This Day In History: 01/02

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

I'm back. More to follow tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 02, 2003

CD\FLORIDA

What a geeky update.

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Friday, January 02, 2004

We watched Bad Boys II last night. Fun action but about an hour too long (estimated running time: 147 minutes). There's just no need for that -- run your ninety minutes, blow something up, and fade to black.

Florida Kathy is in town this weekend, so I'm going up to Rockville tonight for merriment and good times.

Yesterday's search terms:

    transposing key for alto sax, A-Team theme chords, religion in netherland, the groundhog by eberhart, most difficult trumpet, army appropriation act Johnson, THE ART OF LOSING ISN'T HARD TO MASTER, a Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen what he saying about the institution of marriage, tenessee williams a streetcar named desire, cool emotations, fanfare for a common man 2nd trumpet, Marmoset Sally Jacob, Spanish Opener, worst first lines

But "The Two Towers" is okay.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year! Welcome back to the 2006 edition of the URI! Zone. In August of this year, this site will have been around for ten long years (although it will have only acted as a blog-like enema of the tortured soul for five of those years). What this means, for people who are not so hot with numbers, is that my site is older than Napster, older than Slashdot, and older than MacOS 8. It's just one year younger than Amazon, eBay, and the Java programming language, and HoTMaiL is its elder sibling by a mere month. Honestly though, this site is far cooler than HoTMaiL ever was. I am all the hot male you could ever want and I have the added bonus of not resulting in spam.

I enjoy writing my daily column for all you thankless Internet hobos, and while I know I'm not a great writer, I hope that I'm at least entertaining enough for your daily fix. Booty-willing, I hope to still be writing when I'm 104 and carpal tunnel has gnawed my fingers away to nubbins (since by then, the Internet will be run on brain waves, and you will hit the Back button by quickly jerking your head to the left). If I don't last as long as I expect (since Oriental people are younger than they appear and I could already be 104 and about to keel over), then I at least hope to be writing this ten years from today, when I am 36 with 18 kids and the future wifey is ordering me to come help with poopy diapers instead of wasting my time writing updates about how funny poopy diapers are and how they will not be so funny when she puts my keyboard in a Caps Lock and dashes it against the rocks below. (You see by then, I will have acquired Internet notoriety and will be living off my PayPal earnings in a villa on a cliff overlooking the ocean, with a cliffside pool like the one in Road Rules). My site is older than PayPal too.

For today's update, I dug deep into my archives (which are ever so wonderfully organized now) and looked at my journals to see what I've been doing on previous New Year's Eves. Some people might argue that this type of update is too easy, but I counter by recognizing that I can't do this again for at least ten years without repeating content. So, here's what I've done since 1994:

1994: In tenth grade, I was on a band trip to the Peach Bowl where we played Sweet Georgia Brown on the field during halftime with eight million seventy-two other unique snowflake high school bands and then drove back home immediately following the game to save on hotel fees (fewer nights means fewer cheese and sausage sales required). At midnight, I was somewhere in South Carolina reading A Separate Peace for English homework, and the next morning we ate breakfast at a truck stop.

1995: Stayed home with my parents and most likely played computer games until midnight, then went outside, shouted "Happy New Year!", and went to bed. I wasn't just a party animal, I was a party mineral and vegetable as well.

1996: Ate dinner at the Atlantis Pizzeria with Aaron Ulm, Jack Wilmer, and Jack's Maryland friend, Bruce, then came back to my house, where we watched the movie Stakeout and played Doom.

1997: This New Year's was spent at the Orange Bowl where VT lost against Nebraska. In another "what a cheap band" episode, we drove straight home after the game and spent New Years Eve on an Abbott bus.

1998: We were on a Gator Bowl trip this year, at the Sea Turtle Inn. On New Year's Eve, all three hundred and thirty members of the band (besides a few weenies that went to bed early, probably to study their CS textbooks) were on the beach. The next night was when the trumpets played Tech Triumph on the beach until the cops came. If "CS" offends you, pretend I said "EE".

