This Day In History: 01/17

Thursday, January 17, 2002

I found out yesterday that the Music Department has decided to waiver one additional credit for the graduate assistants, which amounts to a refund of about five hundred dollars. There's still a reduced summer course schedule, and copies are still forbidden, but it seems like a step in the right direction. No doubt they got the extra money by killing off a few undergraduate saxophonists and selling some others into slavery. Speaking of money, Dr. Wingate's revised grant proposal was submitted yesterday, so we should know by March whether there will ever be an electroacoustical lab at FSU.

Back in the 80s, Luther Henderson, arranger for the Canadian Brass, arranged a three movement work titled The Well-Tampered Bach, with selections from the Well-Tempered Clavier in various jazz styles. Though it might seem sacreligious to some, here's an MP3 of the third movement, Dixie Bach, based on Fugue No. 2 in C minor, which we studied in class this morning (1.6MB).

Here's two news stories to renew your faith in human competency. Especially take note of the last paragraph of the second article:
"Actor's plaque mistakenly honors King's assassin"
"Surgeon operates on wrong side of man's head"

"Mine was the kind of piece in which nobody knew what was going on, including the composer, the conductor, and the critics. Consequently, I got pretty good notices." - Oscar Levant

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Friday, January 17, 2003

The basketball team lost to PBS&J last night, 36-58. However, we were winning at the half and actually put on a pretty good show. I originally thought the opposing team would be composed of pledge drivers from PBS, using a witty play on "PB & J", but it turned out to be a local office of an engineering firm. Nothing in Tallahassee is so clever.

I've posted my latest Warcraft report (from November) on the Writings page. It ended up getting rated a 9.5.

Man makes computer his bitch
People leaving the church see: 'No need to mail order. Gay videos in stock. Clergy discount. Have good sex. Hallelujah!'

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Saturday, January 17, 2004

This morning I took a fifty mile jaunt through Fairfax County and Loudoun County, perusing neighbourhoods for friendly living conditions and drug deals. I'm not very good at driving without a destination in mind, so I started with the areas surrounding some of the houses I'll be viewing on Tuesday.

The first (shown on the left) is in south Reston on the fringe of the hidden undeveloped heartland above Fair Oaks mall. It's on a neatly-kept court that's a little rustic, and is more woodsy than suburban. It was in a nice location, equidistant from the amenities of life that I would travel to.

The second is in Herndon, right near where I work at the moment (we're moving to Reston in April or so). The neighbourhood here was a little more high class, and within walking distance of the town centers along the Toll Road.

The third was my favourite, at least from the outside. It's way up in Sterling below Route 7, and has a lot of character. It's bigger than it looks too -- 5 bedrooms and 3 baths -- but equally priced against the others. Price is a little shifty since Herndon lowers their house cost while raising taxes, and Reston has high Homeowners' Association fees as well as a "living in Reston" fee.

The last house was in west Centreville, across Route 28 from Chantilly, in a neighbourhood that's very similar to the one I grew up in. Unfortunately, it had been sold in the past couple days, as the signs were no longer up.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    does music affect the brian, penguins encyclopedia, pandiculate neighbor, jello with a hot dog, brian uri makes -me -puke, are there earthworms in hot dogs

Perle: "Ignore the unfound Iraqi weapons and look at the funny faces I can make."
Flight Sim inquiry raises terror alert
FIFA president wants sexier clothes on women soccer players

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Happy Martin Luther King Day. Let's all take a moment and reflect on the two years I spent living at the corner of Park Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Stripping lucrative for eighth graders
"The Three Amigos" was conceived and written in South Africa. The characters, props and layouts were designed and created in Canada, and the background and animation was done in India, Kharas said. More than 320 people volunteered to support the project.
He says he just hopes his parents don't find out about the speeding tickets.
One last, long campout for 'the Star Wars guy'

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Capsule Review Day: Les Miserables

Today I will hit the high points of Sunday's show in as few words as possible, since my Florida readers hate when I talk about musicals. In some places, I've linked to MP3s of what I think are the "best performers in that role",taken from my Les Mis Week in 2002 .

Jean Valjean: Randal Keith:
The only returning cast member. Excellent, possibly even better than before. Effortlessly hit the highs, the lows, the louds, and the softs.

