This Day In History: 01/19

Saturday, January 19, 2002

I've added two more CDs to my list of reviews, both movie soundtracks this time. Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favourite Danny Elfman scores and is a really cohesive, unified affair, although it does go a little overboard with its predictable rhyming couplet scheme. Danny Elfman actually sings the lead role of Jack Skellington on the soundtrack and in the movie, which is also worth your time. I also like the music from Conspiracy Theory, even though it's entirely predictable and somewhat clichéd. It works well against the screenplay even if people don't consider it to be a serious musical work.

I had pedagogy yesterday. We don't learn anything by doing undergraduate ear training drills. The time wasted doing a single drill could be better spent with a discussion of how to teach, rather than constantly reiterating that "new teachers teach the way they were taught".

My upstairs neighbour got some sort of exercise-based video game controller over the break, evidently akin to the Nintendo Power Pad from the late 80s. He and his friend sound like a couple of fornicating hippos when they play, so I told them they could only use it between 10 and 6 during the day. We'll see how that goes.

"I'm told that Saint-Saéns has informed a delighted public that since [World War I] began he has composed music for the stage, melodies, an elegy and a piece for the trombone. If he'd been making shell-cases instead, it might have been all the better for music." - Maurice Ravel

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Sunday, January 19, 2003

I only saw three new movies over the Christmas holiday but all of them were reasonably good. First, I ended up going to The Two Towers on opening night. While the movie was pretty good, it wasn't worth the hassle of going on the first day. The story was probably harder to follow for new viewers, but had a lot more accessible jokes and slapstick moments (it's far too easy to make dwarves the butt of jokes). Contrary to the first movie, a lot of modified from the book for this one, with several major events being saved for the final chapter of the trilogy. Still, it worked just fine for me since I didn't like the books anyhow. Finally, the movie was just too damn long, but if you're going to go all out, you may as well go all out. I would have enjoyed it more in smaller sections with a comfortable couch and a pause button. The computer-generated Gollum was easily the most intriguing part of the movie, and managed to convey lots of emotion effortlessly.

Minority Report was interesting, but lost some focus towards the end. The plot twist was incredibly easy to discover early on, but the effects and camera work were well-done. Something about Tom Cruise always gets on my nerves though. It's as if he's never <character>, he's always "Tom Cruise as <character>".

Last was the movie Good Girl with Jennifer Aniston. The movie itself is low-key and low-budget, but isn't bad for an hour and a half of entertainment. The most interesting part of the movie is discovering that Aniston can actually act outside of a sitcom, and though her Southern accent is jarring for the first five minutes, her character becomes believable very quickly. There's rumours that she might be up for a Globe for her performance.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I won't have any classes. Not that those two statements are related at all.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, January 19, 2004

I'm running a little late this evening, so you're going to have to wait until tomorrow morning for an update. I did go to work today even though it was MLK Day.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    snark london's ship, rabbit won't drink water, tenessee williams sex, brian uri is an -inflatable -dancing squirrel, kent holliday works, montana county star wars fan club

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We've got our first snowfall today -- about one and a half inches of very dry snow which fell all day today. No doubt the commute out of Washington today will be clogged to hell and back because of both the snow and the Inauguration preparations. I predict that road rage will cause the Terrorist Threat Color Wheel to switch to Orange.

Lost Episode 14 "Special" Tonight: Violence ensues and a mysterious island beast makes a re-appearance when Michael and Locke clash over Walt's upbringing. Meanwhile, Charlie is tempted to read the missing Claire's diary, and Sayid enlists Shannon to help decipher the French woman's map.

Alias Episode 4 "Ice" Tonight: Sydney goes undercover as an earthy social worker and Vaughn as a lascivious, semi-tipsy priest to track down a deadly new bio-weapon. Meanwhile, Sydney is frightened when Vaughn's inner-demons regarding deceased wife Lauren come to the surface, and Nadia turns to a reluctant Jack to learn truths about her mother, Irina.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    nudist colonies in arkansas, how do you make a dudup, how many cookies in a package of chips ahoy, meaning of pootwaddle, majestic piece written for trumpets, layout of an apartment, korea nudist, ?c???s?[?_???x

Bill Gates strikes a pose
Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day
She had all her teeth.
Look what I can do!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

We had a scare with Sydney yesterday. Anna and Ben woke up to find her waiting by the food tin as usual, but refused to eat a bite and showed no interest in eating, preferring to stand still and stare straight ahead without talking. This is a cat that talks to herself twenty-four hours a day, and learned to open trash cans to eat stray pieces of lettuce, so that behaviour in itself was alarming. Anna poked around the house to see if maybe she'd gotten into another bottle of multivitamins or bleach and found two little puddles of kitty honking. Cats throw up all the time, but this coupled with the odd antics made them think that Sydney had possibly licked the bottom of Anna's mug of cold medicine the night before. Apparently acetaminophen is highly toxic to cats.

