The URI! Zone - 10/2005
Welcome to October. It's definitely Fall now -- I can tell because it was chilly when I woke up this morning, Shopper Food Warehouse is selling Halloween pumpkins, and Costco is selling Christmas ornaments. I like the changing scenery and the associated briskness, and the fact that it's cold out, but not so cold that you have to bundle up too much (I hate being cold). This is also why Summer beats Winter -- Winter has good high points like holidays and snow, but I hate being cold so that rules out most common days. Spring is just too wet and unpredictable -- they should just excise that season altogether (maybe they could replace it with another Fall).
Fall is probably my favourite season, followed by Summer, Winter, and then Spring (Rock trumps them all, but even Scissors beats Spring). The one thing I don't like about the Fall is the emergence of mutant crickets in sheds . Every year I go out to the shed in the Fall and it's teeming with these gross-looking useless insects that do nothing but hang on the wall, watching you, and waiting for you to turn your back so they can gut you from behind. They can easily hop three feet into the air, but aren't afraid of anything you do. I'm going to train Anna and Ben's new puppy to eat them on command.
I kept pretty busy this weekend. In between multiple shopping trips all over the county (I finally picked up the missing set of curtains) and taking care of homebound recuperating toothless invalids, I made some time on Saturday morning to visit the new puppy and watch the Hokies trounce West Virginia 34-17. Baylee is a beagle / border collie mix. Anna and Ben choose the spelling to be unique yuppies, and because Bayley looks like it should rhyme with Péle. When I was in high school, I knew a girl named Gbehlee, so I guess Baylee isn't that much of a stretch.
I saw the puppy just a couple days after it had moved in, but it seemed pretty happy with its surroundings. It pooped outside when I was there, which apparently is a big deal. Sydney seems pretty calm about the whole affair and tried to steal Baylee's bone (because it smelled like bacon, and who WOULDN'T steal a bacon-scented toy). When Baylee gets too close, Sydney will get annoyed, but otherwise they chase each other around and act cute together. Baylee farts a lot, so I'm sure everyone will get along fine in that household.
Kitty doesn't like the new puppy much at all, except when it's sleeping and not doing its jerky erratic puppy shtick. She will sit on the stairs watching like a cat-spy, and occasionally come down to put up a good brave face, but mostly she spends time upstairs sleeping (nothing new). I'm sure that after a few weeks, all three of them will be playing some No-Limit Hold'Em for bacon bones and sleeping together in a big pile of fuzz.
I like other peoples' dogs, but I would probably never get a dog myself -- if I wanted high maintenance I would just date a sorority girl. Cats are great because they are the like the end table of pets. You feed them and occasionally play with them and they take care of everything else themselves. Self-cleaning, always sitting in your lap, and they poop in a box -- what more could you ask for?Marry your Baby Daddy Day, because there aint no apostrophes in the ghetto
Teen's camcorder records his death
Clowns succeeded in distracting the children but apparently annoyed doctors and nurses.
Yesterday's search terms:
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It's fun getting packages in the mail, and since I do all my non-impulse shopping online, I get quite a few. I try to limit my Amazon purchases to one a month or so, and just let things pile up in my shopping cart until they reach a critical mass (This also lets me have a grace period when I decide that I don't want to purchase Girls Gone Wild: Boise Edition after all). My most recent Amazon shipment came on Friday, and contained the following:
The Mikado: Gilbert and Sullivan
My friend, Jason, is playing 2nd trumpet in the orchestra for this show in November and had a conflict, so I'm subbing in for him on one night. It should be fun -- it will give me a chance to do some dedicated playing and transposition. I bought a recent recording of it for completeness, but the downside is that it contains modernized lyrics as well. It's jarring to hear a standard Gilbert and Sullivan arrangement talk about Walkmen. I don't know which version will be performed in November, but the recording assures me that the music is all predictable and there will be no surprises.
Scrubs: Complete First Season
Scrubs is one of those shows that I always find hilarious when I get around to watching it, but never watch on a regular basis. I was waiting for it to show up in Costco because I am a cheap miser, but finally decided to just order it online. I was desperately in need of more sitcom-length series to watch while exercising -- Lost, Alias, and 24 are fine and dandy when you split them with someone, but biking by yourself for that long results in sweaty buttocks, which is not particularly sexy. Being sexy while you work out is a must, which is why I do shirtless medicine ball exercises in my driveway and at the mall.
Firefly: Complete First Season
I was hesitant to pick this up, because the box and all the promotional materials scream "space opera", and the space opera is not exactly high on my list of favoured genres (see also, the Wing Commander computer games and movie, where creator, Chris Roberts, decided that his prowess at making space shooter games meant he could also be a cinematographer and write romance dialogue). I finally bought it on the recommendation of both Kim and Rachel, and have decided that it was worth it. Firefly is one of many critically-acclaimed shows that starts out on FOX before becoming prematurely aborted by network executives. Created by the guy who did Buffy the Vampire Slayer (another cult show that I didn't really care for), it was doomed from the start since no one at FOX understood the show. Apparently they promoted it as a comedy-action space show and then proceeded to show about ten episodes (all in the wrong order, by the way) before consigning it to death. Since then, though, it's gone on to become a top-selling DVD and sparked enough interest to lead to the Serenity movie which is currently out.
When the pilot started, with lots of flashing lights and flying spaceships, I cringed inwardly and figured it would turn out to be "Starship Troopers for TV", but thankfully this doomsday prophecy didn't come true. Instead, the show changes gears pretty quickly into a drama / character study show that just happens to be set in space. In fact, I'd go as far as saying it's more of a Western than a Sci-Fi show. I'm about halfway through the fourteen-episode series now and it's grown on me a lot.Tens of thousands of appliances are releasing a gag-inducing stench of rancid shrimp, sulfurous eggs, and other adjective-laden nouns.