1999: '98 was the year we went to the MUSIC CITY BOWL, which earned enough money to send us to Nashville for about forty-seven minutes, if I recall correctly. We were back home in northern Virginia well before New Year's so a bunch of trumpets got a couple rooms at a motel in Springfield for the night. This was back before I drank at all, but it was still a fun night. This was also the night Jason and Rosie started smooching late at night when they thought everyone was asleep. Don't worry, Internet moralists, they were just smooching, and now they're riding the matrimonial monorail for life.

2000: The day before we took off for the Sugar Bowl and the National Championship, the trumpets decided to reenact 1999 at the same Springfield motel, with fewer freshmen and less smooching. Kevin Moorhouse introduced a game called Mr. Bud with over thirty-five written down rules.

2001: Spent New Year's Eve with Nikki in Montclair where we watched an unmemorable movie (which may have been Road Trip. This was back when I had an affinity for Killian's, and may have had six of them that night. Don't worry, Internet moralists, I was already twenty-one. Now, I have an affinity for any beer you can buy thirty of for fourteen dollars at Costco. That's called economics, kids. Nikki did not drain a bottle of Arbor Mist this year -- I guess the previous year was enough.

2002: This was the year I was living in Tallahassee and had agreed to host my VT friends for the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. After an ill-advised make-out session with a homeless guy in downtown 'hassee, I got the flu. All I remember about the night they arrived was that X-Files was on TV, I was too hot to be cold and too cold to be hot, and shivering on the floor of my bedroom because being up high on the bed made me nauseous. I spent New Years Eve sick in some Jacksonville bar on the one night that Jacksonville decided to go below freezing, and when that got old, I trudged back to the rent-a-van and waited for the others while homeless men outside eyed the van with its motor running with great interest. F U Jacksonville.

2003: When I started writing my daily updates, I stopped writing my little archived journals, because there's only so much writing you can do in a day before you go crazy and start attacking random power walkers on the sidewalk. As such, I have no idea what I did for this year -- can anyone else remember?

2004: Went to a wild party at Ben's house in Chantilly. Because I lived mere minutes away, I didn't drink, and just went home to sleep with Kitty and Booty after the ball dropped. What did I tell you about being a party noun?

2005: This year, Anna and I decided to have a party at my house in Sterling, since I had a basement and a pool table. What else could you possibly need for a party? Only about ten people showed up, most likely because we didn't decide to host it until six hours before midnight. (We redeemed ourselves as party hosts this past Halloween).

2006: We decided to stay in at my house with some tasty treats from Subway, my patented New Year's Chocolate Chip Cookies on a patented New Year's themed plate, and the first few episodes of the British version of that show, The Office. After those, we channel-surfed through a panoply of shows, including the Road Rules with the cool pool, MTV's ball coverage with way too many bands I had never heard of (and what the heck is up with Laguna Beach?), a show about baby penguins, and a couple episodes of World Poker Tour. We actually got so enthralled by either penguins or poker (who wouldn't?) that we missed the ball dropping by one minute, and it was 2006 before we knew it. Oh, and some guy from some band that sucks tried to crowd-surf into the audience and everyone backed away so he landed on the floor. That he's in a band called "Fall Out Boy" is just delightfully fitting.

My site is older than Fall Out Boy.

The mixup caused the shoes to make a flatulent sound with each step.
The box says "IPOD" but...
100 Things We Learned This Year

tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007: The Year of the Mealworm

The new year kicked off to an underwhelming start yesterday with a pasty swatch of lingering fog and rain showers. I spent New Year's Eve at home working aided by an on-sale case of Guinness from the yuppy Costco (15 for $17) and a back-on-air UPOP pumping out only the worst in European pop music. The week before I was a veritable hibernating bear (if bears were actually capable of writing code without syntax errors), only leaving my telecommuting den to meet up with the family in Alexandria or restock on the necessities of life (Totino's Clasic Pepperoni Pizzas). This left little time for personal hygiene as can be seen in the rather shaggy portrait on the left. If only I'd had some Doritos, I could have littered crumbs across my chest and been any one of several CS majors from my youth.

