This Day In History: 01/11

Friday, January 11, 2002

Today, I read an article for pedagogy class entitled Epistemology and Procedure in Aural Training: In Search of a Unification of Music Cognitive Theory with Its Applications. Sometimes the tradition of academic wordiness for the sake of sounding smart pisses me off. People seem to directly correlate obtuseness with intelligence, resulting in dry, tortured prose that only serves to create a stuffy wall between the reader and the materials. I myself have engaged in this pastime, and there's no doubt that it's added a few points to my past grades. Perhaps my music would become more academically acceptable if I renamed Vanishing Point as A Systematic Attempt at Achieving Pandemic Harmony from Obfuscation Through the Joint Efforts of Multiple Solo Instruments. On a coincidental sidenote, the article was cowritten by a professor at the University of Kentucky who was my contact point for admissions and fellowships and such.

I finished Return to Wolfenstein the other night. It had excellent graphics and was fun while it lasted, but it was no big breakthrough in first-person shooters. It's one of those games that I may play again someday, but it's lacking in the lasting appeal of games like Starcraft, which I still play regularly five years after its release.

I still haven't played any spectacular, engaging games in about a year now. I'd considered picking up a copy of the latest "massively multiplayer" role-playing game, Dark Ages of Camelot, which is getting great reviews, but I just don't have the time to devote to an online pay-by-month game. Back in '98 when it first came out, I joined the Everquest craze for a few months, but stopped after realizing that it took too much time. Persistent online games are usually set up so that progress can only be achieved with constant and tireless playing. Although I did meet a few "regulars" to play with, my available time was so much less that I'd constantly be playing catch-up to them, which just wasn't as fun.

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Saturday, January 11, 2003

Tallahassee has the wackiest commercial selections I've ever seen, and not in a good way. First, we get the trial runs of those obnoxiously offensive "truth." commercials, like last year's floating eyeball cartoons which apparently never made it to a wider venue up north. Then come the horribly low-budget efforts from local merchants like Bill Well's Chevrolet and REX, and last month's welder school ad. There was also a notable, if tasteless, plug where Santa gets stuck in a chimney with the silent caption, "Not sure when your diarrhea will hit?", before a fade-out. As a final sign of intelligent programming, there was primetime on January 4th when someone forgot to play the proper tapes. Ads for the Rose Bowl and New Year's Day sales (ending January 2nd) played for a solid hour before someone noticed that all was not right.

I'm on page 33 of 69 in score editing.

    Adland: Gotcha. Anyone else on your naughty list?

    Santa: One more. Imodium AD.

    Adland: Imodium AD!? On Christmas!?

    Santa: Santa's really mad at those sons of bitches.

    Santa: First off, they use the old stuck-in-the-chimney bit, which Santa's growing accustomed to, but then they go and make it so that somehow the reason that Santa's stuck in the chimney is because Santa's got diarrhea. Diarrhea!!

    Adland: Oooooooh.

    Santa: First off, Santa doesn't understand why diarrhea would get Santa stuck in the chimney, but the big thing is diarrhea. Diarrhea! Santa doesn't get diarrhea! Santa is on a special high-calorie, high-fiber diet. Diarrhea is out of the question! Santa would like to state, unequivocally and for the record, that Santa is no hosenscheisser.

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Sunday, January 11, 2004

For the entirety of today's update, here's a movie of Booty to music. Though low in production values, this hep cat could have real star potential:

Booty to Music (8.0MB WMV)

A new episode of Alias is on tonight at 9 PM, after a five week hiatus. It's supposed to be a turning point of some kind.

Happy Birthday, Kathryn!

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    Art is the perpetual motion of illusion, exterminate spider mites, doom wad ledges, snowpants shoulder, Elliot Del Borgo recording, idaho bus killed 1969, michelle cao

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Anna asked me to use my site for Good by plugging the dress shop where she got a hefty discount on her wedding dress: White Swan Bridal Boutique in Vienna, VA . She was very satisfied with the way the store folk treated her and her endless entourage of sisters. Personally, I've had seventeen dresses and a top hat bought or altered there and I can assure you that it's good stuff.

My site recently reappeared on Google, so I can make an occasional post about the search terms people used that led to this page.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    instructions on how to do the duck noodle dance, jennie geisner, joe tornello music, lasalle bank will they take your change in jars, explain bad santa and the talking walnut, glenshadow's tavern, zealots dweb

Mini Me commits foul No. 1
Torture? Not if cheerleaders do it.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

When I went to Border's to buy a wall calendar, they had two full carrells of books devoted exclusively to Sudoku. There is a Snood-version of Sudoku that lets you play it with Snoods instead of numbers. In the pit orchestra I was in last year, people were passing Sudoku pages around like numeric bongs to pass the time between acts of Mikado. Over at the Chompblog, every Tuesday's update is Tuesdoku Tuesday (which is not as fun as the competing feature, Newsday Tuesday, on the URI! Zone). So what's the big deal about Sudoku?

I stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday of this week to get over a random winter bug, so I figured there'd be no better time to unearth the secrets of Sudoku for my blog-reading public. In a controlled lab setting (my office with Booty sleeping next to a giant glass of orange juice), I played a few (52) games of Easy mode Sudoku at websudoku.com to see what all the fuss was about.

Sudoku is "okay". It's an intriguing premise and I can appreciate the elegance of how the solutions come together without any need for guessing, but at the end of the day it's a boring addiction more than a fun one (your mileage may vary, especially you SUV-driving motherlovers). By the time I was on game twenty or so, I was clicking "Play Another" out of habit, and not because I got any particular enjoyment out of beating the puzzle. It reminded me of playing Snood for the eighty-billionth time, or running through Diablo II for the ninety-billionth time hoping to get that one Screwdriver of Kings off a monster.

Speaking of puzzle games with loopy Japanese names, does anyone remember Sokoban? You were a non-union worker in a warehouse and you had to push all the boxes into clearly-marked storage zones. You could only push the boxes though, so if a box got pushed into a corner, you had to restart the level. That there was the epitome of a frustratingly boring carpal-tunnel-inducing addiction but I still beat it as a kid. There are plenty of web versions online if you do a Google search, so I'm sure you could use up some of your company's valuable work time by giving it a try .

Speaking of valuable company time, you should also watch these videos:

Karaoke for the Deaf (3MB WMV).

Booty Says Hello (322KB WMV).

Booty and Amber Become Lap Cats (140KB WMV).

Amber does Chin-Ups (157KB WMV).

LOST awakens from its two months of reruns tonight! It's Mr. Eko's story and there are two to one odds that Ana-Lucia gets fed to a bear then shot tonight.

Cyclops Kitten No Hoax
But flamingmouse could be
Cost of sex rose from $250 to $2,500

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Capsule Review Day

Little Miss Sunshine
This is the latest independent film that no one's ever heard of but everyone talks about. It's the story of a dysfunctional family's road trip to California so their daughter can enter the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. It manages to be sentimental without sappiness and has the rare virtue of having a child actor who can act without being annoying. The movie reeled me in and the closing sequence was perfect, although the highly touted alternate endings were useless. There's a reason they weren't the main endings -- so leave them on the cutting room floor.

Final Opinion: 3 of 4 stars. Child beauty pageants are creepy.

Wii Sports
This freebie demo game comes with the Wii Console and has very scaled back versions of tennis, baseball, golf, bowling, and boxing which allows players to have fun using the new controllers. Because it's a freebie, the seams quickly become apparent since all the games aren't quite fleshed out enough to be really good, but they do show off how good a Wii game could be a year down the line when people know how to develop for them. In a nutshell, tennis is fun with four players, baseball is stupid (in the game too), golf is a neat gimmick the first time through, bowling feels very right, but makes it really easy to score big, and boxing is addictive (although it sometimes overloads if you make too many fast movements and your toon just stands there taking punches).

Final Opinion: B-, but it's bundled with the Console, so B+.

The Sopranos, Season Six Part One
In the grand tradition of chronologically handicapped titles comes the latest season of the Sopranos (see also, Ultima 7: Part 2: The Serpent Isle). The episodes are still engrossing, but about as pointless as the previous season. The first two seasons were really driven by the story arcs, and ever since then the episodes have evolved into mere character studies. I enjoy watching them, but I'd enjoy them more if there were any forward motion.

Final Opinion: three thumbs up out of four thumbs and a pinky

Dreamgirls
It's the black Chicago meets Ray. Starting strong and ending too late, the movie's mildly entertaining. Ironically, there are too many songs in it, and none of the songs are more than mediocre -- I couldn't remember a single melody walking out of the theatre. The problem with gospel-influenced genres is that every single song ends up in shrieking vocal acrobatics. This is effective in one song, but gets old when Jennifer Hudson has Spasmodic Muppet Syndrome for two straight hours. Some attempts at drama were groan-worthy, especially the arranged take on "We Are Family".

Final Opinion: Average. Great costumes.

Turning guns into sex
Introducing the desktop fabricator
Tampon used to smuggle scalpel

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Fragments

It's Friday. You ain't got no job.

♠ Have you submitted a caption for Monday's Caption Contest yet? If not, you're missing out on a chance to make a really easy $10. That's more than some trumpet players make in a week!

