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So the meetup went well, though turnout was low.

September 7, 2008, 1:58 AM

I always love getting together with my fellow Wikipedia geeks. We have so much fun, though I admit that the turnout was a bit low this time around. But, I also can’t blame many for not showing, considering that Tropical Storm Hanna came blowing through on the same day. I got pretty wet just walking the ten feet from my door to the car, but otherwise, no problem, since it was a short drive to the Metro station, and then from there, I’m on Metro and it can be as rainy and windy as it wants, because all the stations I’m dealing with (Wheaton and Union Station in this case) are underground.

Otherwise, though, Uno’s was wonderful as always, and the wait staff took very good care of us. One thing we noticed on the check was that they never billed us for the drinks! Much to our surprise, none of the beverages that anyone ordered, alcoholic or otherwise, appeared on the check. Then the conversation was lovely, as we made light of some of the various situations that came up on Wikipedia and all the things we managed to get into. Fun times.

And here we are:

The group that went to the September 2008 DC Wikipedia meetup

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Categories: Target, Wikipedia

I CAN HAS DISHEZ?

July 30, 2008, 3:12 PM

You have to admit, with this being my kitchen week at the office, that this is a cute way to announce that the dishwasher will be running soon…

Lolcat dishes

Yes, the concept of the Lolcat is alive and well. I got the original image from Gumuz on Flickr, and then lolcatted it up using the Lolcat Translator.

Categories: Netculture, Work

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.

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A belated reportback is better than no reportback at all, I suppose.

May 25, 2008, 5:29 PM

Hey, I’ve been busy. So sue me. But I must report back that Katie and I had a great time last weekend. We went all over the place, and had a great time.

However, it started out somewhat rough – Katie took the train up to DC, specifically the Cardinal. And it was late. According to AmtrakDelays.com, on May 16, the eastbound Cardinal, train #50, was an hour and 42 minutes late arriving in Staunton, where Katie got on. Then at Union Station, where I was waiting for her, the train managed to rack up another 44 minutes of delays, and thus ended up getting in at 8:21 PM. That would make it two hours and 26 minutes late. This thing was supposed to show up at 5:55 PM, which would have fit my schedule quite nicely. Leave work, take Metro to Union Station, wait a few minutes, get Katie, and then ride back to Glenmont. However, I found out about the Staunton delay from Katie well in advance, so no problems there. I compensated other places as far as that delay went, and ended up staying later at work, since there were a few things I needed to take care of anyway, and planned to arrive in time for the new delayed arrival. Okay.

So arriving at Union Station, I got in, and immediately checked the boards to see what the deal was. Another delay. Lovely. So I ended up just kind of wandering around Union Station for the next two hours, as I had nothing else to do. I was totally unprepared for a longer delay. However, I did have my iPod, and so at least I got to listen to Randi Rhodes (now on Nova M Radio!). And with headphones on was how I passed a good hour or so of that delay, as I went in and out of stores, seeing what amused me. I also managed to find a relatively quiet corner of the station to make a phone call, finding out about how things were going on the train from Katie. That quiet spot ended up being in a far corner of the parking garage, interestingly enough. But hey, it was nice out, so it worked. I got to watch train movements north of the station, and found out that the initial delay was due to weather, and then heavy rail traffic caused the delays closer in. Okay. Beyond the control of either one of us. What are you going to do, I suppose.

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Since when have I been an active contributor on Conservapedia?

March 3, 2008, 9:36 PM

Answer is, I’m not. But someone on there obviously wants to make me into a conservative windbag, as someone has gone onto Conservapedia and registered an account called BenSchumin. My “alter ego” considers the left to consist of druggies, and has deleted a link to a debate about masturbation, calling it “liberal filth”. This person actually calls anything he disagrees with “liberal”.

Now if this were the first time that the right wing has blasted me, this might be shocking. But no, this is nothing new. Three years ago, I was dissed in a conservative blog. Then a little less than a year ago, we had Michelle Malkin and her followers making me the poster child for every black bloc that has ever brandished a can of spray paint. And that spilled over into Free Republic and various other pockets of right-wingers on the Internet.

Still, I find it funny when people do this to try and discredit me. Who they’re trying to fool, I don’t know, but based on the others’ reactions, this person’s not very good at it. Of course, Conservapedia is a site I find amusing anyway. I consider these people so far out there in being right wing nutjobs that they’re practically harmless because no one would ever take them seriously. And they will always be an underdog, because rather than just do their thing and promote their view of conservatism, they spend pages upon pages complaining about alleged “liberal bias” on Wikipedia, while simultaneously placing Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Rush Limbaugh on pedestals.

So, yeah, the jig is up, Schumin impersonator…

Categories: Netculture, Politics

Gotta love an evening with a bunch of my fellow Wikipedia geeks…

December 10, 2007, 11:40 PM

I’d say I had quite a busy weekend! First the protest on Saturday, and then a Wikipedia meetup on Sunday. Basically, a Wikipedia meetup is where editors of Wikipedia get together at a restaurant and shoot the breeze for a while over dinner. This is my second one, and they’re a lot of fun. This time, we went to Skewers, which is across the street from where I work.

