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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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Categories: Health issues, Weight loss

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: Health issues

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

The pains of getting in shape… oh, the pains!

August 18, 2011, 1:50 PM

Ever have those weeks where you feel like your body is just going to pot? Welcome to my world this week. Four parts of the body have hurt this week: both ears, back, and right foot.

Ailment #1: Ears. I have somehow managed to get swimmer’s ear in both ears. Gross. The right ear is just sore, but the left ear is a full-blown infection. Big swelling in the ear canal, and the outer ear was warm and painful to touch. This actually has caused a feeling of fullness in the left ear, and some minor hearing loss on that side (due to the ear canal’s being mostly blocked). That started on Thursday, and by Friday morning, we had a full-on infection on the left side. Then on Saturday night, the drainage started. I have never seen fluorescent-yellow drainage before – like the color of a yellow highlighter. Gross. Even worse is that I can feel when the infection is draining. It tickles, and then causes some pain. Again: gross.

Ailment #2: Back pain. I don’t know what I did there. I mean with the ears, duh – I swim five days a week. But the back, no clue. That started last Friday morning just as I was leaving for work as a dull ache in my lower back. By the time the day was over, I was having trouble standing for long periods. Of course it would happen the day before a big demonstration, too. The DC SlutWalk was happening the next day, and I vowed that I didn’t care if I was screaming in agony at the event, but I was going no matter what. Thankfully, the back managed to work out for the SlutWalk, and I had a good time. But then it came back on Sunday. No good.

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Categories: Health issues

When I eventually convert the site to a CMS platform…

June 21, 2011, 11:16 PM

This is one of those things that I’ve been thinking about, and am looking for some feedback on it. As you may know, I’ve been planning to eventually convert Schumin Web to run on WordPress. I’ve kind of scaled that back, however, because of the way things have been going with the redesign aspect of things. Basically, when I convert the site to WordPress, the site is probably going to look the same as it has for a while.

See, here’s the problem. The redesign end of things has really gone to crap. Recall that the first attempt, while bold, lacked personality:

Concept work in February 2011

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My birthday, swimming, and losing weight…

May 30, 2011, 9:18 PM

Yes, it’s Video Journal time again, on my birthday as I turn 30. And here it is:

This is a 20-minute video, but trust me, it’s worth every second of it. Here’s the video in a nutshell…

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Categories: Birthdays, Friends, Weight loss

One more day until vacation…

May 12, 2011, 7:36 PM

Yes, one more day to go. I am one “It’s Friday, ya bastards!” away from a week’s vacation. I am looking forward to it. This is going to be something of a hybrid, too. Last time I took a vacation was when I went to Chicago. Thus almost the entire time was spent out of town. Then two vacations ago was two weeks just hanging out at home and around town. This one will be about half just chilling out at home and thereabouts, and half out of town.

So you may ask, where am I going? A day and a half in Stuarts Draft and thereabouts, and then off to Kings Dominion with Mom and the eighth graders for “Math and Science Day”. It’s kind of funny, too, that I’m finally going to Kings Dominion. See, I’ve lived about two hours’ driving time from Kings Dominion for almost 19 years (believe it or not, my parents’ house and my house are about the same distance from Kings Dominion), and I’ve never been. We’ll see if it was worth the wait. The waterpark won’t be open (still too early in the season), but the rest of it will be. So we’ll see how it goes, I suppose. Otherwise while I’m in Virginia, I’m hoping to swing by SDMS again and visit Mom at school and such, do some photography in Staunton or Waynesboro or so, and then hopefully see Katie if all goes well, since it’s been far too long since last I’ve seen her.

Then in the first half of the week, I’m going to give lap swimming a try again. There’s a county-operated indoor pool in Olney, and considering how close it is to my house (only four miles), I should visit, and give it a spin. I’m thinking I’ll do it on Monday when all the children are at school. They have designated lap lanes, and so we’ll see how it goes.

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A fitter, trimmer Schumin coming your way?

April 19, 2011, 9:50 PM

First of all, before we start this discussion, why didn’t anyone tell me I hadn’t written a Journal entry in three bloody weeks? I came to this realization today when I was showing somebody a photo on the site, and noticed that the last Journal entry was March 29. Yes, I can get caught up in things, and occasionally need that little reminder that I haven’t done one of these in a while. So here it is.

Yesterday, I posted this on the Twitter:

I’ve lost nine pounds since last time the doctor weighed me about a month ago. Apparently I’m doing something right?
April 18 8:51 AM

First of all, I was as surprised as anyone. I realize that I weigh a lot more than I probably ought to, but that surprised me. That’s over a span of about a month. I’ll spare you the exact numbers, citing Schumin-will-not-share-that-with-you privilege, but I’ve been really trying to clean up my act health-wise.

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So there you go. My body officially abhors the springtime.

March 9, 2011, 6:23 PM

Yeah, there you have it. My body abhors the springtime. I am allergic to pretty much everything related to the spring, and this was all confirmed by a doctor that specializes in allergies. So I have proof of it.

By the way, allergy testing is pretty interesting. What I’m allergic to in the spring is kind of irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion, but the process was interesting. They checked my blood pressure, temperature, pulse, heartbeat, and breathing, and then they offered two options for the actual allergy testing. One was a blood test, and the other was a skin test. I opted for the skin test, since the little applicator for that was better than getting my finger pricked or having them take a little vial of blood.

For that, they came in with a tray full of samples of different allergens, with the little skin applicators ready to go. They did the testing on my upper arms, which seemed agreeable enough. I’ve heard of people getting these kinds of things on far less preferable places, and so I wasn’t complaining. Plus I could watch the process, since it was in a spot that I could see.

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Categories: Health issues