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So let’s file deep water running at Sandy Point under “ideas that sounded good on paper”…

July 24, 2011, 9:45 PM

You may recall that about a month ago, I discussed having taken a deep water running (aka aqua jogging) class, and how fun it would be to go deep water running over at Sandy Point State Park.

Well, I did it.

I went out to Aardvark Swim yesterday and bought a deep water running belt, and then went out to Sandy Point today to give it all a spin. Unfortunately, the verdict ended up being that while this sounded like a great idea on paper, it didn’t work out quite as well in real life. That’s not to say that I didn’t get a good (enough) workout, though. I did get to work my arms quite a bit. The problem is that the water wasn’t quite as deep as I thought. Last year, I went there some time in August, and I remember not being able to touch bottom when I was out as far as the white buoys. This time, either I had a growth spurt (unlikely), or my recent weight loss allowed me to sink further (plausible but also unlikely), but I could touch bottom almost the entire time today. And for deep water running, you want to be in a place where you can’t touch bottom so that you have room to make the full leg movements. If you can firmly stand on the bottom, you’re not in deep enough water. This isn’t to say I didn’t try, though. I tried pulling my legs up and doing the movements short-legged, but I inevitably would end up rolling forward onto my front, and the idea with deep water running is to stay vertical.

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Categories: Annapolis, Swimming

Greetings from Durham, New Hampshire!

July 14, 2011, 7:13 PM

First of all, greetings from Durham, New Hampshire, where I’m traveling on business.

Yesterday evening, I did a two-part Video Journal discussing some of the experiences on the trip up as well as my first day in Durham. Due to all the stuff I needed to take care of while up here, I didn’t get a chance to post it until tonight, but better late than never. So here it is:

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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

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.

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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.

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And the photos are in…

May 21, 2011, 9:26 PM

I certainly had fun on my vacation week! I went swimming on Monday, sat around like a bum on Tuesday, headed to Stuarts Draft on Wednesday, photographed on Afton Mountain on Thursday, and then went to Kings Dominion and Potomac Mills on Friday. Plus I finished the Plungefest 2011 photo set in Photography across a few days’ time.

When I went down to Stuarts Draft, I headed down via US 29 through Charlottesville. Technically speaking, on my route, you just nick the top of the city itself, but spend a lot of time in the Charlottesville metropolitan area. I think the total time spent within the city limits is about two minutes, depending on whether or not the traffic lights like you. Arriving in Stuarts Draft, I first stopped at Stuarts Draft Middle School, where I attended middle school and where Mom now teaches eighth grade. Checking in at the office, I noticed that they had the cover off the master clock, due to the need to manually sound the tones because of SOL testing. So I got a photo:

The master clock at Stuarts Draft Middle School, a Lathem LTR4-128.

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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:

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Categories: Fire drills, Olney, Swimming

One more day until vacation…

May 12, 2011, 7:36 PM

Yes, one more day to go. I am one “It’s Friday, ya bastards!” away from a week’s vacation. I am looking forward to it. This is going to be something of a hybrid, too. Last time I took a vacation was when I went to Chicago. Thus almost the entire time was spent out of town. Then two vacations ago was two weeks just hanging out at home and around town. This one will be about half just chilling out at home and thereabouts, and half out of town.

So you may ask, where am I going? A day and a half in Stuarts Draft and thereabouts, and then off to Kings Dominion with Mom and the eighth graders for “Math and Science Day”. It’s kind of funny, too, that I’m finally going to Kings Dominion. See, I’ve lived about two hours’ driving time from Kings Dominion for almost 19 years (believe it or not, my parents’ house and my house are about the same distance from Kings Dominion), and I’ve never been. We’ll see if it was worth the wait. The waterpark won’t be open (still too early in the season), but the rest of it will be. So we’ll see how it goes, I suppose. Otherwise while I’m in Virginia, I’m hoping to swing by SDMS again and visit Mom at school and such, do some photography in Staunton or Waynesboro or so, and then hopefully see Katie if all goes well, since it’s been far too long since last I’ve seen her.

