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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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“This makes me very angry! Very angry, indeed!”

October 29, 2010, 10:57 PM

I have come to the conclusion that if I don’t post this right away, it will become buried under Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and Restoring Sanity and Keep Fear Alive and all of that. So thus we have the take from my office’s Halloween party on Friday. As is usually the case, the costumes ran from political to humorous to tributes to various elements of popular culture. So here’s the spread:

We have, left to right, using character names, Bill Gates, Tim (holding the remains of a brussels sprouts plant), a crazy cat lady, a guy from Aperture Laboratories (from Portal), Christine O'Donnell, then a character that I don't recognize, me in "weekend mode" (wearing pajama pants and unshaven), Marvin the Martian, and a white-trash pregnant woman.

We have, left to right, using character names, Bill Gates, Tim (holding the remains of a brussels sprouts plant), a crazy cat lady, a guy from Aperture Laboratories (from Portal), Christine O’Donnell, then a character that I don’t recognize, me in “weekend mode” (wearing pajama pants and unshaven), Marvin the Martian, and a white-trash pregnant woman.

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Categories: Halloween, Work

Sick days are no fun…

October 28, 2010, 8:03 PM

Ecch… I hate taking sick days. This was the first sick day I’ve taken since 2006. But when I call out sick, I mean it. Talk about an awful time. I tossed and turned the entire night last night, with TBD (formerly News Channel 8) on the TV. And I had a fever the whole time. And I had a major case of nasal congestion and got to know exactly what sinus pressure was all about. I felt like my nose was going to explode, what with all of everything clogged up and in pain. And blowing my nose didn’t do much good. No relief. Just more of the face-wants-to-explode feeling.

And let me be the first to tell you that all-natural nasal sprays are overpriced and ineffective. I bought this all-natural nasal spray from Whole Foods yesterday that was made of saline, glycerin, and – get this – grapefruit seed extract. Lovely. So now the snot smells vaguely like grapefruit, but it’s still there. I went with the all-natural stuff because of the usual concerns about the rebound effect on conventional nasal sprays. However, unlike the natural stuff, the conventional one worked like a charm. When I finally said the hell with the natural spray, I hit my bottle of regular spray, and I could breathe again.

Then you know you’re sick when you call the office to relay some information and they can’t tell who you are by voice. Usually, I’m fairly easily recognized by voice. Not this time. I called twice to attend to various things, and two people each couldn’t tell who I was.

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Categories: Personal health, Work

Made with REAL sugar…

September 14, 2010, 10:23 PM

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. As you may know, PepsiCo did a five-week run of its limited-edition “Throwback” line of drinks, selling versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew sweetened with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. They also introduced retro-style packaging to go along with this:

Pepsi Throwback  Mountain Dew Throwback

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Categories: Food and drink, Work

The wading pool known as Dupont Circle…

August 27, 2010, 10:18 PM

So our Friday “Schumy Lunch” was more exciting than usual today. We went to Crepes-a-Go-Go west of Dupont Circle, and then went back to the circle to enjoy them. First of all, this place is really worth going back to. It’s got a great selection of crepes for breakfast, lunch, and dessert, and the employees were really friendly.

Then after we finished lunch, since the fountain was running and full of water, with some encouragement from my coworkers, I decided to go for a quick wade in the Dupont Circle fountain. I’d been in the fountain once before, during Funk the War 7, but that was in winter when the fountain was not running, and dry.

So I rolled my jeans up to my knees, and went in. Katy, one of my coworkers, took pictures of me in the fountain…

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Categories: Washington DC, Work

The following is completely secret, and absolutely serious…

August 6, 2010, 11:20 PM

So today was interesting. It was a very quiet day at work today, with a lot of people either traveling on business or on vacation. We had so few people, we didn’t even do our regular “lunch buddies” today. However, that’s not to say I didn’t have a few amusing moments…

First of all, I would like to point out that the people that design digital projectors should be required to mount their own projectors and then change the bulbs in them. The bulb in the digital projector in one of our conference rooms recently burned out, and it ended up becoming a much more involved process than I had wanted. See, the manufacturer, InFocus in this case, put the access door for changing the bulb on the same side as the mounting apparatus. Thus in order to change the bulb, one must:

