Here’s some advice: Don’t eat a five-day-old salad…

2 minute read

June 14, 2010, 11:48 PM

That’s my advice for you, because on Saturday, I wasn’t feeling too well, and I blame it on Friday’s lunch. You know how it is – you wake up feeling icky and with a fever, and then by the end of the day, the fever has broken, and all is feeling well again. I have a feeling it was food poisoning on Saturday. At least that was my theory until recently.

Except now I don’t know what to think, since I started feeling bad again on Monday, too, and I’d not eaten anything else that I could pin down as questionable. I hope I’m not getting sick. That would be really unpleasant. But as of right now, I have a fever, and my chest hurts from all the coughing I’ve been doing. I really don’t want to have to call out at work tomorrow, because I’ve got stuff I need to do down there, so hopefully I’ll be in a state where I can make it in tomorrow.

Meanwhile, now I’m trying to figure out where I caught this. It’s been two weeks since Boston, so for all I know, I might have caught something up there, because after all, that was a perfect breeding ground for colds, with people sharing rooms and coming together from all sorts of cities. I consider that most likely, because since coming back, I haven’t done anything, other than the aforementioned salad that was a shade past its prime, that would have made me sick.

Actually, I take that back. We got all of our summer interns in recently at work, and I wonder if I didn’t catch something from one of them. That would certainly be unpleasant, wouldn’t it?

Either way, it certainly shot my weekend. I was planning to go out, and ended up staying in all weekend. That did, however, do wonders for the Web site, where I got a lot of work done on new content (by the way, look for the CSS version of the site to go live around July 1 with at least two new photo sets at launch).

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

4 minute read

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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Cleaning off burned-on macaroni is not my idea of a good time…

2 minute read

November 19, 2009, 9:17 PM

Trust me, cleaning the remains of burned-on macaroni is not my idea of a good time. I was cooking pasta for lunches last night, got sidetracked, and forgot about the macaroni until smelling the distinct smell of burned food. That’s when I remembered the macaroni, a bit too late, though. The box of macaroni only cost a dollar and some, but cleaning the pot was no fun. And needless to say, the next day’s lunch was ruined.

Most of the macaroni came off easily. Then a good amount of it came off with some coercion from a cooking utensil. Then I went to Giant for ammunition. I came back with a gallon of vinegar, a box of baking soda, and SOS soap pads. A soap pad used by itself got some of it off, but there was still a bit left to do. I put about an inch’s worth of vinegar in the pot, and let it sit for a bit. Then I came back and scrubbed the hell out of it. That finally got it, and now the pot is clean, and now it’s in the dishwasher getting washed along with all the other dirty dishes.

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Categories: Food and drink

“Ben Schumin wishes that grocery shopping involved just buying a fifty-pound bag of single people chow.”

2 minute read

November 9, 2009, 7:17 PM

The above was a Facebook status that I posted on Sunday, and it really got a lot of attention, with seven “likes” and a lot of comment, including comments from some of my married friends that a fifty-pound bag of single people chow would be a good idea.

See, I have to go grocery shopping tonight, and let’s admit it – grocery shopping is a pain. First I have to drive to the store. Then I have to kind of wander the aisles and pick out all the grub I’m planning to get. Then I have to pay for it. Then I have to load it up in the car and drive back home. Then I have to schlep it all up the stairs. Then I have to put it away.

That’s why I started fantasizing a little. After all, I’m single, and I live alone. And grocery shopping is a bother. Life would be so much simpler if I could just go to Shoppers, haul a fifty-pound bag of single people chow into the cart, pay for that, and be set for a month. And I figure it should cost around $45 for the name brand, and $30 for the generic. Still, I could be in and out of Shoppers in less than fifteen minutes. Just go right to the single aisle, and I’m all set.

What surprised me most, however, was one comment, which indicated that Costco actually sells a product that consists of 275 servings of various types of vegetarian food. Take a look:

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Categories: Food and drink

What are you talking about? Coffee’s supposed to taste like sludge!

2 minute read

June 5, 2008, 10:50 PM

It’s funny… at work, the coffee drinkers have for the most part gone into two camps. There are the ones who would happily make it so strong that the spoon stands up, and those who like weak coffee.

I’m part of the “sludge” crowd. There is a dedicated group of us who gets to the Bunn-O-Matic in the morning and make strong coffee. Some people describe it as being like castor oil. I prefer the term “sludge”, myself. And if anyone asks why I like the coffee like sludge, I just smile. And not just a regular smile, either. It’s that kind of smile that’s so much so that it works muscles all down your neck and on your chest. The I’ve-had-too-much-caffeine smile. I love it.

