This Day In History: 01/09

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

I spent yesterday evening with some friends who were studying for the Listening Exam, which is being offered again today. One of them had gotten copies of someone's personal study CDs, which had excerpts and high points from most of the music on the exam. The editing of the CDs was a bit overzealous -- excerpts were too short to really learn, and massive works were compressed to just a few seconds, according to the importance it was given by the student who had made the CDs. It's interesting to think that a future measure of acceptance and staying power for current composers will be such academic exams in the twenty-first century. Barring acceptance by the mass media culture, the main place our works will be studied and/or enjoyed will be in academic circles. It's also unsettling to think that I could spend years perfecting the details of a single piece, only to have it systematically pared down to its "essential" motives and phrases for the purpose of memorization and regurgitation.

I passed my trumpet audition last semester. One less thing to worry about for the future. As this semester gears up, it looks like I'll have plenty of free time for practicing and composing, although how wisely I use that time will always be in limbo.

"It's that damn Connor piece. Man, I hate that piece." - composer, on what future listening exam students will say

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Thursday, January 09, 2003

The basketballers lost to the coyly-named "Craven Moorehead & Associates" 47-15 last night. I didn't play this game as I had hospital duty with our local wounded, who turned out to have a fractured orbit.

Walking to Cawthon doubles my daily commute. If I don't watch out, I might become physically fit or something.

Porn stars help prevent suicide

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Friday, January 09, 2004

There was millimeter-thick layer of snow on the roads this morning, which was just enough to make people driver like retarded clowns on two-wheeled unicycles. My own commute was only about ten minutes longer, but some coworkers took two and three hours to travel thirty miles from inside the Beltway. Apparently all the accidents were SUVs too.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    jason mirick, misodoctakleidist, composer emotion despair, christy kull, Why is the Wade Davis Plan more harsh than Lincoln's?, pine cone scrapes, uri pictures

Treasury department changes its privacy policy
Woman survives skin falling off
Woman thought bloodstain was rust

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Monday, January 09, 2006

On Saturday morning, I made my annual pilgrimage to the real brick n' mortar book store to buy a wall calendar for 2006. Border's had a horrible selection this year so I got a calendar full of llamas for a multitude of reasons:

  • All the cat calendars were stupid. If you're going to make a calendar with cats in it, at least make them cute cats. No one wants to see your ugly cat and your momma is stinky.
  • Besides llamas, the only other selections were NASCAR-themed, Batman-themed, or ugly cats.
  • The llama calendar was 50% off, and I had a Border's gift certificate from last year's Halloween party (which I won for being the Best Hawaiian) for $5. This meant that I only spent $2 in real money for it.
  • I guess the last point doesn't matter so much in the grand scheme of things since it was my party and I bought the gift certificates, but I've learned that you should take every opportunity you get to feel frugal (rightly deserved or not), because then you can hemorrhage cash without guilt later on.

    Now, Why Cats Paint of 2005 has been relegated to the file cabinet with all the other old calendars. I seem to have kept every calendar since 1992, except for 1994. Maybe this was a subconcious note to self that 1994 was my junior year and sucked enough to not be worth remembering. As you can see from the picture above, my tastes have changed throughout the years (the Virginia and Antique Maps calendars were gifts though, so they don't count). The only big difference in calendars of yesteryear is that I actually used them to remember dates and wild parties and the like. In 1993, there's some kind of event on practically every day of the month. In contrast, my 2005 calendar has one day per month filled in with "PAY MORTGAGE".

    This weekend, I also saw Walk the Line with Kim, who had seen it once before and thought it was see-worthy again. Plots for movies like these are always the same: guy has talent, guy does drugs, guy is in a bad way, guy redeems himself. Generally movie biographies don't interest me -- I watched the first half of Ray and got bored enough to turn it off. However, I ended up liking this movie, probably because of the music and the performances of Jokin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. They were able to fully become their characters for these roles, and I rarely ever felt that I was watching a movie star play a role. They also had impressive singing voices as well -- I would buy their albums. Sadly though, I have to admit that I did not know a single Johnny Cash song going into this movie, even Ring of Fire which I was assured that "everybody knows". Bottom Line: A+ movie, would watch a movie with these actors again.

