Journal

@SchuminWeb

Journal Archives

  • 2017 (33)
  • 2016 (41)
  • 2015 (30)
  • 2014 (42)
  • 2013 (61)
  • 2012 (91)
  • 2011 (90)
  • 2010 (111)
  • 2009 (142)
  • 2008 (161)
  • 2007 (196)
  • 2006 (199)
  • 2005 (207)
  • 2004 (233)
  • 2003 (104)

Categories

  • Advertising (16)
  • Amusing (46)
  • Cell phone (20)
  • Commuting (13)
  • Computer (56)
  • DC trips (119)
  • Dreams (20)
  • Events (22)
  • Food and drink (76)
  • Internet (20)
  • JMU (54)
  • Language (9)
  • LPCM (8)
  • Nature (6)
  • Religion (12)
  • Restrooms (1)
  • School (28)
  • Schumin Web meta (185)
  • Security (18)
  • Some people (38)
  • Space (6)
  • Urban exploration (8)
  • Vacations (29)
  • Video Journal (18)
  • Work (73)

Chicago 2013…

August 9, 2013, 8:10 PM

At the end of July, Mom and I took a trip to Chicago.  We took the Capitol Limited, like we usually do, leaving DC on July 25 and returning July 30.  Not a bad trip, but I believe that there was something pivotal about this particular trip: Chicago was becoming a regular thing.  This isn’t a bad thing by any means.  It doesn’t mean that I enjoyed the trip any less, though, it’s just that it’s become something that we do every year, and that’s fine.  With the trip’s becoming something of a regular thing, this is the only thing you’re goign to get that’s specifically about the trip.  There’s not going to be a Journal entry for each day like I did in 2011.  No special photo set about the trip like I did in 2010 and 2012.  And that’s fine.  That’s not to say that there’s not going to be a photo set from the trip, though.  But it’s going to be a regular photo set, in Photography, about the Chicago Botanic Garden.  That photo set’s going to be what I describe as “flower porn”.  Seriously, I got very close to a lot of flowering plants, and got detailed photos of them.  When I used the term “flower porn”, Sis commented that it was also accurate, as I was photographing the reproductive parts of flowers.  So there you go.

On the outbound trip, Mom and I were in a roomette.  Second car back, room 14.  That’s a lower level roomette.  Mom and I were surprised to find that we felt like we didn’t have quite enough space on this trip.  That came about mostly in regards to legroom, as neither one of us really could extend our legs very far without getting in the other person’s way, and sitting diagonally was a little uncomfortable for both of us.  Having only one electrical outlet was also a problem, as we had several devices that we needed to charge: my laptop, my phone (which we were also tethering for Internet access when we had service), Mom’s phone, and Mom’s iPod Touch.  And one electrical outlet.  It was a shame that, when the Superliner I roomette panels were updated around 2011 or so, they didn’t add at least one additional power outlet.  What we ended up doing was plugging in the laptop and charging everything off of that.  It didn’t work as well in this capacity as I would have liked, however, we were asking the computer to do something that it probably was not designed to do, i.e. be a mobile charging station for three devices (vs. just one).

Meanwhile, the ride out was at times like visiting familiar places.  This was not just because this was our fifth round trip on the Capitol Limited.  Realize that as of this trip, I had visited all of the towns where we made a station stop between DC and Cumberland.  DC, Rockville, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, and Cumberland.  Now mind you, it’s been eight years since I last visited Martinsburg, and even longer since I was in the part of Martinsburg where the train goes, but it still counts.  Then I added Harpers Ferry earlier in the same month, and Cumberland in April.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amtrak, Chicago, Vacations

And at last, we finish Chicago…

August 30, 2011, 10:16 PM

Just in case you thought I forgot to finish my description of Chicago, let me disabuse you of that idea. Here’s the last installment of the trip to Chicago.

First thing Sunday, Mom and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant with Sis and Chris. To save money, since my main complaint about the trip in 2010 was that we spent too much on food, we bought food for breakfast, and had something reasonably healthy for breakfast that we bought at a nearby grocery store. I had oatmeal and some fruit. Yes, I did my darndest to be good on this trip, despite it all. But this being the last day, we splurged a little, and ate in the restaurant.

Then we went down to Rogers Park. Sis and Chris promised us a farmers’ market, and so we saw the farmers’ market in Rogers Park. It was initially raining, but we managed. Since I couldn’t buy anything on account of the train trip that Mom and I would be taking later in the day, I decided to have a little camera fun, photographing the fruits and vegetables for sale. And unlike the CTA workers, who think that when they harass photographers, they are doing it in the name of national security (puh-leeze), the folks at the farmers’ market were more than happy to show off their wares for the camera. And here are some of the results:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amtrak, Chicago, Family, Friends

“I feel braver when I’m holding a weapon!”

August 19, 2011, 10:37 PM

And now, back to Chicago following that little detour into complaining about pain. After all, I’ve only told you about half the trip!