"Is the goal that they should never look at their own vagina and not know about it?"
Doing my part to add Geri Agalia to Google
Yesterday's search terms:
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Have you ever been roused out of a deep sleep by a loud noise that's gone by the time you become aware? That happened to me last night -- I woke up at 12:22 AM to silence. I hadn't consciously heard anything, but knew somehow that an incredibly sharp, loud crash had happened somewhere in the house. I was going to blame it on the cats, because Booty has been known to fall down the stairs, Kitty has been known to tip over trash cans with turkey bits in them, and Sydney and Amber just mess everything up. But as my eyes adjusted to the pleasant darkness caused by the lack of street lamps in Loudoun County, I saw that both of my cats were sitting on my beds, staringly intently out into the hallway. I say beds because I have a twin bed next to my full bed temporarily while I renovate the upstairs guest room. It's been in my room and sheetless for over two months now, and sometimes I will nap on it for kicks. Booty sleeps on it at night.
After becoming awake enough to be alarmed, I peeked at the clock to make sure that it wasn't 3 AM and also checked to see that the room didn't smell like burning. I assured myself that I had not fallen into a horror movie about demons and did what any self-respecting guy would do: I threw on some jeans and went to investigate. This is good practice for ten years from now when I have to protect the missus from strange noises in the middle of the night, or cattle rustlers. I'm not saying I'll be marrying a cow, but rustlers are bad news for pretty ladies too, and we all know that I live on the frontier of Northern Virginia.
Booty and Amber decided to stay in bed while I investigated because they are both big pussy cats. I didn't have any weapons handy, so I pulled my thick leather belt ($19.99 at J.C. Penney) from around my waist and held it like a garrotte. I figured I could ninja my way up to any malefactors and choke them from behind, or use the belt like a whip Indiana Jones style. It turned out that I didn't have anyone to beat up, because the noise had been caused by the heavy marker board that (no longer) hangs on my fridge. When we first moved in, we had a heck of a time keeping it up, so finally we coated every inch of the backboard with two-sided sticky tape. Apparently the lifespan of sticky tape at room temperature is approximately one year and seven months, and apparently gravity is still an unstoppable force.
This pointless personal story reminds me of another story in the local news: A martial arts instructor tried to abduct two of his students in the middle of the night, but they kicked his ass with martial arts moves . The criminal not only taught his targets how to defend themselves, he also got repelled by two 10-year-olds, and then tried to cover it all up by saying it was a robbery gone sour. Personally, I would not have let my kids in his class to begin with -- he's just got that unsettling creepiness about him that would send up parental warning flares from my parental raft. I'm glad he failed though, and I'm also glad the dad got to hit him with a lamp. That's so much more satisfying than just letting the police catch him, and it's what I would want to do if any crazies every came after people I cared about.
Don't forget, Lost, Episode 2x03 is on tonight!A special crate for dogs in the glove apartment allows owners to interact with their pets while driving.
Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible
I forgot I was getting married today
Yesterday's search terms:
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Alias: Fifth-season debut of the now-pregnant, now-Mrs. Ben Affleck's action drama suffered the show's worst opening numbers ever -- just 8.2 million viewers. We wondered why and, since we've never gotten this one, turned to one of its most ardent fans, who directed our attention to a recent "Alias" promo in which ABC managed to jam the words "child," "father," "daddy," "pregnancy" "hormones" and "baby" into just 30 seconds, and added, "Loving a show is like loving a man -- you're only going to get your heart broken." - Washington Post
B.W.I.: I was up at 3:30 this morning to take someone to the Baltimore-Washington-International Airport -- the one that fools you into thinking it's closer by putting "Washington" in the name. If I ever convert my home into a bed and breakfast, it will be called the Palm Springs - Hartford - Homestead. That should cover all my bases.
Cancer: Conductor Fritz Velke II died of cancer on September 30. He was the conductor of the Alexandria Citizens' Band when I was in it in high school, and also an All-District judge of concert bands.
Doom: They're making a movie of the computer game, Doom, with The Rock as the Nameless Marine. Computer-game-based movies are never good for business.
Eggos: How can Buttermilk Eggos taste so good while Homestyle Eggos taste like poop?
Firefly: I finished the DVDs last night and am now looking forward to seeing the movie next week when Kim gets back. They should have continued the series -- at least there were no cliffhangers in the last episode.
Google: You can now personalize Google as a portal site, so it looks like a Yahoo! with out all the useless crap.
Hokies: The Hokies play Marshall this weekend.
I: I am pretty tired at the moment.
Joke: Q: What is George Bush's opinion of Roe vs. Wade?
A: He doesn't care how people got out of New Orleans.
Karen & John: I recently found out that a couple I knew in college had a baby last year. I called the baby a boy. I chose poorly. Damn those gender-neutral names.
Lost: I wish they had let the counter run out.
Mikado: The music is pretty tame-sounding, so I'm sure 2nd trumpet will be no problem.
Naps: Forty-five minute naps are perfect. Less and you aren't refreshed, more and you wake up feeling scungy.
Orange Juice: I buy OJ in four-packs from Costco and drink it all in a week.
Pythons: Python eats crocodile then explodes .
Q-T: This is a cute picture, taken by Anna. Notice the action blur of the paw:
Tom Cruise: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are expecting a kid, only six months after he brainwashed her.
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: The 18th edition is being released in the next few weeks.
Ventor Avenue: Monopoly is back at McDonald's. It seems like the game is never quite long enough to actually win anything unless you eat there daily. Smart business move.
Warcraft: My secondary character, a Shaman, is now level 56. Besides that and my 60 Druid, I also have a 37 Priest and a smattering of lower-leveled characters.
Xylem: I don't know any good xylem jokes, but the punchline would have to include "phloem". Phloem phloem phloem.