Of course, I always cut myself off at noon. No more coffee past noon, which paves the way for a nap on Metro some evenings. Yesterday after work, I really must have been pooped – I fell asleep before Brookland-CUA, and next thing I knew, it was Glenmont. Usually, if I fall asleep on Metro, I briefly wake up around Fort Totten or Takoma, and then also around Forest Glen or Wheaton. Usually if it’s Wheaton, I end up staying awake to Glenmont, because I don’t see any point of nodding off again, being so close.

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What a fun weekend!

5 minute read

November 25, 2007, 8:38 AM

All in all, I had a fun Thanksgiving weekend in Stuarts Draft, but I’m still very glad to be home again.

Thanksgiving itself involved the usual – turkey, and all the various fixings to go with it, and then falling asleep afterwards.

Then I spent Friday with Katie. We had a blast, as we did anything but shop. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while, then rode back around to Charlottesville, where we went to the Mellow Mushroom, where we had a vegetarian pizza with a pesto base. Twas awesome.

However, before Katie and I started out, we got a movie of Katie’s cat Peabo chasing a laser pointer around…

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What a fun weekend…

2 minute read

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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What a lovely day with Mom today…

4 minute read

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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The trick is, coffee in moderation, or if no self control, decaf.

< 1 minute read

April 28, 2007, 6:49 PM

Let’s talk about last night. I went to Daily Grind in Staunton last night and stayed until closing, which is what I’ve been doing lately. I had two cups of coffee, sweetened with Equal (tastes slightly better than Splenda). And when they closed at 10:00, I went home. I presume that two cups of coffee must have hit the spot, as you shall see.

When I got home, I spent some time fiddling around on the computer. I figured I’d go until I got tired and then go to bed. I did Wikipedia, I went other places online, and I played with some effects on Paint Shop Pro to see if I could come up with anything I liked. Those two cups of coffee must have been supercharged or something, because the next thing I knew, it was light out. Oops.

I basically forced myself to go to bed at around 7:30 in the morning, and took a two-and-a-half hour nap. I got back up at 10:00. Right there is where it felt like Saturday. For me, the day doesn’t change until I wake up. When I go on my DC trips, on, say, Wednesday, and get back really late, it doesn’t become Thursday for me until I go to sleep and wake up again.

Now I’m back at Daily Grind again, having a cup of “Sinful Delight” coffee, which is flavored like chocolate and caramel. And unleaded. I will sleep tonight. No coffee-induced buzzes for me this evening…

Categories: Food and drink

That coffee is HOT!

< 1 minute read

March 12, 2007, 3:44 PM

Beware the coffee, at least at first, at Daily Grind in Stuarts Draft. It’s not often that I’ll comment on coffee, but this is some hot stuff. It looks somewhat innocent at first:

Hot coffee

But then when you take even a small sip of it, your mouth soon becomes a hot wasteland. I’ve never burned my mouth so far back before. That stuff is hotter than your typical home coffeemaker. It’s hotter than Sheetz. It’s also hotter than Starbucks. It’s HOT. I took the lid off and gave it time to air out.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I do enjoy their coffee. It’s good as coffee goes. But don’t take it fresh. Give it time to cool first before you dive in.

Categories: Food and drink

A whole bunch of peanut butter-related topics…

3 minute read

February 19, 2007, 5:41 PM

First of all, I saw this cartoon on the editorial page of today’s edition of The News Virginian. Considering that I’ve spent much of the last five days dealing with peanut butter returns at work, I found this cartoon quite hilarious:

Peter Pan cartoon
Image: Cagle Cartoons

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And we survived the peanut butter scare of aught-seven…

2 minute read

February 17, 2007, 1:40 AM

Jar of Peter Pan peanut butter from the affected lot (Image: Deglr6328/Wikimedia Commons)For the last two days, I think I’ve looked at enough jars of peanut butter to last me a while. People normally don’t return food unless it’s really bad, like if they opened the package and it was green and fuzzy inside when it should be red and slimy. But when the public learned that the Peter Pan and Great Value brands of peanut butter are potentially contaminated with salmonella and the manufacturer (ConAgra) issues a voluntary recall of the product, everyone and their mother came up to the Service Desk with a jar of peanut butter looking for a refund. So far, we’ve taken back two full cartloads of the stuff.