Javert: Robert Hunt:
Tried too hard to be evil when the character is just an authority figure. Good voice, okay actor. Pissed me off all the time by changing the rhythm of the lyrics. The composer wrote those eighth notes for a reason, dumbass -- you can change them when you graduate from composer school. Doesn't hold a candle to Philip Quast (799KB MP3) who is ridiculously good.

Fantine: Joan Almedilla:
So-so singer, kind of peculiar-looking. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with peculiar-looking people, since I myself am peculiar-looking. However, when you're in a musical and you're peculiar-looking, it distracts the audience from the music unless you're a really good singer. Sometimes sounded like she didn't speak English and was singing phonetically. Not as good as Debbie Byrne (527KB MP3) or Ruthie Henshall (549KB MP3).

Bishop of Digne: Gabriel Kalomas:
Excellent -- really gave it his all for a part that's only five or six lines long.

Young Cosette: Rachel Schier:
Cute kid, good singer, believable actress. Hopefully she never grows up to take the useless Old Cosette role.

Gavroche: Anthony Skillman:
Another good child actor. Sang the Little People song fast enough so that it wasn't annoying.

Grantaire: Trent Blanton:
Very strong, although he didn't get to do much more than pace around and drink brandy.

Thenardier: Favio Polanco:
Excellent performance. Not sure if it's my favourite but there was nothing wrong. I still like Barry James's take on the character (513KB MP3).

Madame Thenardier: Jennifer Butt:
Another excellent performance. With so many people dying and puppies with cancer in this musical, the comic figures are really important. Both Thenardiers worked well together.

Eponine: Melissa Lyons: Very strong voice, but another distractingly peculiar-looking actress. I think the 2002 Eponine, Jessica-Snow Wilson was hands-down the best, despite her odd name-hyphenating technique.

Enjolras: Victor Wallace:
Decent singer and actor in a rather thankless role of the revolutionary. Not quite as ballsy sounding as Anthony Warlow (239KB MP3).

Marius: Adam Jacobs:
A disappointment. Another distractingly peculiar-looking actor (where do they all come from?) and looked like Fantine's real-life brother. Every time I was almost accepting him as Marius, his voice would go all nasal-peanut and he'd sound like a cast member from Avenue Q. Also messed around with his rhythms and changed the words of Empty Chairs and Empty Tables to Empty Chairs AT Empty Tables. This was not an improvement -- the reason you sing the part written on the score is because it works. Rewriting is not interpretation. Michael Ball is still the definitive Marius (281KB MP3).

Cosette: Leslie Henstock:
Boring, but only slightly peculiar-looking, as if she were the love child of Fantine and Marius. The role really doesn't give actresses anything to work with, and this actress just phoned it in. Cosette's only job in the musical is to sing the two high pretty notes in the musical. She batted 1 for 2 and had the good fortune of sustaining the note 90 cents flat for about ten seconds. I still like Tracy Shayne (534KB MP3).

Staging:
As good as ever. The suicide scene still works, and the Decepticon streets of Paris are still very cool.

Arrangements:
Still a little "all the same" towards the end, but very powerful. Some of the arrangements were tightened with added horn lines which were nice, and a small new scene was added where Valjean meets Cosette for the first time. The new scene obviously sounded like it wasn't written by the original arranger -- like the added song in the movie version of RENT which just doesn't belong.

Orchestra:
Excellent. Able. I miss pit. Kept up with the stupid artistic-license singers who were changing up all the rhythms.

Extras:
Why are they choreographed to do all those funky things? Just because there's 20 cast members twiddling backstage doesn't mean they all have to walk around the stage in every scene pantomining things. It's almost as distracting as funny-looking people.

Seatmates:
Excellent. I was surrounded by hot women in fancy clothes, and Ben. I guess Ben was hot too.

Bottom Line:
Despite the occasional weak performer and a second half that creeps a little bit too slowly, the show was still incredibly powerful, on the strength of the other performers, the music, and the underlying story. A+. Would watch a musical by these French clowns again.

Happy Birthday Robin Langridge!

Side effects include pain, headache, vomiting, an irregular pulse, and a broken leg
TV in bedroom halves your sex life
Don't f_ck with Polly

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

List Day: Ten New Ways to Deal with the War in Iraq

  1. Film a complicated dramatization of victory, similar to the supposedly fraudulent moon landing videos from the 1960s, and then post them on YouTube (THE source for news in 2007). Once it has been widely disseminated, quietly withdraw the troops.