All in all, it was a fun time. We discussed Wikipedia, and we discussed things other than Wikipedia. We even got metal barnstars at the end of the event. We also learned that while we’re serious about building an encyclopedia, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, when we noticed a typo on the menu, which printed “species” where “spices” was intended, and someone mentioned that we should edit the menu.

In the end, it was a lot of fun, and we got a photo of everyone, too:

The meetup group at Skewers

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Categories: Wikipedia

“Ben Schumin believes his life is very interesting. He’s wrong.”

November 29, 2007, 7:11 PM

Do you remember back in April when I inadvertently stayed up all night because I had too much coffee at Daily Grind? Well, while messing around on the Internet, I discovered the latest person making an attempt to be witty at my expense. This would be a person going by the name “Javier Magnante” (more than likely not the person’s real name), who runs the blog Today’s Special Is Pain, which dissects my Journal entries in a style similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000. He takes a bit of text from my Journal and reposts it in a light gray color, and then he makes sarcastic comments right below it in this salmon-colored text.

His style is rude and crude, as he portrays me in his profanity-laden commentaries as someone who is constantly eating large quantities of ham and paying no attention to personal hygiene, while simultaneously having sexual relations with my digital camera and laptop computer. Needless to say, cheap shots are in no short supply. Frank Wade should go see this guy for advice on how to take cheap shots at me.

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Categories: Netculture, Some people

A Saturday evening at Union Station…

July 22, 2007, 7:53 AM

I went to the DC Wikipedia meetup with a coworker whom I met up with at Silver Spring, and we had a blast! The meeting was at Union Station, and we had dinner at Uno’s. I think first of all, it’s neat to see what all these various people look like in real life. I mean, normally, what do you see? Just their online handle. Me, I show up on there as just SchuminWeb. So it’s nice to put some faces on those names.

It was neat hearing about the various Wiki-activities that everyone’s been involved in, and what our various ways of dealing with ugly issues are. Some people try to resolve it. Some steer clear. Plus the stories we have. Articles that come up for deletion, survive, and then are renominated for deletion well down the road, and then die in the second nomination. Dealings with other users. You name it, we discussed it.

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Categories: Wikipedia

Now this ought to be fun…

July 15, 2007, 12:22 AM

Let’s add one more event to an already fun-filled weekend where I’m starting to have concerns about getting my housework done. Wikipedia’s having a DC meetup on Saturday, July 21 – the day before Mom and Sis arrive on their respective journeys. It’s going to be at Union Station at 5:00 PM at Uno Chicago Grill. I’d say this ought to be fun.

If nothing else, this will be a fun opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the people that I work with regularly in building and tweaking an encyclopedia. I’ve met a few Wikipedians in person already, just going about life. As with this Web site, I have my photo on my Wikipedia user page, so I’m fairly recognizable.

So we’ll just add a sixth Metro day to the schedule for next week, going from Glenmont or Wheaton (I try to mix it up on the weekend) to Union Station. The general rule of thumb, however, is that I want to avoid riding Glenmont to Dupont Circle on an off-day – reminds me too much of going to work.

Speaking of Metro, one of my sister’s friends from Virginia Tech, whom I’ve also met before, recently told her that she saw me on the Metro on my way to work. As a general rule, folks: If you see me on Metro, say hello to me. I may look completely absorbed in my copy of the Express, but I’ll put it down in a second to have a good conversation.

And where they found me is no surprise – I do the same thing every day in my morning commute. I sit in the fifth car (sixth if it’s an eight-car train) of a Red Line train to Shady Grove, in the second row of seats behind the center door, on the left side of the train, with my copy of the Express. About the only difference day to day is the car number.

Categories: Wikipedia, WMATA

Attention, YouTubers: May I suggest…?

April 21, 2007, 1:29 AM

For all of you who post videos on YouTube, may I make a suggestion? If you’re going to be posting videos of yourself demonstrating something, please do one of two things. Please either get someone to do the filming for you, or alternately, please use a tripod or something else to put the camera on.

Why? Because people who are demonstrating something with one hand while filming with the other so often produce videos that will make a person seasick. The videos are so often also out of focus because they’re too close or moving too fast. Such videos make it hard to follow what’s going on, and it takes some of the human element out of a video, since all we see is this disembodied hand.

If I had prepared more thoroughly for this entry, I would have made multiple videos for you of the same basic thing ahead of time to show you what I mean. One where I filmed myself doing something, and the other while having another person film me doing the same task. Then I could have you compare the quality of the two videos.

But you won’t get to see this, because I came to this entry utterly unprepared. So let me pick a few videos out of YouTube to demonstrate what I mean in lieu of filming my own demonstration. My apologies up front if any of these videos that I am about to use were made by someone who is familiar with my work and may eventually read this.

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If this is the best that the right wing has to offer, I am not impressed.

March 14, 2007, 6:35 PM

I seem to have been made the poster child of the anti-war movement on the blog of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. And if what I’ve seen is the best that the right wing has to offer, I am not impressed.

And now we understand why the Republicans lost in November if this is how these people handle themselves. Here are a few gems for you…

From “jim”: When Islam over runs this country it will be because of wussy boys like you.