On Saturday, we headed into the greater Chicagoland area – much further out than our hotel in Evanston. We actually went out to Lisle, Illinois, which is home to the Morton Arboretum. We went to the Morton Arboretum to participate in a Theatre Hike, where we see a play as we walk all around the arboretum. We saw a classic – The Wizard of Oz. Chris, my brother-in-law, was playing the Cowardly Lion. The whole day was a lot of fun from the moment that Sis and Chris picked us up at the hotel in their 1997 Saab.

First of all, Mom and I had never done much exploring outside the city, and so we were seeing the scenery, as we went through Skokie and a couple of other towns. We were also amazed to see how many companies had large corporate campuses in the greater Chicagoland area. It was something, all right. Plus we got to see Sis and Chris interact as they figured out where Morton Arboretum was and how exactly to plug it into their GPS. As it turned out, they had to Google it on Sis’s phone since the address they had didn’t work on the GPS, and so they navigated off the phone. Whatever works, I suppose.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amusing, Chicago, Family, Roads, Shopping

John Hancock Center, Schumy Lunch, and Lake Michigan!

August 14, 2011, 10:25 PM

Okay, so I’m late in posting this, but I think most would agree that it’s better to have worn myself out so completely at the pool (and giving myself swimmer’s ear in the process – yay me) and being so tired from it that I go right to sleep when I get home is preferable to not getting my exercise in and writing Journal entries on time.

So aside from the previously-discussed argument with the unprofessional CTA employee, the rest of that day went very well, though the argument did leave me a bit shaken for a while. But when that discussion happened, we were on our way back down to the Magnificent Mile, since Mom and I were going to visit the John Hancock Center observation deck.

We quickly found the Hancock Center, and found the ticket counter for the observation deck. Interestingly enough, the ticket counter is actually one level below street level. I find that kind of ironic when you consider that you have to go down to go up to the 94th floor where the observation deck is. Meanwhile, the lady at the counter, who looked like she was my age, asked where Camp Rainbow was. I told her that it was from Today’s Special, and was created for the show. It clicked with her, and she immediately recognized the shirt. SCORE! Let’s admit it – “Camp Rainbow” is a really obscure reference in Today’s Special, considering it was one episode (“Summer Camp”), though Jeff’s shirt made a cameo appearance later in “Storms”. But the lady at the counter was on her game! I was impressed.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

And fun was had in Chicago, too!

August 11, 2011, 6:10 AM

So before you think that all I did in Chicago was fight with CTA employees, I did a whole slew of other things in Chicago that were fun. First of all, the train trip over was interesting, as Mom and I shared a lower level Superliner I roomette on the Capitol Limited. That was certainly a different experience from before. Each time we’ve traveled before, it’s been on the upper level of the rail cars. The view isn’t that much different, except that you are just about at eye level with people in the stations that you go by, and your window doesn’t necessarily get above the sides of a few bridges. But otherwise, not bad.

And the Superliner I sleeper that I was on had been slightly refurbished. First of all, the three reading lights in the room were all LED (oooooh, ahhhhh), plus the panels above each seat had been refurbished. Take a look:

 

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amtrak, Chicago, Family, Fire alarms

I have never before seen such unprofessional behavior from a transit employee…

August 9, 2011, 9:33 PM

First of all, I’m back from Chicago, and Mom and I certainly had fun. We did a whole lot of things while we were there, which included tons and tons of walking – on streets, up and down stairs, and through buildings. If you could walk to it, we walked to it.

But when it was too far to walk, we took the Chicago “L” for the most part. And when I ride a transit system outside of the Washington DC area, rail geekery ensues. By the way, it’s harder for me to get all geeky on Metro for just normal riding as of late, since I take it every day and all.

So on Friday, August 5, Mom and I were heading to the Magnificent Mile from our hotel in Evanston on the “L”, with the intention of going to see the John Hancock Center. Got on at Davis station, where we caught a Purple Line express train to the Loop, and then transfer to a Red Line train at Fullerton. Once on the Red Line, we were getting off at Chicago station.

When we got to Fullerton, we got off our Purple Line train, and stood on the platform awaiting our Red Line train. While waiting, I got busy being a railfan. First I shot a movie:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Chicago, CTA, Security, Some people

In 24 hours, I still won’t (quite) be in Chicago…

August 3, 2011, 7:59 AM

…but I will be much closer than I am right now and closing. Yes, 24 hours from now, Mom and I will probably be crossing through northern Indiana on the Capitol Limited in preparation for an 8:45 AM arrival at Chicago Union Station.

This trip is going to be fun. It will be a cool 83 degrees in Chicago while we’re there (it’s been a bit warmer than that in DC lately, trust me), and we’re going to have a lot of fun. Among other things, we’re going to see the new Marilyn Monroe statue, and see a play that Chris (my brother-in-law) is acting in. That I’m particularly excited about, because in all the years I’ve known Chris, I’ve never seen him act, save for a short demo reel on his site. I’m told this will be a children’s version of The Wizard of Oz, which should be fun.

