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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: 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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