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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: Personal health

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: Personal health

I never thought someone would actually want to work in a purple office…

December 23, 2010, 6:27 PM

So I saw a chiropractor today for some neck and lower back pain that I’d been having lately. I chose to see a chiropractor as opposed to a regular doctor because of a couple of matters that happened some years ago. In the summer of 2001, I had a bout with some pretty severe lower back pain. I saw a regular doctor about it, and they prescribed muscle relaxers, which did nothing except cost money. Then one day in March 2002, after months of the back pain coming and going, I sat down on my couch in my old Potomac Hall dorm room, and… *pop* – instant relief. The pain was completely gone. I don’t think I had felt that good in a long time. Went from about a six on the 1-10 pain scale to ahhhhh in one short second.

So when my neck started feeling a little stiff a few months ago, as well as some lower back stiffness when standing for extended periods (like at demonstrations and such), remembering that feeling of relief from a while back, I started doing some research on chiropractic. I read up about what it entailed and what it was about, and also went on Quackwatch to see what kinds of red flags to look out for. I read plenty of horror stories about chiropractors who did way more adjustments on people than were necessary, who routinely x-rayed when it wasn’t necessary, and pressured patients with a lot of hard-selling.

So having done a whole lot of research on what to look for and what to look for as warning signs, I started looking for chiropractors in the Wheaton area. Ultimately, it came down to Dr. Peter McPartland and Wheaton Chiropractic. Both facilities took my insurance. While McPartland was closer to my house and within walking distance of Glenmont station, I ultimately chose Wheaton Chiropractic for a few reasons. First of all, McPartland was a storefront office at Glenmont Shopping Center, while Wheaton Chiropractic was in a medical office building (Forest Glen Medical Center). Then on McPartland’s new-patient forms, which were available for download, I read this passage: “This is to certify that I am not pregnant and Dr. Peter McPartland or Staff has my permission to take x-rays of me.” Compare to Wheaton Chiropractic, which said, “Current research does not support routine imaging, especially for uncomplicated cases. We are conservative about ordering studies for patients, and will order them only when clinically indicated.” That was the grabber there – one asked for blanket permission up front to x-ray, and the other one said they wouldn’t x-ray at all unless it was really necessary. So I went with Wheaton Chiropractic.

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Categories: Personal health

Sick days are no fun…

October 28, 2010, 8:03 PM

Ecch… I hate taking sick days. This was the first sick day I’ve taken since 2006. But when I call out sick, I mean it. Talk about an awful time. I tossed and turned the entire night last night, with TBD (formerly News Channel 8) on the TV. And I had a fever the whole time. And I had a major case of nasal congestion and got to know exactly what sinus pressure was all about. I felt like my nose was going to explode, what with all of everything clogged up and in pain. And blowing my nose didn’t do much good. No relief. Just more of the face-wants-to-explode feeling.

And let me be the first to tell you that all-natural nasal sprays are overpriced and ineffective. I bought this all-natural nasal spray from Whole Foods yesterday that was made of saline, glycerin, and – get this – grapefruit seed extract. Lovely. So now the snot smells vaguely like grapefruit, but it’s still there. I went with the all-natural stuff because of the usual concerns about the rebound effect on conventional nasal sprays. However, unlike the natural stuff, the conventional one worked like a charm. When I finally said the hell with the natural spray, I hit my bottle of regular spray, and I could breathe again.

Then you know you’re sick when you call the office to relay some information and they can’t tell who you are by voice. Usually, I’m fairly easily recognized by voice. Not this time. I called twice to attend to various things, and two people each couldn’t tell who I was.

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Categories: Personal health, Work

With pupils as big as saucers…

October 1, 2010, 7:06 PM

You know, a trip to the eye doctor can be kind of fun, but let me tell you… recovering from same is less fun. Specifically, recovering from the dilating drops is no fun at all.

