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So apparently even my creativity is subject to the laws of supply and demand…

May 22, 2012, 8:19 AM

Apparently so. Last week, I was working on new material for Falcon (by the way, three new photo sets so far to launch with Falcon), and I was running dry on topics for Journal entries. And the one time I did try to write a Journal entry in the past week, I ended up figuratively “ripping it up” midway through it because it wasn’t going the way I wanted.

For those wondering, by the way, the abandoned Journal entry was about those stupid blog disclaimers that you see all over the Internet these days. Specifically, it discussed those “my opinions are my own” lines, because I find it akin to apologizing for one’s opinion. A more realistic sounding blog disclaimer on that thread would read, “I’m sorry if I might offend you because I am capable of forming my own opinion, as said opinion may not necessarily coincide with your own beliefs, and I don’t think you can handle that.” Unfortunately, though, that was about the extent of it. I couldn’t flesh it out any further. Well, crap. And thus into the recycling bin it went.

I was out grocery shopping last night when I figured out why that entry went so badly. Basically, my creativity is limited. I only have so much of it to go around and I have many things to feed with that creativity. I was able to make it work when I was doing the main conversion because that didn’t take any creativity. Just a matter of cleaning up work from previously spent creativity. Thus I could restore content for Falcon and then turn around and do an absolutely fabulous Journal entry. Not so when I do new material. I can’t stop a photo set, and then turn around and do a Journal entry. The Journal entry ends up falling flat.

This, meanwhile, leads to a new way of planning my moves on here. If I don’t space things out and try to force it, mediocre work results. Thus budgeting my creativity, just like money. I only wish I had as much money as I had creativity. Then I wouldn’t need to have a car payment every month.

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Categories: Myself, Schumin Web meta

Walking down Georgia Avenue and talking to the camera…

April 26, 2012, 7:46 PM

So this evening while I was walking home from the Metro, I decided to turn the camera on myself and do a Video Journal:

So there you go, I suppose. I am walking home along the northbound side of Georgia Avenue from Glenmont Metro to approximately Rippling Brook Drive.

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Leaving the era of big clothing behind…

April 14, 2012, 10:20 PM

So today was a day where I did something that felt really good, as I got rid of most of the clothes that I had that were now too large for me. This process started last week when I went through all of my clothes and sorted things out a bit. There were three main groups. The stuff that I was keeping stayed in the closet and the dresser, i.e. right where it was. The stuff that I was getting rid of and could donate to Goodwill went in laundry baskets. And then finally, the stuff that I was getting rid of and was also in such poor condition that I couldn’t donate it went on the floor.

And this is the result of that sorting:

That surprised me. I expected that I would be getting rid of one basket’s worth of clothes. When I started going through my clothes, I put out one laundry basket. I filled that up in no time at all. Good thing that I have four laundry baskets. I used three of them.

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss

Does my left wrist need something else?

April 1, 2012, 11:38 PM

In the process of losing weight over the course of the last year, a lot of areas of my body have changed shape. My waist is a lot smaller. My thighs have gotten smaller. I have no behind anymore (and it is now uncomfortable to sit on hard surfaces). My face is noticeably slimmer now. And, surprisingly (but not too surprisingly), my wrists have gotten a lot smaller. Compare for a moment:

My wrist on May 20, 2011

My left wrist on May 20, 2011. This is a crop of this image from the Kings Dominion trip.

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Categories: Jewelry, Weight loss

How many boxes can I hold at once? This many!

February 8, 2012, 11:34 AM

So a coworker got an amusing photo of me. I picked up and moved a stack of half case boxes of paper today after unloading the contents, and managed to get them all at once. Take a look at this:

Holding five boxes over my head

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Categories: Amusing, Weight loss, Work

Feet and x-rays and…

January 31, 2012, 1:18 PM

First of all, this is my first WordPress Journal entry – kind of. It’s also my second mobile Journal entry (the first was done in 2005). I’m sitting in a waiting room ahead of getting an x-ray, and I’m tapping this out on my Droid Charge using WordPress for Android onto a development site of mine. Then I’m exporting it out of WordPress to put onto the production site when I get home.

