who knows, maybe you’ll get to see some Philly photo sets eventually.

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Categories: Family, WMATA, Work

What a fun weekend…

June 24, 2007, 6:52 PM

The weekend went really well! Patrick came over on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. One question Patrick had was whether Mom had gotten used to my being gone. My exact comment was, “Do you want to see how used to it she’s gotten? Come look at this.” And I showed him my old bedroom, which Mom totally redecorated, as I described earlier. Then Patrick, Sis, and I went to Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, where we split two pizzas amongst the three of us. One was a vegetarian pizza, with a pesto base, and lots of tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Then the other was a cheese pizza with mozzarella and feta cheese. Really good stuff.

Then after Patrick left to go back to Harrisonburg, I kind of crashed myself. I slept on that futon Mom got. It was a futon. It’s firmer than mine, and Mom put a fitted sheet over the futon cover, since she claimed the texture of the cover would be uncomfortable to sleep on. I said don’t worry about it, since I would likely be too tired to care, but she insisted, and so it was. And when I went to sleep, I was indeed too tired to care. But it was a decent sleep, though it felt strange sleeping in my old bedroom on this strange new piece of furniture. Of course, I’m used to sleeping on a futon, though I only have to do that for one more week.

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And now we’re in Stuarts Draft…

June 23, 2007, 3:02 PM

And now I’m in Stuarts Draft, where I’ll be until Sunday. Visiting the parents, and spending some time with others as well. I went and visited Katie on the way back in. That was fun.

Then here, Mom’s been busy. She’s already redone my old bedroom. The bed’s gone, and there’s this new nautical-themed futon in there now. In fact, Mom went nautical on the whole thing. She even used some of my old ship posters and such as part of the decor. Additionally, there’s a new coffee table, plus that chair Mom bought at Ikea.

Also, here’s a weird sight – going down to Stuarts Draft from DC in the daytime. I took nearly 100 DC trips over a litle more than three years, and offhand I can think of maybe two where the return trip was made while it was light out. It was weird. The trip was so different. I saw so many things I wasn’t used to seeing. I know what it all looks like in the light in the towards-DC direction, but not in the other direction.

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What a lovely day with Mom today…

June 16, 2007, 11:58 PM

Mom came to visit this weekend, and we had a wonderful time. She came up on Friday, and took the Metro down to Dupont Circle to meet me right after work. We rode back to Wheaton station, where Mom parked, and then went back to my place, where we brought some stuff in. She brought me my computer chair (yay!) and also a coffee table. Mom replaced the coffee table in the family room last year, and so now I have the old coffee table. I love it. It looks so good in my living room, and it will certainly enhance the way things look.

Once we brought everything in, we ordered pizza from Papa John’s. There’s a Papa John’s not far from here – in the same shopping center as H-Mart. We got a pizza that could best be described as unconventional – their spinach alfredo pizza, which has an alfredo base rather than a tomato base. We also got mushrooms on it. I don’t even want to think about how many calories that thing had, but it was good. After dinner, we watched TV, and then went to bed. Mom became the first to sleep in my bedroom on a cot that she brought, and then I slept in the living room on the futon (as always).

Then on Saturday, we went to Ikea in College Park, where I finally got that new bed. I got their Hemnes brown-black bed with a nice, comfortable mattress. Queen-size, and all for me. We’re getting that delivered. Mom got some furniture as well, and we also got a chance to look all over their showroom. The place was not nearly as busy as it was on Memorial Day, and so we got a chance to stroll around a bit. Plus, considering that this was my second trip to Ikea, I was not nearly so overwhelmed.

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“You mean I’ve slept my last sleep in that bed?”

June 5, 2007, 2:32 PM

I was talking to Mom on the phone yesterday, and found out that Mom is getting rid of my old bed. She’s replacing it with a futon couch, since she claims it will be more comfortable and more versatile. I don’t doubt either claim. I’ve been sleeping on a futon couch for a little less than a month now, until I get my new bed in a week and a half or so.

Still, it’s one of those things where as much as you detest the bed, you never really thought that it would go. But, yeah, she’s getting rid of it. And it will likely be before I go down to visit again, so I’ve most likely seen the bed for the last time. Weird!

It will be so strange next time I go visit the parents to have this futon in my old bedroom. Now mind you, I still haven’t completely removed everything from there. Lots of my stuff still hasn’t made the ride from Stuarts Draft to Silver Spring. Still, that will be strange. But at least I’ll only be using it when I go to visit. Sleeping on a futon gets old after a while. I should know.

Still, as worn out and uncomfortable as it was, I’m going to miss that old bed.