You: How are you doing? Leave a comment.
Zazzara: I got back in touch with a band director I used to work with to do some Finale work and possibly some arranging or a middle school fight song.
Yesterday's search terms:
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A British cleric was thrown out of a school after he told pupils that Harry Potter was gay.
Bush passes the buck up the chain of command
Student passes out in President's office
Yesterday's search terms:
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Happy Birthday Mike! This is a picture of you and Booty sharing a good time when you were only 23 and Booty was only 6 months. Now, you're old and 26 and Booty is still 90% younger than you are.
Actually, Mike's birthday was on Sunday, but time stands still in the URI! Zone on the weekends. Couple that defiance of age with the fact that I didn't update on Columbus Day and you have an easy-to-follow recipe for a two-day belated birthday wish. I figure that as long as everyone is growing old, I may as well savour as many national holidays as I can (although I did go to work yesterday, just like any other day). Any illusions that I would permanently remain in the idyllic days of my youth were erased when I noticed that Amber had grown to the point where she could no longer fit entirely into her sleepy basket (Evidence of her growing intelligence include the time she ran full speed towards a desk, tried to leap onto it, and chest-planted the edge). I'm pretty happy that time is moving forward though; I have good feelings about what the future might hold. I used a semicolon in the previous sentence, because I use the double-hyphen far too often -- on an unrelated note, I hate how Microsoft Word converts hyphens and quotation marks into special characters.
Side note: At this moment in history, Amber is sitting atop my bookshelf trying to get the second hand out of the clock. She's all about some stopping time too.
The only time that time isn't flying by is when it comes to processing security clearances. Mine finally finished up on Friday, a mere twenty months after I originally applied. Apparently, the investigation span even exceeds the life of two-sided sticky tape that you put on the backs of magnet boards so they don't fall off your fridge. Having a clearance on file means that I can requisition private vehicles for emergency use or jump to the head of the line for the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster, and I am now taller than the "You must be at least this secret to look at this file" line. However, the value of the clearance on the job market has drastically declined in the past two days, since it was revealed that the FBI is considering hiring more potheads . Why pay outrageous wages to cleared citizens when you can hire a pothead for a side order of fries and some E.L.Fudge cookies?
I'm not complaining about the big bucks though, because it allows me to buy first-world necessities such as this entertainment stand to hold my sound system in the basement. It was a Target special (and on sale for $60 off) and, though it may not look like it, it's a do-it-yourself assembly. I love do-it-yourself furniture, because it's like playing with Legos but at a much grander scale. I like the precision with which the holes are pre-drilled and how following the instructions leads to a solid product with very few chances to screw things up. I also think the guy who invented the self-tightening cam (that little metal circle that catches a dowel and grabs it tightly as you twist it) was a genius since it makes assembly require a minimum or grunt work. I may be a little bit crazy.
Those two doors on the entertainment stand hide cabinets which are completely empty. This is a true representation of the rest of my house, which is 55% living space, 10% stored goods, and 35% empty storage space. I love having so much storage space because it lets me organize everything to the o-th degree -- if only I had more useless crap to store on my empty bookshelves, cabinets, and closets, I'm sure the house would be much happier. You don't ever want to meet a crabby house.Match.com's criss-crossed lovers
Chili before bedtime helps you sleep faster (but not your bedmate)
Squirrels in south London could have become addicted to crack cocaine.
Yesterday's search terms:
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It's rained pretty much nonstop for the past six days -- that cold, messy cloud spit that isn't strong enough to have thunder and lightning (which would make it worthwhile), but still gets you soaked when you walk outside. The only plus to this weather spell (Nasty Rain Rank 3) is that it gave me an excuse to turn on the heat a few weeks early. Now, for the half hour that encompasses my morning routine of waking up, the house is a toasty 75 degrees. Growing up in my parents' house, the thermostat was permanently set at 68 degrees (because 68 is "room temperature") and there were space heaters strategically placed in major rooms that you had to huddle up against if you didn't want to be cold. Sharing many traits with the noble iguana, I prefer my house to be slightly warmer, so it's usually between 72 and 82 degrees all year around. Here is a list of my morning routine -- it's down to the minute because that's what you're supposed to do when you own a digital watch:
- 5:28 Alarm goes off, waking up cats.
- 5:29 Alarm goes off, sort of waking up me.
- 5:29 - 5:35 Cats attempt to wake me up in various ingenious ways involving tar and feathers.
- 5:35 Last alarm goes off. Get up and feed cats FIRST (or else).
- 5:40 Take a shower and don disguise as mild-mannered computer programmer.
- 5:50 Pet cats and leave house. Drive to work.
- 6:00 - 6:05 Arrive at work, depending on how many slow drivers are on the road. Yes, I'm talking about you, -- the speed limit is 35 so you should be going at least 45 in your ugly black SUV, and definitely not 20. Someday I may put BUS BMPR in BEVS TLPIPE just to get you moving faster.
The picture of the iguana was drawn by Brenda, a student at Felipe Carrillo Puerto in the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Brenda has never visited my site, but she is well on her way to being an artistic superstar, as is Luis, who is exceptionally talented at drawing a turtle who's having a head-on collision with a sand dune (or alternately, it's BEVS LTHRBCK and it was holding up the daily ocean commute). Incidentally, I think Quintana Roo would be a great name for a superhero marsupial on a Saturday morning cartoon. It could even be bilingual for all the Spanish viewers.
Because lists are great, especially on rainy Wednesdays, here's a list of cartoons I watched as a kid:
- Shirt Tales
- Duck Tales
- Garfield and Friends
- Any cartoons on that USA show with the train in the credits (I think it was Cartoon Express, or something similar)
I also watched Babar, Tom Sawyer, and Belle and Sebastian on HBO when at my grandparents' house. These were the first mainstream Japanese-style cartoons in the U.S., where the main characters barely moved at all, had ridiculously large puppy dog eyes, and spent lots of time with one-word interjections like "Huh?" and "Hey!" and "Oooh!" because they meant less work for the animator. I wasn't one of those kids that woke up at 6 on Saturday and watched cartoons until noon -- even back then I was a TV snob and thought most of them sucked.
