Journal

@SchuminWeb

Journal Archives

  • 2021 (36)
  • 2020 (39)
  • 2019 (37)
  • 2018 (38)
  • 2017 (37)
  • 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 (17)
  • Amusing (46)
  • Cell phone (20)
  • Commuting (13)
  • Computer (57)
  • DC trips (120)
  • Dreams (20)
  • Events (26)
  • Food and drink (79)
  • Internet (20)
  • Language (10)
  • LPCM (9)
  • Nature (6)
  • Religion (12)
  • Restrooms (1)
  • Schumin Web meta (194)
  • Security (18)
  • Some people (42)
  • Space (6)
  • Urban exploration (12)
  • Vacations (39)
  • Video Journal (18)
  • Work (79)

Braaaaaaaaaaains…

October 26, 2011, 12:24 AM

First of all, I can’t believe that Halloween is almost upon us again! Feels like just yesterday that it was Labor Day, no?

In the spirit of Halloween, I got together with some friends last Saturday night, and attended the fourth annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk in downtown Silver Spring. For those who don’t know, a zombie walk is an event where people dress up like the undead as commonly portrayed in works of fiction, and then walk through an area as a group, in character. In addition to people dressed as zombies, you also have people dressed as “zombie hunters”, who dress up like commandos and carry Nerf weapons and other similar faux-artillery.

In Silver Spring, my friends went dressed as zombies. I went straight and had my camera out. My goal was to get some photos and have a good time. I’d dare say that both goals were accomplished. The zombie walk gathered at approximately the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Sligo Avenue outside Jackie’s, just north of the point where the Red Line crosses Georgia Avenue (you know, that bright pink bridge). Once we got going, we walked north on Georgia Avenue as far as Ellsworth Drive. Then we made a right turn, walked east on Ellsworth Drive through the “Downtown” development, made a left turn, walked north on Fenton Street for two blocks, and then turned left and walked west on Colesville Road to the AFI Silver theater. There, the theater was showing two horror movies, and was the formal end of the zombie walk. We didn’t go to the movies, and instead continued on to Georgia Avenue, and then went back to the “Downtown” development on Ellsworth Drive, where we got to hang out for a while. Not bad!

Continue reading...Continue reading…

So I took the “deep water running” class this evening…

June 23, 2011, 10:16 PM

So I took the “deep water running” class at Olney Swim Center this evening. That was a new experience. This is also called “aqua jogging“, and involves strapping on a flotation belt and jogging in the deep end of the pool. The idea is that you’re doing all of this while staying vertical. If you’re on your back, your front, or otherwise not vertical, you’re not doing it right.

The class lasted an hour, which is the same amount of time that I normally would spend doing lap swimming. In the class, we first did a few laps around the pool just running. Then we did it like cross-country skiing, with arms and legs straight and going back and forth. We also did cross-country legs with breaststroke arms. We really mixed it up, working things one direction, the other direction, and side to side. We even did jumping jacks in the water on a few occasions. Then in the second half of the class, we worked with foam dumbbells to give extra resistance.  I was actually disappointed when the class was over, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The idea of deep water running definitely has potential for me. However, I didn’t get that great post-workout buzz that I normally get after doing laps. That’s not to say I didn’t get a workout. I certainly worked certain muscle groups, and I can feel some after effects of the workout, but it’s not quite enough to satisfy me.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Olney, Swimming

More swimming, Jimbo Wales, and a new exercise guide!

June 13, 2011, 11:10 PM

Oh, do I have a lot to discuss today. First of all, I went swimming on Sunday, which was an interesting experience all its own. What made it so interesting was how busy the pool was. First, though, I got there early, while maintenance work was still going on. So I got to do something I’d told Mom I’d do for a while now: take pictures of the pool. And here they are:

The "leisure pool" (read: kiddie pool) area. This pool is three feet deep at its deepest, and water is normally flowing out of the top of the mushroom structure towards the back, and water fills the buckets in the right of the photo. The buckets tip over and dump their contents when they become full. There's also a small water slide that's mostly out of frame, but you can see part of it behind the buckets. One of the two "hydrotherapy pools" (read: hot tub) is visible in the background.
The “leisure pool” (read: kiddie pool) area. This pool is three feet deep at its deepest, and water is normally flowing out of the top of the mushroom structure towards the back, and water fills the buckets in the right of the photo. The buckets tip over and dump their contents when they become full. There’s also a small water slide that’s mostly out of frame, but you can see part of it behind the buckets. One of the two “hydrotherapy pools” (read: hot tub) is visible in the background.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

So let’s go swimming!