  2. Buyout Rand McNally and Google Earth, adjusting the latitude and longitude of Iraq by 15 degrees, making future troop deployments arrive somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Bank on American laziness and expect them to go home without trying to locate the real Iraq.

  3. Continue to distract the American public with paparazzi photographs of Britney Spears in various states of pantylessness until such a time that a better solution can be found.

  4. Claim the country as a United State territory and deport anyone without naturalization paperwork or a birth certificate to Iran, (then invade Iran next year).

  5. Launch a Sunni-Redneck foreign exchange program to transplant refugees from the war-torn region with unemployed residents of Alabama and Mississippi, quelling the civil unrest.

  6. Tell President Ahmadinejad of Iran that Kim Il Jong called him fat, and tell Kim Il Jong that Iraq has luxury items imported from the U.S. Watch the Axis of Evil destroy themselves without our intervention and then claim the victor as a country of serfs in our futile system.

  7. Drop siege tanks on their cliffs and burrow lurkers in their base to deny them resources.

  8. Outsource all the menial jobs to Iraq, simultaneously ending Iraqi unemployment and American immigration woes.

  9. Hold an elite USO show for the Iraqi people, including Carrot Top, Pauly Shore, Gilbert Gottfried, Bjork, and Dick Cheney, to show them the virtues of being a good Westerner.

  10. Keep the country in a perpetual state of unrest, providing newspapers with one more "slow news day" story to go with "gas prices rising", "it's getting hotter", "traffic getting worse", "politicians corrupt" and "Montgomery County scared of sex ed".

Happy Birthday Robin Langridge!

Lost' creators: We know where we're going
Orville comes back from the dead
Minority Report UI comes to life

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Caption Contest

Vote for your favourite caption in the left sidebar by Tuesday the 22nd!

Happy Birthday Robin!

Son restrained with Packer tape
Researchers finally realize that clowns suck
Parasite makes ants into berries

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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 its a prime candidate for a William Hung Greatest Hits album.

Pelagic: (adj.) pertaining to the open seas or oceans

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt started out as a hornpipe, but unintentionally morphed into something one might hear in a Zelda game mashed on top of the arrangement I did of Irish Washerwoman for Doobie ten years ago. This is not necessarily a good mixture, however, there's plenty of material available to expand upon at the end of the year if I don't write anything better by then.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Anthology by Return to Forever:
This is a "best of" 2-CD set featuring hits from Chick Corea's jazz fusion group in the late 70s. I enjoy a lot of Corea's earlier work, and this is a fun, slightly cerebral, set of fusion tunes for the car. None of them are weird enough to dislike, but none of them are funky enough for mainstream enjoyment. Worth it for jazz history's sake only.

Final Grade: B-

Liberal Arts (PG-13):
This is an indie film from the HIMYM actor who plays Ted Mosby, about a 35-year-old who returns to his college campus. The main character is essentially Ted Mosby, and there were a few occasions where I expected one of his HIMYM costars to jump out from behind a tree. Overall, the movie is light, not quite as deep as it wants to be, and pleasant.

Final Grade: B-

Boardwalk Empire, Season One:
I only ended up watching three episodes of this HBO show, and could never really get into it. To me, it was just a bunch of lookalike white guys in period dress doing crime-y things. The pace of episodes felt very slow, and I ultimately decided that it wasn't worth my time. Instead, I'm about to start up the third season of Breaking Bad and the first season of House of Lies. Also, everyone is telling us to watch Downton Abbey, but it seems to me like an extended miniseries version of Gosford Park, and thus, a suitable replacement for waterboarding.

Final Grade: Not Graded

Hope Springs (PG-13):
This was a well-acted movie about an old married couple, but it was mostly an uncomfortable downer. I would not recommend it unless you're a big fan of one of the stars pictured on the box. Steve Carrell's role is replaceable.

Final Grade: C-

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Friday, January 17, 2014

List Day: 5 Brief Childhood Memories

  • My dad would sometimes get frustrated during home improvement projects. My favourite exclamation to hear was always, "Shitbird on Tuesday!"

  • Plain potato chips were the go-to ingredients for covering every type of casserole. It was a little weird, but allowed me to skip the casserole part by mostly serving myself potato chips.

  • We were not allowed to put our stuffed animals in the back window of the family car because, "When you brake suddenly or get into an accident, every single thing in the car that's not nailed down becomes a deadly projectile".