    Tip of the Day: Don't flee a bank robbery with a personalized license plate.
    If you ever tried to ski when you're wasted, it's not easy
    Oh we can't tell, just buy our stock, don't sell, sell, sell.

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    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Look, Listen, Learn Day

    LOOK at Amber doing the Lemur Dance (3MB WMV). Who needs expensive toys? Certainly not I.

    LISTEN to Lily Allen singing LDN (400KB MP3). I don't know why this is such a catchy tune -- probably its singsong patter and the fact that British accents are sexy.

    LEARN that, according to zoologists, a tiger's scent markings smell like buttered popcorn.

    LOOK at Mike's brand new website, The Chompblog , which is far more techy than my own. Composer to computee in just over two years -- he calls it the bank because "that's where the money is".

    LISTEN to Lady Sovereign singing the diametric twin of LDN: Love Me Or Hate Me (500KB MP3). The guttersnipe accents and general unpleasantness of the electronica gave this song enough of an edge to keep my attention.

    LEARN that, according to the FBI, 74% of threats against federal workers are directed at IRS employees.

    LOOK at the gay Brothers Katomatzov as they catch a mouse (4MB WMV). Who needs expensive toys? Certainly not I.

    LISTEN to the first section of my work in progress (500KB MP3), based on a melody by Anna. There's no introduction yet -- I've gone through three and discarded them all so far. The parts in the recording have probably survived long enough to be permanentwill probably stick around permanent. Also, I hate making MIDI drum set tracks.

    LEARN that the original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 6000-year lease.

    Keep People Out of Wash
    For those unpleasant days, the heated steel canopy helps to take the edge off Mother Nature
    Smallest state seeks new owner

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Tensday Wednesday

    a column that can only be described as "in tens!"

    1) In Saturday's $10 poker game, Jaood became a first-time winner. He's played poker at my house since the very first game in April 2004 (when none of the windows had curtains yet), and it's taken him this long to break away from the pack. Congratulations!

    2) Ten people who graduated from high school with me that I never kept in touch with, and then found again on Facebook: Chris Detrow, Rangena Hotaki, Geoffrey King, Matt Koerner, Deborah Lipnick, Matt McGuire, Ben Seggerson, Steve Seltz, Ely Soto, and Mike Stafford.

    3) In mathematics, ten is a semi-meandric number. This means that it will occasionally wander to the spot before nine or after eleven.

    4) When I was ten years old, I was a sixth-grade safety patrol that had been playing the trumpet for two years. My science teacher, Mrs. Anderson, ran a boring class which consisted entirely of students pairing up and doing labs that involved rolling metal balls across carbon paper while she sat at her desk and tuned us out. I missed two classes in a row once for a band rehearsal and concert, and she called my parents at home to tell them that I was a troubled student who was missing too many classes.

    5) Memento is the only movie I have seen more than ten times in my life.

    6) The tensile strength of concrete is 10 MPa.

    7) Ten years ago today, I was home on Winter Break during my sophomore year of college. I ran errands with my dad during the day, and then went to see L.A. Confidential in the theatres with Mike Sharp and some of his friends, back in the days when Skyline Mall at Bailey's Crossroad was actually a mall and movie theatre, rather than a gigantic Target (in the retail sense, not the launch the missiles sense).

    8) My "safe" vocal range extends from G2 up to D4. This means that I am not a tenor.

    9) I've only ever written one composition that lasted at least ten minutes without interruption. It was my Masters' thesis, , and though it was never performed, it did have Jim Barry's seal of approval.