Then in the first half of the week, I’m going to give lap swimming a try again. There’s a county-operated indoor pool in Olney, and considering how close it is to my house (only four miles), I should visit, and give it a spin. I’m thinking I’ll do it on Monday when all the children are at school. They have designated lap lanes, and so we’ll see how it goes.

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With all of this exercise effort lately…

April 28, 2011, 11:20 PM

With all of this exercise effort lately on my part, I went digging around on the Internet to find information on the old presidential fitness test that we used to do in Phys. Ed class in school.  Remember that one?  It’s that test you did where you had to do pull-ups, sit-ups, and a few other things.  And you know what?  I realized, some 14 years after the last time I did one (Virginia does not require Phys. Ed past the 10th grade), exactly how screwed up the implementation of this test was when I was in middle and high school.

First of all, elementary school is always a bit of an outlier for me when it comes to school experiences.  I went to elementary school in Arkansas, and then we moved to Virginia in 1992.  And considering that I have not been back since, August 31, 1992 (the day we arrived in Virginia) is a bit of a “wall” in my life’s timeline, in that every event either happened before then or after then.  Plus with no Email or Facebook back then, all my people communications with the Arkansas folks ended when we moved as well (though I now have contact with many of them on Facebook).  My move to the DC area in 2007 wasn’t like that, because Washington DC was part of my life before then, and Stuarts Draft has remained part of my life since.  So thus it’s harder to compare elementary school to the rest because it is behind that “wall”.

But in elementary school, when most of us first learned of the physical fitness test, I believe the implementation was done correctly, based on what I read on the site for “The President’s Challenge“, as it’s called.  Basically, you had two award levels: “National” and “Presidential”.  That was something to work towards, but if you missed those benchmarks, it was okay as long as you put your best effort into it.  If you didn’t even try, then you were in trouble, but as long as you made a good-faith effort and tried, then it was good.  I still remember doing a mile in 14 minutes and 15 seconds as a first grader (why I still remember that 14:15 mile over 20 years later is beyond me).  Looking at the published benchmarks, I was only about two minutes off from the time indicated for the “National” award for six-year-olds today.  The numbers may have been and likely were different back then, but for this discussion, I’m going to use the modern numbers because that’s what I have easy access to.  If you have historic numbers circa 1988 or so, send ’em on over.

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Talk about working different muscles…

April 25, 2011, 8:16 PM

As I mentioned about three entries ago, I am now walking home from the Metro whenever practical. It saves me a dollar by skipping the evening 51 bus, plus it’s good exercise, helping to make the pounds melt away like magic.

I also walked the southbound side of Georgia Avenue this time around to see how sidewalk conditions compared to the northbound side. I think I might have to start doing half northbound and half southbound. By my estimation, conditions on the northbound side of Georgia Avenue are better from Glenmont Metro as far as Hathaway Drive – about a third of the way from Glenmont to my house. Then from Hathaway Drive to my street, it looks like conditions are best on the southbound side. Why the need to switch? Southbound has a lot of broken glass between Glenmont and Hathaway, while northbound is for the most part clear on the same stretch. But from Rippling Brook Drive to my street, northbound side has a lot of gravel on the sidewalk, while on southbound, the gravel is still present, but less of a nuisance than on the northbound side. I’d prefer to make the switch a little further north than Hathaway Drive (like around Rippling Brook Drive/May Street or Kayson Street), but Hathaway is where the traffic light is, and let’s admit it – Georgia Avenue is not exactly a pedestrian’s paradise even in the best of conditions.

Then I also shaved a considerable amount of time off the walk this time around. Last time, I did the whole course from Glenmont station to my front door in 40 minutes. Last time, you see, I wasn’t wearing good shoes and the gravel on the northbound side really slowed me down. This time, I did the course in 30 minutes. Now I can really start improving my performance on this.

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Categories: Recreation/Exercise

A fitter, trimmer Schumin coming your way?

April 19, 2011, 9:50 PM

First of all, before we start this discussion, why didn’t anyone tell me I hadn’t written a Journal entry in three bloody weeks? I came to this realization today when I was showing somebody a photo on the site, and noticed that the last Journal entry was March 29. Yes, I can get caught up in things, and occasionally need that little reminder that I haven’t done one of these in a while. So here it is.