  • My parents always used fake butter spreads that were impossible to spread. It would either fall off the knife immediately or punch a giant hole in the toast.

  • I once brought home a puzzle worksheet full of abbreviated phrases like "54 C in a D" (which becomes "54 cards in a deck"). The whole family was stumped for a while on "3 BM (SHTR)", and my dad suggested that the answer was "3 bowel movements on the shitter".

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Twenty Years Ago Today

Twenty years ago today was January 17, 1998. It was a Saturday in Blacksburg and I lived with Dan Shiplett in 3119 East Ambler-Johnston. This was also the day of the "Bandquet" for the Fall '97 season of the Marching Virginians during which I got an "Outstanding Rank Member" award for having memorized all three trumpet parts of every song and never needing to march with a drill chart after the first two days of learning a new drill. I didn't actually hear about this award until after the Bandquet because Bandquets are social events and why would anyone go to a social event when they have a T1 Ethernet line in their dorm room?

The evening of the 17th started with a trumpet practice session in Squires. As the 3rd chair trumpet in the lowest tier university band, it was important that I maintained the ability to sound better than the 9 worse trumpets below me. I also worked some on jazz improvisation, which was not helpful as I went 0 for 2 on getting into the Jazz Band that year (I ended up in "Jazz Improv Lab" instead which was where we met with Chip McNeill once a week while he played his sax for a half hour and then class was cancelled the other 3 weeks out of the month).

On the way back, I picked up a chicken patty sandwich from Dietrick Express and ate it in my room while reading the webcomic, Sluggy Freelance, chatted with my online friends in the "Silvermoon Forest" roleplaying chatroom on the Webchat Broadcasting System, and listened to the loud populace of East AJ fan out for parties through my ground-floor window. (3119 was on both the third and ground floor at the same time, either because building engineers are bad at math, or because of hills).

Once the dorm had quieted down, I switched gears to composing the fourth movement of my interminable trumpet concerto, The Hero, which I was struggling to end authoritatively yet quietly. After fighting the music for about an hour, I shut down Finale 97 and ended the night with a game of the recently released Quake II. I went to bed around midnight which was about average for that time in my life.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Review Day: Local Grocery Stores

SafewayGiantWegmans
Organization BEST: A logical progression of goods with cold stuff at the end. WORST: The same items can be found in multiple locations, some of which you might never discover because the store is too big.
Navigation BEST: Wide aisles with room to maneuver around the distracted and the obese. WORST: Every aisle has room for 1.5 carts across, and there are 10 carts pushed by soccer moms at all times.
Experience WORST: Dirty aisles with Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" on repeat over the sound system and no one ever at the customer service desk. BEST: Friendly cashiers and a pleasant shopping experience.
Distance BEST: 1.1 miles away in the same neighbourhood. WORST: 3.4 miles into Ashburn and requires a death-defying merge at 28.
Selection WORST: Staples regularly out of stock. BEST: A wide variety of choices and good inventory control.
Produce WORST: Section often resembles the aftermath of a food fight. BEST: High ratio of good-looking fruits and vegetables.
Meat & Seafood WORST: I've had to throw out suspect meats several times. Fish is sometimes four days old. BEST: Huge variety of packaged and fresh choices.
Store-Baked Bagels BEST: They don't understand what a bagel is, so they bake them light and fluffy like a croissant. Delicious! WORST: You can't even get a sesame bagel here.
Hot Foods WORST: Never gotten a rotisserie chicken here that wasn't a wasted husk of dried splinters. BEST: Multi-ethnic hot bar, but there are so many great to-cook options that we never eat here.
Beer WORST: Every week, there's one fewer brewery represented. Plenty of Yuengling and 40s. BEST: Huge selection of Virginia and other craft breweries.
Cumulative Scores +3 -5 = -2 +3 -2 = 1 +4 -3 = 1

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, January 17, 2022

Weekend Wrap-up

Rebecca had her first day back in the PT clinic on Saturday, so I stayed home with the kids for a nap/Frozen matinee while work continued in the basement on our guest shower overhaul.

On Saturday evening, we had the grandparents over for a ham dinner. Maia learned about all of the places they had lived on a whiteboard map and then showed us where her bunny has lived (born in Alaska because he is a snowshoe, and his cousins are from Philly).

Sunday's snow event was worthwhile if shortlived. We got about 4 inches by evening, but then precipitation turned almost immediately to rain, erasing our gains.

How was your weekend?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

 

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