♠ The deadline for submission is today, which is handy since tomorrow is 12 of 12, and you'll be busy documenting your life to prove that it's more exciting than it seems. I wasn't sure if I would do 12 of 12 again this year, but then I realized that I'll be in Barcelona on the 12th of April, so it would be criminal not to.

♠ Speaking of criminals, I'm really tired of all the caucus coverage in the media right now. Caucus rules are so outdated that you might as well create a Survivor Immunity challenge involving a two-foot stick, an apple, and the rectum of a hog to get the same effect. Plus, it would be really nice if just one person steamrolled every vote so the losers could go home and save billions of dollars that will be wasted on campaigning instead of vowing to fight on because "it's a close race". Every politician is equally as shady and untenable as every other politician in the world, otherwise they wouldn't be running for anything. That's why there's a special place in hell for politicians.

♠ It must really suck to have a special place in hell reserved for you. I'd feel bad enough knowing that I didn't make it into heaven without also hearing that I'm a mentally-challenged evildoer.

♠ Speaking of mentally-challenged evildoers, an Undead rogue tried to gank me while I was on an escort quest and the escort kicked his ass.

♠ That level 34 druid I mentioned last Friday is now level 50 and powering through the old worlds. It's really easy to hit 60 now, because there are so many new towns and quests throughout the land, and the last patch increased the rate that you level between 20 and 60. For me, the most boring parts of leveling were from 34-38 and 42-48. Nowadays, a quest like "talk to the guy standing next to me" never nets less than 1000 XP, and "let the dwarf out of the Outhouse" gives you 6600 XP.

♠ I may be a poor judge of measuring though -- just last week in a game of Cranium, I thought that the tall, skinny milk jugs were a gallon and came up with some crazy answer like "16 pints in a gallon". However, it is true that there are 16 pirates on a galleon.

♠ Speaking of galleons, I'm rereading the Harry Potter series and am somewhere in Book 4. I haven't read Book 7 since it first came out, so I want to reread the entire series in a short time span. I'm much more impressed with the early books now that I know the ending -- I used to think that the first three books were just written for fun and the fourth book was the "whoops, I'd better start tying all this together and make an endgame" book, but it's much more apparent now that even Book 1 foreshadows much of the plot.

♠ This weekend, plans include the newly-erected Dogfish Head Brewery in Falls Church, possible romping in D.C., and assistance with piano-moving in Chantilly. I bet a piano holds at least 16 pints. I will also invent a unique method for solving quadratic equations with sightsinging, and hit level 54. Have a great weekend!

Dog and cat, best friends forever
Supermice
Tarzan. King, Money and Jenkins not pictured.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night, we braved the cold to search for a new sushi place worthy of experimentation. After finding our original choice closed for failure to pay the lease, we ended up at Aoba, around the corner on Route 7. The sushi was good enough, and on par with anything you might buy premade in a store. Not being food snobs, it was good enough for a strip mall locale.

After a brief shopping excursion on Saturday, during which the checkout lady neglected to include $6 in coupons, I returned home to do some work and clean the house. I also took the time to read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton, but I'll defer the review to some point in the future, since this site needs some semblance of suspense to keep people coming back.

In the evening, we drove out to Falls Church for Rebecca's office party at the State Theatre. The party consisted of good food, free drinks, and an awards ceremony that was probably cute when the company had 20 people but was completely ignored and shouted over now that there are 200. There was also a DJ who took the multitasking approach to music by switching to a new song every minute or so, making it impossible for Stella or anyone else to get their groove back.

On Sunday night, we had a couples night potluck dinner in Sterling, and used the fajita-making kit bestowed upon us at Christmas time from my sister. Hosting potlucks is always mathematically interesting, because you end up with more food than you started with.

Agencies pull ad after 'career woman' outrage
God arrested at LAX
How Visa, using Debit fees, dominates the market

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator or suggested by a reader. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it could be the hit single from Glenn Gould Plays Tatu.


Thickset: (adj.) Having a solid, stocky form or body; stout.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This tune is written for a couple recorders backed by an organ and harpsichord, and supported by the stodgy mud of baritone saxophones. It's in A Flat Minor because that's what you'd get if a thickset person fell down a mineshaft.

As a new feature for Museday 2011, you can now suggest your favourite adjectives in the comments section. On some occasions when the random word generator just isn't making the cut, I may use your word to inspire! You will even get 5% of the royalties for the thirty-second excerpt, which currently works out to $0 per year.

Cooks mask pot with manure
Man Charged With Rigging Bomb In Sex Toy
Student-teacher contact top cause of lost licenses

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to Cheat at MacGamut / Practica Musica

Fun Fact: In 2012, Ball State University had the highest percentage of prospective cheaters of all undergraduate universities! By a lot! Congratulations Ball State!