P.S. putting your bumper in someone's tailpipe is not slang for anything perverted.UNICEF bombs the Smurfs
This is the best news they could come up with today
Another congregant alleged that Noel struck his chest and twisted his left earlobe
Yesterday's search terms:
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My column on effective cat grooming using only a bellows and a half pint of grapefruit juice will be temporarily postponed, as I was tagged yesterday by Kim to "List 5 things people might not know about you". Tags are a very serious deal in the blog world for two reasons:
- Personal Protection: Breaking a tag is like breaking a chain letter, and usually results in the breaking of legs. Once my friend, Pedro, chose to ignore someone's tag and they broke into his apartment, erased his blog, kicked over his potted philodendron, and then tortured his pet shrimp by deveining it while alive. I don't know if Kim has a mean streak or has ever deveined a shrimp, but I would rather not gamble with her possibly sizeable wrath.
- Making the World a Better Place: If you don't do the tag yourself, then you cannot pass the tag onto other people. This completely robs them of any material to write about -- there are many bloggers out there who have nary a fun idea in their head and live day to day with tags like a welfare mom working for tips at a Piggly Wiggly in Iran. By doing your part to pass the tag on, you are putting fresh thoughts into bloggers' heads. Tomorrow when we all wake up and begin our daily dose of reading, we will get to learn something interesting about someone, rather than a link to a Which Spice Girl are you? quiz (83% Posh), and all because I did my civic duty. You can thank me later.
So without further prognostication, here are five things you might not know about me!
- Many sites now require you to type some random string of letters to prove that you are a human and not a spamming computer whenever you want to post something or register for an account. I get these wrong a surprising amount of the time. Either I am partly a robot, or I'm having mental flashblocks from all those colour-blindness tests in my youth.
- I have self-diagnosed myself with the harmless but scary condition hypnopompic paralysis , where my mind seems to wake up before my body, and I cannot move. This seems to happen most often when I take midday naps where I'm concerned about what time I need to wake up. There's always an initial sense of panic, and it generally takes me several minutes to understand the state I'm in and how to get out of it. I escape it by taking very deep breaths until I wake up for real, because apparently your breathing is one of the few physical things you can control. I never knew this was a real condition until I started poking around on the Internet a few years ago. I figured it was just nightmares.
- I like to be generous with people's wedding registries because it always seems like other people buy the least expensive stuff like "Spoon $9.99". An hour ago, I bought all the duck-themed bathroom goods for my friend's upcoming wedding. I attached a card with various sentences made up of the word "quack" and some popular punctuation marks. I also threw in two rubber bath ducks for good measure (although a lone goose would have been more appropriate). I'm not sure why there were duck-themed bathroom goods in the registry, but now the couple will never have to worry about lacking ducks. I think there was a clinical study a few years ago proving that this worry was a leading cause for American divorces. (The leading cause for French divorces was les canards).
- I have bouts of nostalgic yearning where I'll revisit something from my past, like rereading all my Gordon Korman books in a row, or playing all the Ultima computer games (except the crappy XI which had so much potential but ended up being a buggy poor-man's WoW). I think I have beat The Legend of Zelda at least once every three years since I got it as a kid, and I've reread The Westing Game so many times that all the pages are broken off the binding now.
- It was really hard thinking up a number 5, since most of the easy tidbits were already poured into the batter of my 222 Things page. Anyone with a 100 Things About Me page can generally use it as a good excuse for their lack of creativity with this tag, and I actually considered just talking randomly like this until I had a full paragraph, in hopes that you wouldn't notice that I didn't actually mention a #5. In the end, I decided not to do this, because you are all smarter than you look and would catch onto my games pretty quickly. Give yourselves a pat on the back for being so bright! And look over there, cute puppies!
I now pass the tag-torch on to Florida-Mike . By now he's beaten every Flash game on the Internet and needs something to occupy his telecommuting days. In addition, I also tag every single person who reads this page today, lurkers included. Please post 2 things I don't already know about you in the Comments section! If you have already been tagged, I'm giving you a discount -- you only have to write one thing. If you do not write something, you are officially a rat fink, and you will not receive the Amazon.com gift certificates I give to all regular readers next August for this site's tenth anniversary.
Happy Birthday, Rick Dunham, a.k.a. Gold Medal!Mom seeks personal reenactment of The Brady Bunch
Make sure you pay your fire tax
Pythons just aren't having a good week
Yesterday's search terms:
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Yesterday's search terms:
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A Tourist's Guide to BU's Weekend
Finn and Porter: This is where we had dinner on Friday night and pretended to be as fancy on the outside as we know we are on the inside. Actually, it was very reasonably priced and tasty, and it's about as close to high-class as I've been in a long time (probably since high school prom dinner). The decor was straight out of Pottery Barn, and their wine list was ridiculously comprehensive, taking up the entire back of the one page menu in tiny font. It was even more comprehensive than my Comprehensive List of Types of Sheep1, right down to the $310 bottle of Dom Perignon. I like wine, but am no wine connoisseur, so the house Pinot Grigot went just fine with my Maine Sea Scallops which were so buttery they almost melted in my mouth.
Shopping: Bright and early Saturday morning, I gassed up the pimpmobile that is my 2001 Honda Accord LX (which is also about to break 40,000 miles) and hit Shoppers Food Warehouse for all my bread and Totino's needs, followed in quick succession by Target for sundry household goods, Home Depot for 56 feet of molding, and Costco for more snacks to make me fat at work. Total expenditures: $189. I would make a Mastercard joke here but I find them to be obnoxiously pithy and overdone. P.S., there was an eight foot tall Santa Claus statue that looked like a waxwork in Costco. Over its head was the sign "LARGE SANTA $499.99". Merry Christmas, you filthy animals.