From “Kelly Aasen”: Go to the gym, read some real books (not the liberal trash you appear to be reading) and get the [expletive deleted] out of your parents house and on your own.

From “A Vet”: Kindly don’t come looking to desecrate the VN memorial. We had experience dealing with people in black previously and we won’t take kindly to any attempts to leave any paint/marks on it. Otherwise have a nice day Sunday. PS: kindly don’t date my daughter.

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Eating a spoonful of cinnamon…

December 22, 2006, 10:52 PM

I recently watched a video on YouTube of one of the participants on my discussion forums eating a spoonful of straight cinnamon. Literally, straight cinnamon. He poured some cinnamon from a bottle directly onto the spoon, and swallowed it.

And I would say that he paid dearly for it, as evidenced by his facial expressions. And the ginger ale that he was drinking didn’t help any, as the carbonation had to make it worse. If it were me, I’d have used water or milk.

It reminds me of what I used to do my freshman year of college with the ramen noodles. I used to remove the flavoring package, and then mash up the dry noodles in the package, and eat them like potato chips. Then with the flavoring package, I’d eat that straight. That was a strong flavor right there, mostly in the salt content. VERY salty. Makes your eyes water. I also don’t recommend that anyone else do that.

Of course, we didn’t have YouTube during my college years, or else I might very well have made a video of it and posted it online. Of course, in my early videos with Big Mavica, I was big on capturing crazy antics from a behind-the-camera vantage point. Then and now, it’s rare that I’ll make an appearance in front of the camera, but it’s been known to happen.

And as far as cinnamon goes, I know that too much cinnamon with food in much smaller amounts than that makes me uncomfortable. I can’t imagine what it feels like to eat that much cinnamon at once.

Categories: Amusing, YouTube

Oh, how I love some of the quirky messages I receive sometimes…

September 8, 2006, 1:40 AM

On my Wikipedia talk page, I really received a good message this time, from a user named “Joeferret”, entitled “On our relationship”. Here it is:

So Mr. Schumen. You rally for the deletion of my article. You spit on all of modern society’s conventions regarding peace and civility. And on top of all that, you sell thong underwear online. Hence, I have come to an important conclusion: you are my Newman. And thusly, I say this to you sir: Hello… Schumen… Joeferret 05:42, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Where do I start… first of all, the title, “About our relationship”. He makes it sound like we’re dating or something. I’ve never met this fellow, and I don’t think I particularly want to. Then he misspells “Schumin”. It’s not like he’s never seen my last name before. He mentions this Web site, so it’s not like he didn’t see it splattered all over that. My logo has that little orange dot up there, which indicates for all that it’s an “i” there, and not another vowel.

Then there’s the actual content of his article, which was titled “Anarcho-homosexualism”. Sounds like an interesting topic, but I couldn’t find anyone who could actually verify any of it, and a Google search of the term turned up zero results. Thus someone sent it to Articles for Deletion as original research (Wikipedia has a policy against original research), and I was one of the supporters in deleting it, where, interestingly enough, I was impersonated by someone in the process (see here), as well as having some of my comments modified by other users. Needless to say, this was not a “nice” AfD, since the article’s original creator acted like a lunatic throughout the whole process.

Of course, now the question then becomes why they chose to message me, over all the others participating in that discussion. And a full month after the debate ended, no less. I wasn’t nearly as hard on him as others were in that space. I was nice about things.

So all in all, go figure. Somehow I seem to attract some real fruit bars, both on Wikipedia, and at work as well (though on the latter, not so much lately).

Categories: Wikipedia

I have officially discovered YouTube, and this is kinda fun…

September 5, 2006, 11:39 AM

I have discovered YouTube, and it’s kind of fun. I consider it better than television because it’s real people doing real stuff. Compare to television where, while the video and sound are more professional-looking, it’s kind of a lot of the same rehashed over and over and over again.

And after some time trying to figure out how I could use YouTube effectively, I’ve decided that YouTube is that place where I can upload stuff that’s worth a look, but that I wouldn’t carry on the regular Web site.

For instance, I have some really long videos that I did when I was testing out Big Mavica on the first day I got it. I was wandering around Potomac Hall and being all silly and such. My residents were probably like, what’s he got now? as I went wandering around, filming everything. No one was used to Big Mavica, and neither was I, as we all soon found out. Of course, you’ve got to start somewhere. And with these videos sitting in storage for so long, we might as well show them off on YouTube.

So yeah, fun stuff. I take a lot of videos, so this should be interesting.

Categories: YouTube

Photos of mine, printed ABOVE the fold…

August 28, 2006, 7:51 AM

How often can you say that your photos end up on the front page of the local newspaper? And above the fold, no less. If you look at the August 28, 2006 edition of The News Virginian, you will see two photos anchoring an article about the Skyline Parkway Motel, which, you may recall, had been abandoned for some time, and then was torched in 2004. Both of them are tagged with “Photo courtesy of BEN SCHUMIN”. Here are the photos that the newspaper ran:

Skyline Parkway Motel before the fire  Skyline Parkway Motel after the fire

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