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Categories: Project Chanology, WMATA, Work

Fun with bubble wrap…

May 27, 2010, 9:25 PM

So I was shipping a computer monitor today, and after locating a box and breaking out the bubble wrap, I decided to show the intended recipient (a coworker in another office) that I was getting it ready, since I needed to locate a box before I could ship it. And so here’s the proof:

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Categories: Work

So I got pranked this April Fool’s – big time…

April 1, 2010, 9:02 PM

So this year, April Fool’s Day was a bit more active on the prank front than usual. This is my third April Fool’s with these people, and the last two were fairly blah.

The first prank that I knew about was an Email that I sent out to the staff outlining some new kitchen procedures:

Greetings, all…

I’ve been reviewing how we run our kitchens, and am implementing some changes.

1) All food containers in the kitchen may only be orange in color. I did some research on this, and came to the conclusion that orange containers preserve food better than any other color, and therefore we will be switching to orange containers, effective immediately. The kitchens will be purged of all non-orange containers at 3:00 today.

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Categories: Holidays, Work

And it’s snowing again.

February 2, 2010, 9:37 PM

Yep… it’s snowing again. And of course, I’m still hitting the workahol, staying tonight until 7:30. When I stay late, I drive, and when I drove through, the roads got progressively worse the further north I went. P Street NW in DC was fine. Then 16th Street NW in DC was also fine. Crossing into Maryland, 16th Street was good. Then Georgia Avenue inside the beltway was all right, but once I cleared Wheaton, I started having to guess about where the lanes were. I really had to slow down in the last two miles home, once I cleared Glenmont station. Then my street was white except for tire tracks. But I made it, and I am once again in my nice, warm apartment.

Meanwhile, they’re calling for a good bit of frozen precipitation this weekend. Capital Weather Gang gives a 20% chance of more than eight inches. However, the reality is that they don’t know. They gave a 25% chance of less than an inch, a 25% chance of 1-4 inches, a 30% chance of 4-8 inches, and then the aforementioned 20% chance of more than eight. But instead of saying “I don’t know”, professional weather forecasters just guess. After all, giving something like that looks a lot smarter than “dunno”.

Otherwise, I’ve been meaning to show an old family photo for about a month now. Take a look:

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But the workahol is so good!

January 27, 2010, 10:23 PM

There’s a reason I haven’t written a Journal entry in a week… it’s because I’ve been working myself ragged at the office. These 12-hour days have caused me to question my own sanity. But I’ve got a really big project I’m working on, and am somehow managing to do that plus all the usual stuff I do all the time. It’s been leaving me physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the day. I barely even have the energy to do Wikipedia, let alone actually write an original thought.

So yeah, I’ve been a little workaholic this last week or so. I’m planning to go to Plungapalooza this weekend, and I’m seriously questioning whether I’ll be able to actually drag myself out of bed to go out there on Saturday. If I do manage to get up to go, though, Plungapalooza ought to be fun. I’m not going to be donning a speedo and jumping in, though. Nuh-uh. I’m bringing my camera along and joining whatever other bloggers happen to be there, in order to write about the event in this space, as well as potentially make a Photography set out of the event. And I’ve been looking forward to going for about a year. I wrote about it last year, and noted that I should save the date. Well, I did. If I can muster up the strength to go, I’m going. And bringing a hat, coat, and gloves.

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Categories: Events, Work

Computer rehab time already?

January 6, 2010, 9:14 PM

Next month marks three years since I got my Dell. And that means it’s almost time for my computer’s mid-life rehabilitation. Why get a new computer when you can make your current one last another few years with a little TLC, eh?

Yes, I do my computer like transit systems do rolling stock. Go for such an amount of time and then rehab the thing. It’s just like Metro recently did with the Breda cars. Rail cars generally last 40 years. So at roughly the 20-year mark, they do a mid-life rehabilitation on them. That brings them up to more modern standards, and gets them ready to go another 20 before retirement. Computers have about a three-year life span in my experience, and so a mid-life overhaul makes it go another three. Which means that I won’t need to replace my current box until 2013 or so. Now my last computer lasted nearly nine years. It went three years, had its mid-life rehabilitation, and then went almost six years before it finally was put out to pasture. That was for financial reasons, though – I couldn’t afford a new computer, since I wasn’t doing as well money-wise.