And let me tell you something. Peanut butter may look light, but when you’re pushing an entire cartload of the stuff, it’s HEAVY. I can usually drive two carts through the store with relative ease. I put the heavier one to the rear and drag it, and I put the lighter one in front and steer with my hand and my elbow. But a cart full of recalled peanut butter is something I could barely handle by itself. Usually, to steer a shopping cart, you turn it by the handle in order to point the front end of the cart in the direction you want to go. Not for this. For this kind of a load, forget trying to steer that way. I had to swing the back end of the cart around to point it where I wanted to go, and then kind of beg the cart to continue in the direction I pointed it in. Add to that the fact that I was a bit tired as I’m pushing a whole cartload of peanut butter to the back room, and it made for an interesting walk.

Personally, I can’t wait for this whole peanut butter recall to blow over. First of all, I don’t like pushing heavy carts full of unsellable peanut butter to the back of the store. I don’t like doing it. And secondly, Peter Pan is my preferred brand of peanut butter, even though I only buy it every so often. It competes for my affections with Ragu tomato sauce, and presently, the Ragu is winning.

Still, you have to find it at least somewhat interesting when food goes bad, or is suspected of possibly going bad. Remember the big spinach scare of 2006? That was interesting news, though I don’t remember people coming in droves to return their bagged spinach. I remember only one person coming to return his bagged spinach for a refund.

Categories: Food and drink, Walmart

When food attacks?

< 1 minute read

December 22, 2006, 10:28 PM

I have a feeling that I must have eaten something that was not quite right today, because around 3:00, I started feeling really bad, and became somewhat feverish. I felt really bad driving home, but still went right back out after work to take care of some stuff.

At least I’m not going to miss any work on account of this little bout of food poisoning, unlike what happened last time, when I took my first and only sick day from work. While I was out, the fever broke, I cooled right down, and life was once again good.

Of course, the thing that always gets me when it comes to eating something that ends up attacking back is not knowing exactly what the culprit was. Everything I ate today was just wonderful, at least from my point of view at the time. So who knows.

This is the kind of stuff that happens to other people…

2 minute read

December 14, 2006, 9:21 PM

I still remember the day I bought it new… I bought my wireless keyboard and mouse on March 9, 2002, at Best Buy in Roanoke. Now fast forward to December 14, 2006, as I buy another wireless keyboard from the Wal-Mart in Staunton.

Why? Beverage accident. I spilled a soda all down my keyboard, and after that, it ceased to function. I always used to laugh about people spilling drinks in their keyboard and such. I don’t laugh about it anymore, and that started the moment that my Coke Zero contacted the keyboard. Needless to say, I let out a classic four-letter word right on the spot, and then looked at it for a moment before realizing that I had papers and such I didn’t want wrecked by soda. Therefore, I had to clean it up. That was a joy and a half, as I went and mopped up all the liquid on my desk, and wiped everything down. Greeeeeat.

And I still say that this is not supposed to happen to me. These things are supposed to happen to other people. I’m referring to no one in particular when I say “other people”. I just mean “not me”. Still, that was an expensive lesson to have to learn about why one must be careful with drinks around computer keyboards.

This also marks the second keyboard of mine that I’ve destroyed. The last one I managed to wreck was when I broke the spacebar on the keyboard that came with the computer. I remember it was when I was playing a cow-milking game on My friend Sarah Jones recommended it to me, and the idea was to milk the cows and make sure that all the cows survived the round. If you let them go too long without getting milked, they exploded and died. If you over-milked them, they shriveled up, fell apart, and died. The spacebar was the milking key. It’s called Udder Insanity. Fun game.

Categories: Computer, Food and drink

Just speak directly into the clown’s mouth…

2 minute read

September 29, 2006, 4:33 PM

Here’s a new experience for all of you coffee drinkers. I went through the drive-through window at Starbucks in Waynesboro for the first time today. And for the record, the phrase “Starbucks in Waynesboro” still sounds VERY weird. But that’s besides the point. It was weird going up to a drive-through window and ordering coffee. Usually, when I go through a drive-through window, it’s for something that I probably shouldn’t be eating in the first place. Ordering a hot cup of joe from the car just seemed so foreign to me.

But it was painless enough. Study the menu, and then order your coffee. I ordered the venti regular coffee. The next question caught me a touch off-guard: “Would you like cream of sugar with that?” Ummmmmmm… So yeah, that threw me for a loop. But we managed. I wanted my coffee straight anyway, so I just declined. Maybe one day I’ll become good at ordering coffee from the car.

Then around at the pickup window, I paid with a card, and got my coffee, complete with one of those don’t-burn-your-hands rings on it. I didn’t actually get to enjoy the coffee until I got home, though, as it was WAY too hot to even think about drinking when I got it. It sat in my cup holder all the way home. So driving home, I was thinking, for the love of God, don’t upset the coffee! You see, I can handle crumbs. But I don’t want to have to get coffee off of my leather seats.

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Categories: Food and drink