May 16, 2011, 6:09 PM

So… I went swimming today at the Graham S. Little Natatorium, aka Olney Swim Center. I had never been before, so while I had an idea about what to expect from going online, it was still a new experience. For those wondering, the Olney Swim Center is an indoor swimming pool in Olney, Maryland, owned and operated by Montgomery County.

I got there just before 2:30, and, after changing in the locker room, I got in the water right at 2:30, and swam mostly continuously for an hour. I believe that this marks the first time that I’ve done any serious swimming since I quit Rhonda Dossey’s class, and that was twenty years ago! And I certainly got a workout from this, that’s for sure. I started doing the front crawl for a few laps, and then switched to backstroke. I did that for a while, then did the breaststroke for a bit. Then I spent the rest of the time doing the backstroke. I did the backstroke most because when you consider that I’m just getting back into things, I couldn’t quite manage to get the multitasking together to stroke, kick, and breathe doing the front crawl and the breaststroke. So I decided to work on just stroke and kick, and we’ll deal with the breathing in another session. Something tells me I should work on the breathing with a kickboard for a while and then try to put it all together later. It’s okay – don’t want to overdo it, and I don’t have any swim instructor standing on the pool deck yelling at me about my stroke.

There is one other thing that I need to work on, and that’s direction. When I was a kid, I had no problems swimming in a straight line. Tell me where to swim, and I could get there in a straight line. Kind of like this:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Fire drills, Olney, Swimming

People don’t step back and observe enough anymore…

May 14, 2011, 9:42 PM

No one ever seems to step back and just watch things happen, and I noticed myself doing exactly that today. I was at the Barnes & Noble store in Montrose Crossing shopping center in Rockville today, and in walking past the windows on the second floor, I caught myself just watching the traffic through the parking lot of this rather busy shopping center on a busy Saturday afternoon. Then I filmed some of it, because we all need to kind of step back and observe. Enjoy:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Photography, Rockville

Word to the wise: Don’t drop your Droid on its head.

December 11, 2010, 8:54 PM

Those of you who follow me on the Twitter know when I’m riding Metro. After all, during those times, many of my tweets have the #wmata hashtag on them. And usually, one Metro ride in a day is followed later in the day by another (after all, after going somewhere, I usually have to go back). But on Friday evening, I was notably silent. See, I had broken my Droid.

What happened is that I had just gotten off the phone with Mom. I usually call my mother during the walk from the office to Dupont Circle station, and we stay on the phone while I go down into the station and wait on the platform, only saying goodbye once I’m safely on the train (there’s a dead spot in the tunnel between Dupont Circle and Farragut North, so we have to end it by then). This particular evening, Mom had to get off the phone early, because Dad had dinner ready and she had to go. So we said goodbye while I was still waiting on the platform, and got off the phone.

Once I get off the phone, I usually switch to my iPod and resume my Randi Rhodes podcast. So I tucked the phone under my chin and held it against my chest with my chin. However, my winter coat, zipped all the way up, got in the way, though I didn’t realize it at the time. So while I was pulling out my iPod and my headphones, the phone dropped from where I was holding it, and landed headfirst on the platform. If you’re holding it upright, the top of it is what struck the platform, and it hit with enough force to knock the snap-on case off of it. I picked the phone up, and to my surprise, the screen was black.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Cell phone, Rockville

A number of things to discuss today…

October 14, 2010, 9:48 PM

So I have a few things that I’d like to discuss with you today. First of all, I got a new netbook! I got the HP Mini 210, in black. Looks like it ought to be a pretty solid netbook computer, and for how I do computing on the go, it ought to work pretty well. My biggest complaint about the Lappy is that typing would give me fits, because the keyboard didn’t hold up too well. The left control key broke off, and typing would cause nearby keys to fire as well. This new computer has a “chiclet” style keyboard, which actually kind of reminds me of a Mac keyboard. And this thing weighs about three pounds. And this is what the Mini 210 looks like:

HP Mini 210 netbook

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Something tells me that they’re closed.

December 27, 2009, 11:50 PM

First of all, hello from Stuarts Draft, Virginia, where I’m writing to you from the Lappy at my parents’ kitchen table instead of my real computer.

On the way down to Stuarts Draft, I stopped to photograph the Safeway in Wheaton. The Safeway in Wheaton recently closed due to a pending redevelopment. They’re supposed to be tearing down the existing store and replacing it with a mixed-use development, including a new modern Safeway store at street level. The store closed on the 19th (the day of the snowstorm), and, to my surprise, was completely boarded up following the closure. I saw it boarded up on Christmas Eve, and was like, whoa! when I saw it.