Anna rushed Sydney to the vet, and Sydney showed signs of improvement all the way there, playing with the windshield wipers and wandering all over the car. Two hundred dollars of blood tests later, the results came back negative. Next, the vet wanted to run more tests and X-ray for blockages, but after talking it over, Anna decided to just take Sydney home and keep an eye on her. This is, after all, the cat that ripped all the fur off a toy mouse and ate the fur -- the sole reason there are child locks on all my cabinets. If she can get through all the other disagreeable meals she's had, surely she could fight this.

At last check, Sydney was doing just fine and hadn't honked again since the morning. She probably had just licked some doggy poop off of Baylee's behind, or something equally as offensive. Had the tests come back positive or had there been a blockage, we would have had to confront those scary questions that all pet owners hope they never have to consider: How much money do you spend to care for your pet before you go from loving pet owner to crazy (broke) pet owner with two mortgages? Where do you draw the line between protecting your pet and providing for your family (which many people say should include the pet)? If you're paying a thousand dollars for a surgery to bring Fluffy back instead of putting her to sleep, are you doing it for Fluffy, or for your own needs to have Fluffy with you?

On an unrelated note, I still have a cough from last Monday's cold. It's one of those coughs that's annoying but harmless throughout the day, then starts tickling your throat as the night progresses, until everyone around you thinks you're a plague monkey. I wish it would just go away already.

Sea monsters coming to eat you
There was also a daddy long legs with jaws bigger than its body, and a tiny fluorescent orange spider.
Fan jailed on Super Bowl weekend

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 10 comments

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Fragments

it's like chess but with a more powerful king

♣ Today is the last day of my ridiculously extended work weeks, and I plan to celebrate by having Popeyes for lunch and then going home for some imported liquors and ho's. Sure I do that every Friday, but this time it will be special.

♣ I've been working so hard that I've forgotten how to not work. To put it in perspective, there's been eleven weeks since the beginning of November, which anyone who passed algebra or owns a Texas Instruments calculator can translate into 440 regular work hours. My hours for that period as of yesterday evening were hovering around 700. I probably worked more than your Verbal SAT score.

♣ When I first took the SATs, I only got a 980. It was a shocking discovery when I found the scores in a file cabinet last month, but then I noted by the date that I was in seventh grade at the time, and it was part of some city-wide program designed to lower the self-esteem of high school students who scored worse than a bunch of "Talented and Gifted" munchkins, descending upon the testing centers in swarms.

♣ T.A.G. classes were such a joke in public schools. The level of learning in those classes matched what the normal level should have been, which meant that the most remedial classes were probably still learning how to pin notes to their sweaters as late as eighth grade. The mere act of writing "spicy hott" on your medium salsa will not make you regret eating it at three in the morning when you have to poop.

♣ I don't understand peoples' fixations with progressively hotter sauces. Does stopping for milk, celery, and ranch dip every two minutes to prevent your tongue from spontaneously combusting really make chicken wings taste that much better?

♣ I could demolish a plate of fifty wings right about now. Who wants to go out for wings? Just cut out of work and I'll meet you off the Toll Road.

♣ I've noticed that sit-down restaurant portions continue to get bigger and bigger while fast-food and store-bought servings are shrinking along a square root curve. The medium pizzas from Pizza Hut are now the size of a slightly-oversized Aerobie disc. This is not good for unhealthy tastiness.

♣ Aerobies were such crappy frisbees. Sure they worked well and even a two-time-offender thief from the Middle East could throw them in a straight line, but there was never a big enough field to contain it. You either had to underpower your throws, completely wasting its potential, or spend half the time picking through the underbrush and climbing power lines to get it back.

♣ Oh, and that bend up to turn right and bend down to turn left business? It never worked. Total right-wing propoganda.

♣ Have a great weekend!

Exploding meters, parking vigilantes and a suspicious silence
An escaped chimpanzee raided a kitchen cupboard and did a little cleaning with a toilet brush before sedatives knocked her out on top of a refrigerator.
Redheads heading for extinction

tagged as fragments | permalink | 5 comments

Monday, January 19, 2009

List Day: Labelled Years

As I get further and further from the protective womb of primary education, I'm finding that it's becoming harder and harder to keep track of what went on every year. If my life were a sitcom, I'd assign a Friends-like title to each year for easy reference and memory -- an overzealous attempt to compress all of my amazing adventures into a pithy, memorable statement.