I had two different eye exams over the course of the week. One was the standard checkup-type eye exam on Wednesday, and the other was with a specialist on Friday (don’t ask, but I’m not going blind). And in both cases, they give you the little drops to dilate your eyes, in order to be able to see what’s going on inside and make sure all is well. The problem, of course, is going out into the real world afterwards, still dilated and all. Wednesday’s dilation was fine because it was raining out. Thus going home afterwards was fine since the sun wasn’t out. However, for Friday’s exam, it was cloudy in the morning, but after working a half-day at the office and going to see the doctor, it cleared up and was a beautiful day again. It would, of course, normally be beautiful for me, too, except that I would be practically blinded by it all. Yes, they gave me the little horn-rimmed dark inserts that sit behind your glasses in both cases, but they don’t work all that well because they move around a bit and cause their own reflections.

If it gives you any idea what we’re dealing with, here’s what my left eye looked like for Wednesday’s exam:

Dilated left eye on Wednesday

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So with school starting up again…

August 14, 2010, 9:18 PM

School in Augusta County starts up again this Tuesday, August 17. I think that’s a bit early, but there you go, I suppose. I thought it was neat when one year, they started on a Wednesday. That seems to make a quick first week that still has time to cover all the bases. Day one, you welcome everyone and visit all your classes to see what the teachers’ expectations will be and to get your textbooks. Then day two, you have the big assemblies so that the administrators can explain their own expectations. Then on day three, you have a fire drill (Virginia law mandates a fire drill once per week during the first month of school).

Meanwhile, I decided to take a look at a few school-related things just for the fun of it. One of the things I looked at was supply lists. I went to the Rogers Public Schools Web site, because I’ve always found some of their supply lists amusing. Specifically, I found the supply list for Grimes Elementary, which is where I went to school. And we find out that the tradition continues. For more than twenty years, Grimes has been emphatic: NO TRAPPER KEEPERS. Does anyone even use Trapper Keepers anymore? Now there’s another device that Grimes hates: wheeled backpacks. I would consider wheeled backpacks to be a good thing, as it brings heavy loads to the ground and on wheels, where they probably should be. Maybe Grimes has a deal with a local chiropractor, where they load the kids down with heavy stuff, make them carry them on their backs, and then get a kickback for every Grimes student’s back that the chiropractor cracks. Who knows.

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

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).

Sometimes one wonders who that “Ms. Right” might be…

April 27, 2010, 3:14 PM

As you may know, I am currently 28 and very much single. I have not been in a relationship since the Clinton administration, and that was the only romantic relationship I’ve ever been in. And it lasted three weeks. And I will openly admit that at the age of 17, when I was in that relationship, I was totally scared, because this whole dating thing was new to me, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or how to do it. We never kissed – I was too scared. Eventually, she dumped me, claiming that I “don’t know how to communicate.” I was crushed. And I’ve not dated since.

Lately, though, it seems that much interest has come about in addressing my singleness. First of all, with my sister now married, my mother is now trying to get me married, too. She may very well end up with Lysy grandchildren one day, but then she’s said to me on more than one occasion, “I want Schumin grandchildren.” That’s putting the cart a little bit in front of the horse, don’t you think? I mean, forget having children – I don’t even have a girlfriend. I also don’t have this tremendous urge to be anyone’s father at this point in time. I like not having children.

Then my mother also has said that I might have a problem with forming those kinds of relationships, and mentioning the word “sex” in there a couple of times. Yeeew! My mother said S-E-X! I’m sorry, but there are a few things that one does not want to think about. One does not want to think about one’s parents “doing it” (though it obviously did happen to produce my sister and myself), and one does not want to hear one’s parents talking about S-E-X. However, Mom may have a point about the whole relationships bit. I have met numerous women over the course of protests and what have you, but have never asked any of them out socially.

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Categories: Family, Myself

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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Well, isn’t that a beaut…

February 17, 2010, 7:14 PM

Today was one of those days where it could only get better considering the way it started. Take a look at this:

My skinned knee.

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Categories: Myself, Snowmageddon

Bye bye, beard…

October 18, 2009, 3:14 PM

And hello, soul patch! Take a look:

No beard!

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Categories: Myself, Vacations