First of all, here’s the store as it appeared when open, courtesy of Google Earth:

Safeway in Wheaton while open
Image: Google Earth

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Safeway, Wheaton

I actually got compliments on my bathroom…

August 2, 2009, 3:25 PM

My parents came by as planned, and we had a great time. I actually got compliments on the cleanliness of my bathroom, believe it or not. It certainly pays to really give the place a once-over. Of course, my parents got advance warning that I had cleaned. I posted a status message on Facebook indicating that I was cleaning, and my Aunt Mary, whom, along with Uncle Bruce, my parents visited before leaving New Jersey, saw the status message and commented on it. And Mom noticed that I had missed dusting my printer, and wrote “MOM” in the dust, and then dusted it with a paper towel.

So we got together, and went out for lunch. We originally planned to eat at Umbertos in Wheaton, but much to our dismay, they were closed. I don’t know what was going on, because they were supposed to have been open based on their posted hours, and the restaurant was in a bit of disarray, with the chairs missing, and the tables arranged in a way like they’re doing something or other. So who knows what’s going on. This merits further investigation, but a phone call to the restaurant a few hours later got no answer, and a call to the other Umbertos in Potomac got nowhere. I hope they’re not closed for good, because that would be a disappointment. That’s a favorite of mine for entertaining, and it’s really a diamond in the rough as far as Wheaton is concerned.

So we went to downtown Silver Spring, and had lunch there instead. We went to Austin Grill, which also serves Tex-Mex cuisine, though not as authentic as Umbertos. At Umbertos, the staff consists of mostly native speakers of Spanish and converse amongst each other in Spanish, while at Austin Grill, the employees definitely speak English as a first language. But the food was good. I had the grilled chicken burrito, my father had the burger, and Mom had enchiladas. I also got a hat from the Don Strock Diabetes Classic golf tournament, which Uncle Bruce’s company sponsored.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

So I have completed my service to the circuit court system of Montgomery County, Maryland.

February 11, 2009, 12:33 PM

So today, I had jury duty, which involved sitting and doing nothing for a shade under three hours over at the Montgomery County Judicial Center in Rockville.

According to them, they had a small docket today judging by the number of jurors that they called. So I got in and found the jury waiting room, where they gave us our little juror badges. Then we watched an orientation film, where the late Ed Bradley, as well as Diane Sawyer, explained why jury service is such a high calling, and how it basically works and what happens. Then it was time to play the waiting game. I found a nice place to park myself and pull out the Lappy, and I took care of some odds and ends while waiting to see what happened. I did some work Email, I fooled around on Wikipedia for a while, and watched some videos on YouTube.

Then after about an hour, my number, 73, was called up, along with the numbers of about 30 other people by my best estimate. I went up to Courtroom 14 on the sixth floor with the other prospective jurors, and we sat down in the gallery. At the front of the courtroom, the attorneys for the prosecution and the defendant were seated at tables, as was the defendant himself. Then the judge, the Honorable Mary Beth McCormick, came in, and things began. She explained that this was a criminal case related to an alleged violation of a protective order. The jury’s job was to determine guilt by the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, and sentencing would be up to the judge. We were all sworn in, and things got started, as the process of voir dire began. The judge asked a number of questions to us related to disclosure of information that might affect our service as a juror in this particular case, and in the event that anyone had something to disclose, those individuals were called up, one at a time, to make their disclosure to the judge and the attorneys for both sides. While disclosures were going on, the judge activated a “husher”, which turned off the microphones and played white noise over the sound system.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Wheaton Plaza is starting to look kind of sad…

January 19, 2009, 12:25 PM

My local shopping mall, Wheaton Plaza, otherwise known as Westfield Wheaton, is starting to look kind of sad with the poor economy taking its toll. Currently, Office Depot and Circuit City are holding going-out-of-business sales. Office Depot is doing a round of store closings to stave off bankruptcy, and for Circuit City, the Wheaton location survived an initial round of closings, and only started its closing sale after the company announced it was shuttering all locations. Combined with the closing of the family-owned Montgomery Cinema and Drafthouse (a movie theater outfitted with tables and chairs so people could dine and enjoy a beer while watching movies on the big screen), the outparcels on the south side of Wheaton are going to be looking really empty in short order.

Combine that with the fact that one of the two-story anchor buildings in the mall itself has been empty for more than a year, and things are really starting to look sad. That empty anchor location appears to have been built as a Hecht’s (see photo), and closed when the merger with Macy’s was completed (Wheaton Plaza already had a Macy’s).