So I saw the podiatrist about my foot today. The result surprised me. I also discovered that the body is a very interconnected thing. The hip bone connected to the leg bone connected to the foot bone, etc. (I realize that I am grossly oversimplifying – just smile and nod). Turns out that my high top shoes are causing me problems because they don’t allow full ankle movement, and that movement has to go somewhere. Thus because the ankle is constrained, other things are happening and causing great pain. That also explains why the pain goes away when I start wearing my Crocs (which are obviously low top). Who would have thought?

He also sent me for x-rays on my left foot, to make entirely sure that nothing is broken, and so here I am, in this waiting room that’s a few degrees too warm but not stuffy. Then I see the podiatrist on Thursday morning for a follow up on the x-rays (of which I’m getting a copy on a CD!).

So as a result of this surprising diagnosis, I am now in the market for a new pair of low top shoes. The fashionistas out there may weigh in if they would like, but I am looking for low top sneakers with good arch support. Be warned, though: I have a wide foot, and so many styles just don’t fit for that reason alone.

Categories: Personal health

3-6-9, debt is on the line, G20, IMF policies ain’t fine…

January 29, 2012, 6:22 PM

A friend suggested this evening that, since I’ve lost so much weight in the last year, I try on my old radical cheerleader outfit and see how it fits. So I did.

Here are the results:

 

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Categories: Activism, Weight loss

My foot claims its first victim…

January 28, 2012, 7:59 AM

It’s not even 8:00 yet, and already today’s a wash. I was going to go to the Maryland polar bear plunge at Sandy Point State Park today, but health issues have conspired against me to prevent this from coming to fruition.

See, it’s once again my stupid foot that’s acting up. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I’m making an additional appointment to see the podiatrist this week, because this is the second time in two weeks that my left foot has become painful to walk on, and we need to get to the bottom of this. Two weeks ago it was minor and I could ignore it, but this time around, I can barely walk. So this makes four foot issues that I’ve had over the span of six months. Once on the right foot that resolved itself and hasn’t come back, and now three times on the left. There is something seriously wrong with one or both of my feet. I’m pretty confident that it is related to my getting in better shape, since this didn’t happen until the pounds started melting away like magic, and the amount of physical activity that I was involved in got to be a lot more.

A couple of my friends on Facebook suggested that it might be gout, but I’m pretty confident that it’s not that. Based on the Wikipedia article, gout comes with swelling, redness, and warm spots when it occurs, and I’m not getting that. Outwardly, it looks the same, but it’s hard to put on a shoe when it happens due to pain (thus why I switch to my Crocs whenever this comes up). I really wonder if this isn’t a stress fracture or something, because I looked it up, and it seems like a pretty decent match on paper, but I want to know for sure. In any case, this is no way to live, and I’m not about to go on living this way. Plus I’ve been doing the stretches that I’m supposed to do and this still came up.

So hopefully they can squeeze me in as soon as possible, because last time I saw my podiatrist it wasn’t hurting anymore, and I want it to be hurting when I go see it (though at the same time, I’m not taking a hammer to my foot to guarantee some pain).

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Is it just me, or is having two good feet too much to ask?

January 12, 2012, 9:52 PM

Yes, this is foot incident number three within the span of six months. It’s starting to seem like where I can say, “Well, it’s Thursday, and so one of my feet is acting up.” You may remember that in August, the top of my right foot was in amazing pain and I was having trouble walking as a result. Then in December, same thing on my left foot. Now, in January, my left foot is acting up again. Gotta love this. Something is apparently wrong, but the doctors haven’t yet figured out what’s going on, because by the time I see my regular doctor or my podiatrist, the symptoms go away. Seriously, when I saw my regular doctor about the right foot, the symptoms had gone away the night before (and were back by that evening). Then the problem had gone away by the time I saw my podiatrist. Fan-bloody-tastic. Then when the left foot acted up in December, it seemed easier to just keep my existing podiatrist appointment the next week, and see an urgent care doctor to get something to tide me over until then. Now this week, my left foot started acting up (again) in the same way, though less so than previous episodes on left and right. But it’s getting more and more noticeable, though I’m not limping around (yet). However, the good thing is that I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday morning. So as strange as it sounds, I hope I’m still in enough pain on Monday that Dr. Lugo can see it in all of its glory. I’m not normally big into unwanted pain, but I want it hurting for the doctor on Monday. We’re pretty sure it’s not a fracture, but not sure what it is outside of that.