Yesterday, I posted this on the Twitter:

I’ve lost nine pounds since last time the doctor weighed me about a month ago. Apparently I’m doing something right?
April 18 8:51 AM

First of all, I was as surprised as anyone. I realize that I weigh a lot more than I probably ought to, but that surprised me. That’s over a span of about a month. I’ll spare you the exact numbers, citing Schumin-will-not-share-that-with-you privilege, but I’ve been really trying to clean up my act health-wise.

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Power-walker extraordinaire…

November 10, 2010, 12:16 AM

Well, what a crappy day today was. It just seems like a lot of stuff went wrong today. It started out with a call from the mechanic, where the Sable is currently undergoing yet another expensive repair. This time it’s the fuel pump and related equipment that decided to conk out on me. Basically, it’s a rehash of the problem from last Christmas, when Mom and I almost got stranded in Roanoke, except this time the car didn’t get back up again, and was down for the count, and so I had to fix it. After all, I live in the suburbs, and where I live, you need wheels. The reason that was no good is because I got the final number. The shop called me while I was at the bus stop, telling me that they wanted $2,200 for the work. I told them I’d need to get back with them on that. They called me back again while I was on the Metro, talking it down to $1,900. No go again. Have to get back with them. I managed to somehow get them down to $1,295, and that’s what it’s going to take to get my car going again. I get my car back soon, though I’m thinking that the Sable’s days might soon be numbered, because the old adages of “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “Found On Road Dead” are ringing very true for me, and that starts to add up to real money.

What would be really cute, though, is if the Sable started honking on its own every time I mention the words “new car”, a la Gertrude from Today’s Special.

Then at work, I had to attend to an emergency that would of course rear its ugly little head at 4:59 PM. I didn’t get out of the office until way later than I would have liked. Taking the 51 home was out of the question, since even with the new and later last 51 of the night, I hadn’t even left the office when that pulled up to the bus stop at Glenmont. So I ended up taking Metro home at night, and got to Glenmont around 10:45. According to NextBus, there wouldn’t be another Y9 going north for an hour.

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I’m only twenty minutes in, and already I hate the Seattle Police Department…

August 2, 2010, 8:59 PM

I just finished a 20-minute workout on the exercise bike, and I feel like I got a lot done. I did a few miles, definitely broke a sweat, and I feel like I accomplished something.

In the DVD player for tonight’s workout: Battle in Seattle. Every anarchist should know about the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, and more importantly, the protest activity surrounding it. I’ve studied it over the years, and I bought the movie Battle in Seattle in order to enjoy a dramatic recreation of the event.

So far, my impressions are this: The protesters are a dedicated bunch, and the cops and the mayor are slime. The WTO ministers can’t get in? The mayor just assumed the protesters are being violent, and had to be talked down from that assumption. The cops then talked him up to allowing them to gas protesters. In the first twenty minutes of the movie. Yikes!

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A different twist on a game we’re all familiar with makes for an interesting evening…

August 30, 2009, 11:25 AM

On Saturday, Matthew Tilley and I went duckpin bowling in College Park. You may recall that we have bowled together before, having played three games of ten-pin bowling (i.e. what most consider bowling) in July.

This was exciting, because neither one of us had done duckpin before, and the rules and the equipment are slightly different. First of all, the pins are shorter and squatter than ten-pin. Secondly, the ball is smaller and lighter, and without any finger holes. The play is different as well, as you roll three balls per frame, and the scoring is slightly different. It’s the same as ten-pin, with the exception of knocking down all ten pins on the third roll. If you knock down all the pins on the third roll, no bonus is awarded.

And one thing that neither one of us was used to was that this was a very low-tech operation. This was a totally manual game. There was no automatic scoring equipment, and you pressed buttons to operate the pinsetter. There were two buttons – one was to reset the pins, and another just to clear the pins that had been knocked down (“deadwood”). This was one of those do-your-best moments. On Matthew’s first frame, we didn’t realize that there was a “deadwood” button, and so we bowled that frame in something of candlepin style, not clearing the pins between shots. On my first frame, I figured that there had to be something to clear the downed pins, and so I wondered if the reset button would do that. So I rolled one shot, knocked down a few pins, and then pressed reset. That killed all the pins, and laid out a fresh set. Oops. Good thing I didn’t do too well on that roll, since I essentially forced a do-over. That’s when we discovered the “deadwood” button, and we were good to go. Now we knew what we were doing.