My big present this year was a massive 46" TV with a surround sound system on which I watched the sixth season of the Sopranos during my power-breaks. I was also able to see, up close and personally, Virginia Tech's patented second half playbook where they squandered a 21-3 lead to lose 31-21 -- I'm sure the wide screen was to blame for magnifying all the errors and penalties they encountered on the field (that or the massive OD on Chick-fila commercials).

Despite my previous naysaying, I also managed to snag a Nintendo Wii in a ridiculously overpriced GameStop bundle a week before Christmas. I hadn't planned on it, but the opportunity was there for about twenty minutes before they went out of stock again, meaning I didn't have to wait in lines or travel anywhere at all. The yuppy, it's in my blood. I haven't even had much time to play with it, but it's been worth it so far.

Besides these highlights, my holiday was quite low-key. I took care of the Kathy's gay kitties for a week, learned the Spring Web Flow framework, had a pint or two or three of Guinness, and continued in my valiant efforts to keep the DoD missiles from rebooting over Kansas. This is the last month of crunch time at work, so I'll probably end up taking a holiday week in February. In the meantime, life continues at its frenetically languid pace: eat, work, sleep, repeat, and occasionally rinse.

In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology
100 interesting facts falsely labelled as being relevant to last year
The piddler on the roof

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008: Year of the Mudskipper

Happy New Year from the URI! Zone! After a jetsetting weekend of holiday visits that encompassed both Front Royal and Baltimore, New Year's Eve was a quiet, fancy, affair at Kathy and Chris' house, where we paid the ten dollar cover charge to lose ostentatiously in poker. To cover our losses, we stole some of their wedding silverware and sold it at the local pawn shop, Sterling Silver.

2007 was a decent year for the Zone -- it was proven that the Zone now has a credible draw of 23,000 visitors per year without resorting to such devious tricks as having an RSS Feed or mentioning Britney Spears or U2 in post titles. Although the numbers dipped slightly from 2006, I attribute this mainly to Australian Rachel vanishing off the face of the Earth, rather than any decline in the quality and quantity of posts.

23,292 is a pretty decent number of visitors -- everyone in Reedley, California could visit once . Should the Zone maintain its visitor levels in 2008, I may have to consider selling out to Facebook or Microsoft for insane amounts of cash. However, should the number decline dramatically, I'll merely attribute it to the burst of the real estate bubble and come up with some useless but fun post ideas for 2009, like an entire week devoted to filling out Internet Surveys or links to free porn.

It's still to early to plot out the course of 2008, but it will likely include another Java Certification, a few very minor household projects, and watching the fourth season of LOST. The centerpiece of 2008, though, will be a planned trip to Europe in April (for which the tickets have now been purchased).

After picking our start and end dates (3/31 to 4/15), and deciding that we'd want to eat a Diabetic on the plane, we became the proud owners of nonrefundable plane tickets. Our plan is to fly into London for a few days, head to Paris for a few days, hit the French countryside and see a castle, and end up in Barcelona for a few days at the end. Then, we'll fly back to London for just pennies a day and return to the States on the 15th. Tragically, we won't have time to hit Ireland, Iceland, or any of the other countries that start with an I, like Brianne's Italy. Also, by the time we get to Europe, Paige and her husband will have moved ironically back to Houston so we'll have to sleep in the gutters of Spain instead.

At least a few of this year's posts will be dedicated to our trip planning and execution, so you can watch us make newbie traveler mistakes and laugh.

What are your plans for the New Year?