On my last computer’s rehab back in 2001, I upgraded from 128 MB to 384 MB of RAM, upgraded both optical drives, went from a 10 GB hard drive to an 80 GB hard drive, upgraded the video card, and upgraded the TV tuner card. I deliberately didn’t replace the motherboard and upgrade the processor, because that’s about where I reach my level of incompetence. Everything went quite well in the rehab, and it got me to 2007. I was pleased. I had contemplated a second rehab around that time, but I ultimately determined that a second rehab was more than I wanted to do for an eight-year old computer, and so I replaced it.

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“Whammies, you can drop dead… STOP!”

December 16, 2009, 10:15 PM

I do a trivia contest at work every year to divvy up some freebie items that we get from our office supply company. The past two years, I’ve done a shout-it-out format, where I come up with some questions, and then the first person to shout the answer wins a pick at a prize.

However, a few of my coworkers have been saying that they would like to see me juice up the format a little. They suggested teams, but I couldn’t come up with anything that would achieve the desired result (getting rid of all the prizes), and still not make it too overly complicated, and still get a lot of gameplay and participation. I’d thought about pricing games or something for it, but couldn’t come up with something that we could fit into an hour and get rid of the prizes (we usually have around ten or so).

But then it hit me. I came up with an idea of how to spice it up. I determined how to work in the trivia bit, and get some action. Each correct answer will earn spins. Then they take those spins and win points. And the spins, when taken, will look like this:

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Categories: Television, Work

Turned out to be a three-pronged strategy…

December 9, 2009, 11:53 PM

My office had its annual “holiday party” this evening, at Bossa Bistro & Lounge in Adams Morgan. All in all, it was a fun party. I stayed for three hours and had a good time.

The thing that was the most entertaining was the slideshow that featured pictures of all the stuff that the office did over the last year (or so). The slideshow had pictures taken in the office, pictures taken at various official events, plus various “extracurricular” events (i.e. things coworkers did outside the office). Most surprising was that a good chunk of the photos were either of me or taken by me. I often volunteer to do the photos, plus a lot of photos of me ended up in the rotation. They actually had what I called a “three-pronged strategy” in digging for photos: Official photos, Facebook, and Schumin Web. This was one of the more amusing photos of me that ended up in the rotation:

Holding up a "Congressional facebook"

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Categories: Work

So obviously, this is up for more interpretation than I expected…

November 26, 2009, 10:50 AM

At work yesterday, the copier went down for a bit until we got the copier guys in there to fix ‘er up. And in the meantime, I put this on the copier:

Sick copier

This was supposed to be a drawing of the copier, a Sharp MX-5001, with a hot water bottle on its head and a thermometer in its mouth. Basically, it’s a drawing of a sick copier.

Obviously, my drawing was up for interpretation. One of my coworkers described it as a toaster. Another as a stack of pancakes. Then the best interpretation of it was “a muffin smoking pot”. That last one surprised me, but there you go, I suppose.

So there you go. I’m not what you would describe as an artist, but at least I can draw silly out-of-order signs. Total time spent on drawing: 60 seconds.

Categories: Amusing, Work

We could be brothers or something…

November 18, 2009, 11:12 PM

It’s amusing what people do when they realize that their clothes match:

Ben and Jon

Yes, we matched. And we took a picture of it on our lunch hour. Each of us was wearing a dark red shirt, and then we each were wearing blue jeans. We were like unintentional twins. Then the hats finished the look. That’s my Gatsby cap that I’m wearing, and then Jon borrowed someone else’s hat since it mostly matched mine.

And what makes this more amusing is that yesterday, I was wearing the green shirt with the black jeans, and matched our communications director. She was wearing a green shirt and black pants. So now I wonder who I’ll match next. No telling what I’m pulling out of my closet tomorrow, though. We’ll find out in the morning, I suppose…

Categories: Work