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“He offered her the world…”

October 14, 2015, 11:50 PM

I’m always surprised to see how some of my photos are used.  I recently got a membership with Pixsy, which skims the Internet for potentially infringing photo usages, and then allows the user to go after infringing users to get them to pay for their usage.  One photo that surprised me as a frequent candidate for infringements was this one from 2003:

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Finally, a road photo that I didn’t have to research…

July 11, 2015, 10:12 PM

Whenever I find a photo online showing something amusing on the road, I always like to find out the location.  I’ve become rather skilled at looking at background details in photos to sleuth out locations after posting and geotagging countless photos on Panoramio, as well as researching filming locations for Project TXL (a planned overhaul of the Today’s Special site).  So imagine my delight to see this funny road photo, showing Thomas the Tank Engine being transported on the back of a truck:

Original caption: "My buddy saw Thomas the Tank Engine getting kidnapped earlier this morning."
Photo: Imgur

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“I am always so thrilled when people realize how much better a place can look with just a few simple changes!”

October 12, 2014, 12:07 PM

This past week, I finally finished the work that I’d been doing at my house for the past two months.  The way I figured, since there was a period of time while the various processes related to onboarding at the new job were still coming together, I might as well take the time to finish a few things on my to-do list.  It’s funny, however, what inspires a person to decorate.  Back in July or so, my friend Suzie described my house as “a hot mess”.  I thought about that over the next week or so, and came to the conclusion that she was right.  And I admit – it was looking a little bit too “lived in” at the time, with a lot of unfinished business all over the place.  The closets were not being used to their full potential, I had a pile of stuff on the counter between the kitchen and the living room, the table was full of junk, and there were things in visible locations when they should have been in closets.

I started out on August 5, doing what I called the “demolition” phase.  This was where I cleaned out the closets and determined what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of.  It’s amazing how much junk can fit in a one-bedroom apartment.  I ended up getting rid of a ton of stuff.  I had long-outdated information about the 2008 Democratic National Convention from the Unconventional Action consulta that occurred in January 2008.  I had the banner from the black bloc at the National Equality March from October 2009.  I had an expired bottle of generic Solarcaine from the time when I got sunburned at Splash Down Waterpark in June 2008.  I also had a carton of fabric softener from 2007 that I had never opened, where all the liquid had been absorbed by the carton itself, leaving a blob of whatever solids were in the softener at the bottom.  No, seriously.  Take a look:

Yeah, I believe that the light parts of the carton were supposed to be white...  The blob of fabric softener solids in the bottom of the carton.

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Singing about five overbearing and overemotional humans…

February 6, 2014, 11:34 PM

So Tuesday night was fun.  I got together with my friend Melissa, and we hung out for a few hours.  We did some computer and phone maintenance over at my house, and then headed out for dinner.  We went to The Potomac Grill, which is located in Talbott Center on Rockville Pike.

For those not familiar, The Potomac Grill hosts Blinkie’s Karaoke, which is run by my friends Ken and Luisa.  I’ve done fill-in work as the engineer for Blinkie’s Karaoke from time to time, but this was my first time going solely as a participant.  Melissa didn’t sing, but I did.  I sang a karaoke version of the theme to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Those of you who are familiar with what I’ve talked about know that I’m a bit of a Power Rangers geek (I got into it in high school).  This was a new addition to the catalog, and so I premiered it.  And to top things off, Melissa filmed my performance:

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Categories: Melissa, Power Rangers

At last, I found a format that I can work with…

November 19, 2013, 11:18 AM

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I discussed how I’m constantly evaluating my website properties, and determining what is the best course of action for each individual property.  At that time, I mentioned that while the main website (i.e. what you’re looking at now) and College Life have both taken modern forms, with a content management system (CMS) driving everything, the Today’s Special site and Transit Center still had an older architecture, with no CMS driving everything and making things easy to maintain.  The idea with the Today’s Special site was to convert it to a knowledge base about all things Today’s Special, covering the show more deeply and more extensively than I had ever done before.  Transit Center was still a bit up in the air, with my being a bit undecided on what to do with the site.

Now, I have updates for you.

Let’s get this part over with first: The Schumin Web Transit Center will be closing at the end of the year.  It’s closing because it doesn’t meet my current quality standards, and I believe that the site has run its course.  That’s not to say that I’m not still very much a public transportation nerd, but I no longer feel that the separate website is the best way to express that enthusiasm for transit, as I don’t feel that it puts my best foot forward.  So take a good look at it now, because it won’t be there when the ball drops for 2014.