  • 1996: The Year I Graduated from High School
  • 1997: The Year I Moved in with Beavis
  • 1998: The Year I Wrote Olio
  • 1999: The Year I Had a Makeover
  • 2000: The Year I Lived With Chicks
  • 2001: The Year I Had a Recital
  • 2002: The Year I Lived in Florida
  • 2003: The Year I Taught Sightsinging
  • 2004: The Year I Bought a House
  • 2005: The Year Anna Got Married
  • 2006: The Year Nothing Much Happened
  • 2007: The Year I Met Rebecca
  • 2008: The Year I Went to Europe
  • 2009: The Year I Got Married
  • 2010: The Year I Won the Lottery
  • 2011: The Year I Won the Super Bowl
  • 2012: The Year I Won the Race for President

How is your life organized?

Father fails at being his son
Seven-year-old boy has never eaten a meal
Pyschiatrist knits a wooly brain

tagged as lists | permalink | 7 comments

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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. 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's a poorly constructed slum of a song supported by a foundation of droning double stops and abused tubas.

Motile: (adj.) moving or capable of moving spontaneously

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I have the sneaking suspicion that my random word generator of choice is actually backed by a biology textbook, since a large number of terms are medical or organic terms. This title is particularly related to the movement of spores, but it was better than the initial suggestion, "Irregardless".

This excerpt was written for a bevy of vibraphone patches, brass, and percussion, and is my impression of spontaneously moving spores.

Wisconsin man cited for rocking out to John Denver
Canada to rename The Beaver
Cruise ships still find a Haitian berth

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Work Day

The problem with going to work at 6 AM is that the server never blows up until after 6 PM.

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Alcatraz (Pilot Episode):
If J.J. Abrams were really serious about distancing Alcatraz from LOST, he would have hired a different composer. There's nothing wrong with Michael Giacchino's score, other than the fact that he's reused it several hundred times now -- three note violin motives don't build suspense, they just irritate everyone. This sci-fi show is about prisoners in Alcatraz who all mysteriously disappeared in 1963 and are returning now without any signs of aging. In other words, it's LOST meets The 4400 meets Fringe with Hurley thrown in. I gave the pilot a chance, but the whole time I was watching, it felt like a paint-by-numbers book where everything was already painted in. Everything in it had been done before with less rote, from the oddly paired leads to the mysterious hatch in a bag that will let the writers out of any plot corners they back into later on. I turned it off just as the second hour was getting underway, in favour of watching "Jack Sparrow" again on YouTube.

Final Grade: D+

The Office, Season Six:
This season felt unnecessary, like one of the later seasons of Scrubs. I was never completely bored, but I never really had any urge to watch several in a row. A few hearty laughs in a thin broth of tedium.

Final Grade: C-

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II:
The saga ends about as well as it could. I always felt like the underlying story was needlessly complex at the end, especially in the part where they chase down a million knick-knacks, and the movie doesn't help that much. The visual palette is still very dark -- I'd hate to see this in 3D where the screen is probably 100% black all of the time. In the end, it's well done and satisfying, although I was hoping they would take the LotR approach of having seventeen different endings, because you can never fade to black enough times in a single movie.

Final Grade: B

Malcolm in the Middle, Season Three:
This is the season where Francis quit military school and moved to Alaska in order to provide a nice eight minutes of filler material every episode. It's not great, but pleasant enough to enjoy.

Final Grade: C+

The Bird and the Bee by The Bird and the Bee:
This is a two-person group that started showing up on Pandora after I started listening to Lenka and Bitter:Sweet. The songs are catchy and pleasant to listen to, with a lot of emphasis on major seventh chords (which you can never have enough of) and shifted rhythmic motives. Other than the unfortunate yet hilarious lyric of "I'm lying prostate on the ground" which is actually spelled correctly in the liner notes but sung as shown, this is a decent album, if a tad Lilith Fair.

Final Grade: B

The Guild, Season Five:
The fifth season of this web show finds the guild attending a gaming convention. Though it had some highlights, I actually didn't enjoy this season much -- they spent too much time on cameos and non-gaming-related humour. It was easy to enjoy when the show focused on gaming and human relationships, but this season requires a little more specialization in comic books and geek stuff, which I lack. I guess when Microsoft starts sponsoring your show, you have to start throwing a little money at famous people.

Final Grade: C+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, January 19, 2015

MLK Jr. Day

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

The MLK, or "Mustard Lettuce Ketchup", is a variant of the hamburger invented by entrepreneur, Chuck Wheezy, who says he gained inspiration by making different permutations with his son's plastic hamburger toy in hopes of finding a mix that would outsell the BLT. It became a regional hit selling as a vegetarian alternative to the Bacon in a BLT, although strangely, no one seemed to notice that it still contained a meat patty underneath the 3 advertised garnishes.