    10) Finally, there once was a man who sent ten different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

    Mexican boy glues self to bed to avoid school
    Clarkson stung after bank prank
    Shoplifter stabbed by stolen knives

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    Friday, January 09, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    devolving the week into fragmented chaos

    ♠ Someone started a Facebook group for T.C. Williams High School Marching Band alumni this week, so I've been busy scanning and uploading a bunch of embarassing photos and reconnecting with long lost members. People in the band were obviously the coolest kids in school, despite the fact that the uniforms made us look like we were in a live action production of the Nutcracker.

    ♠ In my senior year, my dad was the defacto band photographer, and it was my job to take the most recent week's set of pictures to the band room and post them on the bulletin board. Kids could buy their favorite prints for a quarter, and since I was also in charge of sales, I would try to put the ugliest and most horrible pictures in prominent places to increase the profits. I made at least twenty bucks in two months.

    ♠ Twenty bucks wasn't too bad for so little effort, especially since I didn't have a regular job until college. My spending money in high school came from three different sources: a monthly allowance of about thirty dollars, periodic stage crew gigs with the Alexandria Symphony, and the elderly neighbour that insisted on paying for weekly yard work even when it was emphatically clear that work had not been done.

    ♠ In college, my income actually declined, since my summer job was the dead-end internship at PEPCO for $200 per week after taxes. I would not get paid so little again until I became a graduate assistant at Florida State. Truthfully though, I was overpaid for the first year's assistantship since I was helping to run a computer music lab that did not actually exist. Jobs with no work are the best.

    ♠ Plans for the weekend include a trip to Arlington tonight where Rebecca will reconnect with a bunch of Grinnell alumni and reminisce about how flat Iowa was back in the day. On Saturday, I'll have to do some hardcore web development to jump start our wedding site, since we'll be out in Purcellville on Sunday at the winery, signing contracts and finalizing the wedding date. Once that's out of the way, we can move on to the fun stuff, like determining which Bach piece with Ocean Sounds will be played, and who's going to jump out of the cake. Any volunteers?

    ♠ Have a great weekend! Don't forget that Monday is 12 of 12!

    Students put speed cameras to good use
    Husband wants his kidney back
    Girls Gone Wild seeks a federal bailout

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    Monday, January 09, 2012

    Weekend Wrap-up

    In celebration of her last weekend before the next semester starts, Rebecca caught a cold. We stayed in on Friday night, eating a better-than-Totino's but worse-than-Pizza-Hut Safeway pizza and watching the pilot episode of Pushing Daisies. We're now juggling about seven different shows at the same time -- this is the kind of extreme television situation you can get in with a five-slot DVD player and an Amazon Prime subscription.

    On Saturday morning, my parents stopped by with 237 pounds worth of treadmill (the Horizon T202), which uses up all the remaining space in the basement -- we may have to knock down a wall to reduce claustrophobia down there. Since Rebecca was sick, I took the treadmill on its inaugural expedition, running 13 miles per hour at a 48 degree incline for fifty-seven minutes.

    In the evening, we drove up to faux Sterling for a party with all of Rebecca's fellow PTA students, of many disparate ages and background. We filled up on Iranian food and counted our blessings that we didn't have to drive back to Fredericksburg or Haymarket after the party.

    I spent most of Sunday writing briefs about the things I would be working on if I weren't writing briefs about them. In the afternoon, I finally got around to painting the ceiling, and also did some colour tests in and around the living room. We ended the night with our third attempt at stir-fry, using the random combination of fresh ingredients remaining in the fridge from the last attempts.

    How was your weekend?

    Magpies and bears mourn Dear Leader
    Pittsburgh Zoo hosting "Adults Only" Valentines Day event

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    Memory Day: Ten Years Ago Today

    On January 9, 2003, I was in my final semester at Florida State. I had no classes other than composition lessons, and my sole responsibilities involved teaching two sections of Sightsinging and Ear Training (MUT 1241) while proofreading my Master's Thesis.