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Oh, there’s something about an album…

September 20, 2013, 10:49 PM

How many of you were aware that there was an album made for Today’s Special?  I’ll bet that many people in the United States were not aware of it.  I was initially made aware of it in the late 1990s, and have been able to listen to it in its entirety.  Recall that when I was going to my first polar bear plunge, I was singing along with the Today’s Special album in the car.  Certainly, there’s been a lot of discussion about Today’s Special over the years, with a lot of it coming from this website.  But most of that has been about the television program itself, rather than the various other things that go with it.  After all, the show itself is the main product, and distributed most widely.  Additionally, since the show originated in Canada, produced by a Canadian television network, I don’t believe that any licensed merchandise for the show ever made it to the United States.  Thus I’ll bet that many don’t realize that the album exists, and I’ve definitely never found a review of it anywhere.  So with this entry, I’m going to review the album.

Giving the album a listen, it seems that the album was released around the time as the stage show, which was shown on television as the episode “Live On Stage“.  No songs from episodes dated 1985, 1986, or 1987 appear in the album.  In addition, no songs original to the stage show are performed on the album.  However, where applicable, those songs on the album that were also performed in the stage show were performed based on the stage show version of the song rather than the television show version.

In general, I like the album, as it contains many songs that I have always considered favorites, and also includes a few that I was not familiar with as a child due to editing by Nickelodeon (commercial networks that aired Today’s Special usually deleted some scenes in order to allow time for commercials).  However, there are times that the album really grates on me a little bit, and that comes from the non-song dialogue that’s included, as much of it seems quite out of character compared to the show.
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Categories: Music, Today's Special

Who ever thought that I would be researching, among other things, Canadian mannequin manufacturers?

December 25, 2012, 1:35 AM

So I’m working on creating my new Today’s Special wiki, and I’m “deep in the weeds” in fleshing out what articles and other titles should exist, and creating the categorization scheme.  If it tells you anything, I have titles for nearly every character that was on Today’s Special (though most of the one-off characters will be redirects to the episodes where they appeared), and did a lot of research on filming locations that were used.

By the way, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Today’s Special, you may get a tad lost in this, because I’m about to get very detailed.  For a basic overview of Today’s Special, check out my existing T.S. site, which this wiki is going to replace.

Probably the biggest bit of research that I’ve done for this so far is the filming locations.  I quickly discovered that almost all of the location filming done for Today’s Special was done in the Toronto area.  I believe that the furthest afield that they ever went for a location shoot was the Trent-Severn Waterway, for the episode “Sam“.  Just about everything else was done right in Toronto.  In researching locations, I looked into any public place that I had a good chance of locating.  Thus I did not bother to research location scenes shot in private homes, such as the home of Jodie’s Aunt Millie in “Being Alone“, nor did I research places like the doctor’s office in “Soup” or the barber shop in “Hair“.  The likelihood that I would never find them was too great.  But I did have quite a bit of success in other areas.

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Categories: Today's Special

So I’m at work modernizing websites again…

December 11, 2012, 1:07 AM

So I’m at it again, working to modernize a Schumin Web property.  You may recall (and it’s pretty hard to miss) that Schumin Web proper was converted to WordPress over the course of a year in 2011-2012.  Then College Life was converted to WordPress last month in a process that took about a week and a half to do.  That leaves the Today’s Special site and Transit Center left to be upgraded.

The current project is to convert the Today’s Special site to a content platform of some sort.  However, unlike Schumin Web proper and College Life, this one isn’t going to be where the site is ported to a content platform but looks the same to the user in the end as it did before.  This is going to be a big project for different reasons.  I am finally going to take the Today’s Special site and bring it into the 21st century.  Here’s a little secret for you: I have been unhappy with that site’s design and structure for a little over five years now.  The site last received a major redesign/overhaul in 2005 (while I was out of commission due to some minor surgery), and that mainly improved the writing and the layout, while keeping the general structure the same.  When I converted the site to PHP with the move to Dreamhost in 2007, I had wanted to do a big overhaul on it, but ultimately ended up converting it more or less the same as it was before, owing to time constraints and also my own capabilities at that time.

Now, my long-dreamed-of overhaul is coming.  I have the time, and I now have the technical knowledge and the maturity to bring my vision to reality.  The Today’s Special site is going to become a wiki.  It’s going to move away from fansite and more towards being a knowledge base – the source for all things Today’s Special.  Using Homestar Runner Wiki and Muppet Wiki as inspiration, my plan is to greatly expand the depth and breadth of coverage of the Today’s Special site, and be as extensive as I can get it.  And with the wiki format, this can and should be a collaborative effort.  I want other fans to join in.  I hope that Today’s Special alumni will contribute.  I hope that TVOntario joins in, too.  I think everyone with an interest in the show has something to contribute, even if it’s just correcting a typo, or removing a stray comma.

