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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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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

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.

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“I am not a boy. I am a TXL Series 4 computer.”

June 27, 2011, 11:34 PM

Today, I received a second retro t-shirt that I designed for myself. Check it out:

Holding up my "TXL SERIES 4" shirt

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Categories: Swimming, Today's Special

“If only we can get Muffy to notice what is behind her wall! And now for Part Two.”

September 11, 2010, 11:45 PM

I decided to do another edition of the Video Journal this evening. The topic? “Our Story Part 2” from Today’s Special:

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So I decided to talk and drive again…

July 8, 2010, 2:19 PM

So on Wednesday evening, I decided to talk and drive again. I set the cell phone in the GPS holder once again, and started talking. I started at approximately 16th and T Streets NW, heading north on 16th Street:

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“We’ve got a store that I explore when the customers aren’t here anymore…”

June 27, 2010, 12:14 AM

Tonight I learned some very disturbing news. G20 protesters in Toronto broke windows at The Bay’s Queen Street store on Saturday. Fans of Today’s Special will know this place best as simply “the store”. I was shocked, and it actually briefly brought tears to my eyes. But they did:

Broken windows at the store  Broken windows at the store
Photos: Karen Liu/Toronto Life

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Would you buy a DVD collection of Today’s Special? I would!

January 9, 2009, 12:42 AM

Tell me, does this bring back memories for you?

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Categories: Today's Special

I went to Ikea. That was a touch overwhelming.

May 28, 2007, 4:54 PM

First of all, hello from College Perk coffeehouse! I went to Ikea in College Park today to go bed-shopping. Talk about an overwhelming experience. First of all, the place is bigger than a Wal-Mart Supercenter. And it’s two floors. Then I got over there, and the parking lot was full. I mean full, like park-in-the-back-of-the-lot full.

I went in, and went up the escalator to their showroom. I saw the map coming in, so I kind of knew where I was going, or at least I thought. I got in, and got a bit disoriented. Lots of partitions made it less than straightforward about getting to the back where the beds were. I did find it, though I had no idea what was going on. I ultimately found a salesperson, to whom I admitted I was overwhelmed, and he was quite helpful and helped sort me out. I ultimately did figure out what was going on, though.

Bed shopping is interesting, though. To properly shop for a bed, one must try it out. I’m sure I looked amusing testing mattresses. The way you test them out is to get on them in a sleeping-type position and feel it. It reminds me of a scene from Today’s Special‘s “Shoes” episode. Jodie walks past a row of shoes, and comments on each pair:

Too big! Too small! Not right… at all! Too loose! Oh, too tight! Ah… (puts shoes on) these feel just right!

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Sable is packed to the gills…

May 11, 2007, 9:53 PM

I don’t think I’ve filled a car so full since I left Potomac Hall at JMU for the last time back in 2003. Back then, I had the Previa stuffed to the gills with my junk from the dorm. Now, I have the Sable filled to the brim with my stuff, headed for Silver Spring. That car is literally packed full. The back seats are folded down, and I’ve put stuff in every possible spot. There’s even stuff sitting in the passenger seat. I just hope the car doesn’t think it’s a passenger and sound the seat belt alarm when I get going. That would look odd to have the seat belt buckled over there, to keep the alarm quiet.

It reminds me of a rhyme by Muffy from Today’s Special:

There was an old woman who lived in a hat,
With fourteen kids and one smelly cat.
The hat was bulging, filled right to the brim,
And inside, things were looking mighty grim.
And then when the woman came back with one more kid,
The hat shouted, “Fifteen!” and blew its lid!

That was then followed by the top flying off a nearby top hat. But yeah, I think if I put anything else in there, the car will shout, “Fifteen!” and blow its lid, too.

One thing that I will really appreciate with this run for stuff is the lamps. Those four torchiere lamps that I have are coming, and will be placed in strategic locations in the apartment. It’s helpful because there are few light fixtures in the apartment, and lots of switches attached to electrical outlets. Thus since I brought no lamps on the first run, I had to kind of find my way around in the dark upon leaving the apartment, feeling for walls and furniture, to avoid running into them, and the subsequent cursing. And I don’t particularly like to swear, though I’ve been known to let them fly fairly easily.

Speaking of swearing, I remember something I did for a professor at JMU that both the professor and I found amusing. He said that we could write whatever on the tests themselves, “Just don’t write any swear words.” So I decided to be a bit of a wiseguy. I wrote “SWEAR WORDS” in all caps near the top of the test paper. Not actual dirty words – literally the phrase “swear words”.