Categories: Family, Stuarts Draft

So will it be the “girl room”, or the “man room”?

May 2, 2007, 6:31 PM

That’s the question I’ve posed to my parents about my soon-to-be-former room once I completely vacate it. But first there’s a back-story to it.

When Uncle Johnny and Aunt Beth came to visit two weeks ago, they described about how they repurposed their three children’s former bedrooms now that they had all moved out. The idea was that rather than referring to the rooms by who’s not in them (i.e. “Kate’s old room”, “Jesse’s old room”, and “Jan’s old room”), they would refer to them by what they were now using the rooms for. Thus one bedroom became the “girl room”, another one became the “man room”, and the third became the “sewing room”.

Now in our family, there are only two children – Sis and me. And since no one in our family sews, we can scratch off “sewing room”. Thus if we were to follow Uncle Johnny and Aunt Beth’s naming system, we’d have a “girl room” and a “man room”. One will become fully vacant by June (I get the apartment on the 20th, but there is no way in hell that I am moving everything at once), and the other room will be vacant in August when Sis moves to Chicago with Chris, with whom she is engaged to be engaged.

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Categories: Family, House

So for today, it’s like I’m five again…

April 21, 2007, 8:22 PM

First of all, don’t get me wrong – I love seeing relatives. Uncle Johnny (Mom’s brother) and Aunt Beth came down from Connecticut to visit for the weekend, and I love seeing them, talking to them, etc. They’re a lot of fun.

However, I do take offense to the way my parents get when relatives come over. All of a sudden, it’s like I’m five years old again. They’ve treated me like a child in almost every way today except cut my food for me. My father actually said “good night” like he was trying to order me to bed last night, for one thing. Then today, they really have gotten on my nerves. We went to Charlottesville today and took the Sienna, since it was the only one that would comfortably seat six people. Since I was the only one who knew exactly how to get where we were going, I figured I’d be navigating from the passenger seat. I was surprised to hear Dad tell me I was driving. I’m like, okay. I prefer to drive anyway. I’d rather just do it than tell someone how to do it. It’s about the only adult thing I got to do all day. And even then, my parents won’t trust my driving, as both parents decided to be back-seat drivers. Mom justified her back-seat driving by saying she wanted to “get there in one piece.”

Now mind you, I’m driving a car that I don’t drive regularly, it doesn’t fit me well (pedals are too far back), and that rides a lot higher than what I’m used to. And a number of controls are in different places, too. After all, I’m now used to driving a Mercury (basically a Ford) station wagon. And here I am driving a Toyota minivan. And I think I did a great job driving it, despite having less-than-awesome equipment. Something’s wrong with the brakes on there, because every time I’d hit the brake pedal, the pedal would shake, and so would the rest of the car. Sable doesn’t do that. Plus the van’s a lot heavier than the Sable. Still, they nagged me about my speed. They nagged me about what lane I was in. Everything.

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Categories: Family

The challenges of trying to convert things…

April 5, 2007, 11:04 AM

My life is never dull. I am slowly but surely working to convert my site from one that operates on a Windows-based server to one that runs on a Unix/Linux/whatever-based server. I’m doing this because I seem to have hit a wall in my design. Everywhere I want to go requires a non-Windows server. So we’re converting. I’m going to eventually learn PHP and MySQL, and do it.

Some of you have already seen the forum, running on phpBB. The next thing I’m working on is the Journal, where it will be powered by WordPress. It’s going to look and feel mostly the same as before, though it will have this nifty RSS feed when it’s all said and done. I can phase in other features later.

Otherwise, I’ve been listening to my fair share of conservative radio talk show hosts. I still like Chris Lysy’s way of putting it: “Daily dose of outrage”. Lately, I’ve been listening to Mark Levin on podcast. I think I’ve been listening to too much Levin when I read the newspaper and they mention Nancy Pelosi and the term “stretch” comes to mind. Likewise all of Mark Levin’s other derogatory names for all the Democrats in Congress. And of course, I enjoyed hearing the talk shows’ reaction to M17 on the following Monday. I was at M17, don’t forget. I think the best comment was the accusation someone made of the anti-war demonstrators on Mark Levin’s show. They said that people were taking the Metro back into DC and marching around again to make the numbers look bigger. I find that kind of odd, especially since the Pentagon Metro station is on the south side of the Pentagon, and we were north of the Pentagon. I consider Pentagon station as kind of being required to pull such a stunt off, since Arlington Cemetery would have skipped half the march route. Also consider the fact that police were physically blocking the way to Pentagon station. Plus in DC, the Lincoln Memorial (the start of the march route) is not exactly near any Metro stations. Bottom line is, it’s impractical, and wouldn’t work even if someone wanted to do it.