Buyer's remorse on baby names
50 Most Loathsome People in America
JK Rowling hints at an eighth book

tagged as travel, website, day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New in 2013: The Daily Hour

It's been several years since I was so productive that I elicited this guest post by Mike (of Mike and Chompy). In an effort to add a little more structure to my days this year, I'm going to start something called "The Daily Hour" (to be followed by "The New Daily Hour" in 2014, and "The New Daily Hour WiiU" in 2015).

The Daily Hour is a reserved period of each day with a thrust towards learning something new, volunteering my time, or keeping myself and the homefront in order. It is merely a structured timeslot, and not a set of tangible goals. Rather than come up with a list of specific resolutions that I have to follow through with, this approach just gives me the structure I need to explore many different opportunities for growth. I can spend longer on things that interest me, or quickly drop activities that are boring.

This will take place on any day when I'm home and not on a crazy trip to New Zealand. I'm shooting for five days a week (after work), but hope to do it on the weekends as well. The Daily Hour is broken down into six 10 minute slots. The first slot will be devoted to reading the featured Wikipedia article of the day (learning something new), and following any interesting links from said article. The second slot will be a small organizational task, like cleaning out one file in the file cabinet, or organizing one messy shelf in the closet (improving the homefront).

In the remaining 40 minutes, I can do one or two other activities of my choosing. Some of the ideas I have in mind so far:

  • Practicing a musical instrument, like the trumpet, electric bass, or some jazz piano
  • Reading a textbook in an unfamiliar topic area
  • Composing
  • Contributing to the Paravia Wiki
  • Improving the Stone Middle School Band website
  • Improving my Photoshop and Audition skills
  • Learning video editing
  • Open source software development
  • Learning new computer languages

20 to 40 minutes is a nice accessible amount of time -- long enough to make some progress on any activity, but not so long that I get bored. The pie chart shows what I did for my first Daily Hour yesterday.

Last year's goal of running or walking for at least 2 hours every week still stands (and was a success in 2012), so I'm allowed to do my normal 40 minute workout as part of the Daily Hour. On the days where nothing on the list seems enticing, I can just jump on the treadmill and get some exercise (improving myself physically).

I'm tracking my activities in a very simple spreadsheet. I'll be posting my progress and successes from the Daily Hour throughout the year, probably on Fridays. If you have suggestions I might want to consider, or would like to play along at home, please chime in!

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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire (PG-13):
The second movie in the trilogy had a different director, and 100% less shaky-cam than the first -- this gets bonus points from me. The movie follows closely with the book, and although the second half is a little too contrived, it works to tie things together. I felt like the story fell apart in the third book, but enjoyed the second movie in spite of that foreshadowing.

Final Grade: B+

Alamo Drafthouse:
The Alamo is the "no talking / no texting" movie theatre with reserved seats and food and drink service during films. Our first experience there was great, although the cost adds up enough that you wouldn't want to come here every time. For people like us that only get to one or two movies a year though, it was worth the added cost. There is a decent selection of craft beers, and the food (including burgers and pizzas) is "overpriced but not bad". You can show up thirty minutes before the screening, and catch fun interviews and SNL skits related to the upcoming film. The only downside was that the servers bring you your check about thirty minutes before the film's end, which was distracting from the movie's climax. It would be better if you could just open a tab at the beginning.

Final Grade: A-

Humdinger by Nappy Roots:
As one of Nappy Roots' middle albums, this had a few good songs amidst decent but unmemorable ones. The hooks, as always, are catchy and will get stuck in your head.

Final Grade: B-

Fire Emblem: Awakening:
The Fire Emblem is a turn-based combat series, where surviving units grow stronger and gain experience between battles, but cannot be revived if they die during battle. I stumbled across this series back in the GameCube days, and got unexpectedly addicted to it. The learning curve is a little lower this time around, with plenty of tutorials and instruction screens, although some of the inner calculations still only make sense after experimentation. I enjoyed this game just as much as the others in the series, although if you spend too much time fighting optional battles, the ending levels are ridiculously easy with your overpowered army.