    My two classes embodied the life-long struggle between haves and have-nots. One was taught in a giant echo-y clsasroom with a single (unstaved) blackboard and a tape deck. The other was taught in the state-of-the-art music dormitory, in a classroom with full audio capabilities and whiteboards. On this particular Thursday, I had just given out the first official homework assignment for the classes:

    • Login to the lame, but school-required, Blackboard site.
    • Reply to the email from my private course listserv.
    • Obtain a "Practica Musica" student file to enjoy a semester full of meaningful ear-training homework assignments.

    I was also a member of the Music Theory Grad Student basketball team, whose winning record that season (in the Tallahassee Rec League) was only outmatched by the winning record of every single other team of every other sport in history. We rarely scored more than 20 points in a game, so I mainly used it as an excuse to sprint around the court and call it exercise. In one game, I sprinted so hard that I got loopy, and actually thought we were winning for about four minutes before oxygen returned to my brain.

    Other than these activities, life was pretty slow. There was no Booty yet (she was still "Athena" and living in a dog rescue agency) but I had not yet gotten so bored that I bought a bargain bin GameCube (that happened a couple weeks later).

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    Thursday, January 09, 2014

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Person of Interest, Season Two:
    For the most part, season one was built out of standalone episodes with hints about the larger story methodically established throughout. Season One's finale spun all of the plot lines together into a plot smoothie, and Season Two maintains that intensity and momentum as a serialized show for the entire season. The characterizations were deepened to the point where I no longer think of Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus anymore. In fact, the only complaint I had was that the plot got too dense in the last two episodes, and could have been stretched out a little more -- kind of like an anti-LOST.

    Final Grade: A-

    The Top Part by John Mulaney:
    This is a pleasant stand-up comedy set, only mildly raunchy, in which the comic has a storytelling-style.

    Final Grade: B

    Burn Notice, Season Seven:
    I enjoyed Burn Notice the most in its first few seasons. When the formula started to get stale, it had to switch up to survive. The decision to make things more serious was necessary to prolong the show, but by the time this season rolls around, it's too serious, and loses most of the fun that was integral to my enjoyment. Season Seven ends things about as well as it could, although I would have preferred it to go out on top around Season Four or so. Additionally a prime guest star was pretty weak, with a Russian accent that seemed to come and go every other episode.

    Final Grade: C+

    Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon:
    This 3DS game is a puzzle-y, adventure-y game, in which Luigi must explore a haunted house sucking up ghosts with his souped-up vacuum cleaner. It's a sequel to a GameCube version that was pleasant, but only worth a rental, since it barely lasted three hours. The same charm and attention to detail can be found in this new game. Multiple levels take place in the same mansion with minor modifications, which makes some playthroughs feel repetitive, and you can inadvertently solve a level before you've explored the whole area, which annoyingly sends you back to the hub. Overall, I enjoy playing it in small doses, but don't have the impetus to beat the game yet.

    Final Grade: B-

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    Friday, January 09, 2015

    Now and Later Quiz

    Catch me up on the life changes you predict will occur in 2015! Leave your responses in the comments section.

    1. How many kids do you have today? How many will you have on Dec. 31, 2015?

    2. Where do you live today? As of Dec. 31, 2015?

    3. What is something you don't understand or can't do right now, that you will have learned by the end of the year?

    4. What is something you don't own now, but intend to purchase by year's end?

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    Monday, January 09, 2017

    Weekend Wrap-up

    We woke up to more snow than expected on Saturday morning, so I postponed my planned Costco trip in exchange for being warm in the house. I did a few hours of work in the morning and then watched an episode of Travelers with Rebecca. In the evening we hosted our Hyperion book club, for a book that continues to get less interesting as it progresses. In compensation, we ate three-bean chili and mini chocolate eclairs.

    On Sunday, we went out to Taylorstown for a late Christmas with the Whitmer / Link side of the family. We exchanged gifts, sang 1 Christmas carol, and ate even more chili.