Meanwhile, victory – I was able to explain to Mom in a way that she understood about why the monumental task of converting the site to WordPress is better than what I do now. I showed her the back end of the site and how I can update everything via a Web interface (once I finish building the skin), and how easy this is going to be. I think that Mom was able to wrap her mind around it, at least well enough to get the general concept, and understanding that this WordPress site I showed her really will be Schumin Web when it’s all said and done.

Then I was amazed to find what difference a little water makes. I didn’t have anything to drink all day yesterday on account of being so busy at the office, and I really started to drag in the evening. Turned out that I was just a wee bit dehydrated. All my energy came back once Mom and I got home and I drained one of my steel water bottles.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Chicago, Family, WMATA

As days go by… it’s the bigger love of the family…

July 21, 2010, 11:27 PM

So today, while still in Chicago, we visited the Family Matters house. I have never gone out and photographed a famous TV house before, and so this was a new experience. We did the research ahead of time, and determined that the house was at 1516 W. Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago. I found the address and verified it as the correct location on Google Earth, and then Sis determined how we were going to get there.

From our hotel near Jarvis station, we took the Red Line to Fullerton station. Then we took the 77 bus to Greenview Street. Then we just walked up to Wrightwood Avenue, and there it was:

The Family Matters house

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Chicago, Family, Television

My sister is at the big Obama event in Chicago!

November 4, 2008, 10:26 PM

My sister, Ann Schumin, and her fiance Chris, are at the big Obama event at Grant Park in Chicago. Take a look:

Grant Park on election night

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Chicago, Family

Realized I’d not finished telling you about Chicago…

January 6, 2008, 11:55 AM

It’s also been more than a week since the last time I posted an entry here. My, how time flies. Happy new year, everyone!

We went back to the Magnificent Mile on Saturday, and Mom and Sis kind of dragged me around a bunch of stores down there again. But then things got better. John Hancock Center! While the ladies continued to shop, I got to take a ride up a very tall building once again, and went to the top of Hancock. And let me tell you something… between the Sears Tower and the Hancock Center, go for Hancock. The John Hancock Center, unlike the Sears Tower, knows what you came there to do. You came to see the view. It’s just one line past the ticket counter and up to the elevators. This is compared to Sears Tower, where it’s multiple lines, each for a different thing, plus a movie. Additionally, the elevators on John Hancock made my ears pop, while the ones at the Sears Tower didn’t. Kind of cool if you ask me…

Then later in the day, while everyone else went to a play, I got to railfan Chicago! Yaaaaaaaaay! I got to travel on parts of every line except Blue and Yellow, and got to see what “blinker” doors were all about on the Pink Line. Those railfan photos will eventually make it to Transit Center after that site comes back.

Then Sunday, before we left, we got to go around the Loop a bit, after checking our luggage at Union Station. We went to “The Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza”, where, in The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood paid the tax assessment for the orphanage where they once lived. We also got to see the big Christmas tree at the former Marshall Fields flagship store (now Macy’s), and then went around to Millennium Park, where we saw the Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”, and also the Crown Fountain, which consists of two tall glass-brick video screens showing images of various people’s faces. There’s also water involved here, but as it was like twenty degrees outside, the water was not running.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amtrak, Chicago, CTA

As someone who comes from an area where the transit system is mostly concrete, seeing this much wood is really a surprise.

December 28, 2007, 7:22 PM

Mom and I are on our second day in Chicago, and it’s been a lot of fun. I met the parents of Chris Lysy, Sis’s fiance (that still sounds so weird), and we’ve seen a bit of the city. This is certainly not DC, let me tell you that.

So where have we been? We arrived at Union Station yesterday, met Sis and Chris, took the Brown, Red, and Purple Lines of the “L” train to Evanston, where our hotel is, met the Lysys, and then we went around the city a bit. We arrived in the Loop, and went to the observation deck of the Sears Tower. We waited in SO many lines for that. First line was to take the elevator down to the ticketing area. Then the line to go through security. Then the line to purchase the tickets. Then the line to wait to see the orientation film. Then the line to wait for the elevator. Then the line at the observation deck to take the elevator back down. Quite a production. But it was pretty good. The film was informative, and the observation deck offered a 360-degree view from the 103rd floor. I was disappointed that it wasn’t open-air, but hey, it was still fun, and I got a LOT of photos.

One thing about it, though: big elevators loaded with people make me nervous. This was after living in Potomac Hall, where the elevator would make a sudden drop when it arrived at the desired floor. The higher the floor, the bigger the sudden drop. Additionally, the more people in the elevator, the bigger the drop. Scared the crap out of you if you weren’t expecting it, and even if you were expecting it, it was still somewhat unsettling. Thus it’s left me with a slight fear of elevators loaded with people. However, this one went off without a hitch, and they had a video monitor with some cartoons on it in the elevator near the ceiling for people to watch. Still, even with all the various safety features on the elevator, the idea of having a 103-story hole right below me makes me somewhat uptight.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Chicago, CTA, Family