Then if this does get to be full-blown, I hope it doesn’t affect my swimming. When I had the pain in August on the right side, I could hobble up to the pool, go in via the stairs, and then be just fine swimming my full workout. In December with the left foot, however, I had major issues with swimming, as it hurt with every kick. It even hurt when I was just letting that side drag, so I had to miss a couple of workouts. This time so far, the pain has been less than in the previous two incidents, and so my swimming has been unaffected (an idiot with his child taking up a lap lane instead of being in the kiddie pool where they belonged put a bigger damper on my workout than my foot).

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Categories: Personal health

You would think that an event that happened eight years ago wouldn’t be such an issue today…

January 11, 2012, 1:58 AM

And tonight I’m losing sleep over it, and I feel that I need to unload. You may recall that, back in 2003, I deliberately did not attend my college graduation. At the time, I wrote about how I planned to not attend on the Main Page, which carried an article at that time. And since then, the whole thing has come back to haunt me time and time again. My mother and I still occasionally get into arguments about the matter, even eight years later. The arguments only last a few minutes and always end in stalemate, but it’s kind of annoying to have to rehash. I want to finally bury the issue. So if you’re thinking this is going to be a “happy” Journal entry, skip down to the next one, because this is a tale of things losing meaning and my losing control over my own destiny.

My whole thing when it comes to things done in my honor is that if I can’t control what’s going on, I don’t want to have any part of it. What’s the point of doing something in my honor if I don’t get any input into it, right? And I really got soured on awards ceremonies and things early on.

Back in spring 1996, I was a freshman in high school, and doing quite well, I suppose, having managed a 3.75 GPA (for whatever that’s worth) for my second semester classes (we were on a semester block schedule). For my grade-A performance in Spanish class, I was invited to the Stuarts Draft High School academic awards ceremony. So I got my little certificate for doing so well in Spanish class. Woo hoo. So instead of celebrating my accomplishments as a family after that, my parents decided to pick a huge fight with me before we even got home about why I wasn’t involved in more extracurricular activities. I was in Spanish club as a freshman, and that was basically it. Maybe they had a point, but I really didn’t appreciate how they basically stomped on my achievement and turned what should have been a happy occasion into one that I still get angry and upset over whenever I think of it. I don’t have the certificate anymore. I probably threw it away, and just as well – it was worthless to me.

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Categories: Family, JMU, Myself

Discovering a significant bug in Falcon…

December 10, 2011, 1:11 PM

This is where things get frustrating! I discovered a significant glitch in my “Falcon” development site.

But first, for those not familiar: Falcon is my development site, where I’m currently working to convert Schumin Web to the WordPress platform. It’s running WordPress 3.2.1 right now (but will probably jump a version or so before I’m done). I’m running it all in a test location while I build it and then port and restore content. Then when it’s finished, I’m going to move it onto the main URL, and then it will cease to be “Falcon” anymore, since it will become the production site. Then I’ll probably set up a new development site as “Falcon” for future development and experimentation, such as a full redesign (the site under WordPress will look mostly the same as it has for a number of years).

To run certain parts of the site, I set up custom post types. I have custom post types for the Fire Alarm Collection, Quote Articles, Photo Features, Site Updates, and Splash Photos. What this will look like when finished is nothing new, as those of you who have been with me for a while, when you see the way these things look, will see something very familiar, even if it’s totally different under the hood. The problem is that when you page through the pages of these custom post type archives, the site will act as though it’s displaying the next page, but the content will not change. Let me show you what I mean:

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One year and 70-some pounds later…

November 21, 2011, 10:05 PM

So I shot the splash photo for December today. I was specifically out to reproduce the splash photo from December 2011 in order to show the progress that I have made in slimming down.

So here I am in late November 2010:

In 2010, holding "BAH HUMBUG" for the front of the site

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss

Who would have ever thought that “A Protest Against the War” would be such a pain to prepare for restoration?