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So the fun in the water and the sun went quite well…

July 28, 2009, 7:54 PM

Let me tell you something… I had fun this past weekend, spending plenty of time outdoors and in the water. Saturday involved a tubing trip along the Shenandoah River with my coworkers, and then Sunday I went to Splashdown Waterpark with a few Anons. Not a bad time. And no horrible sunburn, either.

Saturday was an honest to goodness road trip, since we went out to Luray. And I managed to do just fine crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains at Thornton Gap. And then the water was awesome, though the river was a lot shallower than I expected. Previously, I had always gone tubing on the James River in Rockbridge County, and it was always at least four feet deep, if not mistaken. The Shenandoah River at its shallowest was less than a foot deep. Kinda hard for the tubes to go over, but somehow, we managed. And the water shoes problem was taken care of by my wearing my Crocs. They worked well enough, though I did manage to kick one off at one point. But thankfully, Crocs float, so I retrieved it with little difficulty.

Meanwhile, my coworkers amused me. Usually, when we go for drinks as coworkers, we get, you know, good beer. However, for the river, most of my coworkers had Pabst Blue Ribbon, which, if I’m not mistaken, is like one of the cheapest beers on the face of the Earth. So there you go, I suppose.

And then while on the river, we encountered a storm. That storm is actually what’s depicted in the photo feature right now. It seemed to come up from out of nowhere, as all of a sudden, we heard some very mild thunder and got significant wind and rain. Some people actually got out of the water briefly to ride it out, but most just continued on. After all, the storm would pass, and it did, and just in case more came up later, the best way to avoid it was to just finish the course. And so we did.

And just to give you an idea of how the wind and rain was, observe:

As you can see, the rain is coming down at a 55-degree angle due to the wind. Not the most fun, but it passed.

As you can see, the rain is coming down at a 55-degree angle due to the wind. Not the most fun, but it passed.

Then on the way home, we were treated to lots of lightning, as storms were brewing along Route 211. I took Meredith and Jorge back from the river, and we were witness to a good amount of it. The most memorable lightning was not long after we crossed Thornton Gap. Never before had I seen lightning go up. This lightning, which appeared yellow-orange in color, started at the ground, rose up to the clouds, and then spread outwards in the clouds. My reaction to the spectacle was unprintable, but it was quite a sight.

And we eventually made it back. Look for a Life and Times photo set a little later on that more completely documents the tubing trip.

Then Sunday, a few Anons and I got together for a trip to Splashdown Waterpark in Manassas. That was a lot of fun, as we hit every slide in the park at least once, spent plenty of time in the lazy river, and also swam around the pool. Splashdown is kind of unique as waterparks go for having, along with everything else, a conventional swimming pool. The reason can be traced back to the park’s history, though. See, Splashdown Waterpark started out as a conventional community pool. Then the facility was later expanded into a full waterpark. And I’m glad they did, because it’s nice to be able to hit up a good waterpark fairly nearby and not have to drive for hours and hours. And the price is quite nice for what you get.

And I came out unscathed, save for a very mild sunburn, and a little road rash from striking the bottom of the splash pool at the end of one of the water slides due to my losing the tube mid-slide. Basically, I fell off the tube on a hard curve, and decided that rather than fight to get back on the tube while sliding down at high speed, I’d just let go. Thus I went first, and the tube followed. And at the end of the slide, without the tube, I scraped the bottom of the pool with my elbow. That hurt, but it will heal.

So all in all, I had a fun weekend. Next weekend is a little calmer, though I am going railfanning on Metro with my friend Patrick on Sunday. That ought to be fun, since I don’t believe Patrick’s seen all that much of the system, and certainly hasn’t been to all the terminals yet, though I’m not sure yet what parts of the system we’ll cover.