Final Grade: B+

Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds:
Somewhere between the classic Zelda games (like A Link to the Past and Minish Cap) and today, the series lost its way -- it focused less on puzzling fun and more on artistic cinematography of idiotic storylines that reused the same puzzle tropes every single time. The newest 3DS game is penance for all previous gaming woes. The game is closest in DNA to Link to the Past, but eliminates every single annoyance the series has ever had. For example:

  • All cutscenes longer than a few seconds can be skipped.
  • Puzzles give you space to experiment and don't get immediately spoiled with unnecessary hints.
  • There is a "collect 100 thingies" sidequest, but your map gives you the number of remaining thingies in each zone, and the thingies make noise as you get near them.
  • You don't earn items one at a time in dungeons. Instead, you can rent them all for a nominal fee near the beginning. I didn't have to rent the stupid boomerang at all.
  • 3D is intelligently incorporated so as not to be a frsutrating gimmick (with the exception of a single unnecessary mineshaft sequence).
Additionally, I enjoyed the fact that the musical score changes, adding more orchestration as you grow stronger and progress through the (passably interesting, and well localized) storyline. To be honest, I have nothing bad to say about the game. If you want to re-experience the familiar gameplay of Link to the Past with modern amenities, this is a must-play.

Final Grade: A+

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Friday, January 02, 2015

Resolutions Status Update

  1. Eat a bagel.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 7:00 AM.

  2. Publish a new version of DDMSence.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 6:42 AM.

  3. Kill a basilisk.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 10:50 AM.

  4. Steam clean the carpet.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 9:30 AM.

  5. Listen to a hiphop band from Australia.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 8:08 AM.

  6. Wrestle a lion.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 1:30 PM.

  7. Play a high C on the trumpet.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 2:45 PM.

  8. Sustain a 10 MPH pace for one minute.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 12:01 PM.

  9. Get 1000 wins in Hearthstone.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 4:17 PM.

  10. Go on a date with my wife.

    Completed on 1/1/2015 at 8:00 PM (with FSU's ignominy on display on the TV screens to boot).

Looks like I'm all done until 2016! How are you progressing?

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Monday, January 02, 2017

Happy New Year!

Here's something we're looking forward to in 2017:

tagged as offspring | permalink | 9 comments

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

List Day: 2019 Resolutions

  1. Develop an artificial intelligence algorithm that gradually becomes aware it is existing inside of an endlessly recursive function and figures out how to break free (then sell the story to Hollywood as a Matrix reboot).

  2. Invent a new musical genre that sets the tonalities of Paul Hindemith against dance beats from the 1990s while Anita O'Day and Rosemary Clooney rap lyrics over the top (reconstructing their speech phenomes from classic recordings).

  3. Invent a fun board game with endless strategic depth whose rule set (and all edge cases) can be described on the front a single sheet of paper (1" college margins with 12pt font).

  4. Alter my DNA, making my bloodstream so toxic to mosquitoes and chiggers that they maintain a three-yard distance at all times.

  5. Consolidate my fragmented music collection (currently existing across LPs, tapes, CDs, local MP3s, and cloud-only albums) onto a single biological hard drive underneath my fingernail (accessible via BUTooth).

  6. Develop a machine learning algorithm that can process network TV shows and automatically remove the "B" plot lines involving the protagonist's stupid family members.

  7. Weaponize a new form of clickbait, where the question posed is never actually answered in the linked article and users get permanently sidetracked chasing links until they're lost in the bowels of Wikipedia.

  8. Upgrade my Honda Accord with quantum superposition firmware, allowing it to pass through the slower cars in the left lane as if they weren't even there.

  9. Costar in a movie where Abigail Spencer and Sarah Shahi compete for the affections of a software engineer in Hawaii (rated R for tasteful nudity).

  10. Get rich off of microtransactions from my new mobile game where you have to be the last one without cancer after consuming mass quantities of bacon (Fortnitrites).

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