My Storage Room: This is the least seen room in my house because the door is always shut to keep cats out of the circular saws. The door is also shut because a previous cat resident felt it was a good idea to write her name in the snow, where "write her name" is slang for "pee" and "in the snow" is a euphemism for "all over the carpet multiple times", and it would stink up the whole house otherwise (I plan to replace the carpet and redo the room once the guest room is all done). I tidied up the shelves and finally threw out some useless crap like the garish four foot Cat in the Hat that Anna got in some Secret Santa thing and refused to take with her when I evicted her.
Upper Blackrock Spire: Fourteen fellow gamers and I finished this dungeon in World of Warcraft in an uneventful two hour run. This is the hardest dungeon in the game, not including the super-expert dungeons that take twenty to forty people to beat. The boss of the dungeon, General Drakkisath, was beat with an ingenious strategy of one player (the expendable hunter) taunting him and then running several hundred yards away into another part of the dungeon to die while the rest of the group pounded on his bodyguards. I did my standard raid strategy of turning into a cat and typing catty stuff -- this is why we always win (both in the game and in real life).
My Kitchen: On Sunday morning, I woke up at a leisurely 7 AM and played WoW until 9 (and got level 60 on another character). I didn't play much all summer because I had other real life things to attend to, but it's nice to have one more thing on my List Of Things To Waste Time With When I Don't Want To Do Anything On My List Of Things To Do. It's definitely much more fun because you're always playing with other people -- it wouldn't be the same as just a solo game. At 9, I went to the Kitchen and cooked eight pieces of bacon (all for me!) and read the Post. Two stories caught my eye: this one about a marching band who can't play a song about the Devil and this one about the discovery of a man who died years ago. Dying alone and forgotten would suck, so I don't plan on doing it myself, even if it means I have to marry a bag lady (not the paper/plastic variety -- they usually smell fine). I also think that out of all the daily columns in the Post, Animal Watch is easily the most topical, well-written, and enjoyable.
Fair Oaks Mall / Brookfield: Post-bacon, I went to the mall with Anna so she could assist me in picking out an appropriate light blue paint to go in the guest room that would match the carpet I bought last week. I then exchanged a shirt at Old Navy. After that, Anna, her sister, and I roamed around the subdivision and through the woods with Baylee the puppy, teaching her how to run through creeks, stop at street corners, and catch illegal immigrants in violation of Fairfax's maximum occupancy laws. Anna thinks she's a setter / pointer mix, not whatever mix I originally posted a couple weeks ago.
My Living Room: I got Chinese food for dinner (Lemon Chicken, Beef Lo Mein, Soup of Wanton Destruction, and Egg Drop Soup) and then finished off the last DVD of Scrubs: Season One. The thing I like about this show is that it's both hilariously funny and also has a serious, heartfelt angle, and neither one is shortchanged. It's hard to make a sitcom have heart without it coming off like an after school special, but Scrubs works. I didn't finish the Chinese food, but I have enough for three or four meals over this week (there was a minimum charge for delivery, and I couldn't find anyone who also wanted Chinese). After that, I flipped over to America's Funniest Home Videos to see if there were any neat-o cat montages, but it was pre-empted by the Home Makeover show, so I turned off the TV and wrote this entry.
1: Shorn and Wooly.Cat Born with Two Tongues
The girl's parents have had to become members of a US porn site to track the original video and clear their daughter's name.
Proposal Tip: Don't Kill Her Older Brother
Yesterday's search terms:
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List Day: 5 Pet Peeves
- Bikers in the Road:
Whether it's the mid-life-crisis Lance-wannabe guy squeezing two hundred pounds of mass into a one hundred pound spandex bag, or the ecologically-aware yuppy biking to work with the smarmy "I'm Saving Gas Money" sign (crayoned by a five-year-old) on the back of his seat, none of these clowns should be allowed on roads where the speed limit is higher than 25. You are not a car, you do not belong in the car lane, and you most certainly are not allowed to hog a lane of traffic up to a red light, then morph into a sidewalk-user to bike through the crosswalk. Also, the fact that the W&OD trail crosses a four lane highway in Sterling does not mean you get to dart across it without stopping unless you want a date with BUS BUMPR. All bikes belong on the bike path or the sidewalk.
- Books with Recaps:
It's okay to drop a quick reminder to a reader if you're writing a series and something hasn't been mentioned in a while. It's not okay to spend the first eight chapters of your book filling everyone in about the plot of the previous book. Everyone who's reading the middle of a series probably read the beginning, and if people want to jump into the middle, it's their own fault if they don't know what's going on. If you are going to put recaps in your books, use a literature-approved pattern for identifying the recap, in case the reader wants to skip over it safely. One common pattern is the "massive paragraph full of old information that makes your eyes glaze over by line two". Using this pattern, discerning readers can quickly jump down to the new stuff without worries. The kids' series, The Great Brain was both the best and worst at this. Every single book described the town, the entire family, how J.D. looked like his ma but not his pa, and how T.D. had traits of both, and how little Frankie lost his parents in a landslide and didn't talk for months, ad nauseum. However, this was always Chapter One, and you could be assured that nothing new or important ever happened in Chapter One.
- Homestar Runner:
I think Homestar Runner tries too hard and is 100% not funny. I could be biased, having gone to school with an entire area of study who lived and breathed it and quoted it constantly (another reason why it was hard being a CS Major). How is it funny in the least bit? And how did it get so mainstream these past few years? I guess if you read it religiously and are invested in the characters it takes on an "inside joke" cult status, but it's not my thing.