All in all, I’m excited about living in the DC area…

Firefighter Schumin is on his way!

July 26, 2006, 9:09 PM

Wasn’t today an exciting day at work!

Not long after my first break, one of our cart pushers reported that there was a mulch fire in the parking lot. One of our CSMs, knowing I’m on the safety team, came up to the service desk and got me, and handed me a fire extinguisher. I quickly found out what was going on as we were walking out to the parking lot to the fire. I ended up ripping off the tag and pulling out the pin on the way out the door.

We got to the mulch that was on fire in the parking lot. It was on a traffic island about a third of the way down the lot. After chasing off some very stupid teenagers who were trying to put it out by stomping it out in their flip flops (very dumb teenagers), I went to work. Since I had already pulled the pin, I went about it as I’d seen in the past, staying low, aiming for the base of the fire, and sweeping side to side. And I got the fire out, too. It seems that what I’d learned had sunken in fairly well, as I’d performed flawlessly despite having never actually used a fire extinguisher before.

I used up the entire extinguisher on it, just to be on the safe side. It’s just as well, too, since you can’t reuse a fire extinguisher that’s been discharged until it’s professionally recharged. But like I said, I got the fire out.

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Categories: Today's Special, Walmart

“I must dance my dance… at last I am Jeffrey!”

April 14, 2006, 11:07 PM

First of all, yes, I realize that the title of this entry is a mis-quote, from “A Visit to the Opera” on Today’s Special. The correct end of that line is “at last I am set free!” I wrote it with “Jeffrey” in there because that’s how I initially heard it as a child. A little mondegreen right there. It made sense to me – the character of Lightning in “The Rainmakers” was played by Jeff Hyslop, and while it seemed odd that he would sing “At last I am Jeffrey,” it made sense.

But the reason I mention this is because you should have seen the lightning this evening! It looked like a fire drill in the sky with all the flashing going on. And it wasn’t just the twinkly kind of lightning. There were some serious lightning bolts, both in the sky, and also going towards the ground. Some of them really lit up the landscape in this very eerie blue color. They’re very spectacular to watch, but not so fun when you’re out and about, as I was. I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway after work to relax, which I take as far down as Buena Vista, where I cross over to Lexington and then go back home via US 11.

I didn’t get the lightning, though, until I got to Lexington. Thankfully, I had clear skies while I was on the Parkway, though there was a slight haze in the valley below. By the way, the Blue Ridge Parkway is NOT somewhere that you want to be when it’s raining. Because it’s high up in the mountains, it gets VERY foggy up there, and visibility often becomes practically zero.

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I might not have been able to go to DC, but I did get something accomplished…

February 24, 2005, 11:18 PM

I did actually get something accomplished today! Inspired by the umpteenth Email about pictures not working, or the odd state of multimedia on the site, I finally pulled out all my Webmaster’s tools and went to work hammering out that long-deferred new design for the Today’s Special site. In order to keep things neat, there will be a strong influence from the current version of The Schumin Web. To keep its Today’s Special character, the color scheme and a number of other stylings will remain from the existing site.

So let’s compare old to new:

Today's Special site, pre-redesign
This is the old site. It’s got a classic layout and look, but it definitely needs an update. But it is indisputably Today’s Special. Note the inclusion of details from the Children’s Department on the show along the top of the screen.

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I don’t know what it is about this time of year that makes me want to start a project at home

January 13, 2005, 7:44 PM

Yeah, Sis is going back to school on Sunday, and I’m again going to use her room as swing space. This time, I’m attacking the problem spots in my room. Mainly those spots where junk accumulates.

Let me put it to you this way: I still have the tubs of junk from my Potomac Hall room in the middle of my floor, nearly two years later. I moved them out when I redecorated last year, and then moved them back in afterwards. This time, I’m officially attacking those tubs. And the closet. And whatever other corners and spots have become junk repositories.

Here’s the battle plan. Sis’s floor will be divided up into four sections. One area will be “keep”. One will be “sell”, which I intend to list on eBay. A third will be “trash”. And a fourth will be “Goodwill”. Now that we have a new Goodwill store in Waynesboro right next to Wal-Mart, I’m most likely going to donate a boatload of stuff from this adventure to Goodwill. Still, I intend to make this room more livable than it is right now. Besides, I’d have to do this anyway after I find a job in Washington and move out. So I might as well just do it now.

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Categories: House, Today's Special