    Outside of the weekend, 2017 is going well so far. I work about 48 - 52 hours per week by choice, and have written more software in a month than I did in the last two years combined. We still haven't moved to a Herndon office yet, but I only commute down to Fairfax City twice a week now, so it feels much less intrusive.

    How was your weekend and how is your 2017? Have you stopped writing 2016 yet?

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2019

    Memory Day: 1992 - 1993

    In the 1992 - 1993 school year, I was a 13-year-old 9th grader in my last year at Hammond Junior High. After years of lagging behind my social peers, I finally held some illusive level of popularity and kids that would follow my lead, especially in band. I was not a kid that I would want to hang out with today, and definitely treated some people nastily until confronted with my own meanness as the year went on. I like to think I greatly improved after that turning point!

    A typical day started out with an Early Bird session of Mr. Bonfanti's World English class, most of which was spent taking word-by-word dictation of study notes about Gilgamesh. From there, we went to band, where a new band director had taken over for the beloved, retiring Mr. Randall. We kept a running count of how often she lost control of the group, shouted, or threw a music stand which exceeded 100 by the end of the year. Most of my other classes were not that memorable, although I remember that my gym teacher, Ms. Lemley, was pregnant and unable to navigate the stairs to the gym. Towards the end of her pregnancy, we sat in a classroom watching Candyman instead (definitely not an appropriate selection for public school ninth graders, with nary a permission slip in sight). I remember having fun in Chemistry class, although I thought it was weird that Mr. Wargowsky kept trying to teach me the chemical equation for converting an imaginary element, masturbium, into masturbate.

    Ninth grade was also the final year of my Eagle Scout work. Frantic to get me to Eagle before my interest waned, my dad had me on a rigorous "2 merit badges per month" schedule during which I learned almost nothing about each badge. My Eagle Project involved erosion control and clean-up at the Dora Kelly Nature Park (all traces of which had vanished to nature the last time I visited in 2008), where my volunteers met the minimum requirements by working exactly 100 hours and 5 minutes. Flipping through my project write-up, I see that I requested lumber donations from Hechinger's and they never replied (probably why they went out of business). I also requested rebar donations from the Nature Park which they granted but never delivered. I ended up earning Eagle in January 1993, with the infamous Court of Honor in June.

    In my free time, I was playing games on our new CD-ROM 2X Speed drive like 7th Guest, Return to Zork, and Sam and Max Hit the Road. I was reading lots of Gordon Korman and Ellen Raskin, and listening to my Dances with Wolves soundtrack on repeat (having not found any popular music worth listening to yet). I also continued excelling at playing the cornet with minimal actual practice time. My dad was getting back into playing the tuba at the time, so as a family activity we joined the Alexandria Citizens' Band, whose median age was roughly 142. Under the direction of Fritz Velke, I got to play last chair under a bunch of old guys that hadn't practiced since the Bay of Pigs and my sister got to play her oboe while being creepily stared at by the first clarinetist.

    The end of the school year also brought the unnecessary drama of Freshman Prom (or "Banquet" as it was called by old people). I took a step outside my comfort zone by asking a cute girl from the other junior high who I had met through Crew and she said yes. Unbeknownst to me, people in my extended friend group were conspiring to set me up with someone else from that junior high, assuming that I'd never get a date on my own. Since the other girl assumed that these machinations were originating from me, it came as a shock when she asked and I had to say no. I suddenly found myself in a reality TV world where everyone at the other school was angry at my callous actions. Later, the junior high schools decided to hold their Proms on the same night, and the first girl backed out because she understandably wanted to hang out with her friends that she already knew. Then, the water tower broke.

    I ultimately went with Rachel, a girl from my school who liked me to some extent, but I probably did not do a great job at hiding my disappointment about way things worked out. Like all puberty problems, this experience was dramatically scarring for a few more years until it wasn't.

    Other posts in this series: 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1990 - 1991 | 1991 - 1992 | 1992 - 1993

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