- Comedians Who Laugh at Themselves:
A comedian's job is to make US laugh, and a joke just isn't as funny when you have a hard time getting through it yourself without laughing. It's even worse when you're laughing at yourself and you're not that funny to begin with. I was listening to a comic on XM with the most irritating laugh which sounded very much like an off-balanced washing machine on helium. He kept tittering to himself after every sentence, and the audience was completely flat. Then he started talking about "trail mix" people (you know, those people that walk around everywhere eating trail mix...) and that's when I made the executive decision to change the station.
- DVD Menus:
If I buy a TV show on DVD, I don't want to see movie previews, especially not every single time the DVD starts. If I want to watch a show, there shouldn't be three hundred submenus to navigate through with an unskippable fade-out between each menu. I also feel that my purchase of the DVD entitles me to skip everything else on the DVD besides the features. This is 2005, and user-interface design has passed the point where you're allowed to add useless unskippable fills of camera panning and call it artistic (see also, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). Finally, I know it's a crime to copy DVDs, and I know that when an actor says "I hated this bull-honky show" in the commentary track, it's not necessarily the opinion of Universal Pictures. I would be willing to sign a waiver if it meant that I never had to see these two warningsever again. I wonder if it's against the law to copy the sign that says not to copy tapes.
On an unrelated note (like a flat four in a diatonic key), my car broke 40,000 miles as I rolled into work yesterday morning. My mileage was ridiculously low in Florida when I drove it once a week to Walmart to buy pizzas, but now that I am both a Northern Virginia driver and a social butterfly, I'm abusing it to no end.Hypno-Robber Strikes Again
The bear fled the scene after the collision.
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Every Entry Gets a Title This Week
Last weekend, I got the first e-mail about my ten-year high-school reunion from our slacker-assed Class President, Mike Sharp. If I recall correctly, we actually had co-Presidents, the black girl (Tori) and the white guy (see above), so as to make sure that no one felt underrepresented. This was because we came from a high school that was ever so equal opportunity (a euphemism for "70% Black, 20% Hispanic, 9% White, with special guest star, BU, as the Token Asian #1"). So, Mike got to be the white President and dance with hot chicks (as seen in Figure A) and everyone in the world was complacent1.
I have mixed feelings about attending a reunion and mingling with people I haven't seen in ten years, who are definitely not the same people they were back then. Everyone changes, and usually for the better, but after the standard "How are you? It's been a long time. What have you been up to since high school?" part, there's really nothing else to do but fall back on the old "Remember that time when...?" trick. This is great if, to you, high school was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but otherwise, not so much. I never find myself yearning to be back in high school, because most of the years were not particularly memorable or enjoyable. Though senior year was tons o' fun, with Mrs. Buckbee's English class , Mr. Esformes' passionate diatribes about the state of the government to disinterested kids who probably weren't planning on graduating, and that Carl Halmo guy running around saying "Fish Fingers" for some strange reason only he knows, I don't really need to relive the rest of it.
They say you should go if only to laugh at the former rising stars who ended up crashing and burning, doomed to spend the rest of their days working the fry station as a double amputee after a particularly harrowing college accident involving Forty Friday and a wheat thresher. Honestly though, I don't think that any of the people I once knew would have fallen so far. I also never had any grudges or nemeses back then, so the news that anyone's fallen on hard times today would just be a disappointment, lacking in the vengeful glee department. I fully expect to go back and just see that people have moved farther along their timelines with no drastic surprises like sex changes or public offices, and as far as I know, no one has died (besides the girl I knew in junior high who was murdered a couple years ago).
When I was in high school I was not popular at all, but I was very well-known. Being well-known opened just enough social doors so I could have a foot in every caste: I was a band geek from being drum major and playing trumpet, I did indoor track which gave me that HARDCORE ATHLETE!! persona, I did Crew which let me hang out with all the rich kids (despite having gone to the wrong junior high), and I made fun little games on my calculator which surrounded me with a bunch of guys who kept telling me I should write MODs, whatever that was. There was also a sect of the drama department that worshipped me for reasons beyond human understanding. They created a "Purple Platypus Club" which idolized me and then gave me a Beanie Baby platypus as a present (That was a little peculiar, but I still have the platypus on a basement shelf). What this means for a reunion is that I'd be able to recognize and chat with tons of people, but really wouldn't have any deep memorable experiences to share with most of them.
When all is said and done, I'll probably end up going, if only to say that I did. That's the reason I do a lot of things!
1: Apparently the Hispanics were not represented and no one cared, not even them. Vote for Pedro.[Kellenberg] is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy.
Dog bites author of dangerous dog law
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She said she learned a great deal by doing Laurie's class work.
Now, PLAY DEAD.
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But in the past, crowds have beaten up astrologers when their predicted demise failed to occur.
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Last Thursday night, we went to see the movie, Serenity, the big-screen adaptation of the cancelled TV series, Firefly. As a fan of the show, I thought the movie was pretty much perfect -- bringing most of the abruptly-ended storylines to a satisfying close. It didn't make the normal big-screen mistake of trying to overdo the story with a big budget (see The X-Files for a good example of bad excesses), and really was just a new episode in the continuing storyline.
This movie is best seen if you've watched the TV show (and there's only half a season's worth of episodes so it's easy to play catch up). Though the first few minutes do a good job of introducing all the characters, their relationships, and the conflicts, you will not get your money's worth if you aren't already emotionally invested in the characters. However, even people who have never watched the series will still be able to enjoy a solid space adventure movie. Overall, I loved the twists of the plot and the way it tied everything from the TV series together. Go watch it and support quality storytelling, because there's something wrong with a world where the DOOM movie is #1 in its opening week .
After the movie ended, we stayed through the entire credits sequence so Anna could see if they would play the theme song. At the bitter end, they played the accompaniment, but without the vocals. Anna would not be a Karaoke star for our amusement, so we left without hearing the lyrics.