October 5, 2011, 12:16 AM

This falls under the category of things-you-did-back-in-the-day-that-you-didn’t-realize-would-be-such-a-pain-to-deal-with-today. I’m currently getting things together to restore all the photo sets from 2003 for the WordPress site, and right now I’m specifically working on A Protest Against the War.

First of all, you remember that set, right? That was the first time I had ever been to an anti-war demonstration, and thus the character of this set is different than most other photo sets for political demonstrations. After all, it is in the Photography section, and thus is formatted like Photography sets (“Photo Essays”, as they were called back then) were formatted at that time. Protests now normally go in Life and Times, and take the form of a heavily-illustrated narrative. Then the wording sounds a little too academic in places, which was unusual for a photo set then, and still is today. When I wrote the text for that set, I had just completed a course in western political theory, which explains where all the academic-sounding wording came from. In rereading it this evening, I really had to think about what I was talking about back then.

The quality of the photos is all right, but the post-production processing was poor, as the color is a little washed out and the images are too light. That’s what this whole restoration is about, though – redoing the post-production work on the photos and generally making it all look better, plus fixing any mistakes, writing in more context (for instance, a lot of older photo sets lack explanation for some things because I considered them a given at the time), adding more links, and updating the photo set to match any new conventions being introduced on the WordPress site.

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Categories: Myself, Schumin Web meta

And tomorrow, I’ll be treated to a lovely view of Virginia from the inside of an Amfleet coach…

September 20, 2011, 10:57 PM

Indeed, tomorrow is going to be fun. I’m going down to Stuarts Draft to visit the family, and unlike every past trip I’ve ever made between DC and Stuarts Draft, I’m doing it via public transportation. Specifically, I’m taking the Cardinal, Amtrak train 51. Since it’s only a four-hour train trip, I’m going in coach. That will be a new experience, because aside from like ten minutes in coach on the Capitol Limited in 2007, I’ve always traveled in a class higher than coach, being in the sleepers on the Capitol Limited, and then traveling business class on the Acela and the Downeaster (though it should be noted that the Acela does not have a coachclass section – business class is the lowest class of service).

The reason I’m taking the train is because I will be hosting a visitor as soon as I get back to DC. Specifically, Mom! The reason it worked out like this is because of a perfect storm of events. Sis and Chris are going to be in Virginia to attend a wedding in Blacksburg, stopping by to say hello and have lunch with all of us on Thursday. And of course, I just won’t pass up a chance to see my sister and my brother-in-law, since they live so far away and I don’t get to see them often. Then there’s the National Book Festival in DC, which Mom has attended for a number of years. So because of the timing, it seemed silly to drive down to Stuarts Draft in the Sable, and then take two cars back to DC. So the Sable is staying in Maryland (and it’s likely already parked where it’s going to stay for about four days), and Mom’s Scion is making the trip up and back. But we’re going to be leaving at 4 AM – yecch. I’m not going to the Book Festival, though. I’m just going home. So while Mom’s out meeting authors, I’m going home and taking a nap, getting the rest of the sleep I won’t be able to get on Friday night.

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So how much smaller am I now, anyway?

September 15, 2011, 10:50 PM

So it’s been six months now since my journey towards physical fitness and a slimmer figure began. Now I’d like to show you some results. Last Friday after work, a coworker and I were discussing how a lot of my clothes don’t fit right anymore, and my coworker wondered how the black zentai fit me these days. I admitted that I hadn’t worn the black zentai in over a year, and so I had no idea, but I was kind of curious as to how it fit as well. Somehow we came to an understanding that I would try it on and see how it fit these days.

So that evening after I got home, I pulled out the tripod, set the camera up on it in the kitchen, pulled out the black zentai, and put it on. Now the benefit to this setup (with the camera on a timer) is that this is pretty much a straight apples-to-apples comparison, with all variables controlled for except the one we’re trying to demonstrate. See, I took a series of photos of myself in the black zentai in July 2008 in the same location and under the same conditions. So here’s a side by side comparison:

Black zentai on July 1, 2008  Black zentai on September 9, 2011

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Categories: Clothing, Weight loss