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“…you’re in Angel Grove…”

June 27, 2012, 2:47 PM

So now that Falcon is done and pretty much just waiting a few more days to launch on July 1, I’m starting to turn my mind towards other endeavors again.  First of all, I significantly curtailed the amount of Wikipedia contributions that I would make while doing Falcon.  I want to keep the level of my contributions at that lower amount, because Wikipedia has started to annoy me as of late, and I’m happier making far less edits.  Plus I spent too much time on Wikipedia before, and that caused work on Schumin Web to suffer, and so it’s time to spend more time taking care of my first creation.  The time between shooting and publication on photo sets had become far too much, with many months between becoming the norm.  And that was unacceptable.

But looking at what I want to do, aside from the aforementioned Transit Center update, I’m thinking about doing some creative writing.  I’ve been watching a bunch of Power Rangers episodes lately, and I want to try something in that vein (you wondered why I mentioned Angel Grove in the title, didn’t you?).  No, I’m not dressing up in spandex and fighting monsters.  Though that would be kind of fun – three guesses as to what Power Ranger costume I would be wearing, and the first two don’t count.  But no.  I want to do something along the lines of the adapting of stock content into a completely new story and making it believeable.  Realize that the way Power Rangers works is that first the Super Sentai television show is made in Japan for Japanese audiences.  Then Saban acquires the rights to the season, and cuts the episodes up to make a completely new show, adding their own original scenes, and recording new audio to go over the Japanese footage of the suit battles, zord battles, and (sometimes) villain scenes.  A careful viewer of Power Rangers can usually notice when it changes between original footage and the source material from Super Sentai, because the quality of the footage is a little different with regard to lighting and colors, the Power Rangers’ costumes are shiny in the Sentai footage but not in the American footage, and occasionally elements of some costumes are changed (like Elgar’s face in original Turbo footage, vs. in Carranger footage).

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So the Baltimore Inner Harbor was fun…

May 27, 2012, 10:44 PM

I went up to Baltimore with a friend on Friday evening, where we explored the Inner Harbor for a while. That was kind of fun. The Inner Harbor is a very fun area, though it seems a bit overcommercialized. But such is what happens, I suppose. I loved the smell of the sea air, everyone was having so much fun out and about, and there were all kinds of fun ships sailing around.

The first ship we saw was The Black-Eyed Susan, a paddlewheeler:

The Black-Eyed Susan

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I still don’t consider myself much of an artist, but I guess I can let you decide…

May 24, 2012, 12:07 AM

So I was doing some scanning work for Falcon this evening, and decided to finally scan some drawings that I did in high school. I’m believe that these are from the fall of 1996. And so away we go…

Lord Zedd in his chamber of command

Yes, that is exactly what you think it is. You are looking at Lord Zedd from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, standing in his throne room. It’s true. I was a nerd even back then. And I was pretty detailed. I got the pedestal, I got Zedd, I got the throne, I got the fan behind the throne, and I put a couple of putties in there.

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Making chili!

April 8, 2012, 7:58 PM

I was cooking today, making a pot of vegetarian chili:

I had a blast, too. Anyone who can go on like this for just over 45 minutes had better be having a blast, I’d say. But what can I say? I love performing for the camera. I do, however, need to be mindful about how long I run the faucet. In reviewing the footage afterwards, noticed that at times I left the water running for a lot longer than I needed to (so don’t write to tell me this – I recognize that I was wasting water).

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A new geeky shirt and a 30-minute Metro ride inspire me to have some fun…

March 16, 2012, 10:02 PM

Today, I wore my new Power Rangers shirt out for the first time:

Power Rangers!
Photo: Mykia Mahan

This is similar to the Power Rangers shirt that I owned before, except that this new one is a smaller size, and has slightly different styling. I am quite proud to place the old Power Rangers shirt in with my “second tier” clothes. It’s too big for me, which is just as well, because I am getting smaller, after all. Then on different styling, this shirt, unlike the first one, falls victim to an error that many Power Rangers toys and such had: emblems on the center diamond.

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First it was cold, and then it was colder…

January 21, 2012, 7:49 PM

I think that about describes today. Upper forties, my foot. It was bloody cold today. And of course, today would be the day that the Chesapeake Climate Action Network would have its seventh annual “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge, which, you may have heard, more than once, that I signed up to participate in over at National Harbor. I had a lot fun, though I was certainly excited about things.

Going down to the event, I decided to do a Video Journal to talk about it, since I was a little nervous and needed to distract myself:

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But does Verizon provide the dancing speaker?

January 3, 2012, 11:30 PM

So while I was out on New Year’s Eve, I saw a commercial on TV for Verizon Home Monitoring and Control, which apparently controls door locks, turns the lights on and off, monitors energy systems, allows one to adjust the thermostat, and allows one to monitor activity in the house via cameras. All of this can be done remotely online. I saw this, and I was like, “They’ve created TXL!”

Yes, that TXL:

TXL Series 4, from "Babies"

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Categories: Products, Today's Special