Speaking of a band of fugitives flying through space with a psychic, here's what I did with my weekend. On Saturday, I finished painting the guest room a light blue (which is not nearly as vibrant and jarring as the illustration would suggest), so all I need to do now is lay the carpet and install the moulding. Then, I will be able to house twice as many drunken wenches when I host bacchanals and bat mitzvahs at my home.
After painting with my peculiar panoply of pastels, I went to the lovely wedding of Nikki and Rod at a church just outside Quantico in Triangle, Virginia. Nikki is yet one more old college friend who has paired up and do-si-do'ed into the married afterlife. It's always fun to go to the wedding of a music major because they place so much emphasis on getting good quality music. No trumpets, this time around, but voices and oboes a-plenty. I also saw many folks from Virginia Tech, divided into three categories: people I knew by name (maybe 3), people I could recognize but not attach a name to (most of them), and people who could recognize me but I'd never seen before in my life (the rest of them). Who will be next to jump on the marriage bandwagon? Kelley Corbett?
On Sunday, I went to a rehearsal in Maryland for Mikado, and played 2nd Cornet on a part that irritatingly rotated transpositions between A and Bb after each song.
Happy Day-After-Birthday to Jason Mirick, who turned like 50 yesterday, and Happy Birthday Beza Lemma who turns 27 today!The nut-cracking gorillas
Scientists released the Norway rat on the island to find out why rats are so difficult to eradicate.
Meese decapitate moose statue
Like four sticks of dynamite in a placid Oklahoma pond, the music world was rocked on its foundations on October 25, 1981, with the birth of Anna Marie Spellerberg. In her formative years, this future Grammy-winning diva was best known for being a part-time music major at Virginia Tech and performed various unplugged duets with cats on the Vaudeville circuit (2MB WMV). As a child, she often dreamed of making it big, and possibly transitioning from music into showbiz, starring in a critical box office success with visionaries like Bruce Willis or Frankie Muniz. But it wasn't until she met Booty that these dreams became more than a passing whimsy.
Athena Hornsboot, born on October 25, 2002, and now known by her stage name, Booty, was a musical superstar among cats. Her first great success was choreographing a music video for KC and the Sunshine Band's Shake Your Booty, which she also starred in. As luck would have it, she was touring in northern Virginia when Anna's singing career was in a temporary slump. Booty convinced Anna to quit her dead-end job at a car dealership, change her surname to Ahlbin, and sing on Booty's somphomore CD, Everything is Bootyful.
The CD went on to sell millions of copies, and one of their B tracks, Look We Have the Same Birthday, was the fourth most popular download for the year 2004 on Kazaa. It looked like this was a partnership for the ages, to rival even Rodgers and Hammerstein, or Sonny and Cher, until one fateful day when Anna stumbled across Booty putting the moves on Ben, Anna's husband, in the dressing room at the MCI Center.
Harsh words were exchanged, and in a sandstorm of tears and catfighting, the musical duo that brought smiles to millions of Sudanese refugees was dissolved. Anna moved to Manassas and began grooming a brand new animal partner for her act while Booty retired in the lap of luxury with her personal groupie, Amber. In interviews, each performer insists the other was at fault, and it does not appear as if a resolution is anywhere in the near future. In the meantime, fans everywhere have cried for more of their musical genius, even just one more song as an epilogue to their brilliant careers.
Would these two former friends ever resolve their creative differences and come together to create another Grammy-winning album? You'll find out after the break, here on
British and U.S. officials said the tour was designed to show Alabamans that diplomacy is relevant to their lives.
A mysterious object turned out not to be a bomb, but a device that was supposed to scare off aliens believed to be living under the ground.
From the People Who Don't Deserve to Win the Lottery file
List Day: 10 Cold Weather Tidbits
- I HATE waking up to a cold and dark double header. The frostbite-inducing chill of an early morning house and post-shower dryoff would be okay if some semblance of sunshine came softly through my window today, and I have no problems getting up when the night is still pitch black in the summertime. The tactile atrocity coupled with the lack of visual stimuli destroy my wake-up genes and force me to set two more alarms just to get me out of bed. The hungry cats help too, of course.
- I LIKE snow. I will sit in a window seat and watch it snow for hours, then I will go outside and shovel my driveway in neat orderly rows or just wander around in the muffled quiet, punctuated only by the faint sounds of the occasional speeding SUV overturning on the highway. I like wet snow more than dry snow. I have tried to make Calvin and Hobbes snowmen, but they're never as good in 3D without ink outlines. I like wearing boots and stomping piles of dirty slush. I like sliding around on ice and like the fact that my neighbourhood does not get plowed -- giving me ample excuses to work from home in snowy weather with a three-year-old Booty on my lap instead of in the office. I think this is the only instance where I can use the phrase "three-year-old Booty" and not end up on an FBI child pornography watch-list.
- I HATE warming up the car on cold mornings, and hate deicing windows even more. I am too crime conscious to start the car and head back inside, so I sit out there while losing sensation in my fingers and toes. I hate people in big cars that poke a tiny hole in their windshield view and then bombard people with snow and ice on the highway, so I always clean my windows off fully.
- I LIKE holiday cheer. I don't always decorate much, but I like driving past garishly motel-signesque Nativity scenes and seeing candles in the windows. I like holiday food and coming in out of the cold to the smell of oven-fresh giblets. I wish there were more chocolate-based holiday cookies.