Sometimes it’s just amusing what the other side comes up with…

Categories: Greta, Radio, Schumin Web meta

First time to DC in nearly three weeks…

January 23, 2007, 4:32 AM

Today is a DC day, and I’m ready to go, as it’s been nearly three weeks since January 4 when I last went. This trip was supposed to happen a week ago, but it got rescheduled for political reasons. You see, today is the day Bush gives the State of the Union address, and so I’m going to be at a counter-rally at the Capitol reflecting pool.

The Capitol reflecting pool, by the way, has special significance to me due to some comments Mom made. On our second-ever trip to DC in 1994, we walked from the White House to the Capitol – not a walk to be sneezed at. And in sub-freezing weather, no less. Nearing the Capitol reflecting pool, Mom said, jokingly of course, that it was the spot where all the congressmen and all the senators went to try to snap off Hillary Clinton’s bikini top. The Clinton administration was also the first time in twelve years that they’d been able to partake in snapping off the First Lady’s bikini top, too, as Rosalynn Carter was the last one that they’d been able to do it with. Nancy Reagan was “too small”, and Barbara Bush was “too old”. No word about whether Congress can have fun in the reflecting pool with Laura Bush, because Mom now denies that the exchange ever happened, but we know better.

So who knows. While Bush is blathering on about the poor state he’s left this country in after six years, maybe we’ll see a few representatives who skipped the speech playing in the pool, going after Laura Bush’s bikini top.

Otherwise, this is the first trip since the January 7 derailment at Mt. Vernon Square. And guess what one of my stops will be today – yes, Mt. Vernon Square. I’m going to the Infoshop today, and thus E01 is on the itinerary.

So wish me luck at the protest.

Remember not to misspell, now… that’s B-O-R-F.

January 21, 2007, 10:10 PM

Occasionally I have fun with my coworkers. I recently had the occasion of having some cans of spray paint go through the Service Desk to go back to their proper department. And in the meantime, talk of graffiti came up. I made reference to the DC-area graffiti artist John Tsombikos from Great Falls, best known as the main person behind the “Borf” campaign. Of course, my coworkers had no idea. They don’t make these biweekly runs to DC like I do. I remember seeing graffiti from the train along the eastern half of the Red Line referring to “Borf”, and I was like, what-the-heck. “Borf”? It wasn’t until really recently, talking about the “disarm” message that was stenciled on the sidewalk of the Key Bridge, that I really found out what Borf was all about. Very prolific.

Otherwise, it snowed today, as the weather forecasters predicted. Actually, it snowed first, then turned to freezing rain, and then to sleet. All and all, it was not a pleasant drive to work. Actually, going in was worse than leaving. It was all still snow then. Basically packed snow all the way to Waynesboro. The Sable still drives better in the snow than the Previa did, but the trip was not without its challenges, as stopping was something of a challenge. Most notably, I was unable to stop at the intersection of the westbound off-ramp of I-64 and Rosser Avenue in Waynesboro, and therefore slid right through a just-turned red light. So yes, I ran a red light today. I did, and so did the car beside me. Both of us slid right through the red light, blowing our horns to warn any potential cross-traffic of our situation. We both got through unscathed.

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Saturday night, I had an interesting dream…

January 8, 2007, 10:56 AM

It’s not often that I’ll dream about Greta, our dachshund. Greta usually doesn’t factor into my dreams. I’ve had more dreams about fire drills in school than about Greta, if that tells you anything. I’ve also had more dreams about protests than about Greta.

But I did have a dream about Greta on Saturday night. In this dream, we had two dogs – Greta, and another, larger dog. In the dream, the dog looked like a Labrador Retriever, which is a bit bigger than Greta, a dachshund. Greta is twelve years old, and this unnamed new dog was definitely a lot younger than Greta. And despite the other dog’s larger stature, guess who was pushing who around. That’s right, Greta was showing the other dog who was boss.

I was like, go, Greta! in seeing this in the dream, because when we go on walks, Greta’s definitely the one getting her butt sniffed when we encounter other people’s dogs. So it was nice to see Greta basically taking charge, even if it was only a dream. In real life, Greta’s like those people who talk big and have nothing to back it up. The neighbors’ dogs know when Greta’s outside, because she always has a few words for them. And based on what I’ve heard Greta saying to those other dogs, I’d say that her mother would be embarrassed. Greta barks like a sailor, you see. But she’s got that fence to keep the other dogs out, so Greta can say whatever she wants and who’s going to stop her? Well, Mom, maybe.

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Categories: Dreams, Greta