The URI! Zone has long been a magnet for Google searches from music majors try to cheat on their ear training exercises (even though there are no cheats available here). Back in 2008, I first had this to say about the phenomenon:

MacGamut and Practica Musica are two (ineptly coded) programs that track the ear training progress of freshman music majors all over the country. You have two options if you are struggling with these programs: practice more, or switch to Business. (The third alternative, take my wonderful ear training class, has been discontinued since 2003). Honestly, if you can't handle this, how far do you expect to get in your field of study?

Last week, while staying at our house during a broken heat crisis, Chris Smith took the initiative to do the follow-up research to see what you might actually discover after doing such a web search. Some of the results are below.

Nestle to help pet owners and pets lose weight online
Three fire engine crews help free trapped gull

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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Daily Hour

So far, my Daily Hour experiment has been a success, with 9 out of 10 days fulfilled. The one day I missed was reserved for Evil Mike's convention hijinks. I'm really liking the emphasis on structure over goals, because I get to the reserved hour and have to come up with fun ways to fill it. This leads me to rotate through different types of activities and gives me an out when I've done something too often.

The chart on the right shows how I spent my time in the first nine hours of the year. In clockwise order I've done the following:

Anyone playing along at home?

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend was the annual holiday party at work. Not content with taking over the American History museum last year, they rented out an entire night club this time around. Each floor was a different set of attractions, including a live band, a dance DJ, a casino floor, and door prizes (of which we won zero). Food was tapas style and plentiful, although the lack of many tables probably contributed to the fact that I didn't eat much.

There were also some flourishes of questionable fiscal responsibility, like the 3D animation of "typical engineers working in a night club" looping on TV screens, or the actors hired as Lady Gaga and George Clooney lookalikes. We had a good time overall, although the company is now large enough that I barely know a quarter of the people that showed up.

The venue started forcibly pushing us out the door around 10:45 to make room for the paying customers to follow. Rather than walk four blocks in the rain to an after party, we simply returned to the hotel across the street and crashed for the evening.

On Sunday morning, we had a quiet hotel breakfast that included a giant buffet bar of applewood bacon, and then returned to Sterling to feed hungry cats. I spent the rest of the day lying around with cats while Rebecca continued her yoga teacher training odyssey.

How was your weekend?

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken twenty eight years ago in April 1989.

I'm attending a camping trip with my Dad at Vint Hill Farms. He writes:

We spent two nights there and you seemed to have a good time interacting with the other scouts. You decided then that you would continue on with Boy Scouts. Because Vint Hill Farms is a military installation and I was taking pictures, some enlisted man wanted to take my camera and film. I appealed to a higher authority and the camera was returned. Hence you have the photo.

Since this was one of the few camping trips that parents attended as well, so I was living large with a pot of propane-heated baked beans and hotdogs rather than the usual mush we'd make over a slowly dying natural fire. On my left is my trusty pointy stick, found and whittled to a point the day before, because you can never be a cub scout without a good pointy stick.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Fine Print by Invisible Inc:
This album from a band fronted by Watsky reminds me of several jazz combo albums from my youth -- it's really music the performers want to listen to themselves rather caring about what the audience wants to hear. The songs are catchy enough and have a few good hooks, but the album leaves me cold.

Final Grade: C

Mission Impossible: Fallout:
Having only watched the most recent (J.J. Abrams dynasty) MI movies, Rogue Nation was the only one I truly enjoyed. This follow-up movie is too video-game-y and not visceral enough. The action sequences are overwhelmed by CGI, the exposition threatens to bury the action with a running time of 2.5 hours, and nothing felt particularly dangerous. Skip it.

Final Grade: C

Two Tone Rebel by e-dubble:
This album by white rapper, e-dubble, relies a bit too much on oversampling and autotune, but is a fun, simple callback to hip hop circa 2010. I first heard of him through the song, Olly Olly.

Final Grade: B

Designated Survivor, S1:
This show stars Kiefer Sutherland as a mild-mannered bureaucrat who ends up as the President after a catastrophe during the State of the Union address. As a network show, it has some built-in flaws such as repetitive exposition to make sure you heard the important plot points, weak and sometimes preachy dialogue, and annoying secondary storylines involving family. The first half culminating in the intersection of two parallel stories is great, but the second half is much weaker -- the conspiracy takes a backseat to a much milder version of The West Wing. I probably won't watch the second season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Stuff in My Drawers Day: Bunnies, Part IV

Even more pandemic bunny drawing requests from Maia

"Daddy, you need to draw a bunny going to the chalk store."

Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

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