- I HATE cold feet (the literal variety). The rest of my body could be hypothermic and I wouldn't notice if my feet are warm and dry. I hate having to lounge around the house with socks on, and find it strange that sometimes your feet are actually warmer if you go barefoot and tuck them under your legs (although maybe I just don't own any warm socks). I hate when I have cold feet and I'm wearing shoes, because not only are the shoes failing at keeping the cold out, but there's also no easy way to warm them up without taking off the shoes. I love those little heat packs that you snap and put in your soles to keep your feet warm all day long but I haven't used any since VT football. I hate cold ears too
- I LIKE the bite associated with Fall evening air, before it's so cold that you have to bundle up to look like a fat kid who watches TV all day with his hand in the peanut brittle jar. Bitey air is the first sign of Fall.
- I HATE being the first one at work, since the building's heat does not come on until two hours after I arrive. However, since I get to come home at 2, this balances out, since I am safely ensconced in my warm house long before the sun goes down.
- I LIKE the fact that I can be completely lazy without guilt when it's cold out. I can hibernate indoors and play games, read books, or zone out by the television and defer any productive contributions to society until the Spring. I like raking though, so I will always rake. I like raking even more in Sterling because I don't have to bag the leaves -- I just rake them into the forest. I should try that with my trash too -- I would save about $90 per quarter.
- I HATE the heating bills that come from living in a house with a heat pump. Using the A/C or the Heat steadily for a month adds sixty dollars to my utilities bill. However, a warm house is classified as a necessity in my book, on par with hot water, light, and weekly meals at Popeyes.
- I LIKE piling blankets on my bed. By the time winter has reached its peak, I'm usually burrowed under a sheet, a blanket, the bedspread, two fleece coverlets and a gigantic sheepskin. I like watching cats nurse the sheepskin.
- I HATE people who make pretentious lists artistic by capitalizing more words than necessary at the start of a paragraph.
But the driver -- who had just bought a cup of hot coffee -- slammed the car door into the carjacker's legs, threw the coffee at his neck and face and wrestled him to the ground.
Mourners had laid wreaths and teddy bears for what they thought was a human baby discovered in a back alley.
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Yesterday while shopping for Halloween trinkets in a crafts store, the register came up with a $3.13 total. Without a moment's hesitation, I had my debit card out and ready to pay this monstrous third-world debt tab. It was then that I realized I had become one of those yuppy cashless consumers that you read about in the paper all the time. I made five separate stops yesterday during errands time and paid with debit every single time. Thankfully I'm not so bad that I charge everything yet -- my credit card only sees the outside of my wallet for online purchases and prostitutes. By the way, that $3.13 got me two outdoor tealight holders in the form of tiny jack o' lanterns which I can stake into my overgrown lawn so all the annoying eighth graders that are too cool for costumes but still expect candy know where the sidewalk is.
My lawn is quite overgrown at the moment, since I haven't mowed it in about three weeks and it's been raining for just as long. The newly seeded portions along the sidewalk are finally growing in, and has that cutesy baby grass look to it, but the rest of the lawn could easily be the set for the next sequel to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, one of those classic 80s movies that consists of a bunch of kids on an adventure where most of the script involves shouting and screaming (see also, Goonies). I used to watch the shrinking movie all the time as a kid (there was a Roger Rabbit short at the beginning of the tape as well) but that was definitely another movie that didn't deserve to be part of a trilogy. It was followed by the horribly-titled (and horrible) Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (which could have made for an incendiary premise had they not taken the tame route of enlarging the baby and setting him on Las Vegas), and then Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves which tactfully went straight to video.
Since it's already proven that Hollywood loves converting atrocious piles of fecal matter into big-screen bucks, they should create a movie starring all the big child stars of the 80s crammed together into a brand new adventure. At a minimum, the ragtag bunch of misfits who eventually bond together and save the day should include the Short Round kid, Corey Feldman, Drew Barrymore, the Truffle Shuffle kid, and Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid. The villain should definitely be Glenn Close, since she's scary-looking even in her serious movies, and her sidekick would be the Pee Wee Herman guy. Doesn't this sound like a winning combination?Dad thinks son was shafted on disciplinary report
"i recently had to delete my old myspace because of school conflicts, but whatevvv"
Survival of the fittest even applies to crossing guards
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In other cat news, my sister who lives in a house the size of a cubicle with a husband, two dogs, and two cats, just got another kitten. That's an obscene amount of fauna.
Peppin said that, seen on the X-ray, the cookie resembled organic material that could be a raw component of a homemade bomb.
It looked like cracked pepper at the time. But it had a real strong odor ... a foul odor.
If he succeeds, it will be his crowning acheivement - doubly impressive since he clearly didn't get Claudia Schiffer up the duff despite his legendary powers.
If you are reading this and you work with me, there's a massive mountain of sugar and chocolate on my desk. Please partake freely. If you are in my house because you are a daytime burglar, there is a ridiculous amount of beverages left in my fridge. Please partake freely, and leave all the rest of my crap behind.
In honor of Halloween, I have gone through my backlog of pictures from the past month and posted them all in the Photos section. Follow this link to see the pictures of the newly-completed guest room. Follow this one to see a couple pictures from Nikki's wedding. Follow this particular link to see a bunch of cats and dogs and follow this link to see a bunch of pictures from the ridiculously black Halloween Party we had on Saturday night in my basement. As always, you can use the left and right arrows on those pages to browse through the pictures in order, or you can use the menu on the left-hand side to jump to another section.
I do not plan on giving out candy tonight, because half the kids are one year old and have no idea why their parents have dressed them up as ghosts, and the other half of the kids do not wear any costumes. It really kills the magic of the holiday. Maybe I will just leave a bulk box of raisins and apples on my stoop. Every neighbourhood has to have the weird house where the owner doesn't want to answer the door, so he leaves a big basket on the steps, trusting in the goodness of kids, and every neighbourhood also needs the dentist who passes out healthy snacks -- I could kill two birds with one stone.Body mistaken for a Halloween prop
Because adding dialect to your article gives it that local flair
Alice and I wanted to have a name that was exotic and American and which stood for something good
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