Wheezy's sandwich would have remained a regional oddity had the Burger King corporation not expressed interest in making a smaller version of it, selling for one dollar. Once the MLK Jr. began selling in franchises across the country, Wheezy's long-term financial well-being was ensured[citation needed].

tagged as random | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

List Day: 5 Exciting and Not-So-Exciting Technologies

  • Self-driving Cars: I can't wait until self-driving cars are both affordable and completely autonomous. Extended road trips are the worst part of any vacation, and the trip to Virginia Tech down I-81 is probably much more enjoyable while sleeping (and microsleep doesn't count). I might even go shopping in ridiculously crowded places, because then I can just tell the car to drive around the block for 20 minutes and pick me up later.

  • Hoverboards: Fire hazards aside, the first generation of hoverboards is a huge disappointment, because having wheels involved seems to be directly incompatible with the prefix, "hover". However, a real hoverboard doesn't interest me in the least bit, unless the technology can also levitate high enough to safely cross busy roads without waiting for the walk signal.

  • Teleportation: I don't want to teleport because I could never be sure that the version of me on the other side was actually me and not an exact replica (old movie spoilers!). Just focus on getting me somewhere incredibly fast in my self-driving car instead.

  • Internet of Things: The Internet of Things is stupid and insecure. I don't want my fridge to be able to send email, and Amazon Echo can barely understand me when I ask it to play a song. Wiring everything in your house and dumping it onto an unsecured Internet connection just sounds like a horrible idea all around.

  • Virtual Reality: With the Occulus Rift about to come out, I feel like we're in the exact same place we were in the early nineties, when there were lines around kiosks at Springfield Mall to pay ridiculous prices for the privilege of walking around a monochrome line art world. I'll be excited to try it out, but don't think it's going to be world-changing for quite some time to come. My biggest fear is that game designers will use VR as an excuse to add more jumping platform puzzles to video games, and these are intrinsically awful any time the number of dimensions is greater than 2.

What future technologies excite you?

tagged as lists | permalink | 4 comments

Friday, January 19, 2018

List Day: 10 Dream Facts

  1. I dream in colour.

  2. Most of my dreams are in first person perspective. Only very rarely do I have a dream where the viewpoint is third person (usually hovering behind my shoulders).

  3. I hate listening to people describe their own dreams because they're irrelevant if you weren't the one directly experiencing them. I have no idea if you're just making things up for kicks so why should I care?

  4. When I've gotten enough sleep in the night, I know I'm ready to wake up because my dreams will start taking place in and around my childhood home.

  5. When I've gotten way too much sleep, my dreams will try to bore me awake by being completely mundane (e.g., waiting around a room for something to happen) and taking an eternity to get through just a few minutes.

  6. I have many dreams that involve rushing to get somewhere but being unable to move faster than some low maximum walking speed, like an NPC in a World of Warcraft Escort Quest.

  7. I used wake up and jot down keywords to help me remember my dreams in Junior High School. I can still remember some of them vividly when reviewing the list of keywords.

  8. I have never tried lucid dreaming but I sometimes recognize that I'm dreaming.

  9. I have never had dreams where I'm magically flying or falling endlessly. Everything is on the ground.

  10. I sometimes have unsettling dreams but never have viscerally scary ones. The one time I thought I did and woke up, it was because Booty and Sydney had decided to have a cat fight on my balls.

tagged as lists | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Deep Thoughts Day

A post I want to preserve from Facebook:

January 19, 2021

Taking the mic away from influential spreaders of misinformation is not a complete solution. It increases the isolation of ardent followers and drives them to search for similar meaning along the fringes of reality. Consider how Twitter evictions, inaugural security practices, and mass arrests are perceived by people who truly believe election falsehoods. They will remain susceptible to the next grifter that comes along without a dedicated, compassionate effort to educate them -- an effort that, itself, can be spun into something dystopian by the loudest voices! Short-sightedly abandoning these people as a lost cause does nothing to nullify future threats.

"Out of sight, out of mind" doesn't work when dealing with asbestos, high explosives, or misinformation.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Shower Day

Our latest home project is an overhaul of our guest shower in the basement. The previous shower was a haphazard relic from when I first moved in in 2004 and the basement had been subdivided into separate living areas for maximum renting. The groutwork finally decayed to the point where the wall was soft and I had to apply duct tape liberally to stem further damages.

We went with the same company that did our screen porch and patio. After a few false starts and snow events, the shower is finally complete.

The new shower is now nicer than our main showers, so I'd better start taking more post-workout showers in the basement to get my money's worth.

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

 

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