When I moved to the area in mid-2007, that anchor location housed a store called IFL Furniture, selling overpriced furniture. That location closed in the fall of 2007, and it’s been empty since. There were rumblings that a Kohl’s and a Steve and Barry’s would be taking over that space, but something tells me that’s not happening any time soon. Steve and Barry’s is closing all its locations, and so the Wheaton location is presumably stillborn. Then with Kohl’s, I don’t know what to think. When IFL vacated the location, work started on that building. Trailers came in, black coverings were put on all the doors so you couldn’t see in, and an area in front of the south entrance was fenced off for various construction stuff. That whole fenced off area is now gone, and it looks like nothing’s happening there anymore. Inside the mall, the entrance to the former Hecht’s/IFL space has been walled off, and it’s as if they’re pretending that there is no building behind that wall. The wall is being used to promote DSW Shoe Warehouse, which recently opened in the former Hecht’s wing, and made for a small reshuffling of tenants as locally-owned Wheaton News was moved elsewhere in the mall, and a Payless Shoes was relocated as well.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Wheaton

So the apartment is clean from top to bottom…

December 28, 2008, 2:09 AM

I just finished giving my apartment a thorough cleaning ahead of my trip to Stuarts Draft for a week. I did the rugs, I did the floors, I dusted, I completely cleaned the kitchen, and I completely cleaned the bathroom. It was a long ordeal, but the place looks great now!

Most bothersome, though, was cleaning the carpets. I had Mom’s shampooer, and I went the whole nine yards. I picked everything up, moved furniture around, and everything. I had my coffee table up-ended and in the kitchen, if that tells you anything. Bedroom, hallway, and then living room. The living room was perhaps the most challenging. First I had to make sure not to shampoo myself into a corner, but also what to do once the carpets were done.

\Determining what to do once the carpets were finished was actually pretty exciting. I grabbed my coat, my hat, my iPod, and my phone, and took to the Sable for a few hours late at night. Makes me glad that gas is cheaper again, because I finally got to explore a bit. It’s time to see what’s beyond Silver Spring. So I took a small late-night road trip. Previously, I’d only been on Georgia Avenue as far as Norbeck Road, which is not all that much further north than my street. Now, I followed Georgia Avenue a long way. I went through Olney, seeing roughly where Montgomery General Hospital is (the Y bus’s northern terminus), and continued, finding out that Georgia Avenue narrows down to two lanes once you clear Olney. Olney also appeared to be a lot smaller than I expected. I expected a larger town, but there you go. And then beyond Olney, Georgia Avenue reminded me a lot of various back roads in Augusta County, Virginia, where I used to live. Lots of curves, and two lanes. For the first time in a long time, I broke out the high beams.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Meanwhile, about Sunday…

November 2, 2008, 9:57 PM

I had fun today, as I completed the field work for my Rosslyn photo set. I have followed 1815 North Fort Myer Drive from operating office building to hole in the ground. Today, I finished up with photos of the completed demolition. Basically, we went from this:

1815 North Fort Myer Drive

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Arlington, Silver Spring

Car fire!

October 19, 2008, 2:36 PM

Just about 20 minutes ago, a car caught fire just down the street from my apartment complex. I noticed smoke and flames from my balcony door, and grabbed the Kodak to go down and see what I could see. By the time I got down there, the fire department had put the bulk of the fire out, and was working to make sure that it was completely extinguished before leaving. Check it out…

Spraying foam on the fire.
Spraying foam on the fire.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Silver Spring

And so for those wondering how my birthday went…

June 4, 2008, 2:07 PM

My birthday weekend went quite well, thank you. I spent my actual birthday at home, where I wrote a Wikipedia article about October Rebellion. Yes, that October Rebellion. I had a great time writing that article, though it’s not often that I’ll sit down and write a new article from scratch and go hunting for reliable sources and such.

Then the next day, Mom and Dad came to visit – just for the day. We went to downtown Silver Spring, where we had a birthday lunch at Austin Grill, a restaurant that serves Mexican food. As we were coming in, rain appeared to be imminent, and yet some people still wanted to be seated outside, and stayed outside, even as the rain started coming down. There was a very small overhang that these people ate under, and I presume they stayed dry for the most part.

At the restaurant, Mom committed what would be considered a major sin if you like to stay in the good graces of your companions. She told the server that it was my birthday. Now I admit that she didn’t mean to let that out in front of the waitstaff. It slipped out unintentionally. But you know how it is… if you say “birthday” to a server, next thing you know, you have ALL of them marching in clapping, and singing happy birthday to you. Once we realized Mom’s error, we flagged the server again about the birthday thing, and good news – Austin Grill doesn’t sing. Very good.

Continue reading...Continue reading…